Saturday, July 30, 2011

Budapest and Beyond

We spent two days in Budapest, Hungary. I'm not sure the best way of relating all of our adventures. Maybe my likes and dislikes?
Dislikes: Tour of the Parliament, kind of neat, but overpriced, and the "English" speaking tour guide had such a strong accent, it was hard to understand her. Having to pay to use the public toilets. Climbing a "hill" up to the Citadel.

Likes: Beautiful city, good food, great pastries, riding buses, trams, and subways. Boat tour on the Danube, very educational and beautiful. Finally arriving at the top of the Citadel and enjoying the view. St.Stephens Church. Hungarian Marketplace. Paris, TX Bar. (Yes, they had a bar I saw on the map called Paris, TX, so we had to find it and take a picture. Its apparently not named after the city but after a movie, which I have never heard of. For those of you who don't know, that is where J's parents live, where our kids are right now, we thought that was hilarious!)

Today we traveled from Budapest to Belgrade, Serbia where our friends Trey and Randi live. We sat in traffic for two hours along with what seemed like half of Hungary who was leaving on their summer holiday. We stopped in Novi Sad where they used to live and had lunch at a fortress overlooking the whole city. I had chicken salad, not very brave of me, but it was really good. We met some of their friends, Mike and Pam. Pam's mom was visiting too, and she graduated from the same high school I did, only 40 years earlier! How crazy is that! I'll try to post some pics. Tomorrow we will go to the International Church and have some "Mexican" food for lunch. We'll be the judge if its good or not. We're afraid Trey and Randi have been gone for too long to remember what good Mexican food is.

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Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Day 1 or 2

I'm so tired I'm not really sure which day to call this but I just wanted to give a few quick observations of our flight over.
While waiting for our flight, we observed a Muslim family, a mom, two daughters and a grandson we assume. They took turns in a corner kneeling down to pray. I admired the fact that they were willing to do that in public when people were staring. But I was also very thankful that I don't have to have certain times or postures to pray. In some ways I think it might be helpful if we did. God would probably prefer I have a more respectful posture of prayer sometimes. And I would probably pray more if I had set times.
I was amazed while waiting in the London airport for our Budapest how many different people were there from other countries. All types of languages and clothing. All people God loves.
British Airlines rocks! I had downloaded all these books on J's laptop to read on the flight and didn't read any of them. I watched two sitcoms from the on demand screen at my seat and part of a movie and slept. As much as I love Southwest flight attendants in their shorts and shirts, I loved the BA flight attendants in their suits, neckerchiefs and heels. The ladies took off their heels when the flight started and put on little flats, but the heels came back off at landing. They all looked so professional. Made me feel very safe.
I had been scared to fly, but I could tell people were praying for me because I was fine most of the time. Thanks friends.
We spent the day in London with our friends Martyn and Sara, trying to stay awake. And then we flew to Budapest where Randi and Trey picked us up. It was so great to see old friends, even so far away from home. I'll make another post with pics of Budapest. Lots of fun!

Sunday, July 24, 2011

We're hittin' the road....

Well, really the skies. Jason's three month sabbatical starts tomorrow after five years at UBC. We are so thankful for this opportunity. So to start out, he and I are leaving on Tuesday for Europe for 26 days, without children! I normally would be hesitant to tell about our trip ahead of time, but we will have people at our house the whole time, so I will take the risk because I'm so excited about it that I just want to share! I'll try to post pics throughout, or a whole lot when we get back.

We'll fly to London for one day to leave some luggage and golf clubs (priorities) and then fly to Budapest, Hungary to meet our college friends Trey and Randi. We'll spend a few days there and then drive with them to Belgrade, Serbia where they live to see what their life is like there. After a sweet week with them, we'll go to Rome for some religious educational experiences. Then onto Athens, Greece. Jason has been there twice and can't wait to show me the sites. Our good friends from Greece will actually be in the states, but some of them are sitting in my living room right now ironically. We'll be staying in their apartment. Then back to London for a week with lots of ministry friends there. I'm very excited! I'll miss my kids eventually, which will be good. We'll miss Campbell's third birthday, but he won't know the difference. I'll be in Rome crying though I'm sure. We'll celebrate when we get back.

