Tag Archives: family

Nothing screams summer like homemade ice cream

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The Summer of Pinterest, Part 6

By Jacki Wood, for the Nodaway News Leader

July is National Ice Cream Month. But no special designation is needed to know that summer is a perfect time for ice cream.

Growing up, from Memorial Day to Independence Day to Labor Day, my family enjoyed making homemade ice cream when we all got together. So ending this series with ice cream seemed appropriate.

My husband and kids helped me with these three recipes, Ice Cream in a Bag, Jell-O Sherbet and Strawberry Frozen Yogurt.

And bonus: you don’t need an ice cream maker for any of them.

Ice Cream in a Bag

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This idea combines fun and flavor. From the Growing a Jeweled Rose blog: “Kids love making ice cream in a bag because they can actually make the ice cream by running around.”

We’ve tried a slightly different variation before, Ice Cream in a Can, where you roll a can back and forth between two people. So we thought this would be fun. And it was.

Ingredients:
• 1/2 C. heavy whipping cream or half and half
• 1 tsp. vanilla
• 2 1/2 tsp. sugar
• 6 Tbsp. coarse kosher salt
• ice cubes

Directions:
Place the ingredients into a tightly sealed sandwich-sized bag, pressing the air out as you seal it. Place the bag into another tightly sealed sandwich bag. Fill a gallon-size bag half-way full of ice and mix with kosher salt. Then put the sealed sandwich-size bag into the larger bag and seal it. You can also double up the gallon-size bags as well, especially if you have little ones.
Then get moving. You need to shake the bag for about 5-10 minutes. You can run and play tag or toss the bag to each other. Or you can just stand and shake it.
Then enjoy. Eat it straight out of the bag or put it in a dish.

Jell-O Sherbet

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I’d never thought about making sherbet until I saw this from SmartSchoolHouse.com. I put Hannah in charge of this one and she really enjoyed making it. It’s very sweet but probably the best sherbet I’ve ever had. Just make sure the gelatin dissolves completely.

It calls for Junket ice cream mix, which I had never heard of, but found near the Jell-O section at the store. Also, we picked three flavors instead of four: Lemon, Berry Blue and Raspberry.

Ingredients:
• Junket Ice Cream Mix in Very Vanilla
• 1 1/4 C. whole milk
• 3/4 C. heavy whipping cream
• Jell-O: Berry Blue, Orange, Raspberry, Lime or whatever flavors you desire

Directions:
Place 4 glass bowls in the freezer for about 30 minutes.
Combine the Junket Ice Cream Mix with the whole milk and heavy whipping cream. Stir until dissolved. Pour the mixture into a 9″ x 5″ pan and freeze until firm.
Once firm, break into chunks with a fork and put chunks into a mixing bowl. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth, about 2 minutes.
Remove the 4 glass bowls from the freezer and evenly separate the vanilla ice cream into each of the bowls using a spatula. Put 1/2 Tbsp. of the different Jell-O flavors in each bowl, one flavor per bowl, and gently mix with a spoon until fully combined. Do this as fast as you can to prevent the ice cream from melting.
Put the 4 different ice cream flavors in a container that can be sealed.
Gently use the back of a spoon or spatula to connect the 4 different piles of ice cream so they freeze as 1 piece. Put the lid on and let it freeze for about 1-2 hours before eating.

Strawberry Frozen Yogurt

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For a healthier fare, this Strawberry Frozen Yogurt from the Feel Great in 8 blog is perfect. It’s simple, quick and good for you.

Ingredients:
• 4 C. frozen strawberries
• 3 Tbsp. honey
• 1/2 C. plain Greek yogurt
• 1 Tbsp. lime juice

Directions:
Put all of the ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. Depending on your blender, you may need to add more juice. Then scoop and enjoy.

Additional ideas can be found on the NNL’s “Summer Fun” Pinterest page at pinterest.com/nodawaynews/summer-fun/.

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‘I am still worth the full 20 dollars’

By Jacki Wood, “That they might have joy” column for the Nodaway News Leader

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Our family recently returned from a two-week summer road trip to California to see family, visit the beach, Disneyland, our favorite restaurants and some new things, too.

We love to road trip and I could write for days about the adventures we had. But for this column, I’d like to share something we’ve started doing recently – packing comfort kits to pass out if we come across someone in need along our way.

It didn’t take long to hand out the first one on this trip. We were approached by a man at a gas station in New Mexico. He was asking for money but we offered him the Ziploc of food, water and essentials. He quickly opened the bag, grabbed the crackers and thanked us as he began devouring the food.

