Saturday, May 28, 2011

A Camping we will Go

Wahoooooo! The girls and I are hitting the road to go camping today with friends. These are really good friends--not only did they leave yesterday so they could get great campsites, they are letting us sleep in their camper with them. And letting us steal some of their boat time since all of us won't fit on it at the same time. And letting my kids borrow their motorized scooters while making their campsite quite a bit louder.

Not to mention--they are the one who introduced us to using PEEPS instead of marshmallows for smores--and even better--they stocked up at Easter and are willing to share them with us!!!!

Gotta go finish packing--hopefully I'll be able to post all of our fun afterward (and not post that we no longer have these friends because they saw our true colors).

Sunday, May 22, 2011

My peeps got baptized

Brian and the girls got baptized tonight--I'msuch a proud wife and mama. Here are their testimonies:

I accepted Jesus into my heart one day when I was sitting on the couch with my mom after talking about sin. I was 4 years old. My favorite story in the Bible is the one about Nehemiah building the wall. It’s cool how he helped his country get things done faster. I am being baptized because I want to show everybody that I love God.

I first heard about Jesus when I was 3 years old. I remember dancing in the big room upstairs on Sunday. I prayed to Jesus and told him that I believed in Him one day in my dad and mom’s room. I like the verse Genesis 1:1 because it talks about how God made everything—and He did! I am being baptized because I love Him and want to let the people see that I believe in Jesus.

My salvation was a slow process that started back in high school when attending different activities such as FCA with my friends. I Knew God existed and accepted Him as my Savior, but had no guidance as to who he was. Since coming to Bent Tree 12 years ago, I have had a wonderful journey of hard times and happy times. Each year I grow greater in my knowledge of God and closer to him. The most notable change in my life is the security in knowing that no matter what He is with me holding me up leading me down the path.
I love 1 Chronicles 29:11-12. Yours, Lord, is the greatness and power and the glory and the majesty and the splendor, for everything in heaven and earth is yours. Yours, Lord, is the kingdom; you are exalted as head over all. Wealth and honor come from you; you are the ruler of all things. In your hands are strength and power to exalt and give strength to all.
I am being baptized because I want to share with the world that I have a relationship with my Father.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Celebrating 39

So, my 39th birthday has come and gone. I posted a few weeks ago how I was dreading this birthday. I have to admit that I was pleasantly surprised by how great my weekend was.

Heading into the weekend, I got to attend the Catalyst Dallas conference that my church was hosting. I’m still processing through all I heard there and will post later about it, but it was UH-MAZ-ING!

Friday, Brian and I celebrated 11 years of marriage. Love that man! Instead of sending me flowers (which I love but I get so frustrated at how much money we spend on things that die in 2 days) he sent me chocolate covered strawberries! How awesome is that! They were so very yummy and I love that he knows what speaks to me.

We had a dinner date—with no kids and enjoyed being together. I don’t know about the rest of you, but sometimes, it’s easier to be with my hubby than others (and not just because I was in a chocolate covered strawberry coma). When I believe the best about him, I find that I have so much more to say than the times when I am holding in frustration and anger over petty things. This was one of those times when the conversation just flowed from both sides of the table (ok—there was still more from my side, but he added his input, too.) :)

Saturday was a soccer tournament (including dinner with our team) and Sunday I had dinner with my college roommates. None of which were about celebrating me, but sooooo the kinds of things I love to do. In fact—I’d pick these things over a big party any day.

Monday, I was inundated with facebook birthday messages all day. There is no way to grieve a birthday when your phone is lighting up several times an hour! I ended the night having dinner with my dad and step-mom at Maggianos. Dear Rig D---I can’t wait to eat the rest of you at lunch today.

So, the dread I felt a few weeks ago over being 39 has disappeared. And here’s why:

If I were younger, I wouldn’t have already experienced this moment. When I entered my 30’s, Brian and I were just getting started. As I have been looking back on what all God has done in my 30’s, the memories have been good. Not necessarily easy, but oh, so good.

There is a song I heard last week that has been going over and over in my head. It’s called “Beautiful Things” by Gungor. If I were smart enough to link it here I would, but am so tech-non-savvy that you’ll have to find it on YouTube. The gist of the song is that God makes beautiful things; He makes beautiful things out of the dust. AND that He is making me new. (ok--while posting this, the song just came on my Pandora station--God is soooo good!)

While believing I am one of those beautiful things will probably always be a struggle for me, I can see it when I look at that pic above of my incredible family. And knowing that, I can’t grieve growing older and spending more time with them. And the thought that He is still making me just gives me hope beyond what I can express.

