Living the Dream

Living the Dream

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

On being Kip

Kristen Janae, also known as Kip, Kipster Queen, and Kippy, graduated from OU this past May with a degree in architecture.  Wow.  The happy go lucky, skittleland and sunshine girl, made it through a program that only 30% that start it, make it through.   When I heard those odds, way back on that first tour through the department at OU, I thought to myself,  Hmmmm, wonder what percentage ole Kipster will be???  And to my wonderful happiness, she was the 30%.  Duh.

It felt like 30 minutes between these 2 graduations

Kip doesn't see a problem.  Kip sees a challenge.  Kip doesn't worry about anything.  Or if she does, she is the world's best hider of worry.   We've always said that Kip lives in a sunshine & skittle land, full of rainbows and happiness.  That is a pretty wonderful place to live.  I think when I grow up, I want to be Kip.
This doesn't really fit here, but it's so darn cute, you had to see it.

 She has this architect degree, and a passion for "more".  She surprised us all, by deciding she was going to do this 11 month, 11 country mission trip.. starting in September.  She will carry a pack, with all her wordly possessions, and trek in third world countries for almost a year.  She will live in a tent (that she carries in her pack), sleep on a sleeping bag/mat on the ground (that she carries in her pack), and survive in 5 sets of clothes for 11 months  (have I mentioned she is carrying all this stuff in her pack?).   This is the girl that has a different pair of earrings for every outfit.  And looks like a zillion bucks every time she steps out of the house.  Going to live out of a backpack.  In 5 outfits.  No cellphone.  In South Africa.   I'm so jealous.

To follow her, here is her site

The first question I asked was not "How much does it cost?" or "How do you get there?" or "Where is it you are going"... it was  "Can I go with you?"  and I was pretty dead serious.  I think this is the time in her life when she is free and basically unencumbered to go do the things that all of us dream of doing, and never quite have the gumption to do.   Kip looks at life so differently than her gold sister and I do.  I see bills, and work, and responsibilities, but Kip sees it, as this is my life, my vacation, my opportunity, and I will figure it out as I go.    That is courage.  Faith.  Willingness.  Three things that I am so glad this middle daughter of mine has in abundance. 

And humor.  I really am not sure how she is going to get 11 months of Frosted Flakes in that backpack, because none of her teammates are going to want to be around her in the morning without her Frosted Flakes.  But I have no doubt, she will figure it out.  In her calm, assured way she figures everything out. 

Kip has always known how to rock a pair of sunglasses

I remember how, right after her dad & I divorced, she had the summer stay with him.  We tried to break the summer into weeks (one week with him, one week with me), and we figured out pretty quick that we had to do our weeks, Friday to Friday, because Kip couldn't handle coming home on a Sunday, and me being gone.  She loved her ole mom.  She needed that mom/Kip time.  So now, the tables have turned,  I'm not sure how I'm going to make it with her gone 11 months.  She's always been within 10  minutes of me her whole life (except for her 2 Europe trips made with school) and in the excitement of planning, I haven't allowed myself to project that far out, because if I do, I think my heart will explode.  But I know that she is going to journey into life changing experiences, and one day very soon, I am hoping that one of these adventures includes her ole mom. 

My beautiful daughter, you are 23 years old today, and the rest of your precious life lies in front of you.  What you have, is an entire life of opportunity.   God has BIG AMAZING plans for you, my creative, loving, adventurous daughter.  Get out there and do your thing.... you've got nothing but great things ahead. Stay in God's pocket, where you have planted yourself your whole life, and there is NOTHING, I repeat, NOTHING, that will stop you... (except missin your ole mama.)  And for that...we have Skype.  Do they Skype in South Africa?  We need to figure this out. 

Kipster Queen, you know what I mean.....I love you big and forever. 

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

On being a dancer

There is nothing I would love more than to be a good dancer.  I insisted that my girls take lessons so they could learn to move and not be so self concious on the dance floor.  All three of my girls can seriously move.  I love it. 

Now I can chair dance like no other.  I can move and shimmy and from a chair perspective, I am a serious boogier.   But put me on the floor.... nothing.  Self conciousness takes over, and I can no more move than a slug under a pile of salt.

My friend Cyndi used to try to get me to dance, and she always told me  "Laura Jane, your hips have no action.  You got no motion in your ocean."  Hello.   I am not a coordinated person.  Even walking takes total concentration.  So moving my hips, my feet and my arms in any sort of fluid motion, all at once, forget it. More than this 5'12" gal can handle.  The only person that ever took away my swan-ness was Laynie, she didn't care how un-coordinated her lolly was, she just wanted to boogie with me.  So we danced. 

The girls are learning a dance, and I have been attempting to do it with them.  It's hopeless.  I aren't a dancer.  I are a writer. 

