Tuesday, May 19, 2015
I ran the Jack Brooks 10k trail run on Saturday with Uncle Joe and Josie (Jen and Dan ran the 5k together). It was meant to be just a trail run, but with the recent rains turned into a serious mud run and the many hills turned into a challenging obstacle course.
We got a "bit" wet.
This is what running through muddy water looks like. You really don't want to know what it feels like!
After pic. It was a brutal run but fun!
Thursday, April 23, 2015
I sat in a conference this week listening to my lead pastor describing four bold decisions our church leadership has made that have shaped our church. And now I am sitting in my living room reflecting on some decisions my husband and I have made that will definitely shape our family and our future. I feel like these decisions are bold too!
Change our Priorities
When I was offered the job of directing part of the children's ministry at our church, it required a slow-but-steady changing of our priorities. Vacations are now planned around Sunday morning services. Our time and energy is divided between ministry and family with much less time for the social gatherings of our twenties and early thirties. This has not felt like a sacrifice, as we are finding more joy in the different kind of fun of living and serving in missional community.
Change our Path
The second decision we made was that Adel should change careers. The space industry was exciting and he never dreamed of doing anything else. But then he went to Honduras. In Tegucigalpa, he saw poverty like never before and felt what it was like to be God's hands and feet to help. We have talked ourselves in circles about what we should do about this calling. Do we uproot our family and become full-time missionaries? Do we spend precious money traveling multiple times a year to be short-term missionaries? Or do we use those precious resources to support the work of helping that others are doing in the most hard-hit areas of the world? A career opportunity for Adel seems to have given us the answer. A year ago, Adel switched industries from aerospace to oil. He moved to an oil company working in IT and then quickly was moved to the engineering side. Now he is working hard on getting his Masters in petroleum so that he can thrive in his new position and God seems to be blessing this change. We still have hopes of leading our family on some short term missions in a few years but for now it looks like God is blessing us with the resources to give like never before. (And it's still not out of the realm of possibilities to become full-time missionaries, but for now this carreer change is our path!)
Change our Lifestyle
Our third decision seems to make the least amount of sense. As God is blessing our finances, we have decided to downsize our lifestyle. When we first moved to Texas from California, we were amazed (awed, wonderstruck, dumbfounded) at what kind of home our money could buy. And buy we did. We were so house poor for the first few years that we couldn't afford to do anything other than live in this house. Now, eight years later, our finances are looking good and this house has been a good investment, everything we dreamed it would be. I had planned to raise my kids here and have plenty of space for teenagers. So, when Adel started talking about down-sizing I was dead set against it. Why would we downsize now that we can really afford this beautiful home?! But then he started talking missional living, and I started praying about it, and God started changing my heart. I think I will still be a little sad at the signing over of this great home (that stone fireplace, that movie room, the big backyard!), but I am joyfully excited about the smaller (and still quite nice) home we are buying and the new life our freed up finances will offer us: travel, financial freedom, generous giving.
Change our Family
The last decision I'm listing here was the one that we actually made first. I'm listing it last because it hasn't actually happened yet although most people who know us already know about it. We want to bring new children into our home through adoption. After the dust settles from our move and we are ready to take this on, we will be trying again to foster-to-adopt one or two children. For better or for worse, this will completely change our family forever. After our last troubled foster placement, I desperately pray that this time it is for the better! It is a risk; all of these decisions are huge risks!
I look at these changes and sometimes I fear for our sanity. When I explain our plans to people, most of them look at me with big eyes. We have been on the path to the American Dream and we are instead choosing the road less traveled. This feels weird, and scary, and exciting, and wild. Everything is changing. Jesus changes everything. Can't wait to see what the next years hold!
Monday, April 20, 2015
Friday, April 17, 2015
The first year of grief over losing my Dad was so hard and raw. I am now almost halfway through the second year and it has been easier. Sad thoughts of my dad have been replaced by happy ones more often than not. But the last couple of weeks have taken me back a bit. I can't quite put my finger on why...conversations that remind me of the hard things we went through trying to help him in his last weeks...wanting to share our excitement over our plans with him...how Isaac is doing so well learning Fur Elise, Dad's song, on the piano...that my mom is moving from the home where Dad lived his last years and died in...people and moments that remind me of him, of what we are missing out on with him gone...I guess it's just all of that piled up at one time and it was time for my heart to overflow with it.
I have been saving these photos from the weeks right after Dad passed away. Beautiful, hard weeks of grief and family and comfort and loss and love. I never used them for anything, never blogged about them...but now it's time.
Just days after Dad passed away, we needed an outing to hold us together so we all went to see a movie. It was bright outside after the dark theater, but we had the kids line up for a picture anyway.
Aubrey and Abby after the movie.
At my dad's Celebration of Life with Adel. I remember feeling strangely calm and at peace during this event, a true testament of God's provision.
Jen and Shannon came to be a source of comfort for me.
A photo of my mom and dad before they were married. Dad making his chocolate chip cookies, even back then!
A sweet card Abby made for Mimi. (I know you are having a hard time and you are the best grandma ever. I miss Boppa too.)
Lastly, since mom has found a great new house in a neighborhood where she will be surrounded by friends and be able to build a wonderful life for herself, she is packing up and selling their old house. This isn't the house I grew up in or anything like that, but it's the place my dad lived for the last 10 years, the house where grandkids ruled his heart and the last memories I have of him as my dad. So, it's another goodbye and I took pictures so I could always remember the special moments here.
Dad's office. Through these windows, we would see Dad hard at work helping his fledgeling company take off. Toward the end of the workday, and the approach of happy hour, Mom would send the grandkids to look through the windows at him with big sad eyes, so he would wrap it up a few minutes early and come join us on the patio. It's hard to see that desk without him sitting there.
His room where he spent his last few days and then his last few breaths, surrounded by family. To me, this is a holy place because I saw him peacefully give his soul to God.
The pool, the heart of the family gatherings. Since his bad knees wouldn't let him run anymore, Dad would wake up before any of us and spend an hour swimming laps. Even when he was sick with chemo, Dad loved to spend time in the pool with the grandkids.
Abby in front of the house, the first view we would see as we drove up. Dad would either be mowing the lawn or coming out to greet us.
It's just a house, and I know it is the best thing for mom to move to her new home, but those memories are precious and I'm glad I have photos to help me keep them.
Sunday, April 5, 2015
Monday, March 30, 2015
This year was our second year in Creek Kids to do the Road to the Cross, where our volunteer leaders take a small group of kids through five different scenes that follow Jesus' path from Palm Sunday, to the last supper, to the garden, to the cross, to the grave, and beyond. It is a lot of work to set up, but such a great experience.
Following Jesus' footsteps.
A leader with his group of 4th grade boys.
Celebrating one another at Jesus' triumphal entry to Jerusalem.
Washing one another's hands after learning how Jesus washed his disciples' feet at the Last Supper.
Adding their prayers to the Garden of Gethsemane.
Putting their sins at the foot of the cross.
Looking into the tomb and seeing Jesus' message of hope to us.
And the footsteps came out of the tomb to show that Jesus didn't stay dead, defeating death for all of us!
We had a great spring break, so much fun I didn't take pictures of much of it. :)
This is not a good photo but it is such a neat (and rare) moment that I had to take a picture to remember it by...Isaac and Abby chilling and reading a magazine together.
We went to the zoo with our friend Jackson.
We had a sleepover with Jackson and Abby's friend Madeline, saw the new Cinderella move, and went camping. Great break from the work week!