Monday, September 29, 2008

Community Helpers

One of my favorite things I get to do every week is hang out with kids that live in one of the government housing communities in the town where I work. Many of the kids are dirty, smell bad, wear clothes that don't fit them, and I never know when they've last had a bath. But they never cease to melt my heart. I love these precious angels.

On Sundays, we go to the community building in their community and hang out with them for a thing called Kids' Club. We love on them, play games with them, give them a snack, and tell them about Jesus and his big love for them. On Tuesdays and Thursdays, we gather together for Homework Helpers and invite the kids to get help with their homework. We've been doing Homework Helpers for just over 2 years now. And it's amazing the work that God is doing-- I've been around this community for almost 3 years now-- 3 years ago, almost none of the kids were in the grade they were supposed to be in. They were getting held back, were in remedial classes, and were just struggling in school. Sure, some of the kids are still struggling in school. But last year, not one of the kids that comes to Homework Helpers was held back in school. I cannot even tell you how exciting that really is for me. For them. For their families.

One of the things we've been doing lately on Sundays is being intentional to challenge the kids to serve others-- to serve those in their own neighborhood. So one Sunday per month is dedicated to doing a service activity together. We've made cards for the shut-ins in the neighborhood-- and had the kids hand-deliver them. We sold lemonade to raise money to provide homes to homeless families in Kentucky.

Yesterday, we picked up trash in the neighborhood. I cannot begin to tell you the amount of trash that litters the streets and sidewalks of this community-- cigarette packs and beer bottles are everywhere. Coke cans litter many of the front yards. I almost dreaded telling the kids what their project was for the day. Who would be excited to pick up trash?! We gathered the kids together and explained to them what we would be doing. We reminded them that when we serve others, we are serving God. We reminded them that we have a responsibility to take care of the earth God created, and picking up trash was one way we could do that. We shared with them some other things, and off we went.

I've never seen a group of people so EXCITED to pick up trash. They were having the BEST time with it. They were smiling, and practically stumbling over one another to be the one to pick up each piece of trash. It was great. And as we marched through the neighborhood, there were residents sitting out on their front porches-- drinking sodas and throwing the empty cans down on the ground. The kids raced up into their yards to pick up the trash that had just been thrown down. All while exclaiming with glee, "I'm a community helper! I'm taking care of God's earth!"

There were other kids outside playing as we walked around cleaning up. They looked at us with curiosity-- I mean, we were REALLY having fun! One little boy practically fell off his bike when he saw us coming, wondering what it was we were doing.

I definitely saw Christ in those kids yesterday. And I wanted to share it with you.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

It's cheap, but...

Okay. Maybe it's cheap to just use cute pictures of my kid as the entire substance of my blog. Maybe it's not. At any rate, I'm drowning a bit with work and school and life in general, so I haven't found time to write lately. I'm hoping to get a handle on the routine soon so that I can wow you all with my wit and humor. Ha. But until then, I'll just show off my Eisley-girl. She's a delight and I love her so. She's 7 and a half weeks old already. This parenthood thing really flies by, doesn't it?

(Photo by the fabulous Carissa Martin)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Back at Work

Hi there. As the title of this post says, I am back at work. This past Sunday was our first Sunday in 6 weeks to worship at Versailles UMC, where I work as the Children's Pastor. Monday was my first full day in the office. 8 whole hours. Wednesday I put in another 8 hours.

While Billy and I are at work, Eisley stays with our friend Jen (who we actually knew when we lived in Lubbock-- they moved here to Wilmore over the summer), and her two daughters, Ellie (4) and Mollie (1). Jen has quite the full house! Jen is wonderful. Monday was Eisley's first day with Jen, and while I was gone, Jen sent me text messages of the "play by play" of what they were doing. I really appreciated the updates. I couldn't do much but think about Eisley anyway. At the end of the day, as I turned on to Jen's street, I realized I was grinning from ear to ear in anticipation of being reunited with Eisley. When I got to Jen's house, Jen informed me that she had taken pictures to document the whole day. I thought that was possibly the sweetest thing she could have done.

