December 31, 2009

It's All Good

Dear 2009,

There has been NOTHING dull about this year. You threw us for all kinds of loops and in true loop fashion, there were as many ups as there were downs. What was incredibly obvious to us was that God was the steadfast, rock solid constant that went right through the middle of all those loops and my love for Him grew deeper because of it.

In less than 10 hours we will all bid you good-bye amidst lots of celebration. I can honestly say that I will not shed a tear over your departure. No hard feelings, it's just that I am ready to move forward. Don't worry, 2009, because you will not be easily forgotten and I'm sure we will talk of you for many years to come.

I look forward to meeting your close friend, 2010. I am full of anticipation for what is to come this year with a healthy dose of trepidation mixed in there. I have you to thank for making me more confident, my marriage stronger, and my children a little more aware of how much God loves us all.

2009, I bid you farewell. Your job is done. Enjoy all the celebrations tonight in your honor!


December 29, 2009

Come Back........

Do you ever have a moment when you are fully aware of how obnoxious you are being for all those around you?

I have a lot of moments like that......especially when I am with my sisters. We easily get caught up in our own conversations - many of them happening without words ever being spoken. We are each other's biggest fans and despite how annoying it is to others, we will brag on and on about each other. We have the same sense of humor that is almost as dry as the Sahara Desert my sister visits frequently. We obnoxiously and annoyingly adore each other.

Cyndi left today to return to Isreal after living with us for the last 6 months. Lisa and I are left here feeling like one of our limbs has been torn off. The good-byes were very painful......the kind that leave you bent in half , not sure if you will ever catch your breath.

All 3 of us are fully aware of how lucky we are to have each other. We know that it's a gift that we love each other so much. I honestly don't care how much eye rolling we create with our missing each other, I will still say it as loud as I can...

I miss my sister and I just want her back.

December 27, 2009

When The 12 Days of Christmas Turns Into 18

It has been 18 days since my last post.....18 busy and often overwhelming days. I am not sure even where to start as many incredible things have occurred in the last 2 and a half weeks!

The most wonderful event was Garrett and Nathan's baptisms at church today. It deserves a post of its own so as soon as I collect pictures I will share. Suffice it to say, it was the fulfillment of many prayers as a mom....the opportunity to watch my children choose to follow God through belief in the grace and mercy Jesus' crucifixion and resurrection has afforded them and then for my boys to share that decision publicly with others. It was amazing!

On December 20th I had my annual pajama exchange....except we don't exchange pajamas anymore, we collect and donate them for the women and children at the Mission of Yahweh. There are way too many women and children living there right now.......even one is way too many. Most of these women are homeless and the Mission allows them the opportunity to get back on their feet.
My friends have fully embraced this cause and they were all very generous in their giving to allow the annual Christmas Eve party at the Mission to be that much more special with new pajamas for everyone. As an added bonus this year, we had Betty, the woman in charge of donations at the Mission, come to the party to share with the women here about the work being done. She was wonderful to listen to and her blessing she prayed over each of us was something I wish I could have recorded to replay many times over.

I have to admit that it was a very bittersweet event for me. I had my mom and both of my sisters there which was incredible. I was also fully aware that it would be my last pj party for a long time with this group of friends. I will miss the excitement my girlfriends generate in their desire to meet the needs of others.

I was thrilled to be able to drop off the pajamas with my mom and be given a tour of the Mission a couple of days after the party. It meets the needs of primarily homeless women and their children. The stress and pain of their situation was very evident on the faces of the women, but the children seemed happy and carefree for the most part.

One of my favorite Christmas presents this year was receiving pictures from the PJ Christmas Eve party at the Mission. I did ask and receive permission to print them on the blog. I have looked at them 20 or 30 times already trying to memorize each face and loving the joy that is there.

What I was reminded of over and over is that God does not love me any differently than he loves any of the women and children staying at the mission. Yes, our circumstances are different, but we were all created by Him and as His children, we are called to love each other. It is not only a privilege to do so, it is our responsibility.

December 09, 2009

Photo Op or Not

Today was the day I was determined to finish my Christmas cards. I went with a card that allowed me to insert a ton of pictures as kind of a year in review type thing. The one thing missing was a good photo of the boys for the center spot. So, in the never ending pursuit of popularity with my boys, when they got home from school today, snacks and playing outside were put on hold for a clothing change and hair gel touch-up for a photo op.

