Choices, choices, choices

Choices, rather than ability, show us who we really are…

There are countless differing “stages”, if you will, of life. The combinations are endless. There is the glorious stage of being on cloud nine (for me, usually after a workout), skipping down your hallway thinking, “Why can’t life feel this amazing everyday?!” There are some days where you don’t even have time to think. (flashback: NYC!) You’re so submerged in the depths of your activities, to-do lists, and moving so quickly that you remember “I didn’t eat today”, as you crawl into bed at 1:00 a.m. Awesome. Then you have days where you stub your toe as you’re running late, forget your papers going to work, receive a stellar speeding ticket, forget a friend’s birthday, and all you’re thinking about is Bluebell and bedtime.

Those are crazy times in life and we’ve each been there in our own personal stages, with hilarious stories to prove it. But what if I asked you about the “hardest” “stage” you’ve been stuck in – how would you describe it?

Uneasy. Tense. Cloudy. Lost. Uncertain. Anxious. Perplexed. Overwhelmed. Bewildered…

Could this be THE worst – and dare I say it – best stage of life? Could it be the place where everyone should actually want to be? Can goodness truly stem from bewilderment?

Those adjectives listed above only scratch the surface of actuality. They also only scratch the surface of who you and I can truly become.

You see, circumstantially, this is where we stand at the crossroad, staring our souls straight in the face. We choose. Champion or second best. When life is bewildering, it’s up to me to choose to say, “Yes. I’ve been waiting. This is my opportunity.” When life winds up and just knocks me flat on my rear, it’s up to me to say, “Perfect. I’m not stayin’ down. I’m about to get up and run.” When I become anxious, trying to harness the reigns of my future, a choice arises. I can stress (brilliant idea, really), OR, I can hand my heart over to the One who steadily, purposefully created it.

Matthew 6:27 – Can any of you by worrying add a single hour to his life?

Life is many things, two things I’m certain. It’s so incredibly short, and at the same time, forever a process. The journey of life is not about where I go, end up, accomplish, or gain. I cannot and will not take accolades and accomplishments with me when I go. No. One. Will. The underlying purpose of life’s journey depends on who we become in each of these challenging, beautiful, chiseling situations. Character – my soul – hearts I’ve been blessed to love along the way – those last forever. C.S. Lewis is the greatest to ever say it: “You don’t have a Soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.”

Aggressively take advantage of the circumstances you’re given. Your reactions and choices to these situations is your heart on display to the world. Some days are harder than others, and require us to look at the crossroads and choose: Give in or grow.

Something more…

“Most people, if they have really learned to look into their own hearts, would know that they do want, and want acutely, something that cannot be had in this world. There are all sorts of things in this world that offer to give it to you, but they never quite keep their promise. The longings which arise in us when we first fall in love, or first think of some foreign country or first take up some subject that excites us, are longings that no marriage, no travel, no learning can really satisfy. I’m not now speaking of what would be ordinarily called successful marriages or vacations or learned careers, I’m speaking of the best possible ones. There is something we have grasped at in that first moment of longing, which just fades away in reality. I think everyone knows what I mean. The wife may be a good wife and the hotels and scenery may have been excellent and chemistry may be a very interesting job, but something has evaded us.

If I find in myself a desire which no experience in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that I was made for another world.” 

-C. S. Lewis, Mere Christianity 

Here’s to you, Baylor

After moving back from New York, I headed to stay in Waco for the week prior to graduation. I expected my street to have it’s usual busyness: people constantly on the sidewalk and our porch, cars flying by with sonic cups hanging out the windows, and the guys next door blaring Lynard Skynard. But to my surprise, it wasn’t like that at all. All of the undergrad students had headed home for summer, and all that remained were me and my gals and our class.

The quietness and calmness of my porch swing at dusk gifted me the opportunity of reflecting on all of the ways Baylor has cultivated me; the way I carry myself, the way my mind works and the condition of my heart. If you’ve ever spoken to a Baylor alum or current student, I think we all say the same things about our university. “There’s really no place like Baylor,” or, “I left my heart in Waco,” or, “Actually, I like Waco,”… I mean…Where else can you get free Dr. Pepper floats, play tennis, see live bears on campus, have Chick-fil-A and buy every Heisman t-shirt imaginable within about 15 yards of each other!?! BUT. In comparison of what this university and it’s people have done to challenge, grow and condition me for this world, those amenities are miniscule. I’m a passionate believer in worth, purpose and continual forward progress in all aspects of life. And things, objects, and tangibles that the world brings do not contribute to progression. The catalyst for authentic improvement and passionate persistence are derived from the core of your being, and the people that have helped in contouring your zeal for life.

