Thursday, August 30, 2007

A Living Legacy

I am about to begin a Bible study offered at our church called "This is My Story". The class is about discovering the importance of leaving behind a legacy and includes biblical background detailing the significance of this. Although the class has not started just yet, it got me thinking about the legacy my own parents have already created for my sister and me.

Growing up, kids always gravitated towards our house. I would like to think this was because Challi and I were the most charming girls in our small town, but I have a sneaking suspicion it was more about our precious mom. (Not that my dad's jokes and famous renditions of any and every Alabama song did not play a part in luring friends over, as well:) But, mom had a special gift for reaching out to our acquaintances and investing in their lives.

Actually, gift is the wrong word because that would imply it was free. Mom's love for our friends cost her and my dad plenty. It cost them lots of sleep, money to feed everyone, time they could have spent with each other and so much more. But, my mom's investment in our peers was a calling that both my parents took very seriously.

Scripture was lived out and Christian marriage was modeled before the seemingly inattentive eyes of teenagers that encountered our home. Many young people, with no one to talk to or pray for them, gained access to a mother's unconditional love and Godly guidance. Precious girlfriends with no spiritual direction received their first Bibles in our home and were taken to church for the first time. Young adults, many of whose parents made little time for them, felt valued and cared for when the walked through our front door.

As a Christ follower, I often desire for God to give me some "fall from the sky", amazing ministry opportunity. However, the problem seems to lie in the fact that my idea of amazing does not always line up with what He is ACTUALLY asking me to do. If I'm really honest with myself, longing to be successful for Him is too often tied to a desire to be placed in positions of recognition and worldly significance.

Nobody gave my mom a medal for loving my friends and it wasn't the most glamorous or well publicized ministry to have. But, I can guarantee that the friends who came through our home over the years are better wives/husbands and mothers/fathers because my mom understood that it was less about her and more about Him.

Thank you both, Mom and Dad, for teaching me the simplicity of the call. When given the opportunity to do His work, joyfully accept.


That is one legacy I want to pass down.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Kevin Bacon Should Blog

I had no idea what a small blogging world it is.

Have you ever heard of the 4 friends away from Kevin Bacon theory? It goes something like this:

In the entire world, we are all just 4 people away from knowing Kevin Bacon personally. Every person on this planet knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that knows someone that knows Kevin Bacon personally.

Now, I'm not exactly sure how this theory came about or why one would get super excited about knowing Mr. Bacon. However, can you imagine how much more interrelated things would get if Old Kev was a blogger?

On just about every blog I have read, I seem to have at least one real life connection to someone on the person's links or someone who comments on their posts. My bloggity worlds are colliding all over the place and I for one find it fascinating!

Example: While at the pool with my friend Keri, I was introduced to Sunni (from the Flying Mum), whose blog I read. Keri knows Sunni through her friend Lauren at (Them Chandlers), who I "know" through blogland, but it turns out I also know Lauren's close friend, Faith, who was my college roommate's best friend from high school.

Are you exhausted yet?

Without making your head spin with more examples, it will suffice to say that bloggity connections are being made every day and old friendships are bringing about new relationships.

And for that I am very thankful.

And, whoever it is out there that knows Kevin Bacon, please tell him hi from bloggville:)

*Feel free to leave me any small world bloggity stories you may have, as well:)

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Squashing the Selfish Bug

This weekend I fell in love with my son all over again. Not that I am ever "out of love" with him, but lately I have been a little too reliant on how much time Park wants to spend with Daddy on the weekends. Of course it is wonderful to have some much desired free time, but too much of a good thing tends to feed the selfish bug that lives inside me.

Chris had to go out of town for a student retreat this weekend, so it served as a wonderful reason for me to starve the bug and work on ridding his existence from my life (the bug, I mean, NOT Chris:) And, it actually turned out to be wonderful for all of us. Chris had an amazing retreat and was able to invest in the lives of his students, while Park and I enjoyed some quality time together.

