Sunday, October 31, 2010

Reformation Day Reminder

If he have faith, the believer cannot be restrained. He betrays himself. He breaks out. He confesses and teaches this gospel to the people at the risk of life itself.

Martin Luther

Friday, October 29, 2010

Creative Intentions

I'm working on Christmas gifts this week and was hoping to be creative. I thought about doing a project with a few Jude pictures....



It wasn't really what I was going for but it's definitely...expressive?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Timeless.

As if the reminder that 30 is the number in our household these days weren't enough to make us feel a wee bit old, this weekend I got together with some of my best friends from junior high. Any friend who has remained a friend after watching me walk through that season is a serious friend.



It's strange sometimes how hard seasons of life cause you to re-connect with people that you are just too busy or forgetful to see otherwise. A year or so ago, Jessica (the fittest and most health-conscious of the bunch) was diagnosed with breast cancer. Through emails and memphis-connections, we watched her fight with inspirational joy and determination. And by God's grace, her recovery has been full.

We brought our photo albums, ate chicken salad, and laughed at the discovery that 15 years really hasn't brought that many changes to our personalities after all.



I like old friendships.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

3-0


Hubs turns the big 3-0 today. Since he passed 25 he's been convincing himself that a man hits his prime in his 30s. hmm.

30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100.

There's no man I'd rather live life with day after day, year after year.

Looking forward to many, many more.

Happy Birthday!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Weary in Well Doing?


Motherhood is undoubtedly one of the noblest ways to spend a life. I can think of few roles where the influence of one person on another is so profoundly powerful. I love being Jude's mom. In fact, I love it even more than I thought I would.

But I wouldn't be painting an honest picture if I didn't admit that there are days in this sweet baby phase when I grow weary. Days when my little dream baby is whiny 90% of the time. Days when I find it tiresome to take 35lbs of car seat out every time I want to run in Target. Days when we walk outside a lot just because I'm not sure what else to do with myself or Jude.

When we were in Louisville, our pastor exhorted the congregation to pray for the young mothers in our midst. He specifically mentioned Galatians 6:9: Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

I have been thinking about that verse this week...about the promise that it suggests. It will likely be many, many years until I see any harvest at all for the sowing I am doing in Jude's life. The years of discipline and instruction are before me and sometimes the very thought is wearisome. Nonetheless, motherhood is one of the primary tasks God has given as my portion. I am unspeakably grateful though admittedly a little overwhelmed by the magnitude of the job.

Praying this week that I would run with perseverance the race marked out for me....

Coca Cola

Our friend Thomas stopped in from Oxford today for lunch and a bike ride on the new Green Line in Memphis. If you'll remember....Thomas is the one who gave Jude a Coke can sippy cup as a baby gift. Needless to say, David bought a coke to go with lunch.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Scooter

Jude is learning to scoot. We've hardly been successful in capturing it on film...but this will give you an idea:



Uncle Andy and Aunt Lindsey, fresh off the plane from their trip to Paris and Greece, came over to give him a few lessons.



It won't be long til he's a full fledged crawler.

My life is about to change!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

African Soil?


Generally speaking, the blog is a hodgepodge sampling of my life and mind. If you read frequently, you have a fair enough idea of what I'm up to in this season and what our day to day life looks like. However, due to the quite public nature of the blogging world, there are plenty of major life happenings in our world that may never be mentioned in blog form. I purposefully write a blog that I don't mind random folk clicking on when it strikes their fancy. This means that sometimes, the very largest areas of our lives are omitted. Let me break code a bit today and briefly mention an area from which I usually shy away.

We have been hoping to move to Africa.

Yesterday we received a phone call that made the possibility of being on that soil anytime in the next few years look like unlikely.

I don't know how much I've mentioned it previously, but if you know me well you will understand that this is a hard blow. I love America. My eyes glisten on the 4th of July. But when I say that I love Africa, the best parallel is the kind of love you feel for a lover. I am enamored by the culture, in conflict over her trials and sins, and always feeling, under the surface, a longing to be nearer to her soil.

It has been the kind of week that makes me give deep thanks to God that He revealed so much to us in the Word about His absolute sovereignty. We are not undone. We are hopeful. We are eager....eager to see His better plan.


Due to the openness of this forum and the kind of work we will engage in, many of the particulars of our journey are best communicated via email. If you would like to receive a monthly email from us, simply leave your email address as a comment or email me at dawkinsabroad@gmail.com

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Imitation Bronte

It's finally fall and that means I can pull out those soup recipes I've been avoiding in the summer heat.

