Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't Get Too Comfy

Well I've been absent again. And this time, for good reason. Really, it's true. Hey, don't shake your head at me!! It REALLY is true.

So what is this good reason? Well first, my brother and his family came for a visit. They were here for a full week and believe me when I say that we filled just about every spare minute with activities. We went fishing, clamming and hiking. We cruised to a glacier. We day-camped at a lake. Then we hiked again. We saw quite a few amazing sights and I plan to post pictures in a day or so, but I want to take the remainder of this post to tell you the main reason for my absence.

We're moving. Again. Uh huh. I told you it was a good reason.

We got word earlier this week that Michael is very wanted for a new position back in Houston. Same company, just a new team. Apparently they went back and forth for a few months trying to decide whether or not to offer this job so soon after our move here, but in the end, they decided that no one could fill the position quite like Michael and the job was offered!

If there is anything I've learned about moving with oil companies is that everything must happen NOW.  I think we are shooting to be back in the humid, hot south by the first week of September. We have a matter of weeks to get our house on the market, pack up and head back to the lower 48. Now before you pity me too much, the packing and moving part is relatively painless. The company will pay for a company to do all of that for us. So our main "pain" in this process is in the doing without our stuff for 5 weeks or more while it is shipped back to us and while we search for a house.

We are feeling a crazy jumble of emotions over this move. First we are stunned. We've only been here for 10 months. We knew that a move back to Texas was more likely than not, but our timeline had us here for 2 to 3 years.

Of course we are elated to be able to head back "home". Back to a place with friends who are as dear to us as our own family members. A place where we have a church family who constantly challenges us to follow the Lord in the good times and in the bad.We have missed all of that more than words can say.

But with that, I never expected our move back to Texas to be bitter/sweet. But it is. In our short time here, we have been grafted in to this little community so perfectly. I know that the Lord planted us here for sure. He gave us the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood and surrounded us with amazing neighbors who have grown to be dear friends. He lead us to a wonderful church full of believers who are passionate about spreading the gospel to the unchurched. We have been blessed beyond measure to have made so many friends in such a short time. We will definitely miss them all.

I find myself wishing that we could marry the two. You know, bring all of it together into one perfect place. A place where you get to see snow, but it ends soon enough to wear your flip flops in February. A place where the summers are sunny with a high of 65 instead of humid with a heat index of 115. A place where all our friends and family get to be in one place at the same time. A place with a Target and a Chick-fil-A for cryin' out loud! Ahhh wouldn't that be nice?

So it is with very mixed emotions that I say goodbye to one set of good friends while looking forward to reconnecting with another. This has been a 10-month adventure that we will always cherish. We are grateful that the Lord took us on this journey and anxiously watch and wait for whatever journey he has in store next!

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Jumpin' Good Time

One of my neighbors recently decided to open her own business in town. It is an indoor play area full of bounce houses. I was THRILLED when I found out that she was considering this. Mainly because there is very little for young kids to do in our town. Unless you want to hang out at McDonalds or Wal-Mart, you are pretty much left to figure things out for yourselves. Granted, there are parks and those are great on sunny, warm days. But on rainy and cold days? Yeah, not much for us.

When she told me she was going to start this venture, I told her to let me know if there was anything I could do to help her. And she definitely let me help. She let me paint the business logo on the wall behind their welcome desk.

She also had me design and paint her two party rooms upstairs. Here are before and after pics of one of the party rooms.

I don't have pictures of the second room, but it is similar in design with different wall colors.

My mom and brother also played a role in helping my neighbor set up the business. They put their skills to work in writing and producing the commercial that now plays on the radio to advertise her business. I can't tell you how much fun it is to be driving down the road in small town Alaska and hear my mom's voice over the radio. I love it!!!

This whole venture has been so much fun. I've had a blast exercising my creativity and my girls have had a blast . . . . well exercising!!! Here is picture proof!

Friday, July 8, 2011

Feed My Need

Okay, so blog #2 in so many days here. But don't be proud of me yet. Let's see how long I can keep this thing going.

Truth is, I spent way more time uploading pictures to facebook today than I should have. In fact, I got on yea old blog this morning so that I could write a post about some of our Alaskan adventures and quickly shut it down and opted for facebook instead. Why? Well, I am addicted to comments. Yep. There it is.

