Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Today We Disappear

With slavery being so much a part of my family's story, this is something I need to do for today:

Monday, February 25, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Church

Monday: Cheesy Chicken and Potatoes

Tuesday: Meatloaf and Green Beans

Wednesday: Frito Pie

Thursday-Saturday: TMSA Dallas for me!  Yay for family time (with some work thrown in too)!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Oh, this week has been full of lovely things!

I love that I can send my two lovies to my parents for a few days, and in that time, Aggie Belle will completely break her 'Geen' into thinking that big dogs cuddling in the bed is the best thing ever.  Ha.  Apparently, 'Geen' and Aggie Belle had the best cuddles, much to her brother's horror.  Bailey thought 'Geen' was his alone.  Hehehe
My cuddle bugs in my big bed!
I love that Isaac has finally finished building his road bike for the MS 150.  This means my dining room and living room will no longer be the work shop and all the tools will be back in the garage.  Alleluia!  This bike is pretty sweet though-it weighs about 15.5 pounds and while Isaac spend very little on the parts, it'd probably sell for close to $3,000.  He's pretty spiffy like that.  Though, I will admit I was briefly afraid the bike would turn out like the car in this Johnny Cash song:

Thankfully, this is the final product:

 I love that one week from tonight I will be packing to head to Dallas to see these two beautiful nieces of mine (and attend TMSA too...). I love my girls!

I love random jean weeks at school.  Hey, sometimes it's all about the little things.

I love what we are praying about doing with a chunk of our summer.  Pray for wisdom and that our decisions will glorify the Father, will ya?

I'm loving these new Scentsy arrivals in my home:

Blessings from this week:
2-13: Beautiful worship for Ash Wednesday
2-14: Dark Chocolate Fondue mixed with Bailey's Irish Creme.  Enough said.
2-15: Beautiful nature walk with the PE kids for the Diabetes Walk
2-16: Evie's birthday party, visiting with long-time friends, and making snack bags for the homeless with ten awesome teens.
2-17: Taking Rachel, Katy, and Sarah with us to The Bridge to throw a birthday party for the residents.  I thoroughly loved every second watching girls whose diapers I changed be grown up enough to love on strangers and bring joy to a room/playground with their smiles and helping hands. 
2-18: President's Day = Teacher Work Day.  That meant I was able to lock myself in my classroom, blast some Dolly Parton, and get a ton of work done.  Oh, why did you come in here looking like that?!
2-19: Great time talking with my mom about Downton Abbey.  Silly TV, but oh how that one gets me!

I love my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Church

Monday: Beef Stew (finally getting to it-really!)

Tuesday:Pecan Crusted Chicken and Veggies

Wednesday: Spaghetti and Salad

Thursday: Spanakopita

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: Out

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Snack Bags for the Homeless

After Vision, our Sunday School class of roughly 20 6th, 7th, and 8th graders really wanted to make sure they are a part of things that will make a difference in our community.  Most of them have families that are actively involved in various organizations and programs that serve our community.  However, these kids wanted to also do things together as teenagers, and I really respect that. 

I decided I'd put together a monthly mission project for them, per their request.  We started with something that we do with the kindergartners that attend KJOY each summer.  Terri, our fabulous preschool director, decided to have the kids decorate paper sacks, fill them with water bottles, crackers, granola, raisins, and mints, and then have their parents help them pass the bags out to the homeless people they see at traffic intersections.  Many of our middle schoolers have younger siblings that have attended KJOY with me, so they were really excited to make their own bags.  Isaac and I made a big Sam's run earlier today to get the supplies.  There were lots of giggles and Aggie Belle kisses as the 10 girls that came made bags and filled them.  They prayed the sweetest prayers over the bags for the people who will soon be receiving them.  I am humbled and honored by these kids and their determination to make a difference in the name of Christ.

I can't wait for next month when they'll lead worship and a sermon at a nursing home!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Happy Valentine's Day!

