Monday, July 28, 2014

More Favorite Things...

Yes, I know I have been doing a lot of these posts, but they are fun to write, and I'm just happy in my life right now, so everything makes me happy. Its a good place to be.

1. Map My Walk... I kept buying cheapo pedometers that were so unreliable and just way off. But then I found this app on my phone and I love it. It maps my route of walking, times me, counts my calories burned and tells me the distance. It really tells me the distance! When I hit one mile, it speaks over my music to tell me that I hit a mile and how long it took me. Its so cool! It is using up my data to have it on, but its worth it. Loving it!

Its just a fun turquoise stapler, bought at Target.
3. Fun new hairdryer. Last week, half way through drying my hair, my hair dryer started smoking and had a nice plastic burning smell. I could not for the life of me remember how long I'd had it. So after it cooled, and my hair finished air drying, I went and bought this beauty at Walmart. Remington. It said on the box that it actually dries hair faster because of some ceramic part in it. I didn't believe them, but it REALLY does dry my hair faster. And for this red head with really think hair, that is a God send. And its a fun color.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Six Months In! Things I Love

I missed writing this a while back, but July 4 was six months since we had moved into our new home, seven months since Jason has been in his new job. And if you read my last post, then you know I now have a new job at Pinelake too. If I think about it too much, I can get overwhelmed with the goodness of God. Some days we still feel so new, as we are continually meeting new people and still trying out new restaurants, stores, etc. But some days we feel like we have been here forever, in a good way.

We are loving the weather. We haven't had to turn on a sprinkler yet it rains so much. And there have only been a handful of miserably hot days.  If you follow me on Facebook, you have seen too many pictures of the sky. I just can't get enough of it.

We are loving the people. The people's southern hospitality even carries over to driving. When you get to a four way stop, people go over the top trying to get you to go first, even if it wasn't your turn.

We are loving living in a smaller town. We rarely have to go over 55 mph on the roads, just no reason to. There are traffic jams, but only getting to school and getting out of church. When you mail something local, it arrives the next day. I called the other day to get an orthodontist appointment and got in the same day!

We love our church so much! Our pastor is starting a new sermon series on prayer. And this past week they started opening up our prayer room on Wednesdays over the lunch hour for people to come and worship and pray. I went for a few minutes and was struck with how grateful I am to be in a church where the staff and members were gathered in a room, sitting on the floor, standing, hands raised, worshipping and praying for God's will to be done in our lives, our community and our church.

Our church also places a great importance on staff having their families as their top priority. One of our TX friends asked J what was the best thing about our church and he said being able to go to worship with his family. Its been about 10 years since Jason has been able to sit with us in worship. Our leadership tells our staff that they need to sit with their families for a service, and that doesn't mean joining some time during but being at their seat when it starts. As a mom who has been trying to keep control of three boys in church by myself for years, it is heaven!

At lunch Sunday, I was telling J about one of the songs we sang this morning and how I cried. One of the boys asked why I was crying. Another one said "Mom always cries in church." Its not every week now, but most weeks something in some song strikes me and I shed a tear of thanksgiving. He truly has done more than we could ask or imagine.

Sunday, July 20, 2014


When I was in Shreveport this past week, I was in the Lifeway store and saw a girl that I went to high school with, but for some reason I didn't speak to her. At first I said it was because I wasn't sure it was her, but that wasn't true. I knew exactly who it was. I don't know if she saw me, recognized me or not. My hair makes it kind of hard to not recognize me. I had flash backs to when I was in high school and I went to get a Mother's Day card at a drug store and saw a boy that had been my "boyfriend" in 3rd grade. He even looked at me and neither of us spoke. What is up with that? But what really struck me about seeing this high school friend was, we are "friends" on Facebook. I can go right now and look at pictures of her three kids but I wasn't comfortable talking to her in person. I currently have 752 "friends" on Facebook, and yet how many of them would I speak to in person if I saw them.

It got me to thinking about friendships. Don't get me wrong, I love Facebook. I'm addicted. Especially since we have moved, Facebook lets me stay connected to people that I really do want to stay connected to. But how many of those 752 people would I say were really my friends? Moving makes you consider who your true friends are. Who do I miss talking to? Who do I take the time to call or check up on? And who takes the time to check up on me?

Its funny about making new friends. Its easier to make new friends when you have kids because you hang out together at sporting events, you have those kids in common, and yet having kids makes it harder to have free time to spend together to build your friendship. I feel like I have made three good friends here already, and other ladies that I have enjoyed hanging out with. But moving and making new friends makes you examine yourself and wonder what kind of friend you want to be. You can start from scratch and be whoever you want to be. I had a new friend tell me this week that one of the reasons she liked me was because I was real, and that was a huge compliment. I want to be real, and be a good friend. I want to be encouraging and fun to be around. I want to be friendly even to people that may not be a friend. And I am praying to get over my social anxiety and speak to people that I may not know, or may have not seen in years and run into at a store. Praying for God to make me the kind of friend He wants me to be, on Facebook or in person!

Saturday, July 19, 2014

My Favorite Things this Week...

