Friday, March 30, 2012

Field-Trip-A-Palooza Continues

As I type, we are on I-10 on our way to San Antonio for the weekend. We are undeserving of such fun adventures. I pray I don't waste this precious time with my family. That said, in the first part of our drive we researched some cool facts about San Antonio and the Alamo. We had to have a little learning'! The girls are done with that and have moved on to watching a movie. :)

The girls and I had a great week, starting with a day at NASA/ Johnson Space Center on Meghan's birthday. NASA was pretty neat. I'm sure this only happens with my kids, but they were more excited about the big honkin' play area than any of the more-ahem- educational areas. Quite frustrating for a homeschoolin' momma.
Mission Control Center

Maddy docking her space station.
Birthday Girl
 Would you believe the same thing happened at the Museum of Natural Science?!  There were some pretty cool exhibits: hands-on chemistry activities, paleontology and gems and minerals...and what do they want to do? The Butterfly Center.
Honestly, this was sort of fine with me because the more I hung out in the paleontology area the more aggravated I got. Darwinian language was everywhere. Bleh. The girls usually have a little fun pointing it out when they find evolution language.
Also, all this geology and chemistry was making me feel like a complete failure as a homeschool mom. I was overwhelmed at all the science I have yet to cover and discouraged by what they couldn't remember! Agghhh!
Anyway, to preserve sanity, I decided to head on over to the Butterfly Center. Bless.

This was a fun little bug trivia game.

Thanks for riding along I-10 with me!


A Letter to my Girls About Their Beauty (Part 1 of a Zillion)

The following letter intended for my girls may just as well be written to address the entire female population, myself included.
This may end up being an ongoing series of can imagine why! I certainly don't see an end to this battle in our minds anytime soon.

My Beautiful Girls,

You are beyond beautiful. The beauty that radiates from you is not your from your pretty eyes, your curls, or even your lovely smile. Your beauty is a luminescent reflection of Jesus Christ in you. You shine.
Both of you. Still, your shine is yours and yours only.

You have been told since birth that you have been created in God's perfect image. You have heard over and over that you are 'fearfully and wonderfully made'. You have been declared beautiful from the beginning. It's true. Daddy and I teach you these truths because we are madly in love with you from the inside out.

This is not what the world (TV, magazines, etc.) is telling you. They are telling you that you weren't created beautiful enough, but for a price, you can become beautiful. The media sends the message to us that we need to have a perfect nose, frizz-less hair, size 00 skinny jeans, and a host of other unreal standards. These are all lies directly from Satan, and he lies to you because he hates you.

That sounds harsh, but it's the crux of it.
God loves you.----> His Word says, "The king is enthralled by your beauty". (Ps. 45:11)
Satan doesn't love you.----> He says you aren't good enough.
See the difference? Of course you do. You are brilliant.

This is where it starts. We have to settle the issue of who to believe right now.

"...The Lord does not look at the things a man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart." 1 Samuel 16:7

I love you more than peanut butter.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Why I love the Millennial Generation

"Anyone who lives on milk, being still an infant, 
is not acquainted with the teaching about righteousness. 
But, solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have 
trained themselves to distinguish good from evil." Hebrews 5:13-14

The group of college students that Spouse and I study the Bible with are some of my favorite people on the planet. From the beginning, we knew they were different. Some of these students were with us when we worked in the student ministries (youth group) years before and we saw something very special in them then. Our College Minister/Superman, Mike, needed some help in the college department, so we graduated high school. :)  We 'moved up' with some of these Millennials, as they are called.


Who are the Millennials?
Simply defined, they are those individuals born between 1980-2000. They are a larger generation than even the Baby Boomers, so they can not be ignored. This is awesome, because who likes to be ignored??
They can not be ignored in terms of their values, their spending habits, their education nor their individual purpose.

This is what's up: I am crazy about the crew of Millennials that I call mine. No joke. They know who they are.

