Monday, December 31, 2012

Letting Go

Well, it is the eve of a new year ... and I doubt I am alone when I say I will be glad to see this year go. Or, at least this fall. Hard. Unending. Exhausting. Queen Elizabeth said it best when she called a year "annus horriblilis" ... I do not know the Latin word for fall, but, you get the picture.  

So, 2013 the Townsend's welcome you. Gladly. With open arms. We know there is much we are already looking forward to in 2013 ... Torrey turning 17, Amanda's graduation, Houston Project, Rush Week, Torrey's Senior year, college applications, 21st wedding anniversary, BIG family Christmas in Texas (if I put it on my blog maybe it will come true) ... and, perhaps the biggest is the return of the blog. I have missed the outlet ... but, when you have been away as long as I have, how in the world do you come back? Quietly? With a bang? Or, do you just act like you have never been gone and people who think otherwise are crazy? I'll choose to come back quietly ... not that anyone is still reading this thing anyways.

I am also going to attempt the picture a day project again ... one of these years it WILL happen. This may be the year. But, those of you who know me well will not be holding your breath. Whatever.

I titled this post "Letting Go" ... because along with letting go of the fall, there is something else I am letting go of ... my deep hatred of the Proverbs 31 woman.

And, as a girl who is in love with Jesus, it is freeing to admit that I can't stand that chick.  Or rather, couldn't stand her.  Because she for real was making me feel less than.  And, then I read this blog post and cheered. And fell in love with her ... and the blessing that she was intended to bestow upon women except we have been too busy trying to live up to her to accept that blessing. 

So, get yourself a cup of coffee and read that post and let go of some things that are making you feel like you are less than what you are and who God intends you to be ... and join me in claiming eshet chayil for yourself in 2013. 

Sunday, July 29, 2012


We are home from a week in Branson, Missouri.  And I am full to the brim.  Full.  To say it was incredible is an understatement.  And I am struggling to adequately put into words all that I have seen.  So, for now, I leave you with this ... 

"God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging. (Selah) There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most High dwells.  God is within her, she will not fall; God will help her at break of day. Nations are in uproar, kingdoms fall; He lifts His voice, the earth melts. The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Selah) Come and see the works of the LORD, the desolations He has brought on the earth.  He makes wars cease to the ends of the earth; He breaks the bow and shatters the spear, He burns the shields with fire. 
Be still and know that I am God. 
 I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.  The LORD Almighty is with us; the God of Jacob is our fortress. (Selah)"  Psalm 46

Friday, July 13, 2012

iPhriday ... The Beginning of Summer Edition

Our tour of the iPhone pictures begins before summer actually began ... but, when it is 80 degrees at six in the morning, you can call it summer. Only in Texas. Without further adieu ...
 This sight will never get old.  Our drive to school is long.  Thank goodness for KSBJ and my love to sing along with the radio!  Every morning, we make a right hand turn on a bit of a back woods road on our way to the freeway and this is what I see.  Gorgeous!  For the record ... it is only this beautiful in the Spring and Fall ... which is why I totally love daylight savings time!
 Torrey came home from school one day with glitter hair extensions.  They were sparkly and fun ... and stayed in for quite awhile.
 I took my Kindergarten class to the beach for a field trip.  The bus driver slammed on the brakes at the moment I stood up and I went flying ... the moms who came along assured me I didn't make too big a fool of myself.  Somehow I get the feeling they were being nice.
 My friend Lana is expecting little Libby any day.  We had a shower for her at school near the end of the year.  I made these felt flowers for a centerpiece and for the little Liblet.  I will admit I was really hoping she would hate them (because I wanted to keep them).  She didn't.  And they look cute in Libby's nursery.  But it still makes me sad.  
 On the last day of school, four of my littles wore the same shirt.  Itwassuperexciting! When the fourth girl came in we all screamed!  I've said it a million times ... Kindergarten is the best!
 I loved my little class and they loved me.  This still makes me well up with tears.
 This is actually summer ... finally!  Torrey got her hair cut and highlighted.  It is super cute.  She was on her way to her friend Liz's birthday party ... I'm still not sure I love the fact that she is growing up!
 She is darlin'.  And headed to "base camp" to train for her mission trip to Canada.  They spent two days at church getting ready for the trip.
 This appeared on my phone at o'dark thirty on the morning she left for Canada.  For the record ... I was still asleep.  Torrey went to Canada with about 15 other kids from her youth group ... including her best buds Kiersten and Izzy.  Love all three of them! 
 The best pen ever comes in cool colors.  And I am so happy.  And, yes.  I am in love with office supplies.  I do not apologize.
 Loading these in my car made me super happy.  Organizing is so fun.  If I ever stop teaching I may become a professional organizer.  Or a planner of children's parties.  Or a coffee drinker.  I think we all know which of the three it will be.
 Torrey has to have a sports physical and a school physical every year.  It is always super exciting for her.  She passed.
 I'm not the only one who loves office supplies!  Shopping for back to school supplies is always a family affair.  And, yes ... that entire cart is full of Torrey's things.  I just realized we only have one more year of back to school shopping to go ... boo.
Torrey sent me a text late one night with a picture of a commercial announcing that today Starbucks was giving away a free drink ... they were promoting their new "Refreshers".  Torrey ditched me, but I gave it a whirl ... um, not as bad as the honey latte, but close.  Good thing it was free!

