Dear Norah: Father’s Day

Dear Norah,
You don’t know this yet, but you have the very best dad ever. You know this to the extent that you can know as a (nearly) 6 month old. You know enough to smile brightly when he walks through the door. You understand enough to follow him with your big brown eyes every where he goes. You get it to the extent that you laugh and squeal when he lies down on the floor and plays and tickles you. Even to the extent that you smile and close your eyes and snuggle into his chest when he sings you to sleep, you understand that he is something special.
As you grow older, you will learn to appreciate these moments all the more. You will also grow in thankfulness of your dad’s amazing character. His wisdom will counsel you through many years of decisions. His kindness will be your constant safe place of love and warmth. His readily available hugs will be your comfort through scraped knees and broken hearts. By following his leadership, you will always be able to trust that you are headed in the right direction. His grace will always be there to wipe away your tears of shame and guilt. His discipline, though unpleasant in the moment, will be for your good. And believe it or not, one day, you will thank him for it.
Your dad is a good man, yes. He is strong and kind and moral and loving. But he is more than that because he is a man who knows that the end of himself is actually the beginning. He knows that in his weakness, God is strong. He knows that his prayers for you are more powerful than any advice he could give. He believes that his failures and limitations are opportunities for him to teach you that though he is imperfect, you have a Father in heaven who is perfect. He knows and believes that his love for you, though so deep and rich and great, is no match for your heavenly Father’s love for you. This is what transforms him from good to great.
Your dad learned these things from his dad. Your Grandad is also an amazing man. And boy, does he love you! He loves it when you visit. He holds you and snuggles you and prays for you and shows you all the fun lights at the lake house. He rocks you and tells you about all the fun things you will do together on the lake when you are older. He is a man of few words, but words you don’t want to miss. He is a man of wisdom and excellence. He is hard-working and generous. He is a man who loves fully. He is a man who has the kind of character and relationship with Jesus that enabled him to be able to tell his sons – Imitate me as I imitate Christ. And now, because of this, your dad can tell you to imitate him as he imitates Christ. This legacy of discipleship is rare and God has chosen you to be the recipient of this beautiful gift.
I pray a lot for your relationship with your dad. It’s uniquely important to me because of the relationship I had with my dad. Your Paw-Paw passed away before you could meet him, but I will tell you lots of stories about your Paw-Paw…how funny he was, how kind he was, how he loved to read, how he loved a good party with homemade ice cream, and most of all, how much he loved Jesus and told every one he met that Jesus loved them too. He was a man who banked on the promises of God. He was faithful and steadfast and humble. He was one of the greats. Your Paw-Paw and I had a very special relationship. Our relationship taught me so much about God. It taught me that just like I can’t earn God’s love or saving grace, I can’t and don’t have to work for his love. He loved me when I was good and when i was bad and he loved me when I obeyed and when I disobeyed. His love for me was steady, secure, and unconditional. I pray for you to have a relationship with your dad like I had with my dad.
Your dad loves you through and through. You don’t have to work for his love, you had it before you were even born. He knows how to love you like this, because this is how his Father loves him. And every thing he does is to show you and teach you more about who God is.
I am excited to see how your relationship with your dad develops and changes over time. I look forward to the day you can tell him how much you love him in your own words. Always remember this – your dad loves you very much and he wants to give you the very best. But think about this – if your dad, who is flawed, wants to give you good gifts, how much more does your Father in heaven, who is the definition of love, want to give you good things? I pray your relationship with your dad will be unique and special and will always point you to an even better, all-satisfying, redeeming relationship with your Father in heaven.
 Kyle and Norah faces Kyle and Norah sleeping IMG_7251Lents089 Russian Baby

Happy Birthday to my Best Friend.

Today, my best friend turns 29. Happy Birthday to you, Staci Bishop.

I met Staci through a Get Trained class at the Stone. I was coaching table leaders and she was going to be one of the table leaders. We were at a leader meeting at Sally Lopez’s house before the semester started. Staci was loud and smart and energetic. All of these things combined with her strong West Texas accent made her hard to miss. And man, oh man, did she scare the crap out of me. I had no idea how I was going to coach this girl.

