Tuesday, December 17, 2013

U R loved

So, yesterday I spilled the beans on our Journey in the Hard. I could not have made it to this point with a drop of sanity if it weren't for people God placed in my life. There were so many who poured life over me. I so desperately want to be a life giver. It has become the prayer of my heart.

This week has been hard. Well, the past three have been hard. But, God has been faithful. And He has reminded me that He has this. And He is going to do something great. And this season of hard will be a memory of a time that He was once again awesome. And the hard will so not relevant when we remember His awesomeness.

Yesterday Torrey came home with writing on her hand. It is one of Dean's pet peeves, FYI. When I asked her about it, she tried to hide it. And then she showed it to me. And, while a friend wrote it on her hand to encourage her through a season of hard, it was as if God was reminding me that He had this. He loves her so much more than me. She is His. I really have nothing to fear.

And the words that were written on her hand? I had to get a picture.
Because isn't it a message we all need to hear? Isn't it a message we all need to know? Isn't it a message we all need to feel?

Living in gratitude tonight for people who continue to breathe life on my little family. Totally unworthy, but so grateful.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Living in the Hard


Sometimes when you are in the South, that is all you need to say and everyone around you will start nodding their heads because they know.  They know everything you are thinking and feeling and hoping and dreaming.  All from that little word.  

I must stop here and say that I love living in the South.  

Anywho ... I have thought several (hundred) times that I would write a post about our life, but we have been living in the hard and it just didn't feel like a super fun post to write.  Heck.  It wasn't a super fun place to be living.  But, God asks us to do things that seem crazy and kind of not fair because He wants the glory and He knows it is for our best.  So, I tried to embrace the hard.  And squeeze the life out of it.

Let's see ... August was good.  We had the most darling senior pictures taken of Torrey.  School started.  My class is awesome (you must sing the word awesome in a falsetto).  They are a bit sweet, a lot of funny and a smidgen of ring-tailed tooter.  In other words ... they are PERFECT for me.  I was smitten from day one ... and yes, I know May is around the corner.  I. Will. Be. A. Mess.

And, then September hit.  Oh, the first 3 days were great. I lived them like I didn't have a care in the world. Then, came September 4th. And on that day I came home and Dean told me he had been laid off from Staples. As in after 13 years he no longer had a job. I just stared at him ... because I was waiting for the punchline. When I realized he wasn't joking, my heart raced for about 30 seconds before I told myself the way I was reacting was not from God. I think the first words out of my mouth might have been, "We are OK. God is going to get the glory." 

Ya'll. What I really wanted to do was to scream that it wasn't fair. But, what I chose say was "I will trust You." I am not a saint. I am the furthest thing from perfect. But, I knew that God would be faithful because He has proven Himself to me time and again. He did not need my help to fix it ... He just wanted me to trust that He could. And that He would.

So, we trusted. And lived our lives. And trusted. And laughed. And trusted. And we saw God do some wild and amazing things. And every thing that happened we knew was from Him. My favorite part of the Journey in the Hard (Ya'll. If you must go through hard, for crying out loud, give it a cute name. It won't make it any easier, but it will make you smile.) was hearing Torrey say, "Well, we prayed for that." And, believe me, He heard every crazy prayer we had ... some He answered quickly, some He just shook his head over and some He is still working on.

We are 3 1/2 months removed from September 4th. And Dean is employed. At Staples. Ya'll. I know. It makes no sense in this moment, but trust me it is good. God is good. He has been faithful. He has been kind. And, I'm sure right now He thinks He is freaking hilarious. And, it is kind of funny ... now. 

We aren't living in the easy. Life is still hard. We are walking a smidgen of hard this week. When I asked God why, He reminded me to trust Him. If you are silent you can hear Him. And He told me that He knows. He knows our hurts. He knows our desires. He knows. And He is working them all out. And when you get to see the full picture of His plan it will be awesome. You may even find yourself moving right back into the same office you left two months previously.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


We are home ... kind of. We spent the last week at Rush Week in the Branson, Missouri area with some of our favorite peeps ...
... our church's youth group. These kids. I don't really have adequate words to say how much I love them. How thankful I am for them. How excited I am to see them want to be close to God. To have Him use them. To have Him be real in their life. To have Him be their King Jesus. Love. Love. Love.

"Rush Week" in a nutshell is a mission trip with a camp feel. The kids spend time in worship, do some fun things and then fan out all over the community to serve. Some do evangelism. Some do service projects. Some conduct VBS or sports VBS programs. Some travel to all the sites to sing and play instruments. Two talented artists painted a mural at a church. Their week was BUSY ... but so good. So very good.

This year, our youth leaders wanted the kids to not come home changed, but rather to be transformed. They wanted their wanting to follow Jesus to last beyond October. I learned and gleaned to so many great truths from the messages each morning ... so many things I have been pondering in my heart. I could write post after post after post on those alone.

But this. This has caused me to think the most. Perhaps because it convicted me the most. One of our pastor's had a round table discussion with his wife about the importance of taking our sin seriously. We need to ask God to reveal our sin. We are experts at sin management (truth ... I can walk the walk and talk the talk on Sundays, but what am I doing the rest of the week?) And, until we take sin seriously, we will never have peace in our lives. Whoa.

