Saturday, August 2, 2008
On the up side, I started my new job and I really think that I'm going to enjoy it. It's amazing how there are actually work environments that are not stressful! The people are great, I've already learned a lot, and it seems like a really great place to work. It's made me think quite a bit about my last job. I would never trade the time that I spent there, or the friends that I made, but it is SO nice to know that I'm not going to walk in to work everyday and leave completely exhausted and stressed out. This job is going to be a good combo with grad school!
My parents are in town this weekend and they're staying with me tonight, so that's nice. It's been interesting to see how my family of origin relationships have changed since I got married. I'm building my own home and family and so it's natural to see those relationships shift, but I have to say that sometimes I miss my parents too! It just feels different....still good, but different. It'll be nice to get to spend some time with them.
Life is pretty good...it'll be a LOT better when my husband is home!
Thursday, July 24, 2008
But today I was reading back over some old blogs that I'd written and I decided to pick it up again. So here we go.
All of the sudden my life is completely different. One of the things that struck me as I was reading old blogs is that life one year ago was pretty much a complete 180 from where I'm at right now. Instead of worrying about things like how awful my job is, who I'm going to hang out with on Friday night, and whether or not I'm ever going to be able to get a date, now I'm worrying about things like when my husband is getting home from work, whether or not my birth control is working (no babies until I'm done with grad school!!!), how soon we'll be able to be out of debt, and how my meal plan and grocery list are working out.
Huh?! When did I become my mom? Now don't get me wrong...I love my life right now. I've been looking forward to this and counting down the days until I got to be Curtis's wife, and it is absolutely everything I hoped it would be and more. But now that the wedding is over, it's like real life is setting in. And to be honest, I'm not so sure that I'm cut out to be a "housewife." I love the cooking part, and I like to have a nice clean house, but this sitting at home during the day is about to drive me completely crazy. I had a hard time coming up with something to blog about because I'm not doing anything right now! (So rather than continue the cycle of the non-blogging, I opted to write about what I'm not doing.)
I have definitely learned that school alone is not enough to keep me occupied and mentally stimulated, so it is with great relief that I begin my new job on Monday. I'm sure that in not too terribly long I'm going to be wishing for a break, but right now going to work sounds as fun as a day at the spa. Counting down the hours until my husband comes home is just not what I'd call a thrilling day. I love to be a wife!! I'm just ready to be a working one!
Saturday, March 1, 2008
So picture this - I am driving down the road and I look to my right and see a police car. It wasn't your typical police car, though. It was one of those "special" police cars. You know...the ones that don't have the lights on top, and they have some specific designation painted on the side of the car informing everyone of whatever police-related task they perform every day. This particular police car was black, and painted on the side of it in gold letters were the words "Criminal Patrol."
I looked at the car, and let the words sink in for a moment before the thought occurs to me, "What!?"
Isn't the primary purpose of most police cars to patrol for criminals? What makes that guy special? And if he's the one patrolling for criminals, then what the heck are all of the regular police guys doing all day?
No less than 30 seconds later (while I'm still driving next to the police car), I see a minivan with shoe polished words written all over the windows. On every available inch of window space the words "Girl Scout Cookies" and "Last Chance!" jump out at me. Again, I let this sink in before I have the same thought: "What!?"
Am I supposed to follow the van to their home to buy the girl scout cookies? What if I was a bad person? Do they want me to know where they live? Do I speed up, pass the van, pull over, and try to flag them down as they pass so that I can buy the girl scout cookies? Do I pull along side them, roll down my window, motion for them to do the same, toss them money with 100% accuracy, and receive my cookies in the same way?
Do you ever have those moments? Those times in life when you see something so ludicrous that there's nothing else to say, no other way to respond, than to just stare blankly and say "What!?"
I wonder if God ever has "What!? moments" with me. Probably....thank God for grace.
Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Until this year, that fourth grade Valentine's Day was the only one that I have spent in a relationship. (There are many reasons for this - but I primarily blame screwed up youth group anti-dating theology - anyway, that's another blog for another day.) Now, fourteen years later, I get to spend Valentine's Day with the man who I'm going to spend the rest of my life with. Talk about thrilling! I am getting married in June and we are so busy with work and planning and school, that there isn't much time to make elaborate Valentine's plans, but I honestly don't care at all.
