Friday, July 30, 2010

Sister Saturday: Our Third Sister

I'll bet you didn't know that Jeanette and I have a middle sister! We didn't meet her until we were in college and even then, it took a few more years until she became our sister, but Leanne is our sweet sister-friend who falls in the middle between mine and Jeanette's ages. In fact, today is Leanne's birthday, so I wanted to celebrate her on a Sister Saturday!

Like I said, Leanne first came into our lives at Belmont (then called) College. She started her freshman year in August 1986 and she and I somehow met in the dorm. Wait, I think maybe she was suite-mates with some friends I already knew. She and her roommate, Rhesa (who is also a dear friend who is like a sister to us), became two of my best friends throughout the rest of our college years. When I graduated a year ahead of them, it was very hard for me to leave and know that my best friends were still going to be having fun without me!

Leanne and I lived in an apartment together after she graduated from Belmont in 1990. During that time, she renewed a friendship with a guy named Doug, who had gone to high school with Rhesa and had graduated from Vanderbilt, also in 1990. Doug and Leanne's friendship gradually grew into a romantic relationship which led to their wedding in June 1991. They moved to Texas for Doug to go to law school and we have not lived in the same city for the past 19 years.

But that hasn't deterred our friendship. In fact, I'd say it has made it stronger. Thanks to Sprint cell phone minutes (free "PCS to PCS"), email, letters/cards, and face-to-face visits, we've been able to keep our friendship going strong throughout the years. When Jeanette was in seminary in Ft. Worth, and engaged to Russell, Leanne and Doug invited Jeanette to live with them for a few months. If we weren't sisters then, that sealed the deal! Leanne and Doug even adopted Jeanette's dog, Tipper, when Jeanette got married.

Leanne is the kind of friend that knows what I'm thinking and feeling, sometimes before I even realize it. With our long history, we have been through some hard things together: the loss of her father, the end of my marriage, health scares, job losses/hardships. But through it all, we have been able to encourage one another and pray for each other. I always love when I see a card or note in the mail with Leanne's distinctive handwriting on the envelope. When I lived in Hawaii for three months, Leanne sent me a card or letter every week I was there, and that meant so much to me when I was feeling isolated and missing my friends. We've also been able to laugh together and remember funny times in college or on trips. Of course, our "little" sis, Jeanette, is always giving us things to laugh about--that's what makes her Jeanette!

One of the things I love about Leanne is her gift of hospitality and cooking. Every time I have been in Doug and Leanne's home, whether it was a small apartment near the SMU campus, a house in a Dallas suburb, their beachfront condo in Florida, I have always been made comfortable and have been treated to delicious cooking and special touches to make me feel at home. Leanne also loves to give gifts to people. "Sussies" she likes to call them, no matter how big or small, she has the wonderful ability to find just the right gift that will bring joy to the person receiving it.

I am so excited that we're going to get to spend some time with our third sister this week when Leanne and Doug come to visit and meet Mary Lane. Even though our times together are always too short, we make the most of the time we have. And I'm sure we'll share some memories and some laughter as we spend some "sister time" together!

Happy Birthday, Sister-Friend!

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sister Saturday

Mary Lane was two weeks old this week! This first picture is probably the best one with Mary Lane being awake. Erica wanted to lie down with her baby sister (at first on the couch, but we nixed that idea) so we spread a quilt on the floor to get some sister pictures.

Sister love!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

VBS is the best!

If you're reading this and aren't a part of Grace Community Church, then you might not realize that it's been Vacation Bible School Week at Grace (if you are a part of GCC and didn't know this, we need to talk). This was my second year to be working on staff during the big week and I also have had the privilege of seeing a lot of the behind-the-scenes preparations that have been going on for months. Many people come together to plan and serve and love the kids and each other and it's sometimes emotional for me to see how God moves in this way.

We've had approximately 390 kids, ages 4 through 6th grade, participating this week, along with around 180 adult and youth volunteers. And then there were the 70 children of workers being cared for who were too young to attend VBS (plus the people caring for them). To say we had a full house is an understatement, but everything has gone so well. Our pastor summed it so well in his Words of Grace letter today, so check out what he wrote.

This year was Daniel's first year to serve as a full-fledged family group leader. He and his assistant had a group of nine 4, 5, and 6-year-olds that they spent the morning with each day. They gave a lesson, took them to worship, crafts, games, and snack (and I'm sure took them to the bathroom). Daniel stepped into this role on fairly short notice and I am so proud of how he was willing to serve, and did it with confidence and maturity. It was definitely a highlight for me to look out of the window by my desk and see him leading his little charges through the lawn to their various destinations. I'm so thankful that he had this opportunity.

