Since I haven’t posted on this blog in the past week, I thought I would give a few “snippets” into our world.

Alyssa has enough hair (just barely!) to have a mohawk. After giving her a bath, I didn’t brush her hair. By the next morning, her hair was standing straight up!!

Alyssa has a new bath seat that attaches to the side of the tub. So, now we have “bath parties” (that’s what we call them to make Grace think it’s cool that she’s sharing her bath time). They both love it and giggle at each other most of the time.

Our little “chunky monkey” loves to sit in her high chair and eat food!! Even though we’ve moved to Texas, even the smallest member of our family is still a HUGE Cardinal fan (she’s wearing a Cardinal bib)!!

Grace continues to ask me EVERYDAY where her “silver car” is. It just about breaks my heart. But, we’ve promised her there is a new one coming!! Once that happens (and it should be very soon), I’ll post pictures!

The girls love being silly on the floor together. Really it’s Gracie being silly and Alyssa being entertained by her silliness.

On Saturday, we took Grace to see Veggie Tales Live here in Austin. WOW! If you know anything about our daughter, you can only imagine what she thought of it!! She’s been talking about it ever since.

Grace picked flowers in our backyard yesterday. As she picked each one, she said, “One for Mommy, one for Daddy, one for Alyssa, one for Minima, one for Bapa, one for Nana, one for Papa, one for Grandma Richardson, one for Grandmom…” So, know that you are all loved and have a withered flower waiting for you on our kitchen counter. 🙂

Our car is "broken"

September 24, 2008

Today brings us to the end of an era…a car era, that is. I have driven a 2000 silver Oldsmobile Alero for the past 7 years. Today I drove it for the last time. While I’m excited to get a “new to me” car, I’m sad to say good-bye to the car that has been with me for so long.

I drove that car to South Carolina (for Leadership Training), Colorado (for The Rock’s ski trip), a million trips to Illinois from Missouri (to visit family), Ohio (for The Rock’s National Convention) and then Texas (when we moved). I have put 115,00+ miles on that car. When my parents bought it for me, I was just finishing my sophomore year of college at Mizzou. Now, I live in Texas, am married and have 2 babies. We drove the Alero to bring both of our girls home from the hospital. The Alero was our “getaway” car when we left our wedding reception. I love that car. But, after writing all this, I’ve realized…I really need to move on. 🙂

Many of you have asked the details of our accident, so here it is:

Friday afternoon we went to run some errands. I had to go to David’s Bridal to be measured for a bride’s maid dress, we dropped some clothes off at Goodwill, bought milk at Whole Foods, and then I wanted to make one last stop. For the past week I’ve been trying to find an opportunity to go by Toys R Us to get a bath seat and baby swing for Alyssa. I thought we could make that stop on our way home.

We were driving through the shopping center’s parking lot going south. Another car was driving through an aisle of the parking lot going west. I was talking to my cousin, Mindy, on the phone and looked up just in time to see a white car hit the driver’s side of our car. Fortunately for all of us, Matt (he was driving) had the instinct to swerve to the right and drive up on an island (you know how they have those random areas with grass, tress, etc.) in the parking lot.

Alyssa had been asleep, but woke up and cried for about 10 seconds and then fell back asleep. Grace was immediately terrified and screamed, “No! No! No, Mommy!” I jumped out as fast as I could and got her out to hold her. Once we explained what happened, she kept saying, “Our car is broken. That other car is really broken.” She was also impressed that the police officer that came to the sight was riding a motorcycle!

Our car is pretty scratched up on the driver’s side and dented in a few places. The driver’s window won’t roll down all the way, the doors don’t completely close and I’m sure there is more damage. Fortunately it is drivable, but the insurance company declared it “TOTALED.

The other car was worse than ours. The entire front bumper and front parking lights fell off.

We were pretty sore for the next couple days. My chest and upper back muscles hurt and Matt’s back muscles hurt as well.

A funny thing…the police officer and Matt were talking about TV and police stuff. They soon realized that Matt did a story about police officers catching speeders in a “hot spot” in Austin and this officer was part of the story! What a small world!!

