Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Nashville Trip of fun places to go!

Tiffany and Brielle are excited to be at the Downtown Farmers' Market in Nashville for the first time. This is a very cool place to go, you should check it out, especially since they have probably gotten larger since it is Spring. But don't go there BEFORE you check out Downtown Market here in Clarksville, TN!!!

Our first trip to Trader Joe's. They have the cutest shopping carts for kids with "parent controls" ha! They also have samples and the coffee was so good (and on sale) that I had to buy some, despite the fact that it was not fair trade.

Our first time to eat at Panera Bread. The broccoli cheese soup and bread impressed me, actually.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

What would you miss?

Today through my window I saw this beautiful mom with curly dark hair walking up to my porch with a very handsome toddler riding high on her shoulders. I thought, "who is this?" Until I got to the door. "ASTRID!" I gave her a big hug and marveled of how well she glowed and how much her son had grown! She was visiting in town from Germany.

Back up about 2 years ago. I was strolling along out one hot day in May angry and frustrated. Another mom had set up a play date with Brielle and I and had backed out (again), so I angrily walked (strode) around the block thinking I was done trying to meet new friends with babies. Then, as I rounded the corner, lo and behold was a women pushing a baby carriage with a large dog was walking toward me while correcting her dog and shading her baby with the flippable European carriage. She seemed distressed a little too. We said hi and she took a look in my stroller at my sweet 5 month old. Brielle had extreme seborrhea dermatitis on her face (and everywhere else) and her little cheeks were blotchy red. Astrid was very concerned. She said she knew of some German products that could maybe help, and she knew of someone who had to change her diet since she was nursing and the baby maybe did not like her mother to eat certain things. We walked to my house, then we walked to hers. One day soon after she brought me the German products for Brielle's skin and a list of foods I could try eliminating. We seemed like two totally different people, but we were neighbors who got along okay, and we both needed a friend. So there we were. We ran into each other occasionally while walking, and we'd gotten together a few times, but we really didn't see each other a lot over the next year. I knew she was planning to move back to Germany, but she was going through a frustrating time, so I don't know when she exactly left.
But she still had my phone number and she still knew where I lived, of course. So, she called a few times and we hoped we could get together while she was in the U.S. But I was still surprised to see her, nevertheless!
We talked and talked about all that had changed since she'd moved in the last year. We talked about the differences between Germany and the U.S. She told me a few things she had on her "wish list" to buy while she was here.
Then, I asked her the BURNING Question: "So, all of what you have in Germany, what do you miss from the U.S. most then? What is here that is not there."
"Friendliness. Kindness. Nothing you can buy, just conversation. People that will share their time and care about yours. That is what I miss most."

She is so honest. I certainly didn't intend to blog about it when I asked her, but I really truly think that what she said is worth pondering to me. Do I take these things for granted all day long? People who are friendly and kind and will talk with me. Probably, yes. Do I give others kindness as freely as I've been given the time and ability to? No.

God, thank you for giving me a neighbor who has enlightened me as much as Astrid has. Thank you that she chose to come visit me while she is back in the States for the week! Thank you for the crazy ways that you work while we are in the midst of not understanding.

ps-she loaded us down with those wonderful German products for Brielle's skin too. How sweet was that? It was way too much and she says, "I was not sure if it would be enough."

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Great Rain Out 2010

8:30am - Weather Channel predicting 80% chance of RAIN, some heavy on Sat. Severe storms on Sunday
(the plan to go camping on the 1st Ever Ladies Camping trip is still ON) 10 ladies going is now down to 8 though.
10:00pm - Plan may change. A poll goes out by email to have an indoor campout @ Tara's.
1:51pm -I wonder, "should I still bring the grubby clothes I packed and bring my camping chair anyway?"
Donna suggests this could be an annual event if it goes well (she and Tiffany have Co-Coordinated this trip)
2:51 - read official email that the location has been changed to Tara's
(should call Amelia)
4:30pm - called Amelia & Kelly B. because they are two that don't consistently check email