The exchange was a bit bizarre but he was obviously hungry and we were happy to help.

This topic – helping the homeless who stand outside of a business or along a highway off ramp – seems to be somewhat of a controversial subject.

Some people say they’re just trying to take advantage of us, that they beg all day long and then go home to a comfortable life.

In my very limited experience, I do not believe that to be true in most cases. I’m not naive enough to think that it doesn’t happen. But I feel there are many people who could use a little help.

I shared a story last Thanksgiving on my Facebook page that reaffirmed my stance for helping those in need. Here’s a portion of what I wrote then:

***

His hands were rough and cold, surprisingly cold, on an unusually warm November day.

I had stopped in Cameron to fill up with gas on the way to my mom’s for Thanksgiving and he was standing on the corner shivering.

“I’m Jacki,” I said, as I stuck my hand out to shake his.

“Dennis,” he said.

He seemed shy, hesitant, ashamed.

“Where are you headed?” I asked, reading his cardboard sign.

“South.”

Dennis was a veteran. He had served during the 1970s and had been in Omaha for a medical procedure. Now he was trying to “get someplace warm,” he said.

Family? No. He had no family.

We spoke a little more and I learned he had a dry sense of humor, kind of like my dad’s. He seemed to warm up to me the longer we talked.

We had made some comfort kits as a family to keep in the car for instances just like this. The bag had ripped recently so I had taken it out to replace it but kept forgetting to put it back in the car.

When I saw Dennis, I thought it was a missed opportunity and felt I needed to talk with him.

I only spent a few moments with him. I don’t know his whole story. I don’t know what specific circumstances and choices led to him being there in that situation. But I do know that he is my brother and I wanted to help him.

I gave him a little money (something I normally do not do), which he humbly thanked me for with tears in his eyes, and I wished him good luck.

***

We don’t know the circumstances that lead people to stand on a corner asking for help. We haven’t walked in their shoes. But if we could just really see them for who they are, how would we act?

In a speech given at BYU in 2015, Sondra D. Heaston said: “What if we could really see into each other’s hearts? Would we understand each other better? By feeling what others feel, seeing what others see and hearing what others hear…would we treat them with more patience, more kindness and more tolerance?”

I recently read a story of a woman who had endured years of trial and sorrow. She said: “I have come to realize that I am like an old $20 bill — crumpled, torn, dirty, abused and scarred. But I am still a $20 bill. I am worth something. Even though I may not look like much and even though I have been battered and used, I am still worth the full 20 dollars.”

***

Comfort kits are easy and relatively inexpensive to make. You can find many ideas online. Ours include a pair of socks, toothbrush and paste, comb, wet wipes, water, gum and a few snack items like granola bars, crackers and cheese, tuna salad and fun fruits. There are many other essentials you could pack as well as a list of local resources and gift cards.

One site I like is the Portland Rescue Mission (portlandrescuemission.org/get-involved/learn). It shares several ways to provide practical help to the homeless.

***

The second comfort kit we handed out on our road trip was in Kansas on our way home. As I rolled down the window and asked the man if he’d like the bag, his eyes lit up with joy and gratitude.

I will never forget those eyes. I saw a glimpse into his heart.

Not that I knew his circumstances. That didn’t matter.

By serving him in that very small capacity, even though he may have been crumpled, torn, dirty and scarred, we saw that he was indeed still worth the full 20 dollars.


‘Even the darkest night will end’

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By Jacki Wood, “That they might have joy” column for the Nodaway News Leader

My mental health has taken a beating over the last year or so.

I have a physical illness that has really been taking it to me, and as a result, affecting my mental health.

I’ve been battling this physical ailment for half of my life. The beginning years were difficult. The middle years were much more tolerable. And the last couple have been the worst.

What makes it even harder for me is I feel I’ve lived two completely opposite lives. The first very active, athletic, outgoing and involved. Now mostly inactive, reclusive and disinterested. There are times when I really miss that first life.

A couple of summers ago, I wrote about my illness, obesity and weight loss. I said at the time, it was the most important thing I’d ever written.

But this might be even more important than that. Now, just a couple of short years since then, I spend most of my time in bed, I’m overweight again and have slipped back into old habits as I struggle to function each day.

That’s when the mental health beating really reared its head. It’s hard to be productive or stay positive or even feel like a human being when you can’t get out of bed.

(Side note: I’ve tried a lot of different treatments. Some have worked for awhile. Some not at all. I frequently get suggestions from people. In fact, I just started something new. And while I appreciate everyone’s concern, that’s not what I’m seeking with this column).

