Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Happy Birthday!

To me! Isn't that fun? :)

But I promise, I wouldn't blog about this day--believe me, reaching the mid-30s mark isn't a noteworthy milestone-- except that I am blessed to share it with three of my favorite people in the world. Two of them were actually born on the same day I was, so we are truly "triplets" in a sense. Let me tell you about them.

Donny Godsey, the father figure in this picture, stood as a groomsman in our wedding. He and John became fast friends in their seminary days. His wife, Courtney, worked with me at the time, and the two of them concocted a scheme to get their friends John and Kelley to meet because "Hey, wouldn't they be a cute couple?" Other events, and God, conspired to bring us together before the Godseys could arrange the meeting, so they can't claim matchmaking success, only great vision. These are our "South Carolina friends" whom we try to visit once a year or so. Sometimes they come back to see us. But it's much more fun to go there, where they have ski boats and 4-wheelers and a cabin in the woods at their disposal. We have...uh, Dallas.

Donny runs his own videography company, C3D Studios, and has recently succeeded in creating and producing his son's cooking/adventure show for kids, "Fun Food Adventures" (which I mentioned a few months ago). They also homeschool their beautiful, energetic, and creative children. Donny is that friend John can count on no matter what, no matter how far, no matter how long. Happy birthday, Donny!

And then, there's Erin Blaydes Anderson. My old Pine Cove pal, who invited me to meet and love her family, then move in with them when I started seminary so long ago. We went from huge phone bills between UT Austin and LSU to sharing her old bedroom at home one summer. We were glad when she went back to school! Erin was my maid of honor (she even sang in the wedding), I was her matron of honor (I wasn't asked to sing-hahahaha), and for the last 6 years we've enjoyed trading off babysitting (until I moved up to the hinterlands). Our children are friends, her sisters are mine, her parents consider me theirs, etc.

Erin is a type-A, hardworking military/pilot's wife, who often served as a virtual single mom when her hubby was gone for training or duty. She is so proud of him!

She works from home so she can be "Mom" as much as possible. And though her first abode upon returning to Dallas from college was an apartment in central Dallas, she wasted no time in finding a house in Lake Highlands--that NE Dallas community that bleeds black and red--about five blocks from her parents.

Erin is that friend I can count on no matter what, no matter how far, no matter how long. Happy birthday, EB!

When I was single and living with her family, January 31 was a major event. There was no way my birthday would be forgotten, considering that it had been a banner day in the Blaydes' house for a great many years. You see, Erin was born on her father's 26th birthday! So she was used to sharing her day with someone else before I came along. Pop, as I call her dad Bill, always said he gave up having birthdays when Erin was born. So when we turned 26, he got his birthday back! Dang.

I already had two dads--my father and step-father--but I was young enough when I "joined" the family that I wasn't sure about calling Erin's parents by their first names. Within a couple of months I'd come up with "Pop," which he apparently enjoyed, and our other friends adopted. Since his grandchildren have been born, he is now "Papa" and his wife Sara is "Nana." And he's been like another father to me, and then to John, who asked him to be a groomsman in our wedding. Pop is a special part of our lives, made more special by our shared birthday.

A few highlights: Pop works in real estate, has been married almost 40 years, and has served Lake Highlands as a Dallas City Councilman these past 4 years. He dotes on his grandkids (my kids included), loves to fish and read Clive Cussler books, and gives the greatest hugs. Happy birthday, Pop!

I'm celebrating today at home, since it is freakin' cold outside and I don't want to get out it in. I did warn John that I don't cook on my birthday, so maybe he'll bring home a pizza or something :). But mostly I'll be doing my 30-something routine--changing diapers, watching Clifford the Big Red Dog, fixing lunches, getting tackled by toddlers, picking up toys...enjoying my lot in life. It's pretty wonderful.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Busy Weekend

Despite the inclement weather late last week, we drove all over town to several fun events. Thursday night we packed the kids up after school and drove down to the Lakewood area of Dallas to join a houseful of former "Creeksiders" --those early, some founding, members of the church that is now RBF. Our former pastor was in town to perform the wedding of one of our Creekside kids, now all grown up of course. His presence prompted the gathering. And was it fun!

Most commonly heard phrase: "The kids are huge!" or "OMG, your kids are so grown up!" --something along those lines. I did hear one mom, who didn't bring her now teenaged kids, "Oh, the children just slay me." The common consensus was that, though we adults hadn't changed a bit (right?), the children's growth gave our aging away.

I think we stayed home Friday...but Saturday morning we packed up the kids and headed to Allen (14 miles?), where Lowe's, Home Depot, and Firestone are all within a few blocks of one another. While one car got an oil change, we shopped for ceiling fans and garage door openers. $1000 later (choke!), we picked up the car and headed home.

Only to shower quickly and get pretty not so quickly, so we could once again pack up the kids and drive down to Dallas for the wedding referenced above. The kids stayed with "Aunt" Erin and her family, which they loved since her kids are their buddies. The church was mere blocks from her house, and the wedding was a joyful, almost playful, occasion. The love and happiness was palpable.

