Wednesday, April 29, 2009

How would you react?

So, I'm leaving Sam's Club yesterday afternoon headed out to pick up the kids from school. Sadie was in the car with me and as we're pulling out of the parking lot, I saw a man shove the woman he was with to the ground. He pushed her from behind, hard, in front of a lot of people both in cars and on foot and then continued to scream obscenities at her while she pulled herself to her feet. No one did a thing - not the men waiting outside of the convenient store, the cars driving by, or the security guard cruising the lot. I stopped my car in front of them and immediately called 911 as he yelled more at her and then turned his attention and verbal abuse at me. The police took a painful ten minutes to respond and during that time, I was called just about every name in the book and some I'd never heard. I tried to comfort the woman as she stood by my window while sweet Sadie scrambled into the very back seat.

Several years ago, I happen to see a video on Dateline on domestic abuse like this. Actors posing as a couple went to a park and began to fight. The man became more and more physical as the filming continued. To the shock of viewers, most people did nothing or pretended they didn't notice when they obviously did. Only a few women confronted the man in an effort to help the woman. The question posed was, "What would you do if you were in the same situation?"

I had no idea. Of all I've seen living in the hood, I haven't encountered such a blatant display of abuse - especially in public.

My first reaction was to stop and help. I did all I could do but desperately wanted to do more. Sweet Hannah reminded me this afternoon of this scripture she has been studying with the junior high girls..."If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God's love?

After the police arrived, I left and Sadie was scared to tears. I thought to myself, 'Why in the world would I do anything that could put her in danger? That man was so angry, he could have hurt us both.' and, 'Where do we draw the line between protecting our children and doing the right thing for our 'neighbor'?

I agree with Francis Chan who says we seek safety, comfort, and security too much as believers. But, I struggle when it comes to my own children. I know He is faithful to guard them as we live out His call on our lives and yet my faith in Him and his ability to do so waivers often. Especially after replaying all the possibilities of yesterday's situation in my head.

Do you struggle with this? How would you have reacted?

Darius and Dea said, "Aw, MaMelissa, We told you to carry a baseball bat. That's when you pull it out and tell the guy to step off or you're gonna beat the crap out of him."

And there you have it.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I may be the reason.

After President George W. Bush left office, there was some speculation as to where he might move.


Fort Worth?


Ok, not a chance he'd move to Minneapolis. Not that there aren't wonderful people in that fine state but, I'm pretty sure you can't find places like this in Minnesota.

That my friends is what you call a deal-breaker.

Fortunately, for us here in the Lone Star State, he moved back home to our fair city. Not necessarily my side of the city, but Dallas all the same. His presence has created quite the buzz. We know where he bikes, where he works out, and how he likes his coffee. Actually, that last one I made up but you get my point.

Friday night, Graham, a friend of Sadie's, and I were on our way to pick up Tee from his 4th grade trip. Sadie was warming up for her season-opener-exhibition-T-ball game in the hood so Trey and I had to divide and conquer.

I remembered about half-way there I had not fed the children so we popped into our favorite sandwich shop. As we got out of the car, I heard a teenage boy on the sidewalk shout to his friend, "Hey! Bush is eating over at the grill! There are Secret Service everywhere!"

Next thing out of my mouth was, "Graham! Layne! Back in the car! We've gotta check something out!"

Now let's stop here for just a minute because, reading this, you may think I'm crazy.

1. I love myself a good celebrity sighting.

2. A year and a half ago, our family had the privilege of having brunch with the former President so the likelihood that he was going to see me, bear-hug me, and invite me and my children to dine with he and the First Lady was highly likely. Or, not even a little - especially since Graham and Layne were both ear to ear in sticky, popsicle residue.

As I drove by at a near crawl, I snapped a few pictures with my phone of the Secret Service and police camped outside the restaurant.

Look how disgusting my windshield is!

Here they are, pointing.

I actually think they're pointing at Potbelly's and saying, "They have a fabulous Turkey sandwich! You should try it!"

OOOOOhhh. Foreshadowing.

