Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Consumed and Broken

Does that not sound like the most depressing title ever?  It's totally not, but then again it's a truth.  This past week has been a growing season.  An emotional 'I Must Be Seriously Pregnant' growing season.

A prime example is me fighting back tears most of the morning while running errands.  Here's why...

 

You see all those red dots?  They stand for someone who needs life change.  True life change that comes from the purest love.  God's love.  Last night we walked through our sections and prayed over the names of people. The hardest hit one...My Marriage.  Someone, who sat very near to us, came to church for hope.  Hope for their marriage.  I sat my big 'ol rear right in that chair and cried and prayed.

The truth is we get so selfish in our own worlds, in our own circumstances, in our own bubbles, in our own circle of friends, in our own families...we fail to recognize or even ASK ourselves into someone else's world.

This very idea of where I stand in selfishness has consumed me, and I am broken about it. 

For months we have served at Tulsa Homeless Outreach.  We have built relationships with certain individuals.  We know their struggles.  We know their history.  We know their shames.  We know their needs.  We help fill their immediate needs.  We pray with them.  We leave. 

Up until now, that has been my level of comfort.  Then there's that nudge.   

More.  Do more.  This is just the beginning.

Ummmm, yeah.  Actually, I'm good right here. Right here in the arena of my own selfish comfort zone.  I mean, isn't meeting basic needs enough?  That other stuff is a messy job.  Isn't there someone more qualified to do that part? 

So here's where it got messy for me.

Our calling this weekend was to fill our personal seats in church with someone who needs it.  Immediately the name Amy popped into my mind.  I know a gazillion Amy's.  I'm going down the list like roll call on the first day of school and none are settling.  By this point I'm totally frustrated at what stinkin' Amy I am supposed to get in touch with.  Ahhhhhhhhh!!!  (Such the patient spirit, I know!)

Then it hits me.  Amy, mother of 6.  All of which are dispersed throughout OK's foster care.  Amy, drug addict who put down the needle a few months ago, but still has an addiction to meth.  Amy, who is on and off the streets.  Amy, who has sought out the help of my mother and myself.  Amy, who is walking into churches for help and being turned away.

This. Is. Messy.  

Where is my back up team for help?

Answer: Greater is He who is in me, than in the world. -1 John 4:4

Yep, that's the answer I got.  Twice. 

So out of my comfort zone I went to ask Amy to be my personal guest at church.  She was super responsive.  In asking what she needed to feel comfortable in church she said, "A bra."  So bra shopping I went today.  

(SIDE STORY:  I love my own precious offspring made note that I didn't have boobies to fit into something that big when I was choosing one I thought she'd like and then AGAIN the next aisle over.  Yeah, those kids are PRECIOUS!  Explaining why I was purchasing a bra for someone else was also interesting.)

My next step is figuring out how to get Amy to church.  Where is a safe place to meet her and what other companion is going with me to pick her up?  Although, I know I am the person she knows and trusts to get her to church, I still have a responsibility to protect my own children.  My kids know Amy fairly well, but riding in a car right now with her is not something we are ready to expose our kids to just yet.  They need some protection and filter right now.  So Steven will be taking the kids in one car and I will be picking up Amy in another.  I know these details will iron out, but do you see where I am in the mess?  

It's a beautiful mess, but a mess.  And here's what I know.  Her 6 kids are counting on someone to be a liaison with their mother.  Someone to get her to the place where she can have an intimate relationship with God.  Which is the only way her life will change for good and change the life for her children. 

Amy is hungry for change, but trying to do it on her own on the streets.  I'll keep you posted on this journey, but I wanted you to know why there has been an absence.  It's been an emotional week.  Wonderful, but emotional.  So if you catch me crying in public, now you know why.  I'm only half crazy this time around!


Monday, July 21, 2014

Menu Monday Postponed...Camp Is HERE!

Today is the day I drive my oldest wittle bitty baby to church to be hauled off to church camp.  Is he concerned about being homesick?  NOPE!  He's all about his friends and fun and Jesus.  I really can't ask for much more from him.  He's going to have an awesome week.  I am proud of his courageous and brave mindset, but that doesn't mean I won't miss him to pieces.

His sister has already been a bawl bag for the last day.  It's hitting her the hardest that he is leaving.  They are so close.  A little shy of 2 years apart these two know nothing other than life with each other.  Love their sibling relationship.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Beyond Ridiculous

Let's start with the most ridiculous event from the week.  My SEVEN pound weight gain in ONE week.  Not month...WEEK!  That's not normal.  Arbonne has literally saved my hiney because staying strictly clean (eating fresh, whole foods) has let 4 of those pounds go and I feel myself again.  The other 3 pounds I am going to chalk up to this ridiculous stomach growing.

I noticed on our vacation the belly was getting out there.  Bending over now is accompanied with grunting.  What I didn't realize was when I returned to boot camp, the belly was in the way.  Step ups?  Uh, the knee doesn't goes as high.  At first I thought, "What the heck?  What is my leg hitting?"  Then I realized, "Dang it!  It's the baby.  When did this happen?" 

