Monday, April 23, 2007

Our Baby Turns Three!

It's hard for me to believe, but three years ago today, I became a Mommy for the very first time. More importantly, our little K-bug entered the world - a very squirmy, bright-eyed seven pound baby. As a baby, K-bug's pediatrician was always noting how alert and "wiggly" she was. She's grown so much.... from a wiggly baby, to a busy toddler, and now, a preschool girl with a budding imagination. She can talk of nothing else except her Curious George birthday party coming up this Saturday. She keeps taking the Curious George plates, cups, etc. out of the box and talking about each item. She's very excited the cake, the balloons, the games- and most importantly, the "pink camera" that she wants so much, since she saw it in the Toys R Us catalog a few months ago (yes...she is getting it. It's a digital camera made by Fisher Price for preschoolers - thanks Nana and Grandad!) K-bug's tender heart is emerging - it shows as she cares for her sissy, and expresses great concerns over everyone's "owies" (any bump or brusie she sees). She LOVES to sing and dance, and has been learning a new series of Bible verses set to music by heart (I LOVE to hear her sing them throughout the day!) K-bug does have a tendency to be a "drama queen" (any needed discipline is usually taken with many tears and much " carrying-on"), but she is also quick to make us laugh with her funny quotes and fresh way of enjoying life. Happy birthday, our dear K-bug! May our Lord continue to bless you and keep you. May He make His face to shine upon you. You shine in our lives every day, and we eternally grateful that our Heavenly Father placed you in our lives!
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Tuesday, April 17, 2007


I have no words sufficient enough to express my sorrow, sympathy, and prayers for the families that lost a loved one in the Virgina Tech massacre just a few days ago. If you get a chance, please visit the blog of Hugh Hewitt (a radio talk show host I listen to) at Hugh has linked several sites that memoralize and honor the vicitms, as well as links to pastors who have offered comfort for victims and observer alike.
My tears have fallen, my heart has broken, and my prayers continue.

Oklahoma Update - Part 3

The end of the trip..thanks for hanging in there with me. We went to wonderful Faithpointe Baptist Church that morning. The church is so small that they currently hold Sunday School in their main sanctuary. They just gather the different classes in the four corners of the church - everyone huddled together with their group (except for children and nursery, who I believe each have their own classroom). The young adults group was very warm and welcoming - my sis and brother-in-law had told them we'd be visting and everyone went of their way to make us feel very welcome. The service was awesome! The worship was simple, but genuine, and in the middle of worship, the pastor had people stop what they were doing to go and not just introduce themselves to someone new, but to pray with that person as well. Really neat! The pastor, Brad has a really amazing heart for God , which is obvious from his solid and passionate teaching. After church, we had a very interesting, albeit short, visit with the pastor. We told him of some of our feelings about wanting to move, and about some of the ministries that were near to our heart. That's not the intriuging part though... more of that to come later...
We left from church back to my bro-in-law's family's house, where it is their tradition to gather for Sunday dinner. We had a simple lunch of Chinese take-out, and spent our last few hours in Norman gazing at the "dream house", taking quick naps, and packing up our suitcases.
The coolest part of the whole trip is when we sat down with my sis and her hubby a few minutes before we were to leave for the airport - together we prayed. Prayed for God's will to be revealed (for ALL of our lives), and for safety in our trip back. It was a very divine moment. :)
We piled in the car, and very soon, my hubby and I found ourselves through security with a good hour to kill before having to board our flight. After a fruitless search for a Starbucks inside the airport (and one really yucky cup of regular coffee later), we settled on combing through the airport gift shops for a few souvenirs to take home to family. We found some "Tornado Seeds" (chocolate covered sunflower seeds) for my mother-in-law and some other goodies for our family. Joining the long line to get on the overly full flight back to Phoenix, we were lucky to find two seats together in the very back of the plane. It was a very bumpy flight, and for some reason, it felt very looong. We arrived back in Phoenix around 7:15 p.m. , and headed down to baggage to find an overflow of people crammed into a very busy, bustling area. People pushed and shoved like a bunch of three year olds at an Easter egg hunt to get to their bags on the carousel. After some confusion, we found our bags and shoved our way out to the sidewalk where my Dad picked us up an drove us home. I wish I could say I was glad to be home.I was glad to be back to my babies (how I missed them!!). I was glad to be back to my bed ( I missed that too!). I was glad to be back with my friends (they make my life so full of joy!), but I had not missed Phoenix. Not at all.
Life resumed it's normal pace, and a few days later, a letter arrived from FaithPointe in the mail. My dear hubby and I both assumed it was a customary "Welcome" letter sent out to first-time visitors. Instead, we found a personal letter typed to us from the pastor of the church. He said he had been very "intigued" by our conversation after church, and wanted to talk to us further about this journey that were are on. What does that mean? I don't really know...
Here's what I do know. God is God. God is in control. I trust God with all of the details of my life, both large and small (some days better than others, I admit). I don't know what's next, and I don't know if it's Norman. I don't don't know that it's not Norman, either.
So stay tuned....maybe we're just getting started... :)

