Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Story about a Runaway Princess

I have long held princess tendencies…some good…some leaning on the spoiled brat side. The good parts of being a princess have come in handy in the boy department…I was always taught that I should be treated like a princess. My father loved me well – and taught his 3 daughters that any man in our lives must live up to a similar standard.

The spoiled brat side of my princess persona most likely just comes from the fact that I’m a girl – a girl who knows what she wants. And as is true for most girls, I often fantasized when I was little that every wish was my command – isn’t that what makes being a princess so great?

Yeah, the tiara is cool and so are the ball gowns…but what I’ve always really wanted was a fairy godmother or at least a butler that will come at the ring of a bell…

It is this princess mentality that caused me to run away from home.

Yes, I was a runaway.

When I was 5.

It was an evening in the summer and my sister and I had been playing outside all day. No doubt we were likely playing fairy princess with the neighbors or our other favorite pretend game – grocery store (we just loved to pretend to slide those items across the table and listen to them beep!) Well, it was time to go to bed (at least that is what my mother said). And I was not happy about this turn in events – I needed to finish getting ready for the ball or at least ring up a total for the grocery customers! I had things to do – people to play with…bikes the ride…ice cream to eat…a prince to find! But when my mom told Leslie and I to come inside we begrudgingly obliged.

What transpired next are events that I will never forget. My mother took one sniff of us and demanded that we get into the bathtub. I didn’t particularly want to take a bath, but what really upset me was the fact that she said it was too late to take our own baths – I must get into the bathtub with my 3-year old sister.

I was shocked…furious…defiant. I might be willing to stop playing princess, but I would not stoop so low as to fully remove my tiara and take a bath with my maid (Leslie always got the bad parts in our games – sorry Les). My mother looked at me with a sigh – this was not the first of my defiant moments…she was familiar with my ways. She calmly stated that I was to get in the bathtub immediately and then go to bed.

Standing in my birthday suit glancing at my 3-year old sister playing innocently in the water, I decided that this was the time to make my stand. I put my clothes back on and returned to my room. Leslie asked where I was going, and I told her that I was going to live with Mama Jo.

Yes, I thought to myself. Mama Jo. She understood me – she would never force me to take a bath with Leslie. And as I thought about this prospect I saw donuts, candy, late night television, and freedom dance through my head. It was perfection – why had I not thought about this before? Mama Jo let us have ANYTHING we wanted – her house would be like living in a castle with…dare I say it…a fairy godmother!

So, I marched to my closet and grabbed my trusty suitcase. I fit the essentials of gonga (my stuffed monkey), underwear, and some lip gloss into my trusty tote and headed towards the door. I loudly screamed good-bye and slammed the door behind me – weren’t they going to try to stop me? Hmph…it’s their loss.

I headed out on my own – excited at the truly princess life that awaited me. I walked to the end of the block, only to meet a dilemma...I WASN’T ALLOWED TO CROSS THE STREET. I stood there for a few minutes weighing my options and decided to see what was around the corner…

And with that I walked around my block.

Completely around 1 city block until I found myself walking back in front of my house. And there were my parents (now that I’m adult, I’m pretty sure that they were following me the entire time)...

Waiting…waiting on me with open arms.

I burst into tears as I fell into their arms.

This would always be better than any princess life…even a life with unlimited donuts.

We walked back into the house arm in arm and I was greeted by my wet-haired sister who was also happy to see I had returned. As my mom drew me a fresh bubble bath she explained that although I could take my own bath tonight, I would not always get my way. I might be a princess, but I was her princess…and that meant I had to live by the rules of her castle.

Becoming Paige
How many times have I packed a suitcase and walked away from God? There was the time that He told me to let go of a boy and I was not ready. There was the time that He asked me to forgive that person who had wounded my heart and I wanted to hold onto my pain. And there have been those times when the comforts of this world…the Mama Jo’s so to speak…just looked better than my reality – those are the most often times that I’ve decided to go my own way.

And yet, because of the foundations that were laid in my heart as a child, God has graciously allowed me to see when I’m getting to a street…and I rarely cross it. I know that it is safest back in His arms – even if I don’t always get my princess preferences.

