Monday, December 24, 2007

Joseph lost his head

One of our ornaments had an accident while the tree was being decorated. It found itself in the hands of Callie and her way of testing a tree branch is to hang the ornament and if it crashes to the ground then she looks for another branch (if the ornament survives). This one survived with a minor scratch, but the boys took care of it.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

My 15 year old is with child!

I could not let the Spears clan one up me, so I am announcing with great pride that my almost 16 year old has a child. Her name is Laura. She is five years old and lives in Guatemala. Corinn found her at Mitch McVicker's concert a couple of weeks ago. Since Rinn has a good paying job teaching kids to flip and flop (and I don't mean like a politician) she decided to start sponsoring a child through Compassion International.

Phil and I sponsor Jason from the Dominican Republic. He writes the sweetest letters. In his last letter he said he was learning about God everyday and asked us to pray for his mother and sisters. His village is in the mountains and was not damaged by the hurricane. Someday I hope to meet him and his family.

There are thousands of children around the world that need sponsors. Pick yours out today. It will do you both a lot of good.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Ruby Tuesday

My youngest son has discovered The Beatles. He and his dad are watching everything available on the web.

Monday's Callieisms

Callie: Dad, I need go school 7:30 Wednesday for party.
Phil: I know, your mother is going with you to the party.
Callie: No, I need be at school 7:30 Wednesday for party.
Phil: We know, your mom is going with you to the party.
Callie: What party?

Me: Callie, you drew Amiee's name for Christmas.
Callie: When do I have to start drawing?

Mark of a Christian

More from Brennan Manning's The Importance of Being Foolish - How To Think Like Jesus
"Many who had already come close on the way to believing are frightened away by the bad lives of evil and false Christians. How many, my brothers, do you think there are who want to become Christians but are put off by the evil ways of Christians?"
Saint Augustine

To me a Christian is either a man who lives in Christ or a phony. You Christians do not appreciate that it is on this - the almost external testimony that you give of God - that we judge you. You ought to radiate Christ. Your faith ought to flow out to us like a river of life. You ought to infect us with a love for him. It is then that God who was impossible becomes possible for the atheist and for those of us whose faith is wavering. We cannot help being struck, upset, and confused by a Christian who is truly Christlike. And we do not forgive him when he fails to be.
Graduate student at the University of Paris

"The great mark of a Christian is what no other characteristic can replace, namely the example of a life which can only be explained in terms of God."
Cardinal Emmanuel Suhard

And now from me:
Some people believe being born in America makes one a Christian. Some people believe that if one is not a Muslim then one is a Christian. In some countries parents have to choose to put either Muslim or Christian on their baby's birth certificate, as if that decides it. Some people believe that going to church makes one a Christian. I have a friend that is a practicing pagan and she knows better than that. She knows that it is an acceptance, a commitment, a giving over oneself to Christ that makes you a Christian. And yet there are so many "Christians" doing nothing Christ-like, doing no following except being what they consider "good and moral". There is so much more to it than that! There is so much more joy, so much more peace, so much more...

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Jesus Junk
Heaven...It's Easy Button

Designed for those times when life becomes frustrating and confusing. Push this button and remember that "'s easy"

Oh, the lack of creative, the waste of materials, the stupidity...

Friday, December 14, 2007

Electric Eel Christmas

Money is very tight and almost nonexistent for us until we sell our rent house, but I might have found the answer to the electric bill. Apparently I need to hit the Chinese Grocery Store and buy some eels. Somehow I think it might be a little more complicated than that.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007


"Why don't our contagious joy, enthusiasm, and gratitude infect others with a love for Christ Jesus? Why doesn't the radiant loveliness of the Lord stream from our personalities? Why aren't we windows to God at work? Why aren't we transparent?"

Brennan Manning, The Importance of Being Foolish - How to Think Like Jesus

Monday, December 10, 2007

Wild Night

I've blogged about the dynamo some people know as Susie Jennings. November 3rd found her walking the streets of Dallas with her homeless friends. Read about her eye opening adventure in her own words.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Zoo Doo

I didn't take this shot of Patrick. You can find the photographer's blog and pictures at aeolian dissonance.
Actually, the photograph is not posted on my blog, as the link to the larger version indicates, it is from my photostream on Flickr. After reading your "About Me" blurb, I'm sure you will want to do the right thing here and credit my fully copyrighted photograph with my name. Of course, the right thing to do with an image that is © all rights reserved, is to ask permission of the artist before using it, as is stipulated not only by copyright law, but is also part of the Flickr TOS. If I had chosen to make the image a Creative Commons License image, then it would have been appropriate for you to use it without my permission, but it is still polite to acknowledge and request usage.



My in-laws met us at the zoo today. They only had an hour to visit so I took them through the Children's Zoo first and we checked in on Clay at his "end of the session" party. The keepers kept offering us ice cream and cookies. We passed and I'm glad we did. I took them down to see Patrick. Betty had heard me telling stories about him at Thanksgiving and I figured if he was out he would put on a good show. We found him sprawled on a huge log soaking up a sunbeam. I waved for him to come over and he casually ambled our way stopping to strip some bark off a felled tree. Right before reaching us he threw the bark at the window and did his charging up and down ritual a few times. Then he pulled something that I had never seen him do and never want to see him do again. Scooting backwards to the very edge of the ravine, he reached behind his back and pooped in his hand. That was enough to make me ill seeing he was inches from us. My first thought was that he would smear it on the window. That would have been horrible. But no, he went more base. He began to pick through it and eat. I'm afraid that if I had eaten the ice cream and cookies it would have all come up. I was a tad bit queasy for the rest of the day.

