Wednesday, November 28, 2007

White Thanksgiving

In typical Texas fashion, we have had crazy weather. I am thanking God that it has finally cooled off. Cool weather means I get to wear my sweaters, and there is nothing better than snuggling up in a sweater.

It snowed on Thanksgiving. Adam and I were in Dallas visiting his family, so we missed it. However, my sweet neighbor Jessica, took a picture of our house. Isn't it beautiful?

It snowed again on Sunday. The biggest, fluffiest snowflakes filled the sky for hours. This was a new coating of white, as the one from Thursday was gone on Friday. Adam and I set up our Christmas tree while Luke took his afternoon nap and the snow gave me holiday tingles.

When Luke woke up, we were anxious to introduce him to snow. He was not impressed. Adam tried to coax him over to touch the snow. Luke kept his distance. This was the closest he got to it. I think he ventured to stick one finger in the white one time.

The tree, on the other hand, was a huge hit. Gasps of oohs and aahs accompanined a very excited pointing finger. So far, every morning when we walk into the living room, he points and the tree and says, "ligh, ligh." We have yet to actually decorate the tree, but it does have lights. I am hoping it will have ornaments on it before Christmas.

I am sorry I have been an unfaithful blogger. I think of you, my blogging friends often and long for a little computer time. Here are some pictures from Halloween. Luke loved his costume. He wore if for several days. I hope you are doing well and enjoying the business of the holiday season.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Joys of Raising a Boy

This morning, a boyishly proud Luke walked up to me and handed me a dead rolly-poly. I don't think he killed the rolly-poly. It looks like it has been dead for a while. I said, "Thank you" to my gleaming son. He explained his find in delighted "dohs" and "dahs." Though I may forever treasure the memory, the gift is now trashed.

Blessing of Being Busy

Life has suddenly become so busy. I have to admit, I like it.

I thought that when school started, things would slow down for me. Adam would be back at work. (Please don't misunderstand. I love having him home during the summer. I am so blessed by him. I also enjoy the routine the school year enforces.) Luke would start Mother's Day Out, giving me two days a week to do my own thing. I thought I would have time to catch up on my reading and my blogging. However, that has not been my story.

I am so excited to share that God has brought several new ministries into my life. At the end of July, I was asked to take over leadership of my church's Mothers Reaching Mothers (MRM) group. I was a little shocked by this. I had only attended four of the twelve meetings they've had since I moved back home. Adam and I prayed over this decision, and were both convinced that this opportunity was from the Lord. MRM’s focus is to minister to moms of young children. We meet once a month, so I thought the commitment would be small. My main role is to find speakers for the monthly meetings. Most of the other duties are taken care of by our amazing leadership team. But, being me, I have made heaps of work for myself. I still have hope that once I get everything organized to my liking, the work time will reduce itself. Even so, I am loving this ministry. I love the women I get to work with in leadership. I love the women who attend the meetings. They minister to me as much as I do to them. I thank God for this unexpected opportunity.

Also with the start of school, the university students are back in town and in our church. About a year ago, Adam and I began to feel called to join the University ministry at our church. However, we were already committed to a year of 5th Grade Sunday School. I must admit that I do not work well with children. They scare me. They smell the fear and pounce. So, us teaching 5th grade SS translated into Adam teaching and me taking roll. I am very good at placing checks next to people’s names. In the College group, I take a more active role. I am on the teaching rotation. In fact, I taught this week. We do a free meal for college students at the church on Sunday nights. I help cook. Adam does dishes. I will soon be starting a mentor group with some girls. Adam and I are both enjoying being a part of this ministry team.

I am also excited to be auditing a class with Adam. In Adam’s masters track at Hardin-Simmons University, he has to take some electives that can be outside the School of Education. So, he chose to take an Old Testament class at Logsdon Seminary. I, of course, jumped on that. I’m lovin’ it. Monday nights are special nights with Adam. We sit in class learning together. Then we get to discuss it all on the way home. And, I don’t have to take tests or write papers. It’s like fresh baked chocolate chip cookies without any of the calories.

God has also blessed me with some new, precious friendships. I have to admit, this is the first time I have felt a connection to other young moms. This means that I tend to fill my Tuesdays and Thursdays with coffee dates or lunch dates that usually run longer than expected with good conversation and lots of laughter.

In addition, I have tried to reserve Tuesdays for working. My gracious father has hired me to do some things for his office and is paying me nicely. And, this time around, some of my work actually draws on my strengths. I am editing some of their training manuals. Yesterday, it took me an hour and a half to get through a page and a half of manual. Not so efficient, I know. But, it’s not easy to translate material written by a computer programmer into professional-sounding, smooth-reading English on a topic I don’t understand. I have hope that the process will speed up as I get further into it.

When I am not working on these things, I am spending my “free” time working on Luke’s Christmas stocking. When Luke was born, Adam requested that I make his stocking. His mom had made their stockings when he and his sisters were little. And, my mom made my brother’s and my stocking when we were little. So, after last Christmas (Luke was 9 months old, he didn’t care that he didn’t have a stocking last year) I searched for a cross-stitch pattern and began working. Well, the pattern went together quickly, so I put it down for a little while to work on my afghan. Then, I decided, in my own personal insanity, that the whole stocking needed to be filled in. I still think it will look better completely stitched, and now that I have marked it up with permanent marker, I have no choice (I am following the black line, not the blue). I just don’t know whether or not it will be done in time to hang on the mantel this Christmas.

