Sunday, August 29, 2010

Sunday Evenings

Sunday evenings are some of Sam and my's favorite times.  We think of them as "the calm before the storm." They are the most relaxing, slowest part of the weekend that allows you to get ready for the week. It's a restful time where you can just enjoy being together, reflecting on the past week and getting ready for the next. 

That said, this Sunday afternoon was different than most, because instead of enjoying it together, it was time for him to head back to Austin.  We had a great weekend together--we enjoyed trying our first Houston restaurants, learning the city, and getting the last few things built and put together.  We had such a great time working on what will be our first place. But saying goodbye to Samuel is never my favorite moment.  His presence completely changes my attitude--when he is here, I want to cook great meals for him; but when it's just me, I don't want to put forth the effort "just for myself".  I am more energetic when he is here, lazier when he is not.  He changes completely most of the things in my day. 

As I was sitting lazily watching TV after he left, there was an undeniable similarity of how Sam changes me and how Christ changes me.   The presence of Christ in my life needs to have as visible a change in me as when Sam is around.  But to be honest, it does not always.  I don't always live like I share a life with Christ that I am excited about.  My relationship with Christ should be so evident that it is leaking and spilling over into everything I do.  I needs to change my mood, my desires, my plans for my future.  There are times where I am more excited about seeing Sam than I am about spending time with Christ.  I need to cherish my relationship with Christ to an  level beyond that of any kind of excitement I share for things on Earth.  It can be hard to be as excited for Christ because I can not touch Him, hug Him, or see Him; like I can with Sam.  But the relationship I share with Christ is so much sweeter and deeper it overcomes the physical barriers that separate us. 

So on this Sunday night, I will not allow the physical distance of Sam or Christ to dominate my mood; but rather I will be excited because of the relationships I share with both of them.  I can still relax and enjoy my evening before work, but I do not have to be subject to emotions of being separated from either; because I am never separate from Christ, and I am only temporarily separated from Sam.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The "Real" World

Two days of work are successfully complete without any major mishaps. Work (on Mondays and Tuesdays) goes something like this:  we have approximately 3,000 mice and their cages have to be changed weekly.  We split the changing of the cages up into two days.  (It takes forever.)  Think of the cages like plastic shoe boxes; that's about the right size.  The cages are on metal rolling shelves that have 5 shelves per unit. It's a huge ordeal to change the cages because all of these mice are recessive naked mice that have been injected with a cancerous tumor.  Thus, they have very little to no immune system and we have to sterilize the room before we can begin. We then scrub up looks like we are going into surgery before we start.

First, we take the tape off of the cages--around the junction where the top and bottom part of the cage meet we have to tape and seal it to further protect against bacteria and pathogens that could be deadly to the mice (remember these little guys are worth $500 a piece!)   Taking off the tape takes about an hour with 6 of us working.  We then move on to moving the mice--which includes new food, new water that we have to infuse with vitamins, and new "bedding" of sorts.  We work in 3 teams of two, and this takes about 5 hours.  After we are done moving the mice, we have to re-tape the new cages.  This is another 2 hours.

The whole process is around 7 hours, and then we take lunch and go home!  It's a crazy couple of days and we are running around the whole time, but it goes so fast and I love it.

The rest of the work week will hold more experiments...will let you know how that goes.

The apartment is still wonderful. Working on unpacking more boxes daily--maybe will get to pictures tonight.  Don't want to rush the reveal though, and do it before the place is ready.  Laundry party tonight--the beautiful, brand new washer and dryer do a fabulous job, and they are sparkling white!  The new carpet is also wonderfully stain-free...and will hopefully stay that way.  The people who were here before us either had an animal that was not taken care of properly or were living as animals themselves.  Needless to say, it was not pretty.  But now it's beautiful!  It is starting to feel like home.

Samuel is continuing on the job hunt.  He is working so hard at it and I am very proud of him.  I know whoever hires him will find him as much as a jewel as I do!  He has not moved in with his aunt Kima yet (who lives in the Woodlands), but I will be excited for that day so that he can be closer!

After my exhausting but wonderful first day of work, I did manage to order the wedding invitations!  They are beautiful and I can't wait to see them in person. We are less than four months from the big day....I somehow feel behind on planning, even though most things are taken care of.  The big stuff (vendors, etc) is all done..but it's time to work on smaller details.

That's all for's time to make use of the new washer and dryer.  Will try to get pictures up later.
the to be Battershells

Sunday, August 22, 2010

New Beginnings

Our lives change so fast, and what we have now is only ours for a moment. This is mainly the reason why we (I) have decided to begin a family blog.  This summer has proven to us (Samuel and I) that our lives are really just a moment in time, and we want to be able to share our day to day lives and activities with our friends who we can't always be as close to as we would like.  Now, it is our family blog, but my dear husband-to-be hates blogs, so while he won't be doing the typing, his thoughts and updates will all be given through me.

Our past week has been such a lesson in relying on each other.  As we move toward oneness, we have had the week and situations to experience incredible joy and deep sorrow.  We have found that through all situations, openness and vulnerability are key to our relationship.  Our joy is greater when shared together and our burdens are lessened by each other.  For me, Sam is a blessing that is priceless.  The moment I get good news I can not wait to share it with him; and yet, the moment my stomach sinks in a tough situation, I know he will provide an answer.  He is not a replacement for God, or for my relationship with my heavenly Father, but here on Earth Samuel is the truest and purest manifestation that I have of how God loves me.  What a gift I have been given!

Our past week or so has exemplified this vulnerability we must share. We both finished college last Saturday (eight days ago now) and shared a joy that was overwhelming.  I was beaming for Sam, and he for me.  But our joy was hindered because the night before, we had received a call from my parents that my 93 year old great grandmother, Nanny, had gone to be with Jesus.  What a wonderful friendship we share that when tears began streaming down my face as I was on the phone with my Dad, Samuel knew what was being said and embraced me.  It was a moment of intimacy for Samuel to understand and grieve with me without any words spoken.  We grieved together Friday night, and finished school on Saturday morning.  These two moments in my mind would never be linked--such great joy and such raw sorrow.

You see, for us, Nanny was not just a great grandmother.  Nanny is another mother.  When my brother Forrest and I were young, Nanny kept us every day while Mom and Dad worked.  She repeatedly told my mom "These are my babies, you just gave birth to them."  Nanny's house could be called a museum to Forrest and I; you can look through her halls and see us grow up in pictures. Nanny belonged to us, and we to her.  Until the day she entered the hospital, we had at least weekly conversations; Nanny knew the details of my life and cherished them. She prayed for job interviews.  She knew my class schedule every semester.  Nanny was, and is, dear to our hearts.

We shared this sorrow, but also shared the joy of accepting a job offer and deciding to move to Houston. One of the most fun parts of engagement (for Samuel) is the planning of the times to come. We shared the joy of picking an apartment (that is mine for now, but will be ours after the wedding). We relished in planning the small details and enjoyed daydreaming about the time when we will live here together.  Through all of the fun, we miss our Nanny and know she would be so excited and involved in all of these details.

Our week also included Nanny's funeral, Sam's graduation party, and moving me to Houston.  It's a time in our life that is rushing by and we want to take note of it and enjoy the mountaintops and the valleys.  It's not so much where we are, but that we are together.

Work starts tomorrow morning at 7 am, and I could not be more excited!  Pictures of the new place to come later, stay tuned.