Monday, February 28, 2011

Pictures of our Shuttle launch trip

These are only a few of the MANY pictures I took. I'll spare you a really long slideshow. But if you want to see more, just ask!

We took a bus tour the day before and spent some more time at the Kennedy Space Center walking around reading the history of space travel. Brilliant people!

We were honored to be invited last minute (its all in who you know) to the night viewing of the shuttle, which I think, was even better than the launch itself. Magical. And we got to see Steve, across a rope, and give Diane a hug.

They tell you numerous times to not take pictures of the launch or you will miss something, but you know me with my camera, but they were right. It happens so fast you do miss out on really taking it all in while taking a picture. But I did it anyway.

And just an added bonus, me and Jason with Chris Tomlin. Again, its all in who you know!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

My heart is full...

My heart, my mind and my soul are so full that I'm not sure I can get it all out in writing. I'm not sure words can describe all that God has taught me the past four days... all that He has reminded me of because I so soon forget... all that He has convicted me of because I just the other day told someone I don't get convicted of sin often... all that He has shown me about His great love for me. Its mind boggling. I will save logistics and pictures for another post, but this is just my small attempt to share what God has been piercing my heart with this week.

We were able, finally, to see the launch of Space Shuttle Discovery, STS 133 on Thursday in Florida. Our friend, Steve Lindsey, is the commander. To know someone personally that is being strapped into a bomb is very surreal. I had a stomach ache all week. I couldn't figure out why, but it miraculously went away 20 minutes after the launch. To hug his wife right before she goes to tell him goodbye is very emotional. They are true American heroes in my opinion.

The day before we were able to tour Kennedy Space Center. We did most of it last Nov. when we tried the launch the first time, but this time we did a couple of new things. We saw a 3D IMAX movie about the Hubble telescope. If you ever get the opportunity to see it, please do. I wanted to fall on my knees in worship in the middle of the theater. It shows pictures from the Hubble and describes how big our universe is, way beyond the planets that I learned in school. My mind cannot comprehend how big it is, how God has made all of this, and then placed our earth in the middle of our little galaxy. And then made me. I suppose to some people that might turn them off of God, because how can such a big God care for little me. But it gave me such comfort and strength and encouragement. He did make all of this unbelievable creation and then because He wanted to have a relationship with His creation and wanted us to praise and worship Him out of love, not obligation, He made us in His image. I am a very little dot in the midst of His glorious creation, but He loves me with an unbelievable, lavish love, and wants to be intimate with me. And, how often do I not take advantage of the power of the creator of the universe who wants to work through me?! Why do I try to do things by myself instead of asking God, who created the stars who are millions of light years away, to help me take care of my kids? Did you know our galaxy only has one star, the sun? All the other stars we see are farther out. There are baby stars being birthed, there are mature stars, and then there are stars that are dying. They are all different colors depending on their age. Craziness.

I'm reading One Month to Live, by Kerry Shook. Coincidentally, I read this while on the plane on the way to FL. "In 1995 scientists pointed the Hubble Space Telescope into an empty patch of black space about the size of a grain of sand just above the handle of the Big Dipper. They wanted to test the clarity and range of the Hubble and were shocked when the pictures came back. That little patch of empty space wasn't empty at all. The pictures revealed over a thousand previously unknown galaxies. Scientists now estimate there are more then 125 billion galaxies in the visible universe. Each one of those galaxies contains millions of stars. It's mind-boggling! My little finite mind can't even begin to grasp such magnitude. If this is the size of only what we know of creation, then how much greater must the Creator be? How much power and imagination must He possess in order to craft such beauty, force, and complexity." pg 121.

I came back from the launch in the mood to worship, and last night was able to go to the Chris Tomlin/Louie Giglio concert. It was unbelievable! It gave me the outlet I needed to thank my God for all that He has done in my life. He has saved me from so much. He is my healer, my salvation, my faithful Father. And then Louie spoke about the same stuff that I had been thinking about. He showed a picture of the sun putting out beautiful spurts of gas. He said it was the sun singing praise to its creator in the way it could. He played the sounds that NASA has collected of stars, stars make sounds! And he said it was the stars singing their songs of praise to their Creator. Psalm 148:3 says, "Praise him, sun and moon, praise him, all you shining stars." Read the rest of the Psalm when you get a chance. We are commanded to praise our Creator along with the rest of creation.

