"You can make anything by writing."

-- C. S. Lewis

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Ryley Starts 1st Grade

Ryley started 1st grade last week. She's the cutest 1st grader we know. :-)

She and her best friend talk on the phone every night to coordinate their outfits. I think they really believe that people will overlook their different skin and hair color and think they're twins! Silly girls. :-)

When going through my camera, I discovered this random video that Ryley took last weekend. I didn't even know she had done it! Anyhow, this perfectly describes our life:

And the heart of life is good.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Wisdom from Ryley

"All the days in the world are waiting for their turn.
And they never get another turn.

-- Ryley

Truer words have never been spoken. Sometimes I feel like I am raising a philosopher. :-)

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Things I've Learned at Work

1. People in the world (specifically Denver, apparently) are cranky, uptight, inflexible, irrational, self-centered, and snide.

2. When dealing with such people, my degree in public relations has served me well.

3. My relationship with Jesus has served me even better. He helps me to be kind and understanding. He reminds me that He knows (and loves) everybody.

4. People need Jesus. Really.

5. There are only so many hours in the day, and I am just one person.

6. Things can change drastically in a matter of weeks. Leahh and I sometimes reminisce about the good ol’ days (April and May!), when we shared an office and listened to MGMT and Sufjan Stevens on Pandora all day long… when we had time to think and actually get our work done… when we had the office all to ourselves. Now we regularly have 15 people in our office at any given time… lots of cigarette smoke drifting in… lots of noise and commotion and chaos and phone calls and paperwork and files and sticky notes and bins on the wall and to-do lists and oh, I lost my to-do list in this stack on my desk, so let’s start a new one, and…

7. It’s hard to be a supervisor. This is new territory for me. In a matter of three weeks, I suddenly have five people working directly under me. All of a sudden, I have to think about how my decisions and attitudes affect other people. I know what it's like to have my day ruined because of something my boss said, so I ask the Lord for grace and wisdom in every situation.

8. I like having my own office. It’s nice to shut the door now and then. :-)

9. Delegate, delegate, delegate. This week was the first in three years that I didn’t write “take out the trash” on my Friday to-do list. It magically happens on its own. My trash (and that of everyone else in the office) is emptied nearly every day by wonderful people who take initiative.

10. Sending an employee on a Starbucks run once a day boosts morale and keeps everyone sane.

11. Working with people in their late teens and early 20s is fun. We laugh a lot. The atmosphere keeps me feeling young.

12. God is my source. Nobody else. I am grateful for my job and the opportunity to serve God wherever He places me...even when I don't completely understand His timing and placement. :-)

Monday, August 10, 2009

Ryley Stories, Back By Popular Demand

I have been told that "Ryley Stories" are the highlight of my blog and that they need to become more frequent. Apparently, my own chatter is not nearly as interesting as that of my little girl!

We love our daughter deeply and (of course) think she's clever, smart, and the most beautiful thing God has ever created. But truthfully, there are stretches of time when she says nothing of real significance (or nothing at least that anybody other than Ryan and I would care about). Or maybe she says things when I'm not in a blogging mode, so they fall along the wayside.

Either way, the faithful fans of "Ryley Stories" are hitting the jackpot tonight.


Ryley has so many questions about life, and the wheels are always turning in her mind. She has become even more fervent in her prayers for both us and her Auntie Aly to "get babies in our tummies," and she is completely mystified by the miracle of it, as she should be.

So earlier today, she randomly and thoughtfully said, "Girls are the start of life."

"What?" I asked, not sure I was understanding her musings.

"Ladies -- not men -- are the only ones who have babies in their tummies. So they start people's lives."

"It's pretty special to be a girl, isn't it?" I asked her. "I feel special that I was a part of starting your life."

"Yes," she answered. "Only older, married girls are special enough to have babies and start lives."

Glad she got the married part in there! ;-)


And this evening, at bedtime, we were reading "Caps for Sale," a very old book that is on Ryley's recommended summer reading list. We got to the end, and as usual, there were a couple of blank pages between the last page of the story and the author's bio on the inside book jacket. I clasped the book shut and announced it was time for pajamas, but Ryley grabbed it back.

"Wait a minute," she said. "That lady..." (she points to the picture of the author) "...is lazy. She left these pages blank. On those pages, she could have drawn pictures of all the man's customers!!!!"

