Posts Tagged ‘Family’
The first day of school is always exciting.
You get to use your brand-new backpack and lunch box for the very first time.
You get to wear your brand-new clothes that Mom has said “no” to every day since you bought them.
You get to color with those brand-new crayons that have NEVER BEEN USED. They’re not broken or dull, and they even have the little paper wrappers still on them.
You get to see your friends again and have a new classroom and a new teacher and a new routine.
And, if you’re lucky, you lose a tooth moments after you arrive home.
Or at least that’s how Crisana rolls.
As she got ready for bed last night, we had to make preparing for the Tooth Fairy part of the routine. She brought out all the stops: her tooth treasure box, a candle to light the way, and – in case the Tooth Fairy was confused – an explanatory note.
And of course, the Tooth itself, tucked carefully away in the Tooth Treasure Box, awaiting the arrival of the blessed Tooth Fairy.
And in the morning, she discovered a crisp new $1 bill, which she promptly announced she was giving – along with her “2 quarters” (really a dime and a penny) – to church for the children at the Yellow House in Monterrey, Mexico.
Exciting times. In fact, so exciting, she decided to do it all over again…losing another tooth moments before our neighbor arrived to pick her up for school.
And that’s the tooth, the whole tooth, and nothing but the tooth.
This was truly one of the longest days of my life.Â Literally.
All 48 hours of it.
Yep, that’s right.Â I got to experience an extra-long day thanks to the glory of air travel across multiple time zones.
And although I left a large chunk of my heart in Africa with those precious children, I have to admit that the very best part of coming home was seeing this:
Accompanied by these wonderful faces:
And getting to sleep next to my husband that night, in a large comfy bed with no mosquito netting.Â Yeah, that pretty much rocked.Â If I’d not been so sleep deprived, I might actually have been aware of how awesome that was.
If home is where the heart is, it’s definitely good to be home.
DATELINE:Â Entebbe, Uganda.Â 11:04 P.M. Gulu time.Â That’s 3:04 P.M. CST for those of you keeping score at home.
We made it to Africa!Â It’s been a full 24 hours since we left American soil.Â It’s hard to believe, but we’re actually HERE!! Read the rest of this entry »
In the words of a current local sports team slogan….It’s time.
Time to go.Â Time to be the hands and feet of Jesus to desperate and needy children.Â Time to share love and hope with children who have suffered unimaginable loss and sorrow.Â Time to speak words of healing and joy to those who are lost and hurting.
Time to teach.Â Time to put all those materials we’ve been collecting over the past few weeks to good use.Â Time to use my God-given skills and abilities into practice.Â Time to listen, to learn, to anticipate, to react, to adjust, to be creative, to be flexible.
Time to learn.Â Time to open my heart and mind to what God will teach me.Â Time to allow Him to speak directly into my soul, showing me what He wants me to know.Â Time to be still, to meditate, to ponder, to think, to drink Him in deeply in a brand new context.
But most of all, it’s time to give up.Â Time to give up my “self” and let Him take over.Â Time to open my hands and release all control.Â Time to allow Him to be my voice and His words to speak through me.Â Time to be His hands and feet and let Him serve through me.Â Time to let “me” be invisible, so that only He shines through.
Yep, it’s time.Â Time to go back to Africa.Â Time to love on these precious children who have never been far away in my thoughts.Â Time to see what God has done in the past 8 months.Â Time to reconnect and form new friendships as we journey together in a strange land, a completely different culture where WE are the outsiders.Â Â Time to pull myself away from the comforts I’ve grown so accustomed to and live outside that comfort zone in order to more deeply connect to those I seek to minister to.Â Time to hug my babies, kiss my husband, drink in the moments that have brought me here.
It’s time.Â And by God’s grace, I’m ready.
It’s Mother’s Day, that day when children have the opportunity to tell their mothers just how special they are.Â My children have never disappointed me on Mother’s Day, and this year was no exception.
I received wonderful gifts and cards with heartfelt sentiments which I will treasure.Â But of course my favorites by far are the projects they made with their own hands.Â Crisana provided me with an acrostic poem which I will share with you, spelling and grammatical mistakes included:
M – Mommy to us!
O – Ocean’s girl!Â (I guess because I grew up near the ocean and love the beach?!Â Hopefully not because I’m a mermaid or have a fish face or smell like seaweed.)
T – True mother!
H – Hlpful, happy!
E – Engois us!Â (translation: Enjoys us!)
R – Really likes games!Â (Even more than Diet Coke?Â Hmmmm…..)
And then this questionnaire, which I found particularly insightful:
My mother is the mostÂ Â Â CARING Mom in the world!
