Favorite Things Monday: Celebrate Her Edition

Happy Monday, Everyone!

You made it! I made it!

You may think that by the title, that this edition is about my daughter’s birthday…

You would be wrong.

We did celebrate Sophia this last week and weekend, but that’s not the reason for the title. There were cupcakes, soccer games, wins and losses, family time and family running all over the place. I remember when she about 3, this little girl got funny. Like, legitimately funny. Not little baby funny…but had this momma in tears laughing hysterically through HEB (God bless Texas, just google it). I can’t tell you how much I adore what makes up who Sophia is and what she loves. It’s the most fun combination of girl. She got a gift card and wanted shoes and shin guards. She played soccer this weekend and then gushed over pretty summer dresses. I LOVE IT!

I’m going somewhere with this…

Her friend Danica (daughter of @ridiculouskatie…who you should follow on all the things), is the total opposite. Danica does hiphop and is really good. Also, you can yell and cheer for hiphop like you can a soccer game so I am all for it.  Sophia has cleats, D does not. D can dance, Sophia will try along with her friend.

These two girls have been friends for most of their lives. They are different and I have watched them celebrate each other. Sophia has gone to see D perform, and is greeted by Danica with a big hug and “I have to introduce you to everyone”. Another mom looked at me knowing we were watching something special.

They celebrate each other.

Ladies, let’s let these girls show us a thing or two. They don’t know they are supposed to size up and compare. They don’t know that there differences are supposed to make them look at each other and talk down at their differences.

They don’t know because they haven’t seen it and my God, it will NOT be me that shows them.

I saw this meme on the internet.

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I hate it. Like, I really hate it. Is it funny? Maybe a little bit. Then, I get to thinking about it for a whole 2 seconds and I call it a picture of what is actually a really huge problem.

We live in world where we can preach that we don’t judge…until someone has greener grass. You can literally put anything in place of “greener grass”. When someone is doing something really well, we don’t celebrate, we judge. We assume that that grass is fake or there is something/someway/somehow artificial about it.

Then we wonder why women get a bad wrap. It’s because we can be the worst towards each other. A few thoughts…

  1. If it’s fake, who cares? Why are you spending so much time dwelling on it? Someone else’s strength doesn’t take away from you. And if they are fake they are probably miserable and need some good and healthy reality in their life. Come on, somebody
  2. Maybe…just MAYBE she makes that grass a priority. Sometimes, people have really clean houses because they clean it. Or, they have a clean house because someone else does. Maybe ask how, instead of judging…
  3. No one has it all together. They never did. It’s the illusion that has caused comparison, anxiety, depression, angry families and mean women.

Can we all agree to stop it?!

I have friends that are total rock stars and all at different areas of life. We celebrate each others strengths and thank God for the differences because we need them! We celebrate the different seasons and acknowledge the challenges brought on by change. We don’t have time to judge someone for their strengths if we are celebrating them.

I realize surrounded by girls linking arms after a soccer game loss and Sophia with her friends on a Sunday morning… there are a lot of eyes watching and we have an incredible opportunity to show them the way.

Not only that, we are better for it! Let’s celebrate!

 

Favorite Things Monday: Valentine’s and Icing on Cake Edition

I like this week ahead. Sophia turns 9.

Valentine’s Day was last week. 

I love how much this day has changed over the years. There will always be the large teddy bears, dudes buying flowers last minute and every cliche known to man. And thank God, there are couples doing what they do the way they do it. Picking up take-out, dinner at home and the perfect to them celebrations. 

And for the love, if you haven’t seen the movie Valentine’s Day, go watch every scene with Taylor Swift and thank me later. #itsfrommyboyfriend #shakeitoffbaby

Soccer season has officially begun (not that it ever really ends…and we are ok with that). Our Valentine’s Day consisted of soccer practice, Papa Murphy’s for dinner and half of my house fighting allergies. 

Ray does gift giving really well and he does the random gifts throughout the year.  This year, he surprised me. I have no place to store jewelry. I also think that my giant Noonday earrings are too pretty to put in a box. This is where having incredibly talented friends has an added bonus. I got a Michael Vogt original. It’s perfect.

