Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Run For Your Dreams

This past weekend, Lindsey crossed a big item off her bucket list.  She wanted to run a Half Marathon before she graduated from high school and she let it go down to two weekends left to knock it off her list.  The OKC Memorial Marathon to honor and remember those 168 lives lost in the OKC Murrah Building bombing was Sunday, April 29th.  Lindsey signed up about a month ago and had made a couple of "long" runs, including a 10 miler the morning of the prom!

She went to OKC on Friday with her friends and enjoyed an evening in Bricktown having fun.  The next day, they hit the outlet mall for some shopping.  We met them at lunch and moved on to pick up her race packet and wander through the Runner's Expo.  That is where the fun began.  The NBA playoff game between the Thunder and the Mavericks was in the building across the street from the Expo.  Roads closed, media, lots of Thunder shirts and runners all crammed into a couple of blocks made everything interesting.  Luckily, the game was Saturday night and the run was Sunday morning.  (The Thunder won, by the way!  They are up 2 games with game 3 in Dallas tonight.)  Then it was off to the hotel.  We went out and did our carb-pasta loading and all went to bed early.  The alarm was set for 4:40 AM!  I didn't make it to the alarm because I heard the 1st door shut at 4:30 and the shuttle bus right after.  These runners get up and going early.  So, we got up and moving and headed downtown.

Downtown was a crazy mess!  One, it was dark and two, there were 27,000 signed up for the race!  The "chute" for starters was 3 blocks long.  We left her in the dark, in the chute, hoping she would get lined up in a good starting position.  Her goal was to finish without walking and in 2 hours.  13.1 miles in 2 hours in your 1st ever half marathon would be amazing.  So, off we went to find us a place to watch the race.  We headed to the 1st water stop and were located right before the completion of mile 2.  We watched almost all 27,000 people run or walk by, but never saw Lindsey.  We were worried she had gotten caught behind some slow people and that she was way off pace.  What we didn't know is that she ran into a friend who matched her up with his girlfriend that was running the race.  They ran together until about mile 7 and kept a pretty good pace.  We decided we had just missed her and headed to find a spot at the finish line.

We found our spot about 1/4 mile before the finish.  As we were walking up, the first of the half marathon finishers crossed the finish line.  We were only an 1:20 minutes into the race.  We sat on the curb and cheered many on while waiting.  A former neighbor walked up and we cheered his kids and their spouses on.  The youngest (who was Lindsey's babysitter) crossed in under 1:40 beating her husband and brothers.  I looked at my watch and figured I had another 10 minutes or so and Jack says "Is that her?  Nevermind, it's not".  BUT it was!  There was my little girl running by me with the biggest smile I have ever seen on her face.  We grabbed the cameras and took a couple shots.  Then we ran to the finish line.  When we met up with her, she said the clock said 1:57.  She was thrilled.  She grabbed some food and Powerade and we headed to get her official time.  Since it took awhile to even get to the starting line, her official time was 1:53:55!  There were 8147 runners entered in the Half Marathon.  She finished in 695th place.  She was 10th female in her age group (1 - 19) out of 164 and the 202 female finisher out of 4990.  Not bad for a first timer!

We are so proud of her!  I am attaching some pictures of her before and after and a couple as she raced to the finish line with a smile on her face.  She ran for her dreams on Sunday and caught them!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

So Many Blessings!

We often take for granted the many blessings we receive.  This past week, our family was shown how blessed we are in several different ways.  Jack and I are so lucky to have Lindsey as our daughter.  She is always showing us what a beautiful person she is, inside and out.  Sometimes, we are lucky enough to find out that other people agree.

The Miss Bixby pageant was Saturday, April 7th.  She may not have been the winner or a runner-up, but I was so tremendously proud of her for competing.  She looked beautiful, walked the stage with confidence and presented herself well.  She danced with amazing grace to a dance she choreographed to the Lord's Prayer in Swahili.  She had the tough spot of being Contestant #1 in all categories.  Her goal was to not embarrass herself and I can honestly say she met that goal and more!  She had her own cheering section of  friends supporting her.  Here is a picture of us and her fans after the pageant.

