It’s the last Sunday of July.
This morning we found out that our dear friend and teacher’s baby went to heaven today.
Because of his little life, we can make a difference by spreading awareness and stopping SMA.
His type of SMA is the worst kind and the hope to be able to take him home from the hospital one day was small. But, there was hope. And prayers. Lots of prayers.
And, he did go home.
I dedicate this post to last summer.
To Under the Radar for inviting me and my entire family to Williams Bay, WI to participate in such an amazing retreat and experience.
Less than 24 hours and you became one of my favorite cities I’ve ever had the pleasure to visit, even if it was only for a few moments.
To my family.
Making music is a dream come true.
Making music with you is everything I was made to do and more.
I love your support.
I love that you would pile in a minivan and head up north on an adventure with me so that I can connect with more musicians who love Christ and who just want to make art and music for the Kingdom.
And, to all of you who are lucky enough to be at Escape to the Lake 15 right now (#ETTL15) , savor every moment.
Love your families.
Love your new friends.
Love the Church. (the Church is with you there!)
Love being close to nature and close with each other.
Have great conversations.
Have hard conversations.
And, make some amazing music and art together for the Glory of the one who made you.
Be blessed, y’all.
Hope to see you at the next one.
-Rebekah Maddux El-Hakam
and the Els
Today, the sun came out. And, we could see it. We could feel it. It warmed the day. It brightened our hearts and apparently it inspired a lot of drivers to get on the road and drive somewhere. So, traffic was a bit of a bear.
Luckily for me, I got to see the sun a lot. Unfortunately, I was in my car.
If you are familiar with Houston, then you will get a kick out of where my GPS traveled today:
to: the Heights
to: River Oaks
If it sounds depressing, it can be. But, I was struck with a thought as I took a walk on the River Oaks stop (a 3 minute walk, but a walk, no less).
I am blessed. So very blessed.
I have a vehicle that is safe and comfortable to drive my four children around in.
I have four children. They are getting great educations and have wonderful, enriching activities to participate in.
I am loved.
I am blessed.
Yep, I sometimes drive a lot in what seems like a constant circle. But, it’s so great to have a family to drive around, a wonderful job to get to, a husband that needs my help, and the sun shining down on me.
|Blue sky and a winter tree 🙂|
It’s happening. Change. Lots of change. And, transition. I’m transitioning. My family is transitioning. We are all in a state of transition. And, it’s not the change that really bothers me. It’s the leaving. The “leaving” part of this change is the hard part.
The going. The arriving. The being. The working. Being welcomed in ALL of that. It is wonderful. Absolutely wonderful. It’s encouraging. It’s affirming. It’s right.
You see, I’m changing jobs. And, by changing jobs, we’re changing churches. It’s a BIG change. I’ve been working as a full time mom for the last six years. Meanwhile, I’ve been a part time worship leader at our church (2 weeks on 2 weeks off) also for six years. I’ve been the Youth Praise Band leader, also part time. Currently, I am the preschool music teacher, part time. And, volunteer lots at my kiddos’ schools. I also put out my first album during this stretch of time and spend a little time promoting that where I can. It may sound like a hodgepodge of jobs that don’t amount to much, but to me it’s been my life. I’ve been happy, but perhaps a little overworked. And then, I get offered this amazing FULL TIME job at a church plant in the heights. What is a church plant? It’s basically a brand new church that is being planted. Planted means that it isn’t affiliated by another church, but starting from the ground up. Ours is an Anglican Church called Church of the Apostles. We became involved just as the church launch team was ready to officially launch the church- meaning “invite people to visit” last Sunday. We’re off and running and it’s a beautiful thing. There is hardly a moment of rest to take in the meaning of leaving and how that feels, because we are so busy with the planting.
As part of our transition, we were able to take part in a special “Ten Years of Service” church service honoring the pastor of St. Andrew’s and his family. That was our last Sunday with St. Andrew’s and during that service our family was commissioned and prayed over alongside new members. It was beautiful to see the church welcoming in and sending out at the same time. We have been truly blessed to be part of this church family and we are blessed to be sent out and welcomed in to another church family.
