Tuesday, June 22, 2010

VBS

This is VBS week! We've had 3 great nights of VBS so far... 2 more to go! I'm sure I'll share some more highlights later... but tonight a highlight happened when I went down to the church nursery to peek in on Eisley. You have to be 3 years old to be a VBS participant, but we have a nursery available for the kids of our VBS staff.  They do a craft and hear a short bible lesson and have snacktime and go to the park, too. Everyday Eisley asks, "I go to Bible School, now please?" Tonight she was so into her VBS craft, that I stood there for 3 whole minutes and she never even noticed I was there. I love it!

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Maybe Later

Eisley's response to everything I say "no" to these days is, "Maybe Yater." To her, everything is possible, and if I say "no", it's just because we can't do it at that moment. Most of the time it makes us laugh, because the answer is most definitely just "no". There's no "maybe later" about it. Here's a recap of some recent conversations:

Eisley: I go to park, Mommy, okay?
Me: Not right now. It's dinnertime.
Eisley: Maybe Yater.

In this instance "maybe later" works. We're all about trips to the park.

Eisley: I draw with this marker, okay? (as she held a brand new Sharpie in her hand and pulled off the cap)
Me (quickly grabbing the marker!): No. Let's not use that marker, Eisley.
Eisley: Maybe  Yater.

Sure. If by "maybe later", she means 5-10 years from now.

Eisley: I go California and see Bella and Jeremiah and SeeLee (Lindsay)
Me: Well, we can't go today, sweetie. But I promise we'll go sometime.
Eisley: Maybe Yater

Sigh. If by "maybe later" she means next summer, then yes.

Eisley: I drive to school today, Mommy.
Me: No, Eisley. Mommy's going to drive.
Eisley: Maybe Yater.

Well. Not sure I'll EVER be ready to say "yes" to that one. 

Maybe later.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Things I Look Forward to in Texas #2: Mexican Food

4 and a half years without good Mexican food is a long time. 

Let me phrase that differently: four and a half years without Tex-Mex is a long time. We've found a few spots here in Kentucky that we frequent for Mexican food, that we really enjoy. But it is definitely not Tex-Mex, and not always the flavors we want when we have a Mexican food craving.

So. I am most definitely looking forward to returning to the land of Tex-Mex. It's my favorite kind of food. I look forward to homemade tortillas and delicious Tex-Mex salsa. I look forward to orange cheese on top of every dish (here they use white cheese), and chile con carne on top of enchiladas and tamales (here it's queso or red sauce). I look forward to homemade guacamole and fresh sopapillas. To perfectly seasoned tacos and tortilla soup done right.

Though we're moving to a city neither of us has lived in before, I know that delicious Tex-Mex awaits us there. Can't wait to discover which spots will become my new favorites. Bring it on!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Things I Look Forward to in Texas

I know I've spent a lot of time focusing on the things we will miss about Kentucky. I suppose you could read all of it and think, "Gosh, isn't she at ALL looking forward to moving back home to Texas?" Yes. Of course I am! If we weren't excited about it, and did we not believe that moving to Texas is the right next step for our family, chances are we probably wouldn't be doing it!

Goodbyes are just hard. And I think that at first, as we're settling in and getting readjusted to life as Texans, we will probably just need some space to feel however we feel. I know I'll be a ball of emotion. There will be a season of grieving for sure-- it's hard to say goodbye to the people and places that make a place your home.  It's hard when your daily routine isn't really your daily routine anymore. It's hard to not know your way around a town, and it's even harder to move to a new place and not know anyone there. Building new relationships takes time, and so does reestablishing old ones.  Everything will be different. The people we left behind 4 years ago aren't the same people they were then. And we certainly aren't the same people we were when we left.

But there are many things we look forward to about Texas.  So I am interrupting the "Things I'll Miss" series for a "Things I Look Forward To" post or two.  Starting with the number one thing I'm looking forward to: Family.

98% of our family is in Texas. Most of them in the DFW Metroplex or in East Texas. We've missed far too many birthday parties, baby showers, funerals, bridal showers, grandparent lunches, Thanksgivings, Easters, let's-get-together-just-for-the-heck-of-it dinners, dance recitals, baptisms, etc. over the years. There are nieces and nephews that have been born while we've been away. Missing out on being the kind of aunt I'd like to be has been hard.

And now we have a child of our own. We want her to know her grandparents and we want all of them to know her. We want her to be able to play with her cousins the way we were able to play with our cousins when we were kids. To this day, some of my cousins are some of my very best friends. We have kids the same age, and I long to be near them again. There's a certain limit to the extent to which you can know a person, when most of your interaction happens through a computer screen. Though I'm grateful for facebook, tokbox, and Skype-- there's just no real substitute for the kind of conversation that happens around the kitchen table! Family, we're coming!! And we are thrilled!