Friday, May 13, 2011

11 Reasons I’m glad I married Brian C. Royal (in no particular order)

1. He teaches me so much about grace
2. Because I couldn’t imagine a better dad to our girls (I mean, who else goes to a Daddy/Daughter dance one weekend with one and duck hunting the next with the other)
3. He makes me laugh
4. He’s never afraid to get his hands dirty
5. The gifts he buys me are perfect for me and he knows that and doesn’t bow to peer pressure to get me what he thinks I should want
6. He treats me as an equal and never discounts my opinion
7. He loves me—not always an easy task
8. His strength still makes me catch my breath (his calf muscles alone could lift a house)
9. He is a better cook than me
10. He has the kindest soul of anyone I know
11. He does floors (and the fact that he uses a shop vac to do them, just endears him more to me)

Marriage isn’t always easy. In fact, most days, it’s hard. But I am thankful that God, in His infinite wisdom, chose Brian for me and made me smart enough to realize there is no one I’d rather grow old with than him. I pray I never take him for granted and always remember what a perfect gift he is for me!

Happy 11th, Babe!

Friday, May 6, 2011

Things you discover when you eat lunch at your kids' school

…Cafeteria food is just as gross now as it was when you were in elementary school
…From the looks of it, your child isn’t the only one who insists on fixing her own hair for school
…Pizza day is still a hit (even though the pizza is in a rectangular shape)
…Some parents must smoke crack when they pack their kids lunch
…Ice cream is no longer just a quarter, but it still makes ‘em happy
…Kids are loud—especially when there’s 100 of them trapped together in one room
...The milk cartons are still hard to open
...Nothing compares to the smile on your 1st grader’s face when she sees that you made it on time


So, those of you reading this have probably been pretty disappointed lately. I haven't really written any funny or spiritual or even deep posts in a while (although I'm not sure how deep the ones I consider deep are to the rest of the world).

A couple of months ago, I started to get really hung up on how many pageviews I had verses how many comments. There are a couple of you who comment, but for the most part, I'll have 27 views and no comments. This whole blog thing is kinda scary and when you know people have looked at what you wrote but didn't comment, it can make you start to wonder. Did they think what I wrote was dumb? Were they bored to tears? No news is good news, right?

Well, I became obsessed. I would share one post on facebook and not the next--just so I could see how many people made an effort to read what I wrote and how many are looking at my facebook page (another scary thought).

After a couple of weeks making myself crazy, I lost some of my enjoyment o f writing. All of a sudden, it was a competition. Could I write something that would elicit a comment from someone who had never commented before? If I post it to facebook, how many more views do I have than if I don’t? Will I always only have 19 followers? Why do those 19 people even want to follow me?

So, I had to take a step back. Refocus myself on my goal for this blog. Tell myself that my self-worth is not based on how many comments or followers I have. My need to just be me has overcome my need to be liked by you. Don’t get me wrong, I still want you to read and even follow if you like. It would even be great to have a comment from you so that I know you stopped by. But, that cannot be my motivation for blogging. I’m sure those of you who blog will be able to relate to this.

So, as much as I want to make you laugh and to think I am totally wonderful and that I should write a book (a dream I’ve had since I was a little girl), I’m trying to let go of that need to please you and to be myself. I hope you are not bored to tears in the process. If you are, I totally understand if you want to unfollow or stop reading.

Oh, and if you stop by to read what I write, feel free to leave a comment once in a while. I’ll try not to let it go to my head.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Musical Beds

At least a couple of times a month, we play musical beds at our house. Brian and I share a king bed. Hope has a queen to herself and Caroline has a twin trundle bed. Each of our beds fit our individual personalities to a tee.

Brian and I have a well-loved mattress that has a dip in the middle, which helps each of us to have our own defined space. Hope tends to sleep at a diagonal, so a queen bed is big enough for her to do that without hanging off. Caroline’s sweet trundle has a canopy and lots of animals and pillows in it—with just enough room for her little buns to squeeze in.

We go through phases on who sleeps where. Most nights, we stay in our own beds, but if Hope has a bad dream, she insists on coming in our bed—something we swore we wouldn’t do before kids, but quickly changed our minds when faced with a distraught little girl.

Caroline is the sneakiest. She gets in bed between us and most nights, we don’t realize she’s there until we wake up in the morning.

Last night, we had some big storms. We put the girls to bed and were watching all the news reports on TV. It wasn’t until we were going to bed that we realized Hope had been sleeping in our bed the whole time. To her credit, she did leave us a note.

