To say the last month has been not so great would be a tragic understatement. However,I know that there is still so much good God has to offer us and joy has been such a gift from my Father that I don't want to ever lose sight of. My piano students have begun their Christmas music and it is so much fun to watch their enthusiasm! I absolutely am brought back to when I first started to play Christmas music and wanted to play every song I knew. One of my students, Maddie, started her Christmas music at the end of September because she really could not wait! I told her she knew that it doesn't put her in more favor with Santa if you start your Christmas cheer early. I've actually found myself humming and singing again...and it's Christmas music. I've composed two lists of my ALL TIME FAVORITE CHRISTMAS MUSIC!!! Traditional:
10) Joy to the World 9) What Child is This? 8) The Holly and the Ivy 7) The Most Wonderful Time of the Year 6) Angels We Have Heard On High 5) Do You Hear What I Hear? 4) O Come, O Come Emmanuel 3) Carol of the Bells 2) O Holy Night (I like the very traditional version, but love Barlow Girl's too) 1) Go Tell It On The Mountain
10) Breath of Heaven (Mary's Song) 9) Face of love-Jewel 8) Mary Did You Know? 7) Last Christmas-Wham! 6) All I Want For Christmas is Us-Jason Mraz 5) Mele Kalikimaka-Jimmy Buffet 4) The Night Before Christmas-Amy Grant 3) Grown Up Christmas List-Amy Grant (Yeah, you should probably just buy this c.d.) 2) When My Heart Finds Christmas-Harry Connick, Jr. 1) I Celebrate the Day-Reliant K (With Lyrics, "And the first time that You opened Your eyes did You realize that You would be my Savior, And the first breath that left Your lips did You know that it would change this world forever", how could you not love it?)
Now, I want your lists. There are so many songs I'm sure I forgot. So, if you wouldn't mind adding them to the comments section. I made a playlist of all these songs at the bottom of this blog. (I'll add yours too) Also, on Itunes for this week (December 8-15), they have a free Christmas album of about 20 songs with every type of song. Ranging from traditional, mariachi, country, and for bluegrass fans, an Auld Lang Sine for you! EnJOY!!!
This was an email I sent out a little while ago concerning Joe.
The Coast Guard found Joe's body today in the cockpit of his plane about 40 feet deep in the water. I don't really have much more detail than that.
This past Friday and Saturday, I was overwhelmed in sadness and questions. I just could not understand why God was not hearing the cry of thousands or letting the Houston family and Jenn (his fiance) wait in such agony. On my knees in worship Sunday morning I was crying out and praying for the Houstons, Jenn, Asher (his son), and all those who could be turned away from the Lord because a miracle was not being seen. I was then overwhelmed, flooded, and humbled by the whisper of the Lord confirming in me that Joe's family and beloved were going to be okay. Better than okay. They were going to be such a pillar of His strength, mercy, and love. They were going to change the world as we know it. Then, a peace of knowing that there was no place in this entire universe Joe would rather to be than embracing his savior, his God, his friend. How could I be mad? How could I question? I was embarrassed I had done so.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28) Joe loved God more than anything in the world! We don't understand why Joe's purpose was to leave earth so young (he was to turn 30 tomorrow), we don't understand a two time deployed soldier dies needlessly on U.S. grounds, we don't understand why his child will be without an amazing father, we don't understand when parents have to bury their children, we don't understand why he wasn't allowed to meet his fiancee sooner and have a beautiful marriage before this time. The list could go on and on, but God's ways are not our ways. Sometime this past year, Joe sent an email praying Psalm 120 over his son. I would encourage everyone to read it, it's pretty powerful.
I sought Joe's guidance a couple months ago in a spiritual matter on suffering and I think it's an appropriate time to quote him: "While I am not a glutton for punishment, I believe suffering is absolutely necessary in this life to guide us toward dependence, growth in discipline, and a hope of things to come. The world is supposed to be a crappy place so that we can find life in our hope through faith of the day we will be delivered from this temporary place and taken to our Father. I would not be the man I am today without the intense and regular suffering that I have been subjected to ...I am forever grateful to my Father for His lessons, discipline, gentleness, and sense of humor."
How could you not love a guy with such a beautiful heart?
So, why did a bunch of people send and spend their money, prayers, food, and precious time over something that had already been finished? Why did God not answer to a miracle that thousands upon thousands prayed for? Wouldn't His glory be revealed so much more through a miracle? I can't answer that, but I do know that the Lord did some amazingly awesome things throughout the past three weeks. His signs and wonders never ceased!!! People's lives were changed, people's hearts were softened and opened to God, the saints were in unison in praises their King-what music to His ears! We may not see the miracles, but we trust they are there because we have a miraculous God! Jehova Elyon (Lord most high)!
