polka dots

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Uncle Brendon's Hat

This has become my favorite picture. Uncle Brendon adores Ashlynn Kate and she loves him. For her birthday, he surprised her with her very own "Uncle Brendon hat". She doesn't know that the big "T" stands for the Texas Rangers.....she doesn't care. It's her hat just like Uncle Brendon's . And that's what's important.

She's 3! Happy birthday, Ashlynn!

It's hard to believe, but she is 3 years old! Oh my goodness! Where does the time go? It just seems like the other day when Nana, Pa, Granddaddy, and I were driving to College Station - hoping we would make it before she arrived! And now, Miss Ashlynn is 3.
The pictures above are of her "tea party". Her mama, Aunt Stacy, Nana, and I had lunch with Ashlynn at Celebrity Cafe to celebrate her birthday on Friday, April 23rd.
Then on Sunday, April 25th, she had a park party and celebrated with all her friends and family!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

More to the Miracle

If you haven't read the story of Roxy (the previous blog), you need to do so - otherwise, this won't make any sense. But here's a little added part of the miracle.

Jack Robinson is a faithful servant at my church. He is a precious man who serves in anyway he can. You can ask him to help you do just about anything and he'll do it with a happy heart and a smile on his face. He greets folks as they walk into the worship center every Sunday....never misses a Sunday....never. If you'll go back to my Nov. 14, 2009 blog, you'll see pictures of he and Ashlynn coloring on the floor in our church foyer. He's just that kind of guy....

Anyway, Easter morning, Wes headed to church to pray with the elders before he went out on a 2 day trip. As he was leaving the campus, he saw Jack and asked him to pray for me and explained what had happened with Roxy. Jack promised to pray every day...and he did faithfully, as he does everything else.

In the wee hours (3 am) of Tuesday morning, April 12th, Jack woke up from a sound sleep. This really surprised him as he rarely did so. He asked the Lord if he was suppose to pray for someone and immediately remembered that he had forgotten to pray for me before he had gone to sleep. He did pray for me, but felt that's not exactly what God wanted. He asked God again if there was something specific he should be praying for. He felt God say that he needed to pray for the puppy (Roxy). Now, Jack had never prayed for a dog before and he said he felt a little funny, but chose to be obedient and prayed earnestly for Roxy's protection and for her to be found. After he felt he had prayed all he was supposed to, he fell back asleep. But before he went back to sleep, he wrote the following down on a piece of paper. Here is a picture of that paper. It is a treasure to me. For you see, Roxy was found that afternoon. Thank you, Jack, for being obedient even when it "felt a little funny". Thanks for praying for that puppy!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Roxy and Agreements

This is going to be a long blog and probably written more like a regular journal entry. I don't care about the grammar, spelling, or punctuation. But so much has happened in the last 2 weeks - I am afraid that I will forget it if I don't write it all down. I've learned to much - I've witnessed to much - I don't ever want to forget. So, here goes.....

On Friday, April 2, 2010 I went to the memorial service of my sweet friend's daughter, Arielle Schickedanz. I was so very proud of Mr. Bob and his family. It was quite obvious that even though they had lost a daughter and a sister, they were victorious....Jesus was seeing them through. I was emotionally drained - she had been sick for 10 years....it had been a long journey.

After I left the service, I was supposed to go over to my friend's house, Monica, and pick up her two Yorkies, Romo and Roxy. They were going to spend the night with me while Monica and Andrew were out of town. As I entered their house, Romo was immediately glad to see me. He had stayed with me before and knew me. However, Roxy and I had only met a couple of times, so she wasn't so sure of my presence. So, in order to help settle her, I sat on the sofa for about 45 minutes just loving on and talking to Romo. Roxy eventually came over and decided to join us. I took both of them to my truck, got Roxy's bed, and headed to my house. I knew Roxy was still pretty anxious, so I just prayed out loud, asked the Lord to protect us and keep us safe while Monica and Andrew were away. Little did I know what was in store.......

As soon as I got home, I put Romo and Roxy in the house. Then, I went back out to my truck to retrieve their beds. I BARELY opened the door to come back in and Roxy flew out. She was on the run and lose! My heart sank, but I grabbed my keys and hauled out to find her. You have to understand, Roxy is tiny! She weighs 3 1/2 pounds......she is so very small and VERY fast! I followed her for a little bit as she flew around the neighborhood. She stopped at a house....I jumped out of the car and called her name. She saw me and bolted once again. She was terrified of me and was determined to get away from me. We have a lot of pastureland with horses and also some woods surrounding my house. Roxy immediately hauled off across one of the pastures and was gone into the wooded area. I couldn't see her anymore. I was devastated. I also began to make agreements. You see, Satan immediately started talking to me. His words? "God doesn't care about you.....you just prayed and asked him to watch over Roxy and look what's happened...He let Roxy get away anyway."

