Friday, February 20, 2009

Top Ten Best

In December 1997 two of my best girlfriends and I went to stay with a friend who lived in New York City. We were there the week between Christmas and New Year's. We spent New Year's Eve at a fabulous Italian restaurant in Times Square, then went to a party, then headed back to our friend's apartment which was located right in the heart of Times Square. At about 11:30pm we headed up to the roof of her building with a number of the other tenants and could hear and see the crowds gathered down below. We could hear Dick Clark himself prepping the crowd for the big countdown. It was electric. We were having an amazing time and shortly after Midnight one of our friends giddily exclaimed, "This is one of my top ten best New Year's EVER"! To this day we laugh when we talk about her saying that, because it was, without exception, THE best New Year's Eve any of us had ever had.
Jason knows that story, so I laughed when he turned to me this past Valentine's Day, as we were cruising down a rural west Alabama highway snuggled in a Hansom Cab with all four of our children, and said, "Is this one of your top ten best Valentine's Days EVER"?
It was, in fact, my best Valentine's ever. We spent the afternoon at the farm of one of Jason's colleagues in Lowndes County. They had horses, turkeys, a rabbit, pigeons, dogs, cats, and an abundance of chickens. The kids had so much fun. All three boys rode horses and Hugh & Grant jumped on the trampoline. Margaret Jane got loved on by a horse and I think Eli kept a big grin on his face all day! And my favorite was the beautiful 160lb Great Dane, Romulus.
And, as I mentioned earlier, we were treated to a horse-drawn carriage ride -- how fun is that?! We even left with two dozen fresh eggs. This city girl was in country heaven - thanks Gena!

This is Romulus up on the trampoline:
Eli hopped up on everything with a seat:
That's Gena in the black hat, unfortunately I didn't get a picture of her where she wasn't looking down at an animal:
Here we are in the Hansom Cab:
Me getting some Romulus love:

Eli riding a horse, he loved it:Hugh:
I think the big boys stayed on the trampoline for over an hour:

How about that big Tom Turkey!Margaret Jane even enjoyed the animals. Again, Gena is looking down!

Monday, February 9, 2009

More Pray

I had a particularly cruddy day recently. Now, please keep in mind that my cruddy days are comparatively mild. I have wonderful, healthy children; I have an amazing husband who is loving and fun; I have a nice home and food in the pantry.
So let me set up my bad day story by reminding you that in the past five years I've gone from being a single girl living in Hawaii to being a wife and mother of four. Please hear me that my life now is so much better than it ever has been. However, on some days I have a hard time letting go of my former Rondacentric self. Some days I revert into that 5 year old kid stomping out of the room when she doesn't get her way and slamming a door or two...sad but true. I realize dying to my self-centeredness is a process and that God is teaching me, growing me, refining me. Meanwhile, I have an occasional pity party -- an occasional cruddy day.
Late in the afternoon of my recent bad day, Eli wanted a snack so I put him in his chair and scattered some Honey Nut Cheerios on his tray and filled up his juice cup with watered down Crangrape. Then, holding Margaret Jane, I sat down beside him with a sigh and leaned my back against the wall preparing to crank up the music in my head that would accompany my pity party. Just before the volume went to 10, my one year old son looked at me and said, "Pray". That is not unusual for him, as he loves to pray before he eats, even before he snacks. I said a quick prayer and returned my focus to the angry tune playing in my head. Then my Eli said something that caused the needle to scratch off the record and snapped me out of my mode of self-pity. He said, "More". He had plenty of juice and Cheerios, so I could not imagine what he wanted more of, so I asked him, "More what?" He then said, "More pray".
Tears filled my eyes as I looked at the face of my one year old son and heard the voice of my sweet Savior. More prayer was exactly what I needed, more conversation with a God who loves me exceedingly abundantly more than I can imagine and who seeks to bless me in ways I cannot fathom. Jesus is so incredibly patient with us. All the blessings He has given me, and I am going to grumble and grouse over a thing or two not going my way. When he could have easily rolled his eyes and thrown up his hands in disgust at my lack of growth, my Savior instead spoke to me in the sweet voice of my son and reminded me that He is what I need in every circumstance. So next time I am tempted to sink into the mire of ridiculous self-pity, I instead will remember what I truly need is More Pray.