Monday, October 29, 2012

For when our kids get married.

A little less that 18 years ago, Trey and I stood on a stone patio in the Mexican sunset, surrounded by our family, and started a life together like one I could never have imagined.

We've moved, changed jobs, had babies, moved again, started ministries, mourned, rejoiced, and felt the grace and mercy of the Lord wash over us again and again as we fumble our way through together.

I remember that day in April like it was yesterday.  Worrying about flowers and details, saying no to the pink flamingos they wanted to display, and yes to the harpist.  Traveling with no curling iron or nail polish, my brother's white uniform, tres leches cake, and a long walk down the aisle with my dad.

I can smell the salt in the air still.

This past weekend, we had the joy of celebrating the wedding of the beautiful sister of one of my closest friends.  It, too, was small and intimate and full of family.  One of the most beautiful weddings I've seen.  As we all recapped at the reception, there are a few things us old married ladies decided we want our own kids, and our neighborhood kids, to know - the rest is just frosting.

1. The pastor was a long-time friend and lover of Jesus and brought the gospel to the forefront.  Anyone can tell you you're compatible, but a man of God will teach you the truth - that marriage is a 'long business' and dying to self is a daily exercise.  Even at the alter, it needs to be said.

2. Huge weddings are fun parties but small, intimate ones are truly celebrations.  We want to see you smile at one another while somebody sings.  We want to cheer, and clap, and high-five when they announce you as Mr. and Mrs. for the first time.  We want to hear your nephews whisper, "Is it almost over already"? and "Did somebody toot"? and "She's my Aunt"!

3. The music is pretty important.  More than the food or even the cake - well, barely more than the cake.  Those people who have prayed for you, walked with you through the good, the bad, and the ugly, want to dance with you and real, real good music makes everyone feel like they've got sweet moves.  Even when they don't.  And by they, I mean me.

4. Even with the very best planning, notebooks, coordinators, and Pinterest boards, the wedding really is just a means to an end.  It's the marriage that's the culmination and, as hard as it is to believe at the time, there are memories far greater yet to come.

5.  Dance with your brothers and sisters like when you were little.  Relish in these moments together.  Celebrate one another for things that are hard-fought and hard-won.

6.  Know that not everyone who will be at your wedding will be in your marriage.  It's part of growing in new directions.  The Lord brings relationships for different seasons and as he takes away some, he replaces with exactly who you need.

7.  Marry someone who loves Jesus more than you. 

That last one really should be first, and could be only.  Eighteen years ago, Trey and I couldn't have imagined that one day, we would dream of four weddings, or five, or six.  On top of that, we'll prayerfully celebrate marriages of lots our kids in West Dallas as our boys become men, and husbands, and fathers and our girls become women, and wives, and mothers.  Oh, what glorious days those will be.  And we'll dance.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

A political exercise.

This month, the sixth grade class at my kids' school is memorizing the Gettysburg Address.  

We gave Olivia's classmate, Cooper, a ride home the other day and the two started reciting it together. It's simple and beautifully written.  Along with the actual speech, the kids have also memorized some of the important historical facts about the war, the setting, and the author. 

Needless to say, I've had the privilege of hearing it over and over again the past couple of weeks. 

In light of our upcoming Vice-Presidential debates tonight, round two of the Presidential debates next week, and the election just weeks away, it's worth a read. 

It'll take you about two minutes to get through it. Trust me, I know. 

'Four score and seven years ago our fathers brought forth on this continent, a new nation, conceived in Liberty, and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal.

Now we are engaged in a great civil war, testing whether that nation, or any nation so conceived and so dedicated, can long endure. We are met on a great battle-field of that war. We have come to dedicate a portion of that field, as a final resting place for those who here gave their lives that that nation might live. It is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this.

But, in a larger sense, we can not dedicate -- we can not consecrate -- we can not hallow -- this ground. The brave men, living and dead, who struggled here, have consecrated it, far above our poor power to add or detract. The world will little note, nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here. It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us -- that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion -- that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth'.

