Saturday, December 11, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
The 2010 edition of Mat Madness is hot off the press! I published it with Lulu.com, a print-on-demand website. So, anyone can order a copy from Lulu. For people who want to buy one from me directly I have those too, you can save on shipping that way. Don't you love the new cover with the crazy picture of Wes putting in the banana split?! And yes, that's Trevor and Dave coaching. I was pretty happy with how well this photo fit the title. :)
For those of you who have not seen the previous edition, this is a book I self-published after a friend asked me to write down the answers to the basic questions people have about wrestling. I include several wrestling family stories as well, most of them humorous. This edition is updated to follow the revisions in the 2010-11 National Wrestling Federation Rule Book, and also includes a new chapter that made me cry again when I wrote it (that's usually a good sign).
The website is: www.lulu.com Search Mat Madness and it pops up.
As always, if you read this I'd love to hear your thoughts! Thanks!
Saturday, December 4, 2010
Frosty grass and frosty air surrounded me as I stepped outside preceded by two bounding puppies who needed to go potty. Holding my hot, fresh cup of coffee while I watched the puppies play was a good start for the day.
Then Mama Zoey came quickly outside sniffing wildly, as if needing to go to the bathroom right away. Then she promptly threw up (kind of a lot).
As if that weren't bad enough, the puppies could think of only one thing, "hot breakfast!" They were very excited that their mother provided this for them. I was not as thrilled.
Holding my cup of coffee I could pick up only one puppy at a time. I swooped up one and deposited him in the garage, along with my cup of coffee on a higher step inside the garage by the door, then ran back out to get the other happy, hungry, cuter-than-anything little guy.
With the um...hot breakfast still on their taste buds I was just about to head toward the dog food to calm the ravaged fur balls now jumping and playing around my feet by the door. That's when one of them climbed up the steps and took a drink from my coffee cup. He quickly recoiled from the heat and taste combined I'm sure. I quickly winced at the thought of what was on his tongue just a minute ago.
And that's when I decided that sometimes it's okay to have two fresh coffee starts in one morning.
I'm thankful for having seen the beauty in this morning...and for the laughter that quickly came along with a bit of inconvenience.
I hope you see the beauty in your moments today too, no matter what the condition of your Christmas preparations and everything else the day brings.
Photo of Westley with one of the puppies. One puppy is still available by the way!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
I am thankful. I guess if I could carry beautiful in a basket it would look mostly like God and my family. I probably should get more pictures of them...
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Top photo taken from the High Line with a view of New Jersey across the Hudson.
Sunday, September 19, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Photography from trevormleephotography.blogspot.com
Tuesday, August 24, 2010
Wednesday, August 11, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Photo by Trevor Lee, TrevorLeePhotography.com
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Thursday, July 1, 2010
I also noticed dead leaves on the peonies where I suspect the neighbor's dog/pony 'marked his territory', but that's a different story.
A few weeks prior there were these neglected sweet potatoes in the kitchen. They grew alien limb looking sprouts on them, aliens from the murky waters of Middle Earth or Death Valley or something like that.
I was about to throw them out when Dave suggested I plant them. "They'll probably grow."
So, in as much time as it would have taken to walk out back to throw them in the woods, I cut the ends off them and stuck them in a rich mucky pot of soil where another plant had died. The insides of the potatoes had begun to rot I noticed, so I didn't expect much.
I forgot all about them until weeks later, the other day, when I was sad and struggling, and I saw they had absolutely flourished.
God has a way of using His creation to speak to me, almost like He has purpose for it all. How about that, I say to myself with second level sarcasm (because I know He has purpose it in, I'm just slow to see it sometimes....).
I started thinking about the process of that sweet potato plant growing and I realized some things. First of all, isolation in the dark was a bad thing for the potato and it's a bad thing for me too. Second, sometimes we have to cut into our issues where there is rottenness. It hurts and it stinks. But if we get them into a good environment, the rich soil of truth and love, where there is light to chase away the darkness and water that keeps giving strength, then life comes out of what would have been death.
So, I chose growth and not isolation, not only for the potato but for me, and I'm glad because last night I played Apples to Apples with family and friends and laughed ridiculously loud!
amazing potato photo by shelley lee, for much better photos see www.tmleephotography.blogspot.com!