In the 3 years or so we've been working with our collegiate group at Plant City's First Baptist Church, there were several characteristics we noticed about this group:

  • They believe in Absolute Truth. Right vs. Wrong? Bring it. And they want to talk about it...till the wee hours of the morning. :)
  • Millennials want to talk about these things because they value relationships. Hello? Facebook and Twitter. It's about connecting. Praise God for letting me be one with which they want to connect.
  • They are optimistic. Millennials, in general, are a pretty hopeful generation, but these are Christian Millennials. They are hopeful because they believe the battle has already been won. 
  • They have no tolerance for injustice. Period.
  • They have pretty good relationships with their parents. Very early on, I 'got it' that these parents are involved parents. I would get Facebook messages and texts from parents telling me they were grateful for what Mark and I were teaching. What? They talk about it?? Nice! Check this: my students value their parents' perspective! Whoa.
  • Millennials can track insincerity like a bird dog. They want you to be real with them: the good, the bad, and the ugly. If not, be gone.
  • For my crew, they are straight up in LOVE with God's Word. All of it. Even the hard stuff. They require--get that, require--solid, Hebrews 5:14-style, deep biblical teaching. And, if they don't get it, they won't be back.
  • They are doers of the Word. Take action. Get. It. Done. No committee meetings, no red-tape: do work.
So, these are a few of the things I kept telling people about this new ministry. I would tell anyone who would listen. (Like I'm doing now...) 

<Insert quickie book review here>

THEN, a super-writer, Thom Rainer and his millennial son, Jess, wrote a book about them! The Millennials! My lovely 10 year-old bought it for me for Christmas. She's a genius.

I am so bitter I didn't write this book! They are spot on! As I was reading it, I kept telling Mark, "This is so great! It's what we've been saying about our kids!"  I was so excited! Still, bitter, but excited. 

Still, I learned a great deal from the book, and some of what they wrote just affirmed in detail what I already believed to be true.

  • The Millennials are the most diverse generation and know very little racism.
  • They are slated to be the most educated generation ever.
  • They believe they have a voice. And they are right. The 18-29 year olds voted in our current president. 
  • The Millennial Generation will be the most adoptive generation in history. Praise Jesus. James 1:27 is coming alive through them.
I didn't intend on writing a book review, but I do recommend this book if you even so much as know someone born into the Millennial Generation. If you work, serve, or minister to a millennial, you definitely should read it. 

Here's Thom Rainer's website: It's a Lifeway book, too, by the way.

<End of impromptu book review.>

Bottom line: These 'doers of the Word' are a force to be reckoned with. They are world changers, but not like we've seen before. Watch them go. Better still, jump in with them.  Tackle a cause with them.
Be real with them.
Affirm them.
Debate with them.
Mentor them.
Challenge them.
Play Catch Phrase with them.
For Peter's sake, feed them. 
Love them.
It's easy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

A City Prepared

Meghan's middle name is Faith. I keep saying I'm going to have a shirt made for her that says "Faith is my middle name" because it's true. And funny. :)
On her birthday, we read Hebrews 11, the "Hall of Faith" chapter to celebrate where her name came from. She loves it. When, in rare frustration, I say "Meghan Faith!" She will sometimes chime back, "Now faith is the assurance of what we hope for and being certain of what we do not see." Agghhhh!

Well, in this particular reading, I got hit. More like a love tap, really.

"...And they [aforementioned faithful ones] admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country--a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them." Hebrews 11:13b-16

Now, I know that this 'city' Paul is referring to is the New Jerusalem in heaven. I'm gonna tell you, though, I just received a Word. We are in such a time of transition in our family, we don't have a clue what we are doing. We are in waiting. We are prepared to go on to Wake Forest and submerse ourselves into college life. At the same time, we are also prepared [we think] to go overseas and serve there, IF the door opens. We just don't know where we are going or when. 

This I know: the city is being prepared for us.  I don't want to be so rooted where I am that I can't look forward to the city that is being prepared for us, whether the city is Wake Forest, Manila, or New Jerusalem. 

Pray with us that the Lord is also preparing the hearts of our girls for whatever He's about to do with us. Being united is a big deal for us.

Beyond Survival

"And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world, 
as a testimony, and then the end will come." Matthew 24:14

Spouse and I found a new series on Netflix, Les Stroud's Beyond Survival. Anyone heard of it?
Now, some of y'all know we like a good survival show over here--mostly because Mark wants to get ideas on how to survive on an island fresh from a volcano!
Not happening.  Pressing on...
Here's the gist, Les spends time with indigenous tribes of people all over the world to discover their secrets of survival.

