Saturday, December 14, 2013

Eyeliner Faith.

2012 was a ride. 
2013 has been a radioactive ride. 

This week was test week here in my house. 
The Big Sister had a midterm in Science. 
I had a Body Scan. 
No joke: she thought they were the same thing. I deserve the first Olympic Medal for 2014 for the sport of Parental Restraint. 

Anyway, this was my second scan of the year. In May, we got a diagnosis of a Thyroid Cancer Recurrence. There were aspects of the testing, diagnosis, and treatment that Spouse and I were not satisfied with, so we we went with Jesus. We were at peace with it. 

This week, after two days of injections and blood draws, I took myself to Nuclear Medicine Department and they gave me a new bracelet! This was my reward for two weeks of Low Iodine Diet. (LID is less than awesome, in case you were wondering.)

They also made me radioactive. This wasn't a treatment dose, so there was no isolation. Nothing like swallowing a pill from a lead canister that you can't touch with your fingers. 

Thursday, we went to Santa's Wonderland in College Station. So fun and so cold. The painful kind of cold.

Friday. Test Day. We had a celebratory lunch at Taste of Texas already planned. We weren't really worried. But, when doubt crept in, my mind would go crazy. What do you wear to a Body Scan? Do I bother with eyeliner? I don't even wear eyeliner every day. Just church. And special dress ups.

I enlisted my army of prayer warriors.
I put on the eyeliner. 
Sometimes, having faith means wearing the eyeliner.

This was my bed for an hour. With a nice, warm blanket.

My prayer was specific: "Cancer-free scan and immediate results". We had to wait a little bit and be a little assertive to see the radiologist, but we did get to see him and we did get immediate results. 
We were so grateful to hear him say, "I don't see any indication that this is anything more than residual thyroid tissue. Not recurrent cancer. And there is certainly no reason to treat that."

Praise the Lord. God is good and I'm his favorite.
Grinning.

Spouse and I didn't even know what to say at first. A lot of "Thank you, Jesus"'s. I'm assuming they were interceded into groanings that were eloquent and articulate. 

All of a sudden, I thought of the eyeliner. 
I got in the car and had a total nervous cry. Like Miss America. Like a sweepstakes winner. Like someone who had just been justified after dealing with well-meaning doubters and questions and spent a bunch of money on medical costs for the last 7 months. 
Like a person healed by an Almighty God.

This happened:

This is my life. Right here. Seriously.
They're all "Love you so much...Dork".
We got some little girls together and went to Taste of Texas for the first time. Can I just say, with all the love, "THANK YOU, ERICA, FOR TELLING ME ABOUT THIS GOODNESS AND I CUSS ALL THE PEOPLE WHO DIDN'T!"

Our sweet server asked if we were celebrating anything. "Um, Yes, Robbie, we are celebrating a cancer-free scan." Robbie was awesome, "Praise Jesus! Let's celebrate!"
We did.
Are those Christmas nails so cute? They are so distracting while I'm trying to type here!
They are glittery acrylic powder, not polish. This is new to me. I'm very excited!


"Pray it to be gone, in Jesus' name.
That's it. Gone.
I'm gonna be very honest here. I don't need "happy thoughts" or "positive vibes" sent my way. I'm asking for real, sold out, fruit-producing Jesus followers to reach out and touch his garment on my behalf and ask the Great Physician to speak life into my throat and kill the death.
Boom. That's it. Pray big. Pray expectantly.

All I want to hear from Jesus is "Take heart, daughter, your faith has made you well."
(Matthew 9:20-22)"

Boom.
That's it.
God is good.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Teachable Moment: The Unacceptable Swap.

Watching TV with my girls the other night, this commercial came on and presented a teachable moment in my living room.

Yoplait 2013 Ad. 

At the end of the commercial, I waited about .02 seconds
for my girls to say anything.
They hesitated too long.
So I spoke up.

"Um. No. Just because one is a big ole pile of crap 
and the other is just a little turd, 
does not make this an acceptable swap."

Then they died.
Boom.
Teachable moment. Owned.

Had any awesome teachable moments like that?



Wednesday, December 4, 2013

To Be Known


One of the cool things about moving to a new place, is you get to meet so many new people. It's awesome to get to know people and hear their stories. And, it's fun to tell your story. There are many ways and angles in which to tell your story, too, depending on your audience, right? In our case, we may talk more about church or homeschooling, or we may talk about Spouse's job and all the Lord has done with that. We may include family background, our marriage stuff, ministries we've been a part of and get to hear the same from others. It's fun and exciting to find the common thread(s) between believers.

