Friday, February 25, 2011

You will be my Texas.

Well, we did it. Traveled to Texas and back in just five short, whirlwind days.  If I were to try and cram all of our experiences and pics into one blog post it would be, as some would say (ahem…Eric), like Texas - a little too big and a little too full of itself. So I will break this up into a few installments. There is much to see and the more I allow myself to settle into the inevitable nostalgia of going back from whence I came, the more I want to say...

Let me quickly mention what a fabulous traveler my sweet girl was. Seriously, she played contently in my lap and the laps of my parents for both flights (Eric began a newfound romance with soduko so was a little preoccupied, a welcome distraction as he does NOT like to fly). I took only a couple of pics on the plane or in the airport and this one is only noteworthy because what you can’t see is that she is asleep! I prayed that she would nap on the flight, I just didn’t expect the prayer to be answered so abruptly. One minute she’s awake, the next she is in an in-flight coma and thankfully a pretty deep one because our semi-obnoxious flight attendant could not read my lips as I tried to politely scootch her past our aisle so she didn’t wake my child trying to convince me to buy some $7 blueberry-flavored cashews. First of all, gross. Second of all, whatever happened to complimentary snacks??!!

Let me also give a huge shout out to my parents. Seriously, for a hundred reasons we could not have made the trip without them and DEEPLY enjoyed spending those days with them, better known as RaRa (my mom) and B-dog (my dad), which Harper shortened to just “B.”
H with RaRa and B - look at that face!
shoulder ride with B
We spent the majority of our time in Texas in the lovely city of Austin, namely in the lovely and BELOVED home of my Aunt Margaret and Uncle Lee. How do I accurately capture in a few words how rich my memories are in their home and how deep my love for them runs?

I was nine when we left Texas so, unlike my parents and older sister, I don’t remember details like street names and landmarks. My memories are more vague, like snapshots, of oaks trees and swimming pools and summer heat rising from the asphalt. But some are more vivid than others.  Some are rich with detail - technicolor, familiar smells and sounds, and the accompanying feelings of safety and joy.  Such are the memories I have spent in the home of Margaret and Lee.  And I was thrilled beyond measure to bring my own husband and child into the fold of these memories, joining the past with the present in the form of homemade pickles, playhouses, and meals around their table which has welcomed countless guests with unmatched hospitality.

H with her Great Aunt Margaret and Great Uncle Lee
For several summers my sister and I spent a week in the home of Aunt Margeret and Uncle Lee.  Undoubtedly, much of that time was spent letting our imaginations take the lead as we played and tinkered in the playhouse.  Complete with real windows, a play stove and sink, and pint-sized dishes, untensils, and food items, I think my love for all things domestic was birthed in the playhouse with the yellow table.  It was there that we pretended to be little mommas, making pretend brownies out of dirt and homemade soup out of berries from a nearby bush.  Little mommas no more. This time I brought my own daughter to the playhouse with the yellow table.

Sweet girl, I pray that you will have your own space in this world for your innocence and imagination to stretch out and breathe.  I pray that I can give you enough idle time to be a child, a dreamer, and a little girl who can make brownies out of dirt and soup out of berries.  I pray for you playhouses with yellow tables.

There is much to say about our trip out west, but it seemed fitting to begin in the home that is rich with memories for me, and now for my husband and child. I love love love the movie Spanglish (stay with me here). It is hysterical, endearing and well-written.  The story is narrated by a girl named Christina, daughter to Flor (they are the “Span” in Spanglish). Having left Mexico when she was only five years old in a less than legal fashion, Christina knows that she would likely never return to her homeland.  Her memories and connections to Mexico would all be tied up in her mother as she notes, “she would be my mexico.” Great line.

Aunt Margaret and Uncle Lee - I have spent over two-thirds of my life outside of Texas.  My memories of the state are few, but are all good. Every memory I have of growing up in my home with my parents and sister is more than fond - full of unconditional love and joy. But they have gone with me, or I have gone with them I should say, from state to state, milestone to milestone.  They are past, present, and future.  You two, on the other hand, represent so much of what Texas means to me, what draws me back from time to time.  
You will be my Texas. 
I love you. Ich liebe sie.

