February 28, 2011

Dad's 50th Birthday

It's a big birthday year in our family. My Grammy's 75th, my Dad's 50th and my 30th. And they all happen one right after another. Next up was my dad's big day.

On Saturday, a huge group of his friends and family gathered at a barbecue place to celebrate his big day.

Singing Happy Birthday. A blurry picture by yours truly.
My dad has been quite indignant about heading into his 50's. He has rebelled by growing out his hair (by his own admission). Since he has felt so old, I decided to make him feel even older by getting him a bag of gag gifts for some essentials that he might need to hang onto as he ages...
The best reaction was when he took out the designer Depends for men. (Another awesome picture of a ceiling fan and only part of his reaction). I made him open the gifts in front of everyone. Good times. Great laughs.
The latter half of the party, we got to enjoy some entertainment thanks to Ruben V - my dad's favorite musician/guitarist. The man has some serious skills on an electric guitar. A few songs in, my dad got up there to sing an original that he had written and got to sing with Ruben and his band. I still remember a time when my dad hated being on stage and singing in front of people, so it was awesome to see him front and center jamming out in front of all his friends.
Birthdays are all about celebrating life. The older we get, the more of life we have lived. The older we get, the more our stories evolve and unfold. And sometimes, the older we get, the more we transform into the image of Christ.
I remember last December hearing my dad say something I haven't forgotten. It was in the midst of probably one of the hardest conversations we've ever had to date. He told me that one of his "rules" is that everything that happens to him, purposes to transform him more into being like Christ. He sees all of his circumstances and encounters with others to push him to change and call him to more. Basically, his heart's desire is to be more like Christ. He is open and vocal about that desire - and that, is something I admire him for.

Happy Birthday Dad! I'm glad you're birthday was as rockin' as you are!

February 24, 2011

Why - "There is a Season?"

It was the year my parents were in the middle of their separation and divorce mess as a teenager, that I first found the passage of Ecclesiastes 3 that spoke of everything having a time and a season. This passage offered great comfort to me at the time, and still does when I find myself in seasons of life that are painful or full of hardship. This passage is dear to my heart - it was even read at my wedding.

I love these verses because they navigate through the mess that life can often be. It reminds us that life will be rich, tragic, beautiful, imperfect and full if were are living it. It gives permission to grieve and sorrow and get angry. And it invites us to celebrate and sing and dance too. This passage makes me feel heard by God and gives my feelings and emotions validation. It also gives face to the people that I am relationship with who are a part (or not a part) of these seasons alongside of me.

Nature's seasons are a wondrous thing. I love that God in His infinite imagination, created our earth to change throughout the year. There is beauty to be had in all of the seasons. His majesty shows up in snow-covered mountains, autumn red trees, spring flowers and clear, sunshine-filled summer days. The very world we live in is ever changing around us as are we. I never tire of His creation and how He makes it for us to enjoy throughout the year in different ways.

Summer is full of sunshine, long days and plenty of time to play. But the heat can feel unbearable and the long days can grow weary. Autumn is beautiful and full of rich colors, smells and foods. But it is also a time for harvesting and work, of back-to-school and the rut of every day life. Winter invites holidays and celebration and a time for peace and rest and stillness. And yet it can be icy, cold, hard and leave us feeling alone. And then there is always spring. The season that promises newness of life, rejuvenation, fresh starts, growth, and perfect weather to enjoy. Spring only lasts for a season, but every year promises to bring another spring with it.

It has felt very spring-like here in south Texas. I am enjoying wearing sandals again and no longer needing my winter coat. I love having my windows open and breathing in fresh air. I love seeing the sunshine, and very soon, wildflowers will start blooming.

I think for the majority of my adult life, I have lived for spring and spring only. I have often found myself waiting for the season I am currently in to be over so that I can move on to the next, where my circumstances feel good and make me happy and secure and content. And in doing that, I have missed where God has me and the beauty and life there is to be had in all things - even in circumstances I wish I could change.

It is my desire to be in every season that I find myself in and really live there. In the midst of hardship or of great joy - to be present, alive and full of hope, and longing.

And to write about some of what that looks like, here.