On the flip side, one of the less than cool things about moving to a new place, is you meet so many new people. You are constantly having to get to know new people and learn their stories. It's like we are all giving our resumes over and over. It may be your church ministry resume (student, college ministry), homeschool resume (The standard, "I loved our school, but we knew this was what the Lord wanted for our family."), the family resume (we love having people in our home, yadda yadda). In some ways, it feels like we have been doing this over and over for the past year and a half. 

It is what it is. It's part of moving. We knew it.
The Super Sanguine here welcomed it.

Until I was over it. After a while, I got tired of my own stories. Those that know me IRL just chuckled. No. I rarely tire of telling stories. I just mean I am tired of telling the same stories! 

I just want to be known. I don't mean in a Fifteen Minutes of Fame kind of way. I don't mean any kind of fame. I'm talking have my people who know what I'm about. You know, the hometown kind of known.
*Singing* Sometimes you wanna go, where everybody knows your name...*

{Image Credit: Cheers}
And, then. I am known more than that. The number of hairs on my head is known. The number of hairs  that are in the drain for my Spouse to clean out is known. The number of pounds I have gained is known. The number of minutes that number takes up in my head on any given day is known, too. The number of cells in my body is known, including the rogue ones. The work that I was sent here to do is known by the One who sent me here to do it.
All of it. Known to a known God.

You have searched me, Lord,
   and you know me.

You know when I sit and when I rise;
    you perceive my thoughts from afar.
You discern my going out and my lying down;
    you are familiar with all my ways.
Before a word is on my tongue
    you, Lord, know it completely.
You hem me in behind and before,
    and you lay your hand upon me.
Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
    too lofty for me to attain.
Psalm 139:1-6

The girls and I have been memorizing Psalm 139 this year. We are way behind schedule, but I can't tell you how many times I've come back to it. There is so much goodness in this Psalm, but let's go with verse 1, "...you know me...my thoughts...my going out...a word on my tongue...". 

The God who created you knows you. He knows me.

That same God has given me a precious few who know me, too. They get me. I don't take for granted when new people come into my crazy and walk along side me in it. There are a few in particular here in H that have been total rockstars in how they have loved and spoken truth over me.

Tonight, at a women's Bible Study, I met someone new. We had each been told we needed to meet. So cute, right?! This sweet homeschooling family just moved here from Florida. My other friend, Christa, the new friend and I were all chatting about being the new girls at one time or another and giving our resumes and talking Jesus. 

You know the scene: three women in a parking lot after Bible Study. 

I was talking some sort of shenanigans when my Jesus who knows me gave me the sweetest of gift: Christa interjects in my story and explains to our knew friend, very cheeky, "Melissa has a hard time expressing herself..."

GAH!

Boom. Known.

I need to quit looking to be known and act like one who is known.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Thankfulisms.

I've enjoyed reading some of my friends' post of thankfulness this month on Facebook. I'm learning that writing those sort of daily posts are too lofty a goal for me, so I don't even want to act like I might keep up with that jazz. So, thank you, for reading all mine in one post! 

I am, of course, thankful for Jesus and family and friends, they are invaluable and of immeasurable worth and will certainly make the list. But, let's face it, I'm thankful for a few things that can be bought. No shame up in here.

Here's this year's Thankfulisms:

~Fuzzy socks.

~Cold weather for Christmas decorating. 
I'm obviously out of my mind.

~Road trips.
Our little family does them well.
(This post is brought to you on the quiet stretch of US-82 between Fort Worth and Amarillo.)

~LASIK.
Last year I was thankful for new specs. 
Those were cute.

~Soul-stirring blogs, songs, movies, books, etc.
You don't have to agree with everything (or anything) someone 
writes for the words to prick you.

~These Uni•Ball pens. 

~Coffee & Hot Chocolate
Cause it's dang cold in Texas right now, y'all!

~That my heater was fixed in my car today for $50 
at an auto shop I found on a drive by, saying, 
"Lord, show me if these people are sketch!" 

~For this girl:
She has taken care of my girls & now she's on Maverick-watch. 

~The flat-iron.

~The distance from the East to West.

~The phone on which I type. 