Although we didn't actually see the former President and his bride, it was pretty exciting.

And clearly, I don't get out much.

We popped back over to our little sandwich shop and low and behold, who was standing in line ordering an Original Turkey with peppers and no tomatoes?


I might as well have been twelve and standing behind Nick Jonas.

This fine protector of our Nation's Former Leader of the Free World and All That Stuff was gracious enough to snap a picture with Graham and Layne.

For the record, I did ask if he would be willing to remove his University of Texas lanyard that held his official Secret Service I.D., and replace it with something less offensive - say, a Texas A&M one.

He said no. And who am I to look a gift horse in the mouth? However, next time I'm dining with the Former President (read: never, I'm sure, thanks to this post), I might encourage him to hire more staff from that little school south on the Brazos in College Station.

All this to say, if the newest celebrity Dallas resident and Former President suddenly puts his house on the market in a quest for a quieter, more private residence, there's a possibility I'm to blame.


Monday, April 27, 2009


Trey and I felt like we were drawing some pretty hard lines regarding activities when our kids were little. We decided that, instead of signing them up for every sport or class available, each child could participate in only one activity a semester.

We were totally going to remain in control of our family's schedule.

Totally. Foot down. Totally.

Last weekend, it became clear that someone messed up somewhere. It's not that we let our kids do lots of things, it's just that we have a lot of children and one activity per child adds up-or multiplies or something like that.

I never was good at math.

This is how we spent our weekend...

Friend's birthday party number one.

Sadie made the earrings with lifesavers and wore them all day. At least until she got hungry and ate them. She also has on green eyeshadow. I didn't know you could still purchase green eyeshadow so you really do learn something everyday.

Next, opening season of West Dallas Baseball.

Pure awesomeness! The kids walking through the neighborhood in their uniforms, with their gloves and bats, is priceless. The whole community comes out to watch the games and it makes for really fun Friday nights in the hood.

The Boy Scouts come out each year to present the colors.

Olivia and Sadie are playing and are both the only girls on their team. It helps draw some crowd sympathy and loyalty, especially when Sadie, in her first game, was playing pitcher and as soon as the ball was hit, ran as fast as she could to third base. Why, we're not sure, but I'm positive it was just part of her plan to confuse and distract her opponent.

Here, Sadie joins with her T-ball team to strategize...about how long it will be until they get a snack.

Looks like one more season of juice boxes and goldfish.

I'm not really sure who this little boy is but every time I took a picture, he said, "Please take me a picture! Please take me a picture!", and I'm a sucker for cutiepieness.

Oh, and we also had soccer.

Action shot.

Right now, you're probably thinking to yourself, what about the whole 'only one sport per child per semester thing?'.

I'm gonna go ahead and plead the 5th.

Then we had birthday party number two and games numbers 3 and 4. Unfortunately, my camera's batteries were charging so I was unable to capture those on film. I'm sure my children who's activities for the day were not documented will only require limited therapy when they're older.

Finally, Dea and Darius had their mentor's engagement party.

Could someone please define "Cocktail Casual" for me in terms that will assist me when shopping for teenage boys?

They did look handsome, though.

And even though Dea will probably hate this picture, I love it. I can hear him laughing!

Here's a shot showing their more serious side. With Monkey. And his Dr. Pepper.

I'm just so glad it's Monday so we can relax a little. Whew!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Rite of passage.

Tee was born a creature of habit. Every morning he would wake up, at the crack of dawn to be specific, and go through his morning ritual.

"Mom, can I have some chocolate milk? Double squirt, double warm? And will you tuck me up - upside-down flat? And can I read the Bible?"

Translation: "Mom, I like my milk in my sippy-cup with the blue top, two squirts of Hershey's chocolate, not the Sam's Choice brand, and would you put it in the microwave for 30 seconds and then when it beeps, would you warm it for 30 seconds more? You can't just put it in for one minute because that would be single warm and I like it double. And would you then spread my blanket over me really flat with the plain side up so while I'm drinking my milk and reading my Bible, or a commentary on the Bible by Stott, or Spurgeon, or someone equally brilliant, I can rub the little circles on the back?"

