Monday, August 30, 2010

A Clean House

Ten things I love about a clean house:

10. The vacuum tracks on the carpet.
9. The smell of clean.
8. Knowing that tub is really clean, because I broke a sweat while cleaning it.
7. Taking a shower the next morning in a sparkling tub/shower.
6. Crisp Downey fresh sheets at night.
4. An empty sparkling sink with NO dishes in it!
3. Not having to clean again for a while ;)
2. The way the carpet looks and feels fluffy after it has been vacuumed.
1. Sitting back and enjoying it all :)

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Wordless Wednesday

He's gone for 10 weeks! :(

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Praise you in this storm

Clearly I am not talking about the weather here, because it hasn't rained, much less stormed here in about...forever. I am talking about the storms of this world and our lives. This is actually the title of one of my favorite songs. It is by Casting Crowns, an amazing band, who always has just the right thing to say.

Anyway, I really love this song and its meaning. With all the craziness going on in this world people tend to question God. How would God let this happen? Why would a good God let this person be sick or that person die? Why does God let wars happen? I think the important thing to remember first is that God didn't do this. We did. Our sinful nature is what caused all the craziness (I think that is the best word to sum up all bad things) to begin in the first place. [Thanks Eve AND Adam!]

But during these storms it is important to rely and turn to the One who brings peace.
Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Oh how I love this verse. I constantly keep this verse on my heart. It doesn't say everything in this world is going to be good, but it says God will use everything that happens for good. We may not see the good now, or ever in our life time, but it will be used for good. That can be our one hope during our storm.

I think of this a lot when people I love are sick or hurting. For example, if my loved one stays sick, or something goes wrong in surgery, or passes away, I try to think: What is God trying to teach me? What is God showing me through this person's life? I think to myself there is a reason this is happening. I almost feel it is my duty as a friend and a believer to seek what God is showing me.

I can say all this now, because I am not going through a major storm of someone being ill. It is always easier to think of these things when everything is going along just dandy. When I do have a storm, I will have to come back to this blog and re-read! But storms are not just sick friends. Storms are unruley children, sick babies, job loses, family decisions, anything really. Storms can be big and small --> a light drizzle or a Katrina. Whatever the storm, remember there is a reason and a purpose.

One of my favorite lines of the song is:

"And though my heart is torn, I will praise You in this storm."

Because even though the craziness of this storm is terrible, I will give you praise. Because I bet if I honestly thought about it, it could be worse. And even though this bad thing happened, it could have been worse. And even though that happened you provided and everything may not be 100% ok right now, it will be. And even if everything is going horribly it is nice to think that our
"help comes from the Lord The Maker of Heaven and Earth"
Again, I can say all this because I don't have craziness and storms. So when I start freaking out during my next storm, remind me to read this!

Below are the lyrics to the Casting Crown's Praise you in this storm. Enjoy. :)

I was sure by now
God, You would have reached down
And wiped our tears away
Stepped in and saved the day
But once again, I say "Amen", and it's
still raining

As the thunder rolls
I barely hear Your whisper
through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls, I raise my
hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away

I'll praise You in this storm
And I will lift my hands
For You are who You are
No matter where I am
And every tear I've cried
You hold in Your hand
You never left my side
And though my heart is torn
I will praise You in this storm

I remember when
I stumbled in the wind
You heard my cry to you
And you raised me up again
My strength is
almost gone
How can I carry on
If I can't find You

But as the
thunder rolls
I barely hear You whisper through the rain
"I'm with you"
And as Your mercy falls
I raise my hands and praise the God who gives
And takes away


I lift my eyes unto the hills
Where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord
The Maker
of Heaven and Earth

[Chorus x2]

Monday, August 23, 2010

First day of school...

Man, the first day of school sure ain't like it use to be! Me, being the weird overly organized, teacher's pet, busy body, l-o-v-e-d the first day of school! New outfit, new teacher, new classroom, new adventures! And though I always acted like I disliked it, I secretly loved having Mom take my picture on the first day! (Well, she probably knew all along that I liked it. I have never been shy of the camera) I remember my first day at LSU I even sent her a picture of what I wore. Ha!

