Sunday, April 6, 2014

My Bluebonnet Obsession

People often say that Texas has only two seasons . . . summer and winter. Well, I beg to differ. We actually have three seasons . . . summer, winter, and "Bluebonnet Season". And if you've spent more than ten minutes in Texas in the spring then you'll understand the level of obsession that we have for these little blue wildflowers. You'll see us pulled over on the side of the road; our babies plopped down in a sea of blue, that is quite possibly home to a snake or two, trying to get the perfect Bluebonnet picture. And we do this year after year. Because we can't pass by a field of perfect Bluebonnets.

This first group of pictures were taken out at my parents' house. Andrew wasn't thrilled to have to take pictures right in the middle of a patch of wet Bluebonnets, but I didn't let his lack of enthusiasm stop me.

The other day I was out running, and I looked to over to the side and saw this. Gorgeous.

 And to continue my obsession I drug Andrew out to the state park to take some pictures of the Bluebonnets and Indian Paintbrushes.

This last picture is my absolute favorite, and it's not one I took. The other day my Aunt Susie sent me this picture of the field beside her house. It's just too breathtaking not to share (so I hope she doesn't mind).

Sunday, March 30, 2014

On Sin and Truth and Change

Oh y'all. The Christian world is in an uproar right now. First, there was Worldvision's little stunt followed by a quick rethink of said stunt at the start of the week. Then, there was the impending release of the "Noah" movie in all its controversial glory . . . And well, suddenly, let's all have a fight.  I mean we do that well, us Christians. We've got the fighting amongst ourselves thing down.

I thought about throwing my proverbial hat into the ring. Then I thought better of it. I mean who really cares about the opinion of a 30 something year old mom and housewife from Texas? But then, someone, who just so happens to be relatively big in the evangelical world made a statement in the wake of the Worldvision debacle that made me pause for more than a minute. The statement was something to the effect of the Bible being open to interpretation and how we're never going to all agree. I'm not calling this person out. That's not my point. But y'all there are certain things in the Bible that are not open to interpretation. The definition of marriage falls well into that category. But more and more I see this attitude of inclusion and acceptance that is absolutely allowing and giving people permission to stay in bondage rather than be set free.

Before you burn me at the stake give me a second or ten to explain. Here's the deal. I feel like we're afraid to call sin what it is, "sin". We're so jaded from fire and brimstone, legalistic teaching and preaching that we think to point out sin is to negate God's grace. But y'all we need to stop being afraid of sin. We need to start understanding what sin it truly is. It's more than a bad behavior, an action, a screw up. It's more than I yelled at my kid, fought with my husband, cheated on my wife, or stole my neighbor's car (extreme examples . . . stick with me). Sin is a heart problem. Sin is the absence of the power of God in our lives. Jesus wasn't afraid of sin, He didn't ignore sin. He repeatedly said, "Go and sin no more." And so we think He was saying stop doing what you're doing and do something else. But y'all He didn't say that. He literally said, "Go and sin no more." How is that humanly possible? News flash: it's not! But see Jesus wasn't just healing physical ailments. He was transforming hearts.

If we're afraid to point out sin, then we're missing an opportunity to allow God to do an effective work in a person's life. But, if we try to do it without God, if we try to get people to just change their behaviors, we're setting them and ourselves up for disaster. We need to start looking at the condition of people's lives and realize that the behaviors are symptoms of an inward problem. Then we need to point them to Jesus and explain that He can do what no counselor, pastor, teacher, psychiatrist, friend, or foe can do . . . He can change a leopard's spots. He can take who you are and make you who you never dreamed you can be. That's what the cross is all about. That's what grace is for. Not to excuse our sin, but to empower us to turn to the One who can erase our sin and transform our hearts.

And just so we're clear, if you come to me a mess, know that I'm a mess too. I won't shame you or condemn you. There's more than enough of that to go around. What I will do is share with you about Jesus and His transforming power. I have no desire to drag anyone through the mud, but I also have no desire to see anyone live out their life in the mud.

So there's Worldvision and there's "Noah". I'm sorry for Worldvision because quite frankly, I don't think they get it. I think they're trying to please whomever cries the loudest. And "Noah", I'm not afraid to say that I'm not thrilled with the fact that it's being touted as one of the most, if not the most, "unbiblical" biblical movie ever. But I'll withhold my opinion until I actually see it for myself.

And well, I guess "I threw my hat into the ring" after all.

Friday, March 28, 2014

No News Is . . .

Well, no news.

I'm frequently asked if we've received any news on the adoption.

Last Friday afternoon my phone rang. It was our adoption agency. Generally, we communicate with our caseworker via email unless we have a reason for a phone call. She also makes quarterly calls, but I wasn't expecting the quarterly call until April. So when the phone rang, I was hopeful, for a few seconds at least.

