Monday, July 26, 2010

A Time for Everything

The past couple of days, I'm just been hit by the ebbs and flows of life. On Thursday, we got the devastating news of a family who lost their child two days before he was due to be born. Devastating doesn't even feel like an adequate word. So some of us gathered together to pray with them last night. My life group was meeting as well so we excused ourselves after some time. As I was driving away from the house, I was overwhelmed by how surreal everything seemed. Here was a family whose world had just been shaken so strongly. Yet, all around them, everything was going on as if nothing had changed. Errands were being run, gas was being pumped, and dinner was being made. When we got to life group, we visited about everything and nothing - laughing and eating to our heart's content. It almost felt like a completely separate world. Then I went to Erin and Gregg's house to visit. We talked about upcoming plans for the week and weekend. Again, we laughed at how "funny" Erin is and how Gregg just can't keep a secret (with no help from yours truly).

When I was finally driving home, I couldn't help but think about how complex life is. All around us, people are making plans, celebrating great joys, and mourning deeply. I kept looking at my fellow drivers wondering which it was that they were doing. The truth is, you never know what someone is dealing with. I think that so often I have read Ecclesiastes 3 selfishly. I will go through all times in my life and God will make everything beautiful in its time. While there may be truth in that, I think I missed a big point. I missed that these aren't definable seasons with beginnings and ends. They are going on all around us all of the time and we just don't know it. They change moment to moment and person to person, interwoven all around us. You just never know what someone is dealing with.

It humbles me....

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Channeling Julie Andrews

Yesterday I was able to experience one of my favorite things. I LOVE when the sun is shining and it is raining lightly. It's perfect! Rainbows come from days like this and even if they don't, I just love sunny, rainy days. As I enjoyed the sun/rain, I got thinking about other things that I love. Just thought I would make a list. Feel free to add on to it or share your own:

- the smell of fresh cut grass
- a gentle breeze on a warm day
- a sweet little voice saying "It's D!" and singing "Sing Swee' Ni-gale Awwww...."
- the face of a little boy eager to get some solids in his mouth or taking a lunge across the floor
- folding yourself into clean sheets
- holding hands
- the smell of a bookstore
- pretty toes after a fresh pedicure
- coming home to a clean house
- rainbows
- the perfect song that you haven't heard in a while
- laughing until you can't breath
- the sound of a river
- discovering a fantastic new recipe
- a long, safe hug

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Houston Project 2010

Last year I joined the Houston Project for the first time. It was a HUGE learning experience for me and God opened my eyes to so many different things. It was pretty mind blowing. This year, God still did some amazing things but as all annual experiences go, it was different.

Again I worked with the three and four year old group. They are full of such sweetness you want to scoop them up every time you get the chance. Since most of our kids are either Bhutanese, African, or Hispanic, they all have those deep, chocolate brown eyes that you can stare at forever. And their smiles just melt your heart - even if most of their teeth are silver.

Unlike last year, I was not able to go all five days. On the fourth day, I missed it due to prior commitments. It was a blessing because the night before, I was wide awake from 1:45 - 4:00. So what do you do when you can't sleep? Of course, pray. The kids were on my mind so they were the focus of my prayers. I was telling God about how last year was so much about how big He is and how much He can do if we are just obedient to go where He needs us. So I asked Him what this year is about - not just for me but for us all. I kept hearing the word, "joy". The more I prayed and thought about it, the more "joy" made sense: His provision of strength, the joy from the kids and from the volunteers, His joy over the week, it all fit. So when I went back on the last night, I soaked in every last smile, giggle, ah-ha moment, and bead of sweat that ran down our faces for the sake of these people. Yes, it was a joyful week.

I do want to share one story. This sweet little man is Hope. His family is from Africa but his English was almost perfect. He stole my heart pretty quickly. A little ball of energy and full of desire to participate, he made driving 45 minutes to the site each day easy. Thankfully, he took to me too. Sorry I don't have one of his sweet face. It might be better because you would melt if you could see those eyes!

As I said, I was gone on Wednesday so when I got back on Thursday, I went to collect our materials from the apartment. As I opened the door, he walked out. His whole face lit up and he held his arms up to be scooped up (which I did, of course). He touched my face and said, "My teacher's here! Where were you yesterday? I missed you." I told him that I missed him too and was glad to see him. The conversation immediately turned to bubbles, balls, and could he carry our class sign but he would not let me put him down or stop touching my face. I could have stayed in that moment all night.

Thank you, God, for little boys like Hope.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Take a Bow

Last Thursday, I took my friend Kim to see Wicked. I've seen it before - several times. In fact, this was time number five. Yes, you read that right. However, if you have seen the show, you know that it is the type of show which you want to share with people over and over again. It was a great cast and it just never gets old. Especially when you see it with someone for the first time. All of the laughs and gasps are just fun.

I've mentioned it before but I've really grown to love the standing ovation. Not for me - I would hate the attention. You've seen me selling tickets, helping with costume changes, but never on the stage. Not my thing. I'd rather be backstage! For those on stage, it is one of my favorite times of the night. After months of hard work - acting, singing, choreography, and being on the road - they do their thing in front of a packed house. To say thank you, the audience shows love - lots of it. Clapping, whistles, hoots, and longevity of it all. On Thursday night, it was one of the best I've ever seen. From the time the curtain when down, people around me are literally leaning forward of the edge of their seats to just dying to get up and show some love. When the time came, you couldn't keep them in their chairs.

It isn't my place but when that happens, I can't help but feel a swelling of pride on my chest. Seeing people appreciated and to experience such recognition for their hard work just makes me feel proud of them. Then they get to take their bow. It's great. I can't even imagine how a parent would feel.

Reason number 4 why live shows are so great - the standing ovation!

Monday, July 05, 2010

Oh What a Night...

You know how some days just exceed your expectations? Yesterday was one of those days. Nothing huge happened but it was just a really good day. Church was amazing but that will be another post later this week. This one is about the less meaningful but fun-filled evening.

Several of my friends took advantage of the long weekend and got out of dodge. The few of us that were still in town broke up into various groups and hung out for the 4th. My friend, Jennifer, opened up her house to about 10 of us. The guys grilled out and the girls made sides. There was lots of eating involved but someone was gracious and didn't subject any of us to the horror that is always mid-bite pictures. After dinner, we played some games (some of us aren't smarter than 5th graders but we do know the physics of catching grapes in our mouths with various changing variables) and cleaned up before heading out to the fireworks.

We all piled in the back of our friends truck and rode to watch the fireworks. You would not guess that it was July last night. PERFECT weather! We all kept saying how we couldn't believe how nice it was. When I got home, I checked the weather - 81 degrees! On July 4th! In Houston, TX! When does that ever happen? Add a light breeze and clear, star-filled skies and you've got our amazing night.

The firework show we went to was a dud but behind us, there were about three HUGE shows going on. We just turned around and watched them from a distance. They were gorgeous. I bet they went on for about an hour and it was non-stop. So instead of one right above us, we watch the horizon explode in color all around us. We enjoyed it and decided to go there next year. We headed back to the house for desserts, silliness, and Catch Phrase. Then it was time to head home. It was a great 4th!

This just shows you the amazing guys I know - They volunteered to do this without anyone asking:

Before leaving for fireworks, the great Catching the Grape in Your Mouth event commenced. We all rode in the back of this truck to the firework show so it became about doing it in a moving vehicle with wind and curves. Childish maybe but definitely entertaining for all. We all played but my pictures are not attractive at all. Use your imagination.

Here we are waiting for the fireworks to begin:

The girls stayed in the truck and laughed at the boys playing frisbee in the very muddy field around us.