Later in the afternoon I had a great talk with the Gorilla docent. One of my favorite things to do is to sit in the research center, watch Jenny and Timbo, and read. Jenny is the oldest gorilla in North America. She has been at the zoo almost all of her 54 years. It is so weird to realize that she was there when I was a little girl visiting. I wonder what went through her head as she was introduced to her new habitat. No concrete, no bars...only open sky, green grass, trees. Charles said it took her a few days to adjust. I can imagine. There is an old chimp, that after being offered for many years now a huge lush habitat, still chooses to sit on the concrete at the edge of her room. She will only make a quick dash onto the grass for a treat that lands close by.

We aren't much different. As humans we get so comfortable in our surroundings and circumstances(even if they are bad) that sometimes we struggle to adjust to something good, better, healthier. We would rather hang onto what we've got (and I don't mean the song) than step into the beautiful. The unknown, the different, is too scary.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Programs Over People, Entertainment Over Ministry

It warms my heart when I see a church leader put the wants of a program over the needs of hurting people. Joy flooded my soul today as I learned that the opportunity to minister to many was passed over to make a way to entertain a few. Being the church just doesn't get any better than this.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Take Your Elbows Off The Table

"Take your elbows off the table and lean back in your chair. Sip your drink, pretend to enjoy the sunset and the warmth of the fire in the fireplace. If you can't learn to find some enjoyment in each moment while you're young, by the time you're my age you'll be burned out."
Hannah Alexander

Sunday, November 18, 2007

My friend is gone

A phone call you never want to take. Words you never want to hear. Pain you never want to see. It all came without warning, without welcome Friday night. "This can't be happening, this can't be happening, this can't be happening..." has run through my mind since then. Three adored children without their mother. A much loved husband without his wife. Parents that have already said good-bye to one child say good-bye to their daughter. A son becomes an only child. I don't understand. I just hurt. A happy face is put on for the youngest son. We talk, laugh, run and play. He cackles when he discovers I have stepped in dog pooh. Out of his sight the tears come. My friend is gone.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

I Think The World Is Coming To An End

Britney Spears has not been listed in MSN's entertainment section all day. Something is terribly wrong!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I got this off of dreaming(Big)dreams blog. She got it off a friend's blog. Having spent time in Guangzhou going through the adoption process I can "see" the consulate red tape mounting for this poor woman. I can't comprehend the grief. I don't know what I would have done if Phil had died while we were there.

"I just got an e-mail from one of my friends who is in China right now. One of the families in her group has experienced a tragedy that is so hard to comprehend. The wife Sandi and her husband Dennis have been married 18 or 19 years, and this is their first child. Hannah (who is being adopted in China) is their daughter, and they were preparing to return to the States when Dennis fell ill.
Dennis was struggling to keep his blood glucose levels in check while in China and fell in to a diabetic coma yesterday. He died in Guangzhou two nights ago.
Sandi’s mother and brother are trying to get emergency visas to get to China to help out, and now there is concern that the US government (via the Consulate in Guangzhou) would deny Hannah’s visa to return to the States with her mother, as her father’s death affects the status of her adoption (on paper only, though).
Please pray for Sandi, Hannah, and their shock & grief. Please pray that the Consulate would not deny Hannah’s visa and that they would be able to return home unhindered, and for all arrangements for Dennis’ body. I ache for them….this just seems unfathomable! PLEASE PRAY!"

Jamie adds: Please if you think about it pray for this family and all the circumstances around this tragic event. Pray for the mom and her unimaginable loss. I can’t even begin to understand her life right now.

Missing Waco

I got homesick for Waco. We were in town for Baylor Homecoming and to visit our Baylor Bear. Leaving Plano at a little after 6 a.m. I gave up trying to sleep sitting upright before we got too far down the road and laid my head on my husband's lap. He woke me just before we pulled into campus. And he bought me coffee after we found our spots for the nation's longest collegiate homecoming parade. The man knows what I need to function.

The parade was much shorter than it has been in the past. Phil sent me an article about one missing entry. It was struck twice on its way to the starting point. Haley and her Tech Raider (she made him wear a Baylor shirt) joined Callie, Clay, Phil and me in our place across from Morrison Constitution Hall. Callie stayed busy diving for candy. She couldn't understand why people kept throwing the the young children next to us and not to her, a thirteen year old. It just didn't compute.

My favorite moment came when the Indian Students Club stopped in front of us and danced. A small girl from the crowd joined them in their dance. The saddest moment was when the bear came and a little boy jumped from the curb and tried to join her. After being stopped by the handlers he found refuge in his daddy's arms and sobbed his eyes out. He eventually rejoined his brother on the curb but his heart wasn't in it.

Lunch was at the fabulous hole-in-the-wall burger joint, Duble R Burgers, in west Waco. There isn't even a readable sign to mark the place and yet it was packed. I miss these kinds of eating establishments that have been around forever and don't need mass advertising to keep them opened. They have so much for character than chains.

Waco has more character than Plano. We have our historical area in Plano, but it isn't the same. I miss the beautiful neighborhoods with the big old houses surround by giant trees and the areas of cozy homes all nestled around downtown. Maybe it is the hilliness and how the streets run all different ways and sometimes make no sense at all. I guess I can't put my finger on the one thing I enjoy the most. Everything tied up together makes Waco what it is. I love it and I miss it.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Relief for Hurricane Hit on Yucatan and Cuba

Received today from my friends, Harlan and Norma.