4:00am - First Storm arrives
10:00am - has been raining nonstop for the past six hours - forgot to print verses and still need to make more necklaces for the "KNOW/NO" game
1:15pm - some of us meet at Big Lots to follow each other out to Tara's
1:45 - head out to Tara's, get lost, make it anyway. It has not stopped raining yet.
2:15 - Those of us who are at Tara's (Tara, Amanda, Donna, Kelly, Tiffany, & me) ride out the Barn to check out the loft as an option for sleep and/or devotional. It looks rustic and good, but not safe for a baby, and we know our precious Eliana is coming, who is just shy of her 1st birthday. It also seems like a long haul over there, even though it is jut across a field that hosts a flooded road/pathway. It sounds like a great option, but do we want to haul? We can't decide. We consider it for morning devotional possibly at the very least.
2:50 - back at the house we start the "Negative/Know" game (yes, name changed) with the necklaces
3:01 we are welcomed to camptrip 2010
3:02 opening prayer (lol)
3:07 - Tiff explains the prayer non-hike and we all disperse to go spend time alone with God.
4:30 (or so) - Kelly E (with Eliana) and Anna (with junk food) arrive safely after their detour
4:45 - Amelia arrives (is this right? I can't remember)
5:00 - Start cooking exquisite meal (hot dogs in a frying pan) Hey, it wasn't bad!
6:30 - Still raining constantly with heavy rains during the quite frequent storms
Amanda starts us out on a game called "Ha Ha Ha" We laugh enough to burn off some of the calories from the hot dogs and junk food.
6:50- next game "Follow the Leader" (some of us are better than others at this one that is for sure!)
7: 15 - next game (Amanda has tons of these up her sleeves, obviously) "Mafia" Crazy game that reminds us of clue and I'm horrible at this one too (am I good at any games, I wonder?)
7:30 - Lana arrives making it now ten of us there
8:00 - We snack more and it becomes obviously clear that the "No/Know" game has dominate players, so we award them their prizes for 1st and 2nd places (Congrats to Amanda for 1st place and Tiffany for 2nd) Everyone gets their own necklace to keep as souvenir from this camp out. To my delight some people like them and even wear them after the game is over.
8:30 - Anna leads us in worshipping our King with our songs
9:00 - Tara starts us out with a devotional thought and then the floor is opened to share. It has not stopped raining or sporadically storming. We share, then discuss why it is that we share. Then we go deeper, because no one is going home.
11:00 - Break. Then gather back around the candles
11:30 - For the first time in my life (that I recall) I laugh and cry during the SAME prayer! Wow.

2:20AM - First group (five people) goes to bed. Who knows when the other five go to bed, because I was in the first group. I'm not sure if Tara ever went to sleep, I seem to recall her moving about during the night.
7:00 - Lana leaves; I feel exhausted.
7:30 - I sit up and think which leads to praying.
I end up going downstairs to hang with the only person I hear awake, Eliana (and her momma, Kelly E." I enjoy this sweet morning time with them.
8:00 - go upstairs where some are stirring and sipping coffee (thank you Tara).
I run to the coffee pot and guzzle down two cups while starting to cook the bacon. Discover Tara's stove is more advanced than my laptop. Tiff starts on the pancakes. Then we all eat.
10:15 - early bird devo and communion (by Donna) where we share our favorites stories and remembrances of Jesus, our Beloved.
11:00 - Clean up, pack up. Some of us make cards while others play another one of Amanda's bottomless stock of games.
12:45 - leave for Guadalajara
Rain has NEVER stopped.
Amelia's vehicle needs help starting then Anna's van gets stuck in the mud. Thank goodness Matt (Tara's husband) had just returned! Some of us have already left and we don't even know this is happening.
1:30 - Lana is already there with a table. Amelia drives home instead of eating. The water in the Cumberland River is almost to the restaurant. Driving is horrendous, but we have no idea that within 24 hours Riverside Drive will be completely flooded and covered by the overflow of the Cumberland. It will set record level highs, five to six feet above what it has ever been.
2:30 - Group picture (can someone crop Amelia in?) Hugs all around. Everyone heads home.
4:15 - The rain stops. God has graciously shined His mercy on each of us, individually and together.

I love you ladies, for all that you are, and all that you are not. I have grown because of you and your willingness to grow too. I thank Him immensely for you.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Ladies' Camping Trip

Yesterday morning I woke up and looked around me. I was so tired. I began to recall last night and early this morning. Laughter. Tears. Time alone with God. Time together with great friends who are also my sisters. Everything was quiet. I rarely get quiet. I looked at these women, all asleep, all beautiful. All of us incredibly broken, yet restored. Today was a new day, a fresh start, a deliverance in many ways. God brought us through an amazingly fun and deep time through which He displayed His talent at perfect planning. Like riding a wave, not knowing how it might go, we crashed into His hiding place, His arms. And it sealed the bond. Thank you Jesus.