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Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Big Surprise

This year, Shawn more than redeemed his unfortunate casino mishap from last year. He told me that he searched on line for the most cultured event he could find for this weekend and decided that was what he would surprise me with.

Not knowing where we are going always adds to the excitement of the night, however I am always a little nervous about what to wear. This year Shawn wanted me to wear my red dress. It's beautiful - sleeveless, slightly low cut, calf length with sheer flowing layers - very elegant. Katie (in on the surprise) wanted me to wear a sundress with comfortable shoes. Of course, I wore the red. With four inch heels.

We ate supper at The Cheesecake Factory, which is always superb. Then Shawn drove to the hotel to pick up our room key before the big event. I was excited to see we were staying at the very nice Hyatt Regency in Richardson. Definitely a step up from last year's Microtel.

We parked in the arts district in downtown Dallas, then walked to the Dallas Museum of Art. They were doing an all night event of music and art. (to which everybody else wore jeans and flip flops. Except me. Evening wear and high heels) We toured four floors of art galleries, including a visiting impressionist exhibit. This is the cat's meow for me. In a former lifetime, before a husband and kids, I found release on a canvas. I loved to paint with oils, taking several years of private lessons in high school. Tears pricked my eyes as I wondered from painting to painting, awed by the beauty of each one.

Early in the evening, we circled through the cafe where the music was playing. Suddenly and spontaneously, my husband scooped me into his arms to dance. I was lost in the romance of the moment, when a security guard approached us and asked us to relocate out of the traffic lane. It's taken 17 years for my husband to work up the nerve to dance with me in public - only to be asked by security to stop. I had to laugh.

We walked until my feet could not walk another step. Then we settled back down in the cafe to finish out the night listening to a jazz band and sipping some coffee.

It was a beautiful night of laughter, art, conversation, cuddling while listening to great music, and even some dancing. Exhausted, we finally had to call it a night a little before 2.

This morning we had brunch at Panera, then ran by the jewelry store,Charming Charlie's, so I could grab a gift. Shawn was not excited by this portion of our date. He stood about 6 feet into the room, stunned by the colors and the chaos. He was relieved to exit.

It was a great date. Definitely one of our best anniversaries. I had the time of my life. I think Shawn did too.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

17 reasons

Saturday I am celebrating 17 years of marriage to the same guy. Shawn and I have been married since we were mere infants. Somewhere along the way, we turned into adults. We have been crazy in love most of those 17 years, and even when times were tough, we stuck it out and made it through. Every day that I wake up next to him, I am incredibly grateful. I don't take the opportunity nearly enough to let him know just how amazing he is, so that's tonight's blog.

Just for you, babe.

17 reasons why I love my husband.

1. His eyes subtly change color with his moods. They get darker when he is angry or very tired or very passionate. They are greener when he is laughing, or playful.

2. His hair has delightful curls. I can be fascinated for hours just stretching the curls out and letting them spring back.

3. He has great calves. Amazing! Looks great in shorts and flip flops.

4. He adores his children. He is gentle and kind with our girls - showing them how a real man treats a woman. He is patient long after I am frustrated.

5. He speaks affirmation over our son, giving him that desired "dad blessing" that boys crave.

6. He does dishes (and laundry, and vacuums, and dusts)

7. He fixes stuff that breaks, like the dryer. (without ever being nagged)

8. He does the grocery shopping. Enduring that hell known as Wal-mart, simply so that I don't have to go to the store after working a long day.

9. He pursues God passionately, seeking to live a life surrendered to God's will as best he understands it at the moment.

10. He seeks purity. He turns away from temptations so that he can look me in the eye without guilt.

11. He loves people. He enjoys meeting new people and having friends into our home.

12. He is not afraid to do the hard thing. Many times in life and ministry the right thing has been very, very hard. He does it anyway, even if it is awkward or inconvenient.

13. He is a man of amazing integrity. I can count on him to follow through with pretty much anything he ever says.

14. He adores me. He finds me stunningly and absolutely beautiful - even after four babies left their marks on my body. He does not speak empty words, but I see my beauty reflected in the way he looks at me.

15. He is not afraid of affection. It is rare for us to be seated in the same room or walking near to each other without holding hands. We never lost the habit from the dating years.

16. He plans ways to make me feel special. He surprises me with Starbucks and a fudge round, drops by at work just to make me smile, lays down his busy life to enjoy a cup of coffee on the couch in the afternoon, and often plans elaborate - and sometimes simple - surprise dates.

17. I know you don't want a lot of details here, but he is an amazing lover. I cannot imagine feeling more sexy, or more satisfied than he makes me feel. I hear other women talk, and believe me, I definitely count my blessings on this one. I always walk away from our romantic encounters looking forward to the next time.