Did all of you notice the sudden darkness that overcame the land around 4:30? Yep, that was the world coming to an end.

It only took me about 12 shots to get one I was happy with

You know, once I could convince Nathan that talking out of the side of his mouth was NOT going to work.

Bodily noises were not going to work either....even though they are so very, very funny. I'll give you one guess based on facial expressions who the culprit was! boys. May I introduce to you Garrett, otherwise known as G in Doing Life land...and Nathan, who would be known as N. Yes, I outed their names because it was just too much code to keep up with.


My world has suddenly been consumed by pajamas. You may remember last year......we are doing the same thing again this year. 52 women and 37 children will be getting new pajamas to open Christmas Eve at the Mission of Yahweh Women's Shelter. It is truly an honor to be allowed to minister to these women and children.

I pray that each of you are given an opportunity to experience giving in a new way this Christmas season!

December 03, 2009

11 Things I Love About You

Good grief, buddy! How in the world did we get to 11 so quickly? It just doesn't seem possible that in two short years you'll be a teenager already. I am so proud of you because you've had the kind of year we adults would call a "character building year" and you came through it with very few scars. It sounds very fancy, but character building usually isn't any fun at all.

Your Top 11:

11. You started off your 10th year with all 3 inner ear bones in place. After a good catch by Dr. McClintock and great work by Dr. Chang, you now have Titanium in your head after the removal of an incredibly large cholesteatoma. Believe me when I tell you that this has provided you with a great party story.

10. Your first solo trip on a plane this last summer to California to visit Grandma and PaPa. I was so worried that you'd be incredibly homesick and you weren' all. Not even a little bit. You went panning for gold, ziplining, the theater, rode a train, went to museums, and visited Old Town Sacramento. You loved seeing the Governator's office and thanks to Grandma's green thumb, you can identify about 5 different fresh spices on smell alone. The one downside to all this? You gave up your seat on your way home and got to ride first class on your new flight.....this has ruined you for life. You have been exposed to all the mysteries that take place behind the blue curtain.......flying coach will never be the same again.

9. You finally topped the 5 foot are 5'1" on your way to 6 feet plus. Won't be long until you are eating a box of cereal out of a mixing bowl with a ladle.....just like your 6'8" Uncle used to do. Lord have mercy on our grocery bill!

8. You rightly earned the nickname "The Kenyan" from your baseball coach. I have never, ever met a child that loves to run more than you do......and you are very fast. The fact that you feel the need to run without shoes on all the time about makes me crazy and seals the deal on the nickname.

7. You wrote your first "I would like to get to know you better" note and boldly left it in a girl's desk at school. The adorable factor in this story is staggering, but even more I love that you are willing to put your heart on the line for someone despite what others may think. You've done that before for a little girl, and I'm sure you'll do it again. I am working on keeping my Mama Bear instincts in check and allowing you to experience life as you, and not as a mini-me.

6. After hours and hours of diagnostic testing we learned how differently your brain works from other kids. Your Dad and I enjoyed the time we've spent with you and Dr. Tarnow just figuring how what makes you tick and how we can parent you in the way you deserve. That coupled with shear determination on your part, had you finishing your 4th grade year a straight A student and starting off 5th grade a Meritorious Scholar......a HUGE accomplishment!

5. I can honestly say that you mastered the skim board at the beach this summer. You were determined to get it down and you did. You stuck to it for hours and hours and are officially addicted.

4. You have fallen in love with your guitar. I smile every time I send you upstairs for something and then hear you strumming your guitar. It just calls out to you, doesn't it? It's like you just can't help yourself.

3. We had to say good-bye to Barnes this year. Telling you that he had died was hands down the hardest thing I have ever had to do. I have never watched you mourn like you did for him. In all of that, you were so happy Barnes got to go camping with us this year over Spring Break. Me too, too.

2. When your dad was out of work earlier this year, you took the money you earned watering Mr. Keith and Miss Honey's plants and immediately gave it to us because you wanted to be a part in helping our family. There are no words.......

