Monday, September 19, 2011

Practicing Gratitude... 9.19.11

- $25 Lawn Care
- Sprouts
- Rain clouds
- First Cotillion (boy, does this bring back memories... his first surprise was that Bruce Lea was not Bruce Lee, and second that it's only once a month)

- Waiver (no school) days
- Large Sonic coke zero
- Anticipating 3:00
- TRIPLE plays. Proud of my Hud
- Esther's lack of inhibitions

- The friend who takes my child to a birthday party for me DURING a playdate with her own child... now that is a friend!
- Conversations with college roommates
- Continuing to learn approval of God trumps approval of men
- This learned from their biggest brother (kissing their muscles)

- Our Young Marrieds class (which seems to be morphing to a Young Families class)
- Clean puppies
- 2:00 Wed phone calls
- Introducing myself to adults who already know my children
- Catching all four together

- Time to do laundry
- That this one still likes bows

- The boys' bedroom cleaned-out and organized
- Living in a bustling, dusty house
- A foundation!

- Difficult friendships
- Difficult friendships for my children (harder to give thanks for)
- Really sweet friendships

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles... 1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Thursday, September 15, 2011

"Interrupted" by Jen Hatmaker

Oh man, this will make you think. Or at least, it should.
This is the first I’ve read from Jen Hatmaker. To be honest, I read it with a little reservation. Not only was I hesitant to ingest Jen’s message (a journey of releasing security, comfort, familiarity, and possessions for a radical lifestyle shift of feeding Jesus’ sheep) but I wasn’t sure what I even thought of this author. I’d been on Jen’s blog before, not within the past couple of years, and her writing voice seemed just a little too sarcastic and dry. Or something.

I don’t know exactly what’s changed (perhaps a judgmental first impression??), but I’m pretty taken with this gal. She’s still sarcastic and dry, but also double-over hilarious. This might be the only serious, in-your-face, challenging book I’ve read that also made me weep from laughing so hard. I really, really like her writing, her personality, and I appreciate the challenge her story presents.

It’s too early to say how Interrupted has changed me. Too early as I’m still chewing the fat, still thinking about Jesus and the role of the church and my role in feeding His sheep... but one concept that stuck out to me is that of being broken to feed others. Referring to the Passover meal the night before Jesus’ crucifixion, in the hours before his body was literally broken for the salvation of mankind, Jen writes:

Doesn’t this concept of being broken for others ring true? It’s a spiritual dynamic that bears out physically. Why is it so exhausting to bear someone’s heavy, inconvenient burden? Why are we spent from shouldering someone’s grief or being an armor bearer? Why is it that lifting someone out of his or her rubble leaves us breathless? Because we are the body of Christ, broken and poured out, just as He was.
Mercy has a cost: Someone must be broken for someone else to be fed. That sermon that changed your life? That messenger was poured out so you could hear it. The friends who stood in the gap during your crisis? They embraced some sacrifice of brokenness for your healing. Anytime you say, “That fed me, that nourished me,” someone was the broken bread for your fulfillment. (pg 54-55)
Ok, so. When I give to others, and I’m exhausted, it’s what it should be - a sacrifice likening me to Christ - it’s appropriate to feel emotionally, physically zapped. And, when others show me incredible hospitality, cover me with prayers and encouraging words, and hold me up during difficult times, their actions aren’t without sacrifice. Something I hope to recognize and remain grateful for - and remember.

Just a tiny nugget. There are a zillion more between the covers of this book.
Check out what Jen’s up to here. Her blog posts are something else. And she’s got another book about to be released, 7: An Experimental Mutany Against Success... yikes! Read at your own risk.
And Jen - I feel like we’re old friends. Forgive me for that first impression... I’m sure glad I didn’t miss out on you!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Weekend out West

I knew it would be a special weekend. I’d been looking forward to our time in a part of the country I’d never been, one that is important to me because of a few really great people who live there. But even so, our time in Montana and Idaho has been even sweeter than I expected.

Visiting with my little brother Chris and Crystal in their home, seeing where they live, getting to experience Bozeman in it’s glory (wowzers, the weather in early Sept is fabulous)... Corbin and I are so impressed with this town. It’s brazen scenery, quaint main street with quaint shops and local groceries, super yummy restaurants, neat people, neat churches, lots of hiking and biking, and even a Costco.

We got to meet our little twin nieces - oh my gosh. Naomi and Payton. They smile and coo when awake, and conveniently sleep through meals in their car seats in restaurants while the rest of us eat. And two-year-old Joy Taylor - such a sweetheart who loves her little sisters. It was awesome (and overdue) to spend time with Chris and his family.

Joy Taylor - she's as cute as her name
My take-aways from our time in Bozeman...

- Chris and Crystal bravely followed their dreams, moving west over a year and a half ago. Their roots were dug pretty deep into Atlanta soil with a stable job (owner of Xcentric, along with my brother Trey), an infant daughter, near-by family, and amazing friends. They knew it was now or never. And they did it. Kind of had to jump through a few hoops to figure out how to run a business from both sides of the country, and even more difficult, said good-bye to raising their children near both Chris and Crystal’s family. Even so, they are so, so happy in Bozeman. They simply “fit” in this mountain town. Inspires me to take risks.

- Before you add on to your home, remodel, or refurnish existing rooms, it’s a good idea to visit 210 E. Lincoln. Chris and Crystal’s home is cozy, inviting, welcoming, and simple. SIMPLE. Inspires me to live simply. Lovely. 

