My dad, the church, Beth Moore, FORGIVENESS, and my AMAZING GOD

I find myself sitting at the computer in a sulky mood this afternoon.  I’m not sure why…

Ella and I have had a great morning.  We watched Sesame Street, then went to the gym where she played in KidWatch (which she loves) and I did cardio.  Then we met Amy & Jackson at Kangaroo Jac’s to play.  Katie was working so she ended up “bouncing” with the kids while Amy & I watched.  (Understand…we would’ve been watching even if Katie wasn’t there.  We do our best to let Ella and Jackson play together without us for as long as possible).
Ella stayed awake all the way home – even after the trip got longer due to a detour around the water main break on Hungry (forgot to call dad and ask if it was fixed yet).  She went down for her nap like a champ.

So why so blue?  I’m not sure.  I started thinking about the fact that I hadn’t finished updating the prayer list at church.  Then I started thinking about church and people and things that happened earlier this year that resulted in lost friendships.  And there it is…the source of melancholy.

See…part of what happened was a feeling from some people that my father should no longer be the minister at our church.  Some of the people who felt this way (really, all) were people that I considered to be my friends…even some like family to me.  I didn’t understand the reasoning behind their thought.

I know that you see me as biased in this situation (and I am a little…), but I think my dad is a great minister.  I didn’t always.  He was too much my DAD for me to see him without the DAD filter on.  If you’ve followed my blog over the years – as sporadic as it has been – then you’ll remember that I wrote one day about how much I hated being a preacher’s daughter.  It was the year of my dad’s 25th anniversary with the church and not one word had been said about doing anything for him.  Some churches send their ministers on paid vacations as anniversary presents and ours wasn’t even thinking about mentioning it.
So I blogged about my frustrations and thoughts and within a week a party was in the works.  It was a GREAT party with many people returning to visit and share their memories.

Let me tell you – my dad is a GREAT minister.  I have spent some time researching other religions and denominations of faith and one thing I find again and again are unapproachable figure heads.  The people who work “under” the minister do the day-to-day work of visiting the sick and needy.  They are people you call in the middle of the night, not that man who stands up front on Sunday (or Saturday).  Even in some independent Christian Churches the elders & deacons in the church do all the visiting of the sick and with new attendees.

At UCC, my dad is the guy you call in the middle of the night.  My dad is the one who (sometimes) beats you to the hospital the morning of your surgery to pray with you and sit with your family.  My dad has flown home from vacations to sit by the bed of someone passing on from this life.  My dad is the one who calls you after you visit and asks to come see you to talk about our church and your beliefs.  My dad sits with those getting married and counsels them in MARRIAGE and not just WEDDING.  My dad holds the hands of those in a marriage on the rocks and prays for them…right then and there…in their time of need.
If you need him…he’s there.  Man, I love who my dad is as a minister.  I am blessed to be his kid.  I didn’t understand why he would leave home in the middle of the night or fly home before we even got to Disney when I was younger, but I think I do now…

I attend a Ladies Bible Study at First Baptist Church in downtown Richmond on Monday mornings.  I love this group and I am thankful to my mommy-friend Whitney for inviting me.  Currently we are doing Beth Moore’s Here and Now…There and Then study on the book of Revelation.  If you’ve done any Beth Moore studies then you know that this woman knows her Bible and you will to if you study with her often enough.  She jumps all around to bring understanding and clarity.  I LOVE IT.  This week we did Session 4 covering Revelation 4 & 5.  In Revelation 4 the throne room of God is described. 

After this I looked, and there before me was a door standing open in heaven. And the voice I had first heard speaking to me like a trumpet said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” At once I was in the Spirit, and there before me was a throne in heaven with someone sitting on it. And the one who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian. A rainbow, resembling an emerald, encircled the throne. Surrounding the throne were twenty-four other thrones, and seated on them were twenty-four elders. They were dressed in white and had crowns of gold on their heads. From the throne came flashes of lightning, rumblings and peals of thunder. Before the throne, seven lamps were blazing. These are the seven spirits of God. Also before the throne there was what looked like a sea of glass, clear as crystal.



