Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Too bad we have plans...

because I don't think I will have truly lived until we make it to the KING RANCH COWBOY BREAKFAST. Two years in a row I am missing it. Woe is me. Next year will be our year.

P.S. if you've ever seen the King Ranch logo on the back of a Ford vehicle... Yes, it's this King Ranch, in our backyard. It's bigger than the entire state of Rhode Island, no joke.

Local volunteers will be serving up heaping plates of eggs, refried beans, biscuit's 'n gravy, sausage, tortillas, coffee and juice.

Team roping, horseshoeing, rawhide braiding, and old-time cow camp cooking demonstrations
will be part of the morning's activities, along with cowboy poetry, storytelling, and musical
entertainment. Come join us for a taste of the cowboy life.

Held in November on the Saturday before Thanksgiving – 7 a.m. to 11 a.m.
Tickets: ages 4 and up $6.00 – ages 3 and under FREE!

Advance tickets may be purchased starting in November at:
• King Ranch Saddle Shop
• Kingsville Convention and Visitor's Bureau
• King Ranch Visitor's Center
• or at the Breakfast

For more information call: 1-800-333-5032 or 361-221-0116
King Ranch, Highway 141, Kingsville, Texas

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

My Worst Nightmare- oh Texas, let me count thy ways...

Today I had to face my biggest fear. As if I don't already feel like a prisoner in my own home, since there are 200 mosquitoes hanging out (literally, that is a conservative estimate) in my front door and back door areas... We usually only let people in and out of our garage for a better quarantine area... And I only open my garage when I must, as in, I am leaving with a stroller, or car.

Well today it happened. I put Claire in the car, then opened the garage door to leave this cursed property, and in to my perfectly clean garage slithers a perfectly UNWELCOME snake. Spawn of Satan. My heart raced right up to my throat as I thought for a second before running to get a broom. I swept at him and yelled at him until he went into the bushes out front. I got into my car just to have another semi-heart attack as I saw the chord that you plug the iPhone into to play music through the car stereo; anything long and black was making me jump a mile.

Rough couple of minutes. I hate being so on edge here, like I'm in survival mode. I saw a snake last week in the driveway/grass, and that was bad enough. Then I ran 2.5 miles being chased by thousands of mosquitoes on Sunday. Claire even got bitten 3 times, WITH a stroller cover on! AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! I am trying really hard to have a good attitude about where we live, b/c we have 2 years left... But it is rough some times. Today is one of those times. It's 80 degrees in mid-November and I just long for fall. I long to go outside at any hour of the day and not be eaten alive. Is that too much to ask?

And people ask why we travel so much... Dear Lord, have mercy.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Using your gifting... (or not)

Do any of you know what you are interested in and good at, and yet not utilize your talents? Be it from lack of time or opportunity? How do you deal with that?

Today I found myself in tears on the way home from church. Part of the sermon about 1 Corinthians 12 stirred me. The pastor spoke a small side note about the loss experienced when you aren't using your gifting, which resonated with me. After the past 10 years living around the country, in volunteer and paid positions in ministry, I know what I'm good at and passionate about. And I had grand hopes after seminary of entering a position at a church or a hospital, to bless others and be blessed as I served.

The past year has looked quite different than that.

This is not to complain... In so many ways, this has been a very rich season of life. Though Texas is our "wilderness," even the wilderness is full of life! After a rough beginning, we found our rhythm as parents, and truly I couldn't enjoy Claire more. Staying at home with her is a gift. She is a great baby and I'm grateful to have the chance to love her and get to know her. She is going to be one cool and powerful person, and we are lucky to be able to steward her life. She is wild, Carlos thinks she's just like me. We are going to be given a run for our money if so... Need to harness that energy. And I feel partially fulfilled in being her mom.

