Monday, June 30, 2008

Babysitting, Anyone?

Every year before we leave for camp, we celebrate with a party for the student worship team/ band. These teenagers are talented musicians that pour their hearts and lives into glorifying Christ with their gifts. Much is asked and expected of them throughout the year and before camp kicks off is a great time to gather and show appreciation, as well as motivate, encourage and challenge them to continue to serve wholeheartedly.

It’s such a fun night and Bonnie (my dear friend and the student programming pastor’s wife) and I have brought Park and Cooper every year they have been alive. The first party they attended, they crawled around and helped themselves up the stairs every five minutes. We spent most of our time corralling them, but it was still somewhat manageable and we were glad to get to be apart of the celebration.

We vaguely discussed getting babysitters for the next year’s party, but by the time the summer rolled around, we brought them once again. At this point, they were nearing two and we spent most of the party saving their lives. The details of me jumping into the pool fully clothed to spare Park from drowning after he flung himself into deep water is something I’ve just tried to block out.

Did I mention it wasn’t even a pool party?

And Bonnie did an equally good job of blocking out the fact that Cooper had a horrible blowout on the patio moments after we managed to lock ourselves out of the house without a diaper bag in 100% Texas heat.

Thank goodness for that little dip in the pool that kept me cool.

Oblivious to the drama we were partaking in outside, our husbands were inside preaching the messages of their lives. Engrossed in prayer with students, no one noticed that we were missing for the better part of 2 hours.

That night, while trapped outside, Bonnie and I discussed in depth our babysitting plans for the following year’s party. We even debated calling to book someone a year in advance. But, apparently all that “blocking it out” business gave us temporary amnesia when the time came around for this year’s party.

Just like two women begging for punishment, we showed up again, children in hand. And this year we even threw in Bonnie’s new addition, 4 month old Maddox, just in case our near three-year-olds were not enough to send us over the edge.

Coming to battle prepared, I came armed with dozens of toys in hand. Which was a nice thought, except who needs toys when there are three different sets of stairs to hurl yourselves off of? And stools to spin on? And candles to stick your hands in? And water bottles to pour over each other's heads?

What can I say? Bonnie and I are just crazy like that.

Eventually we took our disruptive wild banshees to the soundproof media room and watched them parade around while doing handstands and leapfrog to the tunes of Lion King, which was playing on the big screen.

About that time, I looked at Bonnie and she looked at me and we couldn’t help but laugh at how we had set ourselves up for this.

“I need you to promise me something,” she said. ”“Next year,” she begged, “If I suggest we bring the boys, for the love of all things good, JUST SLAP ME, ALREADY!!”

Agreed. A band party that we actually can sit through and enjoy without hurling ourselves into a pool?

Now, that is just music to my ears.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Coexisting with the Natives

I've known for a while now that I am living among wild Indians, but I finally have proof. Uncivilized or not, these two boys have completely stolen my heart!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Wedded Rings

Yesterday, Park curled up with me in bed with a stack of books so high, I wondered if we would finish them before Chris got home from work 10 hours later. We read and read, until he eventually got distracted by my wedding ring.

"I know who gave that to you," he said matter-of-fact. "Gave me what?" I asked, absentmindedly. "That wedded ring," he continued, while pointing to my left hand. "Jesus bought that for you."

"Well," I corrected him, "Daddy actually bought it for me, but Jesus gave me Daddy, so you are on the right track."

He thought about that for a minute and then excitedly exclaimed, "Jesus gave me Daddy, too, so maybe I'll get a wedded ring for my birthday! Then I'll be so big, I can marry you and Daddy."

I could hardly hide my smile at the innocence of his simplistic logic. "Well, buddy," I responded, "I'm not so sure you can do that."

Undaunted, he replied, "You never know, Mommy. Daddy says I can do anything I sit my behind to."

Even though you got the wording wrong, you certainly understand Daddy's message loud and clear, little man. There is no doubt you will accomplish anything you set your mind to!

One day, Jesus will give you an incredible woman to marry and she will most assuredly enjoy hearing this story at the rehearsal dinner. Until then, you can simply admire mine and Daddy's "wedded rings" and we will bask in the idea that (at least for now) you think we hung the moon.

By the way, the feeling is mutual, my love.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Bloggity Sisterhood of "Techy" Inspiration

When fasting from blogging (writing or reading them) last week, I decided that I would use that time to go beyond my "allotted" quiet time. I wasn't exactly sure what that meant, especially since I didn't really think I spent all that much time on the computer. But, by simply forgoing my normal "techy" time, I was able to read first and second Samuel in their entirety.

Turns out, sister blogs A LOT.

Last week was a special time of renewal and refreshment that I enjoyed greatly. But, I also learned how much I have come to enjoy the world of blogging.