In the center, around the throne, were four living creatures, and they were covered with eyes, in front and in back. The first living creature was like a lion, the second was like an ox, the third had a face like a man, the fourth was like a flying eagle. Each of the four living creatures had six wings and was covered with eyes all around, even under his wings. Day and night they never stop saying: “Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.” Whenever the living creatures give glory, honor and thanks to him who sits on the throne and who lives for ever and ever, the twenty-four elders fall down before him who sits on the throne, and worship him who lives for ever and ever. They lay their crowns before the throne and say: “You are worthy, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they were created and have their being.”

Wow!  That is AWESOME! I mean…A-W-E-S-O-M-E!
Want to know the coolest thing I learned from Beth this week?

Hebrews 4:14-16

Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens,<sup class="footnote" value="[e]”> Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

That throne in Hebrews 4 is the very same throne as the throne John describes in Revelation 4.

WHOA!!!  I can approach that glorious thundering, lightning, amazing throne with CONFIDENCE because I “do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with [my] weakness”.

Now, my dad is not the “great high priest” and he certainly is not without sin, but he is able to identify with anyone who walks through the doors of our church.  He LOVES the people of our church the way GOD LOVES HIS CHILDREN and you FEEL IT when you’re around him.  He even loves the ones who have treated him poorly at some time in the last 28 years…That to me is a mark of a GREAT minister.

I just can’t understand why people I loved wanted him gone so badly.  It makes me angry and sad.  I struggle every day with that “why”.

And here is the kicker…I HAVEN’T FORGIVEN THEM.

I thought I had…I really did.  Until this Beth Moore study.  Last Monday (9/27/10) Beth spoke about unforgiveness.  In Jesus’ letter to Ephesus (Rev 2:1-7) Jesus says (v 4-5): Yet I hold this against you: You have forsaken your first love. Remember the height from which you have fallen! Repent and do the things you did at first. If you do not repent, I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place.”  The church at Ephesus hated what Jesus hated, but they did not love what Jesus loved.

Beth went on to talk about the fact that if we are holding on to unforgiveness then we are not loving what (or WHO) Jesus loves.  We are not loving them in the way Jesus loves them.  She also talked about the fact that we should be holding on to God with both of our hands – not dividing our loyalty.  She went on to say, “If we are hanging on to unforgiveness, we are not holding on to God.”  WHOA!  I need to get myself right. 
I am holding on to unforgiveness – forsaking my FIRST LOVE, Jesus.  If I don’t SEND FORTH TO GOD (not just “let go” of it and send it out to who-knows-where) my anger, frustration, and hurt then I am holding on to it and not holding on to God.  And that my friend is SIN.

So…I am SENDING FORTH my melancholy feelings to God.  I’ll let him take care of them.

Well, my 23-month-old (today) princess is awake and she needs a mommy full of God’s love (and a bit of His patience would help too)!  Before I go…I need to pray so the distractions of the rest of the day doesn’t cause me to miss out on putting down what I need to say to my creator today.

God, I give to you my frustration, my non-understanding, my upset, my anger, my hurt and my sadness.  It is YOURS.  I no longer want the sin of unforgiveness weighing me down.  Take my sin and HURL IT (Micah 7:19) into your crystal sea (Rev 4:6) of forgetfulness.
You are an awesome God.  Thank you for loving me.  Thank you for sending your perfect son, my great high priest, to walk this earth before and and die on a cross to save me from my sins.
It is in HIS perfect name I pray, Amen.

TODAY is BEAUTIFUL!!!

Okay, so I’m over my bellyaching and have wrapped up my pity party.  I’ve put on my big girl panties and I’m dealing with the world.

TODAY IS A BEAUTIFUL DAY!!!  I am currently sitting at the computer next to a wide open window.

Ella and I started the day differently than most…I had to wake her up!  We had things to do and people to see, so she needed to get on out of bed.  I should’ve woken her up 15 minutes earlier than I did because we ran a solid 15 mintues late all morning.

