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Monday, February 23, 2015

Let's Go On An Adventure: Chinese New Year Festival

Saturday we went on an adventure here in Dallas and decided to check out the Chinese New Year celebrations held by the Crow Collection of Asian Art in downtown. This beautiful museum specializes in Asian art and always has a family friendly vibe with special events and festivals like this one. I had read about the Chinese New Year Celebration and mentioned it to Chris but wasn't sure if we would go. I'm great at finding cool things to do but then when the weekend comes staying home in my pajamas. So when Chris said he would put aside his other weekend errands so we could go, I was in! 
The Crow Collection is downtown near the other two big museums here, the DMA and the Nasher, which means it's in walking distance from Kylde Warren Park. You can easily take public transportation but we went for parking in the DMA garage as we had to be somewhere right after. Kylde Warren always has a lot of food trucks and Saturday they had an entire block full of them! We tried out Ssahm Korean BBQ and it was delicious. This was the only part of the day where the kids were cranky, I should have packed a picnic so they wouldn't have to wait!, but after they ate quesadillas and kimchee fries they were good to go. 
There were two streets with booths, a petting zoo, craft stations inside the museum, a stage with different performers, and a face painting station.
Harper begged to get her face painted so Chris and Charlie went exploring while we waited in a line for 45 minutes. I have to say, totally worth it. She was great in line, just dancing to the music, and this butterfly (with sparkles!) made her day. 
 Inside the museum there were different crafts and plenty of volunteers to help. C and H made these Chinese fireworks out of pipe cleaners and a styrofoam ball. We enjoyed the sunshine and had fun walking up and down the street stopping to pet the goats and watch the performers. Charlie is still talking about that 'cool red dragon' hanging inside the museum.
All in all a really fun way to spend the afternoon. And a great reminder that plenty of adventures can be found in your own back yard! If you're in Dallas, or visiting soon, be sure and come hang out downtown- always something fun to do! Here's the link to upcoming events at the Crow,  they have some cool things planned for Spring Break.



Thursday, February 19, 2015

Theology with a Three Year Old

A hard truth about parenting is this; the instant you get it all figured out, it all turns upside down. As soon as you master the perfect swaddle, bounce, shhhhing night routine they begin to fall asleep on their own. As soon as you figure out exactly how to mash those bananas with hidden veggies they are eating solid food. And as soon as you've helped them master simple words and phrases they turn to you with articulated thoughts and questions. And always, always, in the times and places you least expect (and are prepared) for them.

Take Tuesday night for example. I'm whipping up pancakes and listening to my kids at the kitchen table chatter about the chickens we go and visit sometimes at the school down the street. My daughter looks at what I'm making and asks, "Mom? Why are we having pancakes for supper?" I start to tell her about Shrove Tuesday, about tomorrow being Ash Wednesday and entering the season of Lent. I think I'm being very Mom with a capital M and start pouring the pancakes on the griddle. "But Mom. What is Lent?"

No biggie. I got this. "Lent is the season where we get ready for Easter. We need to get ourselves ready to really hear and understand and celebrate the Easter season."

Boom! Right? Perfect Godly Play answer. Perfect three year old level depth. Nailed it. Start flipping the pancakes.

But this daughter of mine, see she isn't on a three year old level. She sees deeper and asks more and holds me to high standards. She knows better. She sees my superficial answer and knows it did not answer her actual question. So she goes right for the jugular. "Mom? Is Easter when Jesus died?"

Shit. Can't I just make these damn pancakes?! I take a breath and look at her and she is serious. She has thought on this and I see a little quiver of fear in her mouth. Her brother is laying his head on his arm and looking at me, waiting.

