Saturday, August 13, 2016

The Past 14 Months...

(Waves hands)

Hey!  HEY!  

Being totally honest here, my typing skills are feeling a little rusty this morning.  Chris is sleeping in and he left the computer on the table.  And I made the CRAZY, just spur of the moment decision to actually USE IT.  He took it as his own about six weeks ago.  Leaving me with my phone.  But no real way to write.  Other than, you know, old school pen and paper.  

But mostly, I've been using that old school pen and paper to write out a packing schedule, preschool names and creating dinner menus with what's left in the fridge and pantry.  Which at this point is one potato, two onions and some frozen blueberry pancakes.  

See, Chris got a new job.  And it's good and right and exciting.  But it means moving.  For the second summer in a row.  

So, we've been busy.

All those details, I'll write soon.  Because I don't want to miss documenting them and because I need to process it all.  My head is still on spin cycle.  

Today, I'm going to write about and pay my respects to this little house we've been occupying for the last fourteen months.  I would like to say that's the shortest time we've lived somewhere but it's not.  We lived in our first apartment in Brunswick for less than a year.  

I never posted any real pictures of our house.  This little piece of paradise in the middle of a huge neighborhood.  Chris said all year long he thought we'd only be here a year and I kept saying NO WAY.  I thought for sure God had given us this house for the long term.  To be THE house all of our friends and the kids' friends would come to for fun and relaxation.  I just knew we were gifted this house to bring rest to ourselves and others.

And we absolutely found that.  

For fourteen months.

In oh so many ways, it offered us the rest we desperately needed.  This is the only house we have purchased needing no work.  It was clean, new flooring, new paint and completely ready to go when we walked in the door.  No ugly wall paper to remove.  No poor duck work and windows to replace.  No bathroom remodel.  

Of course, it's not really in our nature to do absolutely nothing.  Plus we do enjoy house projects.  But the things we tackled were optional.  Because we wanted to do them and not because anything HAD to be done.  

And thankfully, the projects we did added value.  

Plus, we loved them.  So totally worth it.

So with all that said, enjoy the tour of our latest home!


 Front of the house.  I kinda loved the blue front door and the big tree.


Our side yard.  The lot was a third of an acer.  Out here, that's HUGE (I'm gonna need you to say that in your best Trump voice.  Thank you.)  Had we not moved, we would have fenced in this side yard to add more play space.  


The view as you opened the front door.  


Dining room.  Our HUGE (Again.  And thank you.) dining room table fit well into the space.  We installed the wood chandler.  I got it off a FB trading site.  Super cheap.  And gorgeous.





Across from the dining room was the bonus room.  We used it as the playroom/guest bedroom/craft room.  This is the staged version but I totally dig it.  

Like last year, stagers came as part of our package deal with our realtor.  I worked like a dog to get the house staged before they came.  I wanted them to walk in and just love it all and change nothing.  Basically, that's what they did.  They moved two things out of the living room but left everything else.  The entire time, they kept saying that normally, they would pare down the decor much more (which, for me, was already bare bones!) but they loved the styling so much, they wanted it to stay.

And, yes, I pretty much beamed.  Our realtor has suggested I get into the staging business and should I ever decide to do it, to call him.  I'm not interested (mostly) but I ATE IT UP regardless.  I love, love, love homemaking.  All the things that make a home a home.  I'm in.  

Okay.  Moving on.


From the front of the house, the kitchen was the next space.  It was such a nice size.  The walk-in pantry was dreamy.  The appliances were new with the exception of the dishwasher.  Which we updated right away.  Those older dishwashers are loud and use obscene amounts of water.  


The dream was to paint the cabinets white.  Except for the island, which would have been turquoise.  Clearly.  But we never got around to any of that and that's okay.  



The kitchen table and the dining room were open to each other.  It was super nice for guests.  The adults could eat in the dining room and the kids in the kitchen.  


Looking from the kitchen, our little living room.  