1. Just yesterday I was having a conversation with you about what it means to have or be a Mentor. You listened to me intently and then asked me why I needed someone else to be my Mentor.......shouldn't God be the only Mentor I need? I am so thankful that you see Him that way.....not as a mean God, not as a distant God, but as a God that wants to walk alongside us and coach us through life. My prayer is that you, Garrett, will have a heart for Him.

Whew!! What a year! Your dad and I are super proud of you and very honored that out of all the parents in the world, we got picked to love you. I can not wait for all the adventures we have waiting for us this year!

I love you!

November 23, 2009

Thanks A Lot!

There is something surreal about entering into a holiday season that has been a norm my entire lifetime and realizing that next year we will be living in a country that won't even pause for Thanksgiving Day. Realizing that fact has been very sobering for me. Just like going to my husband's Christmas party Saturday night and knowing we won't be there next year or wanting to spend an inordinate amount of money putting lights up on our house because we won't have a house for several years to come.

I have to wonder what kind of things I will be thankful for next year? Obviously, those that are most important to me......God and His Son, my husband and boys.....those will remain the same. It's the other stuff I wonder about. I hope I can be thankful for new friends. I shudder to think I may be thankful for fried octopus. It's unlikely I'll be thankful for neighbors that are just a wall away.

My prayer is for contentment. Happy to know that God has given us an amazing opportunity and being grateful for that. My prayer is that I don't spend so much time looking back at what we've left behind that we miss what God has in store for us in the future.

I hope all of you have a wonderful Thanksgiving and can honestly look at where God has placed you right now and be thankful for it. Asking God to allow you joy in your current circumstance knowing that He is sovereign and loves us so very much that nothing in our lives is without purpose.

As for me and my boys? We are going to have a house full of Aggie/Longhorn/Cowboy loving fans with a spread that includes tamales, red and green chile, and loads of dessserts....much like last year. It will be loud and unorganized....the house will stay a mess for days on end and I'm going to enjoy every single second of it knowing that next year will hold something brand new for us.

November 14, 2009

I'm In Love

Ahhhhhh.......the weekend. How I do love Saturdays and Sundays. Of course it does help that I survived speaking at MOPS yesterday morning (more on that later), had a wonderful time at our church's Holiday Dinner last night, and a glorious morning of sleeping in. Yep, I am officially in love with the weekend.

I was a bundle of nerves yesterday, but absolutely loved the time I got to spend with our MOPS group. I did cry during my talk, which is unfortunate, but other than that I made it through sharing with those sweet moms what I felt like God wanted me to share. The great news is that I get to do it again next Friday. Maybe I'll do a better job keeping my emotions in check this time around because there is nothing more uncomfortable than watching someone who is speaking try to keep from launching into the ugly cry.

Our Holiday Dinner last night was located at a wonderful facility that has a stadium for local football games along with banquet rooms and an indoor arena. So while I was enjoying time with 600 of my closest friends from church, my boys were at the high school playoff game happening at the same location. When our banquet was over, I high heeled it over to the game to catch the last 6 minutes. There is nothing more inconspicuous than a 6 foot tall woman in black pants and glittery jacket, rhinestone earrings and smoky eye make-up making an appearance at a high school football game where khakis would have been considered dressed up. And nothing more painful for those high heeled feet than walking up and down ramps to get to our seats..........should have remembered to bring my flip flops!

Scot leaves again today for a whirlwind trip to Asia - gone only a week this time so he can be home for his company's CHRISTMAS PARTY next Saturday. That's right, next Saturday, before Thanksgiving.......Christmas party. Wonder if they'll serve us turkey, stuffing, gravy and pumpkin pie at the party.........

I hope all of you fall in love with your weekend too!

Oh, one more thing, if you are looking for an incredible way to teach your kids about money management, check out my wonderful and creative friend's post. I love, love, love her idea!

November 09, 2009

Top Nine

Nine years is it even possible that you are nine years old? I have spent the morning taking a walk down memory lane looking at a ton of old pictures of you. I want to cry for how much I miss the "little you", and yet I am so excited to be a part of the "bigger you".

It has not been a dull year so I am going to try my hardest to pick some of the Top Nine about the past 12 months.

9. For the first time (that I know of) you had a little girl writing "I love Nathan" in her notebook. Lord help me, I am quite certain it won't be the last.

