Fall 2013-dark leaves

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Friends of all Kinds

I think I need to clarify that in a previous post I was not speaking to specific friendships that might not be what I thought.  I am speaking to what it looks like to have friends who know you on different levels.  We can all agree that we know some friends better than others.  What I'm acknowledging is that a friendships can only go as deep as both parties desire.  I can only know you as much as you show me your heart AND I have eyes to see the real you.  You can only know me as much as I reveal myself to you AND you have eyes to see me.

I can be vulnerable and think my friend sees me, but unless she honestly "goes into my world," she can't know what it's like to be here.  If another friend shares her struggles with me, but I don't put in the work to really understand what that means, I am limited in my knowing her. 

It's a hard thing to do.  There are struggles and frustrations that friends share that I gloss over because I just can't take on more struggle and frustration.  And my circumstances are frustrating and hard to "get" too.

Which is why we find ourselves with different levels of friendships.  This is why we resonate with some people much more easily than with others--we already know them because they are so like us to begin with.  Others take more effort to know.  Not to mention that there is only so much time and energy we have to invest in really knowing the people we know.

Unfortunately, sometimes we think others see us when they don't.  And that can bring a lot of sadness and loneliness.  It doesn't mean you're not real friends.  And I mean REAL friends.  The sadness comes when it's just not at the depth you thought it was, or if you've worked to reach into the depths of that person but it's not reciprocated.

So, I'm still not talking about a specific friendship of mine; I'm simply reflecting a topic I've discussed with others over many, many years that was on my mind this last week.

So know I love all of you, my friends.  No matter if we're super deep, close friends or more acquaintances!  REALLY! :)

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Breakfast Epiphany

Brian went to get donuts this morning for breakfast since he and Patrick finished school yesterday.  Today I've decided I don't like donuts and coffee together.  The super sweetness of the donut makes the coffee way too bitter.  My coffee is already like dessert by the time I'm ready to drink it.  Maybe I can enjoy a cup later this morning?

It was a sweet time earlier when all 6 of us were on the front porch this morning enjoying our breakfast together.  The temp was just over 60, the birds were chirping, and we were able to watch about 3 or 4 people stroll by pushing a stroller or walking their dog.  We chatted about how we're going to have a great summer ahead!

Oh, they're getting so big!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Too Much to Process

I have some subjects I'd like to think through, but I haven't had the time to wrap my head around them and form a decent post about.  It's been a heavy week, and the tears are coming easily.  Here are a few of them, not all heavy though:

Steve's death and the ensuing conversations...
Friendships that aren't what I thought--or are they?
May-moving-season sucks.
I get to be only fun-mom soon and not their teacher too!
Leggos are fun for all ages!
We have a "house-mate" for next year!
Covenant Christian School's Field Day t-shirt says it all...
"Bootcamp is about to take off!" said Brian last night.

More later...

Monday, May 23, 2011

Last Week of School

Finishing math today.  Three more phonics lessons.  Returning the library books tomorrow.   Patrick's final chapel is Friday morning.  Brian will finish his summer class on Friday as well.  Icing on the cake?  This is also the last week of this month's bootcamp. 

Next week is our staycation.  There is nothing on the calendar but fun! :)  Yes...today I'm living for the future.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Fighting Gives Way to Surrender

"We have not wanted to post much in the past week or so because our cancer fight has taken a turn from fighting to surrendering and much of what goes on seems too raw or even too sacred to bring to print."

From Steve's blog.  He's close, friends.  Pray for mercy.

And can I also ask that we remember Penny and their kids?  I know the Lord knows how to minister to her in this, and we can certainly ask on her behalf that he'd be faithful to tend to her heart well too. 