I would be remiss if I didn't tell you that I am grief stricken. My heart is despondent for the loss his family has endured. I'm distraught that I don't get to hear Joe laugh or give wisdom and that I won't get to be at his wedding or see him father more awesome children. I can't imagine what his family is going through. Please keep praying for them. Nahum 1:7 says, "The LORD is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him." "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted". (Matt. 5:4).
What an amazing comfort and peace his family and friends have knowing EXACTLY were Joe is. There is no doubt, no question, Joe Houston is in his spiritual body among the heavens having a blast! Please do not let this season pass. I beg you to not let a day go by that you do not have that same confidence or share it with someone you love that doesn't. We have lost one of the most precious souls on this earth....DO NOT LET IT BE IN VAIN! Worship and adore his God, give and receive the peace that passes all understanding.
Thank you again for all who prayed, searched, hoped, gave, and sacrificed....we are proud to call you family.
This weekend, I casually asked Nick if he needed or wanted anything (i.e., a drink or food) and he gave his usual quip response, "A week off with pay would be nice".
Well, I'll be darned if he didn't get what he wanted. The school district closed for over a week due to so many cases of "possible" swine flu, not even confirmed cases.
Quick, someone ask me what I want.....(it seemed to work well in his favor).
Oh and that is NOT Kya kissing the pig, although when I was sent this picture I had to do a serious double-take. Yes, the baby oddly resembles my curly-haired cutie, but the fact that I let her do this to dogs is what threw me. Yes, it's disgusting, yes, probably dangerous. But it's just so dang cute when she does it and she is so giggly and happy (and the dog usually is too) that I can't help myself from letting her have a few smoochies. I justify it by the fact that I had a fourth grader two years ago win at the science fair proving once again, that dogs have cleaner mouths than humans. I wonder if this is true of pigs. Ah, I'd probably let her kiss a pig too....AFTER the piggy flu is over!
I'm sure I can beat it...or at least be somewhat comparable.
***WARNING*** This post will be T.M.I. If you are easily offended, DO NOT read on. If excrement of any kind does you in, you have been warned!!!!!
My story actually begins last night around 10:30 when we got home from a great time with friends. We had only thought we'd stay at their house for an hour, two tops. Ended up staying three +. I didn't put the puppy dogs in the bathroom for such a short time, just in our bedroom. Though they have handled this well for that stretch of time in the past....this time was different. I opened the door to let them out and saw what looked like a tub of water had been poured on my bed. I immediately looked up to the ceiling. Nope, we hadn't added a second story with the bathroom above our bedroom, the roof had not collapsed under the tormental rain that obviously was from a cloud measuring 5 feet in diameter directly over my house, and nope we still don't have a waterbed. I stood there shocked thinking how could a dog or even 3 dogs urinate that much??? A quick whiff told me they indeed had and of course, I had laid out all the delicates I had previously washed and hung to dry right smack in the middle of the soiled bed (If I smell like urine, I didn't pee on myself, it's probably my undergarments). I ripped off the comforter,sheets, and bed pillow to find that it had in fact soaked through to the mattress. So, Nick and I are tag teaming washing Kya and putting her to bed and getting the linens soaked and washed.
It was about this time that I noticed something odd on Kya's bathroom floor. What the @$*#^&??? ANTS! We are prone to them on the island....we are even more prone when daddy leaves a wet diaper in the bathroom trash can (um...hello? Diaper champ babe) and I leave a dirty outfit of Kya's in front of her door (so I wouldn't wake her from her by going in and putting them in the hamper). That or they could have possibly been going for the earless Easter bunny as well (read on to find out what this is). It doesn't take these little boogers long. There were probably 1,000 sugar ants marching ever so perfectly in two lines from a tiny whole in the hallway baseboard to the diaper laden trash can and the food soaked clothes. Hated to destroy such determination, but not really.
When we were getting ready for bed, I heard Nick say the two words I hate, "OH NO!" Oh yes, these sweet poochies of ours had found the box of the 10 inch white chocolate Easter bunny I had given Nick that he had only eaten the ears off of. It was on the bedside table, now it was on the floor, empty. So, as we are laying on the guest bed, I'm massaging the puppies tummies and Nick's researching the affects of white chocolate on canines until two in the morning. Turns out, not as bad as regular chocolate. Number one symptom...excessive urination. Case solved.
Nick had to leave early for work this morning, so I thought I'd sleep just a little bit longer. Apparently, Olly's digestive tract thought otherwise because I woke up to the nastiest poof of flatulence on my face and causing my hair to flutter up. It was definitely time to get up!
