Friday, December 28, 2007

A Family Tradition?

This year was the year of family traditions. I can be a little too legalistic about them sometimes, wanting to make something a tradition if you do it once and really like it. Saying that it should be a "tradition and do it every year". I think that some traditions are kind of hokey, and a little overdone, but then some are very fun. Now that our little girl is 3, it seems like we should be setting the traditions in place, being consistent from year to year, to make sure that we have them set. (see what i mean about the legalism?)

The first one we made was to get our Christmas tree on the first Friday of December. (Who knows if we'll really be able to keep that up)

Then, I got a gingerbread house that we decorated on Christmas Eve. We thought it would be fun to always do a Gingerbread house together - since none of us had ever done one before, and it was a fun family activity. You know, we could get better at it every year, and do more elaborate ones each year. I have these ridiculous visions of our kids being in their teens and twenties and still loving the Gingerbread house tradition. (yeah right)

Growing up, usually I got to open one present on Christmas Eve, so after taking a lengthy vote and trying to get the baby to nod his head in our favor, we decided to continue that tradition and all open one gift. He liked sitting on the present better, and tearing it open of course.

The regular things like stockings,

and birthday streamers and cake for Jesus on Christmas morning.

Watching Christmas movies and baking pies, reading Christmas stories, decorating, fun times opening presents on Christmas morning.

But you know, it gets to be a lot of stuff. Even the good stuff, gets to be a lot. And the more traditions you have, the more you do. And so, I think that what I want to make sure of, is being able to do fun things with our family, and if it's different every year, that's fine. I'd hate to be one of those people who make the family do the Gingerbread house every year, even though no one really wants to do it, but because it's "always" done, we have to do it. I'd much rather be flexible enough to just enjoy doing whatever it is that we all want to do.

My mom loved the much that many times we would go over the holidays. Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, you get the picture. So Christmas at the beach is really great to me. I was very excited because this year, my husbands family decided to be all together at the beach. Something I love about their family is that they play games. And not just like Go Fish. Real games like Capture the Flag, beach miniature golf, relays, horseshoes, ping pong, Pit, Balderdash, Bocce, etc. One game that they always do at Christmas time is the gag gift game. It was my daughters first time playing, and she definitely enjoyed it. But that's why it's fun to do traditions. Not because it's the same thing every year, but because you all get to partake in a fun, out of the ordinary thing. And it's never about winning with them, or the competition. We will sometimes even do silly things like create such outlandish games that you totally mess them up, and then laugh until your sides ache. From the youngest to the oldest, we all will play, and just enjoy being together. It's those types of traditions that really create memories, and end of being the kind of valuable experiences that make you love getting together with family. I love that my kids get to be a part of such a fun family. Hopefully, we'll pass that on to them.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Something About a Boy

Lately I've been thinking about my little boy, and how he's such a boy! I mean, I used to hate the phrase, "He's all boy!" Like, some boys aren't "all boy" and some are - I mean, if they're a boy, they're a boy; they might like music and art instead of sports and fishing, but they're still "all boy". But more recently I've come to understand a little more why people use that phrase when describing their boy. Here's a little bit about my boy.

He's always on the move!

He has taken quite well to terrorizing his older sister. She gives him just the reaction he's hoping for!

He doesn't just grab something. He grabs it, and usually throws it, or breaks it, or both. Ok, just for the record, I don't think River ever broke anything, and Asher breaks stuff all the time. Pulls it apart, bashes it on the floor, throws it across the room, etc.

He chases after what he wants with all his might.

He snuggles up close when he needs his down time.

He's happiest when he's eating.

He is a reckless explorer.

He's already almost stronger than me.

He doesn't give up easily...rather, he puts up quite a fight.

He's such a love! And he loves so much!

The other night, I was holding him before I laid him in his bed, and I had the thought that I wish he could stay my baby for longer than he is. Not that I don't want him to grow up, but just how fast it happens, sometimes, feels as if time is being taken from you. And all you can do is let it pass.

Tonight, as I was listening to one of my favorite Christmas songs (what other kind of music can you listen to the week before Christmas?!) about Mary and Joseph coming to know Jesus as their baby, but also as the Messiah, I listened again to the chorus I love so much.

"Have you cursed at the wind? Have you cried to the heavens? Have you fought with this mercy you don't understand?"

I think sometimes it's so easy to forget that as Mary and Joseph came to love this beautiful baby boy, and watch him grow and learn, and play and laugh, they also had to let go of him. And be willing to give Him over to the "death that would bring us new life." What an incredible hardship. To know your child, and to love them, and to know that He is God's Son, but to still know what he would have to go through. And for you, his parent. That his death would bring your life.

Knowing how much I love my own son, I appreciate so much more, the gift that was given to us at Christmas. From our Father, giving up his Son. And realizing how hard it must have been for Mary and Joseph. Knowing now, how much I love to hold my son, and how I cherish those moments of him being a sweet baby, and being so close to him, having him need me so much. I'm so thankful that Jesus was so willing to pay the price for us all. That he came knowing what lay ahead, and yet, he still chose to come.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Consider it Joy

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. ~ James 1:2

I know that for me, I do not naturally rejoice when I face trials.  Rather, I inwardly shake my head at them, despise them, and try everything I can to get rid of them.  Being a parent has had it's fair share of struggles, but none so hard as to watch my own child(ren) begin to struggle with the same things that I have struggled through in this world.  Even though she's only 3, she's already learning about persevering through trials.  Now, these are not life changing tragedies, or suffering as many children in this world may know. But, still, they are trials that my little girl is beginning to face.
Just a few months ago, my daughter began dance.  She absolutely loved it, and as you can see, has even taken to being in dance clothes all the time; pretending she is in dance, or on her way to dance, or changing into dance clothes at school getting ready for dance, etc. etc. 
One day while we were talking, I mentioned excitedly that dance was that day.  And it was the first time I saw sadness about it.  She looked up at me, and then kind of slouched down, sighed, and then threw her head in her hands and said, "But, Mom, I can't do the HIP!"  and I knew what she meant.  She meant she couldn't skip, or hop.  Combined, it comes out as "hip".  My heart sank, as I realized that she had realized that she wasn't doing what the other children were able to do, and that she was really trying to do it, but just couldn't get it.  So, we tried to work on it, and every week, she went to dance, and every week, she galloped, and did not skip.  And, I cheered every week when she came out, even though I knew that she knew, and she knew that I knew, that she hadn't skipped.  But she had tried.

Last week, I had to go somewhere, and when I came back to pick her up, her dance teacher came out with her, and said really loud, "She skipped!"  I could tell that River was beaming, and as proud as she could be.  Of course, I hated myself for not being there, and seeing the result of so much determination and effort.  But I knew there would be another chance.  

And there was.

This week was parent observation week.  It was really fun to go in and be there up close, and be able to see her being excited about dance class, and all that she's doing.  It came time for the across the floor stuff, and she lined up, where she knew she was to be...first.  I think because she's the smallest, and they go smallest to tallest.  Ms. Suzanne stood at one end of the room, and the girls lined up on the other side, ready to skip all the way to her, and then jump up and hit the drum when they reached her.  When Ms. Suzanne had said that she had skipped, I just pictured in my head a normal paced skip, slow, but steady, around the room.  Well, my little one, wasn't quite that fast.  She was precious.  

