Sunday, May 22, 2011

My Brother is a Married Man

Growing up, I don't think siblings think much about each other eventually becoming married.  David and I sure didn't.  My dad keeps telling me David had to find a girl that has many similar characteristics and the same name as me because he just loves me so much.  I laugh every time he says that, but it's a sweet thought.  I think Laura just has what it takes to woo my brother.  :)

How does one describe a wedding that has been nineteen months in the making?  We do things big in my family.  Isaac and I had a huge, fancy, we hope God-honoring wedding, and the bar was set high for David and Laura.  I don't think they disappointed anyone!

Paula knew David and Laura had spied on Isaac and me during our 'first look' so she grabbed me so I could do the same.  I'm so glad I was a witness to such a special moment.  Oh, my brother!  I love him!

The ceremony was beautiful with a string quartet and a fabulous organists for Laura's entrance and the newlyweds' recessional.  Our friend Bob Lilly has a degree in vocal performance, and he sang a lovely version of The Prayer (watch out Josh Groban).  Their pastor read beautiful words David and Laura wrote about marriage and Christ as their center.  I won't soon forget the look of my brother's face as he watched his bride walk down the aisle. 

Of course, every wedding has to have some humor, and this one's came in the form of Gracie, one of the junior bridesmaids, pulling out her incredibly loose tooth about 10 minutes before we were to process down the aisle.  It was bothering her, so with a yank, out it came!  So funny!  It was so loose, it hardly even bled (thank goodness!).

Old Rice Hotel in Downtown Houston is now condos, but the Crystal Ballroom is still a relic from wild-west Houston days of Capital of Texas glory.  If you know my brother, you know just how perfect of a tribute this is to him.  We began our time downstairs in the lobby with a cocktail hour and then moved upstairs for dinner and dancing.  Sambuca catered the meal, and it was fabulous!  The ballroom was gorgeous, as were the cakes. 

Between my niece and nephew and lots of family, I hardly left the dance floor.   I don't dance often, but I do enjoy a good time when the opportunity presents itself.  I had sore feet this morning, and a sore hip, but it was completely worth it. 

The only bad part to any wedding is that it must end, and the family and friends who have traveled from afar must return home.  It was so hard to give those last hugs as folks headed off to the airports this afternoon.  I took Bethany back to Bush early this evening, and between exhaustion and sadness had a rough drive home.  We need someone else to fall in love so we can do this all over again soon! 

Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. ~James 1:17

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Mamma Mia!

Some of my earliest memories are in our house in Paducah of my mom and her 'sister' (she has 2 ladies, Donna and Patti, she chose as sisters as a young adult since she grew up an only child) singing ABBA and dancing around our kitchen.  When Mamma Mia was created, it seemed to be their dream come true!  As the film debuted in theaters, all three women were rejoicing.  Needless to say, when the three of them and their daughters gather, there will always be chocolate, wine, and some form of ABBA music.  I'm still waiting for the "Super Troupers' scene to be recreated...

This morning, Mom and Nanny were planning on having their hair dresser come to Magnolia to style their hair for tonight.  Nanny's sister Aunt Mary (Aunt Sissy...whichever) and I decided to join in the beautifying process as well.  I brought the Ipod dock down to Nanny and Dede's hotel room and cranked up the Mamma Mia soundtrack.  It wasn't long before Aunt Donna and Patti and her daughter Bethany had joined us.  Donna said she'd found Mamma Mia the movie on TBS, so off went the Ipod and on went the TV.  WHAT A BLAST!  Poor Sandy had a hard time keeping still whoever happened to be in her styling chair at the moment!  Our boys got wind of the impromptu dance party and sent up Bloody Marys from the bar.  I must say: NASTY.  However, it did add to the fun, and it certainly took away any pre-wedding jitters anyone had.  I loved soaking up every second of those couple of hours with my family.  Those family days are so few and far between, and I crave them.  God has blessed me beyond what I deserve. 

The poor waiter had no idea what he was walking in to...
Aunt Sissy, me, Nanny, Patti, Bethany, Aunt Donna, and Mom

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rehearsal Dinner

Tonight we gathered with so many wonderful people to celebrate David and Laura.  I often enjoy rehearsal dinners more than weddings because just those closest to the bride and groom are in attendance and the intimate time with family and friends is always a joy.  We were missing my cousin Bethany tonight or else I'd say it was perfect.

