May the Fourth Be with You

two collage
Lately, we have made way too many runs to the popcorn store.  Like I can barely fit in my clothes.  We ride our bikes there, so I justify it, but the ride is so short that it is not even the least bit justifiable.  I am not even kidding myself.  Or my jeans.
Tiffany and her crew spent the night a few weekends ago and we made the kids paint the playhouse.  Especially Bexar and Shea.  You gotta learn at a young age how to pull your weight.
(and they both have a little more than a little weight to pull...)
And though almost all the kids tried to help, we really didnt let them and it was more fun than I have had in a long time.  Tiff and I talked and laughed the whole weekend and actually ended up getting a good head start on the playhouse.  We had to paint it because we were on the Tour de Coop in our neighborhood where everyone who wants to, can let people come and look at their chicken coop.  Ours is by far the smallest and least exciting of all the coops (some have chandeliers and art and multiple stories...), but we felt like we had an "every mans coop".  It is not that big and shows that having chickens is attainable for anyone.  Its how we made ourselves feel better, anyway.
And the Coop Tour was so much fun.  We met so many fun people and so many friends came by.  We sat on the porch and listened to music and just hung out while people came and went.  Loved it.

A few weeks before that, our family went to Abilene where ACU honored my dad for some money he donated to a new science building.
four squares
He is such an incredible person and talked about his mom and his grandad who were also amazing people.  It was really such a moving event and I am so thankful to be apart of a family who is so generous with everything they have.  We also took selfies on the golf carts.
We also had Carolines shower the same weekend as the Coop Tour.  (I am all over the place.  This is the most confusing blog post of all time.)
It was so much fun to be there to see them get so many wonderful gifts and meet some people that I  hadn't met before.  SO excited for these almost newly weds!
Theres also been swinging and screen printing with Lins-where we have literally not ever had as much fun.  Except while making up our own lyrics to muppet songs.  Oh and (very little) cooking and (a lot of) crawfish.  We are off to a pretty good start with May over here.
And the mason jars that dont go in at the top! I mean, why are they so much cuter?  I dont know.  But now I want some and I thought I was over mason jars.  You're welcome for that incredible peak into my brain.
Also tons and tons of reading.  Shea loves it, Ben is learning a little slower than some, and sass and aves cant put a book down.  It is been a struggle in some areas, but in others it is literally the best thing ever.  Avery doesn't want to go anywhere without her book.  And really, neither does Shea.  And I think Ben is getting back there.  Not to go into too much, but I hope at least his love for it is coming back after some confidence has been lost in the learning process.  And he is definitely improving.
And looking good doing it, too.


Best Dog Ever

Gracie is the sweetest dog in the world.  I can not say enough good things about her.
She lets any kid climb all over her and play with her and dress her up.
She has been through every birth, first steps, words and move with us.  A constant companion and friend to all of us.  She listens and cuddles well when we need her and never begs for too much attention.
 The other day she let Shea take her for a walk.
She never pulled or tugged on her-
she just patiently walked beside her every step of the way.  It took
F O R E V E R, but she never, ever tried to go ahead.
It was the best thing to watch, so, of course,  I had to document it.
I hope you life forever gracie.  


Thank you Ryan Adams

love everything
I dont know if he really said it, but I saw somewhere that he said
"There's nothing wrong with loving the crap out of everything.  Negative people find their walls. So never apologize for your enthusiasm.  Never.  Ever.  Never."
I just LOVE IT.
Celebrate Always.


First Annual Cousin Easter

kids on the porch
When I was growing up, we would go to my grandmother's house for Easter every year with all of my cousins.  We did it for Christmas and some years every Sunday.  She was one of the greatest people in my life (and in everyone's life that knew her) and I miss her like crazy and listen to songs and think about her even now.  So many of my childhood memories are at her house or doing something with her.  I wish I had the emotional energy to write exactly how much I miss her and respect her, but thats not for tonight.
Since she died, we have not all gotten together for Easter as a big family.
bexar eats an egg
And that is crushing.
This year I decided to take Easter into my own hands and host it over here.  (And then hijack it every year to come.)
sass and ben and brazos
I am a such a sucker for traditions.
I love them so much. And my cousins.  My cousins, as everyone knows that reads this, are some of my very closest friends.  I have missed seeing them every week and every holiday.  I want my kids to feel the same way about their kids as I do about them.  I don't know why I didn't think to host Easter before, but I am so glad I did.
Not everyone was able to come, as I decided to do this about two weeks before Easter… BUT next year, its on guys.
lukes big egg
sass, tj and ben
We did everything that I had done growing up and it was pretty much one of my favorite Easters ever.
tiffany and abbi
m and c
We dyed eggs and spilled dye everywhere, the kids hunted eggs that we stuffed and hid all over the lawn, we used the exact same eggs that we all hunted with when I was a kid and each kid got a "big eggs" that we put money in, ate without enough seating, or tea, or warm pies, because I am not the best at hosting (yet), ate way to much candy and videoed and interviewed every kid about the eggs in their baskets, you guessed it, just like when we were kids.   We only lacked confetti eggs (that I looked for everywhere to no avail).
(Oh and Shea and Hilary are asleep during all the picture taking time.)
grown ups
big kids
linda and james e
egg sorting
showing them how its done
egg dyeing
blurry group pic
Thank you guys SO much for coming.  Love you all so so much.
It just meant more to me than I can write here.
Cant wait for many more years to come.



