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#AllThingsHD : The Cut Life

October 2nd, 2019
Posted in #LIFEINHD

You know one day it’ll happen… you know…the day that you’ll be cut, traded, injured, not resigned, retired… etc. It’s an experience all players and their families go through at some point, and although you know it’ll happen, you don’t necessarily know when.

And when it happens, let me tell you it rocks your world a little bit.

It doesn’t necessarily shatter, but things change & happen quickly: suddenly you’re figuring out your new normal. I use the word suddenly loosely because some people are made aware of upcoming changes, but for us that wasn’t the case.

One minute your hubs heads into work, and the next (moments later) he’s heading right back home because hes been released. Within hours the news you just received is all over the news, social media etc, you’re taken off the family emails, thousands of texts/calls & posts on social media start pouring in…teams start calling for your spouse, team visits start to happen & you start figuring out the next move. Just like that. Boom! #NextChapter

We were shocked (I didn’t believe him when he called & told me he had been released). Heck, I’m still shocked- the day training camp was starting, 2 weeks away from preseason & the start of the school year…. I could go on but you get the point; the timing was crazy but GOD always has a plan, and we’ve already stepped into the door GOD opened for us as we left what we called home for the past 7 years & have begun a new chapter.

In 2012 my husband (then boyfriend) was drafted to the Green Bay Packers. I’ll never forget watching him get the call that changed our lives forever. I don’t think it was coincidence that all of the football decor & cake were green & yellow at his draft party either; that was totally GOD preparing us. Wow.

Anyways, Mike was drafted in the 4th round (let me tell you, waiting & watching is nerve wrecking), packed up and headed to Green Bay & myself & our son stayed behind to make sure he officially made the team before moving. The rest was history! Within a few short (what felt like forever) months we were reunited & our time in green & gold began.

The short version of life there- MORE life happened: marriage, babies, friendships & lots & lots of football!! We were extensively involved in community work, serving & giving back using the platform GOD has blessed us with… from hosting galas, leading community walks, emceeing beauty pageants & fashion shows, to putting on football camps, speaking at D.A.R.E. graduations, donating to many local & large scale charities, our first inaugural Daniels Back To School Bash & so much more (literally). Our time in Green Bay was such a blessing to us & we pray that we have left lasting positive effects. We will always love Green Bay, and all of the amazing supporters & friends who have become family there.

Our very first Packers family night. 2012

I mean, how could we not?!? Some of our most fond memories & experiences occurred in the time we were there.

And let’s take a moment to acknowledge my amazing husband; he played his tail off while he was there. They will definitely remember Mike Daniels #76 as a force to be reckoned with & his big boy Lambeau leap after recovering a fumble & running the ball 42 yards into the end zone… touchdownnnnnn! That moment was everything! It wasn’t the first & it surely wasn’t the last.

But GOD said, “ok Team Daniels, pack it on up and head on over to Detroit!” So, we did, and what an experience it has been already. After a little over a month of wrangling our 4 kiddos by myself, the kiddos and I finally joined our favorite guy in our new city! Praise God because we were missing him & quite frankly momma was tired! Ha!

Besides being extremely thankful that GOD has allowed my husband to continue to do what he loves & live out dreams, I’m loving our new colors (because Hello cute outfits), all the food options (this could be a bad thing haha), and a fresh start. It has been so fun to watch how solid our kiddos have been through all of the recent changes… their eager eyes constantly taking in new surroundings, their 162936393938 probing questions, and their excitement about Ford Field & their poppas new team. They have been so resolute & have really adapted well which is more than I could ask for as a momma bear. My priority is always making sure my man & our babies are taken care of.

This is one of the reasons I made sure to throw a party in honor of my husband and his 8th year in the NFL with my kiddos & extended family the same night as the Packers family night we used to attend. I didn’t want our kiddos to feel any sadness or like they were missing out on anything. This was the perfect way to celebrate new beginnings, & get them excited about our move. Woohoo!

Besides, cake is always a good idea.

