Sunday, December 30, 2012

Reflections on 2012

2012 is about to be a wrap and as I sit at the computer letting the Christmas holiday weight settle, I figured it be a good time to follow in the great tradition of coming up with some kind of commemorative list of important events from the year.  It has been a year that has seen a shift in my work to Family Life ratio, and I am thankful for that.  So here are my Top 5 Turning Points of the year that have lead to the life I currently get to enjoy.

5. Malibu Seawolves - When you spend time as a club coach, you hope to progress to the point where you have greater control over how things are run in the organization and that you have built up enough good will among families that they will not throw you overboard the minute you say or do something they don't agree with. If you're lucky enough to stay somewhere long enough you may even dare to dream of perhaps owning the organization one day. I hardly felt team ownership was the direction my life was heading after being dumped from two of the last three teams I had worked for, but that was the offer I got in June after spending some time working in Malibu. Bringing the Seawolves to life has been fulfilling and allows me to keep my feet wet in the club swimming world, a world that has become a major part of my identity. I look forward to seeing how it all develops.

The Auckland Museum
4.  New Zealand - In March I had the distinct pleasure of accompanying one of my athletes to the New Zealand Open Swimming Championships which served as their Olympic Trials. The excursion to Middle Earth was supposed to be a family one as the Mrs. had never been and we are all about getting as many stamps in Lil Man's passport as we can.  We had to go to Plan B however when Elijah joined us (see below) so I rolled to Auckland with Isaiah solo. It was the first time I had been away with Isaiah for such a long period, and it was the type of bonding time that I always hoped I would have for my children. I watched a whole lot of Disney Channel, fed him a whole bunch of Froot Loops and Gummi Bears, and also got to see his excitement as he saw all of Auckland. If I ever had any doubt about my ability to parent by myself, the trip put that notion to bed.

Conwell is 2nd from the left.
3.  Jeff Conwell - When Jeff Conwell asked me to preside over his wedding I was honored. It seemed like a cool thing to be able to say you married two of your good friends. As the date drew nearer and I started thinking about not only standing in front of Jeff and Alicia, but also their families to bless their union, it became a more serious matter. I was forced to really think about how I understand the covenant of marriage and how I wanted to speak on that understanding in a way that fit the bride and groom. Subsequently I have continued to explore how my life can be further enriched by aligning my steps with my faith. When I look around at who my role models and mentors currently are, they are all people who have had a close relationship with God that has sustained them. My father, for example has been an ordained deacon for at least thirty years. As I get older and have more familial responsibilities, I am beginning to recognize the power of a life closely tied to Christ to sustain me.  So in 2013 I will continue to look to Him to order my steps so that I can realize the full abundance of what he has in store for me.

2.  Harvard-Westlake - You know it when you have found a job that meets your criteria as a great position. Professional respect and room for development, excellent resources and facilities, peers who dont get caught up in BS, etc are all things that characterize a great job for me. I have found that working at Harvard-Westlake as head of aquatics (oh yeah the brand-spanking-new pool helps).  My schedule at HW also affords me the time to be present in raising the boys like no other job I've had.  I will not be surprised if I'm working there twenty to thirty years from now coaching and teaching the kids of my current students Shoulberg-style.

1.  Elijah Emeka Carroll - All you can do is marvel when your prayers are answered. We were blessed to have Isaiah six years ago on Thanksgiving Day.  We were resolute that we wanted to adopt our second child, but had no delusions that we would be matched with a newborn when we started the
process.  When I received the call from Nkechi, I was in the middle of a student teacher observation and nearly interrupted the whole class celebrating the news.  Having two boys in the house means
that I've had to develop as a parent in ways that I could not have imagined. I can't be a parenting liability if I expect our household to keep moving so that means being a better nurturer, being a more patient teacher, a more diligent house cleaner and a more efficient worker because if I don't sleep when the kids do, than there won't be any.  Wouldn't trade it for anything though because for every sacrifice there is a reward. Watching one son receive scholastic and athletic awards while the other learns to walk and talk have been more than enough payback, and I can't wait to see what lies down the road.

See you in 2013... I'm sure there will be plenty to write about.

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