Thursday, June 30, 2011


Jude is quite a talker.

He says the basics: da-da, ma-ma, uh-oh, oh noooo. And most recently, as a product of our trip out west: nan-nan. He also has quite a repertoire of phrases that we have yet to decipher.

He's definitely saying something, we're just not always sure what. Usually, it sounds like what you might expect aliens to utter. He says it so forcefully and decisively that at times, you wonder who it is that has the language mastered: you or him.

Because of his obsession with all things technology, it's a bit hard to catch on tape. Here's a little example, induced by fast food:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Literary Milestones

When did that wiggly, distracted little baby turn into a read-me-a-story one year old?

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lavishly Invested

In college I spent a few summers working at a camp among the pine forests of Mississippi. The director worked especially hard to build unity among the staff. By the end of the summer, we had served in the trenches together - comforting homesick junior campers, battling the Mississippi heat, and eating 3 meals a day with a variety of rowdy groups.

I always hated the last day of the summer. Campers had returned to their homes and the staff were sweeping up painted rocks and packing up cabins. The goodbyes were difficult, emotional and excessively uncomfortable. One year, I remember packing up my car and just driving off. I didn't say goodbye to anyone. I just left. I was tired of goodbyes.

There is a temptation after a number of years of 'here a summer, there a summer, here a few years, there a few years' to just stop investing. Roots are hard to pull up. And sometimes it feels easier to stick in the shallow soil. I've made that choice a few times in various places but I've always regretted it in the end.

This past Sunday we said goodbye (for now) to our Crossroads family. We knew from the onset we'd only be with them for around a year. But their friendship and community was irresistible. I couldn't help putting down roots. How could I with women like Mrs. Billie to teach me to make caramel icing, my Senior High girls who keep me young, Greyson to tell me jokes and that hilarious group of young marrieds to share baby stories with? They didn't shrink from investing in me, even with the knowledge that we'd soon be miles away. They invested lavishly. I am so grateful they did.

It's been a good reminder to me in these times that are so rapidly changing. The next few months will hold many new faces and a variety of exciting places...and I have a choice to make. I can live in their midst with a half hearted, albeit safe, interest or I can pour out my heart into their lives, knowing that the joy will be mingled with the pain of more goodbyes.

Clenched fists are my default in life. Thankfully, they are not Christ's. And He is changing me...bit by bit, season by season.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The Kooky Kookie

With under a month to go, we have a running list of things we'd like to do before we leave Memphis. Four years ago, we had a skillet chocolate chip cookie at Kooky Canuk (near Peabody Place) one night with friends. At random moments since then, we've reveled in the memory of that cookie. (And I secretly wondered if perhaps we were just really hungry that night, and the cookie wasn't that good after all.)

We were downtown last week and took Jude in for a bite. It was every bit as good as we remembered. The perfect gooey-ness for a chocolate chip cookie...and most likely an entire stick of butter.

If you're ever in downtown Memphis and in need of a cookie...stop by. Next on our list: Corky's BBQ and their most delicious potato salad!

Friday, June 24, 2011

The Penny Collector

I've known David since Junior High. In October, David and I will celebrate 4 years of marriage.

But, there's always a story yet untold, or a memory left to unfold, right?

Last night David picked up an old box out of his parent's attic. I kept hearing him chuckle, so I finally went in to see what he'd discovered. Please note: in all my life experience with David, I've never heard a word about penny collecting or victorious paper airplanes.

Pennies collected in sequence and labeled meticulously:

Award-winning paper airplanes from a 5th grade competition:

He ever faithfully wore his mouth guard during those years of braces. His dentist told him he was a model patient:

Who knows what tomorrow will hold with a man of such depths?

In case you're wondering, we did keep the pennies and airplane. The mouth guard....I'll let you guess.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

the hair up there

Jude uses his hair as a napkin. When he begins rubbing his hands in that great mop of hair, it's a sure sign that he's finished eating.

This means that no matter when I bathe him, at the end of the next meal, his hair is caked in bananas or watermelon or whatever delight on which he's chosen to dine. When that stranger at the supermarket reaches over to pat his little head, I shudder and think, "They must wonder if I never give him a bath."

I had an idea yesterday morning....

...but it didn't really work out.

At least his hands are clean?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Lucy Maud

It is true that I've considered naming a child Lucy in honor of Lucy Maud Montgomery, one of my favorite authors. But, there are no girls (or boys, for that matter) on my horizon. And I'm terribly fickle about names anyways.

So I content myself with reading her children's fiction.

I spent most of our drive time last week watching Jude sleep and reading The Story Girl. If you like the Anne of Green Gables genre, give it a whirl. It's one of my favorites.

Available free by gutenburg...if you happen to have a kindle or iphone:)

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Rock of Ages

Our house is starting to have gaps in it. Big holes where furniture used to live. Boxes with dishes and wedding gifts that will be stored indefinitely are beginning to appear.