That night was not the only night that week that Lindsey would cross the stage at the BHS auditorium.  Bixby schools has a foundation that provides grants to teachers and scholarships to the seniors.  The Bixby Educational Endowment Foundation presented the grants and scholarships on Tuesday.  At the awards presentation, the National Honor Society handed out the NHS cords for graduation.  The Bixby Optimist Club also handed out awards to the top 25 leaders in the senior class at BHS.  So, she got to walk the stage twice before they even got to the scholarships.  The B.E.E.F handed out 30 scholarships that night totaling $76,500.  30 different students were awarded scholarship money for college.  Many of the scholarships are need based, many are designated for students with lower GPAs, many are based on the area to be studied in college and many are based on essays.  They want to make sure all graduates have the chance to be awarded a scholarship.  Lindsey was blessed with a memorial scholarship for a 2005 BHS graduate, Margo O'Mealey.  Margo was killed by a drunk driver last year.  Her co-workers from the Miko Group set up the scholarship in her memory and her mother presented it to Lindsey.  It was very emotional.  So, she crossed the stage at the high school 4 times that week and I was proud of her every time!

Earlier that same day, Lindsey received notification that she has been selected for the OSU President's Leadership Class for next year!  This honor also came with a scholarship.  125 students from the incoming Freshman class are chosen for PLC based on their applications.  We are so proud of her!

The next day, she was called into the Principal's office, but she wasn't in trouble.  He told her that she is one of the Salutatorians of her graduating class.  Once again, we are so proud!

So many blessings in one week!  Not once has she ever let us down and this week we were reminded that other people see great things in her too.  We can only hope blessings like these continue to surround her as she leaves the nest to fly towards her dreams!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

System Overload

Too much has happened in the past couple of days.  My system is overloaded!

Saturday was Greek Discovery Day at OSU in Stillwater.  Anyone interested in a fraternity or sorority at OSU was invited to attend.  There were meetings for everyone and then for the parents and the kids got to tour all the houses.  It was just like the first party day of Rush.  Sorry, it is now called Recruitment (that probably showed my age!).  So they got to talk to someone at 6 of the houses and toured the other 6.  It was a great experience for everyone.  It really brought me back to my college days.  Many memories of how much fun college was and how much I loved being in a sorority.  After Greek Discovery Day was over, we high-tailed it back to Tulsa for a BBQ with the Bixby Optimist Club and the Miss Bixby contestants.  It was a long, fun-filled, busy day.

Sunday did not prove to be any less busy.  The Senior Pastor at our church, Tom Harrison, holds a bible study for the seniors each year.  He wanted to introduce the congregation to his seniors.  They each got to tell what they loved most about their Spring Break Mission Trip to Guatemala.  I was proud of all of them as they spoke in front of hundreds of people.  Each one told of a different memory and were able to let everyone know what a great experience they had.  After church we were off to senior pictures for the dance studio.  Miss Shelly does an amazing slide show of all the seniors and they took some beautiful pictures as you can see.  Straight from the pictures, I went to a Gradfest meeting.  It is nice to know they kids will have somewhere to go after graduation that is safe and fun!

Monday was not as busy, but was a very important day.  The girls had their "appointment" to select their dorm room.  Their appointment was on the first day that incoming freshman could choose.  So, how hard can it be?  Now, for those of you that have not had this opportunity, there are many more choices than we had back in our day.  There are traditional dorm rooms, suites and apartments to choose from. They had already chosen their roommates, but this appointment was to pick their actual room.  Should be an easy task, go on-line and select your room.  Well, at least it sounded easy.  Lindsey's roommate was doing the actual selection since she was still in class.  It started off with the website being down.  After a few phone calls and some waiting, she finally got in.  Of course, none of the dorms they wanted were available.  I was on the phone with her mother while they were on-line.  After some tears, we worked together and the girls ended up with a pretty decent room.  I call it a room, it is actually a "Deluxe Suite".  They each have their own bedroom.  They share a bathroom and have a living room.  There is room for a dorm refrigerator and a microwave.  The way I see it, they will be living the "high life"!

So, that was just 3 days in our crazy, senior year life!  System overload!  The Miss Bixby pageant is this Saturday.  Wish her luck!

