So Thankful

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My absence over the last few months from cheval glass is not a reflection that there is nothing to share with you. My days have been busy and filled with family and ministry that have required me to be less engaged in the contemplative life. I've missed being here. So tonight, while my son is playing chicken shoot with my Dad, my daughter is playing dress up in the "rainbow room", and Todd is...well, I don't know what Todd is doing.  I thought I would take a few minutes and share why I am so thankful.

  • I have a loving husband who has been a part of my life for 18 years...15 of that as my soul mate. I am so thankful for his friendship, loyalty, kindness, and patient love for me.  I understand more every day how "two become one."
  • I have a beautiful 6 year old daughter who made it through tonsil and adenoid surgery last week like a champ! She accepted Jesus as her Savior over this past year, loves to dance, writes stories, read books, and create beauty wherever she is.
  • I have a tenacious 3 year old son who loves life, loves people, and has the early signs of being a very talented drummer. He is confident and strong, but loving and sensitive. I'm enjoying every moment as I watch him grow.
  •  I am blessed with a wonderful mother and father who love me and my family with not just words, but deeds. I have two crazy sisters who I love with all my heart. I can't imagine how boring my life would be without their frienship and drama ( you heard me :)...I love you guys!)
  • I have an amazing church that I have the privilege to serve as a staff member. I am overwhelmed at their generosity, their love for each other, and their servant hearts toward those who are in need and who do not yet know Jesus.
  • I serve everyday with an amazing group of artists - musicians, tech stewards, singers, graphic artists, producers - that inspire me to find the  most creative expression that celebrates who God is and what He has done for us.
  • I am so thankful for a God who loves me enough to send His Only Son to die for me - to reconcile the debt of my sin -  so that I could be restored to Him in this life and in the life to come. I want my life to be a testimony of the thankful heart that I have for what He has given me.  His unconditional love and mercy continues to overwhelm me. I love what Paul the Apostle told the Colossians...

"My counsel for you is simple and straightforward: Just go ahead with what you've been given. You received Christ Jesus, the Master; now live him. You're deeply rooted in him. You're well constructed upon him. You know your way around the faith. Now do what you've been taught. School's out; quit studying the subject and start living it! And let your living spill over into thanksgiving." - Colossians 2:6-7  (THE MESSAGE)


Memories

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I had the privilege of spending a few days this past week in San Antonio, TX with some of my extended family, my parents, my sister Christie, and her daughter, Sierra.  I grew up spending two weeks every summer  and almost every Thanksgiving and Christmas in San Antonio with my grandparents, aunts, and uncles. We took sometime to visit the grave sites of my grandparents who are all at home in Heaven now. Sydney was with me and it was very emotional being with her and talking about them. She never got to meet them. But, it was wonderful to be able to tell her that they are in Heaven and that she will meet them one day.

I'm discovering lately that memories have a way of really captivating your emotions at times in ways that range from shear joy to heartfelt grief. I experienced that this week. As I rode past my Me Maw and Paw Paw Henefield's 70 acres in Lytle (south of San Antonio) and Ma Ma and Pa Pa Slack's home on the southside of San Antonio, I remembered summers there and I was swept up in sadness that they weren't there anymore. Later that day, as we took Sydney on the riverboats in downtown San Antonio and ate at Casa Rio, I remember how I dreamed as a child about bringing my own kids here one day to do this with me and I was so overwhelmed with happiness.  As I sat with just my sister that night at a restaurant on the river and talked with her, I was at peace in that moment and so enjoyed just talking about our lives and sharing our hearts with each other. These wide swings of emotions are frankly exhausting! But, I'm coming to the realization that looking back is so important to looking forward. Where I have been and what I have experienced should greatly impact the direction I am headed. It should make me course correct or is should encourage me to stay steady.

We all have family. We all have memories that we would like to forget and some that we wish we could live over again. No family is without those experiences.  For me, this visit with my Aunt Joyce, Uncle Jack, and Uncle Ronnie and remembering the sweet and sorrowful of the past has made me stop and think of my future and where I want to be and what memories I want to create with my family. Thanks for the memories, San Antonio...sad and happy. I treasure them all.


A true story

Sydney and I were watching one of her favorite movies recently and she asked me if it was a true story. I told her it was not - it was just pretend. She started asking me about other videos that she watches and I told her they were all pretend. She said," We don't have a lot of true stories, mommy. Can we get some movies that are true?"

As a parent, I choose movies and videos that teach good values - being kind, sharing, obeying authority, and making good choices. We mix it up with VeggieTales and Boz the Bear as well as Barbie, Thomas the Train, and Dora/Diego. But my five year old is desiring true stories, not just truth in story form.

I find a lot of joy in reading a great novel or watching a great movie that tells a story, and as an adult, I am able to separate the truth from the fiction.  However, Sydney brings up a great point. We fill our minds with a lot of stories that may contain elements of truth, but the story itself is not true. 