I look forward to more moments like these:


Sunday, June 13, 2010

Things I Will Miss About Kentucky #6: Our Church


It's been a weird week. An emotional one. Early Tuesday morning I got word that they have hired the new children's pastor at our church. I knew it was coming, knew they had been interviewing some high-quality candidates, and knew that any day they would be making an announcement that my "replacement" had been found. They found her. And she sounds wonderful.

This morning they announced it in church. They have not only hired the new children's pastor; they have also hired a new youth pastor. Joey, who has served as youth pastor at our church for the past 18 months is also leaving to pursue other ministry opportunities. Our last Sunday is July 18. I preach that day, and I can't help but wonder if anyone will be able to understand me through all of the sobbing.

Anything I could say about our Kentucky church family would only sound trite. No words could capture the love I have for these people, my friends and partners in ministry. They have become family to us-- and will no doubt remain that way. I am grateful for these past four and a half years. I am grateful that this church has given me the privilege of serving here.

As we say goodbye to VUMC, we know we'll soon be saying hello to our new church family in Texas. We look forward to that day and very much look forward to sharing life with this new family! But the years at VUMC will not be forgotten. This goodbye is one that is truly bittersweet.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Things I Will Miss About Kentucky #5: Close Proximity

Living where we have, for the past 4 and a half years, we've been fortunate enough to visit several interesting places. I forget that not all states are as big as my beloved Texas, and you have easy access to other states.  Though we didn't take advantage of this nearly as much as we would have liked (especially after Eisley was born and going places took actual planning!), I did get to visit a few fun places:

Cincinnati, OH is about an hour and a half away. I have been to a Reds Game, eaten at the Montgomery Inn, made several trips to the Newport Aquarium, and had other fun outings in Cinci. Here I am with some of the church staff at a Reds game. Yes. The seats were that empty. Yes, the Reds are that bad.


We also made several trips to Louisville. It's also about an hour and a half away. One weekend, I surprised Billy with an overnight getaway in Louisville. We had great food, stayed in a great hotel, and got to roam around Louisville. Downtown Louisville is a lot of fun. So is the Louisville Slugger Museum. I've been three times. I don't even enjoy baseball all that much, but somehow, the Slugger Museum and Factory is a great way to spend an afternoon. Just two weeks ago, we went with some friends to a great concert (The Swell Season) at the Brown Theater in Louisville and it was amazing. Here we are enjoying a pre-dinner feast at the Bluegrass Brewing Company downtown. They had a great patio:


Indianapolis, IN is only about 3 hours away. The second year we were here, Billy took me to Indianapolis to see my Dallas Mavericks play the Indiana Pacers. It was great. And the Mavs won in Double Overtime. :) It is a highlight of our time here.



St. Louis, MO is only about 5 hours away from here. Well. 6 with a baby in-tow. We took one weekend to drive to St. Louis and to meet some friends for a weekend of fun there. Very fun.


I also had the opportunity to go to Charleston, WV which is also about 5 hours away. I went as a chaperone on a youth mission trip and had a blast. We spent most of our time in Charleston working at different work sites-- but I definitely learned a true West Virginia art-- clogging! It was great fun.

Last summer we went to Chicago and stayed with my aunt and uncle for the 4th of July weekend. It was a 7-8 hour drive and it wasn't a bad drive at all. We also got to spend a day with our friends Josh and Candace that weekend. This whole trip is at the top of the highlights list for us. Lots of fun was had, and lots of great conversations were had that helped launch us into important conversations about life post-seminary.


Nashville, TN is just 2 and a half hours away, and it's a place we've made a a couple of trips to. We were able to go one year to cheer on lots of friends and my uncle Tony as they ran the Nashville Country Music Marathon & Half Marathon. I also went and met my mom, stepdad, and sister there one year that they were vacationing there.


There are also plenty of fun places here in Kentucky that we have visited. We have loved it! It's been a great place to live, that has allowed us opportunities to see other not-so-far-away places.  That's not to say that living in Texas we won't have similar opportunities.... Texas itself is filled with MANY interesting places, many of which we have not yet explored. We look forward to doing that when we get there!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Things I Will Miss About Kentucky #4: Seasons

In Texas, where I grew up, and where I'm headed again soon, Summer lasts pretty much year-round, with the exception of just a few days: Autumn lasts about a week, winter lasts maybe a day, and spring gets sort of lost in the shuffle. That's probably a slight exaggeration. But only slight. In Kentucky, there are actual seasons. Four of them. Each of them distinct. And I couldn't love it more. If I were forced to pick my favorite season, I simply couldn't do it. I've learned to appreciate much about each one of the four seasons; there is great beauty to be found in each one.