~Fleeting moments of scandalous courage 
in which the Holy Spirit is front and center in me. 

~Social media.
For all its faults, encouragement and ministry happens there. 
Plus, there's some funny, thought-provoking people I would've never heard of without Twitter.

~Tweenie Dates.

~That minty-fresh feeling just after a brushin'!

~A Spouse who is willing to try new things with me. 
Settle down. (More on this in a week or so.)


What are your thankfulisms?

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Best Word in the Dictionary.

{1828 Webster Dictionary}
What is the best word in the dictionary?

Hint: It may just be the answer to these questions:

"Hey! I've been meaning to ask you, would you be interested in _______? You would be perfect!"
"Mom, can I have another cookie?"
"Will you be able to run by ______ and _______?"
"We'd love to have you on the _________ team? Are you interested?"
"You would be the one to _______".
"Are you planning on _________ again?"

Yep, the best word in the dictionary might just be "No".

Committees committed before you.
Associations associated without you.
Nurseries nursed without you.
Classes will be taught post-you.
Blogs will be blogged.
Songs will be sung.
Instruments will play.

I assure you: the show will go on.
At school, at church, at the non-profit, at work...

"Good is the enemy of great."-  Jim Collins

That has certainly been true in this house.
Sometimes, the best way to make room for the best thing is to use the tool of "No".

That's it. Just "No."
Period. No explanation. No excuse. Just "No."

Let's see...
Good is to Great as Yes is to No?

To what do you say "No" in order to SAY YES TO THE BEST?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

King-Sized Bed- Not Needed.


The last time my Spouse was out of town, my girls slept over with me in my room for maybe the fourth time ever.

Ever.

There are 4 beds in this house.
I ended up on the couch.
The likelihood of a fifth time is slim. I can't even deal.
I'm just not a co-sleeping parent.
I have respect for those who do. It's just never been my thing.
I have friends that are or were co-sleepers and they are great parents. 
Some even have very well-adjusted grown kids. *grinning* 

Remember, my goal is "World's Okayest Mom", so co-sleeping is not a requirement for that title.

Let's be clear: we are a snuggling family. We do well with the early morning snuggles in the bed and on the couch, and until they get to the point they think they are too big to snuggle, I'm in. Just not sleeping the whole night.

Co-sleeping is not good for us and I have the stats to prove it.

So, you're welcome in advance. Feel free to use these when necessary.

Here's why our kids sleep in their own beds:

Ribs. Co-sleeping increases your odds of cracked ribs by .01234%.
Listen. I've got work to do as a mom, I can't gamble with these odds.

Sleep Quality. Children sleep 123% better in the parents' bed, while the parents' sleep quality is decreased by 98.765%. You know it's true. Even a small one just can't argue with these numbers.

Future Generations. If there are always children in your bed, you can't use your bed in the way God intended. This effects your number of offspring, which effects the number of grandchildren you have. See? Co-sleeping could very well be the leading cause of what has been referred to as Demographic Winter.

 Stink. A child's body temperature is approximately 98.Eleventy┬║. They have the morning sweat to prove it.
Precious angel from heaven sweats +mom sweats+ dad sweats= stink.
First thing in the morning.
Nope.

Failure to Launch. Co-sleeping is a slippery slope, people. You let those little pillow-snatchers in your bed once, they'll prey on weakness every night at 2:48am for the rest of your natural born life. Then, when he's grown, he'll prey again. I read somewhere that .321% of adult children living at home were co-sleepers as babies.

Sacred Bed. Really. If you ask my girls at any time, "Why doesn't your mom let your sleep in her bed?" They will answer, without hesitation, "My daddy would let me, but mom says the marriage bed is sacred." And, then they'll likely add some smartie-tartie hilarity to go along with it. Whatever. They need to read up on their prescriptures.

So, there ya go. These are the facts.

Thoughts? Co-sleeping or not?

Monday, November 11, 2013

Insta-conversation for Parents & Kids.

Moms and Dads, you and I are parenting little digital natives. Outside of living on the compound, we cannot escape this. Eventually, these little digitally-savvy crumb-snatchers gifts from the Lord are going to want an iPod and/or a tablet of some sort and/or a phone.

I am not going to tell you how to parent your kids, or tell you when/if I think it is appropriate or necessary to allow kids to have a smart phone. You know your kids way better than I do and there is no biblical mandate on it so I'm not going there.

