November 30, 2016

my lazy day - "When God Doesn't Fix It"

Yesterday I had the laziest, cozy, most relaxing day. I didn't plan to have a lazy day, it just organically happened and it was SO nice. I finished another Ann Lamott book Monday night so when I woke up on Tuesday (after taking B to school) I came home and started a new book called "When God Doesn't Fix It" by Laura Story. I thought I would read a few chapters and then get started on my day (ie yoga, grocery store, bank, laundry, some editing, etc.) but I found myself saying "just one more chapter" and before I knew it, I had spent the.whole.day. in my pjs, in bed, reading the whole book! I'm not sure I've ever done that in my life but it was really great! I showered in the early evening, made B dinner and then Adam and I took her to volleyball practice before the two of us went on a little dinner date. All in all, a pretty great day. :)

I would recommend this new book by Laura Story, especially if there is an area of your life in need of some reconciliation, such good stuff here. Here are some of my favorite nuggets from the book:

* "Our desire is for God to fix broken things. But God's desire for us is to fix our relationship with him."

* "But when Adam and Eve disobeyed him we entered the second part of the narrative, the fall. The sin that entered the world that fateful day has consequences that continue to our day. War, poverty, greed, gossip, jealousy, gluttony, cancer, and brain tumors are just a few of the ways sin manifests itself. Everything is distorted and broken. The biggest break is our relationship with God. It's called the "fall" because we've fallen away from God, and we can't get up by ourselves."

* "We ask God why, believing the answer will provide us with some kind of deep soul satisfaction. But too often, we don't get the answer we want. I don't think that means we should give up asking questions; we just need to understand their role in our brokenness."

* "I promise you will find more purpose and joy in your life if you set aside the why and begin to ask how. How does my story fit into God's greater story of redemption?"

* "It's only when we bring our pain to him that we can find our dwelling in him."

* "There's nothing in scripture that tells us we're entitled to an answer. It's not that God is secretive and doesn't want us to know; it's that we're incapable of seeing the big picture."

* "Is there something you've let go of because you couldn't make it happen? Do you believe that if you offered it to God he could raise it or make it happen? Jesus takes dead things and revives them. He is the life. He is the resurrection. And it is through your belief in him that you will see the glory of God, just as Martha and Mary did. Jesus has the power to resurrect the things we've let die - our hope, our healing, our family, our mind, and our body. And though he doesn't promise to restore everything until we enter Restoration, occasionally we get a glimpse of things we let die being revived. And in that moment we see the glory of God."

* "When Jesus raises our dead things, he does it in his timing, not ours. And he does it for one reason -that we might catch a glimpse of his magnificent power and his marvelous glory."

* "No matter what it is that we are praying for, a time will come when we bump up against what we think God should do and what he allows."

* "To be better in our brokenness isn't to remove the brokenness; it's to remove the selfishness, pride, impatience, or other sinful behaviors we blame on the brokenness, When we stop blaming our situation on the brokenness, we begin to see that the brokenness is a trial designed specifically for us."

In my book I wrote "ugh..." in the margin next to this paragraph:

* "I rarely choose patience and grace over anger and annoyance. Yet I've learned that even though they aren't my automatic responses to situations, the more I practice patience and grace, the better I get. So why wouldn't God use the trials in my life to teach me patience? Why wouldn't God, who gave us perfect grace and who wants me to give and receive it, give me an astounding number of opportunities to learn how to give and receive grace? If God, who wants what is best for me, knows that means learning to depend on him more than I am capable of, why wouldn't he design circumstances in my life to teach me how to be totally dependent on him for everything?"

* "It's a deep joy that comes from making intentional choices about how we're going to live our lives despite our circumstances."

* "It's just that we acknowledge that God is God and we are not. Even in the midst of our unchanging circumstances, we can still give him praise and glory. We can still tell others how frail and weak we are, while saying how strong our God remains. We can be content and even find joy in our tragedy, not because we will ourselves to be or have some kind of extraordinary mastery over our feelings."

