Longing vs. Having - I've been thinking so much lately about my life as an expat and the fact that I've lived in Germany now for nearly 8 years. In fact, August this year wi...
Tuesday, December 29, 2009
We had a wonderful time in Charleston.
What a romantic city.
The history, the sights, the stories...the SHOPPING! It was all amazing!
It was great to see and spend quality time with family...
We even met relatives from Canada Bryant hasn't seen since he was a baby.
We played on the beach, collected shells, and let Brooks put his toes in the surf.
And, we ate...boy did we eat. I have a love hate relationship with southern food. It truly is incredible. I could easily become a glutton if I lived down south. It would take a lot of discipline not to. We had the best bbq, collards, grits, oh the grits, and seafood I have ever had...and I am from Seattle! We only had one meal I would describe as "average," and the rest were very memorable.
It was all fantastic...until I got on my scale this morning. Dun dun dun... I have a little work to do, but it was worth it. Every rib that grazed my lips, every spoonful of stone ground grits, every helping of collards...worth every single one!
Brooks was an amazing traveller! He slept on every flight to and from Charleston, he smiled at everyone he met, and was an all around good boy, despite breaking a second tooth and a horrible bout with diaper rash, he was all smiles and laughter.
I love him. I love my husband. I have the best travel team.
My favorite morning by far started around 6:30 with Brooks up and ready to play. He was flopping between Bryant and I giving us the "peoples elbow" and pulling our hair to get us out of bed. It worked. We got up in time to grab some blankets and coffee and head up to the rooftop deck and watch the sunrise over the Atlantic ocean, huddled together as a family, and we followed that with family devotions and reading up on the Christmas story in Luke and Isaiah, and completed it all with a walk on the beach.
I have so many more stories...and a lot of pictures. Once I get caught up on the laundry (three cheers for my new washer and dryer!!!) and get my house back into some order, I will spend more time posting.
Until then...Happy New Year, Friends. May your cup overflow with blessings in 2010.
B and the boys
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I have been running around like a chicken with my head cut off (an expression my grandmother, who often butchered chickens used to say all of the time, and l think is pretty funny).
After today, I am officially done with my desk job. No more 8:30-5:30 m-f for me. My replacement is trained and ready to go, and I am packed and ready to fly out to Charleston, South Carolina to spend Christmas with Bryant's family.
I may be able to share some updates, but if not, have a very Merry Christmas, and remember, Jesus is truly the reason for the season...
I will be updating Twitter and Facebook... Follow me @rebeccajragan
All my best to you and yours.
Becs and the boys
Friday, December 4, 2009
Have you ever seen an ad in the paper that said text "THIS" to XXXXXXX for your chance to win "THIS?"
Maybe not because it is pretty new marketing.
But, I saw it in an ad for the Aspen Club and Spa, where Bryant and I both used to be members before we were married with children and could use our money in irresponsible ways.
It is a nice place.
In fact, my OB office is in the Aspen Club, so I still got to go in and see my friends who work there or are fortunate enough to have a membership.
But, once my preggo visits were over, so were my visits to the Club.
I got a text message announcing ME as the WINNER of a 1 YEAR MEMBERSHIP!!!
WHOO HOOO!!! I am clicking my heals over this one! I have signed up for probably 150+ contests in my lifetime, and have never won one...until today...that I can remember.
I WIN! I WIN! I WIN!
Yessssssssssssssssssssssss! (with a major first grade fist pump!)
PS, if there is a Lance Armstrong and/or Alex Rodriguez sighting, I will definitely tell you.
You know what I love about blogging?
I love reading blogs of old friends because I feel like we picked up where we left off so many years ago. Some are still in Washington, but some like me have relocated to another part of the country, but I still get to catch up with them on a regular basis.
But one of my favorite things about participating in the great blogosphere are the women I get to "visit" with every day. Mind you, I have never met them in person, but I have gotten to know them, or at least what they want to share about themselves through their online journals.
I get to peak into their fun adventures of motherhood, life and home businesses. These women are courageous...talented...creative...successful...wonderful women.
My favorite part of reading blogs is how the Lord has used so many women to speak to others, including me. There are some amazing Christian women out there offering insight into their walks and relationship with the Lord.
I love stumbling onto a new blog and reading through a few posts to find out the author loves the Lord....it makes me smile, and I am usually humbled by their posts, because without a doubt, there is a snippet of something in there I can tuck away and chew on for a bit.
Oh and not to mention the incredible talent these women have...Wow, the ideas!
PS, Jeanne at Bushel and a Peck has an Etsy shop that I have ordered from a couple of times! Love her work, and when you receive one of her handmade creations, it comes wrapped like an amazing present, which would make anyone smile.
Here are a few of my favs...(there are many more, some are also posted to the right, but I don't want to overwhelm you)...
Take a peak, and prepare yourself to be encouraged!
Thursday, December 3, 2009
I hail from a small rural town outside of Seattle.