Starting around October, the colors of Autumn are none other than breath-taking.  Just look at this. These are the leaves of the ginko trees that stand on the front lawn of the seminary. And every year, their beauty overwhelms me. It would you, too:


When we first moved here (January 2006), I was a little unsure of this thing called Winter. I was convinced I would freeze to death, and was terrified to drive in the snow. But I now think that Kentucky winters are near perfect.  During our time here, we've made friends from places farther north, where winters are far longer and much colder than a Kentucky winter. I would never survive in those places. But in Kentucky, the beauty of winter is remarkable. The black barns and stone fences, rolling hills, and horse farms are impressive things of beauty against the backdrop of a Kentucky snow.  Just when you're growing tired of winter, the snow seems to melt, revealing the colors of Spring. Not only is the snow beautiful, the snow is fun to play in! 




Spring in Kentucky is just lovely. It's the kind of spring you read about in books or see on TV, if you haven't lived in a place that has an actual Spring season.  The weather is comfortable-- not hot, not cold... just right. It is unbelievable how GREEN everything is here. Those once snow-covered rolling hills turn the brightest, richest, and most lush shades of green you could imagine. Baby horses are born, and it's delightful to see them running through the open fields.  Leaves spring up on trees again, flowers are in full bloom, and when the wind blows white or pink blossoms down from the trees on a sunny day, you feel like you're in movie, and that at any moment, a Frank Sinatra tune is about to play.  I love Spring in Kentucky.




Finally, Summer. I'm not going to lie. Kentucky summers are hot. But the heat only lasts for a while, and it seems that at least once a week, there's a rain shower that cools things off a bit.  That makes it much more bearable.  It doesn't start to get (what I would consider) really hot until late June.  July & August are hot-- in the mid-upper 90s (but rarely over 100), and by September things start to cool off again. The thing I've most appreciated about the Kentucky summers is how green everything stays. Even through August-- everything is still green. Amazing!



Monday, June 7, 2010

Things I Will Miss About Kentucky #3: Small Town Charm

I am really going to miss the City of Wilmore, KY.  I am going to miss people waving to me as I drive down the street, strangers saying "Hello" and asking how my day is going. I'm going to miss the small town charm that I've grown quite accustomed to here. This is my best attempt at a snapshot into Wilmore life.

Wilmore is a town of about 4,000 people. 4,000 friendly people. It's picturesque, everyone knows their neighbors, and parents feel safe letting their kids ride their bikes all over the neighborhood. If you're inside your house, your windows and front doors are open, and when you're in your yard, you're guaranteed to see at least 10 people you know passing by on their evening walk. No one has fenced in back yards, so when you're standing in your yard, you can say hello to just about anyone on your street that also happens to be outside.  Hardly anyone locks the door to their house, and if you're out of butter or sugar, you go ask your neighbor if they have some. You don't make a pointless trip to the grocery store, because you feel like you can't ask your neighbor for help. Wilmore is that kind of place.

Wilmore is also the home of Sim's Drugstore. This is the pharmacy we've used since we've lived here, and I LOVE that our pharmacist knows who we are as soon as we walk in the door. The pharmacy shares its space with Tastebuds Pizza-- which is oh-so-delicious. There are few things in life better than going to Sims/Tastebuds for a pizza and an Oreo shake (made with Blue Bell ice cream, of course). Here we are with the Lawsons, outside of Sims, when Eisley was just days old, and she made HER first trip there:


Every December, the City of Wilmore puts on its "Old Fashioned Christmas".  It is held the first Saturday of December each year, and the whole town comes out for it. The event kicks off with the lighting of the Christmas tree (which, to be honest, isn't much to look at). All of the downtown shops-- from the Post Office to the Bed and Breakfast to the Barber Shop and the local restaurants (there are 2) open up their doors to the town and serve Christmas goodies. There's hot cocoa and cookies and fudge, and anything else you can imagine. All along the way, people are singing Christmas carols and saying hello to everyone they meet. It's one of those things that makes you ask, "Is this place real?" We spent every Wilmore's Old Fashioned Christmas celebration with the same friends, and every year, it was one of our highlights. Adding to the magic of it all, it seems the first REAL cold weather for the season sets in just in time for the festivities, and there are always a few snow flurries in the air, too.