Ok, he wouldn't really ask to read the Bible or a Bible commentary. He would ask to watch Jay Jay the Jetplane but a mom can dream, right?

I was pregnant for about three years straight so now, even thinking about Jay Jay, I feel like I have morning sickness. Pavlov was totally right about his dogs.

This morning, we put that little muncher on a bus with his 4th grade class for an overnight field trip to San Antonio.

He was pretty excited.

He has a little cold and before he left, I was bugging him to blow his nose. My sweet husband put his hands on my shoulders and said, "Mom, he's going on an overnight field trip out of town, I'm pretty sure he can figure out when to blow his nose. Freak."

After everyone was gone, I went upstairs, dug under his covers and found his blanket. It's the one my grandmother made for him when he was a baby. She quilted X's and O's all over the back for hugs and kisses. The O's are all worn from him rubbing them every morning when he was little while drinking his chocolate milk and it amazes me how quickly time has flown. It also breaks my heart.

On a side note, this is Graham's blanket. It would appear he is a little with his affections.

No matter how I tried to arrange it to take a picture, it still looked like entrails.

See what I mean?

Ya'll have a great day, I'm off to go try and find an episode of Jay Jay the Jetplane and watch it with my coffee.

Double half-and-half, double warm.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Worth all the chopping...and chopping.

I found this recipe last fall and it has quickly become one of my very favorite soups. It's perfect for a quick weeknight dinner but the flavors taste like you've worked all day.

Anything that gives the appearance of working hard without actually having to gets an A in my book.

Right now, my book is pretty empty so anything you have to contribute would be greatly appreciated. Especially if it involved laundry.

Ok, here you go. Try it out and let me know what you think.

Chipolte Chicken Chowder

First off, I ALWAYS double this. You'll be thankful you did.
Second, don't think about skipping the limes when you're serving this soup. They add just the best flavor!

1  (7-ounce) can chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

1  tablespoon  extra virgin olive oil

2  cups  chopped onion

1  cup  chopped carrot

1/2  cup  chopped celery

1  teaspoon  ground cumin

1/2  teaspoon  dried oregano

1/2  teaspoon  dried thyme

6  garlic cloves, crushed

6  cups  chicken broth

Pulled chicken from 1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

2 medium red potatoes (about 12 ounces), cut into 1/2-inch pieces

1/4  cup  whipping cream

1  cup  chopped seeded plum tomato

1/4  cup  chopped fresh cilantro

1/2  teaspoon  salt

8  lime wedges

Remove 1 chile and 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from can. Unfortunately, that's all I got for the chilis. If you can help me with maybe a homemade salsa recipe, I'd be most thankful. Finely chop chile; set chile and sauce aside separately.

Heat oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add chopped chile, onion, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic); cook 7 minutes or until onion is tender, stirring frequently. Stir in broth; bring to a boil.

Remove pan from heat; let stand 5 minutes. Place one-third of broth mixture in a blender; process until smooth. Pour pureed broth mixture into a large bowl. Repeat procedure in two more batches with remaining broth mixture. Return pureed broth mixture to pan. Stir potatoes; bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cook, uncovered, 20 minutes or until potatoes are tender. Stir in chicken and cream; simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in reserved adobo sauce, tomato, cilantro, and salt.

Serve with lime wedges.

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Tuesday, April 21, 2009


I love me some clothes and I've often smiled at the Lord's providence that he would put me in a ministry where my taste in fashion has absolutely no relevancy.

These kids' think my clothes are plain because they don't have glitter or sparkles and I'm not really into "Forces", or "Jordan's" which would be just about the only items that could make this ol' lady fashionable in the hood.

I also laugh that our budget and the fact that we have six children doesn't really allow me to actually purchase 99% of the stuff I see in magazines. Therefore, 99% of the stuff I own is from Target. Clothes, dog food, bacon. It's all good.