Please pray for us to have a good, restful, inspiring time. And please pray for our parents who will be tag teaming caring for the kids. They will probably need more prayer then we will. I'll keep you posted when I can!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Untamed Book Review

*Untamed* by Lisa Harper is a book full of conviction wrapped in a package of humor and Biblical stories. Harper takes stories about Jesus that we are all familiar with, and finds a nugget of truth from them that reaches down to your core and makes you want to be a better follower of Christ.
I was amazed as I read every chapter to find something new from stories I have read and studied my whole life. I came face to face with my Savior who has been in a box safety tucked away in my closet, and now I want to let him out and let him change my life from the inside out. He is unconventional, devoted, redemptive and loves me for all I am, not because of what I have done or not done. There are questions at the end of each chapter that would make it a great book for a group study, but I got so much out of it without doing the questions. I can't wait to find more books by Harper. She does take the Biblical stories and add funny descriptions to make them more relevant, but I don't think its too far to make it irreverent. The parts of the stories that she brings out that were new to me were mostly based on further Greek translations that I wouldn't have known on my own. I liked it!
I did receive this book for free from Waterbrook Press, but did not have to give a positive review in exchange for it.

Some new fun products at my house...

If you follow me on facebook you have already heard that I am now addicted to vacuuming. I bought a Bissell Rewind Smartclean vacuum at Target on sale for $99, and it is the best vacuum I have ever used. It has a light that turns green when your carpet is clean, and it stayed red a long time in my house. I almost burned it up because I wasn't paying attention and the dirt cup was overflowing before I finished my house. I almost burned it up the second day from vacuuming up a sock. Its called "rewind" because you push a button and it rewinds the cord back up into the vacuum. Oh, yes it does! Awesome.

I have also received free from Vocalpoint Downy Unstopables in-wash Scent Booster. Its these little pellets that you put in your washing machine that just adds a fresh scent to your clothes. I probably won't use it on my clothes because I don't like smells, but I have used it on my towels which can't hurt in a house full of boys. You can use as many or few as you like. I used about 10 which smelled really strong when I put them in so I was scared that my towels were going to smell up the whole house. But once they went through the washer and dryer they came out perfect. I could probably use a few more next time.

I just joined Vocalpoint, but I love getting free things. Here is the link if you want to join too!


I am a horrible mom. I was looking at the baseball website yesterday and realized Cade and Jason's team did not win the city championship game. I was there. How did I forget that? It all came back to me. They did lose, by a lot. I remember telling Jason if he needed to go out for awhile before he came home to vent and sulk he could, and he said he didn't need to because there was nothing else he could have done. They just had a bad night. I guess that's why I forgot. It was a non-event. But I do feel really stupid and hope my husband never knows I wrote that. They don't get big trophies if they win, they only get pins and there are pins floating all over our house, so I guess all the baseball games became a big blur. I will double check next time before I announce a win that wasn't a win.

Friday, July 08, 2011

Me and My Boys

I love my children, I really do. But I've been with them non stop for a long time now. I don't know how home schooling moms do it! We've had some great adventures the past week. We went to Shreveport to see my Momma. While there, we did the slip and slide and baby pool in their backyard, and the big boys were even brave enough to swim in their pond. We went to Sciport. We saw my sweet PawPaw. We did some shopping, ate lots of yummy food (all my favorites, Padnuh's BBQ, El Chico's twice, and other yummy stuff), and I helped my mom decorate her clinic. Normally at my mom's I get a little break from the kids, lots of time to blog, but not this time. My brother is in the process of adjusting to a new job and moving, so he has left his 7 month old golden retriever with her and that dog is ADD! So it was like having two extra children to take care of. It took all of us to get everyone happy! I did take a quick by myself trip to Marshall and spent a sweet afternoon with my friends Cari and Phillip catching up. Really needed that!

The drive back was an adventure! About 30 minutes before we were leaving, there was a jumping on the bed/split lip incident with the dramatic child, so we left late and left stuff because I was flustered. Then I went a different way than usual and got lost. I don't have a fancy GPS in my car or on my phone. Luckily my step dad answered his phone and got me back on track. About an half hour outside of Houston it started raining, and POURED down rain on me until I turned onto the main highway by my house. Stopped and not a drop to be seen. How does that happen?!

