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Saturday, October 27, 2007

Championship

Sarah had her last 2 games of the Soccer season today. One at noon which was the end of the regular season. And then, since they won Thursday evening, they played at 3:30 (well more like 4 since we had to wait on the ref to finish another game) for the championship. We played a team that we had played once earlier in the season, and they are very good. In fact, we were tied 0-0 at the end of regulation play and it went to a "shoot-out." Each team chose 5 players (including goalie) to shoot for a goal. At the end of those five shots each, whoever has the most, wins. I believe we won it 3-2. So the Jets ended the season with no losses and one tie. Way to go JETS!!! Here are some highlights from the season...

After their first game and first victory!

Playing hard against the Dragons.

BLAST THE BALL!

I must give credit to another team mom for the above picture! Thanks Juanita!

I love the pledge that is said before each and every game...

video

Now for the fun part... winning today. The other team had the last kick and we were up by 1. I apologize for any shakyness of the camera... but I think you'll understand why once you see the video. Too funny.

video

We had a great season and a lot of fun. Personally, Sarah really began to get the hang of things here the last couple of weeks. She really enjoyed it. Thanks to the coaches and other parents on our team that made this such a good first soccer experience for her and us.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gig 'em!

Just had to post this. It's an awesome rendition of "The Spirit of Aggieland."

http://picasaweb.google.com/TracaMiller/Sept07/photo?authkey=Gg8iMUO2f9E#5112454912157208674

Now that's "red-***"!

Set Backs

Do you encounter set backs often? Aren’t they frustrating? In my experience they usually come because of some short-coming on my part: something I should have seen coming but didn’t, something I have to re-do because of trying to take a short-cut, or it becomes necessary to go back and do something later that I should have done in the first place. Our latest set-back falls into all three of these categories amazingly enough.

We’ve actually been rocking right along on the living room. Mike hung all the dry-wall that we needed and I actually taped the joints and some corners that were unfinished underneath the paneling. For a first-timer, I was feeling pretty good about the job I did. We patched all the holes and pretty-well had everything sanded. Then we made a decision.

We decided that, since some of the dry-wall was stained dark brown because of the stain that was used on the wood paneling, we ought to use some primer on those areas to even out the color and keep that stain from bleeding through the texture. Good decision, right? Yeah, we thought so too.

So, we wiped down all the walls to get the excess dust off, made trip number 26 to Lowe’s since starting this project, and I began priming, hoping to have this step finished tonight (Saturday night). I stepped back to admire my handiwork only to notice that the wall paper that we had decided would not come off the wall and that we would just texture over was beginning to bubble up. I began to play with it a little only to find that it was coming off now in sheets.

The funny thing is that both my sister, Diane, and my dear friend, Cristel, both said something to me on Monday about this great product that will just take the wall paper right off. “Nah. We’re just going to leave it and texture over it. We don’t want to mess with it.”

So, something in the primer is releasing the glue on the wall paper and we can’t just leave it alone. Now we’ve got to mess with it. So rather than finishing that part tonight, we had to pack it in, and now I’m typing this journal entry.

Set backs. They’re a part of life. Especially when we try to take the easy road rather than the right road. And yet, sometimes set backs are unavoidable and have nothing to do with anything we’ve done. Our other set back from getting as much done today falls into this category.

Nathan has been a little congested over the last week or so. At first I thought it was just allergy related, then I figured it was just a little cold. But he never missed a beat. He kept right on plugging along, never had a fever, never acted like he didn’t feel well. That is, until this morning.

He got up just fine, but then he wasn’t all that interested in the chocolate chip pancakes I made for breakfast (there’s a clue that something’s wrong) and he just wanted to go back to bed. So, we let him, figuring that he was just tired from getting to bed late last night after being at parents’ night out at his day-care. Mike lay down with him for a little while, then came out and said he was pretty much asleep, so Sarah and I left to go to her soccer game. When we got home, we found out that things had gone down-hill right after we left. Nathan was now feverish and had thrown-up the little bit of milk that he drank this morning. Off we go to the urgent care clinic.

They say it’s bronchitis and we did get his fever down a little this afternoon. But Mike and I failed to get another dose of Tylenol in him soon enough and it spiked back up again, and higher this time. My thermometer read 102.3 under his arm at one point. Poor thing. We just checked in on him a few minutes ago to give him some more medicine and I got a temperature of 100.3. Quite an improvement, although he still feels pretty warm to me. So, we’ll be up again at 2 am and 5 am, and there won’t be any of us going to church in the morning. We’ll just have our own worship service right here. Maybe Mike will preach and I can bob my head up and down as I fall asleep during his sermon so he can see what it feels like.