I knew this was coming.

We still have almost a month in Memphis, but I am starting early on the packing and paring down process. I want those final days here to be for family and friends, not material possessions.

It's been particularly hard for me to think about Jude in relation to all of this moving. It's been on my mind a lot over this past week. When we are away from home, he's a happy little guy. He seems to adjust well to change and travel. But I long to give him steadiness.

After a week in Arizona, when we hit home turf, he was beyond happy. I watched him rolling around on familiar ground with tears in my eyes. He loves home. And for quite a few months beginning in July, we won't have a steady place to roll around on familiar turf.

All of these thoughts are upon me at the conclusion of several days drinking in the rugged beauty of Arizona. We spent hours hiking along the rocky trails of the Grand Canyon and through wooded paths to Sedona's red rock formations. And we spent more than a few moments in wonder at the gradeur and unmoving strength of those rocks.

There is something that I want to impart to Jude about steadiness, about security and assurance. It has nothing to do with how long we live in one house, how familiar that old chair is or predictable the pillow is at night. It is the surer hope of the Rock of Ages. The One who put my unsteady, sinking feet on a rock, and made my steps secure. There's a new song in my mouth, and it is bound up in Him.

Rock of Ages, cleft for me
Let me hide myself in Thee

Monday, June 20, 2011

Monday Morning

The vacation's over and we're officially back to the real world here in Dawkins-land.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day

...thanks for carrying us along.

Friday, June 17, 2011


When we passed through Flagstaff on our way into the Grand Canyon, we stopped into a little hole in the wall burger place called Diablo Burgers. The guidebook gave it rave reviews, and after some delicious (and very aesthetically pleasing) burgers and amazing fries...we did too.

If you ever happen to be in Flagstaff, stop in:)

The View

This has been a big week for Jude. A lot of firsts: first full week of walking, first airplane ride, first trip to the desert, first view of the Grand Canyon. More on the trip in days to come!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011


We were in need of an updated family capture Jude in his new stance:) So we had my sis and her hubs help us out this weekend....for a 10 minute photo shoot, I'd say it was highly successful. The first pic was taken when I was adjusting my lens and is definitely a frame-er for me:)

Thanks, Linz and Andy!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Hello Josie

We had a little shin dig for Josie Jane this weekend. The mamaws came into town, Lindsey put on her party clothes, and we celebrated in pink.

I felt inspired by a chat I had with a new friend, Shari, and decided to try my hand at cake decorating. Josie's room is hot pink and her bedding is Hello Kitty. It's adorable. When I saw a Hello Kitty cake pan last week at Hobby Lobby, I couldn't resist. For a first attempt with any sort of Wilton tip, I was rather proud of my success (don't look too closely, Shari:)

I must confess though, on a cuteness scale, I'd definitely rate Amanda's fruit carriage higher than the cake. The funny thing about this little creation? Bear is actually the one who carved it:)

Sunday, June 12, 2011

A Sunday Stroll

Jude seems to have crossed some threshold this weekend into officially toddling. After taking his first succession of steps two weeks ago toward his Uncle Andy, he didn't really seem interested in progression. All of the sudden though, he's found his least until he gets too excited to stay afloat:)

Thursday, June 9, 2011


Think random. Then read on. Just a few tidbits from our world...

1. The bee hive at the new kid's park in Shelby Farms is Jude's latest love. The doors are just his size. He particularly enjoys it if a cousin or two come along:)

2. Did you know that you could have custom boots made? We're talking so fitted to your own feet that the size between the two can vary slightly, designed with your own ideas, monogrammed, and even signed by the boot "artist." Apparently, boots are a big thing. I was taken back by all this information when our friend Todd mentioned his custom boots (which were actually a gift to him). He was so convincing when he told us all of the elements involved, I must admit I'll never look at a boot the same way again. Just in case you ever needed to know, I wanted to pass the word on to the blog world.

3. Jude has a strong liking for tooth brushes. However just because he likes to carry it around doesn't mean that his 8 (yes, 8!) pearly whites always get a thorough brushing. This week I discovered the finger brush at Target. It's revolutionizing tooth brushing in our little house!

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Muffin Tops & Kingdom Work

MAN WARNING: This will be a decidedly female post. Let me apologize to my male readers and assure them they need read no further. These are the murky waters of women's talk.

With Jude's first birthday, came the final break of a wonderfully smooth year of nursing. He drinks his whole milk from a sippy cup and eats off the kid's menu at restaurants. He's made every adjustment beautifully.

This has affected me in two significant ways: 1) For a few weeks I was feeling a bit blue, struggling to make up for the lack of happy hormones in my body. 2) In a matter of days, I've jumped a few pounds on the little scale in our bathroom.

