Saturday, December 20, 2014

A new generation

Looking back, I wondered if something was wrong with me. I waited to be swept away by the flood of emotions and river of tears I heard would come. I wanted my heart to fill and nearly explode after being overcome with a primal and new sense of love and joy. But alas, I experienced nothing like that.

Don't get me wrong. I love my children. I love my children more than an ocean of words could ever describe. And yet, their births were not the made-for-movies kind of experiences. With Caleb, it was hard work. I decided I wanted to experience childbirth in it's rawest form, which, come to think of it, may not have been the wisest decision ever made. Labor was not fun. It hurt. It was exhausting. It tore me - literally. It was the hardest thing I had done to date. So maybe my lack of gushing emotions was simply due to relief of getting the kid out into this big world.

Fool me once but not twice. I didn't make the same mistake on the second child. After a couple hard contractions it was "Hit me with the epidural." It worked. I thoroughly enjoyed the labor experience without the pain. But my relief of birthing Seth was different than pushing out Caleb. Seth was a hard pregnancy. Unlike post-pregnancy with Caleb, I did not miss being un-pregnant once Seth was born. I remember begging my doctor three weeks prior to my due date to make him come out and play. Seth was relentless in his kicking, jumping, punching, and general state of uninhibited activity. But the doctor declined my suggestion. Instead, despite my best efforts to coerce his arrival, Seth stubbornly awaited the appointed day to make his appearance. So after I pushed and the doctor pulled, I was ecstatic to be no longer with child. Now maybe I could sleep. Silly me.

Am I an unemotional, hard-hearted woman? I don't think so. Ask anyone who knows me. I have a wealth of emotions that show themselves often. But never would I have guessed them to be so front and center than at the birth of my first grandchild.

Asked to drive Claire to the hospital while Seth was racing from work, I felt my heart begin to pick up the pace. But when I walked into the room and spied all the accouterments needed for birthing newborns, the lump in my throat grew to grapefruit size. Nevertheless, as the night wore on as labor slowed down post-epidural, the lump melted away. I felt only tired from the long day. That state would not last for long.

"And the number is 10. Let's have a baby," nurse Brooke declared after checking the progress slightly after 2 a.m.. With that proclamation from the nurse (who, incidentally, had lived for two years in a basement apartment at our house), the room awoke to quick, but quite and calm preparation. I was beyond fortunate to be included as one of three spectators allowed to stay during the delivery. That lump in my throat returned, but grew to basketball size as it became all too real that life was about to change forever.

Seth assisted Claire by holding one of her numb legs while I held the other. Corrie, Claire's twin sister and photographer, captured the scene. Someone observed, "Seth, you look terrified," as Claire bore down once again.

"Pretty much," was his honest response while fixing his eyes on Claire, silently urging her on in the delivery of this special package.

Her labor efforts were effective as the tiny haired head explored the new world a little bit further with each push. "Seth, you need to see this," suspecting the next push would usher his daughter into the world. He turned and looked down just in time to see long-awaited Baby Addyson slide into the doctor's hands. I glanced up to see his face take on the most incredible expression of awe mixed with love. Then came the tears. Then came my tears as I watched my second-born child contemplate the arrival of his own flesh and blood.

Only now, in this first week of Addyson Leona's life, do I understand the many comments from other grandparents. "It's better than having your own kids."

Thank you, Seth and Claire, for helping me better understand love for my own children in the context of love for your child. May you grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ as you raise your precious daughter. May God be pleased as you present your family a living sacrifice to Him.

Thank you, Father, for Addyson Leona Trittipoe. I love her. I love you.

Thanks to Corrie Fewell and Lilybird Photography for capturing these moments on camera.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Legacy revealed

It wasn't in my plans for the week. But at 11:00 A.M. yesterday, I slipped into a pew near the back of the small sanctuary. I glanced to my left and, despite the circumstances, took delight in the fluffy flakes drifting down to earth. The tree-lined street and quaint older houses surrounding the church created a postcard-like effect. But as I turned my attention back to the matter at hand, the somberness of the situation became the new reality.

The family began to file in, taking their places in the front rows of the church as the pianist quietly played classic hymns. Among them, my son Seth, gently guided Claire, the love of his life, to their seats. It was in honor of her grandfather that all had gathered, "Shag," as he was lovingly dubbed for his dance-floor prowess, slipped from this life on Monday. Now it was time to remember.

