Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Weekend Recap

This past weekend (and week thus far, quite frankly) is a bit of a blur. We had plans to go to the Harlem Globetrotters game Friday evening but my dad forgot he had a procedure scheduled and wasn't up to making the drive to Waco. My mom stayed home to take care of him, as she should have, so it would have just been me and Taylor. The problem was I still wasn't feeling 100% and was totally overwhelmed at the thought of taking her myself. And Tay wasn't thrilled anymore either because it was to have been a group thing...

So we didn't go.

We, instead, had dinner at Samurai Steakhouse (Tonto had a gift certificate) before heading to Hastings where the girl got a game for her Wii and Academy where she talked Tonto into a lot of purchases.

And then I passed out upon arriving at home.

Saturday morning Tonto headed to work and I actually got back on the workout train before cleaning house and picking one of Tay's friends up to spend the night. Then I tackled grocery shopping and, before I knew it, I was almost passed out again. Plum tuckered out, friends.

By now you're getting the feeling we didn't do much except play video games and watch movies, right? If so, you're on exactly the right track. I did manage to get up and go to church on Sunday before the girls and I met Tonto for lunch. I felt much, much better that day and continue to feel a bit better each day.

Upper respiratory infection do not play, y'all.

Anyway, I'm frantically working to finish up a project before heading out of town unexpectedly, which I'm sure will be talked about in greater detail at some point, but today I just don't have the energy to go there...

And, in case any thieves read my blog, I'm the only one leaving. Tonto and the girl will be at home. As will our three guard dogs :-)

In any case, happy Tuesday!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Weekly Top 10 - The Totally Inconsistent Edition

So I realized today I have some random photos from my phone, which has a mind of its very own since 7pm last night (don't ask), that I haven't shared. Thinking these would be a great Top 10 edition, it also occurred to me I haven't done one of those in quite some time because I've had so much to share due to holidays, trips, etc.

So here's the Totally Inconsistent Edition. And, no, I can't promise 2012 will bring consistency of any type to this blog. Just keepin' it real, y'all.

  1. One very spoiled boxer was not at all happy when his dad went back to work a couple of weeks ago. In fact, I looked over from the joy I was experiencing with Tony Horton via P90X to find Pouty McPout Pout.


2. I've completed 9 of 13 weeks of P90X. Unfortunately, I've been sidelined due to this silly respiratory illness but I've been given the go ahead by Dr. Tonto to return to regularly scheduled punishment tomorrow. I honestly haven't lost much weight but I am much stronger and have lost some inches for sure. Perhaps the fat and muscle are doing a trade off? :-)

3. Should you ever doubt just how much allegiance we have to the Baylor Bears, may I present a recent snack enjoyed by the Puppy Posse?


4. I have an amazing job that brings great joy. I am fully aware of this. But sometimes when I'm on campus for an afternoon meeting and the weather is spring-like (in January, mind you), the breathtaking beauty and blessing that is Baylor falls afresh. See below. We also won't talk about the parking ticket I got immediately after snapping this photo.


5. Kashi Dark Chocolate Coconut bars are absolutely amazing. One might even deem them "life changing" in the dieting area.

6. I made Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes last night and they were absolutely amazing. And healthy. Who knew this was possible?

7. Tonto has joined the times and is now on Twitter. It's a social networking miracle, y'all. If you ever feel the need to be entertained, feel free to follow him @txsfordman (also ironic because he drives a Pontiac GTO...)

8. My girl has become quite the social butterfly and my evenings and weekends are apparently hers to do with what she pleases these days. I'm cool with that for the most part. And, yes, we do have parameters and expectations must be met in the classroom before any fun is had...don't want to get any emails :-)

9. I showed Taylor this pic of Rambo the other day and said it was his "What you talkin' about, Willis?" face. She had absolutely no idea what I was talking about. Apparently I am old. Or so she says.


10. We're going to see the Harlem Globetrotters tomorrow night. After a week of recuperation and hitting the bed before I could take my shoes off after work, it will be nice to finish off with a lot of laughter. If I can stay awake. I'll let you know how that goes...

