Sunday, September 17, 2017

The one with Tears and Giggles

Here's to another Friday-Saturday-Sunday in the books.  Each weekend the same, yet oh so different! This was a "Betsey" weekend - as in, my weekend to have Emma and Lara here at my house in Stillwater.  Nothing much was planned, and we only had a few places to be on a schedule, so it was looking to be a relaxing weekend.  In most regards, it really was.  Nice weather, some down time, and time with the family.  Just what we all needed.

Friday Night Lights was the first big event on the agenda.  Our awesome student trainers even got a shout out on the Facebook page as they were advertising the upcoming game!

Emma came to Stillwater earlier in the evening, and the whole family made it to the stadium about 6:15 pm. It was a BEAUTIFUL night, and we were looking forward to the little girls from the pom and cheer clinic performing at the pre-game, some awesome Pioneer (undefeated) football, and a great "God Save the Queen" halftime show from our amazing marching band - all while celebrating "Pink Out Week" and raising awareness and money for Breast Cancer Research!  Lara on the field, Emma with her friends, Jake with his, and Finn sitting with mom and dad.  It was a great night.  Pioneers beat Mustang and moved to 3-0 on the season.

Lara is so lucky to have a sister.  A TWIN sister.  A built in best friend, confidant, and someone to see you through to the other side.  They may not live together, and they may not have the same interests and talents, but they will always be sisters.  And Friday night, after the game, after the lights went off, emotions of the win died down, and the stress of LIFE as a teenage girl came crashing down, Lara needed her sister.  There were tears, sobs, and cries for comfort. She needed me, too.  I did my thing - I was her soft place to land.  A shoulder to cry on, ears to listen, the gentle reminder of Whose she is and that He is always on control, some motherly advice and counsel, and she felt better. Maybe just a little.  But then the lights go out and the door closes.  And the soft words of sisters deep in conversation float out and can still be heard.  Not what they're saying, but the tone and timbre of the words being spoken.  Thankful for that bond.  And that God knew.  He knows we all need grace, and we all need a sister - by blood or by love - whichever he has blessed you with.  Thank you, Lord, for the sisters I get to raise and nurture, and thank you for the "sisters" you have put in my life to help me, too.

Saturday morning, everyone was up earlier than they probably wanted to be (except Jake; I think he had his uniform on by 7:00 am).  We left relatively early for a quick jaunt to Edmond for Jake's first game with his new team.  It was a fun and exciting game, ended with a big win, and then we had to find some lunch to eat for the hungry crowd.  We tried a new place we'd never tried called PDQ.  We were excited to eat there as we had tried a couple of times in the past but since it was new it was always too busy.  Luckily, the new has worn off a bit and we got right in!  Great food, fun family time, and a promise to go back soon! Thank you Lord, for a family that loves to do life together.

The rest of Saturday was spent relaxing and recuperating.  No one had any pressing plans, so there was lots of YouTube, Netflix, DVR, and a few books were opened.  Finn keeps both girls pretty busy as he loves them SO MUCH and just wants them to play with him!  I love watching the girls (and the boys) when they have "down time."  Unscheduled, uninterrupted, free time.  You see what they treasure, can get them to chat about what they love, and thoughts come out that during the usual hustle and bustle might be missed.  The last hour before I left for a commitment that night, we all 3 just hung out in the girls' room and talked and laughed.  There was a discussion about future baby names (Emma's not having kids!) and an assessment of the joke that ends in the punch line "Because Seven Eight (ate) Nine" that left us all in a mess of giggles!  So fun! Thank you Lord, for relaxing weekend days.

Sunday was a bit cloudy, and some refreshing rain came down, but again, a wonderful and relaxing day.  Mid-morning Emma was a bit bored, and she knew Nana and Grandpa were moving some boxes to their new house today, so she went over to help them for the rest of the day.  The rest of us went out for an "out of the hat" lunch where everyone puts a suggestion on a slip of paper and the one drawn out wins.  We even got our weekly family meeting out of the way at lunch (there is NOTHING on the calendar for Thursday - HOW???), which is a weekend must!  A fun way to spend the early afternoon.  It was back to family board games for the afternoon.  Another fit of giggles came from our 2nd round of Apple to Apples when Lara couldn't say "Swedish Massage" with out a strange accent and/or misplaced S sounds.  We all got a good chuckle out of that!  I have to say, I love the giggles a lot more than the tears... After Nana and Grandpa finished wearing Emma out, they took her home to Orlando.  We are so grateful for her servant's heart and her willingness to help her grandparents out.  The rest of us went to Life Church for Sunday night to hear more about "My Big Fat Mouth" and being critical.  We got home in time for showers, homework and bedtime.  Thank you Lord, for your Word to guide our feet and a pastor who tells it like it is.

We all really seem to finally be in the routine of this school year.  Grades are being recorded, clubs are meeting, teams are practicing.  The girls are here one weekend and in Orlando the next.  This past weekend was a reminder that life ebbs and flows.  There are highs and lows, but He supplies us the tools we need to learn and grow.  We are reminded that GRACE wins, every time.  And being a teenage girl is fun, challenging, educational in so many ways, and on some days - just plain hard.  Here's to a better week and weekend coming up.  Thank you Lord, for the time to recharge our batteries on the weekends.

