Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Four Christmases....Try SIX!

Yes, I said six. We saw the movie Four Christmases this year. Not a great movie, but kind of funny. I think, like the characters in that movie, a lot of people feel overwhelmed with crazy holiday schedules. At times it can be overwhelming (and I bet once we have kids it will be really hard), but for now I don't mind. It's actually fun.

Here's a highlight of our next few days:
(Keep in mind we've already had Christmas with Jared's dad's dad's side)
--On Christmas Eve afternoon, go to Jared's dad's mom's side of the family for church and dinner number one.
--From Dinner number one, head to dinner number two with my dad's side and some siblings.
--If time, either head back over to Jared's dad's mom's for gift exchange or stop by to see my grandparents and aunts on my mom's side of the family.
--Spend night at Dad's.
--Wake up and head to Jared's parents for Christmas morning.
--Go to Jared's grandparents' on his mom's side.
--Leave after lunch and head to the airport, fly to Denver.
--Arrive in Denver in time for Christmas dinner with my mom's side and remaining siblings.
--Finish off evening with a game of Ho Ho Hold'em.
--Pass out!
--Wake up and continue events planned for Denver trip (including going to Black Hawk--a Colorado casino, my 25th birthday party bash, second annual antique fun-find trip with siblings, movie night, sibling outing, mom/daughter shopping, and Taco Tuesday @ Limes).

Whew! I hope we make it. Jared and I are blessed with a big, crazy, imperfect family. Planning holidays is kind of like solving a puzzle--I enjoy the challenge of making all the pieces fit just right.

I hope you all get to enjoy your own crazy, imperfect families this Christmas. If not, feel free to borrow some of ours!

Just curious...Is anyone making more than six family Christmases?

Sunday, December 7, 2008


Today I was thinking about forgiveness and how powerful it can be, both when given and received. Last night, I had a dream that Jared decided he didn't want to be married to me anymore. Because of my past, not because of Jared or anything he's ever done, this is a real fear of mine. I woke him up and asked if he was going to leave me. He quickly assured me it was just a dream and told me he was sorry...even if he only hurt me in a dream. Along with his tenderness and reassurance, I think the apology was helpful, too.

And not long ago, I was at our church membership class and pastor Beau Hughes talked to us about how the church is full of broken people who sin. He acknowledged that most of us had probably been hurt by the church at some point. Not to get into the divorce/remarriage debate, but I was deeply hurt by the church and some of its members during a time that was supposed to be joyful. As a divorced woman, I couldn't be married without scrutiny to the circumstances surrounding my divorce. I could date all I wanted, I could even be in a leader position, but as soon as I wanted to marry, my morals were put on the stand. Jared and I even lost our best friends over our marriage. Of course, others involved have their well-meaning side of the story, and I understand that the teachings surrounding divorce/remarriage are contraversial, heavy, and difficult. However, I was still hurt. Beau stood up and said "On behalf of all churches, I want to apologize for hurting you." Wow! The heaviness of my grudge lifted. My aching heart felt whole again. Beau was not involved in my pain (neither was The Village Church for that matter), but I was able to fully forgive at that point. I just needed to hear it: "I'm sorry."

In both of the above instances, someone who didn't owe me an apology offered me one on behalf of others. I was able to give forgiveness to the actual perpetrators through someone else's words. It kind of reminds me of the way we receive the ultimate forgiveness.

Here's the churchy part, and I don't like to flat-out evangalize much, but I can't help notice the similarity between my needing to forgive and my need for forgiveness. Just bare with me. Basically, we are all born sinners. God gave us life and we sort of shoved it in his face (self-check yourself with the 10 Commandments...you failed). So, he needed an apology. Jesus, God in the flesh, came to earth (think baby Jesus/Christmas story) and lived a blameless life, was crucified by men on the cross (think Mel Gibson in "The Passion"), and was ressurected (think Easter Sunday without the bunnies). Check out the first four books of The New Testament if you're wondering what I'm talking about; they are fairly easy reads. So Jesus's life was an offering of forgiveness to God on our behalf. And God accepted it. He said that was enough, and all we have to do (in short) is believe that our sins have been swept under the rug by Jesus through the actions listed above. Now, God seriously can look at us without that nagging feeling of knowing we "did him wrong." You know that feeling I'm talking about, right? When you see someone that hurt you and they haven't acknowledged or apologized, yet. You know. Well, he doesn't have it. Which makes him much more approachable to me. He's not judging me when I talk to him or thinking about that mean thing I said to Jared (what? did I admit that?), because he's not looking at my sin anymore.

