Friday, September 29, 2006

Tears of Joy

So....I guess I'm the photo queen, but I'm wordy enough and a picture's worth a thousand words. Pictures actually save me some space.
I pulled up to my house today after running errands, and caught sight of a vision that sent tears jumping out of the corners of my eyes!! Take a look at my porch today:

It is JUST how I have imagined it and it isn't even done yet!!! You can see where the steps have yet to be poured in the front, but you get the idea. It's finally coming together. It's going to be even more fabulous after I paint, and I'll try really hard not to post more pictures until that point in time.....just to avoid overexposure!
Anyway - that's all for today. Nothing profound, nothing thought-provoking. Just tears over my porch, I guess.

DAILY BLISS: Pumpkin spice lattes made with soy milk and Halloween costumes.

<3 Christy

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Becky's Mind Candy

I love to read! I read for fun, for relaxation, and of course to attempt to appease my insatiable knowledge cravings. Being in full time seminary class, much of my reading time is occupied with the knowledge part. But today.... today I decided it was high time I pick up a little of what I call "mind candy." So I headed into the campus bookstore and found a great sale on some deliciously enjoyable fiction novels. I splurged.

In my attempt to treat myself to the escape of a good book, I picked up an intriguing story called Mozart's Sister. Did you know that Mozart had a sister who was equally as talented as he? Her name was Nannerl Mozart. Author Nancy Moser has done an incredible job of telling her story in a beautifully written, well researched historical fiction novel based on Nannerl's life! Nannerl Mozart was denied the prestigious opportunities that Wolfgang had because she was a girl. But more than a statement about inequality among the sexes, Mozart's Sister is a thought provoking story that is challenging me to think about my purpose, my calling, and my gifts. In the dedication, Moser writes something I think is incredibly profound:

"To all who live in this amazing age of opportunity. Waste no chance to carry out your God-given purpose. Too many have not had the luxury of CHOICE."

So here's to you, Nannerl Mozart! And here's to God for the purpose He's woven into my being. I determine to faithfully live out that purpose no matter how it scares me. How dare I do any less in light of those like Nannerl who had no opportunity to do so!

So much for Mind Candy!!! This is something to chew on!!!

Porch Progress

I have posted before that I have an older house that's slowly being renovated. We are finally working on the porch! We have lived here for three years, and I bought this darling house, knowing that I would tear down the dismal room that served as a porch and open it up into a real, live, southern-style front porch!'s what it looked like before:

I mean, it's OK, but it just isn't my dream house, you know? I love porches. I even have a book about porches. I dream of sitting on my porch with a mug of hot cider on a cold night with a blanket and a book. I dream of hanging patriotic bunting from my porch rail in the summertime. I dream of having a hammock even - but this may be far-reaching.
At any rate, I have spent hours and hours with graph paper and issues of magazines like Country Living, Country Home, Cottage Style and Bungalow Style dreaming, designing and planning. And finally, my day has come. My porch is now under construction. Here's what it looked like after the first day - Demolition Day:

That's my sweet hubby on the left, surveying the damage. We paid somebody else to do it so he wouldn't have to. And that's my friend that I'm paying to do the porch on the right.

So, here's what the porch looked like yesterday with my fat craftsman-esque columns basically constructed:

Anyway, I suppose there is a universal appeal to a front-porch lifestyle. I'm expecting that having a front porch will be life-changing. Well, maybe not expecting, but hoping. Well, maybe not life-changing, but life-slowing. Not that it will reduce the number of ballet practices or after-school clubs my kids are involved in, and not that it will turn off the noise of modern family life, but I guess that I hope I will hear it calling my name in the middle of my life, and that the call will lure me outside to have a cup of tea, and for five mintues now and again, make me feel like my life has slowed down. I guess that's kind of how dreams are - they're things you shoot for even if you never get that far.

So, now that the silly dreams of my own mind are out there in public, I'll bid you farewell. More updates will come - there are lots of beautiful details being added to my columns today, front steps are being poured out of concrete, and railings will be added between the columns. And when that's done - PAINT!! Yahoo!!

