Tag: coaching families

Father’s Day Gifts for Your Coach

Father’s Day Gifts for Your Coach

Father's Day Gifts for Your Coach

I was reviewing my Father’s Day gift idea list from last year and it’s another reminder of how different life is this year. I wonder if we’ll ever get to the point where we can plan a getaway without masks again. Will we have pit stops available where ever we stop? Is a road trip even fun if you have to wear masks everywhere you go? With getaways out of the question for 2020, I’m shifting this year’s Father’s Day Gift Idea list to focus on a few things for your coach that aren’t career-related and don’t involve travel.

Father’s Day Gift Ideas

Support His Hobby (even if it’s new)

It’s been a season of forced stillness and many people have caught up on projects around their homes while others have used the time to explore expanding their interests. It’s important to keep the balanced perspective that at some point athletics will start up full force again, however, there is always time for additional interests. This is especially important when hobbies are used as a way to decompress and reduce stress.

When you support a hobby that encourages self-care you love your coach well:

  • Pick up a new fishing rod, license, and bait
  • Pick out a new grill master tools and seasonings
  • Add a tool or buy the materials for the project he’s been working on
  • Buy those new hiking boots he’s been eyeing

Customize Something Useful

father's day gift

Do you have a favorite photo? Add it to a mug, travel mug, keychain, or another item your husband uses frequently.

Shutterfly, Walmart, and Vistaprint all have options that are affordable and great quality.

We’ve had a Shutterfly travel mug for several years. At one point we lost the lid and they even sent us a replacement.

Update His Wardrobe

I cannot stress this enough. If your husband has wanted to add to his wardrobe now is the time to do it. Go through those drawers and closets and see where the gaps in his day to day ensembles remain. You’ll find anything you want on sale if you price compare! Shop online and use Swagbucks or Rakuten to earn cashback on your purchases. Double your cash back benefits by shopping online at Kohl’s when there is a Kohl’s cash deal going or use a rewards credit card that you pay off right away to earn points and you’ll really stretch your dollars.

Monthly Subscriptions

I did a round up of monthly subscription ideas for Mother’s Day and there are just as many fun ones for men.

However, you celebrate your favorite Coach this Father’s Day I hope you spend time relaxing together. It won’t be long before we’re back into the thick of the season with full to overflowing calendars. Take time to let your man know how much you value his presence on Father’s Day and every day.

Living in the Both / And

Living in the Both / And

living in both / and

Depending on where you live in the country, you may be entering week four of balancing working from home along with adjusting to homeschooling. For others, your journey of endless Groundhogs Days is just beginning. Either way, it’s now apparent that life is different for every person in the United States.

With close to 10 million people filing for unemployment, concerns about when life will return to normal and what our new normal will look like consume news cycles, social media posts, and daily conversation. It’s hard to live in the unknown, even the most spontaneous adventurers are discovering we’re also natural planners.

This time is challenging, but there is a trick to getting through that may help. It’s one I’ve use each year as the football season starts to wrap up and the questions about “next year” begin. Will we stay? Will we go?

When you face the unknown and two equal options sit before you you’re living in the Both / And. This can be an uncomfortable space because it often requires two independent lines of thinking. The Both /And has space for two truths and for complex ideas to exist. For example, we can BOTH dislike that we are asked to social distance AND choose to do so because it’s the best way to protect and love our neighbors.

The Stress of the Both / And

As schools started to extend spring break for additional weeks and sports events were impacted coaches began to mourn. Coaches’ wives around the country reported their husbands were in shock and mourning. They seemed lost without a team to coach. It didn’t take me long to realize that for coaches who had previously walked the path of being fired, they were likely experiencing many of the same uncertainties from that situation.

All of a sudden coaches were sent home, no practice, no games, no idea when things will start again. Finances were in limbo and to top it off there wasn’t any way to get out of the house and just feel “normal”. In many cases, being fired wounds coaching families deeply, even when we know it’s part of the “deal” signing up for this crazy life. Coaches spend so many hours on with their teams and preparing for practices and games that they often don’t have many other hobbies.