She took one step, and then held that leg up, and hopped.  Then the other foot, step, up, hop.  The other, step, up hop, step, up hop, step, up, hop.  Slowly, mind you, very slowly, she made her way, all the way to Ms. Suzanne.
Without fear, without insecurity, just knowing, she put her mind to it, and however long it would take, she would make it.

And she did.

My eyes were wet with tears, and I knew that she had been able to have joy in the midst of the struggle.  She had persevered through, and come out on the other side. 

This is when I had first started taking dance.
I had to find this pic when I had taken the one of her in the same pose.  The only difference is my wonder woman band aid on my forehead.   

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Pics from the Trip

you might be thinking, oh it's not as big i as i thought...
but this is only a side view.

the front entrance
"just" a window

happy after having a delicious brunch

one of the outer porticos

or was it mr. green in the conservatory with a rope

this was the first thing we saw when we walked into the inn...
merry christmas!
a close up of the fun presents - don't you want them to be yours?!

relaxing, and thinking how yummy those cookies look

one last look

Sunday, December 09, 2007

A Get-Away to Remember

I have the luxury of blogging by a ginormous fire, with no children interrupting, and no distractions pulling my attention away. My husbands generous parents blessed us with a much needed get-away to the Biltmore Estate for Christmas. It has been so fun! Truly amazing, this place!! We hadn't been away together in over a year, so it has been great! However, as always in my life, there have been plenty of little adventures to accompany our trip, and make it more...let's say, interesting! So, I'll warn you ahead of time, this will be a long-winded entry and an unedited entry with some embarrassing moments.

Before we even left home, we had a pretty busy week with lots going on. You know, sleepless nights, busy days, sick child, work, play, Christmas decorating, laundry, etc. So, on Friday, since we hadn't gotten it yet, my daughter and I decided that it would be really fun to make a new tradition, and get our Christmas tree on the first Friday of December. I'm never ahead of the game enough to get decorations out right after Thanksgiving, and I like leaving the tree up until after my birthday in January, so, I figure it's the perfect time to get it. So, instead of taking time Friday night to pack and get ready for our trip, I spent it with the family, getting our tree, and then hot chocolate and hot Krispy Kreme donuts (you can't start a tradition without including something yummy to go with it - and let me just say CHOCOLATETIME! Even being a dessert snob, these are delicious little delicacies!) All that to say, I didn't pack until late Friday night, when my mind was very tired.

We start out, and are having a great time, chatting and laughing, and then I realize that we don't have any Christmas music on. And, I mean, I'm wanting to hear Christmas music the whole time, because it's our Christmas get-away, and our Christmas present, and you know, you HAVE to have Christmas music. So, I reach down to get the cd case with all the Christmas music, and I realize, I didn't grab it off the foyer table. So I say to Randy, "Did you grab the cd case?" Even though I knew that he hadn't because I remember seeing it out of the corner of my eye shortly before leaving. The "No" came as blow, feeling so mad that I didn't have the perfect music that I had so desperately wanted. So, I frantically fumble through all of my cds in the car, and finally breathe again when I see my favorite Christmas cd, and shout "YES!" happily feeling rescued, even though I know how ridiculous it is that it would spoil the drive for me. I put it on, and start relaxing... again.

We continue on, again, having a gay old time, when suddenly CRACK!! POP!!! CRACK!!! And the windshield is hit hard, and cracked in 3 places by an oversized truck riding the shoulder. Now, Randy was driving and was back at least 100 ft., so it wasn't like I was driving and tailing the guy. So, I spend the next 20 minutes on the phone with the insurance company figuring out how we're going to get it taken care of. But, pretty easily it's dealt with, and then back to our fun.

So as we continue to Asheville, I say to Randy, did you get the camera? (Knowing I don't remember seeing it packed.) He chuckles as he says how even yesterday a friend reminded him to get the camera, but still we forgot it. So we decided to make our first stop on our vacation, a stop in at Best Buy (romantic, huh?) and finally buy a digital camera. But it was fun to shop without kids, and actually be able to go together to pick it out. So on our way, again.

We get downtown Asheville, and love it! We went through a street market, and then grabbed lunch at a great little cafe called True Confections where they make everything there, and everything from scratch, and even enjoyed sitting outside in the wonderful warm fall day. It was all delicious.

As we drove out of Asheville and onto the Biltmore, we look at a map, and it looks like we take 40 W a little bit farther, and then exit for the estate. So, we get back on the interstate, and drive a little, and a little bit more...and a little bit Biltmore signs. I decide I'll call just to check and make sure we're going the right way. Turns out, we weren't. We were at about exit 15, and the exit for Biltmore is exit 50. We turn around, and decide that we just got to enjoy more of the western part of the state. When do we actually get to just drive around in the mountains? But, we did have to get over the initial 45 min. detour.

We arrive at the Estate at check in time, and are welcomed in by all we see. They were all so nice! We had a good time getting settle into our room, and just enjoyed getting ready for our evening slowly. I took time to pluck my eyebrows in one of those gigantic mirrors that they sometimes have at nice hotels. That was awesome. And you know, just kind of spent time doing all the things that I don't usually do when I get ready. Put eye shadow on and not just mascara in a rush.

Our dinner reservations aren't until 8, and so we figure, we can ride the shuttle over to the house, and walk around a little bit in the house, and then catch the shuttle over to the Bistro a few minutes before our reservation. These are clearly the thoughts of someone who has never been to the Biltmore. When we got downstairs, we realized we had just missed the 6:15 shuttle, but there would be another one at 6:30. So, we think, ok, we'll just wait a few minutes, but we'll still have about an hour at the house before we need to get to dinner. We get on the shuttle, and Ralph, the driver begins our commute. He lets us know we'll be making a few stops before getting to the house, and we'll probably arrive at the house around 7:10. WHAT? It takes 40 minutes? We ended up riding the shuttle all the way to the house, but after talking more with Ralph about our itinerary, we decide it will be best to stay on the shuttle, and go back to the Bistro then. So we get to the Bistro about 7:30, and actually have time to have a tour of the Winery and a tasting of the estate wines. Perfect! Also, the hour shuttle tour, gave us an hour with Ralph, who knew all types of Biltmore trivia that we couldn't have read or heard anywhere else. As one of the other shuttle passengers said later, "He was like 100 years old, I mean, he knew what he was talking about." You'll hear about him later.

Ok, this is where, if you're a man, you may not want to read. If "feminine" subjects make you get uncomfortable, just stop reading.