8. Your official record for "controlling your emotions" was about 3 days. We will keep that little item on our To Do list.

7. You took a nose dive off your razor and ended up with some awesome looking injuries to your face. I think you milked that one for all the attention you could get out of it! You then learned how to ride a Ripstick and I pray every day you don't kill yourself on that thing!

6. You scored your first touchdown and got your first mohawk!

5. You went to your very first concert with Aunt Cyndi and me. I loved watching you wave your arms in the air , sing along to the songs, and covering your ears when things got a little too loud!
4. You were so engrossed in a book series this summer (when you weren't burying your brother in the sand) that you were actually in a full out funk when it was over. Oh, how I can relate to that!! I envy you all the reading adventures you have waiting for you.....

3. You took your first helicopter ride without thinking twice about doing it.

2. You were elected to represent your class for student council and I must say that your speech really rocked! I wish you had actually done the whole thing for your class, but I totally get how nerves can get in the way of a well rehearsed speech. I loved working on it with you and I LOVED when you stood on the kitchen chair and practiced your speech so emphatically.

1. I had the honor of sitting next to you while you told Pastor Thomas exactly why you want to be baptized. The simplicity and honesty of your answers to his questions brought me to tears (big surprise) and I was once again astounded at how pure your love for God and His Son is.

This next year promises to be a big one. Our little family is getting ready to embark on a huge adventure! I am so excited for all you will see and experience in the coming year.

I love you so much I don't think my heart can hold it all. Happy Birthday Buddy!!! I am honored to be able to Do Life with you.......

November 06, 2009

Just a Note

Tonight Scot and I celebrated our anniversary, which was actually on Wednesday, at Chuys. A restaurant we frequent often with friends and our kids......most definitely not a romantic night out. I had all sorts of aspirations of writing an amazing post about our marriage in honor of our anniversary, but I never got around to it.

We've been too busy Doing Life.

Our anniversary was spent at the ballpark watching G play. We have a birthday celebration tomorrow in honor of N turning 9 that promises to be all kinds of interesting. Scot leaves again next week and I am speaking the next 2 Fridays to our MOPS group at church.

Whew!! Life can be exhausting lately I have found myself more and more not wanting to do the work I am supposed to be doing because it's all just....well......exhausting.

I will say, in honor of 14 years of marriage to my incredible husband, there is no one else on this planet I would rather be negotiating the twists and turns of this life with. NOONE. We fully get how intense this past year was and we most certainly have patted ourselves on the back for surviving, but the reality is that we have chosen, together, to Do Life with our eyes constantly on the One who holds all the answers. It is the only way to survive!!

Now I am rushing off to bed to fully enjoy a night's sleep and the gift of not having to be anywhere until 11:00 tomorrow morning! YIPPEE!!! That makes this tired girl very happy!

October 29, 2009

I'm Grounded

Remember this?

Not a staged picture much to the disbelief of some of my friends. In fact, it really looked much worse in reality!

I am proud to say that I finally have an after picture:

I went upstairs to get this picture and almost picked up all the army men that were in perfect formation on the floor. I find it funny that my boys are so thrilled to have a playroom they can walk in and army men all in one place and not mixed in with Legos, plastic goody bag junk, and random puzzle pieces, that they actually sat down and played!

As to why I didn't have them clean up the disaster? I would not have ended up with 2 bags of trash. Instead we would have uncovered all kinds of toys that hadn't seen the light of day in YEARS that my boys just "couldn't live without". And yes, they are very good at going through their stuff to give toys to charity, but this particular task required a determined mom with no emotional attachment to one Power Ranger glove or a matchbox car with missing wheels.

It is amazing the things I can get done when I have grounded myself from Facebook on my home computer Monday thru Friday. After reading this, I realized that reading about everyone else's life instead of living my own was becoming a problem.

I am sure most people are much better at balancing their chores, paperwork, and cleaning with computer and TV time......I guess I am just not one of those. But before you all become the Facebook police, I am still checking out what all of you are doing on my phone in Facebook world while in car line or sitting at a long practice.

I'm not that crazy!!!