There were many photos taken of the week, from different vantage points and better lighting. But here are a couple that I captured this week. I wish I had a video to share of the worship experiences, because those are fun to see. VBS at Grace is definitely one of my favorite things we do as a church.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Two milestones

This is my 200th blog post! I just happened to notice the other day that I was getting close, so I thought it was a milestone worth mentioning. When I started my blog back in 2008, I had no idea what I was doing and whether I'd have anything to say. I guess I have had at least 200 things to say, so I think I'll keep posting.

And then last month, I accidentally (that's my story and I'm sticking to it) missed a pretty major milestone, so I thought I'd make mention of it now. It's kind of hard to believe that it's possible that I can be saying it, though.

What is it? I'll let a picture speak first.

No, this isn't from my wedding day or from my senior prom. This picture was taken 25 years (*choke*) and one month ago, on June 21, 1985 . . . the day I graduated from Glen Ridge High School.

In our small town sandwiched between many other towns in northern New Jersey, we had our own school district and lots of long-standing traditions. One of the graduation traditions was that the girls wore white formals and carried red roses (I didn't have a good picture at my house tonight to show the red roses) and the guys wore tuxes with white dinner jackets and red bow-ties (can you tell our school colors were red and white?). I didn't wear a traditional cap and gown until I graduated from college, but that was fine.

Another GRHS graduation tradition was that the parents planned an all-night series of parties for the graduates, in an attempt to keep everyone safe, while being allowed to celebrate the huge event. It began with a dinner-dance at the country club (where I "gracefully" turned my ankle dancing to a Meatloaf song and ended up hobbling around for the rest of the night and for several days afterward). We then progressed to a house for a themed party (ours had something to do with the beach) and then the night ended with a pool party breakfast at another house. We had tickets to get in to each party and if anyone left a party, they weren't allowed back to that party.

I remember the parties after graduation as being a fun way to be with the whole class, regardless of the different cliques and groups that usually hung out together.

I still find it hard to believe that it has been 25 years since that night, but I guess the calendar doesn't lie. And I'm thankful to have milestones to look back on in my life because they helped to shape who I am today.

Monday, July 19, 2010

It's just paint

A few weeks ago, I spent an evening helping some dear friends to paint a room before they moved in to their house. I did it because I love these friends, not because I love painting. In fact, it's been well over a decade since I had actually done any real painting on wall and that was in my bedroom. I even joked on Facebook that I had done my painting of the decade that night, so nobody needed to expect me to do it again until 2020.

The thing is, I don't like the mess of painting, but I really enjoy looking at colors and planning out what I'd like a room to look like. I think that's a big reason why I haven't painted much in the past few years, because I got the rooms in my house the way I like them (colorwise especially) and I didn't see the need to get all the mess out.

Funny thing about doing something you haven't done in a while. It makes you start thinking about it. I'd say that probably before I left my friends' house that night, I had already begun thinking "what if . . ." thoughts about my own bedroom. The one that has been the same color for about twelve years. The one that really hasn't had much change done to it (except for new bedding) since it became my room all to myself (six years ago).

So I asked another friend of mine who is super-knowledgeable about colors and paint to help me start conceptualizing what I might do to my room. She brought me some paint chips and sent me an article to get me started. And she, along with the friend that I painted with, have been so encouraging that I think I'm moving more toward taking the plunge with the paintbrushes.

Oh, and if the whole thinking stage wasn't enough, the other day, my coworker walks by my desk and said, "What's that box of stuff on the chair in my office that has your name on it?" I had no idea what he was talking about, so I went to investigate. Sure enough, there was a clear, plastic box with (of all things) paintbrushes and other paint tools inside. And there was a label on the outside, made with a trusty label-maker, that said, "RYAN" plain as day!

Do you know where it came from? Two years ago, when Daniel went on his first youth mission trip, they had asked for people to bring any painting tools they had. I don't think Daniel even knew they were on the bus, much less used them that week, and I thought they'd gotten left behind when they got home. But no . . . there they were, on the chair. Somehow it had gotten unearthed when someone was moving offices. And just when I was starting to think about painting a room in my house.

So, now I have one less excuse and am getting more excited about the possibility of making a change in my room. I could still decide to pay someone else to do the dirty work for me, but at the end of the day, it's just paint.

Stay tuned for possible updates on this project . . .

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Sister Saturday

It's time for another Sister Saturday post! I probably need to post in-between Saturdays to make these more anticipated. I'll work on that this week.