As we're walking through the winery, I get a little distracted, because I realize I'm starting my period. And did I take my purse - NO! I thought it would be just a little walk down to the house, or back up to the inn. Not a 40 min. shuttle ride. Do we have any cash? Of course not. Everything's paid for. What do I have in my pocket? Lip gloss. That's it. No quarters, no supplies, no nothing. And, I'm wearing a skirt, too. Nice, huh. So, I go to the restroom and they do have the machines where you can get tampons and things, but you know, no one's in there for me to ask if they have a quarter. And not to mention it's 8 o'clock, and we're about to be late for our reservation. And our candlelight tour is at 9:30, which means we have to be on the shuttle by 9:00 - not a lot of time to take the shuttle back to the inn, and then back to the house.

So we go on up to the restaurant, and I don't know what to do. I mean, if we go back to the inn, we miss our dinner, and we hadn't eaten since 1:00, and we wouldn't have another chance. But if we went after dinner, we'd miss our tour. The whole reason for going. So, we're sitting at our table, and trying to figure things out. Randy's plan is to go down to the gift shop and buy something (one of the yummy bottles of wine) and then get cash back, if that's an option. Our waitress comes up and she's super nice. Everyone there is sooo nice! And she's a really good waitress, too, with really good descriptions, and lots of helpful opinions, etc. So, she leaves and we begin to problem solve again, mind you, REALLY needing to make a decision. So she comes up again, and I just know, I have to ask our poor waitress for a quarter. I have to take some of her tips to go get myself a stupid tampon. I tell you, pretty humiliating. So, I say, "I have to ask you a really random, and pretty awkward question. I just started my period, and I don't have any supplies, and I don't have any cash. Can I borrow a quarter so I can go down and get something in the bathroom?" And she's so sweet. She says, "Of course! Oh my gosh, yes, and don't even worry about it." I told her we would compensate her in her tip. That makes me laugh really hard. It was so bad.

Ok, so that being said, the evening began to get more relaxed. We had a fabulous dinner, and every time the waitress came to the table, I felt like she kind of gave me the "Are you ok?" smile, but never mentioned it again. We did not get dessert, which was very sad, but we were already at our max for time.

We get back on the shuttle, and there are a couple of couples already on there that are about our age. So I think, "Oh good, the later evening younger crowd." So on we go. This driver is not quite as informative as Ralph, but he likes to tell more of the rumored ghost stories of the Biltmore, rather than the interesting facts, but it's really funny to hear. And especially the guy who keeps talking about the Gators. How the Gators rock, and "Whooo-Whoo! GATORS!" I'm not kidding. Someone would be talking about something else, and somehow him being a Gator fan got brought into the subject. I lean over and start talking about the Pirates with Randy, and the bowl game they're going to. I almost Arrggghhed at him, but I withheld.

So, then the two couples start bickering about who owns the Biltmore estate. One guy thinks that the government took it over years ago, but the Gator guy's wife knew the history of it still being in the family, but how the other guys dad, blah blah blah. OMG who cares?! I'm just kidding, I really did care, but the arguing? Come on. So we get to the house, and the line is so long, but we show our tickets, and since we're there a little after our ticket time, they escort us right up to the house. And in we go. However, so do the Gator pack. AND THEY'RE STILL BICKERING! So, I tell Randy I can't handle being beside them for the entire tour through the house. Loud Gator guy being all "whoo-whoo" and all. So we ditch them and try to get up ahead and squeeze into the group without being too suspicious.

So we're in the tour, and I look back and see the couples in the room behind us, STILL ARGUING about who owns the house! But, I don't mind because we're in the next room. So I start to really take in the house, and am getting into all the fixtures, walls, fabrics, stonework, when I hear the guy behind me go to the guy next to him, "Hey man, did you ever see the "Everybody Loves Raymond" episode where Ray's mom Marie makes the statue of, you know, (ok, unfortunately, i've seen the episode, so i of course know exactly what he's referencing). But she can't see what it looks like. But everyone else can? Yea, it's really funny. Kinda reminds me of this."

Let me just say, that I am soooo glad that I married the man I married. And that I have a greater appreciation for the men out there that talk about more things than sports and tv. Because apparently, they're aren't that many. All night, we were hearing things. It was really funny. We laughed so much. We also really, really enjoyed seeing the amazing home of George W. Vanderbilt. It's truly unbelievable how vast and intricate it is. And being Christmas, it was decorated beautifully.

I think what I love about how we do things, is that we never have it so planned out that there isn't room for adventure. I mean, sure in the midst of it, I'm thinking "Why didn't we call and ask ahead of time?" or "Why wasn't I thinking!" But at the same time, if every time something bad or inconvenient happened it ruined your time, that would make for a pretty frustrating existence. Not that I'm a pro at just letting things go, but at the same time, this weekend was definitely a time that I could practice.

This morning, amazingly enough, we had a great time of drinking coffee and reading in the Word, and praying by our huge windows that looked out onto the vast expanse of land.
And it was truly wonderful.

As we packed up and were getting ready to leave the room, Randy says, "Where's the valet ticket?" And here we go again.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

13 going on 30

my baby is already one, my little girl dresses herself and asks if she can borrow my watch, my smart and talented husband has began a business doing exactly what he loves, and i am able to be a full time stay at home mom, with a great (couple of) jobs on the side.   i feel like my life is passing so quickly, and i really am growing up.   not just getting older, but really seeing my life develop into the life that i've had waiting for me. 

the life that i didn't know was waiting for me at the young age of 13, as i dreamed of being a wife and a mother (you know, the supermodel looking mom, that all the other kids want as their mom because of how cool and awesome she is), an architect (because i liked to build card houses), a designer (i loved drawing out room designs- especially of my beach house, with the aquarium lined hallway and huge bay window over the kitchen sink that looked straight out at the ocean because, you know, it was an oceanfront house, of course), a teacher (i love kids, and have always known i would work with them - a teacher seemed to fit), a marine biologist...(that dream lasted a few years, but then i realized all i really wanted with that was to scuba dive and spend time at the beach.   so instead, i got certified to scuba dive, and went to the beach more.   much more achievable, without so many lab hours.)

point is, i'm approaching my 30th birthday and cannot believe that i am going to be in the same age range of how old my parents were when i remember asking them how old they were for the first time, and their answer being 33, or 34, or even 38.   i mean, it's in the same's JUST AROUND THE CORNER!

so i'm choosing to believe that "30 is the new 20", which i have no idea where i first heard, but i love and am going to claim it as my new slogan.   i think i am going to have it put on a T-shirt.

one of my best friend's birthdays is tomorrow, which means that mine is only a month away, and the big 3-0 will be here.   so happy birthday, friend, and thanks for paving the way.   i'm right there behind you.    and i'm pretty excited.   even though my house looks very different than the one i designed when i was 13, and my days are a lot crazier than i expected them to be, i wouldn't want to be anywhere else doing anything else.    i like being able to see who this grown up 13 year old is becoming.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

A Different Kind of Picnic

The other day, it was beautiful, and I decided that my kids and I would make lunch and go outside for a picnic. My son was so famished that I went ahead and sat him in his seat and let him graze while I made my daughter and my plates. I didn't really just want a baloney sandwich (call me crazy) and so I was taking a little more time making mine.

