Mikayla brought home from Winter Camp an invitation to the annual Westside Church of Christ singing in Irving, which she really wanted to attend. I love singings, so after talking it over with Duane, we made plans for Mikayla and I to drive up Friday evening. When I learned that an old friend of mine had recently moved to Dallas, we made plans to meet at the singing, then spend the night at her place so we could catch up.
The singing was incredible. I've always attended small-to-medium sized churches, so Westside has seemed huge to me when I've been there before. On Friday night, there were over 500 people packing the building, and the sound was amazing. We wrapped up around 9:30, then went out for a bite to eat with my friend before heading to her place. We stayed up until 2:30am catching up on all of the changes in the 2+ years since we've seen each other. It was great!
Saturday after a late breakfast, Mikayla and I headed home, stopping along the way for a few pictures of some of the sites. We all enjoyed the road-trip. My sweet husband stayed home and took care of Mom and Lily, which is a subject for another time. Always another adventure going on...
When I was in middle school and high school, my best friend and I were very involved in the drama club. I was never a good actress, but I worked on the stage crew for most of our high school productions. I learned all of the songs and most of the lines. I remember how incredibly talented some of the kids were. There were a few who I expected to become famous. My favorite play was 'The Man of La Mancha', and in my mind I can still hear the beautiful voices of the guy who played Don Quixote and the girl who played Aldonza. But I have seen other performances since then, and thought I could tell the difference between a high-school play and a professional stage production.
Last night Mikayla and I went to see the Leander High School performance of Oklahoma. WOW! I can honestly say that they blew me away. These 'kids' put on an incredibly professional production. The orchestra was fantastic, the scenery, props and costumes were perfect, the choreography was beautiful, the acting and singing were amazing. It was hard to believe that they were all local teens performing in a school production!
When a person has dementia, you never really know what to expect from day to day. Sometimes she is busy fiddling around the house, sometimes she just sits in her room and reads, sometimes she seems to sleep all day. Yesterday she woke up with no idea of where she was or why. When Duane tried to explain that this was where she lived, that it was her daughter's house, it didn't seem to get through. She kept saying 'Yes - I know this is part of the school'. No idea what that meant! Later, when I came home from work, she told me that they had gone to church earlier. Going to church is her favorite activity, and sometimes I think it's too bad we aren't Catholic, so we could take her everyday :-).
During the conversation, she asked if we had time to drive out by 'one of the lakes around here'. So we packed up the family and drove out to Jonestown to see Lake Travis. We ended up down at Jones Brothers park, where we walked along the shore and enjoyed the beautiful evening. Afterwards we had dinner at the 'True Grits' restaurant, which we've been wanting to try out for years. The food was good and the service was great! We all enjoyed spending time together as a family.
We took mom and Lily downtown to First Night Austin on New Years Eve. We have gone every year since it started, though we just stay for the daytime activities. This year they didn't have the chalk drawing on the Congress Avenue bridge, which was too bad - that is always a lot of fun. But there were plenty of interesting things to see, including the clock tower that was built specifically to be burned down that night, the Mad Hatter booth where Lilyana created a hat from a paper bag, and just hanging out:
Today we drove out to pick Mikayla up at Camp Hensel. I think she had fun, but she was definitely ready to come home. We went out to Marble Falls for lunch. We always enjoy the River City Grille, which has a nice deck out over the lake. Duane loves a dish they have there called "Dad's Chicken". We're looking forward to a few more days before we return to the regular schedule of school and work...
Here it is, the last day of 2008! Here are a few things I have been reminded of this year:
Better a servant than a hero on a pedestal. I am incredibly blessed in my husband! He has constantly amazed me with his kindness and willingness to serve family, friends or anyone who is in need.
Joy should be taken in the moment. My mother has helped me slow down and appreciate a beautiful weed, a sunny day, a humorous event.
Being the Salt of the Earth requires being friends with worldly people. Teenagers, especially, get so much negative influence today, and Christian kids who are faithful and also friends with non-believers give those friends reason to be better people.
Planning ahead can eliminate obstacles. When Lilyana turned 7 We told her she was almost old enough to start taking notes at church, and we'd use her 1/2 birthday as the time to do that. At the time she didn't like the idea, because she'd rather play during church. But a week before her half birthday I reminded her. We bought her a notebook and colored pens, and she started taking notes (mostly copying from mine) with no complaints.
People will help if they see a need. Whether it was family flying to Texas to help with my Mom, or friends picking up the slack when I was travelling, there have been so many examples of kindness shown to my family this year. The challenge is letting people know what you need.
I could go on, but I think I'll close with a short verse that has often inspired me:
Find a way to do good unto others - find a way to make the world a better place.
It's no use getting lost in self-pity.
Turn your sorrow into sympathy and demonstrate God's grace!