The good ole days:
I used to LOVE going to shop for school supplies. In elementary school, you could get your school supply list before school actually started. And oh how I loved the day we would go shop for it all! What is it about picking out new pencils, 5 different color folders (with and without brads), a red pen, one highlighter, and wide ruled paper that is SO exciting to me? I don't know know what it it but it gets me every time! I will probably suck the fun out of it for my kids, because I will be having all the fun picking out their new folders, etc.

Then in middle school and high school you find out your supplies the first day of class. This was me: you bring one notebook and the coolest pen you could find. Then go to each class and write down what is needed for each. Then at the end of the day write a new list of exactly how much you need of each item. (4 folders, 2 binders, 3 highlighters...) Then you can have a successful back-to-school shopping experience.

Now days:
$100 just on the book for the class! and then I don't even get cool pens and notebooks, because everything is on the computer and on-line! Sad day.

Today is my first day of my last Fall semester I will ever have!! How exciting! But it is just not the same as the good ole days...

Friday, August 20, 2010

Friday Five

1. Currently listening to: I will lift my eyes by Bebo Norman

2. I have a lot of excitement building up!! But I don't want to tell yet! I don't want to count my chicken before it hatches! But if/when that chicken will know!!

3. I will be spending an exhilarating Friday night at Walmart. Or maybe spice it up and go to Target. I need to buy all the food and such for dinner tomorrow!

4. Chris leaves in 2 days!! Weirrrrrrd!

5. I think Mom nailed out final details of our Galveston vacay! Whoop!!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

A week (and blog) just for Chris

I think I mentioned before that Chris is leaving for 10 weeks to go to Haliburton's Mud Engineering School in Houston. His first day of school is Monday!!! So I wanted this week to be just for him. He will be coming home on the weekends when he can, but it will only be for 2 days so that doesn't really count.

His week of fun actually started last Saturday when we went to the Boston v. Rangers came in Arlington. We had SO much fun! It was sooooo hot, but my little ice cream in a helmet helped! The Red Sox won (which I has happy about)! Chris didn't mind too much that the Rangers lost. He had a great time though! And Nolan Ryan was even there!

Then Sunday we went to Six Flags! It was soooo hot there too, but we managed. We rode all the rides we wanted and hardly had to wait in any lines! Chris ate about 6 "Pink Things." I had never been exposed to the "wonder" of a this treat, but these were his favorite thing at the park!

Monday we ate dinner at his parent's house. It is usually a Sunday tradition, but since we were at Six Flags we moved it to Monday. I love eating there on Sundays so I know Chris enjoys it too.
Tuesday we ate at Quinzos for dinner, another one of Chris's favorite things. We ate there and then saw The Expendables. Wow. SUCH a guy movie. I swore up and down I was not going to go see that, but I did. But ONLY because Chris wanted to and it is his last week here. Probably the most manly movie I have ever seen. Look at the movie poster (more specifically the brutes in it!):
Wednesday I think we will go see The Other Guys. I know that going to the movies doesn't sound like something too spectacular, but for Chris, it is. Ha! Poor kid looooves going to the movies and me- not so much. I just can't sit still that long. And to only focus on one thing (the movie I am watching) is practically impossible for me to do. So a week of going to the movies, and especially the movies HE wants to see is perfect. The Other Guys is a Will Ferrell comedy so I think it may be a little more bearable.

Thursday maybe I'll cook dinner and we can see a late movie. Yes another movie. This time, Dinner for Schmucks. This one actually looks stinkin funny and I want to see. So maybe that will be the agenda Thursday.

Friday. Chris loves bowling. Like LOVES it. So maybe a little dinner and bowling shall be in order! He doesn't even have to glow-in-the-dark bowl. Just the cheap $4.00 game bowling night suites him just fine.

