Monday, February 25, 2008

Checkout Lines

The grocery store checkout line may be the death of me. I may literally die one day, waiting in line to pay for the groceries in my basket. Cause of death will be avoidance. I may run out of the usual distractions of gum and hot cheetos, digging in my purse for nothing, and pretending to see the Easter Bunny and just fall down and die just to create a diversion for my children.
What could I possibly be working so hard to avoid, you ask?
Conversations like this.
"Mommy! I didn't know Jamie Lynn Spears was married."
"No, baby, she's not married."
"Well then, how can she have a baby if she's not married?" Wide, innocent, unadulterated eyes staring back at me.
I pretend I can't hear her over the buzzing of florescent lights.
"Mom!"
"Yes, sweetie."
"How can she have a baby if she's not married?"
"Well..um..you see...sometimespeoplehavebabieseven
whenthey'renotmarriedbutit'snothowGodintendedit
tobeandifyoueverdosomethinglikethatyourdaddy
willhaveaheartattackanddieandyouwillhavetolive
withtheguilt. Do you want some Bubbalicious?"
In Heaven, I bet the grocery store checkout aisles are lined with only Highlights magazines.
And the Bible. Highlights and the Bible.
And hot cheetos.

"Thank you, Jesus!"

D came home last night from his job at McDonald's. He was laughing really hard telling us how he had been praying all night and that Jesus did him right.

"We were so busy and I was on the grill. I was just praying, 'Lord, please just give me cheeseburgers, double cheeseburgers, McChickens, and Big Macs. Please don't give me any wraps 'cause I don't know how to make those yet.' And, He did. I didn't get a wrap all night. Thank you, Jesus!"

Right after the boys moved in, Trey helped him find his first job and he's been working faithfully and enthusiastically for three weeks. Friday night he brought home his very first paycheck and he was so excited. It was his own money and hard earned at that. It hadn't been given to him by the welfare system or loaned to him by someone who would be charging exhorbitant interest just because they could.
He is beginning to see the value of hard work and what it takes to earn a dollar. He's learning to have a boss and respect this new kind of authority and it's been a joy to watch.
He told us last night that his mom was looking for a job as well but it wouldn't last. Her history was that she would work until she got her first paycheck then quit. Once she got what she wanted, she was done and would stay unemployed for a while only to start the process all over again.

It doesn't seem like much but for him to get dressed and go to work on Saturday after receiving his paycheck on Friday is already beginning to break the cycle of poverty and short-sightedness that has been modeled for him. By these small victories, the future of this one child is changing before our eyes.

Thank you Lord, that you can restore the years the locusts have eaten and you give us the privilege of witnessing you do it. Keep us mindful of your ever-present help as we pray that you will change the trajectories of D and Darius' lives. Our need for you is both great and small and your grace is sufficient for both. Finally, thank you again for 'no wraps'.

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Full Circle

Since Olivia turned seven, which was in January, we've had no less than four new pets enter the threshold of our home.
Hamster number one met her horrific demise at the paws of hamster number two. Hamster number two was set free in the field near Mercy Street never to be heard from again. Hamster three and four were bought in a knee-jerk reaction to comfort our distraught daughter even though I suggested something maybe not so, well, alive.
Hamster number three and four bit. Despite the exercise wheel, the extra long tunnel, and the hand chopped carrots, they bit the hand that fed them one too many times. We had fourteen days to return them and on day 14 1/2, Olivia was discouraged and chose to cut her losses. "Maybe someone else can teach them not to bite so hard."
I ran into my closet, closed the door and broke into song.

"Mom since the hamsters didn't work out, could I get something else for my birthday?"
"That depends what it is, sweetie."
"Could I get this?"

Webkinz?
Let's run through the checklist.
Can they bite? Nope.
Can they hurt the other webkinz in our house? No sir.
Do they poop? Uh uh.
Ding ding ding ding...we have a winner!!!

Friday, February 22, 2008

Impetuous

I know I've told you already that we have two boys living with us. We've rearranged lots of things in our lives lately because of this fact so my thinking was; "Why not the furniture too?" I mean, if you're gonna be a bear, be a grizzly. In my defense, we've had children sleeping on our bedroom floor on an air mattress for over a month and creativity is not my gift if you catch my drift.

