Saturday, May 31, 2008

"Hair" Today, Gone Tomorrow

My hair stylist and I have an understanding.

I wait until the last possible minute to call beg for an appointment, come in with completely no idea of how I want it cut, and spend the entire time in the chair agonizing over if she is clipping off too much. For her part, she works me in even though her schedule is always full, listens patiently while I vacillate between everything from Posh Spice's sporty 'do to growing locks longer than Rapunzel, and carefully reassures me that everything will turn out just fine.

Clearly, hair stylists everywhere are beating down my door for business.

Thankfully, though, the sweet girl who cuts my hair is a long standing friend. And perhaps I should be even more grateful that we have remained so even after she took me on as a client. It's a miracle that we didn't have to seek hair therapy to work out some of our trust issues.

Well, one of us, anyway. But, in my defense, past hair experiences have shaped (pun intended) me into the client I am today.

The road to finding my precious Kristi, hair tamer extraordinaire, has been a bumpy one, to say the least. And although I'm sure it was paved with good intentioned stylists, it often resulted in some very disturbing hair-do's.

At the end of high school, I did a brief stint of modeling with an agency in Houston that sent me to have my hair cut by a man named Andre. Apparently, he thought it would be really edgy to cut lots of flowing layers. Turns out, his idea of flowing layers was a throwback to Farrah Faucet and her plastered wings. Great idea in the 80's, Andre, not so happening for 1995. Goodbye modeling career, may you rest in peace.

The strained relationship with hair stylists did not end there.

Take, for instance, college, when I went in for a trim and walked out with the same hair cut as my father. Turns out $15 doesn't buy the greatest of craftsmanship. (No offense, Dad, it looks great on you.) Thank you for your services, Edward Scissorhands, but I'm afraid you and I will have to part ways.

Years later I moved to Dallas. Determined to find the perfect hair stylist, I went to the most expensive salon I could find. However, I discovered too late that money doesn't always buy good hair do's.

Ian, who preferred to be called, "Dash", (perhaps this should have been my first clue) never said one word from the moment he placed me in his chair. He began to Chi my dry hair and then promptly took the scissors and started snipping. After about 3 minutes of this, his assistant informed me, "Dash is pleased with his work."

Apparently, they don't call him "Dash" for nothing.

Dumbfounded, I handed over my life savings, was escorted to the door, and was in my car before I ever knew what hit me. One glance in the mirror revealed my hair looked exactly as it had upon entering the salon 5 minutes earlier. But "Dash" was pleased, so at least that made one of us.

Yes, good hair stylists are a rare commodity.

I wouldn't trade my precious Kristi for anybody else in the world. When I left her salon on Thursday, I thanked God for bringing us together. I truly believe His hand was in it because we serve a God that cares about the little things. (Although, technically, hair as thick as mine can't really be called a "little thing".)

Kristi, you are a gem. My hair thanks you for your services and my heart thanks you for your friendship.

Please remember this the next time I am calling for a last minute appointment or in your chair, agonizing over the hair cut you are creating.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Deceptively Delicious "Aunt" Bites

*Pledge: I solemnly vow that this post will neither ask you to puree anything, nor shall it call for ingredients that lead you on a wild goose chase throughout your local grocery store.

If you are a mom, I'm not telling you anything you don't already know when I say getting children to eat their vegetables is an ongoing battle war. And being the mom of a toddler has it's particular challenges considering the things they like today are often the same things they thumb their nose at tomorrow. Never mind that you just spent 20 minutes valuable hours of your life cooking it. Time you will never get back. EVER.

But I'm not bitter or anything.

My little man is famous for declaring he wants scrambled eggs, only to balk at them after they are cooked. I'm not sure what it is about those pesky little eggs, but apparently the idea of them is more appealing than the reality.

Which unfortunately is the same way I feel about exercising, but that's another post in and of itself.

Recently my mom gave me the Deceptively Delicious cookbook. And that is such a fabulous concept and all, but let's just be real for a minute. A person who considers it a good week if she cooks two meals for her family is not very likely to spend large quantities of time pureeing endless amount of vegetables, to then sneak into recipes that she can't even decipher the ingredients for.

Especially if that unnamed person is the same girl who had to call her sister from the grocery store in tears a few years back when she could not find the "brown onions" that her recipe required. For the record, I still think that cook book should have been more specific in clarifying that "brown onions" was a directive, NOT an ingredient.