First, we headed to the gym.  If you’re not on facebook (or you aren’t one of my facebook “friends”) then you missed my new lease on life…my list of positive changes!  We have been members of the YMCA for over a year now and I’m going to get accomplished what I set out to a full year ago.  Sure, I went strong at first, but then I met these great moms and started having lots and lots of playdates.  I’m going to apologize to those moms now because playdates are going to be less frequent or we’re just going to be late a lot since I’m determined to hit the gym at least three times during the week.  Yep – I’m going to get there by 8 a.m. (goal), drop Ella off with those lovely ladies in childwatch, and head to the ActivTrax machine to get my designed workout.  Which reminds me…I need to do the ab work I didn’t get to this morning…
So far this week I’ve done three FULL BODY workouts – 20-30 minutes of cardio, weights, and ab work.  After that I’m disgusting so I also take advantage of those non-water-saver showers in the locker room and get dandied up before we head elsewhere for the morning.  Ella is in childwatch for a full hour and a half to close to two hours and she LOVES IT!!!  Those ladies take great care of her and she has lots to do and lots of friends to play with.

Today after our (shortened) workout, we headed to the church to get my church work done.  I started singing U2’s Beautiful Day (since it wasn’t on the radio) at the top of my lungs with my windows down.  Ella found this quite amusing as did anyone we passed as we slowly exited the parking lot.  It just really is a beautiful day!

Over the past couple of days I’ve had at least two friends (on facebook) post about being positive in the day.  “Waking up on this side of the grass” means that I’m alive and I owe God my happy thankfulness no matter what else is going on.  I’m determined to make that my mantra.

Here are a few more things that I’m looking forward to happening in the next four days:
Tonight – my friend Angie’s baby shower.  I get to celebrate another tiny God-creation.  And I just found out my friend, Angela, is pregnant and she’ll be at the shower tonight so I get to hug her and just love on another momma-to-be.
Tomorrow – a Mom’s Morning Out bike ride with some Richmond Mommies.  This was so much fun two weeks ago that I want to do it every week.  It is a good workout with some new friends followed by excellent coffee at Starbucks.
Sunday – Ella is MOVING UP TO TODDLERS at church.  Yes, a bit early, but she’s so much older than the other babies in the nursery and her development is on par with one of the kids who is older than she is.  I’m a little sad that she’s not a “baby” any more, but so excited that she’s going to get to learn Bible lessons and make Bible crafts.  I have her little backpack ready to go with diapers, a sippy cup, and her little Bible.
Monday – BACK TO BIBLE STUDY!!!!!!!!!!!  We’re going to study Beth Moore’s Revelation Here and Now, Then and There.  SO EXCITED!!!  It is really a blessing to spend two hours each Monday morning with a bunch of ladies of all ages talking about God and praying together.
GOD’S BLESSINGS ABOUND!

Before I leave you, I ask that you remember tomorrow the very unexpected sacrifice made by many Americans 9 years ago.  I will never forget where I was when the terrorist attack happened.  I also ask that you remember that not every Muslim is extreme.  Just like not every Christian feels the need to blow up an abortion clinic. 
I also want to ask everyone to continue praying for our troops overseas.  Today, many news outlets are saying that President Obama has concluded U.S. combat operations in Iraq.  My cousin, Hailey, is currently serving in Baghdad, Iraq and she says that this is not 100% the truth.  She is afraid that Americans will take their eyes off of Iraq not realizing that the troops there are still in grave danger.  They still carry their guns as they go about business.  They are still attacked.  There are still bombs.  Please pray for our troops – whether or not you agree with the war or if you did or did not vote for the current or past president. 
I’ll get down off my soapbox now.  Hailey, I love you and I’m praying for you always.

Another one about friends

Oh me, oh my…how time flies by.  Forget once a week…apparently I’m only good for about once a month.  Now that summer is winding down we’ll see if I can focus on blogging one day a week…

Friends…
In sixth grade, I had a friend named JK.  We were really the best …seriously… we’re talking hours on the phone, making our parents drive us around together, and generally driving everyone around us crazy.  Sometime around Christmas break, JK started hanging out with these three girls (JP, KP, and JH).  Well, those three girls did NOT like me.  They picked on me mercilessly.  It was bad enough that I was in the guidance office in tears at least once a year.  It didn’t help that they were a couple feet taller and also threatened to beat me up on a regular basis.  Well, JK knew all of this and still started hanging around with them.  Needless to say, JK became “one of them” and I became her ex-best.

