It’s Been a year…

“Actually…” (as E3 would say) it has been 61 weeks since I “graduated” with my Masters of Science in Management and Leadership! July 4th weekend of 2020 I finished my masters degree! Wahoo!!! A major personal goal that I have had for quite sometime.

And that’s a wrap! Moments after submitting my senior capstone project completing my MSML degree!

It all began because I honestly wanted to wear a hood (my master’s degree was 100% online, so I didn’t even participate in a ceremony) and say I had completed master level coursework. Now, if you’ve spent any time with me at all you’ll know that sitting still and focusing on “schoolwork” for significant amounts of time is almost an oxymoron hence the reason for the goal of completing master level coursework!

The goal slowly morphed into obtaining my masters in order to further advance my career in post secondary education. I worked in post secondary dental hygiene education and loved it! My dream was to be a dental hygiene program director which required a Master’s degree! As life would have it, our family needs changed as did our location which meant I no longer would be teaching collegiate level,

Now you may be reading this and thinking “that’s a whole lot of change!” Yes, it was. These changes occurred over the course of 6 or 7 years. All while we were having babies, my husband was finishing his master’s degree at DTS, and I was thanking the Lord daily for His continued provision of amazing jobs that I LOVED and that supported our family while Craig was earning his degree and working for a church. I didn’t even start my master’s degree until after I was finished teaching collegiate level and was close to the end of my career in teaching high school. And I would have never thought I’d be working through my master’s while in transition! Much less finishing it during a global pandemic!

So that’s where we are.. or where we were. July 4th weekend of 2020. I turned in my final coursework and graduated with my master’s! A dream of a decade and close to 17 months of hard work! But what to do with it? Especially now since we live in a totally new place, in the middle of a global pandemic unexpectedly homeschooling my 3E’s. The questions have been asked more times than not and they generally sound like this. “Now what?” or “So now that your kids are going back to school are you going to pickup some days cleaning teeth at a dental office? How about see if ODU is hiring for a clinical professorship?” All meaning questions and inquiries. Ones that I’m afraid my answer to all of them (at this current time) are the same, “the Lord hasn’t released me to step back into dentistry!” People who have been through the journey with me sort of gasp when I say it. Dentistry has been my life for the past 15 + years. I have worked hard and diligently to help develop processes and protocols when I began teaching college and then when developing a dental assisting program for high school. Blood, sweat, and tears!!! And to accomplish the next educational journey needed to progress and then walk away from it?!? Yep. That’s it. So, what then?!??

As you can imagine completing my degree, in a new state where we had relationships with only a hand full of people only months into this global pandemic thing meant I had tons of free time on my hands. I mean I was preparing curriculum choices for the upcoming school year for my 3E’s, but still there was lots of time! And I don’t do well with free time. New school year kicked off. We settled into our daily methods and routines. Kids were doing great, but I just wasn’t being challenged FOR ME!

September 2020, while visiting on the phone with my sweet friend back in Texas she mentioned she had done a thing! A thing that she was loving. It was pandemic friendly and was affording her opportunities that frankly wouldn’t exist otherwise. You have my curiosity. Tell me more! I left that conversation that evening with a spark of interest and a prayer to pray. A prayer of maybe this could be my thing. A fun thing. An educational thing. A family thing. We prayed. Ran numbers. And we jumped in feet first! WE STARTED A SMALL BUSINESS DURING GLOBAL PANDEMIC!

Stay tuned for more on our small business!

Travel ball during Global Pandemic

Hi y’all! This blog was written on Monday, June 21, 2021. At the time we were a month into being mask free! Man it felt great! Seeing smiling faces just does something for my soul!

Recently here on the blog we’ve talked a lot about life during the pandemic and what the Lord has taught the Rush family. Today, I’m just going to share the fun we have experienced since moving to Virginia. It’s been so different than what I would have ever conjured up, but we are making memories and living life together. Let’s get going.

Our initial plan was for all three E’s to hop right back into baseball and softball. We did some research and discovered a Pony League close by that all three could participate in. Awesome! Signed them up and went and did evaluations for Elliott’s age group. The other two were placed on teams and met their coaches. We were all set… and a week later Pandemic! Spring Season canceled. Summer season canceled and my three E’s were still anxiously awaiting to be into activities to make some friends and burn some energy. Throughout our waiting two big things happened. We were introduced to travel baseball & we started a small business!

