The Halls Head West – Part Two

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After Disneyland, our trip was a bit more low-key. We had a chance to see my Grandma (who I hadn’t seen in two years), play some Dutch Blitz with my Mom’s family, and even go bowling.

My mom won both games. That seemed to be a theme throughout our visit no matter what we played.

Tab and Wyatt studied California History this past year. So we went and visited Mission San Luis Rey. As someone who holds a degree in History-Political Science, I was super impressed with the mission’s museum.

A sheep skin hymn book.

The door from Walt Disney’s Zorro.

A letter from President Lincoln giving the Church their land back.

After touring the museum, we headed outside to walk the grounds.

If you missed Part One, click here

For Part Three, click here

Death of a Modern Woman

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A daughter got up to speak at her mother’s funeral recently. She talked about how her mom was a “modern woman”. Her unspoken words silently screaming that her mother resented staying home and raising her and her siblings.

The funeral continued with another daughter stepping up to the lectern to speak. She mentioned that her mom was a life long member of the church they attended. She also talked about current tensions between siblings and made a sideswipe at her brother for his lack of talent.

Photo by Kerri Shaver on Unsplash

Sitting there, I noticed that nothing was said of the deceased woman’s faith but only of her membership. As another daughter’s words were read aloud by the pastor, I felt grossed out by the tension in this family. The bitterness smothering any love that might once have existed between them.

As Tabitha and I walked out of the church, we held hands while walking out to the car. Trying to imagine living in family, having siblings, that were so torn up and hurt by one another. In the privacy of the car, we talked about how we want to be remembered. How we want people to speak of us at our own funerals.

I walked away thinking about what holds our family together. The faith and values that Tabitha and I surround ourselves and fill our home with. I would hope that Wyatt would grow up and look back on his childhood with fondness. I also realize that we can do EVERYTHING we’d consider right and things can still go sideways. I am thankful that God is bigger than any of my own parental missteps.

I want people to remember me for my actions and not my accomplishments. I want to be remembered as more than just a life long member of a church.

Grasping at Something Tangible

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This is one of those days where I know I need to post because it is New Post Thursday; one of those days where I’m not sure what to share.

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Have been dealing with the thoughts and emotions of the new adventure my family is on. Trying to grasp what the unknown looks like. Wondering how it impacts my family and what life will be like afterwards. This is one of those deals where I have peace, deep down, over the “adventure”. But I think I’m trying to control all the details, trying to grasp at something tangible.

Little things, such as someone asking me to do something, feels overwhelming. I don’t like that.

I am grinding my teeth at night.

I am dreaming crazy dreams… when I can actually sleep.

 

God is teaching me that I have to push through being overwhelmed by that “one more thing” feeling. That I have to learn to deal with stress differently. He has also been reminding me of who I have been blessed with, my family, and what makes us unique.

 

I am thankful for how God prepares us for things; thankful that this new “adventure” will take time. His time.

How do you deal with stress?

Let me know in the comments below.

From Across the Net – “4 Painful Lies Stay-at-Home Moms Tell Themselves”

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Jasmine Holmes, writing from The Gospel Coalition, has a great article titled “4 Painful Lies Stay-at-Home Moms Tell Themselves“.

I’m a stay-at-home mom because I’m striving to obey God’s calling on my life. He’s given me gifts, talents, and abilities that I steward while devoting most of my time to my family. We prayerfully made these decisions for our family; they’re not a judgment call on yours.

The stay-at-home mom life doesn’t define me any more than my professional life defined me—Christ’s death on the cross does. Staying home isn’t the most important detail about me. My identity as Christ’s daughter is.

You can read more here

I’ve also written on this topic before here

A Christmas Note To Myself

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On the day before December begins,

I’d like to remind myself.

That no matter how stressful work gets,

Nor how much I miss family,

Swirling down into the depression pit isn’t worth it.

At all.

I need to focus on my family around me,

My friends,

The anticipation of the Advent season.

Spending the entire month of December, in a funk, sucks.

You know it, and your wife knows it. 

So stop it!

Break the cycle this year.

Tell depression to get off your mental lawn.

You’re welcome, by the way.

– A note from November Bryan to December Bryan.

Photo by Adam Birkett on Unsplash

Not sure about you, but December is traditionally a tough month for me. All through November, I’ve been watching depression circle around outside the fire light. Beckoning me to step away from the comforts of clarity and embrace the dark/warm fuzzy jacket of depression. Wanted to write a quick note to remind myself not to go down that path this year. I want to encourage you also to stay near the fire and pay attention to the words you are speaking to yourself. We can do this.

In the fog of Quil, drinking snot

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How was your Thanksgiving?

We spent Thanksgiving at home and invited family over. Tab cooked an amazing meal (her Pioneer Woman Stuffing being my favorite).We had a nice day with great weather outside. Got to go for a walk, play a few games (Chicken Foot being a highlight), and enjoy time spent with family. Missed my family back in SoCal/Arkansas and my youngest brother-in-law, who was away in Houston with a special somebody/her family.

I’ve had the worst cold since Thanksgiving. NyQuil and DayQuil have been my best friends/enemies. I think a combo of allergies from mowing the yard and insane temperature shifts doomed me. Wash your hands, folks. Wash your hands and perhaps wear a mask while mowing.

Got a chance to dive into Metal Gear Solid: The Phantom Pain over the holiday. Played all through the intro, where I encountered a fire horse/horseman (which was actually one of of the more normal things about the prologue):

Enjoyed watching video game’s Tarantino, Hideo Kojima, show off his craft.

There is something brave about opening a game with the protagonist in a weakened state. In this case, your character has been in a coma for 9 years only to wake up to special forces trying to kill you. Good times.

I’ve been a little gamer ADD lately. Picked up Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare last night. Nothing like boarding an expensive theme park ride a few years later. Price of admission is much cheaper ($4.50) but the thrills are just as good.

What have you been playing?

Adventure Is Out There – A Visit With The Arkansas Halls

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This past Friday, the Texas Halls took a trip to Norfork, Arkansas to see my brother and his family (the Arkansas Halls).

We had a good time:

  • Exploring the Blanchard Springs Caverns. I found it interesting to hear that the man who did the lighting for the caverns normally lit opera houses for a living. I also thought it was interesting that the Cathedral Room is long enough to hold three football fields. If you are ever in the Ozarks, I can’t recommend visiting the Blanchard Springs Caverns enough.
  • Sticking our feet in the White River/Norfork Lake junction. The water was freezing! Felt so good.
  • Eating some BBQ at Holy Smokes in Mountain Home, Arkansas. BBQ isn’t quite what I’m used to in Texas but the sauce was solid. The smoked macaroni and cheese–while good–screams for some bacon.
  • Mowing my brother’s yard on his new riding lawn mower.
  • Hanging out, swimming, talking, and launching fireworks.

I enjoyed getting to catch up with my brother and his family. Was fun to see where they live now and experience a little taste of their new surroundings. We will return… once my brother fixes his go-kart!