Out of the blue the other day, a sweet friend with a sweet closet gave me a fabulous dress. It's by a designer who's stationary is expensive, let alone her clothes, and I could no more afford to buy it even if I sold one of my children which I wouldn't do because I like they way the top of their heads smell and they like to 'fnuggle.

I also apparently like run-on sentences.

So, feelin' pretty sassy and stylish, I wore my super-cute, new, designer dress to a baby shower the other day. The first comment I got was from the mom-to-be...

"Hey! I have that dress, too, only it's maternity! We need to take a picture! Target, right?"


Oh, Lord, thank you for faithfully continuing to humble me in every aspect of my life. And for Target with their pretty convincing knock-offs.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Good Morning.

Although I like to think of myself as an avid exerciser, I'm pretty loose with the term and avid in the hoodmama dictionary has other synonyms like 'rare', 'when I feel like it', and 'only if it's not cold outside'. I definitely have my moments of consistency but they tend to be short lived when it gets chilly so I haven't exercised in the past couple of months.

Did I mention it's been brisk outside? Translation: It's been below 60 degrees. I have obviously lived in Texas too long and expect absolutely no sympathy from any of you living north of Wichita Falls.

This morning, I turned over a new leaf. Or better said, I just turned my leaf back to the side where I actually do something healthy in the mornings instead of simply consuming large amounts of half-and-half with a touch of coffee.

Irish Laura and I went running before sunrise and actually managed to keep a pretty good clip for 1/16th of a mile. I had to slow down for Laura. Or the other way around, what does it matter? All I'm going to say is it's completely humbling running with a nineteen year old athlete who has neither four children or a strong penchant for Milk Duds.

Once we settled into a pace where we could talk, we began hashing through some of the issues we're seeing in the community. My faith is so weak right now as I wonder how in the world some of our families' situations could ever be turned around. The cycle of poverty in this community is strong and the circumstances seem insurmountable more often than not.

Laura, so tenderly and with that really cool accent, reminded me that we cannot put God in a box. We cannot define who he is and what he is capable of by our limited imaginations. His ways are not our ways and he has spoken into creation all that we see. If with a mere whisper, he transformed darkness into light, how can we not believe transformation can come to this little community?

What a sweet gift, to be up before dawn and to be reminded again of the first verse I learned as a new believer, "be still and know I am God", for "even the darkness is not dark to you; the night is a bright as the day..."

Amen. Now if He could also transform my downside of 30 stamina into that of my 19 year old new running partner, we'd be in business and I'd be less ashamed. :)

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Three things.

There are events that, individually, seem pretty harmless but when they all happen within a few hours of each other, can kinda mess with your day.

1. You are given a gift certificate for a pedicure and you save it and save it until your toes can no longer stay hidden under the cloak of closed toe shoes. At said pedicure, you take a risk and deviate from your usual pale, neutral pink. when your toes finally see daylight, you realize you couldn't have chosen a color that looks worse on your feet if you had tried.

2. You have one cold Diet Coke left in the refrigerator and your daughter offers to bring it to you. "For special." When you take your first sip, you get a mouthful of perfume. You find out that "for special" means that your daughter sprays the top of the can with your favorite scent so your Diet Coke will "smell pretty".

3. Looking forward to a yummy dinner with your bible study girls, you imagine all the delicious food that you'll get to eat. As you're thinking about this, and making your children lunch, you absent-mindedly pop a blazing hot, and undelicious, Totinos Pizza Roll into your mouth thereby burning your tongue and guaranteeing you'll taste absolutely nothing at dinner.

All I could think about is how I wished that had happened before I drank perfume.
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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Seein' some skin.

Today I made the long, arduous trek to the dermatologist. Actually, it was neither long or arduous, I just like being dramatic.

I've gotten to be pretty comfortable with dermatologist in general since it was determined in 1990 that tanning beds were 'very bad' for the skin. It was probably determined long before that but when a naturally fair-skinned girl's getting ready for prom, nothing will stand in the way of a good tan. Not even that funny burned-flesh smell that sticks around for a few days. Nothing.

