Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Blessings

This evening my depression was pressing down on me unrelentingly. I was ready to call it a day before 5 p.m. I was forcing myself to stay up and sort of stay engaged with my family. But, I DID NOT WANT TO. I wanted to go to bed to forget everything.

And then the phone call came. A wonderful woman of God called to ask if I knew where her teenage daughter could help the homeless on Christmas day and I was able to provide a positive answer to that question. Then, she proceeded to lift my spirits and pray over me. I can't even remember some of the things she said because I was crying so hard I couldn't really hear, but my soul heard and it drank those words and blessings right up. God gave her the exact words to speak over me and the exact verses to read to me.

Thank You God for this amazing, unexpected blessing tonight.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Gifts - Getting and Giving

Oh, the time of year when everyone is running around like chickens with their heads cut off. And why? I'm not sure, but I think it is due to tradition. And I firmly believe that traditions should not make us run around like chickens with their heads cut off.

I, personally, don't like getting gifts unless I know they have been well thought out or handmade with a lot of love. My immediate family and close friends know this and my husband and three oldest kids understand that I would much prefer them to give to a charity in my name than give me something they bought at the last second just to get me something. My youngest daughter will probably never understand and my 13 year old just thinks I'm crazy. But then, his love language is gifts. Obviously, it's not mine.

So, if you have someone in your family or group of friends that is weird like me, here are some gift suggestions:

TOMS Shoes - Can't go wrong here. Two gifts for the price of one. For every pair purchased, TOMS will give a pair of shoes to a child in need. Watch the video. Buy the shoes.


Another amazing company is 25 Cloth. They are out to bring change to a hurting world and they are doing it. You can be a part of it. This quarter, for every t-shirt (and man, do they have some cute ones) you purchase you are changing the lives of those living in the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. Over 40% of the proceeds from Ike relief shirts and 25% of all other shirts go towards providing food, building supplies, clothes, and other necessities to the victims.

If your gift recipient has a heart for children then check out the following organizations:

Compassion International - The giving choices through this group are numerous & far reaching.
Real Hope For Haiti Rescue Center - These folks are on the front lines battling poverty.
Love146 - Help them save children from the jaws of pure evil.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

White Christmas and Hominy

The wind is blowing 90 to nothing. I have no idea what that really means, but when I say it I mean that the wind is blowing very hard. I'm sitting at home due to a cold that chose to attack on Thursday. Most of the rest of the family is at the Union Gospel Mission sitting in on the chapel service, then they will help serve the meal and clean up. Wish I could be with them. I enjoy our time there. Haley is at Pine Cove for the Christmas retreat. She rode the bus down with the Tower and Ranch campers.

This past week went by fast. Aaron wrapped up school on Monday. Corinn had one of her tests bumped till Thursday due to our one day of ice. She wasn't too happy about that. Haley made it home on Wednesday, two days late because of the ice. Callie finished school on Friday. I attended a Christmas party for the staff and volunteers at Coventry. I didn't think I would be able to go due to a meeting, but it got canceled and I was able to make most of the party.

We usually try to watch White Christmas every year. We don't always pull it off, but on Thursday we did. We know all the lines, all the songs, and all of the editing mistakes. Clay complained about it quite a bit, but what do you expect from a grumpy thirteen year old boy? Corinn and Aaron's significant others came over for dinner and the viewing. Last time Micah was here for dinner I almost killed everyone with a roast made out of an old boot. It was horribly tough and I usually make a very good pot roast, but this was beyond bad. I choked so bad I couldn't breathe and had to lose the piece in the sink. It was terrible, terrible, terrible. This time I fixed Taco Soup and it was a winner. Except I put the wonderful vegetable, hominy, in my Taco Soup and that led to a major discussion and then a flat out wrestling match between Haley and Aaron. I kid you not. It was a full contact meal. Who knew hominy could provoke such violence? I love hominy and so do two of my girls. Apparently my boys, including my husband, do not. And now, Micah has chimed in on the anti-hominy side. I accused him of just trying to win brownie points with Phil.

Has anyone ever noticed how white White Christmas is? Many, many years ago Phil and I were dealing with a sick child and were up later than usual tending to their needs. There was a knock on the door and our backyard neighbor's teenage girls were standing on the doorstep. One had a butcher knife. Their parents were at a Christmas party and it sounded like someone was trying to come through their front door, so they hightailed it to ours. We called the police and they came and checked it all out. It seems that when the wind hit the Christmas Wreath it would make sounds like a person trying to pick the lock and get through the door. So, the girls settled back in. In a few minutes they were back asking if they could stay until their parents got home (they were on their way). We, of course, said yes and asked them to watch White Christmas with us. That is when I discovered just how white White Christmas is. Our neighbors were African-American and the only people of color in that movie are the porters and bartenders. They didn't say anything, but I've never forgotten how I felt as I watched it with them.

I like it when I get taken out of my comfort zone (most of the time) 'cause it makes me look at things from a different point of view. I hope it makes me a better person.

Okay, the ramblings are over. I'm rambled out.

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Rock

"Trust in the LORD forever,
For in GOD the LORD, we have an everlasting Rock."
Isaiah 26:4

"Do not tremble and do not be afraid;
Have I not long since announced it to you and declared it?
And you are My witnesses.
Is there any God besides Me,
Or is there any other Rock?
I know of none."
Isaiah 44:8

"For who is God, but the LORD?
And who is a rock, except our God,
The God who girds me with strength,
And makes my way blameless?"
Psalm 18:31

"The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer,
My God, my rock, in whom I take refuge;
My shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold."
Psalm 18:2

"There is no one holy like the LORD,
Indeed, there is no one besides You,
Nor is there any rock like our God."
I Samuel 2:2

"For You are my rock and my fortress;
For Your name's sake You will lead me and guide me."
Psalm 31:3

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Back In The Saddle Again

I think I'm ready to start writing again. Last week was a whirlwind. I don't suggest getting sick before two of your busiest days of the year. It just doesn't do a body good.

I woke up last Wednesday feeling great and ready to take on the world. At some point in the morning that feeling went away, far, far away. The rest of the day was spent wrapped in a blanket while willing myself not to throw up. Thursday was the same, except I stayed in bed quite a bit of it.

By Friday I was better and in downtown Dallas by noon to help prepare for the nation's largest Christmas party for the homeless. I didn't make it home until around 11 p.m. and needed to be up by 2:30 a.m. My alarm didn't go off. Phil woke me up at 4:45 a.m. and I scrambled out the door and drove back downtown. The amazing band, Planning Yesterday, donated their sound equipment for the outside stage and they had everything under control when I got there. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Then the constant moving began. I had four areas I was watching over. The doors of the convention center didn't open until 10 a.m., but the outside entertainment started up at 7:30 and that was one of my areas. The donut crew was in place long before that handing out donuts, coffee, and hot chocolate to the early birds wanting to be first in line. They are a great group of people who donate their very early hours each year to ministering outside in the cold. Hospitality to a "T".

I didn't know time could move so slow. Or at least, that is what it felt like. I was sure more than once that the schedule was off on the stages, but it was that it just seemed to be later because my day had started so early. Liz and Phil ran the main inside stage like pros. I'm very grateful. The hallway entertainment went off without a hitch as did the outside stage.

James and his photography team had everything covered. Chris and I tag teamed the media as they came in. I think I did three on air interviews. Here is one of them. http://www.dallasnews.com/video/?z=y&nvid=313097

At one point my mom brought me a bottle of water and I made the mistake of sitting down to drink it. It was all I could do to make myself get back up. My legs and feet were really ticked off at me.