Bottom line - somehow I managed to end up with better than happily ever after. I am married to a man that is an incredible man of integrity and character. He adores me and our children. He daily lays down his own dreams and desires to make sure that I am put first in his life. It is a privilege to say that we are celebrating 17 years. I am looking forward to the rest of our lives together.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Field Trip

Today we took nearly 100 first grade students to the local YMCA camp, Collin County Adventure Camp. It was a great trip. We spent the morning hiking, and the afternoon learning archery and playing games.

I enjoyed seeing the camp up close and personal. They have amazing facilities and a great staff. And I have to say that I was checking out the trails with thoughts of what a great place this would be to run.

Two things about today that made me pause and think. My students are uniquely wired this year to believe they know what you are going to say and to act on those assumptions before you can finish your sentence. This got them into hot water a few times today.

But I also realized that I often do this with God. I assume based on my prior knowledge about God that I know what to do, I act on that assumption, then I find myself in hot water.

Today I traveled attached to one of my more challenging students. A kind hearted little guy, he has no lag time between impulse and action. Being outdoors meant that I was holding his hand, his shirt, or at times his entire body to keep him on the trail and out of danger. My shoulders and arms ache from supporting the additional weight.

This made me think about how easily I get off track. I will be following God faithfully, then the next thing I know, I'm off the narrow road. Just like my little friend was distracted by a butterfly or a spittle bug or just wide open spaces to explore, I am often distracted by stuff in my life. I wondered today if God often has to hold onto me that hard to keep
me where I need to be.

It was a good day. I was totally spent by the end of the trip. By the time I arrived home, a migraine had slammed into my head. I was a little relieved that my daughter, Grace, had to do a huge school project so I had an excuse to stay home and rest tonight.

I just have a couple of weeks left. It's fast and furious from here to the end. Pray for strength and energy.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Summer Running

Fingers of purple crept across the evening sky as the clouds illuminated cotton candy pink from the setting sun. The air was damp, clinging to my skin as I ran. I only had fifteen minutes before time to say prayers with the little girls. Every minute had to count. I sprinted down the street, desperate to finish at least one lap before my time was up.

I set my ipod to shuffle, and let God choose the playlist for the run. Tonight the songs matched the fast pounding beat of my feet on the pavement - Bon Jovi, Huey Lewis, Evanescence, mixed with a little Crowder. The beat was hard, and pushed my stride. As I gasped for air, marveling at the magnificent sunset, the first bead of sweat ran down my shoulder. I was nearly there. Nearly to that moment that runners live for.

The cotton candy pink faded to deep crimson, then gradually dusk fell across the earth as I rounded the last curve. The first star peeped out in the distance as I stepped back into the driveway, sweat trickling down the small of my back. As the sweat began to pour, it happened. The stress of my day melted. Suddenly all that was left was a woman with no responsibility. Just a need to take another stride. In an instant I was beautiful and whole again, ready to face the world. Able to leap over building with a single bound.

I had forgotten how fantastic it feels to run on a summer night.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Monday Morning Update 5/17/10

This Sunday morning, I got to hang out in Kid's Cove. I wanted to let our children's director attend church - just to enjoy a change of pace and ward off burn-out. I enjoyed being a part of the children's service. I will say that being out of worship for two weeks in a row was pretty rough for me, but I loved getting to meet all the kids' parents this as they were dropping their kids off. Being in the gym not only gave me the opportunity to touch base with the children, but also to let their parents know that their kids are important to me.

I haven't heard much about the adult services. I'm guessing things went well.

After a quick lunch, and a fast workout for me and a nap for Shawn, we headed back to Anna this for a baptism service. We rented the facilities at Adventure Camp for the evening. This is an amazing camp with a lake, an amphitheater, a pool, a large dining hall, and extensive activities. Tonight we just used the pool and the dining hall, but I would be interested in using the facility more fully at some point in the future.

Tonight 13 people waded into the pool and lined up for Shawn to baptize them. There were kids, two couples, and even some parents getting baptized alongside their kids. It was beautiful to see each of these friends make a public commitment to follow Christ. I love to see the lives that are being changed each week. It is so much fun to meet new families and see God do the impossible in their lives.

We headed up to the dining hall for a cookout. We had the opportunity to mingle with several of the new families for the first time without feeling rushed. I enjoyed getting to sit down with several different couples and get to know them a little better.

In reading back through this post, it just doesn't do this day justice. There is no way to describe the look on the dad's face as he was baptized alongside his sons while his wife wept. There are not words for me to tell about the rows of children who lined the pool, dangling their feet in the water while they watched many of their friends. I cannot adequately describe the way my husband's eyes crinkle up at the corners as he is having the best time of his life. And just how thankful I am to be a part of it all.