Thinking that it was good I had gotten up so I could work on reports...Kya decides to wake up over an hour and a half early. Enough Said!
When I bring Kya to the kitchen to do our morning routine she has her hand so far in her mouth, I briefly considered entering her in a "freak talent" contest. Quickly remembered that she has been trying to cut teeth (she likes to do this in bulk, 3 or 4 at a time-so it's EXTRA miserable all at once. Isn't she sweet?). I put her in her high chair and though I've never actually seen the movie, clips from Exorcist really were being reenacted right here in my dining room. Kya was throwing her head back in fourth in circles, spewing her milk, slinging snot, waving her hands in the hair or throwing them in her mouth. I shoved teething tablets into her mouth when she did the open mouth screaming and hand flying. Nothing...still seems possessed. Food wasn't working, milk wasn't working, water wasn't working, even ice wasn't working! I broke down and gave her Tylenol. Said a prayer and just watched the show while drinking my Instant Breakfast (with whole milk-yuck!).
Exactly 7 minutes later, the demon of teething left her tiny body and she looked at me, tilted her head, smiled and said, "more". I didn't know whether to laugh, cry, or seriously consider an exorcism. As I'm basking in the first sounds of peace and am feeding my sweet Kya yogurt, I hear another sound. Is that...wretching? I look to the couch. So, it was Olly who ate the white chocolate bunny! Olly's so thoughtful too, he yakked all over Nick's shirt rather than the couch or floor. I scooped up the vomit polo and shook it out in the sink. Chunks of partially digested white chocolate, dog food, and ???? combined with the smell of it caused me to blow my own chunks on the shirt as well. I DON'T DO PUKE!!! Kya didn't get anymore yogurt, we switched to fruit.
So, teething toddler gets distracted easily, but quickly loses interest when her gums burn. So, we fed the fish, played with toys, danced, etc....when all that failed to distract her for more than 2 minutes, I went to my last resort, the "go-to". I'm sure every mother has one and every one's is different. I actually have two: The Wiggles and a shower/bath. Figuring I could kill two birds with one stone, I'd get my shower in with her. So, my happy little lamb is blissfully playing in the shower while I held her. She only whimpered a few times, but quickly forgot when we'd "taco tongue" the shower water into our mouths and blow "zerberts" on each other's neck.
All of a sudden, Kya lets out one really big whimper and a slight scream, I'm thinking her hand is caught in a bundle of toys in the frog pod. I'm not sure which came first, the sound, the smell, or the feeling of a giant poo-poo ball rolling down my side and leg before landing on the shower floor. I'm frozen in shock (obviously, I'm not quick to react at shocking situations and freeze-up instead). I was shaken out of my mouth ajarred position when I felt, "blump, blump". Two more little presents, then Kya saying "ahewe" (in toddler terms, "Wow, I feel much better"). I stood up slightly yelling in a high pitched mommy tone, "bath all done, time to rinse off". The baby did not like this and pulled her "go-to" move by laying her head on my chest and singing to me. She rarely does this for Nick and I, therefore, we eat it up when she does. So, instead of getting out of the fecal-filled bathtub, I just hold my precious angel and sway enjoying every second of this bliss. Then, the smell overpowered me. I looked down and realized we oddly resembled some sort of tribunal sacrifice with Kya's three poodle orbs encircling my feet. I maneuvered both of us out of the tub, into towels, and got my sweet, excrementing tyke into bed for a nap.
Notes to self (e.g., lessons I've learned this week):
1) Blackberries and 14 month olds...not an advisable(or clean)combination. Just F.Y.I. They do stain...EVERYTHING!
2) Wal-Mart + Corpus Christi + Easter Day = the end of the world as you know it!
3) Giving an 86 year old a manicure will make her act 70 years younger, sass and all.
4) If your toddler pulls the box of cheerios out of the pantry and you don't put it away before you go on a bike ride with her....your three dogs will eat the ENTIRE box of cheerios (and some of the box), then lay around all day with giant bellies. (side note..somehow they still have enough appetite to lick said baby's face off after her lunch though.)
5) Telling your husband how much you enjoy him working out in the garage is great for his ego (even if your real reason in doing so is because it has made him take more showers).
