Saturday, January 29, 2011

The Cowlicks

Hope has a couple of cowlicks. One is in the front and she has 2 at the crown of her head. Needless to say, it makes styling her hair interesting. She is determined to part her hair on the side that favors the font one--even though it is the smallest of the three.

Every morning, we have drama over her hair. She doesn't want me to use the straightener, but she has a huge hump--or two--at the back of her head and the only way to make it lay down is to straighten it at the roots. Problem is, she has a sensitive scalp and cringes every time the iron gets close to her head. Most mornings, we walk out the door mad at each other.

The easy way to fix this is to part her hair on the other side. But she refuses to do that. She knows what she is doing is not working. She's tried to blow dry it at night, wet it in the morning, and a few other things I can't remember, but none of them work. She is determined that if she just continues to do the same thing, one day her result will be different (isn't that the definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results?).

That cowlick is like so many things in my life--a hump in my otherwise smooth plans. Do I try to keep my plans in place and work around the hump or do I adjust the plans to incorporate the cowlick?

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

People Rock!

Four and a half years ago, I started a crazy journey. I walked into Bobbi's office and asked, "What if?"

I joined the staff of my church almost 5 years ago in a role that I thought would be pretty administrative. What I found is that I stunk at the administrative part of the job, but loved the people part. Yes, you read that right--I loved getting to be with people back then and I think, if it's possible, I love it even more now.

That day I asked, "What if?" I was also asked, "So, this job will mostly be dealing with people--what do you think about that?" Today, I stand by the answer I gave: "People are hard. They often make me crazy. They have lots of baggage. BUT, in spite of the baggage (or maybe because of it) working with them is the most rewarding job there is!" So, I moved into my current role a few weeks later--thanks to some leaders who believed in and took a chance on me.

Even though there have been changes, I have never regretted walking in Bobbi's office that day. I absolutely LOVE getting to hang out with people. I love to hear their stories. There's the single mom who has 3 children, one of whom is special needs. She thanked me for knowing her name. Really? I get thanked just because I know her name?

There's the student who was honest about his faith. I was able to look him in the eyes and tell him "I'm gonna pray that you find MY Jesus." And nothing compares to the joy of celebrating when he did.

There's the friend who stopped to tell me she was getting divorced. I was able to stop what I was doing to cry and pray with her. And guess what? I was able to rejoice with her this week when she told me they were sticking it out.

There's the lady who thinks God might be telling her to go on a mission journey, but there are obstacles. BUT, she took the step to confide in me and I was able to connect her to someone who is leading a trip. I don't know how this one will turn out yet, but I can tell you I am praying big right now.

There's the lady that I asked to bake 1000 kolaches. And she agreed to it and was THRILLED to serve in this way.

Almost daily, people try to commiserate with me when they find out what my job is. Part of me wants to laugh. Really? I get to love people and look for the good in them every stinkin day. Why does that elicit sympathy instead of jealousy? The other part of me wants to keep it a secret--if everyone knew how great my job was, they would try to take it.

Here's what I know: People rock! They are generous and compassionate. Encouraging and loving. They serve in the midst of caring for families and having full time jobs (and they only get paid in bagels). They are honest and energetic. They are strong and humble. I could go on forever here--people are the best thing since sliced bread!

So, if you pass me in the hallway and I look rushed, don't feel sympathy for me. Feel envious. Because, I am probably rushing to a room where I will have a conversation with one of these incredible people and will get to see them in action as they love kids and point them to Jesus. Not sure what your idea of a good job is, but I don't think it can beat mine.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Passing Gas

I had to take the girls to the mall with me tonight. First of all, I don't shop unless I absolutely have to. Secondly, I don't take the girls with me unless I am utterly desperate. Needless to say, I was a bit worried as we walked out the door. Brian was MIA (actually, he was being spiritual up at the church with his small group, but I prefer to pretend he abandoned me).

Hope promised to behave and was actually excited to help me pick out something for myself. She is quickly becoming a tween and has been concerned with my lack of desire to wear skinny jeans, so any chance she can speak into my appearance, she's been doing. (I mean seriously--she tried to get me to try on some jeggings at Target. Do I look like someone who would wear jeggings? Not a pretty thought!)