Park and I spent Friday morning in search of some accessories for the house. Here is what we came up with:

He was such a little trooper and even helped me pick out some candles. Granted he later used his bat to knock over those same candles, but it's the thought that counts:) After leaving the store, he screamed out, "Shoppin' FUN, Mommy!"

Won't that makes his daddy so proud?

We spent Friday evening at the pool with Cooper and his mommy, and no I can't believe they still wanted to hang out with us after the poop parade, either. The boys had so much fun and were both on their very best behavior. But, if Bonnie WAS relishing that Cooper had outgrown such "poopie nonsense", he proved her wrong with a little "surprise" at the pool. Whoever made swim diapers did a dandy job, though, because the mess was much more self contained than Park's mall explosion. Good work!

The rest of the weekend we read a million books while snuggled up on the couch, sang and danced to every song we know and ran around like monkies in the backyard. We laughed so hard at one another and just genuinely enjoyed ourselves together. I let the laundry stack up, left dishes in the sink, the TV turned off, the Internet untouched and just soaked up BEING in the moment.

As a mom it is sometimes too easy for me to focus on "doing MY things" and forget that Park IS my thing. I mean, yes, we can't live in a dirty home and my family needs clean clothes to wear and food to eat and all. But, sometimes I can sacrifice reading one less blog to, in turn, read Park one more book. Or, I can talk to one less friend on the phone in the car, to enjoy hearing about one more tractor or airplane that he finds during our drive.

I want to live in the moment. I don't want to look back on my life as a mother and pat myself on the back for the clean house I kept or all the things I got "accomplished". I want to look back and see that I forever impacted the life of my son and I want him to know that he is valuable and worthy of my time. I also want to know that I savored each day- the good, bad, and in between.

This weekend reminded me about balancing the time I need for myself in order to be a good mom with the effort I actually put in while I AM a mom. Just because I am spending large quantities of time with Park does not make it quality unless I make the effort to truly be in the moment.

Obviously I won't succeed at this every single day, so I am very thankful that God made motherhood a marathon instead of a sprint! And wherever I fall short, I trust Him to make up the difference.

TAKE THAT, selfish bug!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Parade of Poop

Call me blissfully ignorant or mistakenly mislead, but I actually believed that after the newborn stage, blow-outs were a thing of the past.

Apparently, Park did not get the memo.

I hold myself partially responsible for today's mishap because there may have been a time or two that I watched other moms deal with messy toddler poops while secretly relishing the fact that Park had "outgrown" such nonsense. You'd have thought I'd done this mom thing long enough to know that kids were born to prove their parents wrong!

And so it went.....

I accepted the invitation of a sweet friend, Bonnie, to venture out for some shopping, dinner and play time for the kiddos at a mall about 45 minutes north of where we live. Each having a 2 yr old boy, we loaded our bags with snacks to feed a small army and bribed encouraged our kids to stay in their strollers by promising some germ-infested, barefoot play at the end of the trip.

True to our word, little Cooper and Park lived it up on the trains, slides, and tunnels. Bonnie and I sat in peace as they played until their hearts were content. My guard went up went I saw Park sneak off behind a wall while making the familiar "poopie face". My suspicions were confirmed when the aroma reached me long before I got within arm's reach of him.

I quickly swiped him up, placed him in my lap to put shoes on his dirty little feet, and headed off for the restroom hand in hand. About three steps out of the play area, I looked down and realized that my shirt was painted with pooh. Two more steps and I saw that my shorts were also covered and it was now dripping down my leg.

There is only so much this mommy can take, so like any mature woman I screamed for Bonnie to "HELP ME!". Since the lay-out of the mall was obviously designed by someone of the male species, the bathroom was located a floor up and about 100 miles over from the children's play area.

And I'm sure that made perfect sense to someone who has never marched in a Parade of Poop across said space.