My favorite soup in the city? Hands down, Bronte's Blue Cheese Tomato. Since it's across town, I've been working to re-create it in my own kitchen.

I'm getting close....



...but I'm still planning to sit down at Bronte at least once this fall!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

High Cotton


This weekend we drove down to the farm to visit Mamaw and take in the splendor of the countryside at harvest time.

My dad, who's battling his old cotton picker this time of year, put down his wrench long enough to show Jude a plot of land that our family has owned for at least 125 years or more. There's something a bit surreal about standing on ground that your family has made a living off of since the Civil War.





One fall when I was a kid, my grandaddy took all of us grandkids out to a plot of land, handed us burlap sacks and told us to start picking. He wanted us to know the way they used to farm.

My mom always says that my dad is addicted to farming. I kind of understand what she means...and I feel it pulsing through my blood as well. It's a love for the land that can't quite be put into words. I think it's in the blood of farm families. Maybe it has something to do with the sustenance of a family line coming from sweat poured into soil for generation after generation.



It seemed important to look at my son and tell him...this land, this is our family's land.



Land really is the best art. - Andy Warhol

Friday, October 15, 2010

Outdoors man

It seems that Jude was born an outdoorsman. (Or his eager father brainwashed him in his infancy.) If ever he is unmanageably fussy, David heads for the door, insisting that Jude needs some fresh air. Inevitably, he comes back smiling.

Yesterday we wanted to do some reading at Shelby Farms. Jude hung out on the blanket with us, went down for his nap and slept an unusually long time, and woke up ready for a run. There's been talk of taking him on his first camping trip. I'm not sure it would be all that smooth.



The 9 year old Baby Jogger that Todd and Shannon graciously gave us to try out when we were considering a more expensive purchase is serving our running needs just fine! Even I've been able to push it while running in my not-so-in-shape state. We added a sunshade extender and a fleece insert for the cooler weather and Jude seems to be quiet content even for longer distances. Horaay for hand-me-downs!!!!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Jude at 13?

On Tuesday Jude and I went to the zoo with my neighbor Sara. Our husbands work together and get to hang out a lot but we've never had a chance to spend much time together. She was on fall break and so we toured a few Memphis spots together with Jude. In anne-fashion, I'd have to say I've found another kindred spirit. I lOvE discovering new friends...especially when they live around the corner:)

Since I had an extra set of hands, I decided it would be a great time to take one of those classic fall pictures.

We positioned Jude on a local pumpkin with mums in the background.

He looked at me like...why are you doing this? it's time for my nap!

And when I looked at the pictures later, I discovered that his expression in each of them is what you might expect from a 13 year old whose mother is making him sit on a pumpkin in public.



C'mon, Mom! Enough already.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Southern Flavor


One of my first Sundays at Crossroads, I was introduced to Mrs. Billie. Included in the introduction was the tidbit (from a fellow churchgoer) that Mrs. Billie makes the best caramel icing in these parts.

If you've followed my blog for any length of time, you are aware of my near obsession with caramel cake. Thus, this little tidbit of information became a definition to me.

Mrs. Billie = The lady who knows how to make real caramel icing

Last night I gave Mrs. Billie a call and asked if she could come over and give a caramel demonstration for my neighbor Sarah and me. At noon, she showed up at my door with a basketful of pots, sugar, cream and other cooking gear.



After a quick lunch, we got down to business. Her icing recipe makes mine look like Julia Childs standing next to a short order cook at Waffle House. We're talking candy thermometer (which I don't even own), browning white sugar in a pan (who knew you could do that?), and more stirring than I've ever done in my short kitchen life.




The result? True Southern flavor.



Thanks, Mrs. Billie!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Discovery



This is the age of discovery for Jude. I love watching him explore the world around him. I've made a few discoveries myself lately....

1. Babies who roll and scoot are not to be trusted.

Yesterday I was cooking lunch while Jude played in the den. I was thinking about what a good little baby he is...marveling at his quiet playing. A few minutes later I went to check on him. He'd rolled halfway across the room and was holding the antenna cord...as a teething ring.



2. Jude thinks he's part lion. He roars a lot.

I tried to capture it on video but couldn't get a full blown roar. Trust me, it's better in person.




3. Breadcrumbs are not the same as coarsely crushed croutons.

It seemed like a good substitute at the time but it didn't really work out. Eggplant Parmesan is hard to ruin though. David ate it joyfully even with crushed croutons.


