Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Just Kay-Kay

I am...

woman, wife, mom,

daughter, sister, friend,

stranger, Christian, Republican,

teacher, student, shower singer,

planner, painter, poet,

list-maker, cook, cleaner,

reader, writer, watcher....

So many titles, so much to be.

The list is endless.

And I've felt so much pressure lately,

Mostly from myself.

But I just want to live this life,

the one God is carving out for me,

this small but important life,

and I want to do it just being me.

Friday, May 23, 2008

It’s my…

B lessed and grateful
I praise God,
R aising hands towards heaven to
T hank Him for another year and the gifts He
H as bestowed through faith, family, and friends.
D reaming of all that lies ahead
A nd praying that in the next
Y ear I will love deeper, serve more, and spread joy.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Heart Divided

My heart is full today. Very plainly, I am both mourning and rejoicing.

Mourning
- My heart aches for my friends, the Chapmans, such a sweet family, who lost their daughter last night. I simply cannot make sense of this tragic accident. My brain does not want to accept it. This is an article covering the story. There are a couple mistakes in the article, but it gives you the basic story. I really can't say much more. If I let myself feel the sadness too much right now, I don't think I'll be able to function very well. Please be praying for them and all those close to the family and are walking with them through this.

Rejoicing
-Today is my brother's birthday. I am so thankful for him. He is an amazing man - dedicated soldier, father, husband, son, brother, and friend. I admire and respect him. He has a great sense of humor. I will miss him so much when he goes to Hawaii, but I will really look forward to visiting him next summer.
-Tomorrow is my birthday. (more on that tomorrow)
-David Cook won on American Idol last night. I've been cheering for him all season. In the midst of waiting for an update last night, this proved to be a good distraction. It wasn't until the show ended that I found out the full extent of what had happened with the Chapmans.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Adjustments

Life is changing. It's not abrupt but rather like a balloon ever so slowly deflating, but still things are changing. It was my last Crossover (8th grade graduation) on Sunday night; that is unless the Lord brings me back to teaching. Three of my favorite fellow teachers are leaving my school. We had a farewell/appreciation dinner for them on Monday night. So sweet, lots of tears. My brother and his family are moving to Hawaii in a couple weeks. He reminded me that Willow Grace will be three or four when they return. As of the end of the this week, I will no longer be classified as a teacher.... (I just had to pause for a moment; that's a sobering thought.)The school year is drawing to a close. I'm spent.

I feel...apprehensive, nervous, mournful, hopeful, expectant, relieved, and tired.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Bathing Beauty!

What a cutie!

(weird lines, bad quality, need to get my camera looked at, but she's still adorable)

Thursday, May 15, 2008

A Case of the Mays

May is always the same – busy, busy, busy. This May is no different with family/close friends’ birthdays (8), graduations (3), wedding showers and end of the year/graduation parties (4), and so many other events. Every weekend is packed and so are many weeknights. I found myself feeling really agitated, frustrated, and stressed yesterday; and I just couldn’t figure out why. While there were missteps in my day, it really was not enough to throw me in such a funk. So I thought about it, and I finally realized… it was a CASE OF THE MAYS!

Breathe, focus, pray, reprioritize.

Once I had Chris back with me yesterday afternoon, I really started to feel a little better. We went to pick up Willow Grace from his mom; I simply could not wait to arrive at her house. Willow is such a joy to be around, and I absolutely love to be with her. With Chris and Willow with me, my day just kept getting better. And then I remembered the gift card for the Cheesecake Factory which we had received from his parents at Christmas; I would not have to go home and cook! Of course, we could not go to the Cheesecake Factory without getting a piece of cheesecake to share, but we were too full to eat it after our meal. So, we have a lovely piece of Godiva Chocolate Cheesecake awaiting us for after dinner tonight!

Just six days of school left. Only have to work two days a week this summer. More time with Willow Grace. So much to look forward to. Thank God that May only comes once a year.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

In being grateful....


I am a creature of habit. I have a certain routine that I go through each morning after I rise and each night before my head hits the pillow. Before I became pregnant with Willow Grace, that evening routine included writing in my grateful journal each night. I would record at least three things from that day for which I thank God. I genuinely looked forward to closing my day in this way; showing gratitude to God for the blessings in my life always seems to bring with it peace. However, Willow zapped my energy so completely during my pregnancy that I would often forgo my usual routine and, completely exhausted, drag myself into bed each night falling instantly into a deep sleep.