I first called Wes....he was on a trip visiting his family in South Carolina. I knew he couldn't physically help....but I knew he would immediately begin to pray. He didn't answer the phone. Satan was talking BIG time to me......."See, he doesn't really love you......he won't even answer your phone calls.......besides, he's never there when you need him." Yes, because Wes is an airline pilot, he is gone a lot. I knew Brendon was in Arlington and too far away to help me. So my next call went to Austin. He's the vet, he knows animals, he'll know what to do. He didn't answer his phone. That's really not that unusual. I know that Austin's job sometimes keeps him at the clinic until late hours and he doesn't answer his phone if he's with a patient. But I also know that if I need him, I can call Shawna and she'll get him for me. So, my next call is to Shawna.......she doesn't answer. I'm panicking now...I don't know what to do. Satan's still talking....."See, even your family doesn't love you....nobody wants to help you...you are all alone....nobody cares." All of this is going on in my mind as I'm frantically looking for Roxy and trying to figure out what to do. I start to dial Austin again and he rings me. He sees that I've tried to call both of them and knows somethings not right. I immediately explain and tell him I need him to come help me find Roxy. There's nothing on the other end of the line. He then begins to explain to me that they are at a meeting which they must attend in order to get licensed by the state to become adoptive parents. They're so far away that by the time they could get to me it would be dark. So, they can't help me either. Austin even prayed with me over the phone, but that's not what I wanted....I wanted help. And Satan just keeps talking...."See, even Austin and Shawna won't help you. They're your last hope." I just sat in my car and cried. Yes....I agreed with the devil that night....Nobody cared...Not even my family.

You must understand something......all those agreements were lies. Wes left his phone when he changed out of his uniform....He would have walked back to Texas if he had to, to help me. Brendon, Austin, Shawna, and Ashlynn would have come if I said, "Yes, I need you. Come now!" They would have beat the barn down to get to me. My family would do anything for me. I've always known that....but in the heat of this battle, I couldn't even think straight. I chose to believe the lies.

Satan wasn't just talking to me about my family either. Monica is a sweet, dear friend. I've known her since she was in high school....her husband is one of Austin's best friends and was his roommate at A&M. She feels called to be a children's pastor, so she's been my assistant for the past 2 years and will someday take my place. So, Satan continues......."How are you ever going to face Monica? Your relationship will be broken forever. You've even screwed up the plans for her to be the next children's pastor. How can you work through this? She'll never forgive you. Roxy is her baby." And even more, "Monica is leaving on the mission trip to Kenya on Monday. She won't go if Roxy isn't found. You've even screwed up the mission trip they've been planning for months." Oh yeah....another set of agreements I made with the king of lies.

I had to call Monica.....she was so brave....telling me she was alright....she was lying...I knew she was...but I admired her gumption while she talked to me. She and Andrew immediately came back home and began looking for Roxy. She was no where to be found. I drove around most of Friday night, what I expected to see...I don't know...it was pitch black...Roxy is tiny....but I had to look. Finally, I came back to the house and sat in the floor and cried the most gut wrenching cry I've ever done in my life. I was so thankful Romo was there. He sat beside me...just like a close friend....never leaving my side. I remember even looking at him and telling him that at least he cared. Hmmmmm, another agreement.

As soon as it was light, I was out again looking for Roxy. Stopping every person I could find...asking them to keep an eye out for her. I was so concerned because Roxy was so very small, she could be dinner for coyotes, foxes, and even hawks that I knew resided in our area. Monica and Andrew continued their search....all of their family and friends started going door to door. We did talk to the lady who owned the pasture that Roxy tore through. She said she'd keep watch for her and to not give up hope. Many times she has found strays out with her horses. For some reason, the dogs feel very safe near them.

After a HUNDRED miles on my car, I finally went home. I was devastated and exhausted. I called Wes...we cried, he prayed, I began to hear God.....just a little....ever so faint. "Cheryl, you know you're making agreements with the devil. He's deceiving you....break the agreements...believe the truth. I knew He was right....I tried, but I just really didn't have it in me. I kept at it though. "I am a daughter of the Most High God.....He loves me and cares about me. My family cares more than I could ever imagine." I kept repeating it over and over. It really wasn't making me feel better, but I knew I had to speak the truth. Then friends began to call to tell me how sorry they were and that they were praying for me and specifically that Roxy would be found. Satan was still talking....but I could hear God - a little - "See, you are loved...you are cared about." Austin's calling..."how are you doing, Mom? I'm so sorry. Mama, I love you."

Wes came home.....oh, it was so nice for him to come home. He had to go out on another trip the next day. Satan comes talking...."See, he's leaving you again." But this time, I could say, "No, he's not leaving me. He's just going to work."