* "It's a hard truth to hear that our circumstances might not change and God might not fix the broken things in our lives. But I know personally that even when our situation doesn't change for the better, we can change for the better."

That last quote has really, really resonated with me because I've found it to be so true in my own life. There are a couple areas of my life in desperate need of healing and reconciliation but I can't make it happen, and its taken me a while to come to this conclusion. Its been such an interesting journey getting to where I am today; the older I get I realize there really is no replacement for time. I mean time in the most basic sense of the word, but also in the time that it takes for God to do some really good, hard, honest work. As I've mentioned here before, I'm better than I was a couple years ago; I love Jesus more, I'm more gracious, I'm more patient, I'm more forgiving, I'm more introspective which produces more thoughtfulness. It has been a journey to get to this place, and I'm nowhere near "done" yet, but I'm so aware of the progress I have made and I'm so thankful for that. As another year is coming to a close and I reflect on 2016, I see a lot of growth and healing in me and for me, that's a win. xo

November 28, 2016

T-Day weekend 2016

Whew! This past week went so fast! Its always a busy/fun time when cousin Mike comes into town for T-day but this year felt especially nutty! We rented our friend's home for T-day this year as our rental cannot accommodate a crowd (or a guest for that matter) and its not a cooking-friendly house so, to the Harp House we went! It was SO fun to be in my friend's beautiful #fixerupper and to cook in that fabulous kitchen! We had a GREAT time! There were 20 of us for Thanksgiving, so there was lots of food and fun all day long, we loved it! I made all my usual stuff but tried a new butterfinger cheesecake recipe and a pumpkin layer cake with marscapone icing which was pretty darn good! I have really missed entertaining so it was fun to be back at it with our dear friends. Friday we headed up to Dallas to root on the Baylor Bears, sadly we didn't get a win but we still had a great time! We spent the night in Dallas and had to be up and at 'em to get back to Waco to root on the lady bears in their volleyball game! (B is in a year round v-ball club and the coach works at Baylor and wanted the girls there to root on the bears, it was a lot of fun!). After the game we showed Mike our land, went out to dinner and went back to the Harp House for our last night there. Sunday we had to be up and at 'em to head to Austin for our family photos, so after we did that we spent the day hanging out in Austin having fun with Mike before he had to catch his flight back home. Whew! Busy non-stop weekend and this morning came too early! B did not want to get up and go to school and I was with her! It all just came too soon! I've got some work to do today and my house looks like a tornado went thru it so I'm gonna get after it! Hope you all had a great Thanksgiving!! xo

Here's a peek of a session I'm working on!


November 16, 2016

Adam is 40 (in photos)

Here are a handful of photos from Adam's 40th birthday bash! The "theme" was "Adam is 40" so I got balloons that said that, had 40oz beers in the middle of each table, and my friend made the coolest 40oz cake! Lots of fun celebrating my favorite person. xo


 gummy bears bc they are Adam's favorite and "40 sucks" suckers were on each table...




 bocce ball, ladder ball, and corn hole were all over the yard for folks to play...