It's amazing how love--real love--puts things into perspective.
- I don't have to have a giant wedding. I just want to be Curtis's wife.
- We don't have to go on a perfect honeymoon. I would stay at the Bed and Breakfast in Post, TX if he was going to be there.
- While they're nice, we don't need all of the wonderful gifts that we registered for. Our home isn't going to be about the stuff that's inside of it, it's going to be about building a life together based on our love for God and each other.
- I don't have to have flowers and candy and giant stuffed animals on February 14th. Because I have the person who I'm going to get to spend every Valentine's Day with for the rest of my life.
The truth is, we will have a big wedding. Our honeymoon is going to be wonderful. We will probably be given some wonderful gifts. And we will most likely at least acknowledge our first Valentine's Day together. But those aren't the things that really matter. What really matters is that we have this incredible gift of love for one another that is just a shallow reflection of our Father's love for us. And if I can be so overwhelmed by the love of my husband-to-be that I am willing to sacrifice anything for him and for that love, how much more should I be willing to sacrifice for the love of God?
Saturday, December 22, 2007
This place is still home. But it's also interesting to notice how my definition of home has changed. While it's true that I'm home because I'm with my family in my hometown, there's also a part of me that feels like I've left home behind. Maybe that's because my parents live in a house that I've never lived in. Maybe it's because my life is in Fort Worth now. Maybe it's because my heart is tied to someone who's not here with me right now. It's probably a combination of these things.
It's funny how the older I get, the more split my ties to "home" become. Home will always be with my parents and my siblings, but as life changes, geography changes, and people change, things seem to be shifting a bit. Because after this Christmas, home will also be with the man that I love...wherever that may be. There's a tension there that I'm sure will work itself out as these things seem to do in life, but right now I'm finding it very interesting. It's an odd mix of emotions to be so excited about seeing my family and being in Lubbock, and to still know that something...someone...is missing. I don't like it very much. But I suppose that's just part of this season in my life that I have to put up with. Right now I'm enjoying today, looking forward to "One Day," counting down the minutes until I get to see "someone" again, and going to eat my mom's wonderful food!
Saturday, December 15, 2007
The Story of the Innkeeper
And a busy season it had been! But to be honest, most of the excitement had faded away. For the last month he hadn't had an empty room in his inn. There had been people packed in each small room, and almost more mouths to feed that he had time to cook for. People were cramped, tired, and frustrated that they were traveling all this way to be taxed by Cesar. It was true that the money had been good, but his old body was in enough pain now, that money was the last thing on his mind. His wife and children were exhausted too, and he had begun to count down the days to when all of this craziness would be over. On top of taking care of a packed house full of people, it had become a part of his regular routine to let people knocking on his door know that there was no more room in the inn. Every day he turned away dozens. At first it was apologetically,
"I'm sorry. We are completely out of room. You might try down the road a little bit."
Soon, though, he began to get frustrated with the number of people knocking on his door, and his compassion had dwindled. He would simply fling open the door, say "no room!" and fling the door shut again. He didn’t have time to worry about being nice when he had so many mouths to feed and people to clean up after.
Today had been just like every other day in the past month. He had gotten up before the sun, worked hard all day. He had cooked. He had cleaned. He had open and shut his front door fifteen times turning people away. Now it was nighttime, and while most of the people in his house were sound asleep, he and his wife were still finishing up the day's chores. She walked up beside him, still holding the broom in her hand, and laid her head on his shoulder.
"What were we thinking?" she asked with a tired smile. "We should have just been farmers or shepherds or something."
"Well, animals are probably easier to take care of than people, that's for sure," he replied tucking his arm around her waist. "Why don't we go to bed? The floor's just going to get dirty again tomorrow and I think that we could both use some sleep."