PS – Mama Jo passed away when I was 15 – she was a fairy grandmother – she blessed my life…and I miss her.

Monday, April 25, 2011

A Princess List

1.  I have decided to call this Princess Week on the Becoming Paige blog.

2.  This may have something to do with the royal wedding on the horizon.

3.  Have you heard about it?

4.  I may or may not have watched William and Kate (the movie) on Lifetime this weekend.

5.  Okay, I did in fact watch William and Kate (the movie).

6.  It was a long weekend for me & I got sucked in late one night...don't judge me...

7.  So now I am thinking about princesses...

8.  And I realized that I must share with you 2 stories this week about my attempts to becoming a princess

9.  And how they failed miserably...

10.  And I also must share with you my plans for a Royal Wedding Watch Party

11.  I'm especially curious what your vote is for the type of hat I should wear while watching the wedding...

 12.  Any votes?

13.  And I must conclude this list by showing you pictures of my little princess yesterday on Easter.

14.  She is taking on princess tendencies with each passing day.

15.  And I must admit that I love it!

16.  She is demonstrating that a princess must think carefully before she acts.

17. And she is learning the art of manners...like how to sneak around a door...

18.   She is learning that a princess shares with others

19.  Lastly, she is learning the art of discreetly scratching one's belly while in public.

20.  So, get excited with me...this princess week is going to be Fabulous!

Friday, April 22, 2011


Today...I am thankful to Him...and for Him.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Back from Czech Part 3 - Ugly Truth

I’ve tried to write this portion of our trip at least 20 times in my head – each time feeling that more should be said…or that my words were empty in comparison with that morning…

How do I convey to you the experience of walking through a concentration camp?

Do I even want to attempt it?

The unimaginable horrors that must have happened there still linger in the air.  It was hard to breathe at times and my mind wanted to flee…I wanted to believe these bunks I was saw…the showers I walked through were merely a fictitious story…a story that in no way affected me…

And yet, I could reach out and touch those bunks – who must have slept there?  Where were his children?  Did he survive?

Do atrocities like this still happen in the world today…surely not…and yet my heart knew.

And then on Monday night of this week I was teaching my church history class…and it was time to speak about The Crusades…

And again I was tempted to teach it quickly…tempted with the desire to treat it merely as a story…a story completely unrelated to me…and yet my heart knew.

Sitting in my empty classroom waiting on students to arrive…I stared out a window and realized that on this night…there were thousands of Jewish people around the globe celebrating the Passover Sedar…celebrating freedom from oppression…remembering God’s goodness…and my heart filled with sorrow…sorrow that so often my Christian history has been that agent of oppression…that agent of hate…that agent of death…

And the part I can play today seems so small and insignificant in light of the injustice that has gone before…

But I will do what I can
…I can teach my students the truth of our past
…I can teach my child the values of love instead of hate or fear
…I can choose to remember and learn from the past
…I can seek justice in the areas where God takes me
…I can pray

Micah 6:8, "He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God."

Friday, April 15, 2011

Five Friday Faves

It's Friday!  Woohoo!  Hope you have a fabulous weekend ahead of you.  Here are 5 of my new favorite finds lately - hope you enjoy!

1 // DeeperStory.com - This fairly new blog is written 5 days a week by a group of writers (mostly women) who are sharing their stories - their deeper stories.  They are wrestling with faith, family, and failure.  They are asking the questions that most of us wonder but are usually too timid to ask.  Almost every blog resonates in my heart and I'm left feeling hopeful - hopeful that others are asking the same questions, fighting the same battles, or walking in a similar journey.  Go read it for yourself - and let me know what you think: DeeperStory.com

2 // Stripes in Fashion - I've always loved stripes in clothes - something about the lines just make me happy!  And I think they make girls look pretty (yes, I know the rule about horizontal lines...but I don't always believe it)!  These 3 looks are from H&M.  I looked in at least 8 H&M stores while we were in Europe last month and I'm sad to say I didn't purchase a thing!  I wanted to...and almost did on each of the 8 occasions that I entered the store, but each time I felt rushed & there were so many great things to choose from I just kept putting it off...and now I'm in Lubbock & looking at the website with fond memories!  What trends in fashion are you loving right now?