I plan on adding some stars over the shepherd boy, and I’ll put Luke’s name at the top. And, there is still some detail work to be done on the shepherd boy. If it is ever finished, it will look nice.

God has blessed me richly over the last few months. Unfortunately, I have not managed my time well enough to make it to the computer very often. But, I am relishing all the activity. I am beginning to see Christin re-emerge from Luke’s Mommy.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Deeper Still Conference in Nashville

Around January or February of this year, I got a call from my friend Nina in which she said, “My friend Priscilla is doing a conference in Nashville this September. I am going to stay with the Swifties. Do you want to come? Oh, and by the way Beth Moore will be speaking at the conference, too.” I told her to count me in.

A little background on the players:
Nina and I met when I was working at WisdomWorks Ministries while in seminary. During the ’03-’04 season, Nina and I traveled together working the PlanetWisdom Student Conferences for WisdomWorks. We are great travel buddies. When flying, she likes the aisle seat. I like the window. She gets up super early and is through in the bathroom by the time I have to roll out of bed and get dressed in time to race out the door. So, for 19 conferences, we laughed, vented, and encouraged one another. Being the only two women on the travel crew meant that the bond grew deep.

The band that played for the conferences that year was The Swift. (Though they are no longer a band, having retired to spend time with growing families, the Swift have three great CDs you should check out.) The wives of the band member came to each of the conferences. So, Nina and I were blessed with the friendships of these amazing women as well. So, I was quite excited to get a chance to reunite with old friends, meet their new babies, and hear some good Bible teaching.

Downtown Nashville is beautiful:

Friday evening, we met Kelly and Cadle at the conference center, because they had to work during the day. So, Nina and I figured we make our way downtown, park the car, and grab a bite to eat in the city. Good plan except that at least a couple thousand of the 30,000 women in attendance had the same brilliant idea. Nina and I walked from restaurant to restaurant looking for a place that didn't have an hour wait. Finally, we came across this door nestled between two crowded restaurants. This door was complete with a large bouncer and stairwell in the background. There was a menu on the window. Nina and I both found something on the menu that sounded appetizing. So, we inquired of the large man at the door if they were currently serving food. He assured us they were, asked for our IDs, and pointed our way to the elevator. Nina and I were the only two customers in the joint. This place was a bar. Not a bar and grill. Simply a bar. We didn't care. It was air conditioned, and all the other Bible conference ladies must have been intimidated by it. We were seated immediately and served quickly. And, the food was yummy.

The Deeper Still conference was fantastic. We were blessed with front row seats. As guests of Priscilla Shirer, we each had an official sign saving a seat for us. Here's mine:
I didn't mind being "Christine" for the weekend. I enjoyed the "special guest" part too much to mind.

It's a little difficult to see, but the all three tiers abdthe floor of the arena were filled with women.
Mandisa, from American Idol Season 5, sang with the praise team Saturday morning. She also shared her testimony. I am currently enjoying her CD.
Here are Beth Moore, Kay Arthur, and Priscilla Shirer. They each spoke during one two-hour session. Each session flew by. I did not feel as if I had sat through a two hour talk with any of them. At the end of the day on Saturday, they came together for a panel discussion. We were all rolling in the aisles with laughter.
Sorry the picture is fuzzy. I need to read my camera manual.

Nina, Kelly, Cadle, and me in our front row seats.

Sorry this is short and choppy. This hardly covers the amazing gift God gave me in this weekend, but I have come to the realization that if I wait until I have the time and energy to tell the story in its entirety, you will never hear any of it.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Luke's First Day of School

I cannot believe it has been more than a month since my last post. I was shocked when I read Kirsten’s comment tsking me for leaving August post-free. So, here we go.

Today is the first day of Mother’s Day Out or “school” for Luke. He will be attending Tuesdays and Thursdays this year. I have been looking forward to MDO starting all summer. Five and a half hours, two days a week, all to myself! I have so many things planned to do.

Last night, as I fixed his lunch, and labeled everything with his name, I started getting nervous. This morning when Luke woke up at 5:45 the nerves hit my stomach. I have to admit, he made parting a little easier by insisting on getting up before the sun (he usually sleeps until at least 7:00a), and then spending the morning in destructo mode. Cheerios flew. DVDs scattered. The high chair ended up at the living room window. The rug in Luke’s room is rolled into a heap. His toy shelves are cleared. Fits were thrown. One little diapered tooshy has been spanked. Repeatedly. To no avail. His tears flowed, not in response to being spanked, but in anger and irritation at being told not to do what he wanted. Somehow, Luke and I both ended up clothed. And at 8:45a we happily exited to the garage. Luke pushed the garage door button (a new favorite thing to do), and we loaded up the car.

I felt queasy.

We rolled into the parking lot. I took a deep breath and said a little prayer. I unloaded Luke, grabbed his bag and lunchbox, took his hand, and we trekked to Room 174. We walked into the room and both just stood there, Luke taking in everything going on in the room, me wondering what to do next. Soon, one of his teachers came over to us and asked for any instructions. As I explained about Luke’s cups, pacifiers, and lamb, Luke spotted balls.

I handed his things over to the teacher and noticed he was no longer at my side. He was across the room, one beach ball in his hands, a second at his feet. I called out, “Bye-Bye, Luke.” He briefly glanced at me with a “What? You’re still here?” expression. I left.

The anticipated sense of freedom didn’t come. I was had only a vague, indescribable sense of needing to cry. My list of to-dos evaporated. I knew I wouldn’t be able to accomplish anything. So, I went and sat in my parents’ office. Even at 29 years old, I needed my mommy. I just sat there, gazing through magazines until my lunch appointment.