Here's the link to the site:

We watched Episodes 2 and 4, which featured the Bajau people of Malaysia (South Philippine Islands) and the Hewa people of Papua New Guinea. Both of these areas are sort of on our spiritual radar---Mark wants to go back to the Philippines so bad he can taste the fish and rice, and we have been praying for several sweet ones in Papua New Guinea working in full time missions.

Two episodes in and Mark and I both were alarmed. Not because of the show, it's sort of what you would expect, they are just surviving, but more so because of the religious rituals in which they practice. Digging up bones four years after burying a person, sacrificing precious food to the 'spirits'...that sort of thing. I guess this is what the "Beyond" in "Beyond Survival" means.

This is where worldview matters. We weren't watching with our own eyes. We were seeing them as Jesus sees them: created in the Father's image, precious, loved, forgiven---bought with a price.

How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? 
And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? 
And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 
And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? 
As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”
Romans 10:14-15

Watch 'em. See if any of these areas of the world have been on your spiritual radar. I'd like to know what you think.

Lord, give me beautiful feet.


Saturday, March 24, 2012


My word! We are in Field Trip Mode at the Hale Academy for Little Girls.

Houston has this really cool City Pass. City Pass gets you 5 attractions (Zoo, Children's Museum, Natural Science Museum, Johnson Space Center, and the Aquarium) for one price, $40 for me, $30 for the kids. It's a good deal.
Here's the catch: you have 9 days to use it. I would have liked to have spread the fun out a little bit, but what're you gonna do?
Well, if you're us, you suffer through day after day of Field Trips. :)
Plus, it's helps us get through our list. And, I need to cross things off the list before I start to get headaches.

This is our first playdate at a cute little park. Not really a field trip, but a good time.  Love making new friends. There is something special about the immediate bond when you meet Christians, isn't there?
The Houston Rodeo Petting Zoo. 

Cute baby elephant at the zoo.
Lovin' on some critters.
Kidtropolis by Chase. Poetic.
I dig this kid.
Field-Trip-A-Palooza has been a gift. I am not planning events or meetings or lessons or dinners in the midst of these little outings. Just me and two little girls, one of which will be 11 (!!) on Monday. We are also grateful for Spouse who lets us have all kinds of fun while he's working.

We've got a lot more field trippin' to do! Keep checking back!

I also look forward to telling you all about church tomorrow and our new 'friends' here: the hotel staff and the homeless guy who hasn't decided if we are friends or not...he 'don't even know who he's dealing' with'! (Little homeschool grammar for ya.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

How Many is Too Many?

I have two children. That's it. Unless we, as Maddy puts it, "go get some" [and we just may] my girls are all I'm going to have. :) And, honestly, I'm good with it. Let's face it, so is American society. Two is a very socially acceptable number of children, isn't it? Three even, but four kids? Whoa. You're pushing it. Six? Must be Old School Catholic, right?

<Insert crucial conjunction here-----> BUT, what about my friends that have any where from 4-13 children and those that are willing to foster/adopt even more? Maybe the Duggar Family has sparked this discussion more in recent years, maybe it's the "Quiverfull" movement among some Christians, I don't know, but it seems to come up a lot more lately.

Here's the deal. I'm neither from nor likely to have a large family. But a recent conversation has led me to take it upon myself to defend my friends with larger families. Why? Because I have a blog that gives me a forum and I woke up in the middle of the night thinking about it.

What are some of the criticisms large families receive?
How can they afford all those kids? How can they spend quality time with each child, individually? It's not fair for the kids to have so many siblings. Why are they doing it? Why have so many, why not adopt?

-How can they afford all those kids?
     (Disclaimer: I understand there are other situations, but I am writing about my specific friends, here. Not your cousin's brother-in-law that is abusing the welfare system with five children.) I can't speak for every one, but is it possible that some of these people live within or below (gasp!) their means? Is it possible that my friends who love their children with the love of the Lord do not drive new vehicles or live in newly constructed homes? I know they eat a lot of meals at home, which is wonderful on several levels!! I don't know all of their financial situations, but I know their kids are fed, clean, and clothed.