Let’s talk travel baseball first. When I realized that pony and rec leagues weren’t happening for a while, Craig and I started exploring options. What would we do? We didn’t want Elliott to miss out on a year or more of playing and practicing. A new team popped up for evaluations and so we decided we would give it a try. August (or September) of 2020 Elliott tried out for the 10U Tidewater Horns team and made it! Over the course of the fall and winter seasons, we practiced twice a week as the team was formed and went to an indoor facility for conditioning during the cold. Looking back this really has been a life line for our family. Due to the nature of the amount of time spent together, and the climate of the world around us, these families really served as a constant for us. Friends were made that we will take with us outside of baseball.

2020/2021 – 10U Tidewater Horns
My fella after pitching his heart out!
Let’s go 24!
Last minute games while your besties are in town means the biggest fan club of all ages!
Just a momma watching her boy do his thing!

These are just a few of the moments that were captured on camera! Not sure what next baseball season will look like for our family, but I can say that during a time where we were still newish and we knew few people and NOTHING was happening, having the constant and consistent Tidewater Horns baseball team was our lifeline!

Through it all…

Do you ever have seasons where when you actually stop to think or slow down long enough to process, you realize that time has been marching on but in the move of it all it really seems as if it’s been at a stand still? That’s a statement that some of us would agree with completely and then for others we may say we haven’t experienced that in the last year & a half. Either way we probably wouldn’t be wrong. Or would we?

We can agree that life came to an abrupt halt March 2020 and has felt like an extended spring break that really still hasn’t ended. We could say that everything slowed to a snail’s pace or it stopped all together. Schools went virtual which meant no early morning hustles, commutes or afternoon activities. People who are fortunate enough to work from home have been doing so and for others employment ended. Large group gatherings are so 2019 and buying a ticket to a sporting event now means you have access to the live stream and will more than likely be able to find your face on one of the jumbo trons around the arenas. So, in all of this it’s slowed down tremendously but why then do we have to stop and process all that occurred last year & a half?

Now let’s fast forward to April 2021. We are 13 months into this global pandemic thing and significant changes are being made. A major contributor to change is the vaccine. We have all had to make decisions on whether to vaccinate or not. The decisions have come easier for some than others and still there are those who just can’t decide. One thing we can all agree on, though, is that with the scientific development of the vaccine it is bringing about change and opportunity. People are beginning to open their doors and feel comfortable to step outside in public. Hand shakes are happening again and not just fist bumps. Churches that weren’t already opened back up are opening their doors and the schools that have been empty for a year are finally having students back on campus. Yes, for those in areas where your schools didn’t skip a beat, there are others who have been virtual this entire school year. Why now? Why all of a sudden? The vaccine?!?

Side note… there are so many angles, views, ideas, beliefs, and opinions about all of this and the past 13 months. I acknowledge that. Some families have been affected by it worse than others and some families haven’t skipped a beat. All of it makes me so incredibly sad and breaks my heart. This post is not intended to share my opinions or thoughts on any of it and it’s definitely not intended to hear yours. It is solely being written as a point of documentation of what has occurred over the past 13 months. It may be cancelled and for some, the upper portion of the blog may cause anger or whatnots. All I can say is we have to check our spirits and make sure we are aligned with the Father, THE Holy Spirit, The Maker of heaven and earth, and insure that our actions and words bring Him glory and are fulfilling the purpose of knowing Him and making Him known. So, back to our main road.

I really was one of those persons who thought the intended 2 week extended spring break back in 2020 was going to be marvelous and then we would all resume to what was our normal scheduled programming. So for me, this entire thing has really thrown me off my A game. Even in all of that, the Lord still remains in control and He is still good. Let’s talk about that. Let’s talk about what #raising3rushes in a perfect sinful world has been up to for the past 13 months.

As you may remember, Rushes moved to Virginia end of January 2020. Just in time to get settled in a rental and kids in school. Little did we know that on campus would be short lived and we would all end up back at home together to finish out the year virtually. At the end of the 2019-2020 school year, the 3E’s had attended school in public, homeschool, private and virtual learning. With everything up in the air, as a family we decided we’d take 2020-2021 school year to simmer and hopefully find a new east coast Virginian groove. We decided to homeschool. We have dabbled with it off and on in the past and I have taught on various levels of education so I knew that I could, but honestly wasn’t sure how we’d all make it.

It’s May 2021 and I can tell you we survived! We have all lived to tell about it. Some days we had loads of laughs and some days tears were streaming from ALL of our eyes. Because of the season, we didn’t do as many field trips as we would have liked, but we grew together as a family and learned how to be people who could adapt and bounce back fairly quickly. Our children grew in ways that some adults I know still haven’t grown in. Children really are resilient!