It was certainly our smallest living room.  Minus apartments, of course.  But it was cozy and, honestly, a good size for our family.  Other houses in the neighborhood with our floor plan have fireplaces in the corner.  I am grateful we did not.  Because the chair and table are way cuter and much more useful.  In Texas anyway.


This is the view of my favorite house project.  The pallet wall.  Chris built this for me and y'all?  It took about two hours.  For reals.  He laid out the sizes and colors in the garage before nailing it to the wall.  We had the pendent lights installed when we moved in.  There were no lights there at all and it was dark.  We picked out lights that worked with Mason jars.  Really, the entire thing is swoon-worthy.  And so on point with decorating trends.  Thank you, Fixer Upper.


I totally loved how the kitchen opened up to the living room and, when the back door was open, to the outdoor space too.  Beautiful flow and function.


The bedrooms were split so Aubrey Kate and Rhys had their own side of the house.  



Their bathroom was small but it worked for them.  Chris built the pallet shelf.  It stayed with the house.  It fits the house well and took so little time to build.  If I want another one, he can build me one on a Saturday.  The shower curtain is an embellished sheet.  The stagers went nuts for that thing.  They had never considered using sheets for anything other than bedding.  To which I said, I rarely consider sheets for bedding!  All three bedrooms had sheets for curtains.  They are cheap and easy and long.  What's not to love!


Our bedroom was comfy.  Not huge, or even spacious but it was enough.  


The master bath was a better lay out than last house.  It also had our first granite anything.  I wanted to paint the cabinets black but, again, never got around to it.  I will say the granite was super nice.  Easy to clean and it almost never really looked dirty.  That was nice since I spent most of the year being out and about instead of cleaning.  


Without a doubt, the best part of the house was our back yard.  The kids spent ALL YEAR on the deck and patio.  We had a TV and fan installed.  Hours, y'all, hours spent outside playing, grilling, eating and just being kids.  


The yard was plenty of space for us too.  Chris built some corn hole boards this summer.  Those along with horseshoes?  Kinda the perfect outdoor experience.  


And the pool.  The pool we were in no way looking for but we got anyway.  We lived in it for two summers.  We swim every day and we have not gone a single week this summer without having at least one play date here for swimming.  My favorite response to the kids' question of "Can we swim today?"  "Yes, we own the pool.  The answer is always yes."

Even in the winter, when we didn't swim, having the water there was relaxing.  There is something about the sights and sounds of water moving that is so refreshing.  And thanks to the relatively mild Texas winters, we were able to spend a good deal of time outside.  

Of course, having the pool for a mere fourteen months has ruined us forever.  Our next house does not have a pool  Not for lack of want.  It simply was not a possibility.  We had about three days to sell the current house and buy the next house.  We saw over 20 houses in two days.  Literally, we had to buy based on what was available at that moment.  Because of school, we had to move quickly.  AK needed to be registered for kinder somewhere.  Moving to an apartment for a little while and waiting to find the perfect house was not an option this time.

So the kids will tell anyone who will listen, or dares ask, they are not happy about moving.  Because the new house doesn't have a pool.  It does have a good sized yard and a patio to play on but I get it.  I'm gonna miss the pool as much as they are.  Possibly more.  Because let's face it, play time in the pool is good for several hours a day of entertainment.  And in a summer where the togetherness factor is sky high, THAT IS GOOD STUFF.  

However, I am older and, hopefully, wiser than the kids.  I can be grateful for the two summers with the pool without wasting too much time and emotional energy being disappointed for the next move.  I will for sure miss it.  But the job change is completely worth it.  Being with Chris more is worth a pool.  One day, the kids will know that too.

I hope you enjoyed the tour of our last house!  That is if anyone is actually reading this.  I've been out of pocket for so long.  Hopefully, Chris will get his new work computer soon and my laptop will be returned.  Hopefully!

Sunday, June 12, 2016

Love...

About this time last year, I sat on an uncomfortable pew in my childhood church.  My family moved from Montgomery to Birmingham in 1986.  The months and weeks run together in a child's memory but I'm pretty sure we joined the church sometime shortly after we moved.  Thus, my parents are approaching thirty years as members.