because he loved me so
Best EASTER ever.
I decided to give up sugar for lent this year- not sugar, I should clarify- desserts.  As most of you know, I am a candyaholic and used to eat candy for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  I have since moved to eating it after breakfast, lunch, and dinner- but at least I have added healthier items to my diet.
(Wine is not dessert, obviously)
I am not always a lenter.  I have only done it a few times before, but I just kind of wanted to do it.  I really cant explain why, but I think I just wanted to grow closer to God.
This year has been a tough one for my faith, and just for my overall growth as a person.
We are reading about Moses in BSF this year, and there are so many times that I have questioned why God made us at all throughout our study.  I have cried and struggled more than I think I ever have.  I ask weird questions in my group and probably alarm everyone in it most weeks.  I really want to know God- I don't want to sort of know Him.  I am not good with small talk or acquaintances.  I like to be very close to the people that I am close to.  I don't want anything about my walk with God to be fake or cheesy or annoying.  I want to ask all the questions.  I want to be able to understand why He hardened Pharaohs heart; why Moses couldn't go into the promised land after all he had done; why He put up with the Isrealites when they were so annoying and complained all the time; why there was so much war and on and on.  I wrestled so much with all of it, to the point of exhaustion.  I would then take that frustration to my small group time at church and bug the crap out of them with my questions that were either too specific to ever know or to broad to get a handle on.  One night, after a long small group session when I was still talking to Jeff about it in bed, he said that he felt like I was being resentful of God in the way that I was questioning Him and my attitude that went along with it.  When questioned God, when I didn't understand why something happened,  I would get frustrated and angry.  I had never thought about that and it really really hit me hard.  I never wanted God to think that I resented Him or anything that He had done just because I didn't understand.
SO, that was another thing for me to annoy everyone with at my next bsf group.  In the middle of it, I cried and really just opened up about not understanding why we were here in the first place.  I couldn't grasp why God had even made us if we were just going to sin and then be separated and He would have to send His Son.  I know I'm not worth it. That is just so heavy for me.
And all the old testament stuff with all the laws and the things that they say are wrong, that I feel like people were born with.  I have such a hard time grasping that at all, and it makes me angry and upset and unable to sleep at night.  My group was so wonderful and listened and prayed for me, and really were just so kind.
So, we broke for the big group time and in the middle of the lecture I got a text from my sister in law that she was having a baby girl.  I could not restrain my excitement and just burst into tears right there.  I felt such a strong connection to her and really just felt this over whelming sense of love for her right then.  I dont know why it was brought on once I knew her gender, but it was just incredibly real and I  immediately felt like my heart was going to explode.  In that moment- after I had just asked all of these women why God would make us at all- it really hit me like a freight train-
He loves us.  Thats it.
If I can love a baby that I have never met yet this much, how much more does He love me.  I can never ever grasp how much or why, but it was the most incredible moment of Him just showing me, right after my most frustrated moments of doubt, that He loves me.  That is why all of this is and was and will happen.  I don't have to understand- and in fact, I don't want to anymore.  The more I feel that I can understand, the more I put God in a box and limit Him to the constraints of my own mind.
I just have to have faith. I have to trust that He knows what He is doing and He is so much bigger than me and that He loves me.
So, this lent I complained a ton (just like the Isrealites) and cheated twice, but it just was the most incredible time of preparing myself for Easter weekend.  Once it rolled around, I was just so incredibly grateful for that love and sacrifice.  It has made me who I am.
Then, we had my whole family over and mimicked everything I did as a kid with some my cousins and it was just the absolute perfect end to one of the hardest and trying and awesome few weeks of my life.
So, this year, more than ever, I am so thankful for Jesus and His sacrifice and His love that surpasses all my knowledge.  I hope that I can be even the tiniest vessel of that love and that I can be a light in any way.
Praise God from whom all blessings flow.
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