Today, we are going to focus on Instagram. Instagram seems to be the gateway to social media. Playing the "I'm just not a social media person" card is just not going to cut it if you are going to allow your kids to have access. Ok, so maybe I am telling you how to parent. *grin* But, really. If your kid has social media access, you should, too.
{Image belongs to Instagram}
So much of this comes down to teaching. We don't have to avoid social media outlets just because there are some sketchy aspects of it. You can, if you want. That doesn't make you a bad parent. Nor does allowing your kids to use them.

When navigating into the Insta-world, there is one thing for parents to consider first: Age of Usage.

This is a biggie for a lot of folks and for good reason. Below is the Children's Privacy portion of the Instagram Privacy Policy. A lot of folks read this to say the minimum age for usage is 13. That's not what this says. This policy is in effect to protect Instagram. It does say that the content of Instagram is "not directed at children under the age of 13",  I see that. This does not prohibit use. Those are two different things. "Parental consent" is a big phrase here. You are the parent. You get to decide. 
{From Instagram Privacy Policy}

Once we made the decision to 'go there', the dialogue (not lecture) began.
These are some things we discussed in our house:

1. Purpose- What is the purpose of Instagram? Why are we using it? For us, it's a photo sharing site. It's for fun and connection with friends. We understand that we don't use Instagram for meeting people or being popular or whatnot. You have to decide in your house what is an acceptable purpose for Instagram.

2. Privacy- Set that profile to private for the love of Mark Zuckerberg. There really is no reason to have your full name. First name, last initial is enough for your friends to know you.  Also, your 'single' status at age 12 is of no significance. Honestly. 

3. Following- We have an agreement about a few things. 1.) I follow who they follow. 2.) I follow who follows them. 3.) They do not grant any request for a follow without checking with me first. 4.) They don't follow anyone without checking with me first.
Let me be clear: my girls understand that we do this because we love them and are for them. They also understand that they have an enemy who hates them and is against them. This enemy will use any scheme necessary to bring destruction, including fun little Instagram. These little "rules" are not a battleground for us. We are together on it.

4. Popularity- This is hot issue for me. Not the popularity, per se, but begging for popularity. This business about "like for like" and "follow for follow" is so ridiculous of a thing it should not even be a thing. So, we talk about it. (This is the notion of liking other photos just so someone will like your photos, same for following.) What does it mean for a person to have a lot of "likes" or "followers"? Why would a person want to have a lot of followers?

In addition, just as a "social media etiquette" issue, I have told my girls, "You do not ever 'like' your own photo and liking every picture your friend posts is unnecessary." It's just cheesy. And, since I'm getting fired up, let's put a max on hashtags, shall we, for Jimmy Fallon's sake? Maybe 3 or 4 maximum per photo?

5. Pics-  We discuss what photos are appropriate to post. This may seem silly at first, but I don't think so. We just encourage our girls to be intentional with social media. We don't want to see any unflattering pictures of other people posted. (This came up when we saw a sister post up an unflattering picture of her sister as a joke. No.) We also don't want to see blessed selfie after selfie! I don't know where I got it from, but someone suggested a 1:20 ratio for selfies. I love it! So, the day I read it, we made it our 'rule of thumb'! We had a good laugh and thought it sounded like a great idea. So, for every selfie, you should post 20 photos of other things or people.

6. Porn- My girls understand that pornography means sexually implicit photos. (They've not seen any, give sketchy junk at a mall or commercial. Ugh.) They understand that porn is addictive and that most kids ages 9-13 see pornography by accident while searching online. They understand that pornography contributes to the buying and selling of humans. Because of this, they are careful not to just go perusing the popular page of Instagram.

The world of social media changes our world as parents. These are just parts of discussions that we've had as a family over time related to Instagram usage. This was not one conversation.

What would you add to this discussion?

Saturday, November 9, 2013

When the Pastor Says, "Greet the people around you..."

I rejoiced with those who said to me,
"Let us go to the House of the Lord!".
Psalm 122:1

We've learned a few things in the past year and a half about being the newbies. Not the least of which is how to better handle the greeting time at church. When the pastor says, "Let's all take a moment to greet the people around you and tell them you are glad they are here today", I handle this much differently than I did before.

A simple "Good morning." doesn't cut it, Church Member.
That's what you say to people you never expect to see again.
Say, "Good morning", by all means, but there needs to be more.

