Monday, February 24, 2014

Plastic Pools and Flashlights

There is something about growing older that makes you long for the simplicity of childhood. The fairy tails, the mud caked hands, the calloused bare feet, and the slobber from puppy kisses. Reminiscing about the beautiful days of the past have just brought a smile to my face and for good times sake, I'd like to share it (if not just to bring a smile to my baby sister in Cali, my baby brother somewhere on an oil-patch, and my older sister taking a break from a crazy day of teaching.

Best Memories---by far.

1.  Traveling to Canada
The terror! The fear... but stopping to teach a lesson somewhere in the midst of the chaos. We were traveling to Canada on our wooden over-sized rocking horse. We would pack him up, Adam Jay would be the baby, or the cowboy, or the dad (depending on the day)... Lexi would be the school teacher... Casey would be Pocahontas in her costume constantly braiding the white yarn horse mane, and I would be the momma corralling a Pocahontas, a 4 year old boy, and trying to boss around a 12 year old all for the sake of the game. We were dressed and ready to escape from Texas, away from the Alamo and all its wars (I think Lex was just learning about it in 5th grade!!) we had our imagination soaring or better yet, on the run! 

2. Camping
All I am going to say is: soaking wet, burnt marshmallows, long hikes.... lots of fun.

3. Sharing bedrooms
I think one thing I will most definitely have my children do is share a bedroom. My little sister and I shared a bed (our choice!) until I was in 6th grade. The we shared a room until high-school. But the years we shared a room were the years we were the closest. Even with bunk-beds we would still line up our dolls, read them a good night story, and chit-chat through the night.

4. Hay-Bale tag
Yes! Jump up on some hay-bales and run across playing tag. Beware!! Don't fall in between (AJ!)

5. Cow-Patty Fights.... 
Okay, this might be a term coined by the Crocker Twins or someone outside the Viertel family, but something about good ol' country kids running around 100 acres of ranch land picking up dried or wet patties and chunking them at each other says something... (not sure what but it does!).

6. Front Seat Fights
I'm sure like every family my parents had a million ways for us to win the front seat. From Dad's card games (whoever draws the highest card) to mom's we will rotate every 30 minutes... it didn't matter how hard they tried or how logical their thinking was it was still a crying fest when not all four children could fit in the front seat. Yep... I will never have one, I'll just tear it out or something. ;-)

7. Back Yard Camping
Setting up that old pop-up trailer and seeing who would be the last to come into the house was always a fun game... pretty sure I lost every time. I mean, it was pretty scary out there.

8. "Uno Momento Por Favor"
Well, living in the south you have a lot of "travelers" coming by asking for food... or camping out in your barn or playhouse without you knowing it until the morning. But my favorite time was when a few "travelers" came to our back door asking for food as we were getting ready for school in the morning and my little sister tells them in her best broken spanish "uno momento por favor". All I can say is .... my poor mom. :)) The rest of the morning was an adventure.

9. The Tornado
It was a stormy afternoon and my mom decided to walk all four kids to the movie store down the street to rent Pee-Wee Hermans Big Adventure. Well... on the way back a tornado cloud was forming. She rushed us home, made macaroni and cheese, as we were eating the tornado touched down so she stuffed us all in the bath tub. Casey decided she couldn't live without another bite of Macaroni and Cheese so my mom grabbed it and under the mattress in the bathtub you can only imagine what happened. Casey spilt the macaroni on me, I was screaming, the tornado was coming and the world was ending (or at least in my mom's eyes). But who cares... we survived. I think only one tree was torn out on our street, no big deal. Right?

10. Snow. 
Sorry AJ you're not in this one. It was Christmas Eve 2004 and Alexia, Casey and I went to the Christmas Eve service in our hometown. We drove from my Mom's where we were spending Christmas break to attend. As we left the service we noticed it was snowing and the roads were icing up. So we drove to our house down the street to call my mom and let her know we couldn't make it back. I have to say this is one of the best Christmas' ever. We spent the night making little snowmen on the bar-b-q grill, then came inside and cuddled with Jake (our old lab). The next morning us Texas girls with nothing warmer but sandals and socks strutted outside enamored by the perfect white pillows all around. The snow laid untouched... until snowballs were formed, laughs echoed the quiet street, and the evidence of snow angels soaked 3 teenage girls backs. No pictures were taken, there were no cellphones to track the memories, but that is one memory my heart will never forget. The greatest, most simple Christmas morning I've ever experienced.

These memories are my own. My favorite. Their simplicity and joy remind me of how beautiful and precious life can be. The smallest moments become the greatest. Just remember money can't always buy memories... sometimes just being and living creates the things you remember most.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Unscheduled Plans

Looking into the mirror and seeing myself is something I have to face every morning. Those eyes filled with exhaustion, the unkempt hair, the wrinkled t-shirt... all this is predictable. What the mirror tells me is superficial, it does not delve deep inside to see what created the dark circles, or the tangled mess. It does not tell the story of the battle inside.

Finding grace has never been something that has come easily to me. Unforgiveness is a strength, I am also "cursed" with being stubborn and proud. Not only am I this way to the people that love me dearly, but also to the God who has shown more love, grace, and tenderness to me than I could ever deserve. This battle of success, earthly possessions, and making a name for myself versus living a life that pleases God and makes people want to know his name has brought me to my knees over and over again.

Today on my daily walk with my sweet, sweet puppies (picture below) really slammed reality into my face.
As I was walking, I was worshiping and praising God for his beauty. Then a darkness came into my mind about all the stress I have been feeling and the overwhelming sensation that this world places on my shoulders. The pressure to fit in, to beat the Joneses, to be the top dog.... it has drained me. Not that Adam and I are anywhere close to doing any of that but the fact is I (yes I) have this unrealistic goal to buy a house in June. This unrealistic goal is NOT by the world's standards unattainable, but by God's standards unrealistic. By this I mean that my desires and stressful deadline are not God's desires or his perfect timing. In June we will not have yet saved enough money to have 3 months expenses in the bank, by June we will not have enough to have a sufficient down payment. So what I mean is that this stress I feel about a deadline that I have created is not biblical. Let me share what I mean....

"What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You desire but do not have... You covet but you cannot get what you want, so you quarrel and fight. You do not have because you do not ask God. When you ask you do not receive, because you ask with wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures." James 4:1-3

This desire to buy a house is not a God thing by any means. This desire to have the 1+ acre lot is not something I have prayed for with the right motives. Every motive was selfish, every desire was self-fulfilling. I have prayed, but prayed earnestly for the wrong things. For desires that will please me, for earthly objects that will somehow fulfill my life. Yet, God tells James to remind us that "God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble." and that we need to submit ourselves and change our hearts by coming near to God. By coming near to him and sitting at his feet like children, adoring the creator of the heavens and earth who will not let us be hungry, or homeless, or forgotten. A father who loves us and cares deeply about us.

Tonight I was reminded about dreams Adam and me have had about adopting. That our hearts yearn to help the orphans, but first we need to follow God's plan. I know he will fill our hearts desires to please him in that way, but I now know that I want to do it all his way. I want to follow his game plan for plan A. I don't want my backup worldly plan to jump in and ruin the beauty of the life he has set out before us.

And now... Rambling Man is going through my mind because that's what I feel like I am doing. Now that's a graceful way to end an intense blog ;-). Goodnight my friends.