1. My IPhone. I got Jason's hand me down last November when he upgraded, and compared to my flip phone it was great. It started telling me to update pretty quickly after I got it, but I never had enough space on it to update. I was going to have to delete my music and I was afraid that I wouldn't have space to put it back on after. And yes, my music is on my computer, so it shouldn't have bothered me but my music is like my babies, I felt bad deleting them. But my tech savvy brother explained I had nothing to worry about and once I updated it, oh my gosh! I LOVE my phone now. It does the coolest things! I'm still exploring all it does, and of course, there is room for even more music.

2. My new Texas stuff. When we lived in Texas I didn't want to have anything Texan in my house, but now that we are gone, I was needing something Texan. So while we were in Dallas I thought I would run by Hobby Lobby and got exactly what I wanted! I'm going to add some things around the big circle star. Love them!

3. My new tote bag! When I started my job last week, I knew I needed a bag of some kind to haul my stuff to work, but I am not a tote bag person. I'm more of a back pack person. So we went to Academy that night (because with three boys we are there quite often), and I headed to the back pack section. But then I found this! Only $15! So I became a tote bag person.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Summer Vacation 2014

Don't get too excited. We didn't go anywhere exotic or new. We decided pretty last minute we needed to go somewhere, and for some reason if we aren't going to Disney, we just can't make a decision of where to go. So we spent a few days at my moms in Shreveport. They put in a pool this past winter so my kids want to live there now. And then we went to Dallas. The two big boys were 2 and 4 when we moved away and we don't remember that they had ever been back, sadly. We showed them our house where two of them lived, and neither remembered it. :( We went to FBC Richardson Sunday morning for church. Jason warned the boys that there might be lots of people who knew them and wanted to pinch their cheeks and give hugs, and they wouldn't remember any of them. I was not sure that would really be the case, since we've been gone for 8 years. But as usual, he was right. There was almost a receiving line of people who wanted to say hi. It was a special time to see so many people who had been a part of our lives and ministry. We had an amazing lunch with some awesome friends and their kids, a sweet dinner with some other friends, and some pool time with a great family. It was so great to introduce our kids to so many people that we love and mean the world to us.

On Monday, we went to Six Flags and the Rangers game. Yes, we did both in the same day. But it was pretty good, not huge crowds, not too hot. And the Rangers were playing the Astros, convenient. We were torn, not sure who to root for. Astros won, surprisingly. Needless to say, by the time we got back to the hotel, and we had to have baths because we were all stinky, it was really late and we were really tired! But we had a blast!

Six Flags was a study in the differences in my kids personalities for sure. My sweet middle child would stress in every line about the plan of who was riding with who, and how many could be in each car, and what if we get separated. So cute. Little one never ran out of energy, could have stayed all day, riding the biggest roller coaster that he was barely tall enough for, or the ones made for toddlers that only went around in a circle. He didn't care. Just keep moving. My oldest, calm, even keeled, no, I don't want to ride that, I'll just hang here. Two of them took a turn with Daddy riding the Texas Giant. One of them got off and was pale as a ghost. I think it broke him because he didn't talk for about 20 minutes after. The other got off and said "that was awesome!", and one said, no thank you. I'll let you figure out which was which. And yes, I also said no thank you.

On our way back we spend one more night in Shreveport and got to see my brother which doesn't happen often. I think we had Tex Mex four times in a week, and saw lots of great people. Here are some pics for your viewing pleasure. Great memories for a last minute trip.

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Thursday, July 03, 2014

My New Job...

I have accepted the position as Director of Childcare and MMO at Pinelake Church. Even as I type those words, I am overwhelmed with the responsibility and with gratitude to God and many ladies in my past that have brought me to this place. Some of you might just think, its a part time job, what's the big deal. But if you have been even a small part of my journey the last 12 years of my life, you'll know what a big deal this is to me.

When Cooper was a baby, I attempted to be a full time stay at home mom. It didn't work, for financial reasons, but also for mental reasons. I was bored out of my mind. So I asked our preschool minister at FBC Richardson, Tedye Schuehler, if I could put Cooper in the MDO so I could go back to working at the call center I worked out before I had him. She said I should just come work for her so he could be with me. She saw something in me that I didn't know was there. I started out as the Special Event Childcare Coordinator. Joyce Patterson was the main Childcare Coordinator and trained me how to do my job. It was more than training though. Joyce showed me what it looked like to love on babies, love on teachers and love on parents. Ironically, I signed my offer letter for my new job last Monday, and found out that night that sweet Ms. Joyce passed away the day before. I almost cried at the deeper meaning that had for me. I hope to pass on the legacy she left as I minister to the babies, teachers and parents I begin to work with.

At FBCR, I had to step into an MDO 2 year old class mid year as the lead teacher. I laugh now looking back. I had no idea what I was doing. I made those sweet little ones sit in chairs for circle time, and forced them to make their crafts look just like mine. I had a college and seminary degree, but in 8 years of education, had only had 2 semesters of childhood development and ministry to children, which included all ages. I had worked extended session in church and babysat for years. And I had an adorable, perfect one year old at home. But that was the extent of my childhood understanding.  But again, Tedye saw something in me that I didn't know was there.