Introduce yourself. "Good morning, I'm Melissa." Hopefully, the other person will say his or her name. If not, ask.
{pinterest pic}
Repeat the person's name. This is key. Say it back to them. "Mark and Melissa? I'm so glad to meet you."

Ask if he or she is a member of your church. If you have multiple services or a large church, you may not know if this person is a regular. So ask. Plus, this gives you another opportunity to say her name back to her. "Melissa, is this your first time at BCF or is this home to you?"
I did this to people even when it was my first time to visit. I would ask them if this was their home church, if it was, they would inquire the same of me. When I would say, "No, this is our first time here", it usually created a lightbulb moment for them to step up the game and be a little more welcoming. *smiling*

One of my favorite couples at one of our favorite churches ever, walked right up to us and said, "Are y'all new here or do you come here every week?" I was in love. In. love.

Keep talking. I am serious. This is not just for the sanguines. Ask some questions. If the person or family is new, ask "Do you know any one here? Are you familiar with the building? Do y'all know where the bathroom is and whatnot? Did you get a cup of coffee?" It doesn't have to be formal, just think of the questions you have when you walk in to a new building and help them find the nearest exit just in case there is a guest speaker that goes a little whackadoo. I kid. But, really. Help them out.
If they aren't new, you can still get to know them. "Now, Melissa, are you involved in a community group? Which one? How long have y'all been at BCF?" That sort of thing. Be genuinely interested.

Write their names down. When you turn around, type those names in your phone or write them in your little notepad or on the bulletin or something. Then, at the end of the service, provided they didn't bolt out the nearest exit-which you told them about, you super-cool church goer!- you can say, "Mark, Melissa, I am so glad y'all came today! I hope I'll get to see y'all again."

For Extra Credit- Walk with them to pick up kids in the Kid's Area or Student Area for more chat time. Take them over to the ministry tables or personally introduce the family to the pastor. Dang, invite them to go get chips & salsa with you! There's not really extra credit. It's just an idea.

What are some ways you handle the greeting time?

Monday, November 4, 2013

A Confessional.

We have enjoyed a super cool weekend over here. A coworker of Spouse's- turned- friend has been with us for a few days. Mercy is from Manila, Philippines and is working in the States for a couple of weeks. While she is in Houston, we claimed guardianship of her. Yay, us!

In the spirit of Texas, we took her to eat Mexican food.

We went to a cool corn maze...

We took her to Bayou City Fellowship (No pic, boo) and got a little worldview training with The Truth Project. (If you aren't familiar, click here. It's a fantastic DVD-based study of Christian Worldview.)

There was some exercise...


And, we ate some more...

You know how we thought other cultures tend to view Americans as gluttonous? Yah. We definitely perpetuated that little stereotype. I confess. It was our fault.
We even made Coca-Cola Cake, cause 'Merica.

I've got a few other confessions that some of you will consider borderline sacrilege. Grace, People.
I let some of your junk go, let me tell you! *Grinning* *Eyebrows raised*

Entering the Confessional:

~~I have never seen The Princess Bride. I am not proud of this.

~~I can quote nearly all of Orange County. (Jack Black, Colin Hanks, 2002) I am proud of this. Judge all you want.

~~We were never co-sleepers with our girls. We are co -sleepers with the pup. This is on the Spouse. Since the draft of this post, Maverick has been exhibiting some dominant behaviors (not THAT one), and has been banished to the floor until he remembers that he is the "lowest" in the house.

~~You know how people say, "I don't usually like to be political on Facebook..."? Well, I do! I like political  posts. Political posts are [mostly] intelligent and thought provoking. Giraffes, pink, & bitstrips, not so much. 

~~Follow up to previous: I have a love/hate for Facebook. I love the connection to people, even the ones who refuse Instagram & Twitter (which are 85,648 times better). I think I need to just come off FB each  October (avoiding the Pink, sketchy Halloween costumes, etc). Yah, clearly it's October's issue and not just me being cranky-pants about it. Obviously. I didn't even mention that "Better safe than sorry, I saw this on the Fox News last night..." No, you did not.

~~Speaking of, Fox News is not usually my first news source, Dear Christian Conservative Readers. Mainly because they aren't the first to report breaking news and when they are, they have to correct the information! Bless. I even follow NPR on Twitter. Gasp.

Settling down...

~~I outed someone's secret on Instagram the other day. A precious couple I had met in person just 27 hours earlier. Awesome.