The reception was even more fun. Joined by even more old Creeksiders, plus a host of people I didn't know (probably the groom's side), we filled the hall with laughter, eating, and dancing. John found some really old (as in long-time-ago) acquaintances from the church he attended as a teenager, so he was busy making the rounds. The bride's mother and a friend of the family sang a silly duet to the bride about how to catch a man--hilarious! The bride and three teen friends (the Simonds girls) sang a silly song "Just hug him, and hold him, and love him, and....and you'll be his" (think "My Best Friend's Wedding). So funny!

And then we all got to dance. I confess this was my favorite part of the evening, since I think it's been since Maggie was a mere pouch in my belly (summer 05) that we last two-stepped together. We couldn't do the fast songs because: a. the floor was too crowded, and b. my dress had a slit up to my neck (or so it felt to me), so I didn't feel comfortable flashing the world as we whirled by. But we did great with the slower songs.

We got home at 11 pm...went to church Sunday morning. Still visiting McKinney Fellowship Bible Church. Came home, ate lunch, watched the poor Saints lose to the Bears (I was SO hoping they'd make it all the way). Somehow I helped John feed the kids dinner and clean up, but really I was focused on the Colts/Patriots game. If you missed, what a rocking, rollercoaster game. We had the kids in bed well before half-time, so I was able to concentrate fully for the most exciting part of the game--the second half. Even John, the non-football fan, stayed up to watch. And yes, I was rejoicing with Peyton and the Colts. plans. But I want to wish Valerie Simonds a very happy birthday. Each birthday is a victory for her, as she has battled brain cancer for almost 7 years. Watching her dance and laugh her way through the wedding reception Saturday night made the evening all the sweeter. Praying for many more joyful birthdays ahead.

Monday, January 15, 2007

Orange is Beautiful

When we moved to Garland almost 7 years ago, we were delighted to see the orange bin provided by the city for recycled items. They made it easy for us to separate our glass, plastic and paper items from the rest of the trash. Recycling has been a part of our mindset ever since. One part of our kitchen counter was reserved for cans, bottles, paper cups, etc.--to be carried to the garage where we kept the orange bin.

We have no such counter space in our new home in Anna. The city does not provide recycling services. I find myself astonished and a bit offended, though I realize they don't mean it personally. Anna, in fact, contracts their trash service to an independent company, so I suppose they would have to do the same thing for recycling. Until that happens (ha!), I will have to do some sleuthing to find local recycling centers that will accept our stuff. AND, I suppose this means I'll have to figure out a system in our home to separate the recyclables from the throw-away trash. A hassle, to say the least. And one I haven't started yet. But I will, because I believe in the value of recycling.

(I will say this: in the past three weeks, as I've tossed our cans, plastic bottles, and paper into the trash can, I have cringed each time. A feeling of complete wrongness, a bit of guilt, a longing for the old orange bin. My conscience made itself heard loud and clear.)

Why does this matter so much to me? Because we humans were told by God to "have dominion" over the earth. We are its caretakers, and one way I can take care of my little corner is to recycle. I can help conserve energy and resources. Christians should aspire to be "green" (without all the political garbage attached to that term) because it reflects respect for God's creation.

Instead of recycling (ha ha!) information, I'll just point you to my friend Sandi's latest blogs, in which she interviews a girl from Oregon about techniques we average people can employ to be more eco-friendly. Take a look--there are some easy, "Duh! I shoulda thought of that," simpler-than-you-imagined, suggestions.

Now, I've got to go color a big old moving box in the garage orange.

Friday, January 05, 2007

In the three-plus weeks since my last blog, I've cancelled my internet access, packed up my life and belongings, relocated to a fabulous house in the boonies, driven 8 hours (not 7 anymore) to my mother's house in Baton Rouge for Christmas, returned to continue unpacking said belongings, and finally got reconnected to the internet. In that order.

And can I say that it wasn't the endless boxes that frustrated me the most, but the lack of technology. I had not realized my utter dependence on email and instant messaging to connect with my friends and family. Sure I use the (cell) phone, and I write occasional notes (usually of the thank-you variety) on paper to snail mail, but my primary means of communication is electronic. So combining my new location in the boonies--actually a town north of the Dallas area called Anna (10 miles from a Walmart, to give you perspective)--with my lack of the Net, I was feeling seriously isolated.

Thankfully it didn't last long. I mean, 3 weeks? Big deal. And it wasn't as if I had time to sit around and email all my buddies anyway. The holidays kept things hopping, and the boxes and children claimed the other 80% of my time. I think it was mostly a mental thing for me.

Then, today, I get a note from an old acquaintance from seminary. Heather Jamison, fellow seminary wife/student, author, and mother, recently set up a blog. Check it out here. As I glanced through a few of her posts, my situation looked less and less dire. She's in Africa, a missionary to Kenya. I would say that limits her time with friends and extended family. Her internet access? Dial-up. The slow and unreliable kind, too. Her latest confession? Asking a member of the Texas church group about to come for a short-term trip to make a quick trip to Target for a few items.

Anna, Texas, is looking more like the center of civilization, now that I think about it. Nothing like a missionary friend to slap you upside the head. Thanks, Heather! (And I really mean that.)