What a Life

Standard

Yesterday, a dear friend left us to go on to be with Jesus.  I met Priscilla and her sister 9 years ago in April at a Freedom Excursion. Little did I know, just over a year later her daughter would walk in my wedding.    When she introduced herself, she pronounced her last name Hernandez with the proper Spanish rolling of the R. I didn’t understand what she was saying.  Having been born and raised in Texas, I thought I was pretty familiar with the Hispanic culture.  I had been living in Alabama so I said “Hernandez?” with the most southern drawl I could muster just to make fun of her.  Sounds terrible but we hit off….because she would do the same to me.  When I took a Hispanic lastname (got married) she had to educate me in the proper pronunciation and all other things I needed to know about being Mexican.  She and the Hubs loved to make fun of me (she was the older sister he never had) and she would call me white in Spanish: guera. It was a teasing insult.  We laughed because I’m soooo  white sometimes. She was proud to hear that my mother-in-law taught me how to make tortillas.  She made tortillas for her family all the time.  She was a very good cook.

Priscilla became my sister’s best friend; one of my sister’s sister friends.  Which makes sense because she and I were a lot alike and my sister loves me.  Priscilla had three sisters of her own and her closest sister reminds me of my own sister.  They were two strange peas in a pod.  Since they were friends all of the sisters automatically had to be friends.

Yesterday we went to see her.  Death is so strange and so is life.  While it seems to difficult to extinguish life it also seems so fragile.  Death was so close yet it seemed so difficult.  Maybe the difficulty wasn’t death but letting life go.

She was too alive to die.  She was too young.  She was too strong to die.  She was too healthy to die (always running and keeping fit).  She was too young.  (I keep saying that too myself…44 years is too young to die).

She was ill for a year.  When she was diagnoses none of us really thought she would die.  We just couldn’t believe for death.  I went and prayed for her in October and we had a lovely visit. She got to meet my daughter.  She was so alive.  She had the same infectious smile.  She didn’t look fragile. She shared crackers with The girl.  My girl crawled up right next to her and sat calmly for a few minutes while Priscilla talked to her. That’s a memory I’m filing away.

Priscilla seem to even thrive through all the medical treatments…all guaranteed only to prolong her life for a little while.  The doctors offered her no hope.

She had so many treatments. She also had so many friends.  She had a different friend take her to each treatment…for a year.  It might seem strange that it wasn’t her husband taking her but what a gift she gave to each friend to know they spent that time with her and had a chance to help her during her time of need.  Priscilla helped everyone.  I don’t know where she found the time. She was a good friend to so many.

She was a whirl wind and an anchor.

Even before finding out about her condition she lived a lot of life in her brief years.  She lived in several different places and wasn’t afraid  to move half way across the state or to another state with her family. She took trips…lots of trips. Every summer she took her kids to Fort Worth for some kind of camp and to see family.  She never was afraid to strike out on her own.

More than all that she was about family. Her husband and her kids were priority one.  Yet, she had a way of making a lot of people “family”.

Priscilla loved Jesus.  She taught her kids about Jesus and even her husband.  She believed.

She wanted her family to build their own home. She did that this year.  She wanted to see her daughter learn to drive…although her daughter isn’t quiet the right age, she learned this year.  She wanted to spend time with her family.  She did that.  She wanted to dance at her nephews wedding (she loved dancing) and she did that in the last two weeks of her life though she was in rapid decline.

She crammed every minute into living even when she was told she was going to die.  She didn’t waste time on dying until her body would no longer allow her to go on.

What a life she lived.

Her family said it so well, “with one eye we weep with one we rejoice that she is with Jesus”.

We are still crying. There have been tears at my sister’s house this morning and I cry as I write this but I can also picture her dancing with Jesus in heaven.  In that picture, she looks like she did when I met her 8 years ago…black hair flowing down her back, wearing high heels and her brightest, whitest smile.  You dance, girl.

Momlog 2015: life with a 6 year old

Standard

6 year olds bring their own challenges.  Mine is keeping me on my toes mainly because I never know what he’s going to say. 