So, we walk into Dillards and Hope starts oohing and aahing over the shoes. The goal was to find a pair of boots, so she immediately found several that she thought would be perfect for me. The saleslady completely ignored us. I can't say I blame her--Caroline and I were looking pretty raggedy (Hope, of course, had dressed for the occasion). All of a sudden, I smelled something horrible. I looked around and Caroline was the only one near me and when questioned, she admitted it was her. Not only did it stink, I knew if the shoe lady got a whiff of it, I'd really never get any help from her.

We quickly moved away from the area where the gas explosion occured, got a pair of shoes in my size and left the mall. She waited until we got outside to let the next one slide. Silent but deadly went to a new level.

From the mall to Target, I had to ride with windows down and heater on full blast. I tried to just roll down the back windows, but I literally choked at one point. She was ripping them one after another and she and Hope could barely breathe between the smell and laughing hysterically!

I never thought I would have daughters--always pictured myself with boys. I would have never, in a million years, thought I would know the fart nicknames my girls have given everybody in our house (by the way, Caroline is SBD--silent but deadly--even before tonight). When Brian and I were dating, I told him that I didn't have to deal with gas from him until there was a ring on my finger (and even after we were engaged, it took him another year before he could do it in front of me since I had trained him so well. After 10 years of marriage, that is no longer a problem).

So, amid the stench, I had to smile (I was scared I would pass out and crash if I opened my mouth wide enough to laugh). Farting was never funny to me, but it certainly was to my girls. Sometimes, as a parent, you have to throw away your expectations of a good time and join in with what's going on around you. Oh, and also pray you don't scare your friends away from posting a blog that's really just TMI.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I cry. Anyone who knows me--even from a distance--knows this about me. I've spent my life trying to change that about myself. I have always hated being dubbed "the overly-sensitive one." I've hated the feeling of knowing people are walking on eggshells so as not to upset me. And I have especially hated the fact that when I am moved--whether by anger, hurt, joy or any other emotion--the tears flow on their own, no matter how hard I try to hold them in.

For me, I think tears are one of the things God uses to show me I'm not in control of things that I think I should be. And I also think He is patiently waiting for me to accept them as part of who He created me to be. If I continue to see them as a weakness or an area to improve, I can never fully embrace the empathetic person He created and I'm missing out on seeing Him work through the tears.

So, I'm starting to be okay with my tears--even when I know they make others uncomfortable. I stopped wearing mascara years ago and have recently started wearing my eyeliner differently so that it doesn't disappear when the tears flow. I have a stash of kleenexes in my car, purse, jacket pockets and office (at home, I use washrags--they are much softer and save money).

I will still apologize most days when I cry in front of others and I will still try to hold them in at times that I deem it inappropriate to cry. BUT, I am hoping, I will also see them more and more often as a unique part of me and celebrate them every now and then.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

It's the little things

I used to think I was a sappy, romantic kind of girl. You know--the one who wants flowers for every special occasion and a date night every week and a husband who professes his love with words every time he sees me. And then, Brian got me a ceiling fan for an anniversary present (I think it was even our 1st anniversary). And I LOVED it. It was the fan that I really wanted but refused to spend the money to get. He's done lots of things like that over the years.

I get caught up many days thinking about all the big things I wish he would do and overlooking the little things he does. In the past week, he has defrosted my car windows, made a yummy stew, toasted my bagel when I was in a hurry to get the kids to school(without me having to ask--which gets double points), loaded firewood so we could enjoy our fireplace and worked his tail off to provide for our family. These are all things I can take for granted and expect him to do. But I don't want to be that kind of wife. I want to notice them and celebrate them and never assume I am entitled to them.

Because it really is the little things that tell me how well he knows me and speak huge volumes of his love. And he knew this about me before I ever did. He knows this about our daughters, too. That's why he's taking one to the Daddy/Daughter Dance and the other duck hunting (bet you can't guess which is doing what).