I don't have any exact numbers from the day. There were more people than last year and that number was 8,000. I do know that I hobbled out of there and was very thankful my husband was there to drive me home.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Henry and Henry

This is Henry.
And this is Henry.


I don't have a problem keeping them apart. Some in my family find it confusing. They don't look anything alike to me. I can pretty much tell a dog from a human. I guess it's just a talent of mine. We had to tell Callie to stop calling the human Henry like a dog. She was using the same tone and pattern calling him that she uses calling dog Henry. I don't understand it.

Dog Henry is six and has had his name for over two years. The morning he was given to me I had the thought that if I ever got a Yorkie, I would name it Henry. Turns out, his name was already Henry. Dog Henry feels it is his duty to keep the squirrels out of our backyard. He is very serious about his job. When spying one he whines until he is let out the door, then he sails after it. Last week he finally discovered that they run up the trees. They don't just disappear. So he treed the squirrel. It was a pretty funny sight. The squirrel was twenty feet off the ground scolding away at him. I don't know what will happen if he ever has the misfortune of actually catching one. They're almost as big and he is and their teeth and claws are a lot sharper.

Human Henry is my adorable nephew. He doesn't have a hairy face. That helps me tell them apart. That, plus the fact that one is a dog and one is a human. Nephew Henry loves to jump on beds. Dog Henry isn't allowed to jump on beds. Nephew Henry is also a very messy eater, but we love him anyway. He takes after his father, my brother. We love James too. Or, at least we try.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Annual Make Fun of Each Other Night

We trimmed our tree last night. Don't usually do it this early, but the oldest was home from college and we decided to get 'er done. Haley's friends gave her the tree as her Christmas gift. It was amazingly sweet of them. They know that money is beyond tight for us this year.

The tree Phil and Clay picked out is lovely. They did a very good job. In the old days we all went to pick out the tree, but as the kids have gotten older, that has gotten harder to pull off. Now, we trust those who do go to pick out a good one.

The date of our Christmas tree trimming has also changed over the years. At one time we did it on December 1st, but then 19 years ago we added a baby on the 5th. We backed it up to December 6th because we learned while studying about Saint Nicholas that that was his day. But, at some point we let that go.

That's the thing about traditions. They are great if you don't let them control you or others around you. If your traditions are creating a lot of stress for you and/or your loved ones, then let them be tweaked enough to provide peace.

We do follow a pattern when decorating the tree, but that has changed a bit over the years. The lights go on first, of course. Then some of the decorations from our first tree go up. Among those are the chili pepper lights Phil and I bought in Durango twenty some-odd years ago. There are fabric hearts I sewed and stuffed and little red hearts. I guess our first tree had a heart theme.

The kids harass each other about proper placement of these first ornaments then the real fun begins. Each child elbows for their choice spot. Corinn insists that her 1994 picture bell ornament gets put front and center. The other kids move it when she isn't looking or put their ornaments in front of her's. And the most fun is had over Haley's "heart". I'm not sure what year it came into being, but it has been made fun of ever since.

This year Haley got to laughing over Aaron's nativity scene he drew at age 5. He gave everyone belly buttons.

The last thing to go on is the Angel. Phil and I looked in every Christmas store we could find before we found the perfect angel. She is beautiful. As Phil puts her on, one of the kids hits the lights.

Then we end with moose shaped chocolate dipped shortbread cookies and "shlog" or eggnog as most people know it. Phil reads the Christmas story out of the gospels. Clay had lots of questions this year.
On their best behavior.

Their true selves.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Deviled Eggs and Chocolate Pies

I survived three Thanksgiving celebrations...I think. And I got through it without putting any turkey or ham in my mouth. Neither are favorites.

I made four pecan pies for the get-togethers, but I was craving Lezlee's chocolate pies. And she didn't disappoint. I was absolutely giddy when she walked in with two 10-inch beauties.

And Judith's deviled eggs! Yes!

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Pancakes du jour

Chocolate Banana with a Touch of Cinnamon

Man, were they good! Apparently though, not bananaie enough for Aaron. He asked if I was going to put bananas in them as he ate his fourth one. The oldest daughter, home from college, hasn't weighed in on them yet. She's enjoying sleeping in. The youngest is at his grandmother's house, eating his way through all the fried food he can get. He has to get his fill there, 'cause he ain't getting it here.

Southwest Airlines Ticket Giveaway!

I tried and tried to post about this yesterday. It would never work. For some reason it wouldn't fit on the page, so today I am just going to point you to the site.

Click here to learn more about how you can win two round-trip tickets from Southwest Airlines.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Sneaky Pete

Sneaky Pete fell last Friday breaking his nose, damaging his shoulder, and slamming his head. Apparently the wall took a blow too.

Years of therapy progress was gone in a flash. Last week I talked about how well he was doing with his right hand. That is absent for right now. His balance is shot so it isn't safe for him to walk unaccompanied. His brain won't tell his feet what to do which makes standing up from a seated position hard. He is used to being fairly independent as far as mobility goes. Now his parents have also lost some of the freedom they had gained over the last few years.

Everyone at Coventry is committed to him regaining what he has lost.

My heart hurts for him and his family. I love that guy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Radiator

Some friends have released their new music video.

Radiator

Getting Through Today

Psalm 37:23-24 NAS

"The steps of a man are established by the LORD;
And He delights in his way.
When he falls, he shall not be hurled headlong;
Because the LORD is the One who holds his hand."

Friday, November 14, 2008

Please Tell Me This Is A Joke!

Playing "Mercy" with Sneaky Pete

My last two days at Coventry have been emotional. I don't know how many more times I will be there before I have a job that will take me away.

One of the Stars came in a bad mood, but during Circle Time he asked for prayer to help him with his attitude. He chose the person he wanted to pray for him and it was moving to hear this Star recognize he had a problem and that he knew The One that could help him with it.

I also got to watch my Sneaky Pete not be sneaky. Okay, he did try to turn off the computer when he thought I wasn't looking, but computer time isn't his favorite. It is hard to see what everyone else is doing when you're focusing on a screen. He is more and more aware that he has the right side of his body. Exercises that I once had to help him through he does on his own. And do not play "Mercy" with this man. He is so strong he will snap your fingers off! I had to adapt that little exercise for my protection. It's not really suppose to be "Mercy", but an exercise where you stretch out your fingers. But, it turned into "Mercy". And he thought it was funny that he was so much stronger than me.

The therapy Robin does with these guys is fascinating. She works their brains so hard and they are blooming. I get to help them warm up for their time with her and I love it.

One of our Stars made his first tall vase. It was very exciting and there were lots of "Congratulations" going his way from the other Stars. I helped three of the guys make trays and a bowl. I hope they turn out well. Joyce is very patient with me as I'm learning what it the best way to do things with the clay.

I was told by one of the Stars that he thought I was funny and that I should be a comedian. That made me laugh. He also said I was sweet, which shows he doesn't know me that well! At the end of the day he said he was thinking about getting a girlfriend. I told him girls were a lot of trouble and he didn't need to worry about having one, he was better off without one. He said he thinks girls are sweet, which goes to show he doesn't spend a lot of time around girls. His brother has a girlfriend and apparently she is sweet. So, now he's decided he needs one.

Coventry is mind boggling special. Sometimes it's hard to believe it's real, that a place with so much love can exist, but it does.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Callie's Cramp

Callie has started basketball tryouts for this year. She doesn't do any physical activities any other time of the year, so when she got in the car yesterday, screamed, and grabbed her leg I knew she had a cramp. Plus, her calf muscle was bulging and she doesn't really have calf muscles.

