Saturday, January 28, 2012

Blog musings

I know, I change my blog name like I change my shoes....well not really. I've only changed it once. But, I'm thinking about changing the dynamics of this blog, changing the name, and buying a domain name. Because, really, this blog is all about the fluff that is in my head. It's about my family and all our tall tales. It's about a story. THE story. THE story where hope has a name and his name is Jesus.

So. I'm gonna change things up again.

Not tonight.

But I'll let you know the details when I do.

xo

Thursday, January 26, 2012

{fwends}





A few weeks ago, our close friends from our college days came for a visit for the big boy's 4th birthday. They are expecting another daughter in March and we are just besides ourselves with excitement. We love them and are thankful for them in so many ways. We have a history with them. We've walked through some crazy times with one another. We've been in each other's weddings. We've made fun of each other. We've prayed for each other.

I love my kinsman; the people on this planet that encourage me and laugh with me and challenge me.



Wednesday, January 25, 2012

{tears and art and light}

Robbie and Scott making beautiful music at Photizo


If you read this consistently, then that means you know me or at least are a facebook friend. So you would then know that I have been organizing and planning and praying over and sweating over an event called PHOTIZO. Photizo was designed to showcase local artist (myself included) and raise awareness for what our church family is doing globally. We have our hearts in three, beautiful nations: Ecuador, Haiti, and Vietnam. So, Photizo was born. Photizo means to illuminate, to shed light upon. It's sort of a big deal. :) And, to ice that big, beautiful cake, we had a few local companies set up shop and donate for missions! (Thank you again and again Janet's Cakery and Coffee Waves) Plus Cat Herndon Photography donated a photo session to be auctioned off (THANK YOU!) and Robbie Seay led us in song! (Get his new album! It's fabulous). And all this to say, that night was a complete success. We raised over $6,000 and only a handful of the (over) 100 pieces of art we showcased didn't sell. It was spectacularly fun and there were so many pretty things. We had tables set up sharing more information from actual people who have been to these countries. It was splendid.

A friend looking at some art
When I felt God placing the story of Photizo in my heart last spring, our church was in great transition. So it took many months for the dream of Photizo to become a reality. And truly, so many people had no idea what I was talking about when I said "art auction...for missions, yea....with art...and wood pallets. You know. The kind you find behind wal-mart?? Maybe some coffee. Or cake. Or both...yea...."

Haha...yes. I heard crickets. But thankfully, we attend a church full of brave, adventurous, passionate, Jesus-pursuing people. And wow! I'm overwhelmed and delighted by the beauty of the night. It whirled by fast, didn't it? I have my check list in place already for next year. We had some people fill out comment cards and it was all good stuff to think about. I've only heard amazing words of affirmation from everyone. THANK YOU. Seriously. Thank you.

Naturally, I was a basket case leading up to Photizo. I hardly saw my littles the weekend of (thank you grandma!) and I was running around completing last minute tasks. I had an amazing community to plan this with. Our office administrative hero, Sara,  was priceless, plus the life group that I share life with daily, and so many people from the creek. It was serious fun bid'ness.

Me, Robbie Seay, and our pastor (i love this pic haha)
But one of the special moments of the week for me was when my cute husband's childhood English teacher and her husband called me to ask to donate money to the show, and if I could set aside a piece of art for them. Their words warmed every bit of me and I had tears in my eyes as I processed all the kindness they were sharing with me about Nathan and our little family. I spoke first to the man, who I have met before. His kindness resonated deep within me and I appreciated all that he was saying. His voice and the affection in it was what brought tears to my eyes first. Then his darling wife, Nathan's teacher, got on the phone and just bubbled with delight over my husband and his ministry. She encouraged me with loving words and stirred a deep fountain of peace within me. Their kind affirmation sent me home on a cloud. When I walked in the door, I met my friend Jamie and set about sharing the story with her, and then with Nathan as soon as he arrived. I was giddy about their encouragement and told several more of you about them as the weekend progressed.
me and Jamie

His request for my art sent me directly to my storage to look through the pieces that I had and I found a blank canvas and decided then and there to paint him something special instead. I've almost completed the picture, it needs a few more fine details and then it needs to be sealed. I was planning on doing that today and then hand delivering it to them this week so that I could tell them face to face that their encouragement spurred me on through the weekend of chaos. That his words of affirmation and her affectionate kindness reached me deeply and it was something I hadn't even realized that I was hungry for. (Words of affirmation are my love language).

But Monday night, I had a missed call from Nate's Gram as I was helping Wesley rearrange his room. Not 10 minutes later, my sweet husband walked in the door. I told him, I had a missed call from Grammy and it sounded rather ominous and I was about to call her back. Then he shared the news that the man "had a heart attack and died today".

