My Biggest Fear

My biggest fear used to be that I would forget you.
That time would turn my mind against you.
But lately, I find myself trying to move on.
Maybe I never loved you at all.
I loved the comfort that you brought; stability.
My biggest fear used to be that I would have to leave you.
And now that I’m gone, my biggest fear is going back. 

The House That Built Me

Mornings spent eating breakfast at the table.
Afternoons spent napping on the couch.
Summers spent running through the yard and climbing the trees.
Hours of laughter. Knowing I was loved every step of the way.
Days spent playing dolls.
Thousands of gallons of water used to fill up the bathtub.
Years spent talking and dreaming and pretending.
A childhood of memories hidden in these walls.
All of our secrets buried in this soil.
Generations of devotion.
A family born and raised on this lot.

Now years later, with a family of my own, trying to follow in your footsteps.
Mornings spent eating breakfast at the table.
Afternoons spent changing diapers and playing peek-a-boo.
Summers spent running through the yard and playing in the sandbox.
Hours of laughter. Showing my kids that they are loved every step of the way.
Days spent playing princesses.
Thousands of gallons of water used to fill up the bathtub.
Years spent talking and dreaming and pretending.

And now our time has come to an end.
But what a sweet time it was.
Our lives were made richer by the seasons spent on this sacred ground.
We will never be the same.

The Perfect Summer Bag

The Friday before Mother’s Day, Mike told me to get out of the house. He told me to go somewhere, and do something for myself. This isn’t really my thing. I don’t like doing things by myself. I was, honestly, a little offended he didn’t want to go with me, but I knew some time away just for me was a good thing. I ended up taking Lainey, and we went to Target. I did need a few things, and I really was looking forward to some girl time. I love Target, and I always end up spending too much money whenever I go.

I immediately found a few things to try on. Adorable tops, and too many shorts to choose from. I grabbed some camo jeans, and an adorable jumpsuit, and headed toward the fitting rooms. That’s when I saw the purses. I started walking towards them, eyeing all of the different styles and patterns. And there is was. The purse that I knew I was going to buy. It was white with pink and yellow flower designs. I also found it in solid brown, but it wasn’t the same. I picked it up, and put it down. Then picked it up again. I put it on my arm, and dug through the pockets. I loved it. It was perfect. But I eventually left it sitting on the shelf.

We tried on clothes, and looked at toys. All the while my mind was fixed on that wonderfully, perfect purse. I texted a picture to Mike, and to my best friend Callie. Neither of them loved it the way I did. But I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. I ended up buying it. And the jumpsuit. And I have no regrets. I love it. It has cute little handles, but also comes with a strap you can add to make it a cross body. The pattern is funky, and that’s probably my favorite part. I was a little concerned about it being mostly white, but the material can be easily wiped clean if I do happen to get anything on it. It has a lot of room inside, but it isn’t too big or bulky. It’s super lightweight, but big enough for a book. You know, just in case. It’s the perfect summer purse. And it’s only $40.

Lainey ended up getting an L.O.L Surprise, and we got Noah a Lego Blind Bag. We sipped on Starbucks, and we talked. Lainey said some hilarious things. And I’m so glad that we went. It was such a nice treat to get out of the house for a little bit. Days like this are rare, and so special.

At any given moment you can look inside my purse and find:
*my wallet (also from target)
*keys
*a pen or two
*extra contacts, and eye drops
*fingernail clippers
*chap-stick
*an old movie stub

What are the things that are absolutely always in your bag?

Never Settle

Every year, on Memorial Day, the Crossfit community does a workout called Murph.  Murph is a hero workout named for Lt. Michael P. Murphy, a Navy Seal killed in action in 2005. You can learn more about Lt. Murphy here. The Murph workout is as follows:

1 mile run
100 pull-ups
200 push-ups
300 air squats
1 mile run

If you’re anything like me, this sounds absolutely terrible. And painful. I have been doing Crossfit for 3.5 years, and I still wouldn’t consider myself ready to take on this workout. In fact, up until about two days before, I was completely sure that I would not be participating in this “fun” tradition. A few people at my box asked me if I would be there, bright and early on Monday morning, and I laughed and assured them I would be the last person they would see attempting Murph.