And then this morning, Steve preached about Abraham talking to God about saving Soddom. God invited us into a two-way relationship where we can talk to him about our cares. He is sovereign and can do what he wants, but he loves us and wants to hear our hearts. The ultimate Creator wants to hear my heart! He wants me to spend time with Him. He wants me to ask for help and He is ready, willing and able to grace me with His power, strength and wisdom if I will only ask.

Needless to say, it has been a life-changing weekend for me, if I will let it. I pray that a week from now, I'm not back where I have been. I pray that I will spend time with my intimate Creator, thanking Him for all He has done in my life and seeking His help, the power that no one can fathom, and His love I cannot comprehend.

Friday, February 18, 2011

My Quiet Time today...

I started Philippians today. This is what jumped out at me in chapter 1.
9-11 "And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ- to the glory and praise of God."

I always thought the love it was referring to was my love for God. But when I read it in the Message today, I got something totally different out of it.

"... not only love much, but well. Learn to love appropriately. You need to use your head and test your feelings so that your love is sincere and intelligent, not sentimental gush. Live a lover's life... making Jesus Christ attractive to all, getting everyone involved in the glory and praise of God."

So I need to learn how to love people! It doesn't come naturally. I have to learn how to love people as individuals, meting them where they are. One size doesn't fit all. People don't need to be loved the same way. I have to use my brain to figure out how best to love each person. And when I love people sincerely, on their terms so they feel and see the love, it makes Jesus attractive to them! I want to be filled with the fruit of righteousness! I want to have a pure heart so that God can work freely in me to help and love people! When I am not seeking righteousness, then I am not loving and serving people with the right attitude, motives or with God's power and strength. No wonder its hard sometimes! My sin and selfishness keep me from being able to love people in God's perfect way. I want to live a lover's life! Help me Lord!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Randomness...

I am getting so into blogging. I'm working on a new blog for my church's VBS, and I'm learning so many new fun things by just wandering around the web asking questions. So I'm ignoring my messy kitchen and not worrying about how I'm going to get it clean for 40 people who are coming over Friday night. I've got all day Friday. This is way more fun!
So what random things can I talk about tonight? I am on day 3 of eating better and walking in the afternoons. The hardest part of my plan is not eating after 8 PM. It is so hard to break that habit! I broke down a few minutes ago and ate half a pop-tart. But I've been doing well other than that. It hasn't helped that Girl Scout cookies arrived at my house today. I put them out in the freezer in the garage, so maybe out of sight out of mind?
I have cut wayyy down on my tv watching. Really, if its not a show that I would DVR, then I don't watch it. I don't keep the tv on for noise anymore. Basically I watch every show that has to do with auctions, like "Auction Kings", "Pawn Stars", "Cash & Cari", "Storage Wars" and "American Pickers". Love all of them. And Jason will watch them with me. And we watch "Survivor" and "American Idol". I am really liking AI. I think the new judges are really fun to watch. We are still a few weeks behind, but we are enjoying it so far. I also watch "Biggest Loser" but my kids have lost interest, so I may drop that one soon. My most favorite show though is "NCIS". I get so excited when USA has a marathon, which is at least once a week. I can do other things while that's on, like folding laundry and blogging, like tonight.
Baseball season is upon us! We made a trip to Academy yesterday. Two batting helmets, two pair of gray baseball pants, and one new pair of cleats later, I think we are supplied. Cooper started practice this week and Cade starts on Saturday. Jason is Cade's coach this year instead of Coop's so we'll see how that goes. I am really excited about baseball, once we get basketball over with. The next 2-3 weeks are really hard when they overlap. We have one or two practices each night. It makes us sit down for dinner together at 4:15. Its hard to get used to, but kind of nice to get that over with. However, it won't help me not want to eat after 8! Maybe that's why I needed half a poptart tonight.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Quick one...