It is yet another tool God uses to minister me, reminding me that I am connected to a sisterhood of believers. It is a precious opportunity to be encouraged and uplifted by other woman facing the same struggles and challenges I do, despite seemingly different circumstances. It is a chance to be inspired by the hearts of perfect strangers, sharing in the lives of people I may have never had the opportunity to know "in the real world". It is a creative outlet that records a lasting legacy of memories that I cherish so deeply.

Can you tell I'm happy to be back?

Last week was also a time of making memories. Chris, Park and I spent a lot of time out at Allaso Ranch, finalizing last minute details before Sr. High camps start in the next few weeks. We are bursting with excitement at the anticipation of what God has planned for this summer. Well, in truth, Park is bursting with excitement to ride the horses, but since we did not have his cowboy hat with us he opted to wait until we return in July.

Note to self, add cowboy hat to the mile-long packing list for our three week stay at camp.

He did not, however, opt to wait to try out the swim center. Based on his love of his brief stint in the water there, I feel certain we will be spending much of our camp experience splashing around the water park. And judging from his eagerness to try out the "GIANT TWISTY SLIDE, MOMMY!", a life jacket would also be added to the packing list had a precious life guard not already reserved one with his name on it after observing his poolside manner.

While Chris finished up some work, Park and I headed 45 minutes from the ranch to Challi's house. The boys had such a fun visit that I wasn't certain we could pry them apart to leave. In fact, Park instructed me, "You can just leave me here. Cha-Cha will take good care of me."

Yes, but my question is would she live to tell about it? Just teasing, sweet boy. If there is anyone who can keep up with your fun loving spirit it is your high energy aunt. Thankfully, we will see a lot more of them this summer based on their close proximity to camp.

My high energy sister keeping up with the boys.
Park and Krew discussing the flamingos at the zoo

Now, I'm off to catch up on your lives. After a week away, I'm looking forward to returning to the bloggity sisterhood of "techy" inspiration.

No pressure or anything, right?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Short Break

This blog will officially remained closed until next Sunday. I am looking forward to renewal and refreshment as I participate in a week long, church-wide lifestyle fast. (My venue of choice was blogging.)

See you soon and have a great week!

Friday, June 13, 2008


When Chris asked me to speak at The Mix, in the back of my mind, I had hoped he would do the majority of writing the message. After all, he speaks almost weekly and has much more experience with communicating God's word to large groups of people.

After being married to him for almost six years, you would think I would have known how this would go down, though.

See, Chris loves to empower others to succeed. He is known for putting the ball in someone's court and allowing them to determine what to do with it. Although he is there to offer guidance and support, he is a firm believer in allowing people to grow and flourish in challenging opportunities. He thrives on seeing God develop strength and character in those underneath his leadership.

Not only did he NOT write my message, he also selected me to speak on an "open" week, where topic choice was entirely up to me. The only direction he gave me was, "Wait on God. He will lead you to the message He wants you to teach."

And so I waited.

And waited and waited and waited some more....

Until two weeks before I was slated to speak, I awoke in the middle of the night with an indescribable assurance that my message would be titled, "Used" and it would entail something about an unlikely leader. And as thankful as I was that God had given me a title, I had absolutely no idea of the content or direction He wanted me to pursue. Not to mention, who was the unlikely leader and what on earth did that have to do with used?

Twenty-five minutes is a long time to stand on a stage, staring blankly at 400 high school students, with nothing to communicate, but a title and an unnamed, unlikely leader. Amen?

Thankfully, God wasn't done with my message just yet. At Bible study a few days later, we were learning about God's Will. The lesson had absolutely nothing to do with him, but the speaker briefly mentioned, something about "The unlikely leader, Gideon."

I about jumped out of my seat as if God had shouted through a megaphone right into my ear.

Now, I wish I could say that my Old Testament knowledge is so vast that I immediately knew the exact story the Lord wanted me to communicate, but the only thing I could recall of Gideon was something to do with him blowing a horn. And I'm pretty sure I pictured him in some type of band, rocking out while tooting his solo.

Not exactly Biblically sound truth.

But when I reread his story in the Judges 6 and 7, it was crystal clear why God had pointed me to this man. Although Gideon was an unlikely leader, a man with some serious junk in his past, God used him to conquer more enemies than any other person in the entire Bible.

Now, don't get me wrong, it was a rocky road to submission. God reduced his army from 32,000 men to just 300. Gideon wasn't even 100% convinced or confident in his abilities, despite God assuring him of victory. In fact, he tested God repeatedly and questioned if he was even worthy to serve. He was scared and unsure God could use him in the battle.

But regardless, Gideon was WILLING to fight anyway.

When I think of the word willing, I think of a man named E. King Gill. As you know, I am an Aggie and A&M is a school rich in tradition. In 1922, one of the most famous of those traditions was born, the 12th man. An underdog Aggie football team was playing the nation’s top ranked team (and I feel the need to clarify that it was not U.T.) Because of injury after injury, the Aggies were forced to dig deep into their reserves.

