back at it, let’s do it

When life gets heavy, burdensome, or just plain drives you crazy, it’s so important to step back. Breathe. Remember. And evaluate.

And we’re just in time for all of those things!…That’s what the month of January is for! Resolutions are in full swing, my gym is waaay overcrowded, and we automatically get that sense of a new, clean slate. I know at the top of my slate, I have it written to spend more time here. A common thread of desire for people all over this world is (in very vanilla terms) to ‘do good’. What do you do?

Singing, painting, leading, researching, supervising, traveling, teaching studying, and serving are a few of the beautiful gifts you may have that come to my mind. I write. And when you’ve decidedly nailed down your gift, it can take you MUCH further than just ‘doing good’. You’re able to provoke, instill, inspire, and let your heart be contagious.

2012, you were adventurous and testing and challenging and I’m glad to say bye-bye to you! But I’m not naive enough to think that flipping the page on the calendar solves problems. Life takes you through a long, winding, never-ending road of seasons. Without dry, desolate still ones, you’ll never dig deep enough to tap into the depths of your soul. Exhibit A: Me, here, writing. Because I love it, and because God loves when I do it.

I am so grateful for new beginnings, mysteries and opportunities. You should be, too!! Look around harder tomorrow, and harder the next, with this little passage on your heart. You’ll be surprised to see all the bright and beautiful avenues God has created for you to enjoy.

See you very soon…

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.

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