Next up burpees.  At this point, my heifer in heat breathing had already kicked in and I was quickly reminded how pregnant I am right now.  I started out with a wide stance so I could actually squat down.  It wasn't wide enough.  It got so ridiculous, that my best friend and fitness trainer says, "Seriously, Amanda?"
I guess it was that bad.  I need to get this on video.  I love to laugh and laughing at myself is my favorite past time.  If I do get it on camera, you can bet I will post it for you!

Anyway, I got home, sat on the back porch with my protein shake, and had my quiet time.  I mention my protein shake because I was able to sit it on my stomach and it stayed there as I read my devotion.  When it came time for journaling, I removed my cup to replace it with my journal.  Ridiculous.  20 weeks and my stomach is already my table.  Never.  NEVER have I had a table at 20 weeks.  That is why #4 is the last baby.  Talk about table top at conception if there were to be a fifth.  Can you imagine?

And just in case you are thinking, "She's exaggerating!"  I have proof.  This was me on Monday morning after I realized how much I had popped out.

Photo: This belly and burpees make for an interesting morning workout. Thank you Erica Bolton McMullen and F.I.T Bootcamp for kicking my booty today. 

Beyond ridiculous!

So in all that you do today, be reminded that your stomach is NOT this big!


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

We Are Excited to Announce...

We're having TWINS!  Oh my gosh.  I've always wanted to say that.  Too bad it's not true.  There's just one little girl growing in there, but I got you, huh???

I do have an exciting announcement though!

After 11 years of serving and growing at Church on the Move, we are going through some BIG changes.  Changes that launch THIS weekend.

For years, COTM has reached hundreds of people, but what I love about our church is the constant motion of moving forward to serve more and meet the needs of people.  After years of researching, Church on the Move is launching SECTIONS!!!

Basically, Sections is focusing on joining a small section in the large church to form closer relationships so we can create community through serving.  Think of it as creating a bunch of smaller churches within a big church.

Here's the breakdown of the sections...

 

You see that Section, 2B???  Well...that's US!!!  Steven and I are so excited to announce that we will be leading this section.  I want to personally invite you to be apart of our Section.  We are Saturday nighters at 6:00pm.  We'll be there right when the doors open to meet and get to know you as well as after service.  If Church on the Move has always been a place you love to learn at, but it just felt too big, too much, this is your chance to get personal.  Even if our Section isn't a fit for you, we will help you find the Section that feels like home to you.  For the last few weeks, we have been meeting with all the Section leaders and we are a wide variety of people.  It's awesome!!!

I don't want to forget to mention, Steven and I will be passing out Bio Cards with us on it.  At the very least you are welcome to come and get some giggles at us on a card.  I know it will crack me up!  What's not going to crack me up is seeing all the changed lives.  The people who need connections, need community, and watching them flourish into serving others.  That's the true gift right there.  We all need that whether we think we do or not.  It's an exciting time for COTM and I would like nothing more than for you to be apart of it with us.

Monday, July 14, 2014

Menu Monday

 

This was us.  Last week.  On the beach. Forgetting the days and the time. I want to go back.  Spending time together as a family will never get old.  A full week of waking up, eating breakfast together, going on long bike rides, and hitting the beach the rest of the day makes for a PERFECT day.  

The only thing I would erase would be the 7 lbs I gained over the week.  Yep, SEVEN POUNDS! Total indulgence all week.  Very little concern for what I was consuming.  I am paying for it now.  Today, actually yesterday, we started on strictly clean.  I mean, super strict. I need some major discipline to get me back on track.  

So wanting light and fresh for this hotter than Hades Oklahoma heat, I went searching for some newbie recipes.  Here's what I dug up and what the Torres will be chowing down on this week.

Monday-Roasted Whole Chicken* (half eaten, half shredded for later), Steamed Broccoli, Salad
Tuesday-White Bean Soup with Turkey Sausage and Sweet Potatoes
Wednesday-Power Hummus Bowl** and Berry Salad
Thursday-Seasoned Tilapia, Brown Rice with Roasted Peppers
Friday-Burrito Bowl (use remainder of shredded chicken) with Brown Rice Chips and Salsa
Saturday-Veggie Loaded Spaghetti, Salad
Sunday- Chicken and Veggie Kabobs and Fresh Roasted Green Beans

*use first 5 ingredients only and toss in the crock pot. 
**just check out that Power Hummus Bowl. Bed of spinach, a few sliced purple onions, cucumber, cilantro, shredded chicken, and a big 'ol glob of avocado hummus...YUM!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Is It Tuesday?

Seriously?  Is it Tuesday already?  It's like I took a nap on Saturday and woke up to Tuesday.  From our wonderful Chicago family visiting, to Tulsa Homeless Outreach,  to getting a cast off, to getting a sinus infection under control, I can see why Tuesday snuck up on me. 