This particular Sunday morning followed the shooting at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC.  In the middle of a prayer service, ten people were shot by a domestic terrorist.  Nine died.  The shooter later confessed to the shooting in the hopes of starting a race war.

And there I sat, a few days later, in my home church in Birmingham, AL.  A city who had endured it's own act of terrorism during an actual race war with the bombing of the 16th Street Baptist Church.  Four little girls died and twenty-two others injured.  Simply because of their skin color, four members of the KKK, our own domestic terrorist organization, planted 15 sticks of dynamite underneath the church.  And blew it up.

My own heart ached to see attacks simply because of skin color still happening over fifty years later.

As I sat there, in my hometown, attending my childhood church, sitting on my family pew and listening to a pastor speak from the pulpit I knew so well, I heard words of healing.  The pastor.  He condemned the attack in Charleston as evil.  Not of God.  Not of love.  Not of peace.  But done as an act of racism and cowardice.  And there in the same city responsible for the deaths of four precious little girls, the pastor loudly declared the act evil.

Evil.

I genuinely wept.  Right there in that uncomfortable pew.  No doubt, these attacks should be long over.  A thing of our dark past.  Something we talk about as a teaching tool so we do not repeat the same sins.  And yet.  It happened again.

But this time, in 2015, the Southern Baptist pastor in my childhood church spoke truth.  He boldly said what sometimes pastors and church members and regular people who aren't sure what to say don't.  He said it was evil.  

And I wept.  Because he was right.  

Early this morning, another act of terrorism occurred.  Domestic terrorism.  Again.  Meant to help cleanse the world of a group of people, not defined by skin color, but by lifestyle.  We caught the headline just as we were turning off our phones for worship.  This year, in our own church.  Comfortable, padded seats in a worship center with zero stained glass and lots of loud music.   

Only this afternoon was I able to sit down and read about the shooting.  Scan the news stories to get the updated details.  Log on to social media to see what the church leaders I admire were saying.  Read stories of loved ones waiting, praying, terrified.  Saw posts declaring the act as pure evil.  

And I wept.  Because it is evil.

My heart breaks for this world.  It breaks for the mommas, sisters, friends, co-workers, teachers, cousins, fathers, pastors and brothers suffering an immeasurable loss.  It breaks for the millions of people who will live with fear on their shoulders because if it can happen there, it can happen here.  It breaks for those of us, Christian and Muslim alike, who are sickened by the taking of human life in any manner, but especially through such horrific violence.

My heart also breaks for those who will see this as their opportunity to spew hate and lies and more evil.  My heart breaks for the inevitable political conversations, as if people can be reduced to rhetoric.  My heart breaks for the lines drawn that will divide and hurt and alienate.  My heart breaks for the images we will endure of screaming and pointing and blaming.

My heart imagines those mommas and friends and spouses holding baby pictures of their lost loved ones.  Watching videos of graduations, dance recitals, weddings.  Flipping through social media posts to read their words over and over and over again.  Laying down on their beds, wrapping up in their clothes.  Calling voice mail messages to hear their voices one more time.   

My heart feels certain there are those who know no one involved and, yet, will suffer through weeks and months of fear and anxiety and sleeplessness.  For the mothers and fathers who want to rush to their adult children's sides to offer comfort and understanding.  Mommies and daddies who will snuggle their littles tighter tonight and pray the world will look vastly different in just a few short years.  Spouses and friends will wonder where will the next attack be and what will we do if it's on us.  

And because of all of it, I simply can't muster the care to engage in any sort of political or theological or cultural conversation about this event.  

I just cannot.

Instead, I will mourn with them.  I will weep.  I will pray.  I will listen.  I will hug.  I will let this attack cleanse nothing except any fear and misunderstanding in my own heart.  I will teach my children of God, His love, His grace, His forgiveness, His pursuit of us and how we are each made in His own image.  I will honor others because God saw fit to create them and because He loves them as much as He loves each of us.  I will carefully consider my words, my actions, my heart's desires and compare them to the two commandments of Jesus:  Love the Lord my God and Love my neighbor as myself.