In 1995, my dermatologist found a little somethin' somethin' on my shoulder and it took four different attempts before it was finally and forever removed. Finally and forever until it comes back.

The beauty is now I have a giant scar where the small dot of questionable cells was. So, I traded up. I guess.

Today, I was back for my semi-annual check up but needed to go to a new dermatologist because insurance changed and blah, blah, blah, why am I boring you with all these details? I don't know. Maybe because I'm supposed to be downstairs making Spanish rice for 50, or cleaning my house, or parenting my children or something.

It was a great visit until I remembered the, um, full body check that I have to undergo every time I go in. I sure wished I hadn't been so worried about panty-lines when I left the house this morning.

After discussing my abnormal moles, removing a couple of things without the use of an epidural which is clearly necessary, addressing both my wrinkles and my pimples (which makes me think someone messed up somewhere), and my sun damage, etc. my new dermatologist concluded, "You're going to be a great patient."

I'm pretty sure that's not a good thing.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Your Questions Answered.

Ok, so last week, my brother, a Navy SEAL serving in the war, made the mistake of harassing me so I did what all little sisters would do; I threw him under the bus.

Ya'll were given the opportunity to ask him anything you wanted! I can't tell you how touched I was by all the encouraging words you had for him. I love this guy like crazy and am so proud of him. It's fun to get to share him with you. I know your encouragement was also felt by his family who loves him and misses him and can't wait to see his face. Thank you for continuing to stand in the gap for them as they are apart and he is in harms way.

He answered as many of your questions as he could but was very busy. Some of the questions that came in later he didn't have a chance to get to so, for those of you who didn't get answers, Bryan will be making a personal visit to your home to answer any and every question you have when he gets back. Or not. Either one.

This video was up this morning on MSNBC. It gives a peek into the training of the Navy SEALS. I totally could not have done that. I get cold just watching.

Ok, here we go...

Before I get to the questions I want to thank Melissa for allowing me to be a part of this. I want to thank all of you who’ve commented for all your prayers and well wishes. I sincerely thank you for your support and it is truly my pleasure to serve our great nation.

Valerie said…what are some of the favorite things your brother gets in care packages from home?

-Anything from home is great. I really don’t have a favorite. Maybe not any more summer sausage.

Sheila can I pray for you?

-Safety, strength, patience… and cool weather.

LoLa said...I like the free time question. Is the food good? What is your favorite mess hall meal?

-Food’s not too bad. It most certainly could be worse. I head straight for the salad bar if they have one.

Jess said...Did you know you wanted to be a Navy Seal for a long time before you enlisted? How long does it take to train and was it seriously brutal?

-I swam competitively for a while growing up and was always very comfortable in the H2O. I almost joined the Army but eventually spoke to a Navy recruiter and found my niche. Training is hard. It has to be.

Ok that was two questions. I have a third but I am thinking people will think I am a four year old if I write it...

-I’ve been asked some pretty tough questions from four year olds I mean, Sadie is my niece.

Amy said...Any good stories about Melissa growing up?

-Amy, I’m going to turn the tables on this one and ask you a question. First, this thing started by me mentioning to my sis that I read her blog faithfully and, if she wouldn’t mind updating it. Totally harmless. All of a sudden the spotlight was on me. Do you think I’m crazy enough to drop a dime on Melissa on her own turf? C’mon?

Cole said...What (if any) practical jokes are the men in your battalion/brigade/team pulling on each other to keep up morale?

-We haven’t started it here yet. It gets to be crazy though because everyone tries to out-do the previous person…

Lauren said…what is your favorite war movie?

- “Blackhawk Down” or the first hour of “Full Metal Jacket.” I don’t watch a lot of war movies though.

What is the most exotic thing you have eaten?

- I don’t think I want to know.

If you could stock up on one author's books for free, whose stuff would you choose?

-Good question! I suppose Tom Clancy. I’m a non-fiction guy though.

Do you believe in UFOs?

- Interesting question…I had “Star Wars” sheets when I was younger. Does that count?