I got my pillow back!! They called yesterday and took my credit card number to ship back to me, and it arrived today. I'm scared to go check my bank account to see how much it cost me. But it was worth it!

Quick verse I read today. "Be strong in the Lord and in His mighty power." Ephesians 6:10. I was having an overwhelming moment about how much there was to do, and God gave me that verse. He has really been talking to me a lot lately about his power. I'll have to blog more about that sometime, but for today, it gave me peace to know that in HIS power, I can do all things, like laundry, dishes, clean up for a party this weekend, go grocery shopping, etc. Certainly not my own power, because I had none today. Of course, its all in perspective. Right now I'm wasting time on here, but not really caring about how messy the house is. Different time of day I guess. It will all still be here tomorrow!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

My fun weekend!

I had a great weekend, full of fellowship and rest and time away from my sweet kids. I found out this weekend that I am a "Critical Cathy", so I will do my best to leave out the negative, critical parts, and only tell you the good parts!

Thursday afternoon I drove over to the middle of nowhere with my friend Robin for a ladies retreat. Robin is actually Jason's assistant, and she is the best! I told my mom in front of the boys that Robin is Jason's second wife. That didn't go over well with Cooper. Kind of freaked him out! But she really does bring sanity into our home. I am so thankful for her, so it was great to spend some time together on our trip up. We only got lost once!

Throughout the weekend, I laughed until I cried, read God's love letter to me, and prayed out by a lake. It was really cold most of the weekend, but the last morning I was determined to spend some time outside, so I found myself a nice bench next the lake and curled up with my Bible and read and prayed. I noticed that I wasn't cold at all, really cozy and warm. I supposed that it was warming up outside. But when I was done and got up to go the conference center, I realized that indeed, it was still really cold! I think God was keeping me warm so I could enjoy his creation. Sweet moment. I had a vicious game of spoons with some sweet ladies, except for the one who left me bleeding when she went for a spoon. (Love ya anyway MM). I drank way too much hot chocolate. And reconnected with an old friend and made a new one at the same time. (Need some sandpaper ladies?)

I left early on Saturday from the retreat and went to Bryan to meet my husband who was officiating a wedding for our friends Kylie and Melissa. Weddings just put me in a romantic, reminiscing mood. We had a good time celebrating their new life together. Then we went to see a movie, an actual adult movie. I made a moral decision a number of years ago to never see Rated R movies, I have just never enjoyed one and it always left bad things in my head that I wished I could take out. But because of some good reviews from some very Godly people whose opinions I take very seriously, we went and saw The King's Speech. I highly recommend it! It was excellent! I wish the one scene that makes it R wasn't in there so my kids could see it because it teaches so many lessons about friendship, determination and courage.

This morning, we slept late. Yes, today was Sunday, and we slept late, and ate breakfast and went shopping at an outlet mall. I love that I am married to a pastor, I love worshipping and serving in a church, but sometimes, you just need a break, and we took it! And then we came home. I feel so good and rested and ready to start the week. I am ignoring the dirty dishes and clothes. They will be there tomorrow. I made lunches and I am going to bed to start fresh tomorrow.

A BIG thank you to my mom for keeping the boys for us. I love grandparents! The biggest downer of the weekend was that I left my pillow at the hotel in Bryan. They assure me they are looking for it, but I am not hopeful. I'll keep you posted on that. I can always go to IKEA to get a new pillow, but I can't replace the pillowcase that matches my sheets. That's what I get for wanting to sleep on my own pillow!

Monday, February 07, 2011

Birthdays of the past...

I was reminiscing this weekend about some of my favorite and least favorite birthdays in my life, and thought I would share. Many of you may remember them too. I remember some McDonald's birthdays and a few at a park. There wasn't much to choose from back then. I remember having one at my grandmother's house. All my friends dressed up nice, and we had a fancy lunch and played Shanghai. Middle school was all about slumber parties. I remember one where the girls got to playing "Truth or Dare" and somehow someone ended up outside in their underwear. I was so mad I went to bed. It wasn't me, I was just embarrassed to have my friends acting like that. My neighbors across the street did call my parents the next day.

