Sunday, July 29, 2007

Birthday Girl




Our baby girl turned one a few days ago... I've had a full week and haven't slowed down much to think through how I feel about this milestone birthday. It's a little more "milestone-ish" than normal for me, just knowing that this is our last "1st birthday" to celebrate.
I caught part of an interview last week with Martin Sheen, and when asked how he felt about raising 4 kids, he responded, "The only regret I have about having 4 kids is that we didn't have 4 more."
Absolutely.
When I look at these precious children, part Corbin and part me, all so different yet all very "James/Wilson" - I can imagine the joy it would be to add even more to the mix.
So I asked Corbin what he thought about Sheen's comment, and he smiled that little smile that told me he his cup more than runneth over.
Then I considered Esther's unbelievable ability to screech louder than should be humanly possible (she really has to clear her throat after screeching, even happy screeching... she can - and does - turn every head in a restaurant), and I find myself smiling that same little smile as Corbin's...

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Writer's Tag...

Spaghettipie tagged me in this writing questionnaire. Here goes...

1. What’s the one book or writing project you haven’t yet written but still hope to?
I've started the outline & would love to write "What my Mother-in-Law Did Right."

2. If you had one entire day in which to do nothing but read, what book would you start with?
"Loving Soren" by Caroline Coleman O'Neill, a friend I met at Mount Hermon. It's sitting on my nightstand and I can't wait to start it.

3. What was your first writing “instrument” (besides pen and paper)?
Typewriter. I remember winning a word processor at my high school prom's after party, and I was thrilled to take it with me to college. I could write a whole line and view it for editing before typing it out. Imagine editing line by line!

4. What’s your best guess as to how many books you read in a month?
2-3.

5. What’s your favorite writing “machine” you’ve ever owned?
Without a doubt my handy-dandy MacBook.

6. Think historical fiction: what’s your favorite time period in which to read? (And if you don’t read historical fiction–shame on you.)
My absolute favorite genre. It would have to be WWII, what an amazing time. With the war going on overseas and the depression here, that generation's resilience inspires me. My favorite series is Bodie and Brock Theone's Zion Covenant. Amazing!

7. What’s the one book you remember most clearly from your youth (childhood or teens)?
Summer of the Monkeys by Wilson Rawls.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

Cinderella, Cinderella...



Corbin and I took Basden on a date to Bass Hall last week... Cinderella was in town. Basden was beside herself.
The show started at 7:00, babysitters were to be here by 6:00, and Corbin decided at 5:00 to go find his little girl long white gloves (she'd been asking for them for weeks, no specific connection to Cinderella). As you can see from the photos, he had some success. He came home not only with the gloves, but also a dress to go with them. Basden produced the necklace and tiarra from her costume box... and her grand stairway-descending poses were of her own volition.
Something tells me Hudson may not get into character quite as much for the Wizard of Oz...

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Our Friend Fred

My kids spent the morning at a nearby church camp.
Since they returned home, Basden has been repeating "Fred" in a lyrical tone.
I keep asking who Fred is.
"You know, Fred," she responds, a little annoyed.
So Hudson enters the kitchen singing, "I am a friend of God... I am a friend of God... I am a friend of God..."
And before he finishes, Basden pipes up, "He calls me FRED!"
Got it.

Monday, July 16, 2007

Only in Texas

Two signs at a rest stop on our way home to Fort Worth from Amarillo last weekend...

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Beautiful Smiles

What do you do with all those Christmas cards and photos once the holidays are over? I know it's the middle of summer, hardly time to be thinking about Christmas, but in my dining room sits a nice little stack of candy-cane, holly-and-berry, and Baby-Jesus-in-a-manger cards with photos of smiling families wearing coordinating red and white snowflake sweaters.
What to do with all the cards and photos? The cards I can part with, as expensive and gorgeous as they are. I appreciate them for a moment and then into la basura they go. But the photos? Unbearable to throw them away, even for this minimalist. I can just imagine all the effort behind getting the dog to smile, much less the two squirming kids. All those smiling faces.
A few years ago I came up with a plan. I purchased two large poster frames, filled them with those smiling faces, and hung them side-by-side in our breakfast room. There - LOTS of smiles to greet us each day. Smiles literally from around the world, many belonging to dear friends we rarely talk with, but somehow that once-a-year communication keeps them close. Beautiful smiles, white teeth smiles, a child missing his front teeth smiles, and the never-got-around-to-getting-braces smiles. But all the same, hopeful smiles looking toward the holiday season and an exciting new year.
I took down the posters today to change out photos. This has not been an annual event. In fact, I haven't touched the posters since I first hung them.
In 2003.
A few things have changed.
"Wow, look how this family has grown," I thought.
"Oh my, did they divorce two years ago, or three?"
"Look how darling he is as an infant... and now he's at Children's in Dallas fighting cancer, 4 years old."
The photos drew me in, and I started looking more closely. Spent a few more moments processing the smiling faces and considering what 4 years has meant for this particular family, for this missionary, for this cousin.

A radiant bride, clutching hands with her groom, their arms raised in jubilant triumph among floating flower petals... where has 4 years brought them? Through depression, marriage counseling, deep Bible studies with a deep church family, now raising two young boys. Beautiful.

