Thursday, October 30, 2008

Back in Cali.

With soooo much to do, and too little time to post, here's a few snippets of what we're up to...of course combined with the random musings of my brain!

After a couple months of anticipation, and 1 LONG flight adventure, me and the boys are finally home in San Diego. What a ride. They were GREAT on the plane, thanks to awesome goodies and toys from friends before we left.

Thanks to friends in Raleigh - Our awesome friends, Christian, Kelly and their families, put together an INCREDIBLE surprise going away party for us. When we walked into a house full of all of our favorite people, I was just humbled at the way God blessed us with such great community while we were in Raleigh. So AWESOME!

The boys are doing great. They're missing their daddy, but other than that, they are so so so glad to be in San Diego with grandma and grandpa. Riley is still trying to figure out the time change and what exactly we're doing here. Once Steve gets here, I think things might feel a little more normal for him! We'll see!

I am so glad to be back in SD. I don't feel like I'm the same person as I was 9 months ago. My heart has be tweaked, my desires have changed and while I'm overwhelmed, I'm excited to sort of establish our semi new life here!

We have so much to do, but until Steve gets here next week, we're going to just enjoy spending time with family. We're heading out to our cabins in the desert this weekend!

Thanks to everyone who prayed for our trip. Please keep praying for Steve and Jerry's drive back. They leave Raleigh on Sunday morning and will get here hopefully by Wednesday afternoon!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Boys and Puppies!

My friend, Christian has two beautiful beagles, Sarge and Mackey. Mackey had 7 puppies about 2 weeks ago! My boys LOVE dogs! Especially little ones! So we took a little trip out to Holly Springs to meet the new puppies!!

I've NEVER seen Riley more animated in his whole life!! He was instantly in love, and couldn't stop looking, holding and loving on each sweet little baby!

Here's a few short video clips of our visit!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Cameron Says...

I'm very behind on this post series. But Cameron has been "at his best" with the crazy little thoughts that run through his brain, so, to catch us up, here are two conversations I had with Cameron this past week.

Cameron Conversation #1

I was snuggling with Cameron in his room when he said "Mom, I'm going to miss going to your soccer games (he means softball) and playing with the kids there."

Me: "I know, bud. I'm glad you met so many nice people and kids there."

Cameron: "I like playing with Kenzie the best."

Me: "Oh, so is Kenzie your girlfriend?"

Cameron: "EW Mom, no. Not girlfriend. She's just my friend. I don't like girlfriends, mom."

Me: "Oh, you don't?"

Cameron: "No. Well... I mean, I like their dresses and their beautiful hair, but I don't like girlfriends."

Me: "Oh ok. I know what you mean. Goodnight Cameron."

Cameron Conversation #2

Cameron was very angry that Steve and I ate the last 2 banana crumb muffins that I made yesterday (even though he'd just finished eating one).

Cameron: "I CAN'T BELIEVE you guys ate ALL of the muffins, mom and dad. I guess I will NEVER have a muffin again.

Me: "Cameron, chill out."

Steve: "Cameron, Daddy will go get more bananas and mommy will make more."

Me (to Steve): "What are you talking about? I'm not going to make him a brand new batch of muffins just because he's throwing a fit!"

Cameron runs off angrily into our bedroom. After about 5 seconds, he comes back out to yell "MOM! Your muffins are NOT the best muffins in the world."

Me: "Oh good. Then I'll never make them again!"
Cameron is now standing in front of us at the kitchen table.

Cameron: "Fine. Then I'm leaving."

Me: "Where are you going?!"

Cameron: "On a hot air balloon, away from here."

Me: "There are no hot air balloons here, Cameron."

Cameron: "I know, but there are some in a far away land."

Me: "How are you getting to the far away land?"

Cameron: "On a jet plane."

Me: "Ok...see ya!"

Cameron (at the top of his lungs): "AND I DON'T KNOW WHEN I'LL BE BACK AGAIN!"
then he quickly marched back into the room and closed the door.

