Friday, July 28, 2006

What Kind of Food Are You?

Ok, I did it. Here I am a college graduate (don't all supermarkets have great need of a person with a BA in Biblical Studies?), a middle-age mom who has stayed home with her kids for 11 years ...and I'm as nervous as a skinny teenager looking for her first job!

After asking my hubby SEVERAL times if I looked OK, I drove to the store and asked for my friend, the Store Director. Now, you have to understand that this is really a friend. He's not just a casual acquaintance. This is the husband of one of my dearest friends. We've only known each other for about 9 months, but we've all hit it off. We have worshipped, prayed, studied the Bible, played games, gone to movies, played volleyball, and eaten together. Our kids are best buds. My husband is going to Promise Keepers with him in a couple of weeks. I have great respect for this man. What I'm saying is, this shouldn't have been a hard thing. I had pre-warned him I was going to do this and he was great. WHY AM I SWEATING AND FEELING SO AWKWARD?

He smiles as he comes out of the office and says he's sorry to tell me he has no applications left. He takes me into his office while he looks to see if he can find one more and we engage in small tired our kids were after camp, the church softball game last night, the possibility of rain this afternoon. AARRGGHHH! I'm acutely aware my voice sounds strange....even to my own ears. CALM DOWN GIRL! It's not like I'm trying out for cheerleader or something ... (you see how I've gone completely back to that time of my life?)

He tells me he had a big stack but the college kids (just what I was worried about) have been coming in by the droves over the past couple of days and he just doesn't have another one. He tells me to go to another location a couple of miles away and get one there and fill it out and bring it to him on Sunday. I breathe a little bit easier when he says he really wants to get mine in ASAP. As I leave his office, I suddenly can't remember how to get out of the swinging door and then as I'm finishing the conversation I turn around to leave only to almost slam into the pole guiding customers to the customer service desk! Right in front of him! How confident and together I must look. (Uh, "Have any openings for a clumsy, middle-aged pole dancer?")

I leave the store relieved in one way and disappointed in another. Relieved to stop acting so completely insecure and disappointed not to have it all over with. I walk through the rain to my big ol' honkin' mini van-that-is-making-an-awful-noise-and-is-almost-on-empty and immediately drive to the other store lecturing myself on my insane behavior (ironic, huh?) the entire way. When I ask there, they have applications out in a holder by the front shortage at this store. Leave it to me to pick the most popular location!

I bring it home and begin to fill it out. Am I bi-lingual? Do you think it will help that I've taken 2 years of Greek? I guess there probably isn't much call for Greek in Lubbock, TX! As a matter of fact, I would guess there are people who would argue we don't even speak English here. Guess I'll check a big fat NO on that one.

How about job history? Mine is really HISTORY. I mean, George Bush WAS President the last time I filled out a job application for a "real" job, but the W was conspicuously absent. I did the best I could to make myself sound good. I worked my way through the application and then realized that job applications have changed a little in the past few years. I don't recall ever answering the question "If you were a food, what kind would you be and why?" before. Now this has me wondering....does this mean I will have to dress up as this food while I work? What kind of food gets preferential treatment? Does chicken have a leg up on broccoli? Will they make me the expert dairy checker if I say "Milk?" What is the most dependable, hard working food? Most importantly, what kind of food gets paid the most? I just don't know what the right answer to this question would be. But I settled for "hamburger" because everyone likes a hamburger and it is enhanced by side dishes but can also stand on its own. (????)

I took the application over to him this evening (I had to run to his house because his wife was cleaning out her closet and had some shirts she thought might fit me....and I took her some carpet cleaner for a stain her neice had just made with some lip gloss...) and just to show I was a person who goes above and beyond the call of duty, I gave him the extra application I had accidentally picked up. I'd hire me....wouldn't you? I was much more relaxed seeing him at his house....WEIRD. I think I'm just nervous about whether this will work out.

I guess I'll know something in the coming week. In the meantime.....If you could be food what kind would you be and why???

Family... Changes....

The kids are back and they had a great time. Great sleep took place last night...after showers! I don't think a lot of showers took place while they were gone and I'm pretty sure my son wore the same shorts (not underwear - I have taught him SOMETHING!) the entire time! Oh well, less laundry for me to do!! When asked what their favorite part was my son said "the Bible Study....we learned about friendship" (although he talked about new friends he made, he couldn't remember any of their names) and my daughter said "the Worship time." Pretty cool. They still seem very thankful to be home this morning, although I think it's time to get started on school since they told me they were "bored" just before noon and asked if we could do some arts & crafts or something! Anyway, our family is all back intact and back to normal...whatever that is.