DAILY BLISS: Chocolate chip cookies, fresh from the oven, made with my kids' help!

- Christy

Sunday, September 24, 2006

More Party Photos

So, for all the girls at the Woman On The Edge event yesterday, here are a few more photos of my party, as promised:

Here's the dinner table once the sun went down....

- Christy

Happy Autumnal Equinox!

So.....I'm a total freak. I'm sure you've already guessed that if you've read any of my blog at all. But, I really love autumn. I spent my childhood in Minnesota, and it was always so beautiful when the weather turned cool and the leaves turned colorful. Then we moved to Florida. The most colorful season we have is the muted green of spring. I say muted green, because it's never even that beautiful bright green that comes after everything dies for the winter and comes back to life in the spring. We just don't have much in the way of seasons here.
But I celebrate the change of seasons with my family anyway. I think it's important that my children are aware of God's earth - how its seasons are metaphoric for the seasons in our lives, how there is a constant cycle of death and know....all that deep, poetic stuff that only nerds and poets think about.
We have our rituals for every season, but fall is my favorite! Every year, I hold out the hope that by tossing silk leaves about and serving apple cider and cinnamon-laced desserts, somehow Autumn will hear me calling her and come to visit me here in Florida. She never does, but that hope never seems to die.
This year, we hosted a dinner. I've done this before, but it's been a couple of years. I've spent two days baking and cutting up squash and sweet potatoes! Yummy! Here's a photo of the table in my backyard:
We gathered so many of our dear ones together and everyone enjoyed a bountiful feast! I know that everyone is going to think that I'm crazy now. But here's the thing - I'm not all about being Martha. The dinner was forty-five minutes late getting to the table. Everyone was hot and sweaty, since apparently Miss Autumn didn't hear me calling. It wasn't perfect. But it was so beautiful! Looking down that long table and seeing the ones I love - my friends AND my family all in one place - my grandma, my mom and dad, my friends and some of their parents, my friends and their babies, my brothers and sisters-in-law. What a beautiful reminder of God's Earth and its seasons, and of His people and their seasons.
(sigh) Let me wipe that little tiny tear out of the corner of my eye. I'm headed to the kitchen to find some leftover apple spice cake for breakfast.

<3 Christy

Friday, September 22, 2006

The Incredible, Unsinkable Tadpoles

Well, my babies are growing up. Not my tadpoles. My son, a couple of weeks ago, brought home a jar full of tadpoles from a friend's house where he had spent the night. The tadpoles had hatched the previous night in his friend's swimming pool. Take a minute to let that sink in!
Anyway, we had a few casualties the first night, and I presumed that most of them would perish within a few days, due to the chlorine in the pool (the levels of which were obviously not high enough, but I assumed there must at least be some). I knew of their supposed fate because I spent an extensive amount of time Googling the care and raising of tadpoles. Chlorine is their enemy. You are even supposed to buy special water conditioners if you are keeping them in tap water.
Well, I already was going to have to buy some goldfish food for these guys to eat, and I really didn't want to invest in water conditioners, knowing that these guys would be dead in a matter of days. I decided on the tactic that we used with our goldfish (which probably explains their limited life spans) - if you leave the tap water out for 24 hours, the chlorine supposedly dissipates.
There never seemed to be that much time to just let the water sit around, though, and we presumed that overnight would be just fine.
They lived. They grew. And on Sunday, they sprouted back legs! Which really freaked me out! I hadn't expected them to live that long and knew I had read something about them needing something to climb on, due to the fact that they lose their ability to breathe through gills when their legs sprout! I panicked and grabbed a dirty rock out of my front yard. They have been just fine, and didn't even mess with the rock.
Until today. When the kids were on their way out the door to school, my son came running back in the house shouting incoherently about tads and legs (we have given them a collective moniker - tads). The front legs of one had burst out of its side, and it was now climbing out of the plastic box. He could barely contain himself! I guess they need rocks and real air once their front legs sprout.
Since the kids have been at school, another one also sprouted front legs. We will be taking them to a nearby lake as their front legs sprout. I have no desire to deal with 25 frogs jumping around on my front porch, not to mention the fact that I really don't want to try catching enough bugs to feed them......
Anyway, this little group of survivors is soon to be released into the wild, where I'm quite sure they will be eaten by a catfish. Oh well.