A.C.Colegio de las Américas Seminario Teológico Cristiano Una Institution Bautista

November 1, 2007

Greetings in Jesus Name, the Name above all names! Thank you for your faithful partnership with us in prayer and financial support of Mission Americas. We appreciate you friendship! We want to focus this letter on an act of prayer and advance praise for an area of His Ministry that we are involved. The floodwaters, generated by the recent Hurricane Noel, have devastated many Christian Families on the Island of Cuba and the States of Campeche and Tabasco in the Yucatan Peninsula. They are in need of our prayers and any financial help we can spare to send them for food and water. We have sent them all that we have available for food and water, but it will not be enough. Some homes and churches were destroyed and will need to be rebuilt. I am remaining in contact with our national leaders and I will keep you updated. I will send you some photos tomorrow. If you can help these wonderful people devastated by Noel, please send your gift to FBMI, P.O. Box 863763, Plano, Texas 75086-3763 and designate your gift Noel and we will see that it gets where it is needed the most. You can call at our international telephone number of 214-347-7843 and leave a message and I will call you back. You can also send an email to and I will always answer you. Thank you in advance for all your help in prayers and financial aid and may our Lord bless your generosity!
Your friends and missionaries,
Harlan and Norma Capps

Unexpected Phone Call

My son calls when I'm about a mile away from his little country school. The conversation goes something like this:

Aaron: Are you coming to get us?
Me: I'm almost there.
Aaron: You're gonna have to come in the building. We can't go outside.
Me: What are you talking about?
Aaron: There is an escaped convict and we can't leave the education building.
Me: You are pulling my leg. What are y'all up to?
Aaron: No really, we're in lock down. Mrs. Kuhnast is standing right here. And Mrs. Montgomery.
Me: You are so full of it.
Aaron: No one is walking around outside. No one can go outside. Wait til you get here, you'll see. Here ask Layne.
Me: Oh, like I'm gonna believe Layne.
Layne: He's not kidding. I don't lie. I'm a honest person. Ask Mrs. Kuhnast, she's even more honest than me.
(Mrs. K laughing in the background)
Layne: Mrs. Kuhnast, are we on lock down?
Mrs. Kuhnast: Yes we are.
Me: Okay, I'm almost there.

Sure enough. Dads are guarding the school grounds and a helicopter is flying overhead. I asked one of the "guards" to cover me as I went inside.

Read the official story.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Heard on DART

The oddest thing I heard on the train today came from a college aged white guy:
"Our government, which is Christian, gave HIV to the Black Panthers in an attempt to control what they viewed as riff-raff, not realizing that it would mutate and finally attack the rich and all levels of society."

The nicest thing I witnessed on the train today was:
A woman commented on the beauty of an other's silver necklace. The owner of the necklace said, "Thank you" and continued her conversation with her seatmate. Many stops later, as the necklace lady was getting off, she handed the necklace to the complementor and stepped of the train. The gifted lady was in shock.

Monday, November 5, 2007

The Oregon Trail

My wonderful neighbors have moved to Portland. Now, they didn't take a covered wagon, but their journey has been rough and painful. We moved in almost four years ago across the street from Al and Feta. Feta was in good shape and loved to work in their yard. I noticed something was a little off when she asked me after we had been their for three months if we had moved in yet. We had four busy children at that time and they have a lot of busy friends, so I thought it was strange that she didn't realize we were moved in. She stopped working in the yard and began looking very fragile. One day while out walking with her sister we met in the little park next to our homes. She asked me if I had any children. I knew at that point what was going on. Feta was traveling the rutty, hard, dusty, stormy road of Alzheimer's. We had to make sure that the children knew so they could help if she ever wondered off or seemed very confused. Al takes such beautiful care of her. And he still took beautiful care of the others in the cul-de-sac. Al is still extremely spry for being a man who fought in World War II for the Scandinavian Special Forces. He was at the Battle of the Bulge. Al always had a big hug for me and a kiss on the cheek. He gave my youngest son his old, beautiful drafting table, light, and boxes and boxes of markers, pastels, etc... He sent off to National Geographic for a beach ball globe for our Callie. She was thrilled. He would help with everyone's trashcans and gave me his coupons.

Al realized that he was at an age that something could happen to him and Feta might not remember how to get help. He knew it was time to move to a safer place for both of them. So, after living in the same home since 1973, Al and his daughter cleaned out and prepared for Portland. The last few days were so confusing for Feta. Why were they packing and getting rid of things, why were they staying with friends? They didn't bring her back to the house after the moving truck was loaded. It would have been too much. I can't imagine living in the same house thirty-four years and the next day be in a completely different environment. From warm to cold, from familiar to everything strange. My heart breaks for her and the confusion she must be trying to sort out right now. My heart breaks for Al as he helps her deal with it, watches her fade, and misses his home. My heart breaks for Chrystal as she gets them settled in and watches her mother fade.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Heart for the Homeless

I have a new friend. She is this little ball of energy named Susie. Her heart is bigger than Texas. Susie began a love affair with the homeless of Dallas a few years ago after the suicide of her husband. Asking God to give her a ministry in the city, He pointed out the homeless under the Canton Bridge. She was not happy about His choice. Her heart felt nothing but disdain for a population of people she felt were dirty, smelly, lazy, scary and strung out. But God knew that her heart was bigger than that and He started her on a journey that has led to the creation of Operation Care Dallas, Inc. This will be the fourth year of Christmas Gift, the largest Christmas Party for the homeless in the nation. Last year saw 6,700 guests walk through the doors of the Dallas Convention Center.

And the drive behind it all is a little Filipino lady named Susie Jennings. She works full time as a nurse at Baylor and ministers to the homeless in her spare time. And when I say she ministers, I don't mean she throws money at them and acknowledges them from time to time. She spends hours with them trying to meet their physical and spiritual needs.

I find her truly amazing.