We have an office downstairs that would be perfect for the boys' room so I set off this week to do a transformation. It meant moving around some furniture, including my computer which explains my absence from blogville.

It also meant moving two armoires and a couch that had nothing to do with the office transformation but isn't that half the fun of being a girl? Trey was less than pleased about moving the armoires because, well, I loaded them with pennies first just to give him a little challenge.

Oh, I kid.

What he really loved was that my friend Jennifer and I moved the computer into the kitchen and drilled holes into the cabinets to strategically hide all the cords, etc. We did this before checking to make sure the computer would actually work in the kitchen which led him to call me impetuous.

I had to look it up.

I'm pretty sure he didn't mean it as a compliment.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Humility

We have come to the conclusion that the opinions of inner city kids cannot guide our decisions in three specific areas.

1. Decorating
Most of the kids think our house is "plain". Can't argue much here but stay with me.

2. Fashion
Most of the kids think I dress "plain". Now this I will dispute. I love me some fashion and could spend an inordinate amount of time on this topic. I'll save that for another post.

3. Cooking
Last night I stepped out and fried wings. The boys living with us love wings and I found a great recipe at my good friend Pioneer Woman's cooking site. She's not a good friend, I'm just a stalker. In the interest of humility, I will say they were awesome!!! We LOVE wings in this house but I had never made them and these were delicious. Delicious. Spicy and yummy and I woke up this morning with a fat hangover.
Everyone ate to their hearts content and we went through a roll of paper towels. My house smells like grease but it was worth it. Worth it until I made a fatal error in judgment and asked D and Darius what they thought about my wings. WHY? WHY did I ask? I'll tell you why. I wanted the praise of men. I wanted them to tell me that my wings were 'the best they'd ever had and could I please cook them again really, really soon'. Instead, the Lord humbled me with this answer...
"They were good. Not as good as Jan's, but pretty good."
Jan's?
JAN'S?!?
Don't bother looking in your Zagat Guide for "Best Wings in Dallas" hoping to find Jan's with five stars next to it.
This is Jan's...


...and apparently, her wings are better than mine.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Semester Projects

We've had a busy weekend preparing for the two class projects that are due tomorrow and Wednesday. Tee is responsible for building a working volcano and Olivia has composed a creative piece on the jaguar along with a jaguar replica made entirely out of fish sticks.


Gotcha.
The jaguar is not made of fish sticks because I am not helping with the projects.
When Trey and I pronounced our wedding vows almost 13 short years ago, we promised to love one another through sickness and health, for better or worse and that, no matter how many children we had, he alone would be responsible for semester projects.
Since then, he and the children have done an earth project, a diarama of Charlotte's Web's barn, a snake, 2 shields, and a flower. Through it all, I have been relegated to the kitchen to prepare meals and fetch water for those tirelessly working on the aforementioned projects. That's what works for us, that's how we roll.
Is it because I'm a slacker mom and would not help cut toothpicks for the razor sharp jaguar teeth?
Maybe because I'm not creative and would, in fact, resort to fish sticks in a pinch? Or, is it because Trey really likes to work on these with the kids?

It actually may be a little of all of the above but most likely, the answer lies somewhere in the conversation that took place only moments ago...

"Babe, I've got to run out to get a couple more cans of tomato sauce for the volcano eruption. Do you think Hunt's is the thickest or should I stick with Heinz?"
"Tomato sauce lava?"
"Yeah. It's gonna be awesome."



Ok, Lord help me. Trey just got back from the store and remembered he has a Board Meeting tomorrow at 11:30. That's precisely eruption time. He said I'll have to help with it. What about our vows?!? What about our commitment?!? TOMATO SAUCE LAVA!!!! He's calling me now to show me how it works. I guess I've gotta step up and put on my plastic sheeting. That's what a Proverbs 31 woman would do, right?

Saturday, February 16, 2008

He promised we'd have no more of these...