~~I came off Diet Coke for three solid months. With no cheating & eating good. I gained weight. Significantly. Thyroid issues aside, that is ridiculous. I'm now enjoying the nectar again, mostly guilt-free.

~~I've never read Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I don't know why.

~~I read nearly every word that David Platt writes. Same goes for Voddie Baucham & Francis Chan.

~~I want to play the drums. Not just air drums or with chop sticks at PF Changs. Real drums. I can't read a lick of music. Is this a problem?

~~I have to extend grace to every pregnant couple who has a Gender Reveal Party. Grace because I have been given grace and because I live in a world where we have gender reveal parties. 

~~People who are super-internally disciplined impress me. Hard work trumps talent or intelligence every time.

~~Spouse and I have a little bit of gypsy in us. Lil bit. 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Grace.


It's time for another Five Minute Friday
It's a Lisa Jo Baker thing, and it's a good one.

Here are the rules.

If you have a blog--you should so do it. If you don't have a blog, you should do it anyway. Just sayin'.

It's Five Minutes of pure blog adrenaline.

Five minutes of writing on a one word prompt. Period. No editing. No nothing. No pressure. No stress.

This week's prompt is Grace.

Ready? Set.

Go.

Grace.
One syllable.
Grace.

Sufficient grace.
Amazing grace.
Undeserved grace.
Abundant grace.
Rejected grace.
Status-changing grace.
Unending grace.
Matchless grace.
Unaccepted grace.
Unrelenting grace.
Abused grace.
Overwhelming grace.
Scandalous grace.
Lavished grace.
Misunderstood grace.
Extravagant grace.
Revolutionary grace.

Monumental grace.

Stop.

That's it.

5 Things I'd Rather Do Than Celebrate Halloween.

Photo cred: I don't know. From IMBD.
I do not love Halloween. I just don't. I guess it wasn't always this way. When I was younger I enjoyed dressing up as my favorite doppleganger, Wonder Woman. (No pics of that nonsense.) Now look at me- I have a Wonder Woman Complex (trying to save the world, guilt when I can't) and no gold bracelets.
Some Halloweens, I was a cat. Green eyes, dark hair, ya know. Now, I don't love cats.

See what this day has done to me!?

To be clear: let's not confuse distaste for Halloween for a disdain for candy corn and whatnot.
Stay focused, Kids. I just don't love Halloween. I don't love the scary images, haunted houses,  kids dressed as zombies, blood and gore and all that. And, I certainly don't love all the skanky costumes.

Kids dressed up as mini police men, Buzz & Woody, little Wonder Women (not the leotard part), Uncle Si,  I dig all that. I get the cutesy stuff. (So, post pics of cutesy kids!)

It's just all the money, the candy I don't need, the hoopla ...meh. I could just skip it.

So, when I read about the Halloween Link Up over at Living In Yellow, and could just hear little Erin singing my song!

Let's see...What 5 things would I rather do instead?

1. Board a flight to any number of places. My travel wish list is getting longer and longer. My children may spend some of their teen years in a teeny apartment in order to fund my our travels. Europe, Haiti, Wyoming, California, NYC...any of those will do.

2. Have a fun dinner with our favorite little Filipina. She flies in today and we are SO excited! We get her for the weekend, but she has to work during the week. Blech. Work.

3.  Watch The Outsiders. The Big Sister just finished the book and we haven't found time this week to sit and watch the movie. Or, I'd even like to catch up on Parenthood. Sigh. The Bravermans.

4.  Do some work on this blog. I've been wanting to do a little cosmetic maintenance for a while, but I can't make up my mind and I don't want to spend a million dollars on it. (See #1) Still, I love this little space and I want it to be cutesy, but I don't love that my mug is larger than life at the top. Good grief.

5.  Go visit this lady right here. I don't love Halloween, but she is just hateful. What a total meanie pants.  She might better leave town. I could totally see the neighborhood teens stocking up on toilet paper and forks (or worse) for such a time is this. Anyway, I'd like to go visit her.

So, there ya go. Some things I'd rather do than celebrate Halloween. Certainly not all-inclusive.

Still, weather permitting, we will be handing out candy and meeting our neighbors because I can't not. I love people. My girls do, too, so it will be fun. Hopefully, our little friend can come, too.
No, Dear Brian, I will only hand out candy because I agree, anything else is hokey pokey.