Oh how I wish we could go back 50 years and do better.  But we know better now.    

Jesus, come.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

It's Totally Fine...

First, I need to confess this:  My children ate popcorn for lunch.

Today marks our first official summer day at home.  And I'm already wiped.

I had planned a nutritious lunch of organic kale and beet salad with a fresh squeezed citrus vinaigrette from the lemon trees in our yard followed by some flashcard work and bible study.  But, alas, popcorn in front of some educational "Angelina Ballerina" while I showered and ate leftover pizza won out today.

(No, my children do not eat kale or beets and no, we not have lemon trees in our yard.)

(Do lemon trees even grow in Texas?)

(Probably not but I suspect we're forcing them to somewhere.  Because we're Texas, dagnabit, and what you can do, we can do better.)

(We're looking at you, Florida.)

Also, the kids vetoed the flashcards and bible study (I had planned some Leviticus for them) and opted instead to play in the rain.  Right now, they're cleaning their plates (they had pear for a snack) (see, something healthy) while they collected rain water in their Halloween buckets and jumped in the puddles with their clothes and rain boots on.  Not sure why the rain boots were needed because the rest of them is soaking wet but who am I to argue with playtime.

They've now poured full Halloween pumpkins onto the dry, covered patio to "create more puddles!"

Clearly.

Last week was spent in Alabama.  Traveling, especially home, is amazing.  I loved every minute of it.    Well, okay, maybe not the minutes when my kids became overtired and over-sassy because of it.  Or the trapped inside away from Public because of pink eye minutes. But other than that, EVERY. MINUTE.  

Then small group came over yesterday for an end of the year party.  We offered to host after the leaders' little guy came down with croup (Bless his heart!  How about y'all come here and we all just avoid sharing that?).  But I had only about 24 hours to get ready.  

This morning consisted of after-party clean up.  Round 2.  Not everything fit in the dishwasher last night and while I totally could have washed the dishes last night, that's simply not how I roll.  And it's certainly not how Chris rolls, since he was the one doing the clean up last night.  I managed to glutenate myself.  

After-party clean up ranks as one of my favorite types of clean ups.  With the exception of two, all of my mason jar glasses were used and I smiled filling up the entire top drawer of the dishwasher with them, one at a time.  Half the pinwheels set out for decoration found lovely homes with some precious kiddos.  Empty water bottles and a chip basket with only crumbs remaining equals filled tummies.  And every dirty plate and napkin left in random locations means people were too busy talking and enjoying themselves to worry with finding a trash can.  

Makes me smile.

Grateful to have a house where we can host a last minute swim party.

Grateful to have a now mostly dry covered patio to sit and write.

Grateful to have a home to visit, even when we bring pink eye with us.

Enjoy the pictures from our week at home!







Monday, May 9, 2016

Nearing the End of Round 1....

Hello May!  Nice to see you!  

We are wrapping up our school year in typical fashion.  With a level of scheduling craziness for which I have zero explanation.  

We're just hanging on for dear life.  Trying to make it through each day one packed lunch at a time.

Last week, we had Kindergarten Round Up at Aubrey Kate's new school.  She'll be attending the elementary school in our neighborhood.  We'll walk to school every day!  That feels so Norman Rockwell to me.  I suspect the reality will be the exact opposite of that but I'm gonna enjoy my dreams until then.

Aubrey Kate has had an amazing year in kindergarten this year.  Without a doubt, private, half-day was the right choice for her.  She has just blossomed.  Her teachers tell us she is kind, hard-working, a good listener and always follows directions.  She hasn't quite gotten the hang of reading but they tell me that's a developmental milestone.  One day, it will simply click with her and she'll be reading.  

If she were to start first grade, she would likely be somewhere towards the back of the academic pack.  But they believe she could and probably would catch up quickly and think she would be fine to move on to first.

That's what her teachers see.

What I see has more to do with her personality.  