Stick to your strengths, that's what I say.   Next dance, you will find me boogie'n down in my chair, just high five me and keep on going.

You just gotta dance. 

Monday, June 27, 2011

On Lacey and being 27

It just seems like yesterday I had Lacey.  We lived in a trailer in Norman, and Carl was almost finished with college.  We were toddlers, having a baby.  I turned 23 in May, and had Lacey in June.  I am fortunate she was such a lovely baby.  We were clueless, bringing that baby home, but somehow we managed to raise her to toddlerhood, then beyond.

Yes, I know I'm attractive, I just pushed that 8 lb baby out.
Aww, toddlerhood, starting her "beast" years.  (These are her words, not mine).   Any video of Lacey will find her snapping at the camera, mean and cranky.  Maybe it was because she was presented with a little sister, right after she turned 4 years old.  Maybe it was because she was a snappier dresser than I and was always dressed great, and a tad embarrassed at her 80's lookin' mama.   You know how most kids go through a "I don't care how I look" phase?  That was NEVER Lacey.  She always brushed her teeth, her hair, picked her room up (for the most part), because as I have come to find out as I have grown up (along with her) that I birthed a "GOLD" daughter. 

just a tiny reminder of that attitude

We've been taking COLOR personality tests at my work, and as I have learned the different color wheel, I realized right away that GOLD is my Lacey.   Golds like to make lists, and find nothing but delight and joy over being able to make the list and check things off on the list.  Nothing makes a Gold happier than a spreadsheet.  An organized means to an end.  Nothings upsets a gold more than to have a fly by the seat, hang on to your hat, "nobody died" and that's good enough approach, to a completion.  And guess what color her mother is??  That fly by the seat, hang on to your hat, kinda gal.  No wonder she was cranky.  She needed lists and organization, and her mom, well her mom lost the list. 

I've watched Lacey go through an incredible season this last year.  She turned 26 on June 20, and lost her baby on July 10.   She never slowed down from July on. She spoke with grace and beauty, at the Children's Miracle Network gala, 2 short weeks after we lost Laynie.   She decided to go back to school and get her masters degree, and started in August.  She went to school and worked part time with me, until about November, and to our joy, she started working with Children's Miracle Network, and gets to share Laynie's story Every Single Day.  She is now working on her 2nd semester of masters program, thinking she is going to change her mind and get a degree in Family Counseling/Grief  (who better, might I ask?) and is going to be dancing as a "Star" for the Miracle Families in the CMN's Dancing for a Miracle Gala in August.  I'm amazed at her strength.    God's carried her through this entire journey, and Lacey has never questioned why, just ok, Lord, take me on this journey and I am yours.   That's powerful and significant.   That's Lacey.

For someone that made me gain, in nine months, 50 pounds and most of it mexican food from El Chico, I am forever grateful.  She is my best friend, my accountability guru, my partner in humor, my shopping buddy, my biggest source of belly laughs around.  How lucky am I that all that is in the form of my Gold packaged daughter...

Lacey, you are a joy.

Love me some Lacey...

Started young being a comedianne.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

On being a branch...

It is no secret I love my church.  Since the very first time I stepped through the doors about 7 years ago, I've been a "Lifer".  At first I was a "consumer", always there, but never participating in the "serving" portion.  It was only when I became a "contributor", and started serving in Lifekids, did the church become "My church".  It is a one of a kind feeling.  Sometimes that feeling is overwhelming when you have 18 2 year olds demanding attention all at once, and I had more snot on my shirt, than I did in my nose, but, seriously, plugging in and being "Part" is the only way to go.

When we started attending Lifechurch years ago, we drove from Midwest City to Oklahoma City campus, and upon meeting Craig (one of our first visits), he heard where we were from and announced to us  "Oh, I have BIG plans for MWC".... and after attending my first service in Midwest City today, Craig is so right.

If you haven't attended Lifechurch, then you might not know about us.  We have 15 campuses that you can attend.  If you are in South OKC, Yukon, NW OKC, OKC, Edmond, Tulsa, Bixby, Owasso, or in Tennessee, New York, Florida and Texas, we have a campus for you.   Now, if you aren't in one of those places, then we still have a campus for you, and you are staring at it right now.  Yep, online.  THat is how "Cool" we are.   And there is a time to fit any schedule.  Saturday at 5:00 and 6:30, and Sundays at 8:30, 10:00, 11:30 and 1:00, and a Sunday service at 6:00.  So there is no excuse.  Unless you are handcuffed to a chair, being held at gunpoint, there is a service that fits your time schedule. 

Today's message, at the new campus, and I am happy to say that both services are PACKED, so I have to think that a 3rd service is right around the corner.... was about REMAINing. 