It was okay, I recovered and had other friends.  The following summer I became best friends with a girl in the neighborhood named P.  She was going to be in 6th and I was going into 7th and we just clicked (though in elementary school we didn’t like each other).  We stayed best friends until I went away to college.  I mean, this was supposed to be one of those lifetime friendships where are kids played together and we were old ladies telling stories about the time we “stole” her car before she was old enough to drive it.  It didn’t fall completely apart in my freshman year, but it started to deteriorate.  We had another friend who was in the same grade as P.  I moved 3 hours away and had other friends (including one childhood bestie who P was very jealous of).  I moved back after freshman year and our friendship was strengthened.  I drove 4 hours on the weekends I could get off from work to visit HER at college.  I gave her money when she bounced a check.  I made her stay at college even though she wanted to quit and move home.

I got married…something she didn’t support and made very clear to me.  She was my maid of honor, but did none of those duties.  I just knew that she’d hate me if I didn’t give her the title.  The bridesmaid next to her (the same friend from my college year) did all the traditional MOH stuff helping me pick stuff out and get myself together.  She didn’t approve of my getting married either, thinking it far too fast (is was), but she was there for me every step of the way.
I got divorced…  and while going through that divorce I met someone new.  Someone else P didn’t approve of.  It was horrible knowing that the friend I depended on most didn’t like anything in my life.  It came down to a weekend away for another mutual friend’s wedding.  It was the worst friend-fights of my life…one I thought I wouldn’t recover from.  But I did…

And here is my most recent friendship heartbreak…
On Sunday, I learned through the grapevine that someone I love is pregnant…

In 2005 I became friends with someone I felt God designed to be my closest friend…
We got along great…rarely disagreed…and had a lot of grown-up fun together.  It was perfect – her hubby and my boyfriend got along great, too.  When I got engaged, she was so excited for me and immediately set about helping me plan my wedding.  She wasn’t my MOH (we had barely been friends a year!), but she did a lot of the MOH stuff since my actual MOH was due to have a baby.
As married couples, we had so much fun.  We hung out every weekend and often invited along other friends, too.  We were that comfortable – we knew there were other people in our circle…we just knew that we were most important to each other.
Fast forward a couple blissful years and I got pregnant.  She was the most excited friend about my baby.  She even asked if she could be the one to cut the cord.  As the pregnancy progressed, she seemed to pull further and further away…but I just put it off on busy schedules and other things being important.  She stopped asking if she could cut the cord and said she’d prefer not to be in the room with me at all.  She thought it would make her sick.
Then Ella entered my world.  Yes, my world altered…my time was taken up by breastfeeding, sleeping, and caring for my wee one.  She was there – one of the first to visit me in the hospital, one of the first to come to my house, making me food, calling me, making sure I was doing okay.  But eventually, even Ella seemed to become a wedge in our friendship…

Outside of our friendship, a storm was brewing.  I wasn’t directly part of that storm system, but someone I’m very close to was.  Someone whose bond to me is blood.  As that storm got stronger, our friendship grew weaker.  Eventually it was hard to find things to talk about.  Sure, we were still there for each other for the big stuff.  I tried hard to pretend that the storm wasn’t affecting me, or us.  I worked hard to keep being her friend even though she’d done and said some horrible things to/about someone important to me.  She hadn’t committed any crime against ME.
But it took its toll…and we eventually only spoke when we saw each other (which was still quite often).  Then another life change occurred for her, meaning that we’d see each other only if we set aside time to do so.  Neither of us has.  I was so hurt by the storm and all that happened because of it, that I didn’t have the energy to reach out to her.  I was afraid of what would be said…I was afraid of being hurt indirectly.  So afraid of indirect hurt, that I forgot that I could still be hurt directly.

We still have/had mutual friends.  I knew what was going on.  We are (as of this moment) still friends on facebook, though I “hid” her last week.  Seeing what she said to the friends who replaced me in her life hurt a lot and I couldn’t take it.  I starting hiding our mutual friends because their posts were related to her and, again, it hurt too much.  She doesn’t comment on my posts, so I assume she probably already hid me.