After slicing up fruit and getting out some chips and having all of their food ready, my sandwich is still not made, and my son is finished. And not just finished and happily sitting there; finished and yelling to get out. Meanwhile, my daughter is trying to let her baby doll have some pears and yogurt in her highchair. And is already excited about her own plate, so she decides to go ahead and start on hers. So, I get my son out of his seat, and wash his messy hands off, and try to finish making my sandwich. I am finally ready with a great looking sandwich, some good chips, and pears sliced up, and off to the great outdoors. With son on hip, daughter beside me, and plate in other hand, far enough out of baby's grabbing reach, we start outside.

We sat down in the grass, and for about a minute, it was great. Great weather, lots of grass, lots of room for them to play.

They did for about a minute. Then, my children discover my lunch. They both like my chips, the same chips they just had. They both want my pear, pear that they just had. And they both want my sandwich. That I spent time making really yummy, and not just a crap sandwich to put food in my stomach. MY SANDWICH! (can you hear the Ross voice about the Thanksgiving sandwich that has the moist maker?) So, the remainder of our "picnic" ends up being me trying to fend off the sharks crawling all over me trying to eat my lunch, even though they had already eaten! I kept trying to eat, while my son toddled around, and then would run back to me and fall on me knocking my plate around. Or grab at whatever food was still on my plate. After he fell down and rolled face forward down the hill, I decided it was time to end the picnic.

I ended up going in with food all over me, and my 2 children full bellied, and my sandwich thoroughly enjoyed by all of us.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

The Sweetest Sound

My 11 month son has done everything early. Sat up early, crawled early, walked early, and even started saying things early. So, I've been waiting patiently for that day. The day when I would hear how he would say my name. Well, it was definitely not his first word...

first word: DaDa (great way to start, and referring to yes, daddy, and also mommy, and you know, most things he's trying to say)

next words: dog (followed by the sound, "Wuh, wuh, wuh" as in, "woof, woof" in case you needed interpretation) and ball - a sports fan already

so, needless to say, i was wondering when would my name would be mentioned. you know, JUST THE MOST INVOLVED PERSON IN HIS LIFE!

earlier this week, i heard him crying, walking around, and i thought i heard him say, "Mama", but i didn't want to get too excited.

and then again, i thought i heard it yesterday. but still, not sure that he was meaning it for what it really was.

but today, all day long, he was saying "Mama, Mama." it was definitely the sweetest thing he's ever said to me!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Here Comes the Sun

I really like hearing songs at appropriate know, theme music. Road trip songs, sad songs, mad, playful silly songs, etc.

this morning as i was not in a rush (surprise of all surprises) and had more than enough time to get where i needed to be. i got caught in a traffic jam, and simply because i hate sitting in traffic, i turned down a side street, and went around my butt to get to my elbow. but i didn't mind, because i had plenty of time. amazing, i know!

so, as i was going the long way to preschool, i ended up going by a lake and saw how beautiful the morning was. i mean, really saw it. not just kind of saw it, in a mad dash across town, but really saw how gorgeous the sun reflecting on the water was.

right about that time, the Beatles CD was starting to play "Here Comes the Sun". and i just smiled.

listening to the words anew this morning, i was thankful. thankful that the sun always rises. thankful that even when it's been a long, cold, lonely winter, and it feels like years since it's been here, the sun will start to shine again, and the smiles will return to faces. and it will be alright.

my favorite part was that after listening to it once, my sweet little girl said,

"Mommy, can we hear the it's alright sun one again, over and over again?"

"We sure can, sweetie," i said with a smile on my face and a tear in my eye.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Came in Last, Came in First

The pies arrived at the contest.

I didn't actually go to the contest myself. Another friend who also submitted a pie for our ministry came over and picked mine up before taking them. I think it was a good thing that I couldn't be there. I probably would have been too snooty and competitive with the other bakers, anyway. So, she came, and we prayed that God would bless our pies, and then off she went to the contest.

She said that all the other pies were gorgeous. Criss cross pastry crust, designs in their pie crusts, even an angel on one of them, some set up on pedestals, lattice work....need i go on?

And then there were ours. Both of us had these basic apple pies. Just your regular apple pie. You know, crust lattice, no designs...just the basic layer of crust overtop.

As my friend stood and talked with some of the other contestants, she began to hear how they had all baked "trial" pies over the weekend. And saw how they described the different ways that they each had made their pies beautiful. And then she saw our less than gorgeous pies. Our little, humble apple pies. The most humble of them all. And not to mention the judges. One of the judges was a National Champion Pie Baker! My friend began to see that we clearly did not have a chance.

She waited as I waited. I knew that the contest would start "promptly at 1 and be over by 1:30" as it had said in the information sheet. I watched the clock and waited. And yes, prayed. Prayed, not to just "win", but to have the blessing of the money to be able to bless the kids in our neighborhood. I mean, if we won both 1st and 2nd prize, that would be close to a year's budget for our ministry...we could really do some neat things...not to mention that we've been praying for a bus for quite some time.

As I was trying to get my daughter ready for dance class, the phone rang, and I rushed to answer, knowing that it would be her calling. On the other end of the phone I hear it...

"Melissa, we won! We won first and second prize!! We won $1,500!!!!"

It's pretty amazing. We told the kids this afternoon and they squealed in such delight. They couldn't believe that we won that much money. And that God would want to bless our ministry with that kind of money to help them. It was a way that I got to see how much He cares about the "least of these". And even when you come in last, you can still come in first.

Easy as Pie?

I never enter contests.

The reason for this is that I do not like to lose. As a kid, I never entered the "fastest runner" contest, because I knew that Brandon could outrun me in a second. And, I was glad that I wasn't popular enough to enter the Junior Miss pageant, because being up on a stage and coming in last sounds like a nightmare. The closest I came to running for things, was auditioning for the school plays or running for study body secretary. Those are a little bit easier, because it's not like there's one winner, and everyone else lost. You usually get at least something, even if it's a lame part in the play. But at least it's not like you just flat out lose.

So, I'm in an apple pie contest. Today.

Now, this is hugely uncharacteristic of me, not only because i do not like contests, but also because I'm not a huge pie baker. If I make pie, it's chocolate. Now, I would enter my chocolate pie into a pie contest any day, but not so much apple. I've only ever made one really simple kind-of-OK apple pie before in my life. And even though my husband was excited about having apple pie, it was nothing to write home about.

So, I researched apple pie recipes. I compared different tactics for crusts, and studied up on apples. I chose very carefully a recipe that has won 2 state awards in a row, thanks to my pie making friend. Now, as I sit here and type, my pie sits in the oven and bakes. With nothing left to do but wait.

My feelings over this contest are not so much worrying about the competition...because the reason I entered the contest is because if you win, you get $1000 towards a ministry that you are involved in. It would be soooo neat to have the money to be able to go towards the after school program that I direct. So that's why I'm even in the contest. Not so that I can show my best pie, and win a ribbon for it. I haven't even ever tried this apple pie! I'm just having blind faith that this is an "award winning recipe"! Now all I can do is trust that it will be good. Maybe even good enough to win.

