Monday, June 18, 2012

Making the Most...........a Real Legacy

Some things are just so difficult to write about and yet one must. Having Paul's dad here this weekend and watching him share his experience as a father up on stage was emotional. David is an amazing man. Having known him for 18 years, I've really been able to peel back the many layers and unpack the person that he is. It takes years and years to really know someone and then you might still feel like you don't know him. It's incredible to watch someone grow and strengthen and yet still dip down into the low valley and then come back up a better man. I was 20 years old when Paul and I married! I was 20 years packed full of glee, extrovert ideas, immaturity, spontaneous combusiton, and more immaturity! One of my first experiences with my father-in-law was right after Paul and I met. We went to home to meet them and were taken out to dinner at a Mexican restaruant, my least favorite food. Just for fun, I thought I'd revisit my teenage pranks and told the waiter that it was David's bday and he'd love to be sung to. Of course the waiters and staff all dashed over singing in happy birthday in their spanish accent and plunged a giant sombrero on top of little David's head and took his picture. To say that he was slightly embarrassed and ticked off might be an understatement. At that time he worked for the government in D.C. and was a pretty serious and straight forward man who liked his shirts double starched and tucked in.............not the type to play pranks on. And that's how our beautiful relationship started and has bloomed since!

We actually laugh about that past moment and the picture is framed and in David's home. He has since retired from government work and paints landscape pictures in Abingdon, Virginia, volunteers at the men's prison, teaches Sunday school at church, and helps with a host of other charitable activities. Not to mention, he's the best grandpa in the world. As you can see in the picture above, he wore the goggles that the kids asked him to wear, did cannon balls with them, and gave horsey rides in the pool. I even think he survived a eye poke by one of the girls. He loves my kids and we love him! He's more than a 'father-law-law' to me.........he is my dad too! I'm blessed to have a few dads in my life and he's one of them. Looking forward to many years ahead and many bday pranks too! To this day, he still tries to repay me for that special moment in the Mexican restaurant.

Girls Night Out.......Kennedy

Sometimes I'll say to Paul, "This is a therapy moment", meaning that whatever I"m doing at that moment will cause my kids to go to therapy one day. We laugh about it cause who really knows?!!! You know what I'm talking about; those desperate moments when you're exhausted and worn out from hearing the same question repeated or watching the same action take place and you've asked the kids not to do so. I can remember KK mentioning how thirsty she was and I was so tired of all the requests and demands that day that I stopped, stared at her and said "just drink your spit." Yep, she might be in therapy for that one! ha! So, because we already know that we are gonna make mistakes, we are also trying to create some meaningful  and intentional memories too! We have to balance it out, right?!!

Once a year, I take each girl out for the night. We get a hotel, eat dinner out, and just hang together..........just the two of us. We just started doing so this year. I read a book last summer about rites of passages in our kids lives and it challenged me to be more strategic in our kids lives with special moments and special birthdays. So, it was finally KK's turn to go out. She is so opposite of Mia. Mia was packed 3 days before we left with a suitcase full of stuffed animals, baby clothes, and her personal belongings. KK, on the other hand, barely filled a purse with some toys and  little trinkets. Before we left I asked "do you have your toothbrush? pjs? baithing suit?" All were answered with "oh, yeah!" so funny! So we headed out to lunch at a gluten free cafe called Pomegranite and enjoyed desserts, hummus, and smoothies. We then checked into our hotel room and KK and I played I Spy for about 40 minutes. go figure! Next, we headed to an outdoor mall and browsed around in Charming Charlies for 45 minutes and successfully came out iwth a watch and poodle purse. Next stop was Barnes and Nobles, where we read for over an hour and half. KK read books and I copied down recipes from Bare Contessa cook books; even took a few pictures of some recipes. I thought  I was gonna be escorted out! We then grabbed dinner from the Paradise Bakery and headed to hotel to eat and swim. We ended the night with reading our bibles and snuggling in the queen size bed. The evening was priceless and well worth the time and small amount of money spent!

Bottom intentional with your time. Plan out your time with your kids. If you don't, everyone else will and your time will be cut short. Yes, I'm sure my girls have many 'therapy' moments due to my shortcomings but I"m hoping they remember the personal and meaningful moments too!