October 25, 2009

From Ahhhhhh to AWWWWWW

My day yesterday included time at my favorite spa here in Houston - The Trellis. And by my favorite, I mean out of the 2-3 I've ever been to I like this one the best! It was a couple of hours of pure wonderfulness......time in the tranquility room, water with fruit floating in it, hot stone massage, and pedicure followed by dinner out with friends.

My day ended like this:

Clocked going 67 in a 50. My first speeding ticket in 15 years.

That's what you get when you give a mom the dad's car for the day. It's ok because I was so relaxed and happy when I met nice Officer Busby that I actually thanked him for the work he does and flat out told him I deserved the ticket.

Poor guy.....he didn't know what to do with me and honestly looked like an afternoon at The Trellis would have been good for him, too!

October 20, 2009

Falling to Pieces

It's official......I'm falling apart. And I don't mean the kind that results in wearing sweats for days on end, scattered - used tissues and peanut butter cup wrappers. I mean the physical kind that reminds me of how close my 40th birthday is closing in on me. I have one year and 3 months until I am half way to 80.....Yikes!!

I did go to the doctor for my hip. Apparently I have what is called a tight IT muscle. Not "it", but the dudes that know way too much about computers. I was sent to the Sports Rehab place (because I am practically an athlete) and was given an excercise program and instructed to be nice to that muscle for a couple of weeks.....which I take to mean no running and no boot camp. (I am most certainly not grinning ear to ear as I type this.) Lots of stretches twice a day and then slowly start the training up again. We'll see....

I have also been having bouts of irregular heart patterns for awhile now so I figured while I was at it with the bad hip, I would visit the cardiologist as well (all good practice for when I actually AM 80). Now I am sporting a fashion forward monitoring devise that is large and clunky with a button I'm supposed to push every time something weird happens.

This past weekend I was weeding our jungle out front and stood up quickly which caused a slightly irregular heart beat and I pushed the button and waited for the call to check my symptoms. The lady called me back and asked why I pushed the button......I told her my heart was racing for a moment and that's when she let me know that next time I needed to wait for something worse to happen before hitting the button.

OK.......guess I'll train my boys and all the neighbor kids that if Miss Keri hits the deck, push the button so the lady that calls can be happy THAT SOMETHING WORSE HAPPENED!!

Deep breath in, deep breath out......interesting how you approach your day when wearing a heart monitor 24/7. Scot has been out of the country for all of this - suffice it to say that I think he considers the heart monitor thing a fun challenge for when he gets back. That's all I'm going to say about that!

In other news, G is officially off the market. I am bringing arranged marriages back into fashion so I would like to announce that in about 20 years, when their 5 year age difference isn't so weird, he will be marrying this sweet girl and they will have loads of precious red headed babies that I will get to see all the time because this sweet girl (and her mama) love me! Ok, one to go! Doesn't G look pleased?

One more tidbit of fun news......N scored his team's first touchdown of the season last night. This picture was NOT taken last night, but pretty much sums up the season so far. Lots of rain, lots of cancelled games, and 3 games straight with no score for the Titans. That all changed last night with a victory for our boys! Go Titans!!

October 16, 2009

Spare me

It's Mother/Son Extreme Bowling night. I should have totally been brushing up on my bowling skills because my guys are going to wipe that nasty floor with me. I will try to keep my competitive edge in check since noone wants to see a 30 something mom doing a victory dance and yelling "Take that Strike and eat it" while her young and impressionable sons sit on the verge of tears.

In an ironic turn of events, I was actually asked to speak at this event tonight. Moms and 1st-6th grade boys.........I spent a TON of time praying about what in the world I was going to say. Once again God dropped the perfect topic into my head and now I just have to get out of the way so He can speak.

It's going to be interactive and fun with my boys playing small parts in it. My prayer is that all of us moms walk away feeling encouraged and challenged to seek God for wisdom in raising these creatures called boys.

October 13, 2009

Ears, Cheers, and Tears

I sometimes forget people actually read this blog until I start getting texts, emails, and Facebook messages asking how certain things are G's follow-up appt for his tumor ear.

The doctor thinks the issue is scar tissue around the mastoid bone (big bone behind your ear they had to drill into in order to remove 2 bones and replace with titanium). When I asked the doctor if he was sure, he said "no".

