Dec 9, 2005

Quick thoughts

I don't have time for much today, but I just wanted to write quickly!
The packing is coming along. I think we'll get it all done by the 21st, which is when our stuff is headed to Abilene. We'll stay here and clean the empty house, pass off the keys to the new owner and then go on to Brownwood on the 23rd. We're looking forward to seeing everyone! I have been going over names with Ava, which of she of course won't remember. Most of them sound the same when she repeats them, but she's trying.
We had to bring Dotty in this week because we had a freeze here. She's in her carrier in the kitchen. Ava has been sneaking her small toys which she slips through the cage, and then comes and tells on herself, by saying, "Uh oh," and leading me to Dotty. I also caught her sticking her juice cup through the cage and trying to share some with Dotty. As she did this, she said, "Mmmmm." What a funny age! She cracks me up all the time!
I had to start taking down her room and she definitely knows something strange is going on. She has been "helping me" pack boxes and seems a little restless, roaming around the house like she's trying to figure out where all our stuff went.
I am ready to be a little more settled for her sake. She has also been having trouble sleeping lately, waking up to cry in the middle of the night at about 2:00 for no reason. I think she might be teething. It usually lasts for 30 minutes to an hour and I am worried about how this is going to affect everyone in Brownwood! Maybe she'll play so hard that she'll be worn out! My fear is that she'll play so hard that she'll be wound up. . . Either way, it should be interesting.
Speaking of wound up, Ava just woke up. She is yelling from her room, "Hi!" so I better go now and get her. Merry Christmas, and see you soon!

Nov 28, 2005

"Pick it up, Pack it in, Let me begin..."

Ava's down for a nap so I need to get busy packing, but I'm taking a just a minute to collect my thoughts and feelings about the move. I know I keep writing about this, but it's what we're doing right now so it's on my mind. The problem is that I don't do well with transition. Every major transition in my life, even ones I was incredibly excited about, caused me stress. I don't really worry, but I do have trouble eating and sleeping.

I like to be settled, especially at home. I guess that's one reason I love to decorate so much. I love to create a "nest" that feels like home. The timing of this move is particularly stressful because my home is filling up with boxes and piles and looks a mess in a season when I'm usually hanging garland, decorating the tree and making it feel "homier" than ever! I love the warm glow of Christmas lights in the evening with Christmas music and the smell of spiced apple candles. That is home to me. I'm getting teary just writing about it. (I am such a sentimental dork!) However, I have decided not to put up a tree this year since we are closing on the house on Thursday of this week, and will be out by December 21st. That's only 3 weeks away! I have SO much packing to do that I just can't see taking the time to put up a tree only to take it down in a couple of weeks, especially with a one year old-- every spare second has to be spent being productive or we will not be ready!

We're going to be staying with family until we move in to the house in Abilene on February 1st. Chad knows that once we're in the new house, I will probably be working around the clock to unpack and get settled. I don't mean to be so obsessive compulsive; I just can't sleep soundly until I feel I'm home.

I feel strongly that God has been guiding us in this direction, and I feel completely at peace about the decision. We have received one confirmation after another, so we trust that God will bless this move. Still, with each box I pack, I feel my heart growing heavier. It makes everything more real. The truth is that I really can't even talk to my closest friends about moving. I can talk about it on a surface level, but I haven't really talked about how sad I am to leave friends. Why are moves so emotional? I can't even write about it without getting an enormous lump in my throat.

Ava's waking. . . packing will have to wait-- nothing accomplished but glad I could put some thoughts down. It's theraputic.

Nov 20, 2005

Give Thanks

I am thankful every day for my Ava. She adds joy and color to my life!
These are pictures from a Thanksgiving party we went to with some church friends. The kids dressed as pilgrims and indians. They were so cute!

Nov 14, 2005

This Old House

Well, it's official! We have a contract on our house and a close date for December 1st. The buyer is going to let us lease from her through the month of December so we don't have to move out for the holidays. What a gift, especially with a one year old! The house on Grand is also still looking good. We have filed to take the contingency off of the contract, and our close date will be January 31st. This means we'll have to live with my parents for about a month before we move in, but we're just thankful that we didn't end up losing the deal altogether.

