Sunday, July 23, 2017

Lazy Dayz of Summer

Another weekend in the books! HOW IS THAT POSSIBLE?!?  But it is now Sunday night, everyone is settled in, and Monday will be here before we know it.  This weekend was pretty lazy - just the way three days in a row of over 100 degree heat should be!

It was Emma's weekend to be in Stillwater with us.  She was coming off a week of being on the Oklahoma State University campus at Big 3 fields days where she worked hard and ran in to a lot of her Stillwater friends!  We picked her up later in the evening on Friday night, and she stayed through the morning on Sunday.  We were so lazy!  She wasn't feeling 100%, plus it was so very hot, so Saturday we just hung out at home all day.

Riding in to Stillwater!  The OG Three!

Saturday morning we watched the movie "Forrest Gump" as a family on Netflix, went out for lunch, then took another lazy approach to the afternoon. Emma took a long nap, and Lara went went with her friend Molly out to Molly's grandma's house for some pool time.  She had a blast - and this time didn't come home with a sunburn.  Britt and I sure miss her when she's gone like that, but we remarked about how lucky she is to have another family to love her like their own.  We never have to worry about her when she is with them!

Lara came home in the evening, and we all SIX hung out as a family watching "Family Fued" best answer clips from YouTube until bedtime. Steve Harvey is one funny dude!  It was SO MUCH FUN to hear big belly laughs from both Emma and Lara!  And the boys, too!

Sunday, Emma left mid morning to go to church and lunch with her other family.  We slept in, then went to lunch as a family of 5.  Since we go to church in the evening, everyone came home and played video games and/or napped.  SO LAZY!  (In Lara's defense, she wasn't feeling to well today, either.) We got up and went to church where we got to see Week 3 of At The Movies.  (I think it is so cool that Emma went this morning and we went this evening and we ALL got the same teaching!).  This week's movie was 2016's "Lion" and the message was about never giving up.  That applies at all ages!

One more weekend in July, then it will be AUGUST - all the back to school stuff will be up on us quicker than we would like!  Here's to a great last week in July!

Monday, July 17, 2017

Lake Life

Another weekend has come and gone.  Seems to be going even FASTER since I am trying to document it!  The weekend, Emma and Lara spent all their time at the lake with their Dad, Step-mom, and her extended family.  Fishing, Sailing, tubing – you know, all the fun lake stuff!  It started a little earlier than the “weekend,” too!  Lara joined Emma out there mid-week, and they stayed through Sunday.

But I was lucky enough to CATCH them for a few hours on Friday night!  My cousin, Jane, and her two kiddos (Ages 7 and 6 – 14 months apart!) are visiting for 2 weeks from New York (Long Island, to be exact).  Those of us not at the lake had a dinner play date with them on Thursday night, where an impromptu trip to the Cushing Aquatic Center was planned for Friday night.  I texted my girls to see if I could come get them and drag them along, and they agreed!

After work on Friday, I drove out to Lake Carl Blackwell and picked Emma and Lara up from their camping location at Pine Grove.  We met up with everyone else, and off we went!  We got there and got settled in, spent less than 20 minutes in the pool, and the lifeguards saw lightning!  OUT OF THE POOL!  We waited out the lighting for about an hour, but just before they let everyone back in, we left since we were already dry.  Back to Stillwater to get the boys in bed, then back to the lake to drop off the girls.  It was a GREAT night despite the changes in plans!

Even though we weren’t together on Sunday, we all learned the same lesson.  The girls attended Life Church in Edmond, while we attended in Stillwater.  It is Week 2 of At The Movies, and the movie we saw was “Collateral Beauty” from 2016.  The clips we saw really made us want to see the whole thing!  Maybe we can do that as a family soon! 

After an evening out in Stillwater with her sister and her friends, Lara finally made it home Sunday evening.  She had a GREAT weekend – Sunburn and all. 

