Monday, March 29, 2010

church clothes

After we came home from church yesterday, I had to take a picture of Chica before she changed into her play clothes. This was the Easter dress runner up. It makes my French minor-ing heart go pitter patter when I look at it.

It's hard to see the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe with her sitting down, but the minute we were out the door, she popped a squat. For some reason she just loves to sit on that little ledge.

C'est fabuleaux, non?

Thursday, March 25, 2010

happy tears

It all started so innocently.

All I wanted was a cute picture of Chica in her high chair while she finished her dinner. These days I have to work extra hard to get her to smile, especially when my camera is around. She doesn't dole out grins for any old reason. Those suckers will cost you at the current going rate of looking like a fool.

Thankfully I tried a couple of things and got the shot.

Chica was tickled. I worked some more silly magic and a little snicker squeaked out.

Then I really cranked up the crazy, and she erupted in a side-splitting fit of laughter.

The painful kind that hurts your belly and leaves you gasping for breath.

It echoed throughout the kitchen and drifted into the family room. Before I knew it, my baby's eyes were brimming with big, fat tears.

Who knew laughing could reduce a toddler to a puddle of happy tears?

I've never loved her more.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

march merriment

That grin on my daughter's face is there for two reasons.

1. There's a huge inflatable Truman in our yard. She says good-bye to him when we pull out of the driveway. I took him down the other night, dragged him into the hallway and she flipped out. "Tiger down!! Tiger down!!"

It's a match made in heaven.

2. The University of Northern Iowa defeated the KU Chickenhawks yesterday. There are only a handful of things I dislike as much as KU.
-Grocery shopping
-Bugs and snakes
-Going to the dentist
-The place where you go to get your drivers license

After Kansas lost I told Dan while my bracket is in shambles, my heart is full. We have a tough game ahead of us, but with Kansas out of the tournament it feels like we've won the national championship.

Go Tigers!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

man, oh man

Man, oh man...

what a difference a year makes.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

find new strength

"Even youths will become weak and tired,

and young men will fall in exhaustion.

But those who trust in the Lord

will find new strength.

They will soar high on wings like eagles.

They will run and not grow weary.

They will walk and not faint."

Isaiah 40:30-31

Monday, March 15, 2010

youth highlights

Youth ministry is in full swing bloggers. We're up to our eyeballs in release forms and trip deposits. Some days it feels like we're treading water as the waves of people pleasing and teen corralling lap against our faces in one never-ending current.

Then God, in His goodness and sovereignty pulls back the veil and gives us a tiny peek at what He's been up to. In the past month I've witnessed two accounts of His faithfulness in the lives of our students. If four years of ministry have taught me anything, it's to breath deeply the fragrance of His handiwork as if it's an exquisite bouquet shipped just to me. We walk by faith not by sight, but every now and then, God gives a little show and tell.

Evidence He's still moving:

Exhibit 1- Youth Leading Worship.

Our kids led the worship service in Big Church.

I took these pictures during the final rehearsal.

I'm so glad I did because I could fully participate during the real deal. It was incredible to worship under their leadership.

Exhibit 2- Girls' Leadership Trip to Nashville.

Mid-February we took a group of high school girls to Nashville for Lifeway's Girls Ministry Conference. The purpose of the conference was to equip (adult and student) leaders to better minister to girls. Before we opened registration for the trip, I forewarned our girls this trip would be learning-intensive. In the day and a half we spent at the conference, there were four worship sessions, four breakout sessions, plus a working lunch. It wasn't for the faint of heart.

Our girls were troopers. They were engaged and excited. Other churches couldn't believe how many of our girls wanted to come. This was the first year Lifeway hosted this event so I'll admit it was a wild card. Worse case scenario, if it had been truly awful, we would have played hooky the rest of the weekend with our favorite Nashville tour guide.

Thankfully, the conference was great and the girls got so much out of being there. (Including autographed materials from real, live authors!)

They had raffles throughout the weekend. Because we had so many girls, we won a majority of the prizes. Each time one of our names was called, our tables went nuts. We might have scared some of the fellow attendees, but we couldn't help it. Want to hear a bunch of high school girls scream like wild banshees? Give them free stuff.

Or run into Taylor Swift at the mall later on that night.

Both work very well.

I have the hearing loss to prove it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

birthday recap

Friday I turned 25 and let me just say, it was the best birthday ever. About one o'clock in the morning somebody came into my room and started poking me. I opened my sleepy eyes and standing at my bedside were my mom, my sister, my niece and my nephew.

I haven't jumped out of bed that fast since Chica was a newborn and made weird gagging noises in her sleep. It was a complete and utter surprise. I asked big girl cousin if Auntie Rachel was having a dream and she insisted, "No, it is real Auntie Rachel, it's real!"

They are so sneaky. We had a fabulous weekend. When Chica woke up the next morning to find her cousins at her house, she was beside herself. Friday night we went out to dinner with some friends. We tried to hit that magical window of time in between getting off of work and bedtime for the babies. Thank goodness the hostess put us in a little section of the restaurant with a good wall of glass separating us from the rest of the patrons. People could see the toddler circus, but they didn't have to hear it. Our waitress wasn't so fortunate. Bless her heart, she was a trouper.

Thank you everyone who helped us celebrate and for all your birthday wishes throughout the day. I went to sleep feeling well loved and lavishly blessed by you. I thank God that I'm not the woman I was when I was 24. My birthday wish for 25 is that He would continue working in my heart this year. I'm so grateful that as long as I'm living, He's not through with me yet. We've got a long way to go, but I praise Him for every step of holy progress along the way.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

another year older

In our little family, my birthday comes first on the calendar. One more day bloggers until I kick off our family's birthday season.

I love my birthday. Is that bad to say? I'm sure one of these years I won't enjoy celebrating it quite as much as I do now. But for now, I'm not old enough to dread getting even older.

And now, a letter to my mother.

Dear Mom,
Thank you for growing, birthing and raising me. I'm sorry I came too fast for you to get the epidural. Although, you were partially to blame for that one. If you hadn't insisted on those high school kids finishing up their badminton game after school even though you were in active labor, you might have made it on time to get the drugs. I'd like to think I was preparing you for how hard my teenage years would be. Here's a question for you. If you could go back in time, which situation would have you yelling, "give me the drugs!" at a higher decibel?
A. Giving birth to me.
B. Meeting my high school boyfriend.
C. All the above.
To make up for any trauma I may have caused you in these nearly 25 years of living on this planet, I gave you a grand baby with your namesake.

Kinda makes any memory of those labor pains drift away, doesn't it?

(It would probably take a few more grandchildren to exonerate me from my dating woes though.)

(We'll take it one birthday at a time.)