Monday, March 20, 2017

Staircase update.

We have a bunch of stairs in our home.
I had recently seen some ideas on Pinterest that looked like fun so I decided to give it a go.
This was the easiest project I have taken on in YEARS!


I love the look of a stair runner but that is pricey and it will probably take years for me to decide what I want so I cut out some numbers on my Silhouette machine and stuck them on!


Painting seemed so permanent and I wasn't sure I would even like it.
These are stickers and stick VERY well. I misplaced one and it was pretty difficult to remove.
 
I continued up the stairs to our newly redone hallway.



I'm a big fan and so is Reyna!
She traded in one book at bedtime so she could count the stairs again. lol

Friday, March 17, 2017

Discernment.

In recent conversations, the idea of discernment has come up.
What is it? what does it look/sound/feel like? How constant is it?
I decided to practice a week of discernment. For everything.
I've been taught that God is in EVERYTHING. that he cares about EVERYTHING I do.
If I believe that to be true then he is in every decision I make. What to cook. What to buy. What to wear. Who to spend time with. What to read. What paint color goes on the wall.

These are all decisions that I can make but usually make on my own. Truly. I don't usually ask for discernment on what book I should read. But could I and would it work?

I think it did. Here are three instances that were so obvious for me this week.

1. Dinner
The dreaded question "what's for dinner?" When I work, I cook less. I usually cook what I feel like eating or what is easiest. I had plenty of groceries to make a few dinners. I asked for discernment all day and by 4:00 it was "Eat the chicken". I didn't want to eat the chicken. It had to cook for 45 minutes. 45! That means I had to PLAN AHEAD! oh the struggle. A strong feeling of guilt fueled this decision. In my heart, I had to respect the chicken. my 4 pounds of chicken was going to expire within the next two days. Turn out, I wasn't gonna have the time (45 minutes) for the next two days, though I didn't know this at the time. We had chicken. In this case, I'd say discernment felt like guilt.

2. To buy or not to buy.
I am trying my best to stick to my budget. There are three things I wanted to buy - Bench legs, gallons of paint, and a bed for Reyna. I could buy two of these but not all three. Instead of asking what I should buy, I asked, "What should I not buy"? And I decided I would buy none of them until I had a clear answer about what NOT to buy. About a week later, a friend of my sent me a text:


FREE?! I'll take it! and the lady happened to have it in her car and lives downtown near us so she delivered it!
(sidenote: this group is part of the Buy Nothing Project. Information can be found at https://buynothingproject.org/ try and find one in your area. Basically you cannot sell anything. People give away things OR food, random acts of kindness, etc.)
 
It matches her room perfectly and she is so proud of it!
 
 
3. With some friends, I am reading a book called Let Your Life Speak. Its a book about vocation. I read the first chapter and immediately required my class to read it. It's something I think I needed to hear early on in my college career. Anyways, I love my job for SO many reasons. This book really focuses on using God given talents to find a fulfilling vocation. While I love my job, that would be a selfish reason for continuing a job. I like my schedule. I like interacting with students. I, I, I - selfish. I asked for a way to discern the value of my talents to those I come in contact with daily. Do they recognize my work? Would they agree that I am meant to do this? Well, what do you know. On Wednesday I got called into the Dean's office to read through my annual review. It is a synopsis of what all faculty think of my work. It was great and with above average ratings. Then, I walked to my office to find flowers at my door. They were from a student who stopped by to chat a couple of weeks prior about job vs. graduate school decisions. Then after lunch, as I was leaving, a student came to me with a gift (a beautiful scarf) and note from her mom! She is an international student and she mentioned me to her mom a few times and her mom just wanted to say thank you for investing in her child. All.In.One.Day!
 
 
 This is by no means a bragging post. This is simply a narrative of an answered prayer. This answer directly correlated with the idea of the book. What was mostly recognized by these students was not my academic acumen or test preparation abilities or even my presentation skills. It was my nurturing nature. The kindness and patience I had in our interactions. These are the gifts God gave me for my vocation.
 