This week, Erica got to know her baby sister more "up close and personal" and the looks on each of their faces is priceless!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Sister Saturday

These aren't the photos of Erica meeting her baby sister for the first time, but this was the day that Erica gave new shoes to Mary Lane. Erica wanted to give her sister a kiss on her head, but couldn't quite reach. I wish I had a picture of Erica grabbing Mary Lane's head and trying to bring her closer! These are going to be fun days ahead with a toddler and a newborn! Stay tuned for more pics!

Friday, July 9, 2010


I went for a walk at Radnor Lake this morning and decided to take the Lake Trail, since it would be the shadiest route. I love walking through the woods and love the quietness of the trails at Radnor. But one thing that makes me a little nervous is that I might take a wrong turn and end up on the most strenuous trail Ganier Ridge, like I've accidentally done before. It's not the end of the world if I get up there and it's a really good work-out, but most of the time, it's not my first choice of trails.

For some reason, when I get in the woods and come to the forks in the trails that lead out to the road, I get turned around. Thankfully, today I remembered from past experience to just keep turning right and that worked. But as I was walking and thinking, the old hymn, "He Leadeth Me," came to mind and I began to sing the chorus (or refrain I guess it's called) in my head.

I actually couldn't remember all of the words past the first two lines, and then started humming another part of the hymn. As I was on the way home, I realized that I was actually putting two hymns together and so I got out a hymnal to try to get it all straight. The other hymn I was remembering is "My Lord is Near Me All the Time" and I think they go together very well:

I've seen it in the lightning,

Heard it in the thunder,

And felt it in the rain;

My Lord is near me all the time,

My Lord is near me all the time.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,

By His own hand He leadeth me:

His faithful foll'wer I would be,

For by His hand He leadeth me.

I'm not a songwriter or composer, but maybe I should pass along this idea of a medley to one of my friends who does that kind of thing. Regardless of whether anyone else ever puts this together, I am thankful that My Lord is near me and leads me all the time!

Thursday, July 8, 2010

"Twins" born (almost) two years apart

I think we can tell they're sisters! Both pictures were taken on their first day of life, almost two years apart.

I'm C-R-A-Z-Y about these two girls!

Introducing: Miss Mary Lane Massey

My newest little niece joined us on
Wednesday, July 7, 2010, at 8:27 a.m.
7 lbs., 11 ozs./18 inches long.

"Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows. He chose to give us birth through the word of truth, that we might be a kind of firstfruits of all he created." James 1:17-18

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Sister Saturdays

I've decided to start a new feature on my blog called, "Sister Saturdays." I had the idea a couple of months ago and didn't get around to following through on it yet. But since a new generation of sisters will be born when Erica's little sister arrives this coming Thursday (Lord willing), I thought it would be a good time to start. Sometimes I'll share sister stories and other times I'll just post pictures. Hopefully it will be fun for everyone and a good way to chronicle one of my favorite relationships in my life.

Last Saturday, Jeanette and I continued our sister tradition of getting pedicures together in the days prior to her giving birth. When we did it in 2008, I think I treated her, but this time she had some "mad money" she wanted to use. Both times we had fun getting pampered while spending time together chatting. And there was laughter involved, which is a pretty normal occurance for us!

These sweet little shoes are going to belong to the new sisters later this week. I had heard of some pricey shoes for girls called "Twinkletoes" and went in search of some knock-offs at Target. Everyone's favorite big-box store came through and even had some similar shoes for newborns. And yes, the little ones came without laces, but I will be adding some ribbons so they don't fall off little sister's feet when she is going home from the hospital! I'm planning to give Erica her shoes on the day she goes to the hospital to meet her little sister and am going to let her bring the little shoes to her sister as a present. Stay tuned for more pics!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

I must have blinked

I really am not sure how it is possible that Daniel is already fifteen years old, but I must have blinked at some point along the way and missed him growing up!

No, not really. The fact is that I've had the best seat in the house (front row center) to watch my baby boy growing into a man. He's not quite "there" yet, but I can see it, and I have to look up when I do.

Since this is the first time I've been away from him on his birthday (he decided to spend his birthday with about 30 or so of his friends in Washington, DC, on the youth mission trip), I thought that gives me license to be a tad bit sentimental. So, let the music to "Through the Years" play in your head and take a look at how fast this has gone by!

July 2, 1996
1st birthday (kind of blurry, but you get the idea)

July 2, 2000

Turning FIVE! (Party at the bowling alley)

July 2, 2005

TENTH birthday (at LaserQuest w/ a Star Wars cake)

This was on Mother's Day this year, and you can see that he's taller than I am,

even with me in my high heels!

Happy Birthday, Daniel!

We will keep celebrating your milestones with joy!

Love, Mom