Monday, September 11, 2017

The One Where Lara Got Tackled

This weekend was the girls’ weekend to spend at their Dad’s house.  Somehow, I think I saw more of both of them this weekend than I do weekends when they are at my house!  Dichotomy of parenting teenagers, I guess.

This weekend started with our first home football game for the Pioneers.  Our first Friday Night Lights.  Lara’s first time on the sidelines for a Varsity game in front of the hometown crowd.  Emma and her dad decided to come too, since they were taking Lara home with them after the game. The trainers had all decided to dress up for the school day, so that moment had to be captured in a picture. 

Then it was time for business.  Back to the blue polo shirts and khaki shorts. 

Kick off happened under clear, sunny skies and the sun was setting on a beautiful (although a little windy) day.  As the game progressed, everything was going very well.  Pioneers were having a great game offensively, defense was holding their own and had kept Moore scoreless, we were winning, and there were about 7 minutes left in the half.  That’s when the Moore Quarterback was being pursued by a couple of Pioneer Defenders, and he decided to run the ball out of bounds.  Straight into Lara!  In her defense, she was totally paying attention and knew what was about to happen.  She took a couple of steps back, but that just had her running in to her Pioneers.  She was trucked, as the boys would say!  From my vantage point in the stands, she looked like she flew backwards a few feet, landed HARD on her bottom, then her head fell back on the track!  Watching that red hail flail about from the stands shook this momma to the core!  I took off towards the track (that surrounds the field), but I quickly saw the football boys pick her up, head ATC Aaron Harmon looked her over and sat her down for a breather.  All the players asked if she was OK, the Orthopedic surgeon came and checked on her and patted her on the shoulder, then the  cheer coach sat with her for a minute, and a fellow mom that was taking cheer and pom picks went over and hugged her for me, too.  I didn’t get to talk to her until halftime.  We were both pretty shaken up.

Damage report was minimal.  She was shaken up a bit, and MORTIFIED which caused more tears than the accident.  She did have some cuts and scrapes and a pretty bruise on her left hand.  Not sure if that was from being stepped on by the player or from the water bottle caddy landing on her hand when she fell.  She was sore afterwards, and she said she now had “mad respect” for her football brothers who do that day in and day out for fun. Her little brother Jake remarked how she handled it well, because she didn’t “have on pads or ANYTHING!”  He played football a couple seasons ago, and he said he knew that had to hurt.  Pioneers came out with the win, so despite the craziness, it was a good night.

Saturday was a calm day – the girls were out in Logan County doing their thing, so I am not sure what either of them accomplished that day.  Sunday, we had all agreed to go to the same church service at Life Church, and then Lara planned on coming home so she could finish homework and do laundry.  Our Sunday ended up being a little busier than that.  One of the girls’ really good friends had been sick most of the week and kept getting sicker, so on Saturday night she had been admitted to the hospital at OU Children’s for some intestinal issues.  So, after church on Sunday the three of us took an impromptu road trip.  We got some flowers and a balloon for our patient, and some things Mom needed, and headed out.  We spent about an hour visiting with her, then headed back to take Emma home and get back to Stillwater for the evening.  Even though it wasn’t the most positive of circumstances, it sure was nice to have a little girl time!  They both did homework in the car on the way down to the city, but they chatted and played music and kept me awake for the drive home.  Much needed trip, just the 3 of us!

Here's to another week! Lara has JV football in Moore tonight, and then we have Friday Night Lights here at home this week, too.  The weather was cooler this weekend, but we’re getting back up into the 90’s by the end of the week.  Not a bad start to the “Fall.”

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

I Need to See You in My Office

Last Thursday (Thursday, August 31) was a fantastic day.  It was another day that the Lord made, and I was glad to be rejoicing in it.  The air was electric.  Working on the beautiful campus of Oklahoma State University, I get to feel the tangible charge and hear the unquestionable buzz in the air for the first home game of the OSU Cowboy Football season.  Add to that the excitement and anticipation of the season opener for the Stillwater High School Varsity Pioneers as they travel for their first game to Edmond, and the enthusiasm was real. Evident in everything.  It was contagious. It was exhilarating. It. Was. AWESOME!

Because of parking and other logistical concerns and issues that arise with a home football game in the middle of the work week, my boss had given me the choice of leaving a little early to avoid some of the inevitable chaos that would grow as the afternoon wore on and kick off at Boone Pickens Stadium loomed.  My plan was to leave at 2:30 in order to be able to get to the elementary school in time to pick my boys up at the end of their day; then to make it to the high school before the team buses left for Edmond with the football team, as well as 4 amazing young women who work hard as their trainers.  I had a special present as a surprise for Lara, Molly, Lauren and Lauren for their first official out-of-town trip for the 2017 Football season. I figured they work hard, and spend countless hours surrounded by stinky boys, so it might be nice to have something a little “girlie” for the first bus trip.  So, I commissioned a local baker to make them special, personalized Pioneer Football cookies for the ride.  Each girl got one with their name on it, plus a few others.  I said they didn’t have to share the baker’s dozen of cookies, but they’re sweet girls so I figured they would!