At 11:00am, I got to meet a new friend for lunch. It was wonderful.

I have now spent most of the last hour aimlessly wondering through my house. There is so much to do, but I can’t focus. I briefly contemplated going to pick Luke up early. Good sense overruled and I came to the computer.

Only 13 minutes left until 2:20p when I can go get my baby.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Mommy Vacation '07 Part 1 - Fly the Friendly Skies - If You Can

Mommy Vacation ’07 began on a Thursday night in the Dallas metroplex with wonderful Kelly Matlock. Kelly is one of my close friends from college. She is the type friend who, even after months of no contact, I never feel awkward around. We are never at a loss for words. Most times we stay up till single digit hours of the morning talking, something I don’t do easily post-college days. However, with Kelly, time flies, just like those days in the college dorm when we sat in the hallway, taking turns massaging the other’s back, talking (usually about boys), and pretending to read. We of course slept in on Friday, and upon waking resumed talking while enjoying non-fat vanilla lattes from Starbucks.

Being ever conscious to be on time wherever I go, I asked Kelly to drop me off at the airport two hours before my flight time. It took all of five minutes to check my bags and maybe another two to get through security. So, I had ample time to wander through the new American terminal at DFW, scope out all the restaurants, and settle on a pretzel and soda from Auntie Anne’s. Armed with pretzel, drink, and novel, I found a chair and began to enjoy my freedom from responsibility.

I kept an eye on my watch so I could be sure to go to the restroom before boarding began. At the appropriate time, I gathered my belongings and headed across the hall. I returned to the same seat and got a few more pages read before boarding the plane. Once onboard, I painstakingly arranged my belongings for maximum foot room and reachability. I settled into my seat with my book and read until I was joined by the lady sitting next to me. We chatted a little while the other passengers boarded.

I soon noticed that it had been a few minutes since anyone had walked down the aisle, but the plane was far from full. Then, the captain’s voice came over the sound system. Now, I have flown a time or two or ninety in my life. I know that the captain does not usually address the passengers until the plane is cruising at a comfortable altitude. So, I perked my ears and listened (unlike when the flight attendant goes through the safety procedures). He calmly stated that there was a hole in the cargo bay door and instructed all to gather their belongings and get off the plane. He further explained that it should only take an hour to locate another plane. No big deal, I say to myself. I’m on vacation.

I returned to my seat (yes, the exact same one, after all, it and I had grown accustomed to one another) at the gate with some newly acquired fudge and re-immersed myself into my book. At the appropriate time, I trekked across the hall to the bathroom once again, this time noting that a draw back to traveling alone is that one must gather all her belongings, schlep them into the bathroom, try to find a somewhat clean place in the stall to place said belongings while taking care of business, re-gather them, schlep them to the sink, try to find a dry place to put them so one can wash her hands, and then schlep them back to one’s seat.

A new plane was at the gate and ready for boarding in nearly the time they had promised. I re-boarded, re-found my seat, re-painstakingly arranged my belongings, and resettled into my seat. I re-met the lady sitting next to me and began easily chatting with her. Once all passengers were onboard, the flight attendant stopped by to offer a refreshing beverage. (Did I mention I was flying first class? One of the disadvantages of waiting too long to reserve my plane ticket with Advantage Miles. I can’t say that minded much. I really enjoy flying first class.) Making the most of my first class status, I ordered a Chardonnay.

About halfway through my plastic tumbler, I heard the Captain’s voice, “Folks, I am so sorry. I just cannot tell you how sorry I am.” At this point, my higher level reasoning skills kick in and I know that what is to follow is not going to be good. “There is a hole in the cargo bay door. We are going to have to disembark and find a third plane.”

I heard grumblings of “is this some sort of conspiracy?” as I downed the rest of my wine. I shared a laugh with the lady next to me, re-gathered my belongings, and re-walked back up the gangway telling myself, Hey, what does it matter? I am on vacation. I can sit and read my book anywhere.

At this point, I realized that I had yet to eat anything of substance and if I wanted to continue enjoying the perks of flying first class, I needed to find some real food. So, with a rumbling in my belly, I went in search of food for the third time, this time for something a little more substantial. Thus, armed with a big burrito from Blue Mesa, I headed back to my trusty old seat at the gate. However, I began to notice that the now familiar faces from my flight had begun a mass exodus. A little panicked, I asked around and found that they our flight had changed gates and terminals. I joined the migration, walking as quickly as I could, not knowing how long I had to get to the next gate, until I noticed that the entire flight crew, including the captain, was just ahead of me. I relaxed knowing that the plane was going nowhere without el capitan.

I have to admit, though I had been tempted to lose patience, at this point the whole thing had an aura of humor about it. I was actually recognizing the people sitting around me. I talked to a group of college kids who were on their way home from Rome. I talked to the business man who sat across the aisle from me on the previous two planes. I don’t usually interact with strangers. I am shy. (Something I am working on.) This was a new, wonderful, and humorous experience.

Soon we all, now bonded through bad air travel luck (or disguised blessing from God – what if they hadn’t found the holes in the previous two planes?), boarded a third plane.

As we finally left the ground, I rejoiced in God. Though I have flown many times before, I appreciated the view this time. I wondered at the stinky Trinity River flowing through the Dallas Metroplex. I marveled at the clouds floating above and below. I awed that God would allow his people-creations to learn to become airborne.

