faith

“Now we shall possess a right definition of faith if we call it a firm and certain knowledge of God’s benevolence toward us, founded upon the truth of the freely given promise in Christ, both revealed to our minds and sealed upon our hearts through the Holy Spirit…..If then, we would be assured that God is pleased with and kindly disposed toward us, we must fix our eyes…on Christ…We see that our whole salvation and all its parts are comprehended in Christ.  We should therefore take care not to derive the least portion of it from anywhere else.”

John Calvin

I need faith. We all need faith. Anyone that takes a step back to look at life can see the injustice of the world, the improbability of success, the blessings of God that we do not deserve. I take a step back every new year and spend some time alone evaluating the last year and praying/planning for the next. This year when I spent the holiday with friends at a wonderful mountain cabin in the smokies I had several things on my mind. Among them my wonderful family, the upcoming soccer season, and the uncertainty of life.

snowmen from hiking in the smokies

My family is quite wonderful. A few highlights from the Christmas Holiday included one of my stocking stuffers. On my posted Christmas list on the blog (see the post entitled “how the world turns”) I listed needing a crocheting needle since I’d lost 2 needles in one of my eight moves in the last couple years. My mom sneakily got me a needle (in the perfect color – GREEN) and snuck it in my stocking with everything else. Thats love right there. So small and seemingly insignificant, but sweet love.

A second family highlight is how awesome my brothers are. Not to make a short story long, but I enjoy our adult relationships: where we can fight fair and work through real issues in life, have forgiveness for the mistakes we make, learn, converse and discuss things happening in the world. It was hard, sweet, and refreshing all at the same time.  (I could go on and on about my Dad too, but I’ll save that for another post)

On the upcoming season and the uncertainty of life…

Faith is the gift from God to know that God sent love to us. I can be a doubter. I can doubt this season will go well. I can doubt I’ll find a team, or a job, or a life that I love. Or I can trust that God has good intended for me, not because I love him so well or am so great of a person, but because He loved me while I was a sinner. Its crazy love at that. But I have faith that soccer or no soccer, coaching or not coaching, working or not enjoying my work, living or suffering that Jesus loves me. Not in a far off “I won’t punish you too much” kind of way, but in a “if you’d get past yourself for a minute and saw how much I(God) love you you’d never be the same” kind of love.

This New Year time for me was refreshing to get away, relax, rest, play with friends, sleep, pray, read, make lots of fires… Taking a step back to get a focus on life, to reaffirm the path I’m on to pursue soccer as long as makes sense and then move on to giving the game back to others what has meant so much to me. I am hoping that it will be a long while till that happens, but as we all know…

Life is uncertain. Live it on purpose.

Welcome to Chicago!!

Hey Blogworld!!

What is shakin?! To those of you who are not on twitter or my facebook fan page you may not have heard the news… drumroll please… I was traded to Chicago this last weekend! Unfortunately the paperwork didn’t go though in time for me to be with the team over the weekend, but I have spent the time becoming a little more familiar with my new home.  ++disclaimer No pictures to upload for now, so my excellent word choice will have to do as an adequate description++

I’ve never lived in a city before so this is quite an experience for me. No parking. No massive stores. LONG commute to practice. One grocery… 6 blocks away that you are supposed to walk to. BUT… amazing restaurants, busy night life, lots of eligible bachelors, local coffee shops, parks, active people. Did I mention the food? I am going to have to take up running or something like that to keep me from blowing up (and all you know what a statement that is for a goalkeeper). I am loving it so far, though its barely been a week. I found a church and some new friends my 2nd day in the city. Loving doing cool stuff with them already like ultimate frisbee in Lincoln park (no, I did not play. I’m not allowed). Looking forward to a beach trip this weekend maybe!

The team is amazing. Love my Red Stars. The transition for a player joining a team mid-season can be uncomfortable, but everyone here is amazing. Practices are crisp, to the point, and fun. The team is fun, and are really great people. The coaches are on point. Loving Nate the gk coach, its fun learning new things everyday. But the Red Stars have been a great change for me. As much as Atlanta was close to home and has a lot great things with the girls on the team, the stadium, the owners it was time to move on. Looking forward to this new stage. Keep following me on Twitter @whitgk or my fan page on facebook (Allison L Whitworth). Thanks for the support and I will try to update here soon!

GO RED STARS!!

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet.

Name that poet…? DING DING DING! you are correct.

William Shakespeare authored the wonderful story of Romeo and Juliet. Did anyone else read that? Say freshman year of high school… and have to memorize parts of it. I must admit I only crammed enough to know it for like a day.

