Pieces of Me

Saturday, July 24, 2010

A Legacy

On our way to Jacksonville yesterday, we listened to music from my iPod.  I have a very large variety of music on there.  That tells me that I really have “grown up” so to speak and become a pretty well rounded person.  The music that plays and is my driving source when I run are The Black Eyed Peas, I know every lyric to every Hannah Montana Song because I have a sweet little girl who adores her.  Lots of country and contemporary Christian music (which is my music of choice), and then other music that I just enjoy.

One of my favorite songs is Legacy by Nicole Noderman.  On our drive this song came on and I just stopped to listen to the words….

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest
You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best
At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthly list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love? Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who
blessed your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred
Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one.

It is my pray that I live my life in this way.  I want those who meet me to know that I love Him and therefore accept them.  And I want my children to do the same.  I want to be genuine – all the time.  I want to be compassionate.  I want to live out the fruits of the spirit – love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, faithfulness and self-control.  I don’t always practice these all the time, but I think I’m doing a fairly good job at the moment. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just Poolin’ Around

This July we set up a pool in the backyard.  Several years ago, Grandma Liz bought a pool on clearance in the off season for $25.  This was back when we lived with them.  During their move, the pool got shoved into the corner of our garage and was essentially “lost.”  When summer came, we searched high and low for this pool and could not find it.  Our garage looks like a storage unit with boxes stacked in the far corner.  For some reason, I was digging through the garage looking for baby things (a friend just had a baby) and stumbled across the pool.  It took us a couple months, but we finally got the pool up at the beginning of July, and life at home this summer has been so much easier.

We still go out and play with friends, but most mornings (and afternoons), the kids are in the pool, just having a blast.  I’m so thankful for the swimming lessons we enrolled Cayden in at the beginning of the summer.  I’m thankful that Hannah was able to practice swimming a few times.  And now, both kiddos are fish who just love to hang out in the pool.

photo(31)

  067 copy090 copy

And I must admit that after a morning run or just on a hot afternoon, it really is nice to be able to cool off in the pool.  I was a little nervous about how much work it would be, but thanks to a good friend, we are able to work out the logistics and maintenance of the pool care without spending a fortune.

And it’s super fun to have friends over.  The kids love it.  The grown ups love it.  It’s just worth it.  Stephen is already talking about an upgrade for next summer.  I think he’s a little crazy, but hey, he love it, too!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Say Yes! To VBS!

The first month of summer is a busy time for my family.  We see to go more during that first month than we do all year.  My children love Vacation Bible School and so during the 1st month of summer, we usually attend four – at four different churches. 

106 copy

This year, we did three.  And for one week, my kids were able to both attend while Mommy was able to get things done – around the house – around the town – kid free.  I am longing for the first week in August when I get to do that again!

Week 1 of VBS was at Westoak Woods.  I volunteered with Cayden’s class.  This made me realize how thankful I am that I only work 2 days a week.  And I’m so thankful for Noah’s Ark.  I know where everything is, I know the director, and I know most of the teachers.  I also know that VBS is a completely different story and that we did the best with what we had available to us.  And when I couldn’t find something, someone else knew where it was.  I just don’t like knowing where things are when I need them.

The kids had a blast at Saddle Ridge Ranch and really enjoyed the music.

002 copy

024 copy  043 copy096 copy

The next week, the children attended Bethany’s Voyage on the High Seas.  Another week of Bible stories, another week of new music – which I really enjoy, by the way.  Another week of lots of fun.  But I did not take my camera with me this week, and we didn’t participate in the End of Week Program because between swimming lessons, VBS, and visiting Grandpa, the kids were just worn out.

This past week, we attended Planet Zoom at Beautiful Savior – my childhood church.  It was an exhausting week, but we had a blast.  I was the music leader and completely wore myself out leading the music.  I swear I lost 10 lbs this week from all the exercise I have been doing on top of my running.  That’s an exaggeration, but you get the idea of how involved it is to teach 30 children 10 different songs in 5 days.  The kids ate up the music and we had the best participation we’ve had in years – even from the older kids.  Of course, taking away all the chairs in the music room and insisting that everyone participate helped with that.  They still had a blast!!  But because I was leading music, I wasn’t able to run around and snap photos.  I got a couple of Cayden and none of Hannah.  This is my favorite. 