I had only met Wellman Nash once. That was only two weeks prior. He didn't have a lot to say.
Wellman "Shag" Nash
Rather, he sat quietly on the couch watching the mayhem that accompanies a large baby shower. Having suffered a stroke in prior months, I suspect he was a bit more restrained these days. Still, he seemed content and happy. Perhaps he was pleased to allow his energetic wife, "Bunnie," to display enough energy for both of them.

My attention turned back to the platform. A man was singing a Merle Haggard song, Silver Wings, accompanied only by the mesmerizing chords sounding from his guitar. Many of those in this mostly elderly audience knew the tune, silently mouthing the lyrics. Then the pastor, a younger fellow, stepped to the podium to read and comment from 1 Thessalonians. It's a perfect passage.

It was time to sing. I picked up my hymn book and started to turn to hymn #10. But I really didn't need the words to How Great Thou Art. I know them by heart. Rather, as I contributed the tenor line to the congregational choir, I thumbed through the hymnal and noted it had been donated by "The Happy Class." I smiled at the prospect. Music is such a wonderful gift.

And then a nephew walked to the platform, drawing a deep breath as if to summon the courage to address the mourners. He knew Shag well, recalling sweet stories that reflected his character: kindness, selflessness, a love for family and fellowship, and loyalty. From my vantage point in the second row from the back, many in the audience chuckled quietly or  bobbed their heads in affirmation. But even as a relative outsider, I was drawn in. "I wish I would have known him," I mused.

As he continued on, the focus turned from mere stories to the reason for his legacy; the power of the Gospel. That saving Gospel of Jesus Christ made the difference. It allowed him to emulate his Savior in the way he cared for others. He gave of himself because Jesus gave of Himself. He practiced kindness because that's what Jesus would do. As the speaker offered his closing remarks, I was beginning to understand. I was beginning to know this man.

I paid close attention to the rest of the service. I listened carefully to conversations at the grave site and back in the fellowship hall at the church. Amid fried chicken, mac and cheese, and homemade desserts, it was the same story. Shag's life was a reflection of his Savior. Shag's actions and attitudes simply demonstrated his well-placed faith.

I presume Shag was not perfect. None of us are. But I heard nary a conflicting report. No dissenters. No underlying, "But you didn't know him like I did."

At the end of the day, I was refreshed. My heart sang, encouraged that the powerful, life-changing Gospel was well-represented in Wellman "Shag" Nash. That is quite a legacy.

May God grant His peace to those who mourn, to those who miss Shag deeply. But may Jesus Christ be praised.

Postscript- My own father left a tremendous legacy as well. I wish my children could have known him.

Monday, November 3, 2014

Another year of masochism

It was Friday night. 9:57 p.m. The alarm on my phone reported "6 hours and 33 minutes until alarm." With that and a quick double check of my watch alarm, I tucked myself between the sheets in a spare bedroom of David and Nancy Horton. The plan was to sleep, rise at 4:30 a.m., meet Horton (who would already be up and out), and go run 50 + miles in the mountains. The goal: my 17th finish of the Mountain Masochist 50 Mile Trail Run.

I squeezed my eyes shut and waited for sleep to come. But it would not. My mind began making compounding lists of what needed to get done in the next two weeks. No matter how hard I tried to suppress those dart-like attacks into the synapses of my brain, the assault was relentless and overwhelming. In an odd way, I was sometimes amused at the randomness of what popped into my brain. But generally and not precluding what God can do despite my inadequacies, my brain registered only the potential demise of my newly-established (and beloved) ministry path should the events in the coming weeks fail.

I heard Horton get up at 3:15 a.m. and knew I had about an hour until my appointed time to face the day. When a whoozy-headed feeling finally came on shortly thereafter, my body fell into a light and short-lived sleep. "At least I've been horizontal for hours and nabbed 20 minutes of zzzz's. I can do this."

53ish miles is always a long way. But what can make it seem longer is starting the day in a cold rain. Though miserable weather was predicted, the 6:30 a.m. start was simply 30's and periodic drizzle. If you don't count the two calf-deep stream crossings in the early miles, I never felt wet.

I felt embraced by the dark as I became just one in a crowd of many. "No need to rush," I whispered to myself. Eavesdropping and amused by words of advice offered between runners (some of which was loony), I was content to slip through the forest in my own little world. Only briefly did I enjoy conversation with Sarah Quigg, one of the first runners I ever coached in my high school career. As the trail rose ahead, my young protege' pulled ahead as I yelled out to her, "Have a great day!"

