First, let's get the third thing I learned out of the way...
3. What I do every day DOES make a difference: Before, when there was a need for someone to take a meal, I'd volunteer but I'd never think much about it or put much effort into it. But in the 3 weeks after Steve got out of the hospital and folks would bring meals, I realized what a big deal that is. Each and every person that would come to us, I'd want to hug them and tell them how much this meal they prepared would help us out. How much more important to others are the little things I do every day? I just have to remember that I never know the impact of even the little things I do on others. Gives me quite a bit of food for thought as I go throughout my days.
OK, now for some beach pictures and a rundown. First of all, if you go to Carrie's blog, she's got a really good summary from her perspective as well. But we both agree, we had a GREAT time! The girls got along...well, they got along like true sisters. When it was play time, they were best friends, but when it was quiet time and they were tired...they got on each other's nerves. But all in all, they were the best girls and so darn cute. Check 'em out!
We arrived right on time. Can't complain about Delta this time. Left on time and arrived on time during all flights. Getting on the plane in Nashville, the flight attendant asked if Jenna would like to meet the pilots. They were so wonderful.
Carrie picked us up in her husband's convertible. I think Jenna was way more excited about riding in a "car without a top" than the trip itself! We did run into quite a bit of traffic on the way to the beach, but all in all, the trip there was fine. Both full days we were at the beach, we did the beach the first part of the day, eat lunch in the room and then the second part of the day at the pool. I am amazed at how well Jenna can swim. She's been in the water since she was 9 months old and taken swimming lessons every year since, but I guess I've never really seen her in action. Check this little fishy out...
The girls were very sad when they dropped us off at the airport. But in reality, I think Jenna was glad to get home to her daddy and I think Sami was glad to get home to her daddy and little brother. Carrie and I are already trying to think about where 1/2 way is for our next trip!
OK, what else? Going backwards, we had July 4 and Steve's birthday. We spent some time down in Pegram with Deanne. Here is a pic or two from that...
Right now, we are just preparing to go on our cruise. I'm so thankful that we had this planned almost a year ago and paid off before this whole hip surgery. And speaking of that, Steve is still recovering. I think the biggest hurdle we've had to overcome is our idea that this would be a quick recovery like the kidney stones. He's about 7 1/2 weeks out from surgery and he's still experiencing a significant amount of pain, some swelling and of course, never far from his cane. They are saying about 3 months he will start seeing some glimpses of life before the surgery. It might be up to a year for him to be completely pain free and back to "normal" if we can even remember what that is by then!
I guess I'll leave you with a little something I wanted to share from our Sunday School lesson this morning. Our teacher, Rian, was talking about as a kid, remembering making those diorama's where you make miniature worlds with people in them etc. He said he remembered making one with a sugar cube igloo in which he put little penguins and eskimos etc. And he asked us to imagine we had made a diorama and then could choose to shrink ourselves down to that size...and actually enter into the world of the diorama that we had ourselves created (stay with me here). And then imagine when we got into the world that we created, that the penguins (or people...whatever you put into your diorama) were mean to us. They taunted us and told us that they didn't believe we were the one that made the diorama. How would we immediately make ourselves life-size again to just prove how big we were and that we were the ultimate creator of this world that these little things live in. I know it's a stretch to think about, but just imagine it for a moment. You made this little mini-world with your hands...put all the pieces together just so...and then...you liked what you made so much that you shrunk yourself down to get in it. And when you did, you got nothing but disbelief, disrespect and just plain ole' meanness. To these little things that you created!
But isn't that just what God did? He made this world with His own hands. He gave to us all the things to make our lives just so. And then...because He loved what He made so much, He came down into the world that He created. And all He got was disbelief, disrespect and more than just meanness. The creation that He so lovingly made turned their back on Him and then they crucified Him. And don't you imagine while He was on the cross listening to the taunts of "You bragged that you could tear down the Temple and then rebuild it in three days—so show us your stuff! Save yourself! If you're really God's Son, come down from that cross!" (Luke 27:40 The Message) that He might have wanted to say, "OK, that's it! It's time I show you who I really am?!" Wouldn't we?! Faced with what He was faced with, wouldn't we want to prove that we really were creator. I would. I would have brought myself down off that cross and called to my side a whole army of angels to defend me.
But He didn't.
In His loving mercy, He didn't.
And praise Him for that.
2. I'm not as nice as I think I am: I always thought I was a pretty nice person. Until I had many people, many strangers, be extremely nice to me. I have never experienced the kindness of strangers until Steve's fundraiser breakfast. The Applebees where we had the breakfast was literally full of people, most of them folks we've never met before and yet all there to help us. Prior to this, I would not have considered helping a total stranger unless there was some type of connection.
So, I decided every few days, I'll give a quick update and then post one of the things I've learned. And without further ado:
I have spent a while mulling over this post and know I have promised it for quite some time, so here it is:
1. Humility: There's no way you can be taken care of the way we were and not be consantly humbled. I have tried to think of ways to adequately thank everyone and have come to the conclusion that there are just no words to do that.
Life has kept the Taylors busy lately! Let's see...last week, thanks to my good friends Leigh Ann and Jamie, Jenna was able to attend her very first Vacation Bible School...BBC style! Those of you who go to BBC, know what I mean when I say "BBC style". For those that don't, let me explain...
1,582 kids enrolled to particpate in VBS this year. Did you do a double-take? That's fifteen hundred children! Attendance averaged about 1,300 a day. There were over 500 volunteers (Leigh Ann and Jamie included) that made this a success. And about 40 decisions made by children. Friday night was the big finale program and I've never been so proud to be part of the church as I was then. I'm just so blessed to be smack dab (as my mother would say) in the middle of where God is so obviously working. AWESOME!
The big thing going on with me is regarding my health. Sort of. Some of you may remember that last year about this time, I was experiencing severe itching on my feet which I attributed to some sort of fungus picked up in Thailand. We'll this year it's back with a vengence, and after several rather frustrating visits with the dermatologist, I think I (with some help from my mentor and friend, Sherri) have self-diagnosed myself with a type of eczema called dyshidrotic dermititis. It's not contagious, but it's making me miserable with the itching. It's now on my hands as well and while I'm on and using a multitude of medications, it's waking me up several times at night, which is no fun. I have an appointment with my primary care physician on Tuesday morning at 7:30, so hopefully I'll have even more information then. For the most part this is exacerbated by stress and is triggered by some allergen. My problem is that I don't know what I'm allergic to, so I'm seeing a visit to the allergist in my future. I just want the itching to stop. Right now, my feet are itching and I have to pause my typing to scratch my hands. If you want to see pretty much what I'm going through, just click here.
Steve celebrated a birthday on July 4. We spent the first part of the holiday with Steve's sister as is our tradition. Then we came home, rested and cooked out with our friends the Millsaps. We just sat on the deck and played card games and watched the neighborhood fireworks. It was so much fun!
I guess that's about it. This Friday, Jenna and I leave (at the crack of!) to go to Richmond to visit my friend Carrie and her daughter Sami. We are going to spend a long weekend on the beach as just a girls weekend. I so need it. I'm just praying that we get the itching under control so it doesn't ruin my trip. Now that the weekend is closer, I'm really starting to get excited!
Well, that's it for now. I have to go fold clothes!