"The thistle is a prickly flower, aye, but how it is sweetly worn."

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Wanna Be Like Pops

Last week, Jude and I spent several days with my parents.  We try to go there for a bit at least once a summer.  This year, Jude has gone twice.  It's one of my favorite places.  Not because there is anything particularly special, but because my parents are some of the most unrushed people I know.  Things just always feel so calm and easy there, which I miss in my 'real life'.  Sometimes I think that's really what home is about- this place that seems to make time stand still.  I didn't grow up there, but having my parents there makes it home.

 We spent the days doing not a whole lot more than hanging out by the pool, reading, and cooking dinner.  90% of the time is spent outside.  We eat lunch and dinner outside.  Jude and my mom were always outside when I got up in the morning.  (Cheers to sleeping in btw- thanks mom!)  It's just so pleasant.

My mom is a huge fan of having fruit in the house.  This picture just says it all- laying around outside with fruit.  Just exactly what summer is supposed to look like and taste like.

One thing that Jude has started lately, is differentiating gender.  He loves to point out that I probably like the girl Bubble Guppies the best, but he loves the boys.  Things like that.  Things that show he is identifying with gender differences.

This is pretty normal for this age- at least as far as Freud is concerned.  I keep having flashbacks to my child psychology classes, because Jude is clearly going through his Oedipus complex phase.  In the twisted Freud terms that means Jude is in love with me and so decides to be like a guy because he loves me.  Gross.  In real life terms, it means he is realizing that he is separate and different from me, so he is identifying with the male gender which is like him.  Age appropriate- supposed to happen around 4.  And sorry this is so geeked out, but it fascinates me to watch this unfold quite like I learned about 10 years ago in college.

Anyway, Jude sat in the pool and ate just like Pops (my dad).  After this picture was taken, he decided that orange popsicles were his favorite because they are Pops' favorite.  Jude no longer likes purple popsicles because Pops doesn't like them.  You get the idea.  The cutest though was when we all went to buy my birthday present, which was a tent.  My dad was carrying it through the store perched on his shoulder.  While at the store, we also got Jude a sleeping bag.  And guess how Jude had to carry his sleeping bag?  Perched on top of his shoulder just like Pops.  What a little man!  The cutest.  I apologize profusely for not taking a picture.  :(

In other manly events, Jude kept it classy by being shirtless with his pants hanging down and his underwear showing in public.  One night we ate dinner along Lake Houston, which is by my parents house.  They have this mini splash pad in the middle of all these restaurants along the lake.  It's really a fantastic setting.  Plus it's free.  Jude enjoyed following the older girl around the most ;)  Those 7 year old girls are pretty awesome in his opinion.

Saturday we did something 'fun' since my dad was off.  We took Jude to the Houston Children's Museum, which was new for him.  At first, I was a little unsure about it because all the areas seemed geared to older kids.  We did finally find the younger kid section though, and it got much better.  As far as exhibits go, I think his fave was the golf balls.  Basically you roll them over ramps and learn about whatever physics are involved with balls.  My dad was also thrilled.

My mom and I were in the corner with confused looks on our faces.  We do not do physics.  Side note- the issues I had in chemistry and physics and biology in high school were literally ridiculous.  For whatever reason, I managed to always have class with my friend Amy, and we literally ruined every experiment.

* acid burns on a sweater? check
* passed out during a dissection? check
* mouse trap car that didn't move a millimeter? check
* rocket that would not launch? check
* choking on gas because we forgot to turn it off? check

Jude loves science.  All I know is that that is NOT from me!  I digress...

His second favorite thing was this play involving superheroes and a mystery bandit.  He is all over the superheroes these days.  Technically, he doesn't watch these with me, but boys just seem to know this stuff!

At the end, they invite the kids to get on stage with them.  Jude rushed the stage.  He had no inhibitions about dancing and being seen by all.  Again, he did not get this from me.  I am so so shy.  But he loved it- and I love that about him.  He knows no strangers, and immediately embraces everyone.  It's pretty amazing :)

He took a pic with 'Telephone Man' who he is now obsessed with.

As well as some of the 'everyday superheroes' from the play.  Yea!  Overall, it was just a wonderful, relaxing long weekend.  I'm already missing my parents and wishing for the ease of life at their house.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Last Week in Pictures

 Using stickers to make a Pirate Lookout.  Ahoy!

 Gardening and playing in mud puddles

 Playing catch inside because of so much rain.  At least his arm is improving :)

Every southern woman plants crape myrtles...  This one has been shooting up mighty fine.

Why are these two so daggum perfect?

