My Visit to the Silos

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We just returned from a long (wonderful) weekend in Texas yesterday visiting family.  While there, we had the opportunity to visit Waco and tour Baylor University.  We also spent a few hours at Chip and Joanna’s place, the Silos/Magnolia Market.

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I’m not exactly sure what its name is, so I’m just going to call it the Silos. The outdoor section was a cool place to visit as it encourages folks to relax and visit. There are plenty of picnic tables, big swings, and a green space area with sports balls and corn hole. It had rained A LOT the morning we were there- so there was lots of mud/standing water. Thankfully, the green “grass” is actually outdoor turf carpet so it wasn’t muddy. This was a great area for little kids to run around, chase balls and play. The swings were big enough for kids of all ages and many adults. They each had a mud puddle under them, but that didn’t stop them from being filled. There were also good trucks parked in this area (they seem to stay here all the time). We didn’t eat at them (lines were crazy long when we drove by earlier- which encouraged us to hit up a fast food restaurant instead.

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The Silos Bakery remodel was featured on last week’s episode of Fixer Upper and the line to get in was probably 100 people long. Everyone knows that I love a good cupcake but that line was too intense for me.

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I visited Magnolia Marketplace and picked up a few souvenirs. The lay out/displays at the store are really cool. They seem so much more organically assembled than just metal/plastic shelves. Check out lines were quick- but the place was really crowded- like hard to move around crowded. There were two parts “upstairs”- which had more decor items like fake flowers/vases  and “downstairs”- which had souvenirs.

Overall, I think the amount of people that show up is really surprising to everyone- including the owners because there are not nearly enough bathrooms for everyone. Long lines were found for all of them except the after thought port-a-potties. They have to be making a large amount of money here. Tank tops, t-shirts and hats were all $28 each. The city seems very excited about this influx of tourism/money. The Baptist church located next door must be ecstatic as they charge visitors $10 to park there. (Magnolia Silos has there own free parking- you just have to find it). There is also a free trolley that does a loop around Waco. There is free parking along it’s route and you get dropped off at the entrance to the Silos.

I’m glad we visited as it was a great place to let JB play for an hour and I got to check out what all the excitement is about. However, I don’t think I would plan a trip to Texas to just visit the Silos. But since we were already there, why not?

learn, brooke

Unexpected Questions from My Little

My 4.5 year old son has recently become very interested in reading his Bible and as a result has been asking very good questions.

We’ve talked about heaven… what it is, how God and Jesus live there, and how our loved ones that have passed away live there now. We’ve talked about how our bodies grow old and wear out and they quit working. We’ve talked about how Jesus died and went to Heaven.

Tonight’s questions came while he was in the bath tub. He began to realize that one day his body would wear out and go to Heaven. This realization made him very sad (me too) and he started crying. He said he didn’t want to leave us (me neither bud). He wanted to know how he would get to Heaven if his body stays on Earth. He wanted to know where (exactly) Heaven is located. These were all really good questions from anyone- especially a 4 year old.

I tried to answer them as best as I could. But it’s so hard… because I don’t have all the answers and don’t know anyone who does. I fumbled through us being reunited when he comes to Heaven but of course couldn’t tell him that my body would wear out well before his (probably). I named many people who he knew that will greet him in Heaven and that seemed to help. The main thing I tried to tell him was that he has a LONG time (hopefully) until he goes to Heaven. I pointed out that his great grandfather lived to be 91 years old… and that he is only 4. That seemed to be of greatest reassurance.

One of the hardest parts of parenting is handling situations you have no preparation for… like a soaking wet 4 year old crying in the bathtub because he is scared to go to Heaven. Sounds like another prayer request to add to my conversations with God… God, please be with me in the unexpected moments of parenting and give me the wisdom to handle the situation.

Amen.

love, brooke

Plastic bag hoarders unite!

img_0549I have a confession to make… I am a hoarder of plastic grocery bags.  There, I said it.  I just like to have them around for when they are needed.  But for some reason, there is never a need big enough to the use 5-10/week that I seem to acquire.

I’ve often felt guilty that I don’t use reusable bags.  But, I don’t have my life together enough to keep reusable bags with me at all times.  Judge away.

The good news is I have found a great place to (finally) donate these hoards of baggies.  Two food pantries that we support need them to package food for their guests to be able to transport home.  One told me that they use 1,000 bags per week!!