6) DO NOT...I repeat, DO NOT do the following: a) be too prideful to buy an appliance from scratch and dent...or to spray paint your vent hood to match(it really did turn out looking great!) b) assume that since you work all day, everyday being a stay at home mom that when the husband has off will mean you'll get a day off sometime in there too. This will not happen! c) invite ten people over for a special Easter dinner without having any food and needing to grocery shop the day of Easter (see point 2). d) take your blessings for granted for one millisecond. :)
You know that list that we all have (some in our heads)of things we just have to do/accomplish/see before we die? Well...I actually get to cross one of my list items off. Sunday night I got to be my dad's date to the broadway production of "Les Miserables". Now, I know some of you may find broadway or musicals lame or boring (A-hem, my husband), but I have found them captivating. I can sing at least one song from most musicals/operas, and I know most of you are probably thinking what an incredible dork I am for that. However, it gets worse...in high school, I would come home from church on Sundays and sing to my broadway c.d.s for hours. I discovered Phantom of the Opera and fell in love (that is the other one I have to see before I die)and learned every word to the entire play. Then when I was 16, I discovered Les Miserables and thought I had died and gone to heaven. I absolutely LOVED the song "On My Own" sung by Éponine and immediately was drawn to her love sick character. It was so bad that I still know the exact time on each track of the c.d. that Éponine's character begins to sing. So, getting to actually see this amazing show live (and well-done) was just more than I could ask for. Thank you to my dad for being my date and the great time we had. Thank you to my mom for giving me her ticket AND watching Kya while I was there. I hope all of you get to cross something off your list soon.
Official Announcement: I am hereby revoking Chicago's nickname "The Windy Cindy" and bestowing it upon it's rightful owner, Corpus Christi, Texas! **This is being done because for about the hundredth time (this year), I have been running against the wind only to be going a slower pace than a 95 year old with arthritis. Congratulations Corpus, it is blogofficial!
The pictures describe my last six months (the top being today, the bottom sometime in August). For the first time in the last seven months or so, I finally had a "GREAT" day!!! I've been wondering if there was ever one in store for us, but lo and behold the day after questionining whether or not my precious Lord was watching out for us...He answers quickly, wholly, and fully! Shame on me for ever questioning my awesome God!
So, I've been wanting to write this blog for a long time, but haven't. It is long overdue! It is in dedication to all those people who continue to be generous and giving in spite of everything. Now, I know there are plenty of people around the globe practicing kindness and generosity, but what I choose to focus on are those who have done so in my life in the recent months.
1) My parents (this includes my mother in law). They continue to help their kids out even though we are grown and we don't ask. It's like they have a sixth sense about what and when we are in need of something.
2) Jennifer Lankford, Adde Cowan, Amy Peterson, and various others (family, friends, and neighbors included) that have clothed and entertained my child. She is now a one year old and we have not bought her one single item of clothing or toy (with the exception of the dollar maracas we got her at Christmas). Now Nick and I may sound really mean to our Kya, but we literally have not had to buy anything because she is so well stocked! It is a huge blessing, seeing as how we could never afford to buy any of these. The most amazing part is that these people have REALLY good taste and my daughter wears finer, fancier clothes than most Hollywood babies and plays with the COOLEST toys!
3) Neighbors- They have supplied piano studios, medical reporting, diapers, and lots of sweet treats! I don't know if I could ever move away from these wonderful people.
4) Family (some are not "blood" relatives, but close enough)-who have made Kya's first Christmas and birthday collectively memorable and exciting! All of those who came out to the middle of nowhere to celebrate a one year old's "pink barn" birthday party are just amazing to me! Thanks AGAIN to the grandparents for helping out so much financially and with everything else.
5) Shea Baxter V.-Shae and I grew up together in Midland. We haven't seen each other in probably 15 years, but have reconnected thanks to Facebook. Shea randomly saw on Facebook that we were going to have a carnival themed party for Kya this coming weekend. Shea emailed me and offered to send all of her materials from her child's carnival themed party. I asked if I could buy it and she said no. What Shea didn't know was that Nick and I weren't quite sure how we were going to manage to have a party due to funds. I show up at the post office today where they "drag" a HUGE box around the corner. This box contained pretty much everything we needed for the party. How does a girl who knows me so little now is willing to take the time and money to be so incredibly kind and generous? I'm baffled!
6) Misc.- Those people who continue to to randomly bless us for no reason. Whether it be a random gift, a painting for Kya, referring piano students, supporting my business, giving us their wisdom, and generally blessing our socks off!
I have been hesitant to write this because in no way would I want anyone's charity or pity. Struggling financially has proven to be a blessing in a lot of ways. It has shown us the true importance of things in life and to recognize the goodness of others. I think we had gotten so used to being the ones who "treated" and "gave", that it became more about us and less about God. Not to mention that I get to spend every single day with the MOST amazing little girl who I witness grow and become smarter, cuter, and more precious!
I know I have neglected you. I had really good intentions of coming back to you, but time, energy, life, baby, all got in the way. I am making a vow to be more faithful, if you could somehow make her naptimes longer that would help. The little one awakes, I must go...too quick to catch up yet again! Soon, very soon. Until then, happy blogging