Living in the Both / And is something I’ve learned to do for several months out of the year. Now that football programs dissolve coach’s contracts at any time of the year, even during the middle of the football season, it’s become a requirement to live in a limbo of sorts.

We live with the knowledge that there could be a “next season” and there very well may not be a next season. We talk about next year as if we’ll live in the same community and also understand that it’s possible we may live somewhere else. This balancing act is easier for some than others. For me, the key is accepting that whatever plans I make, I may need to release them if they aren’t possible for the future that does happen.

Living in the Both / And could mean:

  • We are BOTH okay with staying with our current team AND moving on as God calls us
  • We are BOTH okay with living within a certain budget AND willing to adjust our budget if a job loss occurs
  • We are BOTH okay with our current budget AND hopeful God will open a door for a new job for 2 incomes
  • We are BOTH okay with our current stage of life (no kids, 1 kid, etc) AND hopeful to shift to a new stage in the near future

Sometimes we experience temporary Both / AND situations:

This is our son Elijah when he is about 1 week old. Elijah contracted MERSA when he was born due to delivery complications. He was severly jaundiced and we ended up at Children’s Hospital in St. Louis, MO while they tried to figure out how to battle his infection.

During this time we were required to live in the Both / And without knowing when things would end.

Nothing about this time was normal. Most questions people asked me were met with the same answer which was simple, I don’t know. And above all, we had zero control. We didn’t have the typical story in that after delivering the baby we discharged from the hospital and moved forward with life. However, after a month we were dressing him in real clothes without juggling a PICC line, going for walks in the stroller, and enjoying the midnight feedings followed by challenges of getting this new person who consumed our schedule back to sleep.

Both / And Means Surrendering Control

The hardest part about living in Both / And seasons is that you realize you don’t have control over anything. Even the parts of your life with the illusion of control are lost. This could cause despair, but it can also be a space of peace and joy. When you replace the need to control things with surrender, you can release your imperfect plans which are limited by humanity’s minimal view of life and replace them with God’s guidance.

We all struggle with blindly following God. We want to know the end of the story. Surrendering our plan for God’s is hard. We have our idea of what’s best for us. But God knows so much more about what’s best for His children. In Matthew 7:11, Jesus said, “If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!”

We focus on what God doesn’t give us or what we think he’s taking away. Psalm 84:11 says, “For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless.” Sometimes the best gift is the gift of protection. What we see as God withholding could actually be his gift. Living in the BOTH / AND asks us to trust that when we surrender to “Plan B,” we’re actually replacing our plan with God’s “Plan A,” and when we do so we set ourself up for heavenly success.

Successfully Living in the Both / And

  • Don’t be afraid to cry – you are mourning
  • Understand you’ll have good days and bad days – give yourself grace to go slow on the bad days
  • Read the Bible
  • Ask God to reveal himself when he is present as your comforter
  • As you read Bible stories that you connect with ask God to reveal his character to you in your present circumstances
  • Reach out to trusted friends who will point you to God even on your hardest days
  • Understand your personality and identify when you are leaning on unhealthy coping mechanisms. Choose to corrections as you can.
  • Hold plans loosely, but look to the future. Hope is a good thing.
  • Figure out what you can do today to grow whether that’s personally, with work, or in relationships
  • Practice great self-care: exercise, eat well, keep a good routine so you can sleep enough
  • Listen to worship music
  • Focus on holding onto positive thoughts and releasing negative thoughts

We aren’t meant to live in the Both / And spaces of life long term. This situation we’re in right now isn’t supposed to be our normal life. We live in a broken world. It’s why we long to rebel against the restrictiveness of the additional boundaries. When all else fails, we can look far down the road and know that when we’re in heaven none of these things will matter. For now, let’s do our part to love our neighbors take care of the earth so that everyone has the same opportunity to join us in heaven too.

