Friday, December 5, 2008

Happy Anniversary?

As I write this, I have been married exactly four and one half years. As some of you know, I am taking a speech class as part of my teacher certification classwork. Our last speech is today and it is a "special occasion" speech. So it could be an award acceptance or an eulogy or an after dinner speech.

As I talked to Cynthia about my topic a while back, we thought it would be great for me to "redo" my wedding toast to her. Not many know this, but my original message on our wedding video was awful. Seriously, really, really, reeeeally bad. Since we talked, I thought about it and thought about it. Basically, I knew this would be hard, so I found ways of talking myself out of it and trying to pick another topic. Stuff like "the format just doesn't work for what the Prof wants." Or, "I can't deliver a non-funny speech." Also, I had this funny award speech all ready to go this morning.

And Cynthia called me on it.

Basically, I hadn't put the time or effort into writing a speech that could have written itself - there's that much to talk about, really.

So, back to this morning... Having recognized that I was shirking something that could potentially be a very good profession of my love for my wife; I decided to do something about it.

I figured out a speech format that would work, I rewrote the speech and I gave it. Got a good grade and everything.

Great, you say, who cares? Nobody else gets to see it! So, I figured that maybe I could web-cam myself doing the speech for y'all, and most especially for Cynthia.


So, here it is:
video
Sorry for all the cuts - I'm kept fumbling words, so I just kept editing them out.


I would like to publicly apologize to my lovely bride - Darling, I'm sorry for letting this slip; I was wrong in doing that and I humbly ask for your forgiveness (even if it is in front of everyone).

I can't wait for the next 4.5 or 45 years of your companionship...

Happy Anniversary.5

-paul

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

For Kevin Burns...

Kevin needs an update...apparently he was left waiting on pins and needles since it has been awhile since we updated. So Kevin...this one is for you!

Most recently...Cynthia went to see NKOTB (aka New Kids On The Block). It was AWESOME! Except for the part when a lady threw her nude old lady bra on stage, and the worst part was when it was over and it was time to go home.

However, before she left for the adventure we made the decision to take a break from Trying to Conceive (TTC). So Cynthia is going back on the pill, but this time it is one that doesn't enhance the production of androgens in her ovaries so hopefully when we have jobs TTC will be less dramatic.

Paul is off in running as a substitute teacher. He has good days and bad days, but it is substituting so it is one of the hardest jobs in the world.

Other than that, we are just busy with substituting, tutoring, ministry, etc. We are VERY busy, and have no money...it sucks!

So Kevin...we hope that this appeases you for awhile and we will try to update more often ;).

Sunday, September 21, 2008

To the glory of God

The sermon at church this morning was living life with a mission. Jake made a point to say that when we pray, we should pray for what we want to appease our selfish desires, but so that we can glorify God.

As I started to think about it I thought that I frequently pray that God will give us jobs so that we can have health insurance and pay our bills. Basically I want to live comfortably. Jake suggested that we should pray "God, let me have a job so that I can minister to those who need you, and you will be glorified.". This was new concept to me. I have never thought to pray for something so I can be better used by God instead of praying just for me.

My wish is that the pain of losing a child we never got to know, would go away. That one or both of us would have a job so we can have health insurance and pay our bills. But I also want God to be glorified as we go through this situation. I feel like we are failing miserably at this, but I pray that at some point in this struggle God has been glorified.

This is not where I thought I would be in life right now, and I don't know the purpose. All I know is that I serve a God who is gracious and merciful. I just want my heart to be content through the trials.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Rejection

Didn't you hate it when you were a teenager and someone of the opposite sex would say "You are really nice, but....", and then they turned you down? For some reason they just couldn't see the gem within you.

Well, yesterday Paul sent and email to the HR guy at Freescale, and he heard back from him this morning. Apparently they really liked Paul, but decided to go with someone internally. If another position comes open they might call him back. Texas Instruments said the same thing. What is it with these people? Do they not see a good thing when it is sitting right in front of them?

I know that God has a plan and He has opened doors for Paul to get his teacher certification, but WE NEED HEALTH INSURANCE!!!

I am praying that this principal calls me back with a job offer, that way we know that we can afford my seizure medication....ahhh....don't you love waiting?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Thank you!

Thank you to all of our friends who have lifted us up in prayer the last few days. It has been an emotional weekend, but we know that God is truly being glorified. Please keep praying for us as healing is taking place, and that God will provide jobs for both of us.

We love you guys, and are so glad that God gave you to us as friends and family.

Also, Cynthia has a blog that will share more in depth the events that are happening right now. Feel free to check it out and leave a comment here or there.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

We two need you...

We both need jobs, peace, and your prayers. It has been a long weekend...the results of which are unknown. Please pray for us, specifically that God will grow our faith.

We love y'all!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Next President...

Today I read an article by Christianity Today with the author of "Blue Like Jazz". This article really made me think about who I am going to vote for in the upcoming election. If you don't know Donald Miller who wrote "Blue Like Jazz" is giving the benediction at the Democratic National Convention. As you can imagine some evangelicals don't agree with his decision. In the article he even says that he is voting democrat. I can understand why evangelicals are in an uproar about this since the Democratic Party is pro-choice and condone gay marriage. However, as I read this article I asked myself some questions. Why do I want to vote Republican?

