Our time is short…

and new beginnings are on the horizon. This has been the hardest 3 years of my adult life, and for as much as I complain about Tejas, it’s really not Tejas at all. It’s just all the “life” that has happened over this 3 years. Leaving here will be bittersweet, but I’m very excited for the new chapter to begin! We have just 2 weeks to go, and while some major components have fallen into place, there are still a million and one things to do. As hectic as it is to have our rotation fall in December, it’s rather nice to be able to have Christmas at the end of the whirlwind.
Soooo, for the sake of tradition I’ve compiled a list (I did this when leaving Hawaii, as shown here), a list of things I will definitely not miss about the Lonestar State, and another made up of all the things I will be very sad to leave.

Things I will NOT miss about Texas:
–The Weather… first and foremost, must be at the top of my list. Weather is highly overrated, and Texas has proven that to me. We are definitely outdoors people–beach, walks, camping, even just having coffee outside in the morning–but since we have lived here, we have become hermits (me, especially). Our first year here I looked at my kids one day and couldn’t believe how WHITE they were. They’ve always had golden tans and healthy glows. Even my brown husband has gotten super pale, and it’s rather depressing. The summers are just way too miserable to spend too much time in the sun. Plus, it’s ridiculously humid. So gross I have to keep the AC blasting, or I just can’t handle it. Winters are equally unbearable–cold, windy, yucky, bleh. I would rather just stay inside than deal with it. I’ll be honest, I love autumn around here–spring is also nice, but allergy season is brutal. Overall, Texas can just keep its weather. I really think this is what initially ruined things for me.
–Wasps. Hawaii had centipedes, TX has wasps. I found 12 nests under my deck the summer we moved here. They would dive bomb me as I cleaned the pool, keep me hostage at my back door (they liked to smack into it in groups of 5 or more), and we also have ginormous cicada-killers burrowing in various parts of the front and backyard. I’m deathly afraid of stinging, buzzing, flying things, and I’m pretty sure the wasps contributed to me staying inside.
–Texas drivers. Sorry guys, you really don’t know what the hell you’re doing on the road. You have traffic every day, why do you keep driving like traffic is a new concept? And weather! Come on, you have plenty of it–why haven’t you learned to drive in it? And for the love of God, please learn how to merge.
–Tex-Mex. Gross. I learned very early on that Mexican food is some kind of horrible amalgamation of southerners trying to make what they think is Mexican. Even the Mexicans have given in. Maybe I’m spoiled being from New Mexico and also from SoCal Mexican cuisine, but “green enchilada sauce” does not mean tomatillo sauce, corn does not belong in every single dish, and sour cream should be a garnish used sparingly in maybe a few dishes, not as a sauce thrown over tortillas or dumped atop everything on the menu. Blech.
–Living in the Cowboys’ backyard. It was bad enough when they were in Irving, but then they had to move to Arlington. While making fun of the Cowboys was enjoyable, I couldn’t get away from them ANYWHERE during football season. Plus, Cowboys fans are super sensitive. There are a lot of them you can’t even joke with, or they get totally butthurt. I’m thinking it’ll be a lot more fun to make fun of them when I’m far way. 😉

Things I will miss about Texas:
–Christian values. They are in the culture, they are part of life, and people are not ashamed or shy about them. Prayers before school/sports events, cheerleaders dancing to Christian music, teachers being able to share ideals with Christian undertones (without being obtrusive or proselytizing) and not be afraid that they will hung out to dry by parents or school boards. Town meetings or events start out with prayers. I love that it’s just a way of life. I understand that we’re heading to California, where the culture is the polar opposite. I will definitely miss not having to make excuses for my beliefs, but I’m thankful for the time and foundation my family has received.
–Schools. We were so luckily to be part of an awesome school system w/awesome teachers and parents. Plus, no state in the nation can beat music education in Texas. No budget cuts to deal with, no furlough days or early releases. Bus services still run, and the focus is simply on kids getting an education.
–Taco Cabana. Yes, even though I bitched about the Tex-Mex, tacos are awesome. Taco Bueno comes a close second, but Taco Cabana is my mecca. Fajita tacos, street tacos, breakfast tacos… all of it. No one does it the same, and I don’t know if I’m gonna function w/o them. The people that work there even know me. They know my orders, they know my car, they know my face. Yes, I realize I have a problem. I’m okay with that.
–MY FRIENDS. One of the best things about my time in Texas. My church family that we followed from Hawaii, Randy & Linda–our spiritual parents– I don’t know what we’re gonna do without you! Koa, Tom, Dee, Reed, Annette, Mike, Sandra, we will be pressed to find such a wonderful group of people. Truly our family, and it will be difficult to leave them. Amy and Cindy (and respective families), thank you for being two of the most loving and supportive friends a girl could ask for. <3
–Living so close to my Roswell family. I loved being able to be so close, especially with the health issues that have happened. Getting in my car and being able to be there in a few hours has been wonderful. 7 hours will soon translate into 16 hours, so I’m glad I took advantage of going home as often as I did.