Valentine’s Day, and much like showing love throughout the year has many faces. Different seasons can mean different expressions. What matters is that you do. 

We have learned that in every season of life, our time together is worth fighting for. It’s amazing what sitting on the couch for 15 minutes after I get home from work, just talking before getting into life’s other demands can do. That means asking the kids to go hang out for a few minutes so we can reconnect. We get to show them that we are better for them when we take care of us. Early mornings mean we get time together over coffee before the day gets going. We typically can see when we are burning the candle at both ends and thank God, we see it before it arrives…even in those seasons, we make time happen. I would love to have a date night every week. Right now, that is near impossible. They happen, but not every week. But lunch dates, early mornings over coffee, evenings after the kids have gone to bed and staying connected throughout the day…those things are totally possible and make all the difference. There are things that we say no to and there are unexpected things that we say yes to. Life rarely happens on a schedule. Leave room to roll with it and show each other grace when life happens and requires your time and attention. Even when our normal is totally crazy, I love getting back to it. 

Why the love rant?

We can get distracted by the grand gestures and neglect the every day things that makes the grand gestures icing on what is already a really great cake. 

This past week was our usual on-the-go. I’m grateful for it.

Wednesday night worship practice was one of those unexpected moments. Sometimes God shows up in ways that you didn’t ask for and in this case, as a team we were caught off guard. I love this team and I love how we all took the time, not wanting to miss anything.

I may not be the greatest hostess (no fancy table settings) but I LOVE having people around my kitchen table. I also love to cook, so this goes well for everyone. Even when life gets crazy, I love when we make time for that. We are grateful to have amazing friends who come over for what feels like the after-hours of life. For us, it’s the kids in bed (or they can show up while you are giving out end of day orders and getting little people fed and to bed) and friends who come over late. God is so good to give us these gifts. People you can laugh and cry with, gain wisdom, give insight, talk through what doesn’t make any sense and know that God is still God and He is enough. Also, thank God for friends that can come in and take a seat and not find your life strange. We all need to not feel so strange and like we are in good company.

After not running a half or full marathon this year, I’ve got my eyes set on 2018. I said it. Now you see it.

Sophia turns 9 this week. 9! I look back at 2008 like it wasn’t really all that long ago. I am wrong. That time flew by! I have one more year before I am freaking out over double digits. I love the incredibly funny and loving, sassy and athletic, sensitive and compassionate person that she is and the person she is becoming. She is so much like her dad. Then she says something or gives a look and she is totally me. Look out world, she doesn’t so much take no for an answer.

Favorite Things Monday: One Year Marks, Grace and Crazy Love

It’s been difficult to put into words. Some of these feelings from the past year have felt almost too personal. I have been quite vocal. I have friends who look me in the face and ask questions. I have looked them in the face and told them when I am not ok. I have sung on Sunday mornings through tears. I have cried and laughed at ridiculous memories. I have cried more over not having new ones. I have cried for my family. I have said for a really long time that the older I get, the more grateful I become for who they are and what they mean to me. Well, I keep getting older and I just get more grateful.

My family. This is where I lose words. This is where I have seen Jesus. This is where I have experienced the kind of love that shakes you to your core and changes the way you see everything. This is what I can’t recover from. This is where I see a God given capacity to love others.

Please listen: A God given capacity to love others. It is nothing short of that. 

I have been on the receiving end of extravagant love from people who had no obligation to me. I cannot get over it. It was beyond them but they gave anyway. I realize how much I have been loved like that my whole life. I have watched those people love others when they were the most broken. I have watched that change everything.

I have prayed. A lot. There are prayers that you pray with a broken heart. I prayed one on the day Caleb died. It was a prayer from my very core. I told Ray the next day (and it was followed by laughter from our kids pastor…because when you warn your husband about big prayers, your friends get to laugh), because prayers like that change things. Life changed forever. 