Contemplating leaving the mall in just my bare essentials, I decided there was no other logical choice than to soak my clothes in the bathroom sink, while virtually bathing Park in another. While soaping his bare bum in the public restroom, I felt certain I was providing a strong case for abstinence for the one girl who had the misfortune of entering at that proud moment.

I'll spare you the details of the rest of the clean up mission. It will suffice to say that Bonnie is a much better friend than I am because she was right alongside me every messy step of the way. (Whereas I would have just wished her well and said, "See you at the car when you no longer smell like raw sewage.")

Chin lifted high, she walked side by side with me as I pushed my diaper clad stink bomb the 100 miles back to the car in my soaking wet clothes. Park did his part to clear up any confusion as to why his mommy had him at the mall dressed in his birthday suit by yelling to anyone who would listen, "Me N*ked! Me Stinky! Me Mommy stinky, too!", while laughing hysterically.

And truth be told, Bonnie and I also laughed until we almost wet our pants (or at least her pants since mine were ALREADY wet) at the absurdity of it all.

Or..... what if she was laughing and secretly relishing that Cooper has outgrown such nonsense?

Bonnie, consider yourself warned: Kids are born to prove their parents wrong:)

Monday, August 20, 2007

One Pluck at a Time


It really doesn't matter what the task is, if it requires reading directions and following a diagram, I am NOT your girl. Joining part A to part B and ensuring that Part C, D, E, and F are secure before connecting G to H and so on and so forth is equivalent to removing my eyelashes one pluck at a time.

So, you can see the beauty of marrying an extremely handy man. And for the most part, I am very thankful that the Lord bestowed a "Jack of All Trades" of a husband upon me.

Enter Park's new water table courtesy of wonderful grandparents....

Knowing my limitations, Chris asked me to back away from this project and he would notify me upon completion. Heading off for a peaceful bubble bath, I left the table in the capable hands of an intelligent husband that waited until his little Park "helper" was fast asleep to conquer the task. After about 2 minutes of work, he gave me the thumbs up and a simple, "Done."

Trying not to be irritated by his ability to rebuild a small village without the least amount of stress or eyelash loss, I congratulated him and assured him he had just made the day of our entire playgroup that would be over the next morning.

From my comatose state, I vaguely remember husband's reminder to "drop in some batteries" to the water table as he left for work in the wee hours (Ok-so it was 7:30ish, but I'm not a morning person!). So, about 5 min before the arrival of the playgroup, I headed outside for quick battery installment.

And that is where the real fun began.

What husband neglected to mention was that "dropping in batteries" required the unscrewing of a tower-like doodad, new placement of a tube-like thingamajig, tightening of a hemhaw, and basic overall reconstructive surgery of the entire structure. All of which required the usage of an ihavenoideawhichone tool with an ihavenopatience toddler suctioned to my leg.

Enter ugly phone call to husband at work that a currently calm wife is not proud to admit she made....

So, playgroup arrived to find a water table in several different pieces and a distraught hostess. My precious girlfriends, equally "unresponsible" for assembly at their respective homes, attempted to salvage my destruction. We examined the diagrams and explanations, reading them in each language they were given. Even Sarah's sweet Caiden attempted to help us with an "I think it needs batteries" directive.

All to no avail. Nine sad little children spent the morning hot and dry. (Minus Bridget's, Eli, who resorted to the good old fashioned water hose:)

Enter Chris home from work...

Precious husband confidently strides over to table and after 10 whole seconds, water magically flows and world peace is established.

And now I leave you with the words of a magnet my Mother-in-Law gave me:
"When I married Mr. Right, I didn't know his first name was Always!"

*Note sarcasm from wife without eyelashes.

Love you, Chris:)

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Field of Birthday Dreams

I had high hopes of giving Park a cute little construction party this year, complete with a sand pile, caution tape, and enough tools to keep toddlers entertained for hours. Park, on the other hand, wanted a "BEESEBALL PARTY!", and since it was his birthday and all, I caved.

Chris designed little baseball cards of Park, complete with stats and a ticket inviting friends and family to our "stadium". He and Uncle Jake somehow transformed the backyard into Park's very own field of dreams.

