Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Popcorn and Pajamas at FFS

Our Women's Ministry Team has been hostessing a social once a month. Until now, I haven't even thought to post about it.  But since I am trying to get better at all things pertaining to blog posting...I will attempt to record the fun that we have each month.

Since the DVD for 'Mom's Night Out' recently released, we decided to gather for movie night in our comfy pajamas and pass the bucket of popcorn.

Aren't these invitations the cutest things?
And they make me want to go pop a bag of popcorn right now!

This was the first draft.  The final invitation was even cuter...but you get the gist of what we were going for.  

One of our ladies offered to host us in her home for the evening.  We prepared a popcorn bar with M&M's, Resse's Pieces and honey roasted peanuts for add-ins, along with differing flavors of popcorn salt.  Of course what would a movie night be without movie theater candy to choose from as well.  And just to bring some balance to the night, a large Fiesta Salad for dinner.

Due to a last minute addition to our calendar (the 40th birthday party of a friend), I didn't get to attend.  But from the picture that they sent me Saturday night, I would say they had a good time.
Our beautiful ladies posing for a text message to me.
I love, love, LOVE seeing all the young women in that group.  Sometimes it is hard to find an activity that all ages will appreciate.  I heard that there was lots of laughter too.

I joked with them on Sunday morning that we seem to have a larger turn out when I have to miss the party!  Next month....well, you will have to come back to find out!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

His Kind of Party

Due to an unforeseen stomach virus hitting our house weekend before last...we had to reschedule Will's birthday lunch with the family to this past Sunday.  It was a great, sunny afternoon.  Nearly the whole family made it.  (Josh is currently offshore, so we don't count it against him since he doesn't have his own personal helicopter.  LOL!)  The guys gathered on the back deck to fry fish, French fries and boudin balls while watching the playoff games. (Jim is loving that Joey from Dish that allows him to watch television anywhere!) Us girls met in the kitchen as I cooked up a big batch of seafood gumbo with French bread and coleslaw.  Brian and Deborah even made it in for the day.

Happy 20th birthday Will!

William and Taylor
Hope you had a great birthday lunch, Will!  We love you!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Rest In Peace, Pib

While we were moving in back in late November, I walked out on the back porch to find our 18+ year old Chinese pug curled up in a galvanized tub with silk flowers. He looked so cute that I went back inside to get my phone and snap this picture.

A little over two weeks ago he disappeared.

We assume that after surviving being run over twice and mauled by a pack of dogs, old age got to him. He had arthritis, could barely see or hear...but come feeding time, he was as spry as the puppies.

We will all cherish many fond memories of our Pug In Black.

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Monday, January 12, 2015

Country Music Should Come With A Warning Label

The majority of our family loves country music. With the exception of our oldest son, Brian, who says it's too sad and boring. He is kind of like those folks who used refer to it as 'I broke my toe, lost my woman and my dog just died' music. I have to admit he might just have a point.

Like most people, I like to listen to music as I exercise. So the other night I climbed on the elliptical and hit a new playlist on my phone titled '90's Hits'. I should have known something was a little off when Grand Funk Railroad's hit We're An American Band came on. Not exactly 90's music (1974 actually) but I thought that maybe it was from a movie soundtrack and kept going.

A few songs later I hear George Jones' He Stopped Loving Her Today. As soon as he started on the first chorus I knew it was too late. Tears began streaming down my face. And I continued to cry through the rest of the song as I pushed on, one step at a time.

It's a good thing I was on the back porch with only the puppies staring at the crazy woman bawling her eyes out and not in the middle of a gym.

Music speaks to my soul in a special way. And though I normally enjoy my country music, when I am in a season of sadness, grief or loss it can catch me unaware and overwhelm me with emotion.

Just before Christmas they made the decision to put Daddy under home hospice care. He is now on oxygen 24/7. It has caused some of the color to come back in his face and he is eating better. But we know it is only on the surface that he seems to be doing better. Even though I knew this would probably be part of our journey, it was still hard to hear when the time came.

Please continue to lift him and Donna in prayer. Pain has not been an issue yet, but he is anxious. I do not have the words to express how much I respect and admire Donna for the weight that she is carrying with such grace. Please pray that she remains healthy and strong in the battle that lies ahead.

Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Sunday, January 11, 2015

Happy 20th Birthday, William!

Dearest William,
I'm sorry we are missing your birthday party today. This stomach virus is kicking my rear. But know that we love you and are praying God's absolute best for you in the year to come. Sweet potato pie to follow as soon as I'm feeling better. Hope you are having a wonderful day!

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Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Chasing Francis: A Pilgrim's Tale

I should have known from the teaser on the front of the book that this was not going to be my normal read.
"Reading this book may cause a total overhaul of the way you think about what it means to be a follower or Christ."  Mark Batterson, New York Times bestselling author

Honestly, this book has been on my nightstand for a bit.  I first heard of it through Angie Smith.  I can't remember if it was her book Chasing God or the audiobook, Mended, that I first heard of this book...but I knew that I wanted to read it.

So when we were packing up our bedroom for the move into the new house, I threw this book into my bag instead of in the 'book' box.  I knew that I would have a little more time to read over the holidays and I didn't want to lose this one.  I began reading it a few days after Christmas and I finished it last night.

From the book jacket:
What happens when the pastor of a megachurch loses his faith?
Pastor Chase Falson has lost his faith in God, the Bible, evangelical Christianity, and his super-sized megachurch.  When he falls apart, the church elders tell him to go away: as far away as possible.
Join Chase on his life-changing journey to Italy where, with a curious group of Franciscan friars, he struggles to resolve his crisis of faith by retracing the footsteps of Francis of Assisi, a saint whose simple way of loving Jesus changed the history of the world.
Though Chase had begun questioning his faith months before the 'fatal Sunday sermon' that sent him into Sabbatical, it was the death of a 9 year old girl from his congregation that pushed him over the edge. I know that feeling.  I've lived those dark questions...and, like Chase, I came out on the other side a changed person.

For Chase it was a two month Sabbatical in Italy with his uncle, a former Baptist who converted to Catholicism after the death of his wife years earlier.  As Chase learns more about Saint Francis of Assisi, he finds that he hasn't so much lost his faith as that the Lord has ripped off the facade of misplaced faith.

I loved the story, and I learned a lot about Saint Francis in the process.

My favorite quote:
"'...the radically unprotected life, a life that's cruciform in shape', he said, opening his arms to mimic the posture of Jesus on the cross. 'It's to live dangerously open, revealing all that we genuinely are, and receiving all the pain and sorrow the world will give back in return.  It's to be real because we know the Real.  maybe living the unprotected life is what it means to be a Christian?'"          Page 71
I actually have four pages of quotes in my reading journal, if that tells you anything about how much I enjoyed this book.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

There's No Place Like Home

Jim and I pulled into the driveway around nine last night. We had spent four days in Pocahontas with his mom and dad. After celebrating Christmas with them, Paul and the kids, we drove south to see my dad. We only had a night to spend there, but I have plans to go back with Meagan in a few weeks.

We are still adjusting to our new home. It feels a little weird turning left when we've been turning right for seven years. But as soon as we opened the car doors and were greeted by our fur babies, we knew we were home. And, boy, did our bed ever feel good!

We still have some work to do. Driveways. Car ports. Stonework. Barn. Landscaping. But it already feels like home.

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Saturday, January 3, 2015

Texas Bowl, Baby!

On Monday evening we headed into the city for a football game. The kids had gifted Jim and I with tickets to the Texas Bowl at NRG Stadium where our beloved Arkansas Razorbacks would face off against the Texas Longhorns.

Take a good, long look at that picture. When Derrick first came into the family he was a wearer of the burnt orange. He now prefers the cardinal and white. WPS! And Josh, who still insisted on wearing his Texas A&M cap, made the exception to sport the colors since it was against the 'Horns. Hey, it's a start!

My Hero is not a big fan of crowds. His last bowl game was a few years back when the whole family went to the Liberty Bowl to watch Arkansas versus East Carolina. It was a night game and the temperature was 29 when we were walking in to the stadium.