She does not love doing "all the work" at school.  She misses crafts for the joy of crafts instead of being told she has to make a blue bird.  "But blue is NOT my favorite color.  Why can't I make a pink bird?"  She does not like doing the homework.  Largely because reading and writing are still a struggle for her.  It feels like a have-to-do-task instead of a get-to-do-fun-project with Mom.  There have been tears shed and declarations made.  And truthfully, she's got too many years of school to already dislike it that much.

Of course, there's also the introverted, highly-sensitve part of her personality too.  The part that fears new places and people and hides behind her lovie, Rosy, and cries with anxiety.  She's been at her current school since she was two.  It's incredibly familiar and everyone knows her there.  This new school will be much larger, complete with a big cafeteria for lunch and new teachers on new hallways in new rooms.  Every new year, even in a very familiar place, brings a fresh batch of anxiety for her.  I have no reason to suspect this will change all of the sudden.

Her teachers said they don't see any of that from her.  I'm grateful.  I'd rather be the one dealing with her crying because she hasn't gotten any free center time than her complaining to her teachers about it.  They see her working hard to improve her handwriting and learning her sight words.  I get the tears and frustrations when she has to rewrite her name for the fourth time and she gets her "2" backwards.  

If she were reading and writing in some sort of advanced manner, the introverted, highly-sensitive issues would be less of a concern.  But she's not.  And since I know she's crazy smart and the reading and writing will come, the personality issues are my primary focus.

Kindergarten Round Up confirmed that for me.  

She spoke to zero people.  She never answered a direct question.  She hid behind Rosy.  And my legs.  

However, when we walked through the kindergarten rooms and we talked about the stations and how she had those in her room now, I watched her open up.  "Oh yeah!  We have a calendar!"  "Hey, we have a cubby too!"  

Her teacher asked me at our last conference what my momma gut was telling me.  And truly, my heart tells me she needs another year.  Not for the academics.  That'll come.  But for the time to adjust to the new environment, larger class and more responsibility.  My momma gut says she'll be adjusted completely by Christmas.  That's been her usual pattern so I see no reason for that to change.  But while she's getting socially adjusted, she'll be getting a refresher of this year instead of missing out on learning new information.  

I'm excited to see her continue to grow next year!  When reading clicks for her, she's gonna get lost in it.  Her imagination is amazing.  Reading is going to thrill and enthrall her.  Her left-handed hand writing will improve too.  She'll figure it out.  I've suggested and shown her a zillion times how to turn the paper to make it easier for her to see what she's writing.  One day, she'll believe me.  Although, likely she'll think it was her idea.  Which is fine.  You and I will know the truth.

I cannot wait for her to begin this new journey!  At the big kids' school!



Sunday, April 24, 2016

Well, We Survived...

I know.  I'm about a month, or three, behind on updates.  

Truth be told, I've been writing but not posting.  Processing but no revelation.  

And the kids are just being kids.  They are SUPER good at that!

So I figure the best place to start is just, well, now.  Chris was gone all weekend on the band spring trip.  When they do things every teenager dreams of doing.  Like cooking contests.  I'm not exactly sure of the prize but the kids take it very seriously.  At least according to the pictures posted on IG.  

Makes me hungry.  And also very aware of how easy it is to cook with gluten-filled stuff.

Us?  We ate really healthy this weekend.  Grilled cheese.  Hotdogs.  Pizza.  Mac n'Cheese.  You know.  The four major food groups.

I had big plans and dreams of cooking food just for myself.  I made a dinner last week that only I ate. The rest of the family said thanks but no.  Only without the thanks part.  So I was determined to cook myself things only I wanted.  Because if I'm the only one eating it anyway, might as well be some of my favorites.

Shrimp was bought.  Spicy Asian recipes pinned.  

And I cooked approximately nothing.

Seriously.

Instead, I ate the kids leftovers, granola bars and lots of cereal.  

The kids were off from school Friday so I knew going into this weekend, they would be with me for three FULL days.  I'm guessing the exhaustion from Aubrey Kate's birthday week/weekend and the clean up, set-the-house-back-together week caught up with me.  Combine that with knowing we had three FULL days to be together and I just flat out lost the ability to care.  