Well…now starts the process of finding a REALLY cheap car for the same amount of money the insurance company gave us for my precious Alero. 🙂

Destination: Austin

September 15, 2008

Yesterday our pastor, Matt Carter, spoke right to my heart through his sermon. For the past year and a half, we have lived in Austin. Because we are so far from the life we’ve always known (aka the Midwest), we’ve had moments of “this is so fun to go somewhere different!” and moments of “why did we decide to do something different?!” We’ve definitely had more moments thanking God that He brought us to Austin – we LOVE our friends, we LOVE our church, and we LOVE how God has used this time in our lives to change us and make us more like Him.

Matt Carter shared two passages in his sermon that removed any doubt.

Acts 17:26-27 – From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live.

Psalm 139:15-16 – My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.

God knew that we would live in Austin, Texas, at this exact time. He knew this before time began – before ANYTHING or ANYONE was created. We are here in Austin today for a purpose. His purpose.

Only God knows how long we’ll live here. We could be here until Matt’s contract is up in 2010 or we could be here forever. All I know is that I’m excited to be here. Not because Austin is a cool place to be and has great winter weather (although this is quite true), but because God wants us here.

That’s what a billboard says here in Austin. It’s true. Yesterday was a little windy, but no more than the common windy day. However, Ike hit the Gulf Coast in catastrophic ways.

Matt’s station, KXAN, sent a crew to Clear Lake City – thank God that “crew” didn’t include my husband!! Even though he had to go to the station Saturday morning to anchor the news, at least we were in the same town and both out of harm’s way. During his Saturday shift, he called home to warn me that they were sending him to the Gulf Coast today to relieve the team that was there. I had mixed emotions.

You see, one thing you have to understand about my husband is that he’s a journalist to his core. As much as he LOVES anchoring, all he wanted to do was bust out of the station doors and drive into the eye of the storm to report on the news. In my opinion, that’s the stupidist thing I’ve ever heard! I always yell at the TV when I see journalists standing out in the wind and rain telling all of us to get as far away from there as possible! But, that’s what makes Matt, Matt. And, I am the one who was glued to my TV all day wanting to see what was going on. 🙂

So, while I knew Matt should go and that he wanted to, I (selfishly) just wanted him home. The girls and I just got back last Tuesday after taking a 10 day tour of KC and Illinois. While that trip was super fun, we missed Matt/Daddy. Now, Grace just doesn’t understand why Daddy is “at work,” but his car is still in the garage.

Praise the Lord that He has placed us here in Austin for a purpose (more about this in my next post) and given us fabulous friends that have stepped in and offered to hang out with us the next few days.

You can check out a blog about Matt’s trip on KXAN’s website.

St. John’s Drive

September 7, 2008

Tonight, I decided to drive through the St. John’s neighborhood here in Austin. Our church, The Austin Stone, has targeted this neighborhood and will build a permanent church home there in the coming years.

I’ve walked through St. John’s during the day, but it’s a whole different neighborhood at night. At nearly every house, people stood outside, leaning on their cars, smoking, talking, having birthday parties.

I turned my radio down and rolled down my windows, just listening. Here are my raw emotions: scared, intimidated, wrong cultures for me.

Just a bit earlier, I spent some time at the Domain walking through the outdoor mall; staring into windows that showcased David Yurman Jewelry, Louis Vuitton accessories, and Apple 3G I phones. I had just sipped an Iced Coffee from Seattle’s Best.

I wanted, though, to travel to St. John’s directly after my Domain experience to realize the dichotomy that exists between just 5 miles of earth.

I’m praying that God would expand my heart for the people of St. John’s since our church will be there for a LONG time to come. I realized tonight…God has a LOT of work to do on my heart.

That Random Helicopter…

September 4, 2008

As I write, I’m listening to a helicopter circling above our house. From my time at KXAN, I know that it’s the Austin Police Department chopper.

Putting two and two together (I saw about 4 police cars near our pool as I drove back home tonight) I called our Assignments Editor, Hal, at the station.

Hal called APD’s watch command and they told him an armed robber had just ditched his car at the pool parking lot in our subdivision.

