Saturday, May 29, 2010

Why Yes--I am obsessed with waterfalls--Thanks for noticing!

Jared took me on a picnic in Manchester on Friday, and we settled in near this little gem. This is the definition of refreshing to me.
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Thursday, May 27, 2010

Happy Birthday, Macy!

9 years ago after 26 hours of labor, just after 2am on May 28th (which was actually Memorial Day in 2001), Macy made her way into the world. And as soon as the nurse laid her into my arms, I looked up at Jared and said, "We have to do this again soon." I'll never forget that moment. I was so overwhelmed with how much I loved that sweet little baby in that moment. And I wouldn't have thought it possible at the time, but I have loved her more every day since then. She is the sweetest little girl I know, and she amazes and inspires me daily. I love being her Mom.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Good List 5-26-10

***In no particular order

10. The cumulative $.10 credit per gallon of gas our local grocery store gives us for every $50 spent. Last time we filled up, we saved $.60/gallon.
9. The smell of fire (safely contained, of course)
8. Homemade snowcones (and the looks on Macy and Grace's faces when I handed them one this afternoon.)
7. Celtics 3-1
6. Unexpected surprises in the mail
5. Woodstock, VT
4. The sound of pretty much any kind of naturally existing flowing/rushing water
3. @witmygracesays on twitter
2. Of First Importance (www.firstimportance.org)
1. The quilt Macy and Grace helped design and sew for me for Mother's Day

Of First Importance

Of First Importance is a blog that I list in my blogroll, but this morning's post was so good, I wanted to repeat it:
“Grace binds you with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation can bind you. Grace is free, but when once you take it, you are bound forever to the Giver and bound to catch the spirit of the Giver. Like produces like. Grace makes you gracious, the Giver makes you give.”

-E. Stanley Jones (1884-1973)

Awesome. Also reminds me of the Christy Nockels song "My Master," in which she sings the following:
I love my Master, I will not go free...
I take Your name and live in liberty
My life is Yours forever
I'll serve You faithfully
I love my Master, I will not go free...
Such a beautiful picture of the freedom of what the gospel does. We serve Him not to earn His love and grace (by definition, that wouldn't be grace, would it?), but BECAUSE of His immeasurable love and grace.

I'm off to pray that reality sinks in a little deeper today for people all over the world.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

"We Have To Save the Frogs!!!!"

Yesterday on our way back from a hike up the mountain, Jared and I noticed a puddle full of hundreds of little tadpoles. Knowing that the puddle wouldn't last very long, I came back home to look up what it would take to "save" some of them and give the girls a chance to see the tadpole to frog metamorphosis. I mean, they typically hatch in a pond and are left to fend for themselves, right? Couldn't be too involved. . . . .

Turns out there isn't much to it, but I'm glad I looked it up, because the one major issue is that you can't put them in tap water. From what I read, the chlorine and/or other mineral deposits in tap water would pretty much kill them immediately. So after reading that, I decided we should wait until today, purchase a little plastic tub and hike back up the mountain for some fresh mountain water. We didn't finish running our errands today until it was time to go straight to the girls' school and pick them up, so I didn't have time to check on the puddle before then. I was a little nervous that Macy and Grace would be devastated if everything had dried up, but you can't get much past them, so I had to tell them what I was up to when I headed back to check on our new little friends. Fortunately, we were just in time. When Macy and Grace saw the little tadpoles in their shrinking, muddying, disappearing habitat, they didn't waste a single second on their rescue mission. While I ran to get the tub, they went to work collecting water from a nearby stream to pour into the puddle (both in new shoes). By the time I got back to them (less than 5 minutes later), most of the mud had found its way from the puddle onto the girls, but they were NOT joking around about their mission, and hundreds of little tadpoles were happily swimming again in fresh, cool water. Grace informed me that she was really sorry she got her new shoes so dirty, but it was an emergency! Little does she know that Mommy is smart enough to buy machine washable shoes for her little adventurers. :-D

I guess we'll have to see how many frogs we end up with. Hopefully most of them will make it. Fun stuff!

Monday, May 24, 2010

Do You Have Any Prayer Requests?