It's all so very tragic, and my heart is heavy.  But my knees are getting calloused over it.  So, to God be the glory!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Pray Through the Nations

Part of Brian's next class is signing up for a daily email from Operation World that provides stats on a different country each day, including details on it's unreached people groups.  It has increased my awareness of needs around the world and guides me in specifics to pray for others.  Maybe I'm a nerd too, but it's been really interesting reading about different cultures.  And it reminds me more and more that it's not supposed to be this way.

Can't Sleep

Yesterday we helped some friends pack up to move, and now my mind is reeling with the work laid out before me to get this home ready to be transplanted in 2 months.  Our last move entailed having friends come throw all our stuff in boxes for us (for which I am still so grateful!), but this time I'm hoping I can be more organized.  And have less stuff to move.

Also, today is our baby boy's 5th birthday party!  His actual birthday is not until June 8, but his best friend is part of this family moving on Monday.  We couldn't have a party without Joshua Stephen Bean there!  But right now I can't remember if they provide paper plates and plasticware for cake...hmmmm...I guess I can stop at Target on the way home from coffee with MMA.  Anyway, I hope to post pics of the party soon.

Then there's all the "procedures" our family is having.  Yesterday, Brian's dad had cataract surgery.  Monday, my dad had and angiogram(?) but the blockage was so thick they couldn't do a stint or balloon.  He says now they'll just treat it with medicine.  (all this after a quadruple bypass...when??...)  Last week, Uncle Mike had bypass surgery following his heart attack in March.  Also last week, my Grandma was admitted to the hospital for a cough she's had for 2 months.  March and April brought thyroid cancer surgery.  Since January, another uncle has been in the hospital repeatedly for general but serious poor health related to obesity.  Over the last year and longer, there have been other stressful medical issues and procedures touching our family that we've been faithfully praying for.  There's lots to think and pray about, and this is just family! 

And so many, many of the families we love are moving, so it's also goodbye season.  We will really, really miss them!  Some are finishing seminary.  Others are moving for job changes.

Then it's the end of the school year craziness.  Teacher gifts, volunteering for field day and other class events...

Lots to think about and remember to not forget!  Thank goodness for a color-coded Google Calendar!  But I'm loving life right now too.  More on that later!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

We're Moving!

I can't remember what I've shared on the blog, but here's the whole story:

We've been told our landlord is in jail for real estate corruption.  We know his company is bankrupt and we don't expect to be getting our depost back.  We've reported water damage for 19 months, and we're becoming concerned about mold that might be growing in the wall of our living room.  We though we'd stay here all 4 years, but we've decided it's best to move on.  Good news in all this?  I'm not worried about leaving the house pristine and clean. :)

One of Brian's professor's son's in-laws has a home 4.5 miles from the seminary and 2 miles from the Kirk, where Brian is an intern, and he's renting cheap to sem students.  We read about it on the sem website where people let them know about available off-campus housing.  We drove by it a few times, and it looks pretty unassuming for six bedrooms; we figured there are probably 2 down in the basement.  We did love that it's on a culdesac at the "corner" of a non-cut-through street.  (There is an island with grass and trees at this corner.) 

So a few weeks ago we were able to walk through it.  Have mercy--it's huge!  You walk into a foyer with a formal living room on the left and dining room on the right.  Walk ahead then turn left down a short hall beside the stairs on your right, and to your left (at the front of the house) is a bedroom, a full bath straight ahead, a big office with wall-to-wall bookshelves also ahead, and a master suite to the right.  The master suite has an enormous walk-in closet.  All the bedrooms have enormous closets.  It's there in the master that we notice double doors leading to the back patio and--A POOL!  Eek!

But, I digress.  Walk back toward the foyer and the stairs coming down on the left end up at the front left corner of a huge den.  This opens into a large eat-in kitchen (table on one side, U-shaped work-space on the other) that has ample cabinet and counter-top space!  (more than one drawer, yay!)  It also has sliding glass doors that lead ot the pool deck.  If you leave the kitchen going toward the front of the house, you walk first into a laundry/storage room then into a 2 car garage.  I'd be able to pull into the garage and basically unload groceries straight into the kitchen.  Now, that's been a dream of mine for years.