But it might not be. It might really be awful. The crust too hard and the filling too runny. The judges might even think, why in the world is this pie in this contest? I could have totally screwed up the recipe without even realizing it. I mean, I've never made a homemade pie crust before. I'm no expert on apple pies. I didn't even have a rolling pin to use...I had to borrow my 3 year old daughters kitchen set pretend one. Seriously.

As I wait, I think about how easy it is to just follow the directions for how to make life what you think you can make it. You can try a recipe that someone gives you. You can even have an award winning recipe. But you just don't know what you're going to have dealt to you. And we aren't supposed to know. What happens if the recipe fails. Or it just comes out all wrong with no understanding as to why it went wrong.

Trusting the Lord when we're uncertain of what the outcome will be, or when we've seen that the outcome is not at all what we choose, is what true trusting is all about. Knowing you might lose, but trying anyway. Knowing that you're not the best, but that you're doing the best you can do, and not for man. But for the Lord. I'm not trying to have a cheesy cliche, or put a Godly spin on it. It really is a step for me to know that it's not about what man thinks, it's what God says is true that I can rest in. He says that even a joyful noise is music to him, so then even apple scraps and lumpy dough can be a delicacy.

I don't know if my pie will win, but I'm glad that I made one. Whether or not it wins, it's the process of trying that is the most important. To be willing to try something, even if it's not the best of the best. To be willing to trust that it's OK to not be good enough to win. The part that blesses the heart of the Lord is just to be willing to step out and do it for Him.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Little Corner of the World

So, things I've learned lately:

no matter how early i get up in the morning, i will inevitably be late and/or forget something.

i like grocery shopping for about $50 worth of stuff in 20 min. verses $125 worth of groceries in an hour.

i don't like keeping things in the fridge without lids on...especially not chocolate pudding cups. they are lightweight and fall out and spill all over your white shirt when you're running late.

i don't like driving in a cami while i try to dry out my shirt that had to have the pudding washed out of it, with the car a.c. on full blast. i get cold, and feel too exposed, even though it's a tank top.

i think that police are out to get me. i've had a cop directly behind me at least 6 times today. when i lose them, another one shows up. i'm not doing anything wrong...i don't think.

my dog can pee for 4 min. straight, especially when he hasn't gone outside for 16 hours...i know write me up for pet negligence.

my life many times feels like anyone else could live it better and easier than i do....but then i guess the mystery of how i make life so crazy and unpredictable would never be solved.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Dream a Little Dream

I had quite an unusual dream last night, and since I seldom remember my dreams, it was definitely a treat to be able to laugh about this morning. I'm not sure what in the world made me have it, but none the less, it amuses me to think of how my mind takes in information.

I was being chased a lot from place to place. In parking decks, or large houses. At one point I was in a car trying to outrun someone following me, and then arrive at a location, and hurriedly gather lots of random belongings. I remember looking over all of these things on shelves in a forest type setting (like the shelves weren't really on a bookshelf, more on the trees, stretching out near a river), and trying to gather important things. One of the things I remember pondering whether or not to take was the game Mastermind.

So anyway, then it skipped to having been caught by whoever was tracking me down. And, as I was sitting in the torture chair, having my inner ear zapped by a shocking mechanism (lovely, I know), all I remember hearing was,

"Now will you recycle? Now will you use your personal grocery bag? WILL YOU!!???"

Is that not totally hilarious? I mean, I'm pretty environmentally minded. I recycle, and try to conserve. But I did forget my personalized shopping bag yesterday when I went to the store. I guess, I'm scared I'll be punished for that. ha ha.

Friday, August 31, 2007

Thanks, Mom.

You know, there aren't too many things that I'm snobby about. I mean, I don't mind getting dirty, and playing rough, and I'll cheer for the team as loud as the boys (maybe louder)...but I definitely love good food. I blame my cursed palliate on my mother. She could even tell the difference between the Food Lion brand butter and Land o Lakes. Not margarine, just the store brand butter.

I say cursed, because it's hard for me to enjoy things like store bought cookies, or things that are served with margarine instead of butter. At the wine tasting I like the $20 bottle the best. And of course fillet Mignon is my favorite. There is definitely a difference between good coffee and bad coffee. And I'm especially particular about desserts. When she passed on this palliate, she definitely did not know how little money I would have to live on!

Sometimes, I even let little statements slip out that hint at my disapproval. Or even, yes, politely ask the wait staff if I don't like something because it's not done "the way I like it" may I exchange it for something else. Awful, I know.

Another trait that I was passed on by both mother and father was their blatant friendliness, and almost obnoxiously outgoing personalities. You're shocked, I know. I smile at the children walking by me, and usually wave and say something. I say hello to the people in the elevator and ask how they're doing today. I converse with the cashiers about whatever, and usually know the names of the people behind counters, whether they like it or not.

Today, these two traits were really fun to have as "problems".

I went into Great Harvest Bread Company, and to my surprise, they had their amazing White Chocolate Cherry bread. Now, in the past, this bread has only been sold in February for Valentine's day, but not throughout the remainder of the year. This past Feb. I never got a chance to have this delicious treat, which was so sad. All of that said, I was extremely excited to see that they had it. Usually, I'm not a big cherry or white chocolate fan. If I had to pick, dark chocolate is my favorite, and cherries just aren't usually for me. HOWEVER, this bread is amazing. Have I said that already? So delicious.

I go into the bread store to buy some bread for our trip coming up, and I say hello to Rick (the guy behind the counter, of course) and am deciding what to get, when I see the White Chocolate Cherry up on the board as a bread for the day. So, I start saying how delicious that bread is, and how excited I am to see it, since it's not Feb. But, because it's soooo good, it's also pretty expensive, as far as bread goes. I think it's probably their priciest one (go figure!). So, I'm sitting there kind of thinking and trying to justify why I NEED to get the white chocolate cherry bread, when all of a sudden the lady beside me bursts out in a most southern and boisterous voice,

"Did you not think you had died and gone to heaven the first time you tried it?!!? I mean, it's the most delicious bread, it makes me sooo happy! Let's split it! Wouldn't that just be perfect? You pay for it in here, and get your card stamped, and I'll give you half the money outside. I can't eat a whole loaf, I just want a little bit. Wouldn't that just be wonderful! Honey, I'm not kidding, I mean that bread is Divine! Rick, tell her I wouldn't lie to her!"

"No she wouldn't lie to you," says Rick.

"Here, Rick, you take the loaf cut it in half, and put it in 2 bags, and we'll split it. Do you want to?" this friendly stranger says, while side hugging me, her new best friend.

So, after a few minutes of loud laughter and talking, causing trouble in the bread store, we introduced ourselves, and talked about where we lived, and how it truly was the best bread, and how if we ever met again, we should split another loaf, and how we had found our new best bread friend. It was great.

I love meeting people who live life out loud. Not that that's the best way to live, because even I would go insane if we were all like that. But, sometimes it's just fun to meet people who remind me of me, and remind me of my sweet mama. Who remind me that it's ok to be loud and boisterous, and who smile and laugh a lot. And who remind me that it's good to get excited about the little things in life. Like good bread and new friendly faces.