This summer has been so weird for North Texas.  Typically July is spent in sweltering heat of 110*.  That doesn't even include the heat index.  And rain?  Well North Texans typically don't remember what rain is until about October.  But God has blessed us mightily this summer with a low 90s summer and an amazing blessing of rain.  Lord knows we still need more to get our lakes and rivers back up, but He is Providing.  Hallelujah!

Incidentally, you may notice my blog changing.  There for awhile, I considered growing my blog, and I kinda did start to.  And then I realized something- I hate blogging for that.  Don't get me wrong there are a handful of people I am beyond blessed to be 'friends' with now.  I love those people.  But the incessant need to keep up with this link up and that link up and make sure I comment on X number of blogs so said blogger and I can continue to build a 'friendship' got to be overwhelming.  With a few exceptions, I just began to wonder why am I concerned more about online stuff than people I know in real life.  Silly.  

So now I blog when I want.  And I write what I want.  And if there happens to be a link up I already know about, I might do it.  But if not, no big deal.  I say that because if I am not really keeping up with sharing my button with you or yours with me, it's nothing personal.  I just don't feel the need to blog all the time.  Or if I don't comment as much as I once did, it's because I want to focus on real life.  I appreciate all of you who have kept up with me.  I'm still going to be blogging, and if you follow me, you will see it.  But if you don't, thats ok too.  I'm excited for all you who have found your niche with blogging.  It's been pretty wild to see some of you grow so fast!  And that's awesome.  I just wanted those of you to know that I am still reading, but not as closely as before.  Or at least not commenting as much.  But in my heart I do adore you all :)  May God use your blog in amazing ways!

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Throwback Thursday

Shutterfly allows you to customize your photo book just the way you want.

Here is the photo book I made for Jude's 3rd month.  That month we got so much snow here in North Texas!  It was a great time for cuddling a snuggly little one.  Hard to believe he is already 3.5 years old!  He's still the best present I've ever gotten!

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Created in His Image- a little prophecy

When I received an email from Sweet Susannah regarding this blog topic I was both excited and nervous.  To be honest, I have struggled to find a topic I could really run with that was deep in any way.  I have these ideas, but can't seem to find the time to put them out there.  That and so many of them still seem too abstract in my head to formulate into anything.  It's frustrating because those spiritual/walk with the Lord posts are my favorites.  And to be honest, I've been learning some amazing things in 1 Chronicles/Jeremiah/John where I'm currently reading.  So I'm nervous.  But I am praying for the words to come.  And I know God promises that I can wait in expectation for His Spirit to come.

So I did.  And I have.  And I'm going to go off on this topic to a place that might not really be considered to be about being in His image, per se.  But I've become more and more overwhelmed by the need to speak this out lately.  I say this with love and a desire for you to know Christ so so so deeply.

Christ walked with conviction.  We are called to walk with conviction.  John 4:24 says we must worship the Father in Spirit and Truth.  I don't know if you are as painfully aware as I am, but this postmodern, relativistic world we live in doesn't hold to dogmatic truth.  That's great for the world.  But Christians- we are called to walk against grain of the world.  We are called to be Christ to the world and to do that, we have to look/act/be different.  Christ warned us over and over that all men will hate you because of me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved (Matthew 10:22).  Christian- if your opinions on things are such that the world admires your openness, you might not be walking in the image and conviction of Christ.  No I am not endorsing you to be rude.  Conviction has to do with how you stand firm in what you believe.  You can love everyone without compromising what you believe.  I don't have to love the sinner by acting like the sinner.  I am saying love the sinner like Christ did- by calling him or her out of sin (He always did this gently in a 'this is what God says way' not a 'your wrong way') and walking with him so he can go and sin no more.  There's no compromise in that.  None.

I am the first to acknowledge that it's hard to live as Christ did.  I struggle daily with being selfish.  And honestly, I am way too quick to use certain words I've never quite managed to glean out of my vocabulary.  I know it takes serious resolve to stay pure in a relationship as a Christian.  I've been on the failure side of that with Michael.  And praise the Lord, I've managed to walk in the Spirit of Christ with Jimmy.  It is a struggle.  But we can't just give up defeated and say oh well, I'm just going to wallow in my sin and embrace it.  We are not to sin all the more so grace can abound all the more.  Paul specifically addresses this.  Christ (albeit perfectly) fought and fought against Satan's temptation. No matter how many times we fail, Christian, as an image bearer of Christ to the world, we had better keep fighting.  We have a standard= Christ.  We are called to live by the standard.  And we thank God for grace when we can't.  But grace doesn't change the standard.  