Then on Sunday I heard through the grapevine that she is pregnant.  That was a direct hit on my heart.  When I was pregnant we’d decided that I would be the first to know when she was pregnant.  That I might even find out before her own mom.  And now, since we don’t ever talk, I found out through the grapevine.  I guess I thought that since our friendship disintegrated this year…within the last 6 months…that I’d at least get a message before hearing it from someone else.
Don’t misunderstand…I’m not upset that I didn’t get that message.  I’m sad and heartbroken because it revealed just how over our friendship really is.  I just kept thinking through the storm that once we no longer saw each other in the stormy situation, that we’d figure out a way to make our friendship work.  I’m 32 and heartbroken even worse than that 12 year old girl at the beginning of the story…or that 23 year old…  I’m devastated.  I miss my friendship with her so badly and as far as I can tell, she doesn’t miss me at all.  It simply hurts.  I still love her dearly.  I will miss all the “might have beens” of our friendship.

That said, I know that I have some really great friends…friends who WILL be lifetime friends:
I have Bobbi Jo (who I talked to Sunday after I found out) who has assured me that she isn’t going anywhere.  I can’t imagine my life without her in it.  She loves me, adores Jeff, and dotes on Ella like she is Ella’s blood-related aunt.  Ella calls her B.Jo – a name Ella came up with.

I have Christie who has been with me through thick and thin.  She keeps me grounded and centered and I can say things to her (about her) that I don’t dare say to other friends.  Sure, the most time we spend together during the year is at camp, but that week has bonded us in a way that people rarely get to bond.

I have Amy – my newest dear friend.  We met just about a year ago on a playdate that I posted about here on my blog.  I predicted then that we’d become good friends and we have.  Ella and Jackson are just three weeks apart in age and that makes for fun times together.  But we don’t just hang out with our kids.  We make time to hang out without our kids.  We talk about married life and its highs and lows.  She’s helped me through some really down times in the last year and she’ll help me now.
Amy, when you read this…I need a night out.  Badly.  Maybe after the beach.

I have my bookclub girls (which includes Christie & Amy).  We meet once a month and just talk.  Sure, we talk a bit about the book we all read, but we talk about other things too.  Thank you Amy, Christie, Jen, Arressa, & Jenna.  My nights out with you are invaluable in my day-to-day life.  Let’s never quit getting together…even when we’re too old to read or drive and our kids have to drive us to meet up.

Sorry for the long sad rant…I just needed to get it out.

At least when I post once a month, it has enough words to make up for the three weeks I didn’t post!  Right?

And two months fly by…

I know…I know…  I resolved at the turn of the year to blog once a week.  I also admitted that I’m not a great blogger.  I want to be!  I really do!  But I have so much competition that it is hard to do.  “What competition?”, you may ask…

I’ve recently fallen in love (read: become obsessed) with reading other mom’s blogs.  These blogs are by women PAID to blog!  They have advertisers and business cards and the like.  I’ve just happened upon them through references by other moms.  For one, there is the ever-amazing Kelle Hampton.  Her blog alone makes me question who the heck I am thinking I can write enough inspirational and/or funny mom material to encourage people to read my blog!  Lately, I’ve found a few others.  One is Stark. Raving. Mad. Mommy.  HYSTERICAL!  Her letter to Dora the Explorer made me nearly pee my pants on a bus full of teens.  I was laughing so loudly that I ended up having to read it out loud to those sitting nearby so that that were able to appreciate my laughter.  There are others, but they are bookmarked at home and not on this laptop.

Today, I just feel like writing so I am.  I usually don’t write because I’m not sure if what I have to say in interesting or worth the time others would spend reading it.  Today, I don’t care if this is interesting or worth your time…I just feel like sharing.

Last night was one of those priceless nights in life.  I was exhausted…I still have not recovered from the sleep deprivation that comes from Music & Drama week and Ella took very short or non-existent naps this past week, so there wasn’t much down time to help in recovery.  Anyway, I was exhausted and therefore a bit impatient and not nearly jovial enough to chase Ella up and down a hallway 100 times.  However, I was in a simple trailer on the Currituck Sound for dinner with my grandmother and her friends.  Let me further explain – at dinner last night were my grandmother, my great-aunt, my aunt, my mom, me and my daughter (as well as three other very good friends of those listed above).  How often in life do you get to have four generations of females all from one family sitting at dinner together?  How often do you get to watch your not-quite-ninety-year-old grandmother hug and kiss on her not-quite-two-year-old great-granddaughter?  Granny (now called G.G. since she is Ella’s G.reat G.randmother) will be 90 in October and very shortly after, Ella will be 2.  Beautiful.  Mom and I fall in between them.  My great-aunt Evelyn (where my name comes from and now referred to as E.E.) crawls along the floor, runs through the house, and plays all sorts of games with Ella.  It is amazing to watch this spry 86 year old play with a child with such ease.  She has more energy than I do!

