Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Birthday to Remember

On January 22, 2011 Ruby turned FIVE!!! She has been talking about this birthday since she turned four, as if that one didn't even matter she just jumped right ahead. None of my guilt-laden comments about growing up too fast or enjoying this year could keep her from talking about it- a lot! So I decided this was the year to start the business of a real party. We started off the day with the new (and copied) tradition of a number pancake and lots of presents.

The clinic I work for was given a large, open kitchen space to use for healthy cooking classes and such. It was donated to them after ABC used it to film the show Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution, chronicling his efforts to make Huntington healthy after it was found to be the most obese city. It is such a cool space.
Given Ruby's love of cooking, limited options, and snowy weather- I thought a cooking party would be a hoot! And boy was it! We started by decorating chef's caps and donning aprons. Then they moved to making pizza's (biscuit dough they rolled out then put on their own toppings). They then assembled fruit kabobs and mixed toppings of their choice into cookie dough (sprinkles, by far, were the favorite). They ate their pizza and fruit while the cookies baked, enjoyed cake, opened presents, and just ran around with each other, literally. The moms stayed to be the "sous chef" for their child and it was so much fun getting to know both the kids and the moms from Ruby's preschool class. Their were 11 kids & 11 parents with me, Jason, Linc, and Ruby!

I love how kids at this age crowd the person opening presents, they are just so excited to share what everyone got that special friend! Aren't those girls the cutest!

The apron birthday cake. Frankly, I was doing a lil bit of squealing the night before as I was able to smooth the frosting. But, then I copped out of writing the words and used the licorice to put a big 5 on the front instead, the kids didn't seem to care. It made me feel so close to my mom, even though she was 3 states away as I stayed up late at night preparing and then making a cake. She does such a great job making our birthdays special, and I have memories of late night noises the nights before my own birthdays! She also used to decorate cakes for extra money, and hers were by far better than mine, but I felt like the pro that she is nonetheless! And I never understood how she thought it was fun or worthwhile to stay up late or sacrifice your sanity, but I get it now. I know I came away from those birthdays feeling truly special, and now that is what gives me such pleasure, Ruby's obvious delight!

Our attempts at a group shot at the end of the festivities- so precious I can't even stand it! And thanks to my friend, Jessi, for thinking to grab my camera so I had some pictures of the actual event as I ran around like a crazy restaurateur! And she even remembered to make me get a picture with me in it, something that never happens! Ruby was too busy eating cake (or should I say frosting) to care about keeping her eyes open, but for some reason she did give a thumbs up. I cannot believe my little girl is a big girl. Kindergarten is looming, and with that I know that time will move even faster, though I can't imagine it being faster than the past 5 years! There is not a day that goes by that I don't marvel that I have this girl in my life. Even on the bad days, she has a joy that comes from deep within. She is kind, even when not treated with kindness. She is patient, even when being tried by a certain little man. She takes great pleasure in the enjoyment of others and wants everyone to join in on hers! I am watching her develop into quite the friend, the sister, and the daughter I never dreamed I would have. Sista- I couldn't love you more! Happy 5th Birthday!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Good bye RUF

So it's the first week of the new year and I normally feel exhilarated to start afresh. Yet, this year I found myself hesitant, to say the least. There are a lot of unknowns, a lot of realities to face with this change of the calender. You see, as of January 1, Reformed University Fellowship (RUF) at Marshall is no more. A couple of months ago, the decision had to be made to close the doors, the money has run out. And with that, my husband is out of a job. This reality is more than enough to come to grips with, but of course, the many other realities that accompany it are hitting me this New Year's week. Hitting me the hardest this week is the reality that we are no longer a part of RUF. It truly was a dream come true when we became part of this community. We have loved ministering to college students. The opportunity for Jason to go to training with some of the best pastors in the world made me jealous twice a year, but I got to go to Wives' retreat and to conferences with students where I got to sit under these same pastors' teaching, become good friends with their better halves (the men would all say this is true), and be ministered to by them all. We thought we would be doing this part of ministry for many more years. God has different plans for us, we just don't know what those plans are yet. The other reality is that in another 10 days I go back to work full time. Please don't hear me wrong, it is a true provision of God that I have been working part time at a clinic that is willing to give me more hours and that God guided me into a career that enables us to not have to work numerous minimum wage paying jobs to make ends meet. Jason will be at home with the kids, sending out resumes, praying for a new call. For this, God has made me grateful, truly, though at first I was just flat out frustrated that I was having to be breadwinner again. But the reality is, I am not sure I can keep this perspective every day when I come home exhausted and burdened by the needs of my patients. Sometimes I feel like I don't have enough left to give my family when I come home. I hate that this is true of me, and therein presents another struggle. The reality of my limitations. There are going to be a lot of things I just won't be able to do, at least for now. The reality of the unknowns is already getting to me. Then, to top it all of, the reality of my need for Jesus. This is, at least, a really good reality, but it also means seeing the depth of my need. My need to learn what it means to hope only in Him, not the job, the new house, the new call even. My need to really cling to Him when all I want to do is find a way myself. My need to pray more, really pray. My need to stop looking at the people and things around me to tell me all will be well. My need to believe that His plans for me do give me a future and a hope. What looks bad is intended for good to me, to my family, to the students that attended RUF and are now struggling with this loss in their own rite. I want to learn to rejoice IN the sufferings, not despite them- "we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame" Romans 5:3-4 What peace that gives me, knowing He will accomplish it and no matter how well or how poorly I "handle" this His love and His plan for me cannot be altered, it does not depend on me. We covet your prayers and are so thankful for the encouragement so many of you have given.