Sunday, February 23, 2014

A Mama's Heart on His Journey to Manhood: He's Almost 13

He's turning 13 soon.

I can't even wrap my mind around that. With both of my kids, I've loved watching their personalities emerge and I look forward to the days when we will be friends.

For now, our job is to raise them. Thirteen is a significant milestone on the journey to manhood, so we've decided to recruit some friends. During the six months leading up to Justus' birthday, he is spending an evening each month with a man he admires. The goal is to gain perspectives about what it means to be a godly man.

Jeremy and some buddies took him on a camping weekend back when he was eight to introduce the concepts. They use Raising A Modern Day Knight as a basis. The paraphrased qualities outlined there are:
• He accepts responsibility
• He rejects passivity
• He leads courageously
• He expects a greater reward

Fast-forward again to now. While Jeremy and I were setting up these outings with our friends, it occurred to me that I wanted in on the action! I told Jeremy I thought that having his mama weigh in on these things from a female perspective would be beneficial. So, I scheduled a date...
(He's almost as tall as me, y'all!)

We went to our favorite spot here in Sugar Land, Japaneiros. It was a packed house, so we sat at the sushi bar, but were kinda stuck in the middle so we couldn't really see what the chefs were doing. We had a great conversation. He made me laugh. It was cool out so, we chose Starbucks over Swirrl. As we walked, he flipped out about a Bentley, a Ducati and a 350Z. He's a car guy. Town Square on a Saturday night typically boasts a few interesting vehicles. And he showed his enthusiasm, as only Justus does, enough that some onlookers noticed his passion and commented on it. Ha. I've always said I wish I'd named him something that means enthusiasm!

We talked and laughed and shopped. When, we got home, I was exhausted, but he wasn't quite ready for the night to end so we sat on the couch together for a while. I feel privileged and blessed to be his mom.

The teenage train is coming. Even as a former youth minister with nearly a decade of experience, it's daunting and a whole different ball game when you're the parent!

God, help me lead Justus into manhood with Your love, Your grace, Your compassion and Your best for him in mind. Bless his teenage years with godly friends, growth, wonderful opportunities and the ability to leave a positive mark on his world for You.

Thursday, January 2, 2014


I already told you how excited I was to dump 2013 and move on to better things in 2014. We greeted the New Year, as a family, with friends, excitement and fanfare!  Among my favorite moments, was toasting the words we had chosen for the year. There were lots of thought-provoking words in this small group of friends. Since this is my blog, I only feel at liberty to share mine with you. I chose the word: Abundance. For me, that means I look at where I am right this moment and recognize all the ways I already have abundance in my life. That, of course, is paired with doing what is necessary to attract more of these good people, things and opportunities in my life. As far as New Year's Eves go, it was practically perfect in every way. It was full of smiles, expectation and optimism all around.

That lasted for about 80 minutes.

I wish I was kidding.

We left our friends'  home to drive to our place. It was to be about a 45 minute drive. Someone in the oncoming lane had their bright lights on, which blinded Jeremy from seeing the road angle around the spot where the median started. So, he hit the curb and flattened both tires on the driver's side instantly. I called for Mazda roadside assistance. They said they'd send a tow truck and that I should get a text message with the ETA shortly. We waited for about 40 minutes without hearing anything, so we accepted our friends' gracious offer to let us stay in their guest room and on their couches for the night. I called Mazda to cancel the tow truck. It was about 2:00am when we got the kids tucked in and headed to bed ourselves. I received at text at 2:17am that indicated the tow truck was expected to arrive at 4:40am. So I called the towing company to make sure they knew we had cancelled the request. The dispatcher must have been having a crazy night because she couldn't get me off the phone fast enough. She hung up without verifying which job I was canceling, but promised to return my call in a couple minutes. Needless to say, I didn't hear back from her!

It's New Years Day, so all the tire stores and the Mazda dealership are closed-as they should be! After pancakes for Jeremy and the kids and coffee plus a delicious green smoothie for me, our friend offered to drive us home. Fantastic! A shower sounded wonderful. I was ready.

We pulled into the driveway only to discover that neither of us had taken our house keys because we had left through the garage door. That garage door opener was still across town! We had diligently locked up the entire house, including every last window. Now, there WAS another garage door opener inside Jeremy's truck. But that also was all locked up tight-and the truck keys were in the house. Because, after all, we were taking my car.

We tried everything. Our previous neighbor just finished dog-sitting for us on Christmas Day and I was hopeful that they'd left our key at their house, but it was safe and sound with them on their trip. We tried picking locks. We tried windows. Jeremy called roadside assistance to come open his truck. We waited quite a while for the locksmith to arrive. And he struggled a bit to get the door unlocked, but finally we got into the truck, then into the garage and into the house!

Tomorrow, they'll tow my car and replace both tires. All of which is covered under Roadside Assistance and my Warranty.