So, as a curious journalist, I decided to stick my neck outside. (Sorry Mom and Gail). And the helicopter directed its spotlight on me. Then it shone the light in our backyard, and it circled our house for about five minutes.

I called 911 because I saw two guys two yards away from us. After a few nervous minutes, they said it was the K-9 unit.

Because of all this activity, our neighbors all came out of their homes (I wasn’t the only one). Neighbors I’d never seen before. Neighbors who live right by me, and I haven’t seen or heard from or even knew existed. I saw my neighbor Adam and his roommate I had met about two months ago. They all came outside because they wondered about the commotion. Praise God for this.

For a moment, I thought about my safety. Only for a moment.

And then I thought of this silly book I posted about earlier tonight called the Irresistable Revolution. In fact, in this book, I had just read a chapter about “the danger of safety.”

“Some Christians take so few risks, it’s no wonder folks have a hard time believing in heaven,” said Shane Claiborne, the author. “Most of us live in such fear of death that no one really believes in the resurrection any more.”

As you learn in the book, Claiborne lives among the poor and destitute in the inner city sharing the good news of Jesus Christ in a way that puts aside any idea of personal safety for the sake of the Gospel.

“Sometimes people ask me if I’m scared of the inner city,” Claiborne says. “I usually reply, ‘I’m more scared of the suburbs.’ The scriptures say that we should not fear those things which can destroy the body, but we are to fear that which can destroy the soul (Matt. 10:28). While the ghettos may have their share of violence and crime, the suburbs are the home of the more subtle demonic forces – numbness, complacency, comfort – and it is these that can eat away at our souls.”

Tonight we had a bit of the ‘inner city’ come to the suburbs in the form of a random helicopter and a bit of crime.

I took a risk of sticking my head out the door to figure out what was going on.

As hard as it is to say, I tried to take a practical step out of my personal fort of safety. Had the girls been home, I might have thought differently to stay inside right beside them, but tonight, as I was alone, I decided to step outside my house, even with an APD chopper above shining its light on me. Was it the safest move? Nope. Probably not. But I got to meet a few neighbors and establish an avenue for relationships in the future.

Some of you might get mad at me for making the move I made tonight to step outside. “Why even blog or post about this?” you might ask. I’d submit that I made a few new friends because of the ordeal. I’d also submit that it’s made me question how numb or complacent I’ve become living in my little part of suburbia.

These are questions I wouldn’t have been able to ask myself had I just stayed inside and listened to the helicopter above, watching Jay Leno.

I stepped outside on faith. As I prayed, God protected me. Thank God for that random helicopter

I’ve found myself riveted to a book lately at the urging of a small group of guys I meet with on Wednesday mornings. The book, Irresistible Revolution, by Shane Claiborne has affected me to my core. Claiborne talks about his life in Chicago and Philadelphia living simply and humbly with the poor…defending them, and even standing up to injustice with them.

His quotes have really started to get me to think about how I’m living life. I know it’s shaken up the group of guys I meet with as well.

Claiborne says,

“Christianity can be built around isolating ourselves from evildoers and sinners, creating a community of religious piety and moral purity. That’s the Christianity I grew up with. Christianity can also be built around joining with the broken sinners and evildoers of our world crying out to god, groaning for grace. That’s the Christianity I’ve fallen in love with.”

The questions I am asking (and I hope you do as well)

What kind of Christ follower are you? What are you doing to join with broken sinners and evildoers of our world?

Are you stuck in your weekly routine of comfort and coffeeshop Christianity?

To that, Claiborne offers this analysis.

“We can crawl up into the hands of God and fall asleep in the sweet aroma and cozy warmth, asleep by the fire. And so much of the world lies in the cold, clammy darkness of human suffering, oppression, inequality. My friend John Francis Maher sings a beautiful song that whispers to the groaning masses, ‘Don’t let your eyes adjust to the dark.’ Perhaps we could also add for those by the fire, ‘Don’t fall asleep in the light.’ We must neither get used to the darkness of human suffering or fall asleep in the comfort of the light.”