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

From Revival to Rejuvenation

This time last year I wrote a post about my word for 2011, which originally sprung from my listening to a K-Love morning show in early January 2010 that requested people call in with the words they felt God had given them for that year. I didn't call in - and normally don't participate in these rhetorical questions - but the word restoration immediately came into my mind and heart. And it didn't disappear throughout the year.

That year was one of true restoration for many of my family relationships, which had previously been broken beyond what I thought was repairable. Would they continue? Yes. Would they ever be as vibrant? I didn't think so. But God has made them even better than they ever were before. Immeasurably so.

I also lost 40+ pounds that year, we finally found out what was wrong with Tonto's knee and my girl eventually completed 14 months of therapy on her elbow. And she had full range of motion. Hallelujah!

A number of other things happened as well (some not so happy) but it was really a year of total restoration. No question.

My word for 2011 was revival and, honestly, that word scared me a bit. But in true "I know what's best for you" fashion, He wouldn't let me shake it. For many of my friends, last year was an amazing one filled with marrying their soulmate, welcoming long-awaited children, experiencing incredible professional growth, building/buying new homes, etc.

If you've been reading here for more than 10 minutes, you know that's not the kind of year we experienced.

It was a hard year but there were bright spots - I did get a promotion at work, Tonto found some relief for his chronic knee pain, we took a number of fun family trips and followed Baylor football throughout the State of Texas.

But when I think of 2011, those aren't the first things that come to mind. The first thing is that I lost a baby in April. The second is that He used that pain and, in my mind, very unfair situation, to bring about a personal revival.

I am much more healthy - physically, mentally and spiritually - right now than I was a year ago. My options were to become bitter (which, honestly, I did for a while) and turn away from Him (which I did not do 98% of the time) or walk through this trial with Him and become better. 

I've said many times it wasn't a choice because I wouldn't have survived without Him. But the truth is we all have a choice. And many times I make the wrong ones. Daily, in fact. 

But what I learned last year is that revival doesn't just happen in a tent or during a week long preaching series. It doesn't just happen when things are going well and we have an abundance we can't help but share with the world.

For me, the greatest revival of my life happened in the midst of more tears than I've probably cried in years. In fact, up until almost a year ago, I would have told you if you saw me crying it's because I was mad. That's just what I did. Sad didn't make me cry but being mad and out of control, well, that set me off something fierce.

Obviously God has a sense of humor because, cumulatively, I probably shed some type of tear (angry, joyful, helpless, sad, hopeful) six months of 2011. :-)

Revival in my home happened when the one thing I wanted more than anything alluded me. When the one thing I thought would complete my family was taken. The truth is that all I (or any of us) need is Him. And, to be truthful, had I been on maternity leave with a sweet babe, I would have never worked on any project with the word "Heisman."

He blessed with with a professional experience I may never have again. And, when I realized that a few weeks ago, I had tears in my eyes yet again.

I say all this only because I've been in the valley and could possibly return there tomorrow. But all is not lost there if we allow Him to meet and carry us through.

As for this year? Well, it's rejuvenation with a side of redemption. Apparently the Lord shares my love for alliteration. And I can't wait to find out what this one means. Unlike last year, I have given absolutely no thought to what it might entail. My plan simply doesn't matter. His does.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Germs

To say that the last week has been less than adventurous would be a great understatement. Last week the girl missed a day of school due to an upper respiratory infection. My first clue should have been her spending most of the MLK holiday like this...


...but, hey, at least she didn't lose her affinity for a tasty snack!


She recovered throughout the week though it became very clear 40mg of Prednisone was way too much for my girl to handle each day. To say that she was bouncing off the walls would also be a gross understatement, y'all. It. Was. Bad.

And somewhat entertaining.

But mostly just BAD.

So we backed off to one pill per day and she finished up her antibiotics right about the time my sinuses revolted. My nose and eyes began running constantly, friends. It truly as though I was sobbing at all times.