That said, cooking meals can be a bit of a whip in and of themselves, but throw in creating nutritious snack foods and it is just more than any mother should have to bear.

All in all, I have to say that my son is a pretty good eater. He likes relatively healthy things and give or take a few chicken nuggets, he gets a decent range of nutritional value for the most part. However, the thing in particular that currently makes me the most crazy is trying to work vegetables into his diet. It's like my husband trying to convince me that my car is not a trash can.

It's just not practical.

So when I remembered an age old favorite snack from my childhood, I began to feel somewhat hopeful. Setting my expectations fairly low, my goal was simply to bring the horse to the water and see if he would drink. As it turned out, my little horse not only drank, but lapped up the entire river. In laymen terms, Park was a big fan of the "ants on a log" that my mom used to fix me, which is simply a stick of celery covered in peanut butter with raisins on top.

He ate 4 full "logs" before declaring that he was all done because "the fire ants bit my tongue, Mommy!"

Which then reminded me of a little girl my mom once taught years ago, who when asked which aunt would be picking her up from school that day replied, "Well, I'm not sure, but I know she's not the ant that bites me."

All that to say, I hope you find success in adding this deliciously nutritious snack to your repertoire of weapons when fighting the vegetable war. To ensure victory, perhaps you should consider calling them "Non-biting Aunts on a Log" when introducing them to your children.

Sunday, May 25, 2008


I love weekends.

Being that I stay at home with Park, I often find myself having to think about what day of the week it is. But, even so, when Thursday rolls around I start to feel that swell of excitement, just as I did when working outside the home.

I treasure that Chris is off with us on Fridays. And although it is true that the weekends of a pastor's family look a little different, they are still sprinkled with family, friends, and the stuff memories are made of.

Nothing out of the ordinary took place this particular weekend, but I loved it just the same. Chris and Park spent hours in the yard on Friday. I couldn't really give you the specifics on what all they did, but I do know that our grass looks great and our flowerbeds are coming along nicely. I sat outside and soaked up some rays while watching how much joy they both get from yard work.

The rest of the weekend was filled with swimming, time with Chris' family, finishing up projects around the house, church, a picnic by the lake with friends and late night movie dates once Park was tucked in bed.

But, as the upcoming weekdays close in on us quickly, I also realize how thankful I am for their presence, as well. Without them, it's quite possible I wouldn't treasure the weekends quite as much as I do.

*I hope you and your families are having a wonderful Memorial Day weekend, too. As we enjoy ourselves, Chris and I thank God for all the freedoms the men and women in our armed forces have secured for us.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dance Revolution

Yesterday I realized something wonderful: tomorrow night is the season premiere of So You Think You Can Dance.

Now although I realize how insignificant this may be in the grand scheme of things, a deep excitement welled up in my heart. Had I not been holding a huge basket of laundry in my hands at the moment I happened to glance up at the TV and see the advertisement, I would have broken out with my own version of Michael Jackson's Thriller routine.

Well, actually the laundry didn't hold me back as much as realizing that I would probably need a chiropractor after such a performance. And it probably goes without saying that if you are folding the clothes of your child, you might be too old to be getting this excited about a teeny bopper dance show.

Have I mentioned my deep LOVE for dance? So much so, that I begged my mom to let me start taking ballet with my sister at the ripe old age of 2. And I continued to do so for the next eleven years until cheerleading came along. And when I realized that cheerleaders throw people into the air a lot more than they dance, I traded it in for drill team.

Although I loved high kicks, Friday night football performances, and competitions, the Raiderette Review was by far my favorite event of the year. Similar to that of a recital or spring show, it was a time where we got to not only choreograph all kinds of different styles of dance routines, but perform them in front of sold out audiences, as well.

However, before you have me off dancing on Broadway or in the NYC Ballet, let's remember I'm from small town America. "Sold out performances" translates to Aunt Jenny, who changed your diaper when you were 10 months, wants to be there to support you and she brought her friends Shirley and Earl along with their 4 kids.

But a girl can dream, right?

Tomorrow night, I'll be living vicariously through some incredibly talented dancers. And since it is the try-out portion of the show, I feel certain I'll also be hiding my face in embarrassment for others who should not dance in the privacy of their own homes, much less national television.

Either way, I'll be in great company. One of my girlfriends is hosting a So You Think You Can Dance viewing party and it will be nothing short of the must not miss event of the year. This particular friend is so funny that I have to save up laughs for a month before I can be in her company. Her commentary is sure to be better than the show itself.