I am so glad I was able to be there to deliver the cookies personally.  All four girls were so happy, and Lara was beyond excited.  She didn’t know she would get to see us, and OF COURSE the surprise was thrilling!  One of the other trainers said, “I’ve never seen her smile like that!”  So, for me, that was a huge win. Mission Accomplished.  (After they got home from the game, I heard the report that the cookies were amazing, and they did end up sharing them with the boys near them.)

At the end of the night, OSU won their home opener by beating Tulsa with a score of 59-24.  The three Pioneer Activity busses finally pulled in to the high school at 11:45pm after a fun win over Edmond Memorial with the final there being 23-7.  Stillwater was impressive.  Little Gundy at QB throwing bombs and the defense was in beast mode – held Memorial to 3 yards rushing in the first half and 67 total for the game.  Britt and I enjoyed our time in the stands with Jake, Jake’s friend, and Finn while Lara did her thing on the sidelines.  A good time was had by all.

While all of this was fun, thrilling, and cause for much celebration – there was still icing on the cake for that day.  You see above I said my plan was to leave work at 2:30.  At 2:25pm, I took a call, summoning me down to my boss’s office for a meeting.  Initially, I was worried it was going to mess up my plans for the next hour of the day (my very well thought-out and choreographed PLANS!), but sometimes an interruption is all you need.
During that 15-minute meeting, my life and my trajectory were changed.  Prayers became promises.  Stresses were relieved and the weight of the world became immeasurably lighter.  
I had applied for a “promotion” of sorts on the night of Wednesday, July 19th.  There was an Assistant Registrar position that became vacant at the beginning of July in my office and I felt led to apply.  I believed it was a HUGE long shot to entertain the notion of being awarded such a prestigious post, but like my Dad always said – “The answer is always NO if you don’t ask.”  While I met all the qualifications, plus had experience here in the office, I was just dreaming and hoping for a better position to be able to contribute more professionally, and to be able to support my family better.  A couple of weeks later, I got the call for a first interview scheduled for Monday August 8th.  While I thought it went really well, you just never can tell.  Then, a few days later, I received a call for a second interview, planned for Monday, August 14.  That interview was INTENSE.  Lengthy, and with many key players from the office.  I left there spent, sweaty, and still feeling like it was a long shot.  But, hopeful that I would not be enduring that mood for long, as I was told they would have a decision by the end of the week.  However, on Friday the 18th, I got an email saying the decision committee was delayed in meeting due to schedule conflicts and it would be NEXT week.  The next Friday, August 25th, I got another email saying they had hoped to offer the position this week but there was an HR issue that had to be resolved first.  At this point, I had all but given up.  Some moments I was SURE I was going to receive an offer for the position, but most days I knew it was not meant to be.
That is until my boss called me down to his office on Thursday.  As I took the LONG walk from my work station back to his office, I didn’t think anything out of the ordinary was happening.  He knew I was leaving early, and I figured he wanted to make sure I had everything covered in my absence.  Then, he shut the door.  That is always a sign something big is about to happen!  And boy did it!  He offered this amazing opportunity – TO ME! A new job with different responsibilities, interesting assignments, and a chance to serve on the Leadership Team in the office!  Giddy, excited, delighted, amazed, and a little overwhelmed.  I have a lot to learn, and I can’t wait to get started!  So thankful for the chance, and honored that the committee chose me.  It has been a long and winding road to get to this point!  But, God!  He is faithful!  
I can’t help but think of the words Jesus spoke in Luke, chapter 16.  After telling the parable of the shrewd manager, Jesus said to his disciples in Luke 16:10, “Whoever can be trusted with very little can also be trusted with much.”  My current position was important and crucial to the office, but I always knew I could do more!  When I started this job back in March, I set forth to do the job with excitement and precision and to the VERY best of my ability.  And, my managers and bosses saw that.  A short 5 months later and through a series of extraordinary events, I merited the REWARD.   But, God! He is so good.

I feel like a Phoenix rising from the ashes today.  I can’t stop smiling.  I can’t stop dreaming of a future that looks much brighter than it did a few days ago.  I can’t stop praising the Lord of ALL CREATION who was faithful to complete this good work in me.  This song is on perpetual repeat in my head…

By Your Spirit I will RISE, from the ASHES of defeat!  The Resurrected KING is resurrecting ME! (Elevation Worship – Resurrecting)

My official start date will be September 18th. Some transition will occur before this date, and I will be doing both jobs for awhile as I work to hire my own replacement. Always a few growing pains with things like this. Thank you every single one of you who has prayed, provided, or played any kind of role in keeping the Weavers on a positive track these last 12 months.  We still need a job for Britt, but some of the pressure is relieved and we can breathe a little better.  Please continue to send job opportunities his way, and pray for our family during this transition.

Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” Romans 5:1-5 NIV