Happy Birthday Ordell

Happy Birthday Ordell

Walker Family 2018

Dear Ordell,

Today’s your birthday and we’re celebrating you the way you prefer. We’ll go out for dinner, maybe catch a movie over the weekend, and spend time at home. Three of your favorite things. Celebrating you is easy and comfortable and so much fun because it means we’re always together.

For many years we spent your birthday apart while you were on spring break missions trips. We’re used to taking time to acknowledge the passing of another year at some point in March. The opportunities to celebrate you on your actual birthday are just one more bonus of this current season of life.

Reflecting on the past year the thing that stands out is your consistent presence and availability for a spontaneous conversation with the boys or a spur of the moment date. Your intentionality is strengthening your bonds with our sons at vital ages. I’m so thankful for your unwavering commitment to invest time in our sons as you have so many other young men over the past two decades.

I’ve always believed the way you approach your career impacts God’s kingdom for future generations. I see that same investment in our home as well as you engage the boys in direct conversations about their Spiritual lives and invest in their character development as well.

Your years on earth aren’t wasted, I’m just thankful you’ve chosen me to partner with you in this adventure.

2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Coaching Families

2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Coaching Families

2019 Christmas Gift Guide for Coaching Families

It’s the most wonderful and stressful time of the year for coaching families! We’re in the middle of playoffs, or starting a season, or moving, or interviewing or maybe some combination of what’s listed. We may be saying goodbye to seniors and preparing to say hello to new students. Perhaps we’re wrapping up the semester of classes and coaching in the state championships. It’s crazy.

So when family calls and asks what the kids want for Christmas it’s understandable that we don’t always remember the full list. We solved some of the challenge awhile ago by creating Amazon Wishlists and Wishlistr.com lists. Still, there are so many possibilities it’s nice to get some new ideas to add to your lists!

Here are my top suggestions for Christmas gifts in 2019 for every member of your coaching family.

Great Gifts for Coaches’ Kids

I’ll start by saying that experiences are always a great gift. Go explore the area where you grew up, take the family to a waterpark overnight, or go see a musical. Doing something special together creates memories and exposes your kids to new opportunities they may want to explore in the future.

We’ve always appreciated family who gives gift cards to fast food restaurants or movie gift cards as well. Allowing our kids to buy themselves popcorn and an icee at the movies without taking out a small loan is a wonderful holiday treat experience!

For the Active Family:

  • Does your coaching family participate in a lot of park district activities? Those fees can add up.
  • What about a membership to the local YMCA?
  • Has your child or grandchild expressed interest in sharpening their athletic skills? What about getting them a few sessions with a personal trainer?
  • Passes to the local pool for the summer are always a great gift as well, although this would require delayed gratification! 😉

For the Family that Travels:

  • Kindle Fires have dropped drastically in price and have great parental controls and expandable storage.
  • Over the ear headphones are great for allowing everyone to watching their own videos or listen to audiobooks in peace.
  • Do you have kids who are starting to drive? The Tile is a must-have for keeping track of keys, wallets, and phones.
  • DrinkintheBox and SnackintheBox have adorable and functional travel boxes for multiple snacks.

Coaches’ Kids Clothing:

It may seem easy to find a shirt on Pinterest and go have it made, but many of these adorable designs are copyrighted. Support your fellow coaches’ wives and order coaches’ kids’ apparel from one of these two great suppliers. I can personally vouch for the high-quality products.

Speaking of supporting coaches’ wives…if you’ve got a book lover or you need an extra stocking stuffer grab a copy of I am Strong like MOM

Im strong like a mom

Subscription Boxes and Services:

  • Our kids love getting their yearly Xbox Live Subscription renewed
  • Kiwi Co is awesome for the budding STEM or STEAM explorer, Engineer or Crafter
  • We Craft Box is another fun option for your crafty kids
  • Audible is great for the audiobook lover
  • Netflix, Hulu, AppleTV, AmazonPrime, Sling, and Disney Plus are all streaming services that will be the gift that keeps giving all year long.

Great Gifts for Coaches’ Wives

As long as you are ordering a t-shirt for the coach’s kid in your life you should check out the adorable items for wives as well!

