Tag Archives: baylor

Advent, Apologies, and Joy

I have never experienced Advent in the way that I am experiencing it this year.

Each ticking off of the Sundays of Advent brings me another step closer to seeing my children return from their first semester at Baylor University – TOMORROW (God, weather, and roads willing).  To be a little cheesy, this mama bear is ready to have her cubs around for longer that 48 hours.  I am so proud of them, and I feel that we have all adjusted as well as we could have given the apple cart upsetting that we experienced in August.  I look forward to some relaxing times with them in our old stomping grounds of Minneapolis as well as our new home in Bismarck.  The time between Thanksgiving and today has dragged along, but I am sure that the next four weeks will fly by.  *sigh*

Each ticking off of the Sundays of Advent brings me another step closer to the end of our first semester at the University of Mary.  Seriously – wow! We have really changed our ministry focus and have loved every minute with the students here. This unique experience as Protestants in a committed Catholic environment has stretched and grown us in ways that we did not know could happen.  The dialogues that we have had with students and faculty have been amazing.  As I see it, we are here for two purposes: to be in dialogue with brothers and sisters from other denominations and to provide ministry in the Protestant traditions for those students and staff of those traditions.  This is transformational – can you imagine a Protestant university hiring a Catholic priest to minister on that Protestant campus? I am still in shock and so grateful.  I am really digging our new gig.

Advent is a time of reflection as we await the arrival of the Christ child.  In my reflecting, I have realized that sometimes I hit “publish” on my blog posts without thinking it all through.  A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a post about this new call on our lives, and I need to share an apology – or maybe just a clarification.  In the post, I wrote about sitting in Mass one Sunday evening and thinking that I am not “here” for the Catholic students sitting around me in the service.  After I hit publish and shared the post on Facebook, one of the Catholic students whom I would count as a dear friend made a comment.  It was not her comment that made me reflect but just the fact that she and I are in fellowship that forced me to re-think my words.  Who am I to limit God’s call on my life?  I am  here to minister to whomever and with whomever God brings into my life. We are here to be the hands and feet of Christ, to love any who comes into our lives, and to share the love of Jesus with whomever will listen.  So – I’m sorry. Deeply sorry.

Two days ago was the Advent Sunday of Joy.  My college English writing students who paid attention enough to know that we do not capitalize words without reason to do so would be upset that I wrote Joy instead of joy; however, it just seems like joy should be capitalized this week.  Maybe I should shout it – JOY (by the way, to those who follow me on Facebook, that lady is still sending me emails in all caps.  Seriously.).

JOY! Yes, this Advent week reminds us of the joy that our souls find because of Christ’s arrival on Earth.  As the song says, “No more let sin and sorrows grow.”  With Christ’s arrival on Earth, all of what was known about God’s kingdom was turned upside down and changed forever. Jesus – Messiah – arrived to save us, free us, bless us, and reign in us.  He came that we could live abundantly.

When we look around us, life abundant seems hard to find some days.  Death, divorce, disease, and discord seem to be winning the fight.  We should probably get off of our computers, log out of Facebook accounts, leave our houses, and go find life.  It is out there waiting for us to live in the same way that we wait in Advent.  And the joy that we seek will rarely be found where we think it will be – fame, career, or wealth.  Instead – in the same unexpected way that Jesus – the King – was found in a humble stable, JOY will likely be found in humble ways of serving others and looking beyond our own wants.

Advent reminds us that we remain in waiting for the second coming of Jesus.  All of the discord that we combat by seeking joy will end when Christ returns and reigns forever as King of King and Lord of Lords.  We will wait…and wait…and wait.  While we wait, we will seek joy through service to God through serving others.

Each year at Advent – this year at Advent – let us remember that Christ came so that we could have life.  As we wait to celebrate Christ’s birth, let us remember that Christ came for a purpose.  As we wait, let us remember that Christ is coming again.  Amen.




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Garage Door Woes and the Joys of March Madness

A little over an hour ago, the boy woke me from a light sleep by turning on my bedroom light and announcing, “The garage door won’t open.”

After a few ridiculous (and frustrating) questions, I jumped out of bed and joined him in the garage to inspect and to try the garage door.  It made noise, things moved, but the door did not open.

The boy needed to get to the bus at school for a speech meet.

We called the huz who had traveled to Sioux Falls, SD, as a board member for the Sioux Falls Seminary board meetings and inauguration of a new college president.  He gave us some ideas; we tried them.  None worked.  We gave up and moved on to getting the boy to the bus via his speech coach who graciously agreed.

We cannot predict when things are not going to work perfectly in our lives.

I relocated myself to the basement, snuggled into my fleece blanket on my chair, and chose my March Madness teams for the “Round-by-Round” bracket (free entry) as the third round starts in just a few hours.  After submitting a bracket with a good mixture of highly seeded teams as well as some Cinderella types, I clicked on the various other tabs to check out my standings in the brackets that matter – those in which I compete against people I might know or from which there is a prize.

As I mentioned in a prior post, I employed a few different techniques as a first ever March Madness bracketeer. Before the decision to engage in this social experiment, I pretty much knew absolutely nothing about NCAA basketball except that University of North Dakota and Baylor University are both Division I schools but in different conferences.