Sandwiched between our Montana time, we drove six hours south through Yellowstone (yowzers) to see the Gerrish family in FIler, Idaho for Paul and Allison’s wedding. Again, beautiful scenery, even more beautiful people, and an incredible wedding celebration. I could go family by family, describing the people we got to meet and hang out with. Boy - Corbin and I were blessed getting to spend time with those folks. I loved getting to see Paul’s hometown and his family in their territory.
Paul started out a few years ago as a baseball coach and mentor to our boys, and quickly moved into our family’s hearts (quickly - like in 2 minutes of meeting him). We met his brothers Luke & Vince and grabbed on to them, and eventually their parents and the rest of the family as well. They are amazing, amazing. Corbin and I are totally green this week, as the newlyweds are honeymooning in Grand Cayman, even on Rum Pointe, our own wedding destination.

My take-aways from the Idaho wedding -

- Watching Paul and his mom dance at the reception. Goodness. These years will fly. Can hardly think about that.

- Seeing the longevity of families who walked alongside the Gerrishes in raising their children together. What that kind of community does to build strong relationships.

- As much as I wished our kids could have been with us at this wedding, and with their Uncle Chris’ family as well, it was really refreshing to have these four or five days with just Corbin. Even driving through Yellowstone was kind of a spiritual experience, and having margin of time and energy to talk when we wanted, and be silent together too.

- “The weather.” (that was Corbin’s take-away)

The Gerrish boys


Who hoo!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Practicing Gratitude... 9.6.11

- Turning a new calendar page
- Struggling with sending our youngest to school... the gratitude that comes when it's ONLY that

- Continued construction... so fun to see the progress

- THIS in our driveway
Last weekend during some Sat morn chores, I asked Hudson if he was up to a "yucky" task, and his eyes grew wide as he thought I was asking him to clean out the porta-potty.
- Dog crates (have I mentioned those??!)

- Moms-in-Touch... praying Scripture over our children with fellow school moms

- Surprises from Auntie Paulette

- Chips and salsa

- Relaxed evenings, a sign of the time with fewer sports this fall

- When broken meets creative

- Homework (often chaotic) at the kitchen counter

- Big boys who aren't too big to still pretend-play karate

- Quizlet

- Popcorn and perfection

- River's 6th year (Happy Birthday in Seattle, Riv!)

- Toasted cheesy bagels for easy dinner

- Watching Cappy with his grandkids

- A full fridge

- That little game in Waco Friday night

- David Crowder - that he was brave to chase his dream, and that I get to benefit from it year after year through a speaker on my kitchen counter

- Chris' "40 Under 40" award (so, so proud!)

- C's big work deadlines OVER

- Nikki's phone

- Margin in my days

- This one putting up with two rambunctious puppies
Yukon often wears this resigned expression these days

- Hudson doing his homework independently and thoroughly

- Our full suburban
This pic was snapped two days after the above one... the boys simply didn't take these shirts off all weekend.

- The dilemma of having to choose between two great Bible studies

- When everything stops for sunsets at the lake


- This junglegym bunkbed

- Her favorite perch

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles... 1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Missing my Girl

We’re a little over a week and a half into the school year, and it’s hitting me.
My little Essie has gone to school.
I miss her.

My heart is sad today, a little heavy, which leaves me on the verge of tears in any given conversation (including with the mailman) because I’m missing my little girl.
I’m not second-guessing our decision to send her, not really. She’s young to go to kindergarten, with a late-July birthday.

But seriously, it doesn’t seem possible that five years have passed since that early summer morn when Corbin drove me to Harris downtown. That little gal brought herself into the world, making her way to breathe oxygen before I could even get on the hospital bed. Our midwife, Nancy, caught her bare-handed, didn’t even have time to get her gloves on.

And then minutes later, when Daboo and Mama peeked their heads around the heavy delivery room door, a cherub Basden in their arms, to tell me that they’d dropped the boys at the Bannisters and made it to the hospital.

“Just let us know as it gets close, we’re right here,” they assured me.
And their gaze followed my nod to the warmer in the corner, to a squalling red babe surrounded by a couple of quick-footed nurses.
The shock and relief was a pleasant surprise to all of us - a quick labor and delivery - and a gorgeous, spirited little caboose for our family.


So here I sit, barely five years later, with that little spirited thing spending much of her days in a kindergarten classroom now instead of our den. Walking to lunch with twenty other five-year-olds instead of walking to the end of the cul-de-sac and back with me.

Ok, I know, as Simon would say, this is indulgent.
But I’m feeling a little indulgent this morning.

So many friends have asked, “What’s it like to have all that time??!”
Well, like my friend Lisa said many years ago when her youngest went to school, time has a way of filling in. And I’m grateful for more margin, for a break from the tyranny of the urgent, and I’m guarding against filling that time. Leaving space to breathe and not be in a hurry, for interruptions that hopefully won’t always feel like interruptions. I’m intentional these days with my time. That funny balance of scheduling yet staying available.

But - this morning I’m missing my girl. I’m missing Essie, and I’m a little out of sorts as to how to handle that.
A few tears in my coffee cup, and probably for anyone who might cross my path today.

And worse case scenario... I can un-enroll Essie from school anytime I want. Been there before. We can always start again next fall. This could be a really great, really free preschool.

Ok, I’m finished indulging. At least for the moment.

Sweet Essie, I love you and I’m proud of you. Proud of the little five-year-old you have become. Proud of the way you run to people, call them by name, dole out generous hugs, and overflow with encouraging words. I love being your Mommy, and I will always, always love you with my whole heart.