Oklahoma Update - Part 2

Now, where was I? Oh the rain continued, but we went to sleep (with no more tornado warnings... :) Saturday morning dawned clear and bright, with a forecast high of 68 degrees. We ate a leisurely breakfast and embarked on a day of "touring" Norman, with my knowledgeable brother-in-law as the guide. Our first stop was my brother-in-law's parents' house, who live about five minutes down the road. His family had just adopted their sixth child - a newborn baby girl, born just three days before our arrival (There are eight children in my brother-in-law's family. He is the oldest). We enjoyed a relaxed visit with all of the Craig clan, and during the course of conversation, started talking about all of the houses we had seen the day before. My brother-in-law's Mom asked if we had seen any in their neighborhood, which we had not. She pointed out a house just down the street, which we had passed on our way in. Being curious, we drove down the street to find "IT". The house. The dream house. The house that you look at and it has it's own heavenly theme music....ok, so I'm being a little dramatic, but even from the outside, the house seemed like something we'd be very interested in. Turns out the owners were there, cleaning some things out of their garage. A contract with her realtor wouldn't allow her to show us the inside, but we called our realtor on the spot, and he arranged a 2:00 p.m. showing for us that same day. As we walked into that house that afternoon, it was one of those moments that my dear hubby and I were on the same page almost instantly. If there had been papers to sign in front of us, we just might have thrown all caution to the wind...and well, maybe not, but we were both instantly "taken" with the house. Now, we were both big dummies and didn't take any digital pics of the house, BUT if you would like to take the time to see it, you can visit the listing realtor's website at Click on the Virtual Tour Gallery link to the left of the page, and on page seven you will find 2327 Lindenwood. You can see several pictures there.
The rest of our day was spent visiting differnt places around town. We went out for lunch at a great local Mexican food restaurant. The most unique thing is that all around the restaurant are closed-circuit TVs that are linked back to the kitchen so you can watch the food being made. The food was GREAT, and the meal relaxed. We also went to this amazing chocolate/coffee-shop in dowtown Norman called Winan's (to my sis - did I spell this right?). They make their own homemade chocolates - I had a white chocolate mint that was to die for! They also brew their own speciality blends of coffee - I had a decaf snickerdoodle coffee that was also very rich and yummy! The artwork on the walls of the coffee-shop was created by the kids from one of the preschools in town (where my sister was a teacher) - it was really cool. All of the artwork was for sale, with sales going to help the school (which is a private Catholic preschool). We went in and out of a few other stores and shops throughout the day, and generally just had a lot of fun wherever we went.
Unfortunately, although no dark storm clouds gathered in the sky, the dark clouds of pain started pounding my head in the late afternoon. By early evening, I had developed a full-blown migraine. I spent my evening hours lying very still in a darkened room with a heat pack on my head and a water bottle in my hand. Several hours (and a few doses of pain medication) later, I emerged feeling human once again. By this time, night had fallen, and we all were desiring a reasonable bedtime in order to get an early start for church the next morning. I returned to bed for a somewhat restless night of sleep, and emerged feeling ready to visit a real Midwest church.
Before we arrived at church, we took what I call a "drive in the country". My sis and her hubby drink raw milk that they get from a dairy just a few miles outside of town, and they drop off their container to be filled before they go to church on Sunday mornings. Sooo, off we went driving over green hills dotted with barns, houses, and livestock. We arrived at the dairy, where the big black- and-white splotched cows noted our presence with large, blinking brown eys. A seperate pasture held a small handful of baby calves, who were too busy with their breakfast to give us much of a look at them. They were still cute though..... :)
Driving from the dairy back into town for church, a sudden twinge pulled at my heart, and tears came to my eyes involuntarily. It was the wide open spaces that I felt were causing a part of my heart to breathe again. I felt that I wanted to run, stretch my arms open wide, and take it all in. Not being able to leave the moving car at that moment in time, I did it with my eyes and heart instead - I drank as much of that space up as I could and promised to hold it all in my memory.
Well, the story, believe it or not, doesn't end here. There's enough here for just one more post...I'll talk about our church experience and our "intriguing" visit with the pastor... :)