Set backs. Between the time spent at urgent care and the time spent just holding our sick little 2 year old, we didn’t get a lot done today. And since we didn’t take all the wall paper off initially like we should have, we couldn’t do what we had planned to do this evening and we’re not as close to wrapping up this project as we thought we were. It’s frustrating. But we learn, dig in, work to get it done, and on occasion, take a break and just hold our kids.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Balls

19 October 2007
At first glance, one would think that the ball of choice in our family right now is the soccer ball.

Sarah is really enjoying playing soccer this year. And she seems to be learning the technique pretty well, too. She has played goalie a couple of times and blocked one goal that I can think of. She is also running much better, faster, and keeping a little more control of the ball. Their last practice was Thursday. Now there are just games this Saturday, Thursday, and next Saturday.

Nathan is enjoying Sarah playing soccer as well. He is constantly asking to go to Sarah’s soccer game. I think he mainly just likes being able to run around and go to the playground, but he’s having fun, right? He was asking tonight about “Nathan’s soccer game. My soccer game.”
However, the real ball of choice around here lately is juggling balls. It seems that we are in the middle of a huge juggling act right now and all the balls are up in the air. At any moment, it seems that everything could come crashing down. Lord, please sustain us.

I have noticed that I’m really exhausted lately… more than what would seem normal for my body adjusting to our new schedule with my job. I think it’s because I just don’t have much if any down time. All of our evening time that would normally just be “down-time” in front of the TV is being spent working on the living room (which is coming along… slowly). Anymore, it just makes me tired to look at the living room. It also seems like I’m constantly thinking about commitments, people I need to contact or check on, and what I need to do next. I’m getting to bed early enough on a regular basis, so I guess I didn’t think I needed other rest. Apparently, I was wrong. Lord, please give us good rest.

And, as if there hasn’t been enough change and things going on in our lives this last month, it looks like more may be on the horizon. Another firm contacted Mike last week and is pretty actively recruiting / pursuing him. He had lunch with a director and a partner with this firm on Wednesday. They then called him on Thursday wanting to move forward and the partner asked Mike to meet him for breakfast (since he lives not too far from us) early next week. The whole thing just seems to be out of the blue and it took us very much by surprise. Right now, we’re just continuing to walk through the doors that seem to be so wide open, all the while seeking what God’s plan is for us in this. Lord, we need your wisdom.

So, life is truly a juggling act right now for us. If I could back out of anything right now, I would. However, many of the commitments that I have were made before I started working and are relatively short-term in nature. Many of them will be finished before Christmas. So, once we get the living room finished (hopefully by Thanksgiving), the children’s musical done, and finish our adult musical performances (both in early December), my life will slow down a lot and I may be able to return to a sense of normalcy. For now, though, we will continue to keep juggling and praying that God keeps all our little balls from crashing to the ground.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Will I Go Back There?

As I’ve been dressing for work these last two weeks, I have found that, to my GREAT surprise, many of my clothes don’t fit very well… and in a good way.

I have lost about 25 pounds over the last year and a half. This number boggles even my mind, but it is real. I know it is real because my doctor and I just discussed it today as I went for that wonderful annual exam that all we women must deal with. But I digress.

That 25 pounds translates into about 1 ½ - 2 sizes in pants for me. I went through my closet the week before I started work and cleared out about 6 pair of pants that were falling off of me. I look at myself in these clothes and think, “Was I really that fat?” The answer is a resounding, “Yes. You were.” In fact, I was able to fit back into two pair of my favorite pre-Nathan pants. Now, friend that is what I call exciting.

However, this week I went to put on this one pair of olive green silk cropped / Capri pants that I just absolutely adore. I couldn’t wear them. They were just too big in the waist. I tried everything. I pulled the waistband over and tried to pin it even. Hey, it’s worked before. But not this time. I couldn’t cinch the waist up enough and have them still look decent. But I also can’t bring myself to get rid of them. I have a hard time with thinking that I could balloon right back out again.