I’ve wondered why this is the load I am burdened to carry and if I will be carrying it my entire life. I mean, why do some people get cancer and some don’t? And even further, why do some people beat cancer and some receive the same treatment and die?

After spending much of the last year contemplating these types of things and feeling sorry for myself, lonely, sad and even angry, I decided I needed to try something different.

For the month leading up to my 40th birthday this summer, I decided to do a #30DaysOfJoy challenge, looking for simple joys in my life and posting them on Facebook.

It was a mostly positive experience. I made some really great memories this summer despite the illness. And I was reminded how much my family cares about me. They’ve really stepped up and took on more responsibilities. They also listen when I need that and are just there when I don’t want to talk. They love me through my nonsense, negativity and annoyance of everything and everyone.

Some days, though, were a real challenge to find any joy at all. I mean, just getting on Facebook and seeing everyone else’s happy, perfect posts made me want to throw up or throw something at the wall. Even worse, I had some really dark days that I’m frankly embarrassed by. Which is really unfortunate, because when I’m at my best, I realize how blessed I am.

But… I’m not always at my best. I’m not always thinking clearly or logically with this illness.

This is not something most of us feel comfortable talking about. Our mental health, I mean. And yet if we would just have the courage to do so, I think we would be far better off.

After someone dies by suicide, people ask why. I think I understand it more now. They’re worn out, tired, exhausted. They want an end to the pain, the hurting, to whatever the problem is. I don’t think most people want to kill themselves. Or hurt those who care about them by doing so.

They just want it to end.

I’ve been there. Even as I write this, I’m in the throes of it all. I don’t want to die. But there are times when I want an end. I want the pain to end. I want my old life back.

And then I realize my old life didn’t include my husband. Or my children. Or the memories we’ve shared together. Or the experiences I’ve gained over the last 20 years that make me who I am and how I am able to write this.

If you’re there with me, if you are just so very tired of it all, don’t give in, don’t give up, don’t quit. No matter how bad it is, just keep trying, for one more day or for just one more moment even.

Get help. Seek professional help if you need to. Or find an outlet like I have through writing.

Talk to someone. A friend, a family member, someone who will listen or just be there. Call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1.800.273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org where you can chat online.

If that doesn’t work for you and if you have no one else you can to talk to, contact me.

I will listen.

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I’m not so good at the phone thing, but I text, email and message really well. My email is jackijwood@gmail.com and you can find me on Facebook at facebook.com/jacki.wood.

In Les Misérables, Victor Hugo wrote: “Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise.”

That’s been true for me. After every single dark night I’ve ever had, the sun has always risen.

    National Suicide Prevention Week is September 7 to 13. To learn how you can help, visit sprc.org.suicide+prevention+lifeline+with+ribbon


Hunter’s story

By Jacki Wood ~ written for a college assignment in 2010

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Tears roll down his cheeks like steady raindrops sliding down a window during a spring thunderstorm.

“I HATE YOU, DAD, I HATE YOU,” he yells from behind his closed bedroom door.

Hunter’s tears mix with the mess on his face and he wipes it with his shirtsleeve, leaving streaks of it across his cheek. He coughs and lets out one last wail before trying to compose himself.

He sniffs hard, wipes his face again and licks his dry lips.

“Mom,” he whimpers, knowing I’m standing outside his door. “Can I come out now?”

~

This is not a toddler temper tantrum. This is the winding down after a rage, after the shoving of his sister, the throwing of furniture, the growling and yelling and screaming and flailing.

This is 11-year-old Hunter who lives with bipolar disorder, one of an estimated 10 percent of children who deal with serious emotional and mental disorders, according to the US Surgeon General.

~

Bipolar is a brain disorder that causes unusual changes in mood, from the lowest of lows to the highest of highs, and can also be known as manic-depressive illness or manic depression.

In children, it is sometimes confused with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder because of the many similar symptoms when they are manic, according to the National Alliance for Mental Illness. The difference, though, includes elated mood, grandiose behaviors, flight of ideas, extreme changes in behavior and energy levels and decreased need for sleep. Then there is the depressive and even suicidal opposite side of the disorder.

During mania, children and teens can “feel very happy or act silly in a way that’s unusual, have a very short temper, talk really fast about a lot of different things, have trouble sleeping but not feel tired, have trouble staying focused, talk and think about sex more often and do risky things.”

