Monday, March 14, 2011

Where I Am - Prepping for Travel to Europe Edition

Where I Am:  I’m actually sitting on the tile floor in the bathroom while Selah takes a bath. 

I’m all about multi-tasking at this point (how many of you can relate?).  She is happily splashing while playing with her toys and I thought I’d do a quick blog to let you know what’s going on with me as well as to ask a few questions!

What’s going on with me…at work:  I’ve had a whirlwind of a week.  It tends to be like that when I’m preaching or speaking and I spoke 5 times last week (MTS teaching, zoe, and weekend services at COTR).  But I was passionate about what I was sharing and that makes it easier.  Particularly, Josh and I shared for the 3rd week in a row on relationships & this week we dived into talking about sex and how to set boundaries in a dating relationship.  There is something about talking to college kids about this topic – they are so hungry to receive…some wanting to do better than they have in the past…some having absolutely no experience…and all of them with a twinkle in their eye hoping that God won’t delay that special someone.  Oh how I pray they wait patiently…oh how I pray they find love and fulfillment…oh how I pray they have healthy marriages one day…I pray.

I also spoke at Church on the Rock in Lubbock this weekend.  My topic was “Taming the Tongue” – you can listen if you want at  I just checked and it is not up yet but it should be up soon!

What is going on with me…at home: I’m busy trying to get our lives organized so we can fly across the ocean on Wednesday.  I asked for suggestions (particularly when it comes to flying that long with a 1 year old) on facebook and I got some great feedback.  I’ve decided that organization and preparation will be my safety net!  My husband thinks that after this week I would be an excellent boy scout!

Here is what I have so far:

This pile includes the extras that I’ll be packing for Selah (food, diapers, wipes, etc)…also in this pile are a few things we are taking to friends in Czech Republic.

 Yes,it is a lot of stuff, but I am determined to get these things plus clothes for 3 people into 2 bags, 1 carryon, a  backpack and a purse.  Impossible you say?  I laugh in the face of impossible…although I’m really thinking we are looking at a loaves and fish type of miracle.

And this pile is what I have planned for the plane/carryon.

 One friend suggested putting several things in gallon ziplock bags so that there is play time taking everything out of the bag, plus playing with the actual toys.  I thought this was brilliant!  Selah LOVES taking things out of my purse so I think this is right up her alley.

 I have two baggies full of fun!  I have books, crayons, finger puppets (I’m sorry people around us on the plane I’m sure you will hear Josh’s lion and frog voice)…

So,this is the plan thus far.  Any other suggestions?  I’m thinking mostly prayer is what we need – and honestly, I’m confident that Selah will be great.

Afterall, she has been sitting in this suitcase for the last 3 days.  I think she is just ready to go!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A Story About Boils, Speedos, and Waiting

My sweet family of 3 is headed on an adventure next week!  We are packing our bags and going to Europe!  We will be in Czech Republic with dear friends and then will take a few days to visit Munich, Germany for the first time!  

In preparation for our trip to Czech (seriously, one of the places closest to my heart), I thought it only fitting to share memorable stories from previous trips to Czech Republic in the next two weeks.  This week’s story is one that I have recounted often verbally – if you live near me it is likely that you have heard this tale before…

Yes, it is the story about boils, scary light bulbs, and the man in the speedo.

Here we go.

A few years ago, Josh and I took a mission team to Czech Republic where we worked in local high schools sharing facts about Texas while also partnering with a local church.  These trips were always filled with laughter as we taught students the art of a perfect “Yee-haw” and “Howdy,” and we also always managed to play hours of volleyball.  Simply put, these trips were fun – a lot of fun!

That is until the boils joined our trip.  That’s right – I said boils…as in one of the plagues.

You see, a wonderful young woman came to me with only 3 days to go on the trip and explained that she had boils.  Two to be exact – one on the back of her leg and the other on her tushy.  I was dubious since I wasn’t really sure what a boil looked like, but this young woman was a nurse back home and quickly diagnosed herself that she in fact had boils (later, we learned they are simply a form of a staph infection – just in case you wanted a little medical information on boils).