And judging from the fun loving group of gals I'll be sharing the experience with, it is inevitable that someone will bust out the Thriller routine before we call it a night.

Better give my chiropracter a heads up.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

A Place of Change

I just realized that I never got around to posting about my birthday activities. And since I've made a reputation for myself as someone who celebrates her birthday MONTH, it really doesn't make all that much difference that I'm a week late in doing so.

Chris and Park did a great job of making me feel special. I was treated to a dinner and a movie, followed by a round of present opening. But, perhaps the most meaningful thing we did on my birthday involved something that has been in the works for the last couple of years.

A visit to Allaso Ranch.

Allaso Ranch is the new camp facility our church is building. Chris and I have been deeply invested in this project because we believe in all the life change that will happen there. Providing the perfect environment of both refuge and recreation for the children and students of Fellowship Church, this camp will be a place where lives are altered forever.

Chris has been out several times throughout the building process, but this was the first time that Park and I, along with many of the Sr. High staff members, had the opportunity to experience it.

As we stood on the property, it was overwhelming to see the dream come to life. I was overcome by the magnitude, the scope of God's plan. At Allaso Ranch, the next generation will come to know Christ. Leaders will be developed. Future pastors, teachers, doctors, lawyers, politicians, musicians, actors, entrepreneurs, businessmen and woman will give their life to the One who gave them theirs.

And those who already know Him will be strengthened and empowered to serve Him more passionately.

As we toured each portion of the facility we prayed fervently for every person that steps foot on those camp grounds, asking that no person leave the same as when they came. I teared up listening to Chris challenging his staff, saying, "It is humbling to know that God allowed us to be the first group of leaders to take students to this place of change. We cannot take this awesome of a responsibility lightly. He has empowered us to reach a lost generation and enabled us to use this camp to change the face of history. The question is are you ready to be used?"

As Park listened intently to his daddy, I heard the faintest little "Yes!" whispered from his sweet lips. I couldn't help but smile and imagine how God will indeed use Park in the years to come.

Of course this was moments before he threw one of the worker's tools off the balcony, bringing the daydream to an abrupt halt.

Thankfully, when we return to Allaso Ranch for the month of July, all the tools will be put away and the workers will be long gone. In their place will be hundreds of high school students ready to encounter the Lord. And right alongside those students will be hundreds of volunteers and staff ready to be used for His purpose.

And one mischievous 2-year-old who is fortunate enough to be immersed in it all. Well, minus any camp activities that take place on the balcony.

Sr. High Staff (and a thirsty Park)
Is there any water left in that cup?
Allaso Ranch Worship Center
This is only 1/3 of the kitchen!
Inside the Worship Center

Waterslide and Zip Lines
Lazy River

Inside Cabin

*These pictures don't even begin to do the camp justice. I have so many more to post, but at least this gives you an idea.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Rocking Back and Forth

When I was pregnant with Park, I quickly became overwhelmed by the vast amount of choices that come with creating a nursery; Converter crib or regular? Changing table or dresser? Mobile or Flutterbye soother? Theme or no theme?

As if having a baby is not life altering enough without having to agonize over bedding choices.

Rocking back and forth, back and forth, in my decisions, it was time for someone to step in. An intervention of sorts, if you will.

So, I was very thankful when my sweet friend, Nikki, put me out of my misery of glider inspection by steering me towards one of my most favorite baby paraphernalia purchases to date. (Which actually wasn't baby specific at all.)

I was hesitant at first, mainly because of the large price tag it held, but she assured me it would be so worth it that I would never regret the initial investment. And courtesy of hindsight, I'm hear to tell you that this is the way to go when it comes to rocking babies, ladies:

Many nights were spent in that chair, reclined just so, to accommodate the little wondrous miracle sleeping on my chest. (Or not sleeping, as the case usually was, but at least we were comfortable in our state of exhaustion.)

That chair held me tightly as I cried the tears of a new mother, overwhelmed by the constant demands of caring for her infant. It cushioned my tingling arm, asleep from the weight of a lengthy nurser. Rocking back and forth, back and forth, I prayed for guidance on how to raise a man after God's own heart.