But something started changing in me. As I said before, this change began taking place literally a day or two before the workout. A small part, and I mean a very small part, of me wanted to do it. So i decided that I would perform half of the programmed workout. I would only run a half mile at the beginning and end, and then half the reps of the other three movements. Even this seemed so daunting and impossible. But I convinced myself that I could do it. I train consistently, and I pay some very smart and educated people to help me with my nutrition. I even texted a friend and made sure she would be there to suffer with me. I was ready. I would like to point out that the night before I had stress dreams all night about this.

Nonetheless, I showed up on Memorial Day ready to go. I boldly (not really) approached my coach and informed him of my decision to do Half Murph. I stood my ground and I knew that I would not let myself be persuaded to complete any more than half. I was only doing half. Spoiler Alert: I did the whole thing. You can’t see me, but I’m rolling my eyes as I type this. I joked the day of that my coach bullied me into it. But in all honesty, he made some good points. I was completely capable of doing the whole workout. And the workout is for a good cause. Honoring those that fight, and have fought for our freedom.

Even still, with much hesitation, I started that first 1 mile run. And didn’t stop until I had finished. All. Of. Murph. And let me tell you, it was as bad as I thought it was going to be. But I did it. Something that I never thought I would do. Something that I never thought I was capable of doing. I did it. Every hard, painful, terrible rep. I did them all. And I’ll probably do it again and try to improve my time. Because that’s what Crossfitters do.

I could have stayed home, but instead I went out and did the hard thing. The impossible thing. The unlikely thing. I didn’t settle for who I had been in the past. I didn’t settle for what I had done in the past. I pushed myself to try something new. To define myself differently. I did the dang thing. Never settle!

My World

Today is Lainey’s last day of 1st Grade. She did it! Hooray! To celebrate this special occasion, I’m taking her and Noah to McDonald’s for lunch. And as much as it makes me cringe, I’m going to let them play in the playroom. Lainey has worked hard all year, and she made the transition to a new school look easy. She is so friendly, and kind. I’m super proud of her.

While Lainey has been at school these last few weeks, I’ve been home all day with Noah. It’s been a huge adjustment for both of us. But I think we have figured it out. It’s not perfect, by any means, but we have a lot of fun together. He starts Pre-K in the fall, and I don’t know what I’m going to do during the day without his company.

Since school is out, and Summer break is officially here, Mike and I decided to let the kids go to Odessa for two weeks. My Granny and Grumpy are coming into town today to pick them up, and they won’t be back until June 7th. I’m having a lot of feelings about this. I know that this will be a great, fun time for the kids. I know they will make so many memories. And it will be good for them to see family that they haven’t seen in weeks. But I’m a little sad, too. I’m going to miss them. The house is going to be so quiet, and clean, without them here.

Mike and I are trying to be intentional with our time just the two of us. We are excited about getting in some date nights, and catching up on some shows that we can’t watch with little eyes and ears around. We even have tickets to see Johnnyswim, one of our favorite bands.

Even though I’m sad about the kids leaving, I know it’s only two weeks. The time will fly by, and they’ll be back here before I know it.

When I look into your eyes, I see the world.
All my hopes and dreams for you.
I see castles and mountains.
I see boldness and kindness.
You are so brave.
When I look into your eyes, I see the world.
Only the best things for you.
I see skyscrapers and oceans.
I see dancing and celebrating.
You are full of joy.
When I look into your eyes, you are my world. 
-For Lainey & Noah

Granny’s Red Punch

Growing up, I spent many of my weekends at Granny’s house.  I have so many great memories there with her and Grumpy.  (For those of you that don’t know, I have always called my grandpa Grumpy.  And if you know him, then you know that nickname is very fitting.)  We would play games, and watch movies.  We did crafts, and went on walks.  We baked cupcakes, and played card games.  We spent countless hours on her back porch pretending and dreaming.  I always had so much fun with them.