The problem with boils is that as they swell, they become hard and extremely painful to touch…and since we would be traveling home in 3 days the prospect of sitting in an airline seat for over 8 hours with a boil on a tushy was a definite problem.

It was determined that we had to go to the local hospital in order to deal with the boils.  It just so happened that we were in a small village of Czech Republic so the hospital was really more of a clinic, and to put it nicely…the clinic was scary.

In fact, I have the memory of the light bulb seared in my brain…it was a seriously scary light bulb.  As we walked into the clinic, the waiting room, which was actually a hallway was lit by one dangling light bulb that sputtered out light.  I’m not one that watches many horror movies, but as we sat on the bench in the waiting hallway all I could do was think about the fact that typically there is a hallway with a flickering light bulb right before someone gets kidnapped…or worse.

My friend with the boil was having similar thoughts, because as we waited she squeezed my hand and said, “You know, I think I can manage the pain on the flight.  Let’s just go.  I can wait and get this checked out once we get home.”  I gave her words consideration for a few moments but remembered her wincing as we sat down, and said, “No, we’re going to be fine!  Trust me – you’ll be so glad once this is over!”  I put on my biggest fake “I’m the leader, you can trust me smile” and quietly prayed that my words were true.

My prayers were starting to convince me that we were in deed safe when all of a sudden we heard screams outside the waiting room.  The screams were coming for us and as we turned our heads towards the outside door we saw a man running into the waiting area waving a bloody hand while also screaming bloody murder!  What was equally shocking was that connected to his mangled hand was nothing more than a tall lanky man in a speedo and an unbuttoned shirt – it was quite the sight!

As the man yelled in what we discovered later was Dutch, my sweet friend gripped my hand even harder.  She was more serious this time, “Paige, REALLY I think I will be okay.  I can manage the pain, but I’m not sure about this place.”  I reassured her we would be fine, as the speedo man plopped down right next to her and the light bulb sputtered for light.

The speedo man went to see the Doctor first (apparently severed fingers take precedence over boils…I agree with that decision).  And we waited some more.  The more we waited and the more that light bulb flickered the more I began to question my decision as a leader.  Was I really making the right decision?  Were we in danger?  What if this made her pain worse?

As I was getting lost in my thoughts of doubt our names were called in a language we didn’t understand, and we were ushered into a medical exam room by a nurse who looked to be straight out of a World War II novel.  She was short and stout wearing a proper white nurses uniform complete with the white cap perched on her head.  She was gruff and immediately she told our translator that I must leave.

My friend gripped my hand and whispered through clenched teeth.  “DO NOT LEAVE ME.”  I stood my ground explaining that I would be staying, and after a few rounds with the nurse I was instructed that I would likely see blood and that she refused to take care of me if I fainted.  I explained I understood and took my position next to my friend

After a thorough examination it was determined that the boils would need to be lanced, and as my friend’s eyes grew in size I decided to do my best to take her mind off of this procedure.  I grabbed her hand and told her once again, “Trust me, it’s going to be fine.”  And then I proceeded to tell her my “Josh Story.”  I told her about the day we met and his subsequent stalking.  I told her the little details of our story that I so often leave out, and at one point when I foolishly looked up to see – blood – she squeezed my hand yet again and made me continue with the story.

As we left the medical room, my friend was patched up and ready to ride 8 hours home.  I was tired from telling my tale, and we were both were thankful that we didn’t let the fear of our surroundings cause us to retreat.

Becoming Paige 
Over the years I have thought often on this story.  I think in some ways it is a good picture of our lives…especially when we are in times of waiting.  Isn’t it true that when we are sitting in the waiting room the light seems so dim and the prospects on the other side of that door (whatever that door may be) often begin to seem less appealing the longer we wait?

And how often do we give up on waiting because we meet someone who has a worse story (like the speedo man)?  Either they have been waiting longer or their need is greater, and so instead of pressing in and continuing to trust we contemplate giving up.  We think that perhaps we can endure the pain or be content with that thing that is “good enough” when freedom or the best option is right around the corner?

It is an interesting place to be – waiting.