Coffee is in my veins.
I love coffee.
It reminds me of my old home, the area I grew up...
I started working in coffee shops the summer before I turned 15.
My boyfriend's mom owned the coffee shop. It was so adorable and so is she.
Manitou Perk. She got the name from the coffee shop on 'Friends.' Her name is Nan. What a great woman.
Eventually I had to stop working there because of sports, school and a fizzled relationship. But, I will never forget that job, or the Tacoma police officers that sat at our counter every day for lunch. They were great, great men and women. In fact, when I got in my first car accident, several of them were the first to respond and it was nice to see a familiar face.
I started this post because I had a cup of coffee in my hand and it reminded me why I loved working in coffee shops through high school and college, but as I wrote the last paragraph, I reflected on those men and women who came in every day to eat and do their paperwork. We all felt a little safer with them at the counter...
And then I thought about the workers and patrons at Forza in Lakewood (just south of Tacoma) last Sunday. They probably felt a little safer with the police officers sitting at their favorite coffee shop.
My dad was a police officer for the city of Kent for nearly 30 years. He retired almost 9 years ago. My biggest brother Tait is a deputy sheriff for the largest county in the State of Washington. My dad's best friend is the chief of police in a small town in Eastern Washington. My sister in law's brother, Todd is an officer for Tacoma.
My dad went to work everyday... or night if he was working grave, and sometimes he was called to work on holidays or in the middle of the night, and most of the time (early on) he left in uniform. I didn't consider or maybe I didn't understand the risk he took as he walked out the front door everyday. It never crossed my mind that he might be enjoying a cup at Starbucks or Dunkin Doughnuts and be the target of someones hatred.
I am so thankful for my dad and his sacrifice and for my big brother, Tait and his call to serve, and I am so thankful that the Lord has protected them from serious injury and loss.
My heart is breaking and aching for the families who lost their parent's last Sunday, a day that probably started like any other day when their mom or dad left in uniform. A hug and a kiss, and an "I'll see you tonight." It hit so close to home.
So, here is a small but hopefully heard "thank you" to the men and women in uniform, and their families who truly risk their lives for our safety.
The walls in our bedroom are still bare, but the color is oh so beautiful. It turned out a little more green then blue, but I am ok with that, and it probably wouldn't matter if I wasn't because I don't think I could convince Bryant to help me repaint.
The frames arrived last night, but I am still waiting on the art. I really hope things come together as good in the room as it looks in my head. I ordered a large white silhouette of a chandelier for above the bed from an Etsy shop. It looks gorgeous online...I have high hopes.
Stay tuned for the results...
It all started for us last year.
Bryant and I were convicted about the number of gifts and "things" we were buying for each other and those in our families. It isn't easy in our society to stay out of the heavy wake of Christmas gift giving...
...to your family, to your friends, to your neighbors, to your colleagues, to your kid's friends, their teachers...
We were challenged to do something different.
I am going to be frank with you, my love language is gift giving. I love watching a friend open a present that I know will make them smile, or better yet tear up. The better the reaction, the more my heart swells (I am a sucker for buying custom handmade gifts on Etsy). But, is that what it is all about? It certainly isn't what Christmas is all about.
Last year Bryant and I decided to approach gift giving within our immediate family differently. We bought everyone a little something to touch and feel, use, enjoy or wear...and we spent the rest of their gift money on gifts for others in need.
My dad, brother, nephew Tait and Bryant's immediate family all contributed toward buying bikes for doctors in Zambia so they can get to their patients.
My mom and Amy Jo provided training for five midwives in Peru.
My nieces all bought dolls for girls in Afghanistan.
My oldest brother's family donated to March of Dimes.
We had so much fun hand selecting these gifts to/from each person.
We tried to pick things they could directly identify with.
In the past several months Bryant was challenged by some men in our church to read the book "The Hole in Our Gospel," authored by Richard Stearns, CEO of Worldvision (my copy is in my nightstand...I really need to read it) It moved him in ways he could not ignore. We knew we had to do more, and we are praying about what that will ultimately look like.
Fast forward to today.
I follow a few blogs of women I have never met, but who inspire me through their stories and walks with the Lord. I read Meg's blog today, and was so moved by the passion in her post. She lead me to a movement started by six women who met in the blogosphere, and are now working together to change lives...
...To provide WATER...
Project 320 is an amazing cause.
So, not to spoil any surprises...but if you are on our list this year, you might be getting and giving the gift of water...
A well to a village in Africa where mother's would otherwise walk MILES to provide a small amount of clean water for their families...
Lord, please bless those women today.
I challenge you to think about the gifts you are buying this Christmas. Don't get me wrong, I will be buying Bryant that certain "thing" he has been asking about for months, and I have things picked out for most of the people on our list, but in addition to the material gifts, they will also be giving the gifts to those in need.
If you are interested in reading about Project 320, and their cause. Click on the link, or the icon on the right.
Merry Christmas, Friends.