Everyone begin to get nervous if they would even have enough players to finish the game. So, the head coach called Gill, a former team member, out of his seat in the stands. E. King Gill suited up and stood ready on the sidelines the rest of the game. Later, he was quoted as saying, “I wish I could say that I went in and ran for the winning touchdown, but I didn’t. I simply stood willing in case the team needed me.”

Because of Gill’s example, today the entire student body at A&M (known as the 12th man) stands the whole game to show their support and willingness to be called on if needed. Now, can you imagine the fear and doubt that must have been going through Gill’s mind as he waited on those sidelines? But, regardless, he stood willing.

As a Christ follower, I can be honest with God about my doubt. It’s OK to say, “Lord, I am afraid…But I am willing!.”; “I am unsure…But I am willing!”; “I am overwhelmed,…But I am willing!” If you are like me, you can take comfort in knowing that we don’t have to be 100% confident or convinced to be willing. In fact, nowhere in Scripture did I read that Gideon shouted, “YES! I am pumped my army has been reduced to nothing! What are we waiting for? Let’s go kick some serious tail!”

But you know what? He did it anyway.

Despite the fact that Gideon was slow to be convinced, he was both chosen by and dependent on God. He got over looking at his past defeats and personal insecurities and simply seized the opportunity to be used.

Gideon was slow to be convinced, but he ACTED on his convictions. Too many times I have been slow to be convinced, putting God off for this reason or that. But Jesus continues to ask me, will you ACT on your convictions? He continues to present me with brand new opportunities to be used on a daily basis. As unsure as he may have felt, Gideon went forward with what the Lord called him to do and the Lord honored his willingness.

God did (and continues to do!) the same thing for me.

*Thank you, Chris, for not robbing me of knowing more of God's faithfulness in this speaking opportunity. By offering nothing more than guidance and support, you allowed me to grow and flourish, being totally dependent on Him. Most of all, thank you for allowing me to practice what I preach.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

We've LOST It

I'm not certain this post will be clearly written considering that Chris and I have been staying up into the wee hours of the night. And although my precious hubby functions quite well on such little sleep, I lose coherency with anything less than 8 hours. It would seem we have a new addiction going on right now.


Now, I know we are late to join the millions of people who have been captivated for years, but we have never been trend setters when it comes to our television viewing. It would seem we are the skeptics, the ones who usually say, "Let's just ride this out before we investigate what all the hype is about." If the show continues to be well received, say three years down the road, then we may think about watching it.

It's all about longevity, folks.

Perhaps this would explain why we ended up watching DVDs of the entire four year run of 24 in just one summer. Our living room became Jack Bauer's home away from home. And I have to say he was the perfect house guest, being that he neither slept or ate one single time, yet still managed to provide an unprecedented level of security.

And although we are only in Season 1, I'd have to say that these LOST people are not quite as charming as old Jack. I'm hoping their stint in our living room does not last all summer, seeing as I'm not certain which one (if ANY) of them that I can trust. There are so many intricate dysfunctional relationships going on that I'm tempted to recommend a good Christian counselor who will make island visits.

And speaking of islands, after how much time Park and I have been spending at the pool, I'm starting to feel like we live on one. I sit on my little piece of land while he plays in the water all around me. Despite being slathered in sun-screen, we are so sun-exposed that we are having a similar experience to that of the folks on LOST. Minus the killer monster-like creatures and strange people trying to attack us while we reminisce on our lives before the plane crash.

Other than that, it is exactly the same.

All this to say, my brain is too fried to write the rest of yesterday's post at this moment. (Rest assured that the above material is not what I was hoping would inspire you to allow God to use you for His purpose.) I'll save that for tomorrow, instead.

Unless, of course, the monster-like creatures or strange people try to attack us before then. Every since Jack moved out, good security has been hard to find.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


In an effort to reflect on more positive events from last week, you will be happy to know that the focus of this post will have nothing to do with outdoor (or indoor, for that matter) bathroom usages.

Let's pause for a moment to exhale a collective sigh of relief.

Instead, I wanted to share something that God is doing in my life. For the past several months, I have been feeling a tug on my heart to become more "hands on" in Chris' ministry. Before Park was born, I was very invested in high school students and active in working right alongside my husband. I led small groups and spent much of my free time helping Chris build into youth. At the time, Chris was a Campus Team pastor under Sarah's husband, Pace, who wast the Sr. High pastor. One of the largest high schools that Chris was responsible for, was the same one where I taught. We had very strong relationships with those students and their adult volunteers.

A few weeks before Park was born, Chris was promoted to become the Sr. High pastor after Pace became the Worship pastor for the main service.