I had yet to see inside First Presbyterian, and I was not disappointed.  The sanctuary is classic and beautiful, with a long center aisle. 

Mom and Dad hosted a fabulous dinner in one of Maggiano's private rooms.  The food was delicious tonight; I think all we've done all day was eat!  Mom's friends Tina and Debbie did a fabulous job decorating the tables and the room.  Mom and Paula, Laura's mom, put together photos of the kids when they were little to display around the room.  So cute!

Dede, Nanny, Isaac, me, and my adopted grandparents Diane and Fred, my grandparents' best friends for over 24 years.

Dad, David, Aunt Donna, Mom, Laura, Aunt Patti, me, and Isaac
David and friends Carson, Sam, Jordan, and Mark

Mark, Paula, Laura, and Matt
My poor dad-every time he has to give a speech about one of his kids, he starts to choke up.  What can I say?  He raised two pretty awesome kids (ok, that number is debatable for so many reasons...sometimes it's 3; other times it's 7, but from start to finish, 2) and he's rather proud.  Whether the pride is from our accomplishments or his is still to be determined.  hehehe  Still, my aunt B gave a great tribute to David's wealth of baseball cards, our Sissy talked about fun little man memories, Dede and Dr. Fred talked about learning to show affection with David because their fathers didn't love that way, sooooooo many friends told stories from high school and college, and I learned even more about my brother and new sister.  It was a great night, and I won't repeat stories here and embarrass them even more. 

I loved that when I got back to the hotel, Bethany was waiting on us and I got a huge hug before crashing in bed for the night.  Family reunion is complete!

Future NASA Employee

While we ladies were enjoying being girly, Isaac took Alex and Jason on a behind-the-scenes tour of Johnson Space Center.  There were some buildings off limits to the public since Endeavour is up right now, but Alex got to go to the Mission Control viewing room and watch the astronauts wrap up an EVA.  He thought this was pretty cool, as it is!  They also toured through Building 9 to see the training mock-ups, and they saw the big airlock chamber that was made publicly famous in "Armageddon".  Isaac also took them to Rocket Park to look at Apollo 18 and the Gemini and Mercury rockets.  I think Alex might try to beat Isaac into the astronaut corps, even if it means flying Soyuz!

Laura's Bridal Luncheon

Laura's mom and grandma hosted a luncheon for her and her bridal party this morning at Baba Yaga.  All of the out of town female guests were also invited.  It was a beautiful morning of fellowship and more great food!
The private dining room at Baba Yaga overlooks this beautiful garden.

Laura and her bridal party
Three generations of fun!
All the ladies who made me who I am.
Lots of love!
After lunch, I took Alex and Shelby swimming on the rooftop pool at Magnolia.  Super cool!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Family Influx!

David and Laura's wedding weekend has officially begun, and our family began arriving today to celebrate!  We all met downtown at the Magnolia Hotel, where we'll be staying the next three days.  My grandparents came up from Pearland, my parents, my grandma's sister and her husband, my mom's best friend (my aunt), her daughter (my god-sister), and her kids and boyfriend, and my dad's step-mom, and two sisters, and one of their husbands are all here or will be with in an hour or two.

We'll claim them as ours until they get tired.  :)

Alex took the bandanna from the welcome box and turned into a babushka.  Isaac later convinced him to be a ninja. 

Relaxing!  Mom, Uncle Jimmy, Aunt Sis, Aunt Donna, Nanny, and Dede

View from our hotel room.

We met at the hotel to let everyone rest and visit, and then headed to a pizza parlor down the street.  It was a bit sketch, but it was so good!

Back in December, Shelby asked is I would take her to the Chocolate Bar when she came to visit in May.  Of course we had a chocolate date after our pizza!  It was so good to take the Alex and Shelby out with just Isaac and me.  Chocolate Bar has live music on Thursdays, so we enjoyed the swing music as we ate our chocolate.  Yum, yum!
Big chocolate for a little girl!
I wish they lived close to us!  (Notice Ninja Alex...)

Happy Anniversary!