The upstairs has a large landing with 6 doors coming off of it.  Four of them are bedrooms; two are full baths.  The basement is entirely unfinished and has a 2nd fridge/freezer as well as a full-size deep freeze. 

So the lot is basically pie-shaped, and the back yard is wide.  The pool is right up against the house and fenced off from the rest of the yard.  It has lots of pretty vines, hostas, and sweet peas beginning to bloom.  The back side yard has a trampoline that stays with the house and the back-back of the lot is bordered by a creek that the kids can play in and that has vines hanging from the trees that are strong enough to swing on.  The wife in the house now told me the creek feezes over in the winter, and they took long walks on it exploring the area.

I'll admit all the water freaks me out.  Brian's not as worried.  The Baby Burgess story haunts me.  There's a bracelet alarm system that we're looking in to.  And I'll be praying every day for protection.

It really is the greatest hospitality house ever though, and that's apparently it's history as well.  We'll move in hopefully around mid-July, so give us a bit to settle in then come on over!  If you can get to us, we can house and feed you and even entertain you for free.  If you want to come early and help us move, even better! ;)

Thursday, May 12, 2011


I have been practicing not getting easily distracted.  I cleaned out under the kitchen sink the other day, and I promise it took all that was in me to not get up till the job was done.  At least 4 times.  If a child were bleeding or the washer was overflowing, I would have felt free to attend to it.  But there were FOUR TIMES I had to physically will myself to stay on my kitchen floor till the last bottle was back in its organized place. 

It's not like the four things were pressing or even interesting.  I just am so scatterbrained that I jump from one thing to the next so quickly and easily that I don't seem to actually finish anything.  Until the end.  Then it's ALL done.  But I never seem to reach the end.

I have the same problem in conversations.  The other day I was at a coffee shop in conversation with 2 girlfriends when I saw across the room a couple I know who has 8 kids.  So I interrupt whatever we were talking about to go on about how I'm so glad to see them out by themselves on a Saturday afternoon.  I was able to wrap it up pretty quickly (2min?) and turn the conversation back to pink eye.

But really, it's not necessary that every thought I have in my head come out of my mouth!  How rude!  It's not necessary that I run all over the house moving things from room to room instead of just finishing one corner.  Heavens!

I mean, God didn't create all things over seven days; he completely made different things on different days.  Maybe that should be a model for my housework...keep me focused.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Monumental Day

It is 8:04.  I have decided just now to let my 7yo and 8yo stay outside without me and play with a neighborhood friends in the dusk of the evening.  The police are also out, doing a meet-and-greet at the corner 2 houses down where we've been hanging out with our neighbors for an hour already, so I feel pretty good about it.  They have to come in when the popos leave, whether it's been 2 min or 20.

Brian is not here to affirm that this is the right decision.  They love this friend, Brooklyn, and she wanted them to stay out.  Usually it's the other way around.  So the girls are giddy on 2 fronts: that Brooklyn is eager to play with them (she's 11yo) and that I let them stay out by themselves and be responsible for when they come in.

Big points for me, right?  At least in their view.  I figure as long as the police are there they're safe, right?  Right?

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

One Smart Feller

One Smart Feller is hilarious.  Watch it and try it for yourself.  We'll be doing this for days to come, I'm sure!

Odd Jobs

Yesterday I babysat for a friend, meaning there were 5 kids in the house.  Then there was a last-minute opportunity to do aftercare (3:15-5:30), which I jumped on.  Today there are 7 kids in the house.  Thursday and Friday I'm working aftercare again.

Yesterday, they guy I worked aftercare with asked how we're making it.  I laughed and said I'm pretty much whatever you need if you wave a few bucks in front of me.  I'll watch your kids, hem your pants, bake your meal, etc.  Brian will clean your man hole, mow your yard, cut your monkey grass back by hand (no kidding!) or move furniture, etc, if you need a worker.