I fell into a rhythm counting steps. 25 walk, 25 granny shuffle run. Repeat on all uphills. Run everything else. I felt it might be a safe approach. Training had been nearly non-existent since August. A tough coaching/work schedule with nearly every weekend occupied by cross country meets, I had managed but one mountain run of 17 miles, and two road runs of 18 and 15 miles. I hoped that the daily workouts I ran with my team added a little something to fitness.

The signs at each aid station told me I was gaining time on the 12-hour time limit. Continually catching people suggested my approach might actually be working. It was fun. Never before had I looked forward to "running" uphill. So with dark and drizzly turning to bright and sunny, the day held surprising promise.

Approaching the "halfway" point (26.9 miles, or so they say), the mountain we would climb was cloaked in dark clouds, sharp, stinging winds poised to pummel. Adjusting my 25 on/25 off approach due to uneven footing and the steep, 3-mile climb, I turned my focus to simply keep pace with fellow runners. My quads felt tired but forward motion was maintained. Hot broth at the aid station halfway up the mountain offered both warmth and needed salt.

About four miles later the infamous "Loop" needed to be conquered. The flat early miles flew by, but the rocky and steep incline slowed my pace. For the first time in a while I was the one being passed. Still, my spirit held strong and my legs allowed me to gain back precious ground on the downhills. Out of the loop and down the gravel road, I drew closer to my goal with every step.

Despite two tortuous climbs in the last eight miles, the section preceding the last aid station seemed shorter than normal. Perhaps it was the chance to chat with runners as we played hop-scotch along the wooded trail. But when that final station came into view, not even the welcoming tents and snap-crackling campfire held enough allure to dissuade me from running by. The silent tick-tock of my watch whispered I might be able to break eleven hours, something I felt impossible in recent years. The changed course and my creeping-up age made all my sub-9s and 10s of long ago seem far away in Fantasyland. But it was what it was and left nothing but down, down, down and off the last mountain.

Then I saw her. Sarah. I was surprised after watching her slip away in the darkness of the first hour. My emotions flipped between joy in catching her and the college runner's disappointment that I did. As the orange-painted "1 mile to go" mark passed beneath our feet, we were side by side. "Hi, Sarah."

"Oh, Coach T," she uttered with a wistful quiver in her voice.

"Come on, Sarah. Let's finish this together."


But it didn't happen. I glanced at my watch. I had time to sneak in under 11 hours if I continued the assault. I pulled away, feeling strong and cajoling her to catch up. It wasn't in the cards. We would not cross the line together. Her dad was standing along side the road. I glanced back to see the pair amble along. The only thing left for me was to make the mental decision to persist all the way to the line. 10:57. Sarah crossed a minute later. The coach and athlete. Together again but never really apart.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Three principles to live by

I thought long and hard all summer but it didn't seem to help. I wanted to be able to challenge my cross country team with something profound, something they could ponder and use to muster up strength and courage when they needed it most. Personally, I thrive on motivational and inspiration"stuff." I'm the one who cuts apart motivational calenders, posting quotes all over my office. It makes me yearn and dream and strive to accomplish the impossible. I wanted the same for my kids but kept coming up short on anything that might have that effect.

But as so often the case, God came through with the right thought for the right minute. Our church began reading our way through 1 Thessalonians. Fortunately, I didn't have to read very far. In the first chapter there it was. Let me set the stage.

Team t-shirts
Paul and his sidekicks, Silas and Timothy, wrote a letter to the church in Thessolinica. The way they begin their letter might be likened to the way a coach addresses his team or a parent setting up the kids for a frank discussion. In other words, start out with the good stuff. Encourage. Don't discourage.

So what did they say? For starters, they said this:  "We thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ." (1 Thes. 1:2, 3). A few verses later, it gets even better. The writers let the church know that "you have become a model to all the believers" (vs 7) and the "your faith in God has become known everywhere" (vs 8).

Stop the presses! That's amazing. What a way for a group to be known: work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope. If the same could be said of me and my team, we'll be doing okay. But let's take a closer look.

Work produced by faith. If a skydiver had no faith that the meticulous packing of his shoot was going to do him any good, he might as well take a flying leap without his parachute and hope the clouds will become his trampoline. But that would be stupid, right? Right. As Christians, the faith we have in the grace of God and his saving power urges us on to work hard and carefully advance the Kingdom. The faith we are given urges us be just as meticulous as the "I don't want to die. I wanna live" skydiver in our daily work.