Friday, April 13, 2007

Oklahoma Update - Part 1

So, I thought I would take just a few minutes to give everyone an update of our trip to Oklahoma. It was in a word - WONDERFUL!! My dear hubby and myself said good-bye to our two beautiful children, and climbed aboard the airplane headed out of Phoenix and into the great mid-west. Our flight to Oklahoma was perfect - smooth, short, and on time. We sat beside a very nice older lady headed back to Oklahoma after a visit with family. We touched down in Oklahoma Cit shortly after 10:30 p.m. to find a small, quiet airport. My sister and her husband picked us up for the short drive from Oklahoma City to Norman, and quick hellos were exchanged with good-nights as we all went immediately to bed. The next morning, my dear hubby and I awoke to the smell of coffee and the sound of birds outside our window. The biggest shocker to our Phoenix senses were the waves of green - green, mature trees and miles of grass and flowers. The clouds were overcast, gray, and the air was thick with the smell of rain. Without small kiddos to care for, we were able to eat breakfast, shower, dress and leave for the realtor's office all in an hour's time. Driving my sister's car, we made our way easily from my sister's house to the realtor's office for our 9:30 a.m . appointment (OK, so we stopped for Starbucks along the way and were a teeny bit late :) A few quick handshakes later, we were riding in a large, white SUV with our very confindent realtor at the wheel. What followed were multitudes of neighborhoods and houses, all in one long parade. It was SO much fun! The realtor was very friendly and knowledgeable, and we found some great houses that we liked very much. The realtor taught us the trick of giving each house a nick-name so that we could remember one house from the next. - the houses we liked best were nickenamed "Lil' Buffy", "The Cat House", and "The Party House". If you want to hear the stories behind WHY we nick-named them that...well, that's another post. My sister got off work at noon, and was able to see several houses with us as well. We ate a late lunch and picked up my brother-in-law from work just in time to head back to the house for dinner (homemade lasagna made by my sis - it was the best I've ever had, and I am telling the truth!!) The weather had really picked-up in the early afternoon, but we had slogged through the rain to see the rest of the houses, no problem.
Now, as dusk fell, the rain was turning into more of a thunderstorm, with flashes of lightning and crashes of thunder. We were just finishing up our lasagna when there came the sound of a very loud and shrill siren. My dear hubby looked around the table and asked, "What's that? Is that for tornadoes or something?" My brother-in-law looked up from his plate and said, "Yup, it's a tornado warning. Guess we better go turn on the TV." So, we all gathered around the TV in the living room to find out where the tornado action had been spotted..turns out it was only a few miles down the road. I grew up in west Texas, where all of this tornado-stuff became rather second nature for me, but I had been concerned about how my dear hubby might react to a real tornado warning. He handled it a seasoned pro even. We stayed up chatting with my sis and her hubby, and all decided that our plans to leave that night for a dessert-out would best be changed to a night in. We munched on warm apple crisp (again homemade by my sis - it was SOOO awesome.. where did she learn to cook like this? ) and went to bed.
I'm sure your rubbing your eyes by ends this chapter...more about the rest of our trip and the discovery of our "Dream Home" to come...