Therefore I urge you, in view of God's mercy (grace/love), to offer your bodies (image of Christ and what He did) as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God- this is your spiritual act of worship (which we do in Spirit and Truth).  Do not conform (you ought to live different) any longer to the pattern(thinking-what is right/wrong/truth) of this world, but be transformed by the renewing (know your Bible) of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is. ~ Romans 12: 1-2

Ladies (and gents), wayyyy too many Christians look, believe, think, and act like the world.  With every compromise on purity, every compromise in relationships, every compromise on excess, every compromise on what we fill our minds with, every compromise with politics, we sully Christ's image.  I am so disappointed in the Church as a whole today.  Anything goes.  And half the time church is nothing more than a pep talk or better yet a freak show entertainment set with great bands and some cool set props.  This isn't Bible based Christianity.  As for those of you who say the gospel needs to be 'relevant'....

I'm pretty sure the need for salvation is 'relevant' to all people.  Since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.. (but we are) justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Jesus. Romans 3:23-24.  There's no way to need a live lion and live lamb on the stage to explain to people why they need Christ.  Sorry.  Why don't you take your excess prop money and spend it on mission trips.  There are about 3 billion people who've never heard of Christ.  Don't think suburbia needs your daggum cool church props while all these unreached go to hell because no will come tell them the gospel.  Christ healed and spoke truth into people's lives.  That's all anyone needs.  And my guess is, in this world today, people need to hear/see/taste truth more than ever before.

For those of you that say the Bible needs to be relevant to the times because people and opinions have changed... well I think that's just plain dangerous.  First of all, it is irrelevant again because the point of Christ is that all have sinned and fallen short and we are justified by grace.  (see above).  Since no one in modern times has stopped sinning, that is not valid.  Second of all, Christ made clear what standards fell away from the Law with his arrival and what standards didn't.  Standards of purity, standards on the value of life, standards on what is sin never changed.  What changed was our access to grace.  Grace is not this magical thing that makes it possible to live lives of excess, selfishness, entertain me.  Grace doesn't reward us with strokes to our ego, it's ok if you don't choose purity, date who you want, choose what you do with your body.  No- it's not ok.  Grace covers the mistakes, but it definitely expects you to be looking up to Christ and changing your behavior.

I am no perfect person.  And I fail at looking like Christ way way too much.  But I grieve so so so much for my fellow millenial generation.  This generation just struggles with a standard of truth.  Too many of us are willing to cross over the battle lines to be friends- and leave the truth behind us.  We need to find a way to hold to the truth when we are out loving others.  What good is our social justice, our open mindedness, if it waters down who Christ is, what he stood for?  And ohh the atrocity of the lost not hearing and receiving Christ because we are too worried about blending our image of Him in with the world!

Dear Christian, I pray you know Christ so intimately that His glory is worth far more than your desires or your reputation or your friendships.  Seek Him first, and all the things you want will be added to you.

His Love Always,

Simple Moments Stick

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Small Town Texas and Cowboy Church

This weekend Jude was with his dad, so Jimmy and I made the most of it.  We actually ended up doing all of this stuff spur of the moment, which I never get to do now that I'm a mom.  There's so much vitality infused into something when you get to be spontaneous.  Even simple things, like spending a night in Aubrey, Texas.

For those that don't know, I currently live in the tiny town of Crossroads, population 900.  Which is outside Aubrey.  Which is outside Denton.  Which is outside Dallas.  This above picture shows Aubrey's main street.  There's not much to it, other than Mom's On Main.  

Otherwise known as Lucy's on the Square, which made Texas Monthly's best cafe's list.  If you like Southern food, you would like Mom's.  They serve Fried Green Tomatoes, which no one I've ever gone with is into.  I keep meaning to go take myself so I can get some, but never remember.  I may need to take Jude on a date before summer is up!  I love fried green tomatoes!  and fried pickles... and fried catfish- which is what I actually got.

Jimmy and I ate here, and got to celebrate their 1,000 likes on fb, which they gave out free cupcakes for.  I love small town, old building kind of places.  And I love Mom's!  Small town treasures like this are all sorts of 1000 gifts for me.  I am a small town girl at heart.

As we left the restaurant, we were surprised to hear some good ole live fiddlin' going on.  Lo and behold across the street from mom's (next to the rail road tracks and the grain elevator) was a stage set up with the country band, Blacktop Gypsy.  They were actually really good.  I have some vids of them on my instagram (thistleashd) if you want to check them out.  The fiddle player was amazing.  I don't always like country music, but when I do it's because there is either a good fiddle player or a good mandolin player.

