Wednesday, October 28, 2020


October, for the Spensts, has held some pretty wonderful surprises that we had thought were off the table. For many months this year, it looked as if baseball would be canceled.  But, MLB got it together and played a 60 game season, culminating in a longer than usual playoff season this October, mostly in a bubble.  The Dodgers had looked promising going into the year, but when everything shut down, it looked like it might not come to fruition.  Lo and behold, it all did.  And they were crowned the World Series champions after a 32 year drought.  And we were swept up in the joyous (albeit tense at times) experience!

As a bit of back story, John lived his elementary school years in Central California cheering for the Dodgers during their World Series days in the late 80s.  Eight years ago, he realized that he needed a hobby that didn't take him away from home but provided a helpful distraction.  Enter baseball.  Specifically Dodger baseball.  Did you know there are 162 games in the regular season?  We have the MLB subscription (because of course we do) so that we can see every one.  Which really just translates to having baseball on in the background through most of the spring and summer.  

And it is a lovely, simple distraction and has been a lot of fun for John.  I realized quickly that I could go all in and enjoy it or resent often having baseball on.  You can probably guess where I landed, as I know all of their names and positions and much of the history now.  In 2017, we got to go to Game 4 of the Dodgers/Astros series that the Dodgers eventually lost in what we now know was a cheating scandal.  It really didn't occur to us that we might get to see another Dodger World Series game in person any other time.

When they made the announcement that the last rounds of the playoffs would be in Arlington, John preemptively booked a hotel room so that he could go down and possibly loiter in the parking lot if the Dodgers made it.  Then, they announced that fans would be allowed, with tickets sold in pods of 4, at 25% capacity, going on sale at 10 a.m. on Oct. 6th.  In basically what amounted to a ticket lottery, we secured World Series tickets at face value well before we even knew who would be playing.  We cheered the Dodgers through the playoff season, with all of our kiddos getting in on the action as well.

Our tickets were for Game 5, and since the Dodgers had lost twice, it was guaranteed, but would not be an ultimate win night.  Still, we drove down to Dallas for a quick trip on Sunday and made our way to Globe Life Field.  It totally felt like a Dodger home game, with almost everyone decked out in Dodger gear.  I missed the electricity of a full crowd, but having a row to ourselves and no one directly near us had many advantages.  The whole experience felt surreal and like an unexpected gift this year.

(borrowed sign, but still true)

We had a fantastic time, and the Dodgers won the game we were at, which felt amazing.  Even though it was a super quick trip, it was nice to be away and do something fun with friends!  We came home and Game 6 was last night.  And after 32 years, the Dodgers were World Champions once again.  We screamed so loud that we woke up our kids who all wandered out blearily.

In a year with so much sadness and loss, this whole thing felt like its own little miracle.  Obviously, it is just baseball, and there are far more important things in life.  But, we were so thankful to experience this ride with a team that we really like.  And now, we need to catch up on sleep, because playoff season includes a lot of late nights. 🤪

Monday, October 26, 2020


 I haven't blogged much this year, because I've mostly been surviving.  It's been a disappointing year on so many fronts, but nearing the top of the list for me has to be watching evangelical Christians become politically zealous in ways that seem not to honor the Lord.  This was distressing to me in the run up to the 2016 election as well, and it has continued in fervor and depth.  Social media in particular has felt like a dumpster fire of opinions, and I've watched in sadness as I've seen believers place a political leaning over grace, kindness, love, truth, empathy, compassion, and the list goes on.  Not only that, but many believers have done this using the Bible as a justification and a weapon.

I grew up as a conservative Evangelical Christian.  I understand the talking points and culture.  I used to believe that all Christians should have the same political beliefs, because of conservative values and pro-life and small government and so on.  The older I've gotten and the more of life that I've seen, the more I see that there are other perspectives that can ring true even inside of my faith.  My faith has continued to deepen, because my need for Christ remains constant.  I am more convinced than ever of my own depravity and shortcomings and blind spots and the ways that all of those play out as I seek to apply faith to politics.

A large part of this journey has come through our personal interactions with social justice issues, particularly racial justice.  (Here's a blog post I wrote about this in June)  As I've mentioned, this whole season has been difficult, and watching Americans disagree vociferously on the history of our country and the bearing that history has on our present has felt like we are living in some kind of twilight zone.  We, as Americans, oppressed and enslaved people for centuries, almost exclusively on the basis of race.  The idea of that leaving no legacy in the present is truly baffling.  Our current laws were passed within the lifetime of many people who are still very much alive.  

Even more disappointingly is the more recent learnings that I've had regarding the Church and the ways it has upheld these systems of oppression over time.  I read The Color of Compromise this summer which was an eye opening look at the way southern Christians used the Bible to justify slavery and kept using it to bolster segregation.  It feels that we are now witnessing the next phase where Christians are using it to denounce racial justice initiatives as anti-Biblical or Marxist.  Or to simply say that it is unAmerican and disrespectful for people to be upset in a country where they have so much.  There seems to be no protest that can please white Americans, and that is sort of the point.  It is a protest.