Graham is six today!
Last year when he turned five, I told him, "That's it. No more of these, You can turn five but that's where I draw the line."
He promised. PROMISED.
But instead, he grew taller and taller and learned to ride his bike. He started swimming like a fish and then he went ahead and started kindergarten and learned to read.
TURKEY!
So, here we are once again. Another year later and apparently, one year older.
Ok, I guess I'll have to be O.K. with six but absolutely NO turning seven and that's final.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Miscellaneous


We've been sick. It seems that my children will gladly share their fever virus with one another. Some, several times. With each child, it has gotten worse. Especially with oldest child, Trey. He's 39.
Ok, not really. Trey doesn't get sick. If he feels anything abnormal coming on, he just takes 20,000mg of Vitamin C and calls it a day. He won't take any cold medicine and will not, I repeat, will not, go see a ...gasp...doctor.
Last night he was doing the dishes after dinner and I told him to please stop and sit down and rest. Honestly, I did this because I am not the pillar of strength he is. When I get sick, I totally go into fetal position and cannot move out of bed until the storm has passed. I wanted to avoid inevitable guilt that I would feel, mainly due to my Catholic upbringing, the next time I got sick and could not muster the strength to feed myself, let alone do the dishes.
It looks like we're on the mend. You might be able to tell from this picture.


It's been a pretty boring three days home, sitting on the couch with my children nursing them back to health with chicken soup and Gatorade. I'm a traditionalist that way.
We did find a pretty fun game this morning. I'm not sure what to call it so maybe you could help me out. It involves my dog, a hamster, and a rollie ball thingy where the hamster can remain virtually unharmed while the dog bats her around.
You smell goooood.

I think I love you.

I'm just gonna roll you around the floor. Holler if you get dizzy.

(Edited to add...No hamsters were harmed in the photos for this post...Ok people, I did not let the dog bat the hamster around. I'm not heartless, I just took a little creative license with my photos. The pictures were taken just as I was saying "No, Scout!" and she would go lay on her bed. Sheesh.)

I wish we would have had one of these plastic balls when we were pet-sitting Rowdy, the baby bearded dragon, last year. My kids were playing with Rowdy upstairs and building for him the Bearded Dragon Dream House. They put him down on the train table to let him cross the threshold into paradise and, thanks to Scout, he did just that. Scout thought he was a fun little chew toy and grabbed him and ran. My kids were screaming like someone was being murdered, well, because someone was, so I jumped out of the shower to find Scout running around with a tail sticking out of his mouth. The sight of me yelling "DROP!!" dripping wet and naked must have scared the fire out of Scout because she spit Rowdy out faster than a chili pepper.
Poor wittle Rowdy.
He all dead.
We had a funeral in our backyard, complete with a prayer.
Six months later, my kids dug up Rowdy to "see what his bones looked like".

Sunday, February 10, 2008

News fit to print.

Editorial Columnist Rod Dreher wrote this column which appeared in the Dallas Morning News this morning. I think it's a phenomenal read but, since it features the father of my children and the man who stole my heart, I may be a little biased...

Rod Dreher: Making the journey

The divide got personal when pastor Trey Hill left the comforts of northern Dallas for the poverty south of the Trinity River

09:26 AM CST on Sunday, February 10, 2008


The thing about race relations, especially in a place like Dallas, is that honesty is an orphan.

The subject itself is so fraught with anxiety on all sides that people – white people, black people, brown people – retreat to familiar ways of thinking and behaving. And blaming. This retreat drives the problem underground, where it festers for generation after generation, subverting even the most reasonable attempts at reconciliation.


Trey Hill, who grew up in Highland Park, left the business world for life south of the Trinity. He says he started Mercy Street Ministries to help lift up Jamantae Hunt and other West Dallas children from a poverty culture that promotes a self-defeating worldview.

Some whites see it like this: Yes, racism was once a terrible problem, and it's still here to some degree, but minorities blame whites too much for their own problems. How do minorities expect to get ahead if they won't work hard in school, stay out of trouble, quit having children out of wedlock and keep their families together? And if they won't do that, how, exactly, is that my problem?

Most whites don't wish minority communities ill. They'd like to see them succeed. But many North Dallas whites don't feel there's much they could or should do to make that happen, beyond eliminating barriers to a level playing field. And they're tired of being scapegoated for all the problems holding back a substantial portion of the minority community.