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Fireworks and the Gray Whale

To celebrate the Fourth of July in true Carr Family tradition, we piled in the Gray Whale and headed to my grandmother’s farm. Now, the Gray Whale is the fifteen passenger van belonging to my dad’s office. “We” included my parents (now called Pop and Granny), my brother Jeff, his wife Cynthia, their children Noah (7), Micah (4 next month), and Amelia (21 months), my cousin Brian, his girlfriend Anne, Adam, Luke, and me. If you’re counting, we had seatbelts for three more people, but then there wouldn’t have been room for the cooler containing lunch. After an hour and forty-five minutes of lively conversation amongst adults, a very competitive showing of the quiet game between Micah and Noah, and Brian and Adam cheering on their favorite and antagonizing the opponent which resulted in waking the babies who napped maybe 30 minutes, we arrived at Grandmother Carr’s.

The boys (small and large) were all very excited, because thanks to this low pressure weather system hanging out over Texas, Grandmother who cannot remember a time in her life when her land has received so much rain, gave the okay to set off fireworks for the first time in more years than my generation can remember. So, after lunch, we trundled to the front yard during the break in the clouds and exploded fireworks. Yes, they would have been more spectacular after dark, but all the kids would have been asleep by then.

By five o’clock all were exhausted, so we piled back into the Gray Whale to head home. Ten minutes down the road, the babies were out cold, as was Micah who succumbed to sleep during another highly charged round of the quiet game, and the adults were once again chatting. Chat morphed into discussion as Anne, an elementary school teacher, reported on her recent trip to Washington DC where she attended a conference on model schools. Each of the “model” schools they looked at used a great deal of technology. Anne began explaining how what our local schools are missing is the technology element.

Perhaps I should have mentioned that my dad owns a software company at which my mother, brother, and cousin work. So, my family jumped on the conversation, enthusiastically cheering the incorporation of technology in the classroom and bemoaning the lack of said technology in our local schools. I sat nodding along until I heard:

“We need to spend much less time making our kids read things like Don Quixote and teach them things that are relevant to the world today.”

Now, if you know me, you are probably thinking that I pounced on that one like a two-year-old on a cookie. But, I am ashamed to say, I sat there too shocked to speak. My horror grew as my family continued to chew over how seventy-five percent of what kids learn in school is useless information, after all, do you really remember and use all that stuff? Who needs Shakespeare? What kids really need these days is technology, technology, technology.

I must admit, I agree technology should be in our schools. I just think it should be a classroom tool rather than the substance of a lesson. Most third graders are far more advanced in technology than I am already. As I see it, kids today don’t need a lesson in how to get the most out of their cell phones. They learn that stuff on their own. I’m not saying we shouldn’t teach our kids how to use the latest technology. I just don’t think that should be the entire substance of education. Newspapers are useful, but they don’t replace literature, something else that was proposed in the belly of the Gray Whale.

We do learn through great works of literature. We learn a higher level of thinking. I acknowledge that in most high school English classrooms, teachers are probably questioning the whats of Romeo and Juliet rather than the whys, but that doesn’t mean that literature is a waste of time. It means we need to better educate our teachers.

This morning as I was getting dressed it hit me how ironic it is that the work that started the discussion in the van was Don Quixote. I hated reading Don Quixote. The uselessness of Don Quixote’s quest irritated my drive to reach people where they are in reality. There he is, so unwilling to move forward with society, so unwilling to let go of the chivalric values that he holds so dear, that he hurts those closest to him for the sake of something that his culture left bleeding in the dust of progress.

Now I sit wondering am I Don Quixote? Do I cling to the educational methods of yesterday because they are what I know and love? Should we move to educate the next generation in what is coming rather than what has been? Where is the balance? What do you think?

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

Three Wonderful Years

Today marks three years of marriage for Adam and me. The last three years have been more than I ever could have dreamed up for myself. I have grown in ways I did not know I needed to grow. I have experienced more joy than I thought was possible with another person. I thank God daily for giving me Adam. He is perfect for me. He is not what my childish heart thought I wanted in a husband back when I was full of romanticism. He is better. He is what God knew I needed.

I remember thinking during our first year of marriage If this is the hardest year of marriage as they say, then we have it made. I thought our first year was easy, and as first marriage years go, it probably was. But now I look back and think that was a hard year. We have grown to know each other so much more. Though we may face more difficult challenges, our relationship has grown easier.

I thank God for the blessed institution of marriage. Godly marriage is more wonderful, more joyful, more surprising than the world would have one believe. It is the best gift a person could hope for. It is worth waiting for.

Adam, I love you. I look forward to the next fifty years and more by your side.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Our First Refrigerator Art

Luke made this masterpiece this morning in the Kid Zone at the gym while I was working out. I am so proud. It is the first time we have ever come home with something he has made. So, after showing Daddy, we proudly stuck it on the refrigerator.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Long Awaited House Pictures

I found where Adam has been hiding the pictures of our house exterior, so here they are.



This sad little tree is no longer there. It tried so hard to come back, but alas it was not meant for our climate and we put it out of its misery.

I love having Adam home for the summer, but it does mean sharing computer time. So, I will have to update you on all the excitement and foibles of my fabulous Mommy Vacation '07 at another time. Also still to come - pictures of house interior.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Table Dancing

I found this video on my You Tube account that I uploaded and then forgot to post. Luke loves American Idol. He claps for all the contestants and dances when he really likes them.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mommy Vacation

Tonight I leave my baby and my sweet husband to embark on my first ever Mommy Vacation. The hardest part of motherhood is that it is a 24/7 job 365 days of the year. For the most part, there are no breaks. No time to rest. So, my amazing Adam is giving me time to rest. I am going to Denver to stay with my old roomie Lisa.

