Wednesday, February 10, 2016

On the eve of 22 years following Christ...

Since I stopped blogging 5-6 years ago, here is something I just found that I wrote 2 years ago. Today marks 3 years that Claire has trusted Jesus, and almost 22 that I have. Such fun to be reflective in February every year. 20 years of following Christ… I was an immature, hot mess at age 14. At 34 I am still immature sometimes, but a bit less of a hot mess… What have I learned about God, and myself?

 1) God loves me- and won’t leave or forsake me, no matter how many times I screw up. Nothing I can do will make him love me any more or any less. Nothing can separate me from his love.

 2) He gives me grace and mercy. Second chances to right the wrongs I make. No wrath for when I totally blow it.

 3) I am saved by grace by faith, and not from works. This takes a lot of pressure off of my shoulders because it is not about me earning my own way to heaven.

 4) I am a work in progress. Discipleship takes a whole life long, and is measured in the lag time between when God prompts you to act, and you act.

 5) Jesus is the best role model. Every human is fallible save one, and to put anyone else on a pedastool robs Christ of his proper place, (high and lifted up) and puts too much pressure on their shoulders. People will inevitably mess up and let you down, in little ways or huge. Jesus will not.

 6) To become like Christ, I need to know him, to learn about him in Scripture and practice making similar choices with my life, 2000 years later- with my time, money and talents.

 7) The fruit of the spirit- love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control feel BETTER than what my own flesh naturally feels.

 8) God’s ways and thoughts are higher than my ways and thoughts. His plan is better than what I conjure up on my own. Trusting him has led me to a vocation, a husband, and all kinds of places to live that I NEVER would have picked on my own.

 9) God’s world and people are so beautiful and worth exploring. Breath-taking , intricate, beauty all over this planet. Some of the highlights for me so far are: Patagonia, SA, safari in Africa, and the Great Barrier Reef. Marvelous creation.

 10) He is before all things- my identity is not found in being a wife, or mom, or whether I have a great job, look gorgeous or not, accomplish a lot or a little… Everything pales in comparison to him. So no matter what my circumstances are- my identity is secure.

 11) He can heal human relationships. Things don’t have to “always be this way” with certain people… there are new mercies every morning. He changed my hard heart towards my dad, has mended friendships, and aided our marriage to get through tough times. He redeems. He restores. He can make things new. He offers us hope.

 12) He meets us where we are. We don’t have to clean up our act before we come to Him, we change as a result of being in relationship with him. The Father scanned the horizon for the prodigal son.

 13) He wants to talk to us. Through the Bible and through prayer and spiritual disciplines, as well as through community, we can discern his voice and how it can impact our lives, offering us mid-course correction.

 14) I need community. Women, couples, mentors to guide me, show me the way, tell us they’ve been there before, offering us companionship/ encouragement as I run my leg of the race.

 15) God is generous. Everything we have is a gift. So we in turn are generous and bless others. Possessions can possess us, but stewardship is a different concept. It is realizing things are not ultimately ours, we are not taking anything with us when we graduate to heaven.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Oh hey there...

Oh hey blog, nice to see you after 5 years! Maybe 2016 is the year of returning to introspection and processing through typing? You never know, crazier things have happened. In the past 5 years, interacting through quick one line "status updates" and photos in Instagram have become the norm. While chasing after the kids, I've lost the ability to sit and think deeply. Perhaps this is the year to regain that ability. I'm sure no one will read this after 5 years away, and that's a- okay with me.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

New Year's Resolution 2012

To write at least one blog. Done. I went an entire year without writing a blog. I'd like to say it was a spiritual discipline, but no, it's probably just because I was interacting on Facebook with everyone instead of here. Many things have changed in our lives in the year 2011, so I will try to recap the highlights. Perhaps noone reads this anymore (tends to happen when you don't write a thing!) so I'll do it for my sake if no one elses... Remembering where you've been, what you learned/experienced, and what you hope for is a big tool for growth. So, where did we leave off? 2011...

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Skydiving in Hawaii

I just found this photo and the corresponding video from last year in Oahu.

Definitely one of the best, and scariest, things I've ever done! But it was a bluebird day, and I distracted myself from thinking about my impending death, by looking out at luscious Kauai, the pristine beaches of North Shore and all of the LOST-esque scenery. Some of the LOST props were stored at my airfield where I jumped, which was a mega bonus to see.

I'm going to try to figure out how to post this video, so far, not so good. But I highly recommend skydiving to anyone who is thinking of it and is scared like I was! My instructor had jumped over 7000 times and his wife was in labor; he was planning to go to the hospital later that day with her, so I knew he wasn't afraid we'd die:)

Sunday, November 21, 2010

King Ranch bust

Yesterday morning we attempted to make my two year long dream come true- going to the King Ranch Cowboy Breakfast. Alas, I didn't know HOW MANY PEOPLE HAD THE SAME DREAM AS ME!!!! This remarkable ranch is the size of the STATE of Rhode Island, and is only 45 minutes away from our house. Knowing that soon we will live in as opposite a culture to Texas as possible, I love exposing Claire to Western or Southern things and places and food. So we put on our boots and headed on down...