I was in shock. And I cried. Nathan asked if I was okay, and I went to our room to call Gram back. Her line was, of course, busy. So I sat on our big bed and cried into the blanket.

When I finally spoke to Gram late last night, she encouraged me in her reassuring Gram style and shared her love and congratulated me on what a wonderful event we had (she was able to attend and see all the art displayed so prettily).

I hung up with Gram, sat on my bed again, and cried some more. It's a powerful thing, this thing called death. It seperates us from our loved ones. It breaks our hearts and our spirits. It makes us cry and scream and sob and scream some more. It enrages us and fills us with fear and dread. But I know that it doesn't have to be this way.

Michael, one of our artists of the night
I know that our God is bigger than death. He beat it down with a stick and stepped on it's face. He is the victor. THE victor. Of sin. Of death.

But still, I grieve for this man who encouraged me. I don't know if I will be able to attend the funeral, but I do have the painting to give to his wife; a woman who encouraged my husband as he grew into the man that he is today.

All this to say, I've been floating on a cloud since Photizo. A lot of it due to the encouraging words that so many have shared with me. The affirmations from SO many people have just given me such joy and peace. It's a delight to my heart to hear you speak such kindness and to know that our efforts were so successful. Photizo was an auction. Yes. But it was a way for people like you and me to participate in a global endeavor to love the people of the world. To love them and be near them even at a great distance.

And be praying for this family. And the community that they were a part of. And be mindful of the people you cross. Their story is an important one. It's a story that you can participate in by simply loving, and showing mercy. You just might be that one light to illuminate the darkness that suffocates them.


That's all. Thanks for the love you share with me. I can not thank you enough.

xo

Friday, January 20, 2012

January Spring


It's no secret that my heart belongs in the mountains. But I'm loving today's tease of Spring in South Tejas. All four of us are feeling under the weather (praying for QUICK healing) but I felt the need to sit outside this morning and feel the breeze in my hair.

I feel badly keeping the boys from the outdoors, but our wind is horrid for anyone recovering from sinus troubles. I made an allowance this morning, though.


The moment I stepped outside and felt the breeze and smelled the damp air, I was transported back to my days as a teenager camping out with my friends.

I always loved those early morning moments of wakefulness on a campout. The air is cool, not yet tainted by the sun's warmth. The ground is soft and dewy, and the sky is streaked with grays and pinks and soft, welcoming blues. It's a joyful sensation for me, and it reminds me of good days.

Some of my favorite moments in life involve the early morning hours. Walking to the kitchen from room 6 at Camp Zephyr, taking morning walks with special people, playing with my boys outside. 

It was a good feeling. I watched my boys play, and felt such gratitude for moments like that. Peace. And surrender. And more peace.

Oh, South Texas, you do have your moments.

xo

"I love spring anywhere, but if I could choose I would always greet it in a garden."  ~Ruth Stout

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Becoming Jade

Pretending we are awesome
I walk into walls
I repeat myself often
I trip over invisible ropes
I stutter
I forget to close the refrigerator door
I eat too much salsa
I repeat myself often
I laugh too loud
I snort in the most unbecoming way
I forget to turn off the water faucet
I read the same books over and over again
I listen to the same songs over and over again
I repeat myself
I watch too many movies
I quote Saved By the Bell too much
I have braces and frizzy hair
Actually BEING awesome
I forget to respond to texts, phone calls, emails
I also eat too many thin mints.
I constantly have something on my shirts
I can't unknot my shoelaces
I lose earrings all the time
I can't grow a plant to save my life
I always misspell sandwhich. Sandwich.
I pretend John and Sherry from younghouselove are my real life bffs
I talk to people in lines at stores (loudly)
I wear mix matched socks


But guess what.

I am still on the road to becoming Jade.

And it's pretty fun.
Especially with this guy to back me up.



awkward and ridiculous and so grateful to be,
jade

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

{celebrating four}

I am celebrating this four year old today
Today has been crazy. We are getting ready to have a big event at our church this Saturday and I've been on the phone/answering emails/organizing nearly all day. My birthday boy has been amazing dealing with his mama running into walls and scampering from room to room like a crazy person.

I had to take a break from it all and play on the floor with my boys, sing to the biggest one, and share a cookie with them. I was able to take the boys to Target to use a giftcard that Libby gave Wesley for his birthday and he picked out not one, but TWO Batman action figures. I suggested getting Robin instead of both Batmans, or a Batman and a Superman. But he said "what could be better than TWO batmans?" It cracked me up, so two (different) batmans he proudly handed to the cashier. When he gave her the giftcard to use, he was giddy.