Donald Miller stated "I really felt like the Republican Party was taking advantage of the evangelical community by throwing us abortion and gay marriage, really not giving the heart of Christ more thought. I felt like it was the party of the extremely wealthy and they needed this conservative base in order to get a majority and so they pandered to us. I felt used by the Republican Party in that sense. I started looking at the Democratic Party and looking at social issues that are affecting the world, seeing the presidency and Congress from a global perspectives. Even though many Democrats don’t identify themselves as evangelicals, many of the precepts of the party, charitable foundation of the party did reflect what evangelicals are about, the sanctity of human life, the importance of really not leaving people behind. I don’t think either party is the answer to the world’s problems. I lean toward solutions the Democrats seem to favor."

This quote made me realize that Jesus is not Democrat or Republican. Jesus was about helping those who were in need. Jesus cares about those unborn babies, and Jesus cares about the sanctity of marriage, but Jesus cares about those in need.

In an interview with Rick Warren Obama said that he is pro-life but feels like the choice should be left up to woman. He said that we don't need to just be for or against abortion but focus on lowering the number of unwanted pregnancies. In regards to gay marriage he said the he believes that marriage is between a man and woman but that we can afford to give homosexuals the right to a civil union.

McCain also interviewed with Rick Warren and even though he is more cut and dry with his views about abortion and gay marriage, when you look at his stance on anything else he isn't as clear.

I haven't decided who I am going to vote for yet, but I know I am going to pray about it. I also know that our country needs to start caring about the least of these.


Check out these articles:

Donald Miller

Obama, McCain and Rick Warren

Saturday, August 23, 2008

UPDATE!!!

Paul talked to one of the Human Resources guys at Freescale and he is going in for an interview on Tuesday! Please say lots of prayers for him!

He also has been accepted in to the Teacher Certification program at LeTourneau! He is looking at getting his certification to teach high school math. Please keep him in your prayers as he really wants to do what God desires.

Please pray that God will give us a clear direction and that He will close any doors that He doesn't want us to walk through!

And please keep praying for a job for me!

Thanks!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

A Real, True, Redeeming Love

Over the past several years some people that I love have read "Redeeming Love" by Francine Rivers (this is the book based on the story of Hosea...from the Bible). I bought the book a couple of months ago and Paul read it but I haven't had time yet. So Tuesday when I was frantically cleaning through tears I saw the book laying on Paul's nightstand and I moved it to my nightstand so that I can at least have it available to read. I also have a Bible on my nightstand so I sat down and began reading Hosea.

To be honest I wanted to see the words I love you, and I am going to continue pursuing you right on the page. Instead I got a story. A story about how woman who was a harlot was pursued by a husband who wouldn't give up on her. Then I read about Isreal, whom God calls a harlot because they are selling themselves to things that don't glorify Him. As a read the words I realized that I often am a harlot. I follow after things that don't glorify God, but He still pursues me, just as Hosea pursued his wife Gomer. It was such a blessing to know that God still desires me when I am in the midst a crazy life and I am not having faith in Him.

I love that God shows us so often His love and mercy right at the time that we really need it. I read on Matt Chandler's blog last night...he said that he is so grateful that scripture isn't fair because fair would mean that he would get the punishment he deserves for his sin. It really made me think about fairness, and I have to say that I am also grateful that I get to experience a redeeming love that allows me to live instead of pay the penalty for my sin which is death. Is God great!

Thursday, July 31, 2008

It's almost 1 am and I am still awake...

I guess the last time there was any blogging done I had just been real with all 2 of our loyal readers. I have to say that this might be another one of those posts. Life is hard...and I don't handle stress well at all. Since Paul has gotten laid off he has been to so many interviews I have lost count and still...no job. I have finished my certification and still...no job. People keep telling me God is faithful, and He will provide for us, and He has a plan for us. However, now that the severance package is nearing an end I am not sure how much of that I really believe anymore.

Don't get me wrong, I know these things to be true about God, but the question has become...do I trust Him. As scary as it was when Paul first got laid off at least we knew there was money for us to live off of. Now my faith is being tested, and we are running out of money.

I think pride is a HUGE issue in my life too. I mean a good friend of mine suggested that I apply for a Teacher Assistant position and I immediately reacted with the thought that "I am a certified teacher...why would I do that?". I also called my old boss at Primrose and talked to her...that seems like it isn't going to work out, but I still feel like I am too good to go back there sometimes...especially if I am not going to be Lead Teacher. How the heck did I become so prideful?

I know Paul is completely willing to do whatever so that we can have an income, but I think he has a college degree and work experience he should be able to get a job that someone with a college degree qualifies for. Looks like I have enough pride for the both us, and maybe that is what God is trying to work on.

I guess the biggest thing that you can pray for is that God will provide what we need even if we have to cut out some of the comforts we have come to know and love, that we can both have jobs that we are passionate about, that God will open doors for us, and that I can really trust in WHO HE IS because I know that He only desires the best for me.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Get Real!