So, I grabbed her leg and started working on the cramp. She thought I didn't understand she was hurting and began yelling even louder.

If you passed our van yesterday and witnessed wailing, thrashing, and violent shaking, it was just us getting the cramp out. Please do not call CPS.

Monday, November 10, 2008

50,000 Pairs of Shoes in 50 Days Challenge

$5 is all it takes to purchase two pairs of shoes to be given to people that desperately need them. Wow! Read the info below. Make your donation and then blog about it, talk about it, spread the news on facebook and myspace. Whatever you do, don't keep it to yourself.

Donating is easy and takes just a click and a couple of minutes. It requires no shipping, no wrapping and no trips to the post office. The monetary donation is small with $5.00 buying two pairs of new shoes. Anyone can click and give, and all donations are tax-deductible.

After 50,000 pairs have been donated, one person (with a guest of their choosing) will be selected at random to deliver the shoes they purchased to someone in need on one of Soles4Souls' trips to Mexico!

"Can you imagine what it would be like to personally give someone their very first pair of shoes?! We look forward to connecting the tangibility of handing someone a pair of shoes with the virtual world of the Internet," said Soles4Souls Founder and CEO, Wayne Elsey.

About Soles4Souls

Nashville-based Soles4Souls™ facilitates the donations of both new and used shoes, which are used to aid the hurting worldwide. Since its inception, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 3.5 million pairs (or one pair every 23 seconds) to people in 61 countries, including Honduras, Romania, Thailand, and the Sudan. The charity has been featured on CNN Headline News, NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams, ABC News, FOX, CBS, and hundreds of regional outlets around North America. Soles4Souls is a 501(c)(3) recognized by the IRS; donating parties are eligible for tax advantages. Visit www.giveshoes.org for more information.

The 50,000 Pairs in 50 days Challenge • Win an Opportunity to Hand Deliver Your Shoes!

Imagine handing someone their very first pairs of shoes! By purchasing two pairs of shoes for $5, you are automatically entered into a random drawing to personally deliver the shoes you purchased to someone in need on one of our trips to Mexico.

The winner and an accompanying guest will travel to Mexico and will see Soles4Souls in action. The more pairs you purchase, the greater your chances are of winning. Winner must be 18 years or older with a valid US Passport. Soles4Souls will pay for airfare, transfers, lodging, and trip related meal expenses for winner and guest up to $2000 value. Some restrictions apply.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Friday Night Lights or Not

When God created high school football I believe He fully intended for the game to be played on Friday nights under the lights, but I have found a couple of good reasons for playing in the middle of a Saturday afternoon here in Texas.

1. It is warmer. I don't like to be cold.
2. You don't have to put on eye shadow or mascara because no one is going to see your eyes due to the fact you can't take off your sunglasses or you will be struck blind. You just need to make sure you don't have a unibrow or other unruly eyebrow hairs and you are good to go.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Exciting Stuff - Follow This Tour

Compassion International kicks off a new tour tomorrow. This time the bloggers are headed to the Dominican Republic! That is where my sponsored children live. And today one of them turns 4 years old. Happy Birthday!

I'm really looking forward to following all the blogs to see how this trip moves and changes those involved.

Friday, October 31, 2008

How to Survive Halloween

#1 Have children old enough to take care of the majority of their costumes themselves.

#2 Buy candy that you do not want to eat.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Bloated Thighs

My thirteen year old takes choosing and building a costume very seriously. As in "drive everyone around you up the wall" seriously. This year he has chosen "hippie" as his costume. Today he tried on what he had pulled together and decided that it looked too "Johnny Depp piratety".

Back to the drawing board.

I grabbed some things from my closet. I know, it's scary. He took them upstairs to mix with his stash (and by that I mean wardrobe pieces). Down the stairs he came stating that his thighs looked bloated. Apparently the shorts under the baggie linen pants made his thighs looked bloated. Wow! That's not something I would have ever dreamed of hearing my son say.

But, the ensemble worked. He looked full fledged hippyish.
Do his thighs looked bloated to you?

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

My Son is Weird

"I don't like the smell of paper after it has been in the freezer."

Huh?

Friday, October 24, 2008

I know I'm way behind, but...

I came across this today (yes, it was written 7 years ago and I'm just now getting to it). A friend of mine has encouraged me to learn more about Wayne Jacobsen's views. So, today my journey begins. Below is a quote from BodyLife - May 2001.

I'm tired of trying to fellowship with people who only view church as a two-hour a week dumping ground for guilt while they live the rest of the week with the same priorities as the world. I'm tired of those who depend on their own works of righteousness but who have no compassion for the people of the world. I'm tired of insecure people using the Body of Christ as an extension of their own ego and will manipulate it to satisfy their own needs. I'm tired of sermons more filled with the bondage of religion than the freedom of God's love and where relationships take a back seat to the demands of an efficient institution.
Someone was complaining recently about their "church" not having a Sunday night service that week. I suggested the idea that it wasn't commanded in the Bible that there be a Sunday night service (or any service for that matter, but I didn't dare go there) and the reply was that it says not to forsake the assembling of the saints which meant they must have a Sunday night service.

HUH?

Sometimes it's just easier to walk away.

Isaiah 1
"When you come before Me,
who every gave you the idea of acting like this,
Running here and there, doing this and that --
all this sheer commotion in the place provided for worship?
Quit your worship charades.
I can't stand your trivial religious games:
Monthly conferences, weekly Sabbaths, special meetings --
meetings, meetings, meetings, -- I can't stand one more!
Meetings for this, meetings for that. I hate them!
You've worn Me out!
I'm sick of your religion, religion, religion,
while you go right on sinning."

and skipping to the end of the chapter:

"Say no to wrong.
Learn to do good.
Work for justice.
Help the down-and-out.
Stand up for the homeless.
Go to bat for the defenseless."
The Message//Remix - Eugene H. Peterson

Please note the "while you go right on sinning." It's probably there for a reason.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Bleach, Vacuums, Comfort Zones

Last week there was a new kitchen crew at the Union Gospel Mission. They were doing things a little different than the guys we've worked for in the past. The trays were pretty much done when chapel was over so Phil and I helped get them to the tables. That way, all the men had to do was sit down and eat. That gave them a little more free time before bed. Clay, Callie, and I helped wipe down the kitchen. The bleach water was so strong that it took a couple of days for the smell to leave my hands. Clay and Phil pulled trash duty and Callie got to do her favorite job - vacuuming out the warming table. There's something magical about sucking up nasty food filled water with a vacuum. Corinn, Crystal, and Aaron missed out this month. Homecoming celebrations called. Our music minister filled in for Aaron and had such a good time he shared about the experience in the Sunday service. Stepping out of your comfort zone usually leads to good things.

Take A Walk

Anger and how to deal with it was the main topic of discussion at Coventry last week. The Stars shared how they felt when they are angry. Some shake, some cry, some yell.

I'm a crier. When I'm pushed to the edge I cry. I would prefer screaming, but crying seems to be more socially acceptable.

When asked what you should do when you're angry Ted had the best advice.

"Take a walk."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Love With Actions and In Truth

Poverty quickly grows evil, twisting into torture we can't comprehend.

That thought went through my head tonight as I sat in on the International Justice Mission Briefing here in Dallas. We were walked through the steps IJM navigates to pull people out of torturous situations brought on by the despair of poverty.