For the purpose of my post I am going to use the idea of a “name” loosely, kinda more like a description. I texted some of my friends and family (the people that really know me best) and asked them if they could describe me in one word what it would be. Some of the responses I got were…

  • confident
  • silly… which my friend amended to fun? athletic?  intelligent? determined?
  • Ridiculous… with a request to amend…
  • athletic
  • loyal
  • ardent
  • punk… changed to resilient
  • legit
  • passionate
  • a lollipop (had a cool explanation)
  • devoted
  • inspiring
  • determined

These are all awesome and extremely encouraging. Thanks family and friends!!!! That really encouraged me more than I expected. But what I really wanted to say was that what we are called is important. It truly defines us. I have a few names. Most of my friends, teammates, and some of my coaches call me Whit.  Don’t get me wrong, I love my name. Its an great name, my parents were really good at naming all of us, but I really enjoy being called Whit. It really gives me something special. My coaches made it my freshman year and it really stuck. I even have a few teachers that call me Whit. Introducing myself gets confusing sometimes, well I just make it awkward, not really on purpose.

I have also had other nicknames: whitscribble – highschool friends, go go gadget – basketball team,  Al – highschool sports, and another I can’t mention because it wasn’t a very nice one. My brothers have special names for me, and me for them, they are awesome. My Daddy has special names for me too. And my mom always calls me her favorite girl.

But when I get down, when I am discouraged sometimes those aren’t enough. My people are not nearby or don’t have the ability to encourage me. What do I do then? When school is hard, my friends are having conflict, my parents are busy, soccer is slipping… When everything important to me in my life leaves what to I have left? What is my name then?

My name is Beloved. It means that I am “to be loved.”  It tells me to be loved, that I am loved. I cannot stop that, I cannot contain that. When I mess up and fail, I am still loved. Its the best pet name ever… Beloved. That is my name whether I feel like I can claim it or not. The search for significance, meaning, love, purpose is done. Who calls me this you may ask? The only one who can fulfill that promise to love me completely. The only one who gave more for me than I could ever give back. The only one who loves unconditionally. I am completely secure. Even when I am alone, and the world has turned its back on me, I have him. His name is Jesus.

What I know is that He loves me and that is enough.

His love is better than life
Psalm 63:3

So that’s what I am about. What makes you tick? Is there someone or something that keeps you going? My parents and family are always there for me. Being able to be around them more is such a fun thing. My friends are incredible; they keep me going. And shoot they are sooooo much fun. I can’t wait till my next break and getting to play with them! Anyway, enjoy this day my friends!

mail

I love mail. Getting mail is like one of the best things ever. I’m talking about real mail… not the cable bill (cause they always get the amount wrong), or credit card applications, or even though coupon and advertisement pages. Real mail. Like letters, catalogs, magazines,  or birthday cards, cards in general, money…gotta love money, presents or packages with unknowable goodies packed inside. Surprise packages. Those are the best. I have a few friends that are card writers, every few months or weeks (depending on their whims) you get an unannounced card in the mail. Yay, fun.

This week I had two notices posted on my door about a package waiting for me at the post office. I was thrilled because a good friend of mine was sending me a care package with goodies to help me recover from a month long study session for my Master’s Degree comprehensive exam. I was so excited about it I decided to brave the elements (not chromium and magnesium, but the wind and pouring rain) to head to the post office. I waiting in the line (there always seems to be a really long slow moving line) and took my package. I got it out to my car and drove off the lot by the time I realized it wasn’t from my friend. It was from my Aunt, Uncle, and cousins in Texas! I had talked with my uncle about coffee (you all have to know by now that I LOVE coffee), and he found an awesome flavor he wanted to send me. The first clue that the package was from my family not my friends was the wonderful aroma of Banana’s Foster coffee. I mean who would not want to try that flavor. That was an awesome surprise.

So after finding that the package I’d retrieved was not from my friend, I wondered what had become of it. So later today I headed back to the post office to do some investigating. I waited in line again (I am not the biggest fan of waiting) and asked them to search for my second package. They quickly found it and I rushed home to open my box full of fun!

Well it was definitely a fun box. There were 3 large bags of homemade cookies made with dark chocolate m&m’s, a bag of gummy peach rings, a bag of red vines, some instant caffeine, some sleepytime tea, a bag of dark chocolate m&m’s, some Bible software, a really fun  scrabble-like game called Bananagrams that I left at my friend’s place, and a really nice card. It has only been a short time, but I am on a huge sugar overload and had to cut myself off from the candy and cookies.

Moral of the story… send mail to people you love. It can make their week.

Thanks family and friends!!!

favorite junk foods

I like healthy foods, thanks to my parents for raising us right. I really enjoy a nice all veggie meal with a salad and maybe some bread. Or my Dad’s soups… they are incredible. I love when it starts to get cold and the soup pot gets used a few times a week. Yumm… Anyways, despite my enjoyment of healthy stuff, I also love a good  junk food splurge.

Something to the likes of a giant burger with all the toppings… cheese, onion rings, mustard, pickles, tomato, no mayo…. oh yeah.

Or a really large banana split with extra hot fudge.

Pizza… hands down best food ever. God definitely created that before the fall cause there is no wrong in it.

Chocolate cake with hot fudge oozing out of the middle. Oh shoot, now I am getting hungry.