Labor prompted by love. What's the greatest deterrent to getting an employee to give the job all he's got or an athlete to bust a gut in practice? Lack of love. Yep. If you hate what you're doing, chances are you'll quit sooner than later. Of all people, our love for God should be enough to keep us motivated to selflessly reach out, meet people where they are, serve one another, and so become a
Team sweatshirt
testimony to the indwelling Christ.

Endurance inspired by hope. Picture this. A runner is 56 miles into a 100-mile race. The area is remote, he's puking, feet are ravaged from hours of being wet, and it feels like he is carrying a 150 pound pack. Every step is torture as he makes his way into a check point. He sits in a chair, shivering from dehydration and exhaustion. In front of him looms a huge climb up the next mountain and 44 more tortuous miles. Now, if he abandons any hope of  earning the finisher's buckle, do you think there's much chance of him getting out of that chair and proceeding on. No way! The only thing that would drive him forward is a real hope of making it to the end despite the circumstances. Believer, we can carry on because our hope in Jesus Christ is well-placed! We can--and must--endure.

My team and I are in the final weeks of our cross country season. So, what will be our legacy? What will we be remembered for? Will we be known for work produced by faith, labor prompted by love, and endurance inspired by hope? I trust that will be the case.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Pre-season football and watermelon

On Friday, Aug 15, a few FCA staffers and volunteers had the privilege to challenge the young men of the Rustburg and Northside High Schools and serve them refreshing watermelon. WSET, the local ABC affiliate, was there to capture the action on and off the field.

Watch the news story here!

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Transparent musings

I didn't think it would be this hard. 300 people at $25.00 a month is all it would take. Surely, folks can appreciate that ministry takes money. That's less than buying one cup of cheap (super cheap) coffee a day, one over-sized candy bar in the check- out line of Wal-mart fifteen times a month, or a $5.00 meal Dairy Queen meal special just a little over once a week. Seems to me many of us (including me), if we're not careful, can mindlessly blow twenty-five dollar bills pretty easily--and never really miss it. So theoretically, if it requires just 300 people to promise a relatively modest commitment per month, why is my upcoming FCA ministry not yet funded?

Now, please don't get me wrong. I am not complaining nor am I trying to have a pity-party, woe is
me session. Sixty-five individuals, families, or businesses have joined this team that is scheduled to take on the challenge of ministry to women coaches and their teams. Some of those sixty-five have given selflessly and sacrificially, being in ministry themselves. Every amount given, large or small, is accepted with humility and a pledge to use the funds with all integrity. I fully understand that of the countless worthy fund-needing ministries out there, my FCA ministry is but another.

I am absolutely convinced that God has led me to this point. And, if God is really in this, then He has already made it possible. At the moment, I just can't fathom how. I suppose it's like playing a huge scavenger hunt game with my Father, doing what I can to find the chosen ones who are temporarily holding onto the ministry-appointed funds for safe-keeping.

But it's hard. It's not natural for me to ask people to support my work as a missionary atop a sports-platform. I've studied the biblical examples and find support of missionaries a viable means to an end. I understood this reality even as a little girl. I gladly gave part of my own baby-sitting tithe to missionaries that spent time with our family while traveling on furlough. I still give. I'm comfortable with that. I like doing that. I've just never had to ask others to do this for me.

I fear that in the asking, people will see me ask for my needs before they clearly identify the needs of the coaches and athletes I wish to help. I'm afraid I will inadvertently make the message about me rather than God's work. I don't want that to happen. The goal of ministry is "to present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church."  The values taught are integrity, serving, teamwork, and excellence. All great stuff and worthy of funding.

My simple desire is to be the hands and feet of those busy doing something else God-appointed. But this is the deal: Long ago God wired me to be passionate about athletics and the lessons begging to be learned. He gave me a heart for coaches and the influence they can be to their teams. He installed in me a deep desire to challenge, motivate, and inspire women, young and old, athlete and not, toward a mature faith walk. I must pursue this.

I'll be transparent. I'm a bit discouraged. $40,000 stands between now and the level that allows me freedom to begin focused ministry. I feel like I'm running out of friends and acquaintances to ask to join with me (although I am enjoying the widening ripples of meeting friends of friends of friends). In some cases, folks who said they would help have gone silent. I hesitate to make too many follow-up calls, not wanting to be pest-like or squashed outright like a bug. I wish I was independently wealthy. Having unlimited funds would allow me to jump right into the work of ministry. But wait. Maybe that self-reliance would be more of the problem than a solution.