Two funnies – Friday night in the car Emma was telling a story about the road between Mulhall and Guthrie and how they call it Wildcat Curve.  Then she was saying the bridge on that road (which is in bad shape) will be taken out next summer.  To which Lara replies, “That’s a year from now!” And then Britt says, “If they take it out – how will anyone cross the river?”  Probably had to be there, but it was pretty funny.  Then late last night Emma tells me how Lara gave a coin to the barista at Starbucks and said, “Here’s a quarter!”  They guy looked at her and said, “This is a nickel.”  She shrugged and smiled.  Emma said it seems as if this might happen a lot…  J

Here’s to another weekend!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

Bucket List

Urban Dictionary says a bucket list is “A list of things to do before you die.  Comes from the term ‘kicked the bucket.’ I need to remember to add skydiving to my bucket list.”

I’ve never really made a “Bucket List.”  Not sure why.  Just didn’t feel the need?  Probably. Don’t have anything to put on it? Not Likely. Living every day to the fullest so its redundant? Hmmm… Maybe?  I don’t really know.  But I do know people who are very serious about their lists.  Accomplishing one per year, or posting it in their home or office and physically marking one off as it is met.  I love that spirit; that determination!  I like goals.  I write those down.  So, in a way, that’s like a “mini bucket list” I guess…

I am thinking about this today since I have seen the term (over)used this weekend on my social highlight reels media feeds.  A local little league team won a state tournament.  A 90’s Country Super Star and Oklahoma native played 4 concerts in 2 days (or something like that) in OKC. Summer beach vacations to exotic and “once in a lifetime” locations.  Bucket list: CHECK, CHECK, CHECK! I am so happy for everyone who got to check something off their list this summer!  It’s truly a priceless memory for you, and I enjoy sharing in the experience through your pictures.  THANK YOU for letting me in, just a little.

So, what about my bucket list?  What should I put on it?  What do I want to “do before I die?”  As a start, I’d say: Love Jesus.  Be more like Him every day.  Shine His light to others. Grow tiny humans into AMAZING adults - who love Jesus, want to be more like Him every day, and shine His light to others. [Work in progress, so ½ CHECK]

What else?  What experiences?  LOVE, truly love, others.  BE loved.  Be cherished, treasured, valued. To make a difference in someone’s life. Show grace every chance I can.  We all make mistakes, we ALL need grace. (Spotify totally “gets” me!  Grace Upon Grace by Brooke + Boggs just came on!) If you’ve met my husband and kids, and know them, you KNOW these things happen daily in our house. [Repeat these goals daily: CHECK] (*sidebar – don’t get me wrong!  We are NOT perfect, and I am pretty sure I am the least perfect among us – but, GRACE!)

Beyond that, my mind goes completely blank.  There’s nowhere I “need” to go before I die.  I am happiest in my home in the presence of the family and friends that love me best.  There’s nothing material I “need” to buy to fill a gap (although I have a short list of things I would like to have…).  And there is no one I “need” to meet before I die.  Because, the only guy I really want to encounter, I don’t get to see until I get to Heaven and fall in to his loving arms.  Where there is no pain.  No weeping.  No “need.”  [Until that day: CHECK]

God showed me what Grace truly looks like when he brought Britt into our (Mine, Emma’s and Lara’s) lives.  You see, the 3 years before that were filled with very little grace, and had been something no one would put on a bucket list.  But, God!  When I wasn’t looking, when I felt least loved, when mistakes made me feel worthless, God showered out grace by introducing me to my future husband.  And, because I don’t receive gifts well sometimes, I almost missed out on it.  Good thing my God moves mountains and has perfect timing!