And, then he defined an idol. It is anything we pursue more than we pursue God. Um, Hello. Up until that moment I didn't think I had any idols ... because there were no golden statue thingies up in my house. Yup, no. I was feeling super convicted. And, then his wife read this verse ...

Those who cling to worthless idols, 
forfeit the grace that could be theirs.
Jonah 2:8

Because that idol ... not so worth it now. 

We were given a CD with activities to complete on our van ride to Branson. And this song was on it ...

It may be my new favorite song. And the prayer of my heart.

So, yes. We are home. Kind of. Because there is still a part of my heart that is pondering all that I saw and heard and learned at Rush Week. And I may be pondering it for quite awhile.

Wednesday, June 26, 2013


I'm baaaaaack! Muahahaha! 

I fully intended to have some fun pictures of our day to share with you ... but, it did not happen. That is what happens when you leave your phone at home.

I left early to meet my friend Roxanne for coffee.  Roxanne works with me ... she used to be the Kindergarten assistant (I loooooved telling her that I was her boss. HA!) She lived my hardest year with me. And is one reason I made it out alive. Please imagine a picture of us at Starbucks here.

Dean left early for College Station. Torrey was going to go with him, but please go back and read the third word of the last sentence. Torrey doesn't do early in the summer. And, if you make her, you will be sorry. I learned the hard way yesterday.

Anywho ... Dean. College Station. Why? He is going to be giving a guest lecture this summer and he went to talk to the professor. Now, if you give a guest lecture, can you now be called professor? I say yes. He says no. I am calling him "Professor" anyways. This guest lecture thing came out of nowhere and it is just a fun thing. Torrey and I both want to go and watch ... Dean thinks it is weird. My brother has offered to supply the PayDay candy bars (you must be a fan of The Office to even get that). Please imagine a picture of Dean saying "Gig'em" here.

I also ran into school to take care of a few things. Some people who live in my house are occasionally jealous I have summers off. To which I say, "Professor, I really don't have the summer off." I was a little giddy to see some of my teacher friends in the process ... I am so thankful to work with people I truly enjoy. Please imagine a picture of me at school here.

I came home and it was close enough to 2:00 to call it 2:00. And, I think we all know what time that is ... SIESTA! The first week of school is rough ... mostly because I am detoxing from my inability to take a nap at 2:00. It is a risk I am willing to take. Please imagine a picture of me napping here. Or, if you would prefer, a picture of Torrey and Bentley napping on the couch here.

Dinner was made. It was delicious. And simple to make. Can. Not. Go. Wrong. With. That. There could be a picture of the dinner here ... except we ate it all. One of these days I may put the recipe on here ... but, we all know what that means.

And, now ... everyone is relaxing. I'm the lucky one ... Bentley is right beside me. He is one snuggly puppy ... and deeply in love with all of us. 

So, in a nutshell ... today was one good day. Full of friends. Full of coffee. Full of exciting new opportunities. Full of family. Full of rest. Full of preparation. Full of sweet, warm puppies. Full. Full. Full.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Blog Post Every Day? No. Just No.

Torrey informed me yesterday that there was no reason why I shouldn't be blogging every day. 

Please excuse me while I go and wring her neck. Because I do not sit around and do nothing. Right now I am waging a war on the dog hair that is EVERYWHERE. And I am crafting a letter to the person who told me Cavalier King Charles Spaniels do not shed. Lies. And then there were the cookies that were made today. And the laundry that was folded. And the dinner that was made. People. This ship does not drive itself.

But, let's see ... where are we. Or, better yet ... where have we been?

It is summer. I made it through the last day of school ... barely. I spent most of that weekend crying. And have cried a few times since. I love my job and I love my littles. But, I also love summer. And 2:00 naps.

Torrey completed her Junior year. She is a Senior. College is around the corner. I am really not talking about it. And I may be headed into therapy soon.

Torrey needed a physical for school. I took her. And when her doctor informed us she had pneumonia in the middle of the WELL-CHILD physical we did what any sane people would do ... we laughed. Hard. Because of course she had pneumonia. Torrey has been sick more than she has been well this past school year. There was one visit to the doctor when the doctor told Dean she called back the intern (who had left for the day) because she "knew Torrey would have something weird and the intern wouldn't want to miss it." Yup. That was our year. (It was a little weird to leave with a clean bill of health the following week ... that hasn't happened in a LONG time.)

I spent a week in New Hampshire. For the record ... New Hampshire is fabulous in the summer. Houston ... not so much. I think the warmest it got was in the high 70's. Devine.

Torrey spent a week in Costa Rica on a missions trip. Life changing. She was excited to tell us that she knew more Spanish than she thought she knew. Three years of Spanish paid off ... thank you Senora! She got to do a little zip lining. It sounded fun to me ... and then she showed me the picture of her zip lining UPSIDE DOWN! No. Just no.

Dean did not go to New Hampshire or Costa Rica. Someone had to be home to keep up on the dog hair. Is it possible they are shedding so much because it is hot? Or because we have let their hair get longer? These are the questions we ask in our house. The cats ask, "Why are the dogs still here?" Still not fans.