There is a woman in my life who I have come to admire and appreciate more than I ever knew I possibly could. As I read her blogs I find myself encouraged, inspired, but most of all challenged. I am encouraged to look to God and follow Him with all that is in me, I am inspired to help others who need it so desperately and I am challenged to stop being so selfish and fake with those around me. This woman is my beautiful sister, Elizabeth. She recently posted on her blog a challenge from her friend Angel to GET REAL! I encourage you to check out both of their blogs and take the challenge. And here I am now terribly afraid of what you might think about me if I get real, but tired of being fake. So here goes...

Over the past couple of months:
*I have celebrated my 4 year anniversary with the man of my dreams, and realized that I don't appreciate him as much as I should, but I live in fear of life without him.
*I have been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) when (what seems like) every woman around me is getting pregnant or having a baby and asked God..."Why not me?". I have found that there is a tremendous amount of bitterness, anger, jealousy, and resentment in my heart towards these poor women (and some of them I don't even know).
*My husband has lost his job, and I live in fear of the what ifs on a daily basis. I wonder what God's plan is for this stage of our lives because the comfort that we have is being challenged. I don't know what we will do if Paul doesn't find a job by the time the severance package runs out, and then there is the frustration with those who complain about the job they have.
*I often question why it seems that I have had to deal with every horrible challenge a person could possibly face, and then realize that I have a home, clean water, food to eat, and clothes to wear.
*I take for granted the blessings that God has given me, and worry about those things that are out of my control.
*My heart goes to from peace and contement to debilitating fear at least 10 times a day.
*I feel like telling you these struggles will change your opinion of me, and I forget that in Christ I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17-21). And a new favorite verse of mine reminds me that these current afflictions are momentary and light. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "For this slight momentary affliction is preparing for an eternal weight of glory far beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

So there is my junk...now it is your turn to GET REAL!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Good news for some Bad news for others...

Paul did not get the job at Texas Instruments. His side of the family is sad because they want us closer and our friends and family here are sad that he doesn't have a job yet, and excited that we aren't moving. I am excited I don't have to look for new doctors yet.

Please keep praying for us, and God's direction in our lives as this is a very stressful time for us. Any words of encouragement would be wonderful!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Happy 4th Anniversary, My Love!

Today we celebrate our 4th Anniversary, and as I look over the past few years I see how God has made our marriage stronger and solid because it is founded on Him. You are truly a blessing from God and I love you more with each passing day!

Happy Anniversary!
XOXOXO

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Well...two out of the three isn't bad, right? For those who didn't know we sold the Bronco back to Dad Coppinger. So we drove it to Mineola on Friday and then rode the train back to Austin on Sunday. There was a slight mix up with the dates on the tickets, but nothing so big that we had to stay in Mineola (unfortunately, since it is one of the best places to be!). In case you ever ride on the train you should know that you have one year to use your ticket. So in the rare instance that you put the wrong date when you are scheduling them....it is okay.

We took some great pictures waiting for the train at the Mineola Transportation Complex. Our train was two hours late, but that gave us time to look through the museum (which doesn't take very long, but if you are curious feel free to visit;)).

Anyway, we still got home at our scheduled time so it wasn't too bad, and riding the train is really fun! Everyone should have one experience on a train. Our weekend in Mineola was quite relaxing, and it is always a blessing to hang out with parents!

**An update on Paul's job hunt**Paul had a phone interview with Intel yesterday which we think is a dead end. It is for a job that Paul really doesn't know how to do. However, he received a phone call from HR at Texas Instruments (TI) and apparently the phone interview he had on Thursday really impressed the interviewer so he will be going in for a second interview. We aren't sure the date yet, but it will be sometime after our trip to Utah. Probably around June 9th or so. We will update when we know more. Please continue to pray for God's guidance and clarity.

Check out the pictures of our trip!

TrainRide

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Update

Paul has an interview with Intel at 6pm this Thursday evening. Thursday is turning out to be a big day so please keep us in your prayers.

Thanks friends!

Monday, May 12, 2008

Texas Instruments Interview

Paul has a phone interview with Texas Instruments on Thursday 9am-10am. Please pray that all would go well, and we will see God's plan for us. This job is one that he feels really confident about, and is excited about the opportunity.

Thanks for all of your prayers and support! We love y'all!

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Good and not so good news...

So to give a little update to the three people that read this blog we have news on the job hunt and teacher certification.

First of all, I passed both of my certification exams and can begin to look for jobs. I am excited especially since I wasn't in the best condition to test when I took them.

Secondly, the job at Freescale didn't pan out so we are still looking for the place where God wants us. Paul has put in several applications at some different places and so far has been contacted for phone interviews from Intel and another group in Freescale. He has also applied at Silicon Labs, Samsung, and Texas Instruments. Please keep praying that God's will will be crystal clear to us.

Thanks!

