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December 8, 2014

The Nutcracker

On Saturday, I played in the pit orchestra for the Wichita Falls Ballet Theatre's productions of The Nutcracker. After four grueling months of rehearsals, everything was over after two performances. I'm glad I had the opportunity to play. This was the first full-length ballet that I have played and it was exhausting. If I could have watched the ballet, I'm sure it was fantastic. The reviews have been highly complimentary.

And now, I begin the recovery process. Which means, just keep moving forward. The community orchestra's Christmas concert is only 8 days away. It should be rather exciting! Concert will feature bag pipes, hand bells, two soloists and a youth choir.

Our family is in the rush toward the New Year in the only way that clergy families know how. The advent cantata is only a week and a half away. Timothy will be narrating and I will be playing hand bells. 10 members of the Roth family descend on Wichita Falls in just under two weeks. While they are here, we will be celebrating Christmas, complete with Christmas dinner. Two days after their departure, we will be celebrating Christmas Eve and Christmas Day just the three of us. And then a week later, we will be ringing in the New Year. (And a week after that, Timothy and I will celebrate our third anniversary.) Winter is a busy season for us.

November 19, 2014

Hanging out with the little buddy

Levi and I are quite the dynamic duo these days. We have interesting games to play, sounds for most of his puzzle pieces and at least 50 different elaborate construction options for the train track. When I first became a stay-at-home mom for my son just 4 months ago, it was really hard. I missed (and still do) adult interaction and contributing to an organization through a job. But finding mom friendly activities has eased that. Looking back on it, I can't believe 4 months have already flown by. In that time, I've watched Levi become a fully mobile toddler, living life at full speed ahead. And better yet, I've been there as he hit all those milestones. 

In just 8 months, vicarage will be over and we'll be headed back to the seminary. I'm not sure if I will have the privilege to stay home. I can honestly say, I am sad if that ends up being the case. I love spending my days with this crazy little buddy. 

November 12, 2014

Thanksgiving

November is the month that we as a culture remember the many blessings we have received. God has truly blessed my family. Here are 30 things, one for each day of the month, for which I am thankful:

1. Salvation is a free gift from God. Jesus has been the perfect sacrifice for all the world's sins, including my own. 
2. My husband Timothy is a servant of God and loves me unconditionally. He has vowed to share my life with me. 
3. My healthy, happy son Levi. He is a ball of energy and I like to describe him as a tornado on legs. He brings a lot of joy to my life.
4. A congregation that cares for its vicar and his family. We have been blessed with a fantastic home and wonderful friends.
5. New adventures in Texas. We have gone to Dallas for the state fair and both Abilene and Big Spring to visit friends. We are looking forward to heading south in the spring.
6. Invention of FaceTime and Skype that has allowed us to see friends and family.
7. Opportunities to do activities for myself while in Wichita Falls. I am playing with the community orchestra for their performance of the Nutcracker in partnership with the local ballet company. I attend a Mommy-and-Me exercise class twice a week. I am a part of the local Bible Study Fellowship group.
8. A new library for Levi. We recently discovered Usborne books and hosted a party. In addition to our host rewards, several generous people sent Levi more books. In all, Levi has 16 new books that he will receive in Advent and Christmas.
9. Laundry machines in our home. After several years of laundromats and coin laundry in the basement, our own machines are a nice luxury.
10. Wonderful fall weather. The beginning of November was unseasonably warm for Texas. After many short fall seasons in the Midwest, it was nice to see an autumn that actually acted as it should.
11. All the men and women who have served in a branch of the military and for those who are currently serving.
12. The ability to make Timothy's ordination stole. As of today, I have finished embroidering one side of the stole.
13. Coffee and chocolate. The best ways to make it through rough days.
14. The library. Our family goes to the library each week (usually on Friday) to find new stories for Levi. He loves turning pages and will sometimes sit still long enough to listen to an entire book.
15. Parks and playgrounds. Levi and I love frequenting the local playgrounds. He loves to slide. One of our favorite parks has a prairie dog habitat.
16. Cooking dinner. I usually prepare dinner so that Levi and Timothy can have time together (and I can have a break). I have tried several new recipes, most of which have been tasty.
17. Support from a congregation in our circuit. When a local congregation's seminary student graduated, the congregation chose to start supporting our family through graduation at the seminary.
18. Family who are visiting for Thanksgiving and Christmas. My family is coming for Thanksgiving and Timothy's is coming before Christmas.
19. The hand bell choir at church. I am learning lots from Linda and the other members.
20. Patient children's leaders at Bible Study Fellowship. Levi can be a trying child. They have patiently waited out his cries and he actually had a good day there this week.
21. A new women's Bible study that is starting in January. It will be once a month for six months. At each meeting we will be cooking a meal together in addition to studying the Bible. I'm excited for this study and the fellowship.
22. A running car that has taken us on lots of adventures.
23. Living within walking distance of church and a wagon to take to and from activities there.
24. Footie pajamas. Levi looks adorable and cozy in them.
25. Multiple grocery stores in town as a way to stretch our grocery budget.
26. Friends who are walking the same journey through seminary. Having friends who understand the challenges of ministry are invaluable.
27. A supervising pastor who values time with family and time to recharge.
28. A warm coat, hat and gloves on a cold day.
29. A hot cup of a tea with my morning devotions.
30. A family that loves each other and enjoys spending time together.