At the end of the night we started talking and the fear started to wear off some. We talked about where we were serving at the church. She surprised me when she said that she hadn’t found a place to serve. I said, well, now you have.  You’re coming with me.

5 years later she’s still with me.

Every once in a while we look at each other and wonder how in the world we are friends. We have absolutely nothing in common.

She loves football. I love futbol.
She is West Texas. I am East Texas. (two very different, but strange places)
She is a go-getter achiever. I am a slow-goer harmonizer.
She is a Bachelor watcher. I am a documentary watcher.
She is an incredible southern cook. I am an incredible southern food eater. (yes, this might be the glue that holds us together)
She is a fighter for all things good.  I am a watcher of documentaries of all things good.
She is a lover of triple x sweat pants. I am a lover of the perfect LBD.

We are as opposite as the day as long. But, we have one thing in common. And it’s the one thing that matters the most.

We have Jesus in common. Staci is the girl who fights for me to look more like Jesus. She is the girl who would walk into my room before work, flip on the light, put a cup of coffee on my desk and tell me to get up and read my Bible. She is the girl who sends me text messages to see how I am doing in my consistency in reading the Bible, in prayer, in loving Jesus, in loving Kyle, in loving my community, in fighting sin. She is the girl who perseveres me when I don’t want to be persevered. She is the girl who helps me do the seemingly impossible. She is the girl who believes in me, who prays for me, who loves me.

And man, oh man, do I love this girl. The Lord brought my sweet Staci into my life in a time when I desperately needed a friend to help me along in life. She is the most generous person I know. She withholds nothing from those who are blessed enough to have her in their world.

Thank you, Staci Bishop. You are the best friend a girl could ask for.


day 7: I blame Pinterest for my delusional behavior.


Whew! I can’t believe I made it all 7 days! Granted, I did miss day 4 and had to post two on day 5, but still. I wrote 7 things. I posted 7 things. I woke up this morning thinking about writing and ended the day with sewing. So, the only appropriate thing for me to write about is sewing.

When I was a little girl, my mom sewed most of my clothes. Not just the occasional dress, but shirts and pants and even a swimsuit. My mom and I had some of our most epic fights over the clothes she made for me. It was never tight enough, short enough or sparkly enough. I would pout that I didn’t like it or it wasn’t perfect or I wanted to change something on it. I never understood why it took her so long to finish anything. Mom would get frustrated and tell me to stop being a brat. I would yell back at her more bratty things. It was awful.

This Christmas I asked for a sewing machine – and got TWO! I had so many dreams of being a patient and creative sewer. It would be therapeutic. It would be a way for me to produce something that normally just swirls around and around in my mind. It would be a way for me to actually do something I dreamed about. I just knew the minute I sat behind that sewing machine, I would be able to sew perfect lines and amazing dresses. I was going to be the next Anya and they would be begging me to go on Project Runway. I would respectfully decline, of course. I started looking through Vogue and InStyle and would point out the things I could make. Why spend all that money on something I could make myself?

Pinterest didn’t help anything to counteract this delusion. The DIY pages are full of projects that make me think – I can do that. I always think I can do everything.

Turns out, I can’t do everything. Case in point: We had a sewing day at my friend’s house the other day. One of the girls was a graduate of UT’s design program. She was incredible. She also brought over this super cute fox she made. You can guess what happened next – “I can make that”.

Here, let me just show you…

Guess who’s is on the right.
That’s right, folks.

So, I kept trying…


It’s definitely better, but it’s not great. All I can say is that I’m glad this is for 6 year old girls that love me verrrry much.

I don’t foresee my invite to be on Project Runway any time soon, but I must say, I’m having a great time. I am beginning to understand why my mom took so long when she was making my clothes. My mom deserves more than an apology for my bratty behavior.

Sewing is hard. Sewing is time consuming. But there is something very satisfying about it.

I’ll keep you posted, maybe I’ll actually make something that looks like what it was supposed to.