A Wife Loved Like The Church

Posts Tagged ‘Family

I come from a really big family. I’ve got four brothers and one sister. My mom is the oldest of five children. Each of my aunts/uncles have several children. Which means I have something like 1 bijillion* cousins {and like 14 bijillion second/third/fourth cousins}.  *Bijillion is the official number used when counting large families. 

And being from a big family has always left a soft spot in my heart for movies about big families. Perhaps one of my favorite is The Family Stone. I love stories of families that are big and loud, fairly dysfunctional, but loving and fiercely close.

Sadly, my family isn’t very close. We’ve all gone our own ways, and haven’t done the best job of keeping in touch. While I’ve seen changes since moving back to Texas, it’s still not Hollywood awesome.

But then my two younger brothers moved in with us last year.

Screen Shot 2013-09-13 at 9.39.58 AMAnd it’s been amazing.

In fact, it’s better than Hollywood awesome.

We are doing life together. Fighting and laughing. Arguing and agreeing. And forming a bond that is deeper than I could have ever expected.

I see my brothers in a whole new way. When I moved away from home, they were 7 & 9 years old. Little kids, who I loved because they were my brothers but didn’t really know. Now they are 20 & 22, and I love them because I really know them. They are ridiculous and funny. They can be so, so lazy {I mean, who would ever sleep until 11 am?!? Oh wait, I would…}. Yet, they support me and rally behind me like only brothers can do.

While it’s crazy in our American culture to have so.many.people living together, I wouldn’t change it for the world. It’s cramped at times, wildly messy all the time, and occasionally smells like a frat house. {And don’t even get me started on the ping pong table in our garage.} But this life, this life with family, is beautiful.  Our lives will never look like a movie, but it is so much better than any Hollywood rendition of family.

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In September of last year, I started a development program with our church, The Austin Stone. The program is a year long training to equip women {and men} with biblical knowledge and truth. It was pretty intensive at times, but God grew and challenged me in ways I never imagined.

Part of the women’s development program is to participate in a mission trip. For the past several years, the program has worked with a mission organization in London, England. The women who go get to spend a week sharing the Gospel with Muslims in London.

Today, I am one of those women.

I am leaving for London in less than 2 hours. We will arrive early Saturday morning and launch into our training. Then we will spend the next 7 days loving and serving others and bringing them Good News. I am nervous and anxious, yet feeling peaceful and calm. An odd combination, I know.

The last month in preparing for my trip has been kind of a joke. If you can think of something that might possibly go wrong, and it’s gone wrong. This past week? Even more of a joke. I’ve lost my passport AND my driver’s license {thankfully my passport turned up. On a copier. At Kinko’s. My driver’s license is still missing}. I’ve felt more overwhelmed then excited as I have raced between prepping for the trip and spending the week in training for Julia’s school this fall. And speaking of Julia.. she is so upset that I am leaving, that she’s asked me several times to cancel the trip.

But you know what? God is proving to be the calm in my storm. A week before my trip and I was still $475 short of my funding. When the funding deadline came and went, I may have cried as I found myself grasping at straws on how to round up the remaining funds. Then, like I beacon of calm, my friend Adriane prompted me to start asking more people about helping. It was perhaps the last thing I wanted to do – it felt embarrassing and scary. But, I did it. I sent out more emails, called more people and God blessed. I truly didn’t expected it, but He pulled through the remaining $475 in two days. Two days. It blew me away.

So now my bags are packed, my passport is safely in my wallet {whew} and I am ready for my trip.

I don’t know what is going to happen over the next 9 days. I’ve laid all my expectations to the side and decided to let the Lord do as He wills. But, even though I don’t know what may happen, I know this :: God is in control. And He is always good and can always be trusted. 

When you read this, would you take a moment to pray for me? Pray for safety and godly wisdom. Pray for my family, who will go 9 whole days without their wife and mama {the longest time ever for the kids}. Pray for God’s glory to be known and for lives to be changed. Thanks my sweet friends. Your prayers mean a lot.

Life has been going faster and faster these days. I feel pretty accomplished if the load of laundry I did on Thursday gets put away by Wednesday. Our days are spent reading {I’m working on teaching Julia to read this summer}, spending lots of time outdoors playing, traveling and celebrating all the little {yet big} things in life.

Celebrating a day at the park with three cutie while Daddy and Uncle John play soccer.

Celebrating a birthday party for Hannah, who turns three this Friday. Three. I’m silently weeping as I type. T-h-r-e-e.

Celebrating hot afternoons at the pool.

And my personal favorite… Celebrating an increase in date nights since we have a live in babysitter!

{the best pizza shop in town}

What are you celebrating these days?

We went to Amarillo last Thursday to visit my Uncle. Would you be amazed if I told you, you can drive for 9 whole hours without ever leaving Texas? Well, you can. And we did.