Okay, to emphasize, I'm not asking you to say a prayer, blah, blah, blah. But, if this hit home with you...fantastic. Pray and ask God for some direction and clarity. I'll be glad to refer you to someone who's great at answering heavy questions, if you have any.

So, I'll leave you with this. Maybe it helps, maybe it doesn't. On behalf of whoever hurt you, I'm sorry; for whatever it is that you can't let go, I'm sorry. I hope you're weight will be lifted in your giving forgiveness.

Love ya'.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thankful for the Kindness of a Stranger

First of all, I'm writing this blog from my blackberry...so easy on the critique :)

Today, a fellow blogger from Ohio, whom I've never met, sent me a comment. He had decided to write about the next blog he clicked on. Which happened to be ours! His post (http://drivingwithoutmirrors.blogspot.com/2008/11/friends-i-havent-even-met-yet.html) was so touching I got teary-eyed in a pizza parlor reading it out loud to Jared. Granted, I also cry at commercials and corny movies like Air Bud...I digress... Anyway, Christopher Day committed to pray for us and asked his readers to pray for us, too.

I want to let Christopher know that his random act of kindness was appreciated. Today, Thanksgiving, I'm thankful for his prayers and the people who commented and said they, too, would pray for us. I don't have a dramatic story about how I desperately needed prayer, but I do know that God put this in my life, and maybe I'll never know why...but I trust it's making an impact.

So in return, I'm asking you guys to pray for Christopher Day. And maybe follow in his steps and pick a blog at random to pray for, too. Let them know that you are keeping them in your prayers that day. Careful not to sound preachy or crazy...keep it simple. I can't explain it, but I just felt blessed all day yesterday knowing others were praying for us.

Love you all. Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Sunday, September 28, 2008

My first 5K

This weekend I ran my first 5K. I've always considered myself a runner--I ran cross country in high school, and in college I just ran to stay fit, even got up to 13 mile jogs when I had friends around to push me. I'm not very fast, but it's really the only sport I'm coordinated enough to do. Yeah, my mom's famous words to me after numerous games of me sitting on the bench (and her reading a book in the stands) were, "But honey, your hair looks great." Side note: one of the moms in the stands told me those exact words the other day when I attempted to explain how we got two points on a touch back. Apparently you can't get points off a touch back, but you can off of a safety. Whatever...but, my hair looked great.
Anyways, in high school, I enjoyed racing, but I hated that I wasn't quite fast enough to really compete. I also enjoyed running just to stay fit, but you really need other running friends to make that fun, which is harder to find now that I'm out of college.
I loved the 5K I ran this weekend, though. It was the Break the Silence on Ovarian Cancer walk/run, so my participation raised money and awareness for a great cause. I set my own goal of staying under 33 minutes and I truly didn't care what place I was in or who was passing me. One of my coworkers ran it with me, and all I really wanted to do was get both of us across that finish line. We did it and I beat my goal by a whole minute! And, my hair didn't look too bad either.

My first race number.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Pop Goes My Heart!

This is the kind of stuff I get to watch when Jared is at practice. Greatness! From the movie Music and Lyrics.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Winner Winner, Chicken Dinner

Jared's team had their first win on Friday! I was so proud of him, the other coaches, and the boys. It was Jared's second game as the offensive coordinator, too, so I was an especially proud coach's wife.

I took the saying above, "winner winner, chicken dinner," from the blackjack movie, 21 (good movie, by the way). Being a coach is a little like "strategic" gambling. They have a game plan, they practice, they study the game and their opponents, but every Friday the coach puts his career on the line. It's a scary thing to know that your career can depend on the way a 15-year old executes a play. It's kind of like putting your money out on the table and hoping the cards fall your way. Yet, it's exhilarating.

When Jared's team loses, we both get that pit in our stomachs--just sort of sick filling. I personally relate this feeling to tournament poker. Jared and I love to play Texas Hold 'Em, but there is nothing like playing a tournament for hours-on-end and into the wee hours of the night just to "miss the money" (if the top three players get paid, and you're number four, you "missed the money"). In addition to all the practice and planning, the boys fight for four long quarters. That's a lot of work to walk away with nothing.