In the fall of 03 I became the Director of First Kids Younger Preschool, helping the MDO become licensed by the state. I think Tedye could tell I was a rule follower to a fault, and that's what you need when you have to study a binder of the rules set by the state of Texas to run a childcare center. I loved my job! I loved building relationships with the teachers, meeting parents and hugging on sweet children. It was a great three years. And then we moved to Houston.

I met Melissa Dutton before Jason even took his new job and she asked me what I would like to do in UBC's weekday. There wasn't anything administrative open, so I told her I would love to teach babies. Not sure where that came from, but I taught in the baby room for three of the next seven and a half years. That taught me a lot about recognizing that we are never just "babysitting," we are always teaching. Every time we talk to a baby, their brains grow and change. What a huge responsibility! I had flash backs to my physiological psychology class in college that I barely made a C in. But now I had a passion for how our brains work, and how God created this amazing thing! Melissa also knew about my background in those testy Texas laws, so I began leading at teacher training each summer about them, and I realized my passion for teaching teachers! I was able to do some different topics throughout the years and was always excited about that week. I am grateful to Melissa for trusting me with that training time. She taught me a lot about how to appreciate and encourage your teachers.

After my sweet Campbell was born, I took a little time off, and at that point April Lemley left the program and I took her position as Spiritual Curriculum Coordinator. I learned from April how to "send Jesus home" with those kiddos, even the unchurched ones, so their parents learned about Jesus too. And then my last year and a half, I was the younger preschool music teacher. And it turned out to be one my favorite things I did! I loved seeing how music got their brains and their bodies moving, and how excited they were to see me. My friend Laura Davis, who was the older preschool music teacher, said we were the "preschool rock stars"! My friend Colette Whitlock was the music teacher that came to my baby room the first year I was there, and I learned from Colette how to get those sweet ones moving and how to teach them spiritual truths through music.

In the meantime, Terri Neal came on staff as the preschool minister and we became fast friends. While at UBC, Vacation Bible School became my other life and I helped Terri by directing the preschool VBS for a few years. It was tough and stressful and time consuming, but I loved it. Terri taught me about volunteers, how to work with them and support them. And then, this past winter, we moved to Brandon, MS.

After a month or so of getting settled, I began looking for a job. I started working childcare at Pinelake one morning a week just to get out of the house. But I couldn't find anything else. I interviewed at another church and really enjoyed the process, but sensed from God it wasn't what He had for me. I felt that He was telling me just to enjoy the rest time, and He already had something picked out, it just wasn't time yet. And then this job became available. And God said, "that's it." So I applied and went through the interview process really not nervous, because I felt so strongly that God had called me to this place. I knew God had used the last 12 years to prepare me for this. A friend said this job "fits like a glove."

Our calling as a family to Pinelake has been so clear and amazing and God continues to blow us away at His power and goodness. I am overwhelmed at the size of my new job. Our church is so big! And yet, I know that God wouldn't bring me to it, and then leave me. I start next week, and I'll be working three days and one night a week. Its perfect for my family. I am not a good full time stay at home mom, but I also don't think I would be a good full time working mom either. And the fact that I got a whole semester to get my home and kids settled before starting is another testament of God's perfect timing.

There are lots of other details of the last 12 years I left out because this post is already so long as it is. But the point is, that God used every moment to prepare me. Our pastor Chip preached a sermon a few weeks ago about how God moves "upstream", preparing us for things we don't know are coming later. And then we sang "Never Once" by Matt Redman, and I cried through the whole thing out of amazement and gratitude. Our God is so good and big and kind and faithful!

Standing on this mountaintop 
Looking just how far we've come 
Knowing that for every step 
You were with us 
Scars and struggles on the way 
But with joy our hearts can say 
Yes, our hearts can say 
Never once did we ever walk alone 
Never once did You leave us on our own 
You are faithful, God, You are faithful

Walking... Part Two

I'm at my momma's but I have walked twice already. Its hard when you travel, having to find a different route. When I got ready to walk last night she asked me if I was going to take a stick. Why would I need a stick? Snakes. Excuse me! I don't think so. She said she had seen two dead ones in the road the past few weeks. Ok, then the snakes are dead. That is what I chose to believe as I headed out, stick-less. I prayed that if there were snakes, the Lord would keep them hidden from me. Two walks so far, no snakes. Fingers crossed.

I have discovered that the key for me to keep my pace up when walking is a good play list. And I am a believer that there is plenty of great Christian music to walk/work out to. You might as well be building up your spirit as you are building up your body. On my playlist right now are four songs from Hillsong Young and Free, two songs from Hawk Nelson, and For King & Country, Capital Kings and Unspoken.  Other great options would be The Afters, Sidewalk Prophets, Citizen Way, Toby Mac, Audio Adrenaline, the Newsboys and classic DC Talk. I'll probably change out some songs next week to keep it fresh. My playlist is 33 minutes long so I strive to get through all of the songs to time myself. Every day I feel better, walk faster, and I've lost another pound. Lets just hope I don't gain the weight back while I'm on vacation this week. The other question is when I start my new job next week, will I be able to keep up my walking schedule. New job? Yep, and that will be my next post! ;)