In the fall we took a field trip with our local homeschool group to the Blue Bell factory (the best ice cream in the south that I’ve found).  He’s all about Blue Bell ice cream now.  I am definitely a fan as I grew up eating Blue Bell….that’s pretty much all my parents will buy.  I remember growing up, when we visited my grandma (who lived in Karnes City) we would pack a cooler with Blue Bell and take it to her since it wasn’t carried in her local grocery store.  My family is a fan of the Blue Bell.  



This past week we had lunch with friends at Jason’s Deli.   The Boy loves Jason’s because they offer good Mac-n-cheese.  I like it because of their California club and the fruity mix up salad…and the soups.  They offer some great healthy options but turkey, bacon and avacado on a croissant….that’s good stuff.  Plus they have great fresh fruit and fruit dip.  Most kids love it because they have a soft serve ice cream machine and free ice cream.  All the other kids in our group were begging for ice cream as soon as they ate some of their lunch (ages 6 to 11). I asked my son if he would like some.  He said “Nah.”  I told him “You like it”. He said, “I’ll get some Blue Bell ice cream when we get home. I don’t like this ice cream”. My son is an ice cream snob.  I can’t blame home because I’m a coffee snob and a dounut snob and probably some other snob too.  I did tell him there would be no ice cream once we get home, it’s now or never.  He opted out of the soft serve.  

He certainly is forming his own opinions.  TheGirl loved the soft serve.  She’s not so snobby about her snacks. 

Adoption

Standard

Working on adoption number 2 and looking for adoption party ideas, I came across this article on helping adoptive families. click waitingtoadopt.

What great information. Most families have someone offer to give them a shower when they are having s baby. We got our baby girl at 3 days old. We had three friends respond. One friend, Leilani brought us a whole slew of diapers, wipes, formula, and the cutest baby girl clothes…the next day…which was awesome because she was our girl was a complete surprise. And we were going to have to go and get those items ASAP. Another friend brought us food (prepared meal) which was great because we had been at a conference in Dallas when we got the call. I thank God for these people. Seriously! My family has been super supportive…baby , clothes, bedding, Christmas and birthday gifts. I’m thankful. The blog above made me think of some of the great support we received while fostering twins (newborn, premies). Some friends came over and offered to clean…that was HUGE for our sleep deprived family. My sister and another friend came over and babysat so I could take a nap, upstairs. One of my best friends, Suzy who has adopted twins and still fosters, came and provided respite care for us so we could go away for a weekend. We had some support. Foster families and adoptive families need help. Especially those new to fostercare…we had no idea what we were taking on when we signed up to foster. We were pretty prepared for children when we were asked to take our son but fostering comes with so many rules and restrictions, it can be overwhelming.

When we completed our son’s adoption we wanted to celebrate with
these friends. we were unable to have a celebration because of a crisis with another family member that ended with one of us traveling 600 miles to pick up our infant niece.

So this time around, the Hubs wants (and I agree) to throw a huge celebration for both of our adoptions. We are hoping late May or early June. Looking for ideas….back to Pinterest. just wanted to share.

Momlog 2015: A Moment

Standard

I wish I could have taken a picture or recorded a video.  It was a priceless moment.

Almost all day today, The Boy, for lack of a better term, was listless.  We went to the playground and he moped around.  I’m one of those relentless moms who keeps asking, “What’s wrong with you?”  Sorry, all you great moms who gentle check your kids temperature and say things like, “Show, mamma where it hurts.” I’m just not that mom.  He poked around all day.  He’s a pokey kind of kid (I have a deep belief that God gave me a child who is pokey to slow me down because I typically have one speed and it is full charge ahead).  He told me all these pitiful problems he was having today.  Seriously, I laughed at him a little.  His stomach hurt. Of course I asked him if he had pooped today.  He said “No” but I suspect he couldn’t really remember.  He is 6 and 1/2 now (and don’t forget the half because he sure doesn’t) so I don’t monitor his poops.  Naturally, I gave him a bunch of fruit at dinner.  I know he had yogurt at breakfast and not that yoplay stuff either the good Greek yogurt that has all the probiotics.   I checked to make sure he didn’t have a bruise or something on his stomach.  Yet he continued to mope around.  His next answer, after he moped around at the park and drank 1/2 of a large McDonald’s sweet tea (1/2 sweet, 1/2 unsweet because sweet tea is just too sweet) was that he was needed water.  He was seriously pitiful.  I prayed for him because I’m not at all tolerant of self-pity….in myself or anyone in my family.  No pity parties.  There are kids in Africa who drink dirt water once a day and you just drank my whole tea.  (I was a bit concerned that if he did have some kind of stomach thing going on that we will all get it because we shared that tea.)