I have found an amazing spot where I intend to spend lots of time in prayer. I'm planning to spend the majority of Wednesday morning here. If you have any prayer requests, leave them in the comments section before Wednesday morning, and I will be sure to add them to my list. I will NOT be publishing the comments for this post, so your requests will remain private.

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Saturday, May 22, 2010

My Special Sisters


I read somewhere today that there is actual research proving that sisters make people happier and more optimistic by offering support, encouraging communication and helping to eliminate stress. I'm not sure how scientific this research was or how well (or even *if*) it could be proven, but I tend to believe it. I have 3 amazing sisters; all 4 of us are as different as can be. And yet, we are best friends and a constant support system to each other at every turn of life. It's beyond awesome. I am certain that I am much happier with 3 sisters than I would have been without them. Love you with all my heart, Vick, "A", and JoJo!
A sister is a gift to the heart, a friend to the spirit, a golden thread to the meaning of life. -- Isadora James

A sister is a little bit of childhood that can never be lost.
-- Marion C. Garretty

A sister shares childhood memories and grown-up dreams. -- Author Unknown


Friday, May 21, 2010

Adorableness


It took about 15 minutes last night and $3 worth of foam rollers to change Macy and Grace's ENTIRE day today. They woke up with curls and literally bounced and danced and sang through their morning routine. Ah, the simple things. . . .

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Farewell to my LifeWay Friends

Sometimes it is still hard for me to believe that my career at LifeWay spanned 15 years of my life. (I'm not that old, people!!!) But indeed it did. Crazy! And just like most any other job in the world, it was not without its peaks and valleys, but I am incredibly grateful for my full experience there. I floated along the peaks with joy and laughter and exuberance, and I learned from the valleys some of my most valuable life lessons. And along the way, I developed some of my most precious friendships and most treasured relationships. People who encouraged, mentored, invested, prayed, laughed, cried, counseled and loved me through every season of that journey--some for just a mile or two every now and then (but always seemingly when I needed them most), and some who walked with me every step of the way on a daily basis. I am so blessed and so thrilled to call these people friends, and I hope that I can somehow return to them all of the blessings they poured out on me. I love y'all!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Good List 5-19-10


10. The waterfall in my back yard. Awesome.
9. Rajon Rondo
8. Nutella. I have to believe there will be fountains of that stuff flowing freely in heaven.
7. Memorial services that are filled with celebration because of Jesus Christ
6. My sweet niece, Peyton, who celebrates her 12th birthday today
5. My ESV Study Bible
4. The good news Matt Chandler received yesterday regarding his cancer
3. Having an affectionate husband who offers the perfect balance between honoring me and making fun of/laughing at me
2. The sound of Macy playing the piano
1. The coupon Grace gave me which is good for unlimited free hugs and kisses *forever*

The Looooong Transition

I'm skipping quite a few details for the sake of brevity (you're welcome), but obviously we eventually got to the point of Jared getting the job offer from Middletown Springs Church. Awesome. In our hearts, we were ready to go immediately. But of course, it's never quite that easy. We had a house to sell, a school year to finish, my job which needed a transition plan, etc. To make a long story short, we determined that our best course of action would be to put our house on the market as soon as we could get it "market ready" and then have Jared and the girls move to Vermont in early August in order to get them settled in time for the school year to begin. I stayed behind in Nashville so I could keep my job, because we needed my income to continue to pay for our house in Nashville. This set us up for what became a 9 month separation. It was one of the most difficult times of our entire lives, and yet God used even that in so many special ways.