Okey dokey then. He told us to come back in a couple of years for another CT scan to see if the thing has grown except we'll be in Asia - so we're going back in May. If it's grown, it's the tumor making a return visit. If not, we're in the clear. G's hearing was tested again and while the hearing works, the listening often does not. Unfortunately, the Audiologist was at a loss for what to do about that. Oh well!

This past weekend a girlfriend of mine from high school and college was in town visiting. We met in Waco for a walk down memory lane with some friends. They have turned an old haunt on campus into a coffee shop where a bunch of high schoolers, I mean college students, now hang out. So, Macs, iPods, cell in the world did I survive my college years without any of those things?

It was a wonderful evening - especially when I left dinner thinking I would choose those girls as friends all over again. Love you guys!! Cheers!

We spent the night with one friend in Austin, met up with another for lunch and then back to Houston. A whirlwind trip for sure, but well worth it!

Monday was a holiday and I took full advantage and slept in. My girlfriend, Mel, was not scheduled to leave until 2:00, but living on a ranch has her trained to be an early riser. G is also an early riser. Apparently he woke up with a ton of ambition to provide a breakfast buffet for those of us sleeping in and having Mel in the general vacinity was all the supervision he felt he needed.

By the time I got to the kitchen, he had made waffles from scratch and was working on pancakes with green food coloring and mold (chocolate chips). He had "set" the kitchen counter complete with flower arrangement, silver platters, and labeling for the syrup. He was so proud of himself and I just fell in love with him all over again! He has such a sweet spirit and is going to be an incredible husband one day......tears!

If you think about it, say a little prayer for us. Scot leaves in the morning for a two and a half week trip all over the place. Although we are used to his absences, the boys and I do miss him terribly.

I hope all of you have a great week!!

October 03, 2009

October Happenings

It is the beginning of October which means the opportunity to celebrate my sister's birthday. I honestly don't remember the last time I got to celebrate with her in person so we were WAY overdue! We happened to get tickets to the David Crowder Band concert through the youth group at the church Cyndi is teaching at right now. I wasn't feeling very well, but I pulled myself together, gathered a bunch of Kleenex and off we went. Turns out we had 2nd row tickets and through some interesting circumstances, we ended up back stage to meet the band.

Since I'm all about the "instant connection", I threw out (as we were herded past for our 5 sec photo op) that I went to Baylor and got a round of "Sic 'em Bears" from them. I'm sure they will now never forget me.

I have to say that I really love that the 3 of us girls in this picture have far less hair than any one guy in the band. That's just awesome!

Never one to miss an opportunity to eat cake, I was excited to make my way to RJ Goodies for a bakery cake that is heavenly. Oh, how I miss it already! I'm lucky I even got this picture...

As we all know, October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. Amazingly enough, I have only had one woman close to me do battle with this disease and win, but through the wonderful world of blogs, I have met another amazing survivor. She is close to my age, has 3 kids, an incredible outlook on life, and is now officially a survivor. Way to go Erica!! You can meet her here and read her incredible story!

Tomorrow we take G back to the doctor to see why his CT scan came back abnormal this summer. I am praying it's scar tissue and nothing more. I will keep you posted!! Scot is actually in town so he's going with me which I am very grateful for!!

Speaking of in town/out of town (we were talking about that, right?), we are definitely moving to Singapore at the end of the school year. Scot will move in Feb or March and the boys and I will leave when school ends. We have registered them at the American School there and are getting their passports tomorrow. It's going to be an interesting 7 months between now and when we leave alternating between time crawling by and time moving too quickly. It is all very overwhelming for me right now! We are going to have to be very purposeful in our marriage for the next many months since most of that time we will be apart.

Life is most definitely an adventure and I'm excited to see where God leads us! Between now and then, I think I will start brushing up on some Mandarin!

September 28, 2009


My sister, Cyndi (at the end of a good go-get-'em cheer), my friend who is responsible for getting me into this, Kristi, and myself after a long Labor Day run.

".........let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us."

Almost two months ago I completely lost my mind and signed up for the Houston Half Marathon. A dear friend of mine had been working very hard at convincing me that it was actually fun to run around Houston for 13 miles and being one that loves a good challenge, I fell for it hook, line, and sinker.