For my part, I delegated all responsibility of domestic endeavors to my mom and sister and they definitely did not disappoint. I also put my dad in charge of running all errands and entertaining Park and my sister's two little boys and my in-laws took care of post party demolition.

And the end result was, Park had one of the greatest days of his little life!

We also managed to dope up 18 little people (and their mommies and daddies) on cupcakes, snow cones, crackerjacks, pretzel dogs, and other fine ballpark cuisine. Everyone left with a stomachache, heatstroke, and enough fun to hold them over until next year!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

To Chi or Not to Chi, That is the Question

My hair and I have had issues for as far back as I can remember. It probably can be attributed to the horrible perm I got in the early 90's that has lasted for the past 17 years. I mean who perms naturally curly hair? And lets just say my hair holds a grudge in the worst way.

Things seemed to pick up for me during a brief stint in my my college days when the flat iron made an entrance on the scene. I cut my hair in this adorable bob and left the salon feeling like hot stuff. And that lasted for all of 20 seconds until College Station humidity attacked me with vengeance. And no amount of flat iron could erase the Liberty Bell, as I so fondly named that little 'do.

So, you can understand why I was skeptical of the Chi when my sister sang it's praises 5 years ago. She was so determined that the Chi would change my life that she drove two hours to let me try hers out and talked my mom into buying me one as a gift a few weeks later.

How did I EVER live without it, people?

I never dreamed it was possible for one piece of hot metal to revolutionize my beauty regimen so deeply. Goodbye to the poodle that lived on my head pre-Chi, and hello to the world of sleek, straight locks.

Now let me just stop right here and say that when I find something that works, I have been told that I can become a wee bit extreme. I like to call it loyal.

So, there was that brief overzealous honeymoon period where I Chi'd so often that I burned a huge hunk of hair off and had to have an emergency meeting with Kristi, my faithful hair stylist. However, after some chastising instructions and much product, she was able to get me back on track.

And the Chi continues to be a trusted friend and companion all these years later.

Unfortunately, though, after visiting the playground in 100 degree heat today, my hair reverted back to it's natural poodle-like state. I was making conversation with Park on the way home and told him that,"Mommy's hair is having a little trouble."

He looked deep into my eyes with a tenderness only a firstborn son could have and said three little words that melted my heart.

"Chi it, Mommy!"

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

For Park

My precious Park,

Happy 2nd birthday, my Bubby! How has another year passed us by and when did my baby turn into such a big boy? I went back and read the love letter I wrote you last year on your birthday and soaked up all the memories of our first year together. Even though my heart could hardly hold all the love I had for you on your 1st birthday, that love has continued to grow deeper and stronger and far surpass anything your little heart can possibly comprehend.

What a little man you've become! With an independent spirit and exuberance for life, there is not a morning that goes by that you do not wake up excited for the day and all it holds. The minute your chubby feet hit the floor you are non-stop energy. You have strong opinions and preferences and are very efficient at being heard. And your biggest preference of all is Daddy. He is your hero: you follow him everywhere and copy his every move.

You are also exceptionally physical and oh, how you love anything related to climbing, jumping, running, or throwing. Sometimes you make me so nervous at the amount of weight you lift over your head! You love to carry in my groceries from the car or push the lawn mower with Daddy. Your newest thing is to wipe your sweaty head with the back of your palm and say, "Me workin', mommy. Me workin' hard!" There is no doubt in my mind that you have inherited your Daddy's strong work ethic. And what a precious sight to take in as you constantly learn alongside him!

You also inherited his determination to accomplish anything you set out to do. By sheer willpower alone you learned to snap your fingers at just 14 months. And Lolli will back me up when I say, you painstakingly worked for over an hour to blow your own bubbles through the bubble wand. If you decide to tackle a task, there is absolutely no limit to the amount of time or energy you will expend to bring it to fruition.