At this point, more than a few whites would be satisfied if what happened south of the Trinity River stayed south of the Trinity River, and that was that.

But what happens when a Republican white guy who grew up north of the river – and not just northern Dallas, but Highland Park, the richest, whitest part – hears a call from God, gathers up his family and crosses the river to settle in one of the blackest, brownest and poorest parts of the city?


For Mr. Hill and others at Mercy Street, the goal is to motivate youths such as Sharae Chalmers (center) and Chanittie Searcy (right) to stay on track academically and make wise choices. The mission provides counseling, athletics and mentors.

What is it like to see how the Other Dallas lives – and not just see that life, but to share it?

If you still care, drive over to West Dallas and sit down with Trey Hill.

Trey, 39, has been living in Greenleaf Village with his wife and children for five years.

On nearby Holystone Street, he runs Mercy Street Ministries (www.mercystreetdallas.org), a privately funded outreach to poor kids in the inner city, which he founded in 2002.

The ministry's Holystone Street headquarters is where neighborhood kids come for mentoring, educational counseling, Bible clubs and sports teams.

"Growing up, it was a place you didn't go," he says of the part of town he now calls home. "South of the Trinity, it was dangerous. You could go north, but you couldn't go south."

Trey leans back in his office chair, weighing his words carefully. We talk about what it means to be white and privileged in Dallas. Mr. Hill's father is Bill Hill, a prominent Dallas lawyer who most recently served as Dallas County's district attorney; today, the elder Mr. Hill works on staff at Mercy Street. His son, Trey, went to Highland Park High School and then Baylor University.

Unlike the Other Dallas, Trey Hill grew up in a Park Cities culture that expects its young people to go to college, succeed there and beyond.

"But there's a negative side to that, too," he says. "Pressure to conform. This whole success mentality, where success is gauged in financial terms."

Trey says his parents taught him to have compassion for the poor and took him into impoverished parts of Dallas as part of charitable initiatives. But for the most part, southern Dallas was no-man's land for white kids.

"The community I grew up in taught us to isolate, cloister and ignore," he muses. "When you don't know something, you feel somehow absolved from dealing with it. Besides, people looked different, had a different culture, and too often, we view different as bad and scary. I didn't see any active racism growing up, but I didn't see anybody actively engaging with other communities or races either."

But running track at Highland Park High changed the trajectory of Trey's life. At track meets, he spent a great deal of time with black kids from Wilmer-Hutchins, Lancaster and other southern Dallas communities.

"I just liked them," he says. "I got to spend time with them in their communities, and I saw the disparity. I could see that I was given opportunity that some of these guys just didn't have or see that they had."

After graduating from Baylor in 1991 with a journalism degree, Trey spent 12 years in the business world. He married and started a family. In 2001, when he lost his job in the dot-com bust, he and his wife, Melissa, prayed for God to guide their next step.

A year earlier, Trey had heard a Baptist pastor preach about foreign missions. That day, Trey felt strongly that his calling was not to the business world, and he never forgot it. He came to believe that God was calling him to the mission field in his own hometown.

After much prayer with his wife, Trey joined the staff of Park Cities Presbyterian Church and worked on his seminary degree while heading up the congregation's mission efforts in West Dallas. Within two years, he turned his labors into Mercy Street Ministries, which he started with a staff of two.

Bleakest of bleak


These West Dallas flatlands, once home to massive public housing projects and a lead smelter that poisoned the air, have historically been the grimmest part of the grimmest end of town. The smelter closed in 1984, with 90 percent of the neighborhood children suffering from dangerously high lead levels in their blood. Eight years later, conditions were still so bad that this newspaper wrote, "If Dallas has a netherworld, it is the bleak area west of the Trinity."

This is where Mercy Street made its stand. Now employing 14 – and overseeing a budget of close to $1 million, all privately raised – its director spends his days and nights living in a hardscrabble world that he used to believe existed only in the movies.

And this is what Trey Hill says he has learned: When black and brown kids in his part of town look across the Trinity, they see things they want. And they believe people north of the river got those things by keeping the people on the south side down and working to keep such things out of black and brown hands.

"I don't think there's any doubt that over the years there's been systemic injustice and racism," Trey says. "I think we're in a place now where those are far more subtle. I'm sure they still exist, but not to the extent that they would prevent access to those that pursue it with diligence.