About most anything.

Certainly about food.

Thus, I ate cereal.

The weekend was fine.  They were kids.  No one slept late.  Or all the way through the night even.  So the witching hour was super fun but honestly, that's relatively normal.  They ate some but mostly not.  We read a lot of books.  And discussed every drawing of every character in every book until I wanted to pull out my hair.   

Mostly, we stayed on the go as much as we could.  The kids do better with a few strategically scheduled events.  Staying at home all day is too much togetherness.  For all of us.

I did manage to finish reading a book.  That's an accomplishment in and of itself.  I've also binge watched "Long Lost Family" on TLC.  Because apparently, I needed a reason to cry.  Heavens.  

Just in case you think things have really changed, I'll leave you with this story from AK.  

While I was running on Saturday, I was thinking about AK and her dance routine and, well, I was listening to some Michael Jackson (as one does when you run) and I started envisioning AK and I doing a dance together.  Just something fun and easy.  But something we could do together.

As we were driving home, I made the suggestion.  

"Hey, Aubrey Kate, what would you think about us doing a dance routine together?  Maybe your dance teacher could video your dance and we could do it together.  What do you think?"

Furrowed brow..."Um....I'm not sure.  Let me think about it.  I'll let you know."

"Okay.  Well, good.  You let me know how you feel about it just whenever you get a chance."

I'm glad time with me requires some thought.  

Here are the pictures from the weekend.  ENJOY.




Listen.  I'd love to tell you what's happening in that picture.  But I really don't have words.  Go with God, Rhys.


My COMPLETED book.  Please.  Read it.  Change the word "lovely" for "gratitude" and you'll see why I'm telling you to read it.  Not in a bossy way just in a YOU NEED THIS BOOK way.  



Maybe I'll get inspired or have some revelation to the twelve posts I have drafted.  Or maybe I'll write again in another month about Easter.  At this rate, I'll get the birthday post up in June.  

I rock at this.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Gratitude "Coming At You Sometime Over the Course of the Weekend, We Hope"...

Last weekend was a busy one.  Although, not for all the reasons Easter weekends are busy for people with, you know, family nearby.  No.  We had no fancy supper.  No ham to bake.  No casseroles to transport.  None of that.  

What we did have was a flower bed being turned into a retaining wall.

And maybe the Easter bunny visiting with some left over Valentine's candy.  

(Don't think for ONE SECOND that escaped my super-smart daughter.  The only answer I could offer her as to WHY the Easter Bunny might give us candy in heart shaped containers is because he/she/it just LOVES US SO MUCH.  Why wouldn't it be expressed through the shape of the candy?)

(CLEARLY.)

We started off the weekend with a little Good Friday trip to the Zoo.  I'd offer you pictures and witty stories only, I still haven't recovered.  Because the entirely of Fort Worth was at the Zoo.  

I'm gonna need some more time to process and let time pass.  Since time heals all wounds.  

Our church was offering six Easter services at our campus beginning with a 6:30 pm Friday option.  We opted for that.  We wanted to make sure there was enough room for people to attend on Sunday morning.  You'd think a Friday Easter morning service wouldn't be that crowded but no lie, it was more crowded for that service than I'd ever seen any other service at our church.  

Having gotten "the family fun time" and the Easter service knocked out on Friday, that left us with two full days at home.  

Chris had plans.

We have a flower bed behind the waterfall feature on our pool.  Mostly, it's spent the fall and winter being extremely overgrown and possibly serving as a home for snakes and such.  Chris had cleaned it out the weekend before and, thankfully, there had been no snakes in the bed.  

I vaguely remember Chris telling me what he wanted to do with the flower bed but, being totally honest, I'm pretty sure I was only half listening.  

Grass + weeds + possible snakes = ROBIN OUT.

But I was in no way prepared for the amount of work he ended up doing.  

He completely REMOVED the existing flower bed and built an actual retaining wall. 