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
It's located in a strip mall next to a Churchill's grocery, where from a distance I could see at least eight police and emergency vehicles with their lights flashing amidst a big crowd of people. An ambulance was coming from another direction, sirens screaming.
My mind went everywhere with this. What in the world is going on? Surely, there was some awful emergency situation. My heart began to beat faster. I was suddenly more alert.
I try not to gawk in these instances. It slows down the solving of most problems and it's rather redneck I hear. I want to be helpful and by no means do I want to look, you know, conspicuous.
So as I got closer I tried to be discreet (i.e. keep the redneck on the inside) while noticing that there were also several motorcycles with riders in all black. Hells Angels?
Keep driving. Don't get in the way on the way to AAA, I tell myself. I parked close enough to see but far enough - oh whatever.
Now I see bicyclists, several of them! A run-in between Hells Angels and super fit cyclists? Ooo, this could be interesting. A rumble of sorts? Stop gawking. But I see no gurney. No one down. No one scrambling.
I use my maximum peripheral view as I walk with calculation to AAA. I need maps, honest I do. I'm not a gawker.
Then I notice a group of people with Downs Syndrome in the mix of the crowd and my crazy concocted rumble speculation is no longer calculating in my fantastical mind.
A light shines on my dark speculation.
Special Olympics. Torch run. Trevor?
With these new thoughts, now I'm gawking. Total intentional gawking, and the first person I see in the crowd is Trevor. He's taking pictures of the kids he coaches and families are gathered around in a wonderful warm cloud of encouraging spirit that wasn't visible from the road. The students were so excited to be a part of the event. Their families could easily be picked out in the crowd, beaming as the group posed for photos.
Trevor looked over at me in surprise. He introduced me to work friends I had heard about and grinned at my story of the chance meeting. Really, what are the chances?
To get to take in this scene made my heart want to burst, and I was so proud of him, watching him in this work environment. I watched the torch run procession go through the parking lot. Some Special Olympics participants only walked the parking lot and then headed happily with their families to their vehicles.
I uncharacteristically waited patiently for them to file in front of me into the traffic on Route 25 with an abundance of uniformed guardians, all looking very proud.
My words can't describe the beauty in these moments, I was caught up.
Contrast that to a woman arriving at Churchill's asking if I knew what was going on. Once informed she sneered, "How stupid! I thought there was really an emergency. Men!"
I just laughed not knowing how to interpret the many issues possibly in that statement. But I am glad I chose to see the beauty in it.
What an unexpected case of perfect timing. It felt like a gift. Like God was showing me that He has impeccable timing and He knows when I could stand to see it with my own eyes every now and then.
Saturday, June 12, 2010
In about 9 hours it will be one week since an F4 tornado hit Lake Township, about a half an hour north of where I live, killing five people in its path of destruction. On Monday morning of this week my church sent an email out to see if anyone wanted to go help in the clean up. I was honestly afraid of how emotional I might get seeing the devastation, but I knew I should go.
That evening I found myself in a corn field west of Millbury, Ohio where an entire house was scattered over about 50 acres. There was no real instruction given. People just came and started putting whatever they found in piles for the wagon crew driving around picking things up for an elderly couple whose home blew violently apart and over them as they huddled and survived in the stairwell. (I know, that's a run on sentence, but it's a good one).
It was more than sobering to pick up the random personal contents of a home. Christmas decorations. Toys. A section of pages from a W-Z encyclopedia. Clothing. Bedding. A porch? Later, the W-Z encyclopedia cover.
After sobering and sad, came interesting, and sometimes funny.
One of the guys from church said, "I found a can labeled 'nails' so be careful. It was empty."
I had to laugh at that!
I found two Tonka trucks 20 feet from one another and just a little banged up. How is that possible? So interesting.
By the end of the evening I felt WAY more blessed to help than I felt I was a blessing to someone else. But I guess that's how it works. It was a beautifully exhausting experience that I couldn't stop talking about when I got home.
The rest of the week though, it felt like I was finding all those nails. While not to be compared to the loss the Lake Township folks have suffered, life just wouldn't let up for me. At one point it felt like the can of nails came at me like I had a huge magnet in me. Obviously, this is not the fun variety of magnetic power, but I had it nonetheless.