And, that kids is another iPhriday.  This next week will be a busy one ... hopefully that means a lot of pictures.  But, you and I both know you will probably not see them until two months from now.  Happy iPhriday the thirteenth!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Houston Project

This is our seventh summer in Houston.  And our first time to take part in Houston Project.  Definitely the high-light of our summer!

Houston Project is our church's mission project to the city of Houston.  For five days, at 16 sites across the city, with about 1500 volunteers, our church loved on Houston and shared Jesus.  We worked at a sports camp at a local high school ... Torrey helped with the volleyball players, Dean did security and I helped with food.
 Every night, we fed the kids dinner.  For some of these kids it was their only meal for the day.  They were so sweet and excited to see what was for dinner. I helped make about 200 snow cones each night.  I was "ice girl" ... tonight was our last night and I am sure I will be on snow cone withdrawal tomorrow!
 At the end of the first night, we had quite a few burgers leftover.  We had given many away and we really didn't know what to do with the extras.  Chase decided he would give them out to the homeless.  One of the sweetest blessings this week was watching our teens step up and serve ... we had quite a few serving with us and they loved the week too!  And the kids loved our teens ... every night when we got to the school, kids would run up and hug Torrey and tell her about their day.  She was smitten with several of them!
Last summer, Houston was crazy hot and in the middle of a terrible drought.  This summer has been the complete opposite.  It poured down rain every day ... I mean time to build an ark rain.  It would rain until 4:00. And then it stopped.  Completely.  Which meant our evenings were coolish (for Houston!) and dry and mosquito free.  We were so thankful for the perfect weather.

We started the week thinking we would change lives of kids ... several accepted Christ (and their parents too!).  Little did we know that our lives would be changed too.  We are already looking forward to Houston Project next year.  Can't wait!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Are you a Chiweeni?

Torrey and I were in the airport in Tampa headed home when we spotted a dog in a carrier.  Evidently I am now a dog person (go ahead and laugh) because I was attracted to that little dog like a fly to flypaper.  We asked the dog parents what kind of dog it was.  They were so proud to tell us he (or she) was a Chiweeni.

Insert crickets here.

I immediately thought, you mean a mutt.  And then I proceeded to sit in the airport and wait for our flight and I pondered that Chiweeni.  And on the two hour flight home I was still pondering the Chiweeni.  And weeks later I am still pondering that Chiweeni.

Because for real, that dog was a mutt.  But, to his dog parents, he was a Chiweeni (it must be said with a singing voice) and terribly loved.  And isn't that the way God sees us?  We are mutts ... plain and simple.  But He sees us as Chiweenis ... and oh so terribly loved.

I'm a Chiweeni ... are you?

Sunday, July 1, 2012

We Really Are Alive

It has been two and a half months since I last posted.  Ya'll.  I had no idea. Blogger cried when I signed in ... it must have thought I died. Let's see ... where have we been? Well ...

The school year ended.  A long time ago.  It is almost time to go back.  I was in love with my little class this year and GRIEVED letting them go.  It was pitiful.  Mostly because I pretty much grieved May 25th for most of the year.  My class was that good.  Torrey is no longer a sophomore.  It is painful for me to say she is a junior ... so I am not.  