Friday, I sat at a cute restaurant with my incredibly kind husband. He sat, listened, let me cry and made me laugh. I played the “this time a year ago” game in my head. I sat and shed tears over a pretty cup of coffee (because even that makes me think of my Aunt Sharon and Unca Ron). We walked around downtown and I acknowledged how much it sucks that he never visited us here. I cried when I cried and laughed when Ray made me (good man). 

On Friday, my family gathered, sang and released lanterns. I have watched them fight this year. Fight for each other, fight for the hurting, fight for those who are struggling. They have been present when they deserved to just hide and cry. They have cried publicly. They have shown the love of Jesus in ways that leaves me in awe and convinced it is nothing short of grace. I have followed Jesus for a really long time now. I have never known the love of God like I have in this past year. It is everything it promises to be. Everything. 

Sitting down tonight, trying to wrap my head around so many things. When I get like this, I need to focus on what is right in front of me.

I find myself grateful for things like crazy kids Valentine’s parties, Sunday mornings and your friend’s kids. You know, kids you can sugar up and send home. The ones that don’t get away with being a punk around you because you are around them too much. Little people and the little things. Sometimes it is just plain good for your soul.

Sophia had her first outdoor Saturday scrimmage. When life gets crazy or the emotions of life run high, things like soccer scrimmages and crazy girls who works so hard to play the way they do can bring unexpected joy. I am a fan.

I got to have a Mother-Son Date Night with Cephas tonight at a local Chick-fil-a. He declared it the best night ever and was ready to leave after 30 minutes. This is totally my kid. He treated the zoo the same way. I love him for it.

The little and the big moments and moments that don’t seem like much at all, I am grateful for all of them and just maybe a little more grateful than before. I want to love and celebrate like what has been modeled before me. I want it to stick with me and shape how I view the every day. Who’s with me?!

Favorite Things Monday: Something Bigger Edition

Welcome to my whirlwind!

That was the story of the last week.

IF Gathering happened! I just want to talk about it.

The Falcons played in the Super Bowl. They did not win. I still don’t want to talk about it.

Sunday morning happened. It’s no secret that I love Sunday’s, I love the church and that this is God’s idea, His master plan…then He does it and invites us into it. This never gets old.

Back to IF Gathering 2017… IF Local happened in my living room. This turned out to be a really great idea.

Of all the things this weekend taught me, reminded me and challenged me in, there was this one thing. The speakers were amazing. The worship was so beautiful. But when it came down to it, there was this one thing. I about lost it (and maybe some of my mind) on Sunday as I communicated this to our church during worship. It may seem like the most simple thing to pull from this weekend, but in hindsight, it really summed up what this weekend was about.

From the first song of worship on Friday night, there was a sense of awe and the presence of God. Then something hit me, hard. From my living room with 12 women, watching 1,800 gather, knowing that there are people around the world doing exactly what I was doing in that moment…

Right where I was, I was a part of something so much bigger.  

I felt reminded of that truth all weekend long.

Then Sunday morning came. Our church body gathering together, lifting our voices, lifting high the name of Jesus; we were apart of something so much bigger. The Church. It wasn’t about our particular expression of worship or what the band was doing, it was that what we were together lifting high the name of Jesus.

Jesus. He changes everything.

We gathered to do something so powerful and so simple. It changes everything. Is that freeing to anyone but me?!

I loved having women in my living room. We drank as much coffee as I expected and probably shed a few more tears than planned (or as Katie finally broke down and said “dang it, she got me”). I love seeing life happen on a Sunday morning. I love getting texts and updates today. This is not because life is easy, in fact, easy has nothing to do with it, it’s heartbreaking and hard. Throughout today, I was reminded of all of the life that happens together. I was reminded of the incredible women who know that they need each other and the support that happens in really difficult places. It’s amazing.

This is real life. When life gets real, I know where to go and I know I am not alone. The church is God’s messy (cause people) but perfect plan. When it is at it’s best, loving people, loving the least, loving the lost and the broken, loving each other and lifting high the name of Jesus. You guys. There is no stopping it.

This weekend brought some beautiful reminders. There were some convicting ones too. We have a job to do and it starts with the space between our own two feet. We have people to love and a God to serve.