Although you have 95% of your daddy's personality, you definitely inherited Mommy's love of books. For as active as you are, it always amazes me how you will sit for long periods of time, cuddled in my lap, to hear your favorite stories. You know your books inside and out and often correct me if I skip a page or don't point out your favorite pictures. I sometimes hear you in your room reading Hop on Pop to yourself and laughing at all your favorite parts..."Fish in tree?...(delightful giggles) in POND! (more giggles)

And that brings me to the two hobbies you have become passionate about this year: fishing and baseball. The fishing is no surprise. (Your daddy has taken you to ponds and lakes and fished while wearing you in the Baby Bjorn since day one) But, baseball? Daddy can hardly watch the sport without falling asleep! Regardless, you have fallen in love. You hit from your tee for hours on end with such force that I often feel sorry for the poor ball. Mommy has gotten used to pitching to you throughout the day and Daddy takes over in the evenings. Sometimes we try and take breaks, but you shout, "MORE "BEESEBALL", PEASE!" At least you are a good mannered little tyrant:)

You make me laugh daily with your silly faces and dances and the new things you learn to say. You are quite the character, but perhaps funniest of all is the way you crack yourself up! You laugh at just about anything and once you get started there is no end in sight. Everything you do is 100% and there is no middle ground with you at all.

Being your mom is my biggest challenge, and greatest joy. Reigning in your strong will without crushing your aggressive spirit is a balance I continue to work hard to achieve. I can't promise you that I will never disappoint you or make mistakes, but I can promise to love you unconditionally and introduce you to the One who will never let you down. You are exactly what God chose for me because He knew that you are everything I need. Loving you is a privilege that I cherish. God has wonderful plans for your life, Park, and what a joy it is to be along for the ride!

Happy Birthday, love!

Saturday, August 11, 2007


I was tagged by sweet Keri last week. Since I've been busy getting ready for Park's birthday party all weekend, I'm just now getting around to following through! I promise I have not already fallen of the blogwagon:) *(I'll be back with lots of party pics and new "material" in the next few days!)

The Rules:
1. Post the rules
2. List 8 random facts or habits about yourself.
3. If you are tagged, then you must Post the rules and list 8 random facts or habits about yourself.
4. After you post, tag people and let them know they must read your blog for the rules.

1) I always sleep with a black Zorro mask. I have no idea why this started, but I will tear the house apart if it is misplaced. Sleeping without it is not an option.

2) I rarely go to bed before 1 AM. I am hopelessly a night owl, yet regret it each and every morning.

3) I eat at least 3 apples a day. I am a self proclaimed fruit-aholic and I have passed this gene on to Park. (Only fair, since I inherited this from my mom)

4) I'm not the best driver in the world (I once hit 2 deer in one night, sorry Bambi!)

5) I have an unhealthy obsession/attachment to the Chi, which I will save for a later post (If you have no idea what I am talking about, clearly you have naturally straight hair)

6) I talk to my mom and sis (usually on 3-way) at least once a day. (My poor dad and husband do not understand how we never run out of things to say:)

7) I have unusually small feet for my 5'9" height. I have a friend who often marvels at "how I walk on those things".

8) I eat the seeds when I eat watermelon. This drives my entire family nutty, but I've found it is faster, easier, and generally not harmful. And no, this does not cause watermelons to grow in your tummy!

Have a great weekend.

Tag Your it: Autumn, MommyBrain, and Liz

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Out of My Comfort Zone, Into His Will

Practice hospitality.

This is a commandment that Jesus gives believers in the New Testament; sadly, a commandment that I have pretty much spent the last few years hiding from and making excuses to avoid. But the last time I checked, a commandment is not optional, folks. As a believer, I don't have the luxury of saying, "Well, Lord, I know you died on the cross for me and all, but I'm just not up for having people over today."