Some of my fondest memories with them have been in the kitchen, learning to make the yummy treats that my Granny makes.  She taught me how to bake, and was always cooking something amazing in her kitchen.  One of my favorite meals that she always made for me was chicken strips, mashed potatoes, and fried okra.  But in all honesty, I would eat anything that she made.

On holidays, when our whole family gets together, we play poker and sip red punch.  I can always find a pitcher of Granny’s special red punch in her fridge.  I’m pretty sure everyone that tries it loves it. I can remember drinking red punch from an early age. It’s one of the first things that comes to mind when I think of being at Granny’s house.

My family recently moved, and while I was unpacking, I found that Granny had given me all the ingredients I needed to make it.  In those first weeks of being away, it was nice to have something that reminded me so much of home. And it’s so easy to make, I can let my kids help. They are able to get a glimpse into one of our special family traditions. One that has always been so sweet (literally) for me. 

As the days get warmer, Granny’s Red Punch is such a good summer drink. But honestly you can drink it whenever.  It’s that good.

You will need:
Gallon pitcher
Large Can of Pineapple Juice
1 Pouch of Cherry Kool-Aid
1 Cup of Sugar
1 Liter of Sprite

Mix all ingredients in pitcher and fill with water to the gallon mark.  Stir until combined.  

We Moved

I was born and raised in Odessa, Texas. I never wanted to leave. Except for that brief time in High School when I was bragging to everyone about how I couldn’t wait to get out. I just wanted attention. I never had any intentions of leaving. I loved Odessa. I was comfortable there. I knew my way around. I could take a shortcut to almost anywhere. I knew the curves in the roads; how long each light stayed red before turning green. Most of my friends lived there. My family. My church. Why would I ever want to leave?

My husband, Mike, is from California. And from the moment I met him he’s been dreaming about getting out of Odessa. He created this beautiful picture of a life we could live somewhere, anywhere, else. I always listened and smiled, and allowed myself to dream a little. And then I would pull it all back and firmly tell him we weren’t going anywhere. We were living in my dream home. We had good, dependable jobs. We had an endless supply of babysitters and date nights. It was perfect. We were content. Until we weren’t.

I think I always knew deep down that eventually we would leave Odessa. I was just trying to stall it as long as I could. I was afraid. But, very slowly, my mind began to change. I started to let myself dwell on the possibilities a little longer than before. In December 2018, I attended a women’s conference at our church. As I was praying I very distinctly heard God telling me to move. And very specifically to DFW. I immediately began to weep. I wasn’t ready. I was scared. I knew that everything was about to change. Over the course of the next few weeks, I found myself in tears often. I wasn’t ready to part with the life I had. I wasn’t ready for things to change. I didn’t want to go somewhere that I didn’t know my way around. I wanted to keep my comfort and stability.

It wasn’t until the end of January that I finally told Mike I had heard from God. I remember it being a very surreal moment. I had spoken it out loud and I couldn’t take my words back. It was in action. We were moving forward. We didn’t have a plan. We didn’t have jobs, or a home. But we knew we couldn’t stay in Odessa any longer. Mike began working on his resume, and together we started looking at houses to rent. It was all happening so fast. I told my best friend, but other than that we kept it to ourselves. Nothing was permanent yet, so we weren’t really ready to start sharing our news. I had a lot of anxiety about telling my family. I knew they were going to be sad, and I wasn’t ready to deal with that. I was still trying to get a handle on my own emotions about the situation.

Mike sent out a ton of resumes and applications. I was super nervous, but he got a phone interview with one of the companies almost immediately. The phone interview went great, and they wanted him in Fort Worth to meet him officially. This was happening. I am not good at keeping secrets so I told my mom about our plans to move, and it wasn’t long before my whole family knew. It was honestly a huge relief. My family was sad, just as I had imagined, and our conversations were hard. My heart was breaking, but I knew we had to go. I knew that I had to fight through my desire to stay. We had been called to go, and continuing in Odessa wasn’t an option.

We told Lainey and Noah about our plans to move and they were actually really excited. This was such a relief. I don’t think they fully grasped the entirety of what it meant to move, but they couldn’t wait to go. They saw it as a new, fun adventure.