By the time I made it home Friday, I fell into the bed and passed out. And with the exception of running out of the house twice (once to pick Taylor up from a service project and once for the doctor), I didn't leave the house until this morning when I headed to work.

This time yesterday I was truly wondering if it was possible for one's head to just split wide open. In fact, that may have been a relief. I tried to get ready for work yesterday morning only to find I couldn't move without holding my head in my hands.

Needless to say, I stayed home. In the dark. All day. And I answered work emails from my phone.

Since I spent 72 hours in bed due to illness, you might imagine I don't have many photos to share this week.

And you would be right.

But I am so thankful we seem to be on the mend. And hope you are as well :-)

Monday, January 23, 2012

Yes, They're Real

After the celebration pep rally, we had a chance to get our pictures taken with both the Heisman and Alamo Bowl trophies. 

Yes, please!


Though these beautiful ladies weren't all that sure it was worth the wait, after striking this pose they immediately decided it would have been worth twice the amount of time we spent in line. :-)


Still so surreal....but, my friends, I have seen them with my own eyes and they are most definitely real.


And they will forever be ours. :-)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Our Pep Was Rallied

Last Saturday evening, we had a very special experience that I truly didn't know would ever happen at Baylor. At least this quickly after I came back as a staff member and in only a short four years with Art Briles at the helm of the football team.

We celebrated the record breaking and historic 2011 season with the team and 5,000 other fans at the Ferrell Center. And it was truly a lot of fun. 

The team entered with their hardware...



Our very own John Morris served as emcee for the evening's events...


...and it was great to see the team again. We've been going through what some might call post football season withdrawals. :-)


There were tons of photos from throughout the season in addition to some fantastic video packages produced by Baylor Vision. I work in the same division as these talented guys and, y'all, let's just say I'm in awe of their talent. And they're super fun as well.



A proclamation was read by the mayor (who had an unfortunate fall on his way off the podium but the team clapped and cheered for him just like an injured teammates...and he's fine) and we learned that very day was "Baylor Bears Football Day" in the fine city of Waco.

Next we heard from Judge Starr, which is always entertaining. Y'all, I know there was a lot of discussion about him becoming president at the time it was announced but please let me assure you he is the best thing that has happened to Baylor in many years. His leadership is phenomenal and we are so blessed to have him at the helm.


We also heard from some players who are from the Waco area: Jarred Salubi (Waco High), Ahmad Dixon (Midway) and Levi Norwood (Midway). There was some indignation from my girl and her friend when Salubi indicated he is a big fan of both Levi and Ahmad "even though they're from Midway." There's a bit of a rivalry going on there, as you might expect.

Ahmad, who's always fun, ended his talk with giving a "shoutout to my high school who actually made it to the state championship game." To which Taylor replied, "You just got burned, Mr. Salubi." :-)


Another proclamation - this time from the governor in honor of Robert's accomplishments - was presented by Senator Birdwell.


And then we all relived the evening of December 10 (the night the Heisman was presented) through video. A sweet time indeed.



A special appearance was made by the Noze Brothers...


...who informed Robert he is the newest member of the brotherhood and his name shall now be "Brother HeismaNoze." Some fancy green and gold glasses were also presented and RG3 was a great sport. He even indicated this may be his "best moment ever at Baylor."

Did I mention they also gave him some Superman underroos?


And, of course, the evening wouldn't have been complete without hearing from the QB of the defense - LB Elliot Coffey. We will definitely miss his leadership and humor. For instance, after we beat TCU there was a raucous celebration in the locker room and Coach Briles (who never wears anything other than a long sleeve shirt) took off his shirt in celebration. 

Coffey was found in the corner shaking his head and muttering, "I've never even seen his arms before. What is going on?"


I wondered what was going on in Griff's mind when I saw this pic...it was his last event as a Baylor Bear...


Along the way the coaching staff (particularly Coach Bennett) was recognized and appreciation was shown all around. This season's accomplishments were most definitely involved a true TEAM.


And we closed the evening with some words from Coach Art Briles (aka CAB)...


