I graduated from Oklahoma State University back in 1999. I received my Master of Arts degree there and I am a proud alumna. I studied technical theatre and not only learned a lot, but made some great friendships that continue to this day.
This afternoon we play our homecoming game. It will be bittersweet, as it will be our first homecoming game since we experienced the tragedy that happened at our homecoming parade last year. Actually, the one-year anniversary of that event was this past Monday, October 24. Sadly, four people were killed and 47 others were injured when a driver drove into a crowd of people watching the parade.
What makes that even worse, if that is at all possible, is that this was just the latest in what has been a string of tragedies at Oklahoma State. In November 2011, we lost our women’s basketball coach Kurt Budke and assistant Miranda Serna, along with two others in an airplane crash while they were on a recruiting trip. Then, back in January 2001, an airplane crash killed ten people; two men’s basketball players, and six members of the coaching staff and OSU broadcasters. A beautiful memorial was built outside of Gallagher-Iba Arena in their honor called “Remember the Ten.”
The reason I am writing this blog post today is because I wanted to highlight the good things that I have found that has come out of these heart-breaking calamities. I wanted to focus on the love and light—the beauty from the ashes.
One of the first things I saw online after the car crash into the parade was a video posted on the Facebook page of Fox Sports Southwest. It shows OK State football players kneeling and praying before the game. People in Stillwater are good, God-loving people and they are not afraid to show it. #StillwaterStrong quickly became the hashtag marking their strength and outpouring of love and support.
Later that evening, Oklahoma State students gathered for a candlelight vigil and sang Amazing Grace. It was truly spectacular. The Pistols Firing Blog posted a video. Watch it. If you are like me, you will need a tissue!
Our biggest rival, the University of Oklahoma had their choir perform the Oklahoma State Alma Mater at their concert the next day. What a classy move.
The next weekend in our football game against Texas Tech, in College Station, the Red Raiders showed their support by sharing the #StillwaterStrong ribbon on the scoreboard.
Joshua Rogers wrote a great article on Fox News in their Opinion section. It is called Americans less religious? Don’t be fooled, believers are holding steady. The first picture you see is of OK State players and staff praying. It is a great article! Read it here.
ESPN writer, Jeremy Willis, posted a short blog on November 7, 2016 highlighting #StillwaterStrong: Cowboys’ community rallies, TCU shows support.
Then, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook from the Oklahoma City Thunder went to the hospital to visit the homecoming victims. They scored a lot more than 3 points to those victims and their families.
Oh, and not to mention, all the great reactions and showing of support on social media. Kyle Boone features some of the players tweets on this blog post: Players React on Social Media Following Bedlam Loss.
I can’t tell you how much I love, love, love all of these things!!!
And, as I am typing this post, this year's homecoming parade is taking place. Stillwater’s first responders are serving as grand marshals of OSU Homecoming 2016: ‘A Cowboy Dream.’ The school wanted to do this as a show of respect for all their heroic actions at last year's parade. The school has also set up a beautiful online memorial to honor the lives Nash Lucas, Nikita Nakal, Bonnie Stone and Marvin Stone. I encourage you to go visit the page and take a few minutes to pray for their families.
So, while our hearts and minds will initially be reminded of last year’s tragedy, and tragedies past, we can choose to look on the bright side and see all the good will that it brought. I truly believe this is the best way to live our lives. We will always be #StillwaterStrong.
This is a significant October, as I am reminded how important it is to celebrate life. And, you need to celebrate life with those you love while they are still here, and not do it at their funeral. (Not that you shouldn’t celebrate one’s life at their funeral, you most certainly should. But, let me tell you, it is so much more enjoyable to honor someone you love while they are still living!)
Maybe you are asking yourself, where did she get all of this from?
Next week my dad will be 70 years old, and this past Friday my aunt—my mom’s sister—turned 75. Both of these birthdays are milestones in my eyes.
To commemorate the occasion of my aunt’s birthday, her kids threw her a surprise party yesterday. And, what a surprise it was! There were approximately 80 people there—lots of family, old friends from their old neighborhood, church friends, work friends, and even some of her friends that she plays bingo with. I saw people there that I knew back when I was a kid that I had not seen in 30 plus years. What a pleasure it was to be there with all these fine folks.
My aunt was truly surprised and humbled. She cried, my mom cried, I cried. (That’s just how we roll! Lol) But, these were happy tears. It was amazing to witness an event where people that you love just come together to celebrate life. My mom shared a nice thought with me at the beginning of the party. She said, “Look around, this is just a taste of what heaven will be like.” I did look around. I got teary-eyed again, as I knew she was right. What a wonderful thing to know that I get to spend eternity with so many good people.
My aunt took a few moments to express her gratitude to everyone who was there. She said how blessed she has been to have so many wonderful people in her life and made note of those special people who are no longer with us. She thanked God and told us we should all be thankful too. She gave God the glory!
It was a short, but sweet message that really hit home. During the rest of party, many people recognized how nice it was to see and visit with each other on a happy occasion, rather than a sad one, such as a funeral. Because, I mean, honestly, isn’t that about the only time you see certain people in your life? What a shame!
Each and every day is a gift. I know we all know this, but it is so easy to forget. We get busy with life and we take it for granted. So, I am here today to remind you that you must stop doing this! How?
