Saturday, March 26, 2011

Beard Season

Beard Season ended today at the White House which made the Spring Season official.  For the past five winters Randy has grown a beard which has led to many a conversation.  After about a month and a half I start talking about the clean shaven man I feel for.  The flip side is that most men congratulate Randy on his beard and encourage him to keep growing it.  When I was naive I didn't pay close attention to the beard conversations that occurred "man to man."  I didn't see the influence that other men were.  But now, being the more mature woman that I am, I see it coming within a minute of the "nice beard, man" or "keep that growing as long as you can"  even the "wish I could grow a beard".  Of course I love to hear my husband praised, but these types of encouraging words over the past five years have only motivated Randy to make Beard Season last longer than the previous season's.   I enjoy Beard Season.  I like the fact that my man can grow a beard!  I do have my limitations which of course are different than Randy's.  Regardless, Winter has been shaven and Spring is here!  Now to really make it feel like Spring, I need to plant some herbs and put Rebecca the Brown Thumb to the test.  Maybe this year will be the year.  I can take care of a baby...why not plants?

Enjoying brunch in Tulsa with our beloved Zabi (Zion and Abi Spencer) at Wild Fork.  This obviously occurred during Beard Season.

Enjoying Hat Day which also happened to be the first day of Spring at the White House.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

April Showers

I had a revelation while chopping vegetables a few days ago. 
Vegetables, fruits, meats, cheeses, and herbs are transforming.  Individually each one holds its own flavor, taste and consistency.  However, when heated or chilled, each one can morph into another flavor and texture.  Bitter.  Salty.  Smooth.  Lemony.  Tough.  Sweet.  Spicy.  Tender.  Pungent.  Mushy.  Crisp.  In addition to its own flavor, when mixed with other products and heated the flavor yet again undergoes a transformation. 
I have come to the conclusion that my life for the past five years has been chopped, marinated, sauteed, boiled, braised and maybe even mashed, among other things. 
Five years ago in March severe headaches sent me to the doctor.  After CT scans, MRIs, and multiple visits to a neurosurgeon, Randy and I selected April 13th to be the day that would change our lives.  On April 13th I had brain surgery.  Sixteen days later I was released from the hospital and got to return home on Randy's 24th birthday.
Unfortunately the surgeon was unable to remove the cyst entirely from my brain and since 2006 I go and get an MRI every six months.  I know what to expect from the MRI.  Thirty-five minutes of loud noises, cold temperatures and a small dose of claustrophobia. My heart races while we drive to the facility and wait for my name to be called.  Sometimes I cry.  What never fails is the sense of peace I have while I walk to the back of the facility and hop onto the board that sends me into the all-seeing machine.  People have asked me what I think about while being scanned.  It's a very simple answer.
Jesus Christ.
I pray.  I praise Him to the rhythm of the machine.  I thank Him for this unique experience.  I ask for healing.  
When I look at the path I am on and ponder what it all means I always have different answers.  I have used this experience in multiple ways and I hope it has been for the betterment of  others.  Yes it's been hard and scary at times. What trial isn't?  Praise God, I am better and different because of it. 
I love to cook.  This is no secret.  So it's not surprising that when I'm in the kitchen heating up oil to braise chicken or chopping up vegetables to throw into mashed avocados I examine life.  The way I see it, we all are being prepped for something larger than ourselves.  For some, no heating is required and you are put on a platter raw.  You are absolutely perfect and delicious.  Others get seared on all sides and then thrown into the oven to be slow roasted for three hours.  A slow process but what flavor and tenderness!
What I've learned is I can't compare my path to others.  I can't worry about the future and fret about the past.  "What if" scenarios are just painful.  I take each day as it comes and rest in the knowledge that God is constantly transforming my soul through unique experiences.  With every MRI and with every doctors appointment He creates in me something new.  This is something to get excited about.

When I think of all this, I fall to my knees and pray to the Father, the Creator of everything in heaven and on earth. I pray that from his glorious, unlimited resources he will empower you with inner strength through his Spirit.  Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into God’s love and keep you strong. And may you have the power to understand, as all God’s people should, how wide, how long, how high, and how deep his love is. May you experience the love of Christ, though it is too great to understand fully. Then you will be made complete with all the fullness of life and power that comes from God.
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Glory to him in the church and in Christ Jesus through all generations forever and ever! Amen.
Ephesians 3:14-21

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

...and to you sister, merci.

"I don't love Paris," she said.  The room gasped and gazed upon her with judgemental eyes... 
Shocked?  Perhaps blasphemous?  I can't help it.  I am not in love with that city. I do, however, have great respect for the city and its historical importance, culinary development and powerful effect.
February marked a seven year anniversary of a phone call that changed my life. 
"You want to go to Paris for $600?"
Okay, maybe I didn't immediately jump to go to Paris.  I was saving for my Roman adventure which was quickly approaching in May.  Plus I was scared.  I hate to fly.  Hate doesn't even begin to cover it.  Flying is my worst fear and my nemesis.  After a few discussions with my roommates and parents I realized I had to fly to Europe in May, I might as well do it now and call it practice. 
I decided to answer with yes.  Yes I will go.  Yes I will fly by myself.  Yes I will meet you in Paris, sister.  What a powerful three letter word.  I didn't realize that I just said yes to empowerment, independence and a life love of travel. 
This weekend marks the anniversary of a trip that has become a milestone in my life. Thank you, JoDee. Thank you for your love of Paris and its inspiring power. It changed my life for the better.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Pears, Peas and Strollers

A baby's life is adventurous. 

Why?  Because almost everyday they are trying, discovering and experiencing something new.  I'm kinda jealous.

I've known this about babies all of my adult life, however, it's not until I've witnessed it firsthand that its sunk in.  This came to my attention over the weekend when Katherine went for her first walk facing forward in her stroller.  I realized, that for her, she has experiences that are somewhat old hat like the taste of pears.  (she's known this flavor since she was three months)  However there are very new tastes like peas.  (her first try was Sunday).  Then there are new adventures that might seem initially scary, but are literally life seeing the world facing forward.  Life never gets boring for this new life.

laughs and smiles when the wind blows on her face.
squeals and squirms when Auggie walks by.
looks surprised every time she sees her own reflection.
doesn't get bored looking out a window.
gets to taste a new food every three days (!!!! I like this one !!!).
feels pride when she rolls over and sits up.

Katherine's life has made me begin to examine my own.  What is mesmerizing to me?  What do I get so excited about that my only reaction is dancing?  Do I try new experiences?  Where are my adventures?

Perhaps something we should all ponder?

Even though a little wobbly at times, Katherine is experiencing life facing foward.