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Cynthia's Top Five

1. 5 Things I Couldn't Live Without for Under $5
-Hand sanitizing wipes
-Bottled Water
-Neutrogena Lip Gloss
-Foundation from Mark.
-Nonfat vanilla latte

2. 5 Favorite Movies
-Encahanted
-Newsies
-When Harry Met Sally
-Life is Beautiful
-Beauty and the Beast


3. 5 Baby Names I Love But Won't Use
-Claire
-Blake
-Douglasina (That's for you Doug;))
-Oliver
-Samuel

4. 5 Songs I Could Listen To Over and Over Again
-Amazing Grace (My chains are gone) by Chris Tomlin
-Lose My Voice by The Stillpoint Band
-At Last by Etta James
-When You Say Nothing at All by Allison Krauss
-She's Everything by Brad Paisley


5. 5 People Who Have Influenced My Life In A Positive Way
-My Husband
-Jesus
-My Parents
-Paul's Parents
-Stevi

6. 5 Things That Stay In My Purse At All Times
-Wallet
-Chapstick
-Seizure Medicine
-Cell phone
-A pen

7. 5 Moments That Have Changed My Life Forever
-Becoming a Christian
-Paul.
-Summer Intern at the HCBC-Northwest
-Summer Intern with Troy S. at HCBC-Southwest
-Meeting Troy and Stevi

8. 5 Obessions I Have Right Now
-Studying for Teacher Certification Exams
-Finding a job (for both of us)
-Figuring out God's will for us and church
-My brand new niece Clara.
-Living by a budget

9. 5 Places I Would Like To Go
-Rainforest Hotel in Brazil
-Spain
-Hawaii
-New York City
-Seattle

10. 5 People I Would Like To See Their Top Five
-Elizabeth Engelhardt
-Sabrina Rauch
-Rebekah Smith
-Beth Crawford
-Kim Nevels

Monday, April 28, 2008

I'm DONE!

Saturday was my final class day in my quest for teacher certification. I turned in all of my assignments and took my final quiz last night! It is official I have completed my certification program!!!! Thursday and next Monday I am taking my exams. Thursday is Generalist EC-4 exam and next Monday is the Pedagogy and Professional Responsibilities exam.

Please pray that I would remember everything I have learned and already know as I usually suffer from severe test anxiety.

Also, Paul has an interview on Tuesday at 8am with a group of team leaders at Freescale. Please pray for him as he prepares, and that God will give us both clarity about where he wants Paul to work.

Please also pray for us as we make some other tough decisions over the next few months. We desire to follow Christ where He is leading, and don't want to make decisions based off of preference, pride, or our own opinions.

Thanks!

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Prayer

Paul turned his resume in to a great friend from church who works at Freescale. This friend passed it out to a lot of people who are hiring and Paul received a phone call last night. He talked to the guy this morning, and he is actually hiring for two different groups. He said that Paul might be receiving a few more phone calls from some other groups who are hiring within the same company. He was going to call HR and figure out how to get Paul in for some interviews with various people.
This afternoon Paul met with my uncle, who is also in the semiconductor industry, and they talked about different options and companies Paul could possibly work for. Paul is going to take the suggestions that his brother and my uncle gave him and update his resume and then start turning it in to some more places. My uncle said that he would be glad to pass it on to the people that he knows at some other companies.
So what we really need is lots of prayer. We want to stay in Austin, but that might not happen. More than anything we desire to follow God where He is taking us. Please pray for wisdom and discernment for us as we seek God's will. Also, pray for a company whose health insurance has all of my doctors on it. If we don't have to move I would really like to stay with my current doctors who know my medical history. Small thing, but we serve a BIG God!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

I've been tagged!

My sister tagged me, and I am going to do this because I have been waiting for someone to tag me!

Six words that sum up my life:


Hospitable

Wife

Friend

Faithful

Encourager

Passionate

I tag Stevi S., Beth C., Sabrina R., Kim N., and Rebekah S.
The rules are:

1. Write your own six word Memoir.

2. Post it on your blog.

3. Link to the person who tagged you.

4. Tag 5 more blogs with links (leave a comment on their blog with an invitation to play).

Friday, April 18, 2008

Noga, noga, noga nogonnaworkhereanymore

So if you get that quote you must have seen Office Space once or twice at least. You may also be wondering why that is the title of this post. Well, it is because AMD decided they needed to cut costs. They decided the way they needed to cut costs was to cut 10% of the workforce. And you guessed it! Paul is notgonnaworkatAMDanymore. There is no rhyme or reason for who they let go. Apparently it wasn't based off of performance which is kind of stupid, but they did it and now we are trusting God to take us where He wants us to go.

So right now there are a lot of things up in the air. Will we stay or will we go? That is the question. Paul has said that he is not going to limit his job search to Austin so we could be going anywhere...in the world.

The interesting thing is, even though I have been an emotional wreck, during our Quiet Times God has really been preparing both of us for a change. We aren't sure what that looks like, but we are sure it will be exciting. So we are excited and nervous, and in need of lots of prayers. Thanks!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

What Now?