-How can they spend quality time with each child?
    This one is sort of funny to me. I'm sorry, but it is. Take the Duggars, for instance. I've heard the bit about 'there is no way they can spend quality time with their kids every day'. This is nice, because the person saying it is looking out for the interest of the kids, which I'm always for. But, how is this different than both parents working 8-10 hours a day while the children are in the care of others? I'm not criticizing this, I just can't see how one is socially acceptable, but not the other. Also, just like the financial question, the time issue is about priorities. The parents I am thinking of definitely spend time with each of their children...and grown children...and grandchildren! Honestly, it raises the standard for me. I'm being convicted right now! :)

-It's not fair for the kids to have so many siblings.
     Just ask ANY of those siblings if they think it was or is unfair. Dare ya. ;)

-Why are they doing it?
    Again, I can't speak for them, and it's best if I let God's Word do the speaking:

Children are a heritage from the LORD, 
   offspring a reward from him. 
 Like arrows in the hands of a warrior 
   are children born in one’s youth. 
 Blessed is the man 
   whose quiver is full of them. Psalm 127:3-5

Oh, man. I'm sort of feeling that familiar whooping from the Word. I no longer like this post. 
Moving on...

--Why have so many? Why not adopt?
     I understand this, sort of. Again, I think this is directed out of love and concern for children who need families. Listen. I've read James. Took that whoopin', too! What I have found, though, is that these with large families (and lots of folks with smaller families, for that matter) DO take care of orphans. It may be through fostering or adoption, it may be through organizations like Compassion or World Vision, or a local children's home, but they have a heart for the children. Of those that ask this question about adoption, I want to ask, "How many have you adopted?" When I hear the question, "Why so many?", I want to say, "Why not?" or "Which one would you give back?"

I'm not saying I think everyone should have a bunch of children. I'm not saying we shouldn't. I am saying that Christians should not be criticizing one another, but encouraging and praying for one another. Be proud of these parents who are willing to take God at His Word that 'Children are a heritage from the Lord, offspring a reward from him'.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Houston To-Do List

These first days in Houston have been as much about learning the city as anything. The girls and I have been working on compiling a Houston To-Do List.  We have enlisted the help of my new friends, Elizabeth and Aurelia (Elizabeth and I met through an old, dear friend and Aurelia works at the Y) and any friendly-looking passerby that would contribute.

Here's our list in no particular order:

Ice Skating at The Galleria
Join the Y   Done!
The Zoo- Done! March 23, 2012
Miller Outdoor Theater Done! March 23, 2012
Go to Blue Bell
Do Zumba at Discovery Green Park
Moody Gardens
See some Blue Bonnets
Go to a working cattle ranch and/or dude ranch
Go to the Houston Rodeo/ Carnival  Done!
Schlitterbahn Waterpark
San Antonio Boardwalk
Eat lots of lunches with Daddy!
Go to Austin
Children's Museum Done! March 22, 2012
The Woodlands-Water Way

Any of y'all have any other ideas of things to do while we are here? Let us know!!


Sunday, March 18, 2012

This Week I've Learned...

We've been in Houston for a week now, I've learned/confirmed a few things.


...that I could grow accustomed to living in the city. (Words I may eat later!)
...that I am uncomfortable being waited on.
...that I still dig my spouse.
...that making new friends is always grand.
...that I could eat my weight in Whoppers and not feel sick.
...if I'm not careful, I could be one of those people who have to have a certain type of worship music. (I got it at Houston's FBC, by the way.)
...that sometimes change is so motivating.
...that even if I can afford it, I cannot stomach a $50 maxi dress at Justice for my 10 year-old.
...that everything really is bigger in Texas, including the implants.
...I do not love ferris wheels. girls are comfortable making new friends.
...even though I'm so tempted by a cute pair of boots, I still prefer flip-flops.
...Hunger Games stresses me out. girls and I really needed the down time, even if we didn't know it. knee is worse than I thought.
...that it is "far better to fall forward in praise, than to fall backwards in sin". --Gregg Matte
...that Superman, Chuck Norris, Edward, Jacob, Gale, nor Peeta have NOTHING on Mike Storter.


A Church in the City

Our first Sunday in Houston. There are several churches we want to visit;  we started off at Houston's First Baptist Church. It was a good start.