This upcoming week should be slower for us.  We don’t really have any plans.  Monday is a holiday (yeah!), and the rest of the week, we’re going to take it easy.  I pray it doesn’t rain anymore, only because if I have to stay for another week inside with my children while the pool just sits outside, I’m going to have to be locked up somewhere.  Summer is hard when it rains.  The kids still play, read, and watch a little TV, but with a new pool, all of that is done very begrudgingly.  Here’s to a beautiful 1st week of  our 2nd month of summer.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

In Memory of Stuart

may 117

KXAN News Story

Stuart’s Obituary 

Hard to believe that a sweet friend passed away this week.  Younger than I am.  Life can be so cruel sometimes.  I wanted to share a little about this special friend.  You see, I knew a side to Stuart that many did not know.  Our friendship began many years ago, and those memories are what are helping me get through this difficult time.

Stuart always had a smile on his face.  He had this shimmering blue/grey eyes that could melt your heart just by looking into them.  Many know and remember Stuart as a party guy.  He liked to drink.  He liked to spend time with friends.  He liked to be goofy. 

Many people never saw the side of Stuart I knew.  I don’t know if it’s because I was young and naive or because he saw me as a “church girl”, but the times I  spent with Stuart Kerley were like no one else’s.

When Stuart and I were friends, we just spent our time together roaming around.  Either at my home or his, we would just hang out – lots of walks, lots of TV, and even a little mud (Stuart lived on some land and actually got me to spend time outside on it).

I remember the summer we were “dating.”  I put that in quotes because Stuart and I were just kids.  Walking around, holding hands, and stealing the occasional kiss from one another.  Our relationship was very innocent.  I remember going off to a Summer Mission Retreat before cell phones.  Every night, I would steal away to the PAY PHONE, to call him.  It was hard to not see someone for a week when you were used to spending all your waking time with him.  So the pay phone was our connection to one another.  And we both looked forward to that call – if only to hear the other’s voice.

The thing I love most about Stuart is that there was no pressure from him – about anything.  Knowing that I wasn’t into the partying scene in high school, he actually chose to NOT party around me.  Shocking, I know, but there were times in Stuart’s life when he was just a kid – not trying to grow up too quickly – or be too cool. 

He came to church with me.  We talked about God and heaven.  And it made me feel good to know that he was comfortable enough with my family and me to come to church with us.  Being 16 and having a boyfriend was tough enough – knowing he cared about me enough to actually come to church with me still to this day leaves an impression on me.

Our friendship was deeper than what it appeared on the surface.  After we drifted a part “romance” wise, we were still friends.  He still came to church with me.  We still spent time together.  Just not as often as we used it.  I became friends with his brother, Shawn.  And both of these guys are family to me.  I love them both tremendously.

Of course, like many do after high school, Stuart and I lost touch.  But then, MySpace and Face Book emerged from the Internet world, and along with them came a reconnection.  A reconnection I am so thankful to have made.  Not only did I reconnect with one of the sweetest guys from my past, but I also go to know his sweet wife.   Stuart was crazy about her.  One day at his house I remember telling him, “She’s a keeper, Stuart.”  And to see the love brimming from within just made me smile.  His response, “Yeah, she’s pretty special.  I love her a lot.” 

It was really good to not only reconnect with Stuart, but also with his family.  A few summers ago, our families spent some time together.  Stuart and Crystal got to know my kiddos and husband.    Stephen never new Stuart very well in High School.  He is several years older than us.  But he didn’t hesitate to get to know Stuart, the adult.  And now Stephen can call Stuart his friend.  His goofy, silly, crazy friend.

It’s still hard to believe that he’s really gone.  No matter how busy life got, I always talked to him at Christmas – if just to say Merry Christmas.  This Christmas is going to be hard on all of us.

Of course, Stuart’s death is a reminder of us all to not take life for granted.  And to tell those around us that we love them.  All the time.