I am very nervous all the sudden because this afternoon I am going to apply for a job at the supermarket down the street. I will try to get them to let me work the evenings when hubby is NOT working so one of us will be here for the kids all the time. It stinks because we won't see each other much during the week, but maybe it won't have to last for too long.

I know it's crazy to be nervous, but I am. I even know the Store Director and have mentioned this to him and he was very positive, but's been a long time since I went to interview for a job. I hope I'm not too old to learn to do something new. I'll be surrounded by cute, young college students. Yikes! I can check myself out at Wal-Mart...does that count as experience? OK, enough putting it off. I need to go get ready and do this thing.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Life without kids

I guess my life hasn't been too interesting with my kids away at camp. We've enjoyed the peace and quiet, but it's time for those kids to come home. They haven't even called me :)......They haven't even called me :-0.....They haven't even called me :(.

Hubby & I have had a nice time, but we miss them. We have been reading a Thr3e by Ted Dekker and enjoying that. Yes, we read books "together" when we get the opportunity. We really enjoy doing that - we trade off each chapter reading aloud. We've been doing this for almost 15 years now and it is something we savor doing together. It's much better than TV.

We got the opportunity to see Lady in the Water too. I know the critics don't like it (the movie doesn't like critics either!) but we really enjoyed it. I like M. Night's movies....they make you think and are definitely about faith. I appreciate a movie that makes you think and put things together and figure out what the story is trying to say. (Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I've been watching kid movies for the past 11 years or so!)

Yesterday I got to spend most of the day "creating" (scrapbooking, etc.) with friends. It was a totally fun day and I actually accomplished something amidst the laughter.

It is time to go pick up the kids so I will continue my blog later.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A "Letting Go" Moment...(or Few Days)

I remember when my son was born and we brought him home from the hospital. We had him in a little bassinet next to our bed for the first weeks. We lived in a little one bedroom garage apartment (we were still in school). It was actually pretty good size for a one-bedroom (approx. 800 sq. ft). We decided not to move when we found out we were having a baby. There were two nice sized walk in closets, one in the bathroom and the other one in the living room. After much measuring and brainstorming, we made the closet in the living room into a "nursery." His crib and a little dresser fit perfectly. I put up a Noah's Ark border and tried to make it cute. I know it sounds weird and we laughed a lot about it, but it worked out quite well and saved us a lot of money and trouble. We loved that apartment and were able to stay another year (until we finished school and moved out of town).

As he began to look a little cramped in the bassinet, we knew it was time to move him out of our room and into the "nursery" across the hall. The door to the closet was probably only 6 ft. from the door of our bedroom, but it was a hard move for me. I cried. I remember saying to my hubby that day that the "letting go" started early. (I'm sure he wanted to laugh at me, but he showed great restraint and was very understanding.) It struck me with great force that from the minute they cut that umbilical cord the rest of our relationship would be a series of "letting go" moments. In that moment, I saw them all stretched out before me.

This week is one of those moments for our family. We sent both of our kids off to camp yesterday. We all did surprisingly well. I didn't really cry, although it wouldn't have taken much to push me over the edge. My son didn't seem anxious at all about leaving, he hugged me quickly and jumped in the truck with his buddies staying as "cool" as possible. My daughter (who I thought would fall apart) gave us several hugs, but went about "helping" another girl who was crying and struggling with leaving her mom. I was so proud of her. Although I know she was feeling uneasy herself, she just went over and held the girls' hand and made sure they had seats together in the van. They know each other, but not well. I am willing to bet they come back as fast friends.

They are only going to be gone a few days, but it is the first time in all these years that our house is so quiet for this many days. It's just hubby & me again :). It is eerily quiet here this morning. It's nice and awful at the same time. I miss them but I am excited about what I know will be an awesome time for them.

Hubby was off work yesterday, so we (wow, just the two of us!) enjoyed our day and evening very much, but it did seem very odd. No one was complaining when we spent an hour in the book store - JUST LOOKING. We finished sentences. We didn't have to worry about getting home and relieving and PAYING a babysitter.

It's much like that day we put our son in his "closet nursery." It's another step toward their independence. It is good (even fun) for hubby & I and healthy for our relationship, and it is good (and fun) for the kids.

