Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Only Explanation Is...

... that it's a bloomin' miracle. With our plans up in the air for what comes next, we decided it would be best to be prepared for any eventuality. I've done an extensive bit of overseas traveling, and so all of my passport pages were full of stamps. Plus, I wanted to go ahead and get a new one with my married name in it. (I had sent in the old one to have it amended, but they didn't put in extra pages like I requested, so it still wasn't useable.) So in case we do end up going overseas, I got my new pictures and filled out the application and mailed it in with my check on Thursday, May 17th.
The website said that a standard processing takes 6 weeks (and I sure as heck wasn't going to pay the extra $60 to expedite it!), which means that I should expect it back around June 21st. This was cutting it close, since we'll probably be leaving in the first part of July. (Justin's last day of class is July 2.) But I just prayed over it as I sent it that God would bring it back in time for whenever we might need it.

However, I kept hearing horror stories of people that couldn't go on mission trips because they'd sent in their application over 3 months ago and it still hadn't come back yet... And even the passport website said that in busy times it may take up to 10 weeks to get a passport back... But I just kept praying, believing that God could easily get my passport through the governmental red tape in plenty of time for whatever He has for us.

So then Justin checked the mail on Saturday and said "Honey, you got this official letter... What is it?" Yes, it was my new passport. Received on Saturday, May 26th. NINE DAYS after I'd sent it. I'm getting goosebumps even now as I type. There is no explanation for that except that it's an outright miracle. Some people wait 3-4 months and mine comes back in 9 days?! They must've processed it the same day they received it! That's faster than even the 2 weeks that is promised to those who pay to expedite it! So God answers prayer and He wanted me to have that passport in plenty of time for wherever He's sending us. I'm ready - let's go!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Bring On the Adventure!

About 6 months ago, a good friend of mine wrote a post (Read it here.) about how she felt like all her friends were having babies and that stressed her out because she didn't know if she was ready to be a member of the Baby Club yet. But would all her friendships change if they were mommies and she wasn't? She drew it to a conclusion that God's timing is perfect and He would be in control of her future and theirs.

Well, now SHE is expecting a baby too (Congratulations, Ryan and Corrie!), and I'm starting to feel the way she did - all my friends are joining the Mommy Club! A couple in our LifeGroup at church just had a baby 3 weeks ago, my dear friend Kristy is 6 months along, and I have SEVERAL other friends and acquaintances who are expecting! However, I think that this has had the opposite effect on me that it did on Corrie. I'm thrilled for all my friends who are taking the plunge into parenthood, but I'm feeling less desire to even dip in a toe than I think I ever have before (much to the delight and relief of my husband, I'm sure).

Here's the deal. Becoming a parent just REALLY changes your life. It's a huge blessing and I'm sure highly rewarding. But I LIKE my life now. I LIKE my husband and enjoy all the freedom we have to do whatever we want. Now that he's finishing up school, I love the fact that the opportunities before us are completely limitless! If we want to pack up everything and flit off to a foreign country for 6 months, we can! If we want to live in a tent on the Serengeti plains, we can! If we want to climb Mount Everest, we can! If we want to move to San Francisco and become hippies, we can! If we had a baby, I'm pretty sure none of these things would even be a blip on the radar. (Not that any of them are necessarily a blip on our radar anyways, but we COULD do them if we wanted to!)

So this is not at all to say that I don't ever want to have kids. I most definitely look forward to the marvelous ministry of motherhood, which I think is one of the highest callings on earth. However, I've recovered from the Baby Fever that I caught around Christmas after spending time with my precious nephews. I'm just going to be patient about it and enjoy this time in our lives that we'll never be able to return to once that first baby comes along. Maybe in a year or 2 we'll be ready. But in the meantime, bring on the adventure, bring on the opportunity! I'm going to savor and relish this freedom while we've got it, and thank God for this season in our lives until it's HIS time for us to move on to the next one!!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

What Makes a Hero?

I'm sure most of you have heard the story of Wesley Autrey. In January, he was waiting on a subway platform with his 2 young daughters in New York City, when a young man near him began having a seizure and fell on the tracks. While another onlooker held back his children, Autrey jumped down and tried to get the young man off the tracks as the headlights of an oncoming train approached. Upon realizing that he wouldn't be able to remove him in time, Autrey covered the young man's body with his own and restrained him from being injured by the train. Two cars passed over the men before the driver was able to stop the train, but thankfully they were able to emerge uninjured. This amazing story has caused Autrey to be called the "Subway Superman," "The Hero of Harlem," and the "Subway Hero." He received New York City's highest honor - the Bronze Medallion, made an appearance on the Letterman show, and was even invited to attend the 2007 State of the Union Address. (Read more about him at Wikipedia.) This is a true story of bravery and heroism in the midst of a culture that is renowned for its indifference and apathy, and I applaud him. (Read some of my husband's thoughts about the phenomenon of choosing to help others.)

