Monday, January 31, 2011


I am not the kind of person who spends her life regretting things.  That's not to say I don't remember the past, but I do not spend hours a day guilting myself about things I did years ago.  I used to be that person, but with God's grace I've largely moved past that burden.  However, it seems recently I was confronted with the topic of regret everywhere I turned. 

First, I watched a television program where a woman, I'll call her Ann, was so eaten up by regret from her past excessive drinking that, even though Ann had been sober for two years, she could not move on with her life or her family because of her great sadness over past mistakes.  I felt sad watching as Ann talked because she had lost all sense of who she was (or could be) because of the shadow of regret that loomed over everything she did.

Then, this past week, I was faced with one of my own regrets.  Not a "wish I had done that" regret, but a "wish I hadn't done that" regret.  At the time, I absolutely believed that I wouldn't have any regrets, but years later, I chastise the younger version of myself for the decisions I made. 

Finally, after this renewed consciousness about regret, my pastor preached a sermon entitled Moving On, still from the Philippians series I've mentioned before.  I LOVE this book.  That whole section of the New Testament I could camp in for years - Ephesians, Galatians, Colossians, Philippians - wow.  And the worship was tailormade for his message.  One of the songs, How He Loves, was new to me, and it had this great line, "I don't have time to maintain these regrets, When I think about the way that He loves us, Oh how He loves us....."

And it's true.  Why on Earth do you or I spend one millisecond dwelling on the past when the message of His grace and forgiveness is so clear in the Scripture?  If He can forgive you, then forgive yourself.  And we are encouraged and instructed to leave those regrets behind us.  Don't let history repeat itself.  But leave it behind you and don't let that shadow of regret stymie the amazing things He has in store for you. 

The sermon was based on this Scripture - hang this on your mirror if you struggle with regret:

Philippians 3 - But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Open Letter to the Love of my Life

Dear B,

I would never write an open letter on a blog followed by thousands of people because I know that you would die of embarrassment or from the loss of privacy.  But because this is still an unfollowed unpublicized space, I felt compelled to write these words here so you would hear them and know how I would love to shout them to the world at large. 

Almost two weeks ago, I experienced what I can only describe as a week that was the best and highest picture of an incredible marriage driven by an amazing husband who I love so deeply that I can not even find the words to describe it.  We've had a year of ups and downs but this week so exemplified why we make it. 

The week started off with a bang.  Crazy chemistry like we were dating again.  Just thinking about it makes my toes curl.  I LOVE that I still think you are the sexiest man alive and that I get goose bumps when you kiss me.  We've been together seven years and just looking at you across the room makes me want to attack you (in the best way!).  I love that after fertility treatments, a pregnancy that involved some serious weight gain, a c-section and frequent spit up (from little bits, not me), that there is still sensational chemistry between us.  I can't imagine why I ever kissed anyone before you. 

Then the week turned into a horror show with literally every member of our family throwing up.  And while it certainly was not as sexy as the start of the week, it was illustrative of why I am madly in love with you.  In the midst of it all, you were so fully present and kind and patient.  Managing the kids while I was throwing up, cleaning up Big W's yuck from the bathroom floor because I couldn't do it, washing the p.j.s out while I laid limp in the bed.  Wow.  It was such a gift.

I had planned on writing to you that weekend and am sorry that I delayed.  It is so important for you to know that I believe you are amazing.  I know that in the conflict laiden times it may not seem that I believe that.  But please know that even then I wouldn't trade you for any other husband in the world.  You are so faithful.  So present in our lives - from assembling desks, to buying me a new car, to managing our finances, to changing light bulbs and taking out the trash.  You have such an exhausting schedule with the kids and your job and the farm yet you find time to do all of these things that make our family, and our life together, work.  And you still make my toes curl and spine tingle (and even clean up throw up when called upon).  Thank you.  I love you.



What I love about Wordless Wednesday is its ability to both:  (a) make me prolific, somehow knowing I can't write on this day makes me particularly interested in writing, and (b) make me patient, I often act quickly without thinking and WWs make me wait to say what I have to say until Thursday.

Hence another day with three posts, having typed most of it up yesterday!!!

So this was one was inspired by a Beth Moore bible study I attended Tuesday night with worship led by Kari Jobe.  Have you heard her music?  She sings pictures, images, beauty.  And Tuesday, the room was filled to overflowing with over 3,000 women singing with her.  The songs can't help but resonate particularly deeply for those with young children.  How pleased the Lord must have been to hear these words float up to Heaven in this intensely feminine way. 

As you may know from previous posts, God often uses music to speak to me and over me.  And this was just a shining example of His words washing over a tired and ready spirit.

