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?!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

TEXploration Uno.

We are heading out for a little TEXploration today! We loaded up the camper for a few days in the hill country. You may recall the Great New Braunfels Disaster of 2013. Well, that was in June and we haven't had the camper out since. 

Well, it's a new season, a new day!

We loaded up with supplies, food, and some school work. Can you virtually experience the Sisters' joy with me? I can never understand their grumbling about cracking a book while we are on our way to someplace awesome. What a dream for most of their friends!
Plus, we loaded up the bikes, so shut your yapper.
Are we little adventurers or what? So cool, right?

Before you think I am an arrogant cuss, read on to see how cool we really are.
We made it approximately 1.3 miles down the road before Spouse saw flashing blue lights and one of Houston's Finest. This was exceptionally wonderful because I wasn't driving. Turns out that our uniformed friend wanted to alert us impending trouble:
See that bumper? Notice how the bike looks as if it is sitting on the road while still on the bike rack? Yah. Not supposed to do that.
So, in true Spouse fashion, this man rigged two bikes on top of the car & two tied up on the bike rack. 




We are so grateful that the Lord orchestrated the events when He did. We drove the 1.3 miles back to the house ever so gingerly. We gladly unloaded the bikes back in the garage, ready to sacrifice them now rather than on 290 somewhere between Houston and Austin. Pretty sure we wouldn't love that.

And...we're off! Again! I'll keep ya posted.

We love this junk.


Thursday, October 10, 2013

Five Minute Friday: Ordinary


It's time for another Five Minute Friday
It's a Gypsy-Mama thing, and it's a good one. I've missed it the past couple of months.

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 one word. Period. No editing. No nothing. No pressure. No stress.

This week's prompt is Ordinary.

Ready? Set.

Go.

_______________________________________________

Dear Ordinary,
I don't love you. You and your BFFs, Mundane and Common, are comforting to many introverts, but to the extroverted sanguines like me, we tend to shudder at the sound of your name.
Ordinary.
I'm sorry. I just don't love you or the crew with which you run.
We just don't jive together.
And, let me tell you, it's definitely not me.
It's you. You are just so...average.
I'm just not cut out for the status quo.
So, I'm leaving you.
I want Awesome.

Sincerely,
Me.


Stop.

Ok. That was so fun. I've really missed it.

What would you say to Ordinary?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Gettin' a Grip. Marriage Edition.


The other day, Spouse and I were holding hands in the car and I just had to snap this picture:

While it's not really an artistically beautiful photograph, it is a disturbingly accurate likeness of our marriage. 
Notice that we are gripping on. By God's grace, we are both gripping at the same time right now; although, I would be lying if I told you that it's always been this way. If not for sheer determination to continue gripping when the other wasn't, we would be any number of marriage statistics: divorced, separated, in a lifeless, miserable marriage, incarcerated, singing Cher songs to drown our misery...who knows? 
Those times of not gripping come from a variety of places. There have been times of selfishness that have left us doing nothing but holding on to ourselves. There have been weeks and months of holding on to babies. These seasons are not necessarily for lack of desire to grip, they may simply be a reflection of urgency rather than importance. I know of semi-recent times periods that left me so exhausted that my grip just wasn't very strong--I just didn't have the strength. What I also know is that the Lord gave my Spouse extra-strength so that he could grip for the both of us.  I am so grateful for this season of grippin' together.
Notice we both have cuts. Oh, Sweet Reader, do we. We showed up to this party with quite a few cuts. We've cut each other. When things were really ugly, we aimed for the old cuts. We were a good aim. Not awesome. Oh, but by His wounds we are healed.  Nothing but grace, People. No longer do we want to go for blood. We want healing and growth and togetherness.
Notice the regular background. It's a regular car and a regular phone charger and regular jeans. Nothing that screams "Extraordinary!" This is very much our now. Regular. Schooling. Cleaning. Regular. Working. Swim. Gymnastics. Regular. 
2013 doesn't look a thing like 2012 and feels sometimes quite mundane. But, we are doing it. 
And, honestly, it's hilarity amidst the mundane. We laugh a lot. 
Notice that the gripping is intentional. The background might look boring, but we are doing the thing.  I mean, look at me, for the love of Tetris! I'm gripping his thumb like a joystick. On purpose! 
We are purposeful about our Jesus, our marriage, our parenting and our home. In. That. Order. 
It was not always this way. Grace. Just grace.

And, that's the picture of us gettin' a grip.
Sometimes that's all you can do, isn't it? 
Get a grip.