And though this season was amazing and it may be a very long time before we see another Heisman Trophy winner (or not - looking at you, Nick Florence), the fact is the climb is not over. The best is yet to come. And my family and I are so incredibly thankful we have had the chance to be along for the ride.

Sic 'em, Bears!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Winter Break Blues

With Tonto being off for another week due to his surgery and the girl not returning to school until January 10, I decided to take a few vacation days to extend my break as well so we could spend some quality time together.

Quite frankly, 2011 was not my favorite year ever (though I did grow and learn a great deal) so I really wanted to just take some time to regroup before charging forward into 2012. And, y'all, it was such a sweet time.

We had no set plans but did manage to workout every morning and then tackle a few household projects I'd never gotten around to each afternoon. We went to see Alvin and the Chipmunks one afternoon, the girl played in the neighborhood with friends and we all slept in. A lot.

This guy was in absolute heaven. His favorite thing to do is use us as pillows. May I present Exhibit A?


He also took a liking to sleeping with his toys. Perhaps he was protecting them from his sisters?



There was lots of down time, playing videos games on someone's new Nintendo 3DS and the Wii as well. In fact, someone (ie Tonto) may have become a wee bit obsessed with beating the Toy Story Mania game. :-)


There was even a trip to the skating rink one afternoon...


...which was promptly followed by more lounging, home cooked meals and laughs.


In other words, it was week of perfection...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Barkin' Ball 2011

After we returned from San Antonio, we began getting ready to attend Barkin' Ball. This is a wonderful event we look forward to every year. So blessed to have the opportunity to partner with the amazing folks at Fuzzy Friends Rescue. :-)

I'd like to preface this picture by saying my allergies were all of a sudden out of control right before we left. My eyes were watering left and right. Literally. And my face was even a bit swollen. But you still have to get a picture, right?


This lovely lady is my friend, Becki, who plans and executes this phenomenal event (plus many more throughout the year) - she's a pro! And she also had triplets last May. Precious babies that Tonto and his co-workers cared for in the NICU. So we're bonded forever now. And I love it!


This year's theme was modern and classy. Being a connoisseur of bling, you can imagine how much I loved this feature :-)


Absolutely. Stunning.


As always, the food was delicious. Lobster mashed potatoes, prime rib, mini corn dogs, meatloaf sliders, crab cakes...and the list goes on for miles. It was all delightful. How do I know? Because between the two of us, Tonto and I tried at least a bite of all of it!


Our table was full of Baylor grads and/or supporters (with the exception of one Aggie - bless his heart!) so we had a ball reliving football season, the Heisman Trophy and the current success of our basketball teams. So. Much. Fun.


There was also a lively band but, as you might imagine, dancing isn't really on Tonto's list of preferred activities these days. This is really a shame because I've cut many a rug with him and he's quite skilled. 


We left a bit earlier than usual because a certain 12-year-old asked that we come home and "watch the ball drop" with her. And, honestly, I wouldn't have had it any other way.

And, yes, we are praying for a better year in 2012. True to form from the past two years, I also have a word for the year. But that probably deserves its own post. :-)

Happy Wednesday, friends!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Let's Light up the Riverwalk

One of the surprising benefits of Tonto's knee giving out at the bowl game was that we had the entire Riverwalk to ourselves, which allowed us to take in the Christmas lights illuminating the way at our leisure.

My girl has reached the age that she isn't easily enthralled or mesmerized but, y'all, these lights got her.


She just stood and stared and took it all in. Her mouth may have even fallen open a bit at one point.


Tonto was the only one of the five of us who had seen this before but this year was different as they added many more strands and transitioned all the lights to LED. It was absolutely beautiful, friends. 


One thing many don't know is that we were en route with a much younger Taylor to see these very lights in December 2005 when we got a call that my mother-in-law was being rushed to the hospital. We turned around immediately but did not come close to making it back to Waco in time to see her before she passed away.


Honestly, it was good that Tonto (who was so very close to his mom) was out of town when this happened. And we know she is in a much better place where we will see her again.