Our nursery has all three cribs lines up against the wall and one very comfortable glider in the dark corner away from the hall light.  And I can't count the nights I've held one or all of the children in that glider, rocking them, singing to them, and pressing them up against my heartbeat.  Kissing their foreheads.  Holding their hands.  Wrapping them up.  Ahhh.  It is the sweetest and tenderest of moments, even when I'm the most exhausted.  Last night, our little girl, held so tightly to my neck while I rocked her out of a bad dream, I thought I might not be able to catch my breath.  But I loved every second of it. 

Imagine that is you and the Father.  Imagine when you are scared that you can be held in His lap and rocked and wrapped up and comforted with His voice, His singing over you. 

Her music can't help but make you see that.  Feel that.  I share a few lyrics of hers from Singing Over Me and The More I Seek You (respectively) - get her cd and listen when you're tired and in need of comfort:

Your songs have never stopped
You've been singing, always singing over me
Your words are still enough
And You're singing
Give me faith, Give me strength enough to wait
To stand in faith, And listen for, listen for Your melody

I want to sit at your feet, drink from the cup in your hand.
Lay back against you and breath, hear your heart beat
This love is so deep, it's more than I can stand.
I melt in your peace, it's overwhelming


Lysa Terkeurst has recently written a book called Made to Crave.  It's about how we were designed to crave God (yet often crave something else).  A scripture she use to encourages those struggling with cravings elsewhere resonated:

Lamentations 3:22-24

Because of the LORD’s great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail.

They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.

I say to myself, “The LORD is my portion; therefore I will wait for him.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Wordless Wednesdays (well, not quite)

It wasn't my photo to post today - Piper Kate, a 23 month old triplet, passed away from Leigh's disease.  Here is her photo which is my photo post for the day:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Calling and The Conflict

Last night, I couldn't fall asleep.  I received a clear word about some next steps I need to take, or at least begin the preparations to take.  And then today I heard about an opportunity that would take me, geographically, away from the calling yet I feel equally compelled to investigate it. 

What do you do when you say, "Speak, for your servant is listening," hear one set of instructions, and then shortly thereafter here something different?  How do you know which path to follow?  How do you decide when you are at a fork in the road and in conflict over the direction to choose? 

This has happened to me once before.  I won't go into the details because it's a particularly long story, but sufficed to say, there was a great conflict.  My heart, my best friend, and my then boyfriend all were saying "stay!"  But something supernatural was clearly saying "go!"  I was a believer as were those in my life giving me the word to stay.  Clear words.  And words I wanted to hear.  Yet I moved.  I went.  And looking back on that time in my life, in what I believe was the most significant decision I had yet to make in my adult life, I still can't believe I went.  It was an absolute miracle.  One that every force fought against. 

And now, another fork.  One not nearly as dramatic.  Nor as spectacularly geographic.  When Samuel said to the Lord, "Speak, for your servant is listening," what the Lord said next makes my head spin and I can only imagine Samuel's reaction.  The Lord doesn't always give us a word that we want to hear or that we want to share.  But wouldn't we rather HEAR the word than ignore it? 

"See, I am about to do something in Israel that will make the ears of everyone who hears about it tingle...."  (I Samuel 3)

And once Samuel started listening, the Lord kept speaking, and isn't that the absolute apex, the ultimate goal?  To hear and to know.  "The LORD was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the LORD.  The LORD continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word." (I Samuel 3 - emphasis added)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Despite the illness...

My dear sweet husband told me to run to church this morning (it's in our neighborhood) since the kids would be napping.  One of my biggest struggles right now is the lack of church or bible study in my life to help me grow - with my work schedule & Bray's restaurant/travel, it makes it such a challenge, and church has always been such an integral piece of my learning and growing and staying grounded.

What a refreshment - this morning was amazing.  The sermon series is from Philippians.  And among other things, this morning the pastor referenced a scripture in Isaiah which I knew but hadn't heard in a while:
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

The pastor reported that astronomists have discovered galaxies 13 billion light years away from us - 13 billion light years!  Unimaginably far.  And that is how high above our thoughts and ways the Saviour's thoughts and ways are.  I've recently found myself asking why.  I written about some of the circumstances I've witnessed that have led to the questioning.  And a dear sweet friend of mine recently wrote a post about the same question.  This morning I was reminded that it isn't even possible for Him to answer that question when His ways and thoughts are so far above mine.  I don't understand.  But I wonder how hard it would be to accept my inability to understand and trust in His master plan?  Trust He's doing it right.  He's working it together for the good of those that love the Lord and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8).  Of course it would be hard.  Constantly hard.  But I'm going to try.