4. My Big Backyard at the Memphis Botanical Gardens is not just for kidd-os.



A friend and I strolled through the exhibit this afternoon. Jude slept. We played in the musical tree house, slid down the slide, read fast facts about birds, and admired the handiwork of some amazing Memphis artists. It's worth a trip.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

To Pop Pop



Wishing you the happiest of birthdays.

Love you, Dad. Your life is such a gift to us.

Love & Marriage: Part III



David and I went to Charleston, South Carolina for our honeymoon.

When we returned, we packed up our tent, hiking boots, popped our bikes on top of the car and headed out west. 33 days, 7,939 miles, and a lot of granola bars late, we returned to Memphis. It was an incredible trip. We hit more National Parks than I’d seen in a lifetime, and made enough memories to fill a book.

Most of the stories we tell from that month together are about the wonders of Yellowstone or the bear at Yosemite or the splendor of Bryce Canyon in Utah. But we tell other stories too. They are the stories of two individuals learning to communicate. Life together in the confines of our 4-Runner for a month gave us a bit of a crash course.


One of the ways that David has best served me in marriage is one of the things that in our first days together was one of the things most uncomfortable to me. He insists on talking things out as soon as possible.

Communication is essential to a healthy marriage. Communication, of course, can come in the unhealthy form of screaming and yelling. If you know David and me, that’s not necessarily our weakness. I am a classic averter of confrontation. By nature, David is also. But thankfully, by principle, he’s led our family otherwise.

Those first few weeks in the car together were such a gift. It was a forced practice ground. I was at times a bit overwhelmed with the rapidity of change in my life in that season. I was, to put it mildly, emotional. David would make an innocent comment. I would misinterpret that comment in my mind. Within 10 minutes, with no other words having been spoken by the unsuspecting husband, I had convinced myself that the true meaning of the comment was that he wished he had not married me.

Under normal circumstance, my first reaction probably would have been to call a friend and talk it out. My friends are quite sensible in these matters (more so than me, usually) and would very likely have assuaged my fears and helped me move past the misunderstanding. But it would have still left the middle man in our communication.

I guess I could have called a friend on our western adventure but, David would have been sitting beside me as I talked about him. Thus, when the tension was mounting and I looked over at my chipper husband singing to the tunes on the radio, I was forced to actually talk with him about the comment. Thankfully, not once was his actual intent in a misunderstood comment that he wished he’d never married me, or that he was going to leave me in California (yes, that’s a true example) or that he thought me very ugly.

This practice of talking things out immediately, of resolving in humility to love one another well with words, it has been a cornerstone for us in marriage. I use the word humility because it is humbling not only to receive grace but also to take seriously the trifles of another and give grace to them. Thankfully, our chief example in life and marriage was one of incomparable rank and honor...who humbled himself.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Love & Marriage: Part II

October 6, 2007


If there’s one word that makes most women feel a bit uncomfortable, myself included, it’s submission. It’s a bit of an awkward topic in our feminist saturated culture, even among Christians. I myself hesitate to bring up a story or example at times, thinking that perhaps a friend will deem my husband controlling or a bit too involved in my daily decisions.

It’s a biblical word though and there’s no place where submission is portrayed with greater beauty and deeper love than within the context of the Bible.

Entire books have been written on the topic. And since I have only a few moments during Jude’s naptime for my ponderings on this subject, I’ll make my reflections only a few sentences.

Lately, I have become increasingly aware of how vital it is for me to submit to David’s leadership in the smaller decisions in life. Simple requests that he makes of me or preferences that I am aware of are a battle ground at times. I become more committed to my own individuality than I am to a home where Sarah’s example, as found in 1 Peter 3, is praised by my actions.

Submission is easier said than done. But it is worth the work of thoughtful responsiveness.

I am convinced that one of the primary components in the destruction of a man’s leadership in the home is very often the small arrows of an un-submissive attitude that are casually shot out by a careless wife. If I am not submissive in small affairs, I am very rarely found so in larger ones.

Sometimes I stop and consider how it is that a marriage of many years that I admire came to be what it is. I think the answer is that it was built in the seemingly small and insignificant responses of husband and wife...day by day.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Love & Marriage: Part I


This week David and I are celebrating three years together as husband and wife. Without hesitation I can write that they have been three of the happiest years of my life.

I’ve been thinking about love this week. I’ve been pondering marriage. Three years isn’t exactly a long history in the annuals of matrimonial bliss but there have been a few lessons for me along the way. I’m feeling reflective…anniversaries and birthdays and milestones have that effect on me. So I decided to post a few thoughts about love and marriage this week to celebrate our entrance into our fourth year together.