During depressive episodes, they can “feel very sad, complain about pain a lot, sleep too little or too much, feel guilty and worthless, eat too little or too much, have little energy and no interest in fun activities and think about death or suicide.”

Other symptoms can include impulsive behavior, psychotic symptoms like delusions, hallucinations, and disorganized thinking and cognitive disturbances.

~

Mere minutes from his raging, things seem to have changed inside Hunter’s brain as I sit with him on his bedroom floor. He’s laughing, smiling and showing the dimple that dots his right cheek as he describes his latest car design to me. His fiery red hair seems a softer orange now. He drags out a sketch pad with curled edges and begins drawing.

And just like that, all seems to be well again.

At least for a few moments.

~

One of the biggest differences between children and adults with bipolar disorder is that an adult can go for weeks or months before they cycle from high to low or vice versa. With children, though, they can have multiple cycles during a single day. It’s really a roller coaster of emotions on a daily basis, from giddy highs down to depressive lows. Children and teens with bipolar disorder may also have mixed episodes that have both manic and depressive symptoms.

In the past several years, I’ve done plenty of reading and studying up on the illness, trying to figure out how best to raise Hunter and how to teach him to deal with it all. Most of the time I feel lucky that his symptoms aren’t as serious as others who I read about. Still, as he grows and gets older, I’m concerned how the illness will change and affect him in other more serious ways.

“My brain works differently than other people’s brains,” Hunter said. “Sometimes I go all crazy.”

Crazy, for Hunter, means he feels mad, sad, scared and even sometimes confused.

And then there’s the opposite of those feelings.

“Sometimes when I feel good, I think I can do anything,” he said.

That translates into him feeling that sometimes he is smarter than his teacher at school or his classmates, who don’t like it when he gets overly excited or yells out all the answers in class. It can also mean that he feels he knows better or more than his parents.

That’s not all that different than other kids, but it can be a little more difficult with him because of the other symptoms he experiences.

~

A couple of hours have passed since Hunter’s blowup with his dad. He is still in his room but has moved from drawing the car to building it using K’nex that litter his carpeted floor. The incident that led to him screaming his hatred toward his dad was about one of his Saturday chores – vacuuming the family room floor.

Saturdays are tough for Hunter. After breakfast, the chores begin. On his list for the day was to clean his bedroom, put his clean clothes away, clean the upstairs bathroom and vacuum the family room floor.

A reasonable amount of time for his younger sister to do the same chores is usually two hours or less.

But Hunter says he hates to work and drags it out nearly the entire day, even though he has been reminded that once his chores are completed he can do whatever he likes until bedtime.

“I don’t really like to do work,” he said. “I just want to get it done, but most of the time I don’t want to do it all.”

His seven-year-old sister completes her comparable chores well before lunchtime and is off to ride her bike and play outside with the dog.

By 11:30, Hunter has yet to complete even one of the tasks. He’s in the family room now, where he should be vacuuming. But instead of the cleaning, he’s sprawled out on the floor flipping through a car magazine, completely enthralled.

He goes all out for the things he enjoys and I love that about him. But I also believe he needs to learn the value of work, regardless of his illness.

His dad enters the room and quietly reminds him of his chores.

Hunter begins with whining and complaining about all the work he has to do. Then he starts looking for excuses. He’s hungry. He’s tired. His foot hurts. He’s thirsty. His head hurts.

He soon moves to crying. Then screaming. Then all-out raging returns. And finally, his dad must drag him off to his room so he can calm down and not hurt anything or anyone else.

~

“I told my dad I hate him because I didn’t like him when I was really angry,” Hunter said. “I don’t want to cry, but sometimes I feel like I can’t control it.”

The crying comes with the lows but can change without notice to euphoric highs. And when the mania hits, so do the ideas and the feeling he can do or be anything.

“I have lots of ideas of things I want to do,” he said, talking about his future. “I am excited when I feel good. I want to be an inventor or an engineer or an architect or a chef.”

He wants to build the biggest mall in the world. He wants to design the fastest racecar. He wants to own the best bakery in the country.

Everything is a superlative with him. It has to be the biggest or the fastest or the best.

While many of his classmates are busy playing video games, watching TV, playing sports or hanging out with each other, Hunter is setting goals, making plans and creating new ideas to help people and change the world.

Those grandiose ideas are typical of others with bipolar. The goals and ideas aren’t necessarily a bad thing, but not being able to accomplish them all, right now and with great success, is a difficult concept for Hunter to grasp. He wants it all. And he wants it all right now.