The closing song this morning, I'd never heard before, resonated.
The Greatness of Our God (Hillsong):

Give me eyes to see the more of who You are
May what I behold still my anxious heart
Take what I have known and break it all apart
For You my God are greater still.

No sky contains, no doubt restrains
All You are, the greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know and I'm far from close
To all You are, the greatness of our God.

Give me grace to see beyond this moment here
To believe that there is nothing left to fear
That You alone are high above it all
For You my God are greater still.

No sky contains, no doubt restrains
All You are, the greatness of our God.
I spend my life to know and I'm far from close
To all You are, the greatness of our God.

Is it possible to have that many people vomiting?

Yes, a graphic title, and one graphic enough to make you skip this blog entry if you have a weak stomach.  This has been a wretched week.  Last weekend I was doped up on drugs for an upper respiratory infection which I'm pretty sure the baby caught with fever and lethargy.  As we were coming up for air and I decided I could in fact rejoin boot camp, a vicious stomach bug hit our home.  Caught me unaware originally with a little throw up and other implications from the little lady Tues night and Wednesday.  But Thursday it hit full force.  I had one of the biggest speaking engagements I've ever had locally - client rich audience on my practice area hot spot, over 200 attendees when I got a call at one from my frantic nanny (my speech was at 2:30).  She didn't know whether to call ER or get one of us home to our eldest who could not stop throwing up and was lying limp in her arms.  Bray couldn't get off work so I had no choice but to make my apologies to the conference organizers and rush home to get him to the doctor.  I was in East Houston (I live in West Houston) and somehow got lost coming home, was running out of gas, and going 80 just praying that he was okay.  Fielding calls from the nanny and the doctor as we tried to make a determination about whether I should just call 911.  He started perking up a bit so I just got home to rush him to the doctor's office.  Shocking prediction - stomach bug.  We got some nausea meds but as I was walking through the door I had to rush to the bathroom to begin my own version of the vomiting plus saga which lasted stunningly the entire evening and I couldn't even keep down water.  Just as I dozed off around 10, I rushed into the kids room in time to have the baby throw up all over me.  It was all I could do not to dry heave on top of him.  We felt we were coming out of it Saturday morning when it hit Bray like a ton of bricks - I ran between the healing kids and a heaving husband.  My mom got it Sat night because she'd come to help. 

I am EXHAUSTED.  Bone tired.  Lost three pounds.  We are trying to mend, but I have to say that's the worst our family has ever endured on the illness front in 15 months as we've never all been hit like that - and in the 7 years I've known Bray, I've never seen him throw up.  I don't know how moms do it.  Seriously.  How do you take care of kids when you can barely stand up?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Take Down That Cross!

In the much reported case of Trunk v. City of San Diego this week, a Korean War Veterans Memorial's cross was held by an appellate court to be unconstitutional.  And on various radio and television stations I've heard these words, "take down the cross!"  Whether it was in public protest over the senselessness of removing a memorial cross from Mt. Soledad that has stood in honor of our fallen heroes since 1954 or in victory over removing yet another religious symbol from the public arena, the words rang out, "take down that cross." 

As Christians, we quickly cry out over the rapid deterioration of faith in our country and decry the secular forces at work all around.  It's easy to do.  Issue a sound bite.  Stand up for your faith.  Rail against the nameless faceless forces moving the nation to a society without a moral compass or faith-based perspective.  Heck, we can even pat ourselves on the back for being outspoken Christians standing up regardless of what persecution we might endure (because we're all just so surrounded by those who would stone us for saying I wish they'd leave that cross up...........). 

Yet quietly, in our homes, in our hearts, in our heads, we voluntarily take down the cross without any appellate court mandate.  The crosses being removed from sea to shining sea are just as visible as the one standing twenty-nine feet tall in La Jolla.  And I dare say those crosses being attacked and destroyed one by one have far greater implications for this country than that cross ever has.  We need to buy that new car or new shoes or new gadget so there wasn't enough money in the budget for missions this year.  We are SO accomplished that we proudly tout what all we are capable of on our own.  We stop caring what filters by our eyes, and encamps in our minds, from the television, computer, and movie screens.  Lies.  Lust.  Laziness.  Is the Lord anywhere still to be found?  Wasn't the cross removed from millions of places long before this case was ever heard by a judge?  Where's the outcry?

Not only are we to be a shining light, a shining cross, a town on a hill (Matt. 5:14-16), but we are to take UP our cross and follow Him.  (Matt. 10:38, 16:24)  I searched, but nowhere in Scripture could I find "take down your cross......."  Maybe if we, if I, spent less time focused on crosses elsewhere and instead focused more on the cross that should be standing high on my hill, I would see change in my community, our nation, this world, one by one by one. 

Matthew 5
13 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.
14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.