I love how God continues to reveal the same concept in so many different ways until I finally cave, saying, "Thanks for the 2x4 upside the head, I'll listen to the Holy Spirit now." (*Note to self: Park's stubborn gene may not just be from Chris)

Our precious friends, Dan and Bridget, invited us to dinner this week at their home. We began to discuss this concept that God has repeatedly been placing on mine and Chris' heart. I was really surprised to hear how convicted they have become in this area, as well. They have been two of our dearest friends for over six years and they are some of the most hospitable people we know. When I brought up this point, Dan told me something profound. "An open home means an open life. We are extremely inviting of our friends, but how often do we invite our neighbors over?"

If we are really honest with ourselves, isn't that so true about each of us? We are totally open to having friends over, yet we shy away from putting ourselves out there and meeting new people. We close our garages, turn on our televisions/computers, and shut out the world around us. Sure we may nod or wave at a neighbor or two, but then we bolt for the security of the familiar.

I can think of a million reasons for why I can't meet my neighbors or welcome them in my home. But honestly, they all begin with "I" or "my"and being inviting is really not about ME at all.

It is about loving other people and showing interest in their lives. It is about creating an atmosphere for friendship and opening my home to allow others to see Christ in me and the lives of my family. It's about loving people without an agenda and representing God to a culture that so desperately needs a Savior.

We have recently moved from our first home, leaving behind a neighborhood full of people that we never reached out to. We are determined not to repeat the same mistakes and missed opportunities. And isn't God good? We built a home in a neighborhood still under construction. Every moving truck gives us another reason to get out of our comfort zones and into His will.

So off we go, cookie batch #2 in hand. (Yes, I burned batch #1) And we are not coming home until someone feels welcomed!

Lord, please use our new home for your glory. May it be a place where others feel welcomed and new relationships are established. Give us the courage to leave the security of the familiar and the boldness to share your love with our neighborhood and far beyond. And as we finally obey your commandment, please use our lives to inspire others to do the same.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Baby Yoga Wasted on a Jumping Bean

Our precious Park came into this world a firecracker. Everything he does is full speed ahead and anything he wants he wanted yesterday. He is intensely passionate, full of energy and loves every drop of life. Getting him to relax in the least can be a wee bit challenging.

A few weeks ago, I walked in on Chris trying to creatively teach our little jumping bean a new way to calm himself.

Daddy: Ok, Park. Relax...RELAX. Sit next to Daddy and follow me. Breath in, breath out.

Park: (Trying hard to follow, but panting too hard from being interrupted from running laps around living room)

Daddy: Breath in. Relax.....Breath out...

Park: (Begins to breath in and out, but doing so 100 mph)

Daddy: Slow, Slow, Daddy breaths slow.

Park: Fast, Daddy! FAST, FAST!!! Park "bweath" Fast!

Good try with the baby yoga, sweet husband, but I'm thinking Park might be missing the point of the exercise.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Kelly's Quiet Sacrifice

The first time I met her was while standing in line at a teacher career fair as we competed for the same job in a coveted district. I liked her instantly (well, as much as you can like a person who is drop-dead gorgeous, funny, smart, sold out to the Lord, and competing for the job you REALLY want!).

In the end, the principal could not choose between us and instead created another position and hired us both. If I would have known at that moment what a blessing this really was, I might have gotten fired on the spot for kissing that principal.

And so, the friendship with Kelly began.

We survived our first year of teaching high school English together, but not without late night hours of teamwork, many tears on each other’s shoulders, and so many memories that we were bonded for a lifetime. We became so inseparable that we often wondered if the other teachers could tell us apart and honestly, even our students barely knew the difference. We worried that the district might start paying us one salary and having us split it. (And truth be told, considering how many staff meetings we spent swapping funny notes and comparing baby names, maybe they should have!)

We had similar teaching styles and philosophy’s, but what has kept us friends long after we “retired” from teaching and entered our stay at home mom careers is our deep understanding of one another. In some ways, we are as different as night and day, yet she is one of those friends who can truly embrace who I am and love me just for being me.