Even though our bed is plenty big for the 3 of us, Hope kicks. And pushes. And sleeps at a diagonal. So I was the lucky one who got to go to her bed (seriously, I’m not being sarcastic here--she has the most comfortable bed in the house). About the time I was starting to get excited about being able to sleep diagonal all by myself, another big boom of thunder sounded and Caroline came running out of her room. It reminded me of the scene in “The Sound of Music" where all the kids end up in Maria's room. Needless to say, she was scared, so I told her to grab her pillow and join me in Hope’s room which wiped the scared look right off of her face).

Some nights, I get so frustrated by the lack of sleep I still get (although NOTHING compares to that feeling of having a newborn and thinking you’ll never get to sleep more than 2 hours a time ever again—I’ll NEVER forget that feeling). Other nights, I’m kinda thankful for the extra cuddly kiddo next to me. It’s definitely easier to look at it fondly during the day and not when you are being tapped on the shoulder over and over by a little girl who wants to come in your bed and instead of just doing it, feels like she should ask permission (still haven’t figured out why some nights they just crawl in and others they ask).

As I look back on the elementary years of my girls, I think Musical Beds will be one of the things that stand out the most to me. Not sure if I will ever miss the lack of sleep, but I will miss the cuddles.

A Day to Celebrate or a Day to Grieve?

Today, like almost 10 years ago, I find myself glued to the tv—watching the news.

The reports came in last night that Osama Bin Laden is dead. Some have likened him to Hitler. There are conversations going back and forth on which president gets to take credit for his death. The details are being revealed on how his death actually happened. As the day goes on, I have no doubt there will be many reports.

Honestly, I’m torn with emotions right now. There’s my sense of justice side that is just glad. I remember Sept. 11, 2001, as I’m sure most Americans do. I was 7 months pregnant with Hope and just sat in front of the television for days that week. I remember how quiet the air above me was with no planes flying over on their way to and from DFW airport. I remember the fear I felt. Fear for my unborn child and what kind of world she would have to face. Fear for my mother-in-law who worked in a government building. Fear that more attacks were going to happen. These memories make me glad that he was brought to justice.

Then there’s just sadness. Sad that he died and never knew Jesus. Sad that he led so many down the wrong path. Sad that, because of his death, many more will follow him. Sad that, while he is dead, this war is not. And the sadness that I feel most of all is that I cannot find it in myself to grieve that he is in hell now.

And then fear comes again. Fear that there will be retaliation. Fear that his army will grow from his death. Fear that we, as Americans, will start looking at color in our own country and judging people again. Fear that someone serving in our military will read this and think they are not supported. And most of all, fear that I am a bad person because I can’t truly grieve someone dying without Jesus.

I was pointed to Proverbs 24 this morning. Great passage—I don’t know the details of why it was written and what was going on in Solomon’s kingdom to prompt him to write it. But, it was a great reminder to me this morning that God is in control.

It has also heightened my sense of the need to pray for my country, the leaders and the ones who are fighting for us. That, while I am called to respect my leaders and support them, there is only One whom I should follow.

So, like ten years ago, I am relying on the fact that I don’t know what the future holds, but I know WHO holds the future. And unlike 10 years ago, I am praying that God will soften my heart and the hearts of my fellow Americans. And even as I pray that, fear steps in again...

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Field Day

Do you remember Field Day in elementary school? It was always one of my favorites! Even though I’ve never been the best athlete, I always won a few ribbons.

This was the first year I was able to attend a portion of the girls’ Field Day. While I missed Hope’s tug-of-war (in which her all-girls team won against both teams they went against), I was able to see her do a team relay,

hula hoop,

jump rope

and hung out with her while she ate a popsicle.

I wasn’t able to stay as long for Caroline, but I got to watch the joy on her face while she was jump roping

and doing a relay with her friends.
In between stations and in the hall getting ready to go outside, she would grab my hand and grin at me. I know these days won’t last, so I relish them!

So many things have changed in our schools since I was a kid. Hope had her first TAKS test this week. Caroline gets speech help that wouldn’t have been available to her years ago. There are a lot more kids in a classroom nowadays (and more to come next year if our legislature has anything to do about it). Computers are available in the classroom and their school drama mini-productions are available for me to watch online.

BUT, with all the changes, I am SO GLAD that some things don’t change—like Field Day. Nothing beats a few hours of laughing with your friends, racing against and with them and being outside. And for those of us parents who are blessed to be able to watch, there is little that compares to seeing the joy on faces of kids who don’t have to use their inside voices.