Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Where's your sparkle?

I often find myself in need of a certain reminder, things aren't usually nearly as bad as I think they are.

Those moments that I find myself incredibly discouraged with work are eased when I am able to clearly see that, it spite of it all, things could be worse.  When I am able to make myself see that, I am also able to see all the blessings.

The same goes for parenthood.   It's no secret, with two young children with two strong personalities, that the going gets tough sometimes.  I've made countless phone calls to my mom where the first words out of my mouth are, "Your grandchildren!"  It helps me to hear her chuckle, even if I don't completely appreciate it at the time, and realize, these are the moments that are few and far between.  These are the moments that I won't remember a year from now.  I have a great family, I should never take them for granted.

It helps to have someone to vent to.  I am lucky that when it comes to work and ministry issues, I have a great pastor/friend that will allow me to come to his office and "download."  I am lucky that my husband doesn't mind me crying on his shoulder when I just don't know what else to do.  I am lucky that my mother is able to bring my back down to reality when my kids are driving me batty.
I am lucky.  I am blessed.

I am also lucky that these wonderful people around me, my kids who depend on me, my family that supports me, do not allow me to wallow in the "poor me's."   I am not afforded the luxury to wallow too long in whatever woes I feel are irrepressible, and instead, am encouraged to be proactive about the things I can change and accepting of the things I cannot.  

Bechtold News:
Zoe is LOVING school, which is no surprise, she's always loved school.  She has gotten in trouble for talking, which is also no surprise.  I had a dear woman at church ask me the other day if "Zoe was born talking."  YES! she was. 

Noah has started back two mornings a week at preschool.  He's also enjoying it, and only cries a little when we leave him.   The past two weeks he has been in bed before 7:00, if he makes it that long.  It's hard work being such an active little guy.

Zach has started back in gear at Wesley and is as busy as ever, and as exhausted as ever.  Even with how tired he is, I know he is so happy.  He is so fortunate to do what he loves and get paid for it!

I have been busy with trying to get our family into some sort of schedule.  I am getting back into our "School" youth schedule along with starting a Life Group at church and volunteering weekly at Zoe's school.  I love that I am able to do these things. 

I will leave you with a quote from the bedtime story I was reading Zoe tonight, from The Very Fairy Princess:  "Even a fairy princess needs a break, to keep her sparkle from sagging!"

Do what you need to do, to help you keep your sparkle!

Oh Barney...

Friday, August 17, 2012

Growing Pains...

Today the Bechtold Family reached a milestone.  It was Zoe's first day of Kindergarten.  It seems like yesterday I was thinking, after seeing posts from friends on Facebook about their little ones first day of school, that I don't know what I'll do when it's Zoe's first day.  All of a sudden my little girl isn't so little anymore.

School in Las Cruces is a little different than in other places we have lived.  School for the other kids began on Wednesday.  The school has what's called "Kinder Transition Day" for the Kindergarten kids.  On Wednesday afternoon we dropped Noah off at our friend Stuart's house and Zoe and I headed up to her new school.   We had packed up Zoe's new Hello Kitty backpack with her new school supplies and she so very bravely marched into her new classroom.  She shook her teacher's hand and when a comment was made about Zoe's blue eyes, she proudly proclaimed,"They're my Daddy's eyes!" 

Our transition day only included 6 other students and before long Zoe was in a very animated conversation with the little girl sitting next to her while they did their craft.  So quickly and easily does she make friends.  We were able to tour the school, fill out the pile of paperwork, and get "tested" all in one afternoon.  If possible, Zoe left that afternoon even more excited to start school than before.
Transition day.

Noah takes posing lessons from sister.

The first real day of school started this morning, on a Friday.  I woke up first, put the cinnamon toast in the oven, fixed the chocolate milk, cut up the strawberries, and then went and woke up Zoe.  Zoe is our little morning person.  She jumps out of bed, no matter what the time, like she's coming off the bench in a basketball game. 

After breakfast, getting dressed, and taking the standard "first day of school pictures" we all loaded up and drove the 15 minutes to Zoe's school.  We no sooner walked up that she was off playing in the playground and once again, making new friends.  In fact we had to call her back over just so Mommy and Daddy could say their goodbyes.  After our hugs and kisses, Zoe ran off to play some more before the bell rang and Mommy and Daddy wiped their tears away.  It was so much harder on us than her.

First day picture.

So happy...

For the rest of the day I kept my eye on the clock.  I would say to myself, "Zoe's in the cafeteria now, eating lunch like a big girl," or "I wonder what Zoe's learning right now."  I couldn't wait for 2:30 to come around.

Finally the time came and we were waiting outside for her to come bounding out exclaiming about what a great day she had.  Noah was just as excited to see her than I was, happily taking her hand as we walked back to the car.  We promptly left and took Zoe to Barnes and Noble to pick out her "first day of school book," a tradition we are starting this year, and then took her to her choice of restaurant for an early supper (she chose Olive Garden, big surprise there).  After the meal we went to Hastings and picked out a movie for the evening.  I couldn't keep count of how many times she, with obvious joy, shouted, "This is just the best day ever!"