Lisa knows how to take a vacation - sleep in, read by the pool, relax. We may check out some Denver sites. Mostly, I just plan to relax, spend good time in my Bible, read a novel or four, and rediscover Christin.

I must admit, though, I am having second thoughts about leaving my boys...

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

Today I Was THAT Lady

It was one of those mornings where I knew I had to get Luke out of the house or pay for keeping him cooped up each excruciating minute after another. So after eating breakfast and getting both Luke and myself decently attired, we jumped in the car and headed to the mall.

Luke had two pairs of shoes-one pair for church and other dress up occasions, and a pair of sandals for playing. However, Luke is quite adept at removing his sandals. The plod of one shoe followed by the other hitting the car floor is now irrevocably registered in my brain. It has gotten so that I usually don’t even bother with putting his shoes on until we reach our destination. However, it is somewhat of a problem when I leave him in the nursery and he refuses to keep his shoes on. So, I was on a mission to find some cheap tennis for Luke to wear when playing. Plus, the mall has a new area for small children to run and play. An air conditioned park sounded like just the thing for this, the hottest day of the year so far.
Shoe shopping was a success. We quickly found some suitable tennis at the low, low price of $9.99.
I even found a pair of gorgeous wedges for myself. Also at the low, low price of only $9.99. I was feeling good. So, Luke and I headed for the play area.

Luke climbed up and slid down the slide once or twice, then headed for the gate. Not quite the entertainment I had hoped for him. So, I loaded him back up in the stroller and we traversed the mall. Luke and I shared a pretzel. I noted some shops to return to when I was alone and better able to make use of the dressing rooms. It didn’t take long to see all we could see, so we were soon back in the car.

Not ready to head home, I decided to make a trip up to my parents’ office. I was overdue for taking Luke to see the office ladies anyway. Pop has resigned himself to the fact that all work ceases in the front of the office when the grandkids visit. I think he’s proud to show the kids off. So, we made an appearance. The ladies oohed and ahhed over Luke’s new shoes and how well he is walking now. We played ball in the hallway. Luke charmed all. Then, Pop and Granny took us to lunch and work resumed as usual in the office.

Though it was past time to put Luke down for his nap, I decided to stop by Target on the way home. I had to resort to using Adam’s deodorant the night before, and well, I was anxious to be back to my feminine version. Luke was remarkably calm and cooperative sitting in the shopping cart as I raced to pick up what I needed. While sprinting down the aisle, I suddenly heard a familiar rumble and smelled an unpleasant odor. I hoped it was just gas and silently debated if it would make me a bad mother to wait until we arrived at home to check Luke’s diaper. My musings where interrupted by my phone. It was Adam calling to see how our day was going. He was out of town doing a presentation for another school district. I quickly explained what a wonderful day of adventure Luke and I were having, then let Luke talk, or grunt, to Daddy on the phone. We said our good-byes and headed for the front of the store. On a little high from talking to my sweet hubby, I had forgot all about my smelly dilemma. We checked out, I pushed the cart to join the rest, grabbed my purse and Target bag, and scooped up Luke. As his little heine came to rest on my arm, my breathe caught at a cold, wet squish.

Now, cold and wet is usually good on an 89 degree day. Cold and wet is refreshing in the form of lemonade. Cold and wet is revitalizing in the form of the yard sprinklers or neighborhood pool. Cold and wet is horrifying when it comes in the form of your toddler’s rear on your arm in the middle of Target.

I braced myself and looked down at the shopping cart seat. Fear became reality. I was gazing on a puddle of poop. It was at that moment that I realized I had chosen not to bring the diaper bag into the store. After all, we were just going to be a minute picking up one small item and heading home. Why is it that the only time I ever need the diaper bag is when I leave it in the car? My mind raced through options. I was somewhat incapacitated. I didn’t want to spread the cold wet any further by moving Luke from my arm.

My gaze then fell on a young, unsuspecting male. He appeared to be fully enjoying what looked like the second week of his new job during his summer break from high school. Our eyes met. He smiled, understanding by the look on my face that I was a customer in need of help. He quickly walked over to my aide. As he approached, I quickly explained the situation, “I’m so sorry, but this is really gross. My son’s diaper leaked in the cart, and I don’t have any wipes with me.” His eyes widened as I motioned to the seat and full understanding thudded into his brain. Graciously, he raised his hands in a calming motion and said he would take care of it. I apologized again and hurried to my car where I stripped Luke and changed his diaper in the front seat. I then strapped him, wearing only a diaper, white socks, and brand new white tennis shoes, into his car seat.

About halfway home, I turned to look at the little darling. To add one last level of excitement to my morning, somehow Luke had managed to pull his arms free from the seat harness. So, rather than the belts coming over his shoulders, they were going under his arms to the buckle between his legs. I just knew that this would be the day I was pulled over. The cop would look at my now cranky and in need of a nap child sitting naked in his car seat strapped in incorrectly and haul me off to jail.

But, we made it home safely, and I am just that lady who’s kid pooped in the Target shopping cart and left it for the high school boy on his summer job to clean up.

Saturday, June 2, 2007

Wagon Ride

Luke loves a good wagon ride. Cousin Amelia agrees. Granpa D (Adam's dad) made this wagon for Luke. The sides come off, and when Luke is ready for a ride, he climbs up in the wagon all by himself.

