This is kinda long-winded, but it's a great story and worth the read...promise!! Enjoy...
Most of you know that I started grad school this August through Baylor's Executive MBA Program. I actually started four days after finding out about the quints (at that time, it was actually sextuplets!). Going to grad school and getting my MBA is something that I have had in the back of my mind for years, but never put any serious thought into. My industry (residential construction) doesn't quite value MBA's as other industries do so it was never something that seemed relevant to my world, though I never let go of the dream of going back to school. I'm not even sure how the conversation about going back came up this time around, but when it did it seemed to weigh more heavily on my mind than it had in the past.
At the time, I was working for a small custom home builder (a job that was going nowhere fast) and was looking for a career move. I was working with a career counselor and also contemplating starting my own business, but nothing had yet materialized. A good friend of mine, Dean Yeck, had gone through Baylor's program a few years back and was talking it up quite a bit and I started to investigate the different programs available. Though I have been a Texas fan my entire life and always knew that if I went back to school I would be a Longhorn, something kept tugging me in the direction of Baylor. Though I wasn't committed, I started the application process and committed it heavily to prayer and contemplation. When the time came to make a decision, I knew which direction I was headed!
Fast forward three months to August 14th. Casey and I are sitting in our fertility doctor's office at our first sonogram. As we watched Dr. Silverberg label the babies - baby A, baby B (awesome - twins!), baby C (whoa - triplets!!), baby D (hold on a minute...quads!?), baby E (time out, I need to sit down...), baby F (six babies!!! Is this a joke??!!) - the excitement, drama, and tension mounted as the thought of bringing six babies into the world had our heads swirling and our hearts pounding out of our chests. What does this mean? What are the odds? How can we possibly do this?
To be honest, one of my first thoughts was of grad school and how I was going to be able to handle both the time and the financial commitment with six babies on the way. I was supposed to start in four days! What do I do now??
Well, I called the director of the program the next day. "Stick with us," he said, at least until we know how many babies remain (the viability of the babies at that time was at great risk because there were so many). "We would love to be involved and help out in any way we can," he said, but he didn't see how it would be possible for me to continue. I called my dad. "I don't know how it'd be possible, son," he said. I called Dean, a man who bleeds green on odd numbered days and gold on even numbered days. He found out his wife was pregnant the day he found out he was accepted to the program; surely he would tell me I could do it. Well, he didn't. He said beyond having twins, he could not have done it. I prayed. Why, God, would you lead me to go through this program knowing what was to come, knowing that I would never be able to complete it? Why, why, why? And while we're at it, why am I so selfish?! Why am I so concerned about this when my priorities should be focused elsewhere? Frustrated, confused, and frustrated again...
I decided to continue on for about a month or so, at least until I found out how many babies survived the critical 12 weeks at the beginning of the pregnancy. I went to orientation week in Waco and loved it! I met the Dean of the Business School, Gary Carini. "Stick with us," he said, "we'll work with you. We'll make it work somehow. Just stick with us." A glimmer of hope - that was a godsend! I kept going to class for the next six weeks as we kept going to weekly sonograms. We lost one of the babies early on, but it looked like our course was set...five babies on the way, getting close to decision time.
Then I got a call from a friend (identity withheld to protect the not-so-innocent). "Hey, stick with the program. Some conversations are taking place and that's all you need to know. Keep going to class." Then I had a conversation with Phil Sanchez, the director of the program. "We're working on something to help out," he said, "stick with us." That was all I needed to hear. Keep going to class and let the rest take care of itself. Keep going to class and keep praying...lots to pray for these days!
A couple of weeks later, Dr. Carini pulled me aside before class and told me that Baylor had decided to grant me a scholarship for the entire cost of the program. The ENTIRE cost!! Are you kidding me? That's almost $70,000!! WOW! That's all I could say. And, "THANK YOU!!" Decision made - I'm sticking with the program! Sure, the time commitment is still there and it's a huge one, but how could I ever turn down such incredible generosity? How could I ever pass up on a full scholarship on a world class education, no matter the time commitment? No way, no how...I'm in for the long haul! What an amazing turn of events! God is great!!
One of the main reasons I was drawn to the Baylor program is that everyone I talked to who was involved with the program told me that Baylor was concerned with developing the character of its students along with their business acumen. They told me that Baylor is a family and is committed to each of its family members as you would your brothers and sisters. "They are a Christian organization, founded on Christian principles and it shows in how they approach the program," they said. They were right. I didn't ask for Baylor to help us out and I didn't expect that they would. Baylor saw an opportunity to live their ideals and they jumped on it. They stepped up, big time! To put it simply - BAYLOR ROCKS!!
I believe that God has been hard at work in my life for a long, long time. I believe he led me to enter grad school and that he specifically led me to Baylor's door. I believe that he has great things in store for my family and that my relationship with Baylor is somehow integrated into His plan for us. I believe that He has similar plans for everyone who allows Him to work in their lives. I don't know how it's going to be possible to raise quintuplets, earn an MBA, grow my business, carve out some time to keep my marriage vibrant, and keep my sanity all at the same time, but I believe that God is going to help me figure that out. One day at a time. I don't know how our story is going to unfold from one day to the next, but I know that we're in good hands and that life is good...very good!