It was an incredibly unexpected time of life change for our family. Having left my job as a high school English teacher to become a stay-at-home mom, I was busy adjusting to my new position. As Chris transitioned into fatherhood, he was also learning new roles of leadership and more responsibility in ministry. It was a very challenging, yet amazingly rewarding time in our lives. Although I still attended Wed. night youth services, most of my former roles were no longer possible with the demands of a young infant. And since that point, I did small things here and there, but I never truly regained the same level of investment.

I have prayed faithfully for Chris' ministry and counseled with him on decisions and direction for many years, but recently God begin to reveal a new level of involvement He had in mind for me. Speaking. Now, because I have seen firsthand the amount of time and preparation that preaching calls for, I found myself very hesitant to respond. Surely I had misunderstood God! Not only did I not have the time or availability for it, but I was certain I didn't have the talent either. In a nutshell, I was SCARED!

However, God taught me once again that you don't have to be confident or convinced to do what He asks, you simply have to be willing.

So, last week, I spoke at The Mix, our church's high school youth service. The entire experience grew me in more ways than I can convey. And I am quite certain that I will say the same thing each and every time I speak in the future. For many years now, God has taught me that He will never ask me to do something that He does not give me the strength, wisdom, and ability to do. Apart from him I am capable of nothing, but in my weakness, His strength is revealed. When I am used in my inability, His name is glorified.

And quite appropriately, this is the precise topic He had me teach on last Wed. night; allowing God to use us for His purpose. Tomorrow I will share more of that message and I pray that it helps give you the courage to do whatever it is that He is asking of you.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Sifting Through the Details

I've been a little scarce on the blog front lately.

It isn't as much from lack of good material to write about (thank you, Park), but more from a lack of energy to write because of the aforementioned material.

Case in point...

At the beginning of the week we had some sand delivered to fill in some spots where our grass needed help. Park, who was certain it was Christmas morning, was covered from head to toe in a matter of 0.5 seconds. After going inside to change over some laundry, I returned to find a n*ked Park tossing handfuls of mud at every window on the backside of our house. Because, apparently, he is nothing if not considerate of keeping his clothes clean.

Seeing as the water hose was exactly where I had left it, I was a little perplexed at how he had managed to str*p off all clothing AND turn sand to mud in such a short period of time. But based on his past expertise in outdoor urination, I should have known even before he tattled on himself.


But, believe it or not, even that is not as gross as what I'm about to share with you. Consider yourself warned.

Later in the week, he had his sifter out, playing in his beloved sand. We had already discussed and been appropriately scolded for the previous incident involving the windows. Feeling pretty secure in his ability to uphold the rules set before him, I went inside to wash dishes. Thankfully, from my vantage point at the sink, I could still see him playing in the backyard because I've been his mother long enough to know that keeping an eye on him at all times is a MUST.

And I felt my pride begin to swell as I watched him, contently sifting sand within the set perimeters.

I found it strange that this simple activity was entertaining him for such a long period of time, though. So, I followed my gut and walked outside for a closer look. As I snuck up behind him, I heard his little voice saying, "No, it sure doesn't. Poopie doesn't sift like sand does. Maybe if I squish it down..."

Insert me leaping tall buildings in a single bound to arrive in time to stop him before said "squishing" could take place.

Without being too graphic, need I remind you that we don't have any dogs or other such animals where he could have simply found the poop. No, unfortunately there was just no getting around that the nastiness in the sifter belonged to the same little man that had just taken outdoor bathroom usages to a whole new level.

Not to worry, though. Like I do with many of the other disturbing behaviors that I have been privy to in the last few years, I immediately contributed this incident to his father's gene pool. To be fair, my mother-in-law did warn me that Chris was a childhood exh*bit*onist. She said keeping clothes on his backside was next to impossible. And what I once laughed at as harmless little stories from Chris' past, I am now living out in excruciating detail.

And here you thought a potty trained Park would mean no more poop stories. Please don't ever underestimate us like that.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Cook As I Say, Not As I Do.

Considering I am a self proclaimed disaster in the kitchen, when I post a recipe you can assume one of three things:

1) Take cover! The sky is falling.

2) It is a really good and VERY simple meal to cook.

3) I have completely run out of things to say and become so desperate to post something that I've resorted to instructing others on cooking, for crying out loud.

I'll let you be the judge of which one applies in this case.

1lb of lean ground chicken
1T. lemon juice
1 clove of garlic, minced
2 green onions (finely chopped)
2T. low sodium soy sauce
1/2t. ginger
1 egg ( 2 egg whites can be used as a substitute)

I usually cook it on the George Foreman grill, but it can be done on the stove, too. Put this with whole grain instant rice and stir fry vegetables and you have created a healthy meal in just 20 minutes. This one is my "go to" meal when I realize it is 5 pm and I have forgotten to plan dinner for the evening.