It's frustrating to go through something like that and feel like you're exhausting all of your options and getting nowhere. It's easy for negative thinking to creep in and decide that 2014 is going to be just another hard year. But I realized something very important.

We had everything we needed and then some. We had abundance.

We have fantastic friends, who were so eager to help and showed kindness upon kindness. We had a warm, comfortable place to sleep and eat in the morning. We had not one, but two Roadside Assistance plans to help us out and a warranty to cover the tires. We had two neighbors who were willing to loan us what we needed to try to get into the house or have a place to go. All of that on top of the possibility, that something far worse could have happened to us on the road last night. I had everything I needed and then some.

I love that it's like that with grace. For grace to be applied, it isn't earned or deserved by the recipient. Even so, there is more than enough grace for our undeserving selves. It doesn't run out. There is plenty to go around. In the New Year's Day incident, Mazda will absorb the cost of the mistake of hitting the curb. Toyota will cover the cost of being locked out of the truck. Our friends covered us as host/hostess for the night. We don't deserve that favor. And that makes it so precious.

Grace is a gift to us, never lacking in the extent to which it covers us.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013


Sometimes in crafting (and in life!) you have to scrap the original plan and go with something else.

~Man, there is so much truth in that statement.~

You may remember that I ambitiously started a paper rose wreath eons ago... {}. Well, more than two years later, the wreath sat unfinished in my closet until I packed it up and moved it to our new place.

That's when inspiration struck.

I realized I was ne-e-e-e-ever going to finish a wreath full of tedious paper roses without dying of boredom. Plus, there was these three menacing burlap sacks I picked up at a flea market in February and had yet to do anything with them. So, I decided that burlap would cover the wreath much more quickly and I could repurpose the roses.
I covered the wreath with burlap poufs and moved the roses to a "W". Fifty-eleven hot glue sticks later...


Thursday, July 11, 2013


I just need a hug
And a live-in-chef-nanny-housekeeper-personal assistant.

Or an "Oprah vacation", the kind where they pack your bags, take care of your obligations, whisk you off to someplace relaxing and foot the bill.

Or family nearby.

Or just a hug.

Yesterday, at the bank, the teller who is a perfect stranger looked at me and said, "You look stressed." Holy cow?!? Is it that obvious? I mean, it's not without merit. 

We're moving, which is a long tale in and of itself. Long story short, it wasn't our plan, but it is apparently in God's plan, so I'm down with doing that. It's not easy. It means downsizing a lot for a little while. That's the cost of my one non-negotiable, which is that my kids stay in the same schools. I am going through the counter-culture process of getting rid of "stuff". Even some of that work has been, not just time-consuming, but hard as I come to terms with why I keep things. Who knew going through my belongings would cause me to address things like guilt, security and wastefulness? In the end, it's just things and I have some faith that a lighter load will be healthy for me. (I'm reading 7: A Experimental Mutiny Against Excess. It's really helping me keep this change in perspective.) Since everyone is asking, moving day(s) are July 21-31. We have a big overlap, which will either make it more chaotic or more manageable in bite size chunks. I'll let you know.

My kids are home for the summer and we are full force with their activities-all planned pre-move-awareness. Justus has enjoyed Strength Camp and is looking forward to church camp next week. He kicked off the summer with Musical Theatre camp and will conclude it with Football camp. Lexi is performing in Willy Wonka with Queen Theatre. She's working hard at three nights/two weekend rehearsals each week and Tech Week starts next week (eek!) She kicked off her summer with Musical Theatre camp, followed by VBS. We've had a fun summer! Needless to say, my Mazda has seen a few miles since school has been out.

Jeremy and I are both working from home, which anyone who has ever done it knows the perks and pitfalls of that! Correction: he designs patios at home and spends a lot of time in appointments and overseeing installations. He's been working jobs from Sugar Land/Richmond/Rosenberg to Cypress. His truck has seen a few miles, too.

I'm excited that one of my very best friends just got engaged this past weekend! Her wedding is fast approaching in November and I'm helping her plan it. If you know me, this event-planning thing is right up my alley. I love it! We're playing catch-up to get where we need to be for a wedding four and a half months from now. So that is busy-busy-busy.

Our small group has grown so large! It's thirteen families, which is sixty-four people. Whoa. We made the supremely difficult, but exciting decision to multiply into two groups. I'm excited to see what God will do as we create a little margin in our groups. I hope to grow deeper in our relationships with each other. I hope to continue to have room to add new families. I hope to be preparing the next set of leaders for the time when we've outgrown our homes again. Change always brings out all kinds of feelings. I'm  working on planning a special last time together in August before we multiply into two groups.

I'm sure there is bunch of normal life going on, too. I guess I'm feeling kind of numb to it all. That's what happens during stressful seasons. I put my head down and try to get after it. I guess this is a bit of an attempt to re-connect with people. I miss people. It will be good when July is over.