Now I just have to spend this morning putting my house back together after tearing it apart getting them ready to leave!! They'll be back with piles of laundry in just a few days reminding me that it this is just another SMALL "letting go" and we have many more to go.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Thursday Thirteen

Thirteen Places I've lived (Yes, really!)

1. Hereford, TX

2. Bennington, VT

3. Garland, TX

4. Abilene, TX

5. Shafter, CA

6. Boise, ID

7. Maynard, MA

8. Owasso, OK

9. Portage, IN

10. St. Peters, MO

11. Weatherford, TX

12. Longview/Kilgore, TX

13. Lubbock, TX

Can you believe that? We call this our "American Tour." Each place holds a special place in our hearts and special friends still live in each area. Even though it's not been our plan and it hasn't been easy, I don't think I would trade for the experience of living in any of these places.
Links to other Thursday Thirteens!1. (leave your link in comments, I’ll add you here!)

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Comments Anyone?...

I am planning to post a blog later today. In the meantime I seem to be missing my sidebar on my site? Has anyone seen it today? Like everything else around here, I seem to have misplaced it. Maybe it is in one of these stacks of bills! Seriously, I don't know what's up, but I thought if I posted something, maybe it would come back...worth a try, huh?

And I also wanted to let everyone know I figured out I could change my settings so that ANYONE can post a comment on here. (Before, you had to join blogger in order to comment and I know that everyone is not ready to make that monumental commitment just to be able to say "hi" to me.) I welcome comments, even enjoy them immensely, so stop in and say "hi" ...

I'll write later. It was a busy & fun Sunday. Lots of things going on here, so I have much to write when I get a few quiet moments (?).

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Just a few plugs

I've had fun the last few days just checking out a lot of the sites on the blogging chicks. I'm learning more and more about how this blog thingy works...and it's fun! Go check out some of these "chicks!"

You have to visit this guy at Humble Beginnings. He is definitely NOT a blogging chick, but he is a way too funny "man of the cloth."

I have learned how to add links to my site (whoo hoo) and so look on my sidebar and visit some of my friends/ favorites (most of these are not on the blogging chicks list, but a couple are). I'm sure that list will grow.

I wrote a blog for the blogging chicks carnival this week and I hope you will go check it out on Sunday and read some of the other entries. I'm sure they will be great. The theme this week is Dreams. My submission is on my sidebar Only Trouble Is, Gee Whiz, I'm Dreaming My Life Away....

Friday, July 14, 2006

Dibs on Dad

My kids are way deep into the stage of "calling dibs" on EVERTHING!! It sometimes makes me want to stick a hot poker in my eye. I mean, there are only 2 of them, after all! Dibs on everything from the seat choice in our 7 seater van (Hey, there are 5 choices....surely there are two that are equally desirable!) to dibs on the last ear of corn at supper (there's only 30 more in the frig. waiting to be cooked next time).

Last night, after supper/dinner (whatever), we took a family jaunt to the neighborhood park. The kids, after much debate on their mode of travel (bikes or skates?), decided to ride their bikes while we walked. (Hubby & I don't have bikes, but would really like to now that the kids are so proficient on their bike rides sound like a blast.) It was pleasant out despite the fact that it had been 102 degrees during the day! It's one of the perks (and some would say there aren't many) of living usually cools down in the evening and become quite pleasant (if you aren't fighting mosquitos).

About halfway on our trip back home, the kids got off their bikes and we somehow paired off (my daughter with my hubby and my son with me). I jumped on my sons' bike and thought I could enjoy the exercise. Not so, he wanted to talk. When your twelve year old son wants to talk, you don't leave him in the dust on the bike! The best exercise I got was trying not to tump over because I was going slow enough for him to keep up as he walked!! He proceeded to explain to me, with a hint of disappointment in his voice, that he had "called dibs" on dad but that I would be "okay". "It's just that sometimes I need some 'man talk' now since I'm 12 and all." I told him I understood and that if Dad and I had been aware of the "dib calling" we would surely have made sure that happened and that he could walk with Dad next time.

I don't think my kids ever "call dibs on Mom." Maybe it's because I'm. ALWAYS. THERE. The truth is, we all want to "call dibs" on Dad the minute he comes too! I understand.

I called "dibs on Dad" after the kids were in bed and we watched Cinderella Man (yes, I know, we are behind). Great story, great movie...too much boxing (that HURTS me!). Wonderful "dib time!"