However, last night he made an appearance as a contestant on Deal or No Deal, and I am extremely disappointed with his performance on that show. They dedicated the whole show to heroes in his honor and they had guest appearances by Medal of Honor recipients and even a dog who had saved someone's life. He came on saying that he wanted to make enough money to buy a house to build a better life for his family. Good, great, very admirable. So then he starts playing the game and he has a terrible couple of first rounds. He knocked out all of the high amounts except the top two in just the first 2 rounds. So we're already on shaky ground. But then he rallies and has a great next couple of rounds, and the offer reaches 6 figures. He says "No Deal," though, and play continues. He miraculously manages to avoid knocking out the million for the next 4 rounds or so, and offers just keep climbing. The highest offer he got was $305,000! I know that New York is an expensive place to live, but surely one could find a pretty nice house for that amount! However, the man just keeps saying "No Deal!" It's like he's not even considering taking the deal - he's going for the million. He never even hesitated to turn down each offer. He said "Well, I took a risk that day on the subway platform, and so I'm taking a risk now." Give me a break. So of course, as inevitably happens on this show, he knocks out the million and goes home with $25. That is so ridiculous I hardly know what to do with myself. He had at leat 4 chances to walk out of there with over $100,000. But he refused each time. Was it pride? Was it overconfidence? Was it his awareness that he's such a popular "hero" that someone will probably give him more money than he'd make on this show anyway? (In fact, they did give him a car to go along with his $25 just because they think he's swell.)

OK. So I realize that it's just a game and that many people before him have played this game like idiots too. But what comes to mind for me is the concept that Peter Parker expressed in Spiderman: "With greater power comes greater responsibility." If you're going to be a hero, a national public figure, touted far and wide as someone we should all be like, please try to actually act like someone deserving of that. Think of what $300,000 could do for your family instead of pridefully pushing on hoping to be the first contestant to ever win $1 million.

So all this to say, I appreciate Mr. Autrey's brave act on the subway platform that day, and he will forever remain the hero of that young man he saved. But he's not my hero. I think he let his family down last night because he was too selfish to do what was best for them. To me, that's not something a hero would do.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Stylin' and Profilin'

I just discovered the fun new templates for my blog now that I've switched over to Google blogger! (Yes, this is the same girl who so staunchly resisted being forced to make the switch now enjoying the perks of having done it... So sue me.) So I'm playing with colors and fonts... I'm worried that I've got the blog text set too small. Does anybody have any opinions about colors/fonts/sizes? Let me know! :)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

My Darling Nephews

I just wanted to be the proud aunt and post some more about my sweet nephews.
Azlan is an adorable little cuddlebug! He's quite the chunk - over 21 pounds at 6 months! He's really pleasant most of the time, and it's very easy to make him smile. In the picture above, Grandma is rocking him in a rocking chair at the Children's Museum, and he just LOVED it! Look at that grin! However, when he's unhappy, he lets everybody know about it, and I don't mean maybe. :) He actually cut his first teeth this weekend, and so that explains some of his fussiness. I hope as he grows up he continues to like hugs and kisses as much as he does now!

Patriot is amazing. He's so much fun, and he's SO SMART! I am blown away at how well this kid can talk and how much he understands of what you say to him. He knows everything that's going on. He definitely gets his smarts from his aunt Joni. :) I'm also impressed with how social he is. I guess it comes from his dad being a children's minister, so he spends a lot of time in church functions and childcare. But he's not afraid of people, he's not scared to talk to anybody or play with anybody. My friends Lee and Kristy babysat them during Justin's graduation, and Patriot wasn't at all scared to be left at a stranger's home. We just explained to him we were leaving and that we'd be back later, but in the meantime he'd get to play with the doggie and watch Cars. He was like "Ok." And then when we dropped him off at childcare so we could go to church, he just went right in and played and made new friends. I'm so proud and impressed at what a mature, intelligent, fun kid he is. And he's only 2 1/2!!!! This is an example of the silly faces he and I were making at each other. :)
So I'm very proud of my nephews and I can't wait til next time I see them!

Monday, May 14, 2007

Wonderful Whirlwind Weekend

Oh my, what a weekend it has been! Wonderful and insane all at the same time! To start you out, here's a pic of the crowd that was here. From left to right: Justin's parents (John & JoBeth), my parents (John & Jan - Mom is holding Patriot.), my sis Jessica and her husband Matt (Jess is holding Azlan), and Justin & me.
John & JoBeth arrived Thursday at lunchtime. We drove to Salado and ate at the Stagecoach Inn, a historic restaurant in a neat little Texas town. Then we spent some time browsing the shops before heading back to Waco. My family spent ALL DAY in the car Thursday and arrived in Waco at 1:00 in the morning, after a 21 hour trip! Whoa!