She doesn’t judge me for barely being able to turn on a stove, despite the fact she is practically a gourmet chef that even cooks BREAKFAST for her hubby. It is ok with her that I had natural childbirth at a birthing center even though she wanted an epidural BEFORE the contractions got there. She invites me to crafty parties and culturally enhancing experiences, yet knows I won’t come and is totally ok with that. She goes out of her way to make my life better, even though she wouldn’t ask for help for herself in a million years.

And that brings me to my point.

Kelly defines selfless. She is one of the strongest, most generous people I know. She is not one to complain and she is quick to point out the silver lining in any cloud that hangs over her. She has a precious gift for sharing her faith in a manner that is subtle, yet effective. She won’t tell you how to live your life, yet she shows you by the way she lives hers.

Later this month, Kelly’s husband is leaving for Iraq to serve our country. He is an officer in the Reserves, currently training at a military base hundreds of miles from their house. This falls on the heels of Kelly giving birth to their second child.

Raising a newborn and a 2 year old on her own for the next 18 months, Kelly is facing this challenge with the same grace and determination she faces everything in her life with. Although I have always been thankful for our troops and their families, watching Kelly’s sacrifice has made it more personal for me.

Kel- your life is an inspiration and I’m honored that all of CHS some people think we are the same person! I thank God for loving me enough to give me a friend like you.

I am officially asking anyone reading this blog for prayers on your behalf. And since you can't refuse prayers, it looks like this is the one time you will have to allow others to give back to you.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Hypothetical Sleep Issues

I promised my husband, Chris, I would not use this blog to disclose hypothetical sleep issues he may or may not have.

Not that my husband talks or walks in his sleep or anything, but if one WAS married to a hubby that did, one might have stories similar to these to tell.....

2 days after returning home from honeymoon:

3 AM: Awaken to running water and no husband beside you. Stumble into bathroom to find pajama clad hubby staring at the running shower. Ask him if he's lost his mind as hubby calmly replies, "It was a necessary evil," and immediately returns to bed.

4 AM: Awaken to man standing over you with face inches from yours and eyes wide open. Scream bloody murder while attempting to shake hubby awake to save you from intruder. Realize there is no intruder and yes, in fact, the crazy-eyed person standing over you IS husband.

5:30 AM While still trying to fall asleep from earlier insanity, hear hubby talking in strange voice. "Yes, the one on the left. No your left. Throw it back, back, back!" Think to yourself that you are way too tired to figure out how you are going to live with this madness for the REST OF YOUR LIFE!

9 AM Awaken to ask hubby what in the world happened last night, only to realize he has no recollection of the worst night of sleep you've ever had pre-children.

Later in the marriage:

One might also be able to tell about a certain incident that happened while visiting out of town in- laws.... Such as, hubby (wearing underwear only) running out of bedroom into his Mother-in-Law's, while shielding eyes and screaming, "The sun, The sun. WE'VE GOT TO BLOCK THE SUNLIGHT!"

Or the time that wife awoke to husband stacking massive amounts of pillows against the bedroom wall while repeating over and over, "If we build it, they will come!" (and after seeing pillow pile the next morning, asking wife, "Why would you stack the pillows like that?")

Or the time wife awoke to husband screaming, "I GOT IT!", while slapping a spot on her pillow just inches from her face and then carefully releasing the imaginary IT outside.

After 5 years of marriage, one could probably start a separate blog just to detail the various insanities of husband's sleep issues. But one probably loves hubby way too much to embarrass Chris him like that..

Hypothetically speaking, of course.

*Disclaimer: I let Chris read this post before publishing and he was ok with it since it was obviously not about him.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Taking the "ME" out of Miami

Because my husband is a Sr. High pastor, the summer always brings lots of travel our way. Park and I love the adventure of it all and feel fortunate that we can tag along for the ride. Camps and mission trips always bring about such life change and we love the opportunity to expose Park at such a young age.

This year's mission trip was to help our church's Miami satellite campus. Chris and I decided to stay over a few extra days and make a family vacation out of it, as well. The trip was amazing, but I think one of the things I loved most about it was the Sunday service.