Then last night, I sat on the bed with my mom and aunt just talking.  I love these times.  They can’t be duplicated or recreated.  They just are.  We talked about raising children – they’ve raise six between them (not counting grandkids who lived with Carla at times) and I’m raising my first.  Their words of wisdom are appreciated and welcome (even if I’ve heard them before and I’m sure I’ll hear them again).   This morning, the four of us went to Dunkin Donuts for coffee & breakfast before Aunt Carla headed home.  It was nice and something I want to do over and over again with Ella.

And it isn’t just about MY family.  I LOVE the women in Jeff’s family.  I want to spend time with them – just the girls – as Ella grows older.  I want her to have a strong sense of the women who travelled this earth before her, preparing it for her.  I also want her to know the men in our families, but today I am very focused on the women.  Why?  Because I am one and one day she will be one too.  Her last name will change to something not nearly as wonderful as Cronin just as I left behind McCrickard.  I never had the name Stewart or Edwards (my mother and grand-mother’s maiden names), but I wear them with pride.  From my dad’s side, I have the Maxey nose….from my grandmother.  I also have a touch of her temper, but I try to keep that in check. 

I want Ella to know her family.  Deeply.  I want her to know their stories and it scares me that she may not ever have the same long conversations that I have had with my Granny.  Of course, she’ll have her own long talks with HER Granny Mac. 

I didn’t want a girl.  I wanted a boy.  So badly that when they told us at the ultrasound that it was a girl I had them recheck it.  NOW, I only want my girl.  If we were to have another…I want another girl!  I LONG to be the mommy of two girls.  I almost feel crazy saying that…but then I think about last night.  Yes, it would’ve been just as wonderful with a toddling boy running about…I’m sure.  And I don’t want to get slammed by all you moms of boys – I love you!  God knows it!  My mother in law had three boys and I swear she’s an angel in disguise for doing it!
But last night was MAGICAL!  Four generations of WOMEN from ONE FAMILY line….

Thank you, God, for my family.  Thank you, God, for my Bean.

Godly Inspiration

I’m starting this at 4:25 p.m. on Friday afternoon…Ella is bound to wake up any moment sucking me away from the opportunity to finish it.  But I’m going to start it anyway…and listen for the Bean to stir.

We spent 8 days in California (with two days additional days traveling to and from California).  It was wonderful.  I’ll do my best to blog about our trip next week giving details of what we did and including pictures (which you’ve seen if you’re a friend on facebook).

One of the coolest things we did was go to church with my brother, Warren, and my wonderful sister-in-law, Rachel.  Warren and Rach are members of First Christian Church of Burbank (Disciples of Christ).  They have found a wonderful family there.  Warren leads the worship there in the 11:00 service and Rachel is an elder in the church.  They were both fulfilling those roles during our visit.

The minister, Steve Borgard, was finishing up a series on Stewardship.  Sunday, May 30, he preached on the Stewardship of Memory basing his sermon on 1 Corinthians11:17-34.  It was a GREAT message.  One that we could all do well to hear.  He spoke of the Lord’s Supper being a Meal of Memory…people in the text were not honoring the communion meal appropriately and were being redirected in the way they should be partaking.  Steve talked about one of the mistakes we make in partaking of communion is looking at it as an individual event when it is supposed to be about community – our community of believers, those sitting around us, partaking with us.  He also touched on the words, “discern the body” and said that we should consider the body of believers – what are others’ needs?  There should be a collective memory. 

One of my favorite things he spoke about was the IMPORTANCE of PARTICIPATING in CHURCH.  This is a touchy subject at times.  People feel that they worship better alone or in nature.  But Steve made the point Jesus’ model was CHURCH AS COMMUNITY.  This point is so true.  Let me tell you, my church family has been very important to me throughout my life.  I may fuss about them at times, but don’t we all fuss about family members?  We all have some crazy aunt or uncle…so it is in the church body.  I could not have gotten through some of my biggest trials without the prayers, support, and comfort that was provided from those outside of my immediate family – my church family was there all the way, holding my hand and holding me up alongside my wonderful God-given family.