Saturday will be a fun day! (Or at least to me) We are going to cook dinner at my parents house for our families! I love to cook and I think Chris does too. (well actually he just like to grill) But his parents and sister, my parents and brother (and maybe gf) are going to come over and eat our feast! Chris wants to cook duck and/or quail and steaks. I will let him handle that department. I haven't decided on my part. I'm thinking baked beans, and corn on the cob and potato salad? I love all 3, so sounds good to me! Ha! Chris's mom is going to bring "Jenna's Dip." A yummy dip that they got from their cousin...Jenna! Mom agreed to make a cookies and cream cheesecake which just sounds amazing!! I think it is going to be so much fun to have all of our families together to eat! And I know Chris will love is because he of course loves his family, and I am pretty sure he loves mine. (I think is is mainly because my mom laughs at everything that he says!!)

So that is the "plan." But we know things never go exactly according to plan. But that's ok. I just want to soak up this week with him. I know it's not permanent, and I know I will see him on the weekends, but it will be weird to not have him around during the week. But it will all be worth it for the future ;)

My favorite picture of us!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Houston Weekend: American Idol

Chris and I did not run while we were in Houston this weekend. I know, I know! Shame on me! But we had lots of fun relaxing and poking around The Woodlands.

We ate at Landry's Seafood Friday night and it was delish! Chris got crab legs that were huge! He was so happy to eat some good crab! We tried to go to the mall after that, but they were closed. Boo.

We woke up oddly early on Saturday, but had yummy Texas shaped waffles for breakfast! Then I took him to my old house and elementary school in Spring. It was neat to see the house and see how BIG Spring is now! My old neighborhood has probably tripled in size!
My house in Spring!

We made it to the mall and entered one of my favorite stores... Forever 21! Apparently this was the opening weekend of this location. It is the biggest Forever 21 in TEXAS! When I say it was over-whelming to walk into this store, that doesn't even begin to describe it. I tried on 2 things and ended up putting them back and only got a pair of sunglasses, for my Mom! There were clothes EVERYWHERE!!! As we were leaving I saw this:
Yes that is a REAL DJ IN the store!!! It was like a club in there!

We then walked through Market Street. This cool place in The Woodlands with neat/different stores. We found a GREAT sushi restaurant for lunch! I could sense Chris was over the whole shopping thing so we went back to the hotel for swimming! We laid out and swam. We raced in the pool. And Chris was picking me up and throwing me! We even had a hand stand contest! We were like little kids! There were 2 little boys and 2 little girls in the pool too. Chris and I got out our football and suddenly we made 4 new friends! We played catch with them for about 45 mins! Ha! Chris and I never really met strangers :)

We went to dinner at an Italian place in Market Street called Grotto. It was really yummy! And we made it out just in time to catch a bike ride to the concert and see the opening act! The concert was great. Each artist sang 2 to 3 songs each. I was singing my little heart out! Only down side: it was HOT! It was in an outdoor pavilion and I was seriously sweating A LOT! But we had fun! :)
Our bike taxi/chariot ride

Sunday we got up and made our way back to Shreveport to see the Mexican choir's last performance. And I even snuck in a nap before that!

It was a fun weekend! And the best part, we are doing it all over in Dallas next weekend! Except we are going to the Ranger's game instead of a concert!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Friday Five

1. Chris and I are going to the American Idol concert in Houston tomorrow! A little weekend get away will be so fun! I can't wait!!!

2. Speaking of Chris and Houston, Chris will be leaving for Houston for Mud School August 22!! That's so soon!! He is going to learn everything there is to learn about ...mud. Yeah, I know, it's not that exciting to me either. BUT he loves working for Haliburton and knows this is a good place for him. He will be gone for 10 weeks!!! But he has weekends off so we'll manage.

3. Why does this always happen to me!?So annoying!

4. I can't remember who I have told or updated, but Papaw is out of ICU and he was on "step-down" (which was actually a floor above ICU?) He was there about a week while they weened him off oxygen and antibiotics and other medicine. Now he is moving to "home care" (which is actually on the 8th floor! Not at home!). He has physical therapy and such to get stronger since he was in a bed for so long. But should be back at home (his real home) in a couple of weeks.