I can honestly say that I don't regret our decision in any way whatsoever, but it's also very true that I hope I NEVER have to go through a time like that again. To say it was difficult would be an epic understatement. But that doesn't mean it wasn't fruitful. Here are just a few of the things I learned/realized/remembered during my time in Nashville without my family:
--I so much prefer a messy full house to a clean empty one
--A 6" Subway Veggie Delite sandwich is cheaper than buying groceries for one person
--The number of people I'm cooking for times the amount I love them = how much I enjoy cooking. Just me? Not so much. Lots of people I love? Awesome!
--I could easily live without ever watching television again, but I'm pretty sure I'd shrivel up and die without books and music
--Football should never be watched alone (thank God for friends who wouldn't allow me to do so ;-)
--Sleeping late on Saturday is less awesome when there is no one in your house who poses a threat to it happening
--I have some of the most amazing friends in all the universe
--Video Chat is a miracle
--Middletown Springs Community Church is living proof that God can build a family where no blood relation exists
--I knew God was mighty and powerful and gracious and wonderful and a million other amazing things, but I don't think I ever knew how *sweet* He was until I had no one else to snuggle with every day. God is a great snuggler.
Again I will say that I hope I never have to be away from my family for an extended period of time ever, ever, ever, ever again. Ever. But our time together now is every bit as sweet as our time apart was difficult, and God was good to our family through it all. Though He certainly didn't have to, He proved Himself to us over and over again in a million different ways, and there is no question that our entire family grew as individuals and grew closer to each other even though we were geographically challenged for awhile. God is good. All the time.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Because He Said So

I have been on a pretty crazy journey over the last 18 months or so (at least for me--maybe it will seem pretty tame to everyone else ;-) It started in the fall of 2008. By then, Jared and I had been praying for over 8 years that God would provide a way for me to be home with our girls. It was a long journey during which I will admit I became very impatient MANY times, but as usual God knew exactly what He was doing through it all. But that is a story for another time perhaps. For now, let's talk about what brought us to Vermont.

In the fall of 2008, Jared happened upon a link advertising a pastor position at Middletown Springs Community Church in Middletown Springs, VT. Ummmm. . . . Vermont?
Seriously? When he told me about it, the conversation went something like this--
Jared: I found a job posting for a pastor in Vermont that sounds like it might be a good fit.
Becky: Vermont?
Jared: Yeah.
Becky: Ummm. . . Well, yeah, the interview process will be good experience.
Jared: So you don't want to move to Vermont?
Becky: Let's see. We're in Nashville. All of our family is in Texas. I'm gonna have to say no.
Jared: So should I not pursue it?
Becky: You can send a resume. But if God wants me to move to Vermont, I'm pretty sure He's gonna have to put skin on and come tell me that in person.

Wow. I'm not proud of that exchange, but in the moment, it just didn't make any sense to me. At all. But God got ahold of me, and I'm so glad He did! Jared did go ahead and send his resume, so we continued to talk about it a little bit over time. I was trying to "warm up" to the idea, but I really just couldn't make it make any sense. Why would God want to move us an additional 20 hours away from all of our family? We were already a full day's drive away. What good could possibly come from taking our kids even further away from ALL of their grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins? How could this be right?

Well, here is about as profound as I get-- It's right, Because He (God) Said So. And when that reality hit me, it jarred me in a way that I have never experienced before. I was driving to work one morning and had to pull over because I was weeping to the point of not being able to see clearly. God changed my heart so profoundly and so completely that I was ready to move before Jared even had a formal interview. Awesome. (Glad they saw fit to offer him the job.)

The journey has continued on with all sorts of twists and turns, peaks and valleys, confusing moments and points of complete clarity. Many people have questioned why in the world we would come to Vermont. Jared has been told that it will kill his career and all sorts of interesting other thoughts. He doesn't care about that, and neither do I. Not in the least. Because the main truth hasn't changed. We're here because God sent us here. We came because He told us to. He has gone before us in the most incredible way, and there is nowhere else we would rather be than right where God wants us. And my prayer is that this will be the ongoing theme of my life. I want the answer to every question that matters to be just this: "Because He Said So." Prayers appreciated in that pursuit.

Disclaimer ;-)

I am not a "blogger." I rarely have anything to say that could be considered profound. I don't pretend that I am doing anyone a service by writing/posting/blogging or whatever else you'd like to call it. I am not trying to develop a large following or brand myself in any way. But I am on a journey that many amazing friends and family members have expressed a desire to share with me, and I want to honor their requests. So for what it's worth--this is my adventure. I'm happy to share it with whomever might be interested. Welcome to my world!