Wait! I should mention the beautiful send off my Green Bay girls (some not pictured) put together for me. It was so sweet & I am so appreciative of these lovely ladies who have easily become some of my favorite humans ever. (Thank you friends; I love & miss you all).

As much as I always thought emotionally I’d be a wreck when we had to leave, I actually held it together, but moments with my friends is what brought on the emotions. I’m a naturally emotional person but I think knowing I had to hold it together for everyone else & being so rooted in my faith, it wasn’t until heading out that I really took a moment to process the next chapter.

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The Next Chapter

Coming off an injury my husband has been extremely dedicated to his recovery & gearing up for his play with his new team. Resilient. Determined. Passionate. Those are a few words that come to mind when I think of him & the type of man he is. Truthfully, there’s no such thing as outworking him because the chip on his shoulder just keeps on growing.

From being unwanted, to receiving 1 D1 offer, to being drafted labeled as too small, too short, to being called overrated & then consistently seeing high draft defensive guys come in around him to overcoming ongoing obstacles, breaking down stereotypes, outplaying others because of his hard work, passion & love of the game…. I mean it when I say that chip on his shoulder is growing. It’s what motivates him & allows him to keep his edge. It keeps him humble. It’s a constant reminder to compete harder & to always go hard.

It was rather surreal seeing him play for the first time since being picked up by the Lions. Overcoming his injury required tremendous focus & sacrifice for all of us. Seeing him out there just made my heart happy; I know how bad he wanted to get back on the field. I was just so proud. I still am.

Daily I count it as a blessing that we get to be on this football journey. Our journey has helped us to really focus on what’s most important, grow closer to GOD & each other, be a blessing to others, and has opened so many doors for us on & off the field.

Leaving Green Bay, we weren’t the same young wide eyed rookies we were coming in. We went from juggling football & our 1 year old son to balancing life with 4 littles & becoming seasoned veterans in this “football life.” And granted in so many ways we are starting over & having to find our new “normal,” one thing remains the same is that home is wherever we all are.

Speaking from my personal experience, I feel better prepared starting over this time.

I remember when we first got to Green Bay, I envisioned becoming apart of a super close sisterhood. That wasn’t exactly the case although over time & in the end, I did make friends. In the beginning, I never really felt like I anyone to show me the ropes or take me under their wing. I felt misjudged & struggled to really navigate “fitting in”. I decided that while I was there, I wanted to be to other women what I wanted to experience myself…. a light, a friend, a mentor, someone dependable, someone who would answer questions, someone who didn’t focus on age, status, position etc. I wanted to change the narrative (not always spoken but definitely there) and be welcoming and loving to everyone. I can confidently say that I believe I helped facilitate a change in that area; I’m just someone who loves people & being that I know how it feels to be new I wanted to help make that transition & experience better for the new women coming in.

Welp! Here I am starting all over again with being the new girl. The difference now is that I’m a lot wiser than I was 7 years ago. I’m not worried about “fitting in,” but instead just enjoying the journey. I understand that GOD will always connect me to the right people; I’m looking toward new friendships & experiences.

I’ve been to one outing with the Detroit Lions Womens Association. We spent time at an apple orchard with some amazing young ladies from the Detroit Lions Academy. I loved this so much because I truly believe there’s nothing greater we can give others than our love, time & energy.

So far so good. We are loving it here and excited for what is in store for us.

In closing, you never know what to expect and you don’t know how things will pan out until you’re experiencing these changes. Sure you may hear stories from your friends who have been through similar or the same circumstances, but living it out is still different. Logistically, there is so much that has to happen, and quickly. Factor in having kiddos & it’s easy to feel a bit overwhelmed. But, this is where your village comes into play… love, encouragement & prayers from family & friends is everything!!!

Picking up & moving was a lot. The struggle may have been real but so is Jesus. GODs plan is always perfect & we trust Him. We know that He’s working for our good & that the best is yet to come!

If I can offer any encouragement to anyone in a season of change regardless of what it is, I would just say ENJOY it! We get to choose how respond to things & circumstances. Count it all joy! Focus on the good! Deal with things as they come! Trust the process! Don’t stress! Smile through it all!

Xoxo,

Heaven

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