September 30th. Today is my Dad’s birthday, his first one in heaven. He would have been 63 today. Just 63. Hard day. Two years ago on this day, I posted this blog for him on his birthday. I miss him today. And I will miss him tomorrow. Trying to focus on all of the many good memories and how blessed we were to have him. I love you Dad & knowing that everyday is a celebration where you are, does make me smile.
Ryan & I left the kids and escaped away to Dallas this weekend! My friend Loretta was getting married Saturday night, so we decided to go see her & enjoy a night away. We headed out and drove straight to Chuy’s for lunch. Obviously we couldn’t focus on getting anything else done in Dallas without going there first and consuming massive amounts of creamy jalapeno dip. YUM. I couldn’t be more excited that we are getting one here in Tyler!!! That rumor better be true or else I will be highly upset.
Anyways, after lunch we went to the Apple store to check out the new shuffles, which are very cool. Didn’t get one, don’t need one…just went to admire. Then, we headed over to Luke’s Locker. Such a cool place. There is something inspiring about going to running stores! Got some shoe recommendations and Ryan got a flashy light to wear when he runs in the dark. Next on the list…Central Market. The grocery store of all grocery stores. This place amazes me. The produce aisle is unbelievable. They also have a great wine selection. And a whole aisle dedicated to granola, are you kidding me? Are we weird that we love going to grocery stores while out of town? We are foodie dweebs.
Saturday night was the wedding and it was much fun. It was at the Biblical Museum of Art, which was interesting. Great to see Loretta and meet her man! We stayed the night with my cousin Danny & his wife Kelly at their new place in Las Colinas. Always good to see them…I love my cousins!
Then, Sunday morning, Ryan and I got up and ran at White Rock Lake. My Dad always tried to go run ten miles around White Rock every year for his birthday. Since his birthday is this coming Thursday, we decided we’d run around the lake while we were there in his honor. Perfect weather for our run. It was overcast and cool, with a slight breeze. When we started the run, I looked across the beautiful lake as the sun was rising and my emotions overcame me. I burst into tears. I so longed for Dad to be running his birthday run with us. I miss him so bad. I thought of him the entire time. I prayed that my life would be meaningful, like his was. I prayed that I would make a difference and make my life count, like he did. I imagined God calling Dad over and saying, “Kip, I want you to see something” as he pushed back a cloud to show him us running. That made me smile to think of Dad watching me. It was a great run physically, but tough emotionally. We finished with a high five to the sky and a few more tears.
We headed back, stinky & sweaty, for our normal Sunday lunch in Quitman and to pick up our babies. Great night away with my love!
God is amazing. He has truly blown us away over the past few weeks, as we have seen pure evidence of His hand at work in our lives regarding a very specific situation. For those of you who haven’t heard this story, here you go…
About a month ago, I started praying for clarity regarding my job situation. (That is a long story in and of itself, I won’t bore you with details.) That very same week that we began to pray that God would reveal whether I should stay or go, He made it extremely clear to me that it was time to look for something else.
So, Ryan and I started talking about the possibilities of what’s next. We weren’t sure what was going to happen or how it was going to work – but we knew full well that God would provide. One of the options we discussed included me staying home with the girls and maybe working part-time or something. The more we discussed this particular option, the more excited we got! Addi starts school next year and the thought of spending more time with her, and with sweet Kam, before that happens thrilled my heart. They are at such a fun age! This is something we have always wanted, but its never worked out or been feasible. So, we started praying specifically for God to open just the right door in order to allow that to happen. He knows our financial needs and the debt we are working hard to payoff. We decided I would stay at my current job until that something else came along.
I started to keep my eyes open and talk to some people, trying to be proactive. Then one day last week, one of my favorite clients that I’ve been working with for over a year now, called up to the office to talk about a billboard design we were working on for him. He then proceeds to tell me all about this new marketing job he would like to hire for at his company. Someone who would do all marketing, public relations, event planning, etc. for him and mostly…(are you ready for this?)…WORK FROM HOME. What? Are you kidding me? He was telling me about it in case we knew of anyone interested, not knowing that I would be! So, I went straight home during lunch that day and emailed him expressing my interest. One thing led to another – I met with him and his wife to discuss and that next Monday, he called and offered me the job! I start October 5th as the Director of Marketing at Brown’s Landing and am super pumped. It’s more than I expected on so many levels. What a blessing, straight from the Lord.
Next step was finding a 2 day preschool to transfer the girls to. Um, can you say HUGE savings? Going from full-time daycare to a 2 day preschool makes a major, positive impact on the budget. Even though I’ll mostly be working from home, there will be a couple of days that I’ll need to be out and about, meetings, luncheons, etc – stuff that would be easier…well, kid-less. Plus, we want to keep them in a structured learning environment. Wouldn’t you know that one of our friends in our community group – his mom owns one of the best preschools in town! And sure enough, she had spots for BOTH girls. Ryan and I went and toured the place, got the paperwork, met the teachers, and enrolled them. Couldn’t have been any easier. Again, another blessing straight from the Lord.