It has been neat to see our individual hearts rest in not only “knowing” in our head that Jesus is Lord and is in ultimate control, but truly wrestling with Jesus is Lord and is in ultimate control in our hearts. And then experiencing how our individual hearts joined together as one in this idea. The confidence levels of each of us (my kids specifically) have grown exponentially. Confidence in their own ability to ROCK their end of year testing. Confidence in who they are as a human being and what they have to offer instead of just trying to figure out how they fit into a group of peers. Confidence in believing the fact that when we truly submit our lives to the Lord, that the God of the universe will honor that and use it/us to accomplish His mission. This one has been so cool to see and hear during our family conversations. We may be a little more in tune with listening to their hearts on this one since our family experienced a major cross country move 7 weeks before pandemic, but none the less our kids are seeing through the lenses of “our lives are not our own and we are called to places for seasons and reasons and when our mission(s) are accomplished, He reassigns us and that is ok.” But for now we will grow where we are planted not holding onto to what was in the past or clinging to what is in the future but living and loving in what is the present.

What have you learned over the course of the past year? When you stop and think back, can you see where you have grown?

“But those who wait for the Lord [who expect, look for, and hope in Him] Will gain new strength and renew their power; They will lift up their wings [and rise up close to God] like eagles [rising toward the sun]; They will run and not become weary, They will walk and not grow tired.”
‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭40:31‬ ‭AMP‬‬

Lost, but not forgotten

Update 11/21/2020: Before you begin reading, this was written three months into the Covid19 global pandemic and is being posted 8 months into the covid19 pandemic. Take it as you will, not much has changed.

Today is a Friday. Friday, June 12, 2020 to be exact. Will this be posted today? Who knows but today is the day I am taking a moment to write. I have written one post since this whole COVID-19 pandemic thing has occurred. Talk about a surreal moment in time and living history at that. For all of you out there that like to use real life to teach the next generation, I sure hope you are taking note of all that is going on in the world around us and how we are being able to not only read or hear about history in the making but we are living it. Day in and day out. I am not so sure that our kids will be going back to school “in the deficit” when it comes to history.

Have you seen those birthday cards that say “if you were born in ______ year” then this is what was going on and this is how much stuff costs? This season of pandemic has made me think of those cards more and more. I often wonder what will the year 2020 card look like? What will the going price of gasoline be? How much will a gallon of milk be listed as? Other than pandemic stuff, what else will be listed as major life historical events that occur during the year 2020? It really blows my mind beyond compare.

Before moving to Virginia, I had the privilege of teaching a dental assisting class to high school seniors at a local career and technical education center. It was a short lived part of my career that I will cherish dearly!!! Seriously, total greatness. Why I mention this is that the last group of students that I had in class graduated from high school this week. That means that half of their senior year was cut short. For some, it was WAHOO we don’t have to wake up early and go to school. For others, and most of them, it was a super sad point in their high school career. I mean, can you think of your senior year? Second semester was by far the pinnacle of what high school was about. Senior prom, senior skip day (yes it exists and yes even those God fearing seniors do it, it’s like a rite of passage), spring break, these are just a few of the things.

I want to think back beyond March 12, 2020, when the schools here in Virginia were put on “shelter in” orders. Let’s think back seventeen to eighteen years ago. What year do we arrive at? 2001 to 2002? What major life event occurred late 2001? 9/11/2001. When were these high school seniors born? Are you following me? Back to my time with my seniors.

I had the opportunity to walk through remembering 9/11 with them. We discussed what happened. We looked at videos. They were curious as to what I was doing and where I was? If I knew of anyone specific had been affected. . . you see, I had one maybe two of my students who were just days old. The rest were in the womb. Can you believe it? The generation of students who entered the world during turmoil are leaving their primary/high school educational career during a world wide pandemic. Do you think this is by coincidence? I sure don’t. I believe that the God of the universe doesn’t make mistakes and he sure didn’t by the timing of all of this. I am not saying He caused it because he didn’t but He has allowed it all. Why? I have no clue and frankly I may never know, not until I reach those pearly gates of glory when my mission on Earth is done. But I do believe that in His amazingly beautiful ways and His loving kindness and grace, He allowed this generation of young adults to enter the world during such a season and end a major season of their life during such a season.

As I have been communicating with my now former students during all of this, I have been placing the challenge in front of them. What if it really is your generation that is called to be the world changers that our world so desperately needs? What if you are the ones that are called to flip the script and lead the way on how the rest of “the world” around you responds to pandemic? Or heck, how they respond to life! Some of those young men and women really processed through the challenge and have been making it their goal to be the world changers that, I believe, we are all called to be in some capacity or another. The challenge stands with you. . . are you being a part of the process in helping to change the world for good or are you being a part of the problem and giving into the media and all the negativity around you? It’s a choice. A daily choice.

