Wednesday, August 31, 2011

July Birthdays Are So Overwhelming

As I was downloading pictures from Will's last game, I realized that I had never posted pictures from our July birthdays! We have a lot of it can be a little overwhelming.  Somewhere...on a memory card in one of my cameras are the pictures from Davin's official birthday party.  But these are the pictures from our ONE BIG family birthday celebration.

Davin turned 4 year old!
What a sweet smile! 
He was so excited about getting his very own Funfetti cake!

Brianne turned 22!
She celebrated with her very own chocolate pie...from which she proceeded to eat with a spoon!
Don't worry, there was another one for us to enjoy.
We also celebrated:
Kelli and Matt's five year anniversary (Kelli got new baking pans),
Matt's birthday (he wasn't able to attend so I sent him home some mint chocolate cookies to have later),
and Derrick's birthday (he had to come from work later and I didn't get a picture of him with his very own Key Lime Pie -- my first time ever to make one, and it was pretty dog-gone good, if I do say so myself).

See, I told y'all we have overwhelming July birthdays.  And that doesn't even count mine which we celebrated at the lake house!

Here are a few more pictures from the day.
Brian and Maddux watching Rango
Maddux loves hanging out with his uncles.

Brooke Bear posing for the camera but refusing to take her eyes off the movie!

Will, chilling in the floor with the kiddoes...but with his cell phone ever at the ready!
I know that this is old news now...but I still want to remember.  Things changed drastically for us in the days after these photos were taken...but we are getting through them just as we got through the celebrations...TOGETHER!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Many Faces Of Number 1 Son

Truly, I never know what I might find on my camera!  When I went looking for football pictures, I found this: all his quirky glory!
...and I love it!  Only my son!

Monday, August 29, 2011

It's A Long, Long Way To El Campo

Last Thursday was the first official JV Maroon Bulldog game against the El Campo Ricebirds.  We have played El Campo since Will was in Junior High...but because of the alternating years for each team, this is the first time we have had to GO TO El Campo. 

Since Will decided to start on JV Maroon rather than be third string on Varsity, he is on the same team for a second year in a row. 

Even as I contemplated on how to tell you HOW FAR AWAY this game was, I could only hear the faint tune of Supertramp singing '...long way took the long way home...' in my head!  So, it was LONG, y'all!

We left the office at 4:30 in hopes of making the 6:30 scheduled start of the Maroon game.  Being the first game of the season, and the fact that the White team played one minute shorter quarters as a concession to the Ricebirds, we arrived just as JV White Bulldogs were wrapping up with a victory of their own.

And then it was time for the JV Maroon Bulldogs to take the field!
The Pregame Huddle:
Complete with a prayer for strength and safety
You could tell by the look on these boys faces that they were ready to play some football!  We had a few scattered showers the night before, so the start of the game was mildly pleasant.  But, being typical southeast Texas, that all changed about halfway through the game when the heat and humidity kicked in full force.

How can it be hotter after dark than during the day?  I don't get it!

Ready To Take The Field
Will is #66 this watch for him in the pictures!  This was him lining up for the punt return.
Will is READY for some football!
But this was him on the Offensive Line:
Took Him Slap Off His Feet!!!
 During the first play #81 got past him, but the next three Will pushed harder and harder until he finally knocked him clean off his feet.  Let's just say that the next play found #81 so aggravated that, from where I sat, it looked like he took a swing at Will.

Lots Of Water Was Needed As The Temperatures Were In The High 90's...Even At 7 PM!
I don't know why, but we always get several pictures of this boy drinking water during a game.
Will played a little defense as well on Thursday night.  It was good game, with the Bulldogs leading up until the fourth quarter.  The pressure of being down by four points with seconds left on the clock brought out the best in our guys.  Will had his best play of the game, when with twenty something seconds left to play, he opened up a hole the size of Texas for his running back to make the game winning touchdown.

It was amazing to behold...we were so amazed, we forgot to take any pictures!

Final scoreboard:

Bulldogs  26
Ricebirds  24
Great game with lots of suspense and a worthy opponent.  Then, as we walked to the truck, Jim and I turned to each other with simultaneous recognition that we were going to have to make this drive again next year...since Varsity will be playing here in 2012!!!!