I love, Love, LOVE to get comments. I think that is why I love facebook so much. When I post pics on facebook, I usually get lots of feedback. On here? Maybe a comment or two. On facebook it really feels like a back and forth relationship with all who are my friends on there. I can hop on facebook and leave a few minutes later feeling connected with everyone.

Blogworld is oh so different. I do get comments, and I love, Love, LOVE reading those too, but it is somehow different. Here, I never know how many people are reading my blog. Could be 1, could be 100. I really don't know. So being the comment addict that I am ashamed to be, I often choose the medium that will better give me my fix.

And this isn't meant to be a slam against my faithful blog readers at all. It really isn't because I am just as guilty. I blog stalk ALL THE TIME. I read my friends blogs and laugh, cry and sigh along with their little antics and rarely do I comment. Why? I really don't know. Why is it so much easier to comment on facebook? My only guess is that it is the back and forth. If I write a comment, and my friend writes back, I get a notification about it. Yeah, baby. I can quickly hop back on and rejoin the convo stat! Not so much with the blog.

But never you fear. I am continuing on with the blog for the benefits it offers me to rant and ramble as long as I like. Can't really do that on facebook. Facebook is for the short and sweet. And anyone who knows me at all knows I am not known for my ability to say anything with only a few words.

So now, for all my friends who read this and do not have facebook accounts, I will first say: GET A FACEBOOK ACCOUNT!!! And then, I will put up a few pics from our Alaskan summer. At least what we've experienced so far. Oh how much fun we are having!!!

Such concentration!

Sweet sister love.

Tiny Sarah in a big, big world!

This one will likely get framed soon!

We took a cruise to a glacier. Very cool . . . . literally and figuratively!

Love the mountain reflection in the lake.

We saw orca whales on our cruise.

Humpback whale tail.

We had some fun on our neighbor's zipline.

And now Claire takes a turn.

Beautiful bald eagle in flight.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

My Absence

Busy, busy, busy. In three words, that describes the last month and a half of my life. Around mid-May, I was contacted by my church to see if I would be interested in helping out with a VBS. I love participating in VBS and was immediately on board. At our first planning meeting, I was asked to take on the bulk of the planning/organizing and thus became the primary director of VBS for our entire church. What a blessing! To have only been here for 9 months and really to have only been at my church for about 5 months and to be invited to take part in such a great event. I was truly honored. 

We only had about 6 weeks from that planning day before our VBS was scheduled to start. So I have been SWAMPED with to do lists, shopping trips and countless hours at the computer writing curriculum. Obviously my blog has taken the brunt of the hit, as has my house. But it was SO worth it. I always feel refreshed after a week of VBS. I love to teach and as I have said before, vacation bible school is my "shot in the hip" if you will that gets me a taste of teaching without all the craziness of a full year in a classroom. 

Our little church has a big heart for Jesus and just wants to get that out to the community. We decided to host a family fun night at one of our local parks. This was the Sunday before the start of VBS. It was free to the community and was meant to serve as a kick-off for all the activities that were to follow. Claire had a BLAST there and even consented to have her face painted! Here are a few pics from the week.

Claire and her friend, Joy.

Sarah enjoyed her first taste of Kettle Corn and was a big fan!

It was so wonderful to watch Claire singing praises to the Lord who made her.

We did a really cool experiment that shows the plan of salvation. By mixing a few chemicals, you turn a golden solution (meant to represent purity) into a black solution (meant to represent our lives full of sin). Then when you mix the black solution together with the "red" solution (which represents Christ's blood) the two combined cancel out and the mixture turns clear (forgiven sin). It was AMAZING and the kids really got it! 10 of the 60 present wanted to give their lives over to the Lord!

Now that VBS is over and the fog has started to settle, I've emerged from my planning cocoon and am doing my best to get life back to normal. Today is house cleaning/catch-up day and hopefully from this point forward I'll be able to pay more attention to my little blog. I may have to discipline myself to do one blog per day for awhile to get myself back into the swing. So check back tomorrow and see if I managed to follow through with that one!

I'll leave you with a fun video clip that my amazingly talented brother put together. We wanted a little video of VBS events to show our congregation but we didn't have anyone who could put one together. So I uploaded a few pictures, music and a little video and sent it to my brother in Nashville, TN. And in one day, he put this amazing video together! What a great brother, huh?