Reflecting on 2018

As 2018 winds down, I figured this was a good time to reflect on the past year.  Time and time again, I believe God sends me messages, through people that come into my life, intended to remind me to appreciate every moment and also, perhaps, take me in a different direction.  The following is just a taste of my look back on 2018. 

This year has brought me the random stranger I met who shared with me that his wife just received news that her cancer was back for the third time 3 days before Christmas.  When I touched his arm to express my care and promised to say a prayer for them, for a brief moment, he was no longer a stranger.  2018 brought me a connection and friendship with a new parent to our school whom I am so blessed to know.  She has made me a better person, friend and frankly made me put more depth into my job.  

2018 started off where I was enjoying a Happy Hour with friends celebrating my belated birthday only to have our world turned upside down the next day.  We learned that one of our students was fighting for his life in the hospital with a brain tumor.  In the short time that followed, our community grew even closer which, looking back now, was probably the student’s doing.  Just a few days after he lost his fight, his parents came by school “to check on the kids” meaning his classmates.  Spend just a few minutes with his parents and you can’t help but have a sense of peace come over you.  They are two of the most grounded, faith-filled individuals I’ve ever met and are simply amazing examples to others.  This tragedy taught me a lesson and brought me a renewed sense of faith and reminded us all how important it is to “just get along.”  

April 2018, I explored the Pacific Northwest with my sister for a quick getaway to Port Orchard, WA (shout out to you Debbie Macomber).  We stayed in a beautiful B & B that overlooked the quaint, coastal town and enjoyed shopping and local wineries.  Both my older sisters and I try to take full advantage of what was instilled in us by our parents….the joy of travel! 

In August, I attended a 40th birthday party of one of my dearest and closest friends.  Guests were not allowed to know who was invited which was pretty cool and unique. I got to witness how all of the people invited knew the guest of honor and I was (and still am) no doubt blessed to be counted among her friends.  She reminds me every day to see the best in life, to laugh and shows me how important it is to stay connected and build community.  Just a mere few days ago brought me my own 40th birthday bash, where I celebrated with friends and family and couldn’t have had a better night (even if my actual birthday came two days later…I’ve already decided I’m celebrating all year long).

While most of us go into a new year with “resolutions” to get organized, be more fiscally responsible, etc…. I’m going to try a different approach.  Granted, I’m probably going to still try to be more fiscally responsible and organized, but I also want to never lose sight of the relationships in my life and enjoy all the little moments.  As cliche as that sounds, it still bears repeating.  We can’t get those moments back so make the most of them and when you have an opportunity to make a difference in someone’s life, do it.  I’ve also been reminded about the power of prayer…..how much writing a note to someone matters….sending a text to say you’ll get through this…..and to trust in God’s plan and his path for all of us.  

Cheers to 2019!

Advertisements

Finally Friday: Bedlam Week

I skipped a few entries on my “Finally Friday” segments, but here I am again.  The week after we come back from Thanksgiving is always hard.  For most of us, we’ve just spent the past few days with family and it’s hard to get back into work mode.  Fortunately, things are slow at the office so we can carry over “Holiday Hangover” for a little bit.  I had the pleasure of grabbing lunch with friends this week.  I’ve always had the mentality of having a small group of quality friends vs. a large number of friends that I rarely contact.  These particular friends are definitely in the category of quality.

This weekend, the OU football team plays their last game at home for the season.  What this really means is one thing: Bedlam and our in-state rivalry.  It’s always fun to be in our stadium for this game because our fans go crazy, and fortunately for the most part, they behave.  The rivalry isn’t as strong for me as I haven’t “lived and breathed” it for my whole life.  I’ve been around it for a mere 8 years.  No question though, I bleed crimson.

Tonight is our holiday office party.  I love that we are a group that wants to spend time together even after hours.  That is one reason I have stayed in this particular office, because I get along with my co-workers which is refreshing and I know not the case everywhere.  We are playing “Dirty Santa” which always brings out an interesting side of people…should be entertaining.