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Thursday's Thirteen

This seemed like a cool thing to do, so I'm gonna try it!

Thursday's Thirteen things I've enjoyed this week:

1. Going to see Pirates of the Caribbean with friends....who can resist Jack Sparrow? (I know he's a pirate and all, but...)
2. Watching my kids playing with their friends. (Their giggles make my heart smile.)
3. Spontaneity with friends...staying up playing games & talking & laughing til 2 a.m.
4. Helping my mom move furniture and get her new computer set up.
5. Great Bible Study, cookout & game night on Sunday night.
6. My son's twelfth birthday! Wow! (see blog on July 11) My son, in general!
7. First fresh corn on the cob of the season.....(I'm thankful we live in an area where people like to share. :)
8. Making a meal for a friend who had surgery. It's a blessing to be on the receiving end of this kind of thing, but it is a uber-blessing to be able to bless someone else!
9. Watching my kids learn how to skate with their roller-blades. My kids, in general!
10. Finding out college age people still think we are cool and worthy of hangin out with!
11. Learning how to put links on my blog site. Whada ya old dog CAN learn new tricks!
12. My daughter sleeping well the last few nights after several nights of insomnia and tears. And the NAP she took one day (she hasn't taken a nap in 5 years!).
13. Pop up thunderstorms the last few evenings (after HOT days)....lots of lightening. I love to watch and smell, and feel the awesomeness of the All-Powerful God showing off His stuff!

Only Trouble Is, Gee Whiz, I'm Dreaming my life away.....

dream - n. - 1. A series of pictures, thoughts or emotions occuring during sleep. 2. A daydream. 3. Something hoped for; aspiration.

I've always been a dreamer. I have a great imagination and can escape into a daydream pretty easily. It's probably one of the reasons I love to's another form of dreaming. And there's nothing like a good nighttime dream and the warm feeling you have when you wake up. I love that! (We won't talk about nightmares right now.)

Through the years my dreams (the #3 kind, see above) have morphed. I can remember being in first grade and dreaming of being a third grader and learning how to write in cursive. I dreamt of the day I would learn to drive and of dating the quarterback (rolling my eyes). I dreamt of being a teacher, a wife, a mom. I dreamt my husband would be handsome (he is), and then later that he would have a good sense of humor (he does), and on and on and on. The list kept getting modified as I met and dated various guys (not that many, don't worry). As I grew, I dreamt more and more that he would be a man of God (he is certainly that). I dreamt of having babies and how wonderful it would be to have about four!! (I have 2 -- and I'm done!)

Then there were dreams of sleeping the whole night without nursing ( I can't complain, they were actually pretty good sleepers). I dreamt of the day my son would talk to me. I dreamt of the day my daughter would STOP talking to me (just for a little while!!!). I had dreams of the day all the potty training would be done. I dreamt of how it would be when they could dress themselves and tie their own shoes. I dreamt of the day they would both be in school all day and I could do something "worthwhile." (And then all day long I dreamt of when they would come home!) Now I dream of homeschooling them until the day God lets me know this season is over.

I have dreamt we would own our own dream home, now I dream that wherever we are and whatever situation we are in will "be" home....warm, loving, inviting, homey. I dream of the church without walls, without borders, without fear....but full of love and grace and urgency. OK, you get the picture. There's so much more, but I'm boring even myself.

My point is that these dreams are all good. Dreams are necessary. I believe dreams of all three varieties are gifts from God. He can work through them (the daydreams and the nightdreams). They spur us on and encourage us to be our best. They sometimes challenge us to do things we never would otherwise. They make life interesting. How boring life would be without dreams!

But right now I dream that I won't dream my life away. I want to enjoy the moment....every one of them. I want to live in the right now while still striving for the hopes and dreams of the future. I want to recognize the blessings that are right in front of my eyes that I sometimes miss because I'm so busy dreaming of something I think might be better. I want to dream "of a White Christmas" while not missing the joys of a "Brown Christmas" (hey, it's easier to drive, the kids can go out and ride their new bikes, there is no shoveling!!) and the smiles and laughter and even the tears that are right in front of me.

How 'bout you?

(The title of this post is a reference to an OLD Everly Brothers song I always liked when I was listening to my mom's old records - you remember those.....don't you? I'm pretty sure a few others have recorded it as well.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I've Joined the Blogging Chicks!

