Thursday, September 27, 2012

I Guess We Have Some Pet Owls Now ;-)

This is what happens when someone hands Gracie a little page of owl stickers. . .

She "builds" them a house bigger than her (she's laying beside it in the picture so you can see how big the treehouse is ;-) ) and develops an entire story of how their lives will play out, what rooms they will need, where the Dad's study should be so that it's far enough from the play room to be quiet, etc.

I had no idea stickers could become "pets," but then again, I don't live in Gracie's head. Wish I did. It's quite delightful in there. :-D

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Good List 9-26-12

10. Billy Connolly giving us directions everywhere we go. (We downloaded his voice for our GPS, but only because Alistair Begg wasn't available. :-D)
9. The color of the sky the day after a big storm. Exquisite.
8. The Avengers on blu-ray. Why do I love that movie so much?
7. Jack Johnson. His voice and music are so smooth and rich and creamy. Just like the perfect cup of coffee.
6. The colors of fall. My favorite.
5. I'm sure I've posted this before, but every time I think about it, I get a little more excited. Won't be long!

4. I just learned that Macy and Grace's winter break is the week of my birthday. We're gonna party all week long! :-D
3. Steroids and antibiotics when you need them. (Gracie is currently fighting off a mean staph infection.)
2. Nana and Papa are here! Another special week underway!
1. The knitting together of hearts and ministries that God is orchestrating in New England (and other places as well, I'm sure). So refreshing and encouraging.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Keeping Special

special: distinguished or different from what is ordinary or usual

For no particular reason, I've been thinking about this word quite a bit lately. Ironically, I find myself lurking on either end of a broad spectrum of thoughts as to why it seems as though it has lost a great deal of its meaning in current society. Certainly, it doesn't tend to carry the weight that I'm guessing it did at some point. I can't quite decide if this is because it's vastly overused (everything is special; therefore nothing is special) or if it's because we're so demanding these days that no one sees anything as special.

By definition, "special" is not something we experience every day. Maybe not even every week. Yet many of us desire and crave it so much that we chase after it daily. We may not use that exact term, but we work hard to build "special" right into our daily lives. We look for new recipes to create that perfectly out of the ordinary meal. Or better yet for some, we look for new restaurants to create those meals for us. We buy better technology so that our media experiences exceed all "normal" forms of family home entertainment. We design our bathrooms to feel like spas every single day. (Not gonna lie--I'm totally gonna try to do this if we ever build.) The list could go on and on. When we experience something special, we naturally want to re-create that experience as often as possible. And from my perspective, there is really nothing wrong with that as long as we understand the implications.

The challenge is understanding how we impact these experiences by attempting to re-create them often. Going back to the definition, if we begin to experience something regularly--if it becomes our "usual"--it is then no longer special, but ordinary. And now we must exceed our ordinary to find a new special. If we're not careful, this can become an exhausting (and not at all fulfilling) endeavor.

I suppose we would land all over the place with a million interpretations of special and a billion different opinions of how much of it should be incorporated into daily life. I'm not sure there is a right or wrong answer or an established standard we should all follow. What I am suggesting, however, is that while improving or enhancing our ordinary, we should also be deliberate about preserving and protecting our special

Something magical happens when I get to see my family's faces light up as we experience something uncommon and memorable together.

Conversely, something deadening happens when I see them react with boredom or indifference to something that should be a wonderful treat.

In either event, I wonder how much I have conditioned them toward one reaction or the other through the overall design of our lifestyle. Certainly, any of us could err on either side of the spectrum. Always boring and mundane with nothing special to look forward to can deaden our sense of joy and expectation, but constant stimulation and excessiveness can have the same impact by leaving us always searching for the next perfect experience. Somewhere in the middle lies that "normal" existence that allows us daily fulfillment and occasional momentous indulgence. That's the land I'm striving to live in (but it's easier said than done sometimes.)