God has been so faithful to work out all the details of this move. From the moment we started praying about this decision, things have fallen into place, and doors have flown open. While I am sad (very sad actually) to leave friends here, I feel confident that God directed us, and He is in control.

Lately, I have been having such bittersweet feelings as I start think about packing up this house, and making preparations to leave my job at church. There are so many wonderful people here that I cannot imagine my daily life without, and yet, I have faith that God will continue to bless these relationships while providing new ones in Abilene.

One more quick note-- Interestingly, after all of this prayer about the move and confirmation with our house selling, and jobs falling into place, Chad was offered a job today that would allow him to make considerably more money than we'll be making in Abilene. We could pay off grad school and cars. I could quit working. We could go on a vacation! Why now? Why was this option thrown into the mix? (I am so thankful for my wise, unselfish husband who was quickly able to say, "Not interested. This is not part of God's plan for us right now.") I guess I tend to be more selfish in nature because I had to evaluate things before I was able to come to that conclusion.

As I was thinking, I was reminded of a verse that I read on the same night we showed our house to the person who is now buying it. It's from Luke, the Parable of the Sower, a story I've heard countless times. But as I reread this scripture, one verse stood out to me: The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life's worries, riches, and pleasures, and they do not mature. Luke 8:14 I had always remembered the seed that fell on the path and rejected God, and the seed that fell on the rock which turned away from God in a time of testing. But this seed in verse 14 grew distracted by worry, money and the comforts of life and simply failed to grow! This caught me because these are my struggles-- worry, money, the comforts of life!

I realized that I don't want to get distracted by the possibility of more money and miss what God has in store for us when we follow his leading. I don't want to be that seed! But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop. Luke 8:15
My prayer is that we, as a family, produce a crop in Abilene and wherever else the Lord might lead us. . .

Oct 12, 2005

The Classics

I was thinking that I need to go back and read some of the classics that I have not yet read. And that got me to thinking about writers and reading and what makes a book "classic." So I am asking for your opinion on this one. How long does a book have to be in print to be considered a classic and what makes a book a classic-- author, literary style, cultural relevance? Who decides? There may be a legitimate answer to that question, and if there is, please let me know. I'm just interested in hearing what you have to say and expanding my list of books to read, so please weigh in on this one and give me your personal list of classics, and or favorites.

The following is a list of 5 books I enjoyed: books that struck a cord at some important season in my life, made me think, made me laugh, or made me grow:
1. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
2. The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis
3. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
4. Memoirs of a Geisha by Arthur Golden
5. The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan

I'm looking for a new good read. Any suggestions?

Oct 6, 2005

My girl

This is my Ava Grace, at one year old. What a gift! I adore her. . .

Here are some of Ava's latest interests:
She loves her dog, Dottie. Her favorite saying is, "Hi Dot Tee!" Every morning Ava stands by the back door, saying "Woof" until I take her outside to see the dog. Dottie showed up on Ava's one year birthday so we had to keep her.

She likes to sing The Wheels on the Bus go Round and Round, Jesus Loves Me, If You're Happy and You Know It, and her old favorite, The Itsy Bitsy Spider. All of her favorites involve hand motions! She's pretty good at them. I love to watch her sing along with her hands even though her vocabulary is not big enough to sing along out loud. . . yet!

Ava is also in a grape phase. She eats them morning, noon, and night. I don't know how to get her off grapes. I guess there are worse things for her to be addicted to, like Cheetos or Pizza. I try not to offer grapes at all meals, but she goes to fridge and fusses and points until I open it; then she taps on the drawer with the grapes. Smart girl really. She knows what she wants and she has figured out how to tell me. I have taught her the sign for please, but she only uses it when I tell her to. I guess "Ugghhh" and pointing is just as effective.

These are just a few of the fun things Ava is into these days. It's always changing, always exciting, and always a joy! Like I said, I adore her! Just look in those eyes. Melt my heart.
(Photo by Kristin Morales-- see site under More Blogs!)