So yesterday was my final day of Student Teaching!!! I know you are thinking "Why did she finish on a Tuesday...that's odd?" Well, I had a 100 degree fever and had to miss a day, and I had to miss another day because I had a seizure at the gym and had to get in touch with the neurologist to figure out why. So I had two make up days or I would have been finished on Friday, and you would be reading this post a few days sooner.

So one of the boys in my class made me lunch yesterday. He made me chicken salad with a chicken taco. I wish I had taken a picture of it, but alas...I did not have a camera. It was iceberg lettuce with boiled chicken on top, and boiled chicken on tortilla with barbecue sauce. Sounds tasty huh? Fortunately, while his mom was at HEB buying ranch dressing for my chicken salad; she also stopped at McDonald's and bought me a snack wrap and some french fries. I felt so loved by this family. All of my students wanted to buy me a gift, and it meant so much that they desired to do something so nice. This is a Title I school. That basically means that a large percentage of the student population is on free or reduced lunch (which is determined by family income). So they all drew me a picture or wrote me a letter so I can remember them. I have to say this was one of the best experiences I have ever had. My cooperating teacher was amazing and I learned so much from her and each one of my students. I wish I could teach them forever. Unfortunately, one of the little girls was absent yesterday so I didn't get to say good-bye to her. She has a rough family situation and there were many days that I wish I could have just brought her home with me. I just pray for God's protection for these kids because so many have nothing not even a parent that they see...much less two parents.

I have two weeks of class, some tests to take and I will be a certified teacher. Who would have thought that this would actually be happening? I am really excited.

WOOHOO!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Sometimes, I really love the UPS man

I got a package the other day. In a big box. If I'd been really smart, I would have photo-documented the process of me opening it and assembling my new bike. But I'm not that smart.

So, I'll just tell you about it and put a pic of the complete bike:

Don't you love all the junk in the background?

There is a story behind this bike:
Since I started commuting to work by bike, I had been dreaming of getting a proper ride to fit the needs of my commute. If you know me, you'll recognize this as typical "pcop-ness", but I love simplicity. If I have a choice I'll always pick the more simple solution to a given problem - I don't like extra bells and whistles, or extra features, or whatever. Now that I'm done ranting about my "typicalities", I'll continue the story. I decided that a single speed bike would fit my needs perfectly (and I even started riding my current bike in only one gear to see how it would be). I also tend toward old, proven technology, so I liked the idea of a steel frame. Besides, they have made a lot of improvements in steel and this bike is only 20lbs or so with everything on it.

I found a small bike manufacturer that specializes in single speed, steel, road frames, so I figured "this is the bike for me." I also decided that I couldn't afford it. So I waited. And waited some more. And then these guys decided to do a group buy (many people pay a deposit for a discounted, usually custom frame). But on a different frame than the one I wanted. So I waited some more. I'm pretty sure this is the most patient I've ever been. Finally, there were rumblings of a group buy for the frame I wanted. And after more discussion, it finally happened. 6 months later, I finally get the bike. Was it worth it, you ask? I saved maybe a $100 bucks, but I also got a special color and a slightly larger frame, which is good cus I'm a bit on the tall side. So, I think it was worth the wait.

Anyway, back to the UPS box.
The bike was complete, but in pieces. I got to do some assembly that I've never done before, which was fun. Actually, it wasn't that bad. The handlebars needed to be attached and the brake cables adjusted (which was probably the trickiest part). I had asked that the steerer tube be uncut, so I could play with spacers (this lets me adjust how high the handlebars are), so I got to cut that to length. My pipe cutters made short work of that, once I figured out how long to cut it.

I originally ended this post saying that it was together and ready to test ride. Now it's really ready. I got my fenders and got all the commuting stuff transfered to it and also fought through some inner tube bursting issues. Now, though, it's really ready. Seriously. For real. Yeah!


Now I get to start actually riding to work (from wherever I happen to drop Cynthia off). Which is a whole different story...

And you really should look at this - it's fun. Let me know how you did.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Do you ever feel like Jonah?

Lately, Paul and I have realized that he is the funny blogger and I am the serious blogger. I am not sure how that happened, but apparently writing on our blog is a creative outlet for him. So we are just going to go with that. Not to say that I won't ever be funny, or work in some random movie quotes, but who are we kidding....Paul is the clown in our family and no one can do those things with the grace and eloquence that he is able to.

So let's move on the to real reason why I am writing.

I am not sure if any of you have heard the song "God of this City". Apparently, it is being played on the Passion tour right now, and has become very popular among the young worship pastors these days. Well, we have sung this song at our church and this past weekend when we attended The Village Church in Highland Village, TX we heard it again. It really made me think about this city that we (Paul and I) live in. Austin, Texas. I realized that I am a bit more like Jonah than I would ever admit to. I have had the dream since college to move to Dallas. Mainly, because my sister was there (now she is here, but she is why I wanted to go), but also for a change of scenery. I have lived in the Austin area ALL of my life (except my freshman year in college...and YES that was the year I would have paid a lot of money to get back to Austin). And now being married and Paul's family living in the Dallas area I just want to move there more. However, on Sunday I realized that God has called me to Austin...this is my Ninevah...my heart has definitely been in Tarshish but this is where I am supposed to be. I have felt like I was in the belly of a whale recently,too. For me it is those times when I am spiritually dry. I feel like I am getting nothing out of church, nothing out of Small Group Bible Study, and nothing out of my quiet times. It is like I read the Scripture and it is flat. When I finally get to the point that I will cry out to God is when I can move from this place of spiritual dryness to obedience and joy in my relationship with Christ. So now I have a choice. I can choose to rejoice for being here, get on board with God and the plan He has for my life, and I can let Him grow my heart for those in this city that need the good news of a Savior or I can complain and keep fleeing from where He wants me to be. So I am choosing to look at this city through God's eyes and with His love for these people, and experience the joy that comes with obedience and seeing God change lives.