Friday I worked half a day to let my family try to catch up on their sleep. Then for lunch we split up to have Men's and Women's lunches. Justin took the men to some obscure barbecue place, I don't remember the name of it. But they said it was the best barbecue they've ever eaten - good for them. I took the women and children to Amelia's, a little cafe inside a neat antique flea market looking thing. We all ate quiche and fruit salad - a pretty girlie lunch!

Friday evening was Justin's Hooding Ceremony, called so because people receiving Master's Degrees wear hoods with their gowns. Here's a picture of Justin's hood. The colors all have meanings - the green and gold represent his university, and the brown is supposed to represent his field. However, we noticed that his brown was a different color from everybody else's there! Apparently the bookstore gave him the wrong color hood! Oh well, his color looks better than the others did anyway. :)

Saturday morning we went to the Mayborn Children's Museum on Baylor's campus, and it was SO COOL!!! Patriot just LOVED it, and Azlan had fun too! Of course, the big boys in the group managed to have their own fun... :) We spent the evening Saturday just hanging out and playing games.

Sunday for Mother's Day, we all went to our church and then out to lunch at the Elite Circle Grill. It's a neat restaurant that just around the corner from our apartment, but we'd never tried it! It was yummy, and we took the picture at the top of the page there.

My family hit the road after lunch on Sunday, and Justin's left Monday morning. Phew! Fast and fun. Many thanks to everybody for making the trip down - it was WONDERFUL to be able to share this blessed time in our lives with you!

Wednesday, May 09, 2007


I don't have any idea what happened, but I've suddenly and inexplicably turned into a horrible blogger! I just don't have anything to say! I even now don't have anything to say, but I feel guilty that it's been more than a week since I posted, so here I am typing nonsense. My life the past week has been occupied with 3 things: the end of Justin's semester & finals, thinking about summer plans, and preparing for our families' visit for Justin's Graduation.

THANKFULLY, Justin is now completely done with classes this semester! He is as I type giving his final makeup exams for the class he taught, and then he'll be home free. Now that's dang exciting. It seemed to me that this semester has been the easiest so far for him, both in the classes he took and the class he taught. You can check out his blog for some thoughts about what teaching has meant to him.

As far as our summer plans go, we're still up in the air! All of the internships that Justin originally thought he might get fell through, and so we had resigned to the fact that we'd just stay here for one summer session and he could finish his degree that way. However, then a couple more opportunities came available, and we're still waiting to hear from them. So we still have no idea where we'll be 3 weeks from now! The amazing thing about that, though, is how much peace God has given me. I assure you, it's a complete miracle that I'm not totally freaking out, and that can only be attributed to the power of the Holy Spirit in my life. I'm just excited about what the future may bring and ready to go wherever He may have for us. God is good.

Finally, our families will arrive tomorrow for a whirlwind weekend of fun and festivities. Justin's parents will get here around lunchtime tomorrow, and we plan to take the afternoon and evening to go to Salado with them. Then my parents and my sister & her family will finally drag in around midnight (after driving ALL DAY straight from Ohio!), so I won't be seeing them til Friday. Justin's special hooding ceremony will be Friday evening, and then we'll have all day Saturday just to enjoy each other. My fam will hit the road after lunch on Sunday, and Justin's will leave Monday morning. I am absolutely thrilled about this special time with family - I cannot wait to squeeze my precious nephews! Everything Mom and Jessica tell me about baby Azlan (who is now 6 months old) is that he's just a sweet cuddlebug, so I can't wait to just give him all the cuddling he can take!! And Patriot (2-1/2) is getting so big and talking so much, it'll be so fun to play with him too! So expect some major nephew pics next week after the hulabaloo dies down!!!!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

I Scream, You Scream

Well, apparently the warm-weather season has officially begun. I've come to this conclusion based on two events that strangely enough are both this week.

First of all, TCBY yesterday had their Free Quart Day, and Justin and I took advantage of that. For reasons unknown to me, yesterday at TCBY you got a free quart of frozen yogurt with ANY purchase. So I bought a small $2 cup of my healthy no sugar added yogurt, and Justin got a whole quart of Cookies 'N Cream yogurt for free! We don't understand it, but we like it!

The second event will be tomorrow, so it's not too late for any of you to jump on this one! Tomorrow, Baskin Robbins will be having 31-Cent Scoop Night from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. There actually is a cause for this one, and you can read more about it here.

I just thought it was strange that suddenly there's all this free/really cheap ice cream all in one week! So my only conclusion is that this must be the official start of ice cream season!