Moving is never easy. I know there’ll be a big adjustment for all of us, and for as much as I joke/complain/whine I have loved the people and connections I made while living here. Texans are some of the nicest people on the planet. That being said, I know this move is the right one for us. I know that God has some amazing things planned for us, and I can’t wait to find out what they are.

Adios, y’all.

My rose-tinted glasses

I went to a funeral today. It was amazing. Now I know that most people don’t describe funerals as amazing, but this one was truly unique. Yesterday, I would have told you that a 13 year old little girl lost her battle with cancer. Today I will tell you that she didn’t lose her battle, her work on this earth was simply completed. I’ve met this little girl, and she was inspiring, strong, and always filled with joy. I don’t want to sound cliche, but I can’t tell you this story without expressing how much I have been and continue to be inspired by this little girl and her family.
My husband works with this little girl’s, Briana’s dad. We knew when she was diagnosed with cancer, knew when she was doing well, knew when she was in remission, heard about all that this family was going through. My husband is friends with him on Facebook, and every update on Briana, while asking for prayer, was always filled with optimism and praise for God. Not once did I see this man or his family feeling sorry for themselves. Throughout their ordeal, I was impressed and pressed upon by their joy for life, love for each other, and the strength they have in Him. Every step of the way they gave God praise, even little Briana, in a video she made from the hospital said, “Don’t you worry about me, God’s in control”. That sweet baby with her big eyes, wide smile, hair gone from radiation was so focused on what is true and real in the midst of a storm many of us will never have to face–God’s in control.
When I found out that the cancer had come back this last time and that the prognosis wasn’t good, I cried. I won’t lie, I cried for a day straight. I grieved for this family. I also tried to imagine how I would react if I were in this situation–if I were losing my daughter, my joy, the light of my life, would I be able to carry myself in the way these people were? I have to say, I really don’t think so. I have a hard enough time keeping my focus when the little sandstorms and drizzles happen. But seeing this family today, remembering how they’ve handled this traumatic experience, it’s touched something deep on the inside of me. It’s funny, because at the start of this new year I made a sort of a resolution. I was going to stop being so stinkin’ negative. I was going to roll with the punches and look on the bright side of things, because really, being negative is counterproductive, and I sure was tired of being miserable. I’ve been doing pretty good, but being sick last week had me feeling pretty beat up, and just, well… tired. I even let myself have a pity party for about an hour. It wasn’t fun, even though it didn’t last long. When I was able to refocus, I was that much more sure that I didn’t want to go back to that way of thinking. It’s kind of funny, because my Facebook status last night was “Kris has found her rose-tinted glasses. They got misplaced last week.” Life is so much easier and worth living when you can see and focus on what’s really important, what’s good and worth spending your energy on. Then I go to the funeral today and see that practice truly in motion. Focusing on God, celebrating a life, praising Him for the gifts He gives us, however fleeting they may be, and never losing sight of what’s important can get you through a situation like that. I’m humbled, and I’ll say it a 70th time… Amazed.
Briana’s dad, Larry, asked my husband if he would play at the funeral. Of course Trace said yes, but Larry made it clear that this was to be unlike any other funeral–it was Briana’s Homegoing. It was a celebration of her life. He needed some New Orleans flair, so Trace played “When the Saints Go Marching In” dixieland style. A perfect illustration for Briana, because this little saint also had the privilege of becoming an Honorary Marine just 2 days before she passed away. After that honor, she got to march on home.
One last thing I’ll leave you with before I let you watch the video of Briana’s Honorary Marine Ceremony and scenes from her Homegoing. I had some friends comment on my rose-tinted glasses status. They wanted to borrow my glasses, or wanted me to send them a pair, and I had to tell them… Mine won’t work for you. Just like Larry’s or Briana’s wouldn’t work for me, and I can’t hunt down your pair for you. You have to find your own pair of glasses, your own joy, find out who He really is to you, find out what you are to Him, decide what’s significant in this life and let the rest pass on by, and then the world will really be a whole lot rosier.

A memory I wanted to save

There’s a lunar eclipse tonight, and the news says that Hawaii is one of the best places to view it. I read this online and didn’t really think too much about it. My son however, remembered just as I was tucking him in. He is soooooooo excited, “Mom! I’ve never seen a lunar eclipse IN MY LIFE!” How can I not wake him up at 11 to take him outside and watch it? Never mind that his sister, who he desperately wants to share this moment with, NEEDS her full 10 hours of sleep or she’s unbearable. Never mind that mommy got to sleep at 2:30 last night and woke up at 6:15, and all she wants to do is pass out for at least 8 straight hours.

But the look on his face, and the excitement in his eyes, how can I say no?
My lovely little man, who will turn 9 next week. I catch myself looking at him and thinking, I have to enjoy him, he’s going to be grown up and gone before I know it. I already miss being able to pick him up and carry him. 9…where did the time go? So I will rouse myself, my ever inquisitive son and my unruly daughter in a few hours, and we will make an absolutely wonderful, unbeatable, exciting childhood memory, under the Hawaiian sky.

 

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And it was wonderful. I’m sure we were a sight–the three of us in jammies, sitting in lawn chairs in the driveway, but it was well worth it.