Jimmy is a good ole Texas boy, so he loves any true country music.  (This means that most groups out of Nashville do not make the cut.  Hallelujah.)  We plopped ourselves down in the grass and enjoyed the music for the next couple hours.  Amazingly, there was also a cool breeze.  Dear Lord have mercy I can no longer count the gifts God has blessed us with regarding the weather in Texas this summer.  It's been gorgeous.

There were also small town refreshments ;)

We played around with the camera a lot.  Took pictures of each other.  But mostly just enjoyed small town Texas life.  It warms my heart to no end to be a part of a crowd that involves at least 50% worn in cowboy boots.  Or to look up near the stage and see an old cowboy, with a full on gray beard, two stepping with his lady.  I'd love to hear their stories and how they kept the romance alive long enough to be dancing through life at 65.  Definitely my prayer for Jimmy and I.


Last night we decided to visit a 'Cowboy Church' because we needed to go to church early in the morning in order for Jimmy to head out of town for work this afternoon.  For you non-Texans, this is a church where most of the members are cowboys/ranchers/farmers/rodeo involved/etc.  Most of them are in Texas, although they are randomly in other states too.  There are at least 5 I know of near me.  We decided to go to the one in Krum, Texas because I had heard about that one.  

Bad picture, but you get the idea.  I got several compliments on this dress by the way. #thrifted  Also, I love my boots.  They actually have a hippie looking flower pattern all over the sides.  I think that pretty much describes me.  I'm not much of a cowgirl really, but I love small towns.  And I love land.

What the church building looks like.  What the church is next too.  Very pretty!

Jimmy and I got lost trying to get here.  Definitely off the beaten track.  We called his MawMaw on our way, because she grew up in Krum :) Jimmy probably had cousins in church he didn't know about.  We only were able to hear two songs, which made me sad because I was hoping for some good ole southern gospel like I grew up on.  We did get to hear them sing Precious Memories though.  Technically, this song doesn't refer to Jesus, but hey, I have precious memories of my grandma singing to Jesus.  Also, they had a mandolin player on stage.  I have managed to randomly hear both my favorite country instruments live within 24 hours.  #forthewin

If you have a cowboy church near you, it's definitely a fun way to change it up on a Sunday.  Jimmy and I are kind of theology junkies, so it wouldn't be somewhere I could go all the time.  I need my expository teaching of the Bible, and for that I will always be thankful for Denton Bible.  However, sometimes you just need some of that 'Old Time Religion' and you southern gospel folks know what I'm talking about when I say that.  It was fun, and I definitely see us popping in to cowboy churches every now and then in the future :)

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Vacation in the Valley

Officially one of my favorite pics of Jude of all time.

Over the July 4th weekend, I got to drive (and drive and drive) to Jimmy's hometown of Los Fresnos, Texas.  For those of you who aren't aware, Texas is basically HUGE.  I live in North Texas, about 30 minutes from the Oklahoma state border.  Jimmy's family lives in South Texas, otherwise known as The Valley, which is about 30 minutes from "The Border" aka Mexico.  So it was like 10+ hours.  But I digress.  We actually took the long way to drop this cutie off at Camp Nanna and Pops for the weekend.  A part of me really wanted to take the little guy, but I thought it would be easier to get to know so many extended relatives without also chasing Jude around.

Jimmy's 'We are in the Valley' excited face

I was probably right because this drive is heckuva long.  Particularly because when you are at that 'dear Lord make this drive end' point you hit King Ranch.  Which is miles of basically flat shrubbiness.  It would be beautiful if you weren't so tired at that point.  (I happen to think the rustic ranch look of Texas is gorgeous).  

Sunset in the Valley

This bookcase and ladder exist in my dreams

The first day we were there, we toured Chachalaca Bend which Jimmy's parents currently own.  A little side note on Jimmy's family and what they do:  They run a missions training school down here which focuses on sending people into unreached places.  By unreached they mean places like Papau New Guinea and other tribal communities or hostile places such as Iran.  Jimmy's parents were actually missionaries for years in PNG among tribes that were only one generation removed from cannibalism.  The stories they have are amazing- but God is more amazing!  I mean.  One of the remote tribes had a 'Noah like flood story'.  And when his dad came to that part of the narrative of the Bible, they knew he was from God because he knew their tribal religion story.  This tribe had never seen a white person before him and his team, much less been filled with Bible stories.  Just amazing.  You should check out his book here and their website here.  And PS the book is endorsed by John Piper- so you know it's legit.  Ok anyway, the ministry recently bought this beautiful birding, wildlife, and bed and breakfast place which they will be using to train missionaries.  I love the idea of these people who are giving up everything spending two years in such a quiet, restful retreat.  It's really beautiful.