Thanks, Mom, for showing me how to love the little things in life.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Are the pancakes that good?

My sister called me today, and informed me that it was all you can eat pancakes at Tex and Shirley's for only $1.09 today. So, we all decided to go there for dinner. I email Randy because he has my phone, by mistake from earlier on in the day, and tell him the place and time.

I wake up the sleeping baby, who hasn't had a good nap all day. We get in the car, and actually surprise surprise get there on time! At 6:00.

I see a blue Toyota van, and think to myself, "Good, she's already here, so that means we don't have to wait for a table." I drive over and park near the blue van.

I unbuckle both kids from the car seats and walk in carrying the babe on my hip, and the 3 year old holding my hand.

I walk through the crowded restaurant, looking for my sister and the 3 blond boys who would be easy to spot at a table. No sister, no boys. Keep looking, while baby is trying to squirm out of my arms. Go back up front, thinking, "Maybe i just missed them." No sister, no boys.

Go get in line at the "Please wait to be seated" sign. Get up to hostess, and say, "A table for 8 - 5 children, 3 adults, please." She says, "Where's your party?" clearly seeing that it is only 1 adult, and 2 children at the moment. I look up at the clock on the wall, now showing me that it is 6:05, and say, "They'll be walking in any moment." She says, "We need to wait for more of your party to come before we seat you." "OK" I say hesitantly, while everyone around is looking.

Still waiting in the hostess line, because to get out of line, I would have to go all the way to the back of the line, and there are lots of people coming in. People who have "all of their party" with them are being sat, while I'm still waiting.

"Oh, what a pretty girl!" a lady says to my daughter. "Are those brown eyes with blond hair? Wow! And look at those blue eyes!" she says as she looks at my son. I thank her for the compliments and continue looking back and forth from the baby to my little girl to the door to the clock.

More people coming in, now at 6:10 so I give up my post in line, and retire to the lobby with my antsy baby trying desperately to move around, and my daughter getting in the way of all the families coming in and wait staff milling around. Remember, no phone, so I can't call, and say, "Where the heck is everyone?"

I move back into the line, hoping that by the time I get up to front, this time, everyone will be there. No chance. The only thing I get is an elderly lady saying to her husband as she looks at me and my children, "She's so young!" I turn around to see her looking over my outfit, and then giving my hand an obvious glance to see if I have on a wedding band, and YES, lady, I'm married! She then says in an irritated tone, "Are you waiting in line?" I answer with a frank, "Yes, I am." She and her party of 2 get sat.

Hostess sees me, and smiles.

6:15, I finally see the real blue van pull into the parking lot. I readjust my 9 month old for probably the 16th time, as my 3 year old gets scolded for not staying with me.

From the front of the line, I yell to my sister and her boys to come up and join me in line. We get sat.

Turns out, the baby is tired of the applesauce I brought to tie him over until we get pancakes served to us. And he doesn't want to sit in a highchair. He wants to crawl around on the floor, and jump out of my arms, and eat food that he finds off the floor.

My daughter wants to drink the creamers, and blow bubbles in her chocolate milk, and get down and go see her cousins, and read books over on the hearth of the fireplace near our table. My husband gets there at 6:30, as the pancakes are getting to the table. I didn't know that he had to get something from home, so he was going to be late. I tear a pancake into little bites for the baby, and then shovel mine into my mouth, so that I can somehow keep the baby contained while everyone else finishes their food. I remember seeing everyone, and drinking luke warm coffee, but I couldn't tell you what our conversation was about. All I remember thinking was, "Are these pancakes really that good?" As we were walking to the car, my husband said, "Maybe next time we can make pancakes at our house." I give him a smile, and say, "Yeah, that'd be good."

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Yucky Stuff on Jesus

Our three year old has always been really sensitive about people being mistreated. She can't get her brain around why people would be mean to other people. So even if it's a G rated movie, it really bothers her. She's extremely contemplative. I remember about a year ago after reading the story of Jesus dying on the cross in her animated children's Bible finding her probably 15 minutes later just sitting in her bed being quiet. I asked her what she was thinking about, and her response was, "Mommy, why did Jesus have to die on the cross?" (I mean, how can you get your head around such a concept at such a young age?) We answer her questions as best we can, but at the same time, I just struggle with wondering how in the world any of it can make sense. My family didn't talk a lot about all that when I was little, and so I can't fathom how such a young mind could even conceive such abstract ideas. So anyway, today her questions were, "Mommy, why did Jesus have all that yucky stuff on him?" and "Why did the soldiers (at first she called them hunters) beat Jesus?" After what seemed like the 10th time already today I had attempted to answer the questions , I looked at Randy and said, "You take this one, honey."

When we got home, she came inside and said, "I want to draw Jesus a picture, because the soldiers beat him." Like she wanted to make him feel better. As she proceeded to draw on seperate pieces of paper his arms and legs on the cross I thought about how precious she is. I want to become like a "little child", and be able to believe and feel with my heart fully, the way that she is so able to do.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Lord of my Sabbath?

As I found out shortly after having my first child, as a mother, there's not a lot of time that you're "off". Holidays and vacations are great fun, but they're not exactly "restful". I remember the first vacation I took after having a baby. It was a blast, but not at all like vacation had been before baby. Those days of just laying in bed til I really wanted to get up were over. And no more just lounging out in the sun for hours on end.

It was then that I realized that there are few moments where as a mom you just get to rest, and do nothing. When I choose to do this, it is just that...a choice...and a hard one at that. What I have to fight off in my head is that if I take a rest, while there are lots of chores, laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc. to get done, and I'm not getting them done now, then I'm just going to have to pay the consequence later, of having even more work to get done. Thus the rat race continues.

Fast forward a few years, and add another kid to the equation...

But today is my sabbath day. So what in the world does that mean? I was thinking about that today. How Sunday is the day of "rest". But where does the time for that come in with a family of four needing to be cared for? With lots of really fun things that we want to do together as a family, but then lots of practical details that have to get taken care of all the time. How can Christ be Lord of my sabbath?

But today was more of a sabbath than I've had in a while. I felt able to rest, in the midst of the clutter. In the midst of the chores. Here was my sabbath...

Woke up early with the kids. Did breakfast, some laundry, fed the kids, dressed the kids, got myself dressed, drank coffee.

We went to church, and actually got there on time...score! But for the second week in a row, we forgot Asher's paci. Thankfully, Ollie Hannam had left his there the week before, and because I know what type of paci's Ollie use, I knew it was his, and therefore, felt fine washing it and letting Asher use it. Thanks, Ollie!

Was able to worship together with my family and have some good time with Jesus.

Served at GracePlace (our 3rd-5th graders worship service) and was able to hear how the Lord is empowering my 4th grade girls in some awesome ways to say no to temptation.

Picked blackberries at church! So fun!

Went home, and put in the lasagna that I had made for lunch. Cleaned up some of the morning mess, and put the kids down for naps. Had a nice quiet lunch with my hubby... a special treat!

