Verse of the Week – Proverbs 23:12

“Apply your heart to instruction and your ears to words of knowledge.”

-Proverbs 23:12
I have a pile of books on my side table that looks a lot like this. Next week I have to take a graduate seminary class for Young Life, and my attitude about it has not been good. Young Life staff are required to take these continuing education classes every so often, and it is never convenient timing for everything else I have going in my life and job. However, I always learn a lot. The Lord always uses the time to teach me, and I’m trying to remember that now as I plod through the reading. This month I’m reading Proverbs, and I came across this verse the other day. It is my prayer that my heart and ears will be open to learning whatever God has to teach me through this class and through life in general. Hopefully my attitude can reflect the joy of serving Him throughout the classes and when I play catch up afterwards.
What is the Lord teaching you right now?

Frugal Friday – Cheap Getaways

As you probably know by now, we are on a pretty strict budget saving for the arrival of Bun and for our first house. We still like to have fun and manage to do so quite often. When we were in my home state of Arkansas recently we took a little day trip that was almost free. If you aren’t from “The Natural State” you may not know that Arkansas is blessed with many great state parks and beautiful scenery. This was December, so the scenery was not at its peak, but it was still a lovely getaway. We drove up to Petit Jean State Park with my parents, and packed snacks and drinks for the road. The park was empty even though it was a lovely day (note Jed’s outfit) and we had plenty of space to explore without being disturbed.
Aren’t my parents the cutest? They did a great job instilling a love of the outdoors into all 4 of us kids with camping, canoeing, and hiking throughout our childhoods. I asked them about it, and they said it was just the most practical type of getaway with 4 kids, because the lodging is cheap and the entertainment is free.
It was so good for my soul to get away from concrete and enjoy the woods for a day. I love Dallas, but I miss nature.
Jed gets to have little adventures climbing everything in site and looking over the edge. I don’t think the little boy inside ever leaves the man.

We haven’t yet found any favorite state parks to explore in Texas.
Does anyone have a good recommendation close to the DFW area?
What is your favorite cheap getaway?

Weirdest Dreams Ever

I’ve never been one who remembers my dreams. Throughout my life I’ve had a few spells of repeated nightmares. In the 4th grade I read Bram Stoker’s Dracula (sneaking it into my bedside table) and had repeated vampire nightmares for weeks. In 3rd grade it was pirates, and even younger it was a T-Rex coming in my 2nd floor bedroom window because I read that they were 2 stories tall. Perhaps someone should have been guiding my book choices. 😉 These episodes are few and far between, and in general I wake up and forget all about my dreams.
Then came pregnancy.
Now I have CRAZY, vivid dreams almost nightly. I dreamed that Jed was cheating on me, and the dream came complete with multiple reaction scenarios including me hitting him over the head with a chair WWF style. After that one I woke up mad at him and made him wake up and hold me. Yes ma’am, I am ridiculous.
Last night was the craziest dream series so far. I dreamed that a polar bear was attacking Windy Gap, the Young Life camp where Jed and I met. The camp looked a little different in my dream, but all the people were the same. The bear kept creeping onto the little island at camp and taking people out one by one. The most traumatic thing is that my point of view was video taping each person as they were attacked. Weird, right? And awful. It was bloody and graphic like a Quentin Tarentino movie, and I had to watch several dear friends get eaten by the beast.
I really wish I knew where this dream came from in my subconscious. I did watch the early seasons of Lost when there was a polar bear involved. I worked as a keep assistant at the zoo in my hometown during high school in the Bears and Small Carnivores section, but we didn’t have any polar bears. Arkansas is not conducive to recreating a polar environment. Windy Gap does have bears, but they are cute little black ones, not the vicious white ones from the great north. I will never know where the heck this nightmare came from, but I sure hope it isn’t a repeater. How does a baby growing inside me cause me to dream of a rage filled polar bear? So bizarre…
What is the weirdest dream you’ve ever had?
Did you dreams get crazier during pregnancy?

Pregnancy Update – 22 Weeks

Pregnancy Highlights:

How Far Along: 22 Weeks
Our little Bun is the size of a papaya and weighs over 1 pound.
Maternity Clothes: I’m completely done with regular clothes now. I just had to order some plain long sleeved shirts from the Gap because they are having a major maternity sale. I’ve been wearing regular shirts, but they’ve just reached the point when they won’t cover the whole belly. I have 2 pairs of maternity jeans and 2 pairs of maternity cargo pants that will roll up into capri pants when it gets warmer. My awesome friend Crystal hooked me up with a ton of her old maternity clothes, including a rockin’ vintage coat. She saved me a fortune with her generosity. Thanks Crystal!