Jennifer K. said...What do you miss most about the states when you are deployed (aside from the obvious, family, because who wouldn't miss your awesome sister??!).

-I miss weekends, bringing my wife coffee in the morning, throwing the football with my youngest son, & taking my dog to the beach.

Jill said...So milk duds are Melissa's favorite, what is your favorite candy?

- Cinnamon Jelly Belly’s

hannahgarippa said...Is it true that you told your trusting, wonderful, super-smart sister to smell the deep-end of the pool and she did, not once but twice?

-I don’t recall it but if Melissa said it, I must have. Who makes something like that up? However, I don’t think I’d admit that I fell for it…(NOT ONCE BUT TWICE) It’s certainly funny now though…

Bry's wife said...What is the fastest land animal? Is Demi Moore still an active SEAL? Charlie Sheen?? Micheal Bien??? If my head was made of veal, never mind, it's a math question. How come you don't hear the "p" is psycho? Do you know how much I love you?

- Right back at ya!

Steven said...Hi Dad-got questions…you haven't bought me a shirt have you ?

- Not yet. Do you want one?

Is it hot?

-Getting there.

Do you miss Tabby?

- (our cat) Why, did she ask about me?

Is mom in trouble for showing me this?

- No, she’s ok.

Love u bye :)

- Love you too!

Traci@TotalMomsense said...1. What is your "coolest" (my word) "tightest" (their word) piece of equipment?

- We’ve got a lot of toys that are pretty cool (tight…) I don’t think I could pick just one. I’m sort of a flashlight/ jacket nut. I’ll (hopefully) never be in the dark or cold again.

2. What is the one thing you really like about your day-to-day job?

- I get to work with some seriously amazing people!

3. What advice do you have for someone who wants to be a SEAL?

- Get in the water & get comfy. Do lots of pull-ups & soft sand runs. It’ll pay BIG dividends.

Erika Marie said...Would you rather be a ninja that couldn't throw a ninja star straight or a pirate that was afraid of water?

- I'm sorry, I can’t relate to either of those… :)

These Three Kings said…Do you have any fears about returning home after serving for so long?? If so what are they??

- Interesting…Fears, I don’t think so. There’s an adjustment period, certainly, but nothing fearful.

What else(other than your sisters blog :)) encourages you to press on while you are in the midst of such challenging times?

- My time w/ God has been good here. The parable of the fig tree: I believe we experience difficult times so God can till & fertilize our soil and we may bear good fruit for him. That encourages me to no end.

Candy said...So I've watched the SEAL training on Discovery Channel. What was the most difficult portion of the training? How in the world did you survive the ocean torture (lying side by side in the freezing Pacific)?

-Before Hell Week I wrote Phil 4:13 on the underside of the bill of my hat. I would lie in the water, freezing, saying that verse to myself again & again. Before I knew it, we were done. That verse has been written on my heart ever since. I’d have to say the cold temps were the worst part of it.

pcb said...Other than family, what do you miss most about the states?

-We’ve got things really good in the States. I don’t think I could pick what I miss most.

Happygeek said...So, if you could change anything about your sister, what would it be?

-I’d move Dallas closer to my hometown. Other than that I wouldn’t change a thing.

Cheez-it's or Cheez-nips?

- Cheeze-it’s

Best place to watch the sunset?

- The beach w/ my wife & kids

Favorite ride at an amusement park?

- ANY rollercoaster. The bigger the better.

What's your favorite thing about your job?

- The people I work with!

The Huffstetlers said...What is the one food you can't wait to eat when you get home?

- Good Pizza

Kelli said...What is the first thing you are going to do when you get home? A month later?

-The first thing? None of your beeswax! A month later, go see my son in WA.

Carlee said...What do you eat when you are away? MREs? Local food? And what food do you miss?

-We eat fairly well. Certainly better than the men & women that served before us. Can’t get good pizza here though.

Kim said...What's the strangest thing you've ever received in a care package?