When I recovered from the big hit I took time to count the good things and thank God that I am still standing, like the Tonka truck. A little dented but still rolling strong!
(The above photo is taken from the east side of Lake High School/K-12 which is barely visible on the horizon behind the national power grid line, both were ripped through by the tornado.)
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
It was a fuzzy time of day. You know, when you can hear the world, but sweet sleep beckons you not to hear. But the CRASSSSSHHH at 5 a.m.ish could not be ignored, by one of six people anyway. I walked groggily out to the kitchen to find the cat, Bruce, busy at his most important work, fly slaying.
If the fly is on the ceiling, he finds a way to get closer and wait. If the fly is on a window above golden tea light glasses on the sill, they're comin down. And that's what they did. At 5 a.m.
Since then he has attempted catapulting himself over the kitchen sink to get a fly.
But I guess he is just a naive teenager after all, rushing forward with great hope and zeal, convinced that he can do anything, but not thinking past the anything to the consequences.
Later in the day when this picture was taken he came down from his stance gently, molding himself somehow around the somehow-not-broken-from-earlier glass and not toppling it this time.
I guess he's learning. Slowly growing up, one experience at a time.
As I write this Bruce hears a fly buzz and is attempting to scale a dresser down the hall. He needs more experiences I guess.
God help me to learn as fast as Bruce. One experience at a time, taking note that You still know what You're talking about, so I don't fall off the five foot dresser with super hero figurines cascading down around me as a fly buzzes around laughing.
Five stories I wrote have been published in Heavenly Humor for the Dog Lover's Soul. You can see that Zoey loved it that there are stories about her in there! I am very excited!
It's available at amazon.com or a bookstore somewhere....or call me, I have copies too.
Wednesday, May 12, 2010
Everything feels like it's dying around me. I know, that's a dismal outlook. But give me a moment, my favorite cat, Ed, is dying. One of my baby ducks just died (Not the one in the picture...and I know they're ducklings but baby duck sounds cuter). And my heart gets heavy thinking of friends dealing with far weightier losses than these.
On a daily basis time and gravity have their way with me. The age fight feels just an inch away from looking like a train wreck. And it's been raining for freaking I don't know how many days!
Okay, but it is spring, there are beautiful flowers in bloom. And in fuller beauty is my family, and my husband. I am blessed in many more ways than this world is cursed.
So, about not dying in the middle. I ordered ducklings, as you've gathered by now. I don't have experience with ducks, but we have friends that do (and just for the record, that dead duck wasn't my fault....). I took a risk. Went on an adventure if you will.
Same way, a few weeks ago at a writer's retreat I jumped in a row boat to enjoy a little time alone on the water. I almost let standing water and spiders in the boat (the kind that run with superpowers on the water) stop me from the fun. I forced persistence. Nothing a smack with my flip flops couldn't handle...a few times along the way, with banging echoes across the pond. Those sitting on benches along the water's edge ended up entertained, not my intention, but okay. It was fun and I was so glad I didn't die in the middle (I'm referencing the quote, not my swimming ability).
I think this persistence is God bubbling up inside me and I choose to let Him stay...and bubble.
I'd be a liar if I said I always let Him bubble in my life.
Sometimes the rains really get to me. But not this time.
PS- About Ed. I may choose to live in denial and believe that he simply moves to California. From there he will update his Facebook with all of his surreal feline adventures. You can ask Edward Lee to be your friend on Facebook if you want to see what he does when he...makes the big move.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010
One thing I needed to get done today was mail my Mom's Mother's Day gift and parents' anniversary gift (they fall on the same day this year). One thing. But several work duties, challenging phone calls, and errands in between buying the last item to put in the gift box and the send-off at the post office. About 90 percent of the day's duties were abnormally frustrating today. So when I arrived at the post office where the sign read closed at 4:15, and my watch said 4:16, and the window is under steel lock down I realized that I may have anger issues.
When I am boiling up like this the best thing I can do for the world is go running. Some people recycle to save the world, but my largest physical contribution is running. I am doing everyone around me a huge favor. Not everyone understands this though. Take for example, the people in vehicles that seem angry that I'm also using the road and don't give me any real safety buffer. Or the recent passenger who flipped me off for no good reason I can figure (for those of you who are unfamiliar with such gestures, that's a middle finger, the bird, an f-you!). Really? Did I deserve that?