So, if you are like me (a plastic-bag-hoarder who feels guilt for not using reusable bags), then feel better knowing that you can hoard, clean out your collection and then donate them to be used again by a great cause.  I’m sure you can easily find a church or food pantry who would love your latest collection!

Cheers to all of my fellow hoarders!

laugh and learn, brooke

 

Praying Differently

God has been working on me in big ways over the last few months- and through prayer is one of those ways.

I’ve been trying to alter my prayers to be more faithful to His plan for my life instead of “rooting” for a specific outcome.  More of my prayers/thoughts have been focused on peace and guidance in decision making than praying for a specific outcome.  I’m trying to see God in every life outcome-whether my preference or not- and trust that He knows more than me.  Obviously, this can be much more easy to see in hindsight than when you are in trenches.  I’m still trying to figure out what all this means… but for now, this a lot of what I’m praying:

God, please give me peace and discernment during ___ in life.  I know you are in control.  Please give me patience as your reveal your plan to me.

I pray for your healing touch over the illness in ___’s life.  Please comfort her family during this time.  Provide peace and healing for her.  I pray she can seek your love too and draw her close to you during this difficult time.

I’m not saying that praying for specifics is wrong or asking for what you really want.  I just am trying to give God more of my trust and learning to rely on Him more in the process.

When I was sharing these thoughts with my husband earlier today, he told me about a Buddhist metaphor:

In this village, a little boy is given a gift of a horse. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that fabulous? Isn’t that wonderful? What a wonderful gift.”

The Zen master says, “We’ll see.”

A couple years later the boy falls off the horse and breaks his leg. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that terrible? The horse is cursed! That’s horrible!”

The Zen master says, “We’ll see.”

A few years later the country goes to war and the government conscripts all the males into the army, but the boy’s leg is so screwed up, he doesn’t have to go. The villagers all say, “Isn’t that fabulous? Isn’t that wonderful?”

The Zen master says, “We’ll see.”

To me, this is a great reminder that we don’t know what is to come so it’s hard to determine what’s really “good” or “bad” in our lives.  So, consider  praying for perseverance, peace and guidance in all decisions instead of a specific outcome.  I pray it helps you build your faith in God and help to trust Him even more.

love, brooke

Life is Good

Yes, it’s a cheesy t-shirt tag line that someone has heavily profited from- but it’s also how I feel tonight.

I came home from a book discussion with several gals in my Sunday School class to find my husband in bed watching The Simpsons.  I realize many wives may not be excited to see this taking place in her room, but I was delighted to see my husband happy and relaxed.  The majority of the time, I will come home to find him glued to his lap top on our couch.  I’m glad to see him enjoying something instead of working.  Work has filled SO much of his time the last two years, that I must stop and realize how our new normal is so good.

Life is good.

love, brooke

 

 

Seeking Gratitude

Our world is in a sea of craziness right now and it’s been very easy to get bogged down in it emotionally.  There is so much divisiveness and false information that it has become a challenge to figure out which way is up and which is down.  When I find myself sinking in bad news, it often takes some time to shake my way out of it.  But, for me, the fastest way is to seek gratitude in all situations.

Sometimes this can be very hard.  Sometimes it can come in a very small prayer each morning… dear God, thank you for making the sun come up and giving me another day on this earth.

Sometimes it can be easier.  Dear God, thank you for my beautiful life, my loving husband, for fantastic friends, and for loving me unconditionally.

I don’t think God minds the difference in these two prayers.  He is grateful to hear from (little ole’) me each morning- especially if I can find things to be thankful for even though my mind is stuck in a cloud of uncertainty.

When I look back over the events of the last two weeks, my knee jerk reactions were sadness, anger, and concern.  But now, I see some gratitude sprinkled in there.  I see people coming together to speak out against injustice, people donating large amounts of money to support others, and unlikely legislators starting to use their powerful voices to go against the negativity flow.  I see neighborhoods making signs welcoming refugee children back to their public schools.  I see friendships being strengthened by grieving hurt feelings together.  I see churches preaching the message of Jesus loving everyone to ignite their congregation to do His work.

For all of these things, I am grateful.

Life is much fuller when we can experience the ups and downs of it with gratitude.

love, brooke