I had big plans to blog every day when school got out.  But, there was an incident.  We went to Linda's for Memorial Day and I was going to take a picture of Torrey and her friend in the pool and I took a step and went down like a ton of bricks.  I hurt my arm and my leg.  Evidently I hurt my leg pretty good because it still hurts ... but only when I get a pedicure.  I'm sure you are all feeling sorry for me.  Anywho ... the camera was broken for a day.  And I was sad.  Dean came to my rescue (for about the billionth time) and somehow fixed it.  He cannot go in the camera repair business because he has no idea what he did, but suffice it to say it was fixed. For about a week.  And then it got wonky again ... but it went to the repair shop and seems to be fine. There is a lesson to be learned in all of this kids ... beware open filter traps.  They are not your friend.

Torrey and I went to Florida.  And had a blast.  As always.  

We repainted Torrey's room and bathroom.  Blue.  For those of you keeping score, that would make the fourth time the room has been painted.  And, ironically, we are back to where we started.  It will not be painted again.  I will probably eat those words.

Torrey went on a mission trip to Canada.  She did not come back the same girl we sent ... and Dean and I could not be more thrilled.

Dean and I went on a trip to Seattle.  For the love of the coffee.  And the farmers market.  The flowers were amazing and I ate the best peach I have ever eaten.  Dean ate an apple that was exquisite.  So said the seller ... and he was right.

And, here we are ... July.  And a smidgen of summer left that is packed FULL with fun stuff ... the 4th of July at Linda's, a visit from Bruce, Houston Project, and Rush Week.  Maybe if you are lucky I will blog about it.  But, you may not want to hold your breath!

Monday, May 14, 2012

It's That Time of Year Again

I started conferences today.  I will finish on Thursday afternoon.  At which point I may be completely talked out.  (Insert Dean praying here.)  I will definitely be cried out.  Four conferences today ... I teared up or started crying in all of them. I am a professional.

The end of the year is always rough on me.  I hate saying goodbye to littles I have come to call my own.  I hate the thought of not being a part of their every day.  I hate that I won't be the one to tell them how many more days until their tooth will fall out.  I hate that I won't hear their stories, their plans, their prayer requests.  

This years class has been magical.  They may have learned a lot, but I think I have learned more.  They have loved me deeply ... and I have loved them in return.  They have made me laugh ... deep belly laughs.  We haven't just become friends, we have become family.  And, 8 days is all I have left with them ... and one of those is a half day.

Insert ugly cry here.  And, please know I have cried the ugly cry about 42 times in the last few weeks.  I may or may not have cried on the first day of school when I realized May 25th would be here quicker than I wanted it to.  Ok.  I did.

My prayer this year has been that God would be glorified with everything that happened in my classroom.  That He would be seen clearly in not only me, but in this amazing class of littles He entrusted me with.  I will not stop praying that prayer over them on May 25th. 

The end of the year is hard.  Not only from the emotional standpoint of letting go when all you want to do is grab them around the ankles and hang on for dear life.  There is also the piles of paperwork, ending out a year, beginning to plan for the next, trying to clean up and clear out.  Ending a school year is just plain hard ... no matter where you teach ...  

Monday, April 23, 2012

Monday Musings

It's Monday.  And no one has written a catchy song to make it exciting ... get on it, Rebecca Black.  Because I am sick of singing, "Rainy days and Mondays always get me down ..." on Mondays.

Let's see ... our weekend.  Sort of stinky.  Torrey is STILL sick.  Day seven people.  I think we have it figured out ... an overdose of antibiotics.  But, the good news ... the ears aren't infected anymore!  The bad news ... the rest of her is!

My day at school was good.  My Little Peoples are F-U-N-N-Y.  They are BIG on personality and super sweet.  Could possibly be my favorite year ever.  Which would explain my meltdown on the drive home.  I cried "the ugly cry" ... and it was bad.  I am dreading May 25th.  With a capital "D".

Next week is testing week.  I'm a bit giddy ... because I think my class is going to rock the test.  Most of them are smarter than me.  Truth.  It no longer intimidates me. Mostly because I am not smart enough to be intimidated anymore.  

Torrey's room is due for an overhaul.  She is in love with the color aqua ... so, aqua it will be.  And, it is the last room overhaul she will be getting.  I think.  I thought that the last time and look where we are.