Mom and Dad have been married for 38 years today.  I'm so excited for them!  Here's to many, many more!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sunshine Paradise

Isaac sent this my way a little after lunch.  This is what our babies spent their lunch break doing with their daddy.  What joy!

David is Smart!

Ok, we've all known for a long time my brother is one smart kid, but he graduated from UHCL with a masters in health care administration last night.  He's worked his booty off for 2 years under some super demanding and slightly unreasonable profs.  Isaac and I are so proud of his determination to stick through a tough program.   Now, he just needs a job...he gets the wife on Saturday!  :)

Isaac and I didn't attend the graduation because we were listening to Jaime Jorge (see previous post), but we did meet up with the family for dinner at Raven Grill..yum!  We made do with a few impromptu photos.  I'm sure the rest of this week will be full of better family shots. 

Mom and her kids, plus one.  :)
The 'kids'.  I don't think we'll ever outgrow that...


I spent the morning listening to shuttle launch preps while I got ready for work.  We don't miss shuttle launches in the Ozinga house, regardless of time of day or night.  :)  We left a bit early for work because if we had stayed home to watch Endeavour take off from KSC for her last voyage around the Earth, we might've been late.

Once again, stress and prayers filled my mind as I sat in my empty room listening and watching the final minutes before the engines lifted that gorgeous bird into the air a few minutes before 8:00.  It was a beautiful day at the Cape, and I'm sure everyone was thrilled and full of awe as they stood watching.

I had time to speak with some astronaut friends this weekend.  I think the reality that the shuttle program is finally coming to a close is setting in hard for them.  It's setting in hard for the community too.  We don't understand why our government would want to stop something that sets us apart from every other nation on the Earth except one.  It doesn't make sense, and it's saddening and disheartening.

On a happier note, 6 very happy people are sound asleep, en route to dock with the Space Station.  What a ride!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Worship with Strings

Worship was extra special this morning.  I looked out from the choir loft and realized we had folks from at least 6 different countries, spanning 3 different continents present (some are members, some were guests).  To have the ability to worship with Believers who heard Truth and came to Christ from all over God's creation is a beautiful thing to me, especially when it happens at my home church.

One of those visitors was a master violinists from Cuba.  Jaime Jorge is roughly 40, and began taking violin lessons when he was 5.  By the age of 9, he won his school's violin contest, then the city's contest, and finally the province's contest.  At the final level of contest, the judges pulled him aside told him that he played so beautifully, and he had earned the right to win first prize.  However, they said, for him to be able to win, they knew he and his family were Christians, so he must renounce his faith and say God doesn't exist since the Communist government of Cuba couldn't recognize someone who believed in God.  Jaime told us that his parents had told him that it's better to obey God than man, and so he told the judges that he wouldn't deny his God.  Shortly thereafter, one of the judges approached Jamie about a scholarship to study violin at the Moscow Music Conservatory.  All Jaime had to do was sign a piece of paper stating that he no longer believed in God.  Again, Jamie politely refused.  The judge became angry and told Jamie he'd never become a truly good violinist.

A year or so later, Jaime's parents received permission to immigrate to the USA.  Jaime was able to continue studying violin, and I do believe that what I heard and saw this morning and again tonight was the perfection of a 'truly good violinist'.  Jaime explained to us that a few years ago, he was invited by the UN to play at the Kremlin in Moscow as part of a public campaign against teenage use of drugs and alcohol.  Isn't God's vindication always perfect?  Amazing.

Music is a beautiful tool for worship, and I am so grateful for musicians who choose to use their talents to glorify God and bless the rest of us.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Beach Week 4

Yes, yes, we're a bit addicted to watching our four legged babies run in the sand!  Today was a gorgeous, sunny day, so once again we packed up and headed to the beach.  This was our longest visit yet, and boy, did those two doggies play!  Both chased the receding surf, splashed after birds, tore up the sand with their running, and genuinely entertained many a passerby.  It seems that Bailey and Aggie Belle bond on the beach, and I am grateful for a common love for them. 
Running hard!

We're all ready for the seaweed to go away, but there's still lots of fun in the sun for these two!