A wall.  He built a wall.

And it's super pretty.

This is why we are such a good fit.  I looked at our existing flower bed and thought only, "Awe, that's cute."

Chris looks at the same thing and thinks, "That's JUNK.  It much go."  And then proceeds to consider every CATASTROPHE that might happen if the junk of a flower bed is not removed and a wall built.

Which goes something like this...

"If we do not remove this flower bed out and replace it with a retaining wall we risk the structural integrity of the pool and when that happens we risk flooding not only our yard but the neighbor's yards and that much water could do some serious foundation damage and since our pool will be the cause of the damage, we would have to pay for the foundation repairs of not only our house but the houses surrounding us and let's not forget, the pool is still broken and we can't just leave a big hole in the ground so that would obviously need to be fix and once that was fixed, I'd have to build a retaining wall to prevent it from just happening all over again.  Only we'd be completely bankrupt and have to move in with our parents.  So, anyway, I'm gonna need to take out that flower bed and build a retaining wall."

Me?  I'm like, "Cool.  I'm going to a thrift store.  Let me know when it's done, K?"

Perfect fit.

Flower bed vs. retaining wall discussions aside, for the most part, any big, life altering stuff, we utilize the Traffic Light system.  

So say we're discussing if we should buy a truck.  We each pray about it and then discuss.  We will say, "Are you getting a red or green light on that?"  Unless we're both getting a green light, it's a no.  

Occasionally, we'll just start a discussion with something like, "Okay, building an outdoor shower, are you getting a green light or a red light on that?"

Although, that's clearly a silly example because once Chris has decided he's building an outdoor shower, it just is happening.  Kinda like my decision to redecorate AK's bedroom.  This is not up for discussion.  It's just happening.

Last weekend, after the wall was built, we were sitting on the couch talking.  We don't really have any big, life-altering decisions coming up but we do have a little thing we have to green or red light.  I asked him how he was praying about it and what kinda of light he thought he was getting.  He shared.

And then I shared what I was praying.  

Which was a big ole "WHATEVER."

Please, picture me making the "W" with my hands as I pray and telling God in my sassiest of voices, "WHATEVER."  

In a lot of ways, my relationship with God has reached a trust tipping point.  Not sure I could have said that a year ago.  The Pruning helped.  We've come to that place where I'm simply okay with whatever comes.  

Chris said, "So basically, the traffic light and it's color is irrelevant.  You're more, 'Look.  Another traffic light.'"

Exactly.

Part of this is my personality.  

(Which, SIDE NOTE, everyone should take a personality test of some kind.  We did during small group a couple of weeks ago.  Largely because we'd had a guest speaker that week and although he was LOVELY, we didn't have a whole lot of revelation to share.  But one of our members is getting his MBA so he's studying these kinds of things and those of us who'd never taken one became incredibly curious.)

(I'm an INFJ and a Beaver.)

(Seriously.  Go take one.  Now.)

(I'll wait.)

But part of my new "whatever-ness" is truly, simply, being okay with whatever God does.  I'll go.  I'll stay.  I'll work.  I'll stay home.  I'll lead.  I'll follow.  I'll join.  I'll create.  Whatever.  

And I am immensely grateful for that.  

Would I have chosen to go through The Pruning?  No way.  Opted to feel like God had led us out into a dessert alone?  Nope.  Asked for silence from My Father as He waited for us to let go?  Never.

But that's what we got and that's what we did and it was good.  

It. Was. Good.

He's been giving me some things to ponder, consider, examine about how we handled The Pruning.  Challenging me to see His faithfulness and my own.  Asking me to think about what we actually gave up instead of what I FELT like we gave up.  

Truly, this feels like the healing I've been praying for this past year.  I was waiting for an instantaneous relief.  Like those testimonies when God takes away someone's addiction to heroine the second they pray for it to be removed.  But that's not what's happened for me.  Although, I have prayed so fervently for just that.  

And believe me, this is not something where I lay it at His feet and then keep turning around to pick it back up.  I DON'T WANT IT. No part of it.  

