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.