Thursday, July 26, 2012

sitting in the waiting room.

I've been thinking a lot about waiting these days.  In life, there are many occasions, both big and small, that we find ourselves waiting, unable to take control of the situation and completely reliant on some other entity outside of us.  Whether I'm waiting for my dopio over ice at Starbucks, waiting for a table at the tres popular establishment known as the Salt Lick, waiting for a friend at a meeting spot, waiting for the light to turn green, waiting for a flight to come down on price...or the big ones - waiting for restoration in a relationship, waiting for healing for a body, waiting for job for a loved one, waiting for provision from the Lord - it's all an exercise of faith, of trust and of patience.  It's an exercise that I find myself, all too often, not quite in shape for.  In fact, I am usually huffing and puffing, gasping for air, getting a serious side get the idea.

And it's in that moment, when my faith is being exercised and I'm embarrassingly winded, flailing about wondering what on earth is going on, that the glaringly obvious light bulb switches on.  Isn't the very basis/fundamental aspect of faith having a reason or need to trust?  If I don't ever find myself in a situation where I need to trust or rely on someone (coincidentally, God) outside of myself, if I can always handle everything on my own and solve all of my problems, if I can always make everything happen according to my own strength and abilities, where, pray tell, is the faith in that and as an even starker contrast, why do I need God?  Cue up the applicable verses:

"Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.” Hebrews 11:1

"Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; They will mount up with wings like eagles. They will run and not get tired. They will walk and not become weary." Isaiah 40:31

How weary do I become when I worry about someone or something that I cannot change?  How positively exhausted do I get when I keep endeavoring to make something happen on my own that I just need to surrender over to God?  How tiresome is it to behave as though I am the only one who can help fix the problem?

Speaking of waiting (awkward transition?), I had the pleasure of attending yet another friend's nuptials a couple weeks ago.  (Did you catch the subtle reference to waiting on that?)  Both the ceremony and reception were held at Watermark and they did a really good job of putting together their wedding on a budget. The wedding service was Christ-centered and their love for the Lord resonated loudly. The bride, Terri, was positively radiant as she walked down the aisle. I couldn't have been happier for the two of them as the groom had been waiting quite some time to enter into a marriage covenant being even older than me - gasp. 

Not only was it a lovely celebration, but it also provided me a chance to spend some time with sweet baby Emerson who is quite possibly, the most easygoing infant I have come across. I could have held her all night, but alas, she had to go back to her mama. And so I wait again...

They shut things down fairly early, so I was able to make it to another social event that Saturday evening.  Some friends were having a "Christmas in July" tacky sweater party, so I decided to make an appearance.  In all honesty, this is somewhat of a superfluous inclusion to this post as there isn't much to report in terms of the gathering, but I wanted an excuse to post the two pics below. 

Moving on, the past weekend was a nod to my favorite way to spend a summer weekend in Texas.  I was down in Austin for work earlier in the week and decided to extend the trip and stay in our state's capitol through the weekend.  Just for kicks and giggles (and to show off my sweet instagram skills), here's a smattering of pics while I was blamming around the downtown area and other parts of my fave place in Tejas.

My family met me down there on Friday night after I wrapped up things with work and found myself waiting, yet again.  I was waiting on my dear 'ole dad to come and fetch me from my hotel on Congress.  Once he arrived, we drove straight to my aunt and uncle's home in the hills (well, actually we made the essential stop at the HEB, but whatevs).  They graciously opened up their home to us while they were on vacation and allowed us to take over.  How's this for a snapshot way to start the weekend?  Nothing like palms trees and wine lover's pizza from The Grove.  Oh Austin, how I've missed thee...let me count the ways.

Now that your green with pizza envy, I'll let you have a bit of reprieve before I hit you with the photo opps of our trip to the Salt Lick.  Instead, I'll show off my adorable, chocolate-covered nieces since I never post a ridiculous amount of photos of them on my blog.  We took full advantage of their backyard oasis and swam for the better part of the afternoon.  However, once again, we found ourselves waiting to enjoy the pool as we had to allow our sunscreen to dry (see middle pic).  Oh, the waiting game...tis a certainty of life. 

The girls also really enjoyed the giant wind chime which I definitely have a thing for. Wind chimes will forever remind me of my grandma and grandpa and their little house on San Vicente.

And now, to juxtapose the younger set of sisters, I feel the need to throw in a couple pics of the older set of sisters.  It's crazy to look at Haylee and Meredith from the lens of an "adult" and to feel like I'm having some sort of "out of body" experience as it's like I'm looking at myself.  Tough to explain, so I'll leave it at that...

Later that night found us waiting again, only this time, we were waiting for a coveted spot in the dining room of the infamous Salt Lick.  Despite being super hungry and hot, I was not deterred when the hostess promised an hour and a half wait.  Instead, I found an empty spot at a picnic table and coaxed Haylee into laying on my lap.  Each time she asked when our table was going to be ready, I replied with a very mature "never, we are going to be waiting on a table for the rest of our lives."

