San Antonio

We had the opportunity to go to San Antonio during Spring Break last month (umm, someone slow down time, please!). We had a blast! The weather was perfect, got to hang out with some family, made new friends, stayed at an amazing resort and ate awesome Mexican food! I’m bad at this posting thing, so I’ll tell this one through pictures as well…

Layce and Lyndsy in front of the resort

We stayed at the Westin La Cantera Resort on the North Side of San Antonio, just off of I-10. We were actually far away from everything San Antonio-feeling but it was set up high on a hill with lots of land surrounding it. Great views everywhere and a great little nature trail that we took one morning.

View of San Antonio from La Cantera

The Resort had several pools, sports areas and lots of kid’s activities. We were with my aunt, uncle and three cousins. So, good excuse to hang out and participate in kid’s stuff! πŸ™‚ Ice cream before dinner and s’mores before bedtime? Yes, please!

They had an animal show one morning where we were able to pet a baby wallaby (try saying that without an Australian accent…go ahead…try), a sloth (!!) a blue-tongued skink and a tarantula (no thanks). It was crazy seeing all these animal up close. I stayed far away from the spider and if you pet the skink, you had to use hand sanitizer afterward…umm, there’s something wrong about that.

Baby Wallaby!
Blue Toungued Skink
Sloth (looks like a Wookie)

The Hotel is right by Fiesta Texas and they have Looney-Tunes characters join you for breakfast in the morning. It was really cute and they interacted with everyone (adults included, a bit awkward…but still funny!)

 

Bugs with Layce and Levi
Bugs and Ben!

We visited the Riverwalk and ate at Casa Rio.

 

Casa Rio and the river dyed green for St. Patty’s

Tim had never been to the Alamo so we visited there of course!

 

Tim at the Alamo

We also went to Fiesta Texas and window shopped at some crazy-expensive stores at the Shops at La Cantera. We finished the last night at Mi Tierra. Sort of a tourist trap, because it is near the river walk in an area called The Market. Surrounded by “trinket stores” and there is seriously probably 100’s of people at any given time. We got there at a good time so only had to wait an hour. I had chicken enchiladas with mole…oh. my. word. SO GOOD! I recommend eating here at least once, the decor alone is worth it. Plus they have a great bakery (panaderia) for some good dessert or breakfast the next morning.

 

Millions of pinata decorations!

We had a great time and can’t wait to go again!

Traveling

We’ve had the opportunity to travel quite a bit this spring and we’ve really enjoyed it! Tim’s job sent him to Corpus Christi at the end of February so we flew there for a few nights. This was my first time to ever fly on an airplane. Yep, first time ever! I was really nervous, I did not like the idea of, you know, being thousands of miles above the earth because if something went wrong, where do you go?! DOWN. Everyone told me, it’s safer than driving and blah, blah…I just had to say, Ok God, I know you got this. Taking off made my stomach flip and I didn’t really want to look outside at first. But, then I took a peak and it was so cool! I really like looking at the land in West Texas from that vantage point. You can see all the different farms and it just reminds me about all the awesome stuff that our community is built upon. I mean, my whole family is in the cotton business somehow so it’s pretty neat to see it from up so high!

It’s silly how much I worried about weird things like the plane splitting in half like on Lost but I didn’t think about how germy the plane would be. YUCK. It’s still not my first choice for travel but it did get us there pretty quickly! The landing was not fun, I never got over that. Each time I thought “This is not natural, you’re going way too fast!” I’m a backseat driver, so why not be a back seat flyer? All in all, we had a great time and I’m glad Tim was there to hold my hand for my first flight. πŸ™‚

Corpus was beautiful! It was cooler than we thought it’d be. The temps were 70ish but the breeze off the gulf really cooled it down and I needed my jacket all the time. We met some nice people also from Lubbock for Tim’s conference and the hotel was pretty nice. I really enjoyed just sitting and staring at the gulf. We just don’t see water like that in West Texas! The sun kept going in and out of clouds and the water would sparkle. I was overwhelmed thinking about the God that made all of this…all this water…stay in one place and look like this and hold so much life…also made me and cares about me deeper than the deepest ocean. I loved having my quiet time out at the bay and was able to marvel at His creation in a different way.