Oct 2, 2005

3 Goals

One of the reasons we are looking forward to our move to Abilene is time! We want to simplify! It's not just about having more time, but using the time we have been given wisely. I know that relocating isn't going to suddenly take the issue of busyness away, but I do hope that it will allow us to spend more time together as family, and have more time to develop things in ourselves that we have no time for with our current schedules. I know that Chad wants to be able to run more and spend more quality time with us at home. With little to no paperwork to bring home, and a 5 minute commute, I think he'll be able to accomplish those things. My three goals are all somewhat selfish in nature, but I really think that if I spend just a little bit of time bettering myself, I will be a better mom, wife and friend.

First, I want to allow myself time for reading and writing. This sounds basic, but let me clarify: these will be books that I want to read for fun at my own pace because they interest me, not because I am in a study and am expected to read a certain number of chapters a week. And I want to write. I am actually working on this one now. Even if writing is in blog form, I want to be able to express my thoughts even if no one reads them. It helps me to get them out there.

Second, I want to work out at least 3 days a week. I think I will be able to do this at the Hendrick work out center, and I am looking forward to it! Hopefully, I can find a class that I'll enjoy and a work out partner who will call me and kick me in the hiney if I try to skip! (Kate might be good at this.)

And third, I want to audit an Art class. Creating has always been an emotional and stress outlet for me; I have not done anything truly artistic in some time. (I take that back, I have painted canvases, but these again are for other people based on what they want, and add to my list of things I need to get done.) I fear that I am losing the creative person that I once was. I actually don't even think I am all that talented an artist, but it's something I do for me, as a release and to better myself.

These are my three goals. I just thought I would put them out there so if anyone reads this, they can hold me to them! I hate setting New Year's Resolutions because I beat myself up with guilt about 3 months in, when I start breaking them. So I don't want these goals to be yet another thing that hangs over my head causing me to feel guilty because I'm not getting it all done. Rather, I am hoping to look at them as things I'll be proud if I accomplish, even for a time.

Sep 29, 2005

The Move

Okay, so I told everyone that I am not a blogger because I don't have time, but I decided that when I move to Abilene (in January), this will be a great way to keep up with friends. But I want to take the pressure off of myself and go ahead and say that I will not be worrying about my writing style or trying to say anything profound. Just ramblings mainly. . .

So here are today's ramblings. I've been feeling anxious, or maybe nervous, about all of the changes that will be taking place in the next few months. We put our house on the market, which is a difficult thing to do since we put so much of ourselves into this little place. I don't know why I get so sentimental about stuff, but I do. This is the house I brought my baby home to, and this is the house that my entire family (and some sweet friends) slaved over so we could move in on time. My dad, sister, and brother-in-law built the fence out back. I painted several rooms in the house. My father-in-law and husband built the deck and balcony, and my mom and mother-in-law helped paint the exterior. Chad and I stayed up until midnight several nights to refinish the floors. And just about everyone I know helped with our front door! All of this to say, it will not be easy to leave. I have been wondering why we haven't had an offer yet! Chad keeps reminding me that it's only been on the market 5 days! I guess the beauty in this house to me is that is more than that, it's been our home, and I will be sad to leave my first "home sweet home" of my very own.

Feb 16, 2005

On friendship

There is something about old friends. . . the ones who befriended you as you were, love you as you are, and encourage you to become more. And there is also a playfulness with old friends. They seem to bring out silliness in me that sometimes others don't see. Maybe that's because they knew me back when I was more carefree, and all we had to do was study, jump on the trampoline, throw water balloons from our roof top at visitors, and talk. We talked until the wee hours of the morning about everything and nothing at all. It was the combination of the two that was so great--going from deep discussions on theology and God's plan for our lives to prank wars and boyfriends. It is truly a blessing to have good friends. I am encouraged and inspired by the friendships that have sustained me for many years, and the new friendships that are developing and growing at this phase in my life. I am thankful for both! I love this thought by C.S. Lewis on friendship--
"But in friendship, we think we have chosen our peers. In reality, a few years differences in the dates of our birth, a few more miles between certain houses, the choice of one university instead of another, posting to different regiments, the accident of a topic being raised or not raised at a first meeting. . . any of these changes might have kept us apart. But, for a Chrisitian, there are strictly speaking, no chances. A secret Master of Ceremonies has been at work, Christ, who said to the disciples, "You have not chosen me but I have chosen you," can truly say to every group of Christian friends, "You have not chosen one another, but I have chosen you for one another."

