It has been crazy around here as we prepare to move and I look at where to continue my education. UT being my first choice just isn't in the cards for me or as I would put it, not God's will at this time. My second choice? TCU. Has anyone ever looked at how much the tuition is there??? Oh my! So, I am touring UNT tomorrow to check it out. I was a little hesitant because it wasn't really in my top 5, but I do know alot of people that have graduated there including loved ones so it is definitely growing on me. I am still seriously thinking of taking the Fall semester off for a break and to get the kids settled into a new school/neighborhood. We will see. Maybe a mini-mester. Anyways, I wanted to share an essay I wrote for one of the schools. I thought it was cool and I don't think that of my own writing most of the time. Let me know what you think! And..I'll let you know if I will be Mean Green or a Horned Frog. A Horned Frog with a heckuva lot of debt to pay back. Whew.
From the seat of an old tractor, the fields went on for miles. I would watch my daddy feel the dirt in his hands as if he could feel it breathe. From the back windshield of our old Monte Carlo, the roads went on forever. I would crawl up against the warm glass and fall asleep counting the stripes in the road. From the top of an oak tree, the ground looked hard and unforgiving but I lay on the branch to watch the clouds form into unobtainable mountains. The world seemed so big, yet I knew I could somehow touch it. I could run through the mile-long fields and eventually find there was a dirt road that served as a boundary. I could press my face against the window and wait patiently until I saw the old white house that was my home. I could climb down the tree and know the mountainous clouds would eventually fade into night. As a child, all of these things made themselves known to me but none served more definite than the fact that Texas encompassed them all and I knew then that I never wanted to leave. I am still that wide-eyed curious child. I seek adventure. I have a glass that’s half full. I see my goals within reach and they begin to take the form of a wide open Texas sky.
As a farmer’s daughter, I never had much in the way of material possessions. One thing that my daddy did give us was an educational drive. He pushed us beyond our limits with our school work. He encouraged us to drive forward and be something he never had the opportunity to be. A man that seemed genius to me gave it all up to work a farm for his parents, all the while watching his sisters go on to higher education. It has been years since he has passed on and I still find him somewhere deep within me encouraging me to do more. To be more. Sometimes, when I speak, it is not me talking to my own children, but the voice of my father telling them to push forward and drive. It’s time that I remind myself to do just that. It’s time to listen to that voice within me. It has been a quiet whisper as I set myself aside for my family. That whisper has become a roar these last few years. A roar to be heard throughout Texas. I will do more. I will be more. For my dad. For my kids. For me. I have the drive within me. The drive to go beyond the mundane into extraordinary measure.
I had put off the inevitable for years to take care of three very individual personalities and while doing so, lost sight of my drive. My drive found me at a conference for a non-profit organization reaching out to youth. While speaking to the founder, an epiphany came about. Here I was, so involved in everything I wanted to do, all the while not doing anything I needed in order to take it to the next level. So my journey began. Never in a million years would I have thought to take on a full course load with three children; but I did it. Not only did I do it, I did it with enthusiasm. I was in my element of both motherhood and student. It was as if I were made for both to coexist. With diapers in one hand and pencils in the other, I faced the challenge head on and have come out stronger because of it. As I look back at that same horizon on a field that is now a thousand homes, I can close my eyes and see my dad grinning at where I’ve been and where I’m going. I’m doing what I was made to do. Maybe not in the world’s view of the right timing, but in my own. Everyone thinks insanity has taken over me as I tote a book bag with my diaper bag. I just smile and watch my kids watching me. They watch me read. They watch me study. They see me learn. That, to me, is the greatest achievement of my life. Taking the drive that my father gave me and being able to see my children witness it and absorb it. I never want to stop the display. I never want to stop learning. I want to drive.
For the last two weeks, I have been a part of a team going into the Dallas Juvenile Detention Center. What a blessing it has been! I'm a little bummed that I have to have surgery again next week so I will miss all the girls terribly. Here is something I wrote about my first week! More to come...
When I first felt the desire to work with young girls at the Juvenile Detention Center, I wasn't sure what to expect. I knew it would not be easy and I knew it would not be an immediate bond. Nevertheless, God has always put His will on my heart to work with young girls in difficult situations and I was both excited and nervous to see how it would unfold. Wednesday evening, April 28th, we entered Dallas Juvenile Detention Center for our first Girls' Circle meeting. We weren't sure how many girls to expect, let alone if they would be responsive at all to our lesson and activities. I felt I had realistic goals and expectations. I knew the girls wouldn't trust me. I really wasn't even expecting them to talk to me the first day. Boy was I surprised! What started out a little awkward, ended up being a warm beginning to what I hope to be a long relationship with fourteen very special girls. Fourteen girls lined up for a seat in the circle. Not all fourteen talked openly but they did share at least their names and things they were good at. This meant more to me than any of them will ever know. As the minutes passed, the girls became even more comfortable. I know that this is just a tiny look into what the weeks to come will be. I looked into some of their eyes and saw quite a bit of hurt. I spent time on my way home praising God for breakthrough as well as some tears shed for the hurt that brought them there. They can do so much more with their lives. They can be so much more. They ARE so much more. They dream of friendships and family. Things that I have taken for granted. They dream of being loved. I can't wait to show them the love of a Father who sees passed the guilt and shame and sees them for all that they really are. I can't wait to see what God has in store for these fourteen girls He has placed in my path. I can't wait to see how He will use me for their benefit as well as His glory. I am so grateful for the opportunity. ~Ecclesiastes 4:12~
What a crazy week this has been! I received cast number 2 ON my birthday on Tuesday. Had an MRI on Wednesday to see what's taking my foot so long to heal and found out on Friday that I have to have surgery next week!! One wrong step on a volleyball court cost me a ruptured ligament, a dislocated joint and a fracture! Whew! So next Wednesday, I will go in to have screws put in my foot. I secretly admit I always did want to baffle the officers at the metal detectors. I will start ministering at the Dallas Juvenile Detention Center this month so here's my chance! I am just not looking forward to having my foot up for several more weeks, several more casts, lots more pain and back into the OR to have the screws removed after all of that! I guess I better just start accepting a chaotic house for a while. Thank God for mothers!