 

View from our hotel room

Bayfront

Timmy on the T-head

We were able to walk out on one of the T-heads for dinner both nights. It was fantastic! First night we went to Landry’s. Yummy sea-food and wine with friends we made on the plane. The next night we went to Harrison’s Landing. Just a very small shack almost that sits on the marina. Live music, great coconut shrimp and a fantastic sunset! We watched people who owned boats come in and out of the marina and it was so fascinating! I know nothing about boats, but it seems so relaxing to just take your boat out and chill. We saw a couple taking friends out after the sun went down with a huge picnic basket. Looked like a great time!

View from Harrison's Landing

Harrison's Landing

(BTW: all photos were taken on my iPhone 4…pretty good!)

We also went to Kansas the very next weekend. We were pretty exhausted after that trip but we were able to gain three new tax clients while we there! We are very blessed this year.

Now, I’m running around trying to start packing, shopping a little, and trying to decide if I have enough floss to last me for the week because we leave for San Antonio in the morning! I can’t wait! Another work trip, but Tim only has meetings in the morning and the afternoons are free! My aunt, uncle and their three kids are also going and I’m looking forward to spending time with them. We haven’t ever traveled with this side of the family so it’ll be really fun!

In a loving kind of mood…

Our little family has had some big changes in just the past month. I’ve been too busy to blog! *Gasp* January 31, was my last day at Texas Tech and the National Ranching Heritage Center. There are many things I will miss, some I will not and this decision wasn’t reached easily. When Tim began his position with the United Cotton Growers in November it really had us looking at things differently. This job would be very hard in some aspects but would also be a tremendous blessing.

Tim and I have owned our own business, Bynum Financial Management, for a few years. We are primarily doing bookkeeping and tax work for small business or individuals and have grown a pretty steady client base in the past year. It was just too good of an opportunity to pass up! I’m now staying home, full-time, working on the business and becoming a desperate housewife. πŸ™‚ It’s been such a great decision and while at first I was unsure, I really feel like we jumped in with both feet to do this thing that God was blessing us with. We won’t regret it.

Just a few things that this opportunity has given me: More time with Jesus – I’ve been neglecting this precious time for far too long. I’m currently doing a daily devotional from a study from Beth Moore. It is very good and my prayers are more focused on “what can I do for You?” instead of “what will You do for me?” now. More time with my husband – we can eat breakfast, lunch or dinner together, wherever, with hardly any time constraints! More time with my husband – Again…we are taking more trips this spring and summer and I cannot wait! (And didn’t have to ask for time off!) Also, I can get a client’s taxes done, do laundry and try out a new recipe all in one day and I’m not exhausted by 8 p.m.! I can help out my family if theyΒ  need it or just have lunch with them in Levelland any day. There’s really a lot more but these are the biggest things lately.

I’m so excited to see what else happens. The night of my last day at my job, I was depressed. It was ridiculous, but all I could think of was “I’m supposed to be happy!” I was too overwhelmed with wondering what was next and the fact that I didn’t have a job was really weighing on me. It’s very strange, as people would say, in this economy, to be the one resigning from your job. But, Tim helped me see past myself and the Truth is – Jesus knows the future. He knows what’s going to happen. He takes care of us. There’s no need to worry! Once I claimed that Truth, things have been so much better. I don’t have to see all the way down the road, I just have follow.

So, I’m in a loving kind of mood. I’m standing in my kitchen trying to make a cranberry sauce (I know, it’s not Thanksgiving) for a delicious Valentine’s meal for my hubby. Things are good. I have a loving husband, awesome family, great friends and, now, a thriving business. Valentine’s is a great day to take a little time to make sure and tell the people you love that you are glad they are in your life.

I love this photo

Love these guys

Best parents!

Old and New

Very weird to think that in one day 2010 will be last year. WEIRD!! It feels like we just had Christmas and New Year’s, um, last year. Very strange.

I saw a friend’s post today saying that like every year, 2010 had good times and bad times but we should be making the most of it, no matter what. So bring on 2011! We certainly did have some bad times, but nothing that can break us. We absolutely had so many great times and I look forward to topping those. πŸ™‚

Our little Bynum family had many changes. Our niece, Tessa was born in April. Then, in August, was diagnosed with CMV and possibly a form of cerebral palsy. Would appreciate many many prayers for them as their family has been changed forever by this sweet little girl. We don’t know what’s in store but we know that God chose Darin, Whitney and Parker to be Tessa’s family for a reason and we rejoice in getting to know her!