He came home and moped his way through some school work.  Then he went and laid down on his bed at 6:15 p.m.  I made him get up to eat dinner.

He did eat dinner which made me think, maybe it wasn’t a stomach thing.

A prayer group from our church meets at our house on Tuesday evenings so after dinner I sent him upstairs.  I told him he could play or get ready for bed since he wasn’t feeling well and he was so tired.  He chose to stay up and play (big surprise).

The Hubs was late getting home from work.  I told the Boy to get ready for bed and come say good night.  That means he stayed up a little later than usual.

He came bounding down the stairs.  He says, “Mama, mama, I know why my stomach has been hurting.”  (He’s pointing at me).  I ask, “Why?”.  He says, “Because I didn’t say I was sorry yesterday.”  His little six year old face was so serious.

Rewind to yesterday.  Because of our sleep issues (Baby Girl has been waking up around 3 a.m. every other night and she’s sooo loud) I was tired.  The weather was so nice, I sent the kids out to play while I sat down to do some reading before we started school.  I was watching out the window and I had the back door open.   Baby girl is not yet two so she is still in a diaper.  And she one tough cookie.  Seriously, she falls down and gets right back on and goes on with her life.  She was in the yard doing “downward puppy” (think yoga “downward dog”  I have no idea why).  He kicked her on her bottom (Her bottom was right there in the air, I can see the temptation).  Twice.  And he probably would have done it again except I started yelling at him.  She didn’t fall down or even seem phased by the kick.  However, I want to teach him to be protective over her and not a mean brother.   I told him, he would have a consequence for the kicking.

When he was little-little (he’s still kind of little to me) we would make him tell us “I’m sorry” when he behaved badly.  We have been teaching Baby Girl to say “sorry” too (she uses sign language at this point).  In our family we say “sorry” when we mess up…we take responsibility when we do the wrong thing or hurt someone whether is was intentional or accidental.  It’s part of our DNA.  This is also how we start teaching our kids about repentance. I have been giving The Boy a little more leeway in apologizing because I want him to do it by his own choice not because I force him too.  I kind of let the “sorry” slide yesterday.

Fast forward to this evening,  The Boy says, “Mr. Eddie (his teacher at church) said that when we do things wrong it makes our heart heavy.  That’s why my stomach hurt.  I told Jesus that I’m sorry but I forgot to tell you.” (he was talking to me).  My response was (and he was so sincere that The Hubs and I were trying not to laugh and cry at the same time) , “I love you and forgive you.  It’s not okay to kick your sister.  I think the person you need to apologize to is your sister.”  He told her he was sorry and gave her a hug then came and sat with me.

He seemed to be completely healed of his stomach issue.

In a related matter, about 7 minutes later, his sister launched herself over him onto me, ramming his face and she had to tell brother, “sorry”.

It was one of those moments…those moments when 4 years of parenting paid off.  All of the things we have been teaching him came together for a brief moment and we had a glimpse of the godly man we are preparing to change the world.  It made me want to cry.  We know, it’s not all us or what we are doing.  Mr. Eddie has been teaching him some of the same things in Sunday school and everyone knows that sometimes mom’s words go in one ear and out the other but when someone like Mr. Eddie teaches the same thing… it sticks.  Mostly I lecture…Mr. Eddie has all these cool activities.  Seriously, I’m so thankful for our church and children’s department.