Saturday night I went to bed exhausted. Sunday morning was Easter. I was planning on going to church. I woke up at 9:45.....I had slept for 11 hours. I hadn't done that since high school. What I know now is the reason I could sleep so well was because of all the prayers - particularly Wes' prayers over me. He was being my covering, my protector....I just didn't realize it at the time. Knew I couldn't get to church on time, so I decided to just chill at home. I really didn't want to face everybody anyway. Maybe this was best. It's amazing how much clearer I could think after some sleep. All of a sudden, I could see the agreements I had made with the devil. I didn't know it at the time, but dear friends and family all over the world were praying for me. I could see the truth. I began to renounce all the stupid lies that I had agreed to. I really was a daughter of the King.......I renounced the lies I said about my family and about Monica. I didn't know how God was going to fix this, but I knew He was the only one that could make good come from it. Brendon came over after church and we went to lunch. I can't tell you how good it was to spend time with him. Just hanging with one of my sons - not being alone - soothing to my soul. Monica and Cindy came by the house to check on me. I was receiving text after text.......thinking about you.....love you.....praying for you.....missed you today. Soothing words...again, healing to my soul. Was I my usual "bouncy" self ? Oh no....I was fighting for my life....but I had a little hope and it was growing.

Days went by....prayed for Roxy's protection every day. Still fighting the agreements that Satan keeps trying to pound into my head. Just because I renounce them doesn't mean that he's going to give up. He kept bringing them back to my mind over and over. I just kept renouncing...getting stronger and stronger. Drove around and passed out fliers. Monica left for Africa....ahhh, another lie that Satan got wrong! Andrew, friends, and family spent every waking hour looking for Roxy. Then, a call....the lady with the horses...she's seen Roxy in her field. Andrew and Ryan head that way. Andrew even sees her, but she runs off before he could even get close. They spot her again....decide to try and trap her. No luck. Ryan even gets within 10 feet of her, but she runs off again, this time, to another pasture. They've lost her....again. Are you kidding me, God? You bring our hopes up just to dash them? Don't you care........oh no.....not that agreement.....I'm not going there. God, I trust you. Watch over Roxy.

We don't see her anymore. It's been 10 days....Tuesday, April 12th. Surely, something has happened to Roxy by now. OK, God, if that's what You want....I will walk with You....I trust You. My heart bleeds for my friend. She's going to be devastated when she comes home from Africa and Roxy not be here. But I trust You. You promise that all things work together for good for those called according to Your purpose. Then the phone call....the lady with the horses. Roxy is back in her pasture. She got within 10 feet of Roxy before she ran off. She put out some food for her and went back in the house. She saw Roxy come and eat it. Andrew calls us......he'll get her this time. He goes out to the pasture with Romo......just walks around for a little bit in the gully that's right beside the horse pasture. He turns around and calls to Romo. He hears a jingling noise behind him. He turns around.....there's Roxy. He calls her name and she comes right to him. The cell phones are tied up all around the world. The one little lamb that had been lost, has been found! This 3 1/2 pound little Yorkie has survived for 10 days in the woods. Andrew says she looks like she's been out for a walk. She looks great! That's because she had a great big angel watching out for her. God is so good. We walk around in awe for the rest of the day. I even laugh as I'm watching the weatherman that night. He says he can't explain the weather.....it always rains this time of year. We're even in an "El Nino" year - which is supposed to be a very wet spring and yet it hasn't rained for 10 days....that's just not heard of here in Texas. I laugh......couldn't rain.....Roxy wasn't home yet.

This has been the hardest 10 days of my life....but I have learned so much. I do not want to make agreements anymore. I know Satan's very smart, he knows when and how to get me when I'm down - but that's when I've got to be looking up. That's when I've got to have friends praying for me, fighting with me.

This story has a fairytale ending...Roxy came home. But even if Roxy hadn't have come home, it still would have had a wonderful ending. God's in the business of making us more and more like him. If Roxy hadn't of come home, there would have been His grace and love to help us all get through it. But this time....Roxy came home.....Monica will be home in 4 days. It will be a joyous reunion. I can't wait to hear everything that God has taught Monica during this time. Because you see, He loves her just as much as He loves me and I know she has grown closer to our Father through all of this.

Thank you, Father, for loving me, showing me some of the "nasties" that are in me. Thank you, for forgiving me over and over again. Thank you, for giving new mercies every morning. Thank you, for watching over that sweet little dog. Thank you, for bringing her home.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Opening Day

Brendon and I had the opportunity to go to the Texas Rangers' Opening Day. It's so much fun because of all the "pomp and circumstance" that happens before the game....there's a Dixieland band playing as you enter the ballpark, the hot dog vendors are dressed like their predecessors with their red and white striped shirts, white pants, and red caps, and people tailgating for hours before the game.

The neatest thing about Opening Day is the memories that are made. It's a day when you see families together....daddy's holding little ones hands.....all excited as they've missed a day of school to watch a baseball game together as a family.
That's the reason I like it.....memories. I love spending time with Brendon on Opening Day. We have the best time. We laugh, make jokes, eat hot dogs, lemon chills, strawberry chills, popcorn, a Big Kahuna or maybe cotton candy. You can't help but just revel in all the excitement around you and can't wait to watch your team take the field for the first time of the season.
We've done this for the past 2 years.....I hope this tradition continues for a long, long time.
Take me out to the ballgame
Take me out with the crowd
Buy me some peanuts and cracker jacks
I don't care if I ever get back
So it's root, root, root, for the Rangers
If they don't win it's a shame!
For it's one, two, three strikes you're out
At the old ballgame!