Sometimes in poker, you play exactly like you should have, or at least the best that you're capable of, but you just get beat. Same with football. Or, you know you made a bad call or fold and you torture yourself by replaying it over and over in your head. Jared replays every game in his head. Even when they win, he questions calls he made.

Oh, but the joy of a win! It's funny--when I play poker and win, I can't wait to play again, but if I lose, I'm just not excited to get back into it. When the boys win, it makes it all worthwhile. All the long hours, all the frustration in dealing with teenage boys, all the pressure of job security (or lack thereof) just seems worth it. It seems like a risk worth taking.

Sometimes you just have to take a gamble and see what cards you're dealt.

Monday, September 15, 2008

This is not it

Justin, Josh, Ryan, Ben, Taylor, Ashley, Jeb. All completed their lives in less than 25 years. All friends of mine. All different causes. Just in 2008 alone my friends, family, and I have dealt with losing young loved ones to drug overdose, colon cancer, a freak accident where an 18-wheeler literally fell off an overpass onto a car, and just last week a guy I graduated with from high school had a heart attack.

I don't mean to bring anyone down, but I just feel like it's constantly around me. Life just feels so temporary. It is, but I don't think most people really feel it. Know what I mean? Most young people feel invincible, but I just never felt that way. It's not like I live in constant fear or anything, although it's definitely prevalent, but I'm just aware that this life isn't it.

I don't know why it is so shocking when we lose someone, but it is...every time. I just did a quick search on BibleGateway, and there are 459 appearances of the word "death," only slightly beat by the word "life" with 538 appearances in the ESV. Not to mention verses like the following, that don't say the words, but imply that this life is not permanent.

“So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.”2 Corinthians 4:18

But am I living my life recklessly, even though I'm aware of its brevity? Yeah, I think most of us are. I can't say that I'm pressing into what is eternal daily. I still get so caught up in the temporary things. I hope that the loss of our friends has tugged at other's hearts, and that they've at least considered the possibility that this isn't it. I hope that I'll remember that living cautiously by my standards may be reckless by God's standards.

Here's a few of my favorite pics of friends I've lost. I hope Ashley and Josh are enjoying their real life up there. Miss you guys.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Game picture of the Coach

Here's a pic from Jared's game yesterday. He always pats the boys on the helmet when he's done talking to them. It's cute. He's so good with those guys.

New experiences

One of my favorite things to do is try something new. I love to see what's out there...and then I usually follow it with my critique of what they could do to make it better. It's the perfectionist in me! Sometimes something just doesn't turn out like you expect it to, though.

Thursday, I decided to take a yoga class. I'm fairly fit, I can handle yoga...right? Well, it turns out my first challenge wasn't so much a fitness one, more like a character one. The instructor walks in and, no lie, he must have weighed 250-300 pounds. He's as round as a Tella Tubby. Don't judge me people, but it took everything in me not to laugh at the prospect of what I was about to see. Then, as the class gets started and I'm controlling my urge to giggle, someone around me passes gas. Lord, don't do this to me! I'm trying to be a good girl. Oh no, He just kept on testing my character. As I'm trying not to laugh like a fifth grader or gag from the smell, we're instructed "Take a deep breath in through your nose." The composed and proper lady in me quickly went into downward dog to hide the humongous grin on my face!

After getting through the first five minutes, the class actually turned out to be great. The Tella Tubby, turned out to be one of the best group instructors I've ever had (and he could hold his foot up over his head--impressive for a big guy). Three days later, I'm still sore. I think I'll go back.

Also, this weekend, I did IKEA. Jared had a noon football game on Saturday against George Teague's team in Carrolton (Teague was the Cowboy player who defended the star when T.O. danced on it after a touchdown--prior to T.O.'s days as a Cowboy). Let's just say Teague's team defended their field, as well. As the coaches headed off to break down film of the game, I figured I had A LOT of time to do whatever I wanted. Off to tackle IKEA, the largest furniture/accessory store, like ever.

Everyone says that IKEA is so great and amazing. Great stuff for great prices. So, I thought I'd check it out. Disappointed! I guess cold, modern, cheap-looking, isn't my style. I'm sure a lot of the pieces would look great (until they fall apart) if your home has an edgy, modern look, but other than that, I'm honestly not sure where you would put most things. I would consider it for a kids room or a college dorm, but other than that, I don't think I'll plan to be a frequent IKEA shopper. Oh well. I headed off to the largest shopping mall in DFW after that--Grapevine Mills Mall. I made it around half the mall before I gave in and headed home (still beating my husband home).

