Saturday, August 2, 2008

Happy anniversary to me!

I love my husband! We're coming up to our 19th anniversary this month and he really knows how to give me good gifts that hit right at my heart. And the good news can join me for it! Even though October is right in the middle of football season, he has graciously allowed me to sign up for Desiring God's Regional Conference, Job: When the Righteous Suffer. I'm so grateful that even though he can't attend, he was excited for me to go. Have I mentioned how much I love my husband?

It's October 17-18th in Austin at Hill Country Bible Church NW. I've attached links to the information below so you can see if it's something you might be interested in coming to. I promise you that you will be blessed by being there...and I'd be blessed by you coming with me! It'll be one of the best things $25 can buy! Let me know what you think...

Conference summary
Travel info

Good fruit

I mentioned yesterday that coaching school was another great time with Wayne and the girls. We played, rested and enjoyed each other and old friends. All of this included the "traditions" that make up great memories for us all. But most of those weren't planned...they just happened because we did some of the same things twice. Most of these are special for the girls because they don't happen any other day of the year. The other thing they have in common? They all cost more money that we ever spend in our "real" lives.

We live on a single paycheck from a public school. It is more than enough, truly. It well supplies not only our needs, but more wants than we should have. But a curious thing can happen when you get a taste of another lifestyle, can't it? When you are able to stay where you normally can't...or can buy what you usually don't have money for...or can spend time doing what you generally can't...what happens inside of you?

Well, since 1 Corinthians 10:13 says that no temptation has ever come to me that isn't a common temptation for us all, I bet you've faced the battle of contentment in your heart, too. Nike, Coca-Cola, AT&T and Disney all know how it works. Get us to see what else we could have, show us what our lives could be like, create in us just a little discontent in our hearts and watch our wallets open. So, you'll understand that I'm always a little ready for battle when we come home and face laundry, making our own beds, cooking our own (much cheaper) meals, finding entertainment without cable understand. You've been there. So much more fun to pack than to plan the day before you leave than to live the day after you come home.

Understand that the major battle isn't with the's in my own heart. But there have been years that vacations have given rise to bad fruit in our lives...when all we want to do is eat out again...veg in front of the TV again...or just the opposite: go and do something instead of just sit at home again. Plus there's the added bonus of having Wayne home at 3pm instead of 9pm.

But, I have to tell you, that's not true this time. This time I am filled to overflowing with tasting the fruit of what God is doing in my girls hearts. This trip marked the first time that all of them chimed in over and over during the week to say that they'd rather live the life we have than to spend it like we do at coaching school. All of them were more than ready to come home. Each of them expressed a complete disgust with spending so much money for one dinner that we could make at home. They all thought that though TV was nice, it would not be good for us to have in our house. Fiesta Texas was okay, but not something they wish they could have a season pass for. It's not that they don't like Pop-tarts, but they're tired of junk food, they said.

What a blessing and challenge for me as their mom to continue to try to lead them this way. If they see it clearly then I certainly need to see it. If they are content, I have no excuse. A great reminder to me as we head Monday to football season. These days are given, God says, for me to rejoice and be glad in. Habakkuk reminds me that that is isn't conditional on whether there's enough grocery money or we're able to buy all we want... whether Wayne is home a lot or a little... whether I am bored or overwhelmed... whether the kids are sick or well...

Contentment...Paul says in Philippians 4:12 that knowing how to face abundance or to face need is a secret. It's not known to all, as our society well plays out. It must be uncovered... pondered... sought out... dug for... disciplined into my life. But that doesn't mean that it takes a book to explain. Paul did it in one short sentence, in the very next verse. Won't take much effort to memorize. Want to join me this fall in working it out with all our might? Yeah. Me neither. Sounds painful. But we'll look more like the Savior if we do. Jesus said others will see our good work and glorify our Father who is in heaven. We might even be asked to give a defense for the hope that we have like Peter said. Will we avoid suffering that we might be more comfortable? May it never again be as true in the future as it has been in the past.

Well, here it is.

I can do all things through him who strengthens me. Philippians 4:13

Believe it? That contentment isn't from anything more than believing God? My girls do. And if He can do it in them, He can do it in me. I believe Him...Lord, forgive me my unbelief.