I can't help but think that God works in this same way. He doesn't always do the big things that we expect Him to do. He doesn't always do the things we think would speak love to us. But He does know best and I find that looking back, I realize that I love the gifts He gives much better than the things I thought I wanted. And I want to be the kind of daughter who sees that and appreciates it.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

20 Things that Make me Happy

...Fried chicken, stew, chicken pot pie and the many other homeade food Brian makes
...Sonic happy hour
...An open sunroof
...Curling up with a good book (in my green chair on a rainy day or out in nature on a pretty one)
...Staying in my jammies all day
...Hearing my girls giggle (esp when Brian is tickling them or bouncing them on the trampoline)
...The feel of the sun on my face on a cold day
...Sitting in front of a crackling fire
...Watching Hope play soccer
...Watching Caroline dance
...Making a unique present for someone
...Coming home to a clean house
...Writing a witty fb status update
...Road trips with Brian
...Freshly laundered sheets
...Comfy house shoes
...Long conversations with dear friends
...Strawberry margaritas
...Encouraging someone else with words
...When people comment on my blog and tell me they like what I write

Monday, January 3, 2011


Some families go to Disney World, but the happiest place on earth for our family, is Granny's farm. It's unanimously the favorite place for everyone in the Royal house. You can see Brian visibly relax when we pull into the yard. Hope perks up and becomes almost giddy when we exit the highway. Caroline just loves being with family and knowing that there are always people around who tell her how wonderful she is.

Typically, I pack several books and spend my time there reading and sleeping. While I enjoy nature, I don't need to traipse around in it to be at peace. So, I have to say that I surprised myself when I ventured over to check out the zip line Brian's cousin installed for his girls this past year. I watched Hope ride down a few times, and couldn't decide if it looked like fun. I pretended that I was worried it wouldn't hold me because I was too big, but deep down, I think I was truly scared. So, I went back to Granny's and couldn't get the thought of it out of my head all night.

The next morning, I announced that we had to go back over before we headed back to Texas so I could do it. Hope, of course, was ecstatic (whether for the fact I was doing it or it meant she got another chance, I don't know). When I got there, I climbed to the top and couldn't do it. I kept looking down and thinking that if I fell, I would break something and we couldn't afford to have me down right now with another broken collarbone and on and on. So, I climbed down and had Brian pull me halfway up and let me go. After enjoying that and realizing I really could hang on without slipping, I decided to do it for real. The next time, when I got to the top, it took me 5 minutes to jump off the ladder--Brian had to talk me through it several times and I had to shut out the images of me in a body cast. BUT, I DID IT!!!!

There's not a lot that I do that I am proud of, but this is one of those things that made me reach high and dig deep--all at the same time. And, once I did it, made me proud of myself.

I don't know if I'll go again, but I hope I will. I think I will still panic when I get to the top and look down, but hopefully, I'll remember how much fun the ride was and forget about the fear of the initial jump.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Good-Bye 2010

2010 was a challenging one for the Royal family. Here are some of the things I remember...

Being a one car family for 5 months
Hope's first art exhibit
Cartwheels and flips on the trampoline
Our trip to the Dallas Museum of Art
BAHA surgery and being able to hear again
My Rendevous with a sunroof
Our 10 year anniversary
Meeting Coach Stan for the first time
Summer Indoor Soccer Champions
Brian and I leading a mission trip full of 7th graders
FADC auditions
Feeding the elk
Grandma's surprise 80th birthday party
Fire in the Hole at Silver Dollar City
Caroline's Twinkle Toes
Sundaes on Sunday
Growing closer to my sweet friend Jenny
Getting Mrs. Humphreys again
Caroline quitting dance
Operation Aubrey (O-A-O-A-O-A-O-A)
Extreme Makeover Home Edition
Bonfire at Humphreys farm
Speech class
New laundry room
The new doggy hotel
Hope's 1st slumber party
Decorating pinecones
Being caffeine-free the whole year
My sparkly Christmas shirt
The zipline at the farm

Lots of good memories. Lots of hard memories. While I'm not sad to move forward, I pray that I will not forget the good ones and that I will continue to learn from the hard ones.