She hasÂ Â Â Â HAZEL eyes andÂ Â Â BROWN hair.Â (bless you child, for not noticing – or pointing out – the grey)
She weighsÂ Â Â Â 55 pounds and is aboutÂ Â Â Â Â 10 feet tall.Â (It is such a comfort to know that my child sees me as the tall, slender beauty I dream of being.)
Her favorite things to eat areÂ Â Â Â Â Â Â SPINACH AND FISH .Â (Obviously my South Beach lifestyle has had more of an impact than I thought.Â Chocolate didn’t even make the list.Â Impressive.)
My mother is prettiest when she wearsÂ Â Â Â A DRESS.
My mother is funniest when sheÂ Â IS IN A BUNNY COSTUME.Â (Seriously, I have NO idea.)
I like it best when my MomÂ Â PLAYS WITH ME.
I wouldn’t trade my mom for aÂ Â Â Â MOTORCYCLE.Â (So glad to know I’m worth more than a Harley.Â But maybe not a Vespa.)
So there you have it.Â I’m the coolest, spinach-and-fish-eating, bunny-costume-wearing, 55-pound, 10-foot-tall, worth-more-than-a-motorcycle Mom on the planet!Â My daughter said so.
It’s Thursday…and that means it’s time for some gratitude!
(For those of you new to the blog, or who have forgotten because it’s been so long since I’ve done this, you can read the story of my threads of gratitude here.)
This week we enjoyed Spring Break, and this year I decided to make it a true BREAK for us.Â No thinking about Cub Scouts or Pre-K worship or piano teaching.Â This was a week for family, for me to be Mom and us to spend time together as a family or with friends.Â And as I did, I was reminded of how good I’ve got it, and how much I have to be grateful for.
On Sunday, I was reminded to be grateful for our Life Group and the new friends we’re making there.Â For the encouragement we receive each week from our fellowship together, and the fun we have whether we’re digging into God’s word or hanging out over appetizers at Snuffer’s.
On Monday, I was reminded to be grateful for Girl Scout cookies. ‘nuf said.
On Tuesday, I was reminded to be grateful for children who are healthy and physically strong.Â For fun times roller skating together, even if we fall down sometimes.Â For singing out loud to Taylor Swift and Britney Spears and Michael Jackson songs and laughing at our wacked-out dance moves.Â For celebrating with our favorite flavors of ice cream at Braum’s afterward.
On Wednesday, I was reminded to be grateful for new friends and unique opportunities.Â For having the chance to be models at a photo shoot for SHW’s marketing department.Â For our neighbors’ grandchildren who love having a new friend living right next door to their grandparents.Â For reconnecting with long-time friends at AI parties each week.
Today, on Thursday, as we prepare for an adventure in downtown Dallas with my mom, I’m reminded to be grateful for inspiration.Â For God’s gift of beauty through art, architecture, and nature.Â For God’s touch in ordinary people which allows them to see the world in extraordinary ways.Â For the vision to express the real world through sculpture: metal, bronze, steel.
We’ve still got a few days left to enjoy this week, and there is the promise of beautiful springtime weather as well as one last blast of winter.Â Just enough to balance time spent outdoors with time for indoor projects.Â But the thread that binds it all together will be time spent together.
And for that, I am and will continue to be grateful.
Well, it’s that time again.Â The calendar tells me it’s a brand-new year.Â And although I sit here, finding it nearly impossible to believe that another 365 days have come and gone, I know it’s true.Â Each year, January 1 finds me optimistic: a whole calendar year spread out before me, 365 days filled with possibilities: adventures, new friends, times of fun and celebration…all waiting to be lived.
Which begs the question:Â How WILL I live those days? Will I treasure each day, fulfilling the promise each new dawn brings?Â Will I capture the opportunities that come my way, recognizing the divine appointments God provides me?Â Or will I waste my time with empty pursuits, meaningless activity, or futile thinking?Â Will I face each day looking forward with a sense of optimism and anticipation, or will I spend more time looking back, longing to recapture once was and can never be again?
This year, as I reflect on that question, I realize it may be time for a change.Â So, with that in mind, this year is the year of the “Re-Solutions”: aÂ year to re-focus, re-new, re-dedicate, and re-fresh.
Last year began with our family undergoing a tremendous challenge.Â And throughout those months of uncertainty and waiting, it was easy to focus on each other.Â We needed each other.Â We had no idea what the outcome would be, so we clung tightly together out of necessity.Â But now that life has returned to a sense of “normalcy”, I’ve found myself being distracted from making my family the focus of my attention.Â So this year, I will re-focus my energy and time on my family: on carving out time daily for my children and husband to have my undivided attention, to talk together, to build into one another’s lives through shared activities and interests.Â I will re-focus my energy on deepening the love – and friendship – that Matt and I share, and commit myself to ensuring that our marriage continues to grow stronger through the challenges we face.
