Sunday, August 15, 2010

Baseball Cards: What happened???

My mom raised myself and my brother to love God, love family and to simply love like Christ asked us to love others. There is no doubt in my mind that she was hoping to have a daughter so she could have a sweet ballerina. Well, God had other ideas. Not only did my mom have two sports loving boys but also had a male dog that seems to follow her at only the times she does not need Cody to follow her. By the way, Cody is 14+ years old right now and the doctor recently said that they were shocked that Cody has lasted this long as it is rare in his breed. Go figure.

Not only did she have ALL boys in the house, but she grew up in the same atmosphere. She has two brothers who LOVED sports, especially baseball and had a father that, to say he LOVED baseball, is like saying that I am kind of a St. Louis Cardinals fan. They man loved his baseball, and definitely where I got my love of the sport. He would watch Wednesday night baseball with me when we would visit. Even though he was in his mid 80’s and I was in my late single digit years, he would stay awake longer than me to watch those games.

From that love grew that passion for baseball cards. I remember my mom’s parents bought me the 1987 Topps Set for my birthday one year. I remember my Granny buying me a box of cards when I was young and thought that was incredible as well! I would find the players I thought were going to be great and put them in a card protector sleeve. I had and still have boxes of baseball cards. If you are a true fan and collected cards growing up, you still will randomly go through the cards HOPING to find that one card that has been overlooked that will pay for your child’s first ten minutes of college. I had a subscription to Beckett Magazine for a few years so I could get the updated prices on my cards. I got some hand me down cards from my uncles and grandfather which a few might be worth something some day.

In the early 90’s, things started to change with baseball cards. It seems like they were trying to start making several more brands of cards that seemed to push the collecting envelope. I remember when Fleer came out and then Fleer Ultra and Upper Deck Select. I stopped collecting nearing high school in the mid 90’s. It just seemed to much.

When I moved back to St. Louis over a year ago, my parents gave me boxes of baseball cards. My wife saw them and I am pretty sure rolled her eyes a few times. I am not sure if my son will collect baseball cards or not. Either way, I will share with him my collection. It is not that spectacular; however, it is something to show him what it used to be. When you were so excited to get that piece of stale gum and how TICKED I would be to get that Team Leaders cards. Granted they were great to put in your spokes of your bike to make that sweet, sweet noise.

If he does start to collect baseball cards, I hope it is still somewhat fun as it was for me. It seems to have a different focus now rather than for fun or for that sweet noise on the bike.

Oh, and I am starting to feel for my wife too now. Last night, while Cameron was crying, I turned on a baseball game and he just starred at the television and started to laugh. Oh, how I will love it but poor mom. Sounds like I have said that before.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Almost 5 Years Later

I woke up rather early this morning between Cameron crying and just some stresses at work. So I came out and started to watch a series that I have been meaning to watch for some time now. The name of the series is entitled Treme and it is a ten part series from HBO. I have watched many HBO series but this one has another meaning to myself.

The series is about post-Katrina New Orleans. Both of my parents are from Louisiana and my dad is from New Orleans. New Orleans has been a part of me since as long as I can remember. I am on episode 8 right now and looks like it will be finished tonight (depending on Cameron and his random crying fits).

As I was watching the first few episodes, I could not help but feel sad. See, last year our General Manager’s conference was in New Orleans. My wife came with me as she was able to meet several family members that were not able to make our wedding. On the last day we were in New Orleans, my parents’ friends gave us a tour of the main areas affected by the hurricane. A fellow GM and a good friend of mine joined me and my parents’ friends for the tour. We saw so much sadness as there were blocks and blocks of homes, damaged and no one around to inhabit them. This was 4.5 years after the hurricane and streets were empty. It was shocking. I have no pictures to show on here because, we took no pictures. None were needed as they are sketched in our minds forever.

Getting back to why I felt sad. Several of the opening scenes were them driving around the same areas we drove last year. It made me question: It has been this long since the storm and it still looks this way?? It makes no sense to me why it is taking so long. I am not here to get into the political side of things. It is just sad that a city feels as neglected as New Orleans is and it is apart of me.