This "experiment" has been hard. What I found difficult was that I still had expectations of what the "answer" would look like. I thought maybe the sale on paint would end. Not that a perfect colored bed would literally fall in my lap! I thought I might get good student evaluations. NEVER would I think gifts. It has become easier to use discernment and that makes me much more confident in my decisions. I also found that discernment looks/feels/sounds different in every situation.
 
So many words. Sorry. Thanks for sticking around!


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Spring Break 2017.

Reyna and I shared a Spring Break.
We started the weekend with a trip to Iowa for a wedding.
Reyna stayed home with Nana and Popo where she went all over the place including Kiddie Park.  
We got to visit family and dance the night away.



We came back at Popo and I took her to the Safari Ranch.
She was fearless until we got to the ostriches. They were pretty aggressive!


 They had a petting zoo too.
 This is what her hands looked like after. LOL

The next day we took her to the aquarium.
They had a dinosaur exhibit with a sand pit.  
 Also, an outdoor aviary. She looks like shes 10 here.


The rest of the week we hung out in Waco with friends.
At gymnastics.
 We went to a movie and the candy store.

 And we celebrated a friends birthday party. We lovingly call her "baby sister".
 And she joined a band.
While it was low key, we kept busy and got to do lots of cool things for the first time.

Monday, March 13, 2017

Bones.

This sermon by Guest Preacher Dr. Atchison at our church last Sunday was very powerful.
http://ubcpodcast.libsyn.com/the-bones-i-carry

As we celebrate Black History Month we welcomed his perspective on what might be considered legacy. He talked about carrying the bones of others with us through life. The bones of people who invest in our lives and yet, their names are not known.
I thought about those people in my life. Obviously my parents are the strongest voice but because I don't want them to be forgotten, here are a few people who have invested in my life.

Gloria Doubleday
This lady. I mostly hated her. LOL. She was a middle school teacher. She meddled and pushed too hard BUT she gave me big responsibilities at an early age and helped develop a high level of self confidence. She put me in leadership positions and expected a lot out of me. Therefore, I expected a lot of my self.

Frank Garcia
He was a basketball coach but taught me about life. He had a daughter around my age going through Cancer treatments and he walked that struggle with grace and strength. He gave me a heavenly perspective on sports and taught me that GINC - God is in Control. He helped me control my competitive nature.

Cindy McEwen
She served as a volunteer and coach in my elementary school. She demonstrated to me that assertiveness and kindness can live in harmony. She showed me what a strong woman looks like. She was well respected without using fear as a tactic.

Dwayne Britton
He was a family friend. He made me (and my sister) feel beautiful always. He had a passion for life and appreciated the frills. Every time he was around, he made the normal feel extraordinary!

Eva Doyle
She served/serves as mentor and friend. She taught me the value of second chances (both in her life and mine). She is encouraging in all her interactions - even the tough ones. She is considerate and aware of cultural difficulties and she uses her privilege for the greater good.

There are so many more - Mr. Pitzer, Niki Fullbright, Mrs. Hill....

What makes those listed above so much more special is that they are all part of a group that has been disenfranchised, forgotten, overlooked, or discriminated against. Of course, at the time I didn't realize it! I am grateful to have grown up in a diverse family/community where the minorities were the majority.

 I am glad to carry these bones with me.



Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Teams of Tomorrow.

 Reyna's school does a TOTs program. Its an educational basketball skills program.
In the classroom they learn about shapes and get some exercise. They have a few options to perform their skills. We chose the Men's Baylor Basketball game - obviously. ;)

The whole experience was daunting - for us.
She was a champ.
There were SO many kids crying at drop off. Kids confused and scared and rightly so. It was loud and chaotic! But she walked right in with a smile on her face.