These two were too involved in the business of wagon riding to smile for the camera. This is a new facial expression for Luke. Your guess to its meaning is as good as mine. I'm thinking it's a "C'mon, Mom. Another picture? Can't you see I've got more important things to do?"

Friday, June 1, 2007

My Mesquites

This is the view out my study window. It is my favorite tree - the one that twists and curves over the other and is so horizontal it requires a brace.

Growing up in West Texas, I took mesquite trees for granted. They make delicious barbecue, but mostly they are ugly little shrubs along the highway. They produce horribly long, sharp thorns that can pierce the sole of your tennis shoe, and bean pods cover the ground beneath.

Then I saw the mesquites in my yard. They are old and huge for mesquite trees. They wind and curve around each other. I fell in love with them. They are old enough that they no longer bear many thorns, and I have yet to see a bean pod, though they will probably be falling in a few months. I look at my trees and see the art of God in nature.

The boys in my family think they are great for climbing. I am sure that soon Luke will join in jumping from the low-lying trunks. But, I just like to gaze from my study window, ponder the graceful curves of hard trunks, and thank God for his jovial design.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Quick Update

I can't believe it has been so long since I last visited Blog World. Things on the Turner front have been quite busy. Here is the short version of what's been happening.

We closed on our new house on Monday, April 30th. However, the previous owners' house was not ready yet, so we technically leased our house to them until Thursday. We got the keys on Thursday and moved in on Saturday, Cinco de Mayo. Well, as it turns out, my entire family was scheduled to be out of town on business that day. So, a friend volunteered to help us move. Then, my dad's flight got messed up, so he was able to help us move Saturday morning until noon. Adam was convinced that they could make three trips to the new house from the storage unit from 8am-12pm. I thought he was crazy. As it turns out, they only needed to make two trips. However, the friend who was helping had to leave after unloading the first trailer load into our garage. This concerned me a little as the old sleeper sofa and the piano (the two heaviest things we own) were still sitting in the storage unit.

So, at 11am, Adam and my dad are headed back to the storage unit to load up the remainder of our stuff, and my mom and I headed back to her house to look for the furniture dollies in the garage to aid in moving the piano and couch. As I step around the front of my car, which was still sitting in mom's garage, I banged my knee on the the corner of my license plate. Not much pain, but oodles of blood. I call to mom. She brings the roll of paper towels. I realize that I am trying to stop the bleeding by pressing my very dirty finger on the wound. I switch to paper towels. I hobble in to the kitchen sink to clean up my leg. Mom brings hydrogen peroxide. I douse my wound. Still no pain. Mom calls Dad to inform him of our delay. Mom brings band aids, Neosporin, and clean socks. Bleeding has mostly stopped. I tightly adhere a band aid across my knee to hold wound together, change socks, and we head for the storage unit sans furniture dollies. When we arrive, both piano and couch are already on trailer.

The guys were able to finish unloading the trailer, except for the piano which is still sitting in the trailer in our driveway, by noon. We headed back to my parents house so Dad could shower and we could eat lunch. After lunch I trundled off to the Minor Emergency Clinic for a Tetanus shot, and after an hour returned to unpack boxes with a shot in the arm and three stitches in the knee. One more scar for the collection.

Meanwhile, Luke's eyes were oozing yellow gook. This has happened before, and so we knew he probably had another ear infection. Apparently, when one's sinuses and ears are really clogged, the gook starts coming out one's eyes. Of course, since it was late Saturday, he had to tough it out until Monday morning. Not to worry, he really didn't feel all that bad, his head was just really gross, leaking from the eyes, and by Monday morning, the ears. So, he is now on antibiotics once again, which lead to multiple diarrhea diapers a day. More yuck. Again I say, "Mike Rowe, you haven't got anything on me."

So, we have been busy unpacking all week. Since everything was in storage, everything has been infiltrated with bugs and dust. I have spent the last five days putting as much as possible through the dishwasher and handwashing the vast majority of my dishes. The washer and dryer have also been running nearly nonstop with sheets and towels and blankets. My hands are so dry that I can feel the roughness between my fingers. With all the washing, I haven't made it past the kitchen. Adam has set up the living room, and put our bed together.

We did also set up Luke's room so he could feel at home. He has a rough couple of days at first. He would get scared when I laid him down for his nap or bedtime. So, I would rock him to sleep and then lay him down. However, yesterday he went to his room all by himself to play with his toys and laid down as usual for his nap and bedtime. And, he has slept through the night the last two nights. Of course he could have been waking up the previous nights because his ears were hurting.

Well, that's the short version. At least as short as I know how to keep it. I will post some pictures of our wonderful new home as soon as I can.

I look forward to catching up with what's been going on in each of your worlds soon.

Friday, April 20, 2007

Friday Favorites - Shoes are Enough

It's amazing how a little time changes things. When Luke first got his hard-soled shoes, he did not like them one bit. This morning, I left him in his diaper so that he could have some banana for breakfast without ruining his clothes for the day. Well, he wasn't ready for breakfast when he first got up, so I let him play for awhile. As I was fixing my morning cup of coffee, Luke walked into the kitchen, one sandal in each hand. He then bent over and tapped his feet with his shoes, his way of asking nicely for me to put his shoes on. This asking to wear shoes has become a common occurence. Of course, I think he likes his shoes so much because he associates shoe wearing with going outside. As soon as they were on, he walked to the back door and started reaching for the doorknob. Shoes mean going outside. Clothes? Who needs clothes for leaving the house?