5. Summer is almost over :( Not that I had a real summer - (pool days, snow cones, tanning, swimming, sleeping, etc). But I did not have any classes this summer and that was WONDERFUL! But I am only taking two in the fall, so maybe it won't be that bad. Maybe?

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Viva la Mexico!

I guess now would be as good as a time as any to talk about my Mexico trip. This post is only....3 weeks late. But I think it is a perfect time to share because the Coro Unido Juvenil (The United Youth Choir), from Cordoba, Mexico is in town all week to minister to Hispanics in the area in need of a church home. Recently my church has started a Hispanic service, because lets just face it, the Hispanic population is growing and they need a place to worship just like the rest of us.

This choir is such a blessing in so many ways. When I was in 11th grade our church choir went to Mexico and sang with this choir and it was AMAZING! It was awesome to hear our voices unite as one to worship. We learned to sing Spanish songs and they learned English songs. Awesome is the only way to describe it.

Any who, the choir is here this week and will be serving in Shreveport and making a trip to Dallas to minister there. They can really reach out to the Hispanic community in a way we never can. Pray for them. Pray for traveling safety, pray for the hearts of the people they will encounter. Pray for their voices- as they will be singing a concert every night this week. Pray for strength through out the week- they drove 2 days on a bus to get here! Pray for their hearts as well, because I have learned first hand, when you are working to bless others, some of the most work can be done in your own heart.

SO, Mexico trip this year. It's hard to really put into words how amazing the trip is- every year. Each year it is different, and each year it is wonderful. You can really learn a lot about yourself and your relationship with God. This year was the same in that: I was in the same group as last year with one added member - another Jennifer! We had the same doctor which is really nice because we already know his system and how he likes to handle a clinic. We have beans every morning for breakfast. And some for of chicken for lunch. We had a clinic at the compound on Friday like last year. It was the same system as last year- each group goes to a different town where a church or mission is trying to be started. We give medical care but we are really there to share more than that. We want them to know that any help we give now is temporary, but there is a greater gift that will last eternally. Those are the sames that happen every year.

Here are the differents:

We go to go to the mountains this year! This was my first time to go into the mountains. We had to ride in trucks rather than a bus...

We had a bird's eye view of Mount Orizaba! Beautiful! You cannot doubt there is a God when you see His mighty hand in the nature of Mexico.

On another day, I saw the biggest pig of my LIFE...

Mom and I found a baby we wanted to take home with us. She was a little baby from the orphanage, which is terribly sad but made it all too real to mom and I that we could take her home...

But the best difference that happened this year was something I witnessed. The young boy in the picture below gave his life to Christ. Mary, the lady in the middle is a precious lady that lives at the compound and has translated for the medical team for years. We went on the street to give away some candy, hats, combs, etc and ended up having a small service on the corner of the street. Mary was ahhh-mazing. She really spoke to the children and let them know that they are special and someone does care for them! This little boy took a leap of faith and was the only one to come forward and make that commitment. I am so proud of him and continue to pray for him and his family as he grows in Christ.

So this year in Mexico was of course just as amazing as the previous years but in it's own special way.

SO, all that to say I am so excited to have the Coro Unido Juvenil in Shreveport this week!! Tonight was such an honor and pleasure to serve them dinner! They first sang at church, which was wonderful, and then we went to Brooke's house to have dinner. They all sat at tables and we serve up big plates of lasagna, salad, bread and SWEET TEA!! Sweet tea is a special treat for them because they don't have it in Mexico! It was great to give something back to them when they do so much for us when we are in Mexico. And I got to spend a lot of time with my sweet friend Esther!

And of course, I think pictures can always tell better stories than I could ever put into words...

Clinic in the Mountains:

Around the Compound:

Worm pills table:

Eye glasses:


In the USA:
Beto and I:

Esther and I:

Some of the group!:

Other part the group enjoying the night!:

It was so wonderful to have my friends here with me in the US!! I am so thankful they could make the trip and hope you will keep them in your prayers throughout the week.