Friday, August 1, 2008


Coaching school...sounds like a joke doesn't it? But it's real. Seminars from professional, college and high school coaches on everything from conditioning to scheduling to retirement to how to run specific aspects of an offense or defense...and not just for football. Lectures on track, baseball, golf, etc. happen as well.

So about 7:30am Wayne quietly gets ready and leaves us at the hotel, attends meetings, eats lunch with old friends, more meetings...until finally around 3pm he heads back to us so the real fun can start. This includes several traditions at coaching school that are mostly a product of being able to do there what we don't do here.
  • We are reminded why we don't have cable TV...because we would watch it. We proved that over and over. It came on as soon as we entered the room and stayed on until we had to leave...all while we did nothing but lay on fluffy beds with feather pillows! We were fascinated by the home shows (no food channel in this hotel...what's up with that??!!). The girls and I agreed also that if there were a "Jon & Kate plus 8" marathon on TV, we'd sit in front of it all day long. Ridiculous. (And she needs to stop treating him like the 9th child...seriously...)
  • Because we are able to stay in the highest of the high end hotels, there is no complimentary breakfast (if you can stay there, you can afford $6 toast!) and there is no way that I'm paying $3 for a Sprite and $4 for a Snickers out of the "hospitality" tray...that means that the girls get to make a grocery store run unlike any other in the year. Poptarts, soft drinks, juice boxes, bottled water, whatever snack foods sound good to each of them...and the big favorite: those tiny individual size cereal boxes. They get to choose whatever they want while I try not to cringe.
  • Because it rotates between three great Texas cities, we get to experience a few days of downtown fun as well as our yearly theme park run. This year it's the Alamo, Riverwalk, Witte Museum and Fiesta Texas...we love San Antonio. It is hands down the most beautiful to us...the architecture, the flowers (some of the bougainvillea was more than twenty feet tall!), the river, the art, the history...wonderful stuff...and nothing like our day to day lives!
  • A more recent tradition is sleeping really, really the girls all get up after 10am!! It's fantastic...especially in a hotel like the one we had which gave us separate rooms! I can't sleep that long any more so it meant I had at least two full hours of quiet to wake slowly, read, lay, think, ponder, pray...and to thank Him for all that was in my life. That's a much different start to our day. (And for those of you with toddlers...yes, I'll happen one day for you, too!)
  • How is it possible that we were in San Antonio and never ate Mexican food?! Not sure...except to say that there are so many amazing choices on the river...and there's the fact that I cook Mexican food almost every day! But food is one of our big pleasures during the week. We budget to eat out a cheap, fast-food type meal at lunch usually at a mall or Mickey D's. But dinner is another story. Then we eat the meals we would never eat otherwise. Joe's Crab Shack... Rainforest Cafe... Hard Rock Cafe... Pappadeaux's... yummy. We do try to make sure that we share between us so there are no leftovers. (High end hotels don't have a fridge in the room either! Rich people do not re-heat...) This is possible because TISD allocates Wayne $36 a day for food. Seems ridiculous until you try to eat downtown on less. Wayne hoards it by eating pop-tarts for breakfast...spends about $6 for lunch...and contributes the rest to dinner. That makes it possible for us to kick in about the same $30 and eat really, really great food.
All of this reminds me of a lesson we learned early careful what you do with your kids more than once! During our time at two coaching schools in a row we went to a zoo then thought about skipping one year..."But, Mom, we always go to the zoo!" Two Christmases in a row we forgot about looking at lights until the last minute...literally Christmas we go right after a church service. Guess what? Now, when we suggest doing it differently? "Mom, come on! We always look at lights Christmas Eve night after church...after we get ice cream from Sonic, remember?!"

Too many of our traditions have begun that way...without purpose. Doesn't mean that they don't matter to us or that they haven't led to some amazing times with our girls. But they didn't start the way good traditions should...on purpose, to pass down what is most important to us. God, however, being the redeemer that He is has used our vacation traditions to re-affirm our day-to-day traditions...

But how 'bout I write more on that later...and actually get up from here and live them out first! More on this tomorrow...