Whatever, back to today. When I got back to my home office I managed a few email items, and conversations before I grabbed my iPod and running shoes. Very soon the words of the song Forever Young calmed and encouraged me. I started thinking about eternity and stopped yelling out loud to God about crazy life on earth (as if He hasn't noticed). Soon after that the happy exercise chemicals starting kicking in.
Back at home I completed a few little home repair projects with the boys' help and planted some flowers with more energy. I was a completely different person.
I know that taking care of myself physically (and in turn emotionally, mentally) does this for me. I've known it for many years and know that it is a must for me to be the best person I can be. You know, so I can save the world and all that.
So, why do I forget? Why do I put off what I know will benefit me?
Each time I get out of kilter I am baffled by myself. It's the same way with me and God. I wonder why sometimes He seems so far away. But I haven't been listening to His words. He left me a few written ones and lots of evidence of His work here. Yet, I put off what I know will benefit me.
Thank God I am reminded, refreshed, and on track again at the moment.
photo of Westley Lee (you'd rather see a picture of him running than me, trust me!) by Trevor Lee, www.tmleephotography.blogspot.com
Friday, April 16, 2010
As you can see by the photo we went on a road trip. And those of you who know us know how typical and eventually funny our travel stories are.
There is so much I have wanted to write about for weeks but haven't felt like I could do it justice. As I've thought about the many things I've experienced recently I feel like I can group several of them in the category of things are not as they appear.
In the New Orleans French Quarter storefronts are really dirty (cool & creative yes, but so dirty). The many tiny one-way streets and narrow walkways have a special ambiance but they also wreak of garbage....and more than a few people you wouldn't trust with your children. But our hotels.com find ended up being this Bourbon Street pearl hiding beautifully inside an unassuming shell. It was awesome! We enjoyed our time in this amazing city, Jackson Square, Cafes, incredible street musicians, all amidst the dirt (here we are at Cafe' de Monde, delish!)
Still in the things are not what they appear category. fast forward to the U.S. National Whitewater Center in Charlotte, NC. It shone bright with a massive zip line across a lake, beautiful bike trails, kayaking and white water rafting, all for one low price higher than Cedar Point. We soon discovered that the first thing we wanted to do, the huge zip line, was down for repairs indefinitely. The bike trails were closed due to recent rain. The rafting was booked, with one time slot left in the day..... BUT we enjoyed 'rock' climbing a lot, what a great work out! And Kayaking on the river where there was a crazy amount of turtles was really great.
Same category... rewind to an hour before we left for the trip (first stop Houston) when I got a call from my parents that my Grandmother, soon to be 94, had died that morning. She was the reason for our Florida leg of the trip. I was so sad. We missed seeing her one last time. But as sad as all of my family, lots of Italian cousins, aunts, uncles, everybody....so sad to lose her, as I looked at her lifeless form I knew she was no longer old, frail, and limited. She
was in eternity. I can only begin to imagine how incredible things are for her now.
Indeed, things are not as they appear.
And about the Hood Up photo....the van was overheating on the last hour before our Florida stop which required pulling over every 15 minutes to pour water bottles and melted ice from the coolers (a fun sight for passersby), into the leaking radiator. Once we got to my parent's house Dave tried replacing the hose which didn't prove to be the issue. So, he found a mobile mechanic at the auto parts store. This model guy shows up in an old '79 Chevy van, turns out he's not a model. He's a mobile mechanic. But a few of us stood around watching just to make sure.
Things are not always as they appear.
Throughout our travels we frequently encountered some people who fit this category. Well, not the looking like models so much as just seeming way different than they really were. And some of them surprised me in great ways. The more I talked with them the more I found beauty inside.
That's inspiring. I want to be like that.
God, help me be like that. Better on the inside than I ever appear.
Thursday, March 11, 2010
"What?! You're selling the red van?!"
I'd heard this from more than one wrestler on the day that we put the red ghetto beast up for sale.
And I suppose when a vehicle is 20 years old and has gone on as many wrestling trips as this one has, its bound to have garnered some attachments.
"No, you can't sell it." (says a face in denial).
One of our boys thought we should bury it half way into the ground in the front yard, along with other Astro vans that bite the dust in the herd. The same boy thought it might be a 'viable' option to let her go out with a bang at the demolition derby.