- Abraham Lincoln

Have a great night. 

Sent from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

I knew this day would come.

First of all, THANK YOU to all who gave to Mercy Street last week during Donor Bridge.  Wow!  Not only were we blown away by the dollar amount raised (over $153,000!) but we were so humbled by how many got up and gave to the ministry.

The giving ended at midnight and it's taken me a couple of days to catch up on my sleep.

Age is getting to me a little.

Which brings me to the topic at hand.

When our second child was born and the doctor said, "It's a GIRL"! I was overwhelmed with joy.  Really.  At the same time, however, I could feel a tiny kernel of dread plant itself  in the deep places of my soul,.  When our fourth was born and she too was without male parts, I felt the kernel grow - into a giant redwood of anxiety - even in the hospital.  My fear was over a question I knew would someday come and the thought of it twisted my stomach in knots.  In spite of some pretty serious painkillers.

That tree of fear has been quietly dormant all these years as I have somehow, mercifully, escaped the dreaded question.  But as of this fall, it's no longer one I can avoid - it has come to the forefront of my daughter's mind and I must face it head on, with courage and strength.

The question came to me innocently  in late August over a Cherry Limeade...

"Mom, can you teach me how to do a cartwheel?"


If you've known me for longer than five minutes - especially if you've walked 15 feet with me while talking - you know I am incredibly uncoordinated.  I've said before that I was never a cheerleader and I wasn't kidding.  Like, I wasn't 'almost a cheerleader', I really sucked.  I actually tried out my freshman year of high school.  It was a huge mercy to my self esteem that Simon Cowell-esq judging was not setting the tone for high school cheerleader tryouts.  It would have been real ugly.  They might have asked me if this were some kind of joke.  Unfortunately for them, it was not.  

If I'm perfectly honest, my bangs may have been the lynchpin that led to my complete failure.  There's not enough Aussie Scrunch Spray in the world that can withstand a cartwheel in a crowded gym on a humid Houston afternoon and that gave me added angst.  Looking back, it's a miracle that I didn't hurt someone.  A miracle and a mercy.

So, when Sadie decided she wanted to try tumbling this fall instead of soccer, I was all for it.  Obviously. Who with my un-athletic past wouldn't be?  I only tried to subtly talk her out of it for two weeks - with bribing and begging. Unfortunately, we were on the heels of the Olympics and all the spunk and sass of the American team.

Thanks for nothing, Gabby.

After her first tumbling class, I was trying to help her, you know, kind of spot her - and accidentally almost died.  As she flipped over, she kicked me in the face so hard I almost blacked out.  Seriously, stars.  I'm no medical doctor but I was 87% sure she'd broken my jaw.  She started crying and frantically asking me if I was OK and I knew I needed to comfort her but, for a minute, I couldn't remember her name.  Or mine.  Or why I was on the ground.  The upside is that I didn't think about my bangs for a second so at least there's been some growth there.

So here we are, a month in to tumbling 101 and it would appear Sadie is somewhat behind in her skillz.  She's been instructed by her coach to practice her handstands and cartwheels at home which has made me rethink repainting the walls for the moment.  She's a fighter and determined to get caught up with her class which is exactly opposite of what her momma would have done.  My version might have looked a little more like a couch, cookie dough, and another episode of Friday Night Lights.

So, we're both learning.  Our spunky optimistic kid is learning as other friends advance a little more quickly, that comparison really is a thief.  In fact, the other day, after her buddy got moved up to a little more advanced group, she said through tears, "Mom, I'm working so hard and they are just pooing on my joy"! But through all the joy pooing, she's also learning some of life's great lessons - His timing is not always our timing, getting to celebrate a friend's victory is a privilege, and patience is often learned the hard way.  I'm proud of that little redhead - she's one tough cookie.

And I've learned to give her a little more room.  Roughly, 10 feet or so.