Did I mention that my hubby and parenting helper is at the space shuttle launch in FL, so I have been trying to figure out how to keep them occupied since we've been home. We've made muffins and brownies. Been to the library. Went to Walmart and purchased some more baseball cards, which is a great new hobby that is quiet and clean. (love that). Today we went to Petsmart, otherwise known as the free mini zoo, and the kids took notes on what pet they want in the future. We are talking fish or turtles, not dogs yet. Especially after being around my brother's dog! This afternoon we went to Snoball Hut and got snow cones and played Connect Four. Then we came home and went across the street to our neighbor's house and borrowed their pool for awhile. And we are presently eating some homemade pizzas I made. I had envisioned a big family activity making the pizzas, but there was no interest on anyone's part but mine.

Again, I do love my children. But next week all three of them have a week long camp at church. I can not tell you how excited I am. The big boys are not excited about music/drama camp. I've told them if they go Monday and Tuesday and don't like it, they can stop. That's basically a lie though. They are going whether they like it or not! Momma needs a break!

Here are some pictures of our adventures!

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Seeing a Bible Story in a New Light

I'm reading Untamed by Lisa Harper right now. I'll do an official review when I'm done with it, but I've read 3 chapters so far and Harper takes Bible stories that I have read a million times and with humor and personal connections makes me see them in a new, amazing ways.

Chapter two is about Joseph and Mary leaving 12 year old Jesus in town when they leave, and later finding him in the temple having theological discussions with men twice his age. Harper points out that Jesus easily could have been sarcastic or rebellious, but was obedient and followed his parents home. At then end of the story, Mary "treasures these things in her heart." It also says that phrase after Jesus is born. Harper points out that in the meantime between his birth and when he turns 12, Mary has had four or more children and probably hasn't had time to think about what having the Messiah as a child means. I'm sure he acted differently than his brothers or sisters, being sinless and all, but until that moment in the temple, I bet Mary hadn't had the opportunity to really see the amazing child that she had. For me, it was convicting in some sense. I'm a mom who some days doesn't have time to realize who Jesus is either because I'm swept up in the daily being a mom thing.

Chapter three is the story of Jesus and John the Baptist. They were cousins and friends, but probably didn't see much of each other from older childhood until they reunited as adults. But Jesus was raised as a carpenter with brothers and sisters, while John was probably an orphan who spent most of his life in the wilderness eating locusts and honey, growing his hair out and not drinking because of the oath that his parents took when he was a child. I'm sure he was a little scary and different looking when he finally came out into public to begin preaching about hell and the coming redeemer. But Jesus came to him and asked John to baptize him, even though he didn't really need to be. John tried not to, but Jesus wanted to be a symbol of what it meant to be purified and to bless John's ministry and message. And when John was in jail and sent his followers to ask Jesus if he really was the one, Jesus wasn't mad at all at John's doubt, but praised him for his faithfulness and ministry. For me, I am so thankful that Jesus is faithful to me when I am unfaithful to him, when I am embarrassed of him or pretend that I don't know him. I may not do that in outright ways, but I do it daily when I don't spend time with him, or don't listen to that small voice telling me to talk to someone or say something kind to my kids or husband. I am so thankful that Jesus was untamed, willing to be with the unlovable and weird people! Amen?

Thursday, July 07, 2011

Book Review of "Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me"

Jesus, My Father, The CIA and Me grabbed me first by its title. Author Ian Morgan Cron tells his life story, pretty much. He lets us know in the first chapter that some details may have been remembered differently than they really happened, but the story that follows is full of humor, sadness, joy, disappointment and grace. Growing up in the home of an alcoholic and member of the CIA brought Cron moments of terror and grief, which led him down different paths as he tried to gain the love and attention of his father. None of the paths he tried fulfilled him until he truly gave his heart and life to the Father who loved him no matter what he did.

I had a hard time getting into the story after reading that it might not all be exactly true, but once the story grabbed me, it did not let go. It was fascinating read stories from this man's life as he tried to earn his dad's love, which I could relate to. Cron is a beautiful and captivating writer and I could feel myself in each situation he found himself in. This book should not be read by children because of the adult content, but I was not offended by any of it. On the contrary, I can not wait to read more from this amazing writer. I loved reading how God held on to Cron throughout his life even when he was trying to run. A truly tremendous story of God's faithfulness and mercy.

I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”