3 // Jesus Calling by Sarah Young - I was given this book in a staff meeting and was thinking I would set it aside.  Yes, I knew it was the #1 seller in Christian books last year (which was exactly why I wasn't too interested - I'm a snob like that sometimes - sorry).  But the next morning I woke up, and saw this book sitting in my kitchen.  I grabbed my morning coffee and sitting alone in the kitchen decided to give this little book a try.  2 minutes later, I was wiping a tear from my eye - How did God know I needed to read that exact thing?  It's been a month and I've read this little book every morning, and each day - somehow...someway...God is speaking to me through this book.  It's simple and lovely and it's about being in His Presence...and that is what we all need.  What book is speaking to you?
4 // iPhone Cover - So, Josh and I switched from Spring (we were with them for 11 years) to Verizon.  It was a big decision for us (well, mostly Josh - I just said...I want a phone that works :)).  So, when we switched to Verizon I had a plethora of new phones to choose from, and I succombed to the pressure and went with and iPhone.  I love it, by the way! 

After I got my iPhone I immediately thought of a post I had seen on madebygirl.blogspot.com of the cutest covers.  I LOVE Chevron prints right now, so I hopped on over to etsy and ordered the above cover with my initials: JPA!  You can find my cover at: Rose Posie Designs

5 // Zulily.com - SUCH cute kids clothes for really great deals.  Need I say more?  Go check them out!

And let me know what is catching your eye lately!  Any great deals or new faves that I should know about?

Monday, April 11, 2011

Back from Czech Part 2 - Friendships and Partnerships that Go the Distance

Dita & Lukas in front of a theater billboard highlighting their church
Our trip to Czech Republic was the result of our good friends Lukas & Dita Targosz inviting myself and my dad to speak at their annual Family Fest.  We have built a friendship with Lukas and Dita over the past 8 years and our church, Church on the Rock, has built a partnership with their church – Element (www.element.cx) . 

For the past 8 years we’ve sent mission teams to partner with Element, and watching this partnership and friendship grow has become a highlight in ministry for me over the years.  As many of you know I organize around 10 mission trips every year for COTR and Pursue Missions and around 3 years into doing trips I became convicted about the way many “do missions” in the states.

I realized that many American Christians are guilty of simply doing what I would call drive-by trips.  They love seeing new cultures, tasting new foods, meeting new people…and although they do go with good hearts and do want to see the church built in other nations, they are quick the next year to decide to go to a new location.  They want the excitement of something BRAND NEW and they leave behind the national church planters to try and establish new partners.

I must admit that I like experiencing new cultures as much as the next person (I so badly want to go to Africa!), but I’ve found that what I love more – is actually planting a piece of my heart in one or two locations and watching God do something amazing!  That is what has happened to Josh and I when it comes to Czech Republic.

Our first trip 8 years ago just so happened to fall a few weeks before Lukas and Dita were going to plant what later became Element.  We didn’t know this brave couple yet, but they welcomed our team of 7 with open arms and took us around the city of Hradec Kravlove.  They shared with us their hopes for the people of this city…they shared with us why they had chosen to plant a church in this location…and as we traversed the city and prayed at many locations I began to get great hope in my heart as well.  I WANTED Lukas and Dita to succeed.  I could envision a church in this city that had so little Christian influence, and when I came home 8 years ago I had given a small piece of my heart to HK.

We’ve gone back almost every year (this was our 8th trip since 2003).  We’ve taken teams to teach in schools, we’ve brought bands to draw crowds, we’ve  gone just as a couple to encourage and share – and EACH time a little more of our hearts have been given.
Josh & I teaching in a Czech school in 2006.

Swingletrees playing a concert on one of our mission trips.

 And so with this trip, I have to tell you that our hearts were overflowing when we saw with our eyes what God has done in the last 8 years.  Those prayers and dreams that Lukas and Dita first shared with us were unfolding before our eyes – we saw Czech people, many who were atheists only a year or two ago (probably close to 100 of them) worshipping God with abandon.   
Worship during the Czech Service at Element.