Listen, I love America and am so thankful to live here.  Truly.  However, I'm not going to put our country or flag above my allegiance to Christ and his kingdom.  I am called to love God and love my neighbors first and foremost.  And my Black neighbors are crying out and lamenting injustice.  I love America enough to want to make it actually a place that is good for all people that live here.  I believe that means fully recognizing and embracing our incredibly racist roots and working to upend the places where those seeds still grow and flourish.  As a side note, I am not a Socialist/Marxist/Communist.  We own a family business and appreciate Capitalism.  However, none of the good things we have here are without flaws.

I understand that many Christians are afraid.  Because they keep saying they are scared or they keep encouraging others to be afraid if such and such doesn't happen or so and so doesn't get elected.  So much has happened in the past year, and so much of it is confusing.  There is hypocrisy on all sides, and it is difficult to know where to find "unbiased" reporting in our country, because most major news outlets have very specific slants.  Even when they claim otherwise.  Anytime I find myself dwelling on fear, I try to center myself on Christ and the fact that this world is ultimately not my home.  I am found in him, and even if all else falls apart completely, I am not lost.

Our family does happen to be transracial, and so it is personal to us.  When we say Black Lives Matter, we are saying that our black kids matter just as much as our white kids, even though that has consistently been up for debate in society.  I will say it today and tomorrow and years from now if necessary to work to right the wrongs that have taken place here.  We can embrace a movement while also knowing it is flawed, because we are all broken people working within broken systems.  It is easier to debate theories than to engage in the work of dismantling systems or do the work it takes to recognize how racism has undergirded our society.

I'm not saying this is easy or straightforward.  It is exhausting.  But I believe it is holy work, and I am thankful that the Lord continues to show up as we walk this journey.  It has forced me to really examine policies and issues in different ways.  For example, I have always and will continue to identify as Pro-Life.  I believe that advocating for increased racial awareness for me comes out of that sentiment.  I heard someone say "Womb to Tomb" and thought that a helpful way to sum it up.  That said, I believe that reducing abortions can come about with several different kinds of policies and that there should be more conversations about birth control access and healthcare reform, both of which have been proven to decrease unwanted pregnancies and abortion.  I wish that we could have discussions that take a more holistic look at what is happening rather than demonizing anyone who doesn't agree exactly with us or do exactly as we would prescribe.

I write all of this humbly, knowing that I have blindspots that I haven't even discovered yet.  I am in process and working to submit myself before the Lord as I wrestle through these issues.  I know this post will hit people in a lot of different ways, and I ask for grace on all sides, because I know that so many of us are working to find our way through this.  We all come to situations with a unique blend of conviction, personality, and personal experience, and this is where I am currently landing based on those things in my life.  I do hope as Christians that we can find ways to respect one another and disagree graciously, because the world is watching.  And if we don't have love, then we don't have anything.

Monday, October 05, 2020


 We made it to the Pumpkin Patch this year, which feels like a small miracle.  In a year when no tradition or joy remains untouched, we eeked out this fall pleasure.  It was the most beautiful of fall days, and we arrived to a crowded parking lot.  Having read ahead that masks were required, I was very curious as to how it would all be handled, but it being entirely outdoors put me more at ease.  Mostly, it felt like people were complying and working to make this work for everyone.  The pumpkin patch had hired a lot more people to make things run smoothly, which definitely helped.  And the patch was full of pumpkins ready for picking.

We let the kids play on the playground and visit the animals and generally run around having fun, which always feels like a parental win.  Let's wear them out with delight and funnel cake.

There was a train ride and a pony ride and a sunflower field, and with so many other things being a no-go this fall, we said more YES than we normally would have.

And it was good.  With our family, there are few outings that go unscathed by some kind of outburst or incident.  But it was as if the weather and the fall festivities wove some magic over the children who got along and worked together and enjoyed what was on offer.  We never take for granted these times and are so thankful when we get to enjoy something wholeheartedly.

It was a good day, and it was a good reminder that not all is lost.  We are climbing out of a hole from what all this year has cost us, and still at times, it feels as if the hole is filling back up with sand as we try to escape.  But, days like yesterday show me that we *might* be making progress.  The ship is beginning to right itself.  There is a ramp out of the pit, even if it is still a long way to get out of it.  

So that's us.  Enjoying pumpkin patches and clawing our way out of a pit. 🤷🏻‍♀️

The Pumpkin Patch is deeply ingrained in our family - here are past visits!

{2019} {2018} {2017} {2016} {2015} {2014} {2013} {2012} {2011}