My least favorite birthday was freshman year in high school. Another friend's birthday was the same time, its actually today, and she had her party the same time as mine. We weren't really friends then, just acquaintances really. So, out of 15 or so people I invited, 2 showed up. Nobody was brave enough to RSVP. Really humiliating as a 15 year old teenage girl. She and I became better friends later, and I would like to think that wouldn't have happened again. We would probably love to share a party now that we are 36. :)

My favorite party was my Senior year. My best friend Jeanette threw me a surprise party at the Teddy Bear restaurant. For those of you not from Shreveport in the early 90's, we had the best restaurant, literally covered in Teddy Bears. Don't remember the food, but it was one of our favorite hang outs. Jeanette's daddy had a heart attack the Sunday before, and so she had to pass on the party to some other friends, so it started to seem a little fishy to me. I kind of had the idea there would be more girls there, but when I arrived, there was a huge table of my friends, guys and girls. I felt sooo good! Would you believe, not one picture that I know of. No one thought to bring a camera I guess. I also remember Adam and Gabe gave me a rose. Looking back, I know how cheap that was for them, but it meant so much to me! And my boyfriend at the time had made me mad that he wouldn't skip swim practice for my birthday, but there he was at the party. I felt really bad for being mad at him.

The next year's birthday at college was really good too! A bunch of my new friends took me to eat in Longview at Papasitos. My dear sweet mates gave me like 10 pounds of M&M's, one of my favorite things. And while at the restaurant, instead of singing to me in the privacy of the party room we were in, some guy picked me up, dragged me out to the main restaurant, and made me stand at the top of the balcony, while the whole restaurant below sang to me. That's one of those things that on the outside, is SOOO embarrassing, but secretly, its kind of fun.

I love when I worked at New Life Ministries, because when you came in on your birthday, someone had decorated your desk with balloons and streamers and cards!

My 30th wasn't great. It started out great, with my sweet friend Kim making me a sign that all the parents at church who were dropping kids off for PNO saw. I got the night off of work at PNO, and we went out to eat with 3 couples. I was having a really good time when my mom called and said one of the boys was throwing up and I had to come home. So, it didn't end great. I was telling my friend Tracy about that night a year or so later, and the next time we had dinner at their house, she made me a birthday cake to make up for that awful night. I don't even think it was my birthday. And last year, Christina made me a cactus cake. I love cake!

Those are the ones that stick out to me. Looking back, it obviously wasn't about the presents, because I don't remember any, except chocolate and cake. Its about the friends who took time to make me feel special. Thank you to all the friends in my life who did something to make one of my birthdays so memerable!

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Quick addition to my birthday...



I wanted you to see my beautiful tulips that have opened up. I love them.

I also forgot a funny part of the day. While I was "sleeping late" I was listening to Mickey Mouse Clubhouse, and coincidentally, it was Minnie's birthday, and her friends were throwing her a surprise party. I tried to live vicariously through her. Daisy made her a cake that after 15 minutes in the oven came out fully iced. I imagined they were doing the hot dog dance in my honor. And then Choo Choo Soul with Genevieve sang a birthday song, so again, it was in my honor. Then I went back to sleep with a smile on my face!

Saturday, February 05, 2011

My Birthday...

Needless to say, it was a strange one. We've known since Tuesday that we would probably have a snow day, so I was preparing myself for having everyone home on a day I would really prefer to have all to myself. At least we would have snow to play in, a really cool birthday gift I thought. At 1:00 on Thursday afternoon we got the call about no school, but as the evening wore on, every weather forecast changed to a lesser chance of snow, and we woke up to a minuscule layer of ice. Very disappointing! That's what happens in Houston I suppose.

Hubby let me "sleep" until 9:30, the best gift ever. I put it in quotes because the sweet baby didn't understand that plan, and kept barging in asking for things. He didn't know that Daddy could get snack and juice. That's mommy's job. I finally got up and made cinnamon rolls for breakfast and went back to bed! I finally got dressed before lunch and made more breakfast foods for lunch. Chocolate chip pancakes and a breakfast casserole with some yummy venison sausage a sweet family gave Jason this week. Really good! Then the little two went down for a 3 hour nap! And J took Coop out for some errands. So I sat on my tush and caught up on my DVR tv. Another fabulous gift.