If I were asked to talk to young girls about the unruly topic of young love, one of the first things I would tell them would be a lesson I was hard pressed to learn myself. After overcoming my allegiance to the Baptist nunnery in high school which I used as a deterrent to wield off suitors, (If you knew me as a high schooler, you may realize that this was not the only thing wielding them off) I began to crave the emotional fare best depicted by Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks movies that permeates our culture. Though I might not have admitted it, I was convinced that true love would be accompanied by romantic background music and majestic sunsets.

When David began to pursue me, there was neither.

Having known each other since junior high school, he’d seen me after days of camping, after I’d been on a long run, with my swim goggles in place and just about any other uncomplimentary situation you might imagine. He was like a brother.
Those first few months after we’d started dating (or in our case letter writing), I struggled to overcome my need for a wealth of emotion to buffet my heart each time I heard his voice. I was slowly digesting the truth that more often than not enduring love is not built to the tunes of Sleepless in Seattle or You’ve Got Mail.

When I began to dig into the Scriptures, I found that women are not commanded to madly and carelessly feel love toward a man. We are commanded to respect our husbands. Not to say that emotions aren’t important and even God-given, but they’re not the base of love in marriage according to the Bible.

If someone had asked me even as early as high school whom among my peers I most respected, David Dawkins’s name would have invariably been at the top of my list. Among all our acquaintances, he was known for being a man of good judgment, deep integrity, and gentleman-like courtesy. I respected him on every level. After David’s pursuit began even though I failed to hear background music at every entrance, I made the choice to continue in the relationship with him.

It was not a flame of flash and fury. It was like a fire kindled slowly. The kind of fire that warms you through the longest night. It was fed by respect, not the more fleeting tinder of emotion. It is the better way to build love. It is the better way to enter a marriage.

God’s way was indeed better than my own. The emotions did follow respect, and after many seasons together, they remain…rooted by something much deeper than emotion.


Monday, October 4, 2010

Manic Monday

I am feeling a little behind on this sunny Monday. So far today, I haven't done much more than the essentials. The blog is usually suggestive of my life...and I'm behind here as well.

A few details from the past week or so....

1. The week in Gulf Shores was fabulous. I rode down with my dearest of friends, Rebekah Ray, who graciously endured Jude's not-so-fabulous car ride. Stacey B arranged an unbelievable condo for us with a huge balcony facing the water that was perfect for beach-going with a 4 month old. I admit that the sand wasn't between my toes too often...but the sunshine was warm, the sparkling water quite a sight, there were even a few dolphin spottings from my perch. And then, of course, there was the real reason I went...a week with Rebekah, Sara (baby Waverly) and Stacey. It was more than worth it.



2. As we drove past Foley, Rebekah made her one request for the week: a meal at Lambert's. On our last night, we ate there...thrown rolls and all. Having grown up in the Bellevue youth group, I simply cannot leave Lambert's without humming "i'm full as a tick on a dog's hind leg" and thinking of Phi Newberry. There are some songs in life we'd be better off without...nonetheless...




3. On Thursday David and I met up with the senior adults from our beloved college church, Morrison Heights Baptist. There were on a day trip up to Memphis and treated us to some tasty Corky's BBQ.



If ever a church has had an effective adopt-a-college-student program, it's MHBC. As a college student, I was adopted by the Masons. 10 years later, Kayla was in my wedding, I was in hers, and I still count their family as my own. David was adopted by the Barlows. Many years later, with a wife and baby in tow, they still keep in touch, send him packages, and make us feel quite at home any time we make it down to Clinton. Jude was excited to meet his adopt-a-grandparents!

4. Jude had his 4 month check up last week. He's still big....almost 18lbs. While in Gulf Shores, he decided it would be a good time to cut 2 bottom teeth. (I was suspicious when I noticed him gnawing on his play mat one morning.) He's been rolling over for quite a while now and he looks like he may start scooting about any day now. I cannot believe how quickly this season is passing...





And now...the laundry's calling, dinner is waiting to be cooked, the floor needs a vacuuming, and I am ready to go take care of my check list. I went for a run this morning and took a little memory card along to ponder. Psalm 90:14 has been coursing through my mind today. Daily tasks, daily life met by daily, yearly, eternal faithfulness. Rejoicing and glad...in this very ordinary day.

Satisfy us in the morning
with your steadfast love,
that we may rejoice and be
glad all our days.

Psalm 90:14

Friday, October 1, 2010

Hair Gel & Motorcycles

Quinten's motorcyle was just too irresistable to me....