I just want to be awesome, not hokey pokey.

Happy Day!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

BIG BELIEFS, Little Beliefs.



Big Beliefs, Little Beliefs came from Tara over at A Brew of Blessings. It's not a link up, really, but it should be. So, T, get on that! :)) Lists like this are random, but connect us when something resonates. It's mostly for fun, nothing too deep. Enjoy & add your own!


I believe...

~Hot chocolate is a solid comfort drink. 
Not solid as in matter, solid as in dependable.

~Loving your neighbor may mean walking her dogs.

~A new outfit can alter the events of your day.

~So can your shoes.

~Just because you are intentional about including people, 
doesn't mean others are.

~You'll never regret shaving your legs.
Girls. I. Am. Just. Sayin.

~People think about you a lot less than you think they do.
I don't know who said this, but a friend said it this week. So true.

~The first songs of the day set the tone for the rest of your day. 
Choose wisely.

~Assumptions are the worst.

~This world is not my home. 
I don't want to get too comfortable anywhere.

~Finicky eaters ("I don't like ___, ____, or ____...") used to stress me out.
It's difficult to accommodate a super-picky person. 
Now, "Just bring what you want."

~Writing is a blessing and a curse.
Blessing: It is an effective outlet.
Curse: If you don't write, you don't feel "let out". 

~Being the new girl is just plain hard. 
No matter how old you are, no matter how super-sanguine you are. It's just hard.

~A visit with a friend is therapeutic.

~"We don't work best when we are dragging around our past." - Curtis Jones. 
Context can be found by listening to the Bayou City Fellowship podcast from October 27, 2013. 

~Being a "mean mom" is often a reason to high-five yourself.

~Walking in faith and walking in crazy sometimes look similar.
Our decisions shouldn't always be practical or make sense 
to the world...or even other Christians.

~The early morning decision of brushing teeth first or going to the 
bathroom first is sometimes enough to overwhelm me before daylight.

~People trump everything else.
People over things. People over money. 
People over schedule. People over programs.
People over comfort. People over sleep.
When in doubt, choose people. 

~The voice in your head is often a familiar one. 
That voice might be a little liar.

~Sometimes you know in the first five minutes, "Yep, you are my people."

~Key clicking on your phone is not awesome in a waiting room. 
Or any room where other people are present.

~Pinterest is not necessary for genuine hospitality.
Sandwiches on paper plates served from a sincere place of service is gold. 

~Fall brings a welcomed breeze, even for a Summer Girl.

Let's hear em! 
What do you believe?

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Touchdowns & Kisses

Floyd Casey Stadium. Photo credit: My Spouse!
Spouse and I recently learned of a Texas A&M football tradition that is way better than any drinking game you can learn on any number of typical college campuses.

Last weekend, we went to the Baylor University homecoming game with some of our closest, sweetest friends. Joe is a Baylor alumnus, so we all decided to meet up in Waco for the weekend's festivities. Baylor had scored maybe their second touchdown when Joe let us know their football tradition that they had carried on from our other friends and former pastor & wife, Michael & Liliana.

Evidently, Michael & Liliana kiss each time their team scores at a football game.
We adopted this little tradition faster than you can say, "Gig Em!".

<<I realize in Bear Country, they say "Sic Em Bears!" and I did. Happily. But, I learned that this sweet little kissy tradition came from Aggie Nation. My friends lived in Austin for several years, and apparently caught this vision and brought it to Plant City, Florida! I love it. The point is the "game", not the origin.
So, "Whoop!" or "Gig Em!" or "Sic Em" Whichever! This is a great Tex-tradition! >>

This sweet couple just took a cool college tradition and turned it into a marriage game.

Husbands & Wives, this is brilliant on so many levels.

It's fun. Football games & sporting events in general are fun. Little traditions like this just add to it. Marriage is not a burden to us, my Spouse is not a burden. We enjoy being together and an appropriate little smooch just expresses it. Listen. You can High-Five anybody, even strangers on the row behind you, but kissing at every 'score' (See what I did there?) takes that celebration to a whole 'nother level with your spouse! (That last prepositional phrase is there for a reason, Kids.) (I have a lot of younger readers.) (I'm not saying all kisses have to happen within marriage, but it wouldn't hurt.)