My personal favorites from Friday Night Wives include Dibs on the Coach and May Your Coffee Be Strong and Your Season Be Long

The Fly Fox Apparel’s For the Love Hoodie is adorable and looks so cozy! Friends Fans don’t miss my other favorite t-shirt The One with the FOOTBALL

Other Clothing

If you Live in Cold Weather States

Kitchen Tools

Does your coach’s wife love coffee from a french press? This $8 stocking stuffer will make you the hero in her life. I don’t know why it works so perfectly, but what I can tell you is that I no longer avoid cleaning my french press!

OXO Brew french press spoon

What to add a french press to the mix? I love my stainless steel one!

Our boys love popcorn. With two teenage boys in the house, I’ve found that popcorn is a fast, cheap and semi-healthy snack to have available for days when they come home ready to raid the fridge. Microwave popcorn bags are a compromise for me. I’d much prefer they use the air popper.

Pampered Chef Popcorn Popper

The chemicals in the microwave bags plus the extra calories are negatives, coupled with the higher expense, you can imagine how intrigued I was to discover this silicone Microwave Popcorn Maker by Pampered Chef.

There is an individual size and a family size available and it works with oil, butter, or without either. This tool has been a game-changer for our family and it collapses down to store flat making it an amazing tool when it’s time to move too!

Fairtrade Items

Noonday – The Rustic Leather Tote is the only purse I’ve been using for about 2 years now and I love it! It’s lined on the inside with 2 zipper pockets. It’s also deep enough to carry everything I need and plenty of extra.

Every great purse deserves to have an awesome wallet! The Debre Wallet from livefashonable is also a fair trade item. It comes in multiple colors and is the perfect size.

Sseko Designs Ribbon Sandals allows the coach’s wife in your life to design fair trade sandals to match your team colors wherever you move!

While you’re on these sites check out the adorable necklaces, earrings, bracelets, bags, and clothing too!

Personalized Home Decor

The Culture is not the Enemy: The Culture is the Mission

When my friend Kayla posted this quote from her pastor’s wife on her Instagram page months ago I knew it was something I needed hanging in my office. I wasn’t the only coach’s wife who thought so, it inspired this printable! Kayla has several other adorable wall hangings in her store over at The Fly Fox.

Memberships

Coaches Wives Ministry is an excellent online support opportunity for wives at all levels. The yearly membership fee increases in January so this is the time to give a membership! From the website:

COACHES’ WIVES MINISTRY IS A GLOBAL OUTREACH DESIGNED TO STRENGTHEN AND EQUIP COACHES’ WIVES THROUGH DISCIPLESHIP ON THE MISSION FIELD OF SPORTS.

Fab Fit Fun This box is a fun surprise 4 times a year with seasonal gifts on-trend. From the website:

As a FabFitFun Member, you’ll get a box of fabulous finds in beauty, wellness, fashion, and fitness? hand-picked by the FabFitFun team! Each box will contain $200+ in retail value. You will receive a Seasonal Box (4) four times per year.

Great Gifts for Your Coach this Christmas

Qalo Silicone Ring

Ordell switched to a Qalo ring awhile ago and it’s held up really well. His gold band became pretty misshapen from strength training. Qalo has a great message, tons of variety and a discount for sis.life members!

Rocketbook

No more doodles all over the house! The Rocketbook system connects traditional handwriting surfaces with the power of the cloud and seamlessly transfers doodles to the computer. This book is also erasable and reusable up for a certain amount of times meaning that your investment will also reduce waste.

Backpack/Laptop Bag

North Face has a top-rated combination backpack and laptop bag. Not only will this allow Coach to carry all his gear and clothing for game day travel in one bag, but it will hold up for a long time.

Tickets to a Game

Send him and a buddy for a gameday experience. Coaches rarely get to be fans.

Memberships

  • Audible is great for coaches who are hitting the road recruiting or don’t have time to actually sit and read.
  • KlutchClub gives the gift of healthy snacks

So there you go! A few items to add to your Christmas wish lists this year. Hope you found a few new ideas.