Thursday, August 6, 2009

"I've Had Lots of Adventures I Need to Write About..."

Those are Ryley's words -- not mine. :-) She said it so randomly as we climbed into the car to begin our journey home from Oklahoma. Vacations, no matter how short, are so tremendously good for the soul. And the good thing about visiting my family is that we always manage to fill our days to the brim with so many activities and memories that, at the end of each day, we think back and say, "Wow....Was that really THIS morning that we did that? It seems like days ago."

Because of scheduling issues at his job, Ryan had to work until 10 p.m. Thursday evening. And because things have been so crazy for me, too, I brought Ryley back to my office and worked until 8:30 p.m. Six hours later, around 2:45 a.m. on Friday, we packed a sleepy Ryley into the Hyundai and pulled out of town. We even managed to set off our car alarm (which we didn't even know we had) and wake up the entire neighborhood in the process.

We witnessed the most beautiful sunrise in Colby, Kansas.

We made it to Tulsa in 11 hours, spent 30 minutes at my parents' house (where they practiced whistling on the deck),

then rode with them another three and a half hours down to my brother and sister-in-law's house in Dallas by dinnertime. Thank goodness Ryley is such a GREAT traveler.

It was a long day, but at last, Ryley and dear Betsy are reunited! I think Ryley prefers Betsy (just a tad) over her own puppy Juliet. Betsy is cuddlier and calmer than her wee canine cousin!!!

On Friday it had been one year exactly since Justin and Alyson's baby boy Jonathan was stillborn. So on Saturday morning, we headed to the cemetery where Jonathan is buried. We sang, prayed, and released balloons in my sweet nephew's memory. It has been a rough year. But God restores and redeems and makes good out of what the devil intended for evil. And we praise Him for that. We sang "His Mercies Are New Every Morning." It was a really special time together as a family.

After the cemetery, Justin treated us to our first experience at Ikea, which we likened to Disney World. We also spent way too much money on super cool gadgets and decor.

That evening, we had a wonderful dinner over at the home of my family's long-time friends, the Bordens. It was wonderful to see everyone, and many people were meeting Ryley for the first time. All through the weekend, Ryley was on her best behavior when it counted most. We were so proud of her!!! She only had melt-downs around my parents and us. :-)

On Sunday, Alyson and her mom were so sweet to throw a little belated birthday party for Ryley. It was so cute!!! My parents gave Ryley her first Bible, so that was super special. We had BBQ and swam.

Then, because we are hardly ever all together, we went to Target and bought matching outfits for a super fun photo session. Can you tell how hot and sweaty we are?? :-)

Much too soon, it was time to pack up, say goodbye, and head back to T-Town.

The next morning, at my parents' house, we fished in the pond in their backyard.

In the afternoon, we took Ryley to a water play area along the Arkansas River. She played with her friends Reilly and Decklan (she thinks it's hilarious to play with "Reilly"!).

In the evening, we fished again, and this time the Magic Barbie Fishing Pole came through for her!!

Then, after Ryley was in bed, a few of us decided to drop by the Creek Nation Casino, which is absolutely huge. I got in trouble with the security guard for taking this photo. :-) It was a very interesting experience, though!!

Okay, so now that I realize how insanely huge this post is and how unlikely it is that anybody will actually read it, we can play a little game called "Count How Many Times Ryley Changed Clothes in Five Days." Ah, life with a six-year-old girl. :-)

We returned safely home on Tuesday evening, and our return to work on Wednesday was a little bit of a shock to the system for both of us. It's nice to be needed, but sometimes it's not nice to be needed, you know? I like being indispensible for the pride I feel in my abilities. But it would be nice to just have the option of walking away for a few days and not feeling guilty or like they're going to fall apart when I'm gone.

And, get this: Our lovely puppy Juliet, who was supposed to be spayed while we were gone? She suddenly went into "heat" for the first time, and the spaying had to be canceled. And I had to go out and buy her these:

And I also had to figure out how to get them on her. Who knew that such a thing existed? I, who fought tooth and nail against getting a dog in the first place, certainly had no clue. Where were these when we were potty-training her? They could have been helpful. And of course, Ryley runs around the backyard yelling, "Mommy, Juliet needs her diaper changed! She just peed in it!"

Oh, joy. Only one more day until the weekend. :-)