Throw Narrow

Back in high school, I was a Diver.  That was after years of injuries left me unable to continue in my original love, Gymnastics.  Tumbling in air with much less impact on my sore joints was perfect.  {Though the story of the time I landed flat on my back 8 times in a row when I just couldn’t get a dive still makes me cringe.}

A board and water is a lot different from the floor though, and I had a lot to learn.  One of my first lessons on a type of dive I hadn’t done before, an Inward, included the direction to “throw an arrow.”  It came along with hand gestures- starting with the arms above the head, and slicing them down to come together in front of you, making a V.  So it made sense.  The end of an arrow is a V shape.  So I worked on throwing an arrow.  I got pretty good at it.

Until one day I repeated the words back to my coach, and got a laugh.  Apparently, he was saying “throw narrow” all along.  You see, when you throw narrow, you can jump straight up and still have the force of your arm movement push you out just enough to clear the board.  You focus your effort on that narrow space, and you have success.  If you throw wide and jump straight, you’re likely to hit the board.

It’s been years since I’ve been on a diving board, but the story came back to me yesterday as I thought about my focus.  I’ve been jumping straight- meaning, I’ve had great effort and intent.  But I haven’t narrowed my focus.  I’m throwing all I can into all there is, without the focus needed to stop banging my head on the board.

Throw Narrow.

I’ve already decided to give up a few small things I’m doing, and am considering what else I can do to narrow my focus.

I’ve also realized that for me, throwing narrow means focusing on reaching women.  My story of struggling through the loss of my brother, my husband’s chronic illness, and juggling motherhood and work will best be told if I focus narrow, where I can best be used and heard.  I didn’t really like that message I was hearing from God- after all, I have always had stronger relationships with guys (something to do with my sarcastic self I guess).  But God used a few things this week to show me where my narrow is.

Two of those things are these simple interviews I shared on other sites in the past week.  They forced me to stop and really think through some questions that are simple, but have tough answers.

Journey for Earth

Blog Formatting

“You don’t have to make it big.  You have to make it matter.”  – Jon Acuff

What could matter more in your life if you had a more narrow focus?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this!


My "fabulous" artwork

My “fabulous” artwork

To The Class of 2013

As the Class of 2013 prepares to take the next steps on their journey, moving from high school or college, I begin to step back and reminisce about the years since my last graduation.  I think my younger self would be overwhelmed to know the future, but I think I’d be proud of where I am.

There are some things I’d tell myself though, and since I can’t, let me share them with you, the class of 2013.

– You are ready.  Every experiencehome_love in your life has built to this moment, to equip you to step forward into your future.  Being ready doesn’t mean your steps will be easy, your choices will be faultless, or your dreams will come true right away.  But it does mean that you have the tools and support to keep growing on your own.

– Work hard.  No matter if you’re going on to college or work, you are going to have to work harder than you ever have.  But the rewards will be bigger than they’ve ever been before.

– Keep learning.  I don’t mean book learning (though there’s a place for that too), but by listening to those around you, soaking up the knowledge they share.  Learn what not to do from some people- those lessons will be as valuable as any.

– Prepare for bumps.  There will be bumps, as small as ant hills to as large as mountains.  You will sometimes feel like giving up.  You will sometimes feel there is no way you can get past it.  But you can. 

– Hold on to your real friends, forget the others.  Ten or twenty years from now, some of those real friends will still be real friends.  You may lose touch, you may go separate ways, but you may find your way back.  Don’t dismiss them because you’ve moved on to new adventures.  But those that weren’t real friends, or those that hurt you along the way?  It’s okay to let them go.  It’s growing to know what is real and what can be left in the past. 

– Be flexible.  The path to where you’ll be years from now will wind and twist, and you won’t land exactly where you thought you would.  But where you land may be better than you’d ever believed.  And the twists will be what you reflect on all your life. 

– Go.  The world is so much bigger than the slice you’ve lived.  Go experience some of it.  We’ll be here waiting at home to welcome you back, always being your safe place. 

– Do good.  There is so much darkness in the world, but there is so much more power in the good that can come from those who choose to shine it.  You have that power, to show God’s love to a hurting world.  To be His hands and His feet. 

– Love.

For the graduates in our life, we look forward to seeing you pursue your dreams and build a future.  We love you.


One of our favorite 2013 grads and our boys who love him


Letter to Myself

A few days ago I saw an old photo of a group of my friends from high school. We were young and more beautiful than we knew, so full of potential and ready to take on the world. I commented that we were really something, and was reminded that we’re really something now too. Years later, these are now women that I respect and admire. Both for things they’ve accomplished and the way they live their lives.

I looked at myself and wondered what I’d have said if I knew what the next 15 years or so would hold. I probably would have been scared and excited all at once, and in some disbelief of it all. But here are some things I would say to that girl.

Be courageous, you have nothing to fear.

College will teach you so much more than you’ll learn in class. Get out there and experience it. A little more studying wouldn’t hurt you either.

You’re not fat.

You’ll meet many guys, and you’ll learn from them what you want and don’t want in a spouse. Heartbreak will help you find the right one.

Fight for what’s right as soon as you know its right. But don’t worry, you’ll soon get pushed into it and you’ll be fine.

Enjoy that time before kids a bit more, quiet doesn’t come again for many years.

You’ll learn a lot about medicine and advocating for good care by being thrown into the fire. Toughen up- it’s hard but worth it.

Ask more questions, invade personal space a bit more, and open up yourself. Fear of rejection is no way to live. The phone won’t kill you.

Stop. Breathe. Enjoy.

Go home at 5 sometimes.

Hug your Dad more. You don’t have to agree on anything but loving each other. That’s enough.

Push Austin. It might not have helped, but don’t give up. You’ll have less regret and guilt, and you already have enough.

Enjoy that last movie with Austin, and don’t drive straight home. Find a way to spend a few more minutes.

Just keep trusting God, He won’t let you fall.

Look around at your friends. Some will be gone, some will become close again one day, some will come later and become family, while some will seemingly disappear once Austin does. You’ll learn from them all.

You’re stronger than you think. You’ll survive more than you think you can handle, and you’ll do more than just survive.

….. Now that I think about it, I should probably remind grown me of these same things…..funny how our younger self and our older self are so much the same, maybe just a stronger version. At least I hope so.

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