Tim started a new job almost two months ago. He is now the Financial Manager at the United Cotton Growers Co-op Gin. I am so proud! This was a huge step up for him in his career. Sometimes it just really makes me laugh that I met this boy from Kansas that knew nothing about cotton and now here he is…working with my family and my home town in the cotton business! He is amazing and I thank God for him still. We will be married 4 years this coming June. Wow, that’s more time than we dated. Another weird but wonderful thing!

We also joined Victory Life Baptist Church last April. It has been fantastic and I can honestly say we feel at home. We’re still making friends there and finding places to get plugged in. I have really enjoyed the women’s Bible Study on Tuesday nights. I’m usually the youngest by several years and the only one without children but it’s funny how much I love going and speaking with these ladies! They have great life stories and I found that even though we have a lot of differences, we do go through many of the same emotions and ups and downs in our spiritual life. It’s been a blessing to get to know them. We also love our Life Group, led by George and Cathy. They have been married 27 years and have been great examples for us. They are very real and let us know that it’s hard but worth it!

My family has had many changes with selling the family farm house, selling my parents house and moving, my aunt and uncle buying a new house and getting close to selling theirs’. Whew! But we are very happy with it all and excited for the changes. Pictures of the new house to come!

I have also really enjoyed this little break from work. We loved the 4 days Tim had off (the cotton season has him working 12 hour days, 6 days/week, from October to February or March). It was wonderful and we are already planning another trip to the mountains. I have achieved a lot in our home this week and it feels amazing to stay home and really get things done! I had to do those crazy errands that you just never get to such as buy pot holders, a new lighter for candles/fire place, look for fire place tools, etc… but I got them done, did grocery shopping and have cooked and will be baking some today. I love it! I also got to actually read a little of my monster book (it’s monster size, not about monsters).

This next year we have some things to look forward to. We still need to see Tim’s parents (soon we hope!), maybe visit some other family members. We have friends getting married, friends having babies, planned some vacations and hope to find new ways to be involved at church. I cannot wait to see what God has in store! I did find this past fall that the more you learn about Jesus, the more you want to learn still. It’s amazing and I’m very excited to see what we learn next!

Have a safe and Happy New Year!

A very merry Christmas

This year has been a little crazy with all the activity and changes. So, I think it was very fitting that we went to Ruidoso for Christmas. The little mountain town has been a part of my family’s life for a long time and it felt so nice to go there and relax over the holiday. We played a lot of games, ate a lot of food and enjoyed the beautiful weather. I’m so happy that my family gets to spend so much time together and as my Dad prayed over our Christmas dinner I know we were all truly thankful for the eternal life that was given to us as a precious gift through the baby Jesus thousands of years ago. Happy Birthday Jesus!

Snow on Christmas Eve

Rio Ruidoso

Us

Sierra Blanca

(Unfortunately I cannot take credit for the good pictures, that’d be my brother’s doing!)

I hope everyone had a fantastic Christmas! 2010 was great and 2011 will be even better!

Empty

We’ve been working on cleaning out my grandparent’s house lately. It’s been coming for a few years but the bulk has been done in just the past few months and weeks. I walked around the house today void of furniture and it felt…empty. Empty because even though the memories were made there, they are not held there. It’s something I’ve been trying to tell myself for a while but going there today with nothing really left inside helped me more than I thought it would. Last weekend it hit me and I cried for a very long time. Not sobbing really, just every time something came to mind, tears came too. So, I decided to write out a few memories (ok, maybe a lot) just to help me and maybe my family smile.