Please note: Occasionally a link will redirect you to a website that is a business run by another coach’s wife! I’m not receiving any money for promoting their businesses. Please support them if you choose to order products from the companies I’ve highlighted.

Now What? A Post Season Reflection

Now What? A Post Season Reflection

coach's wifes post season reflections

Our season ended and its one we’re all happy to have behind us for numerous reasons. One of the hardest parts of being in the first few years with a program is that you don’t have a history with the older groups of students. The influence from how “things used to be” remains and regardless of how hard things were and how unfairly players felt they were treated, when egos get the way memories from past years get very cloudy.

It takes several seasons to attract players and parents who will buy in and consider doing things a new way. Change is hard for everyone, however when the players on a team who are supposed to be the team leaders choose a rebellious path instead it’s miserable for everyone.

While we’re eagerly waving goodbye to the season we aren’t doing while so on vacation which many assume. Life doen’t stop. Yes, Ordell no longer needs to hit the road recruitng, but he still carries a full teaching load and there is a lot of coaching that continues for coaches after the last game.

Even though its bewildering to me that many still assume coaches only show up on game day to coach the game, it’s also still surprising when they assume that they only work during the fall.

Football is a Year-Round Job

Some players will go on to play other sports. This is great! But those who aren’t competing need to hit the weight room and begin to prepare for next season. Depending on what part of the country you live in, practices will continue for part of the fall or pick back up in spring. In Illinois they aren’t allowed to start organized practices again until the summer.

Coaches Teach

As I mentioned, Ordell carries a full teaching load. He’s not unique in this. In addition to coaching many junior high and high school teachers are in the classroom all day. At the small college level coaches also adjunct classes.

This also means they are grading papers, attending meetings, working on CEU’s and dealing with all the things teachers need to do on top of their coaching responsibilities. The only thing different about the Monday after the last game is that the team meets in the weight room instead of on the field.

We All Move Forward

Fall sports are odd because the seniors graduate from the sport, but they are still around for several more months. Former teammates will be in classes and sometimes in the weight room.

It can be challenging for rising juniors and seniors to step into leadership roles when the previous seniors are still around, but great coaches know how to cast vision with the next year’s team. They know that the best thing for next season is to get encourage those new leaders to step up as soon as possible.

Moving forward also occasionally includes saying goodbye to coaches. Whenever possible it’s great to have a staff remain intact, but it’s also important to do what’s best for the program and players. Sometimes coaches aren’t a fit for a head coach’s philosophy and other times coaches choose to move on. Either way it’s okay!

We Embrace Downtime

Our weekends are amazing the first few weeks after football. They aren’t completely empty, but they last for days instead of hours, so we are able to sleep a little longer, catch up on things we’ve put off like cleaning out the closets where we’ve stashed things the past few months.

The best part about downtime it watching all those amazing tv shows and movies everyone raved about all fall and planning a few more dates throughout the month.

While many others around a coaching family may ask “now what?” when we complete the last game our family breathes a sigh of relief and eases into the part of the year.

After a decade and a half of Ordell packing a suitcase and hitting the road recruiting we are embracing the high school post season. We are grateful for the weeks when we see our favorite coach a few more hours each week.

Editor’s Note: This content was originally published in October 2018, but has been edited and updated.

Dear Coach’s Kid…

Dear Coach’s Kid…

dear coachs kid remember this when you move

Dear Coach’s Kid,

It’s time for another move, and well, it sucks. I get it. You were just starting to feel comfortable and this one, it stings. Before you get too deep into the moving routine I wanted to take a minute to tell you two things. First, I see you.

I see how sad you are to leave yet another home, another school, and another set of friends.

I see how sad you are to have to spend another semester answering ALL the questions that are NO ONE’s business.

I see how hard you are trying to keep it together for your mom even on the days when sadness gets the best of you, I know how many days you won the battle and you should remember too.

I see you packing up your belongings, trying to decide if you should keep the clothing from the team your family is no longer a part of, feeling torn between your loyalty to your Dad and your friends.