It’s true. Yes, I could stop exercising all together. I could begin drinking all manner of sugar loaded soft drinks again. I could start eating huge portions at meals. I could snack on chips and salsa or “Milk’s favorite cookie” (Oreos). I could easily do it. And I have a hard time thinking that I won’t. But I need to think that I won’t. I need to believe I won’t. I need to live like I believe that I won’t.

Not unlike my spiritual life right now. The Lord has enabled me recently to take my walk with Him to another level. I have discovered a level of a love for Him and His precious Word that I have never experienced before. It’s like all my old spiritual clothes don’t fit anymore… they’re too small.

And just the same, I look at myself and, although I have no desire to go back to the mediocre life I was living, I have a hard time with thinking that I will slip back into my old habits. I can see myself thinking that I need just a few more minutes of sleep and I’ll read my Bible later (and then I never do). I can see myself just drifting along through my days and through life, not looking for God’s work at every turn. And just like with my diet and exercise, I need to not only believe that I won’t, but I need to live like I believe that I won’t go back there… ever again. Because I don’t want to.

Holy Spirit, empower me to believe and live like I will never go back to that old life I was living. I want to continually know you more, Lord Jesus. I want to love you more, Father God. I want to me filled up to overflowing with you, Holy Spirit. I want more of You. I want this song to describe my desire for You.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U3GijrnfStk

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Meeting Preparation

Today at work I began learning one of the things that will be my responsibility. On Thursdays and Fridays I will go through the process of preparing our clients’ files for meetings that Tyler and John will be having the following week. It’s certainly not rocket science – none of this job is (which is good considering my aptitude with math). However, there are a lot of steps to what I need to prepare and several different places that I have to go to get the needed information. It took up pretty much our whole day today, however I can see that it will go quicker with time as I familiarize myself with the process from week to week. But with as much time as it took, it kind of made me sigh in frustration when one of the guys told me that one client or another had called to say that they wouldn’t be able to make it for their meeting.

As I began to understand what all the reports and pages were that I was printing out, I was impressed by the detail and scope of information that we included in each meeting folder. The prep packet includes client profiles and detailed account information. I also printed a detailed history of meeting notes that included in many cases, personal notes about what is going on in each family’s life. I put myself in the client’s position for a moment and considered how it would make me feel that my financial planner remembered that, for example, my son and his wife had a baby recently. I don’t know about you, but it would make me feel pretty good and give me a sense of security that this person that is handling my finances takes the time to remember the details of my life.

On my way home, I began thinking about the idea of meeting preparation and I found myself thinking about my meeting time with God. Isn’t it amazing that the God of the universe does not need someone behind the scenes preparing our files for Him to look at prior to us meeting with Him? He doesn’t need a list of meeting notes to remind himself of what’s going on in our lives. He has perfect memory. He is always prepared. And waiting.

And then I got to thinking about some of the passages that my BSF lesson took me to today. I realized that he did do some “meeting preparation” of sorts.

  • Hebrews 2:16-18 says, “For surely it is not angels he helps, but Abraham's descendants. For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people. Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.”
  • Hebrews 4:15-16 tells us, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”
In sending His Son, Jesus, to earth to be fully man as He was also fully God, He enabled Jesus to fully experience the human existence. He prepared our Great High Priest to be able to sympathize and help us with all the things we experience as humans and may bring to Him in prayer: hurt, disappointment, suffering, temptation, even sin as He experienced the weight of all our sin as He hung on the cross.

And, yes, He’s always waiting. I may have been a little frustrated that all my work was wasted when those clients called to say that they couldn’t make their appointments. Can you imagine how disappointing it is to the God of the universe when we miss our time with Him? And he doesn’t even have to prepare anything.

Lord, help me to be faithful to keep my daily appointments with you. Help me to have concentrated times of worship each and every day.

Monday, October 1, 2007

First Days

First days are always interesting. I remember hating the first day of school because it always seemed to fall on my birthday (like it would have this year). I always thought that really stunk. I felt like it should have been a holiday and that I shouldn’t have to go to school on my birthday. I, of course, loved my first day as a wife. I was catered to and doted on. My first day as a mom was interesting, for sure. The emotion of it all was really overwhelming. And today was like many other first days… interesting.

I started my new job today. I’m working part-time (25-30 hrs a week) doing operational and administrative support for a financial advisor with Ameriprise.

Here’s how the day went…

5:40 am Alarm clock sounds and I’m up and getting dressed and grabbing a drink of water, putting a load of laundry in the wash, then spending time reading passages from my BSF lesson in Matthew and in prayer

6:00 am Exercising on elliptical trainer (Mike is actually up and in the shower. I'm stunned.)

