Monday, August 27, 2007

The First First Day of School

Remember the first day of school? I loved it. I was always excited to return to the social structure and the extra curricular activities. Class attendance was simply the toll I paid to participate in the rest of it. I never struggled with shyness or apprehension about new experiences. I relished them.

This first day of school is different. Hutton and Reagan return to Midland Christian. Lee Ann begins a new job as school nurse at MCS. But the joy of these new beginnings has in many ways been stolen. Connor isn't starting the 8th grade today. He's not going to football practice or charming his teachers or goofing around with his buddies.

With each new first this year comes an acute awareness of what, and more specifically whom is missing.

Bailey embarks on her college journey today too. I know what it's like to be the little brother watching older siblings go off to college. I know how excited Connor was for Bailey and how proud he was of her. I also imagine that even those positive memories sting today.

One of the highlights of my freshman year was the birth of my sisters oldest child. That's right, that little girl asleep on that good looking young man's chest is now in college. Bailey was born in January of my first year of school.

I'm thankful today for the Midland Christian and ACU communities. A difficult first first day will be made easier because my family is surrounded by loving, praying people.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

On the Move (Family Update)

My family enjoyed a trip to San Antonio last week where I was invited to lead a Wednesday night praise service at the Northside Church of Christ. This was our third summer to be with that church. They always welcome us warmly and we enjoy playing in San Antonio.

Stephanie and Emily flew from San Antonio to Idaho to attend Steph's grandmothers funeral. Rainey and I drove home with a short stop in Austin to see some of our favorite friends. We are all back at home now and gearing up for school. Steph starts teaching at TCU today.

My parents and niece Caitlin returned yesterday from two weeks in China. They worked with orphans, helped with medical treatment and saved a bit of time for some sight seeing.

Last week my brother J. and his wife Laurie took their older daughter Jordan back to Harding where she is beginning her second year.

And Sunday Tod and Lee Ann dropped of Bailey at ACU to begin her freshman year. Of all these travels, the short trip from Midland to Abilene may have been the most difficult. I'll probably write more about that later.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Get Out of That Chair and Walk!

We had dinner with Lee Ann and Bailey last night. It was so good to be with them. Their strength and honesty teach, encourage and convict me. We are praising God today as Bailey had a great doctor visit in Dallas and is out of her wheelchair. Please see the note from my brother-in-law below.

Dear friends and family,
I just watched Bailey walk down the hall to our hotel room. It was wonderful. I don't have long, but I wanted to update after visiting Dr. (super)Starr. All the news is great. She has healed wonderfully and is now released to do whatever she feels like doing. We are thrilled. Lee Ann cried. Bailey feels really tall. We are headed to the mall to buy college clothes. Bailey can't wait to try on clothes like a normal person. This is a good day. Grace. Tod

Thank you all for your many prayers! It is a good day.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Happy Birthday Rainey!

Six years ago today God blessed Stephanie and me with our sweet baby girl Rainey. Her beauty astounds me. Her creativity inspires me. Her love overwhelms me and spurs me on to be a better person.

We celebrated last Saturday with a luau and swim party. As you can see, little sister Emily really got into the theme. Big Daddy and Gran came down from Idaho for the big event. And this morning Rainey received a happy birthday call from China where Papa and Rose and cousin Caitlin are spending a couple of weeks.

Before they left for China, Papa cleaned our teeth and checked out Rainey's six year molars that are coming in right on time.
It's been a difficult summer to say the least, but I'm learning to be more thankful, hold my sweet girls tighter and celebrate every occasion with more joy and less presumption about the future. I love you Sweet Baby Girl! SBB forever!
Update: My sister and her family returned safely from their cruise. They had some fun and some difficult moments, but she said they were glad that they went. Please continue to keep them in your prayers as this Fall brings many firsts without Connor: football season, school, etc. And a huge first as their oldest, Bailey heads to ACU to begin college. If all goes well, Bailey will be out of her wheelchair sometime next week.