Here’s the Thing

I know it doesn’t feel fair to have to move again. You didn’t sign up for this. You didn’t choose to coach. And the reality is, even if you don’t love your current home familiarity is always better than the unknown isn’t it?

Is It?

Is it really better to stay than move? Are you sure? The longer I’m in this business and the more moves we add to our resume, the move I am convinced that while you, Coach’s Kid did not sign up for this crazy life, God knew exactly what he was doing when he added you to your family. He knew you before you were knit in your mother’s womb and he knew you would be packing boxes for another move.

Every move we’ve made has significantly benefited our kids and I believe you have the same opportunity if you keep your eyes open. God is not just moving your Dad on to coach. He is moving your family and he has unique opportunities available for each of you waiting because he knows you come as a package deal.

You May Already Know

You may already know that it usually takes a year to feel settled in a new town. You will feel like the outsider in your new community for awhile. It’s likely people will know who you are before you know them, especially teachers. It’s okay to feel frustrated about this. You know that you are going to walk a hard path AGAIN.

But remember, there are also benefits to moving. You now have another opportunity at a fresh start. Be your authentic self and I guarantee you will connect with people you want to be good friends with quicker than if you try to please the masses.

As you go through your days don’t hide how smart you are and certainly don’t minimize your talents. You were created by an insanely talented Creator who designed you with a unique purpose in mind. But, a word of caution, stay humble. There will always be those that are threatened by the new kid in town. While no one is expecting you to cater to this childish behavior, it is also great to avoid adding any fuel to the fire.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help. I know you know this, but I’m reminding you anyway, because sometimes when we are sad we need reminders that it’s okay to ask for help.

This too will pass. You will get through this. You will feel settled, you will find your way around another school. You will find friends. You will feel at home again, and you will be stronger for this move.

I told you I had two things to tell you. The second thing I wanted to tell you is that you amaze me. You Coach’s Kid, you are the strongest kid I know. You are resilient, compassionate, smart, talented, and so stinkin’ sharp.

You have seen so many different people groups that you have a greater understanding of how people operate than pretty much anyone else your age. You know how to work a crowd and you are quick to identify the kid who needs a friend.

All these moves, well they are already paying off, and I know that doesn’t make it any easier. I do, because every time I think about moving my kids again I start to cry. Us parents, we get it. We know we are asking you to do something that is hard. It is hard for us too.

So, here you go again, sort, purge, pack, and goodbyes. It is not easy. But know that you are seen, loved and heard. I believe in you and I know your parents do too. You’ve got this dear one.

Signed,

A Coach’s Wife who’s been there and wishes someone had reminded her kids of these things when she was so overwhelmed she couldn’t

Pack Your Car for Game Day

Pack Your Car for Game Day

Game Day Car Strategy

One thing that never changes is that when the season rolls around we live out of our car during the season. When the boys were little we used the CR-V as a makeshift pack and play at home games and a stroller/tent hauler for away games.

Whether it’s weekends filled with meals and naps in car seats or diaper changes on the side of the highway, I keep our car packed with strategic items to reduce our stress on game day.

Here’s how to Pack Your Car for Game Day

Glove Box

Our kids have allergies and it never fails that one of them forgets to take their Zyrtec as we’re running out the door. Thankfully you can find a lot of great meds individually packaged these days. Here’s what I keep in my glove box:

Trunk

I use the trunk for things I want to have on hand but don’t want my kids to have immediate access to grab. At the beginning of the season when they were little I would stock up on a few boxes of their favorite snacks. Now that they are bigger and can reach into the trunk this strategy doesn’t work anymore.