Monday, April 16, 2007


It is official. Luke is now a toddler! He is walking consistently and quite proud of himself.

Luke still enjoys playing in the dirt.

He has now gotten used to his hard-soled shoes. In fact, he likes them. He brings them to me to put on his feet.

Saturday, April 7, 2007

New Shoes

Now that Luke is walking more, it is time for him to start wearing hard soled shoes. (He is not quite a toddler yet. He still crawls half the time, but he is getting more and more confident on his feet.) So, Granny and I took him to get new shoes. He did not enjoy getting his feet measured. He did not enjoy the feel of the hard soles. Nevertheless, he is now the not-so-proud owner of hard soled sandals and hard soled church shoes.

On Wednesday, it suddenly occured to me that I should probably give Luke a chance to get used to his new shoes rather than putting them on him for the first time only to leave him in the nursery at church. So, we have been practicing. He is still not a fan. He tries to pull them off. He looks at me with those big blue eyes, questioning what in the world I have done to him now. His confidence in walking is shattered when wearing the new shoes. He is back to needing two hands held to go anywhere. I have decided that it is hard to be one year old.

I'm dreaming of a white...Easter?

Once again, we are having crazy weather here in Texas, and my mom is irritated at the weather men. All the signs pointed to spring. The mesquite trees are budding (they say that the mesquite trees know when winter is over and only bud after the last freeze). The weather guys forcasted highs in the upper 60s for Easter weekend. It is currently 30 degrees out. But alas, we are once again having a white Easter. (About 10 years ago we got 9 feet of snow on Good Friday.) My parents spent last weekend and the early part of the week planting new flowers and pulling all the old ones out of the greenhouse. Dad spent yesterday hauling all those heavy pots back into the greenhouse and covering the new plants. We awoke this morning to sleet, our version of white. Mom is praying that her pretty new azaleas and geraniums are staying warm under their plastic blankets.

I looked up from my computer to discover that it is now snowing outside.

The azaleas in the front were not as fortunate as those in the back. They are weathering the storm uncovered.

Sleep and Teeth

Luke and I have spent this week recovering from him being sick last week. He is finally back to sleeping through the night, which means I am finally back to sleeping through the night. Monday night Adam, Pop, Granny, and I were enjoying a remarkably peaceful dinner. I thought, Wow! Luke sure is being quiet and self-entertaining over there in his high chair. Then I looked up. He was so exhausted he had fallen asleep in his chair. We finished our meal and then put him to bed.

We have taken to calling Luke, "Snaggletooth." His smile is filling out with teeth, but some are more stubborn than others. The tooth count is at five. Two on bottom. Three on top, with a lovely hole between the two on his right and one on his left. What a cutie!

Sunday, April 1, 2007

Palm Sunday

As we enter Holy Week once again, I long to slow down, to reflect, to let the stunning importance of what God has done for me sink in deeply. With a sick one year old, a house full of nephews and niece, brother, sister, cousin, mom and dad, silence and solitude are rare. So, I am learning to meet God in the hubbub. I still hold that community is one of God's most precious gifts to us. What follows is an essay I wrote several years ago, but my mind still goes to it when I think of what Christ sacrificed for us.

A Look at the Cross

The image of the cross bombards us everyday...a necklace, a bumper sticker, five churches along my daily drive up Central Expressway in Dallas. Here in America, it is not only an emblem of the Christian faith, but also a shape our secular culture has adopted for its aesthetic value. To many Christians, it has become just another part of the church decor. If I am honest, I must admit that most of the time, when I see the cross, I don't think of anything. I, like many of my Christian brothers and sisters, have become calloused to it.

What about you? What image does the cross bring to your mind? Perhaps you do see the man hanging there. The Son of God, not only stripped of his divine glory, but of his very clothing as well. He hangs there, exposed in the air. He doesn't hang there by a harness. It is not some illusion presented to horrify us in a movie. The horror is real. The spikes are in his wrists, in his feet. The nails are actually engulfed by his flesh. Blood pours out. It is the sacrifice.

We in the western world are unfamiliar with the concept of sacrifice. We tend to think that whenever we give up a privilege it is a "sacrifice." I pat myself on the back when I give up the opportunity to go see the latest movie in order to spend time with a hurting friend who needs to talk, congratulating myself on "sacrificing" for my friend. Or I console myself by calling it a selfless sacrifice to allow my roommate to eat the last brownie. But this is not the meaning behind the biblical use of the term. The idea of sacrifice in the Bible involves blood, death, life lost on behalf of another.

Okay, so maybe this isn't a revolutionary idea for you. Perhaps when you think of sacrifice your mind automatically goes to the saving work of Christ on the cross. You may immediately associate Christ's dying on your behalf whenever the term comes up. So, my next question to you is, has it become an abstract theological consideration? Do you find yourself contemplating the work of Christ only in terms of what it has done for you? Or do you find yourself wondering what took place for Him? What was it like for Him to be the sacrificial lamb?

The Old Testament book of Leviticus gives us a picture of what took place when an animal was offered as a sacrifice. Picture the process with me. Imagine you are living in Israel during the time of David. The time has come to take your offering to the temple to make atonement. You carefully walk through your herd, searching for the perfect lamb, the lamb without blemish.