She quickly let me know she was starting quarterly calls. Although, I was hopeful, I wasn't (too) disappointed. I didn't really expect a referral. Not yet anyway. There are others in front of us who've been waiting longer. Based on the latest statistics we're closer than we've ever been (that's kind of a given), but we're still a ways out. I refuse to go into more detail on the time line because I'm choosing to remain optimistic. (And if you plan on commenting or emailing me to "rain on my parade" don't . . . I'm not naive, clueless, or an imbecile. I just so happen to serve a God that's bigger than any time line. His time line is all that matters.)

Last Friday, I also saw a summary of a couple of the International Adoption Committee (IAC) meetings from February and was happy thrilled to see that there were quite a few referrals for young, "healthy" children. It's a relief because sometimes we wonder how many children within our parameters are even being referred. Having said that, even if there were 50 or 100 referrals, that's still just a "drop in the bucket" so to speak.

So to answer the question, "Have y'all heard anything?". Yes, we have and no we have not. How's that for ambiguous? Yes, we hear from our agency regularly. But referrals have been sparse.

BUT . . . We're praying and believing for movement, and we won't stop praying and believing until we receive an answer. We're tenacious like that.

Luke 11:9-13

New King James Version (NKJV)

Keep Asking, Seeking, Knocking

“So I say to you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. 11 If a son asks for bread[a]from any father among you, will he give him a stone? Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion? 13 If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!”

Friday, March 14, 2014

On Swimsuit Shopping

I'm blogging, or attempting to blog from my iPad. My laptop has a virus and has either through malware or hacking my email, started sending wonky emails to friends and family. If you got one, I'm sorry. DON'T OPEN THE LINK! Anyhow, I know exactly where I got said virus, and until my laptop is fixed it is disconnected from the internet to prevent further issues. And yes, I also changed my email password (again).

So here I am blogging from my iPad. Not an easy task, I tell you. But that isn't even close to what this post is about. Read on.

Last night, I tried on swimsuits. The End.

Just kidding. Although I think for most women that just about sums it up. Last night, I tried on swimsuits, and the skin on my stomach is permanently loose from pregnancy, I have a road map of spider veins right above my knees, and more than a little cellulite on the back of my thighs. It's hot!

And I quit after four suits. I put them back on the rack and walked out of the store because I did not have the energy at 8:30 p.m. to deal with loose skin, cellulite, and spider veins.

But I learned a few things. Bear with me, and I'll share:

(1) All women look in the mirror and struggle with what they see. Like it or not, we are byproducts of our society. The one that puts starving, airbrushed models on display for us to use as a comparison. Skinny or heavy, tall or short, it doesn't matter we can't measure up. Why? Because we're trying to measure up to a lie.

(2) Appreciate the body you have today. I'm not saying don't try to better yourself. If you need and want to lose weight, then more power to you. If you need and want to get in shape, then go for it. But in the process appreciate your body. Don't beat yourself up. You are "fearfully and wonderfully" made (check out Psalm 139:14 - the Bible doesn't lie). I have come to the realization that I'm 32 (almost 33), and I'm not going to look the same as did when I was 22. I'm in just as good of shape (maybe better), and I need to focus on being healthy not looking 10 years younger. I don't need to act, dress, or look like a 20 year old. It's called "aging gracefully".

(3) Don't try on cheap swimsuits. I know it seems foolish to buy an expensive swimsuit, but here's what I've found: cheap swimsuits are just that, cheap. The material is thin and clingy and accentuates every lump and bump known to womankind. Unless your 16 and tiny, cheap swimsuits will only depress you. So save your pennies and invest in something with a little better material (and it will last longer which is a plus). And while I'm on the subject, it's okay to let go of your youth, and buy something that covers a bit more if needed. Believe me you'll feel better and less self conscious if you do.

Once I recover from last night's swimsuit shopping disaster, I'll try again. This time with a hopefully better mindset.

The End (for real this time)

Monday, March 10, 2014

Spring Break

It's spring break . . .

It's spring break, and we don't weren't supposed to have any plans.

After a very hectic, very crazy, very busy January and February, we only planned not to plan anything.

Yet, it still seems like we're busy.

Like we still have plans most nights.

Which I don't understand because I intentionally tried to not plan anything.

However . . .

Life happens, and that's okay too.

It's just that when life gets too crazy, someone, who shall remain nameless (ahem . . . me), kind of freaks out. I need downtime. I need to be home. I am not a go, go, go kind of a person. It's a fact of life that I cannot change.

But I realize that reality doesn't always work that way.

So I'll breathe in and breathe out and deal, and hopefully, I won't completely freak out . . . hopefully.