There is obviously a strong Latin heritage in Miami, and seeing this flavour reflected in the worship was beautiful. People of all different backgrounds were giving glory to Jesus, while praising in their own personal style and voice. There are so many more people out there to reach, but just for that moment, I got a glimpse of all God is already doing in that city. I can't wait to visit again.

Below are some pics from the vacation portion of the trip. Park is still talking about "ME-ami BEACH!".

Miami Pics

Park LOVED the beach!

Using Daddy for his vacation transportation

You can take the men out of Texas, but you can't take Texas out of the men! (Miami Children's Museum)

Sporting his Aggie gear in the sand (Whoop!)

*And now for the funniest of all (that I am almost too humiliated to show you)

My attempt to be tech savvy and edit out my head for my blog profile pic. Instead, I ended up with a visual reminder for why Sarah's Gray-Gray should not pop his own head off!

Why Holding Little Hands?

(*Above pic: Chris and Park at a carnival a year ago)

I can remember the very first time Chris ever held my hand. When he casually locked his fingers around mine, it felt like our hands had already spent a lifetime together. I was so taken aback at the comfort and security I felt in his touch. Chris has huge hands and something about their warmth and strength makes everything in my world seem just right.

The very first time I took Park’s little palm in mine, I knew that he had inherited his daddy’s magical hands. Although his desire for independence can fiercely compete with his love for holding hands, at almost two, he will often still reach up to intertwine his fingers with mine. His absolute favorite thing is to wedge himself between Chris and me and hold each of our hands at once.

Sometimes we hold Park’s hand firmly and lead him from whatever danger he is so desperately trying to partake in. Other times we hold his hand loosely and introduce him to fun and exciting experiences. And sometimes we just hold his hand gently, and allow him the freedom to explore, while still enjoying the comfort of trusted companions.

Our hands give him the confidence and assurance he needs to try new things, yet they also give him the discipline and discernment to pull back from peril. While holding onto us, he is able to experience true freedom because he can explore, while knowing that we are there to keep him safe.

As I look down at those little hands resting in ours, I often think about the awesome responsibility of directing his path that we have been given. I also think about the parallels between how I hold Park’s hand and how God holds mine. God holds my hand in different ways at different times, for many of the same reasons I hold Park’s in a certain way.

Too often my desire for my own personal independence fiercely competes with my love of holding God’s hand. Just like Park, I often can pull in a different direction and need a gentle (or even forceful) tug to remind me that He is in control and knows the plans He has for me.

And when my hands are no longer adequate or capable of holding Park’s hands effectively, I will rest in Isaiah 41:10. My son is being upheld by the victorious right hand of the loving Father.

And that, my friends, is what Holding Little Hands is all about!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Breakin' Up is Hard to Do

My Dearest TARGET,

I went to hang out with you again today and left disgusted. As much as I love spending time with you, it kills my soul to subject myself to your return policy. Without a receipt, you refuse to give me store credit or even allow me to find items of equal value. Instead, I must buy ONE item from the same department as the item I return and it must be equal or over that value.

Are you kidding me?

You know me. I am the type of person who will eat the wrong order just to avoid a confrontation. I will answer to the wrong name to avoid embarrassing someone. But, you my friend, have pushed me to the limit. I can no longer sit back and allow you to hurt innocent people.

I've finally had enough. Call me a tattle-tale, but someone had to take a stand. Tonight, I called your "parents" to complain. I've talked until I'm blue in the face and explained things in the most diplomatic of ways. And still, the ridiculous policy stands in the way of our relationship.

With a sad heart, we must once again part ways. It is over. I can no longer tolerate your lack of indifference to my buying power.

Yes, it is true I have broken up with you in the past.

We always seem to get back together. The problem seems to lie in your persuasive merchandise and chic clothing. So maybe "break up" was too strong a phrase.

Maybe we can just take a break.

Our Day in Pictures