So here are the lyrics to this song:
This song is originally by Bluetree and redone by Chris Tomlin (check out the links)

God of this City (Greater Things)

You’re the God of this city
You’re the King of these people
You’re the Lord of this nation
You are

You’re the light in this darkness
You’re the hope to the hopeless
You’re the peace to the restless
You are

For there is no-one like our God
There is no-one like our God

Greater things have yet to come
Greater things are still to be done
In this city

Greater things have yet to come
And greater things have still to be done here

You’re the Lord of Creation
The Creator of all things
You’re the King above all Kings
You are

You’re the strength in our weakness
You’re the love to the broken
You’re the joy in the sadness
You are

For there is no-one like our God
There is no-one like our God

Greater things have yet to come
Greater things are still to be done
In this city

Greater things have yet to come
And greater things have still to be done here

Greater Things have yet to come and greater things are still to be done in Austin, TX!!!!

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Mein Bike ist Kaput


So, I get a new bike soon. No, not a motorcycle, though I am an accomplished rider and someone offered to swap me one for my Bronco (take all of that with a huge grain of salt).

It couldn't come quick enough. I say that because my current ride is just about dead. Dead, you say? I said mostly dead. There's a difference. Mostly dead I can work with. My goal was to keep the bike ridable without spending any money on it. I was doing good until Saturday.

Anyway, you may not be interested, but I thought I would chronicle the demise and deterioration of my bike. To begin with, I've begun to realize that the bike wasn't all that nice to begin with. I got it from a bike shop, which is much better than, say, walmart. But, I basically got the bottom of the line; the components are from the bottom of the Shimano offering and the wheels aren't that spiffy either. So it didn't have that many things going for it in the first place.

Then I abused it. I left it outside on a porch for like 4 years, not riding it. I started riding it to work, 22 miles each time I rode. Apparently that's hard on it. And I carried a bunch of gear, plus my own weight (which started at 265 and is now around 235). Again, not easy on the bike.

So, on to the stuff that broke:
  • The rear rim developed a crack. I don't know how, though I suspect I went over too big of a bump. The sidewall is bulged out, which makes the back brake broken, but it didn't lose air, so I kept riding it.
  • The large chainring broke. That's the ring up front. This is where my rant about lousy components starts. Most good cranks are bolted to the chainrings, so if one breaks, you can just get a new one and bolt it on. Not my piece of crud bike. The cranks are riveted to the chainrings, so I have to replace the whole thing. So, I opted to ride using only the middle chainring. I can't go as fast, but...
  • I broke a spoke in the rear. I could work around everything up until this, but this is a deal breaker. While a spoke is fairly easy to fix, nobody is going to fix it to the previously mentioned cracked rim. So, then I'd need to basically get a new rear wheel, which costs money.
There you have it - I have a bike that needs some amount of $$$ to get it road worthy. But I get a new one really soon. Should I tell you about my new bike? I think I shall...

I am now primarily a commuter and road rider, so I needed a whole different type of bike.
  • For comfort and better speed (especially into a headwind), I'm getting road geometry. Think drop handlebars, no suspension.
  • For durability and strength, I'm getting a steel frame. It's not nearly as heavy as you think.
  • For simplicity and low maintenance, I'm getting a single speed.
  • For carrying all my stuff, it's got a rack.
  • For the rain, it'll have fenders.
All in all, it will be a pretty simple utilitarian bike. I'm excited. Can you tell?

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

AT&T Half Marathon Results

OK, Troy, here ya go:

Sunday, Feb17, I completed my first half marathon. Yes, I finished it. Did I have the greatest run ever? Not exactly. But I finished. And I did finish running, though in a bit of pain. OK, actually, a lot of pain. Enough of the sputtered sentence fragments already, here's the details...

I was ready. I thought so anyway. I had done the long runs, and I could keep my goal pace. And it wasn't even an extremely fast goal pace. 10 min miles, that's it. We (Doug and I) started along with the other 13,000 people going across the river on Congress. It was quite the view, really. Way too many people up and running in one place on a Sunday morning.

I'm going to do a quick cut-and-paste from an email I wrote right after the race, which captured my feelings and my story:

Thursday I ran and my right leg kinda hurt afterward. It got better each day and was feeling fine on Sunday morning. Within the first mile, it started hurting again (almost tripped me up a few times), but it got better, so I thought maybe I just needed to warm up. It was nagging me from then on and I decided to walk a bit somewhere in mile 8. About 10 steps into my walking, my right leg/knee just about exploded in pain (I almost cried). I said almost; I’m a man, I’m 40.