Over lunch a friend matter-of-factly stated, "I'm glad you have to raise support. It keeps you on
your knees." I guess she's right. To leave salary behind and look to ministry ahead is a faith-leap right off the proverbial cliff. Once over the edge, there is nothing I can do to avoid hitting the rocks below. I don't like free-fall and the deafening roar created by the wind whizzing by my ears. Nevertheless, I know God can (and will) make the catch and plunk me back on solid ground. It's just a matter of His timing, not the deadline I set for August 1.

Bottom line? I need courage to believe, faith to continue, trust to experience God's faithfulness. Dare I think the next person with whom I share the vision could be the miracle I've been praying for? Or will I need to wait and see an army of teammates step to the line? Only God's timing will tell.

If you are interested in learning more about the journey that brought me to full-time ministry with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, feel free to read more: For such a time as this, Run the straights. Appreciate the curves The clock is ticking.. Linked by two X's Let go!

If you would like to be one big miracle or one of many soldiers, it's easy to set up automatic giving by going to this link or sending in a blank, voided check along with your request to Central & Southwest VA FCA ● PO Box 662 ● Forest, VA 24551. (While payment by credit card is welcomed, a bank draw is financially more prudent as no fees are taken against the payment amount.)

Thank you for your commitments to this ministry.

I pledge to you my earnest service and integrity in ministry for the glory of God.  

Monday, July 14, 2014

Birthday mishap revisited

Years ago but on this day we were sitting in our lawn chairs at “church.” At the time, our start-up fellowship was meeting in a three-car garage, worshiping without the trappings of a formal sanctuary. Our church had just suffered a split and I was preoccupied with a bad work situation. I didn’t have it together.

Sitting in that hot garage, I glanced over at Seth. To my surprise, tears streamed down his face. To coin a phrase, “Oh dear, what could the matter be?” The matter was this: we had forgotten Seth’s eleventh birthday. The young boy was distraught. He could not be consoled regardless of heart-felt apologies. No “Happy Birthday” upon rising, no special breakfast, no unique gifts. It was just a lot of nothing.

Seth eventually got over his disappointment and to this day, it is one of our long-standing family jokes. So, as the sun set last night, I made sure to get in the first birthday greeting in anticipation of today. I certainly did not want him to think I could forget his birthday. . .again! On the way home from work, I made a stop to pick up some plaid shorts as a gift. I was relieved he liked them; he can be pretty picky. Whew. Another birthday without incident.

Kids are wonderful. Each has their unique personality, sense of humor, strengths and weaknesses. Seth has been “busy” since conception. In utero, he made like a chicken trying to peck his way out. As an infant he refused to sleep longer than twenty minutes at a time and was a front-runner to be a poster child for colic.

After him, no more kids for me. Maybe Leah thought the same thing after Judah’s birth. Perhaps he was difficult as well. “She conceived again, and when she gave birth to a son she said, ‘This time I will praise the LORD’. . . Then she stopped having children” (Genesis 29:35).

At four, Seth rode his motorcycle through the woods as fast as he could, standing on the seat like a pipsqueak Evil Kinevil. In school, he was the center of attention. And now, as a young man of seventeen, he is an outgoing, know-no-stranger kind of guy, full of wanderlust and enthusiasm. His camera is a constant companion.

I thank God for Seth. He’s a special kind of kid.

“and she gave birth to a son and named him Seth, saying, "God has granted me another child.” (Genesis 4:25)

Daily challenge: Little kids are like kittens: cute and easy to love. But don’t be blind to the beauty in your big kids.

Postscript: Today Seth turns 23. I did not forget his birthday.

Adapted from the July 14th selection in "Pace Yourself: 366 Devotions from the Daily Grind"

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Let go!

Let go! Throw your head back and lift with your legs at the top of the arc.”

Hannah, spry and fearless, did as instructed when launched from the tiny perch cut into the nearly vertical cliff. Secure in her climbing harness and hooked onto the rope, she flipped upside down, soaring over the jungled canyon one hundred feet below. She was gleeful despite the fact she held onto nothing. Legs extended, arms outstretched, peering at the ground as it rushed beneath her, she flew falcon-like through the air. Her teammates watched from the steep hillside, amazed at her prowess, agility, and strength. When Hannah dismounted, it was with bubbling-over joy.