A co-worker's sister in law lost her battle with cancer yesterday morning.  She had two and a half year old triplets.  They tried for years to get pregnant.  Shortly after they had the children, she fought and won a battle with cancer.  Then it returned.  With a vengeance.  And despite her tenacity at the fight, she lost the earthly battle.  And these three beautiful children are without their mother.  I have to tell you, I can not comprehend it.  My mind absolutely can not wrap itself around this loss.  I cried over my children last night sleeping peacefully in their beds when I got the email.  I prayed for the family.  Then with great gratitude, I prayed for my family.  We serve an amazing and awesome God.  But there are days, and I know He understands that we in our human minds "see through a glass darkly," that I can't help but do anything but ask, "Why?"  Please pray for this family today if you have time.  Going through an unimaginable loss.  And then thank God for yours. 

A record, three posts, one day. Up first, funny kids.

So there's so much I want to share today but I really don't want to take away from the seriousness of some with the lightness of others, so I am writing a record THREE postings today, which will probably do me for the next week - but whenever it hits, I try to write now.  So the lighthearted blog post first. 

My kids are hysterical.  I realized this when my assistant asked me yesterday if they were doing anything new, and I started rattling off ALL they were doing new.  I mean, they keep me in stitches.  Even though a lot of us have been sick this past week w/whatever is going around in Houston.  They still keep me laughing. 

First off, our little lady.  Despite the sadness of Aunt Norma Lee's death and services last week, she managed to keep us smiling.  We took the kids (now just 15 mos old) to the visitation on Tuesday night.  They were SO excited to be free of the gate that cages them into the play room at home that they ran around like crazy people.  (See previous blog on banshees to see why I didn't say ran around like banshees, though that still has a better ring to it in my mind.)  But my little bit especially.  She was running all around the funeral home, shoes kicked off, head thrown back, laughing like the world was her oyster (and it is).  She ran around the living room and the chapel area and in between the pews, daring one of us to catch her.  Laughing non stop.  I've never seen her like this.  And there was a stray kitten outside the doors of the chapel that she was ENAMOURED with - she loves all animals - but here she was banging on this glass door mewing to this kitten.  The kitten didn't know whether to try to rush into her arms or run fast the other direction, so she did a little of both.  There was something so precious about such life running in the midst of death - something hopeful and renewing.  And Aunt Norma Lee loved these children so you know she was just thrilled that there was the sound of children's laughter in that place.  Ever since that night, our little bit has run headlong all around our house.  Laughing all the time and trying to escape and hide from us - I've lost her in the house twice already.  Good heavens, what the months ahead hold. 

Meanwhile, the attention seeking baby has absolutely turned into an angel.  Not that he's not always been a love, but he is absolutely perfect (particularly in light of his other brother's terrible disobedience) - his toys are taken and he patiently finds a new one, he kisses everyone, he reads books quietly, he passes balls, and makes speedy car sounds with his mouth, and generally does the most adorable things in the most obedient and delightful way.  And his smile, if that's not more breathtaking than a sunrise, I don't know what is.  He has a few little crooked teeth and his face splits open in absolute delight.  Oh.  It is pure joy to watch. 

And the senior statesman, while being a total and complete troublemaker these days and seriously testing boundaries, is still funny and smart and gorgeous.  If you're on the ground on all fours, he'll sneak up & hide behind your back.  He wants to learn everything RIGHT NOW so he gets so frustrated when he can't figure out a puzzle or stacking cups and he works feverishly until his impatience dictates throwing them across the room.  He and his sister or brother will play chase and hide and seek from each other and get the biggest laugh out of it.  He will rush to the door when Bray or I come home and be absolutely delighted over our return.  While he's not using all the words he once picked up, he's moving around at a brisker clip, and he is still the only one picking up new words - particularly animal sounds. 

They are absolutely the most delightful creatures on the face of this planet.  And I am the luckiest woman in the world.  I am madly passionately in love with my husband, a fact I was reminded of again last night - I think he must be the sexiest man in the whole wide world.  And the fact that I get to kiss him every day is so exciting to me.  And then we have these kids that absolutely astonish us, frustrate us, crack us up, and generally give us the greatest joy we have ever known.  What a gift.  Thank you sweet Heavenly Father.  There are no words to express how overwhelmed I am about these four other creatures sharing my home.

Friday, January 7, 2011

In Memoriam

Last weekend, we lost Bray's Aunt Norma Lee.  She was such an integral part of his family that I don't remember the family without her.  She became my Aunt Norma Lee too.  This is her last December with one of the babies, then not even three months old.  We'll tell them all the wonderful stories of her.

Aunt Norma Lee, we'll miss you and we love you.