Here are some things I learned about this kid:
- she is brave
- she likes being a leader
- she recognizes her strengths and weaknesses
- she is very obedient
- she tries hard
- she seems to have a stress resistant personality (like her momma!)
- she understands goal setting

She was so excited to perform for us. She did admit to me at dinner that she can't dribble very good. "it's hard". I told her (again) that "We can do HARD things in this family". So we talked about stopping and trying again. and practicing if she wants to get better and that when you practice, things that are hard get easier. She seemed to understand that trying is what matters.

When I dropped her off at her door, she turned and said "My best is the best for me, right Mama?"
Yes! It is, girl! Daniel Tiger talks about not comparing ourselves to others and that your best is just that - YOUR best. Obviously motherhood has made me more emotional 'cause I had to fight back tears on that one. lol What really surprised me is that she understood when the appropriate time to use that phrase was. That was not something we had talked about for a few days.

So she trotted out as the line leader and followed directions to a T!
 
Afterwards, she said "I CAN do hard things"!
(insert tears here)
She was very proud of herself and so were we.


We even got to see Bruiser and she was on cloud nine!

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

valentines day 2017.

This Valentine's Day was a blur.
Nothing special happened but its fun to see her learn about celebrations and get excited!

her Papa left a Valentine surprise at her breakfast spot.


 We went to school in our Jesus Said Love shirt with our silliest faces on!
The day before, we stopped at a mural for a quick picture with a True Love of mine!



Of course school sent home lots of goodies that we are rationing.
She has swim lessons which she LOVES, too!
I am so grateful for all the phone calls, Facetimes, and letters send to her too!
She felt especially loved today.
She thanked God for her heart to feel love last night.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Hallway Touch Ups.

This hallway is at the top of our stairs. It has 6 doors in it! We pass by it at least 10 times a day.
There are no windows and the lighting is really sparse.
I decided to see what a little paint can do. I went with Sherwin Williams Austere Gray.
Although the lighting in these pictures is poor, I love the color!
I painted the lower half the color of the trimwork - Antique White.
 
 
The picture is special to us. A friend painted it and its the church we married in.
The vases are from Magnolia.
I hope to add a small bench and maybe a rug in the future.
I love the new space and it makes me smile every time I walk by!
It's the little things after all!

Friday, February 3, 2017

Bumble bee tuna.

Reyna has been asking for swimming lessons for months! Well, actually she said she could teach herself...but...we signed her up anyway.
 
She was excited the moment she woke up. She wanted to wear her swimsuit to school!
She is so adorable in her little bumble bee suit.
 
 Then she had to wait patiently through orientation...

The girl is NOT scared one bit. She wanted more swim time.
 Kicking her little legs.
 Look how happy she is!


 Blowing bubbles.
 ice cream scoop hands!
 She swam back and forth on this noodle with no help by the end of the day.
 
We love that she loves it and hope to keep her in classes more consistently.
 
 
 

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Bye-Bye January.

Lots of little things going on in January.
 
I decided to "fix up the upstairs hallway. The light and the paint just make it feel nasty. I'm not done yet because it took me a week to figure out the right color and painting occurs on random nights I can't sleep sooo ... it might be awhile.


 We have been struggling with some medial issues (that she will not appreciate me telling the world about) so we had a difficult doctors appointment and treated ourselves with these!
 My maps are doing really well at the Craft Gallery and I was featured in their ad in a local magazine.

 January weather has been pretty great. Even on cold days (55 degrees) its sunny out and we play at the park with friends.
 
 This is globe! Its a touch lamp. she loves it. it broke. its in the shop.

 We got a fence! Its amazing and beautiful!
 
 
She reads to us constantly. Even in the middle of basketball games.
 "Little Flicker" is on repeat these days.
 Barnes & Noble is her happy place. She could literally be there for hours. Sometimes we let her.
Its like the library but better because there are snacks (starbucks) there.

 She transitioned into a big girl bed.
Its worked out great!
 Curious George goes to the zoo. She wanted him to see the Elephants.