And then came JoAnna. This was not her first trip along the zip line course. However, when it came to the swing in the dense Costa Rican jungle, she denied herself the experience on each of her prior adventures. Only now, surrounded by a team of young women urging her on, did she relent. She survived her fright and flight, though not with the unfettered style and grace of Hannah. JoAnna held on tight, knuckles white and fingers cramping. When JoAnna dismounted, it was only with great relief.

Both these women started the challenge with the same tools: secured, quadruple-checked harnesses. Both these women had the same outcome: survival with no injury. But what about their perception of experience? Hannah relished leaving the cliff. She embraced letting go. She sought the exhilaration tumbling through the air brought her. JoAnna, on the other hand, let the fear deprive her of flightful fancy. She chose not to trust the safety measures and allow herself complete joy.

God sometimes asks us to take a flying leap. Though He promises His control, and despite the assurance of safety, we refuse to let go. Like JoAnna, we needlessly clutch our own insecurities, missing the joy of the journey.

God, give me the courage to let go, trusting you completely. Let me feel safe in your love and grant me joy.

“You will be secure, because there is hope; you will look about you and take your rest in safety.”
Proverbs 11:18 (NIV)

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Linked by Two Xs

There she was, dressed in her team warm-ups and seated in the middle of the well-appointed hotel lobby. But something was wrong. Terribly wrong. With the phone pressed to her ear, tears flowed in rivulets down her checks and onto her lap. She was not crying. No, she sobbed with heart-wrenching emotion. What was the matter?

About that time, the local FCA director joined me in the lobby. As the player continued to sob, we slipped around the corner to lessen the awkwardness. We briefly chatted with the team's coach as the members of his basketball team assembled together in a meeting room. The team had requested an FCA chapel service before taking on the local university in what would be a showdown of athletic powers. After a brief introduction, it took but a few seconds to make my way to the front of the small room, turning to face my equally small audience. But what was not small was their attention.

Every eye was glued to me, some of the athletes sitting forward in their chairs as if to capture every word escaping my lips. Was it because I was a powerful speaker, replete with flowing phrases and descriptive wording? I doubt it. Their attention was captured because we all shared something in common: two X chromosomes. Woman to woman, athlete to athlete. There was plenty of common ground. And when I spoke of burdens, God's purposes, His faithfulness to deliver, and His promise to provide strength, each young woman nodded in agreement. And the sobbing one? Shoulders, rigid from the earlier stress and emotional turmoil, relaxed. With the final "amen" of my prayer, her eyes seemed filled with hope rather than tears. They left the room as a team united, climbing aboard the awaiting bus that would deliver them to the arena. I left the room convinced of my calling.

These last few months have been interesting, to say the least. To leave the security of a steady paycheck, howbeit modest, for the uncertainty of a ministry position was a leap of faith. But more than ever, my passion for coaching, a life-time of athletic pursuits, and a desire to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ and encourage believers in their practical walk supersedes the automatic deposits into our bank account. 

Now that the school year is complete, I turn my focus on finding those who will allow me to be their hands and feet on school campuses. I am seeking those who will fund this ministry that enables coaches, especially female ones, to be supported in their efforts to pour into the lives of their athletes. And as I spend several weeks this summer working in FCA sports camps, I do so as an extension of like-minded supporters. 

As the only female FCA staffer in Central Virginia, the opportunities are limitless. In the fourteen years of local FCA ministry, only twice have female teams been specifically served; not because of lack of desire, but due to the lack of a woman to serve. But while the needs are great, I am willing, and God is able to do more than we dare to dream.

Will you come along and allow me to be a servant? Ministry requires funding as much as it does desire and passion. I am looking for faithful partners that will commit their support and allow me to begin full-time ministry by August 1, unfettered by the need for additional fund-raising. It is easy to set up automatic giving by going to this link or sending in a blank, voided check along with your request to Central & Southwest VA FCA ● PO Box 662 ● Forest, VA 24551.(While payment by credit card is welcomed, a bank draw is financially more prudent as no fees are taken against the payment amount.)

Thanks in advance for your love and practical support. If I can come speak to your group or organization, it would be my pleasure to bring a message of hope, motivation, and ministry.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The clock is ticking

Tick, tock. Tick, tock.

The incessant, jerky movement of the second hand clicks forward, taking a tour of the clock face every minute. It is steady, not slowing down or speeding up. One slim second at a time, it marks off minutes, hours, and days, those days morphing into weeks, months, years, decades, and lifetimes. Who could have imagined that such a short interval could be the beginning of something so big?