Poor boy has a rough life.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


Is stirring my SOUL!

Mandy Miller of Buckhead Church in Atlanta, GA performing "How He Loves".
Song originally written by John Mark Mcmillan

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

In Process...

In recent weeks, actually months, I've been evaluating my relationships. Relationships with old friends, new ones, with family and people I don't even know very well!

I'm realizing that life is just one big process. Whether we believe in God or not, God is ultimately using every moment of our lives to shape us into His image. Although this seems like a "yeah, so?!" kind of concept, it's really clicked with me. Almost like I've been given new eyes into the lives of the people around me!

Here's a little glimpse of my thought process in recent weeks:

If God uses every moment of our lives to shape us into His image, then...

- Who am I to judge where someone is in their spiritual journey?!
My past circumstances have formed me into who I am. Because of them, grace is so real to me! I could name off a list of people who (in my eyes) are making bad decisions in their lives. But...who am I to assume God isn't using their EVERY circumstance to one day reveal Himself to them the way he did for me years ago!! And who's to say they won't appreciate God's grace even 10 times more than I do now, as a direct result of their circumstances NOW!

- I need to love people in a REAL way... NOW!
People HATE fronts. People know when they are being tolerated, and when they're actually being loved! If you think about that for a minute, you know the difference! I tolerate a lot of people. I also love a lot of people. But it's usually the people who I "tolerate" who need to experience God's love most! I've been praying for God to place huge love in my heart for those people. He HAS! In a big , almost scary way!! I truly believe through that love, and through caring for those people in a REAL way, God will use me to open their eyes to the ultimate love of Christ!

- Keep drawing nearer to Jesus.
A long time ago, when I was a Jr. High Small group leader, Todd Tolson took us to a camp where a guy named Jeremy Kingsley taught our kids about knowing God. He said (and I'll never forget) "When we learn about God, we start knowing God. And when we know God, we start loving God. And when we love God, we start loving and caring about the same things God loves and cares about." I think about this often, and I believe that this analogy works in a big spiral backwards when I'm not continually learning about who God is!

- I have a long way to go.
As God has given me this sudden rush of compassion for people, I'm understanding that I too am still in this same process. I can't look into someone's life and pinpoint their "closeness to God", because I don't even know where I am in that process! Isn't the whole thing relative?! My "passion for God" level is based on a meter of the ways I've experienced Him in the past and now. I'd be foolish to think that I know when I've reached my closest proximity to God. Because just like now, when I can feel Him SO near, I hear Him whisper "You have NO idea. Come closer."

Closer (Flying Into Daybreak Album Version) - Charlie Hall

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Leavin' on a Jet Plane!

I sang this song to Cameron a few nights ago before he went to bed. Now he doesn't want to listen to or sing anything else!

Just not the same!

Transitions are hard!
In our experience, transitions have been good, and necessary.
Still hard.
Our transition from San Diego to Raleigh was tricky.
And I'm not blind to the fact our transition back to SD won't be just as difficult.
Because, just as we've transitioned our lives, so has everyone and everything else!

Not everyone literally moved their families across the country twice in one year.

But as a simple result of time...everyone has changed. Everything has changed.

Routines change.
Landscapes change.
Families change.
Circles of friends change.
Habits change.
Convictions change.
People change.

I'm reminding myself a lot lately, that things will be a lot different when we get back home. It's not going to be a "pick up where we left off" kind of deal. Our life, schedule and routine didn't stop when we left San Diego. It kept right on going without us! I think I'm doing a good job preparing myself for the changes in our culture (as we knew it) in San Diego, but I don't think that will stop me from trying to force certain aspects of my life back to the way they were.

As scared as I get about going back to a different San Diego, I'm encouraged by God's continued sovereignty, His unchanging love for me, and by His never ending attributes.

God is:
Always wise,
Always sovereign,
Always just,
Always good,
Always holy,
Always merciful,
Always gracious.

