Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Rookie Year of Fantasy Football

I grew up a college football fan, and admittedly didn't have much to do with the NFL.  I might watch the Superbowl every year, primarily for the half-time show and commercials.  That is until I met and married my husband.  You see my husband has been playing fantasy football since you did it with a pad and pencil.  As a 12 year old, the league he played in had to adjust the rules for the loopholes his middle school mind had found to outwit the middle aged men he was playing against.  He scheduled his fantasy football draft into our honeymoon for heaven's sake!  So, in married life, I have at least found an appreciation for the NFL and I have of course had to have a certain reverence for fantasy football.  I have learned all sorts of new vocabulary, like "keeper leagues," "flex players," and "positional value."  Last year I even found myself cheering during NFL games for my husband's fantasy players (it didn't hurt that there was a little money riding on them).  Never did I think that I would find myself with my very own fantasy football team.  Until now...

Last night I (somewhat jokingly) told my husband that I might be willing to have a team this year if the league he is a commissioner for was a team short.  Today while I was at school teaching I received a text message that said, "You are playing fantasy. I will train you tonight.  Don't let me down."  No pressure right?  In his defense he did add a smiley face to the end.  So here I am tonight finding myself in a pile of top 100 lists, mock drafts, and drafting strategies.  Here are my top 10 thoughts going into my first fantasy draft tomorrow night.

1.  I'm stressed out about getting a quarterback.  I know I don't have to pick one in the first round, but I don't want to end up with a really bad one either.  And let's just be honest, I know more names on that list than on any of the others.

2. I refuse to draft Patriots and Steelers.  Why?  Patriots- Have you seen the way their slob of a coach dresses?  Steelers- Last I checked they still have Ben Roethlisberger.  I'm pretty sure it's a disgrace to females everywhere if I pick him or any of his teammates.

3. My two exceptions to #2...Hines Ward (because he was really fun on Dancing with the Stars) and Chad Ochocinco (he's really a Bengal anyway and I have his jersey).

4.  I also refuse to pick any former South Carolina Gamecocks.  I am a Clemson Tiger to the very core of my being.  I have never cheered for a Gamecock and I never will.

5.  It stinks to be a Tight End.  Who are these guys anyway?

6.  I need a kicker with a really cool last name.  I mean listen to some of these...Gostkowski, Janikowski, Longwell, Vinatieri...kickers have the coolest names.

7. I will not draft my kicker or my defense too early.  Otherwise my husband will call me an idiot like he does the other guys he plays fantasy with.

8. I'm going to do my best not to draft a Clemson Tiger just because I want to...but I probably will, I'm just going to try and not draft one too early.  I can't help it, I have a soft spot for my Tigers.

9.  I will keep up with my team.  If I have any plans on getting invited back, I know not to be a slacker that doesn't keep up with my team.  I hear how guys talk about "those guys."

10. I will not get mad or hold grudges against guys who pick the players I want.  I understand that this is part of the drafting process and I will not "be a girl" about it.

So there you go.  Thoughts from a rookie girl playing fantasy football for the first time.  Sundays should be interesting in our house this year.

Monday, June 6, 2011

My Summer Reading List

As many of you know, I have spent the last 8 years traveling during the summer. Having now gone into "camp retirement" I feel like I am spending this year rediscovering things I enjoy and love about summer. What are some of those things? Naps, Sno cones, watching movies (both at home and in the theatre), going on vacation, and among many other things...reading.

I love to read. I can't remember a time I have not enjoyed reading (outside of some school assignments and the majority of my first time in grad school). I can remember spending hours in the back of my family's mini-van reading on the way to summer vacation. I was also always the kid who wanted to get any required summer reading done as soon as possible, so I could read all the things that I wanted to instead. Don't get me wrong...I also actually enjoyed some of those reads, like Cold Sassy Tree and Their Eyes Were Watching God, but usually I just wanted to dive into my favorites. Back then those faves included classic literature like Sweet Valley High. My taste evolved into even more sophisticated authors like Danielle Steel and Mary Higgins Clark. I hope you are detecting my sarcasm here. I didn't claim to be a literature elitist, but a lover of books. I would say I still enjoy a mix of good literature with a side of guilty pleasure. I just enjoy books that engage my imagination and that make me want to keep turning the pages. So...now that I have all this time on my hands this summer, what books are going to be on my summer reading list? Well....here they are....

The Help by Kathryn Stockett - I actually already read this one and it is fantastic!

Love the One Your With by Emily Giffin (author of Something Borrowed)

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford

The Mozart Conspiracy by Scott Mariani

Throne of Fire by Rick Riodan

Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush

The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

The Year We Left Home by Jean Thompson

and in keeping with my adolescent interests...

