Thursday, July 30, 2009

ARGH and not so argh...

I am horrible at correspondence. Some of you know that. HORRIBLE. Which means that I can guarantee (and have already proven thus far) that I will be bad at blogging, which is really just a means of mass correspondence. My biggest roadblock is not knowing what to write. I feel like I have to entertain, and quite frankly, my life doesn't seem all that entertaining. Some people don't find it amusing to read a 16 page blog about how my daughter smeared poop in her bed yet again. I apologize for my lack of entertainment ability (and vocabulary, apparently), and also for the fact that I will have to revert to stories of poop art.

Everytime I talk to one of my friends, they ask me what's new. "Nothing. Nothing is new." is usually my response. Not entirely true, though. Since moving to Tulsa, Chad and I have hit more rough patches than we know what to do with, thanks to the level of stress in our new life here. He is working sometimes as much as 65 hours a week, although not lately, and until recently, I had no income. I did recently start getting unemployment, so we do have a little more income. With our fights have come an unexpected blessing. In fighting, we have learned to be more tolerant of the little annoying things, and we have learned to communicate better in order to avoid those nasty blow ups. I have a really bad tendency to tell what I'll call "mistruths" in order to keep out of trouble, and I think that I have gotten better about not doing that.

Thanks to financial burdens and a deep desire to make friends in our new place, we have put more effort into finding a church home than ever before, as previously noted. I'm not going to lie, part of my motivation for finding a church is that I know that there I will also find friends. Not my only motivation, but it is certainly there. And good news! We think we may have found a church home. Go to if you want to check it out. It is a mega church. Chapel, 2 story sanctuary, additional worship space for a contemporary service, HUGE children's area, a bunch of classroom learning options, and about a million members (not really, but it certainly seems like it on Sunday morning when you're looking for a parking space). I grew up in a smallish town, in a small church, and this church is soo big. But, the message last Sunday was great, the music was great, and as luck (ok, definitely God) would have it, there is an intensive 34-week Bible study starting in a couple of weeks. What do you know...Chad and I have both always wanted to really study the Bible. Our orientation was on Tuesday, and we start the actual class on the 11th. Please pray for good study habits!

And of course, the final thing that is ALWAYS new is that Hailey is growing and learning every day. I am so proud to take her places, she is well behaved, she's smart, and let's face it, I'm a little vain-she's also very pretty. She repeats everything we say, knows who mommy and daddy are, and she's starting to run (sometimes I long for those days of lugging her around in a carrier, I'll admit it). Parenthood is hard, and being a stay at home mom is even harder. I am so grateful that this opportunity has been provided for me to stay at home and be a bigger part of her development, but I gotta say it, its tough sometimes. (Not just the cooking and cleaning, either!)

Anyway, so that's it...not terribly entertaining, but as we say around here, "that's the poop!" (Ok, no one says that, but I bet you chuckled!!)

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Its potty time!

Just a quick note, for those of you who did not receive a text or see it on my facebook page, Hailey went pee pee in the potty yesterday. For the very first time. She is 17 months old, and this was a total fluke. I think that I just caught her at the right time. We tried going every 20 minutes today and sitting on the potty (we just got her a training potty), to no avail. In fact, I sat her on the big potty this afternoon before her bath and she did nothing. And then promptly peed in the bathtub. Oh, well. We'll keep at it, naturally....just wanted to give a quick update on our latest milestone!!!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Accidental Moments

I talked in my first blog about our search for a church home. I want to elaborate on that a little bit. The first thing that I would like to do is explain a little bit about my faith journey up to this point.

I grew up in a fairly small town, in a fairly small church. I was baptised as an infant at my grandparents' church in Ft Worth, and around the time I was 3, my mom found the place that would become my church home-Grace Presbyterian Church. After my sister was born, my mom quit work and became VERY involved in our church life. My closest friends (aside from Erin and Stacie) were church friends. By the time I was in sixth grade, it seemed that my faith was absolutely cemented in place. Our youth group actually won an award from an organization in town for service, and I was one of the kids selected to miss school (woohoo!) to go accept the award on our behalf. In seventh grade, I and a couple of my girlfriends joined the church choir. I babysat church memebers' children, worked in the church nursery (back in the days before you were required to know CPR and stuff...). Needless to say, church was a HUGE part of my life.

High school hit, and with it, I got much busier and didn't have much time for church. It didn't help that the youth leader we'd had while I was in junior high left for another church, and we'd had a string of unsuccessful youth leaders. Some weren't cut out for the job, others just weren't cut out for us. We were a group of kids who had literally known each other all of our lives, and acted more like siblings than like church friends. Very few kids came into or left our group, mostly because of the town we lived in. It probably wasn't an easy dynamic for a strange adult to walk into. By the time I turned 16, my mom sort of left the decision up to me whether to attend Sunday services or not. And of course, I mostly chose not.

I graduated from high school, still probably more involved in church than a lot of kids, but not as involved as I had been. Our youth group had wanted for many years to go on some sort of trip. We had a groupd of parents who didn't want to send us on a ski trip, despite many years of trying, and we finally hit on a mission trip. We weren't ready to head off to a foreign country, besides, there is plenty of mission work to be done here in the US. So off to Alabama we went. Having family in AL, I had been there plenty of times and knew what to expect. Hot, humid, pretty much the same as TX. The trip was fun, and I do think that I got some spiritual food out of it, but I don't think it was until the trip to Colorado (also a state where we have family-the joke was that the McLoud kids had family everywhere) that the mission trip finally really made an impact. I had gone off to college by then, lived in the dorms, joined a sorority, and not even attempted to find a church home in my new town.