We got there at 9:30 (it is a once a year event that runs from 7-11 and Claire has a long mid-day nap); I thought that would be perfect timing. Little did I know that the 4 mile driveway into the ranch would be bumper to bumper, even that late into the event, and in one HOUR in the car, we'd only moved about 1/2 way into the ranch. The natives were getting restless in our car, and knowing that most of the food/activities would be over by the time we parked, I tucked my tail between my legs and turned my cowgirl boots around. We headed for a popular local diner instead, where we choked down everything Bob and Jillian would frown upon. I can't believe we will leave TX without me experiencing this! A lesson in dying to my expectations.

We had a great rest of the day and headed out to a beautiful beach house that our friends are renting in Port Aransas (I love hearing ocean waves from the deck!) I guess we'll have to pay to take a tour of King Ranch and go to their amazing Saddle Shop some day soon, when the rest of Texas isn't trying to go there also! Yeehaw.

Monday, November 15, 2010

My daughter the model...

Claire does not really enjoy getting her photos taken and doesn't stay still for a second, but our talented friend Beth captured her well in San Antonio this weekend, for some 18 month photos. If you live in the San Antonio area, I HIGHLY commend her to you! Click HERE to see the preview. Claire was in love with Beth's first born, Carter, who was helping, by entertaining Claire. A perfect little photog assistant! Thank you Beth, Claire will model for you any time!!

San Antonio Rock and Roll weekend

We had a fantastic weekend up in San Antonio. Thank you to the Anderson's, who opened their relaxing home up to us. Claire couldn't get enough of their backyard and play room... It made me long for the time where we can plant roots and have something like that. Some day, kiddo, some day.

We tried a couple new great restaurants, both of which had live music! La Focaccia on Saturday night, for Los to carb up. The Italian food was delicious. And Sunday night we went to The Cove, which is my idea of perfection: organic, yummy food, outdoor seating, a great bar, music and a kids playground. Something for everyone! Thank you to the Marqueses and Saxtons for suggesting such awesome places!

Claire had a great time playing with Carter and being a model for her mommy.

And Los did really well in the San Antonio half marathon. He got a 1:40 time, which is a good, consistent pace he needs for his upcoming Houston Marathon. He is going to break 4:00 this time (4th time's the charm!) And Claire and I liked all the live music. She was dancing a lot, and I tried to capture it a bit on my phone. Here they are after Los finished his race.

I got to go to the best outlets in the country, the San Marcos outlets, during nap time too; so I was a happy camper. I love the Williams-Sonoma and Crate and Barrel stores. Trying to get everything we want to have for our house before we make our big move! I know it's dorky, but I will really miss those outlets when we move:)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

On Veteran's Day: Being a military wife

I didn't grow up knowing anything about the military. My mom is a pacifist and the military just seemed so far away and foreign. I remember being on a bus in 5th or 6th grade, after school, when I heard the announcement that the Gulf War had started. I think I felt scared at the time, but quickly resumed my daily norms and forgot all about it. On September 11, 2001 it hit a lot closer to home. Shortly thereafter, we were in NYC for the marathon and I remember the smell of death in the air, smoky and putrid. It made me want to vomit. Seeing the aftermath of violence on our turf brought me to attention quickly. As much as I want to live in my oblivious, comfortable world where "everything is great!" I now had seen first hand the global reality of discord and unrest.

A few months later I met a guy who captivated me. But he was joining the military. I don't "do" or "speak" military. I moved to CA and he moved to FL, as far away as we could be from one another in this country... Yet my heart couldn't shake him off, so on Veteran's Day weekend 2002, he flew to Oakland from Pensacola to come see me. And after that my staunch, stubborn heart was ruined for good- whether I liked it or not, I loved a man in the military.

Over 18 months we only saw each other 3 times. But letters and emails and phone calls flowed like wine, entwining our hearts together. On Christmas Eve 2003, he asked me to be his girlfriend. I cried. He lived in Corpus Christi, TX for flight school, I lived in WA, having started grad school. Nothing about our proximity to one another would have suggested our relationship would last- but God knit us together from afar. On New Years Eve 2004, he asked my parents for my hand in marriage. My step-mom said, "it's about time!"

So I took Matt Damon (aka Will Hunting's) advice, and packed up my stuff into my little Acura, moving 3,000+ miles across the country to "go see about a boy." I didn't know a soul in Jacksonville or the state of Florida, other than my boyfriend, but God provided me a wonderful job and community. And I learned, as it turns out, when you live in the same city, relationships are harder! The other person finds out you're not perfect and vice versa. I used to always straighten my hair at the salon the day I'd be seeing Los. He was dismayed to find out I have curly hair:) But God continued to grow us closer to one another, and one day, in the middle of a labyrinth in a gorgeous cathedral in France- for the first time, I heard Carlos say, "I love you." Which was immediately followed by, "will you marry me?" I sobbed. Amazed. Grateful. I forgot to say yes until he asked again.