~

The dichotomy of the disorder seems to be seen in all aspects of his life, especially at school, where he attends Tri-County in Jamesport.

He likes math and excels in it, his fifth grade teacher Connie Critten said, although his grade card doesn’t always show it.

“Hunter has very good mental math skills and enjoys helping other students who are struggling with math,” she said. “He is usually patient with his classmates while helping them. But he doesn’t like doing homework and his scores are generally lower because he doesn’t finish his work.”

While receiving the highest MAP test in math in his class, his grades are consistently Cs in the subject.

“I don’t like doing homework,” he said, “because I don’t like work.”

We’ve tried many different ideas to help with this – things we’ve read from other parents and things from both his school counselor and his clinical counselor – without a whole lot of success.

More serious than his academic performance, however, is the way the disorder affects his behavior at school.

When Hunter is at his best, he is compassionate, caring and has a positive and uplifting attitude, his resource room instructor Debbie LaFerney said.

“He has a contagious smile and loves to please his peers,” she said. “Hunter knows where he wants to be in the future with his behavior, with school and with his career. He has a creative and imaginative mind and is always thinking about some invention he is going to work on.”

But being at his best – kind, imaginative, helpful – can change quickly, his school counselor LeAnna Wilcox said. He can be happy one minute and crying or in a rage the next.

“His mood swings could be associated with a ticking time bomb; you never know when they are going to go off,” she said. “When he gets upset, he tends to totally shut down. He becomes agitated and logic does not take place.”

Whatever the reason, his explosions disrupt the classroom and sometimes even the school.

“Hunter sometimes becomes very aggressive, throwing chairs, yelling or pushing other students,” Critten said. “He has been known to cause physical harm to others. And his crying can disrupt our classroom and the entire elementary building.”

He also appears to have a high anxiety level most of the time, she said, because he has so many goals he wants to achieve.

“He is afraid he will mess up or that his peers are looking at him and judging him,” she said. “Then he has an outburst as a way of protecting himself.”

~

Hunter walks out of his bedroom, the red blotches that dotted his face from his excessive crying have begun to disappear and his orange freckles shine once again. I offer him a hug and he presents both his newly constructed car and the drawing from his book.

And then as if nothing has happened, he begins telling me about his latest idea of making a more fuel-efficient car.

~

As bad as it was on this particular Saturday morning, it has been much worse.

We feel fortunate to have found help in recent years through the North Central Missouri Mental Health Center in Trenton where Hunter has received new medications, counseling and support.

He currently takes three mood stabilizer prescription drugs: Abilify, which he has been on since he was first diagnosed, Strattera and Lamictal.

“I don’t like to take my medicine,” Hunter said. “But my mom keeps telling me it helps me be better.”

In addition to the medication, he visits a psychiatrist every three months, meets with a clinical counselor each month and receives visits from a caseworker both at home and at school.

~

Hunter’s eyes light up as he describes the components of his new car idea. His words fly out of his mouth, one right after the other, faster than I can keep up with. I smile and sigh to myself. So many ideas – too many ideas. Hunter copies my gentle smile with a wide, toothy genuine grin of his own.

When he has finished explaining the idea, he shrugs, a little embarrassed and then waits, seeking approval. I reach out and give him that approval with another hug and smile.

I think it’s time to apologize to dad, I whisper to him.

Hesitant, he plops his car and sketch pad on his desk of overflowing ideas, papers, pads, cars and creations. He strolls out of the room, head down, and quietly calls out for his dad who is in the kitchen.

~

“Did you finish vacuuming the family room,” his dad asks, after Hunter had apologized for his actions.

“Yes,” he lies, with a blank stare on his face, trying not to make any moves to show his deceit.

It doesn’t matter. We all know he’s lying. Lately, most everything coming out of his mouth seems to be a lie. That’s an exaggeration, of course, but we’re tired and we don’t know what to do about it. There’s other deceitful behavior, like sneaking food from the kitchen during the night and stealing money from my wallet.

Consequences don’t seem to matter much to Hunter. And logic is lost on him most of the time.

There are so many facets to bipolar, and it seems when we figure out how to deal with one thing, something else pops up.

The lying is also something his caseworker Terri Westover has seen with Hunter when she visits him at school.

“One of the main things I’ve noticed lately about Hunter is his easiness in not being truthful,” she said. “I always talk to teachers before or after I talk to him about whatever the current incident is and the stories are usually quite different. Part of it is probably him minimalizing what actually took place. I don’t think he’s necessarily being conniving with his untruthfulness, but it keeps him in an alternate reality. He gets quite angry when confronted, but that’s what we’ve been working on at school and at home, bringing him back to reality.”