On top of the “shelter in” pandemic quarantine, our world continues to struggle with the lack of racial reconciliation. IT BREAKS MY HEART!!!! Why can’t we just treat people equally and get along? What has been going on is wrong! Yep you heard me correctly, people of color loosing their lives because of the color of their skin is wrong! No matter how you try and slice it or dice it, WRONG! I don’t care who did what or what did who, or started what and what nots. WE ARE ALL CREATED EQUAL IN THE IMAGINE OF GOD. Last time I checked and read my Bible, God created Adam and from Adam He created Eve. . . . and one by one the rest of the generations of people were created, offspring from offspring. So if you want to get into the whole genealogy thing, guess what? WE WERE ALL CREATED FROM ADAM AND EVE!!!!! Let’s stop killing and fighting with people, people some way or another we are connected to! I stand for JUSTICE AND MERCY! I stand for truth!

The short and sweet on why “stuff” happens is because although we were created equal by the same God of the universe and are all some how genealogically related in the family tree, we also are human and all of us have free will and sin natures. Those very two first humans that God created (Adam & Eve) made a big old mistake that set this world into motion that we live in. Eve gave Adam a piece of forbidden fruit, thus sin entered into the world. Why? Well, it opened their eyes to see that they were not God and brought about the realization that we need God. We need a Savior and that without Him we are nothing. Left to our own ways we would continue to allow Satan to kill, steal, and destroy us. . . one by one! The only hero in the story is GOD! What will be written from Christian theologians that are post-trib perspective be and on the flip what will pre-trib Christian theologians write? I hesitate to even write these thoughts out as I am afraid it will create a point of contention causing an uproar of angsts because well COVID-19 quarantine and the lack of social interactions and lets be real most people are looking for something to get all huffy about.

But I write because I am called to write and say the things that most of us think between the inner linings of our left and right eustachian tubes but wouldn’t DARE speak it out loud for fear we may just have to have a real conversation about it. So, this is it. All of it, for me. I personally have no desire to know what side of the fence you stand on politically, socially, emotionally, etc. you get the point, if you first and foremost point of concern is not JESUS and how someone is doing in their walk with the Lord. Heck, if we allow any of the things that have occurred during 2020 to take precident over our concern with whether a person knows how much they are loved by The Savior of the world, it is absolutely wrong!

So. . . here’s my challenge. What is that you are taking away as absolutely and utterly the most important things in life? What have you found out about yourself that you would say “defines you?” Are you seen as a person who loves Jesus (not just professes Jesus as Lord, but LOvES Jesus) or are you that person that people generally tend to slowly distance themselves from? Answer out loud if you like, but I implore you to do the hard introspective work and allow the Lord to help you determine what the rest of 2020 and 2021 will look like despite the cultural context around us.

Welcome to 2020

There are days that feel like a completely surreal moment. When all that can be acknowledged is truly in the Lord’s hand. A few of those days, for me, have occurred over the course of the past four months or so.

One of those days was November 22, 2019. The day we stepped off the plane in Norfolk, VA for the first time. In our heart of hearts we felt a calling to Tabernacle Church from the moment of the first phone interview. So stepping off the plane and meeting people (who had no clue who we were because we were in cogito) brought confirmation for us that these were the people the Lord had called us to. They were people we could do life with, in ministry but also outside of ministry. They are a people group set in an urban setting from various walks of life living authentically in their personal journeys and Norfolk is a city that has more natural beauty than I have ever experienced. Finding a tree for a swing was easy! Though that may seem minuscule, it wasn’t. Finding a place with a tree that could hold a tire swing was key and one of our main prayers. The kids wanted to be able to be outside most of the year and have a swing!

This was the first day that the realization of the journey that we had been on since October 2011 was finally coming to an end. The journey of moving from Louisiana to Texas for seminary. The journey of having babies in the midst of a chaotic life. The journey of serving on staff at an amazing church while Craig was earning a graduate degree. And the journey of the Lord brining Craig to the realization of a calling He has for his life and our course of ministry. We started our journey thinking that we would end up in international land somewhere in Africa sharing the gospel with those that had never heard His name. And through that journey we realized that our missions heart needed a transformation. We did end up on a mission field, it’s just not thousands of miles away and it’s not just to a few select people groups but it’s to several people groups that are similar yet different all the same.

Fast forward to today, I find myself laying in my bed next to my hubby as we get ready to embrace a new day. We are located in Norfolk, VA! The past several months have felt like a blur. We have been in Norfolk since January 23, 2020 and so much life has occurred. Not only have we settled into our rental house, but the kids started attending a new school (and stopped a new school). We started going to a new church and Craig is now a senior pastor of that church. But we have also stopped “attending” that same church. Before your mind starts going there let me explain. (And most of this will be written for the sake of looking back and remembering what this time period was like).

