Monday, March 26, 2012

Capture Gratitude: Texas Edition

“There is no event so common place but that God is present within it, always hidden, always leaving you room to recognize Him or not to recognize Him.”  Fredrick Buechner 

As you could probably tell from last week's Capture Gratitude, we spent Spring Break in Texas, visiting family and friends...Praise God for His many gifts! Lots to share this week, so I'll keep the words to a minimum! (well. I'll try!)

Matt & I ate dessert under this tree in Research Park (College Station, TX) on our first date. Whenever we're in town, we like to get a picture here... So fun to see our family grow through the years!

Every year at this time I start to see pictures of bluebonnets...and there's almost nothing that makes me more homesick. I told Matt, "If we see even ONE bluebonnet on the way to College Station , we're pulling over and I'm making the kids cram their faces around it so I can get a picture!"
(kids-in-bluebonnet pictures coming SOON!)

89. MY FAVORITE FAMILY (besides my own, of course)
I can't even begin to tell all the ways the Lord has blessed me through this family over these many years. They are a BIG part of who I am today, I'm still reaping the benefit of all that they planted in me.

I started babysitting for the Paines when their oldest were 2 and a couple months old. Now those oldest are a Junior and Freshman at Texas A&M, and all 4 of the kids tower over me.

Even if it was just for an hour or so, it blessed my heart so much to see the Paine kids chasing around after my kids.

I have 15 years of relationships in College Station - so thankful that so many fun friends were in town to see us, even it if was a quick visit!
My College Station Mom & Dad, Pam & Perry, who let the crazy Meyers take over their quiet house for 2 nights (upper left), the sweetie Paines (upper right), Lovey & Poppy, whose house I lived in for years, it was so fun to see the boys running rampant at 214 (bottom right), and my boys with the Chengs' and Bryants' kids (bottom left).
 From the upper left, clockwise Lauren Paine, Sarah Malone, Cutie pregnant Marci Corry, and Christine Martin & Julie Jennings.
With Pam Koch, Erin Cole, and Julie Raymond (Ally was in her pjs, so I knew she wouldn't let me take a picture :D); and with my Heather.

Love love love seeing my boys with my sisters' three. They enjoy each other so much, it makes my heart happy. Langston hardly knows us (he just turned 3, and hadn't seen us since the Nana-took-us-all-to-Disney trip in October 2010), but he warmed up to me eventually. Of course he loved Uncle Matt, Luke & Micah right away. And decided that Tobin was his "best friend" upon sight.

We spent our last day in Houston with them, and it was hard to say goodbye (I was holding it together, until Tobin hugged Alyssa and turned into my arms and BURST into tears.)

Logan was born the summer I moved to Nebraska, and at the time I wondered how much of a relationship I'd be able to have with him. Would he remember me from visit to visit, would he know how much his Ray ray loves him?
 Yes. He does. And I am so thankful for his life and heart and health, and the way God has used him to change our whole family. Also: Cuteness.

It's about 15 hours from Lincoln to south Houston where my family lives... We've made the drive in one day when we had to (driving to Austin for Uncle Jon's funeral)...but it's pretty miserable.

Lucky for me, several sweet friends live along the way. On the way from NE to TX, we stayed overnight in Ft. Worth with Susie (my post-college roommate for 7 years, daughter of Lovey & Poppy, pictured above.)

Coming home from Texas to Nebraska, we stayed the night in Oklahoma City with my sweet Dionna (and Fred, Walt, and Augie.) Dionna and I have only seen each other for about an hour in the last 7 years (we both got married and moved away in 2005), so that time was SUCH a gift. Loved getting to meet her little cutie boys, and spend time with she and Fred. SO MUCH FUN.

94. 30+ hours in the car...and we still like each other.
 p.s. Can we just all take a moment of silence to thank God for whomever invented the in-van DVD system? How did my parents do this? They just tossed us in the back of the station wagon and hoped for the best, I suppose.

 Thankful for our Texas trip, for time with my family and so many friends.... Thankful for yummy food (I'm sorry - the food in TX is BETTER. I mean, I like Runza and all, but....), and being back in the homeland. And now we're thankful to be HOME and finding our normal again! And I want to remember to treasure time with the family & friends who are close as much as I value the quick visits with dear ones who are far away...thankful that our family is so rich in friends and relationships.