The crazy part is that if I had waited just one more day I would not have made it in. The half and whole marathon filled up in under 48 hours.......darn it all! I have to admit that I did take some pleasure in letting people know that I would be running 13 miles come only "elite athletes" think it's a good idea to run continuously for 2 or 3 hours so that had to somehow change people's perception of my athletic prowess.

My sister, Cyndi (who you may remember from here), was kicked out of Israel back in June and can't go back until the end of December. She decided to spend the interim here in Houston with us and I have loved, loved, loved having her here. She is a runner. For real. Like when I ask her how far she runs in Israel she tells me that she will run from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and back. I mean, how cool is that?

Oh, and let me clarify. My definition of run means that at some point between my left and right foot hitting the ground, there is airspace......however brief and far apart it may be. Her definition is let's see if we can run 4 miles in 20 min or less. I will actually get winded and start sweating just by riding my bike next to her while she runs.

When I officially started "training", she was kind enough to run at my pace, which presented a whole different kind of challenge for her. It wasn't long before I had built up some endurance and she was complimenting me on how much better I was breathing (translation: I was actually breathing instead of gasping for air) and how much my endurance had improved (translation: I wasn't talking about how I was going to die at any minute).

It wasn't long before I was comfortably running 3 miles and was ready to increase my mileage except that I was experiencing a lot of pain in my right hip. We did a "long" run one day and after 5 miles, I was in so much pain it was barely tolerable. It has been frustrating and annoying. I need to have it checked and I wonder if my goal of running the half marathon will be realized.

With my recent focus on running, I have realized the depth of truth in the verse I posted at the beginning. It is not a mistake that Paul chose the action verb of "run". It is hard to run a race. There is training involved, aches and pain, endurance, and most of all perseverance. You have to be devoted to getting stronger by running almost every day to achieve the goal set before you.

Walking is easy.

Recently I have had friends do a lot of walking:

Walking away from their marriage.

Walking away from the challenge of raising godly children.

Walking away from fighting inner demons.

Walking away from friends.

Walking away from financial responsibility.

Walking away from God.

Walking is easy.

Signing up for the race, staying committed, running through the pain......that is the race marked out for us, even when everything in us screams out to quit.

Running to your spouse to save a marriage.

Running the race of godly parenting.

Running from strongholds satan uses to destroy.

Running to friends for support and encouragement.

Running headlong into financial discipline.

Running to God.

One day we will all cross the finish line and I pray that my Father will be standing there proud of the work I did, forgetting all the times I walked away only to be pulled back into the race by His gentle prodding, gently smiling at the callouses I wear from training, and calling me by name because of the relationship we've forged while He ran with me.

That will be the ultimate Runner's high.

*I am dedicating this post to you, Dana. I will always be your running partner.*

September 22, 2009

The Top of Nob Hill

I have been missing from Blogger world for awhile's amazing how much more I get done when I limit my computer usage! Surprise, surprise!

Taking a break from chin whisker conversations, as much fun as those are, I wanted to update about a whirlwind of a trip I took with Scot last week. I got an email from him the Thursday morning before letting me know that he and I would be leaving early Sunday morning for a business trip to San mom was already scheduled to fly in on Saturday (thank you very much frequent flier miles) and I had better get busy.

Get busy?? Yes. This was one of those convention type events for the pipeline industry and there were about 2 events scheduled per day. Unfortunately, I live my life as a "soccer mom" and don't have the quantity of grown up clothes that would be required for a trip such as this so I was forced into a marathon shopping spree. I would rather sit and stare at a blank wall than go shopping for hours on end so I was not excited about this.......especially since I needed a dress for a black tie affair and was regretting my decision to eat this last year.

After a crazy 48 hours, most of which I don't remember with any clarity, I was packed and ready to go. By the time we got to the airport, I was very much excited about having a week with my husband in a city I have never been to before. One of my dearest friends was going to be going as well......her husband works with that was an added bonus for sure!