As that baby grew and his mommy's hormones got back under control, that chair was also a refuge for us to escape to a quiet place where we could stare into each other's eyes and fall more deeply in love. Rocking back and forth, back and forth, Park's chubby fingers stroked my hair while the rest of the world melted away.

That chair also supported the weight of a father and son, nestled into a bundle of cuddles. Rocking back and forth, back and forth, Park experienced the tenderness of his daddy's love.

Many afternoons that chair endured an endless amount of book reading, as the young toddler sitting in his mommy's lap hung on every word. It had a front row seat to the belly laughs and squeals of delight when no, in fact, there was no monster at the end of the book. Just lovable old Grover.

As that bundle grew from baby to boy, that chair transformed into a jungle gym, challenging Park to climb all the way to the top. And then jump off. Or to stand on the head rest, rocking back and forth with outstretched arms, balancing just so as to spare his Mommy from complete heart failure.

One day in the future, when all the babies have been rocked and read to and all the toddlers have lost interest in attempting death defying stunts, that chair will claim it's rightful place in our living room.

Where I will sit, rocking back and forth, back and forth, waiting for my teenagers to safely arrive home from various school dances or an evening out with friends.

And later down the road, I will hopefully cradle my grand babies in that same chair, rocking back and forth, back and forth, as their sweet smells take me to another time, another place.

Yes, Nikki was definitely right about one thing.

I'll never regret ALL the investments made in that chair. Rocking back and forth, back and forth, it's presence will serve as a reminder to cherish every single moment (both the comfortable and not so comfortable) and to nurture all the relationships God places in my life.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Our Birthday Girl!

*REVISED: Thank you for all the birthday well wishes and a special thanks to my hubby for his loving words on this blog. My birthday was wonderful! (I'll share more details in a post later this week.)

Today is a special day in our household.

Numero uno, my wife's birthday is today! Dos, I get the privilege of posting on this prestigious blog. Of course I'm posting because I want the world to know how special my lovely wife is. (However, if you've read this blog much, I'm assuming you already figured that out.) As you peek into her world everyday, I wanted to hit the pause button and ask you to celebrate her life with me today.

I would submit the age, but I fear that would lead to immediate banishment from posting on this blog in the to ensure that I have this opportunity again...she is turning 28! Happy 28th babe! You look stunning!

Britt, I love you and treasure every moment with you. Thank you for letting me ambush your blog today...(this is such a weird thing to do knowing that many people we've never even met will be reading this.) I adore your gentle touch with Park, your passion for family and your drive to pursue the heart of God. It's my desire to continually see you developed and shaped into the woman God intends you to be. You are a remarkable person with a sensitive heart and intuitive spirit. You are my best friend and trusted confidant. Thank you for sharing the journey with me. Park and I look forward to this next year with you as wife and mother. Happy Birthday!

As mentioned previously, with my wife's permission, I will be stopping in ever so often to post The Man's Point of View...guy things...hubby items. You know, things like yard work, building projects, cars, fishing, money and of course faith. Recently, our son has popularized the statement, "Just the BOYS!" With that, Park and I will soon deliver a JUST THE BOYS post that will make every mom grin or grit their teeth!

From the boys...we love you mommy/wife and wish you a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY!!!
Park and Hubby

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Brotherly Birthday Love

Anytime we've ever asked Park if he wants a little brother or sister, his response is always the same.

"No, just Kage."

Born just three weeks apart, we always suspected that Park would share a special bond with Krew. But, it seems he has fallen equally as hard for my sister's youngest son, as well.

And I'd have to say that judging from what a great baby he has been, I second the motion to steal him as our own.

Several weeks ago when we were at my parents' house, Challi, Lolli, and Krew ran an errand while Pops and I stayed back with a napping Park and Kage. When Park woke up and realized the situation, he told me, "Maybe I can be Kage's big brother while Krew is gone."

True to his status, when Kage awoke, Park was the first to greet him and make silly faces to elicit a belly laugh. When we all went outside, he had Pops take out the stroller so that he could push Kage up and down the driveway. (For the record, Kage delighted in the break neck speed his stand-in big brother provided.)

And later, when the dreaded poopie diaper reared it's ugly head, I thought Park would be sure to duck out of his brotherly duties. Oh my, how I underestimated my son.

"I can change him ALL BY MYSELF!" he exclaimed, confidently.

After reaching a compromise, we participated as a team to clean up the baby's bare bum. Park handed me wipes and dangled toys as incentive for Kage to stay on his back, while I did the dirty work.