I Was Saving It For Later

Ok, so I really need to blog an Oklahoma update, but for now, I have to tell this brief, funny story on myself. I've been battling a cold since I got back from Oklahoma (I blame the crowded amount of Airborne could stop the germs from getting to me). Anyway, recently the cold has decided to take a nice little trip to visit my lungs, and this has left me hacking and coughing, especially at night. Sooo, on one of my recent trips to the grocery store, I bought myself a bag of Halls Honey-Lemon Vapor cough drops. A few nights ago I laid down to go sleep, and sure enough, the tickle started and the "coughies" began. The "coughies" are my new word for when you start coughing and can't stop...especially annoying when in a public and quiet place such as the library or a crowded elevator.....but I digress. Soo, I popped a cough drop in my mouth and propped myself up on a few pillows. The vapors from the cough drop quickly did their work, but I found myself getting very sleepy, and not wanting to fall asleep with the drop in my mouth, I took it out and stuck it on a tissue on my nightstand. Well, I thought I had put it on the nightstand...somehow, in the night, the cough drop ended up in my bed. I got up around 6:00 a.m. and headed to the potty. Suddenly, as I moved my head, I felt something heavy tugging on one side of my hair. Reaching my hand up, I found my cough drop, thorougly "stuck" and embedded in my hair. I had to take a shower to get the cough drop out (note: the vapors from the drop mixed nicely with the steam from the shower.. it was very soothing). I suppose I could have left the cough drop there..after all, if someone asked about it, I could just tell them, "Oh, that? I'm just saving it for later." Hee,hee!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

Letting Go..

Saying Good-bye is a necessary life skill. My mind jumps ahead to all of the times that I will inevitably have to teach my children to say "Good-bye" Just because it's necessary doesn't mean that it's easy, though. In one week, I will be saying good-bye to my job of two years as the administrative assistant at Compass Church. I have LOVED this job, even with it's various stresses. I have enjoyed playing the role of supporter, encourager, and go-to gal for the staff at Compass. I was honored to be considered an integral and valued part of church staff. I was deeply blessed to work with each of the Compass Staff members (although only one still remains). I'd like to dive into my nostaliga for just a moment and remember each of them out-loud with you.
1. Here she is, the faithful, the lone orginal staff member - Gay, the children's coordinator. When I first started my position, she patiently took me under her wing to show me the "ins" and "outs" of the copy machine and other various cranky office equpiment. She and I have had what I would consider to be the healthiest working relationship of my life - and she's my friend outside of the office too (thanks for ALL of the lunches!) Gay has put up with my wackiness and randomness for hours on end each week - truly, she defines patience!
2. Russ, the Associate Pastor - I quickly learned that Russ possessed a huge heart, dry wit, and a genuine need for Starbucks coffee in his bloodstream! :) It took me a few weeks to determine that what you see is really waht you get with Russ - from that point on, we worked together very well. Russ really shone when our church had some inmates from the local prison doing work on our church building. He treated those inmates with respect and geniune kindess - showing them Christ's love.
3. Kevin, the Youth Minister - Kevin....where do I start? Kevin and Russ were oft-teased for their joint Starbucks runs - yup, Kevin was a Starbucks junkie too. I truly respected Kevin for his amazing love towards his wife, and his genuine intrest and care in the lives of Compass's youth. I also respected Kevin for his strong veiwpoints, which 90% of the time seemed to be polar opposite of my own. We had many a "heated" discussion (at least heated from my view...Kevin was really always pretty laid back) and interesting exchanges over certain political ideas. Kevin, you kept me sharp, and I appreciated that.
5. Scott, the Senior Pastor- Scott and his family are now moving foward as Scott fufills a calling for ministry at a church on the East Coast. I remember starting work at Compass - Scott's lovely wife graciously showed me the ropes of my new position, and Scott answered all of my little piddly office questions for months on end. I vividly remember the time that I couldn't get my computer to do anything for me - even though the light on the bottom of my monitor glowed green, the screen was still black. After pusing buttons for several mintues, I went to Scott in desperation. Scott got up, came out of office, and with one glance he surmised the problem - reaching down, he pushed the "ON" button on the computer's workstation/tower. Believe me, at that moment, I wanted to crawl under the desk and die! :) Brian and I were privealged to get to know all of Scott's amazing family, and Scott taught me so much about maturity, grace, leadership, and strength in the Lord. Scott is number one in my book as a storyteller - both in his sermons, and in the office. I posses to this day a huge respect for this man of God - my husband and I are blessed to continue to enjoy friendship with him, even as both of our families move on.
I waddled into this job six months pregnant with my second child - the entire staff gave me understanding and grace, as I took maternity leave just three months into the position. Also, I did much of my work from home - the church worked with me on this as well, allowing me to be a Mommy first and a church secretary on the side. I am SO blessed to have walked this path - thank you Lord for this part of my journey!! Please pray for me, as I let go and move foward to the next great adventure God has for me.