Monday, October 15, 2012

Love my Tay Tay!!

I am pretty sure that the first time I laid eyes on Taylor, she was screaming.  I'm pretty sure Ross and I walked in right as my dad had attempted to cut her teeny little fingernails and had sliced some skin... oops.

Way to go daddy.  Sweet Tay was a couple of hours old and now she's bleeding.

When I think of Taylor as a baby I immediately think of her vibrant blue eyes and her bald little head.

Yup, as much hair as Shelby had... Taylor had none.

That's okay though, when looking at the picture wall of me, my dad, Ross, and my stepmom Noel... we were all kinda bald.  Taylor fit right in.

Taylor was all kinds of fun.  If I wanted to play dress-up, Taylor was my girl.

My sweet parents have all KINDS of pictures of the two of us dressed up.  Even feather boas...

Tay also loved stories.  My mimi loved to tell her stories when she would spend the night.  Mimi has told me that she really liked to hear stories of me and Ross.  Mimi liked to tell her the story of when I was over at her house and I didn't sleep well because I didn't have my stuffed bear with me.  I was in high school when that happened.  Taylor got a KICK out of that story!

When Taylor was probably 4, we loved to watch Disney Channel together.  This was back in the days of Even Stevens and The Famous Jett Jackson.  We had just watched one of the Zenon movies together (we LOVED those!) and I decided to ask Taylor if she wanted me to do her hair.  She of course did!  So with her little feathery hair (she had a little more of it at this point), I made all sorts of ponytails all over her head.  It was forever known after that as her "Zenon Hair."  And nobody could do it as good as me.

She has always been my makeup buddy.  If you know me at all, you know that I love makeup.  I watch makeup tutorials online, I like to try new (inexpensive) products, and all I wanted for my birthday was a subscription to Birchbox.  Taylor loves makeup like I do.  She likes to experiment with different colors and fun things like eyelashes and sparkly eyeliner.  She did several... experimental looks on me when she was little.  I ended up looking a little bit scary...

She adores having fun.

And she has a skull piercing laugh that you could hear from space.

It was just recently her homecoming.  He mum was about 5 times as big as she is.  Seriously, it was decked out with feather boas, a Minnie mouse doll, ribbons... it was so very Taylor.

She is over the top and dramatic.  Loving and loud.

I love that kid more than words can describe.

And she has a big heart.

She loves to work with her hands and loves to create.  When Shelby was in the hospital the first time, she made her a big, colorful peace sign.  With lots of glitter.  She wanted to make sure that Shelby had something fun and bright to look at while stuck in a hospital room.

She loves animals fiercely and can't stand to know that they are being mistreated.

She is such a barrel of fun and I love her to pieces!

We have shared a bed many MANY times and I love her even if she lies horizontal in her bed and talks in her sleep...

Tay, you're so special to me and I can't imagine NOT having you as my sister. Life would definitely be boring!

Never Good Enough (or CapsLockLauren)

I'm sure this will come as a shock to everyone, but I have bad days.

I even have bad SUNDAYS.  Yeah, the day that I am supposed to be the most "on."  The day that so much of (but not all of!) my week is spent preparing for.

Yesterday was one of those days.

I couldn't shake the feeling that I was failing miserably.  Not just at my job as a minister, but at LIFE in general.

So basically if you saw me at church yesterday and I was all smiles and perkiness, it was just an act.  Yes, ministers can put on a facade too.  Yes, ministers can have bad Sundays too.

Both of my Sunday lessons were just so-so.  I felt like my Sunday AM lesson was SUPER bad.  I was sitting there in front of my sweet 9th and 10th graders and kept thinking, "WHAT ARE YOU SAYING!? You're making no sense... How will any of these teens ever learn from you?! How incredibly selfish and conceited of you to think that you could actually TEACH the BIBLE!"

By the time I left class, I felt like I was just spinning my wheels.

After a few conversations with a few people I was feeling even worse.  Nobody said anything to  hurt my feelings (and mind you, I was also super sensitive), but the conversations didn't go as well as I had hoped.  I ended up feeling like a failure.  Like I was just spinning my wheels in these particular relationships.

I meant to grab a sweet friend after worship and tell her how much I enjoyed sitting in front of her kids because I could hear them praising God in their sweet young voices and my heart just MELTED.  But I got distracted and forgot.

Even after a great worship service and sermon (in which our preacher Micah encouraged us to see things big picture...), I just felt like I wasn't doing anything right!

I seemed to be striking out in every area of my life.  In one day.

There was a track going through my head that said, "you're not good enough.  You're never good enough.  You're not enough.  You're a failure.  Everything you do is not only bad, but destructive."

