22 April 2012

weekend update

This is the first weekend in 2.5 years of marriage that Husby has been gone. Every few months, I have an overnight stay with a friend or for work. Although I hate leaving him, I think he secretly loves it. He can do whatever he wants. Whatever he wants usually includes playing video games and eating fast food.

Once or twice, he's had something for work that's called him away for a night, but I've never been on my own for two nights. I'm not a fan. Other than the fact that I have no one to listen to me dramatically tell stories, I also have no one to kill bugs or make me feel secure without using every possible lock on every single door in our house.

After I got Husby out of the door on Friday, I visited the Gresham Barn Sale. It's about a mile from our house. If you're familiar with First Monday in Canton, Texas, then this is similar but only a barn full of stuff that doesn't include nearly as much junk. Within an hour of Husby being leaving town, we were the proud new owners of an antique, handmade Amish seed bin. And it's beautiful. Currently, it's in our garage. It needs just a little TLC before it makes it's new home in our dining room.

Friday night, I headed back to the school to watch our kids perform Bye Bye Birdie. Y'all, it was SO good! I've seen my fair share of high school musicals, and this was pretty amazing. I mean, just look at these cute kids:

On Saturday, I had a visitor. We played outside, took a walk, had lunch, and snuggled while watching The Backyardigans. After three hours, I wonder how stay at home mom's ever get anything done or have a moment of down time. Thus, The Backyardigans. Here's Karis using the slide in our backyard for the very first time:

Cute, huh?

This morning did not start off well. I had to kill two gross bugs. A water bug was on the super tall ceiling in our living room. It took about 45 minutes to come up with a plan to kill it from twelve feet away; I couldn't wait for it to make a descent. Ultimately, I was successful. I'm just hoping the Raid on the ceiling fades over time.

(If you're not familiar with east Texas, "water bug" is another term for "big nasty cockroach." They like our pine trees, but a super finicky when there is too much water or not enough water.)

(If you're wondering about the second bug I had to kill--because, really, who isn't--it was a gross wolf spider. They freak me out. I hate them.)

(I feel fairly certain that the world could go on surviving if water bugs and wolf spiders became extinct. Surely, they don't impact us that much.)

Anyway...Husby is about an hour away from his return. He has homework to complete, but he's going to have to listen to a couple of stories. Mainly about how I can't believe I had to kill two of my least favorite creatures on earth on a day that he's gone.

09 April 2012

an easter heart

Yesterday was my birthday. For the second time in five years, my birthday was on Easter. It had never happened before 2007 and won't happen again until 2091. I won't share my day again. And neither will the Lord--at least not with me. All last week I joked that no one remembers my birthday when it's on Easter. The focus in on Jesus. And rightfully so. I'm so insignificant when it comes to him.

I'm funny about my birthday. I don't want a big deal made over it. I like for friends to remember it, but I don't get offended if I'm forgotten. I don't publish the date on Facebook because I don't want 200+ birthday wishes from people who wouldn't know my birthday except for the little birthday reminder. This year, I am thankful for my family and a handful of friends who remembered.

Do you know what I like for my birthday? Besides something chocolate in the form of a cake? A new outfit. Something cute and spring-y. And maybe some new sandals. I mean, it's the beginning of April, after all. Do you know what I must have for Easter? Besides a basket with chocolate candy? You guessed it: a new dress.

On Friday afternoon, I ran by the mall to find a dress. I grabbed a half dozen possibilities and headed to the dressing room, not once looking at a price tag. Almost any price (within reason) would be justified by the fact that MY BIRTHDAY WAS ON EASTER. In actuality, I deserved two new things: one for my day and one for Easter. First world issue, I know. I found one dress that would work. It was cute, if a bit too long.

Then, my friend, Chandra, came over on Saturday morning. We hadn't seen each other in quite a while, but had no trouble talking for a few hours. We talked about everything we could think of: work, submission in marriage, children, spending time with the Lord, party planning, blogs we read. And then I recommended a book: Seven by Jen Hatmaker.

One of my sweet friends, Allison, sent me an email at the beginning of the year, recommending Seven. I quickly put it on my Amazon wish list. [Side note: when Allison and I ever live in the same state again, I will be ecstatic.] Then I started hearing about it from other people. And then Allison blogged about it. I caved to indirect--or non-existent--peer pressure and ordered it that day.