Now. This wasn't my first time away from Eisley-- while I am in class on Tuesday & Thursday mornings, our friend Amy keeps Eisley for me. And she also does a wonderful job! She is incredibly patient with Eisley, who is still learning to get used to eating from a bottle. She's easygoing and I know she can handle anything! Amy actually used to care for TRIPLET babies. She must be Wonder Woman. Amy walks Eisley over to campus in the stroller to meet me before chapel each day. It is good to know that my kiddo is in such good hands! BUT. Monday was my first FULL day away from Eisley. Amy has her for about 3 hours in the mornings-- which has been a great way to transition me into being away from her for longer periods of time.

Anyway, it was a good day on Monday. It was good to be back in the office, together again with my little staff family. I had no emotional meltdowns, for I knew my little one would be taken very good care of.

I have hit the ground running. There is much to be done at work-- there were lots of projects waiting for me. It makes me a little tired to think about, but mostly I'm excited.

Last night was my first Wednesday back with the kids. Who are incredibly sweet and wonderful. I felt like many of them were as excited to see me as I was to see them. We worked on a little project last night together-- making centerpieces for our church Thanksgiving dinner that will happen in November. They made these little trees-- and on each leaf, they wrote one thing they were thankful for. As I looked around the room, and was reading what they had written on the leaves, I noticed that several of them had written my name on their leaves! And not only my name, but Eisley's name as well. Is that not the sweetest thing ever?

So. Life is good. I am still trying to figure out the balance between mommyhood, marriage, school, and work. But I'm getting there. And maybe one day I'll have something a little more interesting to blog about!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A Few of My Favorite Things: Amended

* My friend Kandice challenged me to list 100 things I love. 100 things? That's a lot. But it turns out, it was really easy. I had already begun this list a few days ago. But today I have added a few things. There are 100 things there. Count 'em if you want.

(In no particular order)

- Nacho Cheese Doritos
- Rainy Days
- M & Ms (Peanut and Plain are my favorite)
- Game Shows
- Scrabble
- My family
- Hot Apple Cider when it's cold outside
- Fall Weather
- The smell of the air right before it snows
- Blue Bell Ice Cream
- The smell of vanilla
- Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Butterscotch cookies
- Sassy shoes (However, I prefer going barefoot most of the time)
- My husband
- My daughter (!)
- Saturdays that come without a long to-do list
- The Food Network
- Dallas Mavericks Basketball
- College Football (go Texas Tech!)
- Fun stationery
- Writing thank-you notes
- Pittsburg, TX
- Ale 8
- Watching The Office on DVD
- Sweet Tea
- Hydrangeas
- The Schrutes
- Good neighbors
- Sitting outside on a cool morning (thank you Lawsons, for our new chairs!)
- Thunderstorms & Lightingstorms
- Gorgeous Sunsets (I really miss West Texas sometimes!)
- Honeysuckles
- Dogs/Puppies
- School
- Learning new things
- Great discussions with friends
- Lame jokes
- Hot showers
- Chapel services at school
- A good, juicy steak
- Bacon
- My new backpack
- Letters in the mail
- The Triune God
- Mellow Mushroom Pizza
- New Ink Pens
- Raisin Bran Crunch
- Playing Guitar Hero
- Sudoku with Dana
- Marathons of America's Next Top Model (don't judge me!)
- Wandering around Target
- Giving Eisley a Bath
- My dog Riley. She's the best dog. Ever.
- Sleep (We're not getting much these days)
- Efurd Peaches
- Good Mexican Food
- Reruns of "Friends"
- Classic Rock
- Swimming Pools
- Pedicures
- Brushing my teeth
- Chips and salsa from Mi Cocina
- Friday night Date Night
- Being a Texan
- Hebrew (yes, I am a nerd)
- Hot Tamales
- Reruns of "Gilmore Girls"
- Reading friends' blogs
- My wedding ring
- My incredible friends
- Vacations
- Naps
- Taking pictures & being in pictures (call me vain)
- My ridiculously awesome family
- New notebooks & folders for each new semester (so what if I primarily use a laptop?)
- Mafia queso from Orlando's in Lubbock
- Trivia
- Cash Cab
- Reading
- Honey pepper bacon
- A glowing fireplace
- Campfires
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- New York, NY
- Payday (like, actually getting paid. Not the candy bar.)
- Cable TV, baby!
- Throwing baby showers for friends
- Going on walks with Billy
- Good coffee (what a treat!)
- Christmas trees
- Thanksgiving Feasts (with family and/or friends!)
- Laughing
- Crawfish at Pappadeaux
- Birthdays
- Journals (particularly of the Moleskine variety)
- The Olympic Games
- Playing Tony Hawk Pro Skater on PS2 with Billy
- Old Houses
- Azaleas
- Low lighting (I'm not a fan of harsh overhead lighting)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Monday, September 1, 2008