Here’s what I to stash in the trunk:

  • Apple sauce pouches
  • Mini water bottles
  • Extra outfits (depending on the ages of your kids)
  • Extra diapers/wipes/pull-ups (see above)
  • A large blanket
  • Handwarmers
  • Hats and gloves (depending on location)
  • Clorox wipes
  • Batteries for toys commonly brought to games/screwdriver
  • Umbrellas
  • Ponchos
  • Reusable Grocery Bags
  • Collapsable Freezer

Backseat

Of course, you want your kids to have access to some things so you aren’t distracted while driving. This varies by age. Here’s our current list:

  • Clipboards
  • Pens/mechanical pencils
  • Magnetic chess/checkerboard
  • Deck of cards
  • Cell phone charger and cords
  • Plastic shopping bag for trash

Depending on the size of your car and the amount of people you transport you will need to adjust this list, but I hope this gives you a place to start strategizing how to pack your car for game day! Check out this post for great ideas on cheap organzation holders!

House Hunting: A Coaching Family’s Strategy

House Hunting: A Coaching Family’s Strategy

house hunting

A few years ago a coach informed me he was pondering whether he and his girlfriend had a future. She was insistant that whatever home she live in would require hardwood floors. This was a non-negotiable for her future, and this coach had enough life experience to understand it was unlikely he’d fulfil that demand throughout their marriage.

At the time I chuckled and tried to explain that his girlfriend’s dream was likely just a preference, but the relationship ended a few months later. While I never heard the breakup story, I’ve always wondered if she was unwilling to compromise her dreams for the coaching lifestyle.

When you move around a lot you may find yourself compromising in housing. Several years ago I toured a town with a realtor and learned a valuable lesson. In order to find a house to suit our needs, I needed to speak in terms of furniture.

Every home I was shown had huge bedrooms with ample closet space and very small living rooms. It wasn’t the realtor’s fault. She was showing me the most popular housing styles in the best area of town. But what I needed was a home that would suit our ministry needs.

I needed a home with these items:

  • A large living room
  • Close to campus
  • Affordable
  • Ample parking nearby
  • Enough kitchen space to cook for a crowd

House hunting for our family has always been about more than finding a home for our family unit. Our strategy has been to consider all the ways we will seek to serve people first. We seek space for people who will join us for meals, attend Bible studies, seek mentoring, and possibly live for a short season.

I finally explained to this kind realtor that I needed to find a house that could fit three couches in the living area and if that meant having smaller bedrooms that was okay. She stared bewildered, but made a few calls and off we went.

The best part about the home she showed me next was that it fit all our desires, and it was hundreds of dollars lower in rent because the style was less desirable. A win-win when it comes to coaching housing!

Prioritizing living spaces has meant that there is also a list of things I cannot count on factoring into a decision. Granite countertops, top of the line appliances, fenced-in yards, perfectly painted rooms, a gorgeous porch or deck and the ideal location for shopping conveniences are all bonuses, but not deal-breaking factors.

House hunting for our family has taken on many forms. Once we left things up to Ordell and arrived sight unseen except for a short video and a few pictures. Another time we drove 14 hours as a family looked at 16 homes in 36 hours and drove 14 hours back putting in applications on the drive home. Our stories of finding our homes are a little crazy, but our priorities are always the same.

Our home is a space where we want our boys to feel safe and comfortable, but more than that we want everyone who enters to feel welcome to stay awhile.

Determining Housing Priorities

Each location we begin with asking a few questions:

  • What are our ministry priorities in this season?
  • What will ministry in this space look like?
  • How will this impact our boys?
  • What are our needs vs. wants?

Housing for a coaching family is often temporary. We move often, and no two spaces look the same. By determining our priorities based on what will happen in our space rather than what looks nice our lifestyle stays consistent, regardless of the space we temporarily call home.

PSA: What NOT to Say to a Coaching Family

PSA: What NOT to Say to a Coaching Family

What NOT to say to a Coach's WifeI’m writing over at Friday Night Wives. Here’s a Preview:

Hey sports fans! We’re transitioning seasons from fall to winter sports which has recently reminded me of all the hard conversations post season brings. I did a quick poll with confirmed coaches’ wives around the country and have compiled a list of the most commonly asked questions we really wish we didn’t have to answer. I’m also going to explain why NOT asking these things will show your favorite coach’s wife how much you care.