"That's the challenge now, to persuade these kids that they really do have access."

I tell him about a guy I know, a white teacher in a predominantly minority Dallas area public school, who is about to give up on his school. He's tired of trying to change a culture. The black and Latino kids he deals with despise authority and don't want to do their schoolwork. When my teacher friend challenges them to stick to their studies, they tell him he can't possibly understand their lives, because he's a "rich white man."

"This is why so many whites have so little patience with poor minorities," I say to Trey. "There's such a culture of excuse-making and victimization going on there. My teacher friend says that the values of hip-hop music have colonized his students' minds."

Comes down to culture

This, I tell him, is the heart of the matter: culture.

We all pretend that if only we spend more money or implement new programs or in some other way manipulate material conditions for the urban poor, their problems will be solved. It seems we never talk about culture, especially the broken-family culture, because we don't want to come across as judgmental.


Many of the housing projects in West Dallas have been razed and replaced with townhouse-style housing developments.

The despairing public school teacher contends that school authorities constantly lean on him and his colleagues to be culturally sensitive, but nobody has the courage to tell these kids that the hip-hop culture they've embraced – one that idealizes sex, drugs and gangsters and looks down on hard work, study and self-restraint – all but dooms them to failure.

"Yeah, I see that," Trey says resignedly. He prefers the term "poverty culture" but agrees that hip-hop artists are evangelists for a toxic, self-defeating worldview and that their youthful converts are legion. We concede that the same hedonistic materialist values many north Dallas whites disdain in hip-hop music are embraced north of the Trinity too, in a more socially acceptable guise.

Still, Trey insists, public school teachers and other adults of all races who know right from wrong, and who have daily contact with urban minority kids, can't abandon the fight. If they won't tell these lost kids the truth in love, and let them know there's more to life than what he calls "ghetto nihilism," who will?

"The culture you grow up in is stronger than a lot of people realize," Trey says. "If I had been raised in this community in a single-parent home, with few examples of success around me, I probably would have dropped out of high school, like 65 percent of our [West Dallas] kids will do. Culture is captivating. It's powerful. There's a force behind it that seems to capture all of our kids."

In the end, he emphasizes, it's difficult for people north of the river or in the suburbs to understand the degree of dysfunction in inner-city lives. Eighty-five percent of the kids Mercy Street ministers to have no father in the home. How do you tell people to bootstrap their way out of the ghetto when they don't even know what a bootstrap is?

"The only way [for these youths] to succeed is to say, 'OK, there is injustice in the world, but now we have a chance, and the only way we can take advantage of that chance is by studying hard and working hard and making wise choices,'" he says. "But I don't see a lot of people saying that."

Not up to government

Trey no longer identifies exclusively with the GOP, and, unlike some Republicans, he has come to believe that government has a role to play in the inner city. But he also says that what the poor need most, the state cannot provide.

"The government cannot change a heart and a mind," he says. "You look around here, you see a lot of nice new rooftops. They razed a lot of the old projects. They've replaced those with nice, townhouse-style housing developments. I'm grateful for that, but the statistics in our community haven't changed a bit. You have to ask why."

This is where the church – and only the church – can help, he says, because the government cannot speak in the language of right and wrong, of forgiveness, of redemption, of brotherhood and of love. And the church has not been doing so.

"It's not that the church doesn't care about the poor," Trey says. "Our churches are so segregated racially and economically that we just don't know the poor. It's hard to love someone you don't know."

Love – not just the emotional state, but real, active love – is the only thing that will save Dallas from its racism, poverty and self-destruction. Trey says he's starting to see among younger Christians a greater concern for the inner city, "a definite willingness to engage and to engage beyond their checkbooks."

"Being a white guy living in a predominantly black and Hispanic community, my own presence is important here as well," he says. "The suburban churches' typical involvement with the inner city is to drive in and drive out ... not living among the people and sharing their lives and experiences. Our example is Christ, who vacated the perfection of heaven to live in the slums of our world, so that he might redeem a people for himself."