Earlier in the day I received the email from Shaun with details about what Compassion International wanted us to blog about today. The theme - poverty. The IJM Briefing was excellent in helping me realize what Compassion helps families avoid.

Compassion International helps children avoid the terrors IJM fights daily. Both organizations are careful to make sure their actions speak louder than their words.

James 2:15-17
Suppose a brother or sister is without clothes and daily food. If one of you says to him, "Go, I wish you well; keep warm and well fed," but does nothing about his physical needs, what good is it? In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

I John 3:17-18
If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth.

Compassion teams with local ministries and churches to put actions into their words. Children are being released daily from the grips of poverty by caring people in their neighborhood. It isn't foreigners coming into a village and taking over. We get to be a part of it by sponsoring children involved in the neighborhood programs. We get to help break the poverty cycle.

And we get the sweetest letters ever from the most beautiful children ever.

How can the love of God be in us if we sit back and do nothing?

Like A Deer Caught In Headlights

I'm reading The Shack. I know I'm way behind everyone else. I came across this today.
"...most folks would rather just hear what they are used to hearing, which is often not much of anything."
Do you have people like that in your life? Same conversations, same phrases, same reactions every single time you talk? When you try to mix it up and talk about something different they stare at you like a deer caught in headlights. It is SO frustrating. I find myself avoiding opportunities to share anything with these people. They want you to follow a little script they wrote years ago. And it is maddening.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

The Truth Is...

Read this today and liked it.

"The truth is that there is no hope in principles or issues. There is no hope in politics, world leaders, policies or government. There is no ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ candidate. There is only the hope of Jesus Christ. The only thing that remains is the grassroots gospel of a new humanity of people loving and serving and giving their lives so that God might increase and be known to others as they do so." Matt Conner

The complete post can be found in The Rabbit Room.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Can You Watch This and Not Have Your Heart Break?

More Than Groggy

My mom called me at 10:30 this morning and said she was groggy from her afternoon nap. My thinking was she was more than groggy 'cause it wasn't afternoon.

Her mornings are starting at 2 a.m. She's at her station by 3 a.m. Yesterday they prepared 36,000 lunches and then turned around and made 36,000 dinners. That is just one kitchen. There are 4 in Galveston. Mom is part of the SBTC Disaster Relief Team.

The work is beyond grueling, but she loves it. It's one of those things that you hate that it has to be done, but you love doing it. It is the same feeling I get from being at the Union Gospel Mission. I hate that homelessness exists, but I'm happy there are ways I can help out.

So, please pray for stamina for my mom and the others that are working hard and for those that are without so much.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Callie Conversation

I asked the two youngest kids at my house if they wanted their dinner chicken or hamburger based. No one answered. This isn't unusual. I'm usually ignored unless one of them has a complaint.

Chicken was my choice. I started cooking it in an unhealthy way to make my youngest kid happy. He is my biggest complainer and sometimes it is just nicer to not have to hear it.

Callie came over to see what I was cooking. If it is something she can stir, open, or chop she wants to be in the middle of helping. It wasn't, so she moved back to the computer.

About thirty minutes later this conversation took place.

Callie: What's for dinner? Chicken or hamburger?
Me: What did it look like I was cooking when you came over to see?
Callie: Chicken.
Me: So what do you think is for dinner?
Callie: Chicken?

Sponsors Needed

Real Hope For Haiti Rescue Center needs people to sponsor pallets for a shipment to Haiti.

"We still need 23 sponsors to help get the container here to Haiti. We have lots of medicine, food, peanut butter, clothes, shoes, baby formula, etc that are ready to come." Licia

Learn more here.

Maybe your office, softball team, golf buddies, Bible study group, etc...could sponsor a pallet or two.

Friday, October 3, 2008

I Was Wrong

I had a meeting the other day that I did not want to go to. I did NOT want to go to. I DID NOT want to go to. I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO.

I whined and complained - - a lot. I DID NOT WANT TO GO TO THIS MEETING, but I made myself get on the train, head to downtown, and walk into this meeting. I did SO not want to be there.

It was at a very large church with a very large reputation. I felt there was no reason for me to be there, that there would be nothing said that I wanted to hear, that I was wasting gas trying to find a parking spot, $3 for train fair, and 3 hours of my time.

I was wrong.

The minister that I did not want to meet with shared his burden for the people outside of the church building walls. He told how the devastation left by Katrina along the Mississippi coast rocked his world. Before he was only interested in the music program developed and performed for the members of his church body, those that came into his church building. Katrina changed all that. God used the disaster to open his eyes and burden his heart. In the last five weeks he has moved to Texas and started his new job at the very large church with a very large reputation. He wants his new choirs to be burdened. He wants them to look beyond the church building walls. He wants them to get their hands dirty.

Everything that I was going to suggest his choir do for Christmas Gift 2008, he suggested first. He expects the choir members to volunteer beyond just singing for thirty minutes. He wants them spending time with the homeless guests one on one and not just from the stage. He doesn't want extra attention drawn to what church the choir comes from. He knows that some of the choir members will not be happy. He could lose members over this. He understands the mindset of those that will be offended by this idea of getting their hands dirty. He was there once, before Katrina. Someone told me that choir practice at this church is no longer "just practice", it is now "worship". Wow.

I was wrong. I went in with preconceived prejudices. They were totally blown away by this minister that has a burden for those outside the church building walls. They were totally blown away by a man that wants to give this burden to others.

Monday, September 29, 2008

This or That

Today I found this on kristiapplesauce. And you thought the decisions you have to make are hard.

How does a person make these kinds of decisions?

Friday, September 26, 2008

I Got Another Letter...

on Saturday from a very special little lady. It is my second letter from this special one. I found we have something in common. We both like la playa. Her mother bought her a "safeguard to swim in the beach." I'm so glad she has a safeguard. I hope it doesn't make her too brave in the water. She also sent me kisses and hugs. Those made me giddy!

I sent her some pictures to color for her mom. They're about Jesus loving the little children. Hope she has fun with them.

Compassion made these exchanges possible for me and my little lady in the Dominican Republic. You can look and find a little one to support financially and spiritually.

My friends, Matt and Kristen, support a boy in Africa. With the $25 they sent for his birthday he bought a mattress, a pair of stockings, a big bar of soap, and a bag of salt. He sent them a picture of him grinning as he held his birthday purchases. Also, due to their monthly sponsorship he is now in school. Yes!

Many children have been waiting longer than 6 months for sponsors. Take a look. We have so much compared to these. I encourage you to find one to sponsor.

I'm so thankful Compassion has given us the opportunity to reach out to these special kids.

Life Lesson Learned

Yesterday I noticed the flag up on our mailbox. Curious, I looked in to see a letter perfectly addressed and stamped from Callie to her camp counselor.

Yes, she did it all by herself and remembered to put on the stamp!

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Don't Fear What They Fear

I've heard the word "fear" used a lot by people discussing the elections. I came across this in my study of Isaiah.

"Don't be like this people,
always afraid somebody is plotting against them.
Don't fear what they fear.
Don't take on their worries.
If you're going to worry,
worry about The Holy. Fear GOD-of-the-Angel-Armies.
The Holy can be either a Hiding Place
or a Boulder blocking your way.
The Rock standing in the willful way
of both houses of Israel,
A barbed-wire Fence preventing trespass
to the citizens of Jerusalem.
Many of them are going to run into that Rock
and get their bones broken.
Get tangled up in that barbed wire
and not get free of it."
Isaiah 8:12-15
The Message

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

UNRAFFLE

Brian Seay and his family are working on an adoption. They have created the UNRAFFLE. Being from a Southern Baptist background I totally understand their unique name for this fundraiser.