In a society where everything is changing, it’s inevitable that to ‘stay with the pack’, a person or organization must grit their teeth and make adjustments – no matter what. Technology, social media, job markets, ways of competing, strategies for forward progress: they’re all constantly evolving – and consequently, weeding out the laggers. A common ‘mistake’, if you will, in this ongoing process, is altering the core of your being to keep up with society.

To be yourself in a society that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Enter Baylor. My four years at Baylor was an era where I watched the entire eclipse of the process. Thousands of students and I witnessed Baylor be bold. Making moves. Making changes. But Baylor didn’t take these leaps to stay with the pack: she jumped up front and said, “I’ll lead”.

I’ll reflect on our athletic program, since that’s where I devoted my studying, time and attention. I have to believe that for this 2011-2012 school year, Baylor is the hottest athletic program in the country. But it wasn’t by mere chance. I wrote in an earlier post regarding the rapid change in Baylor’s football program over the course of four short seasons. Producing a Heisman winner didn’t come by chance. It didn’t come by doing what other schools or programs did. But  Briles made changes in order to produce different results. The vision for change comes from an inner desire to be loyal to the university while lovingly making bold changes at the same time. And when the nation started scratching their heads and peering into campus, quickly recognized the authenticity of Baylor.

I have been blessed enough to spend the most revolutionary, exciting and memorable era at Baylor in many years. The people I have worked and studied alongside are on the move, headed for success and happy. There is an inner peace and contentment knowing that the people surrounding me are supporting my every move. I am confident that my best friends, coworkers, classmates and professors will rejoice with me when I succeed, help me up when I’m down and walk with me through life. Baylor fam.

So to the professors who listened to me spill about my dreams for so many of your after hours – thank you for realistically preparing me, yet still encouraging me for my future. To the SID’s and coaches – your loyalty and faithfulness is the backbone of our program, and the success ultimately rests on your love for this university. Thank you for giving us an example of dedication paying off. To my late night hoopers – I always felt like I was wearing #15 on my back, and each time I got knocked down after a long day made me better – thanks for physically pushing me. (And to the people working out next to me in the SLC – we were always competing whether you knew it or not.) To my friends and classmates – you showed me what community and love and support looks like… at all times. Thank you for a beautiful picture of service and support. And to everyone coming to, going from or just passing by: join me in thanking Baylor for so earnestly chasing after success while still remaining true to the foundational beliefs as an institution. Thank you, Baylor, for displaying to me the most beautiful portrait of success imaginable.

More on Baylor’s hottest year in athletics, ever: Ian McCaw Should Be AD of Year / BU Athletic Program Hits the Big Time / Baylor Sports Revival / For Baylor, Business is Finished / Baylor sees rise in applications  / Baylor has made a remarkable rise in redemption

I planted my heart in the Garden

If someone would have told me even just ten years ago, that I would spend a semester living in the heart of New York City (and be a graduate of Baylor University!) I know exactly what look would be plastered on my face. And some of you do too! I’m fully confident when I claim that my life hasn’t ‘worked out’ normally, but has been divinely constructed. There have been avenues and opportunities provided to me that have no explanation. I know I have experienced grace in abundance, just like you.

There were times I’d be strolling down Broadway on a Friday night with my friends and it would hit me. This beautiful, contrasting, simplistic picture in my mind – of me, so young and innocent, in a small country home with my family. It’s an incredible and imperative thing that we sometimes halt, and wholeheartedly trek backward in time to re-enter the times that shaped us. And stay there a while. But, equally important, is to pause and take a mental picture of where you currently stand.