My next door neighbors brought me a balloon and some tulips! I think that was the sweetest thing ever! Then J and Coop brought me some more tulips of a different color, so I have the most beautiful arrangement of tulips. I made red beans and rice for dinner, and we played some Wii bowling. You would think they would let the birthday girl win, but I don't think that is even a remote thought for my hubby. And I made myself the ugliest birthday cake you have ever seen, but it is triple chocolate with chocolate icing, so I don't really care what it looks like. And that is about it. Kind of quiet and boring, but I know I should treasure days like that. And as disappointing as the no snow was, I know I should be thankful that we haven't been house bound for 4 days like my Dallas friends.

The best part about birthdays these years is Facebook! I love having so many people in different parts of my life wish me Happy Birthday! J almost ruined it though. He pointed out that you can have your fb automatically wish everyone a happy one on their birthdays, so probably most of the people didn't even really write it. He's quite a downer isn't he? But I am choosing to believe that everyone really knew and acknowledged me. I am going to try to thank everyone personally because I like it when people thank me, but it may take a while.

All in all, it was a good day. I have my health, 3 beautiful children and husband, a nice, yet dirty, home, tulips and a chocolate cake! What could be better?

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Lying

I'm sure Cooper would be embarrassed if he knew I was posting this, but that's what happens when God gave him me as a mom. He got caught lying this morning. A minor thing he lied about, but of course that wasn't the issue. So when he got home we had a sit down which ended in tears, which means it was a success, although I was pretty close to tears too. And his discipline was to write a one page essay on lying which had to include two Bible verses on the subject, pretty ingenious if I do say so myself. I helped him by showing him "lie" and other forms of the word in the concordance in my Bible. And this is what he read to Jason and me an hour later, with his own spelling.

Dear Mom and Dad, I know what I have done was bad. Colossians 3:9 says, "Do not lie to each other since you have taken off your old self with its practices." I think that means that you don't lie to each other and if you practice not doing it then you won't do it as much and it will be like you have taken off your old self and put on your new self.
Isaiah 11:6 says, "The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together." At first I had no clue what this ment. But when I thought about it I thought that maybe since all the animal pairs were oppisite, like one would be a calm animal and the other would be a frightening animal to us maybe it ment that if you don't lie, you will get along better with other people.


At this point, after first looking at each other with a questioning look, Jason and I could not hold in the laughter. We really tried, I promise. We realized that "lie" has more than one meaning and we assumed Coop would have realized that, but no. He did somehow get something out of it though. So we praised him for the first part, and went to eat dinner, and then I looked up a verse for him. I told him to read Proverbs 6:16-19, but just to include verse 17 in his essay. And here is the rest for your reading pleasure.

Proverbs 6:17 says, "Haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood." I think that means if you have haughty eyes and a lying tongue you will shed innocent blood. So if you do that your entire life you won't go to heaven.
And last but not least I hope you will forgive me and I will try not to do it again. I am sorry. Your son, Cooper


I asked him what the verse before that one said. He didn't remember. "There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him..." We had to have a talk about that not only did the lying hurt my heart, but it hurt God's heart. God hates lying. I think he got it. So the last step was to go to his room and pray and ask God to forgive him. He said he felt better afterwards. So I'm not sure that it all worked out in the way I imagined. He didn't fall to his knees in repentance and beg forgiveness for crushing me, or beg God to forgive his sinful heart. But I think he got the point. There were true remorseful tears at one point, so I think it resonated somewhere in that sweet boy. I know he's not a believer yet, so I can't expect him to act like one. Hopefully he learned a lesson about the truth, and God's love for him. In retrospect I can think of so many wise, spirit-filled things I should have said. But that's why I need to be prayed up before these things hit, so I'll be prepared, and I wasn't. A lesson for me too!