October 28, 2014

It has been one of those days

You know the kind of days that when you wake up, you think that you've already lost it? The days when you swear that it should actually be tomorrow, or the day after tomorrow, and not today? The days when you feel like you didn't sleep enough for what you're facing? Well, today is one of those days. 

"One of those days" has slowly come to mean something different as a parent. A lack of sleep stems from a cranky, teething child instead of a night of binge watching a show on Netflix. Insurmountable hurdles now include making breakfast, running an errand or two with that cranky, teething child in tow or convincing that child that sleep is their friend. Gone are the days of project deadlines and work drama. My biggest challenge on "one of those days" is to not snap at the ornery child for being a child, to remain calm and remember the countless good, great and even fantastic days. The days when that ornery child was exploring the playground for the first time, or snuggling and mostly reading a book with me. Or collecting acorns or taking a walk while holding my hand. There are so many more of those days to outweigh even one "one of those days."

October 22, 2014

The Nutcracker

As a member of Wichita Falls Community Orchestra, I have the opportunity to play in the orchestra pit for the Wichita Falls Ballet's performance of the Nutcracker on December 6. We have been rehearsing the music since August and it has been hard work. I am relearning the art of dedicated practicing. Just today, I spent nearly an hour on the first four scenes. (There are 19 numbered scenes and several of those have multiple parts.)

However, I am falling in love with the music. Tchaikovsky is one of the few composers who didn't relegate the violas to the support-only role. Below are links to two of our section's melodic solos:

Scene 4
Scene 14 - Pas De Deux

The viola melody line is at the beginning of scenes.  It's so rich and lovely.

Enjoy!

October 15, 2014

Usborne Books

Last night I attended an Usborne Book party. I first heard of Usborne a couple months back but this was the first time I had really looked at what they publish. I had a blast and found some of my new favorite books. Check it out:

Slot Together Castle Book
Wind Up Bus Book
Mosaic Sticker Book

Levi will be the proud owner of these three new books (at Christmas):
Construction Sites Lift and Look
Flippy Floppy Jungle Animals
Find the Duck

Usborne has a lot of really fun non-fiction books too. I look forward to adding to Levi's library in the coming years.

October 8, 2014

To Big Spring and back

This weekend-ish, we had the opportunity to visit friends from the seminary at their first call in Big Spring TX, a mere 3.5 hours from Wichita Falls. (Believe it or not: 3.5 hours is close when it comes to Texas distances. Distance is measured in time.) Our overnight was possible because Timothy was attending the circuit's winkle. A winkle is a gathering of all the pastors in a circuit (about 8-12 churches in a geographical area). At a winkle, the pastors discuss current happenings in their congregations and have some time to relax as friends.

My highlight of the time we spent in Big Spring was spending time with Jen and her four darling children (ages 5.5, 3, almost 2, and 3 weeks). Needless to say, Levi and the almost 2 year old we best mischief buddies. I once found them both standing on chairs banging their hands on the dining room table. It was nice to spend time with a fellow mom.