I think about this past year and I am amazed at how he has grown and changed.

He has pulled on his role as big brother with incredible ease. I have much to learn from my eldest son. He cherishes his family deeply and loves the people in his life. Sometimes at night when we pray, he just celebrates everyone he knows and thanks God for them. He always says "i love the whole world" and it teaches me to love just as big as he.

He asks tough questions, and he holds my hand as I think through the answers. He is meditative in such a way that it makes me believe that he will be a fine leader. He is hospitable. He is creative. He is stubborn.

He surprises me with how thoughtful he is. He notices my hair, when it's up or when its left long down my back, and he twirls a piece in his finger and says "you are so beautiful, like a flower." He notices the little things. And I love it.

Sometimes he instructs his little brother on how to be brave, or strong, or imaginative. And he uses all those words clearly and confidently, always providing an example with each lesson.

He lights up when his daddy comes home from work, and always asks him "how was your day?" or "did you sleep well last night?".

Four years have flown by. I ache at how quickly time passes, but I praise God for each day. I anticipate the wonderful accomplishments and tender mistakes that lay before us and pray that no matter the circumstance, that my sons will choose God. Always. I constantly pray that all these miraculous little gifts that I see him share are just a faint glimmer of what he COULD possess with a relationship with the one who has saved us.

I, who knows him best, can only marvel at the unique individual that he is. He has a light within him that glows bright. The many roads before him will have obstacles. They will have shining moments of victory and dark days of frustration, but I know this: he will always shine brightly. Because. He is a light-bearer.

Ahh, today I celebrate you, my firstborn son. I grin at the light that I see in you and praise the Maker for allowing me to carry you in my womb.

Four years have flown. It seems like yesterday I was rocking you to sleep, now you are a big boy monitoring your ant farm. :) Just keep those bugs away from me.

xo..


{Cuatro}

First Birthday

Second Birthday

Third Birthday

Fourth Birthday

Monday, January 16, 2012

Tomorrow, he will be four.

This past weekend, we celebrated Wesley's fourth birthday with some friends and family. It was a beautiful, sunshine-y, south Tejas day. It was perfect. We had tons of food. Lots of friends. Hoards of kids. And lots of smiles. (and bees).

I can't say enough how thankful I am for the human beings that we share kinship with. Our people. They laugh and cry and love with us. They make us brave. They challenge us. They give us much to grin about. And we love them.

My parents came to town. And of course my brother. And, of course, our friends swarmed our little blue house. It was perfect. Complete with Nerf gun battles.


And my big boy, my firstborn; he had a blast. He was all smiles. And so welcoming. And just glowing.

And, no, I am not sitting here crying, marvelling at how the years have flown. I feel as if tomorrow he is going away to college.

Not yet.

For the moment, I'll give thanks, and smile at the weekend we had.
Tomorrow, he will be four.



Monday, January 09, 2012

{Six is beautiful}

Rain is falling on my little blue house tonight. It's a quiet sort of rain (for now) and I'm thankful for it. This weekend was a blur of excitement for Nate and myself. We celebrated our wedding anniversary on Saturday, fondly remembering another Saturday, six years ago, where we dressed up in our fancy things and met each other at the alter.

Our wedding, 2006
We looked at our wedding pictures, and yes, I marvel at how far wedding photography has come in just a few years. Our pictures are so dated and formal. None of the flare or creativity that we share with our brides today.

But still, I love my wedding pictures. Even though they are nothing special, they are remarkably precious to me. Kissing my husband on that alter, sealing the vow to honor, to commit, to cherish, to fight for, to love, to dream with, and to serve. And most importantly, to serve beside each other...

I love our anniversary. It's always wonderful to reminisce our wedding day. To relive the celebration. And to give thanks for what we've shared and to anticipate the future together. Growing old together, watching our children grow and have children (Lord willing) and just living life together fully and passionately. We aren't trapped. We are soaring together. We make life better together. Nate is the best teammate a woman could ask for. He challenges me (sometimes frustratingly enough) and he encourages me and he loves me in spite of myself.

i look like I'm playing dress up
Yes, six is beautiful. I love sharing my life with this man. Sometimes I try to picture what my life might have been like if I had chosen a different road and it's simply inconceivable to me. Impossible. He is the one. My lobster :) Only you Friends fans could get that.

I mean, right now, at this very moment, my adorable husband is laying across our bed where a Rapunzel painting is hanging over it, reading Monster in the Hollows, simply because I gushed and gushed about The Wingfeather Saga. He reads the books that I read. He listens when I play the same song over and over and over for him. He changes diapers and puts up with my horrible cooking.