Sunday, a few of us are leaving for New Orleans for a conference.  A girl in our office has been kind enough to give us a list of suggestions of where to eat and some fun places to visit.  As I looked it over, I joked to the rest of the group that I hope we’re able to get in some workshops.  We’re a very talented group and are quite sure we can master the art of time management, ha!  I haven’t visited New Orleans in a number of years so it should be a fun return…especially with the group joining me.

Hope everyone has a good weekend!

Boomer Sooner and Beat OSU!

Mary

What are You Grateful for Today?

Dear Readers,

I saw the above phrase on Facebook courtesy of Beach Cottage Life and it prompted me to reflect on how I spent this past Christmas Day.  From two different friends, I received invitations to spend part of the day with them.  Being away from my blood family (since I feel when you choose friends well, they become your extended family), these were perfect ways for me to be surrounded by people I care about and not dwell on not being home in San Antonio.  Today I am grateful for my friends who think enough of me to include me in their family gatherings.  I started the day by attending church, and then had lunch with one of the most thoughtful and best individuals I know, Terri Moyer.  I ended the day by having dinner with another friend, Connie Lang, and her family.  There were kids enjoying both their toys and hanging out with cousins, sisters harassing each other (all in good fun) and wine enjoyed by all.  By the time I left her house, my mouth hurt from laughing.  Not a bad way to spend Christmas.

Louise Bernikow picture quotes - Female friendships that work are relationships in.. - Friendship sayings

I am thankful for my health, my faith and for knowing that I have the power to change my surroundings.  I can choose to keep looking back on the past in a negative way or look ahead and concentrate on the positive and endless possibilities that await me.  Last, but certainly not least, I am grateful that in 3 days I will see my sister, parents and 2 of my nephews and niece.  

I hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas and were surrounded by those you loved.  If you care to share what YOU are grateful for today, I would love to hear it.

Sincerely,

Mary

A Steadfast Sooner Taken Too Soon

Steadfast.  This was the word that Mike Butler used to describe his best friend, Karl Moyer, during the “celebration of Karl’s life” today.  Though I only knew Karl for 7 years, he still made an impression on me.  I have tried to process, unsuccessfully I might add, his untimely death.  Nevertheless, different memories have flashed through my head and I can’t help but smile.

While I do not disagree with Mike’s word association for Karl, something different comes to my mind: sports.  Before I gave them up, I had season tickets to men’s basketball and sat right below Karl and Terri.  At our first game together, Karl started yelling at the refs and Terri sweetly put her hand on my shoulder and apologized.  I just laughed, shook my head and dismissed her apology saying it didn’t bother me at all.  Having grown up with my Dad who shouts at the talk show hosts as if they can hear him, I knew we would get along well.

Whether it was sitting with Terri and Karl at games or hearing them make plans for dinner, I could easily see that they were perfect for each other.  Karl would frequently drop Terri off at the front of Lloyd Noble while he went to park the car.  Terri would get snacks they both liked and lovingly went along when he was ready to leave a game early.  I laugh when I think back to one game where Karl leaned down and shared with me that he was going to get Terri an iPhone for Christmas.  For those of you attended Karl’s funeral (or simply know him well) know he’s all about the gadgets….but Terri doesn’t always make them a priority.  I thought it was sweet that he was so excited about it and was certain she’d feel the same way.  Though she had a perfectly good Razor flip phone at the time, she ended up warming up to the iPhone fairly quick.

The first time I saw Karl on campus after he got a job with Physical Plant, he gave me a big hug and had this huge smile on his face.  When I saw Terri for a lunch date shortly after that and asked how he was liking his new job, she said “Oh my gosh, he loves it!  He thought it was so neat getting to go up to the press box on game day.”

Terri and Karl are the type of people you would do anything for and vice versa.  Though my heart breaks for her and the girls, I simply have to trust that this was a part of God’s plan. Every time we are around the girls, we will get to see Karl in their mannerisms, facial expressions and certainly physical resemblance.  Those who are able to call the Moyers their friends are forever blessed.  As Mike Butler said, the relationships we have are what ultimately make a life whole and fulfilled.