I am thankful that there are no chances with friendships--I am truly blessed by the friends God has chosen for me.

Feb 7, 2005

No eye has seen, no ear has heard

I had a moment of pure, unmitigated joy today.
As I worked on my bible study lesson, Ava napped on my chest. I could feel her sweet little breath on my neck, and I had her blanket wrapped around both of us as we rested on my bed. I was reading from 1 Corinthians as Paul was addressing the Corinthians about problems in their church, and the moment just snuck in.
1 Corinthians 2:9, "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him--"
As I read, an unxeplainable peace swept over me. I held on to it, soaking it up and reveling in absolute Spirt filled joy. And then just as quickly as it came, it passed.
Not that I was sad after, but the moment was gone. The reality of my present sinful state on this earth crept back in, along with the lists of things to do; the washing machine buzzed alerting me that that load was complete; Ava stirred and woke up, ready to be changed and fed. The rest of my bible study would have to wait. But that scripture stayed with me, along with the memory of that fleeting moment.
I've had several of those moments in my life. They seem to hit me at unexpected times. It's almost as if I can step out of the situation and look at it with an outsider's perspective long enough to recognize the joy in that tiny, routine, seemingly insignificant moment. I wish I could hang on to them longer, and I wish that I could live my life more fully in each moment, instead of thinking about the next. I tend to be a chronic list maker, which lends itself to thinking about my days as a series of tasks to accomplish, instead of moments to enjoy. I'm going to work on changing my perspective, and putting my lists on hold.
Back to the scripture-- I had the thought that perhaps heaven in going to be a place where we can fully live in the joy of every moment. Why is it that things always seem better, happier, funnier in retrospect. When I was in college, everyone told me, "Enjoy this time; you'll never be as care free again in your life." I tried to enjoy it, but I'm sure that I worried too much about things I cannot even remember now; how can you fully appreciate the exact moment you're in at all times? The same thing goes for motherhood. I cannot count the number of times that people have told me, "Enjoy it now because before you know it, your baby will be _________(crawling, walking, talking, in kindergarten, a teenageer, leaving home. . . )" I really want to enjoy every moment, and when I have those rare fleeting moments like today's, I hang on to them as long as I can and try to appreciate them.
Perhaps no eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived the absolute eternal joy and peace that God has in store for those who love him. Maybe He gives us a taste of it here on earth, in glimpses and in passing moments, so that we will continue to seek and love Him, as we press on, looking forward to the things He has prepared for us.
I'm sure that it's more than we could ask or imagine.
In the meantime, I'm off to change a diaper, and I'll try to appreciate it!
(Photo by Kristin Morales-- see site under More Blogs!)

Feb 4, 2005

My first blog experience

I am in the process of setting up my blog page, and the pressure is on to say something interesting. I am fascinated with this new type of communication, and feel like I've been in the dark about blog world. Why have I not heard about this sooner? I have already enjoyed reading the thoughts of several known bloggers, and look forward to entering in to the community of blog myself. I only learned about it this morning. My sister, Kate (an English teacher), and dad (an avid reader and also an English teacher) are in town this weekend. Both are bloggers and great writers. I decided to jump onboard, but am somewhat nervous about the "comments" aspect of this form of expression. Any one at any time can read what I have to say, and my biggest fear is that, as it turns out, I have not much to say at all. At one point in my life, I was more of a reader and a writer. I was, in fact, an English major in college. I had things to say, and learned eloquent ways to say them. (But please don't expect my grammar to be perfect.) Now most days I am home with my 4 1/2 month old daughter, cooing and gurgling as she learns to roll over and do the things babies do. It will be nice to have an outlet for my grown-up ramblings and thoughts. I only hope that I haven't lost my ability to have grown-up thoughts. I guess we'll see. . .
As I read over this, I thought about deleting it, but I guess the whole point is that you can't be a self-conscious blogger. You just have to say what you have to say, and perhaps it will strike a cord with someone, and if not, at least I've gotten to express myself, even if only for a moment!