As one of the bill-paying individuals in the household I thought we should place an ad that read something like:
Astro conversion van for sale, mature (250,000 miles) and actually dependable with many special features: child proof sliding door (only opens from outside), theft proof passenger door (only opens from inside), fold down bench seat (allows one older child to sleep diagonally), variable speed automatic window controls (sometimes they take several minutes to get back up), optional power locks (sometimes chooses not to lock some doors), theft resistant cargo doors (there's a nail-breaking trick to opening the dented rear door that chooses not to lock).....and there's more! Call 419-GHETTO-VAN
So many great ideas. None of them happened because the treasure sold in one day's time. Going, going, gone!
Next morning, the 13 year old Astro van wouldn't start.
Photo compliments of www.trevorleephotography.blogspot.com
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
But his car's battery was dead, so he had to get mouthy about something else now.
By the time I saw them, heard them actually, they were pulling out of the driveway in the 1990 Ghetto-Astro conversion van. Their mission: to give new meaning on campus to the word 'class'.
I was supposed to use Trevor's car to get to a work meeting because the van was in the shop. Trevor noticed a low tire on his car too and went out to work it. He came in too quickly asking how to use the battery charger. His car was dead too.
Yes, we were 0-3 on the lot.
So, Dave had to stop home for his lunch to jump start and charge up vehicles, while on his way to exchange the van for the car he was driving that needed other repairs.
Our solution possibilities?
1) buy the car pictured here (a girl's gotta dream)
2)hitch-hike (this is not safe)
3)fire up the mini bike & strap on the helmet (safer)
4) play musical cars (this is our personal favorite and wins every time).
Today all the dominoes are standing. It's a good day.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Dave and I did go to Maumee Bay for a night last weekend for our 24th Anniversary. We slept a ridiculous amount of time with this view out our window. That was one of the nice deep breaths in life.
A short time later reality awaited me at home...
Saturday, February 6, 2010
Sunday, January 31, 2010
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
"Wes, you guys didn't leave me a car. Someone needs to come back and pick me up!"
Photo above from Medina Tournament: (l-r) Coach Trevor Lee, Westley Lee, Nick Goebel, Coach Dave Lee, Dexter Lee.
Monday, January 18, 2010
If you don't know this about me, I live in the midst of wrestling, wrestlers, wrestling coaches, and ongoing wrestling conversations woven into the fabric of my daily life whether I like it or not. Six men live in this house with me, the one I'm married to is a head coach and absolutely passionate about the sport. This is admirable and respectable most of the time. :) Two of my four sons coach, two wrestle. Another of the boys' friends lives here, he too is a coach. All have wrestled, still wrestle. Twenty minutes ago, in the kitchen.
On Saturday six of us played our parts at an intense day of team duals. And here's where my blog story begins.
My high school senior, Wes, was wrestling an opponent who was illegally grabbing one Westley finger at a time when the ref couldn't see it. Wes was winning the match all along, but would scream out when this would happen. Wes began to get very angry and frustrated. The opponent smiled boldly in satisfaction. It was a flagrant display of bad sportsmanship. I saw his coach quietly signal him to stop, but he didn't seem able to bring the despicable grin under control. Coach talked with the ref about a separate questionable call as the Wes' temper began to flare. At one point during the match Wes yelled over at his Dad/coach, "He's laughing!"
"I don't care, he's losing!!" was Coach's response.
That made everybody grin. And Wes applied more aggressive grit than usual to pinning the joker, which he did in the third period with a move something like that pictured (photo from earlier in the season, Wes in blue). Later Wes told me that while he was pinning him, the kid was pinching Wes' butt. Classy.
These situations can get me flaring in the stands. Thankfully I was able to keep decent sportsmanslike composure. Even while demonstrating the illegal one finger move on an opposing team fan who was complaining about the "whining coach" who kept talking to the ref. That was a high point in my day.
I couldn't get the "I don't care, he's losing!!" phrase out of my head though. It was funny but it got me thinking about other things, as usual.
I've got this image of God coaching me in my constant wrestling match with the enemy of my soul, and I'm yelling things like, "He's lying!" "He's cheating!"
And God calmly says, "It's OK, he's losing."