Yet, in the stillness, I know that I am not using all the gifts I was created with in full... and I feel a loss in that. I have tried to use my gifts in different capacities, with new student pilots and their wives, with new moms, with neighbors, with friends. I have entered into the depths with people in tragedy, going through divorce, facing lay-offs, or monumental hurdles in their personal lives. God can always use a willing heart to serve. I was asked to take a position in Los' squadron, we were asked to lead a Marriage Enrichment group... we are discovering the rhythm or work and volunteering coupled with parenthood; it's quite different than when we were single, with only ourselves to consider!

I just don't want to get stagnant. I don't want to atrophy. The best analogy I can think of is of a race horse, who is trapped in it's stall. I am chomping at the bit, but I have nowhere to go. And my muscles are atrophying from being stuck. So those of you who are so inclined, please pray that I will not get complacent or forgetful of my passions during this interesting season of life. In the day in and day out humdrum of life, it is easy to ignore the depths of your heart and what really makes you on fire. At least it is for me. But I met a girl a couple of weeks ago, a college student who is home for a break from school. She is hurting, because her brother tragically died recently. Another brother just left for the Middle East. I barely know her yet, but in meeting her, all these things started stirring in me, and if she allows me to get to know her, I can't wait to lavish her with love. Meeting her reminded me who I am and what I'm good at. So I hope.

And I hope that you have people in your life who remind you who you are. We are not defined by our present circumstances, but something, someone much greater.

You have to start somewhere.

So I'm starting here.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Tragedy and Grace: If His Grace is an Ocean, We're all Sinking...

Do you ever walk around somewhere, like a grocery store, or a mall, or somewhere public, and wonder how people can feel joy when you feel like the world is falling apart? I do.

My heart broke this week as not one, but TWO military casualties happened in this country. War is one thing, but when training squadrons have accidents in our homeland, that is devastating in a different way... I remember each time Carlos left for the middle east/Asia in our last duty station I would kind of hold my breath for the months he was gone... A deep sadness would come over me on the day he left, not knowing if I'd ever see the love of my life again... And every time he came back, I could relax again, thanking God for his return.

Being stationed down here at a training squadron, I never even contemplated his life being in danger. But he flies a plane. Planes are amazing. But dangerous. And things can go wrong in planes. I forgot that. Until this week... Many of our friends know the two pilots who were killed here, and some even know members of the Coast Guard/Marines crash in California... Though I didn't know them personally, my heart grieves, knowing that there is a wife here, going to bed each night, and touching her pregnant belly, knowing that her husband will never again sleep beside her, and her baby will never meet it's daddy, nor will her toddler get to jump up into daddy's arms again... Elsewhere, there is a highschool sweetheart who was just engaged to the other Lieutenant who died. She won't get to wear white, walk down the aisle, and look into her love's eyes, imagining forever. All of her hopes and dreams and plans were dashed in an instant. Not to mention countless friends and family members who are aching...

So my heart is sad. Claire and I were supposed to go to Seattle for 10 days, but after this happened, we decided to stay here with Los. It was good to be together as a family, and we drove up to Houston for a night. We had the hard talk about what would happen in the future and for Claire (and future kids) if either of us, or both of us died. That was tear-inducing, to say the least. We made a list of friends whom we admire around the country and who could raise our baby in a way that we are in-line with. If you made the cut, you'll be getting a call:)

On our drive, I spent some time listening to the lyrics of the Crowder Band's new cd. Why do they always coincide album releases with huge things that happen in our lives? Anyway, sitting under the lyrics of How He Loves, I was/am really wrestling with the line, "if His grace is an ocean, we're all sinking..." Sinking is too visceral an image, given that these pilots just sunk into the Gulf and Pacific. I don't want to sink. I don't want to drown. I want to wear arm floaties:) I want to remain safe. At all costs. Which can translate at times into not putting my trust in God. You have to surrender a lot to sink. And you may have to suffer. Will have to suffer. I know God suffered, and is with us in our suffering, I felt that acutely on Thursday as we had a gathering at Oso Creek for the lost pilots. Many tears were shed and God's presence was palpable amidst the pain...

So it's a sad week in our community... Hugging my hubby and babe just a little bit tighter and thankful for each day of life with them.