Friday, May 13, 2011


Human arrogance has been a part of the fall of man since time began.  When it comes to communication, this rings true from the days of the Tower of Babel (Genesis 11:1-9).  Man used language to go against God, thinking they could build a tower tall enough to reach the sky and make their name great.  I want to scream at those long dead bones, "Idiots!  We're only to make GOD's name great!".  See, again, why God is God and I am not.  No patience.

As punishment, the Lord scrambled language so folks couldn't understand each other work towards such arrogance.  This disappoints me because I wish I could speak with people at the drop of my hat without the fear of misunderstanding.  I love to know about culture and life in other places, but language can often be a barrier.  At the same time, I enjoy languages and learning the way new sounds and meanings roll off the tongue.  It's a challenge, but something I enjoy.  I just wish there was a Rosetta Stone or online course for Nyanja!

I used to be practically fluent in reading and writing, and could hold my own in a conversation.  I spent 5 years learning it in school.  In college, the degree I chose left no room to continue with either Spanish or the German I'd picked up as an extra course my last two years of high school, and so both began to fade.  However, on trips to Costa Rica and Mexico, I'd pick Spanish back up and enjoyed conversing with those I met.  It was thrilling to speak with someone in his or her native tongue and learn about life for that person.  My stubborn streak comes to play because I REFUSE to speak Spanish outside of the walls of a 'here's how to learn Spanish' classroom within the borders of this country.  I'll just leave it at that.  Again: why God is God and I am not.

Still, language lays heavy on my heart many days.  I know how much the internet is being used to proclaim the Gospel, and I long to join in on one of the easiest ministry opportunities to land in one's lap.  Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, Urdu, and Hebrew blogs, websites, and Facebook pages are being used to reach people whose countries are closed to the Gospel.  These people are desperately searching for meaning to their lives, and they often turn to the internet to seek answers.  What they often stumble into is the Truth of Christ, often seeing the Lord in ways they've never yet encountered.  I think it's a beautiful thing. 

Pray with me for new believers in countries far away who don't have the discipleship opportunities so readily available to us.  Ask God to strengthen their faith and help them understand Scripture through the work of the Holy Spirit in their lives.  Pray that God will give them strength and courage to withstand criticism as they share their faith with their families and friends.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Paddle for Wells

Isaac's buddy from high school is going to kayak the Great Loop of North America for 12 months beginning in July.  Josh's goal is to raise $21,000 for new wells for World Vision.  That all sounded good and fun until Isaac told me he wanted to paddle part of it with Josh.  WHAT?!?  I forget my husband has more endurance than me and doesn't mind bugs.  If it weren't for the bugs, I could probably do it, too.

Check out Josh's website.  He's a cool kid, and I hope Isaac gets to paddle from Cincinnati to Paducah with Josh this summer.  It'll probably be a two week trip.  Then I have an excuse to visit Paducah-HOME!

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

Of course, I'm a little biased, but I know I have the best Mommy and Nanny in the world.  Not many moms will put their lives on hold and move to college for 2 1/2 years to take care of a sick kid so the sick kid can stay in school and graduate on time because the kid is just that darn stubborn.  If I've learned anything in life, it's that on earth, only moms and grandmas love unconditionally.  There are so many fun stories to tell about my time with my mom and Nanny, but the bottom line is that I've had 26 years full of amazing love.
Mom and her kids

Nanny, Mom, and their kids
At my house, I got spoiled rotten by my two kids.  The world geography teacher in me saw this Scentsy warmer, and thought it was super cool, though I had no intention of purchasing it.  Isaac had it waiting for me this morning.  I love that the top has the Jesus fish en-crowning the world-subtle reminder that Christ is Lord of Heaven and Earth.
Their daddy helped them find the PERFECT card for me.

Haha!  With pets, this is so true!