Things I remember most:

  • Doing puzzles on the floor or any flat surface we could find.
  • Learning to play Skip-Bo. Papaw let me win a lot.
  • Reading “Are You My Mother?” and “Little Black Sambo” and another book about a dog that befriends 3 little old ladies so they knock down their fences to have one big backyard for it.
  • When we were little the humongous living room floor would be so covered in paper from unwrapping presents you had to wade through it like a river.
  • Decorating the Christmas Tree and finding all the funny ornaments. Like the little red bird with the Santa hat and the panty-hose elf!
  • Playing White Gorilla. Although I still don’t know what the real rules are, it always resulted in the girls screaming and running around like crazy while Dad or Uncle Terry chased us.
  • Taking naps in the warm den…sooo cozy.
  • Papaw putting up the tree swing. So cool!
  • Running out to the barn one day and coming face-to-face with a snake. I couldn’t watch Papaw chop it’s head off, icked me out, but I wanted it dead!
  • Playing on the old run-down tractor.
  • The first dog I really remember having, Chip, got to live with Papaw and Nana for a while. Pretty sure Papaw only got him for us and Nana thought he was crazy. I’ll never forget picking him up from the family that had these Shelties. I was so excited.
  • Making ice cream with the hand-crank ice cream maker. The kids thought it sounded fun until our arms wanted to fall off.
  • Pineapple-banana ice cream!
  • All the Thanksgivings and Christmases we had there. So much food. So much fun!
  • Nana teaching me to bake.
  • Erin making the dressing for Thanksgiving the last few years. She’s the youngest in the family but she liked getting up early and helping.
  • Playing with Nana’s gloves, scarves and fantastic vintagey jewelry.
  • Projecting the slides on the living room wall. Ancient form of entertainment!
  • Going into the creepy cellar. *Shiver*
  • Papaw smelling like Chap-stick. The regular kind in the black tube. I can still smell it and think of him.
  • Seeing birds nests in the ring-o-tress in the front drive. Saw some really pretty blue eggs one time. I think it was a dove’s nest?
  • Wanting to drive the riding lawn mower to get the mail.
  • Papaw’s garden. Oh my, I’ve seen so many things grow in that garden. Pumpkins, squash, beans, peppers, potatoes, corn, tomatoes. (Sorry, but I still don’t like tomatoes! I just know what a good garden grown one looks like.)
  • Leah and Erin thought that Texas was literally just my grandparent’s house.Β  Cuties.

Many of these memories make me laugh. I could go on and on. There was just a special feeling when we were at Papaw and Nana’s house that can’t ever be replaced. But, ultimately, the house is just the place. It’s the people and memories we need.

O-K-L-A-H-O-M-A!

(I love love love that musical!)

I am just now catching up on the blog because we have been sick. It’s been pretty snotty around here…gross. But, got a z-pack and we’re doing much better!

A few weekends ago we went to the great neighboring state of Oklahoma to visit family. Two of Tim’s brothers live there and we were able to spend some time with their families. We had a blast!

We went to Waynoka and Alva on Friday to see Tommy, Lacy, Emmy, Libby and Harley. This was about a 6 hour drive, well worth it though! We drove into Waynoka for Harley’s football practice. Lacy, my sis-in-law, and I snuck (sneaked?) away to do a little shopping. Greatest little store ever! Frillz…you gotta go! We had super awesome pizza at Gambino’s that night. Oh and schnicker-doodles!

The next day we got to watch Harley’s flag football team go undefeated for the season! It was a blast!

Go #4!

 

Harley and Uncle Tim

That afternoon we drove to Yukon to see Darin, Whitney, Parker and Tessa. This was another couple of hours drive through some freaky back-woods Okie towns. But we made it just in time to keep Parker while mommy, daddy and Tessa went to a new small group. We had a lot of fun and Parker totally wore us out! πŸ™‚ Tessa still had some ear problems going on, but we were able to see what a difference her hearing aids have made!

Darin and Tessa

We also got to see Tessa smile a lot. She is a pretty happy little girl and it was awesome to see her improvements. Right now they are working on things like intentional movements such as bringing her hands or feet to her mouth or reaching out for things. One night, Darin was reading a book to her that had animals with fuzzy fur on the pages. She reached her cute little hand out to pet the animals a few times. It was awesome!

Bynum Boys!

Cute babies

Tessa really loved her Uncle Tim. I think he reminds her of her Daddy. She would give him the sweetest smiles. And, big brother, Parker is so sweet and gentle with her. I know God planned this family to be exactly like it is and it’s a blessing to get to see them grow.

We had a great time with family and can’t wait to see them again! Now, I have to go see who wins Project Runway…oh, and this little game in the World Series…

Home

Do you ever feel overwhelmed? Frustrated? Angry? Confused?