Click here to read the description and find out what your UNRAFFLE unticket will give you an opportunity to "unwin". Actually, your contribution does give you a "chance" (watch out for lightning) to win something.

Their adoption story is here.

I got a cool comment on one of my posts...

so, I investigated and the info got even cooler.

Some of you may remember my post, TOMS and Sanctus Real and Extreme Makeover. Well, Schooler got to be part of it, up close and personal. And, he shot some great photos of the concert and the home demolition. He got a hard hat and everything. How cool is that? He had an inside track with my BFF (please see below).

I've been a fan of TOMS ever since I heard about their amazing company. Check them out and become a fan too. Their documentary, For Tomorrow - The TOMS Shoes Story, was a Humanitarian Vision Award Winner at the 2008 Newport Beach Film Festival and was an official selection at the 2008 Tribeca Film Festival.

I'd been a fan of Sanctus Real for a while before volunteering at one of their concerts a few years back. Always liked their music, but what sealed the deal for me was when Matt said I was a cool mom. He now is my BFF! I don't usually have my picture taken with rock stars, but I do have my picture taken with rock stars that think I'm a cool mom just so I can pull them up and remind my kids that I'm a cool mom.


So, if you're a rock star and want your picture taken with me you now know the rule.
Now, are there any rules for how many times you can use the word "cool" in a post?

Monday, September 22, 2008

Please Consider...

Bush and Maris need help finishing out their adoption fund account. Having paid for an adoption I know how hard that is. They are down to the wire.

Bush is an amazing photographer. He's selling prints of his work. Visit this site, pick one out and buy it. I can't figure out which is my favorite, but I'm sure you're better at making up your mind than me.

Just When I Think I Can't Be Surprised...

On the way to school today Callie picked up a picture and asked who it was.

me: Myrna Loy and William Powell

Callie: Are they alive?

me: no

Callie: Are they dead?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

An email from Hands and Feet Project


This is the scene looking at several of our children's houses in Haiti after our area was hit by 3 hurricanes in a row. The red area you see in the foreground is a full size pick up truck that is buried in about 6 feet of rock that was pushed in by the floods. Thankfully all of our children and staff are safe. Many regions in Haiti were not that fortunate.

Please consider helping us as we re-build our property and build a large retaining wall for our property, the school next to us (providing a great education for 850 children), and surrounding neighbors. We have taken this project on because if we don't, our entire community could be destroyed by a future storm. Unfortunately, we can't just call the army corps of engineers to come build us a dam and some storm drains!

Please go to our website at www.handsandfeetproject.org to see more pictures, a video of the storm, and to donate.

Thanks for reading...please pray for Haiti and help however you can.

Hands and Feet Project | PO Box 682105 | Franklin, TN 37068
www.handsandfeetproject.org

Monday, September 15, 2008

What I learned from Sneaky Pete last Thursday

Stay in the moment.
Focus on the task at hand.
Get there mentally.
Stay in my body.
Beating clay (not my son) is easier with my left hand than my right.

Sneaky Pete had meningitis at 13 months which left his system fried. For thirty or so years his brain hasn't recognized he has a right arm, wrist, hand. The therapist and the rest of us at Coventry are working with him to force his brain to rewire and acknowledge the right side of his body. And it is hard work.

I'm left handed. I can do almost nothing with my right hand, unless my left hand or left side of my body is engaged as well. Such as, driving a stick (something this guy can't do). My right hand has no problem with working the gears, but I think it is because my left foot is busy with the clutch. I can work a mouse with my right hand, but my left hand is busy with the keyboard.

So, Sneaky Pete got his nickname because he sneaks his left hand up to perform tasks. Now, is he truly being sneaky? No. His brain is telling him to use his left hand, but he laughs really hard when I call him Sneaky Pete after catching him pop a grape in his mouth with his left hand. I decided last Thursday to only use my right hand while working with him so that I would have a small taste of what it is like. And it was hard work. I wasn't sure I could get the spoon to my mouth without making a mess. I could do it as long as I held my bowl in my left hand, but if I put the bowl on the table and tried to bring the spoon straight up from there - it was hard. I had to focus on the task at hand, stay in the moment, get there mentally, and stay in my body. It was the same way with beating clay for pottery work.

Sneaky works so hard, but there are times he looks at me as if saying, "This would be a lot easier if you would just let me use my left hand." I know, I understand, but it isn't was is best for him. His balance is better now. His speech has improved. He is excited to learn he can do more.

Just as it is easier for him to check out of a moment and not focus on a task, it is the same for me. But, it isn't best for me.

My new friend has taught me that there is payoff from
Staying in the moment,
Focusing on the task at hand,
Getting there mentally,
Staying in my body.

I learn more and therefore, I can give more.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Where Do You Start?

The following is from the Livesay's Haiti blog.

Please consider adding the entire Zachary Family to your daily prayer list. Licia reports that Lori and her husband Charles will return to Haiti next week. They have lost all of their belongings and will need to help their neighbors face loss too. THANK YOU to those of you who contacted Jamie and/or donated. At this very moment it is honestly so overwhelming for Licia that they are trying to determine WHICH needs to tackle first. The water was a big one and they have filters now so they can filter the dirty water and make it safe to drink. The water was so powerful it destroyed roads, moved vehicles and bridges and entire homes.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

1 Timothy 4:10

The following is from let us bring the Remedy. Her stuff makes me laugh and cry, sometimes at the same time. She is talented that way. She also is a girl after God's own heart. Click here to read the rest of the story.


Speaking bluntly about Jesus wasn't really possible at this conference, so we had to point to Him with our actions. It was so cool talking about integrity and gentleness and perseverance and knowing that the only way to prove it to them was by our actions. And boy, were they watching us. A few of us wore bandannas across our foreheads on Saturday, to keep our hair out of our faces... The store sold out of bandannas that day. Around 30 girls showed up to dinner wearing bandannas the exact same way. It was such a cool reminder that we were being watched. Who were we showing them? When I was reading 1 Timothy today, I found a verse that explained exactly what we did this weekend. And it is so cool:

"We work hard and suffer much in order that people will believe this Truth, for our hope is in the Living God, who is the Savior of all people, and particularly of those who believe."
1 Timothy 4:10

Monday, September 8, 2008

Royalty

I just want everyone to know I have royalty in my ESL class. And no, I'm not naming names.

Love Your Chocolate?

Read here about Fair Trade chocolate. Don't know what fair trade means? Then definitely read here.

Hands and Feet in Haiti

As hurricanes Ike and Josephina threaten Haiti yet again, Mark Stuart also urges people to help: “Pray for Haiti, it’s a country that is often overlooked by the news channels when hurricanes happen because there are really no tourist areas. No reason to really pay attention, but it’s a place that really could use our help.”

This angers me. Not Mark and the work of his family, but the attitude of the media on what is important to broadcast.

To read more about the large damage Hands and Feet suffered go here or here to see a video. If you watch the video, and I suggest you do, watch for the red truck.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Haiti Hit Hard

and will any media here even cover it? Please read Aaron's posts about the devastation Hurricane Ike has done to Haiti. Being one of the poorest places in the world already, this leaves Haiti in beyond dire straights.

Aaron has provided link information for paypal accounts if you want to help out the Real Hope For Haiti Rescue Center. There are also pictures of a small part of the damage.