Another thing that Steve touched on – and this truly inspired me – was that “memory is not only a PAST event”.  He talked about the harm that can come from nostalgia.  When we talk about how things used to be…you know, “the good ole days”.  In “the good ole days”, our church didn’t have a computer showing upcoming events.  In “the good ole days”, our church didn’t have a screen projecting the words of songs to enable the congregation to sing facing forward – being heard in worship.  In “the good ole days”…  I agree that the old days were good, but the thing that Steve said that hit me directly in the heart is this: “The ‘good ole days’ can become a weapon against the POSSIBILITY of present.”  Wow!  How true!

How often are we so focused on how things used to be, that we’re missing out on something totally cool happening RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW?  I’ll leave you that to think about.

And with that…the Bean says “mommy”.  See ya later!  Happy Weekend!

Summer 2010

No, “SUMMER” has not actually started in Richmond, VA…but for us it is HERE!
First of all, after WEEKS of hitting yard sale after yard sale, my mom convinced me to post on Richmond Mommies that I was in search of a toddler slide for Ella.  I had to be convinced because I had already seen about 5 exchange custody on the Buy/Sell/Trade/Free forum so I was pretty sure my late to the game request wouldn’t get a response.  Well it did – within 30 minutes!  I snagged a great little slide with a good size platform (my major requirement) for $10!  Yes TEN DOLLARS!  So cool!  And Ella LOVES it!
She slid and slid and slid – all day only heading inside when DRAGGED for lunch, naptime, and dinner.
Since it has been rainy here, we also ended up quite dirty that day…

I’ve discovered that dirty knees = FUN!
Not only that, but at one of those above mentioned many yard sales, I snapped up a bike seat for Ella for a mere $15! It was meant for my Canondale, but won’t go on it.  Jeff is now even more convinced that we paid far too much money for my bike (which I’ve barely gotten to ride since I have Ella and no bike seat to take her along with me).  However – when I was sick yesterday he discovered that it does fit HIS bike.
So Ella went on her first bike ride with her daddy…and is now addicted.  So is Jeff.  He’s hoping to get off work ontime tonight so there is enough daylight to take his girl out for a ride after dinner.  Maybe (since I’m feeling much better) I’ll get on my pretty bike and ride along.  Now that sounds fun!
After reading my FAVORITE blog by Kelle Hampton, I’m formulating a “to-do” list for this summer:
1. Visit my brother in Los Angeles (he’s been out there 6 years and I’ve yet to go)
2. Go to the San Deigo Zoo when in California (I’ve always wanted to go)
3. Get that green bike to fit me, too, so Ella and I can go for rides during the day.
4. Get a personal trainer at the gym and 
5. LOSE MY BABY WEIGHT (I’ve lost 0 lbs in 18 months)
6. Spend a week at Nags Head in my mom’s trailer – just us gals
7. Bake more – why do I buy store-made cookies?
8. Plan a girl’s night to go CLUBBING (thanks, Kelle!) – oh I used to love to dance!
9. Start my own bookclub (will check that off in June)
10. BUY A NEW BIKINI BY SUMMER’S END
I’m sure there are more goals I have that I’m not thinking of, so more may be added later.  That last one is a kicker.  I saw the cutest green bikini last night at the mall (walking around after I felt better) and was dying to be small enough to be in a bikini again…I will be!  I will be!
So…COME ON SUMMER!  I’m ready for you!

Happy Anniversary to ME (and Jeff)!

Four years ago today, I got up early and realized that my only white thong was in the dirty clothes.  It was my wedding day – I needed a white thong!  What was I going to do?
Shortly after that occurred to me, my sister-in-law Rachel and my best friend Melissa arrived so that we could head down to Carytown and get our hair done.  Our scheduled changed a bit due to my lack of a white thong so off to Willow Lawn’s Victoria’s Secret we went to buy me a new one.  I can still recall that shopping trip in detail – each of us holding up different white thongs until we’d found the most “wedding-y” of them all.
Thong in bag, we headed off to Carytown to get coffee and bagels and get our hair done.  At somepoint while sitting in that chair, one of my partners in preparation said, “it is 12:00…six more hours”.  I burst into tears.  I couldn’t believe I was getting married to such a wonderful guy.
After leaving the salon, I had also realized that I had NO CLUE where my makeup was.  Now, for those of you who do not know me well…I do not wear makeup.  I own it, though what I currently own is what I owned on that day four years ago…that is how little I wear makeup.  So what did we do – head to Stony Point where there was a cosmetics shop that was rumored to do your makeup for a “small” fee.  We got there and ran through a WINDY parking lot only to find out that the small fee wasn’t near small enough.  Oh well…
Once at the church things went smoothly.  I even managed to have a snack!

