Friday, April 15, 2011

Happy Birthday Momma

   April 16th is the birthday of my favorite woman in the whole world: my mom. I love when anyone meets her because I feel so proud that Terri Schenzel is my mom. The woman is ridiculous. SHE DOES NOT AGE! I swear people don't believe anyone in our family when we tell them how old she is. She is full of youth and joy. Her zeal for life, food, people, the Lord, and shopping (not necessarily in that order) is like an inner fountain of youth.
   My mom is an incredible wife. She has loved my dad so selflessly and with great tenderness for almost 25 years. Many women seek her advice on marriage because she truly portrays being a godly wife. She respects and cares for my dad, while at the same time challenging and encouraging him. Her support for him starting the Hope Center is a beautiful example of selflessness and courage. My family always says she is the most humble person we knows because my mom is so quick to admit her mistakes and ask for forgiveness.
   The best thing about my mom is just that: she is a mom. She loves being a mom. And she is my mom. When my siblings and I were growing up, my dad would share stories about their dating years and how she would 'steal' babies out of their strollers because she couldn't help herself. That was one of the things my dad loved most about her: she was made to be a mom. All of my childhood memories are full of her loving me and nurturing me. I feel emotional thinking about all the time she invested in us kids- reading countless books, watching our skits/dances, cooking us dinners, rocking us to sleep singing "Jesus, Jesus, there's just something about that name." My three siblings and I will forever be grounded and secure because of the unconditional love  my mom has provided. To this day, she has a stash of fruit roll-ups hidden in her kitchen to give little kids that stop over. (My family is perfectly comfortable with love through bribery ;) 
  One of the hardest things about being a full-time mom is that your role changes. I'm told it goes too fast. One minute us kids were playing house and then next minute we are grown up and living house. My parents are about to watch their baby graduate from high school and move away. The role of mothering will look vastly different and I know my mom is grappling with the change of not being needed as much. But that is where she is wrong: Mom, I need you now more than ever. I need you to continue to show me what it means to be an excellent wife. I need your advice about friendships and relationships. Annie, Tyler, and Turner are going to need you to help plan their weddings someday (like you did mine). In the future, I will need you to be available when I have a baby of my own and have a million questions. I need you to be the grandmother of my future children. I need you in a different way: to be my friend, my mentor and my role model. Even though things have changed, you should feel proud- because you did your job so well. I guarantee when you stand before the Lord someday He will comment on the kind of mother you are.
  So happy birthday mom. There is no one whose life I would rather celebrate than yours (except for Paul's in a few weeks ;)). You have always been my mother, but you have grown to be my best friend. I respect you and the way to pour your life out for others. You continue to invest time and energy in young people. You are just 'enlarging your tent' and mothering with a greater capacity than before. You now nurture dozens of kids instead of four. The whole family will continue to cheer you on.  I love you and can't wait to see what the future holds for you. Happy birthday!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Travels, April 2011: San Francisco

   And back to blogging I go! I am just got back from San Francisco this afternoon from visiting Paul. He is on his 5-week long trip around Alaska and California running health clinics with his buddy Keith. Our friend Sean Campbell came out over the weekend too and we all had a blast seeing the sights and soaking up the San Francisco sun. I figured I should blog while everything is fresh in my mind...
This shirt was died with actual wine! But it's not true.. I would never sell Paul-at least not for wine ;)

3 amigos (actually 1, Keith is the only one who speaks Spanish)
Besties- at the Pier.

Paul being expressive.

Beautiful Golden Gate Bridge.

Another view of San Fran.

China town.

Me being expressive. I was trying to teach the guys how to appreciate art ;)

Boarding to take a day cruise to the famous Alcatraz Prison.

Yea- it's probably a little insensitive to be smiling in a jail cell...

The Prision.

A view from Alcatraz looking out.
     The trip was really good, but short. Another highlight (which we thankfully didn't photo document) was the 11 mile run on Saturday morning. We ran along the coastline and then all the way across Golden Gate Bridge and back. By 'we' I mean myself, Sean, and Paul. Sean and I ended up walking part of the way back because he had such huge blisters on his feel (TMI- I know). He pretended- err, I mean- was barely able to walk the rest of the day ;). Like a good friend, I stayed with him pushing him to complete the run (but really what other option did he have?). Meanwhile, ultra athletic Paul finishes the entire run! I was a little peeved that I have actually been training and he ran it cold turkey.
   We also had an interesting cab ride where the cabbie took us through a 'short-cut' that actually took FOR-EV-ER and cost like 20 bucks :( He dropped us off in a ghetto area where we ate larger than Chipotle sized burritos at a authentic Mexican restaurant and then all felt very, very sick (I'll spare you the details). 
  I have to take the opportunity to say that I was thoroughly impressed with the Starbucks in San Fran. I mean- they were everywhere! In one part of the city, there are 3 Starbucks within 2 blocks! So we took advantage and Paul and I went to coffee yesterday (Sunday morning) just the two of us, We had a really good time and enjoyed talking about our move to Redding in 2 short months.
  To be honest, Sunday night was a little rough and I was feeling emotional (surprise, surprise) about being apart for 2 more weeks and feeling sick (from my 'burrito incident'). My husband is not perfect (darn near close-jk!), but one thing he does excel at is helping me process my heart and emotions. So we powered through and had a great night. Sean, Keith, Paul and I went and saw a movie that night too. It was a good end to great weekend.
  Finally, I got home around 3 pm and my parents picked me up from the airport. I was feeling sad again and missing Paul. I got home and my dad had stacked the mail on my bed. There on the top was a letter from Paul that he had written almost a week ago and it arrived while I was gone. Talk about perfect timing! I read the letter and put it beside my bed to get me through the last 2 weeks apart. 
   Come home Paul. Come home.