We are very humbled and amazed at how God orchestrated all of this down to every single detail. We also appreciate the prayers that were lifted up on our behalf. He has once again, blown us away! He always provides and we are thankful. I don’t know why I ever doubt – EVERYTHING is in His hands.
And I am stoked to spend even more time with these two cuties!!!
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?” — Matthew 6:26
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…” — Ephesians 3:20
As my head hit the pillow last night, I thought about my Dad and how much I miss him. Every single night, as I’m going to sleep, I think of him. Sadness overcomes me – yet again – but usually I can tell myself…you will see him again, he’s so happy right now, he loves you, you were blessed to have him, make him proud with the life you have left and then, I fall fast asleep in that peace.
Last night was one of those nights where it wasn’t that easy. Not that it’s ever easy really, but telling myself those things wasn’t helping. Not at all. I thought about my parents anniversary coming up next week, then Dad’s birthday the week after. I was thinking about how Addi still struggles with missing Poppy, like the rest of us, and even cries for him on occasion. Her heart is broken about it and I hate that…but I love how much she obviously loved him and still thinks of him. I was thinking back on the last time I hugged him the Monday before that Friday happened- in the front yard, after we had sat on the porch steps just talking. I yearned to hug him again. I thought how badly I could use his advice on things right now and how I’ll miss his advice…he was so wise. I was asking why all over again. I was comparing him and his health to others and thinking, its just not fair. My heart hurt and I couldn’t breathe, and I certainly couldn’t fall asleep. I snuggled up next to Ryan, cried into my pillow for a long while and eventually drifted off.
Several months have passed and it still hurts, and I’m certain always will to some extent. But I will continue to try oh so hard to focus on the fact that I will see him again, he’s the happiest he’s ever been, no doubt he loves me and is proud of me, and I want to do whatever I can to honor him and, even more importantly, my heavenly Father with the rest of my days here.
This past Sunday morning, Ryan & I got up early to run 13 miles. With three half-marathons coming up this Fall, we had to prove to ourselves that we could do it again. It was awesome! Ryan blogged about it here. There is something so satisfying about completing the amount of miles you set out to complete. If its 3, it feels good to complete 3. If its 13, it feels great to complete 13. Running is such a mental game! There are days when I plan to go 5 , and when I get to 5 I am d-o-n-e. But when I set out to go further, I can. I have to predetermine how far I’m going in advance. I have to have a goal, or I’ll sell myself short and end up stopping.
After our run Sunday, Ryan was talking crazy talk. I think he was suffering from lack of oxygen to the brain or something. He said we should plan to do a full marathon next year. What? Like double what we just ran? Like 26.2 miles? You have no idea how much that scares me! But yes, he was serious. In fact, he suggested we do the full at White Rock THIS December, instead of the half. Or maybe wait and do the Austin Marathon next February. Either way, it freaks me out! But, I do however have a strong desire to complete a full marathon in my life. I just keep putting it off and putting it off because half’s are such a challenge for me! I guess I keep thinking it will get easier to run 13…but it doesn’t. I know Ryan can do 26. And he says I can do it too. Yikes! Maybe I can? I’m giving it some serious thought. Am I crazy? Should I go for it? Maybe if I tell myself I’m going 26, I can complete 26? Other runners…which marathon do you suggest for a first timer?
Have I told you all about our Date Night Co-op? I can’t remember if I’ve ever blogged about it. Here goes anyways…
Ryan and I are firm believers that dating your spouse is a must. It’s not an option really, but a requirement. We feel that setting aside time specifically to be alone is so important and just plain good for a marriage. So, we try to plan dates often. Get away from everyone, including kids, and just go somewhere and talk, laugh & have fun together as a couple. Just one on one, quality time. Thankfully we live close enough to my Mom and she is our all-time favorite babysitter. And bonus…Grandma’s don’t charge! On occasion, we’ve had to hire a sitter, but not very often.
About six months ago, we started a date night co-op with some friends from our community group (idea stolen from Jamie). Here’s how it works. We got three other families that live pretty close to us to go in on it. We picked a night that worked well for everyone and set up a rotation schedule. Our date nights are the second Friday of every month and each couple takes a turn in hosting it. For example, last night, Ryan & I babysat all of the kids at our house. Next month, another couple will host and so on. So, you end up babysitting once every four months and the other three months, you get a free date night! Its also great for the kids, because they love getting together with their little friends to play at each other’s houses. Its neat to babysit for your friends, because you know you are contributing in some small way to keeping their marriage healthy! It’s really a blessing & works out well for everyone involved. Ryan & I LOVE it!