Seven (7) weeks after moving to Norfolk, one of the scariest and most surreal events in history occurred. The Covid-19 Pandemic hit the United States. It’s also known as the Corona Virus. Our kids were in school for five (5) weeks before all schools were shut down indefinitely. We were in a church building with our new church family having weekly services for seven (7) weeks before “shelter-in” orders were given to the entire state of Virginia. Thankfully, Tab Church, had already started streaming the service through different social media platforms so the learning curve of going “viral” hasn’t been as steep as it has been for some. Our kids have come back home to completing the year with distance learning in place. Their teachers email all of their assignments and we complete it here, through google drive and different educational websites. It has been the craziest thing I have personally ever lived through.

Through all of this, so far, I have seen the Lord at work. He is drawing people out of their homes and into the streets again. Of course maintaining and practicing the 6 feet social distancing orders that are in place. People are connecting through the use of telephones and not just texting or emails, but through calls, FaceTimes, zoom calls and whatever platform they use to virtually communicate. It seems as though some of our personal desires and things we keep our hands held tight around with closed fists on personal preferences are starting to loosen and maybe, just maybe, we are starting to call upon the Lord and ask and see what it is He wants instead of what we want. Our preferences of doing business as usual just doesn’t hold up anymore, because well, it just can’t. It isn’t an option. We are either having to adapt or die. And by die I mean, hypothetically, unless your one of those unfortunate ones that contract the Covid-19 virus and the odds are not in your favor. Businesses have shut down to “essential” personnel and some businesses have even shut doors completely. Now how do I see the Lord in that? I’m not 100% sure I can say I clearly see it just yet. But I can say I “see it” because God’s Word is just and true and sometimes it’s just a matter of us relying, trusting, and having faith in God and the things that are unseen!

This. Is. Us.

Welp… this picture about sums up a good portion of my life as of lately. . . kids. Our kids. Sweet kids. Silly kids who are making the most of each day but reminisce on things of the past when life is still and quiet. Kids who are enjoying their friends at their new schools yet miss their friends back in Texas and oh man how we miss our schools back in Texas! Being a Dodd Dino was magical and mystical! The teachers, the friends, the people, oh my!!!! BUT, these faces bring me joy.

They make me laugh and they get my quirky sense of humor. They say what’s on their minds and in their hearts and for that I am so grateful. They are loving and they are kind. They are respectful but have learned how to not allow someone to walk all over them. They are loyal and they are fierce. They love Jesus and are learning to walk with Him daily. They enjoy people from all walks of life and every color. They are exactly who they are supposed to be and I love them. There’s nothing fancy to this picture and in fact we are missing our main squeeze. Our captain. Our leader. But this is us. Take us or leave us.

We are who we are and we are committed followers of Christ. Set to live a missional life in our new city of Norfolk, VA. We are committed to doing the hard work of establishing all the “news” for the sake of knowing that the Lord has called us here to use us to be change and experience change. Change of everything we knew and most of what we know. Every. Single. Day is change. It’s a step by step process that can feel incredibly heavy at times. But it’s a calling and I am believing it is worth it.

Change is never easy but sometimes change can be the exact thing that’s needed. Complacency sets in. Self righteousness takes over. Unhealthy lifestyles become habits and before you know it visions and missions are lost. This change has redefined our closeness as a family unit. It has required we rely on the Lord for comfort and unsurpassable grace and faith. It’s required us to give up our personal preferences for the sake of realigning our hearts and our minds to His will.

A simple prayer that crosses my mind most days is this, “Lord would you open my mind, my heart, my eyes and my ears to see what you see and hear what you hear. Would you give me a burden to feel the depth of love you have for your people and show me where I can plug in to your plan for today. Break my heart for what breaks yours. Restore to me the joy of my salvation and burden me with the lives around me that don’t know you or who have never experienced your love. May I be a conduit of your grace and love. And may I allow you to work in me but also through me. My lips are yours, use them as you wish. In your Son’s name I pray these things, Amen.”

So, who are you? Better yet who do you want to be?!?! You can be a life changer for Christ simply by living and loving the person right in front of you. Try it, I double dog dare ya. Take a chance and allow the Spirit to change one thing about your day and then be ready for what the Lord may bring!

Magically Ever After

For Christmas Craig and I decided that it was “time” for the ultimate experience gift for the 3E’s. With us having sold our house and would be moving back to Louisiana with a decent amount of time before we transition to our next settled destination, it was the perfect time to pull off the surprise of a trip to Walt Disney World! I’m not really sure who was the most excited… me, Craig, us or the 3E’s!