I am proud to have New Orleans in me and that I can try and pass as much of it on to my son now. It may be sad but New Orleans will come back. As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez les bon temps rouler!” In English: Let the good times roll!

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Baptism Sunday

Today is a big day for our family. It is the celebration DSC05033 of Cameron’s Baptism. We think it is such a great day because it is a celebration of where we have come with our buddy since he has made his grand entrance  on March 11th this year. Stephanie’s mother flew into town for the event and my parents will be attending the service at our church this morning. We do not believe this “gets him into heaven;” however, we believe that we will be parents that show him God’s amazing love for us and that we ask God to bless Him and continue His great Love to Cameron. 

Many of you know our story and what happened when we went into the hospital. I think today is a celebration of all that happened and how were blessed by God before, during and after what happened.

We went in to be induced on March 10, 2010 at 10pm at night. We got situated in the hospital room and were watching television. When Stephanie began to be induced, they were having an issue to get the IV started. To put it short, Stephanie DOES NOT LIKE NEEDLES. She curled up into a ball and was bawling. All I could do was hold her and say it was going to be okay and it was nearly complete. Well, I started to get the feeling that I needed something with sugar in it and I said “I do not feel that w……”. I was trying to say well; however, I passed out. When I passed out, I slammed my head on the ground. When that occurred and was found the next day, the force had cause a cerebral hemorrhage in my brain.

At the EXACT moment the doctor was telling me that information, a pastor from the church we had been attending walked in to the room. The pastor and I had never met before but developed an immediate friendship. He sat and prayed with my father and me as my mom went running from the room to tell Stephanie what was going on with me. The pastor read from Psalm 34. It encouraged me and all I could say is we will praise Him through this and How Great our God really is.

After prepping for an hour and PRAYING, the rolled me past Stephanie’s room. I had to sign a document that due to the high risk of surgery, I could pass away. We were both aware of that as we cried together and hugged. This is the part of the story that always takes the longest because I stop and cry each time I write this or tell the story. The feelings that were running through me were insane. I can not explain them to you other than I am thankful we had God holding us through that time.

I went into surgery at 4:20pm and I woke up just after 6pm (a certain hospital in Phoenix take note! (Another story)). I called Stephanie’s room and talked to her. It was awesome to hear her and also awesome we were not parents yet! I had not missed it.

I went up to my room and there were friends and family all over. It was such an awesome feeling to have after all that happened. It meant the world to me to have that type of support.

After awhile, people went home and I just hung out with my nurses and monitors awaiting to hear about Stephanie and the baby. I found out around 9pm that they were going to be able to get me into the room for the birth. They told me to rest up before hand and so I tried to sleep the best I could. My brother crashed in my room on the pullout sofa.

Then at 1:25pm, in come the nurses. We get whisked downstairs and I get sent into the room, or wheeled to be more accurate. I was a tad shocked to see Stephanie’s mom and my mom in there hold her and helping her through the delivery. Talk about troopers coming together to help out!!! Cameron came at 2:15am Thursday March 11, 2010. I got to cut the cord and hold him for a bit before I had to return. Oh, and he was 10lbs 3oz. THAT’S RIGHT: HUGE!! But healthy.

This picture here simply sums up this experience. Stephanie with one of her nurses who was there through it all, me with TWO of my nurses who made sure I was in the room and of Scan2_0002course, our Cameron. It makes me think about all that happened and all that, as a family, we ALL went through and all I can simply say is How Great Thou Art!! People are shocked by our story and how I am came through the surgery but to be honest, God pulled us through and also, Stephanie was the amazing one through this. She delivered the big boy but also had to see her husband and best friend pass out, hear the noise of my head on the ground, hear I have to have brain surgery watch me being wheeled away and THEN pushed that baby out FIVE DAYS EARLY at 10 lbs. She showed me God’s amazing love to this day and am thankful for that.

So today is a special day. This is how I see it three hours before the baptism. I will share some pictures and hopefully video of it after the event. And yes, I will be in tears but the tears will be that of joy and happiness. I am blessed to have this story of trials OVERCOME simply by the grace of God. I hope this story is service to Him that ANYTHING can be overcome when Christ is on your side!