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Good List 9-19-12

10. The weirdly satisfying exercise of watching a huge pile of dirty laundry become a neatly stacked (or hung), freshly scented array of options for tomorrow morning.
9. The first rainy day of fall (which I'm saying was yesterday, even though I know it isn't "officially" fall yet.) But yesterday sure felt like it, and it was glorious!
8. The souvenir we brought home from our trip to NYC a couple weeks ago. Love the graphics in this book!

7. When a $3 box of dessert glasses from the TJMaxx clearance rack becomes sheer delight for 5 little munchkins. They were SO EXCITED to see these after school yesterday!

6. El Mexicano. The only restaurant we've discovered thus far within driving distance of our house (it's about an hour away) that serves Tex-Mex. YUMMY! (Full credit goes to Jody Kay Methvin Dickerson and her TomTom for discovering this deliciousness.)
5. This week's weather forecast: 

And this after a huge storm last night, so everything is all nice and fresh. Perfection. Definitely diggin' these temps.
4. Tomorrow we leave for Portland, Maine for a "Cultivating Gospel Mission" conference. Really looking forward to the teaching and fellowship. Also excited to finally collect on Josh's year-long promise of Starbucks. ;-)
3. Ladies Bible Study is back in session! We're studying Beth Moore's James: Mercy Triumphs. One video session in, and I've already been kicked in the head (but totally hooked). I can tell this is gonna be hard in the best way possible.
2. Moments when I can tell Macy and Grace actually *like* each other. This mother's heart knows few joys greater than these.
1. Trish Amazingness Harris (I'm pretty sure that's not her real middle name, but it is certainly applicable.) Yesterday was her birthday, so I tried to love her from afar like this, but I sure wish I could have been there in person to give her at least 3 breaks from her work day for lunch, Gigi's cupcakes, and a Target run. Also a ginormous hug. I love you with all my heart, my sweet and special friend. COME SEE ME!!!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

My Trish

Today I'm remembering practically assaulting you when I first learned that you were joining my team at LifeWay. I was so excited, because I knew you were brilliant, but what I didn't even realize then was that you would quickly become one of my most treasured sisters.

Today I'm remembering Jack's BBQ and how you rescued me from the traumatic experience that you unfortunately had to endure since you ordered first. :-D

Today I'm remembering a vendor lunch during which you were asked what kind of water you would like, and you responded, "Um, tap."

Today I'm remembering when that same vendor realized we were so easily impressed that fancy restaurants who offered multiple types of water were completely unnecessary, so instead he started taking us out for the Texas sized platter of nachos.

Today I'm remembering Strawberry Shortcake and how we both wanted to punch her in the throat 2 Christmases in a row!

Today I'm remembering you begging me not to make you tape Gracie's diaper closed and then giggling when I picture the moment you realized that if you didn't carry out that step, my daughter would become a pet monkey right before your very eyes. 

Today I'm remembering day after day of wanting to shut my office door and cry all day long, but then realizing I didn't need to do that, because you were right there with me, and somehow that was enough.

Today I'm remembering my favorite story about questionable beverages covered by a denim jacket in the back of a convertible.

Today I'm remembering carpet skates and knowing I don't need to say any more than that to make you giggle. :-D

Today I'm remembering my incredibly casual shout-out to a large group of people (whom I was not paying much attention to) walking by my office followed by your mortified glare and whisper, "Becky, that was Dr. Rainer and the trustees!" Then seeing further horror in your eyes when THAT was followed by another shout-out of "'Sup Boss?" (HOW did I not get fired?)

Today I'm remembering how walking away from our desks just long enough to have a cup of coffee could sometimes change my entire day, because we ALWAYS found something to laugh about.

Today I'm remembering that I will never ever be able to make lasagna again without thinking of you and Myra.

Today I'm remembering that pretty much every "success" I had while working with you had much more to do with you than with me.

Today I'm remembering the lottery ticket lesson at the convenience store in East Nashville. I'm pretty sure that dude is still talking about how clueless we were.

Today I'm remembering how we turned Joey into our personal chauffeur and somehow made him like it. :-D

Today I'm remembering the following conversation at Red Robin-- Joey: "Can we have separate checks please?" Waiter: "Sure. How would you like me to divide it up?" Trish: "Um, we'd each like to pay for what we ate."