"Real religion, the kind that passes muster before God the Father, is this: Reach out to the homeless and loveless in their plight..." James 1:27

Monday, October 22, 2007

My kiddos

I wondered why Aaron wanted to borrow my glasses. It took awhile to convince him that I needed them. I figured it out when I saw what jacket he was washing to wear to school today. Can you guess who he is?

And my Rinn makes a mean "Heroes" cheerleader. I helped burn the holes in the shirt. We had to rush it to the sink.


Some things make me really angry and very sad all at the same time. This is one of those things. 27 million slaves still exist in this world. Many are children. Over 17,000 are brought into the United States EVERY YEAR. It is often called different things, glossed over, excuses made. It is still slavery. I saw it first hand on a trip to Morocco. Little girls brought from villages and supposedly paid by the middle class that can't afford traditional housekeepers. No schooling, just fetching and cleaning until they are in their teens and attracting the attention of the father or teen-age boy of the family. Then the girl is put out on the streets to fend for herself. There are groups that take in these girls, train them in employable skills, love them, and give them new leases on life. There are also organizations that are calling for the practice to cease. I'm sure that this happens in many countries where life is not valued. It is happening here. We might not see it everyday, but stories like this prove that it is true. Look at organizations such as Free The Slaves and Love 146 and International Justice Mission. Will we, in this nation that is suppose to be "The Land of the Free", put up with this kind of crap?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Blank and Drink

I never realized the words blank and drink rhymed until I heard them in a Country song.

Monday, October 15, 2007

We buried my cousin yesterday

She had just turned 47. Feeling horrible from a headache, Tammy drove herself to the emergency room. Entering, she collapsed and died. It turns out that she had a heart defect that she was probably born with. The doctor said there would have been no symptoms. She left behind a husband, son, daughter, and granddaughter. And lots and lots of aunts, uncles, and cousins.

We grew up in the same small East Texas town. The kind where everyone knows everybody. The funeral home was packed beyond capacity. Every possible space was used for overflow. My father's parents had 29 grandchildren. We have gone on to produce a huge number. Tammy was my oldest first cousin's first child. She beat her twin, Tim, by a few minutes. So the family took its fair share of the seats, but many classmates and townspeople filled the place. I saw people that I thought were old when I was a child.

This is the first time I have lost a cousin so close to my age. Maybe that is why it has been so hard. It has hung with me almost every minute since my sister called last Wednesday afternoon with the news. Tammy was a spitfire. She was more than happy to tell you exactly what she thought. She and her siblings were extremely close. Knowing that they were hurting and then witnessing it was horrific. My dad conducted the service. It wasn't his first time to bury a niece or nephew, but that doesn't make it any easier. He did a great job while displaying the sense of humor that keeps our huge family semi-sane.

At the viewing on Saturday night, my youngest son saw a boy and made the comment, "That boy in the green shirt looks suspiciously like me." I asked my mom who it was because he had walked further on and I couldn't see him well in the street light. The funeral home had been packed for the viewing and I hadn't noticed a kid in a green shirt. Mom said it was Tricia's (Tammy's sister) son. I told Clay that the reason they looked suspiciously alike was because they were cousins and it must be the Sapp genes flowing through them. What is weird is that they are fourth cousins and they do look alike.

So, our family will continue on. We will have more painful days. Many of us recognize Who is in control and that keeps us going. That makes our crazy family strong. That is why we can go for a long time and not see each other and yet take up where we left off as if we saw each other every day. Of course, many do still live in the small East Texas town or have found their way back over the years. They let us come back to visit from time to time and don't hold our desertion against us.

My cousin is gone, but she is remembered with love by a huge mess of people.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dead in the Pew

This wonderful, yet sad, blog is by Bush. I agree with everything he says in this entry. I started reading his stuff because I liked his notes on "being the church". He and his beautiful wife are working on an apdoption. Go to "Adopting August" to learn more about their journey.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Tacky, Tacky, Tacky

I was asked to be a judge for Tacky Idol 2007. I don't know if I should feel complimented or insulted. Is it because
I know tacky when I see it?

OR is it because

I do tacky so well?

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Prayer Request

Please pray for my friends as they work through the loss of their cousin and niece. Sydney finished her battle with Leukemia on October 1. She left here at the age of eight.

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Releasing Tension

During the stretch portion of my exercise ball dvd the trainer said in a soothing tone, "Let the tension go." And I thought to myself, "I did. I let him go to his grandparents today."

Monday, October 1, 2007

Pulling Teeth

so, i'm writing a story with my son, which is about as easy as pulling teeth...which is pretty funny, because he really pulled a tooth in the middle of the creative process.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Brother, I'm Dying

Picked up the latest copy of Paste and found a review (by Desa Philadelphia) of Edwidge Danticat's new book, Brother, I'm Dying. It is the story of her uncle, a pastor, who was driven into hiding in Haiti because of police and gang battles and then died alone in a U.S. detention center. And it is the story of her father. Both men lovingly impacted her life.
I think I want to check it out. What about you?

Friday, September 28, 2007

Kung Fu

Tonight found me watching a friend take a belt test in Kung Fu. His parents could not be there and I gladly filled in. I'm nice that way -- sometimes. I'm used to sporting events that involve clapping, screaming, shouting, yelling, whistling, and throwing hands in the air. This was nothing like that. The room was beautifully painted in relaxing colors and calming music washed over us. Everything was very pleasing to the senses, except for that really sweaty guy, but he was working hard. In fact, he down right scared me a few times. I kept thinking, "he does know I'm just two feet from him," as he spun and kicked. When he brought out his bamboo pole I got really worried. Not knowing anything about Kung Fu, or any martial arts for that matter, mess-ups were hard for me to spot. It helped when the person would pause with a "deer caught in headlights" look or said "Chihuahua" under their breath or just had the panic-stricken "I'm gonna throw up" face. My friend did a wonderful job. At least, he told me that he had accomplished what he had set out to do. So, in my book that makes it wonderful. At the end of the testing came the tea ceremony. That would have been very lovely except that they lit incense. I do not like the smell of incense. I never have, but now that I have been to China three times, it brings sad memories of people bowing to huge statues after purchasing packages of incense to light and offer. I'm so thankful that my God does not require that of me. He requires all of me, but I don't have to bring incense along.