John F. Kennedy said ,"The great enemy of the truth is very often not the lie -- deliberate, contrived and dishonest -- but the myth -- persistent, persuasive and unrealistic."

Is the fact that the story is fictional maybe communicating that the truths it is teaching are fictional as well? I am not suggesting a ban of ALL movies that are not true in our home, but it is making me think about what we watch and what I buy.

We bought Dave and the Giant Pickle the other night which is the story of David and Goliath from the Bible as told by VeggieTales. I explained that Goliath was not a pickle but a person, she was like, "Mom, I know..." But I told her, THIS was a true story of what a small boy did because He believed that God was able to do anything. She has wore out that DVD.

It has made me think and we will engage a lot more now about this rather than me just assuming that because there are elements of truth in the story, it is communicating truth to her.

Talk to me here. What do you think?


I can't win sometimes

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There are some things as a parent that I have found are non-negotiable when it comes to my kids. Granted, I have only been a parent for 5 years, but I have learned to listen to what my kids ask me to be a part of in their lives. On Tuesday of this week, Sydney mentioned that one of the moms of one of her classmates had lunch with them. Todd and I have done this once before. But Sydney doesn't usually ask us to come to stuff. But this time, she said, "Mom, will you come have lunch with me at school?" I was thrilled. So, I planned to pick up McDonald's and bring it to her during her VERY early lunch time from 10:30 - 11:00.  Sydney is a child that has to prepared for the schedule to change. So, I told her that I would be a little late, but that I would be there.

Now, we ALL know that McDonald's starts serving lunch at 10:30. They have done this since I was child. So I was sitting in the parking lot at 10:25...waiting. At 10:30 on the nose, I pulled into the drive thru and began ordering my Happy Meals. The lady replied, "I'm sorry, Ma'am...we don't serve lunch till 11." OK...now I panic. Syd has no lunch and we do not have a wide variety of fast food on the Island. I whip over to Burger King...order the meals...and they proceed to tell me that the fries are going to be awhile. They were still pealing potatoes :) 10:40 now...

I finally get there at 10:45. Sydney is in tears. She says ," I thought you forgot and were sitting at home." We try to eat, but she is so stressed out because she knows that lunch is almost over (again, she is VERY conscious of time!) We woof down our food and the bell rings. I walk her back to class. I ask her, "Are you mad at mommy?" She says,"No...it's alright." with a very disappointed look.

I know...the reward is in the trying, but man, I felt like a loser! Note to self...PACK A LUNCH to have at school with your child. Second note to self...call the Corporate offices of McDonalds and tell them they have a rogue restaurant that is messing up people's lives!

Anybody else feel like they can't win sometimes?


Sean turns 3

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It's hard for me to believe. It goes a lot faster with the 2nd one, I think. This has been our year together at home, just the two of us. With Sydney starting school this year, I have treasured my time with Sean and getting to know and understand the way God made him. Be careful what you pray for...you just might get it. I prayed for a daughter like Todd and a son like me. Yeah, it happened. I look in his eyes and I know what he is thinking. I see how he learns quick and adapts. I see his quick temper when something doesn't work right the first time. He loves music. He pats the rhythm or just bobs his head when he listens to music. He leads his sister even though he is almost 3 years younger and he doesn't care if the is the smallest kid in the jumpy houses - he is not going to miss out on anything that his big sister is doing. He is so independent and yet loves to cuddle with his mom. I can always count on him for some good snuggle time!

Sydney loved to read with me at an early age. Sean has not cared for it all. But in the past two weeks, he is bringing me books to read to him. We have been sitting for 20-30 minutes at a time (unheard of for him!) and reading together. He is counting to 10. He thinks everything is either orange or blue (still working on colors). Lately, he enters a room and says 'Mom, whacha doing?" I tell him. Then he says "That's silly." He has started praying by himself at night. I love the Boz the Bear prayer. Sydney learned it at his age as well.

As I write this blog, he is out with his dad hitting balls with his first "real" set of golf clubs. They have a program where you upgrade the clubs as they get older so we started that this year. Todd has been waiting for this day for a LONG time! Sean is a lefty, but he plays sports with his right hand so Dad can handle that.

I feel very blessed today. I am so thankful for his health and development. I am so thankful for God giving us the privilege of parenting this precious little boy. Happy Birthday, bubby!I love you so much!


Thankful

We took some time off last week for the holidays and I took some time off from my computer. I've fully recognized the fact that I do not truly rest if I do not literally "unplug" from the virtual world!

I had some time to reflect on what I am most thankful for this year and here is what I came up with in no particular order. I am most thankful this year for...

  • the man I married almost 15 years ago - our struggles have refined not defined our love for each other.
  • the two children that God blessed me with to be their mother - they reveal to me everyday the divine and perfect design of God the Creator.
  • a church family that truly exhibits the love of Christ to me - encouragement, love, and support are their traits - not criticism and negativity.
  • friends that stay connected regardless of the miles (you know who you are!)
  • family that shares what they have with each other - not out of obligation, but out of genuine love and support.
  • a God and Friend who has been right there with me through all my immature tantrums, pride, selfish ways and general times of discouragement - not with a heavy hand, but with arms of love and security. 