Fresh cookies… I have 2 favorite kinds chocolate chip with extra chunks of chocolate and peanut butter cookies with 3 M&Ms &on top.

Comfort food… homemade mac and cheese, or meatloaf (My Dad’s is the best)

Nachos with melted cheese, and salsa, sour cream, guacamole, peppers, meat, onion, and everything else.

Root Beer Float

Any holiday food… turkey, ham, potato casserole, pumpkin pie, sweet tea, green bean casserole, anything with cheese on it, stuffing, banana pudding, 7 layer cookies, pralines, traditional Christmas sugar cookies, monkey bread, coffee…

This whole train of thought started when I had a really good burger the other day. I went to Buffalo Wild Wings with my roommate (who is a vegetarian) where there is only meat. I got the Jack Daddy Burger with the regular patty, pulled pork BBQ, tomato, onion, onion rings, cheese, and honey BBQ sauce. It was so messy I tried to eat it as fast as I could to keep it from getting all over me. It was really enough food for 2 meals. Oh and fries came with it. I think I am still full from it.

*random comment*

Coffee has essentially zero calories. The way to make it not the best for you is to get the specialty drinks with all the milk and sugar in them. However, if you are like me and drink drop coffee with just half and half then you are set. Drink away! I think my coffee preference is one of the ways I justify my junk food cravings, at least I don’t get a ton of junk from coffee.

*digression done*

One of my best friends and I always tried to make cookies in college. But we were somehow lacking the ability to bake. One time someone, ahem not me, put a tablespoon of salt instead of a teaspoon… yes that makes a HUGE difference. There was always something wrong with us. So now we buy the pre-mixed dough; its harder to mess up.

The cookies are making me think of pazookies (I think thats what they are called?) that my teammates introduced me to in San Jose, delish.

So what are your favorite junk foods? Anyone?

*disclaimer*

I believe I am actually a pretty good cook, with the exception of when one friend and I try to make cookies. So don’t be afraid of my food if I do cook please. I make a mean pot of chili and a nice chicken pot pie. Steak. Fried Chicken. Fried Green Tomatoes. Bean Soup. Veggie Soup. Black Bean Soup. Tacos. Chicken Pesto Pasta. Breakfast… I love cooking breakfast. Ok done. Enjoy being hungry! hahaha

contractually excluded activities…

As per a previous post (https://whitgk.wordpress.com/2009/09/22/spontaneous-adventure/) I shared about my initiation into the joys of adventures, not that I was that dull before, but still I reached a whole new level. However as per the previous post many of these fun activities are prohibited. To help encourage me to put off my adventures I am making a wish list  of the fun stuff I can’t wait to do (in no particular order)… this is the best kind of wish list ever. Feel free to comment or give me better ideas 😉

*contractually excluded activities*

sky diving

hiking the grand canyon

backpack through Europe

white water raft (never been, hard to believe huh)

hike and camp in big sur

spend time in the Napa Valley Region

snowboard near Tahoe

own a vacation home (I’m torn between lake house or mountain home… votes?)

go to the world cup/olympics

visit New Zealand

visit all 50 states

Alaskan Cruise

climb Half Dome

go rock climbing

visit the Amazon

vacation in Costa Rica

have Irish coffee in Ireland

eat authentic New York pizza and the better Chicago deep dish in the same

have Turkish coffee in Turkey

I know there are more, don’t you worry I’ll update it.

Also, coming soon a list of “other life goals.”

*disclaimer*

To whom it may concern including FCGP people, other soccer people, parents, and friends who might wish to yell at me or join me, the majority of these excellently worthy activities will be pursued at times where they will not affect my soccer playing abilities (ie not during season or within the number of months that a worst-case-scenario injury would require to heal from said activity).

Note

Some of these activities are not excluded contractually,

but they are fun and therefore made it onto the super fun list.

spontaneous adventure

When you are a professional athlete or have collegiate eligibility (aka an eligibility child or EC for short) there are certain activities you are either strongly encouraged not to participate in or they are entirely prohibited per contract regulations. While it is not quite my middle name (Leigh for any of you that were wondering), I enjoy a good adventure. One of my favorite times in college is my initiation into spontaneous adventures.

*situation*

I had a test on Thursday morning pretty early, more classes, then practice that afternoon. A few weeks before when camping with some friends, I heard about the fire tower. Now, I am not a big fan of heights. I don’t mind climbing things and the threat of falling; I just do not enjoy being high up (this is a fear/discomfort that I am progressively improving). My friend was a little bored and was trying to find something to do. Apparently my need to study for a test was overridden for her need for fun.

*result*

We went out alone (2 girls), in the middle of the night (around 11:45), and drove into the middle of the woods (a good distance from civilization) while I had a test the next morning that I had not studied for yet.

It was awesome. Huge adrenalin rush. I would highly suggest doing exciting things. So we climbed up were a little freaked out hiking in the woods out to the tower. Getting to the top was awesome. Getting back down was terrifying (the fear of heights thing).

And that was my initiation into spontaneous adventure… go get ya some.