I have talked about this so much in a few of my past blogs, I feel like I am beating a dead horse, but I can't believe how easy life is, when you are "REMAINING' in Christ.  You are so connected, so part of a plan, so firmly dwelling, that a lot of this daily living stuff, that used to overwhelm me, seems kind of...well.... lame.  The stuff I used to worry about.... holy smokes, I wasted more of my precious time worrying about stuff that didn't happen that the time I could have been "Being a branch", I blew.

I've made a lot of terrible mistakes in my life, and when I look back on all of them, it's because I wasn't "Connected" to the vine.  I was so far from God's plan for me.  It's easy to be swayed to do the wrong thing, to choose the wrong path, when you aren't connected to the vine.  I like being a branch that lives a healthy, full, loving life.   And it comes much easier, when the vine is near your heart and soul.

Can you tell I love church?  It was so fun seeing so many familiar faces.  The drive is always really fun too.  Some of the profound statements made this morning, supplied by Kip... "It really takes longer (to get to church) when you hit all  the red lights."   (uhm, ya think?)  and Hallie, chimed in to add, after discussing the temperature and how it was still 100 degrees at midnight last night....  "Does it cool down at night, you think, because there is no sun?"...  (wow, kudos to her teachers).    And then when we get to church..... so many familiar happy faces.   All those branches, waving to you, welcoming you in to the fold.... that's what I am talking about.   Church that makes you leave changed.   Every. Single.  Time.  

God is good..... you are all invited.....

Saturday, June 25, 2011

On Pictures and Posing

I told Lacey that when I turned 50, I wanted to take some "Real" pictures together.  You know, "Real" pictures.  Not our snapshots that we take almost daily, but true live, real, honest to gosh pictures.  So we called in long time friend, Katie Bond Begley, and she did us proud. 

Now we are goofy, and we like to have fun, so I'm amazed we got more than a couple of good shots.  Thank goodness we picked a very patient photographer.   Here are a couple .....

We clean up good.  Plus, we are natural posers, camera hams that really enjoy taking pictures.  Weird, I know. 

Here are some of the funnier ones that I really really loved more than the "posed" ones....

"Mom, press against me and stand up.  What? ..  Do it.  uhm, Ok" 

It was fun, and we are goofy girls, but now I have some beautiful pictures that I will cherish as I get too old to do this anymore....

Then there were the ones that Katie caught our true faces, and you can almost read the love oozing from me

but my favorite now is this one.  I love this picture of us, it is totally who we are.  Blessed, that's us. 

Hail, yeah.

When you live in Oklahoma you expect tornados.  That just goes with the territory.  And with tornados come lovely little ice from the sky... also known as Hail.    My pretend boyfriend, meteorologist Rick Mitchell
(let's just stop for a moment and pay homage to my fake boyfriend....sigh)..  Is in my front room most evenings when bad weather is a-comin' (just like any GOOD self respecting boyfriend should be.... protecting their women folk)  ... anyway, back to the story....

I arrived home from work, and of course, the weatherwomen of all weatherwomen, MY MOM, informs me that we are going to have some terrible weather.  TERRIBLE, she insists.   Well, it's 100 degrees outside, and there isn't a cloud in sight, so I send her home with a "Okey dokey", to which she sniffs at me, and leaves.   When mom sniffs, you know you have done messed in your oatmeal.   But, it was too PRETTY outside to have any significant weather, right, right, Right???   Well, it is Oklahoma. 

Here is the best way to show you what happened.  THis Youtube video by a neighbor one mile away, shows it best.  At 2 minutes and 36 seconds in, it happens, so just hang in there... and get ready for the videographer to bless some poop when it really hits....  Ok, get your umbrellas and fasten your seatbelts...

See, in Oklahoma we don't mess around!  Here are some shots of our house when it was done....
My front yard
Mom's house got popped pretty good.. you can see her siding tore off and her flower pots all blown over.  Her trash can was down the street too.  Kip was across town and as she drove home she got more horrified the closer she got... here was some of what she saw only 1 mile away....

trying to drive across Norman
power lines down EVERYWHERE! snapped like twigs
speaking of twigs...

Anyway, she got home, and Grammie and I were standing out in the yard to our ankles in hail.  Totalled our roofs, garage doors, patio covers, but we were so lucky.  Two weeks earlier, our dear friends lost their house in the El Reno tornado.  We got a flick on the cheek, they got spanked.  And I think they had the most powerful message ever from the sign they retrieved from the wreckage....

The most important things in life AREN'T things...

So, we were lucky.  Had a great story to share, new roofs out of the deal, plenty of ice for everyone, and quality time with Rick Mitchell.   Gotta love Oklahoma weather....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

On Father's Day

Happy Father's Day to my daddy.  I was so sad that he never got to meet Laynie.
Now, I'm thrilled that they are together.
And someday, I will be with them... never to part again.