However, at the last second, Park decided to usurp the system and take a swipe at wiping drool from Kage's mouth.

Which probably would have worked out just fine had he not used the same wipe that moments earlier had graced Kage's backside.

Can I just say that it's a wonder subsequent children survive?

Thankfully though, Challi had a sense of humor when I retold the story once she got home. She figured a little poop in the mouth was a small price to pay to have another "big brother" that loves him to pieces.

Easy for her to say, right Kage?

Oh sweet boy, what an accomplishment that you have made it to your first birthday!

You are so precious to your "brothers" and your aunt and uncle are pretty crazy about you, too. What joy you have added to the family, Kage Easton.

Happy 1st Birthday, Lil' Bit!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Big Picture

Getting to Bible study today proved to be challenging once again. It poured down rain, thus making traffic completely horrendous.

As I crawled through the parking lot named Highway 114, I called Bridget to see if she was making better progress than me. I felt a tad bit relieved to know she was no closer than I was since I assumed they would not start without her. Mainly because she was teaching the class and all.

Moments before arriving at the church, Chris called to tell me there was no electrical power on the entire campus. Childcare building included. And as much as I wanted to cry, at least I didn't.

But you would have never known it judging from the number the rain had done on my mascara by the time I entered the building.

However, Fellowship Church is nothing if not diligent at getting God's message out. Not to be deterred by something as insignificant as electricity, they had already set up makeshift childcare rooms in the main building, complete with tubs of blocks and handwritten name tags. The generator and large windows provided just enough light to minister to the overactive group of children, desperately excited by all the controlled chaos.

(May the Lord draw near to the hearts of those preschool volunteers.)

And although Bridget had to teach with no mic or slides in the middle of a large walkway, she did a beautiful job of conveying truth about God's will for our lives.

She started by talking about past experiences in seeking God's direction in specific situations, anxiously begging God to spell it out with a burning bush. She spoke openly about frustrations and discouragement she has encountered when those answers did not come in the manner or time frame she desired.

I'm not sure about you, but I can relate to those same frustrations and feelings of anxiety. Times in my life when the gravity of the situation pressed in on me as I sat, frantically waiting for God to give me clarity.

Upon graduating college, which city should I move to? Job should I take? Church should I attend? How will I know if he is the man I should marry? The house we should buy? The timing for having children?

So many questions, so little direction. Or so it seemed in the moment.

But the truth that I've come to rely on was summed up so eloquently as God spoke through Bridget. Although there are many seemingly unknowns, we have already been given the big picture by Jesus in John 6:40. "For its is my Father's will that all who see His Son and believe in him should have eternal life- that I should raise them at the last day."

When we put our specific struggles against the backdrop of the big picture, fuzzy details suddenly are illuminated by the light. For example, will this job put me in a place where I can know Him more, still allowing me time and flexibility to serve in my church? Will this new position allow me to make His name known? Does this man I'm dating foster my ability to know Christ more intimately, encouraging me to seek Him first?

There is freedom in knowing that many times, God's will grants me choices in the specifics, allowing me to do a variety of things as long as they line up against His big picture. I don't have to spend my life agonizing over choices that may very well glorify Him equally.

Sometimes I make His will so complicated that I suffer an analysis of paralysis, painstakingly bogged down in the details. In reality, many times God is telling me the same thing he told Moses after hearing him tell the people to stand where they were and watch the Lord rescue them.

"Why are you crying out to me? Tell the people to get moving!"- Exodus 14:15

(Those of you that know my husband well will not be surprised to know that this is one of his favorite verses in Scripture.)

Another truth in my own life that is disheartening to own up to is that I spend so much time treating God as my own personal GPS navigator, that I forget to foster the relationship. Where, God? Oh, no answer yet? OK, well I'll check in later. What should I do, God? Nothing still? OK, I'll drop in tomorrow.

God doesn't want me to discover His will as much as He wants me to discover HIM. It's not so much about a destination as it is about a relationship. He wants me to hunger to know Him intimately, to desire more of Him in every area of my life. To crave His presence because of my love for His truth, His passion, His wisdom, His deliverance.

To take it all in, so that I can pour it out on others.

And when I seek His face and share his grace, the answers that previously eluded me simply fall into place. (I'm seeing a cheesy bumper sticker business in my future if I don't get off the rhyming kick very soon)

The details in getting to class today may not have been easy, but it was well worth the trouble in light of the big picture.

