Grateful. Thankful. Blessed.

Those three words are a on shirt that a friend and co-worker made recently so we could wear them at our annual school-wide Thanksgiving luncheon. You’re bound to have seen it on Pinterest at least a zillion times. These words describe how I feel during this Thanksgiving season. Appropriate, right? I am grateful, thankful and blessed for my family, friends, health and unwavering faith. We shouldn’t need reminders of how fragile life is but boy have we gotten them loud and clear recently. The tragedies in Las Vegas, Europe, Sutherland Springs brought it all back home for us. What else will it take for us to appreciate the people around us, our health and our opportunities to live another day?

I am blessed that I work with a great bunch of people and most closely with two girls that crack me up, encourage me to have fun, and not let the little things overwhelm me. I am also fortunate to consider them close friends too.  Everyone needs people like that, right?

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays because this is a time that brings us closer to family, reminds us of what is of most importance and let’s face facts, the food we get to eat is pretty darn good too.

On Tuesday, I was in charge of watching a class for a few hours. Since the students were done with their assigned work, they asked if they could write on the board. “Sure, but do it quietly” I replied. I walked around the room a bit and then looked up and caught the eye of one student as she was writing a message on the board. Keep in mind, there was no direction at all….so I wasn’t sure how creative they would get or  how much they’d push this “free writing time.” Her message caught my eye: “Happy Thanksgiving, everyone and God bless you and your family!” Almost every single student who chose to have a place at the board had wrote something about Thanksgiving. As we wound down the day and the students started to get their backpacks, they asked if they should erase the board. “No, let’s leave it like that.”  I chose to let the messages stay up so they could come back to see them after the break.  Ahh to look at life through the eyes of a child really tugs at one’s heart sometimes.

This is the time of year we could easily get wrapped up in “Black Friday” nonsense and feel we have to hurry up and eat so we can go to our favorite 15 retail places and stand in line with a million of our closes friends. Seriously? I challenge you to slow down and let the shopping wait and put family first. Put your differences aside, let go of whatever happened the past week and enjoy the moment. Give thanks for what you have, who you have in your life and let God know you appreciate all that he has given you.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!



Being open to God’s surprises

I will admit that I am pretty set in my ways (change is not always my favorite word) and tend to be more interested in surprising other people rather than be the one who is receiving surprise.  However, I have learned to sit back and be content, no, more than content…be open to life’s curve balls.  Sometimes it is more fun to “let the chips fall” and not know what’s around the bend.  In Sunday’s homily, a guest priest started off mass by asking us if we would be open to God’s surprises.  I am confident enough in my faith that I would be able to handle not knowing every detail of his plan for me.  In fact, I find it exciting thinking about the endless possibilities.  What people does God want me to meet?  Who will come into my life for a reason/season/lifetime?  Whose lives will I able to impact in a positive way?  Things happen for a reason, I firmly believe that.  We may not understand the reason at the very moment we’d like, but there is an underlying reason.  Just this past weekend, I was able to do a favor for a lady attending the OU football game.  She made what sounded like a simple request.  It ended up more complicated than it should have been (due to circumstances out of my control) but it was worth it to see the smile on her face and genuine gratification.

Later that day,  I met up with a gentleman, graduate of OU, who had temporarily lost his wallet.  Thanks to getting email on his phone, he was able to call my mobile, and we were able to connect so I could return the wallet.  He was from out-of-town and had played in the alumni band at halftime.  He would be traveling for work soon and was afraid he’d have to cancel his credit cards.  Thankfully, that didn’t have to happen.

I love full circle moments.   I was open to God’s surprises and because of that, I was able to make someone’s day and then be able to pay it forward and connect with a fellow Sooner (that was just a bonus, of course).  The lesson I learned, and continue to learn is this: Put your faith in God and trust him.  He has your back.

What Do You Have To Show For It?

Dear Readers,

We attend church as we have for most of our lives, we confess our sins and try to do as God would want.  What is the point-is it really worthwhile?  Even with all of that, what do we have to show for it?  That was the situation and question posed to the congregation by Fr. Wood at mass today.  If that didn’t get and hold one’s attention, you must have been hundreds of miles away.  For someone who has just recently gotten back into attending church on a regular basis, I appreciated this homily.  For a while, I was that person who questioned what I was getting out of mass, why should I bother, I’m not really seeing the point.  I even attended a few services at my best friend’s church and enjoyed them.  At the same time, I was torn, like I was turning my back on the way I was raised.  This is silly as I was still acting like a Christian and my faith in God never wavered. I didn’t stop being Catholic.

My answer to the question that Fr. Wood posed would be pretty simple.  To me, you get what you give.  Sometimes God answers us with people he feels should be in our lives.  Sometimes he answers us with a challenge which could be professional, family or even health.  Most of the time, he reminds us that it is not about us as individuals.  Our actions have consequences and affect those around us in one way or another. God will always have our back.  He will help us through the tough times and celebrate the good times.  If you don’t have his back, how can you expect to receive?

I thank God every day for what he has given me…whether that is for the people in my life or even the challenges I have faced. The challenges do something for me just like the blessings make me richer.  So if you are ever frustrated like I was, step back and think about what you have put into the equation. 


My Blog Reinvented

Three simple words that describe “a few of my favorite things” (yes, that would be a reference to The Sound of Music).  in a nutshell.  To me, faith is believing that there is something (or someone) greater that gets me through the difficult days.  Faith is knowing that God has a plan for me though I may not understand the intricacies.  Faith is trusting God when the alternative is to stay in the past. 


Family is the group of people that are there no matter what.  I’m blessed to have two older sisters (yea, wasn’t always giddy about that) but I can’t tell you how much of a relief it is to know they always have my back.  My parents are unconditionally supportive and I am grateful for their love.  For the past 16 years, I have been lucky enough to be an aunt.  Being the youngest child, I have absolutely loved being able to watch my nephews and niece grow up and see the world through their eyes.

Last, but certainly not least, sports.  Sports are my outlet, distraction and home away from home.   I love fall….fall is the changing of the leaves; fall is cooler weather; fall is Thanksgiving and vacation for me.  Friends may cringe when they read this, but to me, fall is basketball season.  Typically, my Wednesday and Sundays are spent at Lloyd Noble Center, home of the Oklahoma Sooners.  For those 2 hours, my mind is free of all the things I need to be doing, fixing, assessing, etc… and I am a fan.  I feel like I’m 12 years old again and in my backyard shooting hoops.  Whether I’m celebrating a fast break play by Morgan Hook or a 3-pointer from Vegas (aka Aaryn Ellenberg), or watching Coach Coale with hands on her hips and that crooked smile after some stupid call by the refs….I don’t have a care in the world but enjoying those 40 minutes of basketball.  Basketball is my first love….and thanks to a family member having introduced me to OU (and Coale’s ’02 Final Four team playing in my hometown of San Antonio), I’m a Sooner and darn proud of it.