When you teach in a high school, there are many signs of those ticking seconds. Just the other week, the traditional "Passing the Torch" chapel service took place. Senior students walked down the long isle with a junior student or two by their sides. Arrival at the front of the auditorium prompted hugs, handshakes, and a flower being passed to the junior. (I suppose passing an actual torch might be frowned upon by the fire marshals.) But in the aftermath of the ceremony, the soon-to-be-seniors looked a little different. They walked taller, straighter. They exuded a little more confidence, perhaps even an air of maturity. Their impending "top dog" status seemed to resonate in that single second when stems exchanged hands. But the clock continues to click.

Now it's finals week. The clock ticks on. Students come into my room when it's time to prove their academic diligence. They leave when the clock declares "Time's up." Then it's down the hall and to their next exam, repeated over and over until there are no more tests to be taken. Then what? Summer vacation? A job? Lots of time to read? Trouble? Only time will tell.

Glancing around the classroom from behind my desk, I think about all the seconds that have come and gone over the past couple years. The long expanse of countertop holds cartons of "stuff" needing to find a new place at home: printer, lamps, decorative items, rugs, files, and a host of other things such that a truck will be required for the move. The sole bulletin board is
now empty, naked but for the backdrop still in place. I haven't yet taken down all the artwork, removed the living plants, or destroyed the mural wall. I have four more exams to give and I don't want the kids' brains to feel as barren as the classroom. But perhaps my hesitation to remove those things that define my space is a feeble attempt to slow the clock and bask in those rare moments when the students "got it"--and said so!

Still, the seconds tick on. They click away the time that brings me closer to a new adventure. No longer will I teach about fungus in a classroom. My teaching subjects will be Athletics 101, Motivation for the Christian Athlete, Perseverance, Athletics: A Microcosm of Life, Coaching Biblically, Coaching for Eternity, Effective Relationship Building, Righteous Responsibility, The Gospel of Jesus Christ, Team Building, and a host of other subjects whose syllabi are still being written. My students will be coaches and athletes, my classroom the locker room, gym floor, court, field, stadium, or camp.

So go ahead, Clock. Tick away all you want. For in your steady flow through time, I am swept along in your wake. And when I hit the shores of FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) ministry, I trust I land in the exact spot where I am needed most. I pray for those who will dry me off and send me on my way, encouraged and equipped for the task at hand. The needs are great, but I am willing and God is able. Will you join me in walking onto secular campuses with the good news of the Gospel, helping, encouraging, and equipping coaches and their teams?

FCA ministry is completely funded through the generosity of the "home team." Funds are used to cover all the logistical expenses of ministry as well as a very modest salary. To become one of my "designated hitters," please use this link to make your tax-deductible gifts. Or, you may send you gifts to FCA- Attn: Rebekah Trittipoe, Box 662, Forest, VA, 24551.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Largest Christian athletics group chooses “Best Season Yet” as newest official resource

Since 1954, FCA (Fellowship of Christian Athletes) has challenged athletes and coaches to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA annually reaches about two million people on every level—professional, college, high school, junior high and youth. FCA staff is 1100 strong in local offices
across the country.

FCA is committed to building up, training, and sending out coaches and athletes to minister for Christ. Without doubt, coaches are some of the most influential people today. Hundreds of thousands of young athletes will be impacted for Christ as we encourage, equip, and empower their coaches.

The newest resource officially promoted by FCA is the book, “Best Season Yet: 12 Weeks to Train,” in both coach’s and athlete’s editions. The author, Rebekah Trittipoe, writes authentically as a life-long athlete, adventurer, and coach.

Best Season Yet: 12 Weeks to Train is a 12-week guide geared towards coaches and their team, guiding them to embrace their talents and discover a purpose aside from winning and losing. Themes in the book include: commitment, submission, goal setting, pain and suffering, and pursuing excellence. The study provides opportunities to discuss and journal ways to apply the lessons learned to their lives. Each chapter has supplemental material, instructions for a team activity that aligns with the week’s theme, and suggestions on how to close the meeting. The book is formatted into five easy-to-read stories that make it easy to complete in a Monday-through-Friday school setting. FCA Vice President of Field Ministry, Jimmy Page says, “Find a game plan to keep the “main thing the main thing.” This book is about more than great performance; it’s about encouraging others to be great people- fulfilling their God-given purpose for life! “ “Best Season Yet” is available to order from Amazon,, Barnes & Noble, and

For more complete information about these books, click here.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Run the straights. Appreciate the curves.

