Sunday, February 17, 2013

Mom's Suprise Birthday Party

Last weekend, we flew into Fayetteville late on Friday night. Grant picked us up at the airport and we spent the night at his apartment. It was all part of a plan to surprise my mom for her 60th birthday. For weeks, my dad, aunts and my mom's friend Ann Haley had been working together to create a surprise party for Mom on Saturday at lunchtime. Andy and I were the cherry on top, so to speak.

But Saturday morning at Grant's house- Andy, Grant and myself all got texts from Mom and Dad. They were at the animal hospital down the street with a very sick Chloe. Even via text, I could tell how sad they both were about it. They knew that it was time to have her put to sleep. She had been sick for a really long time, and was suffering that morning. Our faithful Dr. Faircloth was there, and Mom and Dad gave thanks for that, but it was still really hard.

 At Grant's apartment, it felt like a cloud shadowed over what was supposed to be a really exciting morning. When it was almost time to head to the party, I thought, "I wonder if she's even going to be excited about this?" My mom is amazing, though. After such a tough morning, she posted on her Facebook page, "This is the day that the Lord has made. I will rejoice and be glad in it." It was clear that she was making a choice to trust God, even with the day starting out in such sadness. Good thing, too, because if she had just crawled back in the bed, I don't know that we would have been successful in surprising her.

Dad and Moose Butler drove down to my Aunt Judith's house just around lunchtime with mom in tow. The premise was that they all were going to head to Costco in Raleigh for the afternoon, but they were going to just stop in and see my little cousins who were in town for a minute or two before heading on down the road. Mom reluctantly went into the barn to say hello to what she thought was going to be just a cluster of my Aunt Judith's family members. What she got instead was this...


The rest of the weekend was really nice. I'm so thankful that I have a mom who trusts the Lord at all times, and it was not only great to get to celebrate her birthday with her, but really special to be a part of God's perfect plan to comfort her and bring her joy. 

Mom, I love you! Happy Birthday!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Beautiful submission

My world says that I should look like her to become beautiful. What does God say?
 I'm so sore. Since we joined a gym this past January, Andy & I are trying to be diligent about going about three times a week. Since we were out of town this past weekend, we took Monday night off BSF to help ease the transition back into regular routine. So we enjoyed getting to go to a class at the gym on Monday night instead of being out for BSF.

The class was called "Body Combat" and ever since, I definitely have felt like someone beat me up.  It was fun, don't get me wrong- lots of jabbing and kicking to upbeat music. But all that bouncing and balancing on my left foot (which I broke back in the fall) threw my lower back and left leg muscles out of wack, they've been in pain since. Yesterday, I went to "Body Flow" to stretch and soothe all that I strained and tightened on Monday.

I like going to the gym. I like exercising off stress and getting (hopefully) in better shape for soccer. I think it's a good thing to take care of your body so you can have the stamina you need for the life God calls you to live. But what does tend to happen when I'm at the gym is that I look around at the people who are thinner, younger, taller, more muscular or flexible than myself and I feel discouraged. I try to tell myself that I'm there so that I can be "the best me that I can be," and sometimes that works, and sometimes I still leave feeling like I've got to cut out all sugar so I won't have any belly fat at all.

This morning, I'm sitting on the sofa, very sore, and trying to catch up on this week's BSF lesson. The second day's questions are about "submission." The lesson asked us to look up the meaning of the word. told me it means, "humble and unresisting obedience." Not my favorite word. I don't struggle tons with submitting to Andy- probably because our marriage is so harmonious that I'm rarely asked to do anything I really don't want to do. But there are other areas in my life where I don't want to be submissive. I like my pride very much, thank you, and no I don't want anyone to tell me what I have to or ought to do.

We were asked to read some verses to see what God has to say about submission, humility and meekness, which are all in the same vein. 1 Peter 3: 3-6 stuck out to me like never before...

"Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as braided hair and the wearing of gold jewelry and fine clothes. Instead, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God's sight. For this is how the women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, like Sarah who obeyed Abraham and called him her master. You are daughters if you do what is right and don't give way to fear."