Today I'm remembering that every single time I watched you interact with my girls, I believed with all my heart (and still do) that you loved them like your own.

Today I'm remembering spending Easter 2009 with your family because you couldn't bear the thought of me being alone that day (and trust me, I NEEDED that).

Today I'm remembering you and Kevin spending ALL DAY one Saturday helping me get my house staged just perfectly and realizing that I have no idea what I would have done without you that day.

Today I'm remembering days when Gigi's cupcakes, Target runs, and shoe shopping seemed far more important than eating lunch.

Today I'm remembering that everyone in our department ostracized me to that far back corner to punish me for being so loud, but the joke was on them, 'cause it was so much easier for us to party back there than where they were. :-D

Today I'm remembering the Dam Store. 

Today I'm remembering laughing at least a little bit every single day that I spent time with you. And many days laughing 'til it quite literally hurt. What a gift! You have no idea.

Today I'm remembering how I wanted to include you in every single fun activity I got to experience even if it meant keeping you from doing your job. I'd like to say that I'm so selfless I was only thinking of wanting you to have fun too, but the truth is that everything was more fun for ME when you were there too! ;-)

Today I'm remembering TWO separate occasions when you helped my family plan the biggest surprises of my entire life! You are a GOOD secret-keeper!

Today I'm remembering how often I thank God for seeing fit to make us sisters, and I'm praying that our lives will always be connected and hoping that somehow it won't always be from a distance.

Happy Birthday! Love you so much!!! COME SEE ME!!!!

Monday, September 17, 2012


Every sin is an exercise in trust of something or someone other than the one true God to satisfy, fulfill, or bless.  ~Jared Wilson

Deity with the humanity constituted the one offering which has perfected forever the salvation of those who are sanctified. Profoundly and awfully mysterious as is this truth, faith can receive it. It towers above my reason, and yet it does not contradict my reason. While it transcends and baffles it, it does not oppose nor supersede it. Christian reader, the blood upon which you depend for your salvation is not ordinary blood; the blood of a mere human being, however pure and sinless; but it is the blood of the incarnate God.  ~Octavius Winslow

Isn’t it nice to think that tomorrow is a new day, with no mistakes in it yet?
~Anne Shirley in Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery

You are not only responsible for what you say, but also for what you do not say.  ~Martin Luther

Give thy servants the courage to say No to everything that makes it more difficult to say Yes to thee. ~Peter Marshall

Faith is trusting in advance what will only make sense in reverse. ~Philip Yancey

I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen, not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else. ~CS Lewis

Your security does not rest on the size of what you're facing or on your maturity, but on the character of the One who offers you his grace. ~Paul Tripp

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Good List 9/12/12

10. Mixbook. I'm sure I've mentioned it before, but it's worth repeating. It's the best online digital scrapbooking service I've ever used.
9. Football season (AND Fantasy Football season) are underway! Oh, how I've missed snuggly Sunday afternoons with my family (which includes Connor Eaton during football season, and we wouldn't have it any other way. ;-) )
8. Fall is in the air! I love it so much! Looking forward to this:

7. Okemo Mountain Resort spring house. I'd consider a membership if we lived a little closer, but I love the day pass option. Fun place for cousins to play while Moms and Grandmoms relax and talk and play cards. 

6. TWO crazy little monkey birthday parties this week. Jack tomorrow and Ty on Thursday. Macy and Grace get to party 2 days in a row! :-D
5. Jared and I had our last meal in NYC last weekend at this exact spot. Pretty cool.

4. Train travel. I highly recommend it. Especially rolling through the mountains of Vermont and upstate New York. Gorgeous, peaceful, relaxing.
3. We FINALLY got to meet face to face the lovely and talented Tara-Leigh Cobble. She is every bit as delightful and fabulous in person as she is online and in her books. Special lady for sure.
2. Grandmom and Granddad are in Vermont! Always a good time.
1. Apostles Church NYC. Jared and I just got back from spending the weekend with them, and it was such a blessing and encouragement to our hearts. Amazing people serving Christ, each other, and their city with as much love and passion as I've ever seen.