Monday, September 24, 2007

Ask her to say "water"

This past weekend this tour revolved its way into town and I had the privilege of trying to keep up with this lovely lady.
It was a delight watching and listening to her. She truly loves the girls and the people she works with. Her heart and spirit overflow with joy and peace. I found her refreshingly amazing. Oh, her name is Brie Reed. Check out her blog for teenage girls. If you ever meet her, ask her to say "water".

I have decided...

that not only are hippos the most dangerous animals in Africa, they are also the most disgusting. I had the misfortune of being at the backside of a hippo's enclosure at the San Antonio Zoo once. His disrespect for his watery environment was vividly burned into my memory. Having never forgotten that scene I was informed while watching a Nature show on PBS last week that what I had witnessed years ago was a very common occurrence. YUCK! Let me just say that hippos make hiney sniffing dogs seem well mannered.

Hippo are found on the shores of Lake Kariba

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Lesson learned

Today at work I decided to do a really stupid thing. We offer toddler basketball classes and have a lower goal that is made to hang on the existing rim. It is a good idea, however it is hard for two out of shape women to maneuver. Especially when perched on a rickety volleyball stand. Wrestling it onto the goal was especially tricky due to the added metal to protect the permanent backboard from players who like to hang on the goal during their dunking attempts. We finally got it into place and locked into position.

The stupidity took place when I thought I could get it down by myself. First of all, I'm scared of heights. As in when I stand on shaky volleyball stands. This removable backboard weighs about 45 lbs. No biggie. HA! I unscrewed and released the orange rim and got it safely down. After climbing back up, I released the safety lock and unhooked the backboard from the permanent rim. That is when everything went south rather quickly. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, I realised there was no way I could move. The ground was too far away to just let go of the backboard and it was too heavy for me to lift it back over my head and onto the stand. Just about the time I was on the verge of screaming, a man playing basketball with his son mercifully looked over and witnessed my dilemma. Running to my rescue he took the board hanging from my hands. I thanked him profusely and told him that I had bitten off more than I could chew. Never again will that be happening.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Finding hope in smoldering ashes near K&A

Some people know about the warehouse fire that wiped out homes in Philadelphia. Well, it looks like beauty is beginning to rise out of the wreckage. Read here for encouragement. The column was written by Nathaniel Popkin. I found it through Another World Is Possible. More information can be gathered at The Simple Way. You will find some different thoughts about the American Dream and what it truly means to be Jesus to people. They do things in an unique way. It seems to be working.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

R.I.P Hildy

It is a sad day in Dallas as we say good-bye to a legend. My family loves the Dallas Zoo and we mourn when they mourn. We've been blessed in watching the keepers interact with the animals and know how much they love them. Observing a rhino and a caregiver playing tag is one of my favorite memories. Hildy's graceful moves and amazingly long tongue were great examples of a very creative Maker and we enjoyed watching her.

Hildy was old, but she has a legacy -- a BIG legacy!

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

So you've had a bad day...

going through the blogs I like to read everyday I came across this one. can you imagine dealing with these situations and people every day? i thought my stress level was stressed when I was teaching school. that was a walk in a big, beautiful national park compared to this. read her blog. and if you can, think of a way to help one or more of these children.

Monday, September 3, 2007


Part of my family went to see "Hairspray" this afternoon. I know it has been out for a while, but when you have 5 kids, sometimes it takes longer to get to the movies. Being a fan of good musicals, I loved it. However, something did surprise me. I cried. Racism has always bothered me. Growing up in a small East Texas town, it was all around me. My parents were very good at teaching us there was no difference. It insulated me to the reality of what was going on in my community. Even though extended family members made their beliefs known, I didn't realize how deep it ran. Now that I'm older, it is very plain to me that there was quite a chasm.

I don't understand racism. Especially when it is spouted by "never miss a Sunday" church goers.
It blows my mind. Sometimes I just stand with my jaw dropped. Sometimes I speak. I've got to learn to speak more. As Motormouth Maybelle sings, "'Cause just to sit still would be a sin".

Friday, August 31, 2007

The Need Is The Call (thoughts of a vagabond)

Sometimes you read a blog that makes you want to thrust your fists in the air and yell "YES" as if your favorite team just did something important. That happened to me last night. I sent it to a lot of people via e-mail, but now I'm linking to it here. I started reading Bush's stuff 'cause I like his "The Church Being The Church" blogs. This is my favorite so far.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Puspus for dinner

Tonight during a lovely dinner of a chicken pot pie topped with grits and mexican cheese, Clay pointed out that the grits reminded him of puspus or "is it couscous?" We assured him that he meant couscous.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

true religion

"To hold fast to God with one hand while you open wide the other to your neighbor-that is true religion and undefiled, that is the law and the prophets, that is to live the life Jesus came to teach us about and to demonstrate to us. "
George McDonald
spoken by his character, Thomas Wingfold, in Paul Faber, Surgeon, 1879

Friday, August 17, 2007

Home School Schedule

My cousin Dreama posted her home schooling schedule on her blog. I'm sorry to say that she should be really embarrassed with her lack of organization and lack of covering enough subjects. I thought as a home school expert with 13 years under my belt I would show a truly perfect, organized, detailed schedule and put her to shame.