Notice that we’ve covered my dress with the dress bag from one of my bridesmaids. 

Not sure what Amanda is doing with the bottom of my dress…maybe picking dirt out of it from pictures outside.
Anyway – things ran smoothly for about 30 minutes at a time.  Every 30 minutes or so my Junior Bridesmaid, Charlotte Rich, would tell me what time it was…making me cry until it was funny.
At 5:50 (it was a 6:00 wedding) my Mistress of Ceremonies, Dana Rich, came to get us and line us up.  On our way to the hall and foyer, I was told to go into the kitchen.  That is where Dana told me that they couldn’t find Jeff.  What?  You can’t find the groom?
After a quick peek out the kitchen door to check the cars in the parking lot – Jeff’s car? Check. His dad’s truck? Check.  Jerry’s car?  Check.  Gabe’s car?  Check.  Ian’s truck?  Check.
He has to be here somewhere!
“Where was the last place you told him to be?  He’s a good listener.”  I asked and told Dana.  She realized that no one had ever gone to the guy’s dressing room to move Jeff from there to the little room in the front of the sanctuary (where water and snacks had been waiting for him).  Oops.  Sure enough, he was sitting all alone in the dressing room.  They quickly ushered him past the kitchen door and into the sanctuary.
Then we gals filed down the hallway to the double doors.  Missy Grubbs played the intro to “This Day” (Point of Grace) on the piano and Troy Rich began playing the melody on the violin.  It hit me…the moment was here!  I immediately burst into sobs…the people in the back row of the church could hear me.  I was so overwhelmed by the emotion of the day.  I was excited.
My bridesmaids (the ones who hadn’t started down the aisle) tried to comfort me to no avail.
As my matron of honor, Amanda Amos, entered the church and they shut the double doors behind her my dad got a tissue of Dana and handed it to me saying, “blow your nose and get yourself together”…which I did.  The music changed to “On Eagle’s Wings” and the doors opened and I walked down that aisle on the arm of my daddy.
See…you can’t even tell I was weeping just moments before this!
It was a beautiful ceremony…I’m sure it was.  I haven’t seen it because we never have transferred it from the funky little tape it is on to a DVD…we should do that.  Maybe this coming year.  I do know that the ceremony went very smoothly until the vows.  Jeff said his like a pro – and this is the guy who speaks so softly you can barely hear him across a table.  He belted his vow out – so proud to be marrying me, I’m sure…
Then it was my turn.  “I, Evelyn, take you, Jeff, to be my lawfully wedded hus…”  Yep – it hit again…all the emotion of the day.  All the planning, the expectations, the expensive wedding photographer (none of these pics were taken by him), the asking of friends, putting them in “order” – hate that part, but hate doing it solely by height either.  All the memories of our 5 1/2 year relationship…  I started to sob again and this time – NO ONE came to my rescue.  My parents were down in the pew…Jeff wasn’t sure what to do…my bridesmaids didn’t know if I was just pausing or actually crying…and the friend officiating didn’t have a tissue.  Well I did get myself together and finish my vows.  And then the best part of any wedding…THE KISS!
And it was a GOOD KISS!
After that – it was easy breezy.  We were pronounced man & wife to cheers.
Pardon the red eye…the photo is too old to fix!  I tried!
We took pictures together and with our families and then headed to the Virginia Aviation Museum to celebrate…eating, drinking (a little), and making merry!
It was a great day – one of the best in my entire lifetime.  It isn’t THE best, because we’ve experienced so much more together as husband and wife over the past four years that have topped it.  Being married is challenging…we had a disagreement just last night…but it is worth every challenge.
Jeff is my best friend.  He is my family.  He is my husband.
He is also father of my beautiful child.
We have a beautiful life.
Happy Anniversary to my Mr. Wonderful!