Mid November I called my friend who is a Disney travel agent and asked for help planning a trip to Mickey’s house. A second friend made my dreams come true of making us matching family shirts and sweatshirts. And my wonderful Southwest Airlines app savvy husband booked our flights… using our sky miles that is!!! It pays to collect those Southwest sky miles. We have traveled more in the past couple of years because we had the sky miles!

Our goal for the trip was 1. to get our kids on a plane and overcome their dreamt up fears of flying and 2. make the most magical memories of a lifetime as the Rush 5 that ushered in what has been the biggest transition in our kids worlds thus far. I can say with confidence both goals were accomplished!

Sorry for the photo dump of a blogpost that I am sure this will turn out to be. My purpose in it is to document our memories, share in some specifics of how we did our trip and mentally relive a few of the moments along the way!

For our adventure, Craig and I decided we couldn’t tell our kids too early what we would be doing for the next week because the anxiety would set in. We waited until the day before we would fly out to tell them.

Give me a minute to paint the picture of packing and what all we took. Knowing we would be flying, I really had to pack minimalistically in the event one of the 3 E’s decided to use their Disney cash to purchase a bigger than normal purchase! Two days before we left, Craig occupied the kids while I locked myself into mine and Craig’s room at my in-laws home. I sorted Disney shirts and packed suitcases. If we have never met in person or spent much time together then you wouldn’t know that I am a bit of an organization fruitcake. I like everything to have a place and everything to be in its place. My kids each have an assigned color that we use and most things are bought in those colors. Let me give you a few examples. When we had our home, each of my kids had bath towels in their colors. Their tablet covers are in their respective colors and their suitcases are even in their colors. It only makes sense that their Disney Magic Bands be in their colors as well. Enough about my organizational character traits, let’s get back to our trip to Mickey’s Magical Kingdom.

The morning before flying out, Craig loaded the kids into the van for church while I was “finishing up my hair and makeup.” In all actuality I was setting out their suitcases with their Disney letters by the Christmas tree. With it being their Christmas present we wanted to make sure they felt like they had a chance to open something up. So they had travel packs with snacks, little goodies, a Mickey Mouse pillow case for autographs (thanks Amazon), a retractable sharpie, a set of mouse ears (from Amazon) and Toy Story 4 figurines that I found at the Dollar Tree. Their tablets were charged and downloaded full of their favorite Disney movies (thank you Disney+ subscription).

My best go of writing a Disney letter for the kids!
Elliott reading and the other two trying to wait patiently!

After church we went back to my in laws home where they found their suitcases waiting and read the letter which led them to opening their backpacks full of goodies. Excited about the adventure, through year filled eyes from ecstatic joy, their excitement continued when we told them to load up because we were going to Dallas right then! They knew we were going to Dallas for the night but thought it was only to see friends not to hop on a plane to meet Mickey!

Disney here come!

I mentioned earlier that one of our goals for flying to Disney was to get them comfortable with flying!!! Here we are arriving at the airport after about 4.5 hours of sleep!

Black and white hides the bags under my old eyes!
Isn’t she lovely!
This kid was brave! He accomplished his fear of heights!
Hopefully you can see from the picture that E3 didn’t have much apprehension! His eyes stayed glued out the window 75% of the flight!
Mandatory first flight picture in the cockpit with the captain!

Upon arrival in Orlando we found our way to the Magical Express transportation station. Y’all, when people say that Disney pays attention to the details, that means every single member of Disney takes pride in their job and performs it to excellence. The cast members at the airport who run the Magical Express exude as much excitement as Mickey and Minnie! In order to get on the correct Magical Express bus headed to your Disney resort they scan your magic bands, tag your luggage and send you to board your bus!

On the Magical Express headed to Art of Animation Resort!

I’ll leave you with the thought, if you could take a Magical Express anywhere and/or everywhere, where would you go and why?

Old Town Road

If your like me your mind has already started singing the chorus of this ever so popular song. I’ll spare you from breaking out in full karaoke mode and instead stick to the topic at hand. During this season of transition, the Rush 5 have spent a large portion of it in my hometown of Natchitoches, Louisiana. Natchitoches isn’t a place that most people “know” about like Dallas or Houston. It’s a small town situated in between Shreveport and Alexandria. It is the oldest settlement in the Louisiana Purchase and it is know for its brick front street along with several other accolades. Natchitoches during the Christmas season really is a bucket list item and one that i can happily report, the Rush family has accomplished this year.