It's not totally a bad thing.  Being busy with the right thing has it's perks.  Spending time with family.  Perk.  Serving the homeless. Perk.  Getting a cast off. Perk.  Sinus infection.  Uh...non perk.

I'll spare you from the play by play of the family weekend, but let's just say 7 kids ages 8, 7, 5, 5, and THREE 2 year olds makes for a lot of crazy fun!  Go ahead.  Let your imagination run wild with that one.  If you can think of it, it probably happened within our two days together.

As for the Tulsa Homeless Outreach.  AH-MAY-ZING!!!  So many volunteers showed up this time.  People making unlimited snow cones, people playing music, multiple cars serving up sack lunches, crates and crates of water being distributed (so much so that I came home with one leftover for next month), and toiletries.  It was heartwarming to meet up with Dwayne, Ron, Amy, and a few others we have grown to love personally.

Dwayne told me on Sunday that his whole life people have always told him to get lost.  In fact, at 14 years of age, his mother told him to go.  There was a whole story to that, but Dwayne is missing most of his teeth so catching the whole story was a bit difficult.  Nonetheless, his birthday is July 27th.  He'll be 54.  I can't wait to bring him a cake and some balloons.  More than anything I want him to know that when I said, "You are loved and cherished, you just haven't met the right ones to show you that yet,"  that he knows I mean it.  Despite the amount of spit that lands on my arm while listening to him, or the dirt caked all over his arms and hands, or how rough he looks, or even how bad he smells of alcohol (even though he swears he doesn't drink anymore), he is still worthy of relationships and love.  He loves telling stories, and I love listening to them.  At least the parts I can understand!

I'll be updating what we are focusing on for July's outreach.  The overwhelming request from those on the streets was SHORTS!  So, needless to say, I'm going to be asking for the shorts off your butts!  

In other Torres news, a certain little princess got her cast off yesterday! This is her last pic with that pink bad boy right before it was sawed off her pretty little arm...

Photo: This bad boy is coming off today! 

She did so great getting it off. One thing I wasn't prepared for was the weakness in her arm coming across as soreness.  As soon as the tech took the cast off and walked out, the tears came.  She was scared about how her arm was feeling.  Thankfully, the ortho saw a great report in the Xray.  Her elbow was healing nicely and no cast needed. 

We walked out with temporary removable splint for wearing when riding bikes or scooters, but other than that, nothing is needed.  We've been swimming 2 days in a row and she's getting more and more confident with using her right arm.  She still has not fully extended her arm, but we're believing over the next few weeks that will happen.  She's made great progress just in the last 24 hours.

We really appreciate all the prayers and support from everyone.  It means a lot to our family and to Little Miss.  Love you all!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Semi Last Minute

Have you ever had that moment when you think something is really far away, then you look at the calendar and realize, "STINK!  I have one week left!!!!"?

Yeah, that was me this morning.  I woke up realizing we leave very soon for vacation and there are some essentials we MUST have before road-tripping it. 

We leave for the beach (my most favorite place ever) next week.  Thankfully, we have out of town family staying at our house while we're gone so I don't have to plan anything there.  BUT, a ton of other things I've been putting off need to be done, like, to-day!

We Torreses turn into the ultimate beach bums on vacation.  We wake up, have breakfast on the patio, put on our swimsuits, ride bikes for an hour or so, then hit the beach until dinner time.  Then dinner on the patio and back out for a walk on the beach.  Total slacker lifestyle! 

Since we pretty much crawl out of bed, beach it, and crawl back into bed I have a Beach Essentials' List.  Here's what we'll be packing.  Don't worry!  Swimsuits will be packed as well.  It's not that kind of beach.

AWAKEN AROMASSENTIALS BODY SPRAY
This is our natural bug spray.  It's made as a body spray so it smells light and fresh, but it's a natural repellant with lemongrass.  Obviously, there are no harsh chemicals so it has always gone on Chubby Cheekers' skin since he was a babe.  No bites, no chemicals. Works beautifully!
SEASOURCE BODY GELEE
I don't get chaffing from bike rides, but someone in our family does.  I won't embarrass him Steven, but someone chaffs.  Plus, this is our lightening quick answer to burns and scrapes.  This mama don't leave home without it!

BABY POWDER
Arbonne doesn't make a baby powder, but this is another beach must have.  It takes off sticky sand in a flash.  Sprinkle on the skin, dust it off.  Viola!  Learned it on Pinterest.

 SUNSCREEN
The only two sunscreens we use.  Last year I couldn't find our ABC Sunscreen for the kids so I used another popular 'good for you' sunscreen on our kids.  With the ABC I don't have to reapply.  With the other popular brand it said it had longer coverage time.  It didn't.  My kids got burned.  Never again.  As for the adult sunscreen.  Just as fabulous.  Plus one bottle lasts the entire summer.  LOVE long lasting stuff!   We'll also be pocketing the LipSaver Chapstick with SPF 20 so we don't look like pufferfish with burnt lips.