His wife agreed, and they turned to head toward their bedroom. Just as he was about to blow out the last candle, he heard yet another knock on his front door. He groaned and said,
"I'm not answering it. They'll get the hint that there's no room if nobody answers."
"But dear," his wife protested, "don't you think that you should at least tell them about the place a couple of miles down the road that has been putting people up?"
His wife had this way of getting her husband to do anything she wanted just by looking at him a certain way, so he knew that it was pointless to argue with her. He quickly crossed the room to the front door, intent on dismissing whoever was on the other side right away, so that he could go to bed.
When he opened the door, he found a tall man standing on the other side. The man quickly spoke before the innkeeper had a chance to tell him to go,
"Please, sir. Do you have anywhere that we might be able to sleep for the night? My wife is not feeling well, and she really needs to rest."
The innkeeper looked past the tall man to see a young woman standing a few feet behind her husband with their few possessions. She was small in stature, but she was also very pregnant, and she appeared to be in pain.
"I'm sorry," he said with more sincerity that he had used all day, "I would like to help you but I just don't have any room. You might try the house a few miles down the road, but to be honest, they're probably full too."
The tall man turned away slowly, looking defeated. Just as the innkeeper was closing the door, he heard the man's young wife cry out it pain. His wife had had six children, and he knew the sound of a woman's labor pains. He was filled with compassion for the girl, and he quickly pulled the door open again.
"Wait!" he yelled to the couple.
They turned hopefully toward him as he walked in their direction.
"I don't have much to offer you. I don't have a room. I don't have a bed. I don't have midwife or even a blanket. But you can sleep in my barn. There is fresh hay, and it's warmer than sleeping outside."
The relief on the man's face was almost as apparent as the pain on the face of his wife. The innkeeper led them to the barn, and helped the young girl settle onto the ground. She was perspiring and grimacing in pain, and he knew that it wouldn't be too long before she was holding a baby in her arms. He turned to go back to the house to get his tired wife. She had been through this herself, and maybe she could offer the girl some help. He knew that she was exhausted, but also that she would want to do whatever she could to help this young mother.
A few hours later, his wife walked back into the house with tears streaming down her face. She was smiling, and said,
"You have to come and see the baby!"
As he followed her outside, he could swear that he heard singing, and there seemed to be some kind of bright light in the distance. He decided that he was just imagining things because he was so tired, and hurried to catch up with his wife. They walked into the barn and he saw the young lady holding a tiny child in her arms. She had wrapped him in old stable rags, and was holding him close. She looked up at the innkeeper with tears glistening in her eyes, and said softly,
"Thank you, sir. Your kindness means more than you will ever know." As she leaned over to him and placed the tiny baby in his arms, she whispered, "His name is Jesus."
The innkeeper was surprised at first, but as he looked down at the face of the baby boy, an overwhelming peace filled his heart. He looked up to meet the eyes of his wife, and could tell that she was experiencing the same peace. And then he knew. He wasn't sure how he knew, but he did. This child was more than just the son of a traveling couple. He was more than just a baby born in a barn. He was more than an interruption or an annoyance at the end of a long day. This child was different. He was special. This tiny baby boy who had been born in the most inconvenient place and the most inconvenient time was going to change the world.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
By Cassie Wood
Mr. Jackson was the worst kind of neighbor. He was old. He was mean. And he smoked like a freight train. When the neighborhood children dared to come within fifty feet of his front yard, he would storm onto his front lawn waving a broom stick and yelling threatening words. The children learned to stay as far away as possible. Mr. Jackson rarely came out of his house, and when he did, people scattered.
In late summer, a new family moved to the neighborhood in the house directly next door to Mr. Jackson. Jenny was eight years old. She was sweet. She was fearless. And she loved to play outside.
One afternoon, Jenny was playing basketball in her driveway with her neighbor Sam, when her ball escaped into Mr. Jackson’s yard. Sam stood rooted to cement of the driveway, frozen with fear. Jenny, on the other hand, immediately darted after the ball.
“Jenny! No!” Sam yelled in a terrified voice. “Don’t go over there!”
But Jenny didn’t listen. The second she reached her ball, the screen door of the house flew open with a bang, and Mr. Jackson rushed out waving his broom, screeching at the top of his smoke-filled lungs.