Tomorrow is Tuesday.  We are taking a poll on whether or not you think Torrey will go to school tomorrow ... for all two of you who read this blog.

And, before I "peace out" ... a funny from today.  One of my littles regaled us with a story of her eating fish eggs.  She says they are DEE-LICIOUS (insert licking lips here) ... I'm not buying it.  Later in the day, she was thrilled to tell us she had eaten a clam (spelling word ... and I described it as a critter that lives in a shell) ... again DEE-LICIOUS.  One of my other peeps announced from across the room, "You sure do eat a lot of animals!"  To which my "animal eater" said, "I know ... I have eaten cow, and chicken ..."  Kindergarten is awesome!

Friday, April 20, 2012


Good iPhriday to you doubting Thomases who logged on thinking there wouldn't be one this week.  There is!  And, I'm a little shocked myself.
 My week started off with a day off from school.  It was the perfect rainy day to stay home!  Dean and I snuck away for lunch at Escalantes.  The perfect chips and queso.  They are only in Houston ... so, for most of you ... I am sorry.  So very, very sorry.  
 My date for the day ... with what he ALWAYS orders ... chicken quesadilla.  And that is all.  
 We then stopped by Nothing Bundt Cake.  I talked about it before, but it bears repeating ... I could eat everyone of these little gems.
 Torrey and Zoey after school on Tuesday.  Torrey was sick.  Zoey was beside herself.  She HAS to be as close to Torrey as she can ... at all times.  Torrey is hers.  
 At some point in the evening, Zoey turned into a freak ... she was jumping on and off the ottoman ... on and off ... on and off.  I was not so amused ... remember when she had the DOUBLE knee replacement?  And then she sat and stared at me ... and looked like a big, hairy spider.  I had to send a picture to my sister to see if I was crazy.  I was not.
Thursday was not a good day for Torrey.  She is getting betterish ... but not perfect.
 We are painting Torrey's room and I found these frames at the Hob Lob for her wall.  Jen was making something for an adoption auction and I told her about these ... they are so cute.  And 50% off this week.  Hurry.  You still have a day.  (And, we are painting ours because the colors are ug.)
 EagleFest is this week.  We are all excited at school.  One of my littles drew this on Thursday.  She was also holding it up in the air and doing cheers.  In the middle of stations.  I could have stopped her, but ... WE ARE ALL EXCITED!
 On Friday, EagleFest FINALLY arrived.  This is the official shirt ... everyone in the school was wearing this shirt.  Except for the seniors ... they wear the shirt from the college they are attending next year.  
 One of my littles drew this when he first got in the room.  And, he is right.  EagleFest is osome.  I feel funny showing the faces of my students, so you are going to have to imagine its osomeness ... but, it is just a day where the entire school comes together and has fun ... eating cotton candy and getting everyone with invisible ink.  And, the sweet part is the parents plan and put on this entire day (and it is over the top) to honor the teachers.  
 God is good.  So good.  EagleFest ended at 3:00.  We spent the day celebrating under dark clouds.  By 3:05, most everything was cleaned up.  This was the scene at 3:20 ... one of the worst storms I have seen in awhile blew in.  Hail, rain blowing horizontal, winds.  And we were cleaned up and in cars ... or, in my case, ALMOST in cars.  
This was my ride home.  For the love of Houston traffic!  I thought Orlando traffic was bad (hello ... tourists!), but Orlando has nothing on Houston.  I do pray for part of my ride home every day to one day live in a small town!  But, that would mean giving up Escalentes chips and queso ... I guess the traffic isn't so bad after all!

Happy iPhriday!  I am off to recover from EagleFest!

Thursday, April 19, 2012

I Should Have Known

Sometimes, after something happens, you think to yourself, "I should have seen that coming."  Today was one of those days.

Torrey wasn't feeling well on Tuesday.  She actually went to the school nurse.  She hates going to the school nurse.  In Kindergarten, she fell on the way back from lunch and hurt her ankle ... she didn't tell her teacher because "you always GO to the nurse with a friend, but then the friend comes back and I didn't know how to get back to my class from the nurse.  I didn't want to be lost."  Kindergarten Wisdom.  She ended up with a badly sprained ankle and had to be pushed around in a wheelchair for a week.  For the record, she LOVED being pushed around in the wheelchair.