Needless to say, by the time that I got to this trip (not sure if it was #2 or 3), I was carrying some unnecessary burdens. Its TOUGH to be a sinner and not give it up to someone else.....That year, something touched me, and I learned to let go. For then. I still don't do it well. I kind of don't think that anyone does. Not only do I hang onto the sins, I hang on to all of my burdens-financial, parental, et cetera....

Fast forward several years, I met my future husband, still lived in the same town, and still hadn't found a church. For one thing, the church I grew up in was (is) really hard to let go of. Its taken a long time for me to realize that I am not likely to find another church like it, and that the best I can do is find a church that provides me with what I need to survive in a world that seems to be more and more of a mess each day. That, and I need to find a church that will provide Hailey with the kind of Christian experience that she needs. I hope that we will find a place that will nurture her as Grace nurtured me and my siblings.

So in the 17 months since Hailey was born, we have been much more active in searching for a church. We found a church that worked for both of us in Dallas, then we moved. To Tulsa. There have been several churches that seem like they are almost a match since we moved here, but unfortunately since we moved at the end of the school year, we caught Easter, then Memorial day, then VBS, 4th of July, Senior Sundays (not in that order)-in short, there have been a lot of Sundays that were not "normal" Sundays, meaning we did not get to hear a regular sermon. So we keep trying. And keep praying. And ask our friends and family to do the same.

Finally, as this has gone on WAAAAY longer than I intended to, I want to get to the title of this. I believe that there are "accidental moments" in our lives that seem to be inconvenient until later. I had one of those today, and I feel like I need to share it. Hailey and I went to meet Chad for lunch and ended up at a restaurant that was farther away than we usually travel during his hour lunch break. He was fretting on the way back that he was going to be late. En route, we passed a fire truck going the opposite direction. Not that unusual, there is a fire station right by the restaurant that he words for. After we dropped him off, Hailey and I got on the highway, and before I traveled a mile saw brake lights. There was an accident on the highway. No one seemed to be badly injured, but a car had rolled across the entire width of the highway-all 4 lanes. There was debris scattered across the road, and only one lane was getting through as a result. The accident was extremely recent, because the back up was only about 5 cars deep (trust me, I know-I used to drive 635 in Dallas every day).

The moral of the story is this-sometimes God says to all of us, "Hey!! I'm here!! Pay attention!!!" I know that only one paragraph of this blog was about such an incident, but I felt like I needed to share the rest too. There is NO such thing as a coincidence, only divine interventions. PAY ATTENTION....He may be talking to you.

Thank you, God, for watching over me and my little angel today and keeping us out of harm's way. Please let this experience be a lesson for someone else who may be struggling to find You as I have struggled over the years to keep You in my sight. In YOUR name, Amen.

Monday, July 20, 2009

This is all new to me....

Ok, so a lot of my friends have blogs. I read them and am entertained by them, sometimes more than others. Some of them are inspiring. And of course, I aspire to be one of those entertaining, inspiring bloggers that people want to subscribe to and read every time I update it. In truth, I suspect that I will blog for a while and then slowly drift away from the habit. So bear with me. I'm trying.

My mother saw a "Dr. Phil" episode where some stay at home mom starting blogging just for herself and it turned into a business. A very successful business, to the point that her husband had to quit his job. I don't expect that for myself. (Although admittedly, it would be nice.) As I explained to my mom, I am simply not that kind of writer. Research on someone else's work is more my style. I'm not being pessimistic, that's simply how it is.

In this blog, I think that I want to write about things that interest me. People that interest me. And I think I will work at trying to share a little bit of myself and my life as well. Who knows, maybe I am inspiring....

So here goes nothing. For those of you who don't know, I am a stay at home mom, living in Tulsa, OK. Recently transplanted from Dallas (where I lived for 10 years), I am adjusting both to life as a SAHM, and life in a new town. Chad and I are finally seriously pursuing a church home, which so far has a been a frustrating, enlightening, and strangely liberating process. More on that later. I have been hunting for a job for the last 5 months, and have had almost no bites. Apparently moving during a recession was NOT the best plan, at least not without lining up a job first. Too late now!! Before we moved, I was working in a call center, at a job that paid the bills, but wasn't really something I enjoyed. In Tulsa, that job looks better and better everyday. I have to remind myself that everything looks better in hindsight. My plan was that I was going to seek an alternative teaching certificate. I have a BA in English, teaching seemed like a pretty good plan, and Texas is desperate for teachers. Obviously, seeking certification for Texas while living in Oklahoma was not the best plan, so last week I sent out my application to be alternatively certified in Oklahoma. Now we spend the next 6 weeks praying. In the meantime, if you're reading this and you know anyone who's hiring in Tulsa, let me know!!!

On to more exciting things, Chad and I have a 17 month old daughter (hence the SAHM part...), Hailey. She is a blessing, a joy, a terror, a short, everything and more that I could have hoped for in a child. Even the pain and terror part. Today I sneezed-she said, "Bless you." Watching her grow and learn, especially in this last 5 months, has been nothing short of amazing. To those of you who don't believe there is a God, I think that you should watch your own beautiful child grow and learn from an infant totally dependent upon you, to a person who is learning to do more and more for herself every day.

On that note, I am going to say goodbye for now. Please don't hold my run-on sentences and English degree against me....its enough that I will try to write this blog without a single smiley face. Not even one. I'm going to try to make my words smile for me. Thanks for reading, more on the hunt for a church home next time...