Despite my prediction, we were in fact seated that night and I was thrilled to be back at this bbq haven.  The name of the game is meat in this smokehouse and despite our less than pleasant dining companions (a very tired and cranky Haylee and Meredith), I nearly licked my plate clean and was teetering the line of Thanksgiving day full.

Although I was stuffed to the brim, my sweet tooth of a sister was in dire need of something sugary to cap off her night.  Thank the Lord for smart phones and the google as I was able to locate a newly opened Amy's ice cream shop not too far from the house.  We made our way to the store front, post haste, where we were surprised with a rare celeb sighting.  Check it out.  (And yeah, that happened).

After the paparazzi shots were complete, it was time to wait yet again.  This time, we were waiting for Michelle to make up her ever-lovin' mind as to which ice cream she would select (strange and so out of character for her).  I'm fairly certain she sampled every flavor offered and still dilly-dallied over which option to choose.  Homegirl finally settled on Kahlua and thus marks my second to last reference to waiting for this post.  As an aside, please note Haylee's may-juh dancer pose in the pic below...killer.

And so, well the thing about it is, waiting in life is inevitable.  It will forever be a constant this side of heaven.  But I think our faith is either demonstrated or absent in the way we handle the wait, in how we handle the proverbial waiting room of life.  Do we lean on our own understanding or in all our ways acknowledge Him?  Do we strive and try to do things on our own strength or do we cease striving, be still and know that He is God?  Do we keep going up to the front desk asking how much longer it will be, bite our nails, tap our fingernails on the chair, pace the floor, nervously busy ourselves mindlessly thumbing through magazines or do we sit peacefully and contently knowing that our time will come when the doctor is ready and trusting that it will be worth the wait as He will direct us towards life and healing? 

"Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God.  And the peace of Christ which surpasses all understanding will guard your heart and mind in Christ Jesus." Philippians 4:6-7

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

of fairytales, fireworks and fly balls

Oh the blog, how I've neglected thee.  It is not for lack of thought that I haven't been posting lately.  Rather, it's been quite the opposite.  There have been so many thoughts in my head that it's been nearly impossible to sift through it all in order to assimilate said thoughts into a cohesive, streamlined narrative.  And so, be that as it may, I will save my deep, thought-provoking reflections for another day and instead, "stay the course," so to speak and just throw up a random assortment of iPhone pics and call it a day.

The summer has been drifting along at a leisurely pace and has actually been somewhat carefree and uncluttered of the usual busy weekends jam-packed with activities.  On the one hand, I like to be busy, but on the other hand, it is nice to not rush from one commitment to the next without the customary cat nap that I so enjoy on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon.

In the typical tradition of summer, in general, the past few weeks have included the obligatory wedding, fireworks show and good 'ole fashioned baseball.

Up first was the sweet wedding of my friend Meagan's older brother, Brad.  I've known him since high school (when Meagan and I first met) and was so happy to help celebrate his marriage.  Not only did I get to be a part of their beautiful, Christ-centered ceremony, I also got to join two of my very best friends on the dance floor where we rocked the house for nearly three solid hours.  When I tell you that I didn't leave the dance floor for even one song, I am not exaggerating in the slightest.  (as proof, I woke up later that night on two separate occasions due to massive foot cramping--this girl doesn't mess around.)  I also got to spend some time with "Grandma" (we're on a first name basis) which was a real treat.  I've gotten to know her over the past 10 years or so at various Cavanaugh functions and she's been a regular at many of our wine tasting parties.  I think my favorite part of the night was when Meagan's mom gave me a hug and told me I was a part of their family.  I would be honored to be an honorary member...

Up next was the 4th of July which wasn't terribly eventful.  The main festivity actually took place the night before on July 3rd.  We got decked out in our best red, white and blue attire and watched the largest fireworks show I think I've ever seen.  No matter what, fireworks always prompt feelings of patriotism and nostalgia.  I never cease to tear up when I hear "God Bless America" whilst viewing a myriad of fireworks flash across the sky.  Happy Birthday, America!

Last on the update agenda was a good 'ole father-daughter/granddaughter outing to the minor league baseball game.  There's nothing more American than baseball on a hot summer night and this one was a scorcher I tell ya.  We ate our way through the ballpark (hot dogs, chicken strips, chips, BBQ, ice cream) and managed to endure the entire game.  I think it's safe to say the only reason we made it to the 9th inning was the promise of yet another fireworks display.  While it was a bit brief, they still managed to put on a pretty impressive display.  We capped off the night with a serious dance party in my car as we fought the traffic getting out of the parking lot.  Haylee wasn't too amused, but Michelle and I certainly enjoyed ourselves.

At that's all she wrote, dear friends.  I will leave you with a prayer that I've found to be particularly applicable to my life these days (i.e. challenging/convicting) and I encourage you to reflect on the words of St. Francis:

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.

Where there is hatred, let me sow love.
Where there is injury, pardon.
Where there is doubt, faith.
Where there is despair, hope.
Where there is darkness, light.
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled, as to console;
to be understood, as to understand;
to be loved, as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive.
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to Eternal Life.