-Good question…The last time I was here I got about 8 lbs of summer sausage in about three packages. I’m a carnivore, no doubt, but c’mon. (Thanks Mel)

Best Life said...My question is what can those of us that don't have any loved ones in the military do to encourage the troops?

-You’re doing it!

Cristi said...I'd like to know what your typical day is like, if you can share any of it with us.

- Not much typical here. Or, I could tell you but then I'd…oh, you know the rest.

THANKS BRYAN!! I know you're busy and I sure appreciate you taking time to answer all of these! By the way, I've been working out on Wii Fit so we're probably in about the same shape now. How 'bout a sit-up contest when you get home? I bet I wi...oh, forget it.

Love you and stay safe!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Happy Anniversary.

Fourteen years ago, Trey and I were married in a little town in Mexico surrounded by family and friends.

Last Thursday, some sweet friends kept the kids so we could sneak away for a night and celebrate.

And fish. We've found when we get away, we need to plan an activity. Otherwise, we end up with these...

Oh, I kid. Trey loves to bass fish but has been so crazy busy lately, he hasn't had a chance to go so we went to a friend's lake house for a little chillaxin with our tackle boxes.

This was Trey's first catch of the day. It took him 1.4 seconds to catch it.

Mine was a clam.

Somewhere in the lake, in one of the underwater convention centers, this clam had attended a motivational seminar where he had heard the quote, "you miss 100 percent of the worms you don't take a shot at..." and he just went for it. My bait was twice his size but I liked his moxy.

Here was my first fish. I was pretty excited. The fish did not share my emotion.

I had fantasies all day of screaming, as I'm fighting to reel in my ginormous catch, "Oh, yeah, look at this one! He's a HOG! Look at him!!" But alas, my biggest catch weighed about 1.5 pounds - roughly the same as our betta fish, Bob.

Nevertheless, we had a great time and enjoyed the rare opportunity to look each other in the eye and actually finish a sentence without being interrupted.

After fourteen years, I love the man more today than the day I married him. He points me to Christ, challenges me, loves me when I'm unlovable, and has given me some pretty incredible children.

Looking forward to many, many more with him by my side.

Thanks to all of you who were so encouraging to my brother and ya'll asked some great questions. His answers are all ready and will be up tomorrow morning!

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

"Let us run with endurance the race set before us looking to Jesus the founder and perfecter of our faith, who, for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God."

Hebrews 12:1-2
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Thursday, April 9, 2009

Once upon a time.

Once upon a time, there was a sweet girl, and she had a friend. In a moment of extreme vulnerability, the sweet girl shared with her friend that she had a horrific, albeit irrational, fear of roaches.

Her friend thought it would be funny to put a plastic roach in the sweet girl's daytimer so that when she opened it at a meeting, she would squeal and scream and almost wet her pants with fright.

This made the sweet girl thoughtful.

And because she was sweet, she loved candy. Usually Milk Duds but, sometimes, she partook in other delicious holiday candies. She also liked to make up words like 'partook' but that's not important right now.

Peeps were one of her favorites. Not as good as the Cadbury Egg but still, yummy.

Because the sweet girl is also a Christian and doesn't believe in returning evil for evil, she thought her friend who put the very realistic roach in her daytimer causing her to squeal and almost wet her pants in front of her peers might need some sugar.

So she shared.

Her Peeps.

A few... or one hundred.

And unlike a tricky plastic but very real looking roach tucked into her daytimer that made her squeal and almost wet her pants, she made the Peeps easy for her friend to find.

Easy for anyone to find, really, who might be passing her on the freeway.

It was the least she could do.

The least she and her equally sweet five year old daughter could do.

Happy Easter! From the girl, and her peeps.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

He might need to be careful what he wishes for or ask a soldier a question!

Ok, so a few posts back, I wrote about my brother. He's a Navy SEAL serving someplace that I don't have the security clearance to know. 'In the war, somewhere that you're not invited' is about all I got out of him. Apparently, he doesn't appreciate all the times I pretended I was Sydney Bristow and ran with 'Knife Hands' around the house.