Sweet Valley Confidential: 10 Years Later by Francine Paschal

So, as you can see, I still have somewhat random taste in books, but I have big plans for my summer reading. We'll see what other books make their way on the list before it is all said and done. What are you reading this summer? Is there a book you think I should add to my list?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sweet Home Alabama...Journey of the Last 8 Months and What's Next

So, it's been a while since I blogged on here. That in part is because the last 8 months have been busy. It's is also in part because there have been things we have explored over the last 8 months that I couldn't really share publicly. And its also because there were times that I didn't really know how else to express "We don't really know anything yet" or "We're just waiting to see what comes next." So to catch up both old and new friends on the last few years and months, here goes...

Aug 2006- I moved to Birmingham from Nashville to be closer to Brad and I took a job as an Event Coordinator with Student Life. We became engaged that year and got married in Aug of 2007.

2007/2008- Brad graduated from Beeson Divinity School while working part time as an Event Director with Student Life. I worked full-time with SL still as and EC. We traveled that summer.

2008/2009- We both worked full time with SL and traveled during the summer. I felt called to pursue teaching and began the process of applications to schools and fulfilling prerequisite requirements.

2009/2010- We knew coming in to this year at SL it would be our last. After 8 summers on the road for both of us, we knew our camp journey was coming to a close. I worked part-time while beginning the 5th Year Master's Program at the University of Montevallo in Elementary Education.

So, in August of 2010, we returned home. We knew our time with Student Life and camp was over after that summer. It was a fantastic team and summer of ministry, and the perfect note to leave on. We were not bitter, we were not frustrated, we were just finished. We felt our journey was complete. We were at peace that God was leading us in another direction, we just weren't sure what that was yet. We knew we would need to be in Birmingham at least until May, as that is when I would graduate. And that was about all we knew. Brad had an opportunity to go to Vietnam with our church in September and when he returned, he began looking for jobs here in Bham.

To be honest, the fall was frustrating in many ways. I really didn't want to think about moving, but Brad was having no luck on the local job front. He felt stuck and I was busy finishing up my last semester of classes before student teaching. In December, we started to really talk about what it looked like to "widen our net" and be open to pursue jobs anywhere. God really turned my heart over those few weeks and I was ready to accept not staying in Birmingham and moving on to somewhere new. January 1st, Brad started to pursue various options and make connections with people to see what opportunities were out there. I started student teaching that month. My experience student teaching has been without a doubt a God appointed thing. I have learned so much from those little 5 & 6 year olds (I plan to blog about this at another time).

A few opportunities came on the table, primarily in various locations in the southeast. We were determined to pursue things until God closed the door. We were open to what He intended to be next. One of the most difficult things during this time was the inability to plan things. We felt like we were having to put off some things we wanted to do and like we had to wait until the last minute to do others. Brad was glad things were moving with some of the jobs, but was frustrated with the day to day boringness of not having a lot to do while I was busy student teaching. Fortunately, a part time/contract work opportunity with Student Life came along that was good to provide us with some income and also gave Brad something to focus on, which was much needed.

During these months, there were times of frustration and just general wondering of when God would let us in on His plan. We had faith, we did not think he had forgotten us, but we also did not feel that we always shared in his time table. It was a testing of patience for sure. But we trusted that in His good and perfect timing we would know. I admit that there was a Sunday back in March before my spring break that I just sat and thought "Okay God, seriously, I'm ready. We're ready. Whatever it is, could you please just let us in on your plan?" Funny enough, it was in that week that Brad talked for the first time about the opportunity that would eventually develop in the the final "open door."

So...what's next? Well, Brad has accepted and is excited about a job as Servant Life director. Servant Life is a non-profit housed in Student Life that sends teenagers on domestic and primarily international missions opportunities. To learn more you can visit www.servantlife.com. Brad is excited about investing in an organization that he has been interested in and passionate about for a while through our involvement with Student Life. So...Sweet Home Alabama it is. After all the ups and downs of the 8 months, God's plan all along was for us to stay here. I am thankful. First for knowing and having some answers, and also that because God had turned my heart to be open to other places, I don't worry that it was my own desire that kept us here. For the first time in many, many years, I feel home. I feel like I can continue to build real community. I feel like for the first time in our married lives, we are really beginning to put down some roots. A few anyway. I find myself being excited about funny things....like finally hanging some things on my wall and adding some of our personality to our home to really make it that...home.

There are still things you can pray about for us. Pray that God would reveal what school he would have me minister in as a teacher next year. Pray that wherever that is, he is already preparing me for the children who will be in my care. Pray that Brad would grow and learn in this new opportunity. Pray that we would seek his wisdom and guidance as we think about what it may look like in the future to begin a family. Pray that we would continue to find people to invest in and that we would build community here in Birmingham.

The last 8 months have been difficult at times, but I am grateful for them. Above all, I know that God is faithful. He is sovereign. And even when it doesn't match my own, His plan and His timing is perfect.