6:20 am In the shower & getting dressed and ready. I realize that I need to still wait a while to put on make-up because my face is still beet red from exercising.

6:30 am Take clothes out of washer, start dryer, put another load in the washer.

6:40 am Mike wakes Sarah up to get going.

6:50 am I feel like I can finally put on some make-up and then eat breakfast with Sarah.

7:20 am Help Sarah practice piano.

7:30 am Mike coaxes Nathan out of bed and is trying to convince him to eat some breakfast which is meeting some stiff opposition.

7:50 am Time-Out #1 for the day for Nathan for I can’t remember what now.

7:55 am Mike and Sarah start to leave.

7:59 am I yell and Mike to get going and that I’ll finish the laundry later.

8:00 am Mike and Sarah leave. I should be leaving. Nathan is wigging out because Daddy’s leaving and wants to give him a big hug, so we go outside to wave bye-bye… he won’t say good-bye… wigs out again as they drive away because he wants a big hug.

8:05 am Time-Out #2 for Nathan for I can’t remember what. Should have left 5 minutes ago.

8:10 am An impromptu song session as we attempt to get Nathan dressed.

8:24 am Nathan is in the car, finally, and now I’m wigging out trying to get the rest of everything else in the car. I think I already stink from the sweat. Did I take a shower?

8:29 am Should already be at the office and yet I am just now driving up to day-care. Nathan wigs out, yet again, as I leave him. No time for pictures (we did that on our practice day on Friday) or breaking hearts. Gotta go!

8:45 am Finally arrive at office. I’m exhausted, I’ve been up and going for 3 hours and it’s not even 9 o’clock. Ugh. Thank the Lord for an extra measure of energy (even if it is partially fueled by my thermos of coffee).

9:00 am I begin learning that I’ve got a lot to learn about my new job.

10:30 am Staff meeting with Tyler (main financial advisor and owner of the practice/business), John (the other f.a.), Mike (operations guy). This consisted of them going through their normal Monday staff meeting routine including prayer over the business and a set of clients. Did I mention that I love that?

11:30 am John leaves the meeting and Tyler, Mike and I meet. Normally a few operational things are discussed, but Tyler also wanted to just give me the run-down of how some things work around there. His favorite words... flow and details.

12:15 pm Lunch… I head home, stop at the tailor on the way to pick up some pants. I get home, eat some lunch while I’m putting away the clean dishes, work on my BSF lesson, then head back out calling the day care on the way back to check on my little man. He’s doing fine.

1:15 pm I begin to see that I’ve REAAALLY got a lot to learn about my new job.

5:15 pm Head home. Pick up Sarah from her after school care (who looks hot and exhausted as she’s been playing outside) and drive around the corner to pick up Nathan (who wouldn’t hardly let me put him down once I got there) They’ve both had good days. Nathan napped (albeit for only an hour) and Sarah has already finished her homework.

6:00 pm Arrive home and start on dinner.

6:25 pm Mike arrives home.

6:45 pm Dinner. Time-Out # 3 (at least) for Nathan and I do remember why (he spit a piece of zucchini out of his mouth that he didn't want to eat).

7:15 pm Send Sarah to the shower and continue to encourage Nathan to finish his dinner.

7:45 pm Nathan is in the bath and I hear Mike say to Sarah, "What are you doing? You have to point the hair dryer at your hair for it to work. Just stop and go make your lunch."

8:00 pm They should both be in bed, and yet, well, Sarah is still making her lunch for tomorrow and Nathan is wigging out because he told me he didn’t want to do something so I did it and lo and behold, he actually wanted to do it. And I was supposed to read his mind…

8:15 pm Sarah is in bed reading and Nathan has convinced Mike that he needs to go potty. This from my son that usually says… “No, need diaper.” He’s stalling.

8:20 pm Nathan has completely lost it. I go in to see if I can help and I find out that he did, in fact, tee-tee in the potty but dad didn’t know where the treats were and yet again, he said he didn’t want to do something so dad did it and lo and behold, he actually wanted to do it. Can someone tell me how to explain this concept to a 2 year old?

8:30 pm Everyone is in bed… kind of.

9:15 pm Our 3rd or 4th trip into his room with the spanking spoon (for getting out of bed).

10:00 pm I’m done…