It's going to be the summer of odd jobs, so give us a ring if you're in the STL area and need some hired help, especially in the yard-work arena.  We have at least one family who B will work for weekly, and we'd love more! 

Monday, May 9, 2011

Math Madness

At the risk of letting my pride sneak up on me, I have to tell you that we're going on 49 minutes of math drama, and I haven't lost my cool yet.  I'm not even frustrated.  It's mostly just a sad situation where math is not even the issue, but tears are flowing freely and in combination with a deeply pathetic moaning.  I suppose God is actually growing me in grace.  Suppose, ha.  I know this is not my doing! 

Mother's Day Madness

Wonderful madness, I tell you!  I woke up to a warm breakfast in bed: Sarah Frances made my coffee just the way I like it (she'd even asked specifics on Sat. so she'd know for Sunday), Catherine made her famous scrambled eggs for me (yes, all by herself), and I also had a slice of banana bread and half an orange on my plate.  It was all DELICIOUS!  And 8:00am to boot!

Then, once my eyes could focus, I saw hand-painted signs that said "Happy Mother's Day" on the bookshelf and streamers in the doorway.  The streamers were a fun and total surprise.  They're still up.

My gift is very meaningful to partly because of what it is but more because they've wanted to give it to me for months.  When they were shopping for Lillian's birthday in March, they found my favorite children's book, which I didn't own.  So for 2 months they've remembered and plotted and kept the secret until yesterday morning when I opened The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane by Kate Dicamillo.  Everyone should read this.  Everyone.  Brian bought me Stargazer Lillies on Saturday.  The whole house smells rich!

It was my week for nursery duty, so I kept the big girls with me.  I'd requested the itty-bitties, but there was another couple slated for that room...that is until they couldn't handle it and needed our help.  I got to hold a 9month old little girl whose mother is from Huntsville and the baby was consequently (very Southern) dressed in her grandmother's white Feltman Brother's gown.  She needed bouncing until she fell asleep in my arms.  Our nursery doesn't have cribs (what?), so I was stuck holding her the rest of the time.  Oh, woe is me! ;)

We went to Hacienda to get Mexican for lunch, a big treat, even if it took 2 hours to get through.  Once we finally got home, Brian took off to do some school work, and the older 3 kids went out to wash the car.  What fun it is to wash the car!  I should have taken pictures; instead I read my new book.

At 6 Brian got home and I scooted out to meet some girlfriends for a belated Cinco de Mayo mini-celebration.  I got back about 9:30, and found a Happy Mother's Day sign moved to the outside of the front door, welcoming me home.  Sweet, sweet icing on the cake!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Cookbook Cleanout

I cleaned out the pantry this week.  Now I'm on to cabinets.  Cookbooks, specifically.  I'm considering sending on some that I haven't looked at in years.  I have my favorite recipes out of them already memorized or copied into my personal cookbook.  But isn't it almost sacreligious for a real Southern Lady to not have a copy of Southern Sideboards in her kitchen?  I'm in a quandry.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

What a Gracious God!

We listed a table on Craigslist yesterday afternoon.  It was given to us years ago and has been in our basement, unused, for almost 2 years now.  God provided an eager buyer who offered us $150 more than the listed price so that we wouldn't sell it to the first responder interested.  He said he's been looking for this exact table for months for a mother's day gift.  Are you KIDDING me? 

I am blown away at God's imagination and abundant provision.  For us and for him.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Hebrew Nerdiness

Did you know the Hebrew word for "know" is "yadah?"  Brian wants to know if Seinfeld's yadda-yadda-yadda is a phrase that's come out of the Jewish culture's knowledge of Hebrew.

Like when Elaine said something to the effect of, "So I met this guy, and we ended up back at his apartment, and yadda-yadda-yadda, and the next morning we..."  George calls her on it and says, "Wait a minute!  You can't yadda-yadda-yadda sex!"  In this context yadda-yadda-yadda means, "well, you know."  "We ended up back at his apartment, and well...you know...and the next morning..." 