We "took the long way home, the long way home, long way home"!!!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I Am What I Am

You may remember that back in April I posted on reading Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project. I have recently been reminiscing on her "12 Personal Commandments" and thinking of my own.  I may not make it to twelve...but as one of these truths impresses itself on me, I will share them with you here on the blog.  I am just looking to establish a visual reminder of my criteria for my thoughts and actions.

#1: Embrace The Woman That God Has Created Me To Be

I know this is pretty much a re-phrasing of Gretchen Rubin's number one commandment to 'Be Gretchen'.  But, I want to do more than just accept who I am...I also want to fulfill the purpose for which He has made me.

Accepting who I am means not worrying about what others think of me...even if my 'ten' does sound more like 'tea-in' or 't-n' as my eldest son likes to point out.  I am a living, breathing misfit.  You know how it is:  When I am back home in Arkansas I am accused of having a Texas accent.  But here in Texas all I ever hear is, "where are you from because we know it is not from around here".  

Even deciding what to call a meal makes me have to stop and think at times.  Back home it is: Breakfast, Dinner, and Supper.  Around here it is: Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner.  My dad teases me all the time about calling 'Supper' dinner!

I need to accept that even though some things are great ideas for someone else, they are not always a great idea for me. Take scrap booking, for instance.  It looks like fun and I love looking through someone elses'...but mercy, if I spent thirty minutes on something and all I had to show for it was one matted picture and a few trinkets on a page?  Well, let's just say that I would never finish the first book!  I would rather read...or make my album on Shutterfly!  (I Heart Shutterfly!!)

Even more than embracing these surface areas of my life, I want to earnestly seek to be all that God has called me to be.  I used to think that meant my passion for and position in women's ministry.  And though that passion is still being used by Him, I am beginning to see that it is more about WHO I am than about WHAT I do.    I know, you have probably heard it a million times before yourself...but that really is where I want to be most comfortable.  Knowing that I am loved, accepted and forgiven?  Living in those three truths alone would be a home run!   Throw in that I am valuable, cherished and that's a Grand Slam!!!

And so, it is with these things in mind that I have come to recognize my Number One Personal Commandment: EMBRACE THE WOMAN THAT GOD HAS CREATED ME TO BE

Oh, and the title to this post?  I am closer to Merle Haggard's version of the song than that of the Jonas Brothers!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

The Words I Can't Seem To Find For Myself

Click here to see Ann Voskamp's post from yesterday at her blog, A Holy Experience.  She says so beautifully what I was struggling to say last week in this post.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If You Saw A Heat Wave...

...would you wave back?

I just heard on the radio that the Greater Houston area is expecting triple digit temperatures today...FOR THE 23RD DAY IN A ROW!!!!!

The previous record of 14 consecutive days was set in 1980.

Oh, and those triple digit temperatures?  They are supposed to last at least through the rest of this week!

My goodness it is hot out here!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Joy For Beginners

I haven't said much about it here in the blogosphere, but I have been reading more this summer. This past weekend I finished this book:
From the book jacket:
   At an intimate, festive dinner party in Seattle, six women gather to celebrate their friend Kate's recovery from cancer.  Wineglass in hand, Kate strikes a bargain with them: to celebrate her new lease on life, she'll do the one thing that's always terrified her: white-water rafting down the Grand Canyon.  But if she goes, each of them must promise to do one thing in the next year that is new, or difficult, or scary - and Kate gets to choose their challenges.
   Shimmering with warmth, wit, and insight, Joy for Beginners is a celebration of life: unexpected, lyrical, and deeply satisfying. 

(If you click on the title above it will take you to the book's Amazon page.)

I really did enjoy this book a lot.  But then I usually do enjoy character driven novels, especially when the characters are friends.  There is just something about getting a sneak peek into the lives of women and their roles in friendships that draws me in...and oftentimes reveals new things about myself in the process. 

This was the second book in a row where the story is laid out through the eyes of one character at a time.  And as in the last book, The Imperfectionists (by Tom Rachman), the other characters become more multidimensional when you see how they interact with others rather than just through their own eyes.

I found myself drawn to the characters of Caroline and Marion the most.  I think my personality is a cross between the two of them, so it was like seeing myself through the eyes of someone else.  A little scary, really!