While the world today is full of this:

I pray that your ultimate fulfillment comes from this:

Enjoy the chocolate, and remember to praise God for His great love!

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ash Wedneday 2013

I am so grateful for a Baptist church that ties together the Christian calendar and places deep meaning between the life of Christ and those that choose to be His followers.

Each year Isaac and I are blessed to be part of the service through music.  My hand bell group and Chamber Singers lead worship.  It's a very classical feel, and I think it brings about a somber attitude appropriate for a solemn occasion.  Although, on a side note, Brahms and I were have an all out war from the grave over one of his pieces.  Praise God, Brahms won, which meant the congregation won.  Otherwise, the poor souls' ears would've rung with pain!

I didn't grow up going to Ash Wednesday services.  In the Methodist church, mention of exchanging ungodly attitudes and habits for more time with the Lord was made, but that was usually the extent of it.  At age 13, when my family moved and ended up joining a Baptist church, it was pretty much the same routine.  A few years ago, UBC began the Ash Wednesday service, and it's been such a treat.  Perhaps 'treat' sounds an odd way to describe a time of mourning and repentance, but but I enjoy the time of corporately coming together to remember Christ's sacrifice, repent, mourn over the grief our sins caused our Father, and leave with a spirit of renewal.  I was mesmerized watching young and old alike receive the mark of the cross in ashes, a symbol of their sin, the death of Christ, and renewal of soul through His resurrection.  What joy!  None of us is perfect.  We all hurt Christ.  We all need to repent, to turn from the daily things that tie us down from being the best Christ has called us to be.  Together, we can overcome.  Together, like tonight, we can repent, find revival within ourselves through the Holy Spirit, and live for Christ.  Yes, we mourn for the pain we cause Christ through our selfishness, but we rejoice in new beginnings and the opportunities that brings!

The ended on a bittersweet night when I learned on the way home from church that a dear, long time friend's mother had passed away in a horrible car wreck this morning.  I had gotten word that a teacher in our district had died before I left school today, but I had no idea it was Jeff's precious mama.  It was a perfect reminder from tonight's service that Christ's sacrifice is to take us Home.  He loves us, and He is good.  Amen.

What I'm Loving Wednesday

We're on survival mode this week, so this will be brief:

I love this book!  Davis Bunn is one of my favorite authors, but he has struck gold in my soul with this one.  There will be a post dedicated to this book, but in the mean time, find a copy of Lion of Babylon and savor the words.

I'm loving yoga.  I have for years, but in the last few weeks I've finally gotten serious about it again.  I can already tell a huge difference when I sing too-more breath support and better pitch.  Yes, it means waking up ridiculously early, but I haven't complained, and I don't plan on it. 

I love the charity: water campaign at my school. All the students learned about it yesterday, and just at one of our three lunches, over $30 was donated.  Donations are starting to come in on line too.  You can check it out here. These kids are determined to bring clean water to a community!  

This week's blessings:

2-6: Finding out we'd be singing my favorite hymn (Once To Every Man and Nation) on Sunday at rehearsal.  Thanks, Matt.  I had only begged for three weeks.  :)
2-7: 'Supervising' several students after school as they made more posters for the well campaign.  They are determined to see this be successful.
2-8: Rain!
2-9: More rain equaled a great day to run errands, have Chick-fil-A (which was over run by the Navy, Army, Marines, and local police.  It felt like being back at A&M!  LOVE!), and naps.  Peaceful day.
2-10: Setting up a middle school mission project.  Can't wait for Saturday!
2-11: Bailey had a fabulous vet appointment.  Yay for an older but incredibly healthy puppy!
2-12: I worked my first Cross Country meet and might have landed a coaching job for next year.  WHAT?!?  Yep, me.  Oh, help us all!  It'll be a blast if anything comes out of it!