Know.  Yadda.  Sounds like a lazy pronunciation of yadah to me.  It's at least interesting to consider.  I'm such a nerd.  But Brian started it!

Anyone know for sure?

Ironically Normal

Last week was the most normal I've felt since moving from Birmingham, ironically normal in light of the tornadoes that ripped through our home state, leaving so much devistation.  We are heartbroken at all the loss of lives and homes.  So I feel a little guilty to say I feel so good.  But I'm thankful to God, so I'll tell you about what he did for me last week.

I think it started with the Brian being out of school Th, F, and M for Easter.  And he took a real break.  It was WONDERFUL for all of us.  I mean, he was really home.  It was reminiscent of B'ham weekends, and very comforting to my soul.  It's been a long 21 months since we had a weekend like this.

Some contribution to normal was that I was able to follow the advice of Elizabeth Elliot--just do the next thing.  So I did laundry and straightened up most days.  And the kids have started helping with that--like wiping down the bathroom, emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming and dusting.  It helps the feel of home so much when it's straight and clean(er).

Tuesday a friend needed an ear, so we played at the park for the afternoon before we took Brian dinner on campus.  Eating on campus means I get to see people and the kids get to play till dusk with friends.  Everyone's joyful!

Wednesday was our free concert.  Once again I enjoyed the opening act, Company of Thieves, better than the headliner.  It felt so good to FEEL the music pound my chest at this out-of-the-way music venue where Brian and I landed a table at the front of the loft to watch the show.  Thanks for the tix, KDHX.

Thursday morning was my regular coffee time with MMA, the girls had a friend to play most of the morning, and that afternoon I was able to get away to meet another dear friend, sans kids. 

Friday night we had a farewell double date with some precious friends who are graduating this month.  We hit McGurk's Irish Pub for dinner followed by drinks at Bailey's Chocolate Bar.  There was delicious food and delicious conversation.  John tutored Brian in Greek all last year, and Anna and I have been accused of being sisters more than once.  What a treat to get such a fun night in before they move to Virginia in a few weeks.

Saturday morning Brian, once again, opted for family over school and we went on a long bike ride.  I have a new bike from our neighbors, the Heeszels, who couldn't fit theirs in the truck when they moved last Monday.  So all 5 bikes and the trailer took off to DeMun park.  And the weather was LOVELY.

Oh, did I mention that this was my off-week for bootcamp?  I was really able to rest, not having to think in the evenings of what the workout should be or getting up at 4:50am for class every other day.  Now, I did take each older girl out for an early breakfast, but that was restful too.  I was reminded that I like my daughters.  Good to know that's still there.

Saturday afternoon we looked at a house we might rent for the rest of our time here.  It has a pool--eek!  The seminary picnic was dinner, and that was followed by a(nother girl's) night out.  Five of us stayed out till 11:30 (I got home at 12:30), sharing joys and struggles, laughing, admonishing, and encouraging each other.  Again, it's been months and months since I've done that (right? maybe I'm forgetting...), and God is gracious to provide real friends for me in his perfect timing.  We hope to make that a regular thing. 

And today is the last day of Classical Conversations.  No more prep for Monday morning tutoring!  And no more memory work for the girls--now to press on to finish math and phonics.

Today also brings with it bootcamp and the beginning of finals season.  But be assured my cup overflows!  I am (humbly) ready to do life in finals season.  It will be over in 2 1/2 weeks, and if I don't have another moment with friends until then, I feel (right now) that I'd be OK.

Last week also gives me hope that things will have a more normal feel after Brian finishes school and moves into a full-time job.  I'm not crazy enough to think it will ever be "like it was," but I'm so grateful for a glimpse of changes in a positive direction.  Glory to God!  So now you know.