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

They call me Mama Harr

It has been over a month since I last posted.  That isn't because nothing has happened, but because so much has happened!  I think children prepare you for their departure by either keeping us so busy running around for their activities that we are ready for them to leave or by being so busy that they are never home so that it is already the norm.  It is some of both in our house. 

My daughter has decided to participate in the Miss Bixby Scholarship Pageant for the first time this year.  She heard "scholarship".  I heard "pageant".  This is not Toddlers & Tiaras, but it is outside my comfort zone!  There are many events leading up to the pageant for moms and daughters, for the whole family and for the girls themselves.  There have been mock interviews, practicing our talent in the garage and shopping for dresses and shoes.  (FYI - you can only buy size 5, closed-toe, high-heeled shoes on-line.)  I also learned that they don't sell many long dresses for petite sized girls, so I have now learned the only tailor in town that will alter a beaded dress.  (I can pass this on to anyone who needs it!)  In addition to the pageant, she decided to be in the school musical, Kiss Me Kate, as a dancer which included many practices and 3 performances.  She also decided that the pageant dress would not work at a prom dress, so more shopping. 

There is also the new summer job.  Lifetime Fitness is about to open and they are hiring about a million high school kids to work the kids activities.  There have been multiple interviews, paperwork to fill out, training on-line, training in person, etc.  I hope she gets to work as many hours as she has spent getting and training for the job!

Luckily, last week was spring break.  For the past 5 years, she and I have gone on mission trips with Asbury Student Ministries.  This year was bittersweet knowing it might be my last year on a mission trip and my last spring break with my daughter.  We were in Guatemala for the second year in a row.  What an amazing trip! Nothing like a week of serving and spreading God's word and love to the beautiful people of Guatemala to bring our lives into perspective.  Every year, the last night is Senior night and the juniors each pick a senior to pray over.  It is a very emotional and up-lifting experience hearing the kids pray for each other and loving on each other.  It is even harder when your child is one of the seniors.  But after all these years, I feel like all of them are "mine".  They are the ones who gave me my name, Mama Harr.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Thanks for the reassurance!

Talking to moms, who are already experiencing the empty nest, should be reassuring to me, but not this week.  While talking to a nurse in the doctor's office, we discussed our kids.  Her kids are 22 and 20.  Mine is 18.  She just started talking about how hard it is to have her kids gone.  Really?!?!  I need you to tell me that it gets easier, not that after a couple of years, it is still hard.  Don't tell me you have never gotten used to them being gone.  Tell me you have warmed up to the quietness and lack of activity in your house and life.  Don't tell me that you still hate not seeing them every night and that you miss them all the time.  You should be reassuring me that you get used to them being gone at college. 

On second thought, maybe that was the reassurance I needed.  Maybe, I needed to know that it is OK to miss her, but that I can still go on. Maybe it is reassuring to know that the "new normal" is a little bit of lonely, with a big dose of acceptance.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

State of Denial

Yes, I am in a state of denial.  Most likely the reason for no recent posts to my blog.  I am in denial that she is in her second semester of her senior year.  I am in denial that she is 18 years old, thinks she knows it all and is ready to move on from high school.  Well, it isn't working!  Denial does not stop time or make it not true.  She is 18.  She is an adult (kinda).  She is in her second semester of her senior year and she is getting ready to go to college. 

Today, she applied for her orientation and enrollment date for college and actually asked if I wanted to go.  I'm not sure if she asked because she wanted me to go or if she asked because she was hoping I wouldn't go.  I don't really care because she asked.  Yet, another thing to cause reality to sink in.

So many things and events are happening.  My friends say "Oh, this is the last time you will be doing this!".  Some of these friends don't understand because their children are young enough that they don't see this coming.  Some of these friends have been in my shoes and know that it will be OK.  Some are in the same boat as me and know how hard it is to do these things that we see as "final".  

As we draw closer to graduation, I promise to post more frequently.  Writing is therapeutic.  I forget that sometimes.

We are on the downhill side of the high school hill.  Rolling like a snowball. Growing as we go.  We think we are about to hit the bottom of the hill, but in truth, it is a small valley and there is a mountain to climb on the other side.