Today a bunch of people were demolishing the student ministry room in preparation of a 30 years in the making makeover. The chaos was much and the mess was much. I found it overwhelming...I cannot begin to wrap my mind around what it would be like to have to crawl out of what the RHFH staff is dealing with. There aren't any government agencies they can call. There isn't any hotel the government will put them and the rescued children in. There is no FEMA to even pretend to help them.

If you can...please help.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Mind Numbing Football

Just got back from a football game. Final score 60 - 12. BBBOOOORRRRIIIINNNGGG!!!
I don't know if these kinds of games are fun for the players, but they put me to sleep.

I started cheering for the other team, begging them to make a touchdown just to make it a little more exciting. David had the pleasure of sitting by me today, which meant he got to listen to me. I finally turned to him at one point and said I thought our team could not even be on the field and the other team still wouldn't be able to score.

My daughter's boyfriend made the winning touchdown. How could it be the winning touchdown with a score of 60 - 12? He made the touchdown that called the game and put us all out of our misery. Thank you Micah! And it was an exciting run. He broke the tackle at about the 20 and ran it all the way in. And his hair still looked amazing when he took his helmet off! It was very impressive.

TOMS and Sanctus Real and Exteme Makeover

and...and...and...oh, sorry. I'm passing this on for Sanctus Real and TOMS.

Hey everyone,

Check out this website:
http://www. tomsshoes. com/toledofamily

How sweet is this?
"Extreme Makeover: Home Edition" is coming to Toledo this week and as part of the festivities, Sanctus gets the
awesome opportunity to play a concert for the show! They're going to film it and there's a good chance some of it will be aired.


Here's something even more awesome and a way for you to get involved...We've hooked up with Tom's Shoes and through the end of the day (September 6th), if you click on the link above, and order a pair of Tom's, not only will they give a pair to a person in need (like always), but they'll donate $8 to the family on the show. That's not all though, if you use the promo code "sanctusreal" you'll save $5! It doesn't get any better than that. So check it out ASAP because even though you can get the discount anytime, the $8 for the family only lasts through the end of today.


Give, Get, Stttttrrrrrreeeeeetch those dollars!

Friday, September 5, 2008

What I Learned Yesterday

This is what I learned at Coventry this week.

I am not in this world for myself.
Others need my smile, hug, and pat on the back.
I will look around and see how I can be a blessing.
I can make a difference in someone's life every day.

I don't know if they know it, but they bless me greatly. Their hearts are so big.

During Circle Time someone shared that a friend's 18 year old son had been in a car wreck over the weekend and was now a paraplegic. He was a freshman in college and on the soccer team. She asked for prayer for him and his parents. Our wheelchair bound Star's heart broke open and she wept as she prayed about the changes and challenges in this boy's life.

As I listened to these sweet people talk to God, I couldn't help but think that He must lean in extra close to hear their honest prayers. It must make His heart sing to listen to them.

I got to hang out with "Sneaky Pete" on Thursday. Of course, that isn't his real name, but he is supposed to be working on the muscle coordination in his right hand and arm and when I would turn my head he would sneak up his left hand and use it. He laughed at my nickname for him and gave me "head hugs" and you haven't lived til you've had a "head hug".

Jay asked me how Corinn was doing and if she was going to visit that day. I was shocked he remembered her name. When I told Corinn she laughed and said her teachers didn't even know her name. He told me he would take me on Superman at Six Flags. I said I didn't like to wait in lines and he said I wouldn't have to wait in line if I was with him because he is handicapped and can go to the front of the line. I asked him if he would hold my hand and he said "yes." I asked if he would scream like a girl and he said "no." I said that I would. That made everyone laugh.

I'm looking forward to next week. Wonder what I'll learn then.

Tired of the Parties

This is how I feel about the political party conventions:

Stop regarding man, whose breath of life is in their nostrils;
For why should he be esteemed?
Isaiah 2:22

Hurricanes and Haiti

This is from Aaron Ivey's blog. You can read the entire thing here. This is the part that jumped out at me.

so many have been kind to call/email/text us about how our kids are doing with all the storms and flooding. (it is a humbling thing to know that people around the country are thinking and praying for our kids in Haiti). They are both fine and safe. We communicated with Licia and Lori today. we definitley got the scope of how rough things are there right now. the MAJOR problem right now is lack of drinking water. the flooding has washed out all of the water pipes which brings in fresh water to the village and mission. there are no supplies to fix these pipes, so when their reserve supplies of fresh water run out, they are in trouble. they can’t drink the water from the overflowing rivers because it is filled with “dirty” water (contaminated). Licia is doing everything she can to conserve, collect rain water, and limit washing clothes and diapers. she says her food supply will be ok, but major concern is water.
How is your water supply today?

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Glass Floor

The Glass Floor has been broken. Most people hit a glass ceiling, but I was having trouble going down. Now, only 30 more pounds to go. I still weigh more than I did nine months pregnant with any of my kids.

Diving In

I've decided to dive into Isaiah. Before I just splashed around here and there, but now, I'm going for a Laura Wilkinson platform dive. The kind that forces you to go deep. Jesus for President and Justice In The Burbs finally got me to climb up the tall ladder.

This is the passage that got to me this morning:

Where will you be stricken again,
As you continue to your rebellion?
The whole head is sick,
And the whole heart is faint.
From the sole of the foot even to the head
There is nothing sound in it...

My rebellion is continuous. It affects every part of me and causes pain for those around me. I need to get well.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cooking with Clay

I mean my son, not stiff, sticky fine-grained earth. He made the chipotle rub for the chicken. We cooked it so there was a choice of pan-fried or baked thighs.

Clay liked it so much he ate two pieces of chicken. Of course, he chose the pan-fried version.

I Got A Letter

I got my first letter from four-year old Grabiela. She writes she is attending church with her brother who is learning pantomime.

I have no idea what that means, but I love it.

Go to Compassion and find a child to sponsor. Then you can get a special letter from your sponsored child.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Skipping Out on Church

Today I skipped out after Sunday School. I hate calling it Sunday School, don't know exactly why, just do. Anyway, my Chinese kiddos were gone on their annual church retreat so I didn't have that normal responsibility.

I came home. I needed quiet. There hasn't been a lot of quiet in the last couple of days or week. In fact, I think the only time I experienced quiet was when I put my earplugs in and went to sleep. But, my brain isn't quiet when I sleep. Lots of crazy, bizarre dreams that don't let me really rest.

So, I came home to a quiet house and picked up my Bible. It opened to Isaiah 61 and I started reading. Now, I thought I was in Psalms so I was a little confused when I picked up another translation and the passages really didn't match. But, I figured it out pretty quickly. I'm smart that way... sometimes.

I love how everything that God puts in my life blends together to teach me, calm me, lift me up.
Sometimes it is gaining the knowledge that I'm not crazy in how I feel about a certain topic, that what the Holy Spirit has been moving and stirring in my heart is the truth.

This morning this is what jumped out to me as something I need to work diligently on cultivating in my life. The Nancy Sapp Purdy paraphrase:

Bring messages of joy instead of news of doom.
Have a praising heart instead of a languid spirit.

My prayer is that I be a messenger of joy. I've got people in my extended family that love to be the bearers of bad news. It just pours out of them. Some of them seem to feel it is their duty to make sure everyone knows the news of doom.

It is very easy for me to have a languid spirit. My prayer is that I work to develop a continuous praising heart.