This has been one of those verses in the Bible that I've liked to edit from my own life. I've never liked this verse, probably because I like going shopping and the whole "fine clothes" thing speaks directly to me. Plus, not too many women in the U.S. in this day and age would go around calling their husband "master" like it was a good thing. Someone would see you do that once,  and immediately schedule your appearance on Dr. Phil. So it's tempting to dismiss it as irrelevant.

But today, maybe it's the soreness, maybe it's the memories of the dozens of tan, thin, young gals at the gym who make me wish that I was something other than what God made- I see freedom in this verse for the first time. God is saying- submit to me, and beauty is guaranteed. The world is saying- get your body (and your whole life) to submit to you, and if you work hard enough, for a few years, at least, you'll be beautiful. Maybe it's because I'm getting older, or because I'm just too tired to fight that fight because so many other things are going on- but who has the energy to keep on beating their physical body into submission forever so that they can look like some idealized image of "beauty?" God's actually calling me to something way easier- trust in Him, hope in Him. That's where the submission, and therefore the obedience are actually directed. Those women that are being talked about in this verse, they didn't submit to their husbands because their husbands deserved it, or because as women they were inferior, or because men are just so awesome and good and we should all just bow low and let them pass by with their chest puffed out and their chins held high. That kind of thinking disgusts me. But that's not what God is asking me or anyone else to do. He's not asking me to think something false or grandiose about another human (male or female) so that I can succumb to their every whim. He's asking me to trust Him. And that, He says, is beautiful.

I'd like to try it. I'm not going to quit going to the gym. By and large, we're there for the right reasons. But while I am there, I'm not going to think less of myself or less of the skinny tan girls on the stair stepper. Because what difference does it make? Real beauty is inside and gentle... and quiet. And honestly, I think probably a lot less painful to develop than the perfect physique... at least that's the tale that these sore muscles and grateful heart choose to believe this morning.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Mom & Dad come to town...

Two weeks ago, my mom and dad came in for an unexpected visit. Dad had some work to do in San Antonio, so he brought Mom with him, and we got to spend some time together. So Sunday, January 20, Andy & I drove down to San Antonio after church and got to spend some time with Mom & Dad on the Riverwalk.

 Here are a few pics...

Trip to Enchanted Rock

On Thursday, January 31, I submitted my 23 page AP Biology syllabus to the College Board for their course audit. The 31st was the deadline, and I had pushed it to (almost) the very last minute. I won't bore with you with the details of it all, but let's just say that it was an all-consuming project of tremendous importance.

To celebrate finishing it, we went out to Enchanted Rock yesterday. Of course, we had to get the apartment cleaned up in the morning after almost two weeks of no time to clean, so we didn't get out to the Hill Country until late afternoon. But we still had time for fun. We took the dogs down in the cave again, and we all made it out alive. It was great to get some fresh air and open space.

Andy and doggies heading up the trail

We went into the cave for the first time three years ago, but didn't make it all the way through. This time, we were determined to make it to the end!
The cave gets pretty cramped and, at times, crowded with folks trying their hand at "spelunking", so we didn't get many pics. Andy did catch this one with his phone. This is one of the only placed in the cave where man and beast can stand up without crouching into some weird posture.

Daisy took a spill about half way through, and was kind of wary after that, but, overall, she was a brave girl.

Just stepped out of the cave, and a little disheveled, but it was good to see the sun again!

Andy relaxing in the sun after our caving 'venture.

I wanted Andy to pose like the big rock had fallen on him. He grabbed Daisy and tried making it look like he was rescuing her or something- it mostly just made us laugh.

Andy calls E-rock the "Volcano Burb"

A hard-working Gatsby takes a well-deserved rest

On the way down, Daisy's leash got stuck behind her tail. It always puts her into such a panic. I got the shot of her "Help me, Mom!" face. We got her untangled and all headed back to Fredericksburg for dinner at our favorite place for Schnitzel. :)