So the girls called him up and said, "this game is in a stadium with a retractable roof, so we will not freeze; and we are getting club level seats so you don't have to fight the crowds to get in or out". He relented...and hired us a car so we wouldn't have to deal with traffic. We had a great time.

Our Hogs were victorious, beating the Longhorns 31-7.

I'm glad for the win, especially since our tickets were on the Texas side! For the most part, we were surrounded by great people...and there were several other Hog fans around. Of course as the game went on, the burnt orange became more and more scarce.

But, after the game, as Meagan and I waited for the rest of the crew to make their way to the concourse, a grown man walked past and told us to go back to Arkansas.

I have attended three Razorback games within the borders of Texas. The Southwest Classic in Dallas before Texas A&M joined the SEC, a regular season game at Kyle Field and this Texas Bowl. In the first and last games the Hogs were the victors...and after both games I was told to 'go back to Arkansas'. As I said in my Facebook post, I could sort of understand it coming from the A&M frat boy...but a grown man at Reliant (NRG) Stadium? I mean, Houston is a great multi-cultural city...and that extends to college football. All you have to do is read the bumper stickers during your daily commute to see that not everyone who lives here is a Texas or A&M fan. We can live in Texas and root for non-Texas teams.

Oh well, sore losers. And I did enlighten him to the fact that I lived in Texas, loved Texas but was still a Razorback fan. He just looked at me strange and walked away. I guess he learned something new on Monday night.

Woo Pig, Soiee!

I can hardly wait until next season!

And thanks again for the tickets, kids. We had a most excellent time.

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Thursday, January 1, 2015

2014: A Year of Wholehearted Living

Happy New Year!

Jim and I are enjoying a few days visiting with his parents here in Pocahontus, Arkansas. The weather is a bit cooler than back home, but it is not too bad. We have spent most of today watching college football. Though a quick trip to Walmart was needed earlier this morning. Tomorrow we will finish our Christmas shopping and then open gifts with Paul, Sharon and family in the evening. We have two new nieces who are in desperate need of some spoiling. Saturday will be a kickback day and then we will leave Sunday morning to visit Daddy and Donna.

I have been thinking a lot about my One Word these past few weeks.

If you recall, back in January I chose the word 'wholehearted' to be my touchstone for 2014. As I have considered its effect on my life, I have come to realize that 'wholehearted' living is a process that will probably continue for the rest of my life. Yeah, yeah...I know I said that in my post on January 6, 2014, but now I am really beginning to understand.

It's been a year since I began considering what a wholehearted life looked like. First God showed me what it does not look like. It is not hollow but hallowed. Then He sent me to attend Beth Moore's last Tuesday night Bible study series at Houston's First Baptist, Breath. I was reminded anew that He wanted me to walk by and be filled with His Spirit. (The study should be out soon -- I highly recommend it!). The second thing He showed me was how selfish I had become of my time. Then He gave me the opportunity to begin regularly serving the women of our church through leading a midweek Women's Bible Study. We had eight ladies show up for dinner and to study Kelly Minter's Nehemiah. Finally, He began showing how little I ask Him for. When the reality of Daddy's health issues hit me, The Lord gently whispered 'what do you want?' It was then (in a deer stand of all the holy places in the world) that I realized how I had been guarding my heart...not living wholehearted. I poured out the desires of my heart to Him. I asked for big numbers and great details. Then, a still small voice asked, 'do you trust me?' The next day, when we received news from the oncologist that there was to be no new treatments because they wouldn't bring more time or remission...there was peace. Sadness too, but I knew that I could trust the God who had written all of my Daddy's days in a book when as yet there was not one of them. I had shared my whole heart with Him and accepted that His ways are not my ways....but they are good. He is good.

And so, I share with you a quote from my devotional reading yesterday that summarizes my year of Wholehearted Living from Come Let Us Adore Him by Jean Wise:

God heals the shattered pieces of our hopes and dreams. He fashions peace from the ruins of our battles. He repairs our individual fractures, thus healing the entire world...After all, He is the expert in moving pieces to peace and holes to wholeness.

Yes, I will always have pieces and holes on this side of eternity. May they grow fewer though as He replaces them with peace and One Words for 2013 & 2014. Coincidence? I think not.

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