Here are my "Favorite Quotes" from Joy For Beginners:
" the currency of friendship, empathy is more valuable than accuracy."  -- the older I get the more I find this to be true.  Yes, as a friend I want you to speak the truth to me...but, PLEASE, season it with empathy and not judgment!

"Believe in the future and be kind to the past." -- I might need to tattoo that on my forearm so I can see it all the time!

"...Caroline realized with a sense of small quiet surprise that the roles in her well-stocked bookshelf of life were leaving, had left, one by one as they had come...There was an almost literary irony, she thought now, in how Jack had gone rampaging through his life this year, cleaning the shelves in one sweep, when the reality was they were already emptying, quietly and efficiently, on their own...He had jumped out of the cycle only to go back to the beginning, filling his hands again." -- oh how many times have we seen people short circuit the cycle only to find themselves right back at the beginning again?  And how many times has that person been me?!?!

"Darling girl, has anyone ever told you you need to grown down a little?" -- I'm not as bad as I used to be...but still, asking your friends to describe you in one word and having three out of four say 'serious' makes you think!

I would highly recommend this book.  It is one that I could relax with but not have to turn off my brain to enjoy.  If that makes sense to anyone else! 

As for the other books I have read since I finished A Homemade Life:
The Imperfectionists by Tom Rachman was equally as delicious as this one only set in a failing international newspaper's headquarters.  Each chapter was seen through the eyes of a different colleague.

Comfort Food by Kate Jacobs was entertaining...though not wonderful.  I enjoyed it more than I did Friday Night Knitting Club, Jacobs first book which was released a few years back...but it was a little too bland for me.  I guess I just never connected with the characters the way I thought I should.

Canary Island Song by Robin Jones Gunn.  I think I had too high of expectations for this one.  Gardenias For Breakfast is one of my all time favorite novels and I was hoping that this one would be as well.  I guess island life is just a little too far fetched for me.  I love novels set in the south about Southern women, so Gardenias touched me deeply. 

So, it will be of no big surprise to tell you that last night I started my 'classic' novel for the year...To Kill A Mockingbird.  It doesn't get much more Southern than that.  I can even hear the drawl in my head as I read...and it sounds a lot like me!

Until next time!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Is It Ironical Or Comical? I Haven't Decided Yet

Saturday, August 20
11:30 AM

Despite my desire to stay home on Saturday morning doing nothing after a busy week, I agreed to take Jim in to Houston to pick up his 1987 Chevy Blazer from the stereo place.  He has already had it painted, new exhaust put on and now had it in for a new sound system.

The plan was for me to drop him off and then follow him home to make sure that the truck made the trip.  He hasn't had anything done to the motor yet and it has been sitting up for a couple of years.

1:00 PM
Jim and I made a stop at Gander Mountain before heading over for a quick stop at the office.  As we were pulling into the office parking lot, my truck began to make a weird jerking motion and the Check Engine light came on.

We had one of our suite mates check it out.  He cleared the code so that we could get on down the road and the truck ran fine...but the Check Engine light stayed on.

As I dropped Jim off to pick up his truck, I told him that I wanted to go ahead and drop the truck at the dealership.  I had this same problem last year about this time and when it struck, I barely made it into the parking lot from Highway 6.  It is the sensor in the gas pedal that goes out and so the truck doesn't register that you are giving it gas. 

It takes Jim a little bit to go through the orientation of his new stereo with a technician.  By the time he is ready to go, I am a little less stressed and decide that I would rather just go on home.  We can bring the truck in on Monday.

So, we head out.

1:30 PM
We are driving down Highway 6 and are almost to the freeway when the Avalanche starts making that lurching motion again.

So, I call Jim and tell him that he needs to lead me in to the dealership after all.  It takes me over a mile to get the truck up to 40 MPH on the frontage road!  I am so thankful that I never made it to the freeway!

We make it to the dealership and drop the truck for the service department to check out on Monday.

When I got back in Jim's 1987 Chevy Blazer with no air conditioning and LOUD exhaust system, I had to shake my head and laugh.  The 2009 Chevy Avalanche was supposed to be the Rescue Vehicle...but instead it had to be rescued!!!!

Ironical?  Comical?  A little of both?  I haven't decided yet!!! 