In this time of another big transition, I'm clinging to the truth that
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever". I'm so thankful that God continues to pursue and change ME! May that be my only desire! That the constant change in my life would be part of ONE process of God shaping me into becoming more like Christ.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

My First Place Ballers!

I’ve been waiting to write this post for a long time!
As we started settling in here in Raleigh 9 months ago, I knew that God had a huge purpose for us moving here. Even aside from starting a great church here. I immediately started sensing the things that God was going to change about me, and I also began experiencing the ways he was going to bless me as we desperately trusted our wellbeing into His hands.

On a random craigslist search for a co-ed softball team, I was connected with Kelly from “The Ballers”. I would need to try out for the team, both at the batting cages and on the field. I was nervous, but I KNEW I needed to get on a team to meet new people, so I jumped on the opportunity. Also, something about being where NO ONE knew me made it a lot easier to take risks, as odd as that seems. I guess I just figured if I had a bad tryout and wasn’t welcomed onto the team, I wouldn’t have taken it personally since no one there knew me anyway! Thankfully, I didn’t have to search for another team. Everyone graciously welcomed me on as their second baseman and I was excited to play!

At our first practice of the season, I noticed that the group of people I was about to give a few days of my week to were VERY different than me. The only way I could describe my first impression of the Ballers was “wow, these guys have some EDGE!” They definitely did not fit the all of the southern stereotypes I was expecting! I went home after the first practice thinking, “these guys are so different from any group of people I’ve ever met!” I spent a while thinking about what my role would be on the team. Not just what position I’d play, but since I was making a “first impression” I really wanted to be intentional about everything! A couple of options that floated through my head:

1. Be a Jesus freak. Jump off the edge and just let it be known that I have a relationship with God and make it known that they need Jesus too!
2. Be a hard ass just like all of them and take it and dish it like I’m perfectly capable of doing!

I knew option number 1 was risky…just for the mere fact that if I SUCKED on the field or struck out on every at bat, I’d pretty much make Jesus look like a wuss!
Option 2 sounded a little easier for me, but truth is, I gave up my “tough gal” routine a long time ago. Not to mention this option would ALSO make Jesus look bad whenever they find out we moved here to start a church! So… I decided go for my back up plan of just being…hmmm…myself! Wow!! Can’t believe it took me three tries to come up with THAT decision! And HEY, what do you know…it worked out!

Me, Kelly, and Christian hit it off immediately. We all had SO much in common. Christian is from Alabama, Kelly is from North Carolina, and I’m from southern Cali, and it was kind of scary to find out all of the similarities between the three of us and our childhoods. I remember my first “this is soooo amazing” moment when we went out to celebrate Christian’s birthday. It was my first time hanging out with the girls outside of softball. We were in Kelly’s car, driving down the road…she had her satellite radio tuned to the 90’s station! We spent most of our first few moments outside of softball singing at the top of our lungs to Bobby Brown, The Cranberries, and Keith Sweat! It was the coolest feeling it the world. Like the three of us had known each other for YEARS! I immediately felt so much love for them, and I knew they loved me! Since that day, we’ve spent so much time learning about each other’s strengths and weaknesses and we’re constantly encouraging each other to make the most out of every moment we have on earth!