November 10, 2016

39

To say "its been busy around here" would be a massive understatement, but, as always, we made it! I back-dated my Halloween post so you can see B as Hermione a few posts back, she was so cute! :) Mom has been in town for B's birthday, her skating party was a success, and I only fell once! Hooray! Yesterday I turned 39, I knew it wasn't going to be the greatest birthday for a lot of reasons and although it started out rough, it turned out pretty okay! At around 4am Adam and I woke up to the sound of a critter under our house/in the backyard? (we're not totally sure), then at 5:22am Brennan ran into the bathroom because she thought she was going to throw up, then at 6:30am Brennan was in the bathroom and Adam thought she was sick so he darts out of bed, etc.. Ay yi yi, rough morning. So, B stayed home with me and had a sick day (and the irony is, she hasn't been sick all year AND she threw up LAST YEAR on my birthday too!!). So, I had a massage and pedicure scheduled and couldn't find a sitter and as the morning went on B seemed pretty okay so, mom of the year -I took her to the spa with me and she sat in the lobby on her ipad while I was pampered (it was really okay, I promise - she didn't throw up at all (even in the am when she thought she would) and she ended up being totally fine and is back at school today). So, in all honesty, I'm glad I didn't cancel my bday spa treats (points for honesty? :). It was a gloomy, ick day (and I don't really ever talk politics on this here blog and have no intention of starting but to wake up to the president news already cast a pretty dark shadow on the day any how) so B and I just stayed in cozy clothes and hung out at home. My sweeet friend left a lovely candle on the doorstep, another friend had cupcakes delivered to my house, and another sweet friend had a whole pie delivered to my house! I'm a spoiled girl indeed and had many phone calls, texts, etc. and I felt very loved and cared for. When I was getting my massage and had time to just lay and think about the day and about getting another year older I started to think of the many things I'm super thankful for (and obviously my heath, my family, and my family's health is among those), but also I kept thinking about last year at this time, how I was in such a dark place and longed to be back in Waco, and how yesterday I woke up in Waco and what an answer to prayer that is! How God has given me the desire of my heart and how thankful I am just to be here. Even with Trump as president, even with the dark gloomy day, even with my sick child, all of those things are going on with me living in Waco and that is pretty great in and of itself.

Adam recently accepted a leadership position at our church and any time a new person is elected they do a q & a to get to know the person a bit better and one of the questions was "Why are you in Waco?" and Adam's response was: "Because there is nowhere else I'd rather live. Oh, and I also teach at UMHB so there's that too." At Adam's birthday party a couple weeks ago I gave a toast and talked about how a lot of people tend to give you weird looks when you trade in southern California for central Texas, but that our community gets it -everyone in that yard understood what I was saying. A dear friend of Adam's (mine too!) happened to be in town from California and it was SUCH a treat to have him at Adam's party. As he was getting ready to leave he came up to me, pointed to the crowd of people at the party and looked back at me and said "I get it. I think you made the right choice." I know that some people search their whole lives for a fraction of the relationships that we are privileged to have -I get it, I know Adam and I are the lucky ones and I don't take that for granted. Loving God and loving people is what this life is about, and here is where we feel we do both of those things best, I'm so grateful for another year of life, and that I get to live it in Waco, Texas. xo

November 2, 2016

B is 10!

My sweet B is 10 today! She has been looking forward to turning a "decade" old for a while now, I on the other hand can't believe its true! 10 years ago I was laying in bed relying on Adam to run back and forth from the NICU to give me updates and I hadn't met my girl yet (at this point). Feels so long ago and like yesterday at the same time.

Sweet B, this has been a big year for you! You were THRILLED when you heard that there was a possibility that we were moving back to Waco, and then when it came to fruition you were SO happy! You couldn't wait to move home for good and it was so good for our hearts to watch you so happy after a rough 2 years. You moved back into school and church with ease and its almost as if we never left. You are enjoying school (well for the most part, its still not your favorite thing) and you made the honor roll this semester! You also played your first real sport and really enjoyed volleyball season (much to your parents happiness!). You did really well and since you loved it so much we enrolled you in a club and you will be playing the rest of the year -yippee!!! You still don't love shoes (I write that every year b/c I keep waiting for that to change), and the Olive Garden and Jimmy Johns are still your favorite restaurants. You love going to church and tell me that you're so glad our church is the way it is (after you go to mass on Fridays! :) Minecraft and your AG dolls are your favorite past times and daddy has recently gotten you into Harry Potter so you've done more reading in the past few months than in your whole life combined! Your sense of humor is stellar and your sarcasm is on point, you always make daddy and I laugh and I always appreciate your timing! You continue to be so sweet, kind and thoughtful and you make me so proud to be your mom. California was so hard on you and you handled it with such grace, its good for my soul to see you back in Waco and how happy you are. You say you don't plan to leave Waco and that you anticipate going to college at Baylor (music to daddy's and my ears!). You are ten, but still my baby girl. I love you, B. xo