Monday - Friday
try to get up before 10
drink coffee
make sure English/History get done
leave Math for Dad
Thursday take Clay to zoo

Yep, that about covers it.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007


i think i am to the point that i can write about this without crying. on August 1st i was decorating for Camp Tacky Tacky at church when i got the call that Aaron had had an accident at his mission project with Four Corners. August 1st was the first day of our new insurance so his medical release form wasn't up to date and i needed to take him the insurance card. Jumping into his car, Salsa Verde, i headed up to McKinney when the bottom fell out of the sky. Traffic on Central was almost at a standstill. we just crept along until we were in Allen and then we speeded up to about 50. a semi pulled into the middle lane and put on his brakes. i put on my brakes, but there was nothing. i hydroplaned into the back of the semi, bounced off, went sideways and was struck by a van. the van was able to slow down and was at an almost complete stop when he hit me. two off-duty EMTs from two different cities stopped almost immediately and jumped in to help. my head was pounding and i had a lot of pain between my shoulder blades and in my left shoulder.

i am so upset about Aaron's car. it was handed down to him from a friend. they had run out of family members to pass it down to, so Aaron was gifted with it. it is such a sweet little car. the driver seat doesn't match the rest of the interior. the right hubcaps don't match the left hubcaps. it could use a new paint job, but it has the sweetest clutch and shifts like a dream. i love Salsa Verde. my husband thinks it is totaled. i can't even look at it without wanting to cry.

this is the second wreck involving someone trying to get to Aaron. makes me wonder. as for Aaron's accident. he was playing Capture the Flag with the VBS kids and hit a water spigot. broke the spigot and ripped open his knee all the way to the bone. his stitches look like the stitches on a baseball. it is nasty.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

blood:water mission

If you do not read the blood:water mission blog, you should. The newest one is by Dan Haseltine. Some people have heard of him 'cause he is the lead singer of this little band called Jars of Clay. But, today he isn't talking about his small time band, he is communicating about the suffering in Africa, choices, and the here and now of the Kingdom of God.

And after you read it - do something with it.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Romance in the Park

Last night we held our own version of "Amazing Race" for our youth. We wrapped it up at the Arbor Hills Nature Preserve. I watched a man get a bouquet of roses, 2 champagne glasses, and some bubbly out of his car and walk up the main trail. About five minutes later I took off the same way and met him headed back toward the parking lot. My thought was that whatever he proposed didn't go well or that he had been stood up. Five minutes later I heard someone coming up behind me. It was Mr. Roses. He asked if I knew how to get to the tower. I told him which direction he needed to head at the fork. And then told him that I hoped I was right. So, maybe I helped romance along last night OR a guy is still wandering around in the preserve looking for the tower.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Friday, July 20, 2007

22nd Wedding Anniversary

Today is the day that my husband, Phil, and I have been married 22 years. I guess it is a good thing we like each other. My mind is mush right now. We had planned to spend our evening the same way we did exactly one year ago tonight, however things didn't go quite as planned. It started out normal.

Dinner at Kelly's Eastside.
Walk around Historical Downtown Plano.
Make our way to the Fusion Cafe.
Settle in for Aaron and Jordan's concert.
Watch firetruck and ambulance go by.
During the intermission, talk to friends.
During conversation about a mission trip to Ecuador hear that Corinn's best friend has had a wreck on the way to the concert. Hence the firetruck and ambulance.
Take Corinn to hospital to be with KK.
Tell KK that Aaron and Jordan are not worth getting in a wreck over.
Ask KK if they found a brain when they did a catscan.
Watch KK struggle to get up to go potty.
Tell her that no one saw her pink undies as she walked through emergency.
Helped KK's mom get her into paper scrubs, cause her clothes had to be cut off.
Listened to nurse confirm a broken collarbone.
Said goodbye to KK, her mom and dad.
Came home and wrote this.

Darn, my anniversary is over by two minutes.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Stripping Dirty Waxed Floors

The place I work in is stripping and re-waxing the floor. Apparently this is done twice a year. Once in the summer and once during Christmas break. You don't really notice the grime until the stripping takes place and the new wax shines.

I've been watching this process for a couple of weeks now. It reminds me of how gunk builds up in my heart. Layer upon layer at a consistent pace. I don't notice because it becomes the norm, just like the brown film on the blue and white tiles. But, it has to be stripped - just like the floors. Sometimes I don't like that. I fight the Sander. I wish I could follow the floor's lead and just let it happen, lie there and let the process take place. Enjoy becoming clean again.

Another thing I've noticed is that the floor isn't mopped everyday so the dirt builds up fast. (Sort of like my kitchen floor, but we aren't going to talk about that now.) Maybe, like my soul, if it was scrubbed everyday it wouldn't take such drastic measures to keep it looking (or feeling) good.
Gunk On/Gunk Off

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Andrew Osenga's Blog on the Dalits

Please read this blog about "the least of these" in India. It is heart breaking. I hope it grabs you and moves you like it did me. It is written by Andrew Osenga as part of the 40 Day Fast. Read it and act!

Monday, July 16, 2007

Warped Tour

Jacob, Corinn, Chloe, Derrick - What a group!
Corinn and Nathan
me with my redneck tan and John - this is how we really look

Corinn, Solomon, Chloe, Josh

This is how I spent my Saturday - hanging out at the Vans Warped Tour. Amazingly I wasn't the oldest person there. Some people older than me had no business being dressed the way they were. I didn't take pictures. I wanted to spare everyone the ugliness.