So, in a nutshell that is where we are. Some big things coming up ... Houston Project Mission 1:8. LAST Fourth of July at Linda and Paul's. Rush Week. School supply shopping. Good times.

Come back tomorrow ... and read this again. Because I am fairly confident I won't be blogging every day!

Thursday, January 3, 2013

One Thousand Gifts

I first read the book, One Thousand Gifts, about two years ago.  Fell in love with it.  I've reread it twice.  It is that good.  Every year I think in my head that I will make my own list of one thousand gifts, but I haven't ... well, this will be the year.  And, to hold myself accountable, they will get their own day ... of course, Thursday.  Because, Thankful Thursday.  Duh.

So, here we go ...

1.  A FaceTime "call" with a girl I love to ring in the new year.  Ahhh.  Technology.
2.  A quiet January 1st with the man I love.
3.  A freezer full of fresh meals to make dinner prep easy in January.
4.  A tick-free day.  Finally!
5.  The knowing that You have been faithful in the past and You will be faithful today.  Please keep whispering it to me.  I NEED to hear it right now.
6.  Dogs snoring past midnight.  The knowing that they will be super happy to see me in the morning.  They love me in spite of me being me.
7.  A garage that is clean.
8.  A husband who comes running at the sound of broken glass and cleans up my mess.
9.  The knowing that we can give anything to you.  You are bigger than all of it.  And able to do more with it than we ever could.
10. Hand lotion.  Man!  My hands have been dry lately!
11. A warm bed.  With a featherbed on top.  Super love!
12. Hot coffee in a big mug.
13. A Christmas break that feels exceptionally long.
14. The laughter of teenage girls in the kitchen.
15. Homemade pizza.  Even the crust.
16. A puppy who snuggles in for a nap.
17. A warm spot by your feet created by a cat who just left the room (um, Kita, next time could you hang out on my side of the bed?!)
18. A cold afternoon and a warm house.

The beginning.  Go read the book.  And, make your own list.  You will find the peace that a heart of gratitude will give you ... and you will find amazing gratitude in the smallest of things.

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Be Still

Well, today was hard.  Not the whole day.  Just the last bit.  I would love to tell you that it wasn't something earth shattering ... but, for a bit it felt like it was.  But, I will tell you this ... hours later it doesn't feel quite so terrible.  Hard? Yes.  Overcomeable? Um, of course.  Will we be OK?  Absolutely.

Because, we aren't in charge of this.  We are doing what we must, but we are trusting the One who loves us more than anyone.  And, He has this.  And, in a bit we are going to look at this day and rejoice in it.  Because we will have learned much.  About who we are.  About what we believe.  About who He is.  About Who we believe.  

You can call me crazy, but in this moment, I am a little bit excited about this trial.  I'm excited about what we are going to learn.  I'm excited about where we will be when we get through this.  And, I know it will all be worth it ... because I am determined for Him to get the glory.

So, for now, I am choosing to be still and know that He is God.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Great Beginnings

Wallah ... another blog post.  On two consecutive days.  I feel like I have already accomplished so much in this the two thousand thirteenth year of our Lord.  Actually, I have accomplished much today ... or so it feels.
 I got a text from my sister asking me how my meal making was going.  I decided that in 2013 I was going to cook more.  But, lets face it ... if I am actually going to cook more I am going to have to plan more.  And part of planning more means I will have to get some meals in the freezer.  So, that was my plan for the day.

I may or may not have told her it would be going great if I would get out of bed.  It may or may not have been well after noon.  In the words of Michael Scott, "Sue me."  I did get my act together and I am proud to say that I now have 13 meals in the freezer.   Please feel free to think I am amazing.  Humility is not my word for 2013.
 And, because I haven't blogged in FOREVER, you do not know that there is a new member in the Townsend family ... of the four-legged variety.  His name is Bentley and he is Zack's mini-me.  He is also a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel ... and, if you are keeping track, he is number 3.  He was a gift from a family at school.  We are all in love.  And, by we, I am not talking about the cats.  Sophie just forgave me two days ago.

He is quite a cheeky little monkey.  He is a climber ... we have given up on keeping him in the playpen that kept the other two out of trouble when we weren't home.  He loves the other two ... he is quite adorable when he goes and curls up next to Zack or grabs onto Zoey's ears to get her to play with him.  He is a BIG crybaby ... he is sure to let us know when he feels wronged or hurt or scared.  He has also chewed the rungs on EVERY ONE of the dining room chairs.  He was not cute or adorable or my favorite that day.
He drags his bed all over the house ... he takes it to wherever we are.  I was cooking in the kitchen and looked down to see him making himself comfortable. Dean and Torrey got a big chuckle out of him running through the house with a little pillow in his mouth ... we never quite know what mischievousness he will get into next!

This day has been as close to perfect as you can get.  A fun face time "call" with Torrey right after midnight (she was spending the night with a friend).  Sleeping in until noon.  Cooking in the kitchen.  A movie with Dean.  Torrey out with a friend.  Quiet conversations.  2013 is off to a great start!