Saturday, August 20, 2011

As The Nest Empties

School starts Monday.  Will's Junior year is upon us.  And while we have been super busy with the football practices all summer, time has been slipping past me.

Thursday night was Waller High School's Open House.  A time to meet the teachers, check out lockers and get a new Student ID. 

How many of these have I attended over the years?  I can't even count!

As we made our way along the hallways, Will saying quick hello's to friends and former teachers, I was struck by one thought.

There is only ONE more Open House to go! 

Our home may still be full of activity...and boy, has football ever kept us active this summer!...but things are changing.  My kids are growing up.  My baby is a Junior in High School!

Where has all the time gone?

Friday, August 19, 2011

Razzle Dazzle & All That Jazz

Back in June, the girls and I (minus Kelli who was on a double date with her husband and in-laws)went to see the traveling Broadway musical, Chicago.

It was only in town for a week, so we grabbed up the first Saturday matinee tickets we would get.  Teri, Derrick's mom, filled in for Kelli and we had a great time.

I think this was one of my favorite muscials so far.  Definately in the Top 5.  I loved that the whole cast was always on stage, even if sitting in chairs off to the side.  They were involved in every scene and it was great fun to watch.  I do have to say that I am glad that I had seen the film version first, it made it easier for me to follow along with the plot line. 

This was our second muscial to attend in 2011...and we have had a blast at both.  Though I think it was unanimous that we liked this one best!

Thursday, August 18, 2011

If The Shoe Fits...

When Jim and I share our adventures in South Africa with others, it never fails that we get the most feedback from this hunt:
Whether pictures on Facebook or someone inquiring of us in person, the responses we get to the zebra are always a mixed bag.

So, it was with great curiosity that I picked up this box of shoes I spotted at Robin's store, Mimosa Rose, last month.  (The Mimosa Rose link will take you to their Facebook page.)
As if the name were not enough to pique my interest, look at how they were packaged.
And the bling?  Can you see all that bling?

Needless to say, this pair of shoes found a home!  With a name like that, zebra print and all that bling...what else could a girl do?

Monday, August 15, 2011

When Scripture Comes To Life

"Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep." Romans 12:15

A couple of weeks ago as the ladies in my summer Bible study group got together for our weekly meeting, I brought cupcakes to celebrate some one's birthday.  As we had all been bemoaning the need to shed a few pounds, I joked that Scripture did tell us to 'rejoice with those who rejoice' as well as 'mourn with those who mourn'. 

Little did I know at the time just how poignant that Scripture was about to become to me.

Friday before last I was Meagan's chauffeur for the day.  There were several errands that she needed to run.  Knowing that it was going to be a very difficult day for her and I both, I spent some extra time in prayer...and the Lord returned that Scripture reference to my memory.

You see, Friday we went to visit a florist to order the casket spray for Desi's funeral AND to Wal-Mart to order a birthday cake for Davin's party on Sunday.  Our family is trying to learn to live in each moment as the Lord gives them to us.  It is so tempting to just stay in the mourning and the asking of 'why'...but there are joys that we need to make sure we do not overlook too.

So, we celebrated the 4th birthday of our sweet grandson...and we cried a bottle of tears over the grave of our sweet granddaughter. 

We also offered up sincere prayers of thanksgiving for the arrival of a dear friend's new grand baby, realizing now just how precious and fragile those moments really are. 

We are daring to live fully right where we this hard place.  Or as Ann Voskamp calls it in her book One Thousand Gifts, 'eucharisteo' - giving thanks for God's grace gifts...because all is grace!

Friday, August 12, 2011

To The Love Of My Life

Happy Birthday!
You are my rock!

I love you with all my heart!

I hope this birthday is filled with love and laughter and a whole lot of Goode things!!!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

It Is With A Heavy Heart That I Write This Post

Desi Elise went home to be with Jesus on August 1, 2011. 

She was born on August 2 at 7:30 pm.
She weighed 4 pounds, 9 ounces and was 19" long.

She looked just like her big brother Davin with full lips, chubby cheeks and a head full of black hair.

It was hard saying goodbye to our little princess before we ever got to meet her. 

A service will be held next week to celebrate her homegoing.

Please keep our family in your prayers as we go through this difficult time.  We have a hole in our hearts the size of Texas right now!