<3 Christy

Giant ginger cookies baking in the oven, and my DH, home from his business trip, having earned several comp days to spend with me!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

My Inner Warrior

Ladies, I have, this day, discovered a fierce warrior lurking inside of me. Yet again, I put off my grocery trip until there was simply nothing but condiments and moldy fruit in my refrigerator. Fearing the possibility of what could be facing me at the local supercenter, I carefully mapped out my meal plan, made my list, loaded up the kids and headed out to Wal-Mart on a Sunday afternoon. There really is nothing on earth that is quite like it. Jostling and crashing, empty shelves and packed aisles - the living, breathing definition of insanity. My kids (who usually get to look at toys with Daddy, but Daddy is out of town today) picked at each other and dragged their feet around every corner in a shameful manner. There were a few times that I cut through several lanes of traffic, kind of hoping to scare them into staying close by and being quiet. It didn't help much, though. I switched strategy mid-store and decided upon the pull-the-cart-into-the-middle-of-the-aisle-crossing-guard-style approach until my ducklings had safely crossed each and every street. By the time I stood in line and paid and got to the car, I felt that collapse was imminent. But, as I drove home, an emboldened sensibility began to sneak up on me. By the time pulled into my driveway, I really was proud of having survived this - I could certainly tackle the rest of the day if I could handle that!
So.....I made a real dinner. Artichokes and everything (yeah - my kids love them!). My daughter suggested candlelight since we were in the middle of a thunderstorm. Feeling a little giddy, I agreed.
They both wound up getting bathed and showered - Zing! I made homemade cookies for dessert - Zap! I even tackled the three loads of laundry that had been moved from my bed to my desk to my bed to my desk to my bed to the kitchen table (thinking this might make it seem more urgent) - Zow!
By the time the kids were in bed, I decided that, after the day's successes, I simply had to pull myself together for one last battle. Armed with the Scrubbing Bubbles and a brand new rag, I screamed out, "Yaaaaaaaarrrgh!" and charged into my shower! Most of you may not understand the pure risk involved in this maneuver. My shower, girls, hasn't been scrubbed in a time akin to the gestation period of a pachyderm. It's just nasty. There was serious danger of my being overpowered by Slimy Fingers of Living Grime (which might be a good name for a rock band - or at least an album).
Maybe it was the way my hair sticks up by this time of day, maybe it was some wild glint in my eye - whatever. I scared it into submission. Not only did I clean the shower, I cleaned all the pieces of the bathroom. At once. A feat not often accomplished in my home.
And so, I retire with a cup of jasmine tea. That's enough for one day. I wouldn't want anyone getting any ideas of what I could really accomplish if I just put my mind to it!
DAILY BLISS: Honestly - jasmine tea.
<3 Christy

Becky's thoughts...

Have you ever had one of those moments where things suddenly begin to make sense? Sort of like a realization washes over you that God has been at work, through things that seem to have no connection, all to accomplish one purpose in your life. I've been having those moments lately. As I'm getting ready for the first Woman on the Edge event, I'm spending a lot of time looking back over my journey to begin piecing together the message God wants to say through Woman on the Edge, and I'm realizing... OOOOOOHH!! THIS is what He's been teaching me!!!!

Suddenly, it all makes sense. The journey through some painful times, the daring call to New Orleans, the facing of some unlovely things about myself, the depression I've dealt with, and even the joyful moments have all been teaching me truths that fit the Woman on the Edge message. I've watched in awe as material for this conference flows out of email conversations, discussions, and thoughts I've journaled over the past year. I had no idea I was working on conference material, but here it is!! My jaw is dropping as God brings just the right women to the team and how He has ordered their lives with just the right experiences and truths as well.

Yet again, I marvel at God's incredible ability to orchestrate my life into something wonderful... in SPITE of me.