Let me tell you about him.  Britt.  Giver.  Thinker.  Entertainer.  Loves Fiercely.  Laughs incessantly. Lives abundantly. He loves Jesus, and he loves us.  As the spiritual leader of our home, he makes sure we pray.  He encourages us to be in the Word daily. He drives us to church every weekend – even when we are sweaty and sunburned from long days of baseball.  He is insanely smart.  I may have scored highly on an IQ test as a teenager, made good grades in high school and graduated college with a double major, but my husband is infinitely smarter than I am!  This, in itself, makes the grace God granted an irreplaceable gift!  He is always the first to offer whatever he can others.  Generous beyond measure.  His time, his talents, his treasure – he knows they are not his and they are gifts to be shared. A lesson he is still teaching me and one I will never be as good at, but I marvel at his ability to be this way without a second thought and I strive to emulate him. He is the light in any darkness.  My husband loves to laugh, and God gave him the best sense of humor and the ability to share it so easily with others.  Everyone that spends time with him knows he is FUNNY, and truly appreciates it.  No one in our house goes a full day without a good, hearty laugh. And never at your own expense.  He knows how to laugh WITH you, not AT you.  He is loyal, committed, and honorable.  If he says he is going to do something, he does it.  And he does it well.  His word MEANS something.  And oh!  His LOVE!  It’s BIG!  It covers more ground than any of us deserve (Sounds a bit like Jesus, no?) Every single one of us is unlovable at times.  But it doesn’t matter to him.  When my demons are loud and my tears are real and my words harsh, Britt is right by my side.  When the kids’ dreams are fading in front of their eyes and their hearts are broken for any reason, he is the first to offer a shoulder and a wise word of encouragement.  When we’ve all had too much screen time and our phones/devices are growing out of our palms, he reminds us to put them down!  He puts every single need I or one of the kids perceives we have in front of his own.  His love language is giving gifts.  He loves to surprise us with anything that will bring a smile to our face.  Tiny and meaningful only to the receiver, or big and boisterous for all to see – same love in them all.

With a love like this in my life, the grace I have received, and all the other amazing blessings that surround me, it seems somehow selfish to pen a “bucket list.”  But, friends, there is ONE THING I “need” in this season of my life.  If you’ve followed our story, you already know what it is.  But I will ask again.  My amazing, wonderful, incomparable husband NEEDS A JOB.  Did you know it has been 11 LONG months (today) since he became unemployed?  It’s been a tremendous storm.  Unimaginable, relentless, devastating in so many ways.  But we have gained so much from it, too!  Incredible patience.  The generosity of friends and strangers alike.  Faith in our God and his perfect timing.  I believe in the power of prayer and I know a God that performs miracles daily.  The time has not been right yet, but I know it’s coming. 

Please pray with me.  For provision during this storm, and for my husband’s employment.  So many opportunities that fell through in the 11th hour.  So many discouraging phone calls and emails.  So many unpaid bills.  He has never had more than a moment of doubt, a minute of fear, or a second of sadness.  Unfathomable.  For me – Queen of Anxiety and Depression.  But I look at him and it makes me stronger.  He reminds me that this is not about me, or the kids, or even him!  It’s about JESUS and trust.  I trust you, Lord.  I trust you. 

Letting go of every single dream
I lay each one down at Your feet
Every moment of my wandering
Never changes what You see
I try to win this war
I confess, my hands are weary, I need Your rest
Mighty warrior, King of the fight
No matter what I face You're by my side
When You don't move the mountains
I'm needing You to move
When You don't part the waters
I wish I could walk through
When You don't give the answers
As I cry out to You
I will trust, I will trust, I will trust in You
          ~Lauren Daigle, “Trust In You”

My amazing husband (that’s what I call him; that’s how is name is saved in my phone contacts)

came to check on me and see what I was doing.  He asked if I was writing him a love letter when he saw me typing.  My knee-jerk reaction was to say no.  But, yes.  YES!  YES – I WROTE YOU A LOVE LETTER!  I love you and I love Jesus in you.  I love who you are and what you do.  I love you as a man, a husband, a step-father, and a father.  And my love for you grows everyday.  I am so thankful for a God that provides, and shows us GRACE.