So we talk about about the fact that, yes, Jesus did die but Easter morning we remember that he came back. That it is something so big and amazing that even I can't explain to her the how. I answer her questions about whether or not Jesus was scared (I say yea he probably was a little scared) and if I will die someday (yes sweet baby, hopefully a long time from now). I feel so much doubt in my ability in this conversation. I doubt this story all the time, it's pretty crazy right? It's a lot to take in. I want her to believe me that I believe it but there are days where I'm just standing on the edge myself and feel completely lost and hopeless and disbelieving.   I think I am unequipped to help her so I try to stick to the basics and quickly get through it. I think we are wrapping it all up and I'm looking for Chris to come in the door any second (where's that cradle Episcopalian when you need him?!) and I start stacking the pancakes.

But my little girl that sees deeper and asks more and holds me to high standards isn't done with me yet. She saw me shake, she needs something to hold on to. "But mom. Why?" 

I bring the pancakes to the table and I get down on her level. I squat between her and Charlie and I take both of their hands and I say "Because my precious treasures, he wanted to show us love. He talked and talked about what love was and no one heard him. Sometimes we still don't hear him. So he came back from death to show us how powerful love is, how powerful we are if we love one another."

"Mom I am not powerful. I'm just your kid."

And this my friends is the point of my blog post. This is where I felt in my core that I knew exactly how to answer and exactly what the point of this entire test of my theology was. And in this answer I felt my belief in the Gospel and my belief in what following Jesus Christ really means to me.

"Harper Ruth. Charles Wyatt. The world will tell you you're not powerful. People all around will tell you you need to get power and buy power and own power but you have it all. Love is power. Your hearts, so fierce and strong in those little bodies, is the power. And any time you forget that, you come and sit in my lap and I will love you and you will feel stronger instantly. Do you hear me? And any time you want to feel your power you come and sit in my lap and tell me you love me and you will make me stronger instantly. "

And Charlie, the one that lets sister do the talking and can sometimes seems like he's not paying attention, but is always watching, always listening,  he sums it up. "Harper (in his little voice it comes out Hopper), Jesus loves us even more because we are so little and we need him to make us strong and stronger so we can make others strong and stronger with so much love."

They look at each other and have a weird twin moment where I can tell a thought passes between them, and then they start talking about the chickens again.

I replayed this conversation in my head all day yesterday and today and had to write it down. I share it here, not to showcase my precocious children, but as a reminder that real life happens in moments you least expect it. Making supper, sitting at a red light, marking off the to do list, these are when our children need us to pause and look at them and listen. Then answer, the best we can. And I believe to answer the best we can we have to always be asking and searching for ourselves. I hope this season of Lent is one where I ask questions and meditate a bit on the answers I find. I hope to be challenged and comforted in knowing that there is an entire community of people (three year olds apparently included!) searching and questioning with me.

And I hope I remember my own advice somewhere down the line when I feel powerless and hopeless. And when Harper starts with the questions I pray I'm always ready to help her find the answers.

Monday, February 16, 2015

Little Luxuries/// Ipsy Bag Subscription

Do you ever find something simple that just makes you happy and leaves you feeling like you just treated yourself in the best possible way? I love finding little luxuries, things that take a little time or money and deliver a big impact. Nothing bank breaking or too ridiculous, just fun little ways to add luxury to your every day. 

This month I thought I'd share my Ipsy Glam Bag. For $10 a month this subscription service sends you a cute make up bag filled with 5 new beauty products. I have never been a huge make up person but I do wear the stuff and I love getting new eye shadow and lip glosses to try. I am a hair product person, man I love a good product!, and I've had some luck with the samples they send.

I've found some new products that I really like and will buy again like this Be Good Moisturizer, this Sea Salt Cleanser, and this hairspray. Every month you can review what came in your glam bag and leave feedback on what you liked and what you didn't. You earn points that you can then later spend on more products. 

More than anything, just getting that hot pink mailer once a month and spoiling my face a bit or trying out a new color on my lips makes me happy. Is it essential? Most definitely not! But it is a little luxury that I've found brings some fun throughout the month as I use the products! 

If you want to try out Ipsy for yourself, use my referral link and see if this is a little luxury you want to bring into your life!

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