I chose a few different techniques to use for the Paladin Sports brackets (yes, brackets plural…I donated enough to ‘earn’ three brackets) but went out on my own to make decisions in other another bracket

I decided to do this as a way to donate to Paladin Sports in Arizona, but I have loved every minute of it! 

In the standings, I am currently sit in 47th and 50th (tied with myself) places. The only people doing worse than I…did not fill out their brackets at all.

My three techniques in the Paladin Sports league were as follows:

  • Bracket #1: Alphabetical – this has been an absolute disaster as not a single team that this technique predicted to be in the Final Four is even going into round three.
  • Bracket #2: Reverse Alpha – this technique is serving me better than straight alpha did, but it will not likely be a winner as Wofford is woe-fully not going to win.
  • Bracket #3: North over South – this technique is better than the first two, and I still have hopes that North Dakota State University will win it all…I am the only one in the league who predicted that!

I have a few take-aways from this experience that I thought I should share.

  1. If I choose a path or direction for an experience, I need to stick to that.  As I saw the final score of the Duke vs Mercer game posted, I checked my brackets and discovered that I had made a mistake on the reverse-alpha bracket. For some reason, I had clicked on Duke instead of Mercer.
  2. Sports are big business. I knew this before I engaged in this experiment, but I am more convinced of it than ever.  March Madness has at least four channels dedicated to the event ‘round the clock for a couple of weeks.  The money that flows into and because of college sports is incredible.  I need to process this more before I say anything else because I may regret what I say…it would likely be judgmental.
  3. Distraction is fun.
  4. I am smarter about sports than I thought! The bracket that I filled out with league run by the husband a colleague from work is doing better than the Paladin ones.  I went with my gut, did a bit of research, and chose teams I (or others I love) like.  That bracket could end up being a winner.  Sic’em, Bears!

The most important thing I have learned in this experience the key to choosing well in the March Madness brackets seem to be research and risk-taking. While I spent only a bit of time (in comparison to some) doing my research, it has paid off when I chose teams seeded #12 in the first round.  I also took some risks that have paid off.

While there are still several games to go, I am happy with my choices and am finding that bracket busting moments happen almost hourly in this madness.  If only those .2% of perfect bracket predictors could apply those predicting skills to the difficult things in life like when a child is going to get sick or when something is going to stop working.

Unfortunately, life does not work that way….or is that fortunately? What would we do if knew?

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It Really is Madness!

Those readers who know me personally know that a big event is coming up in my family’s world – both of my babes graduate from high school in June.

Though nothing could have prepared me for the feelings I have experienced over the past twelve months as we have visited Baylor University, applied to Baylor University, and bend accepted to Baylor University, I have enjoyed walking this “last year” road with them.

From time to time, my Facebook pasts have revealed how my insides churn with fear, sadness, and maybe even a twinge of guilt for the time I have squandered over the past seventeen or eighteen years. To balance that, though, there have been the “proud mom” posts as well as the adorable daily photos that they were taking for me.

Being the mom of two high school seniors is madness!

And because madness is a theme in March…and because Baylor will likely have a team in the March Madness world…and because I like to be in the know about sports and other social conventions, I decided that this would be the year to investigate this March Madness bracket world.

I have done a little investigating into these terms and processes, so I am now an expert because I used the internet – Google and Wikipedia – of course, my Facebook network, and – most importantly – Tony Mueller as my sources to develop “Stacy’s Guide to March Madness.”

Important things we should all know:
-64 teams start out
-single elimination takes it down by half in each round
-Sweet 16=remaining 16 teams
-Elite 8=remaining 8 teams
-Final 4=I bet you can guess what that means!
-National Championship: one team is a winner, and the other is shamed.

Brackets: there are lots of ways to get into a bracket competition. It is best to find someone who knows what they are doing to lead this, but just about anyone can join in.

My bracket involvement is going to be through Paladin Sports, a youth sports nonprofit for underprivileged youth in Arizona. I have an interview scheduled with a representative from there and plan to write a post entirely about them!

The important thing to know is that you should sign up no later than 3/15 because 3/16 (aka Selection Sunday) is when brackets become available. The Paladin Sports bracketing is through CBS, and it seems like “they” do all of the work of tallying points for you. So – pick your teams and then engage as little or as much as you would like to do.

I want to give a huge shout out to a few supportive people:
1. The huz – for having the best bracket selection technique suggestion
2. The babes – for mocking me a bit in all of this
3. Tony Mueller – for laughing at me in a way that did not make me feel dumb while he shared his important knowledge
4. Baylor University – for accepting my kids and having an awesome mascot… Sic’em, Bears!
5. My dad Rick – for raising me with a working knowledge of most sports
6. Paladin Sports – for providing a bracket option that supports a good cause…it makes this all so much more fun!

Because the Paladin Sports bracket stuff is a fundraiser, I bought three brackets. Why not? I plan to employ three different methods (none of which, by the way, were those suggested by my Facebook friends). Once bracket selection stuff (like that technical term?) is over, I will share my methods.

Stay tuned…so much more madness to come!

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