But, I digress.  She spent 2 hours sleeping in the nurses office.  Then slept the entire ride home from school (about an hour) and then fell asleep while I was making dinner.  We got her medicine and told her she could stay home from school the next day.  But, I told her, there was NO WAY she was missing school on Friday.

She was miserable on Wednesday.  Dean told her she could stay home on Thursday.  But, I told her, there was NO WAY she was missing school on Friday.

I left for school and left Dean a text message telling him that if she wasn't better he needed to take her to the doctor ... because there was NO WAY she was missing school on Friday.

The reason there was NO WAY she was missing school on Friday is because Friday is EagleFest which is our all school field day and carnival.  And, before you think I am a terrible mother for forcing my sick child to go to a carnival, she needed to go.  Because there is a drawing for free tuition for next year and I have a good feeling we are going to win this year.  Free tuition people ... I do not think I am being unreasonable in my insistence that she be there.

Well, Dean woke her up at 11:00 and she was worse, so off to the doctor they went.  It wasn't long before they sent me this picture ...
And, guess who is missing EagleFest tomorrow?  It would be the one with a fever and a double ear infection who is also suffering from dehydration so badly she had to get an IV.  

I will still be there ... wearing my "Mother of the Year" pin!

Monday, April 16, 2012

Day Off of My Own Choosing

I took today off.  My choice.  I wasn't sick.  Just took a day.  I get two personal days a year ... last year I forgot to take them.  I know.  Dumb.  I was not going to make that mistake this year.  Today was the day ... and I almost forgot about it because it snuck up on me.

But, I did remember and it was the perfect day.  Well, mostly perfect ... it poured this morning.  And thundered.  Which meant Zackie barked.  Non-stop.  Which also meant I didn't get to sleep in.  I may or may not have threatened to cut off his tongue.  OK ... I did.

Dean went to the office in the morning and then came home and got me for lunch.  We went to Escalantes .... chips and queso ... so yummy!  Then we decided to try out a new dessert spot .... Nothing Bundt Cakes.
 (Insert angels singing here.) Personal sized bundt cakes.  So delicious.  I am a girl who loves me a Crave cupcake ... but, ya'll, I may have seen the light.  It could be Torrey's new wedding cake ... before that Crave cupcakes were the front runner (who cares that she doesn't love Crave as much as me ... isn't it my day?!)
 The rest of my day was quiet ... I took a nap, made dinner which made me think of Robin, got a headache, ate my bundt cake, went outside and had my breath taken away by the beauty of these roses ...
 I'm not a gardner, but these things come back year after year.  The yard guys hacked pruned them to the ground about a month ago.  I was pretty mad.  But they're baaaaack.  And more beautiful than ever.  I usually only notice the beauty of the roses, but today I saw this ...
Are those thorns not gigantic?! And, isn't that like life, sometimes the beauty also brings the thorns.  

Enjoy your Monday ... I sure did!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Saturday Visitors

Mike and Jess (and the kids) came for a too short visit on Saturday.  We got the call they were on their way with "Rudy's" in hand ...

Rudy! Rudy! Rudy!

That was totally for Dean ... I have never watched the movie.  Moving on ... they were coming to finally get the trampoline out of our backyard.

And, if you listen carefully you will hear our yard guys cheering.  Because for the past 3 years, they have moved that thing every week.  And, I'm pretty sure they cursed us every time they had to move it.

But, before they took it, they had to make sure it worked ...
 And, I am happy to report ... it does!  Most everyone gave it a try ...
 Dean got up there for a bit, but didn't jump too much ... he learned his lesson once before.  Trampolines and backs do not always go together.
 Had to throw in this picture of Zoey NOT barking ... because no matter the person, she isn't always the most welcoming of critters.  She only likes her people.  But, she sure is cute!
 And, speaking of cute ... these two.  Um, yummy!
 The kids got black from the trampoline, so they got hosed off ... SQ got to hold the hose.  So exciting!  For both her AND Zack.  Dean was trying to tell her not to get Zack wet ... how was she supposed to do that when the dern dog was running into the water?!
It was fun to see the gang.  I was surprised at how fast they took the trampoline down ... if I remember correctly, it was an all day affair to put the thing together!  

Thanks for coming to visit ... and for taking the trampoline!