Anyway, I sent my brother on to finish his race and was going to walk to the aid station and get a ride to the end or something. Well they gave me an ace bandage, and while that really didn’t help at all, I decided to continue walking. Somewhere in here, I remembered the verse I had read that morning, Heb 12:1, and I decided this was my race to run with endurance, so I finished it. After punch-dancing out my rage and suffering an extremely long and very painful fall, I realized what had to be done. I couldn’t just walk across the finish line (that would suck), so I started running for the last 2 blocks. It hurt, a lot, but I finished it running…

So, that's the end of my recycled summary. My time was 2:45:45. Not spectacular and I finished somewhere near dead last for my age group, but I did get the medal and the finishers T-shirt.

Since the race, I think I've isolated the source of my pain. It wasn't my knee, as in a joint problem, but my hamstring; or at least the lower tendon connected to my hamstring. I am going to work on strengthening that muscle and just running very carefully to make sure I'm healthy before I go running again.

You may ask "Gee Paul, are you gonna try it again?" Unfortunately, my bus route in the morning goes along part of the route, so I'm constantly haunted by the memory and taunted by the cold, cruel pavement. I think I have to try it again. It is my destiny. Maybe a solo effort or maybe at next years event. Either way, I need to finish it strong.


Unfortunately, I've worked in some movie and/or youtube quotes in this post. If you're not familiar with Hot Rod and Mike Gundy, it may not make sense. I don't apologize for my actions, but I do think they are funny. ha ha

Monday, February 4, 2008

God is AWESOME!

Hey folks! My sister has a link on her blog that I decided to check out. Needless to say it brought me to tears for a number of reasons. One was God is at work in the lives of believers, and He is making Himself known, and I love seeing God work. Another reason is because I am a girl, and that is how I express any emotion. So I am asking you to pray for Nate, Tricia and Gwyneth Rose, and when you get a free moment check out their blog. It is cfhusband.blogspot.com. As you read and pray reflect on God and his character, praise Him for who He is and what He is doing in the lives of this family, and pray for continued healing for all of them. I can't wait to see what God does in their lives.

~Cynthia

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Students Teaching - surely not?

You know, it's funny how life gets busy and then it gets slow and then it gets crazy and then it gets dull for a while. I think we're in a bit of a slow spot, but I could be wrong. Let me think about what I can tell you about life in south Austin at the Coppinger residence...

Cynthia started her student teaching last week. I think it couldn't have started better. She has an awesome, veteran teacher as her "sponsor teacher" or whatever they call them, 2nd grade kids are a lot of fun (she reports), and the school she's at is super cool (great principal, too). For anyone who cares, she's at Williams Elementary, not to be confused with Williams High School in Plano, where yours truly went (almost 15 years ago). Darn, now I feel old. Anyhoo, I get to take her most days and I've been riding my bike to work from there, or taking the bus like I did today. I have driven my car once in the past 2 weeks, and that was only cus school was out for MLK day. OK, enough about work/school.

I'm still training for the AT&T Half Marathon in a month. The cold weather hasn't stopped me yet. It's gonna be fun, or it'll kill me. Either way, I'll be a person who's run 13.1 miles further because of it. After that, I've been thinking about other running events, or even triathlons. I just need to find a pool to relearn how to swim.

We got to go to Giddings to celebrate Cynthia's Dad's birthday. That whole branch of the Parker family tree got to come out. We had burgers, fun, a cake, and I didn't even get close to his new motorcycle. You may find that last statement strange, but it turns out that me, empty parking lots, poles, motorcycles and front brake levers that are on the right handlebar don't mix well.

I think that may bring us up to date. "Surely you can't be serious" "I am serious; and stop calling be Shirley" I feel compelled to end my posts with an obscure Airplane quote for Andy.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

God

I have been amazed at what God is doing in my life over the past couple of weeks. I have felt, at times, that I couldn't keep my head above water. And at those times I have seen God in all of His glory, strength, power, and grace reach down and tell me that I can make it. He will see me through... just depend on Him.

It seems that over the past few years of marriage God has been telling me the same thing, and now I am finally getting it. I am getting that when He says He will never leave me or forsake me, that is what He means. As many of you know the day we got married seemed to be our last day of normalcy. From that day forward God began a new work in our lives. One we didn't know even existed. My health went from somewhat normal to sick all of the time. From a constant upset stomach, to seizures, to depression. We changed seizure medications. We went to hospital time after time trying to figure out why I couldn't stop throwing up, or why I continued to have seizures. And it seemed at those moments, when we were the most desperate, God reached down and said "I've got this one".

I realized over the past few weeks that God is once again saying "Cynthia, I ve got this one. I am bigger than your anxieties, I am bigger than your relationships, I am BIGGER". In the midst of all of the circumstances these past weeks, I have had to sit down and say to God "I Surrender ALL"! And really surrender it. As some of you know the hard part is leaving it there once you have surrendered it. The easy part is saying that you are going to do it.