“You brat kids! How many times have I told you to stay away from my house?!” He came barreling toward Jenny with a look of complete rage on his face. "Who do you think you are?!"
Jenny froze for just a moment with the ball in her hands, with a look of surprise on her face. After a moment however, her surprised expression turned firm, and she marched over to meet Mr. Jackson, who was still hobbling threateningly toward her. As she started towards him, he stopped, slightly taken aback by the fact that she wasn't running in the opposite direction like the other neighborhood kids usually did.
Jenny stopped as she reached Mr. Jackson, looked directly into his eyes, pointed her finger at him and asked sternly, "Why are you so angry? You need to laugh more, Sir. My Grandma always says that laughter does the heart good and I think your heart needs some good."
With that direct statement, Jenny turned and ran back to Sam – who was still frozen in exactly the same position that she'd left him in - to resume her game. Mr. Jackson stood watching them with an odd expression on his face for a moment before he turned and walked back into his house without another word.
That night, Jenny told her mom about what had happened with their new neighbor. After hearing the whole story, her mom asked,
"Jenny, what do you think that you can do to help Mr. Jackson have a happier heart?"
Jenny promised to think about it, and the two of them prayed for Mr. Jackson before her mom tucked Jenny into bed.
A few days later, Mr. Jackson opened his front door to walk out to his mail box, and he found an envelope lying on his doormat, that said "To: Mr. Jackson" written in purple crayon. He opened the envelope and found a cartoon comic strip clipped out of the newspaper. With it was a note that said, "This made my Daddy laugh. I hope it makes you laugh too. From: Jenny." He read the comic strip, and cracked a brief smile before regaining his composure and turning to go inside.
Several days after that, a plate of cookies showed up on his porch. A week or so later, a silly children's book was left. Then a tape of Saturday morning cartoons. The gifts kept appearing, and with each gift was a note from Jenny, explaining to Mr. Jackson why each of the items made her laugh, or smile, or have a good day. Jenny never knocked on his door; she simply left her gifts and notes, and never went to bed without saying a prayer for her neighbor.
Whether he would admit it or not, the grumpy old man began to look forward to Jenny's gifts, and more times than not, he would find himself smiling at the bit of entertainment that she had cooked up for the week. He never laughed…but his smiles came more easily, and his heart began to soften bit-by-bit.
Finally, close to Christmas, Jenny was ready to make her move. She mustered up all of the courage that she had, and climbed the steps to Mr. Jackson's front porch and knocked on the door. He came to the door, and opened it without a word, waiting for Jenny to speak. She handed him a plate of Christmas cookies and said really quickly,
"Merry Christmas. I have a joke for you. What do monkeys sing at Christmas?"
Mr. Jackson looked at Jenny for a moment before finally responding, "I don't know Jenny. What do monkeys sing at Christmas?"
Jenny took a deep breath, and then sang at the top of her lungs, "JUNGLE BELLS, JUNGLE BELLS, JUNGLE ALL THE WAY!!"
After she finished her punch line, Jenny stood expectantly waiting for Mr. Jackson's response. It took a moment, but slowly a smile began to spread across his wrinkled old face. Then, ever so softly, he began to chuckle. Soon his chuckle turned into a laugh that got louder and louder. He doubled over, and tears began to run down his cheeks and his laughing turned to sobs. The little old man sat down on the steps of his porch and cried. Jenny sat down beside him and patted his back.
"I didn't mean to make you cry, Mr. Jackson. I'm sorry! I was trying to make you laugh so that your heart would be happy."
Mr. Jackson looked up with tears still running down his face and said, "Jenny, you have made my heart happy. And you are the first person who has cared about my heart since my wife died five years ago. Today is the first time that I have laughed since that day, and it was so overwhelming that it made me cry. Thank you for caring about me, Jenny."
At his words, Jenny climbed up into his lap, placed one hand on either side of his face, looked him in the eyes, and said, "I love you, Mr. Jackson, because somebody needs to…just like Jesus loves me."