Post Season

  • Are you happy the season is finally over?
  • Weren’t you supposed to have a better season this year?
  • How is your husband doing dealing with all the losses this year?

In the few days where there is little going on with coaching we aren’t trying to dwell on the season. We’re all adjusting to a new routine and enjoying a few more dates, but we aren’t happy the season is over. A short season means we didn’t win as many games as we could have and that is always disappointing.

Post seasons are filled with weight room workouts, individual coaching, recruiting, and a lot of film work. High school coaches are helping their upperclassmen connect with college opportunities. It’s also filled with a lot of meetings about how to improve.

  • Well, you can’t win them all!
  • What’s the big deal? It’s just a game.

These two statements may be the most frustrating of all for coaches’ wives. First of all, you CAN win them all when you have an undefeated season.  ? More than that, we KNOW that it’s extremely hard to win consistently year after year, which is why statements like “It’s just a game” or “You can’t win them all” are ones we just don’t know how to answer well.

Football (or soccer, basketball or baseball) IS a game, but it’s also an avenue to develop characteristics such as perseverance and integrity under pressure. Coaches help players learn how to work on teams and lead teammates. So, it is a big deal, win or lose.

Read the rest over here.

Christmas Gifts for Your Favorite Coaching Family

Christmas Gifts for Your Favorite Coaching Family

Christams Gifts for Your Favorite Coaching Family

 

Christmas is around the corner and it’s a time of uncertainty for many football families. It stinks that the holiday season is also the season of transition, but it is what it is. I’ve compiled a list of gift ideas for your favorite coaching family. These gifts are ones they can use whether they are staying or moving!

For the Foodies:

Homemade gifts like our favorite Peppermint Hot Chocolate mix or cookies are always appreciated.

You can also take things a step further with Blue Apron or Hello Fresh gift card or specific foods such as Omaha Steaks, Giordano’s Pizza, or a wine of the month club.

For the Hobbyist:

Is there a hobby the coaching couple or family loves? Hobbies are a great way to build family memories, but they often cost money. If your favorite coaching family likes to paint pottery together or build model trains add to their opportunities to enjoy their hobby. You may think that a coaching family’s only hobby is their sport, but I guarantee you they look for ways to get away from it all even for a little while.

My husband takes our boys on a yearly guys camping trip. Several years in a row my aunt sent money to purchase a piece of camping equipment. It was a huge blessing as we built up our equipment stash and made each camping trip easier as there was less to rent.

For the Whole Family:

Our family loves to include experiences in our breaks. Whether it’s a trip to the movies, a local museum or the zoo we have found that our kids love getting to see or do things as a family.

Consider memberships to zoos, museums, or local playgroups. For older kids the opportunity to try rock climbing, horseback riding is something they will love. Finally, consider tickets to a sporting event or the theatre. Our boys don’t “love” musicals, but they have enjoyed the few we’ve attended.

If you are lucky enough to spend the holidays together look for something local to experience together. Our boys equally love a day at Dave and Busters and the Museum of Science and Industry.

For That Special Couple:

Anything that encourages a coaching couple to spend time together away from a sporting event is a huge win. Buy them a weekend away at a couple’s retreat. Coaches Time Out, FCA Marriage Getaway, and Weekend to Remember are all great events. If the timing doesn’t work out for an actual event get them a gift card for a hotel and some money for a babysitter if needed. This is the gift that is always a hit.

Date night is something many coaching families prioritize. Gift cards to local restaurants or the movie theatre are helpful and used any time of the year. For a more creative option check out The Date Night Subscription Box Crate with Love.  Datebox is another fun option for a monthly creative date prompt.

Gift Cards for the New Home

Is your favorite coaching family in transition? Consider Etsy, Walmart, Ikea, Target or Amazon gift cards. There are always new spaces to decorate and things that break and require replacing. Gift cards are easy to move and will bless the family in their new home.

Well, that is my list of ideas for Christmas this year! Check out my top gift ideas for Your Favorite Coach and Your Favorite Coach’s Wife here!