And to top it off with "first time" experiences, we're heading to my best friend's daughter's FIRST birthday today. To Jared's pleasure, right in the middle of the Cowboys first game. Thank goodness for DVRs.

Well, the good news is I like yoga, which is healthy and free (sort of), and I didn't find a place to spend our money. Oh, I also tried Gelato for the first time...not bad at all!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Adjusting (and enjoying)!!

Ok, so I guess I'm adjusting, because I found myself really enjoying my Monday night alone tonight. I came home, cranked up my "chill" playlist on my ipod, hopped in a hot bath and relaxed. Afterwards, I cooked what I wanted for dinner. Oddly enough, a grilled cheese and a turkey hot dog (no bun) tingled my taste buds. Yeah, not many people would enjoy eating this meal with me--so that's why I need an occasional dinner alone!

I'm reading Karol Ladd's book, The Power of a Positive Wife, and I guess it's got me thinking positively about being a coach's wife, too. Other fun things about being a coach's wife:

  • Lot's of school t-shirts to sleep in
  • Power of the remote control (TLC and Lifetime here I come!)
  • Guilt-free time to blog, workout, nap, etc.
  • Missing my husband and being excited to see him when he gets home
  • Getting to watch my husband work on Friday nights
  • Outings with the other coaches' wives
  • Free tickets to games
  • Never worrying about Friday night plans

Whatever career your husband is in, he needs your encouragement, support, and love.

Late nights? Enjoy your nights alone--use that time to find your passions; when you have your own passions, you'll be more supportive of his.

Hubby comes home stressed? Tell him how proud you are of him and how thankful you are for all he does to support you and your family. Order dinner in and take a night to relax with him. Instead of nagging him for wanting to relax, join him. Who knows what a little TLC might do for your marriage ;)

Too much time together? I know some women have the opposite problem of me. Their husband either works from home or doesn't work many hours. (This can be summer or holidays for coach's wives) If that's the case, pray for sanity. Just kidding! Give each other space, so that you have something to share when you come back together. Plan lunch dates or an afternoon stroll (or whatever it is you call it..wink), then go your separate ways until then. If you set a time to meet, neither of you will be tempted to interrupt the other and you just might look forward to seeing each other.

What are some ways that you've encouraged your man? How are you turning a potential negative into a positive? Any other thoughts for dinner for one?

So speak encouraging words to one another. Build up hope so you'll all be together in this, no one left out, no one left behind. I know you're already doing this; just keep on doing it.

1 Thessalonians 5:11 (The Message)

Monday, July 28, 2008

The Mack of All Daddies

It's not often that we actually get to meet our heroes, but yesterday Jared got his chance. He met head coach of UT Austin's football team, Mack Brown.

Not only was Mack incredibly nice about taking pictures, but he spent 10 minutes talking to Jared and a couple other coaches on Jared's team.

I'm thankful that Jared and I have role models like Mack and his wife Sally to look up to as we're starting our journey.

This article about Sally is an encouragement to me as a wife of a coach.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Summer Fun to Football Widow--transition is hard

After a week of late night meetings, my coaching husband left this morning to attend four days of the Texas High School Coaches Association convention. This time of year is the hardest. During the summer, I see him every night, he pitches in with housework (I work full-time, by the way), and his attention is generally on me.

Around mid-July things start to change...I become a football widow.

It starts with meetings during the evenings, then the Saturdays get devoured, too, then he's gone for the annual convention. It doesn't end there! Upon return, he'll start two-a-days which result in his pure exhaustion. By the time I see him, he's hardly got energy to eat, let alone put a dish in the dishwasher. Although, he seems to muster up enough energy for a couple of things ;)

Although he'll pretty much stay this busy until the season ends, it gets easier. The transition is just so hard. I miss him, I miss splitting household chores, I miss eating lunch with him, I miss vegging on the couch with him, I miss his focus being on me. Yet, I believe with all my heart that he is called by God to minister to young men through coaching.

How do I handle this transition? Well, currently I'm handling it with my knee-jerk reaction--pull away and disconnect from him. In my immaturity and selfishness, I choose to protect myself from feeling rejected, left aside, and lonely, by doing the old "I'll leave you before you leave me" trick. I'll let you in on a little secret, though. It doesn't feel any better.