I love my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Church

Monday: Leftover Russian Chicken

Tuesday: Beef Stew

Wednesday: Subway

Thursday: Melting Pot

Friday: Breakfast for dinner

Saturday: Olive Garden to use a gift card :)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

What I'm Loving Wednesday

I love how spunky this little boy has been lately.  He's chewing bones, jumping around, and spending more time with his sister.  Bailey's favorite spot lately has been in my lap while I play piano.  His presence adds a new dimension of challenge to my playing.  :)

I love my job.  I love talking about the importance of water, the very real and alive problem of modern day slavery, and I love watching students become aware of their world and learn how to help it.

I love this table cloth I bought from Ten Thousand Villages.  Eventually

I love that Kim had baby Isaac yesterday afternoon!  I can't wait to meet him!

I love watching these two crazies play.

This week's lovely blessings:
30th: Cooking for the boys and enjoying listening to them laugh
31st: It was a beautiful day for driving with the windows down and a dance party in the truck.
1st: Aggie Belle's 2nd birthday and my mom's birthday!
2nd: Crazy fun in College Station watching the Aggies and UK play basketball!  Beautiful!
3rd: Precious time with my dear friend Ashley, her husband Tim, and Isaac.  We don't see each other nearly enough anymore.
4th: My incredibly ambitious student and I met with the principal this afternoon.  She approved K's well plan and is totally on board to help K raise $5,000 to send to charity: water (see the post from 2-4-13 for more on this).
5th: 9 kids stayed after school today to help K make posters for her water campaign.  Awesome!  I met with the city manager and recruited his help in bringing awareness to her campaign as well.

I love my Jesus!

What are you loving this week?

Linking up with Jamie.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Charity:Water - We're Gonna Build a Well!

Water changes everything.  Really.  Check out this:

See what I mean?  Without water, no one and nothing can thrive.  Full potentials are never met.   Communities struggle, and the cycle of poverty remains.  With water, all of that can change.  Thank you, Charity:Water for bringing awareness and solutions (clean water wells!) to this problem!

Our youth minister Kyle showed this video at Vision.  A week later, I showed it to all of my classes at school.  The next day, one of my girls, (I'll call her K for now), waltzed into my room before school with a water bottle that didn't have water, but it had change in it.  She waved it in front of my face, plopped it down on my printer, and said, "Miss Laura, what are we going to do about this?"  (She's one of my church kids, so during non school hours, we aren't formal).  I looked her square in the eyes and countered, "About what?"

"The water problem, that's what."

"Um, I do believe I told y'all yesterday I know what I'm doing about it, but I wanted to know what all of you are going to do about it.  So...what are YOU going to do about it?"

"Well, Miss Laura, I'm going to build a well."  Plain as day, matter of fact, absolutely no hesitation or wavering in her determination.

This from a barely 12 year old.  Be still, my heart!  I presented a challenge, and it was accepted.  Praise You, Jesus!

Now, a well, minimum, cost $5,000.  K doesn't have that kind of money.  Most of us don't.  Over the next few days, K and I worked out a plan to involve our entire school in raising pocket change.  Yesterday, K and I visited with our principal who fell in love with K, her enthusiasm, and her vision to make a difference in the world.   I think K heard "yes" with in about 30 seconds of her presentation this afternoon.  I am so, so proud of K's gumption, ambition, and desire to seek after God with the ideas He places in her heart.  Um, and I get to be this girl's teacher?! Oh, I am blessed!  God is using this amazing kid to stretch me and make me grow.  I'm not a fan of calling people, asking for help, or meeting with strangers, but God is using K to work on me.  I am ever grateful!

Now, K has a whole campaign planned to engage the student body, but I told her I'd help her with some other plans if she wanted.  This morning I'll be meeting with the city manager of Nassau Bay to see if there are ways the city might be able to help us reach the $5,000 goal.  K is determined to see lasting change come to a community through the amazing effects of clean water.  Why not get as many people involved as possible?!  Maybe, just maybe, this will spur on more well projects to come from our community to another community in need.  Pray for K and her goal, will ya?  Lord, move!