It is a hard place to be.

And yet it is a good place to be…because it means that there is something worth waiting for.

May we each have faith today in the One who knows what we are waiting for, and may we trust not in what we see but in His ways.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

I'm So Glad I'm a Woman!

Today is International Women's fact, it is the 100th Anniversary of this special day (although I must admit it is the first year I have heard of this holiday).  It is a day celebrating the economic, political and social achievements of women past, present and future all around the world!  (Or so I found out today online).

Although I had not heard of this holiday before today, I'm so glad we have a day to celebrate women and the advances women have made over the years.  May we continue to see doors open for women around the globe & may women walk through those doors with grace, confidence, and faith!

One of my most favorite hobbies is to snap pictures of women in remarkable situations - their faces inspire me...

So, to celebrate, I thought I would share a few pics of amazing women - some I know...some I've only met once...each with a story.

Some Have Stories That Will Make You Cry - Although Their Faces are Filled with Joy

This is my sister living out joy as she meets Madison for the first time.
And this picture of my friends never ceases to make me laugh too!
I'm so thankful for the women who have gone before us - Like my Mema
Some women have blazed trails that we don't even realize - Like Eva from Czech & my mom from Texas - both ladies have worked endless hours alongside their husbands in planting churches and loving people
And I love women who live out their passions - even those passions that go unseen at Terri's passion for prayer...
And my precious friend Dita who has a love for the people of her city (seen here as she overlooks Hradec Kralove in prayer)
And I love the pictures of women who I will truly never know...because like all women their eyes give away what they are thinking
And I can't wait to see what the next generation of young women will achieve!  Beautiful women from Czech Republic... 
And Brave Young Women from Belgium...
Girls who live from the heart in India...
And lovely, crazy girls from good old Lubbock...I can't wait to see what they do

And really...I still see myself as a girl as well.  Although at the age of 32 perhaps I'm starting to learn a thing or two - either way, I want to cheer women on to do and be and embrace all that God has!  There are things to be done, girls!  There are places to go, people to hug, truth to be shared, and laughter...lots of laughter to experience.  May you...may I...may we all go for it!

Even if your path is surrounded by the boys...
(This is me at the NYC marathon a few years ago)
Keep running - and run your race well

And in those seasons when  you feel as though you are merely on the your best to cheer other women on.  Perhaps start today - pick up the phone or write an email or mail an actual card.  I dare you!  Encourage a fellow sister on her journey today.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

A Story About First Birthdays, Smoke, Drano, Duct Tape, and Sweet Selah

Sorry for the delay everyone!  Selah's birthday, our zoe girl's retreat, and a sick family put me on the sidelines for a bit...but I'm back and have a somewhat story to share with you!

Selah's birthday was last Tuesday and what a fun day we had!  She had to go to PDO and I had to go to work, but I did my best to document her day.
Ready for our days!

When we got home in the evening we decided to stay in because she wasn't her perky we just enjoyed a few of her favorite things:
Hugs from Dad

Playing with the Dishwasher - what is it about kids and dishwashers?

'Roni for Dinner

Fire truck rides


Hugs from Mom
So, the day itself was thoroughly documented!

We had her first birthday party a few days later on Saturday.  Now, I must confess that I put way too much thought and time into this little shindig...and yes, I was aware that Selah would not remember this party...I was aware that really this party was somewhat for me.  But I decided that's okay!  I mean, I've been a mom for a year.  That is quite a feat - a feat that deserves a party!

So, I spent about a month perusing blogs (I was in utter shock and amazement at some of the crazy kid parties out there!)  I was inspired by several posts at Hostess with the Mostess - in fact, I printed out pictures and took Josh on an ungodly trip to Hobby Lobby (I would like to nominate my husband for an award because he followed me around with a cart for over 2 hours - if that's not love I'm not sure what is).

Anyways, I was all set to make this little party as blog worthy as possible.  I had a theme (flowers and butterflies), decor, delicious food plans, even a little play area for kids - I mean...seriously, I was ready to be fun party mom!