Gender: It’s a surprise! We’ve narrowed down the name options to one boy name and two girl names. You can vote in the gender poll in the top right hand corner of the blog. I think it is a boy, but the rest of my family is convinced it is a girl. Jed refuses to guess.
Movement: The Bun is moving around like crazy. I love it, but I’m the only one who can feel it so far. I can’t wait for Jed to be able to feel the kicking.
Sleep: Sleep is a struggle. I have a giant preggo body pillow that has become a necessity. The real problem is the waking up 3-4 times a night to use the bathroom.
Symptoms: I’ve had some back pain, but nothing too major. I feel like I’m about the size of a balloon in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.

What I Miss: Multiple cups of coffee, Diet Coke, red wine and real sushi ( I can still eat the veggie stuff.)
Cravings: Nutella with Granny Smith Apples all day long; salty, buttery popcorn, garlic bread, hardboiled eggs

Emotions: I’m so excited and a little overwhelmed. I can’t wait to meet our baby and find out the gender and who he/she is and what he/she is like.

Wiener Dog Wednesday – Winter Woes

Jackson suffers much during the winter. It is not wiener dog weather around here. He wears his horse blanket jacket all the time. I’m not a big proponent of clothing on dogs, but my friend Leslie made matching jackets for Jackson and her wiener dog (Slappy) a few year ago and he absolutely loves it.
The only problem is that his giant Young Life sweatshirt blanket has a tendency to stick to his horse blanket, with pretty hilarious results. He ends up dragging the big blanket around the house until it finally comes lose or we remove it.

He does a lot of mournful staring out the window.

Sometimes he retreats to our master bathroom, because it is the warmest room in the house.
We took him out on the front porch with us to see the snow and he wanted no part of it.
Once the cold front came in, Jackson doesn’t want to go outside unless forced. I thought the snow was lovely, but I’m also several feet higher off the ground than he.

What is your favorite thing to do on a snow day?

Bringing in the Light

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.” – Martin Luther King, Jr.

A Last Look at Christmas

Our family had a wonderful Christmas together in Little Rock, though we were missing my youngest brother Matt who was traveling in Bolivia. Here we all are, after I forced them to pose for a group picture. How cute is my niece, seriously? She is such a doll.

As I just got these pictures uploaded, finally, I decided it wasn’t too late to give you a peek at our Christmas decorations. Most of them made it to the attic shortly after Epiphany, but a few stragglers are hanging about waiting to be taken up. I haven’t taken the photo cards down yet, but they will get transferred to the fridge this week.
I hang all the flat photo cards on our reclaimed wood mirror, handmade by our dear friend Bruce. I use hemp cord and mini clothespins so that we can see the smiling faces of our friends and family. The cards that can stand on their own go on the mantle, but I forgot to grab a picture of that. I’m turning them into gift tags for next year right now.
I found this big nativity scene at an estate sale here in Dallas for $10. The seller told me that her mom made it by hand many years ago and used to display it in their front window every year. I love that we could give it a good home.
This teeny tiny nativity scene is from a great store in Little Rock called 10,000 Villages that is all about fair trade and supporting workers in their native villages. I love seeing the holy family sleeping soundly in the hands of God and thinking of our little family doing the same thing.
My newest obsession is this awesome felt mistletoe that I found at Bishop Street Market down in the Bishop Arts District. Love it. I hung it from one of our rafters with hemp cord.
I hope that you and yours had a very merry Christmas. I also hope that your Christmas decorations are put up and not hanging about burdening your to-do list.
When do you put up your decorations? Christmas Day, the day after, Epiphany, sometime in March…

Pregnancy Update – Our Ultrasound Photos and Not Finding Out

Isn’t that little hand amazing?! We were blown away at our 20 week ultrasound on Tuesday. Our little Bun was moving around like crazy, waving to us and yawning.
Here you can see the profile. Look at that belly! The doctor said the baby weighs 13 oz, so almost a pound. Bun looks perfect and everything measured just as it should. Woohoo!
These little feet made me melt. I’m not sure why, but I just love them. I can’t wait to see them in person and 20 more weeks (ish). The photo below is of Bun’s face. It is a little harder to decipher, but still cool.
We could have found out Bun’s gender at our appointment, but we have decided to wait. This was a decision we did not arrive at easily. I wanted to find out and Jed did not. There were many negotiations and a list of pros and cons was made. The planner in me is having a hard time with it, just a little bit. We have to call our baby “Bun” instead of his or her name. I worried that I might have trouble bonding. Those fears are gone as I now get to feel Bun moving around on a regular basis. On the other hand, there are a lot of great things about the big surprise. We can get all gender neutral baby stuff so it can be used for future wee ones. We get an amazing surprise, and really how many big surprises are there in life? Come late May or June, we will have a sweet surprise on our hands.

If you’ve had babies, did you find out the gender?
Tell me why or why not.
Please vote on the gender poll (upper right column).

Today’s Pregnancy Craving

Nutella + Granny Smith Apples = Amazing
I have no idea if this will taste good to normal not pregnant people, but it was life changing for me. Did I dip the apple slice straight in to the jar? Of course. Don’t judge me.
What is your favorite not quite normal snack?
What was your weirdest pregnancy craving?