Over the past year, I have witnessed the beauty of friendship.Â And I realized, more than once, how blessed I am to have such wonderful friends.Â This year, I will re-new friendships…both by embracing and welcoming new friends into my life, and by strengthening the bonds I share with tried-and-true friends.Â Whether it’s sharing a meal, playing games, shopping, scrapping, or simply talking on the phone, I will take the opportunity to reach out to those who are part of my world and become a part of theirs.
Over the past months, I’ve definitely become a victim to bad habits once again.Â Those disciplines that once were such an important part of my daily routine have fallen by the wayside.Â So this year, I will re-dedicate myself to those things that make me healthier: physically, mentally, and spiritually.Â I will commit to regular Bible study both individually and as part of a community.Â I will make going to the gym regularly a priority, and will rededicate myself to truly healthy South-Beach eating habits once again.Â I will continue to challenge myself to grow professionally, and will be open to God’s leading, whatever the direction may be.
As we exit 2009 and enter 2010, I can feel a need for refreshing in my spirit.Â Throughout the past year, I have found myself more than once in a dark, gloomy place.Â The new year provides me with an opportunity for “in-the-light” living.Â And while I still struggle with those familiar temptations, I know that the victory is already mine…and that hope can give me the strength and the courage to live looking forward.Â Throughout 2010, I will find ways to refresh my spirit, through times of reflection, recreation, and rest.
May this year be a year of re-discovering all that God has in store for us!
The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy.
I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.
This past weekend we had a special treat: my Aunt Marge, my momâ€™s sister, had flown in from Jacksonville and we had the opportunity to visit with her for a few hours on Saturday afternoon.Â The last time we saw her was at Taylorâ€™s graduation â€œreunionâ€ in May, 2008, so it had been awhile since our last visit.Â Trey and Crisana are always excited to see her as she is the one who made Treyâ€™s â€œblankie dinosaurâ€ and the ultra-cute doll dresses for Crisana.
Since Crisana had a movie date with a friend, I went alone to meet Mom and Aunt Marge at the Allen Premium Outlets down the street for some good shopping.Â By the time I got there, they had already been to Wilsonâ€™s Leather and bought a beautiful red leather jacket for Aunt Marge and were well on their way to filling up a dressing room for each of them.Â I joined them in the search for more clothes, and we had a grand time putting outfits together and finding great deals.
We managed to each find something â€“ or, rather somethings â€“ to take away with us, and I was especially thrilled to find that I can now wear size Medium topsâ€¦and size 12 pants.Â We headed back to our house to visit with Matt and the kids.Â Trey had been out dutifully selling his Cub Scout popcorn, and Crisana returned shortly from the movie, so we had time to enjoy visiting together before dinnertime.Â And, of course, we had to get at least a couple pictures.
We managed to get a picture of all of us using the self-timer and Mattâ€™s new tripod.Â Not bad for the first time!
We enjoyed a nice dinner as a family at MiMiâ€™s and then said good-bye for now.Â It was a short visit for sure, but it was nice to see Aunt Marge againâ€¦and we look forward to hopefully seeing her again next summer with a possible trip to Florida.
Yesterday, the world lost some of its innocence and beauty.
Donald Zolan, widely regarded as the premiere artist of children, passed away at the age of 72 after a battle with lung cancer.
My connection to Donald Zolan began when I was in college.Â Someone â€“ probably my parents â€“ gave me a calendar of his artwork to hang in my dorm room.Â As someone who has worked with children since I was barely out of childhood myself, I have always had a tender heart toward the pint-size set.Â His artwork mesmerized me, captivated me, touched my heart.Â He truly captured the beauty, the innocence, the wonder and curiosity of young children.Â Those who know me know Iâ€™m not much for art, but I quickly became a huge fan of his work.Â Itâ€™s beautiful, magical, emotional.
Shortly after I graduated from college, my oldest brother got married.Â Come to find out, my sister-in-lawâ€™s cousin was married to none other thanâ€¦you guessed itâ€¦Donald Zolan.Â I still have the autographed calendar I received for Christmas that year.
He had a gift.Â An ability to see inside everyday events.Â Through his brush and paints, he was able to translate that vision to us as well.Â He allowed us to remember, to celebrate, to cherish the little things â€“ and little ones.Â He invited us to view the world through a whole new set of eyes.Â His art invoked the wonderment, the exuberance, the absolute rapture of discovering our fascinating world.
The man may be gone, but his images will live on.Â These are some of my favorites:
â€œWaiting for Daddyâ€
â€œTouching the Skyâ€
(I love it for the name alone!)
(I just love where their lips ended upâ€¦so precious!)
â€œAll By Myselfâ€
(it looks like meâ€¦and it looks just like my daughter.)
â€œWaiting to Playâ€
(another one I love for the name alone!)
Rest in peace, Donald Zolan.Â You will be greatly missed.