When I habitually wrote in my grateful journal, I also found myself going through my day looking for things for which to be grateful. It changed the way I related to others and the way I saw every day occurrences. I even started to include activities in my lesson plans that encouraged my students to look for things in their own lives for which to show gratitude. Even though it may sound silly to say, I truly lived with an attitude of gratitude, and I can tell a marked difference in myself since I stopped engaging in that little task. And so, two nights ago, I started writing in it again. I can already feel a change, and I am again looking at the world around me with more a more positive perspective.

I don’t foresee myself ever going back to writing in my private journal as much as I used to. I started keeping one in eighth grade and filled up about a book a year until I wed , but I found that I had less of a need for it after I married Chris. I do still occasionally write in it, but I am able to talk over things with Chris in a way that I never have been able to with others. (That's certainly something to thank God for.) I don’t have to hold so much inside, so I have less of a need to purge my feelings, and anything else I may need to chronicle goes into this blog. I do miss writing in my journal a bit, but I just don’t have the time I once had. So while I won’t be filling those pages, I do hope to regain my consistency with the grateful journal.

While I'm not asking you to keep a journal like I do, I do want to encourage, and even challenge, you to think of things in your own life for which you can be grateful. If you could list five things for which you are grateful, what would be on that list?

Friday, May 09, 2008

Photo Friday

Here's quite a few pics from the last few weeks.

I love this outfit on Willow Grace. I don't think you can tell, but the jeans have little embroidered hearts.


The next few pics are from the Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga.

A little Daddy/daughter time.... Chris is showing Willow Grace some big fish.


She's enthralled!


This was taken in the butterfly room. A large butterfly alighted on Chris. This was definitely my favorite part of the aquarium.


And I loved the penguins! Here's a little video Chris took. Watch for the collision!
video

Happy Mommy and baby!

This may have been Willow's favorite room. She yelled happily all the way through it.

See how the alligator is resting on the turtle? Weird, huh?


The next few pictures were taken at Covenant College, my alma mater.

Future Covenant grad?


Below the thistle, it reads, "In all things, Christ pre-eminent." (the school motto)


I'm so glad we don't have to worry about her doing this any time soon!

Don't worry; we were in a parking lot with the engine off!

Various other times....

Willow Grace with her sweet Aunt Eva Joy at Olive Garden on her Papa's birthday


So cute!


Looking cool!


Who do you think is in my top 100 for most beautiful people? Willow Grace, of course!


Have a great weekend!

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Filler

What do you do when you're trying to unpack boxes and have nowhere safe for the baby to play?





You put her in the laundry basket, of course.


She was so happy there!


These pictures are actually from a couple weeks ago, but we still have so much to do with the house. I know that I said I'd post pictures here of our house when it's finished. Well, it's nowhere near being finished, so you'll just have to wait a little longer! I really wanted to post a some pics from this last weekend today, but I'm having a little trouble. For some reason, the CD we burned the pics to doesn't work in my work computer. So, I'll try again tomorrow.

However, I will tell you about our weekend. We journeyed to Chattanooga, my old stomping grounds, on Saturday. Chris's brother's fiance, Kara, was graduating from UTC on Sunday, and we went up a day early to go to the aquarium and to spend a little time with friends. Willow seemed to really enjoy seeing all the fish, but after a bit it just didn't hold her attention. By the time we reached the second building she was done, but we were still able to spend good time in both the butterfly and penguin rooms, two of my favorite things. Later that evening, we went to have dinner with Lesley and Steve Davenport, friends from Covenant, and their three lovely daughters. I wish that we had thought to take pictures there, but I suppose we were too caught up in catching up and didn't even think to take out the camera. They grilled a delicious pork tenderloin for us and blessed us with a couple sun hats and prayer books for Willow Grace.

On Sunday, we took a leisurely morning, enjoyed a nice buffet breakfast at our hotel, and then later went to the UTC graduation. For the most part, I don't really like formal events like graduations, wedding, and the like. So often, you don't really feel enough of a connection to what's going on, and coordinators seem to follow a "cookie cutter" approach to the event. For this graduation, we had the added element of entertaining a nine month old. We went through the toys, the pacifier, the Gerber Puffs, and I finally gave her the little container of puffs to play with. This keep her busy for a couple minutes until she decided to see if it could fly! We were sitting right behind the rails on the balcony just over the entryway below, and she just tossed it over! Watching her, it truly looked as if she planned it. Of course, the container burst open and left quite a mess which we were regretably not able to retrieve. At least we were all entertained and enjoyed quite a nice laugh from it. The only other things we enjoyed about the graduation was seeing some of the amusing ways in which people had decorated the tops of their graduation caps and watching Kara walk across that stage to receive her diploma. We are so proud of her.