Corinn and I had a lot of fun. She got to see three of her favorite bands, maybe four - can't remember. The highlight of the day was seeing our friend, Chloe. She has a very stressful job and we spent the day helping her out. At some points we three were so busy that I don't see how she does it alone. She is amazing.

Some people know Chloe as "Tofu Pup". A girl asked to have her picture taken with her. I missed that. It would have been fun to see. I like watching my friends be recognized. As long as people are nice. Don't want any weirdos bothering her.

As you can see in one of the pictures I got a lovely redneck tan. Now I don't have to make a fake one for "Redneck Camp" Wednesday night. I made it all through the Yucatan without getting one and then got one at home. GRRR!

It was great to meet her employers. They are sweet and funny. John made me laugh so hard. If you ever meet him ask him about his encounter with Cher. I will never be able to see or think about her again without cracking up.

Anyway, it was a great day. I look forward to meeting up with them again at Rock The Desert.

Back From The Yucatan

Twins! The pastor's wife had no idea that she was
carrying twins until she delivered them. Surprise!

It's Monday. We got back Thursday night. This is the first time I have felt the desire to blog. Our time in the Yucatan was special. There were many beautiful things to see and the people we met were wonderful. I lost count of the villages we visited. We were suppose to go to five different ones, but in the world of missions you must remember a very important word - Flexibility. We flexed a lot. During our time in the first village, my 12 year old came to me and said, "These kids have nothing, but they're so happy." Of course we saw that over and over during our week. It was a good lesson for all of us.

I want one of these tricycles! It would be great to pick up groceries. One of the men let me test his out. I managed not to kill our music minister.

This is one of my buddies. I was helping her make her bracelet. Isn't she beautiful? She kept staring at me. I guess she had never seen anything so strange before!

I bought a hammock for my family from the lady who made it. Think about this - I'm 5'4".
She only charged me $10. If I had bought it in the city it would have been $20-$30. I cut out the middle man and made a friend.

As we began to leave on night this woman, the wife of the man that let me ride his tricycle, brought me this tortilla cover. Her 18 year old daughter makes them to sell. She and her husband presented it as a gift. I was so touched!

The people of this church fed us a wonderful dinner. It consisted of what I call "tapas", tiny soft tacos on homemade corn tortillas. Good stuff! Also at this church there was a door that I had to duck to get through. Again, I'm 5'4".

My daughter, Corinn, makes a friend in Ek Balam. Mayan temple ruins were discovered by outsiders in the late 90's. They are being excavated now. Soon this sleepy little village will be a hot tourist spot. It already has one "eco-hotel".

Clay makes some friends. This is at the Ek Balam's village square. There is no church here, but there is a Mayan missionary, Ramone, that wants to start one soon.

Randy, the puppet master, and my daughter, Callie, showing off their dance moves during one of the puppet songs. I never got to see this live because I always had my hand up a puppet's hiney.

Wednesday, July 4, 2007

Mission Trip to Mexico

We leave in 5 1/2 hours for the Yucatan. At first I wasn't very excited. It wasn't what we had first planned for the trip. But right now, I'm excited. It helped to get Callie's clothes packed two days ago. She stopped bugging me.

Each day we will go to a different village for Bible Clubs and services with the local church. I would not have been comfortable going in "alone". A local believing body needs to be in place to build and support those with which a mission team works. It isn't always possible, I know, but it makes me feel more secure to know that there is someone in the village to come along side of those that need it.

I have to go to sleep now.

Fourth of July

It is the Fourth of July. I'm glad I live here. I want my country to do well, but I would rather it do what is right. That isn't happening much.

One of my greatest pet peeves is when people put their American citizenship before their Christianity. It happens all the time. It is one of the reasons we are in Iraq.

I was on a mission trip in another country awhile back when I saw this mindset raise its ugly head over and over.
"How dare she look at me like I'm a devil, I'm an American!"
"They wouldn't dare do anything to an American!"
"What do you mean he's handsome? I've got to get you back to America."
"This would never happen in America."

It was a long trip.

One of my students asked me why we didn't say the Pledge of Allegiance in our school. I told her I didn't know why any of the other teachers didn't do it, but my reason was that my allegiance was with Jesus.

I have been reading The Cost of Discipleship by Dietrich Bonhoeffer. In the Memoir section by G. Leibholz:
"It was Bonhoeffer and his friends who proved by their resistance unto death that even in the age of the nation-state there are loyalties which transcend those to state and nation. They proved that even in this age nationalism stands under God and that it is a sin against Him and His call for fellowship with other nations if it degenerates into national egotism and greed."

So, this is where my mind has been on this 4th - there and trying to figure out where all the new socks we just bought for Clay went to.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Today's Callieism

We were eating the spicy Tomatillo and Chicken Tostados I had made for dinner when Callie said, "Did you know when you eat soup you get tears in your nose?"

blood:water mission

make sure you visit

find out how you can save lives with $1.00

From The Message:
Matthew 25:34-36
"Then the King will say to those on his right, 'Enter, you who are blessed by my Father! Take what's coming to you in this kingdom. It's been ready for you since the world's foundation. And here's why:

I was hungry and you fed me,
I was thirsty and you gave me a drink,
I was homeless and you gave me a room,
I was shivering and you gave me clothes,
I was sick and you stopped to visit,
I was in prison and you came to me.'

37-40"Then those 'sheep' are going to say, 'Master, what are you talking about? When did we ever see you hungry and feed you, thirsty and give you a drink? And when did we ever see you sick or in prison and come to you?' Then the King will say, 'I'm telling the solemn truth: Whenever you did one of these things to someone overlooked or ignored, that was me—you did it to me.'

Saturday, June 30, 2007

My Darling Kiddos

My darling kiddos.
Corinn, Clay, Aaron, Callie, Haley
The picture says it all.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Today's Callieism

"how many soupcase do we have?"