So, as we transition, we feel thankful. Thankful for the last few years and thankful for how God is providing for our family. It is hard to leave, but our hearts know that we are part of the big Church. God’s people. It’s not restricted to a building or a denomination. We are God’s people and we are part of His Church. Thank you, God, that although we experience change, You Never Change! You are the same yesterday, today and tomorrow.
The last day has come and gone. Escape to the Lake was an escape. Escape from everyday reality. Escape from the city. Escape from the summer heat.
But encourage one another daily,<span class="crossreference" value="(A)” data-cr=”#cen-NIV-30009A” style=”-webkit-text-size-adjust: auto; font-family: ‘Helvetica Neue Light’, HelveticaNeue-Light, helvetica, arial, sans-serif; font-size: 17px; box-sizing: border-box; position: relative; vertical-align: top; top: 0px;”>as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”
Day three of Escape to the Lake!
We had cake, of course and the theme is one that will probably be with us all summer long: B-A-S-E-B-A-L-L! So long 38 and hello, 39. Happy happy birthday to Moustapha!
We decorated with Moustapha’s vintage pennants. Here’s his beautiful momma with one from 1984! “Mo-stapha!”
A little attention needed for our little guy and then…
Time for a song and cake!
We all put up our Longhorns and little Leeland sported his peace sign proudly.
With my dear parents and sister.
Moustapha’s sweet Aunt Mary Louise even joined in for the party. She was visiting from out of town!
Our newest family member was also part of the celebration. We love all of our nephews!
We’ve had cake, and now let’s have some chocolate fudgecicles. Why not!?
Me and the birthday boy!
With his proud daddy.
And, then…we celebrated another very special birthday. Our sweet niece, Grace shares a birthday with Moustapha. She turned 3. Isn’t she lovely?
After the birthday celebrations, we had an adventure of our own at the El House. One afternoon, I went in to our daughter’s room only to discover the noise of a small critter coming from the wall. Something was stuck and not happy about it. That night, the oldest boys slept in a different room (they share a wall with their sister) in sleeping bags on the floor and our two youngest also slept in different beds then their usual spots. All to get away from whatever was nervous and clawing at the wall. The next day, Moustapha cut a hole in the wall, only to discover this little face looking back at him. A baby raccoon. We called the Texas Wildlife Center. They believed that the mom might come back for the baby. So, we placed the baby in this little bin and the baby stayed there all night. By the next morning, Moustapha was really worried about the baby, so he took the baby raccoon – the kids named him Racky- to the Wildlife Center. They said he was dehydrated, but otherwise doing well. We are allowed to check on Racky’s progress twice over the next 6 months. We will try to be patient!
Throughout the week, Maddux played in a tournament on a 7U select league team. His team, The Bellaire Bombers, won every game and they won the entire tournament on Saturday. Moustapha, Bakri and I enjoyed cheering them on to victory. Did I mention that baseball is going to be a big theme this summer? This is part of the reason for that. It’s our first time having anyone play select league. It could get interesting!
Maddux, getting his team first place trophy!
And, brothers celebrating at dinner!
I think that about sums up the first week of summer. It was a fun doozy! We’ve already celebrated another birthday this week- my father-in-law and we have more coming this week. I can’t complain. Summer, baseball, birthdays, family, music…these are a few of my favorite things….
Hope your summer is off to a great start too. The last few summers, we’ve had theme weeks at our house to give us purpose each week and to really help me stay organized and keep the Els active. Several of my friends shared this blog post from City Moms Blog with a bucket list of things to do with your kids this summer in Houston. Check it out here: http://citymomsblog.com/houston/summer-2014-bucket-list/ This is specific to Houston, but many of the activities would work in any town. I did have one child request the theme weeks again yesterday. I’m still contemplating that. I will update here if we decide to go that route or if we have our own bucket list this summer. I will definitely post our activities here. Keep busy, keep calm and keep cool!
– El Momma