I've already found some cool sites on here.
Check the blogroll on my sidebar!

Hourglass Figure

As those close to me is not a cup of coffee that clears the cobwebs away from my bleary brain each is a good hot shower. If I don't get my shower it is not a pretty sight. I try to convince myself from time to time that I can just take one in the evening, or I'm just going to be painting or be outside sweating or whatever that day, so why bother now? It would save time and it makes "logical" sense. I'm like the person who is mentally ill (no comments here, please!) and thinks they can do without their meds. I seem to have amnesia on those days and forget that it is inevitable that without my shower I will be a grouchy, _itchy person and will usually have a headache that I imagine is much like a hangover headache (I haven't ever had one of those, but I've heard stories!). I turn into MonsterMom and feel powerless to change it. (A good shower would usually do the trick, even at that point, but I am usually too crazy to realize what the problem is.) My husband and kids know this about me. They encourage the morning shower! The earlier the better.....

Ok, so God has a really *cute* sense of humor! Our bathroom is arranged in such a way that when you step out of the shower to reach for the towel you can't miss the BIG mirror directly in front of you. Now that's an eye-opener! (Or maybe an eye-closer.) I try not to look for fear of ruining a perfectly good morning, but it's hard to miss. Fortunately the mirror usually starts fogging up pretty quickly after you step out. That, too, is God's provision! This morning the words "hourglass figure" ran through my mind(?) and I remembered that cute little figure I used to have. I didn't think it was cute at the time, but we girls are never satisfied with our bodies or our hair and we never realize how good we have it until it's gone!

I squinted my eyes really hard and realized that, hey, I think I can still make out an hourglass figure (just as the mirror fogged up). Yes, yes, it's still there. It's just that the "hour" would only last about 15 minutes!! Maybe that's why time flies by so much faster as you get older! ( sands through the hourglass, so are the days of our lives......)

Maybe I should use one of the other bathrooms to take my shower (see earlier blog about our "pricey" bathrooms). But that would just put me in more denial, wouldn't it? denial always such a bad thing?

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

The search for his "inter-self"

Twelve years ago today I was in the middle of 9 hours of hard labor brought on by pitosin. I had been so determined not to have drugs (what was I thinking?). It was my first baby and I had fantasies - what can I say? Here was a problem I hadn't counted on: I wasn't dilating enough and baby was having a rough time. The Dr. finally came in and stated *very calmly* that baby's heartrate was dropping and the stress was becoming dangerous and would we consider a C-section? Hubby and I had been so dead set against that just a few hours ago (and had been sure to let the Dr. know how we felt) and now we couldn't agree fast enough.

It had all been pretty calm around me until that moment and then things swung into fast forward and I was in the delivery room faster than a speeding bullet. That's where they gave me the EPIDURAL (or should I say THE DRUG SENT STRAIGHT FROM HEAVEN?). What an amazing relief. Anyway....that was the day my son came into this world and into our arms. He was beautiful (to us anyway).

I can't believe that was 12 years ago! He is still beautiful even though he is kind of in that awkward in-between stage right now (and he would hate that I used that word to describe him). Some days he is still such a little boy and then he remembers how much he wants to grow up and be a man. I think he's often as confused by all this as we are. The same boy who still thought it might be fun to go to Chuck E. Cheese for his birthday wants a guitar and dreams of starting a Christian Rock Band with his "homies." He's taller than I am (not such an amazing feat) and we've had quite a few talks about remembering to put on deoderant these days!! He's really exploring new interests and told us Sunday that now that he's 12, he needs to find his "inter-self." He cracks us up! :)

For a boy who didn't really talk until he was 4, he can talk my ear off these days about things I am not the least bit interested in. I try, but sometimes I feel my eyes glazing over and beginning to cross. (I know he sees it and that makes it worse!) It's boy stuff. I didn't have any brothers and when I found out I was having a boy - I questioned what I would do with him. I needn't have worried. It's been great. I love being mom to a boy (despite the fact that I don't always understand the things he's interested in). He's fun and he's simple. I'll never forget the first time he said "I love you Mommy" because I waited 5 years to hear those words. He had always told me in countless other ways, but the waiting for words was hard and painful. He's doing well now, although language (getting things from his head to his mouth or vice-versa) is sometimes difficult for him. He's learning how to compensate and I'm proud of how hard he has worked. I think it has built his character and made him a better person. They say when you have deficiencies in one area, other areas get stronger in order to compensate and I think I see that in him.