But this week I realized if I get up everyday and say "I Surrender ALLL"! I am more likely to leave it at His feet. And when Satan comes in and says "I think you might need to help out", if I go back to the truths I know about God I will leave it there and tell Satan to get lost. This week I have been tempted (after only moments of surrendering something) to intervene, and then I have realized how much more content I am when I trust in the faithfulness of God.

So I pray for all of you that when life gets hard you will be able to surrender it to God, and through those moments you will remember WHO HE IS!

God is Good!
~Cynthia

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

The Assault of Casa Grande

As anyone who has been to The Basin knows, Casa Grande is probably the most distinguishable landmark in the area. The top towers 2000 feet over the Basin Lodge and Ranger Station. The cliff walls seem somewhat impossible to scale. What red-blooded Texan wouldn't want to climb it? There is a fairly well marked trail. It's not in the guide books anymore, though it is mentioned in the circa 1970 edition of the trail guide. Several sources confirmed the location of said trail. Armed with that knowledge, walking sticks (trekking poles, if you want to get snooty), water, lunch and our wits, the assault began.


The Assaulting Force: myself, my brother and my dad. The Opposing Force: rocks, lots of rocks, more rocks, and a giant mountain.





"Our orders came through. We ship out tomorrow. We're assaulting Casa Grande at 0900 hours. We're coming in from the north, under their radar."
"When will you be back?"
"I can't tell you that. It's classified"

The first move was a feint toward Lost Mine Peak. Parking at the Lost Mine trailhead, we climbed up to the Juniper Canyon overlook. Stealth was maintained until this point - we quickly turn off this super highway trail and started along the ridge toward Casa Grande. The climb started out easy enough, but the mountain quickly noticed our presence. Several steep sections of trail reduced us to all fours at times, but we kept plodding on.

The cliff walls waged continuous psychological warfare on us; always visible, seeming to taunt us with their verticality. The trail was mostly stable rock, though that would change soon enough. Realizing that steep inclines were not enough to repel us and that it was almost beaten, Casa switched tactics. The last major obstacle was unstable, shifty rock. A long stretch through softball sized rock chunks that in no way wanted to stay still for you to put your foot on.

The assault force faced it's darkest hour here on the rock slope. As point man, I found a decently passable technique for besting the slope. Standing vertically (not leaning over) and staying to the left seemed to work the best. My dad followed, with some difficulty. The mountain, now desperate, launched one last salvo. Doug, as last man up, got stuck on the start of the slope. Reduced to a prone position, he was trapped near the edge. Any movement resulted in downward sliding (not recommended at this point). Through sheer will and true grit (and helpful suggestions from Dad), Doug found a way to the easier segment of the rock slide.

The cliff walls were the last remaining obstacle in our way. Fate was on our side, it would seem. We discovered a chink in the armor of the beast, in the form of a slope between two of the cliff towers. Sensing defeat but out of weapons, Casa Grande yielded to us. At the top of the crevice we found grass, trees and a gentle bowl on the top of the mountain. We made it.

Having conquered the ascent, we explored the top for a while. We realized that the mountain had known all along we were on our way, as you could see the personnel carrier clearly below. There was evidence of previous battle on top - there were many scorched trees and a seashell. You're probably wondering how a seashell ended up on top, or how that signifies battle? Go with me, OK? We triumphantly found a spot to eat lunch and attempted to establish contact with our base camp in the Lodge. The mountain did beat us here, as we were too small and insignificant to be seen from below.

The victory was slightly bittersweet as we knew we had to go back down. Casa Grande knew it too and was ready with a few tricks of its own. Looking back, the mental game was much worse than the actual descent. We discovered a sliding, sort of skiing technique that carried us right over many of the steep slopes and sliding rocks that stood in our way below us. This almost backfired, as Dad was carried over the end of one of the rock slopes. I said almost! He caught himself and survived. At one point Casa sent attack deer against us, but they were cowards. Back to the psychological game, embarrassment and infighting were levied against us. The slope ripped the seat of my pants almost completely out and forced me to try to crush Doug's hand with a mini rock slide.

We reached the Juniper canyon overlook and arrived back on the Lost Mine Trail. Looking back, I half expected the mountain to grimace or salute us somehow for our victory. You know, implode or something. It didn't. It just stood there, as big and imposing as when we started, but you know what? We did it. We climbed it. We didn't die. We defeated elite attack deer. And the beer sure tasted good...


More pics




After we had recovered and reflected on the climb, we gave out a few ratings and medals:

For Bravery in the face of falling down a lot, Dad was awarded the Purple Butt.
For Extreme Valor while stuck on the rocks for a long time, Doug was awarded the Sliding Star.
For Intestinal Fortitude while missing clothing, I was awarded the Golden Thimble.

Most trails in the books are labeled as Easy, Moderate, Strenuous, or maybe extremely Strenuous. The Basin Loop would be an Easy trail, while the South Rim loop and/or Emory would be in the Strenuous category. In that light, we decided that Casa Grande should get a new category --> F@%king Ridiculous