A New Beginning, but not the End

 I had the strangest dream last night. I was at the girls' elementary school and I was crying cause I missed being there. Crazy! My mind is racing over the decision we made last month. We spent about 8 months talking and praying about where to send the girls to school next year. We were at a wonderful school this past year but felt like the girls maybe needed a little more push and didn't want them filtering into the selected Chandler jr high in the next few years. So we did a crazy thing; we switched them to another NEW school for next year. It is K-8th and uniform and seems it might be a better fit. But who really knows, right? As parents, we try and make the best choices but we are always 2nd guessing ourselves. Since we LOVE the families and friends from this years past school, we had a little p-a-r-t-y on the last day of school. It was a surprise and I didn't tell the girls until 2 days before the party! Friends from both classes came over right after school to swim, eat snack, have dinner and watch a movie. The other moms and I sat and talked while our kids screamed with joy, giggled, shared inner tubes, and cannon balled into the middle of the deep blue refreshment. We are not saying goodbye cause we are gonna keep in touch and continue to have dinner, pool parties, and movie nights together. I love my girls' friends, as if they were my own. Mia is friends with triplets and we love having ALL 3 of them over and KK is connected with a sweet group of girls whose moms all know each other. Just the other day, KK said "Mom, do you think Caitlyn and I will be friends in highschool, cause I hope so." Of course I couldn't resist texting Caitlyn's mom to share the cute saying. We both agreed that we hoped our girls stayed friends forever.

What does all this mean to me? I guess I finally feel like we are putting in roots somewhere and growing into a integral part of our community. I'm excited to see the road we travel down. Thank you God for always looking out for us. I am taking the journey one step at a time and soaking up the relationships that God keeps putting into our path. I love it!

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Huge Investment

Investments have seen some tough waters in the past 8 years. Many people have lost their stocks and/or retirement. I don't usually ponder much about such things; I leave that to Paul. However, I've been reading through the New Testament this month and investments have been sticking to my brain like bubble gum. The investments that I'm speaking of are not your normal intake. I guess I'm in that place in life where I'm taking inventory and wondering if the life I'm living will reap any value when I die. What legacy is the Alexander Family leaving behind? I've been slapped in the face with a huge reality! People(more importantly God) are not gonna remember me because I had a beautifully decorated house, intelligent/polite children, an amazing body, walls and walls of my kids awards, amazing kitchen appliances, 53 pairs of stylish shoes, hipster wardrobes, booming career, or care if I was the PTA president at school. I've met so many people in my short life span and it's always interesting to learn what they value. For some it's the initials that follow their name or high status of their husband's career. For others it may be the education and scholarships that their kids received or the amazing husbands (meaning the man makes a lot of money) that their daughters married. All of those accomplishments are great!

I guess I'm just wondering if that is the end-all for me? What if there is more to life than that? As Christians, we say there IS more to life but all we talk about are the materials or accomplishments we have gained or are missing out on. If I say that there is more to life than the material things in front of me, then I must live it right?

As I'm reading the gospels this week, I'm noticing many reoccurring themes. Jesus served people adn then he served some more people, and then he served some more people. He thought of others first and then continued to think of others frist. He reminded his close friends to think of others first and he demonstrated this by serving them too. Our family statement in our house is "Love people and Love God". Loving people is messy and far from convenient. This love is all poured into serving. I feel like I have found myself categorizing this part of my life. I'll say things like "I can help out...........if it fits into my schedule, if I have the energy, if I have lots of extra funds at end of the month (after I drink 20 Starbuck drinks), if all the stars align, if, if , if, if.............." I remind myself that it's never desirable to drive someone to the airport at 4am, mow my neighbor's grass in 100degree weather, take a meal to someone when I don't feel like cooking, take a friend out for lunch when it's my last $20, help someone move into a new location on my free day......however, each time I do these things, I might be making some eternal investments. I might have the opportunity to share Christ one day with this person. I might be able to show this person what 'real' love looks like, real friendship looks like. I probably won't receive any accolades or feel successful now, but who knows how much my time/money really touched this person. It's an investment! I want to make eternal investments with my kids. I want to help build/fund wells in Africa, provide food for shelters here in America, work with the undesirable people in our city, and love/serve everyone that God puts in my path. Just a thought but one worth considering. Investments..............