How would I like to handle this transition? I'd love to be more honest with my coach. To tell him how much I miss him and how happy I am to see him in our few moments together. I'd love to be independent, yet still need him. It's hard for me to find the right balance between independence and dependence, and to adjust the balance depending on the season. I'm a fortunate coach's wife--he really tries hard to show me he loves me and he really does miss me. I also want to work on looking to the Lord to fill my needs--Jared really isn't responsible to fill me emotionally or spiritually, and no one can live up to that pressure.

Instead of turning away from Jared, I will run towards Jesus. He can protect me, love me, sustain me, nourish me, romance me, and even humor me.

In addition, during the times I would have spent with Jared, I'm seeking things that will give me purpose and growth. Today, I went to a christian writer's conference hosted by Roaring Lambs and met so many wonderful women that God has used to touch other people. It encouraged me to post a couple blogs--progress, eh! Then, I made plans to attend mentor training at The Village Church to mentor an at-risk child for an hour per week. Hopefully more on these topics later.

Gotta go to bed now. I'm tired enough that I think I can fall asleep without my snuggle buddy.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Why Jared's not allowed on ladders anymore

May 29 marked the one-year anniversary of Jared's emphamous "fall." Last summer, on his first day of his summer job, Jared fell off a 6-foot ladder onto a flagstone patio, resulting in a brain injury. My dad, his new summer boss, had to call to tell me my fiance was in ICU, and I needed to get to Baylor quick. When I got to the hospital, I curled up in my daddy's lap for the first time since I was a child and cried with him. It was one of those moments that I hope I never forget, yet I don't want to remember often. One of my favorite images is me curled up in our Father, Lord's, lap, and that is how God allowed my earthly father to comfort me.

I remember the sermon from the Sunday before; Matt Chandler at The Village Church asked us what we had our fists around. The concept was that we all bargain with God--you can have this, this, and this, but not 'fill in the blank.' After the sermon, I wasn't sure what my so-called bargain with God was, but as I laid in the quiet waiting room that night, I opened my palm up to God and said, "Jared is what I've been clenching my fist around, but he's in Your hands." I realized I could refuse to let Jared go, but ultimately God is in control of it all. On my knees in the hospital waiting room, I opened my palm towards the ceiling and let go. I still prayed for Jared's healing, but I didn't make deals or tell God I would do this if he would do that...you know how it goes. Helpless, I had crawled in my daddy's lap, and helpless I had laid my burdens in my Father's lap.

Well, as you've seen from my previous post, a month later we were married! Although his injuries were very serious, he miraculously had a FULL recovery. The only thing that remains is a little bump where a rib he broke didn't heal quite right. I'm sure he's not a fan of the bump, but I'm glad it's there. When I see it, I'm reminded of how gracious God was to spare his life and how precious he is to me.

We just celebrated our one year anniversary at the beach where we had our wedding! It's been a wonderful year, as far as first years go. I'm not asking for anymore of these biggie moments, but I do pray that the Lord continues to use our experiences to better his Kingdom.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Thank You Lord for the Rain

Psalm 24: 1-2 The earth is the Lord's and everything in it, the world, all who live in it; for he founded it upon the seas and established it upon the waters.

July 1, 2007, marked the first day of our lives together. It was amazing. Our wedding day was a foreshadowing of what much of our life will likely be like--chaotic and not according to our plans.

It rained on us all day and we thought it would never let up. We pleaded with God, "please stop the rain! " About 30 minutes before the wedding, the skies cleared and the sun came out. We couldn't have made the beach more beautiful if we had worked on it all day ourselves. The sand had been smoothed and cooled so not to scorch our feet, the sky had a perfect mix of sun and clouds, the water was still. While we were pleading with God to stop, he was preparing our ceremony site!

As my dad walked me down the isle (the boardwalk), I looked out at the place God had prepared for us and thought "how much greater is the place he's preparing for our eternal lives!" To top it all off, during the ceremony, I looked out to the ocean and dolphins were smimming back-and-forth right in front of the ceremony. My family swears they were angels. Then, as you can see in the picture above, God laid the sun to rest in a way that makes me wonder how anyone can deny our creator's existance.

Next time you're pleading for God to stop the rain in your life, consider what he might be preparing for you, and thank Him that he knows better than we do.