That's a Mommy & she has a purse!

Today was a big day. Billy, Eisley, & I woke up early, had breakfast with friends (I never knew how delicious pancakes with peanut butter are!), and then went out on the town. What would an all-day errand-running adventure be like with our one month-old (Happy 1 month birthday, little one!)? Yes, we've gone out and about with Eisley PLENTY before today, but this was a hot August day, filled with LOTS of errand-running.

First stop? Kohl's. I had a gift card to spend, and needed a new backpack for the first day of school (tomorrow). I found a fabulous pink and brown one that I am totally stoked about. No more boring, worn-out, tan backpack. I am trying to find little things to get me excited about the fact that tomorrow I will leave my daughter in someone else's (very capable) care for a couple of hours, while I try to pay attention in class and return to the world of academia.

Side note: The nights with Eisley have mostly been good, but the other night, we were up with her from 1:30 until 5:30 a.m. It was a bizarre night, that not one of us was thrilled about. All I kept thinking was, "Wow, I'm tired. What if I were trying to write a paper for class right now AND having to deal with an unhappy baby in the middle of the night?". Needless to say-- not sure I'm ready for the semester ahead, but I'm sure going to give it a try.

Next stop? The mall! As we walked through the mall, pushing the stroller, I realized, "Wow. We're the stroller people now. We're a part of THAT group of shoppers"-- Awkwardly pushing the stroller through crowds of people and through tiny aisles in the stores. It was tangible evidence that we really HAVE officially moved into a completely different phase of our lives. You know, besides the fact that there's a baby living in our house. But this was us as parents out in the real world, and somehow it felt different. I am doing a terrible job of explaining the feeling, so I apologize. But it was strange.

I completely regret stepping foot into Baby Gap today-- looking at all of the adorable clothes that we should not be spending our money on. Eisley already has a closet full of clothes, given to her by many generous people. For that we are grateful. But it didn't make me want to buy things for her any less! Cute argyle sweaters and dresses. Adorable corduroy in autumn colors. I walked out of the store empty-handed. It was hard to do, people!

Billy, on the other hand, had a Gap gift card to spend, leftover from Christmas! I'm telling you, he holds on to his money for a long time, wanting to spend it on JUST the right thing. He found some things to buy, and as we were standing in line to pay, a cute little boy (4 or 5 years old) was talking to his mom, pointing at us, talking with glee. He said, "Look! That's a mommy! That's a mommy, and she has a purse!" He said, "Look! That's a mommy and that's her baby. And that (pointing at Billy) must be the daddy! The mommy is a girl and the daddy is a boy."

Again. Welcome to the new phase of our lives. It's fun. And I must admit, I am a little anxious about school tomorrow. And I'm even more anxious about returning to work in 2 weeks-- not because I don't love my job. But because I am realizing just how many different worlds I'll find myself in-- motherhood, school, AND work. I'm tired just thinking about it! I long to return to my school life, and engage in adult conversation about important and challenging things. But I don't want to be away from Eisley and miss out on any wonderfully cute thing she does. I don't want to be one of those people that can only seem to talk about their kid-- but let's face it, our kiddo is pretty cute, and I find myself wanting to talk about her constantly! Of course, my world has revolved around her and only her this past month, so part of the reason I have nothing else to talk about is because I haven't actually DONE anything lately besides be with her. So. Bring it on. My life is about to become one big balancing act.