Picture it… grand firework displays set to Christmas music promptly being released every Saturday night at 7pm. Different live music on the riverbank amphitheater every Saturday. Thousands if not millions of tiny little Christmas light bulbs made into over 30 set pieces, all significant to the culture, line the riverbank of downtown. The Cane River Queen Ferry is a great place to sit and take in all of the sites while enjoying a funnel cake. Horse drawn carriage rides taking off on the brick road that lines the top of the riverbank basin bowl with more shops than one could imagine… these are the things that dreams are made of. Well, it is when you grew up in Natchitoches. I am incredibly thankful I have been able to share this experience with my husband and my children.

Just a few set pieces!
Of course Santa has a lit walkway leading to his Natchitoches house!
FBC Natchitoches choir performing their Christmas music!
And Craig just couldn’t resist a Christmas Night Light 5K!!! He placed like 15th overall and 6th or 7th in his age bracket. Go Craig!

Our time in Louisiana has been just what the Rush 5 have needed. It has taught us how to be in close quarters again. (Houses really are BIGGER in Texas). It has shown us what it looks like to slow down and actually enjoy whatever the task that is at hand. It has provided us with ample opportunities to visit with most of our families. We have ALL practiced the art of patience. And we have enjoyed the delightful flavors of yummy foods.

As great as this is, it will never compare to the greatness of why we decided to, in faith, step out and follow the Lord and where He has been leading us. As of right now, I will not mention that exact place, but I say that our precious time in Louisiana is drawing near. Though we are sad to be leaving our life close to family, we are EXTREMELY excited for this next big adventure. Would you join us in continuing to pray for the Lord’s direction and that our humanness would continue to rest in the peace and comfort that comes from submitting to the Father?

The old town road is coming to an end, but there is light at the end of the tunnel and the tunnel is a coming! Til next time…

Memories in the Meantime

I’ve been a little MIA lately but for good reasons. Team Rush has been tying up life as we knew it in Wylie, TX. With all that that entails, we were really doing our best to stay present in the moment while making sure that we were going through the full process of experiencing all the feels and hugging all the necks of those we cherish dearly.

This may sound absolutely absurd but one of fears that I have in #raising3rushes is that we make the parenting faux pas that contributes to or fuels future unhealthy mental issues in the 3E’s. With that being said, some may say that I tend to over analyze circumstances, but picture it. . .

Craig ended an 8 year season of serving in various roles on staff with Chase Oaks Church end of September. The 3Es and I ended our schools Thursday, November 14th, and we closed on the sale of our home in Wylie on Monday, November 18th. We packed all of our belongings into two storage rooms in Wylie with the exception of our daily essentials. Since then we have been bouncing back and forth from Natchitoches to Bossier City and then back again. That right there is enough to make one human a little batty much less 5 humans plus the fact that 3 of those are still in the process of learning their feelings! SO. . . all this to say, it has been incredibly important to me that not only the 3E’s transition well but that Craig and I do too! Over analyzation or not, all of it has been covered in prayer and wise council on how to process through the tough and icky feelings of saying goodbye to friends has come in handy.

Our time with family has been precious! The 3E’s have had extended weekends with grandparents and cousins while Craig and I traveled to checkout a possible new home state! Swimming pool was heated not only for playing but for all the evening baths that occur when only at your grandparents! More popcorn than you can imagine was bought and enough seats to fill a row at the theater for opening day of Frozen II. Oh we can’t forget tennis lessons! The 3E’s always leave grandparents a few pounds heavier and always wore out! And that was just a few days with one set of grandparents.

Headed to tennis lessons

Thanksgiving was something completely different this year. My brother and his wife hosted our 5, my dad, step mom, one of my step brothers, my half sister, and my sister in law’s parents. Here’s the super fun part in this, they live on a 40 acres farm! A “farm in the making”. They have 3 bunnies, 2 dogs, 2 horses, 2 or 3 grown barn cats and I couldn’t get them to stay still long enough for a head count, but it looked like about 8 to 10 kittens! Those are just their animals. On their property they also have 10 to 15 cattle as well! We rode one of the horses, Dan took us around on the 4 wheeler showing us his property (it’s breathe taking), and we had all the yummy goodness of the holiday plus a little more!

My dad Danny, brother Dan & me
My man, Pastor Craig!
Have you heard the song Old Town Road? It is a family favorite at our house. As soon as he got on the horse our kids started signing the song and dancing!
It was cold but the laughter and coffee were hot!
Evelyn was thrilled to ride a horse
Elliott unintentionally gave the horse commands to gallop!