Make spending time with the people you love a MUST DO. Get out your calendar. Call your family. Email your friends. Go have lunch. Drink some tea. Go shopping. Watch a movie. Go bowling. Make appointments and keep them. Celebrate life. Trust me, you will be glad you did!
So, next weekend, I will be hanging out with my dad. I mean, he only turns 70 once!
I have a confession to make: I have this bad habit of putting high expectations on certain people in my life. When we place high expectations on people and they don’t measure up, we get disappointed, angry, and sad—among other things. Personally, I find myself doing this over and over again. Frankly, I am tired of it. I need to break this viscous cycle. Now, I am sure you are asking yourself: what exactly does she mean by this? Well, I expect certain people in life to act a certain way and when they don’t, I get aggravated and frustrated and upset. It’s really not healthy!
I think my main problem is that I don’t see my expectations as being high. On the contrary, to me, they are reasonable. In every area of life – personal and professional - everyone should follow the Golden Rule. And, in a professional setting, people should treat each other with respect, as adults. It seems pretty simple to me.
But, my husband often reminds me that everyone, no matter what his or her position or status in life, is just a person. It’s doing them an injustice to think of them as anything other than a human being. And, as we all know, humans make mistakes. No one is superhuman and no one is perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses; we all have our good points and our bad. That is just the way God made us. Plus, we are all emotional beings. And, let’s admit it, we can often let our emotions get the best of us. This is especially true when we are mad.
It really isn’t fair to think that just because someone happens to be the CEO of a company that they make no mistakes and make all the right decisions and do all the right things. (Because while they may do the right things and say the right things some of the time, they can’t do any of the right things all the time. It is impossible. This is what makes us human. We make mistakes. We sin. It is what got Eve in trouble in the Garden of Eden.)
So, how did I get here? How did I turn into someone who is repeatedly disappointed with certain people in my life?
I have been thinking about this a lot lately and wondering how I got to this place. I also feel like I am not alone in my disappointment of people. I believe it starts when we are children. As kids, we look up to our parents and they are responsible for teaching us right from wrong. As our caregivers, we automatically look up to them and set them on these high pedestals. In our eyes they could do no wrong. I mean, honestly, as a kid, didn’t you look up to your mom and dad, and expect them to do the right thing? We probably didn’t even recognize it at the time, but they set the example. If they were good parents, they taught us to respect our elders, to be weary of strangers, and that we could always trust a policeman or fireman if we were in trouble and they were not around.
My parents also took me to church each week, where I learned something that I feel is invaluable: the Golden Rule. You should always treat others the way you want to be treated.
So, in turn, as we grew older, we thought that people older than us, people in positions of power, were basically good people and could do no wrong. (At least, I did.) These included our teachers, our school bus drivers, the grocer, the crossing guard; basically anyone who was an adult.
If you are like me, then when you became an adult yourself, you held onto these indoctrinated notions that certain adults should act a certain way. And, if you are also like me, you were sorely disappointed when those people did or said things that you didn’t expect or like.
Sooner or later reality life hits you in the face and your eyes are widely opened to the fact that not everyone is who you think they are. (Or, who they say they are, or even who they think they are for that matter. Most notable for me lately, are our politicians. And, I can’t even begin to go down that road right now.)
So, how can I stop being disappointed in people? I have been reading some great online articles and taking to heart what my husband has told me, and I have come to two conclusions:
These are much easier said than done for me. I feel like I need to re-train my brain; re-wire my way of thinking. And, after living 40+ years and having expectations of certain people, this will not be easy. But, I am going to give it my best shot, as I can’t keep living the way I currently am. I am tired of being disappointed.
I look back now and realize what impossibly high standards I had for some people. It isn’t fair to do that to them. I expected them to perfect, to always do and say the right things. Or, to do what they say. It isn’t fair to make them, or anyone, shoulder such responsibilities. Plus, it isn’t fair to continue to set myself up for disappointment either.
Here are some great articles you can read to get you started. These will help you re-direct your thoughts and learn to manage your expectations:
What do you have to say? What are you thoughts? Surely, I can’t be alone in this. I would love to hear what you think!
I have been re-miss in my blogging the past 6 months. I didn't realize until a few days ago that it has been as long as it has. Well, it is certainly true that time flies. (Especially the older you get.)
I have been away because I changed jobs. Transitioning from one job to another to never an easy thing, but I believe that it was a good move for me. And, now that I am settling into my new job, it is time to get back to putting my focus on God and good.
My goal with this blog is to help my fellow Christians stay focused on God and good. And, more importantly, to lead those people who do not know God, to know Him, love Him and be saved.
To accomplish both of these things, I have to blog steadily. So, here I am. This isn't the greatest or most insightful or uplifting post ever - but I needed to start somewhere. (Or, re-start as the case may be.) Plus, I need to do it for myself. I need to re-focus on God and all the good things in life. Won't you join me?
I have upgraded my account, and I now have an official domain. :)
I would love it if those of you who read this blog would help me in this blogging journey. If you have any good stories or happy news or anything uplifting that you would allow me to share here on fogg7, please let me know. Also, I humbly ask that if you enjoy this blog, please share it with your family and friends.
I am looking forward to getting back on path and, ultimately, doing God's work.
I am so glad you are here! I am Erica Strickland, a girl who loves God. My goal here is to simply share His love and light and any good thing that I come across.