"You mean, how many suitcases do we have?"

"How many soupcases do we have?"


"Atentive" Listening

I took this picture in a local high school. Apparently attentiveness only applies to listening, not spelling.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Free Lunch/Wasted Food

I work in a place that (I don't want to say offers, because it is the government that does the offering) oversees the free summer lunch program.

One of the rules is that no food can leave the cafeteria. Parents want to take leftovers home. They have to throw away the leftovers, so if the rules are followed the trashcans leave the building full of perfectly good food. Yes, your tax dollars are paying for that food rolling to the dumpsters.

Thankfully, I haven't been told to make anyone chunk their food. I wouldn't handle that very well.

It is incredibly wasteful. I'm sure there are people that would "abuse" the system, but I'm not the person to determine if someone is an abuser. I'm not sure what an "abuser" of the system would do to "abuse" the system. Maybe give food to someone who needed it?

Monday, June 25, 2007

Kensington Fire - The Simple Way

This video made me cry for the lives that were impacted and for the hope that runs through the community.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Sick Kid

Pine Cove called around 4 yesterday. The nurse led off with "This is not an emergency." Always nice to hear. Clay had come into the office complaining of a sore throat. He was running fever and his throat was red and inflamed. They were going to have to take him to the Doc in a Box because of the time. So, around 10 last night the call came that he was now at "Camp Strep" with a few other campers enjoying movies, games, and Bible Study during their 24 hour isolation.

I hope this doesn't turn him off Pine Cove for good. He is our little "the glass isn't half empty - it is bone dry!" kid. Once we went to the Washington, D.C. area for vacation. We are all over the states in that region doing all sorts of stuff, seeing all sorts of stuff, etc...

While playing with Corinn at one of our campsites he got stung by some huge hornet looking insect. The world came to an end. Screaming, crying, wailing, gnashing of teeth!

A couple of days after we got home I asked him if he had a good time. He looked at me as if I was crazy.
"M-O-M! Don't you remember? I got stung!"

To him the entire vacation was a wash, a disaster, a failure because he got stung.
"Okay, besides the one evening when you got stung, did you have a good time?"
He looked at me like I was crazier than I am. It couldn't be done.

Getting stung = rotten vacation

Forget D.C.
Forget the Liberty Bell
Forget Gettysburg
Forget Hershey
Forget Williamsburg
Forget Mount Vernon

Hope Pine Cove turning into "Camp Strep" isn't a repeat of that.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007


We've known for awhile that our daughter, Callie, is different. She is in special education and has trouble grasping many things. The first 10 years of her life were spent in an orphanage in Shanghai. Now, it is a large, comfortable orphanage - not the kind that you hear horror stories about - but an orphanage just the same. For ten years she made no decisions on her own - none, nada, zilch. She had never experienced a mud puddle, so for about a year she stepped in almost every patch of mud that was in her path. She would step in the puddle, keep walking for about five steps, stop, look down, look up in horror and be furious that this gunk had jumped all over her shoes. It is hard to learn about mud puddles when you live your life inside or on concrete.

Every day is filled with Callieisms. Many days there are too many to remember. There are some that we hear almost daily.
"What time it is?" Now, this is incorrect in itself, however she is usually standing next to the clock when she asks.
"I need clothes to wash."
"Callie, you have enough clothes."
"No, I need clothes TO wash."
"Yes, I heard you. I'm still not buying you any clothes. You have enough."
"NO! I need CLOTHES TO wash."
"You mean you need clothes washed?
"Then say it right."
"ARGGGH!" stomp, stomp, stomp...up the stairs as she is muttering under her breath.

This one happens at least once a week, if not more.
"Callie, can you please unload the dishwasher?"
"Sure!" as she walks to the dishwasher. she is a great helper - it just takes longer with a lot of directions.
"Are they dirty or clean?"
"Do we put dirty dishes in the cabinets?"
"Then why would I ask you to UNLOAD the dishwasher?"
"Oh, yeah."

Her favorite sport is basketball. She loves to watch it; she loves to play. The only problem is she can't remember the rules. Our church offers an Upward league which is perfect for her. Everyone is patient and most kids aren't planning to be NBA stars. So, when she forgets that she has to dribble or that she isn't suppose to guard her own teammates, it is okay. Frustrating, but okay.

Our friend, Allison, experienced this conversation the other day. They were driving by a man walking a sleek silver Weimaraner.

"That dog looks like Fezzik." our dog is a curly chocolate Standard Poodle.

"Not really, Callie, what makes you say it looks like Fezzik?"

"It has ears."

I really didn't think she could shock me anymore - after three years you would think that I had heard it all - but she managed to do it last night. We had gone to buy her a swimsuit. That was a Callie experience in itself, but when we got home she stopped, pointed at something (I was sort of in front of her and saw this out of the corner of my eye) and said, "I wonder who lives there?" She knows all the neighbors so I stepped back off the porch thinking she was pointing to a home across the creek. She wasn't. She was pointing to the dormer window on OUR house! "What do you mean? This is OUR house! WE live here! YOU live there!" "I know, but who lives there?" "WHAT?, CALLIE! That is the upstairs of OUR house! Your bedroom is up there. You have lived here for three years! What do you mean 'who lives there?'" Later that night I told my husband that he would never believe what she had said.
"Sure I will."
"Oh, no you won't. Not this." I proceeded to tell him.
"I almost believe it."

Saturday, June 16, 2007

my daughter

my oldest daughter is home from college. she has been working hard to shock me. so far it has been a wash. i taught high school freshmen this past year. if they didn't knock me off my guard, i don't think she will.