A new tradition begins.

Zoe's selection. This was a very difficult decision.

Zoe's favorite restaurant.

I am so proud of my darling girl.  I don't know that I could be anymore proud of her than I am.  She is so much what I wish I could be, every day.  Joyous, happy, sensitive, thoughtful, and curious, among other things.  It's hard, seeing her so big, so smart, and not get misty eyed, but I know she is growing into such a lovely person, capable of doing so much good.   I will try not to mourn her "babyhood" (if that's such a word) and instead delight in how well she's growing up...

Praying you all are as blessed as I feel today...

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Even know-it-alls can learn something...

I work for a great church.  I am also blessed to work for a Pastor who just so happens to be a good friend.  He knows Zach and I quite well and when he suggests that we do something, we usually trust his judgment.  Several months ago Pastor Travis suggested we attend this years Willow Creek Association Global Leadership Summit.  I admit, I wasn't overly thrilled when I learned I had already been signed up to go.  In fact, I was hoping for something to come up so that I could back out.  Thankfully, nothing did! 

For the two days of the Summit Zach and I had to get the kids up and out the door before 6:30 for the 45 minute drive to El Paso.  We were meeting a church in El Paso that also opened up their nursery to watch our kids.  This was a televised conference, with the multiple speakers being in Chicago and sending live feed out to all the other locations.  All of these factors joined together to make a "I don't know about this" moment in my mind.  But can you believe it, with all my skepticism, I actually learned some things!? 

The leaders included Bill Hybels, Condoleezza Rice, Jim Collins, Craig Groeschel, Patrick Lencioni, and John Ortberg, among others.  There was so much that these great leaders said that I just wanted to throw my hands up in the air and yell, "YES! That makes so much sense!"  or "YES! Where's so-in-so, so that they could be hearing this too!"  (I know, shame on me.)  So, I'm going to share some things I loved from this conference:

1.  "A leaders most valuable asset is their energy and ability to energize." - Bill Hybels

2. "Don't talk about going 'there' until you explain why you can't stay 'here'" - Bill Hybels

3. "Remember that it is a privilege to be a leader." - Bill Hybels (personal note, I forget this sometimes and need to remember how blessed I am to be in a position to lead others.)

4.  "The greatest quality of a leader is their irrepressible optimism." - Condoleezza Rice

5. "Out of struggle comes victory, after Friday comes Sunday." - Condoleezza Rice

6. "The x-factor of great leadership is humility combined with great will." - Jim Collins

7.  "Mediocrity comes from chronic inconsistency." - Jim Collins

8. "Don't fear or resent the next generation, believe in them." - Craig Groeschel

9. "If you're not dead, you're not done." - Craig Groeschel

10. "People act honorable when they have been shown honor and respect." - Craig Groeschel

11.  "Being all things to all people means you are nothing to everyone." - Patrick Lencioni

12.  "The discoverer of the role of forgiveness in human affairs was Jesus Christ." - John Ortberg

13. "Everyone benefits when a leader gets better." - Bill Hybels

14. "Jesus will not allow HIS church to be easily destroyed." - Bill Hybels

There is a lot more that I took away than these little snippets.  I came away with some reading, with inspiration, and with a drive to see how much more I can do, not just in regards to the Youth group, but with the church universal. 

As the Summit was coming to a close, the volunteers passed out a card with a prayer written on it.  The idea was to enter into a covenant with someone else to pray this prayer every morning.  The Prayer is added below.

Click on photo to enlarge it.

What are you doing with your talents and energy?  Your creativity and resources?  Together, we can change the world.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Celebrate all events with cookies...

I love the Olympic games. Correction - I LOVE the Olympic games!  Seriously, I had been counting the days to the opening ceremonies for over a year.  No, I'm not an athelete. I don't know why I like them so much but I do.  I record every channel the Olympics have been playing on much to my husband's chagrin.  It doesn't matter which event is playing, this girl is watching, and when necessary, crying along with the atheletes.

Much to my dismay we had to be in Plainview on the first weekend of the Olympics.  If we had been home in Las Cruces I would of gone all out, Olympic party style, for the opening ceremonies.  Being at my parent's house I did what I could.  I donned my red, white, and blue tank top (bought special for the occassion), selected an all American meal (fried chicken thank you very much), and taught the kids a USA cheer that was absolutely adorable when performed by my sweet two year old.  We also had special Olympic themed cookies that Zoe and I decorated earlier in the day.  They weren't great, but they were fun and tasted...well, they tasted patriotic. :)

 Pay no attention to the misspelling...

Zoe would decorate a cookie and eat a cookie. 
Pretty great system if you ask me.

And yes, I realize purple isn't exactly a patriotic color but when you have a prissy 5 year old, you gotta do what you gotta do.

I'm still watching for the next week and a half, still cheering, and still closing my eyes with anticipation.  That's how I roll.  I'm also trying to always remember the race I am (and you are too) racing everyday.  Racing with a purpose...

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.
New Living Translation (NLT)

What are you doing to prepare yourself for your Christian life?  Are you running with purpose or are you just going through the motions?

Happy watching and blessings to you and yours.