The girls were both raised knowing who God was, but they had both reached a point where they we’re pretty much bored with the typical southern Baptist church. (There are literally churches on every corner)! Everyone on the team pretty much learned why my family moved to North Carolina. And although I really wanted them to check out what I knew would be a refreshing experience with God at Church at the Triangle…I wasn’t ready to make any public intercom announcements about our service times! I would pray on my way to games “God if you’re alive in me, then please somehow reveal yourself through me and make the whole church inviting thing come naturally.” It wasn’t long after that…I think our second or third game, God did His thing and opened up an opportunity. It was definitely not my most “spiritual moment” but more of an example of how God uses our brokenness for His purpose! It’s actually pretty amusing to think about the way it all played out! We lost one of our first games in our first season. After the game…everyone was just bumming! I was so mad at myself because I hit poorly on my three at bats. As we walked off the field, a PG13 rated expletive slipped out of my mouth (under my breath)! Immediately about half my team turned and looked at me, and Chris, the macho man of them all, turned to me and said “woah, did you hear that language out of the church girl’s mouth?!” “Oh CRAP” I thought to myself. I’ve done it now. I just pretty much contradicted everything I believe in and now these people are NEVER going to take my relationship with God seriously. I had to come up with something to say after Chris called me out in front of everybody. I remembered praying for God to use my brokenness to show Himself, and in that split second moment, He DID it! I turned around and was able to say “That’s what’s sweet about my church! You don’t have to be a perfect person to come learn about God and sit in service. The reason I love God so much is mostly because He loves me in spite of how screwed up I am!” On the walk to the car, Christian mentioned she wanted to find a church like the one I described! Before she attended even one service, she told me about her career in Public Relations and that she wanted to help out in that area if we needed the help!! She came to one service and immediately jumped right into a serving role. It has been such an amazing thing to watch God just tweak with Christians life!! You can read more about her awesome story here. Kelly came on our first launch service and has been coming to Church at the Triangle ever since, too! We’ve had sweet opportunities to pray with other teammates and the rest of them all pretty much know they have a standing open invitation to come with us to church every Sunday if they want! It has been so awesome to just be me and watch God work in crazy ways! He has placed a crazy passion in me for every single player on my team. I love them all so much. I’ve had the opportunity to see through the “edge” of these people, and have come to find out that they are the most CARING, KIND, and GENEROUS people that I’ve ever met! They love ME for me! They don’t judge my character and I don’t EVER feel like I have to pretend to be someone else when I’m with them. We hang out a lot and our husbands get together to talk football and bag on each other! So wonderful!

I know for a fact that when I get back to San Diego, I’ll NEVER find a team like the Ballers. This team was a God’s biggest blessing to me while we’ve been here. I hate thinking about leaving them. They’re all supportive and we’re already talking about visiting each other once we get home. I don’t even want to think about leaving them yet! We’ve only lost one game in our second season together! We’re in first place with a big lead!! We still have a few more games and rain make ups, that we need to win! I’m confident we’ll take first place this season, just because that would be an AMAZING way to end this season of softball and this season of life for my family.

I love you Chris, Luke, Timmy, Jessica, Derrick, David, Stacy, Brittany, Bradley and Josh – I’ll miss you guys so much. No one will ever replace the spot you have in my heart!

Christian and Kelly, my girlies… you have rocked my world! I couldn’t have asked God for two better friends! I love you so much.VM’s for life, baby!


Wednesday, October 1, 2008

First 10 in San Diego

Since the day we decided we were headed back west, I've been constantly thinking about "the first thing I'm going to do when we get back to San Diego!" There are SO many things I can't wait to do when I get home! So, today, on October 1st, the beginning of our 28 day countdown until the day of our flight, here's a list of 10 things I can't WAIT to do when we land on the sunny, West Coast!

1. Hug my mom and dad, and let them have at my boys!
2. See extended family. Grandparents, aunts and uncles, cousins!
3. Get a Carne Asada Burrito from Sarita's in Spring Valley!
4. Meet with friends!
5. Get connected in a small group!
6. Cameron in pre-school!
7. Find a great softball team! (Mom and dad to come to the games!)
8. Trolley Stop Deli Pastrami and Swiss on Rye with pasta salad!
9. Playing scrabble with mom and dad!
10. Go visit our cabins in the desert!

After I finished listing these things, I realized that this list is comprised mostly of things I've taken for granted in the past. They were just part of a regular routine of our life! And I'll probably take them for granted again. But for now, I'm so thankful for those things. I'm also excited to make the last 27 days here in Raleigh great, special and memorable! We are leaving a beautiful place and a great group of friends.