But there was also something sweet and special about finally making it there to see this sight.


And you can be sure that we soaked it up as much as possible. The girl and I even surveyed the lights from the balcony. At 2am. ;-)

Friday, January 13, 2012

Bowling ~ Alamo Style

Continuing our bowl experience...

We had a nice walk over to the Alamodome with a number of the Baylor faithful. The City of San Antonio was ablaze with green and gold. Including the Tower of the Americas.


The girl was mesmerized though she was rather upset the interlocking "BU" that had been projected on it the evening before for a pep rally had disappeared. :-)


After a brisk walk up a number of flights of stairs (felt a lot like P90X, to be quite honest), I had to give my peeps a few minutes to catch their breath before they would agree to pictures. But, alas, I was victorious!



We arrived in time to see the sea of green and gold appear and, friends, it was a beautiful sight to see. Part of following the team so closely is that you get to know the players and their personalities. I can assure you that we have a roster full of great athlete who are also fantastic young men. Because of that, I really wanted them to be rewarded for all of their hard work all season with a bowl victory.


And things really started out well. The band put on quite an exciting performance...


...and paid tribute to the great State of Texas...


...and then we had an unexpected treat. We knew there was going to be a military tribute but had no idea the national anthem would be sung live by none other than Lee Greenwood.


A.Maz.Ing.


And then it was time for the game to begin, friends.


We cheered as our boys took care of business in the first quarter...


...and were feeling pretty darn good about the state of the game when the score looked like this after one quarter of play.


And then something very unfortunate happened. Our offense got out of rhythm and our defense left the building for a while, which led to Washington scoring 28 unanswered points. And I was beside myself. As was the rest of my family.

In fact, the phrase "if you can't play, get off the dang field" may have been uttered from my lips a time or 20.


I was, truth be told, on the cusp of becoming very angry. For a number of reasons. But decided to enjoy a rousing halftime show anyway.


Around this time the folks at the Alamodome cranked the air conditioning down significantly (perhaps due to some unnamed fans being hot under the collar) and Tonto's knee began throbbing.

But we persevered and saw the Huskies' lead dwindle to three points. And then we allowed them to score again immediately.

Roller coaster doesn't even begin to describe my emotions, y'all.

At this point, Tonto looked at me and let me know that his knee would not allow him to see this game through. Not in person anyway.

So the girl joined the two of us in descending the steps for the last time in search of a place on the Riverwalk to have dinner and watch the rest of the game. My parents remained at the game as representatives of the group :-)

After watching the girl take in the lights on the Riverwalk for the first time (another story that was a sweet moment, friends), we ended up at Joe's Crab Shack where the host immediately informed us that we were now ahead. 

Say what?!?!

We joined with some other Baylor fans in cheering the team to victory through the remainder of the second half. Well, the cheers were inbetween some lamenting and gnashing of teeth (just being honest here) but - in the end - the Bears were victorious.

And we also educated a number of servers on the history of Baylor University and the athletics programs as a whole.

One a marketer, always a marketer. We just don't know how to turn it off. What can I say?

My parents joined us and we moved to a Mexican restaurant while Tonto headed back to the hotel to rest his knee. About 2am we finally made it back to the room where we watched highlights of the 67-56 win repeatedly.

Yes, you read that score correctly. It was what they call an offensive juggernaut, I believe.

And it's so true what they say, y'all - victory is SWEET.

Particularly when you know the stories of a number of our players who persevered through much hardship to become offensive MVP (looking at you, Terrance Ganaway aka "Gangway") or displayed tremendous leadership to younger teammates as an entirely new defensive scheme was introduced (hello, Elliot Coffey)...and don't even get me started on Robert Griffin III, Robert T. Griffin (who lost his mother the week before), Philip Blake or Nicholas Jean-Baptiste.

To say this team is special and will always hold a place in our hearts is a significant understatement.

We will never forget December 29, 2011. Or the 2011 season. From start to finish, it was electric. And we are so thankful to have been a part of history.

Sic 'em, Bears!