Margins

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I like to live full throttle. Keep going till you just drop dead of exhaustion. I enjoy the rush of a deadline, pulling an all-niter to record music or edit a video, and all the coffee that goes with doing these things. Todd and I were married for 9 years before we had our 1st child. It was our choice. We married very young and wanted to enjoy our 20's as a couple. I love to work. I am a strange woman, I know. Having a job is such a fulfilling thing to me. I have been blessed to be able to do such creative stuff in my 15 years of ministry thus far. I am energized by the "What if we did..." Then STOP THE TRAIN!!!! We had our 1st child. I was ready to to be a mom...SO ready. It was SO worth the wait!  Sydney was the text book perfect child...good sleeper, good eater, good napper... SO go with the flow! I worked from home, still full time, the first 15 months of her life. We didn't really miss a beat. Then we moved to NYC. We talked about a 2nd child, but we had just moved to NYC and I was working part-time now. Then I got pregnant... and miscarried a month later. That was tough and we had only been in NYC for about 4 months when that happened. We really knew that we wanted another child and God blessed us with another pregnancy and our son, Sean David. HELLO! Welcome to having 2 kids and a new word entered our lives...MARGINS. I don't care if you are planting a church, starting a business, or just living your life... without margins, it will kill you...oh, yes it will. Without margins, you will go insane. Todd and I have never done anything have-way or "that's good enough." We are OCD about things being done well. We are both first-born and very driven. I realized  very quickly that in order for us to maintain any sanity, raise our children the way we wanted to raise them, and to plant this church, we were going to have to have some SERIOUS margins in every area of our lives. We plan the work and work the plan. If we get off and decide to have a "non-margin" week, we feel the stress and our family doesn't function. I know my kids, my husband, and myself very well. So, I am now "officially" the MARGIN MASTER. I take the temperature of our family on a regular basis and draw the margins when I see one of us (including myself) going outside the lines. You have to have this person in a family. This has not been easy for me as I already mentioned. I like to go full steam all the time. This is a huge learning experience and spiritual discipline that I am enjoying. I'm not perfect at it, and I get frustrated when I get outside the lines, but the responsibility that I know I have as a Christ-follower, the wife, the mom, and the staff member is ever before me. If you are feeling stress, my guess is that the margins are not clear. You will never get everything done at your job. You will never get everything done if you are a church planter. You will never get everything done at home. The margins are the only thing that keep you sane and allow you to enjoy the 5 minutes that I just spent blowing bubbles with my 2 year old. Find the margins and grip them with all you've got.


I'm just sick

Not physically...although, I have a rotten feeling in the pit of my stomach. In the last 3 weeks, I have seen 4 Christian marriages fall a part. Yeah, it happened before that, but I just found out about it. We have become callous as a society, even in the church, to hearing the stories..."So-and-so did this and now this...and the kids are ..." It stinks BIG TIME. I walked this journey as a young adult within my own family...I'm one of the blessed ones that got to witness God's grace and restoration in our family. Not everyone gets that ending to their story. People ask, "What happened?" No offense, but honestly folks, do you not know? Does your own marriage not give you the perspective that if it were not for God's grace, we would ALL be in the same boat? I guess other people have their act together better than I do. Todd and I are flawed people. We have produced 2 flawed children. We are all sinful people and one stupid mistake away from totally wrecking our lives and our children's lives. My heart is breaking for my friends.  I called Todd today and just confessed to him that I take him for granted and I apologized. I thanked him for being a great husband and a great Father. I told him that I respected him and that I was so thankful for God's grace is our lives. So if you are married, stop and tell your spouse how much you appreciate them. Yes, they are flawed and not perfect...neither are you.


Family

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It was a rare 24 hours...everyone in my immediate family in the same house for 2 hours. Here are the pics to prove it! Yes, I'm the short one in the middle between my 2 YOUNGER sisters...How about Grandma Sandra getting Sean to take a photo with his cousins? He was NOT into it at all! I feel so blessed when I see these pics. I have already printed and framed the one of all of us.  A BIG thanks goes out to my hubby for setting up the picture and actually getting all of us to look at the camera at the same time! I am so thankful for my family.


Settled

Todd has used this word a lot in the last few months. I'm not a huge fan of this word and I am not sure really what it means. I have used this word before and everything opposite of this word started to unfold in my life.  This is the last word I would use to describe my life pretty much since 2003. Don't get me wrong...These last 6 years have ROCKED! So much adventure, change, out-on-the-ledge living...no regrets AT ALL. But I'm starting to realize that I have entered a different season of life now. Sydney starts Kindergarten in August...our church campus is 2 years old...Sean is no longer a baby...and we bought a house in a horrible economy (we got a GREAT deal!) So, there it is...I put it out there. No guarantees that it will apply to our lives for very long, and honestly, I'm cool if it doesn't :)