When Trey preaches to northern Dallas congregations, he tells them the poor are not simply the black and brown people who live across the river, but our neighbors, to whom we have obligations. And when he talks to people on the other side of the river, he tells them they have a responsibility to do better for themselves.

Starting a dialogue

Because he walks the walk, Trey has the authority to talk that talk. But how can white Dallas, Latino Dallas and black Dallas learn to talk to one another without engaging in familiar gestures, empty rhetoric and eggshell-walking pantomimes?

"It's so incendiary, it's difficult to talk about at all," he says. "But either we do it, or there will be no progress. Both sides of the river have to look at their own sin in this deal and repent of it. And then we can have real dialogue. Because rather than come to the table in judgment, we'll come in humility."

Humility in Big D? Well, that would be something. Driving back to work downtown, I see the towers in the distance. Trey Hill could have been there, I thought, if he'd accepted the place the world prepared for him. If, in this God-soaked city, he had chosen to be satisfied with being merely good, instead of taking the risk of being holy. He's a dreamer, that one.

Still, I couldn't help wondering what kind of city we would live in if all of us – white, black and brown – did what he says we should do and put aside our pride and our fear, our indifference and our resentments. What if we could admit that when it comes to the racial brokenness and chronic poverty in Dallas, we may not be equally guilty, but we are equally responsible? What if we could speak honestly, hear sympathetically and act humbly?

Wouldn't we see the beginning of real reconciliation?

Maybe.

I drove away sorrowful. A North Carolina friend, a white Catholic woman who works with poor black children in inner-city Durham, e-mailed a few days later to say that so much discussion about race, poverty and community ultimately results "in a big pile of nothing."

"When reality strikes and it becomes clear what is actually required from us to serve God and others, most people, if nearly all, will turn away," she says. "It's too high a price – especially when, the excuses and righteous-sounding justifications are readily available to us in such abundance."

Rod Dreher is a Dallas Morning News editorial columnist. His e-mail address is rdreher@dallasnews.com.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Yes, No, or Wait.

I believe the Lord answers every prayer.
It may come as a resounding "yes"; as clear as my friend just received who found the perfect house for their family of seven after renting for longer than they had hoped they would. Or the privilege of witnessing the Lord's answer to Emily and Moody's prayers. "Go and fetch the children I have always known would be yours in Ethiopia."

Sometimes the answer is "no". We prayed and prayed for two beautiful little babies recently who, instead of being healed in this life, were made perfect in Heaven in the presence of the Living God. We've heard "no" when we've seen addicted parents walk headstrong into their own sin instead of turning away from that which is killing them and destroying their families. And we heard "no" today as money that Mercy Street would have loved to use to expand the Ministry here in West Dallas went to fund something else instead.

Sometimes, we've heard "wait". "Wait" sounds like this; My perfect plan is best for you and my timing is unmatched. Listen to my instruction and be wise; do not ignore it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my doors, waiting at my doorway. For whoever finds me finds life...

Our hope is that this is a "no" on funding from this source and a "wait" from another source. Thank you for all of your prayers over the last couple of weeks and we'd sure covet your prayers as we move forward in faith looking expectantly to the Lord.

My mouth will tell of your righteousness, of your salvation all day long, though I know not its full measure.

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

Resignation.

First, I say no more pets.
Then, I hire a hit man to off the newest pets and make it look like an inside job.
Finally, my daughter cries a little, husband caves and, abracadabra, two new hamsters appear.
Has anyone besides me seen this picture before?


Thought so.

Speaking of pets, the Metroplex Animal Coalition is sponsoring free spaying/neutering for residents in Dallas' lowest income zip codes. Guess who qualifies? That's right! Whoohoo! And, if you bring your pets before March 1st, you get a $25 Walmart gift card! Are they essentially paying me to have my pets spayed? BONUS!!!
"Come on down and bring as many friendly animals as you can!"
"Alrighty, then!"
So, for sure Fern is going. And Max the cat. I've thought about also taking Ugly and the three legged dog that wanders around everyday. How many animals do you think I could coax to the drop off if I hung a pork chop out my window and drove really slow? Hmmm. Tempting.

Ok, I just re-read the above and the way I sound scares me a little. I have a mini-farm and I'm screamin' excited about the free spay/neuter program designed for people residing in the section of town where most live below the poverty line.

