One Wise Elf

As you may recall reading from years past, our elf is a different sort of Elf on the Shelf.  She shows up in various places around the house each morning December 1st through the 24th, but instead of being mischievous and sneaky, she is guideful (is that even a word?) and wise.  The first time she showed up, she brought a beautiful, very large, family Bible and a pencil.  She brings to us each day a scripture card that gives us a verse to look up.  It is how we end our days leading up to Christmas:  sitting together, the four of us, and looking up Miss Snow’s recommendation, reading and underlining it, and sharing what each of us thinks that verse means.

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Well, I’m here to tell you that we have one wise elf!!

One day last week, she “told” us to look up Proverbs 16:3 which reads

Commit your works to the Lord, and your thoughts will be established.

She also brought to our attention Proverbs 3:5 which reads

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.

Well, we have done as directed, and WOW, WHAT A WEEK!!!!

About 14 days ago, the head coaching job for the University of Tulsa opened up.  Coach said, “That’s gonna be a really good job!”

About 13 days ago, he received a call to see if there was any interest in the job.  Coach said, “Absolutely!”

About 12 days ago, they asked if he would come in for an interview.  Coach said, “I’d love to, but…”  Ah, the BUT!

Coach has dreamed of being a head coach since before I met him almost 20 years ago.  He has worked tirelessly to build programs and develop players and accomplish wins, and it is a tremendous feeling to realize that those efforts have been noticed and that a program like Tulsa respects what you’ve done!

“…but the timing just isn’t right this week.”  The week he spoke of just happened to be one of, if not THE, biggest game of his career to date.  We were playing for our number one goal each year of a conference championship, we were playing for placement in an elite bowl game (a feat of which there are no measurables to describe the resulting positive impact!), and we were playing for final rankings as one of the top 10 teams in all of college football.  The timing just wasn’t right.

Knowing that he could burn bridges, knowing he was turning away from a job that by all accounts seemed terrific, and knowing that these opportunities are really, really difficult to come by in college football, Coach told them that he simply could not make it work that week, his focus had to be on helping Baylor win our final regular season game, for the team, for the coaches, for Baylor Nation, and especially for himself.

And then a great thing happened:  the bridge did not burn.  Instead of being irritated with Coach, the search firm and Tulsa administration said that while they had to move on in their search, they admired and respected him for his decision.   They especially appreciated his honesty and integrity.  They wished him good luck on the game, and they said maybe paths will cross down the road.

About 8 days ago, we won a big game.

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About 7 days ago, I asked Coach if he thought Tulsa might call back.  He said, “I’m afraid that ship has sailed; there are a lot of great coaches pushing for it.  The right one will come, I know it will.”

About 6 days ago, Tulsa called back.  “They haven’t found their guy yet, and they want me to fly in to meet them…tonight,” Coach called to say from the road where he was out recruiting.  I started packing his suitcase, he drove 2 hours home, grabbed the bag, gave me hug, a kiss, and a huge smile, and drove 2 hours to the airport.

About 5 days ago, Coach spent a day in New York.  Which turned into more.  Much, much more.  After the first meeting, I asked him how it went.  “They were great.  Good people who I just visited with; I feel like I got to know them even in that short amount of time.”  He said it wasn’t an interrogation, just a conversation.  He could tell they were eager and committed to making their program a truly great one.

Having concluded the scheduled meetings, Coach was standing in line at the airport, literally at the gate, having to wait out and rearrange flights due to bad weather when his phone rang.  “They want me to go back to the hotel,” Coach called to tell me.  “It’ll just be the AD and me, but he wants to talk some more…”

About 4 days ago, Coach was offered his first head coaching job.  At a phenomenal school, in a beautiful city, and with good, good people:  this is the definition of a dream come true.  Going back as far as the early 2000’s and his high school coaching days, Coach has had calls about becoming a head coach at various levels and various schools.  It’s never easy to leave a wonderful life, and through those years no potential job compared with the actual job he had, so we stayed put.

We practiced patience.  And the patience has paid off.

About 3 days ago, Miss Snow brought Coach home, she brought a donut feast for breakfast, and she brought a card pointing us to Proverbs 16:18 which reads

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

What a great reminder of how to proceed through big times in our lives!!

Over breakfast, Coach told the kids that a potential job had come along that was, without a doubt, worth taking.  I’m so grateful for that family breakfast! By the time the kids were dressed and off to school, word had leaked that the job had been offered.  Within 10 feet of the front door of the high school, SonShine was stopped by coaches asking what what going on.  Angel Girl was taken out of class and questioned.  And by their lunch periods it was out there!

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About 2 days ago, Coach signed a contract to be the Head Football Coach for the University of Tulsa Golden Hurricane.

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The interest in Coach taking the job, and the incredible response has been awe inspiring.  Everyone’s excitement and congratulations have been beautiful and overwhelming.  Baylor Nation and our longtime coaching family have been a huge blessing of support!  Our family and loved ones have been over the moon.  Literally hundreds and hundreds of coaches have contacted Coach wanting to be a part of what he is about to create.  It takes a whole lot of faith in a person to pack up the family, move them across the country, and put one’s livelihood in that person’s hands!

That amount of faith is humbling and touching and just plain awesome.  For me it is just a confirmation of what I’ve known since the day we met on April 21, 1995…I am one very lucky ME!!

About 3 hours ago, it was 6:30 am, and Coach’s phone was already ringing.  I’m not sure when the next quiet hour will hit, allowing me to sit down here and write about our adventure.  We are Tulsa bound, and I have a lot to do to get there…I am positively thrilled for the chance to go, and I can’t wait to share all I will see and learn along the way.

With hugs and love,

Ashli

PS:  Here are a few of my favorite screen shots from the past few days 🙂

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And one of my absolute very favorites:

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And last, but never least, my dad’s email announcement to his circle of friends…perfect in every way as it is both thorough and affectionate and full of his pride and love:

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What a fantastic fairy tale this is!!

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