We had several 'firsts' as a result of visiting a new, and very large, church. We parked in Guest Parking, visited the Welcome Center (I recommend this, by the way), and had to pick new seats! We didn't have our little 'section' like we do at home with our students.

Then, the music started. And the Lord was in the house. A very cool praise band led us in "How Great Thou Art" and "Forever Reign" among other songs, but man. Let me just tell you, Spouse attempted to clap. Thankfully, not for long. :)

Our pastor at home had encouraged us to attend this church, telling us that Gregg Matte was a great preacher and teacher. Good call, Michael Lewis!

Teaching from John 18:1-11, the thesis of the message was "Jesus is in control". If you read the passage (I hope you will), it may seem that this was a time when Jesus was not in control, he SO was. And is. Here Jesus was, in the Garden of Gethsemane, knowing that Judas had betrayed him, was not at all hiding from the men looking for him. Instead, he volunteered. Verse 4 says, "Then Jesus, knowing all that would happen to him., came forward and said to them, 'Whom do you seek?' Then, he told them who he was. "I am He", he said. He did not hide from trouble. He knew it was coming, and he knew who was in control.

A few noteworthy points from the passage:

--The Living Water walked through the dry gulch of the Kidron Valley to get to the Garden.
--Why did Jesus surrender Himself in a garden? Could it be because man blew it in the Garden?
--The garden was re-entered at conquered on our behalf.
--The soldiers who came to capture the Light of the World were carrying artificial light (torches, lanterns). When we walk in sin, we have to develop artificial light, i.e. 'at least I'm not _____', 'everyone else is doing it', 'I'm not hurting anyone'. You get the idea.
--Jesus Christ 'lived the life you couldn't, to die the death you should've'.

We still want to visit other churches while we are here, but it's going to be tough, now! Gregg Matte's preaching was expository and spot on. He was engaging, funny, and relevant. He was casually dressed, he told a few funny little stories for illustrations and he used a MacBook from the pulpit.

Can I get an AMEN!?

Friday, March 16, 2012

The Spouses: Established March 16, 1996

The Spouses. Established March 16, 1996.
I wish I had a wedding day pic for you... maybe next year.
Just know, we were 20 & 21 and looked 15. Scary.
Our marriage has been like Brad and Angelina's [post-fornication] scene in Mr. & Mrs. Smith when they roll out of bed, hair in place, she's wrapped in beautiful white sheets and he walks in with breakfast &  coffee.

Wait. What? I am actually cracking my junk up right now.

Let's be more real than a Facebook status. I am absolutely crazy in love with Mark Hale. Definitely more so than the day I married him, and I loved him then. There is just no way to prepare for the depth that your spouse can get in to your whole being. The Bible says that "the two will become one flesh. So that they are no longer two, but one flesh." (Mark 10:8) We really are one.

BUT, let me tell you: There is no one on the planet --not your parents, your children, your siblings, nor your local pharmacy-- that can make you as screaming mad as your spouse.
No one.
Not that I'm speaking from experience or anything.

Oh, yes I am! I am so grateful that, by God's ridiculous grace, Mark and I are still married. On our first anniversary, I wasn't sure there would be a second. We were two incredibly selfish people. It disgusts me now, but I am grateful for the opportunity to sometimes speak candidly to couples who think their relationship is irreparable. If God can restore us, He can restore anyone. And, He wants to, by the way.

So, Memo to YOU: Marriage isn't like a Taylor Swift love storyish music video. But, it is so worth it.

  • Love puts gas in my car because I detest it. And, I've been known to get it all over me
  • Love is sure we have creamy AND crunchy peanut butter. 
  • Love is accountable.
  • Love mows the yard instead of napping on a Saturday. 
  • Love has also done its share of mowing on a Thursday so that it's done before Saturday. :)
  • Love is not having too much furniture in the house because a certain Spouse is deathly afraid of clutter build up.
  • Love has been known to yell, "Corner of the roof, Melissa! Corner of the roof!" (See Proverbs 21:9)
  • Love has let him live. :)
  • Love, for us, is not having fancy towels. [Really. We only have functional towels. Spouse hates the nonfunctional.]
  • Love will put you in a mad rage. You. Never me. 
  • Love DOES mean having to say you're sorry for said rage. (Sorry Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw.)
  • Love doesn't just bring home the bacon, it fries it up, serves it, and washes the dishes.
  • Love says we have to switch to turkey bacon. 
  • Love is sometimes, not worrying about the dishes.
That's just what I say about love. You can forget it all if you want. 
Here's what the Bible says, read it fresh, if you will:

Love is patient, love is kind. Love does not envy, it is not boastful or conceited, does not act improperly, is not selfish, is not provoked, and does not keep a record of wrongs.
Love finds no joy in unrighteousness, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 
Love never ends.  I Corinthians 13:4-8

Real love, real marriage, just like a relationship with Jesus, is dying to yourself. Period.

So, here's a question: What does REAL LOVE do in your house?

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Don't Cohabitate Before Marriage

This is the first installment of the  "Spouseisms" blogs in which I will offer pearls of wisdom about marriage, some more hilarious than others. :)

Don't Live Together Before Marriage

Is there any surprise where I stand on this issue? If you know me, you can hear my voice when I say, "Seriously?! You better not!"

Really, though. This is not God's plan for marriage. Marriage is wonderful work when done right and cohabitating before marriage does not start the couple off on a solid foundation. 

I'd love to just pull out a solid "Because I said so" right here, but I know you Millenials. That won't cut it. I can't cover it all, but here is some research and stats:

  • Living together is more stressful than marriage. -- There is some security in knowing that Mark is covenantally (is that even a word?) and contractually bound to me. If we want out, we've got to see a judge.
  • Cohabitating cuts down on commitment. -- Glenn Stanton, author of The Ring Makes All the Difference, said "The message of living together is, 'I'd really only like to take part of you. And maybe some time later I'd like to take all of you.'" Son. I don't think so. You want it all, cellulite and frizzy hair, or you get none. Incidentally, the 'cohabitants' that do end up married are  45% more likely to get a divorce than those that waited to live together until marriage.
  • It's bad for the kids. -- Aside of being confusing and embarrassing for the children of unmarried couples, it poses a safety risk as well. Studies show that having an unrelated adult in the home poses the greatest risk for children. And, yes, it is confusing and embarrassing for the kids. Even Brad and Angelina's kids are pressuring them to get married. Lead them, Kids, lead them!
  • The compatibility argument is ... bleh.-- Listen. If one of you is male and the other is female, you are compatible. It's like Legos. Honestly!? I can't even believe this is a real argument.
  • Married people are healthier than non-married folks. -- Seriously. If you are gymmin' it up, and eating all organic, but living together before marriage, you are wasting your effort! Way back in 1858 a British guy named William Farr was the first to say "Marriage is a healthy estate." What a guy. It's still true! Contemporary studies have shown that married couples have lower instances of pneumonia, cancer, surgery, and heart attacks. Married couples even have fewer colds! Dig that! (Parker-Pope, Tara. 2010, April 14. NY Times. "Is Marriage Good for Your Health?")  
Here's the deal. If you're single, rock the singleness status for Jesus. If you're ready to get married and commit and you have the blessing of your parents. Score one for marriage! Let your marriage be a picture of Christ and His Bride, the Church. (Another post.)

This is for the one on the fence thinking it would be easy just to move in together. No, it won't. And, for the ones already living together outside of marriage: you don't have to stay there. It will rock your world as you know it, but it WILL be worth it.

I am so tempted to say something about if you like then you should put a ring on it, but that may be distasteful. :)

Well, here are SOME of my Spouseisms. What are your reasons for not living together before marriage?

The Road Most Traveled

Spouse and I have determined that this may well have been the worst road trip, travel-wise,  in the history of our marriage. Seriously. What a debacle!

It has been laughable, really.

Got up this morning and put my contact lens in after it had been soaking in what felt like acid. I mean it. It stung so bad that I could hardly pry my eye open enough to get the lens out! Had to wear my glasses most of the day. (Threw the pair away, and the acid solution.)

We hit crazy traffic and weather. Pretty sure we drove through what was once the filming location of an episode of Swamp People.

We went to a Cracker Barrel in Louisiana that had such horrid service that I got into a hysterical laughing fit and spit Diet Coke all over Spouse and his phone. Seriously. We were cry-laughing.