Actually went and took a nap. I was tired, and it was so nice to lay down. I didn't even try to clean up the kitchen first, too afraid that the kids would wake up before I could get to my bed.

Woke up and played in the dollhouse with River.

Made blackberry excited to use the yummy blackberries!

Asher was happily playing in the kitchen, and then very happy to eat his early dinner.

Cleaned up from the cobbler making (not to mention that River helped, so there was flour everywhere.)

Got Asher ready for bed. Started to do dinner for Randy, River and I.

Made burritos, put them in the oven.

Went outside to play T-ball.

Took some very cute pictures of the kids.

Came back in and made grilled cheese for River.

Put Asher to bed.

Had dinner.

Had blackberry cobbler....sooooooo goood! I think I had like 3 servings worth.

Read stories to River.

Put River to bed.

Put River to bed some more.

Cleaned up most of the kitchen.

Put clothes away while watching some Friends reruns.

Asher woke up, so fed and changed him.

Put Asher back to bed.

Tried to straighten up more of all of the clutter from life lived in our house today.

And that brings me to here...blogging, and enjoying every minute of my day of rest. He truly is the Lord of the sabbath. (Matt. 6:5)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Top 10 of NYC Trip

10. Hailing a cab.

9. Times Square at night!

8. Carriage ride through central park on a beautiful day.

7. Walking up on a Toby Keith performance for the Early Show!

6. Playing I Spy from the top of the Empire State Building with my family.

5. Having creme brulee, a chocolate croissant, and fabulous coffee in a cafe at bloomingdales - yes, all at the same sitting.

4. Getting lost in central park with my family, and loving every minute of it.

3. Clapping so hard my hands hurt and shouting, "Bravo!" at the top of my lungs through tear filled eyes after a truly amazing performance of Romeo and Juliet by American Ballet Theatre.

2. Seeing my sister given a standing o after her orchestra played in Carnegie Hall - she's only 15 mind you.

1. Unforgettable moments with my family, on the streets, in museums, at restaurants, or at tourist attractions in a remarkable city that I've wanted to see for years now!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Free At Last

My seven month old baby has never been able to, or willing to take a bottle. Needless to say, there has been much restraint on me as his mother. If I go out, I have to return before the next feeding. I haven't been able to be gone more than a few hours from him ever since his birth. We tried many times, and nothing ever worked. Until he started on cereal 3 months ago, there was no other option of sustenance, other than what Mommy could give. I don't think I fully knew the amount of pressure that I had on myself until the other day.

I have had a New York City trip planned for a few months now, and thankfully was going to be able to take my sweet baby, and that allowed me the possibility of even being able to go. However, as the trip approached, and each day was coming closer, I realized my dread of being in NYC for the first time ever with a 7 month old baby. Everything I was going to take, on the plane, paying for a babysitter for the times that we would be out at night, taking him with us everywhere during the day, having him miserable in a car seat or stroller for hours on end... yea, doesn't that sound fun?? Thus, the final attempt at the bottlefeeding. I convinced myself that if in a week, I could possibly train my son to take a bottle, I would be able to have an entirely baby-free trip, to NYC.

The first night of trying, we got ourselves mentally ready. I decided that I wouldn't feed him, and get him really hungry, and then let Daddy give a bottle of formula before bed. At first, upon seeing the bottle, Asher got excited, knowing somehow, this was for him. However, when he was sat back to take in his last meal of the day, he would have no part in it. After much resistance and crying, he wore himself out, and just fell asleep without having anything to eat.

The next day, I went and borrowed a fantastic pump, determined to not give up. Maybe he wouldn't take formula well, but maybe, just maybe, he wouldn't mind it if it was the real thing. So once again, we mentally prepared ourselves for the determination it takes sometimes to "break" a baby from a particular pattern. I had pumped in the afternoon, and yes, even sent up a prayer of desperation to the Lord, before putting the bottle in the fridge.

The time had come, and I was ready to leave around the time that he would be given the bottle. But of course, we realized as we were sitting down to our hot dinner, that Asher needed to go down, and before that would happen, he would have his feeding. So, Daddy warmed the bottle, and took the tired and hungry babe with him to the other part of the house.

River and I sat quietly and ate, praying in my head the whole time, that Asher would take the bottle. I listened, and waited, anticipating the outright opposition I would hear from the babe. But, nothing came. I continued to wait and listen for some sign of how things might be going, still nothing. Then, as I heard the footsteps down the hallway, I knew my answer was coming. As Daddy appeared in the doorway with baby asleep in his arms, he held up the half full (not half empty) bottle, tears came to my eyes. All I could quietly say was, "Praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!" which even now seems so silly, but I truly felt freedom that I have not felt for quite some time. I am thankful to be free at last.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

A Chasing After the Wind

there are times that i just feel kind of weepy, as most of us girls do. and not even connected to hormones...just sad days, or grumpy days, or feeling just kind of "blah" (as many of us say).

earlier this week, i woke up, and before i knew it, i was feeling irritated, unappreciated, and just down. it was about silly stuff on the surface; the eggs were cooked the wrong way... twice... according to my 3 year old. then, being frustrated about that and many things, i felt like the mom that was playing the "martyr" to try to get the appreciation that i was wanting, but hating that i was putting the guilt trip on my daughter for not appreciating me. i remember feeling that guilt, and pressure to affirm, and feeling it from my mom made me even less likely to give it. so i decided to get over it, and move on, but i just was overwhelmed by all that i had to do, and couldn't do at the same time. feeling like no matter what i would do, it wouldn't be good enough. that's an awful feeling, let me tell you, especially for someone who likes to be able to do it all, and do it well.

after a quick laughter through tears moment with my sister, some sushi, and bantering about how crappy the day was, i was much better, and the day went on without too much more drama. i got what i could done, and left the rest, and that was all i could do.

i know that somewhere in this life, i'll have a clean house, and folded laundry, and dishes put away, but if it's at the cost of the smiles of my little ones and the sweet looks of my ever reassuring husband, than it's worthless to me. that's my take on ecclesiastes 2:10-11.

"my heart took delight in all my work, and this was the reward for all my labor. when i surveyed all that my hands had done and what i had toiled to achieve, everything was meaningless, a chasing after the wind; nothing was gained under the sun."

i think i'd rather not chase, and just enjoy the breeze around me.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Snakes On A What?!

I don't know if it's all the attention that Snakes on a Plane got last year or what, but it seems that there are lots of snakes around this year. Personally, I'm terrified of snakes, especially copper-heads. Growing up in the woods of Eastern North Carolina, I was always taught to keep my eyes open for them, for they were the most dangerous kind around. I have vivid memories of interactions with these loathsome reptiles. One time I ran downstairs to my mother screaming over the healthy sized copperhead that had found it's way into our kitchen. Another memory was watching in horror as my favorite cat tried to play with a copperhead out in our driveway. No matter how much I yelled for him to come, he couldn't seem to drag himself away from this captivating creature. My mom ended up taking the car and running over the snake repeatedly...back and forth, back and forth, just to make sure it was really dead.