I really was a Kappa Alpha Theta at Texas A&M University where I majored in Communication and minored in Social Butterflying and before that, Prom Queen.

I love God's sense of humor.

On a serious note, PLEASE pray for Trey and the Staff and Board of Mercy Street who will, in the morning, give their final presentation to Crystal Charity for the $1,000,000 grant. We'll know tomorrow afternoon if they got it.

I'll let you know as soon as I do!

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Crime Scene. Do Not Cross.


Ok, what I'm about to say may totally repulse you and/or make you think I'm the most insensitive person. What you have to remember is that I'm not insensitive all the time, I just have a sarcastic sense of humor. Here goes.

When Trey and I moved into the neighborhood, I made a bet with him that I would be the first one to see/discover a dead body.

I know it's horribly morose but we were moving into a very sketchy part of town where really bad stuff happened all the time and it's how I dealt with my fears. Morbid humor. I'm sorry.

As of today, I am the unfortunate winner of that contest.
People, there's been a murder.

Sometime between the hours of 1:00pm and 4:00pm, Lucy hamster brutally murdered Baby Girl hamster. We discovered her body after carpool and snack. The heinous crime is still under investigation and CSI has come and combed the wood chips for fibers, fluids and any other evidence that may uncover the motive.

Of course, there's all kinds of speculation flying around. Was it a turf war between rival hamster gangs? Maybe Baby Girl was getting a little mouthy or hoarding the seeds and nuts. Some jealous rage over a sick love triangle? A savings and loan scam gone south? We may never know.

Lucy isn't talking and there are no witnesses except Augustine the Bearded Dragon and his testimony won't hold up because ... well...he drinks.

Needless to say, Olivia is heartbroken. I guess heartbroken is the word I'm looking for. After her initial cry and come-apart, she asked if we could get new hamsters and feed the murderous Lucy to Max the cat.

A little cup-o-mourning with a nice dollop of vengeance.
Ain't she sweet?

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Can they kick you out of the country...

...if your husband takes your three oldest kids to his parents' house to watch the Super Bowl so you put your youngest three down at 7:30 and pour yourself a glass of wine and, instead of turning on the game, turn on Pride and Prejudice and eat an entire box of Milk Duds?
Let me know so I can make the proper arrangements before my deportation.

Saturday, February 2, 2008

What you don't know...

Before I had Tee, I was so worried about how in the world I was going to handle teenagers. A precious friend reminded me that they don't come out teenagers, they come out little babies and you have years to gain the wisdom to handle the teenage years...except when their parents are addicts and abusive...then, they come into your home as teenagers and bring MySpace, Playstation 2, and laundry that looks like your husband's.
I am ill equipped and feel a little overwhelmed. I'm finding that there are things I can say to my own boys that I cannot say to these young men. They need man to man talks and wisdom that I cannot offer.
I feel a little like Martha but want to be Mary too, and don't know how to sit with them and talk about things I know very little about.
It's been easy for me to love the little kids that come to our house because they need hugs and kisses, popsicles and grilled cheese sandwiches. They need to learn how to share and be respectful and learn about who Jesus is and what he came to do for them.
These boys are already kind and respectful. They already share. They know who Jesus is and are learning more and more about what they've been called to be as they walk with Him. What they need is direction and lessons on making choices that are bigger than whether or not to hit back or use potty language.
I'm praying that Trey will have an added measure of time and energy for these boys as they need his counsel, and I'm praying for wisdom beyond my 29 years.

Oh, give me a break. I'm having a hard day.

Friday, February 1, 2008

Round II!!

Mercy Street's presentation for the $1,000,000 grant was yesterday and they've made it through to the final round! Thank you for praying for the ministry and for Trey's head to not pop off of his body. You're prayers were answered and his head indeed remains attached. They will repeat the process next Thursday and then find out if they'll be awarded the grant that afternoon so keep praying. I'll keep you posted.
He did sit me down last night and say he was not responsible for ANYTHING he agreed to while planning for the aforementioned presentation, especially if it included a dinner and a girly movie instead of sitting on the couch watching the Super Bowl and making himself sick on Chips and Queso.
DARNIT!!