Similarly, every Halloween, the City of Wilmore has what is called "Treats on Main". Whether you are one that typically participates in Halloween festivities or not, Treats on Main really is fun. All of the kids in town dress up in their costumes (and by the way, I can say I've never really seen a SCARY costume at Treats on Main), walk along the sidewalks of downtown, trick-or-treating at all of the local businesses. The real fun is that it's a chance to see everyone you know. All in one place. There are no haunted houses in Wilmore, and I quite honestly don't know anyone who trick-or-treats in the neighborhoods of Wilmore. And again, I usually ask myself, "Is this place real?" Here's Froggy Eisley making her first stop at Treats on Main:


On the 4th of July, the whole town is out again. This time for a parade, that includes the Lawnmower brigade and the Water Gun brigade. Following the parade, everyone goes out to the Wilmore Campground for 25-cent (yes, you read that right) hot dogs, 50-cent hamburgers, and cold watermelon slices for a dollar. Everyone picnics together, hangs out, and just enjoys being together as a community. Just in case you were wondering what the Lawnmower Brigade is, here's a picture of it from a couple of years ago. It's serious business:


Wilmore is a place I've loved calling "home". Wilmore has, in many ways, taught me a lot about what community is supposed to look like. I have been changed for the better by living in this unique and wonderful little town.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Things I Will Miss About Kentucky #2: Big Blue


Yeah, I'll say it. I'll miss Kentucky sports. Rather, I'll miss the Kentucky sports fans. It's a bit absurd, really, the commitment these fans have to the Kentucky Wildcats. But I'll miss it, nonetheless. You may remember that a church member once taught my daughter how to say "Go Cats! Go Blue!" (If you need a refresher, I've included a video below, from when Eisley was just 18 months old). The Texas Tech Red Raider in me cringed. But the Bluegrass State-loving part of me smiled.



I really always thought no one took sports more seriously than a football fan in Texas. But that was, of course, before I had met a single Kentucky basketball fan. I don't know why I'll miss this about Kentucky. But I will. There's a certain energy in the air come basketball season that I haven't quite felt anywhere else. Everyone's happy, everyone's decked out in blue, and there's a certain connection and friendliness that people have with one other when it's Big Blue season. It's fun. You actually may think it's gross if you're not a sports fan. And maybe it is. But I can't lie and say I won't be saying "Go Big Blue!" from my living room in Texas next March.

(Go Cats.)

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Things I Will Miss About Kentucky #1: Ale 8

This list is in no particular order. I don't even know how many things will be ON this list. But I'm going for it: Things I Will Miss About Kentucky.

Our time here is pretty limited now. We're headed back to Texas in July, and I am quite sentimental these days. We're having so many lasts: last dinners with friends, last trips to the park, last meetings at church (who besides me would miss something like that?), etc.  I'm living in the tension of being ready to get back to Texas, and ready for this season of transition to be complete, yet not quite being ready to leave Wilmore. It's been our home for 4 and a half years now. We've grown up so much since coming here. We've grown in our marriage, grown our family, and most certainly grown in our love for the Bluegrass State. How do you leave a place you've grown to love so much?

Without further ado, here's the first thing I'll miss:


Ale-8-1, or "A Late One"

This highly-caffeinated, high-sugar, high-quality soft drink is made and bottled in Winchester, KY. To say it is delicious is an understatement. It's a ginger ale-type drink, but has a much sweeter taste than your average ginger ale. It also has a bite to it that I've not experienced in any other beverage. I will miss it.

It is not distributed outside of Kentucky (that I am aware of), so I'm thinking we'll rent TWO moving trucks and fill one of them up with just Ale 8 (kidding). The thing is, I know that about two weeks after we get to Texas, I'll be craving something. And the only thing that will satisfy that craving, is a cold Ale 8. Looks like I'll be out of luck.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Jumping (Running) In, Feet First

A few weeks ago, I wrote a post announcing that I was running again. Well, I'm still running, and I'm still loving it. What I didn't share then, is that the eventual goal was for me to run a half marathon. And maybe someday, a full. This has been a goal of mine for a very long time, and as I mentioned before, there have always been 1000 excuses I've used to keep me from going for it. 

Well. I'm going for it. Today, in honor of National Running Day, I registered for my first Half Marathon! So I'm committed to it now. I'm in. And nowhere near ready. But I'm beyond excited! The race is on November 14 in San Antonio. So there's "plenty of time" to get prepared. When we move to Waco in late July, I plan to join up with the Waco, TX Running Club, and train with those folks for the race. I've already contacted them, and look forward to meeting some new people. 

The REAL fun of the race is that there are some amazing ladies that will also be running that day. That day, I'll get to meet up with one of my very dearest friends (who left Wilmore for Lubbock, TX 5 months ago), Shannon, and run with her. My awesome cousins/friends, Jessica and Christin, are ALSO registered for the race, too! So. Bring it on!

I have to acknowledge the ladies who were the inspiration for this whole thing in the first place, and (without knowing it) helped me kick things into gear and go for it. So. Thank you Jessica, Lindsay, Angela, and Sarah! Today is a banner day.Thanks for being a very big part of it.