Turns out, Chandra had read about Seven on another blog. She knew about Jen Hatmaker and her radical-ish thinking. She'd read Jen's posts about Easter (here and here) that were on my list of things to read this weekend. And then she mentioned something about Jen not buying a special Easter dress. At this point, we proceeded to talk more about the book, but that whole no Easter dress thing really stuck with me.

As is typical, I tried on the new dress Saturday night. I looked in the mirror, at every angle. It was a weird length. Even Husby agreed. Ugh. I attempted to do a quick "hem" by bringing the waist up just a bit and securing it with safety pins. It didn't work. I removed the pins, folded the dress and placed it in the shopping bag to be returned.

But returning the dress is more than a weird length issue. It's a heart issue. I knew after hearing about Jen's decision that I'd return it. See, I grew up in a church where clothing seemed like a big deal. The church I attended as a single seemed to place a big emphasis on outer appearance. I have judged people for not wearing appropriate clothes to church. A few years ago, I MADE myself wear jeans to church week after week because I had a heart issue that needed to be worked out, and this was one step in the process.

The Easter dress issue seemed a repeat of the same heart issue. I've always had a new outfit for Easter. Everyone at church dresses in their finest that day. Everyone has something new. But this year, I didn't. I wore a three year old dress from my closet. And do you know? I'm pretty sure no one noticed. Mainly because I have NO CLUE if others were wearing new dresses or three year old dresses.

I'm sure that I'll have a few new outfits for the season. But it's not this dress, not for Easter. Slowly, I'm learning that Easter is just about Jesus. It isn't about baskets or egg hunts or pretty clothes. It's about Him, even when it's on my birthday in 2091, Easter--Resurrection Sunday--will still be about Jesus.

08 April 2012

lent & easter

46 days ago, I gave up dessert for Lent. After tossing around several ideas, this pulled ahead as the winner. Now, this wasn't the first time I'd given up dessert. In a semi-regular rotation, I sacrifice dessert, caffeine and Diet Coke, with the occasional Mexican food and Facebook thrown in. Because what says sacrifice like 46 days without chips and hot sauce?

All in all, I did well. Except when I went on a work related trip to Jackson, Mississippi. The college that hosted a group of counselors wined and dined us. Literally. On the night of a progressive dinner, I just knew the dessert house would kill me. My only hope was that they would serve coffee. And they did. But I just couldn't pass up the opportunity to try a mini pecan fried pie. I'm not sure why I was bent on tasting it since I DON'T EVEN LIKE PECAN PIE. But I did. Probably because I want to love all things in mini form. And if all pecan pie were that delightful, I'd quickly forget the time I suffered illness after eating pecan pie at my great-grandmother's house when I was four.

This resolution was easy. Not that sacrificing chocolate is easy, but it didn't need a lot of thought. It was more self-serving. Husby and I have a goal of cutting out sugar as much as possible, so why not do it at Lent? That's easy. Do it for Jesus. I might not stick to a New Years resolution, but I can stick to a Lenten resolution. Except in Jackson, Mississippi where fried pies are concerned.

Because it was easy and self-serving, my heart wasn't changed. And that's the ultimate goal during Lent: to wake up differently on Resurrection Sunday. At about Day 30, I knew that this was the wrong thing to sacrifice. I even told Husby. What's even worse? I felt the Holy Spirit nudging me to change my resolution, but we decided we would stick by our original sacrifice. I ignored the Holy Spirit's call to spend time with Jesus. To know Him better. Mind you, I could have added this in addition to sacrificing sugary treats.

Today at church, we continued our study in Acts. I love a verse by verse study of the Bible, so I was ready to continue. There were verses to be underlined and notes to be written in the margins of my Bible. Acts 7: bring it.

And, oh, it was brought. I underlined one verse: You always resist the Holy Spirit. I wrote one word: Yikes. Seriously?! I've read Acts before, and I do not remember that verse being there! I don't know if I've ever been so convicted. I was disobedient. I resisted the urging of the Holy Spirit. Multiple times. Dang it. The wonderful part of this story is that even in blatant disobedience, I'm forgiven. He became the sacrifice for my sin, for my disobedience, when he was nailed to a cross and rose three days later. Oh, praise Him!

Over the next few weeks, day by day, I want to be obedient in his calling for me to spend time in the Word. I want to know Jesus better. I want to learn how he loved people so that I can love people better. I want to know how to love people like me who ignore him. I want my heart to be like his.