We arrived early enough on Sunday to have the whole day to ourselves. We stayed at The Fairmont which is pretty much at the top of Nob Hill. That means walking TO anywhere was was walking BACK that made up feel like your heart was going to explode out of your chest. We spent Sunday down at Fisherman's Wharf, Pier 39 with a gazillion sea lions hanging out, stumbling upon a chocolate festival in Ghiradelli's Square, taking an obligatory shot of Lombard Street, and walking 14 blocks to an amazing restaurant my brother recommended. We got to sit at the Chef's counter and watch all the cooking take place. I HIGHLY recommend this was called A16.

The nice thing about going on trips like this one is the opportunity to do things I wouldn't normally get to do. We took a fun tour through Napa that included a lunch in one of the wine cellars. I don't like wine.......I have really, really tried because Scot loves it. I just honestly have not had many that don't cause a full body spasm when I taste it.

Monday night was a welcoming cocktail hour and that's where I learned that "Smart Casual" doesn't really mean any one thing. Being a very international crowd there were women in full out sparkly cocktail dresses down to khakis and a top. The week was going to be so intense, my husband, who can pack for 2 weeks in China in a carry-on, had to create a spreadsheet to make sure he had all the clothes he needed.

Tuesday we got to hang out by ourselves. We went to a wonderful cafe near the hotel for lunch where Carmen Policy ended up sitting right next to us. I had NO idea who this dude was, Scot knew immediately. Apparently he was the President of the 49ers back in the day when the Cowboys and 49ers were swapping Super Bowl victories. He ended up buying our lunch and spending quite a bit of time talking football with Scot. My sweet husband was in heaven.....a real treat for him.

Then we walked up and down some killer hills to work off that wonderful lunch.

Wednesday Janah and I went on the Alcatraz tour. Scot and Janah's husband had meetings all morning so they didn't get to go. I happened to be married to a history buff who feels the need to read every single sign when we go to museums so I figured we shaved about 3 hours off the tour by not having him there. It was honestly one of my favorite things about the week. The audio tour is really great and I thoroughly enjoyed visiting.

Thursday night was one of my favorite evenings of the week. CAT sponsored the night by renting out the AT&T ballpark where the Giants play. We got to eat on the field, hang out in the batting cages, and enjoy a live band with fireworks. It was really amazing and I felt very fancy that night!!

Friday morning was the brunch and fashion show for the wives. I was working really hard at talking my friend, Janah, out of going. It wasn't until her husband sweetly informed me that she had been looking forward to the fashion show that I went back to the outfit drawing board and attempted to channel my deep down hidden "ladies that lunch" self. It was a nice morning - the brunch took place in an art gallery and the space was wonderful. The models were crazy skinny and scowled the whole time........poor things! Someone give them a brownie!

Janah and I took no less than about 15 pictures of ourselves and just could not get a great shot.....we finally resigned ourselves to the fact that it was less likely the picture taker person (I think everyone there had a chance to snap a shot at us), it was the subjects in the picture. Bad outfits for photo taking, wrong lighting, 2 foot difference in our height......pick any excuse! This was the best out of them all!

The best part of the fashion show was when it ended, they extended an invitation for us to try on the fashions ourselves. Girl, I'm from Texas where we eat Mexican food at LEAST once a week. I couldn't get back on that bus fast thank you.......I did NOT need that kind of torture!

That afternoon I drug Scot back down to the Wharf for one more bread bowl of clam chowder. I am not lying when I tell you that I tried on my formal dress for that night before we went....just to make sure I had not eaten my way out of it!! Praise God it still fit so off we went! Pure heaven!!

Friday night was the formal black tie event to finish the week. The best part? Seeing Scot in a tux for the first time since the day I married him. He looked heart skipped all kinds of beats!

Every single picture I have of the week I took with my phone since I was under the impression that my camera wasn't working.....until we got home and Scot pushed one button on it and all of a sudden it was working again! Anyways, we don't have any really good pictures of us that night, but we sure had a great time. There was a great band and we danced for hours.....I have never seen Scot dance for as long as he did that night. It was so much fun!

We had to catch a shuttle at 4:00 a.m. Saturday morning so suffice it to say we got about a two hour nap before heading back to Houston.

It was a wonderful trip and a true blessing all the way around. I left swearing off make-up and more than one outfit change a day......that was a little intense!

I loved getting some time alone with Scot and I definitely fell in love with San Francisco.

The length of this post astounds even me so for any of you who have stuck with it and aren't even related to me, I appreciate you!

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