Let's talk about the latter impact.

Those extra pounds mean a few things. My jeans are snugger, my swimwear looks pudgier, and in spite of my running efforts, a year's worth of eating what I wanted with no impact what so ever on my figure, is catching up with me.

Some of you are rolling your eyes. Let me clarify, this is not an "I am fat" lament. I'm not fat. But, weight is an area where I struggle just like the rest of the women I know.

This first began as a sophomore in college, when I gained about 15lbs in one semester. I was studying in Austria and developed a strong affection for Milka white chocolate bars and bread with butter. Since those days, God has worked significantly in my life in the areas of eating and body image. The struggle ebbs and wanes just like most of my struggles do. It's a journey too long for this little post. For now, let's just say that my post-pregnancy body has given me some fodder for deeper refinement.

I found some helpful thoughts recently in Loving the Little Years by Rachel Jankovic. I hope it will encourage you as it has me.

"Our bodies are tools, not treasures. You should not spend your days trying to preserve your body in its eighteen-year-old form. Let it be used. By the time you die, you want to have a very dinged and dinted body. Motherhood uses your body in the way that God designed it to be used. Those are the right kind of damages....Scars and stretch marks and muffin tops are all part of your kingdom work....So realize that your body is a testimony to the world of God's design. Carry the extra weight joyfully until you can loose it joyfully. Carry the scars joyfully as you carry the fruit of them. Do not resent the damages that your children left on your body. Just like a guitar mellows and sounds better with age and scratches, so your body can more fully praise God having been used for His purposes. So don't resent it, enjoy it."

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Farm Fresh

Besides hubs, there are only two men that I really adore. This pic is one of my recent favorites from our farm trip.

My quintessential remembrance of my dad....browned by the sun, filthy from the field, standing near a pick up truck or some variant farm vehicle....smiling.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Southern Flavor, Part II

Remember Mrs. Billie of the caramel icing extravaganza?

Since that first cooking lesson, Mrs. Billie has become a dear friend. Recently, Sarah and I tasted some more of her goodness and we were gushing with compliments of the most genuine nature.

Imagine a meringue walnut crust and a creamy lemon filling topped with real whipping cream. Let me tell you, it's a reality you will want to try.

Gushing over food sometimes has wonderful results. Mrs. Billie invited us over for a demo last week. We're talking, she had two mixers set up, ingredients pre-measured, etc, etc. It was like stepping in to Julia Childs.

The best part? In the end, a whole pie full of goodness ended up in my freezer!

Friday, June 3, 2011

Tears, teeth & other trials

If you've been peeking in on our blog this week you might think that our little world consists of nothing more than soaking in the glorious southern sunshine, eating ice cream, and crafting pink zebra mirrors. Let me assure you - that is not the case:)

Jude had his one year visit this week, shots included. (And the aftermath of fever and fussiness.) He has a few molars coming in so his poor little gums are swollen. To cope with the week, he discovered the shriek yesterday. And he's practicing it frequently.

Truth be known, Monday night I had an obscure fever, Tuesday I was better but terribly tired. The massive to do list is mounting. Time is ticking and the week has been a bit of a blur of generally unproductive days. David's had his hands full with the two of us.

I wouldn't really call any of these things trials. (I just wanted to use alliteration in the title:) But they would fall under my classifications of "tedious annoyances" and "setbacks." I've had a hard time giving thanks. Complaints, however "small," have been on the tip of my tongue. Laurin posted this wonderful quote earlier this week, and I found it so helpful (in the convicting, humbling kind of way) that I thought I would re-post it here:

"You would be very ashamed if you knew what the experiences you call setbacks, upheavals, pointless disturbances, and tedious annoyances really are. You would realize your complaints about them are nothing more nor less than blasphemies – though that never occurs to you. Nothing happens to you except by the will of God and yet [God's] beloved children curse it because they do not know it for what it is” (Jean-Pierre de Casussade).

This week has been God's good will for me. What a precious truth in times like these.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

River Day

We took a short trip down to the farm for a visit with my cousins. It just so happened that they had their boat handy...and since the Tennessee River is always handy, we headed out on the water.

My cousins and their crazy water tricks. Seriously, those kids are FEARLESS.

David after successfully knocking the undefeated Quinten off the tube. This might sound like an easy task for a 30 year old man...but that guy will hold on to your ankle and drag his body on the water for 1/2 mile to avoid defeat!

Jude's favorite part of the day? Covering the cooler with muddy sand and crawling along the shore.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Mirror, Mirror

I found this wooden mirror on sale at Hobby Lobby for around $3 and tried the old modgepodge and scrapbook paper trick on yet another item.

For $3.50 I think it's a pretty snazzy gift for a little gal and it took less than 20 minutes to make!

It's a good thing Jude's not a girl...or his room might be a little overrun with such craftery:)