On Black Friday I decided I would brave the crowd at WalMart and it wasn’t too bad! We spent the day with Craig’s family, his parents, youngest sister and his younger sister and her husband and their four kids. Family time is so great. Having cousins who are you age is a beautiful thing too!! Look at this. In birth order.

From 9 years old to 1.5 years old
And their real personalities!

Being back in my hometown has been fun. I have run into one of my aunts and one of my cousins that I don’t see often. I have spent time with my grandmother, gone to the movies with my little sister and I have even run into old high school friends. But, just like everything it also has its downs. The pace of life is COMPLETELY the opposite than that in which we are accustomed. It’s a pretty small town with limited outing opportunities. BUT… the silver lining in it all is that we are soaking it all in. Cherishing the moments of Leigh-Leigh’s cooking and conversations around the living room. Moments of tire swing rides that make you think the sky is within reach. And moments of popping in to my dad’s house for a few hours to sit and say hi!

So often, in our humanness, we can begin to think that “this shouldn’t be this way” or “that shouldn’t be that way”. In this season of life and this particular month of the journey, it would be so easy for Craig and myself to say “man, this thing is moving SO slow” and don’t get me wrong there a few times I’ve thought it and more than likely voiced it. BUT it’s in those moments that I am reminded that there is a season and reason for each season and that His timing is just perfect. And it is in His perfectly perfect timing that keeps us able to keep our eyes on the prize knowing that the testing of our faith produces perseverance so that we will not lack anything.

While we wait and lean into the Lord, #raising3rushes will also be having a little bit of extracurricular fun with Mickey and friends! As we speak I am finishing up this blog from my phone while kids try out their tablets that are loaded with movies and Craig drives us to Dallas. Tomorrow morning we hop the red eye to Orlando and party like it’s 1999 (well, maybe little kid style 2019)!

I leave you with a picture of the 3E’s this morning. We had been to church and were heading to my in law’s house to pick up our bags because “we were going to visit friends in Dallas for the night”… little did they know that a stop in Dallas is simply the beginning to a week full of fun! Enjoy and I will be back later this month to hopefully update you Team Rush new adventure news but we will update you with loads of pictures from our Rush family Disney vacation!

Disney World, here we come!
All their bags are packed, they ready for some fun!
These are steps (and exact location) I took my bridal pictures before they were even a thought! Love sharing the beauty of where I grew up!

Small Beginnings = Rejoicing

The 3Es had fall parties yesterday at school and both Craig and I were able to attend. I just love watching my kids in their own elements. Most parents can agree that the early years can feel like a beat down. Always directing and redirecting kids to the way that they should go. Correcting and encouraging… sometimes we forget to allow or maybe there just isn’t space for them to put all those lessons into practice. We give them the knowledge, but we forget about the application process. Well, that’s one reason why I like spending time with my kids while they are at school. I get to go in, sit back and enjoy watching them do there thing. Their teachers are in charge and I am a spectator. Seeing how they respond to their peers and their teachers is so cool to me!

At times there are moments where all those small beginnings of raising children feels like it was a waste, but at other times my parental feathers fluff up and this sense of accomplishment washes over me and I realize those small beginnings are developing into something really good and maybe even grand.

Do you ever wonder if this is how our Heavenly Father feels? Does He feel like beating His head up against a wall because we mere humans just don’t get it? Or do you think He continues to see all the small beginnings as just that, beginnings. A place for it start. A place for life to begin. A place for transformation to occur. Does God have “parental feathers” that He fluffs every now and then? Oh the thoughts that meander between my left ear and my right.

I’ve been a believer of Jesus long enough to know and have experienced that the God of the universe (thankfully) doesn’t look at issues of life like we do and His concept of time isn’t anything like our worldly concept of time. Praise the Lord for that! So… when He says in His word not to despise these small beginnings for He rejoices to see the work begin… He doesn’t have a time frame to it or conditions or even meanings in which He intends that to mean.

This verse has sat by my sink everyday for the past five months. I do not believe in coincidence or flukes. So when I flipped the card one morning in June to this card I had no idea what the Lord’s purpose would be for it. All I knew was that each morning when I would go in to brush my teeth and get ready for the day, I just couldn’t flip the card. Can you read it? Small beginnings…..

I believe whole heartily that the God of the universe has a big work for Team Rush to participate in. This week we took some more pretty big leaps of faith and guess what?!? He is still faithful. We shut doors and removed worldly “security blankets”.. my increase in heart palpitations weren’t because we know a solid direction but more or less they have been from removing those things we know we aren’t called to. Obedience is ALWAYS greater than sacrifice. Not sometimes but always and God is good ALL the time!

So, what are the small beginnings in your life that the God of the Universe is wanting to rejoice in seeing the work begin?