Here are a couple of pictures of me and my favorite guy.  His parents house backs up to this lake, which is absolutely beautiful at Sunset.  We tried really hard to manage a 'selfie' with the sunset in the background.  Anyway, I love all the water around Los Fresnos.  Reminds me of how sad it is to be in landlocked NTX.  Also, his great grandmother lives directly across the lake.  And his grandfather lives up the road.  I mean.  Living that close to family is so ideal to me.  If you read my previous post, you know how much I value strong family relationships.  I want to live within a mile of everyone I love :)

Painted toes courtesy my lady date with Tommi, Jimmy's momma.  

The next day Jimmy and I took a little 'alone' time to go to South Padre.  As it turns out, Los Fresnos is literally on the road you take to go to Padre- and its like 20 miles away.  Talk about convenient!  This was my first time to S. Padre.  Growing up in Nola, we always went to Gulf Shores/Pensacola area for beach trips.  Padre was actually amazingly nice.  I know the sand looks brown in the pic, but its not.  That's just the IG filter we used.  It's actually pretty white.  And the water was a pretty blue green color.  Obviously Florida is still bluer, but it was actually really pretty.  I was expecting Galveston.  Padre and Galveston are like apples and oranges.

The best part of this whole day was that Jimmy and I got to talk so much.  It was glorious to tan and lay around and get in the water and all that.  But with being a momma, I just never get so much time to talk to Jimmy.  Yes, we go on dates.  But dates are often 'doing' something.  Not literally laying on towels and just talking.  I learned so much about him.  We talked about so many important life things.  It was so refreshing.  And I love how in those moments you find yourself completely overwhelmed with how much you love the person.  And it's like 24 hours you would have sworn you loved him deeply.  But within those 24 hours your love has grown so immensely, the two seem uncomparable.  Sigh.  Love him.  Love talking to him.

For the most part, we spent time with his family.  I can't fully express the thankfulness I have that I like his family and connect to them so well.  All of the lunches and dinners and pedicures and afternoons spent with Maw maw were such a blessing.  I have always wanted to love the person I'm dating's family.  That's not always a blessing you get.  But seriously, I enjoy hanging out with all of them individually, when they are all together, what have you.  He just has a great family, and I feel so blessed that I get to be a part of their lives now.

Jimmy and his MawMaw.  When Jimmy and I first started dating, he would tell me how he would go watch John Wayne movies all afternoon with his Maw Maw.  And he'd mention things like how he needed to call her.  That's how I knew he was a catch.  Anyway who loves on an older lady is probably gonna be pretty good loving on a younger lady.  And I was right.  But what a blessing seeing the two of them interact.  Yall- I snagged myself a good man.

On the 4th, all the extended family, as well as several workers/teachers/students from the missions school gathered at Jimmy's grandparents house for swimming and food and fireworks.  The fireworks terrified me as usual.  I am still, in fact, a wimp.  The mosquitoes ate me alive.  I am still, in fact, sweet blooded.  But I loved visiting with family and friends.  And just seeing Jimmy interact with everyone.  Especially when Jimmy hogged a 16 day old baby girl.  I mean.  The sweetest.  And I don't think he woulda given her back except that she had a newborn diaper blowout :)  He melts my heart.

Our last night there we went fishing on the Arroyo River.  This was my first time fishing.  Ever.  Pretty crazy considering I grew up in Nola.  But my dad is not a fisher/hunter type, so I just never did.  I actually liked the casting and reeling in part.  I am not yet ready to commit to touching bait or a caught fish.  And I can't even imagine looking at one being skinned.  But I like the act of fishing itself.

Jimmy's adorable niece and nephew.  They were much braver than I was!

Pic 1- Grandpa Tom, Barbie (his sister), and Emily
Pic 2- his mom and Emily

The handsomest Texas boy in the Valley

Fish were caught by all.  All but the drum Barbie caught were thrown back.  I was sad we were going back the next morning and wouldn't be around to enjoy the fish fry with the rest of em.

My new favorite boyfriend's sister.

The first fish I ever caught.  #terrified

Love love love him.

We ended our trip with lunch with his other Grandma in Corpus Christi.  Then we took the Texas Coastal highway up to Houston.  I don't have any more pictures I guess because I was too busy being obsessed with the perfect beauty that was the drive.  I now have a new dream- to move to the Corpus Christi bay area.  I need some salt water in my life.  Also it's literally smack dab in between my parents and Jimmy's parents.

Anyway, it was really awesome.  I loved everything about this trip :)