Filters, Flowers, Finales, and a Farewell to My Fifties..

I’ve been in a February funk. Honestly, the only reason for this feeling is the weather and the fact that Spring is right around the corner. I’m anxious. I’m ready. I want the “new beginning” that Spring brings with it.

As always, I’ve been busy juggling all the things: Work. Home. Basketball. Trips to visit my mom. New Projects.

At times I feel like I’ve been meeting myself coming and going, but I won’t complain. I like being busy and having things to do. I like having a to-do list, and I need to have a purpose.

One of the best parts of February is that’s the month when the playoffs start in basketball. As most of you know, Brian came out of retirement to become the head basketball coach at West Rusk. I must admit, I was a little ambivalent about this. Not on his end, but on mine. As a coach’s wife, I have always been all in, but the last time I was in this role was 2011. That’s a whopping twelve years ago! From the beginning of the season, I told Brian that I probably couldn’t make the out-of-town games that were on school nights. You know, because I’m old and need my rest…

The first game happened to be a tournament, and it was on a Thursday (and I don’t work on Thursdays). I followed the bus, and by the end of the day, I was back in true form. Screaming, yelling, correcting the horrible calls by the officials. I had a blast! It was fun being back in the saddle! (And now that the season is over, I can say that the first ballgame had me worried. We actually had a player who forgot his basketball shoes! Fortunately, the athletic director was able to bring them, and arrived 50 seconds before tip-off).

Slowly, but surely the team got it together, and we ended up finishing third in district. It is the first time in years that the Raiders have made it to the playoffs, and the excitement and expectations were great.

The game was on a Tuesday (and yes, I did attend, despite my “not on a school night rule”). It started at 6:00, and we had to rush to get there after work. Charles, Kaitlyn, Cooper, Harper, and I were decked out in our brand-new Raider Playoff shirts. I had made a special trip to Walmart to stock up on my “game gum.” Yes. That’s a part of my tradition. Believe it or not, on a Tuesday night when the Raiders were playing away, and we were listening on the radio, I forgot to chew my game gum. We were behind with less than a minute to go. When I realized my error, I immediately put in a piece of game gum. And in that moment, we went ahead! We ended up winning on a three-point shot at the buzzer! So don’t make fun of the power of game gum. It’s real!

Now, back to the story…

We’re dressed in blue and white, with game gum in hand, and are climbing into the car. I was buckling Cooper in his car seat. After I closed his door, and began walking around to mine, I had an intense pain in my ankle, and was having difficulty walking. In fact, I was limping! What in the world? Maybe I just turned it a little awkwardly. I tied my laces tighter, which helped the pain, and we headed to the game.

When I stepped out of the car and put weight on my ankle, the pain was palpable. I bent over to inspect my injury, and it was obvious my ankle was swollen. Deciding it was no time to be a sissy, I continued gimping and limping toward the gym. Hobbling might be a better word.

I entered the gym and shuffled up the steps to find a seat. At this point, it was clear that I had twisted/sprained my ankle, as other people noticed my plight.

The game was exciting, and at half-time, I managed to walk over to see my principal, who asked why I was limping. I told her I hurt my ankle right before we left for the game.

And then she asked how. I tried to think of some great athletic endeavor I had performed, or a heroic deed where I helped someone who was in danger. I almost said that I worked out before the game, but I knew she’d never believe that one! So, what did I say?

“I twisted it putting Cooper in his car seat.”

She tried to keep a straight face but couldn’t.

The good news is we won. Again, game gum is real.

The next day at work, my principal told me that she was talking about the game with another staff member. Here’s the conversation:

Principal: “Mrs. Keith sprained her ankle last night.”

Staff Member: “Oh, from jumping around and getting excited at the game!?”

Principal: “No. From putting Cooper in his car seat.”

When she told me this, we both laughed so hard we couldn’t breathe. And, yes, I did send her a picture of my injury (please pardon my ashy legs, and my “in dire need of a pedicure” foot).

This wasn’t the only funny thing that happened. After the basketball game, my son Chris posted a photo of his dad. The team we beat are the Tigers. I don’t need to explain anything else…



Sadly, our season ended the next game. It’s always hard to move on after a season. It’s not the loss that stings, it’s knowing that we will never all be together again. The team, the parents, the fans. It’s like saying goodbye to a good family member or friend who is moving on to new things. You’re happy for them, but it’s also bittersweet.

My family thoroughly enjoyed every moment of the season. Chris was able to help Brian on the bench when he was in town. His scouting reports were spot on, as were the new plays he designed and suggested. Charles’ play-by-play analysis was always on target, as were his humorous insights, and disgust about the officiating. Kaitlyn, who is new to all this, said that she had seen a side of us she’d never seen before…And Cooper and Harper were just the cutest part of it all.

As we move on to the next season, we will remember all that we learned from our experience of being back in the gym—lessons that apply to our daily lives. I will remember the last-minute wins and the disappointing defeats. I will never forget the support and encouragement from sweet friends. I’ll always believe in the power of game gum (even though I know it really doesn’t change the outcome of a game). I’ll remember how familiar it all was, and how nostalgic I became when thinking about the days my boys played and were coached by their dad.

I’ll not soon forget my sprained ankle, and the fact that I’m getting older, which makes all of this more special and meaningful. Every day is a precious gift, and as I limp toward my sixtieth birthday, I am ever thankful and blessed that I know the importance of making each day count. Every second matters.

As I look forward to the newness of Spring, I hope that I won’t forget those dreary February days. The ones where the rain poured down, confining us to the indoors. The days that seemed claustrophobic, as all we thought about were sunnier times.

And that in itself is a lesson. Storms will come. Days will be filled with rain, and mud, and clouds, and wind. Times will be tough. Choices are made, both good and bad. Some days you’ll do your best, while others you might simply struggle to survive. But there’s always hope. There’s always the thought of Spring.

“No matter what you faced today or what is waiting for you tomorrow, stay with Jesus. Filter everything through his love. And declare His name and His hope over whatever you feel you can’t bear one more day.”

~Lysa Terkeurst



We are all made of flowers. Even though this might not be your season, you will bloom again.

The sun will shine, and you will grow stronger and even more beautiful, as you show your new growth in the lessons you’ve learned. The key is not taking root in the past. The key is to approach each day as a new beginning; a chance for a do-over, or simply to do good again.

We are all flowers.

Welcome, Spring! Welcome, new beginnings.

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