On March 6 we got word that Mike had gotten the job. It was his dream job. Out of all the applications he sent out, this is the one he really wanted. And he got it. Everything was working out in an unreal way. We knew we were doing what we had been called to do. The only bad thing about getting this job, was that they wanted him to start on April 2nd. IN LESS THAN A MONTH. We still didn’t have a house, because we were waiting to officially hear if we had the job. And since we didn’t have a house we didn’t know what school Lainey would go to. I didn’t have a job. There were still so many unknowns.

The day we told our current employers that we were leaving I was a ball of nerves. Mike and I worked together at a local sign shop. I had been there almost 12 years, and he had just hit his 9 year mark. We had a close relationship with the owners and our fellow employees. I was so afraid that they were going to be mad at us. That they would feel betrayed. I was so anxious I almost couldn’t breathe. But they totally understood. They were upset about us leaving, but they understood why we had to go. And to top it all off, my boss offered me my job from Fort Worth. I was going to get to work from home. What was even happening?

We had finally told everyone we were moving, and I felt so much relief. But there was still so much to do. We decided that we wouldn’t have enough time to sell our current house, and renting it would be the best option. Luckily, we have a friend who manages rental properties. We gave him our information and he began looking for a renter. In just a short amount of time we still had to pack up our house, find a new house, have a garage sale, and then actually move. Mike found us a ton of rental properties to look at in Fort Worth, and we took a day to go and find a house. We saw several houses that day, but ultimately it was the very first one that we looked at that we knew would be our first home in DFW. It was perfect, and the landlord was so sweet and kind. We filled out our paperwork and set the date to move in March 29th.

In just a couple of short weeks so much had changed. There was still a lot to do, but we were slowly making our way through. We had a garage sale the weekend before we moved. We had a great turn out, and made some extra money for the move. Now, all that was left was to finish packing. We had a renter for our house, and it seemed like everything was good to go.

We rented a U-Haul and a trailer to haul Mike’s car. But the day Mike went to pick it up, they didn’t have a truck the size we needed. We got what they had, but it was very obvious that it wasn’t going to work. All of our stuff was not going to fit. It was the DAY BEFORE we were supposed to move, and we couldn’t fit all of our things in the truck. Thankfully, my parents let us borrow their trailer. We were able to fit Mike’s car and the remaining items that didn’t make it in the U-Haul. My car was full of boxes and clothes. Our table was in the back of my parents truck. Even my grandparents had a load in their back seat. But we had everything and we were ready to go.

The hardest part of this transition was saying goodbye. I’m terrible at it. On our last Sunday at our church I turned bright red and stood in the middle of all of my friends weeping uncontrollably. My last day at my job, I put on sunglasses so no one could see me crying, and went out the back door. When my aunt called me to wish me well, I couldn’t even say words. I was a mess of heavy breathing and snot. And when my best friend showed up to my house to tell me goodbye, I laid my head on her shoulder and we wept. Even now, writing this, I am unable to contain my emotions. It was such an emotionally heavy time. It was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
“Those who sow in tears will reap with shouts of joy.” -Psalms 126:5

I cried in my car the whole way to Fort Worth. What lay ahead was unknown. We were leaving behind our family, friends, and community. The call of the Lord is rarely easy or convenient. It forces us out of our comfort zones, and onto an unknown path. But we don’t go alone. He equips us with Himself. He goes before us. He has paved the way. I have seen God’s faithfulness so much in the month that we have been here.

Lainey loves her new school. Mike can’t believe that he landed his dream job. And the dream that God put in my heart two years ago to be a stay at home mom has finally come to be. It isn’t always effortless. Some days are hard. It is a weird feeling to be in a town full of people that don’t know your name. Especially coming from a place where I was well known. But God has changed my heart in so many ways, and in such a short amount of time. I look around and I can’t believe we are here. I can’t believe we made it. We did it. We moved.

“There is an occasion for everything, and a time for every activity under heaven: A time to plant and a time to uproot; a time to tear down and a time to build; a time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance.”

Ecclesiastes 3:1-4