I think he IS finding his "inter-self." I hope the search doesn't take him too far off the path he is already on. He is growing into a remarkable godly young man and I am proud to be a part of his life. I pray that God continues to grow in him mightily. As my husband told me the other day - our son is a warrior. Those words are sometimes hard for moms to hear about their boys (especially as they get older - we want to coddle too much), but I know it is a good thing and an important ingredient for a man. I'm so thankful God saw fit to bless me with a boy - this boy. My now 12 year old boy/man. I'm thankful he has a wonderful man, my hubby, as an example and that their relationship is strong. How blessed am I??

Happy Birthday Bud!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

All our "2 a.m. Friends"

As I sit at the computer tonite (just got my kiddos tucked in bed and hubby is at work, the washer and dryer are still rumbling away and I have allowed myself to sit and write) familiar faces are flashing through my mind. Faces of friends. Old friends, new friends. Smiles, tears, laughter, "aha" moments, hugs, etc.

Today I've been thinking a lot about how blessed hubby & I have been on our journey to have been surrounded by so many wonderful friends. I am especially thinking about it today because it is happening again. Let me explain.

It happens with all couples, I'm sure. The search for friends that both of you "click" with can be tricky. Life is busy and when is there time to have people over, go out together, etc.? Add kids and that adds a whole other dimension. Because we have moved around more than your average bears (ALWAYS use a pencil when writing our address in your book), it has sometimes seemed like too big a task. It takes time, energy, putting yourself out there. At times we've felt alone and even questioned whether we were even "friendship material" anymore. Maybe we just aren't fun anymore. Maybe we are a drag. Maybe we are too high risk (after all, we might move off). And on, and on, and on. Fortunately, God has been faithful to assure us through wonderful, warm friendships all over this country. Each friendship is unique and occupies a special place in our hearts. No two are alike. Even that amazes me.

But back to today....the past couple of months have been special for our family. We have made some NEW wonderful friends and, frankly, it comes with mixed feelings. Last night we had a spontaneous game night with a family we adore. They left here reluctantly(on all our parts...even the kids) at 2 a.m. Every week lately we are having these great spontanteous times and laughing til we cry and sharing deep thoughts about God and about our lives, sharing history, sharing hopes for the future. We love these people and are having so much fun together....we've needed this for a while....but we are aware that God is likely to call us somewhere else in the near future. We want to go where He calls us. We want to be obedient and faithful to the gifts He's given us. Why does it have to come with such sacrifice??

This week I have also read blogs of old friends (I love catching up on their daily lives that way), I have talked to and prayed with old friends on the phone, and I opened the mail today and got something fun from another friend (thanks, Min). There are often encouraging emails from old friends, an envelope with a surprise check just when we are desperate. I am reminded of the ways He keeps us connected through distance and time. He is giving us a promise....that He will always provide those special people to enhance our lives if we give Him time...and He will keep us connected with the ones we have to leave behind.

I so fondly remember our college days and spontaneously getting together and staying up til the wee hours just talking and laughing....not wanting it to end. Classes together (Greek anyone?) The Coffee House. Jenga. Friends who went through pregnancies with me (read "put up with me hurling 24/7 for 9 months"). The friends we've bonded with over Bible studies. The friends who were there when each of our kiddos were born. Honesty (even when it sometimes hurts). The friends who have shared their homes with us with more patience than I can imagine. The "joy bus" with Claire-Squared. The millions of movies we've watched with friends. The Veggie Tale marathons. The game nights! The puzzles we've put together. Scrabble. The friends who spent Sunday afternoons (and other times as well) in our pool. The cookouts. The Holidays we've shared. Drive-In movies with lawn chairs and ice chests. Good food. Junk food. MEXICAN FOOD. Coffee. Chocolate. "42." Friends who've loved our kids. Friends whose kids we love. Friends who have brought their laundry to my house to fold on my kitchen table. The list is endless.

I don't know what God has in mind for the next step in our adventure with Him. Today I am comforted with the hope of friendships and the amazing way He weaves us all together in Him. I hope that some of our friends will recognize themselves and our love for them in this post. We can never put into words what you all mean to us. We look forward to all the fun ahead together. If not in this the one to come. :)

P.S. If you don't recognize yourself in this post -- look out! -- chances are we will move to a neighborhood near you at some point! (I promise you don't have to stay up til 2 a.m. to be included in this group!:))

Blessed Despite Myself

About the time of my last post things were heating up for me....and I'm not just talking about the temperatures of summer here in West Texas. I'm talking about a committment I had made a few months earlier.....