And I want to remember my son’s sweet face and big blue eyes as he told me this.  I hope that it was his lack of repentance that was bothering him because I want him to be sensitive to God’s leading.  I hope that when he hurts others it leaves an ache in him.  I hope that will lead him to repentance.

My People

Standard

There is a notion that has become very popular in our culture in the past few years.  It goes beyond the childhood ideas of a “BFF”.  It’s the idea that of having a “person”.

Many years ago I had a conversation with my sister about soulmates  that we have in our lives that may not be our spouse, but rather a friend that we will have for life.  A few generations ago, most people would have considered their “people” to include only family.  But in this generation, with the dysfunction that is so typical in families, people are decided that they are going to chose who is family to them; we are choosing who we allow into our lives.

I love my family and they are without a doubt, “my people”.  My hope is that we raise our children to love and appreciate family too.  However, I still have some “people” who are not biologically related.  These are friends who have been in my life for many years who I love dearly.

This past year, my family set out (with a team) to plant a church in south Austin.  It has been in my heart that my family would attend church together.  I’m traditional like that.  Over 10 years ago my parents and one of my sisters and her husband helped to plant a church in San Marcos, Texas.  They are rooted there.  Since they did not feel called to join our City Chapel launch team, I had to resolve myself that I wasn’t going to get to attend church with my family (anytime soon).   One really great thing is some of our dear friends are on the launch team…these are friends who helped us through the fostering and adoption process, we have served in ministries with them, they are some of “our people”.  Since my family isn’t going to attend our church I set it my heart that I really wanted some of our other “people” to join us.  My husband’s brother and his girl started attending church with us a few years ago.  They are some of “our people” and they are on my list.  I have a friend that I have known for as long as I can remember, her and her honey are on my list.  I invite people to church who I want to go to church with.  I met a lady at Kohls one day and invited her…I instantly liked this women, she’s from Alabama and reminds me of my friend Angela (one of “my people”).

I’ve been praying for “my people”.  I talked to God about it and I told Him everything that is in my heart.

We have had some hard years, spiritually speaking.  The Hubs and I have gone to few churches that liked one of us but didn’t like the other.  We may have been kicked out of a church after we said we were leaving. It’s not complicated, it has been difficult to find a place were we are both celebrated.  Most churches want the Hubs because he plays and sings and he is a worshipper.  Not every church focuses on prayer…seriously, I’m surprised at how prayer is an afterthought sometimes.  In any case, over the years, we have had our ups and downs when it comes to church.  We love Jesus but His bride is a little “iffy” sometimes.  Over the past four years as we have gone down paths of freedom and healing we realize that you cannot really love Jesus without loving what He loves…His bride, the church.  It’s not possible.  So we are falling back in love with church.

As I have been praying over the past few months for City Chapel and “my people” who I want to attend my church, I have felt God begin to chip away a little more at some of those stony places in my heart.  I admit there are areas that have been in self-preservation.  I can attend a church and even serve but be stand-offish.  Anyone can do it.  It’s not always easy.  At times God has given me a prophetic word to share or a payer to pray and I want to run away.  There has been some negotiating (If they are open to a word, then let them ask if anyone has a word then I’ll share the word)  Our church team has some lovely people and some difficult people and some people who like me and some people who don’t.  And I don’t have to care because they aren’t really “my people” unless I say they are.

As I pray for “my people”, I hear God say, “They are ‘My people’.  Before they were every ‘your people’ they are ‘My people’.  In fact, look around, they are ALL ‘My people’. I want them all.”

As much as I love “my people”, God loves them more; them and everyone else.

We have to begin to see the world as God sees the world.  Throughout scripture He uses the phrase, “My people”.  When we see each other as He sees us, it’s a game changer.  He wants the best for us just like I want the best for “my people”.   If I’m one of His “people”  then it my responsibility to find His other people and help them be the person they are called to be.  Let’s find God’s people and let’s get them to the place where they can hear God say, “You’re my person. You will always be mine.”

2014 in Review

Standard

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 12,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 4 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.