We saw international college students serving with determination and love.  How fun to see young people from Kenya and Norway…Ghana and Dubai working alongside Czech church planters for the sake of the Kingdom.
Two of my favorite Element girls - Veronica & Theodora

 It was a sight to see, and it made us proud!  And it was there standing with this brave group of believers that I once again was reminded why I’m so glad I haven’t just done missions to see new sights and to have stories to tell.  I’ve done missions to build lasting friendships – to make an investment in a community.  I’ve done missions many times but to only a few places…and it’s changed me more than I know.

By the way, we’re not the only ones who’ve given to this friendship and partnership.  Lukas and Dita have traveled to Lubbock as well.  They’ve come to support our Pursue Conferences, Lukas has taught in our Ministry Training School, and this past October – Lukas trained our staff and spoke in our weekend services.  This is the sign of a true partnership – where Americans put down our pride of being the only ones who have something to give & realize that our fellow Christian leaders around the globe have a WEALTH of wisdom, experience, and truth to share with us!

May we all find places to plant our hearts…our time…and our prayers.  
Selah loves her Czech Aunt & Uncle!
 Oh, and if you read the Czech language, you should check out Lukas' blog - www.lukastargosz.blogspot.com

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

We're Back (Part 1) - Traveling with a Cute Kid

So we are BACK!  Thank you all for praying for our family while we were in Czech Republic and Germany.  Too much to say in one blog so I’m planning on giving 4 updates about our trip.

First up, is a blog to answer the question that has been on everyone’s lips - How did Selah do?

Selah was a traveling trooper.  She was the star of the airplane rides, adjusted to time change, and in all honesty did better than I did!

 After traveling, here would be a few tips I would give to parents traveling long distances with a small child.  

1.  Make sure that you have a bottle, pacifier, or something for the baby to suck on during take-off and landing of the airplane.

2.  Comfortable Clothes.  Plus a change of clothes for the plane ride are important.
Selah in her cute pj's!  She was ready to take off!
3.  Lots of toys & the idea of putting toys in a gallon zip lock bag worked wonderfully!  It was a game to take everything out and put them back in...not to mention actually playing with the toys!  I found that the primary goal is to keep her attention for as long as possible - so this was a great tool.

4.  Try to get the baby on the new location's time clock ASAP...and if all else fails, a little Benadryl really helps during the night time hours :)
If this hair doesn't say "I slept well on the plane" - I'm not sure what will.
5.  Take a GOOD stroller - we spent lots of time pushing Selah around...she loved watching people as we pushed her around new countries!
Selah just hanging out in her stroller - don't those eyes just make you smile?

6.  Make sure you do some research on the weather.  I thought I was prepared, but didn't have gloves or mittens for Selah & it was freezing!  Thankfully her Gigi came to the rescue and gave Selah her gloves.
We looked ridiculous, but her little fingers stayed warm!
7.  Use today's technology.  Josh's dad graciously lent us his iPad & it was A-MAZING!  When all else failed we just turned on some Yo-Gabba-Gabba.  And, although I swore I would never be that mom that let's her kid play on the phone - when  you are on an adventure, sometimes you've got to just do what works.

8.  Give yourself a break - It is likely that the baby will cry on the plane...have an accident...etc.  People I found were much more understanding than I expected.  Play the kid card - you know...the "I'm so sorry my child just pulled  your hair...we are doing the best we can...isn't she cute?"  People are much more forgiving of a cute 1-year old pulling their hair than they are of you as an adult snoring on the plane.  Basically, don't start with false expectations...it's going to be an adventure!

9.  But also don't start traveling from a place of fear.  Your child feeds off of your tension and when I just decided to relax and trust that Selah would be fine she did MUCH better than I expected and it was a fun experience!

10.  Travel with your kids!  Josh and I were determined that we would still do the things we loved after having Selah so this trip was our way of proving it.  Yes, it was more of a challenge, but so rewarding to see her added into the things we love!  Whatever you are passionate about - your kids should be a part of!

Selah showing off her Passport
Notice Josh is the background making one last business call before we get on the plane - this is a great picture for a true glimpse into our life.
 What areas of your life do you need to jump out and incorporate your kids?  And any other great traveling advice?
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