It's unifying. I hope that's a real word. There's not red squiggly underneath it, so I'm going with it. During that whole game, Debra and I were chatting away and solving all the world's problems. But, when Baylor scored, we turned and kissed our husbands! Heyyyy! It was just a little trigger to bring our attention back to our men for just a brief second. Don't you know they loved that junk!?

It edifies marriage. Our culture is not pro marriage. As Christians, we have to be counter-cultural in every way we can, and this accomplishes that in a non-confrontational way. As much as depends on you, be pro marriage! (You do not have to be married to be pro marriage.)

It's a good example. My kids watch our marriage intently. If we've done nothing else right, these girls see that their parents are into each other. Being affectionate (appropriately) in front of the kids is healthy. Then, lock the door.

It honors God. I just have to believe that God is thrilled every time Michael & Liliana share a little marital moment at football games. He designed marriage. He created us for physical intimacy and He created us to enjoy life. When all these things come together, the Lord smiles. I just know it.

Incidentally, the final score was 71-7, Baylor. That's a good start to this newly adopted tradition.

Do you have any fun little traditions like this?

Climb to the 'summit' of Enchanted Rock? Kissies!
PS- Listen. I'm pretty sure I just made up that every time a husband and wife share a kiss, a pegasus gets its wings. Do you really want to be responsible for wingless pegasi (also made up) running around?

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Together: Five Minute Friday

It's time for another Five Minute Friday
It's a Lisa Jo Baker thing, and it's a good one.

Here are the rules.

If you have a blog--you should so do it. If you don't have a blog, you should do it anyway. Just sayin'.

It's Five Minutes of pure blog adrenaline.

Five minutes of writing on a one word prompt. Period. No editing. No nothing. No pressure. No stress.

This week's prompt is Together.

Ready? Set.

Go.

"...a house divided against itself cannot stand..." Matthew 12:25

One of my constant prayers for our family is that we remain in unity. When decisions are to be made, some bigger, some smaller, my first prayer is that we are of one accord. I full well understand that Spouse and I are the parents, so this isn't always the case, but I pray that our family is moving toward Jesus in a unified fashion. 

It is my understanding that Jesus spoke the words above while driving out demons. Isn't that what we are doing? Driving out demons? Protecting our children, families, marriages, & homes from evil influences? This is a real battle.

I have known for a good, long while that 1) we have a real enemy, 2) he comes to steal, kill, & destroy, and 3) his modus operandi is 'divide and conquer'. 

So, here we are: trying to follow Jesus while an enemy tries to divide us and conquer us. 

We cannot take this battle lightly. 
We cannot do it alone.
Families, as much as depends on you, we have to stick together. Mom, Dad, Kids...
Church, we have to work together. Baptist, Methodist, Reformed, Charismatic, Bapticostal...

We have to present a united front. 

We have to BE a united front.

Together. 

                     "...a house divided against itself cannot stand..." Matthew 12:25

Stop.

Oh, man. I really need more than five minutes on that one, Lisa Jo! :)

Friday, October 18, 2013

TEXploration Dos: Enchanted Rock.

Welcome to Episode Two of TEXploration!  :)
The first picture of the blog post becomes the thumbnail.
It was either this one or the one below.
You're welcome.
The first night of camping, Spouse was getting ready to fire up the grill when we realized I didn't bring any seasoning for the burgers. Not even salt & pepper. Awesome. I remembered only cheddar cheese, but not American. We also didn't have a spatula. 
But, I remembered the pickles. Cause I've got priorities, People.
I made a quick run to the campground store, and made it work.

This is Maverick during while grilling was happening. 
We headed over to Fredericksburg and Enchanted Rock. Fredericksburg is a cutesy little town with a German Pioneer heritage. Enchanted Rock is about 30 minutes or so just north of Fredericksburg and well worth it.

                                      

It's evidently only 425 feet in elevation (still Texas, just Hill Country, not Mountain Country!) but it really is beautiful. It's about a .6 mile walk up to the top of the dome. Really cool.
We are laughing cause Spouse was whispering marital inappropriateness. 

Maverick made the trek, too! He was the cutest little pup on that Rock!


Big Sister.

Downtown Fredericksburg.
Little Sister got to ring the church bell.
This is what I thought all of Texas looked like. Glad I got to see it.
We are on the road now to Waco for the Baylor Homecoming game with some of our favorite people on the planet. And, of course, we are considering this a college scouting trip. :)

Thanks for indulging me a few posts of scrap-blogging!

What are y'all up to this weekend?!