So that you don't think it's strange for me not to have access to something, Trey won't give me the key to Mercy Street that opens every door in the place, including the pantry where they store all the candy, either. It would be a real tragedy to me if I didn't know that inner-city kids don't really like Milk Duds or Diet Coke so there's nothing in there that I really want anyway, except maybe some Hot Cheetos.

Anyway, my brother wrote me this email last night and said things like this...

Long time reader, long time complainer. I'm sending you this e-mail because I wasn't going to "throw you under the bus" on your blog. Here's the deal: So, I'm overseas, trying to do my job...One itsy, bitsy thing that I have is my morale. One of the means I have to keep my morale high is reading your blog. Let's just say I'm a loyal "hoodmamamel" follower. My week has progressed steadily and that is a good thing but therein lies a problem. (Are you seeing where I'm going with this?) I completely understand that you're a very busy woman and lots of people rely on you every day. However, your loyal blog followers are waiting for an update...C'mon Mel, throw us a bone here. I have thought about starting a petition in order to get this thing rolling but geography makes it difficult at best....

Apparently, he thinks sarcasm is a spiritual gift.

He was a wee bit testy that I hadn't posted in a while and so I had an idea. What if you, the two of you besides him that read my blog, write questions for him in the comments section and he can answer them for us. You can also email them to me at They can be about anything from his thoughts on the progress of the war, to his favorite Easter Candy. If he can't answer your question because, you know, National Security and all, we'll move onto the next. It will be like Anderson Cooper only I'll be wearing fuzzy slippers and my retainer.

Since he's kinda busy with top-secret-ninja stuff, I'll give him a week and post his response next Tuesday.

He definitely got the humorous genes in the family so it should be entertaining. And if you're like him and have read for a while and never commented (read:stalker) now's your chance! Seriously. Do it now.

I'll start with one.

Bryan (if that's even your real name) what do you and your people do in your free time overseas, if any, for entertainment?


Sunday, April 5, 2009


Saturday was our Annual West Dallas Eggstravaganza and boy howdy what a time we had. The event is sponsored by several neighborhood ministries and churches around the city and volunteers came out in droves to make sure a fun time was had by all.

This is one of the several bounce houses set up for the kids. We had to implement a 'kids only' rule when we found Hannah in line several times saying things like, "You wanna race? Yeah? You wanna piece of me? Yeah? Bring it!" to the seven year olds standing with her. Embarrassing.

I, on the other hand, couldn't leave this man's side. I was angling to score some free fries and McDoubles but he was a no go.

I think he was an impostor because those shades weren't even real Ray-Bans and no way would the real Ronald be wearing some wookies. That's 'hood lingo for fakes.

I love this picture because in the back is a little boy named J'Twan. He was in line for one of the other bounce houses and I never saw him go anywhere else. I liked that he was committed.

Now this is a picture of a precious little angel sitting so pretty on the dunking booth.

And here are the mean, stinky boys winding up to take her down. They look very serious.

They had pretty good aim...

The actual Easter egg hunts were so fun and a little bigger than we expected.

The weather was perfect and we ended up having over 1000 people so we ended up with a few sad little munchers.

No worries though, after I took this, I made sure she got herself some major egg goodness and she was all happy again.

I would love to have some pictures of the Second Annual Hot Dog Eating Contest but Trey "ran out of time". Truth is, I think he was scared I might win or at least come in a close second to my mother-in-law. And the thought of it grossed him out a little.

In the news.

The first official meeting of Mercy Street Fellowship was beautiful, amazing, encouraging, and, along with sweet families in the community, the Holy Spirit showed up. Thank you to all who prayed, emailed, and called!
And the food was great! :)
We're looking forward to seeing who the Lord brings through the doors each Wednesday night.
I'll post pictures as soon as we can get my computer fixed.
Dallas Channel 8 reporter David Schechter came out a while back and did a report on Trey, Mercy Street and the good things that can come out of a tough economy.
Trey and Hannah both make me want to love Jesus more.
Here's the video.