So I would encourage you to 1. always, always, always date your spouse and 2. start a date night co-op with some close friends! It’s so easy and well worth it.
We went to the good ole L-B-K for Labor Day weekend and had such a great time! Its been a while since we’ve been back to visit friends, so it was time. We also felt it would be good as part of our healing process, to see people who knew and loved my Dad. He loved Lubbock and the people there.
We got in late Thursday night or actually, extremely early Friday morning. A 7 1/2 hour drive turned into a 9 hour drive somehow. I’m guessing a 2 and 4 year old had something to do with that. Oh and as a side note, never exit off the Interstate in Abilene…just saying. It was so neat driving in late because we got to see a lightning storm in the huge skies of West Texas. It was beautiful. There may not be trees and it may be flat, but the skies are abundant and the stars are gorgeous!
The first two nights, we stayed with our friends Tim & Christy. We love these two dearly and appreciate their friendship. Addi & Kam love them too! It was adorable because they would choose to hold their hands, instead of mine & Ryan’s when we would go out places. I think it gave Tim & Christy a taste of having their own kids!
Friday, we went by to say hi to some people around town – old places of work, church, drove by Tech (wreck ’em!), etc. Stopped by for lunch at West Crust Pizza, which was quite tasty I must say. We also stopped by the Veterans Memorial, so I could see my Dad’s brick. Just when I thought I could not be any prouder of him, I am reminded of yet another reason to add to the list that is still growing, even though he’s gone. Special. Then, Friday evening we met up with our old youth group for dinner & had a fabulous time. We are so very proud of our Fusion kids & the grown-ups they have become! This night was good for my soul. And Julie Patterson – YOU impacted MY life dear.
Saturday, after yummy homemade blueberry muffins made by Christy herself, we met up with my friend/college roommate Amanda for coffee. So great seeing her & catching up! Come run the Turkey Trot in Dallas with us Amanda!
Then, we headed out to Levelland for lunch with the Pace’s (Christy’s parents). These people mean so much to us and my family. When my Dad passed away, they loaded up their car, along with their son Jason and Tim & Christy and drove all the way to Quitman just to be there for us and hug us. It meant the world to me. I love all of you guys so much!
Saturday afternoon, we headed over to Danny & Ashley’s for the remainder of the weekend. Oh my word, we laughed so much! We had so much fun just doing absolutely nothing but hanging out. Their daughter Grace is so adorable, Addi & Kam had a great time with her. Baths, dress up time, watching movies, swimming, etc.When we got in the car to drive home, Kam said, “That was so fun!” and Addi has been saying, “I’m sad…I want to go back to Grace’s house.” One night while we were there, Ashley arranged for a babysitter so we could go out for some adult time. We went up to Stella’s, where she sings on occassion and got to hear her sing a set. I got to meet Alison, a friend I have gotten to know through blogs and Facebook. She’s a runner too & is actually coming to Tyler next month to run the Tyler Rose Marathon. Fun night!
Monday morning, we loaded up, drove through & got a Josie’s burrito and headed back East. The girls were sooooo good and well behaved. Thank you Lord! It was a fun trip and a great Labor Day weekend. We miss all of our West Texas friends already. Now its your turn to come to Tyler!
As I ran at the trails this past Sunday morning, I noticed that a few leaves had already fallen off the trees. It made me smile…Fall is just around the corner people and I can not wait! I heart Fall. I do believe its my favorite time of year. The smells, the colors, the temperatures, the holidays, football, food, races…I love it all! The changing of the seasons always reminds me of how big God is – and how extremely creative He is. The ultimate artist, for sure!
We have a lot of stuff going on this upcoming season. Good stuff. The Dixon iCal is getting filled up! The next few months emotionally will be tough for my family – with Dad’s birthday coming up, my parent’s anniversary, the holidays without him, and running without him in races we’ve all done together in the past. Everything that is a “first without him” is tough. Definitely will be a hard season, as it has been a hard year. Incredibly grateful to have so many wonderful memories with him. And I am thankful we have some good stuff going on – and things to look forward to. Dad would want us to make the most of this beautiful season (he loved Fall too) and live life to the fullest – so I will try to do just that!
Some things coming up that I’m excited about are…
1. Going to Lubbock Labor Weekend to see old friends (leaving tomorrow actually – yay)
2. Joining a new downtown Women’s Bible study group
3. Attending a friends wedding in Dallas – a night away for me & Ryan!
4. Celebrating both of my brother’s, my sister’s, Ryan’s, and Kam’s birthdays
5. Running in 3 half marathons in 3 consecutive months & the Turkey Trot on Thanksgiving Day
6. Ryan’s brother Ross coming to Texas and our camping trip to Beaver’s Bend
7. Trip to Boston & New Hampshire
8. Thanksgiving & Christmas
10. Several baby showers for dear friends