A dark-headed single guy with a sly grin sporting top-of-the-line camping gear... this beloved friend was killed last year in a one-car accident on an icy Sunday morning, driving to church to deliver a sermon. Beautiful.

The artsy black-and-white photo of an L.A. film director and his striking wife... he now calls himself "the reluctant pastor" as he shepherds a growing church in the heart of Hollywood. They have recently uncovered a diagnosis for their China-adopted daughter's detachment behavior, convinced their 6-year old son that he is indeed human and not a super-hero, all the while leading mission trips to India and Africa. Oh, and on the side, he's still directing projects for an international music diva.

The 4-year old girl leaning on the fence of her family's new home... I have yet to hear her speak, but I know she does, more and more. Her family, her teachers, her friends have shown her Jesus in their patience, their encouragement, and their understanding. Beautiful.

The family of five (seriously) dressed in coordinating fair isle sweaters... there is a fourth baby now, and one of the boys has been diagnosed with a serious chronic illness. Much fear and uncertainty for the days ahead, but also a commitment to their marriage and dependence on God's sufficient grace. Beautiful.

Another family of five swinging and grinning on a hammock... 4 years has taken them to a new city, away from both sets of grandparents, to pastor a church and buy a home in the hood. No kidding, I think their new house costs about 50 K. Beautiful.

A single twenties-something girl with bright eyes smiling into the camera, the words and logo of her ministry imprinted on the photo as a reminder to pray for her... she continues as a single thirty-something with bright eyes, continuing to serve in the same ministry. Beautiful.

A toddler and her barely-older brother, both toe-heads with matching smocked Christmas outfits... they, along with their baby sister, have since endured a painful divorce and now live out of state. Their mommy is exhausted, but strong and dedicated, and overflows with Jesus. Beautiful.

A couple from the Northwest with gentle smiles, his head cocked back from the camera, her arm swung lazily around his shoulders... they've endured two cardiac valve replacement surgeries since this photo was taken, one of which occurred a month before their son's birth. Now they juggle a a two-year old boy wonder, a new baby on the way, and medicine/lifestyle choices to keep daddy's heart beating regularly. Beautiful.

I could go on. Every photo carries a story. Amazing what 4 years can bring.
A friend came by this morning and told me of a book he read recently, "A Change in the Flight Plan." It was written by a physician/recreational pilot after receiving an ALS diagnosis. My friend then read me the Scriptures he clings to as his wife currently fights ALS. She was diagnosed less than a year ago, and now she struggles to pull a blouse from her closet. Yet her spirit is strong and accepting, filled with supernatural peace, supernatural joy. Beautiful.
In the midst of growing families, job changes, cross-country moves, devastating illnesses, new babies, cancer, and blended families, I can see God in these photos if I look deeply enough, take the time to notice. And those smiles? Beautiful.

On judgment...

We must be aware of believing that it is okay for us to condemn as long as we are condemning the right things. It is not so simple as all that. I can trust Jesus to go into the temple and drive out those who were profiting from religion, beating them with a rope. I cannot trust myself to do so.
- Dallas Willard

What would it be like to live a life free from judgment and assumptions about others? What benefit could my judgment possibly play in leading to others to Christ? Somehow Billy Graham has preached the Gospel for more than 6 decades all across the world without people feeling judged by him.

1 Cor 4:3-5
I care very little if I am judged by you or by any human court; indeed, I do not even judge myself. My conscience is clear, but that does not make me innocent. It is the Lord who judges me. Therefore, judge nothing before the appointed time; wait til the Lord comes. He will bring to light what is hidden in darkness and will expose the motives of men's hearts. At that time each will receive his praise from God.

Judge nothing. Judge nothing. Judge nothing. If Christ commanded it, then perhaps it's possible for this to go from my head to my heart...

Thursday, July 5, 2007

10 things I love about summer in the mountains




1. Lazy, uninterrupted days with family
2. Wildflowers, wildflowers, wildflowers
3. Gorgeous weather with daily afternoon thunder showers
4. Watching movies during afternoon thundershowers
5. Taking naps during afternoon thundershowers
6. Fishing for crawdads... and Uncle Clinton cooking them
7. S’more quesadillas
8. Watching lightning dance across the mountains and over Eagle Nest Lake
9. Sipping hot coffee on the porch while snuggled in a blanket...in July
10. Eagle Nest’s 4th of July parade showcasing candy, bubbles and the Wilson clan in Alan's new truck

Monday, July 2, 2007

Sirens

Something I read today in a Bible study by Angela Thomas:

Every time I decide it's time to store up treasure in heaven, I am making a conscious decision to sacrifice treasure on earth. Maybe it's the treasure of a clean house, or the treasure of leisure, or the treasure I deposit into the bank. There is always a trade off. I ask God to give me a righteous balance. I need a Holy Spirit siren to go off inside my heart when I have not attended to kingdom treasure.

Oh, this resonates with me. Something important to me is invariably sacrificed when I take time to sit down one-on-one with my kids, or help a friend when it's not terribly convenient... and as selfish as I am with my time, my spirit is not content unless I'm making spiritual deposits. Lord, please help me hear those Holy Spirit sirens...and help me to heed them!