So I married a military man. I had no idea what I was signing up for. I had no idea how many times I would fear for his safety and life, praying to God fervently. I had no idea 5 years ago how my heart would despair when he would leave me on deployments. We spent our first two Christmases and anniversaries apart. I wept like a baby when he left me and tried to bury myself in grad school books to ignore my broken heart. I lived for hearing his voice from Japan or the middle East, carrying my phone everywhere with me. One time I answered in the middle of a dental exam, shedding tears in the chair- that was awkward. Getting a dog was the best decision we made early on in our marriage. We call Burly the "glue that holds our marriage together." After finishing our 'sea' tour and starting our 'shore' tour, life changed once again. After having a rhythm of together-apart for 3 years of marriage, being together all the time was hugely unfamiliar. And not exactly graceful. But it has become so wonderful and now I can't imagine life apart. I have no idea how I will explain to our little girl next summer, in Japan, that we are not going to be seeing daddy for months at a time. Daddy loves us, but daddy is serving our country.

Being a military wife is hard, certainly not for the faint of heart. I am fiercely proud and completely in love with a man who has given his life to something bigger than himself and our immediate comfort. I am grateful that God is our rock and nothing, not life nor death, heights nor depths, can separate us from His love. He who knit us together watches between us when we are apart. I never imagined that this would be my life. I never imagined how proud I would be to call a military veteran my husband. I still largely see myself as a pacifist, and long for the day when war will cease. I don't know what will happen in the rest of my lifetime, but I am grateful to be married to a man of fortitude, strength of character, who serves us daily and serves our nation. I can not adequately or succinctly express my admiration for my Veteran on this day. Suffice to say, being in the military is hard and comes with great sacrifice. Your family, comfort, community, mental health and even life can be be taken. We live in a country full of luxuries and people (myself included) are spoiled and self-centered, forgetful of the fact that others are sacrificing on their behalf. So please thank a veteran for their selflessness today.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Holidays! (a little early)

I know it's just the first half of November, but we used for our Christmas cards this year, and just got our proof in an email. I really liked Minted and am in love with this little girl on the photo... Being her mom is so much fun and our lives are full of blessings. I don't know why November is the only month of the year we focus on thanksgiving, but I am giving thanks for this sweet season of life. 17 months old today and Claire couldn't be more fun. What are you thankful for?

Friday, October 29, 2010

Cooler weather= happier Casey

Life is getting really sweet here these days. Maybe it's Claire's age? Maybe it takes knowing that there is a light at the end of the tunnel? Knowing that our timeline in Texas is winding down makes me appreciate life here more. And who are we kidding, the weather is finally cooling down some (okay, so the forecast for Tuesday is back up to 90, but I'm going to concentrate on the fact that TODAY it only got up to 72!) Unfortunately my mood directly correlates with the weather- and we just came through a gross, long season of humidity and mosquitoes. Feeling captive in your own home is no bueno. BUT, hope is on the horizon, we actually got to wear hoodies just a bit today! I love Texas in the winter, it is super pleasant to be outside- and we are outside kind of people. We are starting to go to the beach a lot more (without sweating!) and Burly has so much more energy (amazing what being able to breathe does for the guy- the summer just zaps his energy). It is fun to see Burly and Claire playing so much together these days. She's even holding his leash on his morning walks now, so sweet.

For Halloween, she is a UW Husky Basketball player:) Los and I are going as Tami and Eric Taylor of Friday Night Lights, Los' fave show. Which gave me the excuse to finally buy a pair of cowgirl boots! We've lived in Tejas 2 years now, wish I would've done this way before now.

Knowing that next year we will transition from a 'shore' tour to a 'sea' tour, and Los will have to leave us for months, we are SAVORING all the nights and days he has at home right now. Lots of great meals and conversations and intentional time together. I love my little family of four. I know it will grow and change over the years, but the slow and rich pace of life in Texas is definitely something I appreciate and will miss!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lite Brite made me cry

Here is the video that Claire and I are currently watching a lot. We like it for different reasons:) DCB is amazing, check it out!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

the G Dub

This is where Los will be working in the Western Pacific:) One of the most dangerous work environments in the world... I like to say he'll be "flinging" the jets off of the runway. He is up for it though, excited actually. It was his number one job pick for our next tour.

Some of our best friends live in Japan, and we are stoked to explore Tokyo, the mountains (over 600 ski resorts= heaven to me!) and other parts of Asia and Oceania.

Clearly we'll miss the comforts and community we have in the US, but it feels like a once in a lifetime opportunity, so we are going for it!


So apparently I am the world's worst blogger. But for the few of you who still read this, if you don't know our crazy news: we are moving to Japan! Summer of 2011- we will go tell the Land of the Rising Sun about the glory of the risen Son! Wild.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Claire Evans World Tour #1- great success

I will post a link to our photo album as I finish it, but the month of travel is now over and we are grateful to be home. I've now been to 26 countries, currently beating my husband by one, but that shouldn't last long:) And Claire has 5 countries of passport stamps to her name. I could not wish for a better baby, she was a champ, confidently walking on cobblestone and not afraid of new places or things. And she slept in 17 different beds!! What an easygoing kid. I am blessed. I think I might try to write an article for a magazine on traveling with kids. We shall see.