Sometimes skipping out on church is a good thing. In the quiet I can focus. My mother would be having a cow right now if she knew. Skipping Sunday School and church any time the doors are open leads right to hell. But, it is okay to sleep in church, because you have made the effort to be in the building with the other saints. Okay, I'll stop now. I'm slipping away from being a messenger of joy.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

A Variety of Influence

Last evening as I walked into the funeral home, a place I have come to loathe, I couldn't help but notice the variety of people that were standing outside talking and comforting each other. I grew up in a small town where most everyone looked alike and dressed alike. But that is not what I witnessed last night and it made me happy. There were cowboys, rockers, hip-hoppers, punks, and clean cut kids. To me it spoke of Wade's influence and his family's influence.

Today at the funeral it was the same way. The church was packed beyond capacity. Again, the variety of people was obvious. I know there were some in the church and in town that were having a hard time with some in attendance. But, I wish I could have had a conversation with some of them, especially the guy with Bible verses tattooed on his head. I would love to hear his story.

When I got the horrifying news of Wade's death, all I could think of was that Tracy had lost his son, Doyle and Diane had lost their grandson, Tim and Cindy had lost their nephew and all right on the heels of Phyllis' death. It was almost paralyzing to think about their loss. But, it wasn't until during the service that I even thought about Wade being the same age as my Aaron. And that almost took me under. I didn't and wouldn't and won't let my mind go there. It would do no good.

So, how do I end a blog like this? I don't know. I hope I never have to write another one like this.

Friday, August 29, 2008

I'm In Love

A couple of years ago my friend, Sherri, told me about Coventry and how amazing it is. I was intrigued, but not at a place where I could check it out.

A couple of weeks ago she called to tell me they were in need of volunteers and thought I would be a good fit. So, I made an appointment with Darlene for Tuesday and checked the place out while they checked me out.

I walked in and was immediately blown away by the atmosphere. Peace and love are palatable. Sherri said people say "God lives here." I believe it. The physical space is beautiful, soothing, and fun. I immediately relaxed physically and mentally. The Holy Spirit's presence engulfs Coventry. All that happened in a matter of seconds. No one had even had a chance to speak to me. People started speaking and it just got better. I drove away saying, "I'm in love, I'm in love, I'm in love."

Now, my dear couple of readers, I will try to explain Coventry. 'Cause I passed inspection and they're letting me volunteer! I feel so honored. Really, this place will blow your mind! It has mine.

Coventry's vision is to create a beautiful, Christ-centered community where adults with special needs can experience life to the fullest as long as they live.

Coventry's mission is to make a difference in the lives of adults with functional disabilities by providing life enrichment opportunities and encouraging them to use their God-given abilities as they work, learn and socialize in a safe and cheerful environment.

Coventry is a day program that provides life enrichment opportunities for adults with special needs. Activities and therapies are offered to promote and assist them in continuing to learn and stay active intellectually, mentally, physically, socially, and emotionally. We believe that adults with disabilities are capable of living a very full, active and productive life when provided with appropriate and consistent positive reinforcement and opportunity.

And, boy, do they pull it off! Love and respect oozes everywhere. There is laughter and learning all day.

Yesterday was my first day. Wow!

My new friend is Gretta. She is a lovely little lady five years my junior. Her frame is tiny. Jeffrey calls her "Little Angel" and is always checking to make sure she is doing okay. Even though she doesn't speak (yet), everyone includes her in their conversations. It is beautiful to watch. They make sure her legs are straight so the blood can flow properly and make her straighten them even when she doesn't want to, because they know it is best for her health. She is their princess, but they don't spoil her.

I get to help her through the day. Yesterday we glazed four star ornaments. Her body wants to be in a tight little ball, so she works hard on stretching out her limbs and hands. I assist her with hand over hand. We also made thirteen angel ornaments. It was exciting! She was able to reach out and grasp the mallet three times by herself! Her strength isn't where she can pound on the cookie cutter by herself (yet), but she tries. She was so happy about her thirteen angels. While we rested between each angel, Gretta would reach for my hand and tuck it in close to her body, then lean her elbow on my shoulder and gaze into my eyes. They said she was testing me to see if she could trust me. I think I passed. I would be heartbroken if I didn't.

The participants at Coventry love each other so much. They are kind and respectful to each other and have a deep interest in how everyone is doing. It forced me to be pro-actively polite. There is no doubt I'm going to be learning a lot from this remarkable group of people.

I told Darlene at the end of the day that I felt as if I had been in therapy. Really good, spirit lifting, Christ centered therapy. I'm so excited about next week. Can't wait!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

A Stinkin' Genius

Today Haley calls God a stinkin' genius and admits she carried off my copy of Crazy Love. Okay, she doesn't admit it's my copy, but it is.

Read fast Dear. I want it back.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Crashing

Tonight, on the way to church, I was in the middle of telling Phil the exciting news about our friends' adoption travel date when my phone rang.

It was my mother.

With very bad news.

The son, the grandson, of dear friends was killed this afternoon on his way back to Mabank from Athens.

We are all still reeling from Phyllis' death. This family was very close to Phyllis.

My head and heart are in shock. News from opposite ends of the spectrum in just a few hours.

Oh Happy Day!

I just received an exciting phone call from one of my dear friends. They got their travel date for Russia! YES! It has been a two year wait. An up and down, twisty, turny, spinning roller coaster on steroids wait.

But the wait is now over! And soon, very soon, my friends will travel to Russia to meet their new daughters! And are we excited? Heck Yeah! I'm so excited I can't see straight!

Oh Happy Day!

Oh, Man - This Made Me Laugh

Eyebrows Battle

For the past couple of months my face has decided it needs a unibrow. And I'm sick of it. I've never had eyebrow problems in the past. My eyebrow hairs have stayed where they are suppose to be for the most part. It has taken very little plucking and maintaining on my part over the years. But, all of a sudden my eyebrows have decided that they need to be thick and hairy and unified. What is with this?! I am battling hairs growing where they have never grown before. What makes a hair suddenly decide to grow in an unchartered area? Did it decide it was too crowded and needed more space?

So, this is my demand:
I mean, really, just cut it out. Stay in your designated hair growing spot and do your job. No more venturing out. Stay put. If you feel the need for more space. Ignore it! I do not have time to mess with you.

kristiapplesauce

Through Anne Jackson's blog I found a new blog today. Check it out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Are Your Pantry Shelves Stocked With Staples?

Please read this blog by Regina Hopewell. I also received a letter today from Compassion about the Global Food Crisis and how it is impacting the country of the children my family sponsors.

Money is so tight for us now, but there has to be something I can give up so that I can give and a child can live.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

My French Chicks Leave Tomorrow...

and I don't want them to go. I'm wondering if their parents would care if we just didn't manage to get them on the plane.

We went out for our last meal together. It was hamburgers and fries at Mooyah. Can't get more American than that. You can get more Texan, but not more American. We did Tejano's on Thursday night. Phil, Haley and Clay took them to Health Camp in Waco on Saturday night. I don't know why I've started discussing eating establishments. Probably because I don't want to think about how much I'm going to miss them.

These girls have been amazing. They have jumped into the middle of our crazy family and just held on tight for the ride. We have drug them here and there and they've never fussed or complained. They were even game to put on hair nets and gloves to serve meals at the Union Gospel Mission. I know many teenagers that would have refused.

We have laughed our heads off at Callie trying to teach them English. Their English is much better than hers, so we have to run interference and explain that they are saying it correctly and she is wrong. She even tries to correct their French. Now, that is a hoot. We have to explain to her that they are French and they know how to pronounce French words.