I worked the night before on setting up some decorations for the party...I had cute things like 

This handmade floral wreath (aren't you impressed?)
And pictures of my cute kid hanging everywhere (Shutterfly gave me 50 free pics - thank  you!)

Seriously, isn't she so cute - this face makes me want to party!

And I had butterflies hanging from chandeliers!

Butterflies that cut out by hand (yes, I was really trying hard)
So, I got things set up the night before and set the alarm early because our big party was starting at 10:30am.  I hit the ground running at 7am by making monkeybread, an egg casserole, and cutting up fruit.  I was also frantically running around trying to finish decorating, wrapping gifts, and desperately trying to find time to bathe both myself and my child.

Things were going well until the clock struck 9:30am.  I think at 9:27am I had actually given myself an imaginary high-five - I mean, my house was stinking cute - see?
The Food Table

My child was actually dressed and smelled good

The food was on it's way to being finished...and I even had my make-up on...and I still had one hour!

And then the clock struck 9:30am - or actually, my eyes realized that my kitchen was filling with smoke.  Not small puffs of smoke, but billowing smoke was trying to escape from the oven.  The monkeybread!  Had I really already burned it?  I opened to oven to find that the issue was not burnt monkeybread but rather the fact that my bundt cake pan comes in two pieces and those pieces were not sealed...which equals yummy cinnamon goo leaking out of the pan.  Only the leak was more like a waterfall, and the oven was literally filled with half an inch of this goo.  The goo was no longer yummy nor was it smelling of cinamon.  It was a mess

See exhibit A

So, I'm screaming (yes, I do think I shrieked a bit), trying to salvage my monkey bread and opening every window in the kitchen...when Josh says from the sink, "I think we have another problem."

I glanced over, annoyed that he was minimizing the smoke-filled room I was trying to clear when I noticed that both sides of the sink were backed up.  It turns out that my fabulous husband placed all 18 egg shells into the disposal as he helped with the egg casserole.  We have now learned that this is not a good idea.

We looked at each other for a moment and came up with a game plan: Josh would run to the store to buy some drano while I would do my best with some febreeze...afterall, we still had 45 minutes - we could do this.

As I walked around the house with my trusty can of febreeze, I noticed yet another wreath!  My silly hot pink wreath...had fallen in the middle of the night and was now laying on the floor in two pieces.  When I saw the wreath I was alone (Selah was napping and Josh was on the Drano mission), and I'm pretty sure I let our an audible laugh/cry.  Have you ever had those - where you're just not sure what to do?
My broken wreath...

I stood there for a moment longer, took a deep febreeze laiden breath...and decided to just laugh.  I laughed by myself for a few seconds and then told myself and God - "Sorry for trying to be something I'm not!"

And standing in that room I not only took a deep breath but I also took a good look around the room.  And there along my walls I saw the cutest face - I saw my sweet Selah and was reminded of all the joy that this past year has held.  And in that moment I realized that we should celebrate - absolutely!  But the celebration wasn't to be about me or proving my capabilities as a mom.  The celebration wasn't to be a show or anything to blog about...but rather the celebration was to be about God's goodness.  His faithfulness this last year...and it was to be a celebration of her sweet life...and if any of it has to do with's really about the many ways she has changed my life this past year.  Ripping me from my selfish and Paige-centered world into a world filled with hugs and laughter and poopy diapers and dirty hands...into a world where I know more about love and more about His love.  That should be celebrated.

PS - Josh came home & helped me fix the wreath with duct tape.

I know this post has been extremely long...but here are a few pics of our special celebration!
Selah greeting her guests at the door!

AMAZING cupcakes by Marki Hill (they were delicious too!)

Cousins with Aunt Lisa and Uncle Roy

Some of Selah's favorite guys

Coloring with cousins and friends!

Woohoo!  Opening gifts is super fun - especially when sunglasses are involved.

Bring on the Cake!  I'm naked and ready to get messy!

Can you tell I'm excited?

I love my cute family!

She Loved the cake!

Ava was sweet to play picnic with Selah

Selah loves her Papa Jack

Amazing Ava

Miss Maci

Pretty Pey Pey
Sweet Selah
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