Go back a few months:
Our pastor was to be the director for a Sports & Art Camp that was coming up at the end of June. He is so enthusiastic and such a great guy. Our church is small and when it came time to volunteer to help, I knew he really needed all our support. He gave an impassioned pitch for help. I signed up to help with art. I knew my hubby wouldn't be able to take off work to be there everyday, but at least I could go help. Our small church and another small church here in town were teaming together to do this outreach camp for our community at the Boys & Girls Club here. After all, I know what it is like to try to get people to commit to help with something you believe in... And I thoroughly believe in these kinds of outreach events.

Ok, now flash forward to mid-June:
The camp is fast approaching and seeming very real now....sounds like a lot of work (EVERYDAY for 5 WHOLE DAYS with a whole bunch of hot, sweaty kids who probably haven't come from homes with too much discipline). I have a lot of stressful things already going on in my life and surely I don't have time for this! What made me sign up to help out every stinkin' day? I could have just said I would bake cookies or something. Working with kids really isn't my "gift" after all.

I see the sign up table at church on Sunday and hope springs up in me. Maybe the sign up sheets from before have somehow met a terrible fate and have been destroyed...someone is always spilling coffee, chocolate milk.....maybe even too many Krispy Kreme donut fingers did it! In a moment of foolishness I saunter over to the table to see if, per chance, there are new sign up sheets and I had missed the announcement that we were to re-sign up. I nonchalantly glance at the art sign up sheet. There, as if written in neon lights, sat my name. Still there. OK. Suck it up girl. You have signed your name and you just have to grin and bear it. My kids will enjoy it and it is a good thing after all.

The week before the camp:
There are several "events" planned this week to get together and pray, canvas the neighborhood around the boys & girls club with flyers, set up the night before, etc. I muster up my attitude and enthusiasm (put on a big smile :) and we participate in all of it. The fellowship and the feeling that we were doing something bigger than ourselves began to grow. By the Sunday night before camp started on Monday, we were having fun working hard together and even stayed up way too late watching a movie together with new dear friends after setting up.

Week of camp:
When the alarm went off at 5:30 a.m. Monday morning, I was again stricken with the grumbling thoughts. I got up and put on my new big ol' orange t-shirt (the counselor issue) and we set out for camp. The kids were able to participate in one of the following all week: soccer, volleyball, basketball (girls & boys), football, baseball, art, cheerleading, drama. Each day there was a pep rally at the end where we had great fun time, praise time, and a speaker who gave a great lesson from the Bible. The kids were having a blast and somehow I was getting blessed! There were certainly moments when it was so HOT in the gym and several little girls were draped all over me as we listened to the story and some of them were "close talkers" and had breath that only a mother can appreciate (well, maybe not appreciate....maybe tolerate until the brushing of teeth is ordered) or when several Big boys showed up for art that first day and we were caught off guard and wondered what we would do with them.

I came home daily (often with my friends' kids and mine in tow....all of them starving, spunky and stinky) almost in a zombie state from sheer exhaustion.

We had a great Tailgate Party on Thursday night so the kids could bring their parents. We ate, played, & visited. There was a live band and we had a couple of "sports celebrities" from Texas Tech who spoke and gave great testimonies about their life in Christ. There was even a climbing wall. It was great to have the kids come running up to hug me and introduce their parents. Their parents were so thankful for the week their kids were getting free of charge.

When the week ended I knew I had been in the place Jesus wanted me to be in that week. It didn't take away the stresses in my life and my house was in need of my attention and my laundry baskets were full....but that's not why I'm writing. (Those things will always be and Jesus will be there in my routine things too.) Despite all my grumblings (mostly to myself) I was blessed...and so were a lot of other adults and children.

Oh, did I mention that our kids both decided to accept Jesus as their personal Lord & Savior? We had been talking about it for a while and we knew they were ready, but that week helped them make that decision public and they are ready to be baptized. This was our big bonus blessing from the week!!

If you are wondering whether to "get involved" with something that takes you out of your comfort zone in some way and makes a big difference for Jesus in lives, I would highly recommend that you "sign your name" with abandon and jump in with a smile....know you will be blessed!