It rained some more.

I realized we were really close to NOLA, so ya know,  I wanted to get a beignet. Just me. No one else wanted to stop.  Spouse conceded. We get to Cafe Du Monde to a Long-Spring-Break-basketball-game sized line. The girls were fussing, which made us more determined to make them suck it up and wait. When we got to our table, we realize that Cafe Du Monde is cash-only. What? I guess they can do that, cause it's Cafe Du Monde.  Bust of all busts. I had cash in my purse. In the car. 5 blocks away.

Maddy said she doesn't ever want to go back to New Orleans cause she's 'pretty sure the Holy Spirit would never come out there'. She said that. Not her parents. Discussion followed.

Well, then I'm bummed. I was set on some Cafe Au Lait and a dadgum beignet! And, in the daytime, on Decatur Street, I LOVE New Orleans. And, the Holy Spirit is SO with me! Pretty sure there's gonna be beignets in heaven. Just saying.

We got a nice, East Texas sunset. Did I just type "nice, East Texas" in the same sentence?

Alas, too many hours later we made it to our temporary residence in Downtown Houston. It's very nice and looks like it will suit us fine.

Thank you, Lord, for getting us through the day! Thank you for a Spouse who knew it was going to be a rough one and saw to it that our family prayed together this morning before we hit the road. Thank you that the accidents we saw had people standing around their respective cars on their cell phones. Thank you, Lord, for the raindrops that hit my car. They are better than love bugs.


Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Paradox of Going & Leaving

We pray, “Lord, here am I! Send me! I’ll go!” And, we mean it. Isn’t that sweet? Isn’t that noble? What good little Christians! Right?! 

Oh, the places we will go for the name of Jesus!

Going. Going is fun. Going is adventurous. We are excited about going to Houston. We are excited about the learning experience for the girls. I look forward to turning this into a short-term mission trip. I think it will be fun to live in a little corporate apartment and not have towels and sheets to wash! We will have a pool! We are hoping to visit this awesome Houston Rodeo that evidently everyone knows about except us. It will be fun to visit the Houston Space Center, whatever it’s called, and all the great churches in the Houston area. Walking to the Y? Awesome. I have big plans for the gym, too, let me tell ya! It will be a neat experience to live in a city, as opposed to having a few farm animals and a big yard. Yes! Let’s go!

Turns out, I'm not so noble. I didn’t pray, “Lord, here am I! I’ll leave!”

Leaving. Leaving is very different than going. Leaving is hard. Leaving, even for a short time, is heartbreaking. Leaving is scary, moving into the unknown. Leaving is leaving people we love, a ministry we love, and beds we like a lot.  
Leaving means no one knows that my oldest friends call me “Missy” and our new friends call Mark “Spouse”. Leaving means no one knows that when I say, “I’m gonna take my flip-flop off!” I mean it and I mean it with so much love!  I’ve got to teach these Houstonians quick!
Saying goodbye to Mark’s grandparents and parents is not easy. I did not enjoy the goodbyes with my little circle of friends, let alone my girls’ friends! That was terrible! We have fabulous friends! Old, new and in-between!
Leaving means saying a final “See ya later” to a friend I will likely not see again this side of heaven.   

Still, we said we’d go. We’re going. And, we’re leaving. 

You're Going Where??

This is the big, wrinkled forehead question.

Here's the long and short of it:

Mark and I have long since loved serving in our local church and taking occasional short term missions trips, which we will discuss later. We enjoy other cultures and typically feel very comfortable in different environments. In short we love missions and WE LOVE PEOPLE.

So, for now, we are going to Houston. Mark has been with a major bank for about 15 years. He has a job to do in Houston, Texas for about 3 months. They were ready to commute him each week, having him fly out every Monday and back home on Fridays. 

Hold the phone.  We homeschool. Why would we do that? No deal. We go with him. :) We like him.

Not knowing where in the world we may end up in the future, we are viewing this little trip as a nice little training. A 3 month long field/ mission trip. Bootcamp, if you will. 

Bootcamp is hard, but necessary. 

Right now, we are on I-75 driving. I have about 14 more hours in the car. Put your seatbelt on! I've got words! Overblogging ahead!