Monday, February 14, 2011

A river, a garden, and a must-read.

Long time no bloggie! Life called and the old blog, as infantile as it is, did not make the cut when it came to how I spent my time. I have missed it though! I was talking with some quality women yesterday and we talked about what energizes our soul when it comes to how we spend our free time. I have a hard time pinning down what this is for me. For Eric, it’s being on the river. Period. I just don’t really have a “river” equivalent. I love being with and laughing with friends and having great conversations with them. But something that just I do? To feed my soul? Not sure. I’m not saying that blogging is my river, but I do really love having somewhere to my put thoughts and it does sort of feed my soul in its own weird blogosphere kind of way.


So in the Young Life club “talk sequence” we sometimes dedicate a whole talk to debunking some of the misconceptions about Jesus.  We have to expose who Jesus is NOT in order to tell them who He really IS.  So you gotta know, that there is some REALLY BAD representations of Jesus out there. I mean, bad. And now that I have a child and we have been infiltrated with “Jesus for kids” paraphenalia, and I have had a little time to sort out the bad from the ugly. Just because a book says Jesus or Bible on it does not a quality book make! Case in point - please feast your discerning eyes on the following pictures from one of the paraphrased bibles given to Harper:

Image 1: ‘Roids Adam

What? You didn’t know? The forbidden fruit was actually human growth hormone. Nice pecs, Adam. Can’t you just hear him, “Hey Eve, make me a friggin’ sandwhich would you? And you could thank me for that rib every now and then!” Not to mention the squirrel perched on his overgrown forearm. I doubt squirrels were indigenous to Eden, just saying.

Image 2: From Eden to Sacramento

Apparently when Adam and Eve were banished from the garden they strolled onto the set of Grease 2. Poor Eve - she screws things up for all of us and then has to get a hickey from Kenickie. Sheesh.

Image 3: Virgin is to Mary as Elephantitis is to Joseph

The poor guy can’t catch a break - not only are his hands grossly disproportionate to his body, the Inn (it just straight up says Inn - culturally accurate I’m sure) pictured behind him has no room.

Image 4: The Original “Old Guy in the Sky” God

There are many out there who envision God to be old, irrelevant, distant, and Santa-esque, and with this image out in publication, can you blame them??!!! Since when does the eternal God go bald and need a cane? Bonus - look at the giraffe, craning his neck, trying to get his spotted mug in this picture. His face is all “am I in the frame? Are you getting me in this shot?”

As frustruating as these images are, don’t be dismayed! There is a light! A big, bright, beautiful, precious, bring you to tears light! And it’s called the “Jesus Storybook Bible: Every Story Whispers His Name” by Sally Lloyd-Jones.

I cannot say enough about it. The heart of it is to use every bible story,  paraphrased into playful yet poetic kid-friendly language, to point kids to Jesus. And it does so better than I have ever seen, read, or heard. We bought the deluxe edition, only around $16 on amazon, which includes an audio set and Eric and I have both wept as we drove around listening to it. True story.

If I have yet to convince you,allow me to give you a little sampling of this goodness:

It offers a quick-witted, yet accurate, account of the tower of Babel, which ends this way:

“You see, God knew, however high they reached, however hard they tried, people could never get back to heaven by themselves.  People didn’t need a staircase, they needed a Rescuer. Because the way back to heaven wasn’t a staircase; it was a Person. People would never reach up to Heaven, so Heaven would have to come down to them. And, one day, it would.”

Or how about this ending to the story of Abraham and Isaac:

“Many years later, another Son would climb another hill, carrying wood on his back. Like Isaac, he would trust his Father and do what his Father asked. He wouldn’t struggle or run away. Who was he? God’s Son, his only Son - the Son he loved. The Lamb of God.”

Come on, people!

So I am sure that plenty of faulty, lamb-toting, sandal-wearing images will continue to run amuck. But as for me and mine…we will stick with what’s good.
And this book is really good.
Go get it - whether you have kids or not.
Because every story really does whisper His name.