~

Hunter sulks back to the family room, this time without the dramatics. He seems to be too exhausted for another outburst. He grabs the vacuum, turns it on and roughly and quickly pushes it back and forth around the couch, TV and the magazine that’s still lying wide open on the floor. A few toys also dot the floor, some of which he threw in his earlier anger. There’s also the chair he knocked over in his rage.

I walk in and sit on the couch. He turns off the vacuum when he sees me. I encourage him, telling him I know he can do it and do it well. His dimple resurfaces with his smile as he picks up the toys, the magazine and the chair – and he finishes the vacuuming.

He really is a great kid, but it’s so hard to know if what we are doing is right with him or for him. It’s also hard because it feels like a lot of people don’t see the good in him with his dramatic changes in mood. I feel a lot of judgmental stares from others who get annoyed by his behavior, like I’m being a bad parent or no parent at all. We’ve made lots of mistakes with him, but it’s really frustrating when others don’t give him a chance or enough time to show who he is when he’s at his best.

So we just keep taking one day at a time. Some days are good, some are more of a struggle.

But even with the struggles and the mistakes, we feel like we’ve come a long way since he was first diagnosed.

“It’s difficult for me to describe the difference between the past couple of years and how it was in the beginning,” his dad says. “It’s like night and day.”

~

While Hunter knows bipolar disorder is something that will affect him his entire life, he is grateful for the help he is receiving.

“I’m a little afraid of my future because of bipolar,” he said. “But I know my family loves me even when my brain is crazy.”

(note from 2015: while we were blessed with wonderful mental healthcare resources and services when we lived near Jamesport back in 2010, we haven’t been so lucky where we live now. Due to the lack of resources here, we’ve had to make some major changes in dealing with Hunter’s illness. So we face new challenges while we continue to take one day at a time with him. Lack of adequate mental healthcare services affects thousands of people across the country. I encourage you to contact your legislator in support of mental healthcare and not be afraid to talk about mental illness.)


KC Chiefs Head Coach Andy Reid talks family, faith and football

That they might have joy column, NNL, by Jacki Wood

I have admittedly never been a Kansas City Chiefs fan.

But that changed a bit last year when they hired Andy Reid as head coach, who played football at Brigham Young University. And you know how much I love my alma mater, especially BYU football.

So I was thrilled when I was invited to attend a special event with Coach Reid and his wife, Tammy, this past weekend at The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints in Platte City.

It was promoted as an evening of “Family, Faith and Football.” And the Reids did not disappoint to the approximately 800 people in attendance with plenty of laughs and stories from their lives and his coaching career.

Tammy started by sharing their family history. They met in a tennis class at BYU and began dating. She was a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; he was not. They both returned to their homes that summer, Tammy to Arizona and Andy to California, where he began learning more about her church and was eventually baptized.

They both returned to BYU, and a year later, they were married. They have five children, born in five different states due to his various coaching stints, and one grandchild.

She talked about ways their faith has helped their family over the years including the death of their son, Garrett, who died of an accidental heroine overdose a year and a half ago.

“We know that we came from a loving Heavenly Father who sent us to this earth to be tested…and we know we will one day see him again,” she said. “That’s what got us through that really huge trial in our lives.”

Then Coach Reid shared a PowerPoint he presented to his players last week to get ready for the upcoming season.

“We are the Chiefs,” he said. “And we’re going to be a little bit different.”

He continued: “There’s a small margin of victory in the NFL. What are we going to do differently to go win the trophy?”

He talked to his players about practical, simple principles that will help them be a little different, to get to the Super Bowl and to “get that ring” this year.

He told the audience that those same principles he shared with his players are similar to what is taught in his faith and are applicable to everyone.

“Football is a microcosm of life,” he said.

Some of the principles included sacrifice, training, trust and working to win.

Sacrifice: Every team is talented; you have to give up something to get a lot, on and off the field.

Training: Conditioning and knowledge can help you dominate.

Trust: Working hard as a team brings mutual respect for one another. Trust = wins. Players come in as teammates and leave as family.

Work to win: Give your best every day.

Coach Reid concluded by saying: “Surround yourself with greatness. I’ve been fortunate to be surrounded by great people and I love every minute of it. I jump out of bed early in the morning and I am ready to rock and roll.”

I love that. How many of us are jumping out of bed every morning, excited to tackle to day.

We have to be a little different. And we have to be willing to give up a little to get a lot.