Even though I still can't get around well, I did want to make sure the kids decorated their eggs to take to Nanny Vest's tomorrow to hunt. I was gathering things for my Sunday School lesson anyways and making cookies so I tried to knock it all out so I only had to be "up" once. I am in awe at what my kids listen to and think about. I love to listen in on their conversations when they aren't fighting and especially when they think noone is around. I always loved Easter growing up. Well, once my step-dad came into the picture anyways. I love the spirit of Christmas, but Easter I loved even more. The spring colors, the dresses, the warm weather and the grace and mercy that surpasses all. When my dad would preach about the crucifixion and resurrection it would bring tears to your eyes. He had his doctorate in Theology and was always ALWAYS studying. Before beginning his sermon he would always say he doesn't like to sugar coat the crucifixion. He felt that often it wasn't portrayed how it really was and that even he could never come close to describing the inhumane torture that happened to our savior that day. But, nevertheless, he would tell it so distinctly that you felt you were there. You grieved as he described the skin hanging from His body having been beaten so badly, and you rejoiced as you listened to the part of the stone being rolled away. I'm thinking of him and the story tonight as I try not to get down about my foot. I bet he would say, "It may seem like Friday night, but Sunday's on the way." I miss him terribly this Easter season. Sometimes I don't know how much my kids actually listen and when I was filling their egg color cups up with vinegar tonight, Reese commented on how yucky it smelled. Ross told her, "you know, they gave vinegar to Jesus when He was on the cross." I smiled as I kept pouring and Ross continued to tell her the story. It doesn't matter how many times I tell it, they seem to listen more intently when it's Ross telling it. I don't care who tells it, as long as it gets told. The birth of Jesus is a beautiful season but the death and resurrection of Him is worth so much rejoicing! I am saddened that it is not praised as much as Christmas as I think about it tonight. I hope all my blogger friends have a beautiful Easter Sunday with your families. I am missing the family that is already gone but also rejoicing with the ones I still have here to hold!
What a year this has been for me and my family. I have alot on my mind tonight and am a little pensive as I lay in bed. The Biggest Loser on TV and Reid asleep by my side. I watch him sleeping and wonder what lies ahead for my kids. What kind of mother I have been and how handling what comes my way reflects on that. I have been through a lot in my lifetime. I don't like to bring it up much because things are easily used as a crutch. I feel I am better than that and refuse to let things define who I am. But I am also learning that you can't escape some of those definitions. I also know that you can take those same harmful past experiences and grow from them. This year has been a forging of sorts. A spiritual roller coaster. Emotions ranging from pain to anger. Back to pain and feeling you've beaten the odds. Then some things tend to happen and you begin to feel like you will never make it to the top to see the horizon before you. Honestly, I've been quite angry with God this year. How healing it is to finally say that. Maybe I should've said it sooner. I've told many people that I think God wants to hear us say this. He knows our hearts anyways. Anger is a passionate emotion. It also means we care.
Tonight I feel beat down and I ask for prayers. I want to be close to God and I want to know that when bad things happen, He longs to comfort us. This forging is more than I can bear sometimes. The only drive I have is knowing I have to keep moving forward through it for my family. I can't give up. I can't let the bad win. I just have to ask, how much can one person be expected to bear? I feel the weight so heavy on my shoulders. I just want to set it down. I led a group therapy this week for class. It was on self-forgiveness. I used Max Lucado's book "Traveling Light" as an example. Carrying the burdens we were never meant to bear. The burden of shame and guilt. Fear and hurt.
Tomorrow is St. Patrick's Day. Some know the difficulty it brings but many don't. God knows and I just ask that He shows his presence for me tomorrow and as an anniversary grows near. I'm not sure how much more I can carry. I have to have faith that He will never give me more than I can bear. I know that I will not get burned in the forging process, but rather shaped and molded.
Here's my song for the week. The Almost again. I find healing in music. I find strength in the lyrics. It's called No I Don't.
I'm looking for some stable ground/ Some kinda place to lay it down/ And settle for a while/ I'm sick of looking for a star/ I won't show anyone my scars/ Can you help me out?/ I wanna see a change in me When it's time for another round/ I get in then, I bow out/ I'm kinda freaky that way/ I used to stand as tall as I could/ I used to be better than good/ I guess I've made my bed/ I wanna see a change in me No, I don't listen when they tell me/ They think I won't Come back around/ Find my way out/ It's none of their business! It's none of their business! I've got another song in me/ Because of you, I'm changing/ I'm learning how to wait/ Ugly as I could've been/ Down and out and all broken/ You never made me wait/ You saw me/ You didn't see my shame/ I'm free because you said so/ And I'm learning to grow/ Because you held my hand/ I'm free because you said/ Go, keep walking
A careful woman I ought to be A little girl follows me; I do not dare to go astray For fear she'll go the self-same way. I cannot once escape her eyes; What're she sees me do, she tries Like me, she says, she's going to be, The little girl who follows me. She thinks that I am good and fine, Believes in every word of mine; The base in me she must not see, The little girl who follows me. I must remember as I go, Through summer's sun and winter's snow, I am building for the years to be, For a little girl follows me. ~Author Unknown~