I feel so awful sometimes to have so much. Do you ever feel that way? Oh, certainly, there are difficult days, difficult years. But there is no man I would want to walk through the fires of life with than my husband.

The boys bought me roses
Needless to say, it was a great day. Thanks to Nate's momma for watching our bambinos Saturday and Sunday morning. We saw Warhorse at the theater (Abby, it was cry your eyes out amazing.) and we had some Jason's Deli lunch. Our pals had their baby, Orion, on Saturday, so we popped by the hospital to visit them. THEN we (and Shayna, Jacob, and Jamie) stayed up until the wee hours of the morning setting up their nursery for them at their house (surprise!) and doing a bit of sprucing up for them so they'd have a sparkly house to come home to. (And yes, they come home tonight, and were thoroughly surprised)

THEN, this morning, our church welcomed my cute husband onto their leadership as a church elder. I know, it sounds so distinguished. Haha...but really, he'll just be doing what he's already doing: serving our church, having accountability with our pastor, and being all around amazing. It was a good morning at the creek, for sure.
New years weekend, 2012

I think about what the past six years have brought. The big changes that have occurred, the friends we've loved and lost and found. We are so blessed. The community that we share life with is generous and compassionate. The family that looks after us is fun and loyal and wise. The friends that we share our deepest parts of ourselves with are constant. And our love for the other only grows with each road we take.

Of course, one of our favorite songs is Dancing in the Minefield by *yep, you guessed it... Andrew Peterson. I'm embarrassed by HOW much I talk about him, but seriously, this song is me and Nathan. Watch this video, listen to why Andrew wrote this song (and laugh with us) and then listen to the words.



Yep. These are my favorite lines:

So when I lose my way, find me
When I loose love's chains, bind me
At the end of all my faith, till the end of all my days
When I forget my name, remind me

'Cause we bear the light of the Son of Man
So there's nothing left to fear  
So I'll walk with you in the shadowlands  
Till the shadows disappear
 
'Cause he promised not to leave us  
And his promises are true  
So in the face of all this chaos, 
baby, I can dance with you"


Such a clear example of marriage, God's way. And there is no better way to live. My grandfather had Alzheimer's Disease and that line just hits me in the gut "when I forget my name, remind me".

Nathan and I got married really young. I was only 21, and I had no idea how difficult it would be to share your life wholly, and selflessly with someone. (Not to mention the littles that joined our family along the way).  Our journey is surprising and wonderful.

No doubt about it.
Six years is beautiful....with Nathan.

Here's to this next year, my beloved. I'm so thankful for you.
xo, your girl..

Thursday, January 05, 2012

The Treehouse

Sometimes, when I am dreaming, in the far reaches of my mind, I see a treehouse. And not just any treehouse; the PERFECT treehouse. It's a tall, broad shouldered oak tree that seems so wise and knowing, that my trust in him does not falter. The wood of the house is lovely and smooth, weathered only slightly, but young and fresh, full of knowledge from it's previous life as a tree. The house and the tree are one, and I pause for a moment and smile, knowing that the tree-house is my friend. My place to escape. My lifeline. Whatever I am encountering in my dream, the tree-house is my refuge, my constant.  I can scamper to the beautiful, knotted trunk and up the rope ladder as the beautiful scents of cinnamon and spice swirl around me. The windows are slanted a bit, but sturdy and free, with breezy pinwheel curtains welcoming me with good cheer. I peek through the window to see if the battle from my dream rages on across the plains, but I see nothing and feel no fear. I have come home to my treehouse and I love it here.



*jade

Sunday, January 01, 2012

Day One. Go!


 As it's nearing the 11 o'clock hour, I find my little blue house settling into silence and I just breathe it in.

Today was the first day of a brand new year.
I skipped church because I couldn't breathe out of my nose or speak very well.

I still am having a difficult time speaking..or breathing. Bleh. Sinuses.

Tonight we played Scattergories with my brother and Jamie and BG beat me by one lousy point. Though, I think secretly I won. He cheats.




And who could beat a list like this? My T list was quite impressive. How could you NOT allow #5 "Total Eclipse of the <3" as a reason you were late??? And #4 "Telepathy" IS SO a school subject in Professor X's School for Gifted Youngsters. And yes. #9. Surely you will encounter a troll somewhere in a park. They are very social, misunderstood creatures.

Yep. This is my best list yet.

Happy New Year. May it be full of fun and laughter and joy and healthy sinuses.


xo, jade...