See, for 5 weeks, since Aggie Belle joined us, I haven't had more than 3 minutes to myself.  If I go to the bathroom, Bailey is jumping on me and Aggie is sitting on my feet.  If I close the door, they both sit outside of it and whimper.  Aggie insists on 'drying' me when I get out of the shower.  She sits on my feet while I get ready in the mornings and while I'm in the kitchen.  Trying handling hot pans or curling irons with a 20 pound wiggle worm on your feet.  When I sit down to tie my shoes, both of them jump in my lap.  The list goes on.  While I obviously don't mind it, there are times I want to scream, "Just let me pee in peace!".  When I told Mom about this, and how I thought she was nuts for having one dog and then two babies under 19 months, she told me that now I knew what was wrong with her.  Ha (there really isn't anything wrong with her...just a funny joke!).  These two puppies love their mommy, and I am grateful.  This is the scene I saw upon getting out of the shower one night this week:
Hi, Mommy!  Come play!
While all of this puppy mommyhood is fun and wonderful, not having Jessy home with us has laid heavy on my heart on this day celebrating mommies.  I hate that there is a law keeping me from having my little girl home forever with us.  For now, we're writing letters and mailing pictures and waiting for God to grant me the ability to travel for a visit, and Isaac fills me with encouragement on the hard days.  What a blessing to be able to love, even from a distance. 

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Beach Trip Week 3

Yes, for the third Saturday in a row, we made it to Galveston for a puppy beach jaunt.  It was a gorgeous, sunny afternoon, and there was no keeping Bailey out of the water.  I've never seen him go out so deep, but he was a great example for Aggie Belle.  This week I sat on the beach and watched them play, except for a few minutes that I took this video.  Enjoy these happy babies!

Bridal Shower Fun

Today my mom co-hosted a bridal shower for one of her best friend's daughters.  Tiffani has also been a friend of mine since we were babies.  It was a fun morning watching Tiffani look so happy and be blessed with new things to begin her home with Mark.  Of course, no party for Tiffani is complete without orange (no, not tu orange, thank goodness!), and lots of good food!  I'll be in NYC on the day of her wedding, so I was very glad to get to spend the afternoon with this special girl, her mom, and her sister!
Tisha, Tiffani, the two Debbies, and me

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Puppy Dentistry

No one likes stinky doggy breath.  Even the biggest of canine aficionados will crinkle the nose at the whiff of sour puppy kisses.  In an effort to do our part (really to keep the vet bills minimized), we're training Aggie Belle now to like her tootbrush.  Our vet gives out toddler sized tooth brushes at each vet visit to encourage good doggy dental hygiene.  Aggie Belle's is purple, and Bailey's is blue.  :)

We have some organic dog toothpaste (it's actually cheap) that Bailey will lick off the toothbrush.  Bailey isn't a fan of having his teeth brushed.  I work with him and reward him when it's over, but he much prefers I just let him lick it.  Our vet promises this method has plenty of benefit since the dog's tongue rubs the paste on the teeth, and it certainly helps his breath smelling better.  I wish he liked his toothbrush more, but I'll take what I can get.

Aggie Belle actually enjoyed her first brushing experience.  She licked and chewed the brush, thinking it was a game.  Let her think teeth brushing is fun!  Aggie Belle opened wide and let Isaac scrub her pearly whites.  I'm so glad we'll have a healthy girl with good hygiene habits!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Beach Trip Round 2

The weather wasn't as nice this Saturday as last weekend, but we just couldn't pass up a free afternoon to head to the beach and let the dogs play (and us too!).  We stayed a bit farther to the east this time, and the seaweed was better.  We also went later in the afternoon so the tide was out, giving us more space to splash and run in the water. 

Once again, Bailey was a blonde ball of energy, running like mad and splashing up to his belly in the Gulf.  There were fewer people out this trip, so the birds were on the shore, and Bailey gave them a grand run for their money.  Oh, we laughed!

Happiest of Boys
Run, Puppy, Run!
Aggie Belle could reach the water this time, but she was rather unsure of it.  Watching Big Brother run and play gave her some encouragement, and Daddy stood ankle deep with treats to show her that the water wasn't so bad.
Bailey led the way for Aggie Belle.
Treats make the water better.
Seaweed makes a good place to rest and chew sticks!

We didn't walk 5 miles this trip, but we ran and played in the same space for just as long since we had water access.  I love these free trips to the beach.  I love our family bonding time with lots of laughter and cuddles and kisses. 

Of course, a stop for ice cream was made on the way home.  Both dogs slept most of the way home curled up in their beach towels after rinsing in the beach showers...the bottom of the bathtub was a sandy mess after their post-beach bath, but totally worth the cleaning effort!  :)  We may not make it back to Galveston for a few weeks with all the wedding festivities around the corner, but I can't wait until we do make it!
Happy babies!
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