Monday, February 4, 2013

Meal Planning Monday

Sunday: Chicken Tortilla Soup

Monday: Papasitos

Tuesday: Leftover Mario's Pasta from Vision (my weekend is full of it!) and Salad

Wednesday: Russian Chicken with quinoa and green beans

Thurdsay: Epicurean Night at Space Center Houston

Friday: Leftovers

Saturday: College Station (Messina Hof Wine Tasting!)

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A&M vs. UK Basketball

Someone please do tell me what a gal is supposed to do when she bleeds both maroon and blue!  Oh my! 

Yesterday was my mom's birthday celebration in College Station.  Isaac and I had to drive separately since none of us have a car for more than five, but he rested after MS 150 training, and I jammed out to real TEXAS country music.  Why can't Houston have one of those?  College Stations has four.  Yes, count them, four!  I like Nashville country, but a girl needs her Texas pride too.  The joy that crescendos in my soul as I turn on to Highway 6 each time I make the drive back to the Promised Land has no limits.  It is pure, overwhelming bliss!

Anyway, we met Mom, Dad, David, and Laura at Blue Baker for a feast before the game.  Oh, Blue Baker, how I miss you. 

The Memorial Student Center (MSC) underwent a HUGE renovation the past few years. It officially reopened in April, but I hadn't had a chance to visit it yet.  After lunch, we headed to campus to shop and explore.  The MSC is certainly still the same building, but it's so new and fresh!  I would love to see seniors doing boot races down the main hall on a week day.  Whoop!  The Flag Room was comfortingly left unchanged, and even on a weekend, there were plenty of students around.  The memories that flooded back were a bit overwhelming.  I loved my time at A&M like none other, and I would go back and do it all over again in a heart beat, minus the being sick 2 1/2 years of my four years there.  That would be just peachy!

Flag Room
New main entrance

Rudder Fountain

Mecca: Kyle Field
Onesie and Tutu for a baby shower present.  Thank you, MSC book store!

The game was going to start whether we made it to Reed Arena or not, so it was finally time to face the music and admit that the impossible was about to happen.  A&M was playing UK in Aggieland.  This Kentucky gal never dreamed that the school I grew up adoring and the school that helped shape me into who I am would be rivals.  The move to the SEC is wreaking havoc on my emotions.  All six of us cheered for A&M, as we should, but it was still strange not to join in on the UK cheers and eruptions on good plays.  The game itself was horribly sloppy.  A&M hasn't played well since they won against UK at Rupp three weeks ago, and UK has just been a bunch of high schoolers all season. We had fun chatting with other families with divided hearts, and we were a bit shocked that half the arena was full of blue.  Come on Aggies!  Support your teams! The game went into overtime, and the Aggies lost by 4 when all was said and done.  We had a great time in spite of it, and Mom enjoyed her birthday celebration.  I suppose this will be a twice yearly ritual from now on with these two teams.  Oh, help us all!  Gig 'em, and Go Big Blue!
Hearts divided

It looks like they're preparing for battle, and that's how I felt.

2007 was a great year to be at A&M to watch basketball.  It made senior year so fun!

Coach Sumlin and the football team accepting the Cotton Bowl Trophy

I love Coach Cal.  Really.  His faces are entertaining too. 

Friday, February 1, 2013

Two Fabulous Birthdays!

Aggie Belle was super blessed to be born on my mom's birthday.  They were destined to be buddies (this took awhile, but the love is real, folks!).  Mom's friends are spoiling her tonight, but it's all about family tomorrow as we head to College Station to watch A&M and UK duke it out on the court.  Be still, my nerves! 

Aggie Belle celebrated with scrambled hugs and extra play time in the sun.  She has no idea that she's two, but that's ok.  She has brought so much excitement and fun into this house, and honestly, there's a lot of people who come to visit just to see her.  Thank You Lord for showing Yourself through pets!
My big girl waiting for Berry to come out to play for her birthday!

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