I found myself doing this almost every day in NYC. Not only is season in my life the craziest, most mysterious and challenging era thus far – every thought, every decision, every opportunity was amped a million times while in the heart of the city. I spent each day – yes, every single day – carefully crafting a balance between establishing myself as a powerful, positive woman entering into my industry, and remaining true to the girl who sat barefoot on the banks of the pond in Oklahoma growing up. The first thing I did when I got home was go fishing… So I think I succeeded. 🙂

Another thing I did, without knowing it, was joining the heartbeat of NYC. It’s almost a subconscious thing; you have NO idea you’re in it, until you look at the skyline the night before leaving. The city has a way of grabbing you, whether you’re quiet, small, boisterous, powerful, lethargic, persistent, evil or good: and making you it’s own. The heart of the city shaped my mindset to wake up every day with a desire to compete, to be better than I was just 24 short hours ago, to be better than the cat next to me on the subway, to not just be inspired, but inspire. It’s an addictive game, an astounding mindset. You can’t grow complacent, because you don’t have time. You don’t get tired, because the only time you think about your bed is when you’re falling in it. You never really ‘get over’ the lights at night – well, that might just be me. But I’m fine with admitting it. Sure, I know my way around Manhattan like a local. But the times I was too lost in the moment to act like one – are my most cherished of all.

Spending each day and night at the most famous arena in the world took my capacity of respecting the world of sports to an entire new set of levels. Hosting over 320 events annually, there’s never a moment of rest on 8th Ave. Home of millions of athletes’ favorite memories, the Garden is now absolutely one of mine. I think my fellow interns started to worry about me when it was almost late April and I still walked into the arena gushing, beaming, and skipping around the surrounding streets like it was Christmas eve. There’s a different vibe in the Garden. The most passionate, devoted and critical fans in the entire world roar and engulf your every move. Every matchup at the Garden carries weight – a different kind of weight. Every regular season game feels like a championship and the hype is sincerely never-ending. The motto for the arena is, “It’s different here”. I think you’re starting to get that by everything I’ve written.


But just in case you’re looking for proof, check out this video below. I worked at MSG with Ryan Watson, who made these promos, and there were many days after work I’d stop by his edit bay to just to get a preview of what he was producing. He’s super talented and can compile videos to move even the toughest fans alive! Enjoy!

 

 

History in the making

If you follow baseball at all, you are certainly aware of this freaky streak Josh Hamilton’s got goin’ on. I’m pleased to say that my lingering thoughts (nightmares) of him in a different jersey are gone. In fact, all I’ve been able to think about is how unexplainable his performance actually is. He is truly in his own world – and I really think we’re all speechless at this point.

As of tonight’s 4-1 win over the Astros, Hamilton’s hit streak increases to 16 games – obviously the best in the MLB. His average is at .402, with 18 HR and 45 RBI’s. He’s our Triple Crown threat right now, and it’s honestly chilling to know the Rangers are only 38 games into the season…

Attempting to predict his pace for the season is entertaining and alarming all at the same time! SportsDayDFW took a ‘look at what could be’, and it’s pretty eye opening. And as if the era couldn’t be any sweeter – you’ve now got the liberty to tell him how great he is – Josh has joined us on Twitter! (Don’t forget to wish him a happy birthday on May 21!)

Click below to watch Josh slam his 18th homer off CJ Wilson:

NYC through my lens

There’s really no way to “sum up” time spent in a place like New York City. The describing, reminiscing, and learning are all continual. Each day since moving back to Texas, I’ve uncovered another lesson, admiration or respect for NYC. Fueled each morning by the fire of chasing a dream, competition of the millions of people you brush against on the streets and sometimes merely functioning off of adrenaline sounds daunting – and it is. NYC truly is it’s own world.

I have so much to say about NYC! But for now, here are a few (of millions) of my favorite pictures and memories from my semester in NYC:

Truth’s out, and so is Perry

In honor of Baylor kicking off the Big 12 Tournament in electric fashion today, I’ve decided to take some time to highlight the shining player.

Okay, you know I’m punny.

But, seriously. Since being suspended one year ago the night before the Big 12 Tournament, Perry Jones III had yet to make his mark in the postseason run – until now. In his eighth double-double of the season, Jones III dropped 31 points, snagged 11 rebounds and made his possessions meaningful.

I’m not even going to talk about what his ‘fans’ have labeled his season. I won’t compare stats from his freshman and sophomore year. I’ve got something way, way better for you… A missing piece to your puzzle, if you will. Oh, you’re into solving things? Here’s a big piece of why I think Perry dominated today:

ESPN college basketball writer Jason King has uncovered everything you need to know. Read King’s article, There’s More to PJ3 Than Some Realize, here