I’ve been reminded lately, that when I feel like this, there is a reason. I will always be dissatisfied with this world because it is not my home. There is something better. When I feel restless, maybe it is God just whispering “one day it will all be worth it.”

Think of the best day of your entire life. Maybe it was graduation, your wedding day, honeymoon, an awesome vacation or the birth of your first child. However amazing that day and the anticipation for it was, Heaven will be a gajillion, trillion, million times better. I can’t even imagine but I am excited! We are blessed to have the things and people and great days in this life but when things are hard, just remember, it gets better.

This is not our home and I am thankful.

Word

Words are powerful. Words can bring death or words can bring life. Do you realize that everyday you are presented with situations where you can bring life or bring death just by what you say?

“May the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be pleasing to You, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

This has been my prayer for the last week. It hasn’t been easy and I have certainly failed at times. But, through prayer and meditation on this verse, I’ve seen when a simple thing can become a big thing by how I respond to it. I didn’t realize how often I would need to refer to this verse but I’ve said it several times this past week.

Memorize it, study it, pray it. You will be surprised by what you learn!

The next thing is finding the parts of my heart that are wrong and bringing the wrong words to my mouth. It is actually the heart that affects the mouth.

The last verse of my Bible study this week was Psalm 139: 23-24

“Search me oh God and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.”

My prayer tonight is: Lord, lead me in your way of truth and life. Find the dark spots of my heart and clean them! Help me to bless others with my words.

West Texas Thunderstorm

Warning: These events took place about 3 or 4 weeks ago. I wrote this blog and then didn’t post it for some reason. I have not changed the “yesterdays” and “todays” in the story, so if you live in Lubbock….no, it did not rain yesterday and you totally missed it.Β  And, yes, I am dramatic.

Yesterday, we had leeeeetle sudden West Texas thunderstorm. Sometimes I really like storms. It smells fantastic and we can almost always use rain ’round these here parts.

But, sometimes they are down right scary to me! I think it depends on the wind. Tornadoes are one of my worst fears (I guess snakes/spiders/cockroaches/any kind of bug are the others….oh and drowning).

Yesterday was a freaky one. Suddenly, the sky turned super dark, then it started pouring, then it poured harder and then it was hailing! All in about, oh, 5 minutes. A lot of times out here, a storm will hit and subside in 5 minutes. Not this bugger. It may have only lasted 30 minutes but it was crazy! Tim grabbed the car and sat waiting for me to make a mad dash out the door of our office. All the while, our boss is parked nice and snug under the loading dock taking up all the hail-protecting room.Β  Geeez….

So, I finally get the guts to run to the car. Hail was pelting me and my nice pink toenails, rain drops fell the huge size of marbles and got all over the inside of the car, and my hair….ugh, my hair! I have this thing about my hair. I don’t like it when people mess with it and I don’t like when it’s been fixed and then gets hit with rain. Drat.

Tim decides to just go on driving towards home. Our house is on the opposite side of town and in Lubbock, it might rain on the North side and not on the South, or rain on the West and not the East side. Weird but we’re kinda used to it. So, while driving, the streets are already filled with water, which here, is considered a flood, and Tim said we should go white water rafting…I don’t know about that. I’d be cold, and wet, and my hair! Ugh…my hair.

I sat in the car and thought about the movie Dante’s Peak. You know, in the beginning when Pierce Brosnan is trying to escape the flying lava from a volcano and he and his wife get in the truck, thinking they’re safe, and then BAM! Wifey gets a huge lava rock in her skull and it’s game over for her. That’s what was going through my mind as the hail and golf ball- size rain drops pelted our little Camry. Ya know, the Camry’s steel isn’t very thick and I could just imagine a huge hail rock crashing through it and into my skull like the chick in the movie.

Thinking about that horrible movie and how I had already chewed all the flavor out of what could possibly be my last piece of gum ever, I said to Tim, “If we get out of this alive, I want a hamburger for supper!” Tim rolled his eyes, but I was freaking serious. I hate this stuff. I hate watching the dumb drivers in Lubbock swerve all over the place. I hate it when a another vehicle splashes our little car with water so that you can’t see and Tim has to slam on the brakes. I hate how loud the rain is on our thin-steeled Camry. And I hate the movie Dante’s Peak! And the softball-size rain drops!

But just so you know, I got my hamburger last night and sure enough…it barely even sprinkled at our house.