Last week, a good friend of mine found a huge copperhead in her backyard. I thought, well, she has some woods behind her house, so that makes sense. Then, a couple days later, my sister lets me know that she not only found a baby copperhead in her yard, UNDER their patio swing, but also found a dead one in MY YARD while she was taking care of my dog this weekend. Then, if that's not enough to really freak me out, yesterday, when I was driving home, there was a huge snake crossing the road. I screamed, and freaked Randy out, because he hadn't seen it, and thought something was "really" wrong. I told him that there had been a snake crossing the road, and that definitely warranted a squeal. It was really not that loud. Needless to say, I'm probably going to be having nightmares for a while, and hopefully that's the only place I'll be seeing snakes. Watch where you're walking this summer...I think they're taking over!!!

Sunday, May 20, 2007

One More Kiss

So tonight my 3 year old daughter decided to put on her rain boots and go outside to find Daddy who was working in the yard to give him one more kiss goodnight. He had only just gone out about 20 minutes before, and had already given her plenty of hugs and kisses, but who can advise a little girl from giving her Daddy a kiss goodnight? I saw her look out the front window and see him, but since the front door was locked I felt fine in not getting up right away. And I refrained from shouting as to not alarm the nursing baby in my arms. However, then I heard her traipse down the hall toward the back door, definitely on a mission. I was hoping to hear the handle turn a couple times, but not open. But there was an open door, with an unlocked storm door, and out she went to find her Daddy without a second thought. There were a few seconds that went by, as I was getting off the floor trying not to disturb the still nursing baby in my arms, and getting to the front door to alert my husband, that I thought, "What if something happens to her?" But she was almost to him, and she was fine. We did, however, have a talk about not going out without mommy or daddy.

I think that if I knew the Father's love for me, the way she knows her Daddy's love for her, I would be so much more set on seeking Him out, with an all out passion to find Him, just to have another kiss goodnight. It's a beautiful thing, a little girl's heart for her Daddy.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Saying Goodbye

you know, i just don't like saying goodbye. i don't know that anyone really likes it, but i just have a pretty hard time with having to say goodbye to things. last night was the last episode of Gilmore Girls, which was sad. we had a fun party to see them off, and i thoroughly enjoyed the final episode, but still, it's just sad to see something end. i remember trying to coach myself when i was younger, and get myself excited about the new "next" thing coming around the bend, but the truth is, it's still sad to say goodbye. and i still do the whole, 'let me distract myself with what i know i'm going to have instead of focusing on the sad feeling of losing what i'm losing'. but no matter how you look at it, whether you're saying goodbye to a book, or a show, or a friend, you want to stretch it out as long as you possibly can, to savour those last few moments of the "good old days" that will soon be long gone.

last night, as i knew that the final credits were approaching, i found myself thinking, "not yet, one more minute, no, don't show the credits, don't let it really be over." it is sad, just like when a friend moves, you know that you're still going to be in their lives, but it's not really going to be the same. which brings me to the point of why it's hard for me to say goodbye...because you know that it will never be the same again. and yes, there might be another good thing around the corner, but you don't know. you only know what you have now, and what you have had in the past, and so to lose that, feels so sad. but to be able to trust that the next thing might be good; maybe even better, is a hard thing to do. so yes, even though it's a silly thing to be sad about, i will miss not having tuesday nights with the Gilmore Girls to look forward to. thanks, ladies who shared the final show with me. and thanks, kari, for introducing me to such a fun show!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Middle School Blues

so recently i've been thinking a lot about middle school. mainly because i work with a group of inner city k-8th graders, and undoubtedly the hardest sector of that group are the middle schoolers. i mean where did they learn to be the way they are. so aloof, and unresponsive, but then at the turn of a head totally giddy and playful. it's like they're handed some book on the first day of 6th grade that is the handbook to being an intimidating, hard to handle, hard to understand, and just plain moody middle schooler. honestly, i wouldn't go back to middle school if you paid me. bad hair, bad friends, bad acne, you name it. but there is something totally unique and wonderful about these kids. just like i was, they're finding out who they are. and they're becoming real people, and not just some unruly kids. they want to be treated like adults, and yet they still need the boundaries of a child. it's a tricky place to be, and i wouldn't ever go back. so as frustrated as i can get with them for being so hard, i totally understand why. who can blame them, they're middle schoolers.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

i never used to cry at weddings

i'm not a big crier, but there are some things that are guaranteed to make me cry. i never used to cry at weddings. sure they were sweet and all that, but they never jerked tears out. same with babies. i love kids, and babies are always cute, but they didn't used to make my heart leap with just a look, or a sound coming out unexpectedly.

but now, at weddings, i usually end up having a tissue in my hand for most of the ceremony. and when i call my friends to hear how their new baby is, i well up before they even tell me the answer. i guess you could call me a "softy", but i think it's so much more than that.

today as i witnessed a wedding, and yes, as i blotted my eyes, i was surprised by how encouraged i was by the ceremony. it was completely unique, and yet, extremely familiar, too. part of what i love at weddings is how beautiful everyone and everything is. seeing what these two people chose to be a part of their special day. but on a deeper level, i love knowing what is ahead for the beautiful couple before me. i love that i know that in the aftermath of all the wedding hoop-la, all you want is to be is in your lover's arms. that after opening all your gifts, the biggest gift is having each other. that through the journey, yes you will be hurt, but knowing how worth the journey is. and that when you've been married for years, you can still be caught off guard by feeling the same jitters you felt in those first moments of knowing you were falling in love.

i think what encourages me the most, is knowing, like i was reminded of today, that I can't do this thing called love. it must be done by "Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us". and that, my friends, is good news! i know that i fail miserably in and of myself, but praise the Lord that i don't have to fall back on myself. i can ask Him to do it. and He is more than able.

Monday, February 05, 2007

the non resolution

so, i know that this kind of post is supposed to occur in january, but it goes right in line with my "non-resoultion".

so many times at the start of the year, i feel pressure to commit to a resolution for the year, which i know will undoubtedly not be upheld for more than maybe a couple weeks. then you go through all of the disappointment of not "making" your resolution happen for the year...and then you remember not only not making this year's, but alllllll those other years, where they just don't happen. so a few years ago i decided, "that's it. no more new years resolutions for me." let's face it, i don't need that kind of added pressure on my life! i've got enough to do as it is.

well, then this year, i decided to have an entirely different outlook on the topic. not only will i not commit to a resolution, i will have a NON-Resoultion!

you see, in my life, i'm always thinking that there is more time in a day than there is, or just some incredible super human power i have to not be held back by human time limitations. "sure, i can do this", or "yeah, that's no problem!" and i over commit every day of the year. which leads to getting to places late, or not at all, and adding on stress that is totally unnecessary.

so this year, i am committing to doing less in my life. to saying "no" sometimes, or to realize that i don't have to stress to get EVERYTHING done, i can just not do everything. so there you have non-resolution. the only problem is, just like in years past, i'll probably only be able to keep this one a week or two, too!