Sunday, April 18, 2010

road trip

I'm sure just about everyone reading this knows the state flower of Texas is the bluebonnet. And that Lady Bird Johnson sowed the seeds of wildflowers throughout the state, along highways and byways, and everywhere in between. But until you see them in person, in solid blue patches that look like pools of water or covering a field for as far as you can see, you just have no idea how breathtakingly beautiful the bluebonnet is.

Our weekend road trip was supposed to take us ultimately to Kerrville, home of Great-Aunt Ruth. Kerrville is out in the Hill Country about an hour west of San Antonio and about 4 hours away from home. However, Aunt Ruth had a suspected case of shingles this week (yikes!) so we had to alter our plans.

First stop, Brenham. About an hour and a half away is the original home of Blue Bell Creameries which has been around since 1907. After passing the retirement home (we made a reservation for Papa), we took the tour of the creamery, watching the ice cream squirt into cartons and wind its way through the freezer and into packaging. It was just long enough for the kids at about 40 minutes and concludes with a scoop of ice cream of your choice. Dutch Chocolate for the girl and Daddy, Cookies n' Cream for the boy, and Blackberry Cobbler for me. I shared a few bites with William who was ecstatic. (Phones and cameras not allowed inside so no pictures!)

Then it was off to Austin through the off-and-on rain but it didn't damper my excitement over seeing the blue bonnets in person. Incredible. Rebekah wanted to walk through them for miles. Ben wanted to pick up rocks from the gravel drive. If I could only get my kids to all look at the camera at the same time we'd be in business! Still, our first annual bluebonnet picture wasn't completely awful and the view was amazing!

The weather prevented us from doing much in Austin but I did enjoy seeing another Texas city and one that is entirely different from Houston or San Antonio. It's very hilly, hippie, and eclectic. I can't wait to go back and explore the trails and the wildflower gardens, the shopping, and all the history and art museums. Our hotel was in the middle of a great shopping area and all I ended up doing was running into Old Navy for 20 minutes while D occupied the kiddos. Still--a dressing room by myself and leaving with a few new shirts and a pair of shorts (for my mom uniform), not too shabby. The kids enjoyed swimming in the indoor pool and seeing the swans and fish in the lobby and I enjoyed W's nap time by reading a great book and watching HGTV in silence!

We picked Austin for our weekend plans because we saw that Randall Goodgame, one half of Slugs, Bugs, and Lullabies, was going to be playing in town. It turned out that he was the entertainment for a church's spring festival which meant free inflatables to bounce on, free lunch, and free music. Granted, D and I sang along more than our kids who were either bored or star-struck. R refused to go up and meet Randall after the show (she said she would if it were Jill Phillips) but B got to say Hi to him outside the men's room and tell Randall that "Tractor, Tractor" was his favorite song.

A quiet ride home, sleeping in our own beds at night, and a lazy Sunday topped off by homemade chicken nuggets, cheddar-Parmesan macaroni and cheese, and chocolate dipped strawberries for dinner. Aaaah! What a weekend!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


He is like a tree planted by streams of water, which yields its fruit in season and whose leaf does not wither. Psalm 1

It had been a particularly bad week. One of those where I was wondering if you could send kindergarteners to military school. Spring Break and a week of empty days loomed before me. I was not excited about spending a week with my children and I’m pretty sure--had they been asked--they would have said the same. The lack of fruit in anyone’s heart, including my own, discouraged me. Why weren’t my children better behaved? Why were words so harsh, tempers quick, and actions unkind? Why did selfishness and strife reign in our house instead of gratitude and peace?

But God (wonderful verses begin that way) intervened. Gorgeous, sunny weather. Refreshingly cool and breezy air. Everywhere we looked was green and new. Spring in Texas is beautiful and God’s work of regeneration and restoration was on display in His creation and also my heart. All things were indeed being made new.

We spent as much of our days out of doors with dirt, shovels, plants, and seeds. I attacked our weedy, overgrown garden with ferociousness, yanking at stubborn, ingrown plants that produced nothing and did not “add to the beauty,” to borrow a sentiment from Sara Groves. The kids and I ordered the chaos together, planning the patches of herbs and vegetables. We examined each type of seed and marveled at the possibility and potential existing within. What an act of faith to take that tiny seed, bury it, sprinkle some water and then—in expectation, in hope—wait. Wait for growth, for beauty, for fruit.

I carefully took out a few bean plant seeds that I had started with the kids in wet paper towels and plastic sandwich bags. A week ago, they were hard, brown-spotted kernels. Now, their fragile tendrils poked out of the shell. Rebekah and I placed them gingerly in the dirt, me reminding her that the roots grow down and the rest of the plant will start growing up. And it struck me: roots come first. Long before I see any evidence or activity above the surface, roots are reaching out for nourishment. Just because I cannot see anything does not mean the plant is dormant or the seeds are duds.

This journey of parenthood, and of my own walk of sanctification, is a walk of faith. I can be confident that “he who began a good work will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus.” I need to be rooted in my Savior who supplies all my needs. I need to weed out the bad, the unproductive, and the ugly from my life. My seedlings need to be rooted in the good soil of Scripture, doctrine, instruction and watered daily. And one day, by God’s good work, I will see a harvest of righteousness.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Easter Weekend

A lovely first Easter weekend in Texas. The weather was cooperative as the rain stayed away and the temperatures were bearable (a DJ on the radio today said tongue-in-cheek, "If you're new to Houston, it's like this all the time.") My parents were in town for the weekend and I managed to put my dad to work installing a beautiful--and non-leaky--kitchen faucet and sink. We took them to dinner at The Waterway (Goose's Acre for macaroni and cheese with scallions, bacon, and tomatoes--sooo good!) where we walked and ran and climbed on everything, fed the ducks, and stared at the bizarrely costumed teenagers wandering around. (We wanted to ask them what was going on but were slightly afraid as well). Isn't R getting so big kid lately? She likes to tell me she looks like a teenager, especially when she pulls her bangs to the side.

We visited our first Texas state park in Huntsville (home of Sam Houston and the four-story white statue of him as well as a huge state prison) on Saturday where cousins were camping, hiking a bit and getting the little dude's feet in the water. Spring in this part of Texas is beautiful: the trees are full, the roadsides blooming, and the bugs haven't appeared yet. Sunday was a little egg hunt at church, worship, and a yummy, yummy dinner in the pretty dining room with my good china, out of its packing pouches for the first time.

My pictures aren't so great as I think I had the flash turned off for some reason and didn't fix until too late. Oh well.

In two weeks we'll visit Aunt Ruth in Kerrville out in the hill country, passing through Brenham, home of Blue Bell ice cream on the way. Should be beautiful!