But this is the way healing has come for me.  Slowly.  Deliberately.  Faithfully.  Likely, exactly the way I needed it to come for me.

Because God knows my personality far better than a test.  After all, He gave me Chris with all his talent for catostrophic thinking.  Otherwise, I would have lived life on the edge and just left the flower bed alone.  

Whatever.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

More Than One Post a Week Seems Like a Good Thing...

Truly, y'all, I don't have much to say.  

Rhys is on week two of being an ABSOLUTE JOY.  

(Sarcasm font.)  

I have no idea, at this point, if it continues to be overtired.  Although, that's totally playing a role.  Since he went to bed last night after 8 pm and got up at 6:45 am.  Or if the grace I gave him last week is simply biting me in the bottom this week.  Because the week after daylight savings time begins deserves grace.  The week after the week after daylight savings time begins deserves nothing.  

He was so inconsolable on Monday, I ended up holding him most of the day.  I dropped him off...CRYING...at school after I'd carried him to the car, then from the car and then into his classroom.  His teacher actually said, "Rhys, it's almost the end of the year!  Don't cry now!"

Preach.

When I arrived for pick up, he was standing against the wall in the room, back pack on and crying.

His teacher says, "When he's ready to go, he's ready to go."

I then carried him, crying, to the car and, once at AK's school, inside to get her.  He played on the playground for about 15 seconds before he started crying and I got to hold him again.

By the time we got home, my back had revolted.  I spent the rest of Monday on the heating pad and popping Advil.  Good times.

Thankfully, my back recovered.  Rhys and his attitude/neediness did not.  I thought he might have been sick or becoming sick but no.  At least nothing I see or feel.  He's just in a FOUL MOOD.

Last night, we, Rhys and I, had to come to an understanding.  Which was I was DONE with the fits and the tantrums and his inability to walk from place to place.  

Being that he's three, he pushed the boundaries again this morning and I was flat out of grace.  

After that final incident, we had a much better day.  He gave me a sticker.  And a zillion kisses.  Fingers crossed, my sweet boy stays here and the Threenager is gone.  Again.

Apart from dealing with the Threenager, I've been getting ready for Aubrey Kate's 6th birthday party. There are not enough words to say on this upcoming EVENT.  Other than, it's here.  At our house.  And she wants to invite every person she has ever known.  Plans have been in the works for months.  But this is kinda like a wedding, I can do only so much before the actual event.  But the clock is ticking.  So I'm working.

Of course, having a party at our house requires more work than just the party.  The house needs to be done too.  All those little projects I've been dodging in favor of watching The West Wing now have to be actually completed.  

You know.  Like actually sewing my living room curtains currently being held up by straight pins.  

Basically, there are party projects and there are house projects and they both have to get done.

Chris has his list too.  Like the flower beds.  He's working on getting those cleaned out and replanted. Tonight, he and the kids took out the heart shaped flower bed in the front yard.

Can we all agree here that anything HEART SHAPED does not AT ALL say "Robin?"  

Heart shaped anything is just too precious for me.  

My almost six year old daughter?  Yeah.  She's totally fine with it.  Also on the list of things she's fine with, princesses, Shopkins and all things pink.  Obviously, we are not on the same page.

The flower bed goes.

Chris is fine with that.  As it was kinda the pits to mow around.  

Enjoy this picture of the heart shaped hole in the yard.  It will be filled with sod shortly.


Chris let the kids help him dig so please enjoy the little orange shovel there in the corner.  They were both so excited to "help Daddy."  Listen, they adore their daddy.  It is a JOY and one day, they won't run outside to help him dig up a flower bed.  There will be eye rolling and "too busy" instead.  


After such hard work, Rhys needed a break.  Cornbread and a water hit the spot.  

Don't let his flip flops go unnoticed.  Doesn't everyone do yard work in their flip flops?  

I mean, clearly.

And now you have been updated on our SUPER THRILLING life.  

Gosh, I hope you have something more exciting to do now.  Like watch paint dry.