Thursday, February 25, 2010

I Am a Tree!

Recently a friend of mine has been going through a tough time. It seems as if around every bend she is faced with another obstacle. While chatting with her I was reminded of a verse that I had come across last year. Jeremiah 17:8

"He will be like a tree planted by the water:
it sends its roots out toward a stream,
it doesn't fear when heat comes,
and its foliage remains green.
It will not worry in a year of drought
or cease producing fruit."
(Holman Christian Standard Bible)

I can picture this tree, standing tall and proud by the crook of a flowing stream. All life around it is barren and stark as the unforgiving sun bears down; but this tree is not just is thriving! The lush grass around it is cool to the touch and shaded by the olive leaves which stand in stark contrast to the glorious blossoms scattered impulsively throughout. Mist floats up from the stream and a slight rainbow connects the tree and water.

When it seems as if I cannot handle one more thing thrown my way, I think of this tree and am reminded of God's grace. I am grateful that I am that tree with its roots stretched out toward the life-giving water. I am thankful for God's promise of never giving us more than we can handle; though there have been times when I doubted that.

There have been moments when the weight seemed too much and it felt as if at any second I would come crushing down under it, but I have to remember that with that promise comes the assurance that we will be able to handle it...not because we are that strong, but rather because He is. He is the stream that gives us life, that keeps us blooming in the midst of the drought. He will carry the weight, but first we have to stretch our roots towards Him and give Him our burdens. We have to realize that we cannot handle it (or fix it) on our own, His promise is dependant on our ability to trust Him.

I wish I could say that when times get tough I always remember that promise of peace, but I don't. I know, though, that when I allow myself to become overwhelmed with the grief of the moment that is not His choice for me, but rather my own.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Weekend to Remember

Chuck and I celebrated our fifth anniversary this past week. It seems crazy how quickly time has flown! It seems like just yesterday that I was sneaking quick peeks at him across the sanctuary, and now here we are five years later settled down and with a newborn.
We celebrated with a wonderful road-trip weekend. We had no plan when we left the house, just the desire to spend time together so we decided on a "wing-it" plan. Where-ever the desire pulled us we would go. We left the house Friday night and drove to the nearby town of Searcy where we spent the night. We got up the next morning and headed up towards the Ozark mountains.
By evening we had spotted close to twenty deer and were on the look out for elk (yes elk!). We drove down Hwy 65, eyes peeled, but saw no signs of anything other than cow and deer. After driving past the Buffalo River we decided to turn around and give it one more try. As we neared the bend where we had been told that elk had been seen before Chuck hollers out. Off, at the edge of a field on his side was an elk cow! We rounded the next corner with the intention of turning around when I spotted him. In a pasture to my right was an elk bull munching on the sage grass! Talk about us being excited! We stayed, watching him, for about thirty minutes or so. Never before had I seen one in the wild, it was majestic and beautiful.
Standards were pretty high after all that and we weren't sure if anything could top it. We had thought about staying in the nearby town of Clinton, but instead drove on up to Branson. We stayed in a Holiday Inn Express that was walking distance from both Shoney's and Walmart. We realized that no hotel in town could top that! Josh and Kati had turned us on to a wonderful steakhouse so we headed down the strip for our anniversary dinner.
In the morning the sun was shining and warm, we couldn't have asked for prettier weather! We stopped at an outlet mall so that Hila could get some shopping done then went for a hike on one of the trails at the state park.
Since most of the shows were closed, we decided to head back into Arkansas. We took the windiest, back-road that I have ever been on....and one of the most beautiful! With the trees bare one could catch a rare glimpse into the mountains themselves. Each bend of the road (and there were plenty!) seemed to hold another secret. This part of the world seemed to be forgotten by everyone else, as if the people had just up and walked away leaving everything behind. Old houses and barns tried to hold their pride as the vines crept their way up, trying to suffocate out their existence. Whole towns, that you could tell had once been prosperous, stood silent in their old-time glory.
The contrast between the modern world and yesterday was stark. We would come across some of the old houses and barns one moment, then look across the way and see a huge, hollywood-type mansion! Cows, kept in place with their electric fences, grazed around old, stone silos paying them no more mind than the trees or boulders around them. There was a certain peace in this part of the country, one that almost made me want to hold my breath. A slight sadness filled me as the mountains ironed back out into the flatlands. It felt, for a moment, as if I had entered another world.
Finally our mini-vacation had come about to an end. It's sad that these moments between Chuck and I don't get to happen more often, but we try and make the most of it. This weekend, in all its unplanned and chaotic glory, was one of the best. We drove in a crazy, crooked circle and took in sites that neither of us had seen before. But, best of all was the conversations. We talked and laughed like we hadn't done since those flirty, dating days. I was reminded of the little things that made me love him. Like the way that his eyes light up when he REALLY smiles, or the contagiousness of his laughter.
The best part of this weekend was that it showed me not just why I fell in love with him, but why I stayed that way.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Hila Fay's Pics

Happy Birthday Hila Fay Hixon!

Daddy's Tender Touch

Sleeping Beauty

Our Tiny Princess

Mel's Top 10 Favorite Things About Being a Mommy

10. Playing Dress-up

9. The little cooing noises she makes when feeding

8. How she fits perfectly in the crook of my arm

7. Watching her facial expressions as she sleeps

6. That warm feeling in the pit of my stomach that comes about every time I look at her

5. The way she lifts one leg for a little poot and both legs for the diaper vibrating kind

4. Watching other's facial expressions as they look at my baby

3. How cute she is, even when she's gum-bearing mad!

2. Watching her daddy hold her and love on her

1. The way that when she's upset and I pick her up, her cries stop instantly as her head lays on my shoulder