After choosing the best lamb from your flock, you begin the journey to the temple. Each day you spend walking to Jerusalem, your perfect lamb in tow, you ponder the reason for your journey. The constant bleating is an ever-present reminder. The burden of your guilt weighs heavily upon you. Once again you have failed, fallen short of God's standard and you know that God is a God of justice and wrath (Psalm 7:11). You know that God is a God who does not leave the guilty unpunished (Exodus 34:7). And you know that the punishment for your guilt is death. A panic sweeps over you. The reality and gravity of your guilt against God sinks in. Then it quickly fades as the bleating of a sheep fills your ears. You remember that God has given you a way out. He will accept the life of this animal in the place of your life. Relief floods over you, as well as gratitude towards God, and perhaps even a little love and pity for the animal accompanying you.

Your time of contemplation and reflection continues as you wait at the temple for your turn to present your lamb to the priest for sacrifice. When your time finally arrives, you stand before the priest with your lamb, the one you meticulously chose, the one who accompanied you on the long journey and stood at your side in the temple courtyard. You lay your hand on its head as the law commands, showing that this guiltless animal now bears your own guilt. Its head is warm with life. It continues its bleating, now more frantically. With your hand on its head, you raise your knife to its neck and quickly make the stroke which brings your atonement.

Suddenly, there is an eerie quiet. The bleating has ceased. A stream of deep red pours forth from the animal's neck. Your hand remains on the head which is now deathly still and without movement. You watch as the spark of life fades from its big black eyes until they stare blankly ahead. Blood continues to flow from the neck of the one who bore your judgment. The iron smell of blood fills the air around you. The flow slows to a drip, but the payment is not yet complete. The blood and the gore are just beginning.

The priest takes the blood and sprinkles it against all sides of the altar. Then you must cut the carcass into pieces. Warm, sticky blood covers your hands and creeps up your arms, splattering against your clothing as you do your brutal task. You wash the heart, the stomach, the kidneys, and all the other inner organs with water. Then you cleanse the legs with water. The priest then takes each of the body parts to the fire burning on the altar. An aroma pleasing to the Lord rises through the air (Leviticus 1:10-13). The smoke blows in your face and the smell of burnt flesh singes your nose.

As the last of the offering succumbs to the flame, you turn to leave, passing by the bloody mess your sin has made on the ground. As you walk away from the temple, you take note of the absence of the tug at the end of the rope in your hand. You also breath deeply and freely, knowing your sin has been atoned for once again. This is a familiar feeling because this is not the first time you have made this journey. And you know it will not be the last.

Now, take another look at the cross. What do you see? From this angle, the cross is a sacrificial altar, covered in blood. The man on it, the Son of God, is the pure and spotless lamb dying as your substitute. His hand reaches out to your head, showing His voluntary acceptance of your judgment, of your punishment, of your death.

His blood courses over his body. The warm, sticky substance ebbing from the body of the God-man flows down to cover you. Then, as the deep red of His blood meets with the deep black of your sin, something amazing happens. Your blackness is transformed to dazzling white. Rather than being covered with a smelly, sticky substance, you are washed clean by the blood of the lamb. It is a deep clean. A clean that reaches to your bones and through your soul.

Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that even though we were idolaters, adulterers, thieves, drunkards, greedy, or liars, we have been washed clean and justified in Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9-11). Our blackest black is declared pure white by the red blood of the lamb. There is more. It goes far deeper than the outward actions that are visible to all. The blood of Christ goes above and beyond what the blood of an animal could do and washes even our conscience clean (Hebrews 9:13-14).

The cross is a cleansing shower, cleaning the deepest recesses of your being. As you walk away from the cleansing shower, you pass by the bloody mess on the cross caused by your sin. You have been thoroughly purified and atoned for. This is a new, refreshing feeling. You know that the process, the sacrifice, will not have to be repeated. The atonement is complete. The blood of the Lamb of God has made you permanently clean.

Saturday, March 31, 2007

Please Keep Praying

Thank you for praying for Thursday. I didn't get to meet with the girl after all for reasons completely out of my hands. So, I am thinking it wasn't God's timing for me to meet with her. Please keep praying, though. She will be induced on Tuesday. I am still hoping to get a chance to meet with her and minister to her. This will probably be an ongoing thing.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Request for Prayer

I am meeting and talking with a young girl this Thursday. She is 17 and pregnant. She has already made the brave decision to carry the child to term. The baby girl will be born any day now. My soul has been in torment about her situation since I heard about her at church last Sunday. Please pray that God will give me wisdom. That he will prompt my speech. That I will encourage her in the path God wants her to take. Please pray that this young girl will have the courage to make the hard decisions that come with being a mom. Please pray for the life and soul of this precious baby girl.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Spring Swing

The weather has been gorgeous here. So, last night, Adam, Luke, my parents, and I went to enjoy the lovely evening in the backyard. We sat on the porch, Adam and I swinging on the porch swing, talking and trying to keep Luke from eating fistfulls of dirt, acorns, or rocks. I looked up, and there, blowing gently in the breeze, was the tire swing. My nephews were not here to put it to use. It called to me.

I swang forwards and backwards, but the best is to swing around in a big circle.

The old oak tree has just started to put on new leaves. The view from the swing is beautiful.
I soon talked Adam into giving it a try.
After much coersion, I got my dad on the swing, too.
He loved it.

Mom didn't take much convincing after Dad gave it a try. She was dying to get on from the beginning. She is much more of a free spirit than she lets on.
Luke enjoyed exploring. And of course, eating dirt, acorns, and rocks. (According to my mom, he gets the fascination with eating dirt from me.)