I'm not pretty enough.  Not fit enough.  Too cocky.  Too much.  Never chosen.  Not liked by everyone.  Not a Biblical Scholar.  Not an actress.  Can't sing well enough.  Can't pastorally care for teens.  Aren't going to succeed as a wife or person.  Too slow.  Too harsh.  Bad teacher.  Bad minister...

It was a long day.

I was so glad when this morning came.

And for the first time EVER.  I got up this morning and went for a run.

Not a long run.  Only like 17 minutes.

But in those 17 minutes, God and I had a little chat.  And in the glory of a new morning he revealed MUCH to me.

Because I am not enough.  And I'm never going to be good enough.  I'm not going to live up to my own expectations, or anyone else's expectations.  Unfortunately, I'm not even going to live up to God's expectations.

But guess what?

There's good news.

I'm a daughter of the King.  A heavenly princess.  He LOVES me.  He DELIGHTS in me.

And not only IN SPITE of my flaws as a sinner, but because of them.  Those flaws are what has given HIM the power to show who HE is.  Those flaws make me trust in HIM more.  I am absolutely NOTHING without Him.  I am EVERYTHING with him.

It is in my own weakness that He is made strong.  And glorified.

Now, I so don't have this all figured out.  And there isn't going to be any magical button that I can push the next time I have a bad day.  Or I wake up on the wrong side of the bed.  Or Satan is attacking me in a very powerful way (which is what he was doing yesterday).

But I know with absolute certainty that my Father loves me.  And He will lead me through.

And one day, this will all seem like a whisper in the wind.  And I will be resting with Him in our Home.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

My Shelby Sue

16 years ago, my little brother burst into my room, annoyed that he had to go through the bathroom because I had locked the door leading into the hallway.  Oops.  I remember him saying something, but he woke me up... so more than anything I was annoyed with him.


He told me mom was having contractions and that we needed to get up and get ready to go to a friends house to spend the rest of the night.  It was 4:30am.

And it was the same day that my stepmom had a scheduled C-Section.

I was about to have two sisters born on the same day.

For years I teased them that since they were both half-sisters, they equaled a whole sister.  Neither Shelby Sue nor Tay Tay thought that was funny.

Honestly, they were just sisters.  Who weren't related to each other... and who caused massive confusion in my friends and even some family members.  And CERTAINLY with each other.

I'll write another post about Taylor next, but this post is about Shelby.  My mom and stepdad's kiddo.

Shelby was really REALLY pink.  I remember holding her for the first time in the hospital and she was just very very PINK.  Which was fitting since she was a girl.  She also had a lot of hair.  She was pretty quiet and I rocked her back and forth, back and forth on the little glider in the hospital room.

I babysat her ALL THE TIME that summer.  Tay and Shelby were born in March and by June I was watching Shelby a couple of times a week.  Mostly she would sleep, but sometimes I would put her in her exersaucer (even when she was a little too small for it...) or put her on her tummy in front of blocks.

As she got older I would show her pictures in magazines and try to teach her the names of Luke SKY-walker and HAN SO-lo.

We would take walks up and down the street in her stroller.  I remember specifically the time that I found out if you hit a bump in the rode, she would startle and make the funniest face!  I may have done that a few times more to laugh at her... (sorry Mom).

She liked pacis.  Which we called her "suck-sucks."  The only ones she would take were the yellow ones.  And when she slept, she would suck on one and clench the other one in her hand.  We didn't have any trouble weaning her of her suck-sucks though... she accidentally bit a hole through one of them at about 2 years old, and announced, "It's broke" to my mom, stepdad, and I and then promptly put herself to bed.

Yeah, she was that kind of kid.

She was Mary (ya know, MOTHER OF JESUS) in her school program.  Of course she was...

To this DAY when she cries she looks like a turtle.

When I went home for college after Christmas break my freshman year, we both cried.  It was awful.

As she's gotten older, she has developed a great sense of humor.  She doesn't cry often and never cries without a really good reason to cry.  She is sweet and sassy and sarcastic.  She loves to organize.

And in April of this year, a month after she stood by my side as I got married, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

I hate cancer.

She has been so incredibly brave through all of this.  She is pretty calm and continues to just be "Shelby."  I am so blessed by her all the time.  I love that little girl a whole lot.  And if I could take her place I wouldn't even think about it, I would do it.

October 21st, the teens and I are all going to walk in the Light the Night Walk in honor of Shelby.  If you feel led to walk, we would love to see you there!  If you feel led to give, it would be such a blessing to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Information on our team can be found here: Light the Night Walk Fort Worth- Pirate Hats for Shelby Team

Love you, Shelby Sue!