Tuesday, March 22, 2011

This is How We Do It...

This picture cracks me up. It's not that great of a shot - just a few Mt. Airy high school kids at a little kickball tourney we hosted a few weeks ago. Look a little closer though, and you will see a little girl clad in a pink hoodie and striped sweatpants in the background, and if you could "hear" this picture you would hear the word "ball" pronounced by Harper as a Surry County native as "bawwwlll."

If you have ever read this blog or received one of our christmas letters then you have heard us talk about how we just do what we have to do to "make it work" when it comes to juggling full-time Young Life ministry and full-time parenting and part-time other stuff. Eric says to me at least 5 times a week "we'll make it work." I haven't yet decided if he's saying this to convince me we can do it all or to convince himself, but either way, I believe him and we press on and end up with images that look like this one. Both of us are trying to be present in the lives of these high school kids and so we tote our toddler along with us. The rest of the story is she and I left at halfway into the game because she needed to go to bed and I let her feed herself a piece of pizza in the car on the way home giving new meaning to the phrase pepperoni face. But hey, we are making it work and this is how we do it...please press play on your throwback playlist of Montell Jordan..."Ever since I was a lower-case G, but now I'm a big G, the girls see I got the money, hundred dollar bills ya'll."

And ya'll, we have so many precious people in this town who help us make it work - dear friends who are in our corner and love our child and want us to make it work. Grateful for that. I also know we are not alone in this. I am sure that everyone who juggles more than themselves has to "make it work" in some sense. We do what we have to do say YES to God's calling on our lives, to grow our home into what we always hoped it would be, and to, well, make it work.

So for all you out there who feel like you have to do everything but stand on your head and sing yankee doodle in order to pull off your life, I get it, I feel ya, and press on. Our striving is never in vain!
Right Montell?

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Way of the Divi.

Aruba's Divi Divi TreeThis is a Divi tree. I have actually stood at this very divi tree in Aruba where Eric and I honeymooned there almost nine years ago. What’s cool about the divi tree is they grow in the direction the wind blows - so for most divis in Aruba they grow towards the west. You could try and straighten them out, I suppose, but they would likely bend, crack and break because they were meant to go with the wind.  This is what makes them unique, what makes them beautiful, what makes them free.

There is much talk in the Christian parenting world about training your children, as in Proverbs 22:6, “Train a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not turn from it.” I totally get it. My child is, among many things, teachable, and it is our charge as her parents to teach her well, to prepare her to walk with Jesus. A brilliant professor of mine, however, challenged my understanding of this verse.  One translation of the original Hebrew says something more like “Train up a child according to their natural bent, and when they are older they will not depart from it.” In other words, encourage them to become the most true, saturated version of who they were created to be, rather than your version of who you wish they would bccome.  Give them roots in Christ and in His word, and then watch how they grow, how they bend, and train them to do so all the more!

This past weekend my sweet parents took my sister and her brood and me and Harper to Discovery Kids in Huntersville. It was so clearly designed by people with little ones - Harper was the most entertained/enthralled as I have ever seen her.  Before I knew it it was as if I was witnessing Career Day toddler style. She went from station to station, tinkering in these mini occupational set-ups. It was hysterical!
on the back of a firetruck - adorbs

taking care of the "meow meow" at the vet's office
trying her hand as a paramedic
driving a mini-mustang, not sure what this profession is? professional loafer?
marine biologist?
H and I after her Nascar victory lap. Her daddy would be so proud.
We have a couple of decades before we start thinking about my child’s career path, but I do recognize that every moment in the in between is a chance for me to encourage her to become exactly who she was created to be, to grow like the divi tree, or a chance for me to impose my own expectations on her, causing her to bend, to crack, and to break. My hope is that I will have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to discern the way she bends.  If she is shy, let me not force her to be more pleasing.  If she is introverted, let me give her the space for her thoughts. If she is opinionated, let me give her a voice that can be heard.  If she runs slow let me not quicken her. 

Sweet girl I pray that you would have roots that run deep in the deep, deep love of Jesus. I pray that you would know the joy of obeying Him. I pray that I would see how you bend and whisper love like the wind so that you would become the uniquely, hand crafted wonder that He has created you to be.  I pray that you would go the way of the Divi. Wildly beautiful and beautifully free.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Texas Part Dos.

Harper's first pedicure!!
If I don't do it now (blog about the rest of our Texas trip that is) I never will. Eric's got a mean poker game going on downstairs and I am battling a nasty cold upstairs so blogging it is.

We had precious time with my cousins (Angela and Allyson, two of Margaret and Lee's daughters (the third is Audra who I looovveee but who had to be at a counseling conference because she is a serious counseling guru).

My dad is 11 years younger than his sister (my aunt Margaret) and so he is actually closer in age to my cousins than he is to his sister. So their children (Ryan, Ross, Aron, Kelsey, Sydney, and Katie) range from 9 to about 21 (i think).

My family jokes that I look nothing like them (mostly b/c I tan on a whole other level during the summer months and have dark hair and dark eyes where my mom and sister sport blue eyes). I believe my sister's words during our youth were "me and mom's eyes are sky blue and yours are poo-poo brown." Ouch. Eric says I was switched at birth and feels sure there's some white little girl running around in some border town having her white skin scorched by the mexican sun. Don't worry, mom, I no longer ACTUALLY think this is true. That said, you could say I look a little more like my cousins.

We played at the park, ate great food, talked and caught up, and the girls (Kelsey, Sydney and Katie) mothered Harper all the livelong day. They were precious about it an I am so thankful for the time we had with them.
Angela swinging H
H with Katie - she was such a little momma!
H with Sydney
H with Kelsey
After soaking up as much of Austin as we could we headed to San Antonio (where I was born) to meet up with my Uncle Steve and Aunt Sandy and cousin Isaac (precious, Jesus-loving people and I CANNOT believe I did not get a picture with them! Shame on meeee!!!) and my Nana (my mom's mom and last living grandparent). This was the first time she got to meet her great granddaughter! So thankful for that opportunity. Here is a picture of 4 generations of women - my Nana, my mom, myself and Harper. Can we talk a moment about how lovely my mom is? Seriously, she is a classic beauty.

So there you have it. A drive to Charlotte, a flight to Austin, a drive to San Antonio, a flight back to Charlotte, and a drive back to Mount Airy. Phew! Who said having a baby slows you down?

Apparently, not us!

Sunday, March 6, 2011

This Guy.

I have much more to blog about Texas (including pics of Harper getting her first pedicure care of her 3rd cousin Katie), but I have to take a moment to shout out to this guy. 

For all of you who do the obligatory “finger in the mouth gag me sign” when someone sings the praises of their spouse, no need to read on.

There are a few big changes going on in our life, namely a new job for me and thoughts about growing our family of 3 to a family of 4, plus the normal craziness that is life in full-time ministry.  It’s a little overwhelming at times. 

In all of this, there are a few things that are constant.  Jesus. He is constant.

 (For you Lost fans please feel free to take a moment of silence if you just recalled one of the best Lost episodes ever about the constant. If you don’t know what I’m talking about you are not a real Lost fan.  Shame on you.)

The other constant - Eric. His love for Harper and I is so steady that it is easy to take for granted - like breathing or wind or the ticking of a clock, anything that goes on steadily, rhythmically, unnoticed.

We are his priority - when he is home with us and when he is out doing his thing - we are his priority.  What a great thing to be able to say. 

Eric, you are my prize.
Thanks for loving us easy and loving us hard.
We love you.