We visited Cadillac Ranch, which is a few minutes outside of town. There are 10 Cadillacs buried in the sand. People can come out and spray paint them. Don’t knock it, it’s art. Or at least that’s what the multi-millonaire who owns them says.

I remember visiting Cadillac Ranch when I was the girls’ ages. It’s one of those memories that are blurry around the edges, but never quite goes away. I loved taking Julia there and talking her through what she thought of the place. It was a really fun mom moment for me.

We drove 30 minutes outside of town to visit Palo Duro, the second largest canyon in America. It’s beautiful. I’ve never seen the Grand Canyon, so have no comparison, but Palo Duro is West Texas at it’s finest.

I haven’t been to West Texas in over a decade. Yet, I was surprised at how being there felt so right. I woke up Friday morning, stepped outside to the wind blowing and a farm smell hanging in the air and I felt peace. It was a strange feeling, one I haven’t felt about anywhere other than Austin.

My cousin later said that it was because West Texas runs deep in my blood. We have a heritage here, that for good or bad, we can never escape. It’s true. I spent a lot of childhood summers playing in corn fields, hiding from the Texas sun and hearing stories of life on the plains when my ancestors where children. That’s something that becomes part of your DNA.

My extended family isn’t very close knit. I haven’t seen most of my cousins in ten years and see my grandparents only annually at best. My immediate extended family isn’t much better. It’s sad how easy it is to lose connections like that. To let family slip through your fingers.

My “baby” brother is spending the summer with us. {I say baby only in the fact that he is the youngest, but clearly, not the baby.} It’s been wonderful having John around. Lots of laughter and jokes. The girls are crazy for him, and who can deny the benefit of extra hands to help around the house.

It’s one step toward family reconnection.

We ended our trip with sips of strong coffee and laughing about our pasts. Apparently, our family has always been a rowdy bunch.

We drove through Lubbock to see some cousins. It gave the girls a chance to run off any remaining energy, and gave the adults a chance to build some reconnection.

Reconnection. That’s what our weekend was. And I’m hoping that this is our family’s first of many West Texas summers.

Visit Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.

As I round out the end of this pregnancy {just over 2 weeks till EDD}, I’m finding myself grumbling a lot more. Joseph is determined to already prove he is different from his sisters, and as such, has brought on some random, highly uncomfortable, end of pregnancy issues I never dealt with during my previous pregnancies. But really, I have so much to be grateful for, that grumbling just doesn’t seem right. I loved Alicia’s gratitude post and thought I’d do my own.

1. Cooler weather {specifically cooler nights} and being able to leave our windows open.

{photo credit}

2. Good friends who threw a Dr. Seuss themed baby shower for us.

3. Jonathan’s new job – Oh yeah, did I forget to mention Jonathan got a new job? Well, he did. And now he’s working two days from home {score!!}.

4. My daughters – Their lives, their laughter, their overwhelming love for each other.

5. Starting my Bible Study Fellowship class last week.

6. Having the energy to make homemade bread {I highly recommend this recipe}

7. My mom and her mothering {even when you’re nearly 30, it’s still nice having a mom who looks after you}.

8. Getting all the finishing touches taken care of in Joseph’s room.

9. Listening to the girls sing.

10. Julia’s constant request to hear David Crowder Band How He Loves Us – and the reminder of just how much He really does love us.

 

What are you grateful for this week?

 

Visit Amanda at Oh Amanda for more Top Ten Tuesday.

Since being married, Jonathan and I have never spent a Christmas with our families. Not that we didn’t want to, we did. But we lived too far away and never had enough time off work to make a trip happen. Last year we were able to go to my parents’ for Thanksgiving and loved it. Now that we are in Texas, we are thrilled with all our family-for-the-holiday options. This year my parents, two younger brothers, and our family, will be meeting in Ft. Worth, where my older brother lives with his wife and kids. To make it even more fun, my SIL’s family will be there too. The last guest tally was 36 people. Eekk! {That’s a squeal of joy}.

I volunteered to plan out our meals for Christmas Day. And while it’s a big task {did I mention several teenaged boys will be there?!}, I am beyond excited to put my hosting, cooking, Christmas-loving skills to work. Here’s a small preview of our Christmas Day menu:

{photo credit}

Breakfast:

Brie and Veggie Strata

Lunch:

Make Ahead Lasagna

Dinner:

Pork Loin Roast with sides and clover rolls

Call me crazy {cause I know I am!}, but I am really looking forward to this cooking adventure. Being in the kitchen with my mom and stepdad {both fabulous cooks} and enjoying the hectic, loud, loving family reunion just feels too good to be true. *happy sigh*

What are your plans for Christmas? Any favorite holiday recipe I should try out?

Vist Alicia at Alicia’s Homemaking for more Try New Adventures Thursday.


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