All the kids have different relationships with them and it has been a lot of fun to watch. Callie has been their "American Tour Guide" which was very confusing at times. Clay has been their pesky little brother that refuses to smile for pictures. Corinn has been their "just chill friend" introducing them to her friends and her world. Haley was their "Adventure Guide" which is scary due to the fact that Haley is directionally challenged. Aaron has been their obnoxious big brother that continuously makes them laugh.

Starbucks sales will go down after tomorrow. These girls have made their stock go up. The barista at our Kroger is going to miss them. She knew their regular orders.

I can't think about their leaving anymore. I know tomorrow the tears will come at a steady pace.

These girls have been a blessing.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Cars - For Lack of a Better Title

My dream car is actually a 1940 or 50 Chevy Truck. Don't care what color or condition as long as it runs well enough to not leave me stranded. I won't ever have one, but like I said, it's my dream car.

I also think convertibles are great. During the spring in Iowa all the old convertibles come out of storage and cruise around town. They are so much fun to see. What really makes me drool is a retractable hard top convertible. The fabric tops give me a headache with all the noise they make. But a retractable hard top? Wow! I won't ever have a convertible though. They don't get good enough gas mileage for them to be a practical choice. Plus there is this thing called "sticker shock" that makes them impractical. Do I really need a convertible? Hmmmm...no.

Just give me a car that runs well enough to not leave me stranded. For some reason I don't like being stranded. I have found that I like cup holders. So, cup holders and ability to run are important to me in a car. In Texas light color cars can be nice. Sometimes, in Texas, even light colored interiors can get too hot to handle as I discovered today. I didn't know you could fry your hands on a tan steering wheel. Since Texas heat can make any color miserable, maybe color doesn't really matter.

What I think would be really cool, besides an old Chevy Truck, is a car covered in Pez dispensers.
Don't ask my why. I don't have an answer. That picture just keeps running through my mind.

Friday, August 22, 2008

What Does Your Neighborhood Park Look Like?

What is it like when you stroll through your neighborhood? Does the smell of the sewer waft through your nose? Do you have guards going before you to make sure you are safe?

Help change a life. Give a child the hope they need.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Tears of Joy

Today I looked in my rearview mirror to see a police officer right on my tail with lights blazing. My French Chicks were in the car with me so I was trying to be brave and getting ready to suck up whatever he was going to throw at me. I calmly turned on my blinker and prepared to pull into a church parking lot. When I pulled into the turn lane HE PASSED ME!

I burst into tears from pure relief.

I'm 45 today...I think

I have trouble keeping up with how old I am. It might have something to with all the dead brain cells from delivering 4 children. And I'm pretty sure some got killed during the adoption process of Callie. But, anyway, I'm pretty sure I'm 45 this time around.

Twenty years ago we were living in the adorable little town of Norwalk, Iowa. Haley had arrived three days before. I was three years into what turned out to be twelve miserable years of depression. I finally got help. Now the depression rears it head and slaps me down about every five years or so. Thankfully, now I don't mess around about getting help to climb back up.

The last twenty years have been filled with lots of good stuff. My husband has continued to love me. Most of the time I'm not too lovable. We've added four wonderful, crazy, obnoxious children to our family. I've been to China three times for a total of 9 weeks, Morocco for two weeks and the South of France one week (not nearly long enough). I've volunteered for some amazing organizations, gone on some moving mission trips and been paid to do some really fun things.

The last twenty years has been filled with a lot of crap too. As I've already said, depression kept me down for a good bit of time. I bought into the stupid American dream. I bought into the Plano dream even though in the back of my head I always knew it was wrong, wrong, wrong. I've made choices for which my family will pay a long, long, time. I waited too many years to sponsor children from Compassion International. My priorities have been twisted and bent.

I don't know if I have twenty more years. If I take after my grandmothers, I do. If I take after my grandfathers, not so much. My prayer is that I do better with whatever I have left.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Is Chapstique Married?

Apparently that question has been on the minds of a few people lately. Or at least during the dates of July 20th through August 19th. I don't check my Google Analytics very often, but I was very shocked to see that people have found my blog by asking that question and when they found my blog they stayed awhile. Just makes me wonder. I wouldn't think I would have anything interesting to say for a person wondering if Chap Stique is married or not.

Now I will answer the question. Yes he is. Very happily. To a very beautiful, very sweet, very intelligent young woman.

Now you know.

What Does Your Grocery Store Look Like?

Does it look like this?

Compassion International Dominican Republic Festival Video 2 from Shaun Groves on Vimeo.

Can you watch this without your heart breaking? Will this video run through your head during your next trip to the grocery store or when you are reaching for a bag of sugar?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

If your world is small...

it makes it easier to protect your heart.

There's a Guy I Know...

who is an amazing photographer and beard grower. He also has a heart for Haiti and Compassion International. Read his blog about both here.

If You Have Ears to Hear and a Heart That Beats...

check out this new video from Shaun Groves' visit to The Dominican Republic with Compassion International.



The work Compassion International does in The Dominican Republic is special to me because our family sponsors two beautiful children there.

My Oldest is Twenty

My oldest daughter turned twenty yesterday morning at 7:38 a.m. Her birth was easy. I wish her brothers had followed in her footsteps in that area. She has turned out to be a remarkable young woman. She can blow spit bubbles off of her tongue. I know! It is very impressive. The French Chicks were laughing hysterically at her talent as I tried to dodge the bubbles while watching Detroit beat the Rangers from the mile high seats at The Ranger Stadium in Arlington. According to Haley I'm the only one that finds her talent disgusting.

Since I am now old enough to have a twenty year old I am tired and going to bed, I mean, sleep. I'm already in bed. Having a twenty year old does that to a person.

Monday, August 18, 2008

She might have met the President BUT we got the awesome thank you note!

While my friends, Kim and David, were hobnobbing with the 41st and the 43rd Presidents and First Ladies at a wedding, we (or mainly Phil) were keeping one of their kids. Kids weren't invited to the highly orchestrated wedding that included former and acting Presidents as guests. Imagine that.

Yes, Kim got to share her umbrella with #43, but we got the best part of the deal, 'cause we got this awesome thank you note. I bet she doesn't get an awesome thank you note.

Dear: Misster and Misses Perdie anb Clay
thancue for leting me play vidieo-gamse. My faveret one is marieo tinise. (An adorable hand drawn illustration went here) thancue for ceaping me safe, let-ing me slep in clase room. and giving me food.
FROME: mark
I mean, really, does it get any cuter than that? And it is proof that if we keep your kids we will give them food.

Bloopers are funnier in person

This morning Rance was tripping all over his tongue while taping promos. Hopefully it didn't have anything to do with the stitches across the back of his head. I asked if he had a concussion and one of the camera guys thought that might be the case too. But, he finally made it through them. For Every Day will be showcased on The Buzz sometime in mid-September. Yea!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Family Night at the homeless shelter

Our family has started volunteering at the Union Gospel Mission once a month and tonight was our night. I've been looking forward to it all month. On one hand, it is a great bummer that there even has to be a Union Gospel Mission, but on the other, it is a great honor to be able to volunteer there. My friend, Susie, has been doing this for many years. The men love her and she loves them. Tonight she shared her testimony about how she used to despise homeless people and how God took her prideful heart and turned it into a heart full of love for the homeless. I've heard her tell that story many times. I've edited it in written form. I'm well acquainted with her story and for some reason tonight it moved me to tears. She also showed a small video of the Operation Care - Philippines project that ministered to 2,000 homeless children on July 5th. The homeless men of the Union Gospel Mission were crying as they watched the video and when she asked them to please pray for the children, a loud AMEN went up. These homeless men are praying for the homeless children of the Philippines. Amazing!