(Thanks for bringing it today, Bridget!)

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Hunger Induced Hearing Loss

I've always heard that boys will eat you out of house and home, but I thought that was supposed to be during the teenage years.

Lately, Park has been eating his toddler weight in food. Every time I turn around, he is begging for something else to inhale.

A few mornings ago, after eating a huge bowl of cheerios with blueberries, 2 pancakes, and a frozen banana, he asked for some oatmeal. Less than an hour later, he inquired about a snack. I gave him an apple, which he chomped to the core.

Now, typically, I live by the motto that anyone who expends that much energy is entitled to refuel as often as desired. However, shortly thereafter I decided to put off his pleas for more food by reminding him that it would be time for lunch soon.

He thought about that for a moment and then defeated, shook his head in disgust.

"Well, you are just starving me to deaf, Mommy," he proclaimed sadly.

Perhaps that accounts for why he never seems to hear me when I ask him to clean up his toys?

Friday, May 2, 2008

Fashion Disaster: Hero Scores A Zero

Every I since I picked up this costume at a resale store a few weeks ago, Park has been wearing it non-stop. When I tried to coerce him to change clothes before we left for the playground, he simply replied, "But it helps me do my mission, Mommy."

How could I argue with that?

It doesn't seem to bother him in the least that he is running around saving the world as a no named character, but for the life of me I can't figure out what action figure this was designed to be.

Should I just chalk it up to the fact that it was 50 cents for a reason and move on with my life or can somebody out there help me out? (Your best guesses are greatly appreciated)

Now, keep in mind that there are also gloves and boots that finish the ensemble, but I was afraid he might be featured on Big Mama's Fashion Friday if I revealed the completed look.

On a WHAT NOT TO WEAR special edition, possibly with my picture posted right next to his.

I can see the caption now: "It is one thing to allow your child to experiment with dress up, but how could this mother allow her son to wear this no named character with mismatched accessories? His fashion future hangs in the balance, and I for one am worried he may never recover from this."

No pressure, Internet friends, but Park's fashion future rests in your hands. Please help shed some light on what this costume was designed to be. Or at the very least, tell me your kids dress up as no named action heroes, too.

Even if they really don't.

Do you accept your mission?

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Just for you


Today, on your birthday, there are several things I want you to know. And although I've told you many times throughout the years, there truly are not enough words to reflect the impact you've made on my life.

Some of my earliest childhood memories are of specific things you did to make me feel special. Whether it was making pancakes that spelled out my name, taking the time to delicately work my hair into "10 braids", staying up into the wee hours to help me when I procrastinated until the night before the spelling bee to learn any words, or simply listening intently to my long winded stories, you made me feel valued and important. One of the greatest gifts you have given me as a woman is self-esteem and confidence.

You never belittled what I was feeling. EVER. You cried with me for my hurts even when you must have known how insignificant they were against the backdrop of my life. You gave me perspective on disappointments, but did it in a way that showed the utmost concern and compassion for what I was experiencing in that moment. You spoke words of life and encouragement straight to my heart, opening up a world of victory for my future. And when those victories knocked on my door, you celebrated with me with as much enthusiasm as if they were your own.

I have countless memories of you reading your Bible and praying fervently on our behalf. But what made the greatest impact, was having a front row seat to how you lived it out. I watched you and Dad cling to the Lord in good and bad times, praising Him equally for both. I watched you show the same grace and mercy to those who had plenty as to those in great need. I wanted to be just like you, desperate for whatever it was that made you different from so many others. Because of you, I found Christ.

In my teenage years, you were not only interested in me, but those Challi and I were interested in. You ministered to everyone who stepped foot through the doorway of our home. And so many of our high school friends know the Lord because of you.

As I matured into a young adult, you found the perfect balance in holding me closely while letting me go. You equipped me throughout the journey, giving me the confidence to find my own way when the time came. And just when I thought I had the best possible relationship with you that a mother and daughter could have, I experienced you as the Lolli to my son. Seeing you love Park, oh, the unspeakable joy!

I know you aren't perfect, but you model Jesus to me. There is a tenderness in you that I so admire. Thank you for teaching me how to be a woman of God, loving others so much more than yourself. Thank you for pouring yourself into my life and the lives of those I love. And how could I end this post without putting the one thing you like to see most on my blog?:

Happy Birthday, Mom!!! We love you.