After a day of travel with a bunch of teenaged tracksters on a crowded mini-bus, I now savor some alone-time in my hotel room. I love these kids and their enthusiasm (albeit unbridled at times). Nonetheless, when the rooming gods assigned me a suite sans children, I must admit to the extreme effort it took to suppress the happy dance hidden away in my soul. Time to write. Time to reflect. Time to breath deeply and with great content.

As the air conditioner rhythmically grinds away in the corner with an unusual rattle, it silences outside distraction. The television is off and email and Facebook have been X-ed out. What remains are the thoughts making their own strange rattles in my heart and soul. 

I enjoy these kids. I embrace being their coach. I savor the relationship I have with them, being able to convey lessons I've learned along the way. I am passionate about helping them understand who they are as children of the King. And I yearn for them to realize God's intention and purpose for making them athletes, among other things. They, you, I, have been prepared for such a time as this.

As I daily watch these kids take to the track, I can't help but notice the straights and curves. The 200-meter indoor track has short straights and tight curves. The 400-meter outdoor track sports longer straights and more gentle curves. But in either case, the curve is where the action is. The curve is what makes makes the race interesting. Imagine a 1600 or 3200 meter run conducted on an arrow-straight course. That would be about as enticing as walking barefoot across burning coals.

I've lived my share of straights and curves. Some of the straights have been, well, pea-picking boring. But after spending some time on a tortuously curvy course, the straights have also meant a time to relax and get back in the groove of precious routine. The thing is, its impossible to appreciate the straights without some curves.

At the moment, I'm running a curve--and loving every minute of it. With the wind in my hair and the track disappearing under my feet, I can't wait to see what is around the next turn. I am leaving the known to run to the unknown. 

After teaching school and coaching, being a cardiovascular perfusionist for 25 years, consulting, teaching again and coaching, I've hit another curve. However, I’m convinced that God has orchestrated events and equipped me with the skills, passions, and abilities to fill a new role. I'm grateful when I look back. It's like climbing a densely wooded mountain trail. You know the winding path is right, but do not fully appreciate your position until you break onto the open ridge, now able to see from where you've come and what lays ahead.

God has called me to full-time ministry with the Central Virginia Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). I am slated to be FCA’s area representative. My goal is to officially begin on July 1, fully funded, although I am scheduled to coach and speak at summer FCA sports camps prior to that date. Being funded will allow me to approach the fall seasons without distraction, concentrating on ministry instead.

FCA is the largest sports ministry in the world. Since 1954, FCA has challenged athletes and coaches to impact the world for Jesus Christ. FCA annually reaches about two million people on every level—professional, college, high school, junior high and youth. FCA staff is 800 strong in over 400 local offices across the country. Our efforts are focused on the“4 C’s” of ministry: Coaches, Campus, Camp, and Community. You can read more about this approach on FCA's website.

FCA is committed to building up, training, and sending out coaches and athletes to minister for Christ. Without doubt, coaches are some of the most influential people today. Hundreds of thousands of young athletes will be impacted for Christ as we encourage, equip, and empower their coaches. My role in this process includes: 

          Working with local schools/colleges to develop FCA clubs (Huddles) on each campus 
          Establishing Bible studies for coaches/teams; developing chapel programs for teams
         Training student leader through FCA Campus 101
         Speaking to teams and other audiences/writing materials helpful to coaches and athletes

The task of impacting athletes and coaches in Central Virginia is too large for me alone. FCA is structured such that I raise support to cover the practical costs for my own training, training coaches and volunteers, books, Bibles, team materials, funding to enable students to attend camps, campus activities, team meals, hospitality for coaches, travel expenses, national administrative costs, and much, much more. Though salary and insurance cost must also be raised, more than half of the budgeted monthly need ($7,300) is used directly in ministry. I say this to be transparent and assure you that your support will be wisely used to advance the Kingdom of Christ.

Therefore, I’m seeking faithful teammates to consistently invest, enabling this FCA ministry to go forward. Your prayers and financial support (which is tax deductible) provide the foundation for my service. Though your response at any time is welcome, hearing from you by the end of May will be such an encouragement! If you prefer electronic giving, please visit to set up automatic payments.

I pray Christ’s richest blessing be upon you, your family, and your work as you seek and follow Him!

A walk in the park and a pink finish line

By the time I finish most races, I've figured out at least the first paragraph of my post-race story. This was one of the few where the ...