Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Passing It On

When Taylor and I got married almost 9 years ago, Taylor's mom made our flower girl the most beautiful dress.  She wore it for several years and when she outgrew it, they sent it to us in perfect condition.  It has been hanging in Sophie's closet for a few years and she is finally big enough to wear it.  She wore it to church on Sunday and looked beautiful (and I'm not biased).

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Lessons From Lent

Disclaimer:  This is a long post of my jumbled thoughts and it won't hurt my feelings if you don't read it.
I know Lent has been over for a while, but I am still trying to process everything that I learned this year from our "observance" of it.  Growing up I'm not sure I even knew what Lent was.  I didn't have any Catholic friends.  I didn't learn about it until college when I saw people walking around one Wednesday with dirty foreheads.  Even then it was something other faiths observed.  It wasn't until Taylor was in seminary that I really began to understand the significance of it in the season leading up to Easter.  My family always observed Advent before Christmas and there was a lot leading up to that special day.  However, Easter just sort of showed up.  It was appealing to me to try to celebrate the entire Easter season and not just one day.  For a few years I tried to give something up to help me focus - Dr. Pepper, some type of food.  It never seemed to make a huge difference so I sort of gave up on the idea of giving something up for Lent.  

Earlier this year Taylor told me about an article he had read about a group of Christians who gave up all excess spending for a year.  They only spent money on groceries, necessary clothes, and paying their bills.  It was such a great experience for them that they decided to do it for another year.  We talked about how hard that would be.  A few days later Taylor suggested we try doing something similar for the season of Lent.  I'm always up for a challenge, so I thought, "Why not?"  

So we did it - sort of.  We did cheat a little.  We have a huge playhouse and swing set in our back yard to prove it.  We did try though.  The play house wasn't supposed to be built until after Easter, but the free materials and the free labor were there and one thing led to another.  We bought gifts for people and filled the Easter baskets for the kids.  We could go out to eat for purposes of fellowship, like when we visited our friends in Waco, and we were fortunate to have some gift cards from Taylor's birthday.  However there was no driving through for fast food when we traveled.  Everything had to be brought in a cooler or bought at the grocery store.  There were no Sonic drinks at happy hour.  There were few breaks from cooking a meal in my kitchen.

What did I learn?  I'm extremely spoiled and self indulgent.  Instead of becoming more spiritual throughout the process I become grumpy.  I grew tired of coming up with meals. Even though I thought about those women in their huts in Ethiopia whom Taylor took pictures of and how they have to plant, grow, and prepare three meals a day with little variety, I still complained.  I learned that really giving stuff up is hard and that some of my happiness and peace is dependent on the ease of my life.  That has been eye opening for me.  

This past year I have watched a dear friend give up her life as a stay at home mom and go back to work due to the economy.  Things are more difficult for her - grocery shopping, cleaning, spending time with her girls, and yet she has done it with such grace and a positive attitude.  Could I give up my ordered and structured world quite as easily?  Is some of my peace and happiness tied up in my current life circumstances?

Just today I was dusting our shelves getting ready for friends to come over this evening and I ended up in tears as I sometime do. I know it is strange, I don't hate housework that much, but on those shelves are the picture of my friend Kim and the candle we burned at the Service of Remembrance at our church after we miscarried our first baby.  These were significant losses in my life. What if even more was taken from me as it has been from so many others?  Do I feel entitled to the relationships that are in my life?  Would I throw a fit if they were taken from me? Probably so, and I think that would be normal, but is my happiness and peace outside of even the most precious people in my life?

Yes, Lent was beneficial for me this year.  I took a good look at myself and see how far I still am from making Him my everything.  My peace is tied up in so much  more than Him.  I see how spoiled I am in comparison with all He gave up.  Maybe if we do it again next year I will have grown some.  I hope so.  I'm keeping on!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Happy Pretend Birthday

Sophie has the most wonderful preschool teacher.  She is just fun and has made the year such a joy.  Throughout the year Sophie has come home telling me about the cupcakes they got to have for different students' birthdays and about the crown they got to wear.  There are quite a few summer birthdays in the class, so her teacher is having pretend birthdays for all her summer students so they can have their special day at school.  Today was Sophie's.  She was so excited to go to HEB and help me pick out the cupcakes yesterday (you can't bring anything homemade).  She wanted cupcakes with rings and we found some, thank goodness.  When it is your birthday you also get to be the leader and the "teacher" during the reading wall.  Happy pretend birthday, Sophie!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Weekend

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Finally Finished!

Taylor worked really hard this weekend to finish the house.  He and the kids worked all day Friday.  My family came that night for my birthday and Easter and Dad helped him all day yesterday afternoon (while the girls went shopping :).  Now we are ready to sit back and enjoy the back yard.
Taylor and the kids hard at work
Everyone had their own hammer
Dad pitched in on Saturday
The finished product

The balance beam and swinging bar
Window box #1
Inderneath with the sand box and picnic table
The work bench with the tools
Window box #2

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Easter Egg Hunt x 4

Today both of the kids had Easter egg hunts at school and at church.  I went to Sophie's party and egg hunt at school, but didn't want to upset the good day John Curtis was having by going to his.  I was afraid if he saw me he would want to go home.  So this evening at church I snuck (sneaked?) down from my class to snap a few pictures of him hunting eggs.  I couldn't stay around for Sophie's church hunt since I had my own class to teach, but I managed to watch each of them in one egg hunt today.  The dress Sophie wore was one of mine that Mom made when I was little.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Quick Waco Trip

Taylor had to make a quick trip to Waco on Monday to speak at Truett's chapel on Tuesday.  Since he had to get a hotel room anyway, we decided to tag along (after suggesting he find one with an indoor pool).  

Taylor and the kids swam for about an hour when we got to the hotel Monday afternoon.  Then we met our friends, Jeni and Patrick for dinner.  
John Curtis still stayed pretty close to the steps while Sophie was all over the pool.  She loved every minute of it and always likes to spend the night in a hotel.

Look at this poor little boy.  Though he isn't technically sick anymore, he still isn't himself.  He lost a few pounds and is still on a restricted diet so he hasn't recovered his strength.  He still tires very easily and is a little grumpy and moody.  We're going to try to go to "school" tomorrow and see how it goes.
On Tuesday morning the kids and I swam for a while and then went to play at Cameron Park.  The bluebonnets were so beautiful on our drive into Waco and Sophie wanted to see them up close.  We found a field at the park full of them.  
Enjoying the flowers

Stopping to pose
Sophie liked examining them up close and even found a few lady bugs.
We played for a while on the playground and then had a picnic.
We finished up our park day riding scooters along the river.  The kids enjoyed watching the squirrels and ducks.