Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Red Part.

I just finished listening to a sermon by Francis Chan that has undone me. I'd like to say it's not easily done but, with the way I've been running around this week like a chicken...well you know, I'd be telling a big, fat, lie. Big. Fat.

The sermon is on living eternally and I can't recommend it enough. He's an amazing preacher and walks the talk in the Simi Valley area of California where he lives.

I'm a visual learner so when he used this analogy, it really stood out to me and I thought I'd share it with you.

Mr. Chan held up a long, long piece of rope stretched all across the stage where he was speaking. He asked the church to imagine if the rope wound round and round the room, filling it up and then went out the door. It then went round and round the city, state and even the world.

It would be a pretty long rope.

At one end was about an eight inch section in the rope that was painted red.

Our eternal lives are represented by the rope. The red part, that took up just a fraction of the whole thing, represented our lives on earth. That small part, in relation to the whole, is what we, even as Christians, spend the majority of time thinking about. Living for. Wanting to make as perfect as possible - as painless as possible.

We are consumed with things that effect only the red part, our little vapor, and they will be gone in a breath. Even more, the way we live in the red part has an effect on what our life will be like for the rest of eternity.

My eyes are often fixed on things that have zero percent eternal value - what I wear, what my house looks like, what I eat, or drink, or how much is in our savings account. Actually, I don't spend much time on that one because it sometimes makes my stomach hurt, but the others can consume me before I even realize it. And the truth is, I can talk a really good game. But what am I thinking about, worrying about, or doing with my time? How am I walking, not just talking?

As we get ready to start our summer, my hope is that I can learn to get my eyes off the red part and back onto what matters - and I will know, we all will know, the unspeakable joy found only in Christ.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Please let it be over soon!

I don't know what kind of tranquilizers I was taking last fall when I agreed to help with so many activities in the month of May.

Whatever they were, the effects have long worn off and I am under the pile.

Milk Duds and Diet Coke just do not supply the amount of energy required to get through church planting, graduation, baseball, end of the year parties, and parties, and parties and stalking celebrities in and around Dallas.

Yesterday, as Graham was finishing baseball practice, Mark Cuban and his buddies were taking the field.

So, being ever prepared like the Girl Scout I never was, I snapped a few or sixty seven pictures.

He had changed into his play clothes after wearing a dark pinstriped suit all day in Federal Court. The SEC may not be happy with Mr. Cuban but you gotta give him props - he can throw the heck out of a baseball. It's a skill that could be incredibly beneficial to the Federal Prison farm team.

Oh, Mark, I kid. But if you're looking for someone to take care of your pool this summer while you and your legal team work out this little hiccup, just give me a call. My kids would be more than happy to help you out.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Memorial Day.

Good Morning, Bryan.

We're praising the Lord this morning for your life, your family, and your unwavering service to our country. And we're remembering, with great respect and thanksgiving, your fellow SEALs who did not come home.



We love, love, love you!
Your Texas peeps.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Better by the day.

Olivia didn't think it could get much better than crutches when she broke her foot last week. But, oh, was she wrong.

We had our appointment with the orthopedist this morning and he put her in a full on bigger than life CAST.

When I was little you chose between itchy and very itchy. She had about 25 different colors to choose from. That little bonus added about 45 minutes to our appointment time. It was actually ok because there are so many, many fun things to do in the waiting room of a dr.'s office that the time just flew by. I also love that it's like waiting patiently in a petri dish for ebola to take over our bodies.

In the end, she chose this.

"Because Uncle Bryan is fighting in the war. Every time I look at it, it will remind me to pray for him..."

"...Oh, and because the 4th of July is my half-birthday. Can we have a party? Let's talk about my party."

I think they may have put the cast on too tight.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Give a man a fish...

The day we moved into the neighborhood, we met one of our favorite families across the street. Their kids were out playing and ours' joined right in. Because they're from Vietnam, and the parents don't speak a bit of English, we've communicated over the years through two things; the kids and food.

Mr. Nguyen loves Trey and often invites him over when he and his friends are celebrating a Vietnamese holiday or day off from work.

Our favorite memory was when Trey had joined the men for some dinner and were sitting on the floor around a steaming pot of something delicious but unknown drinking Heineken's, Mr. Nguyen's beer of choice. Trey couldn't communicate at all and so every so often, they would stop their conversation, turn to him in unison and yell "Cheers". They would all raise their beers in a toast and then go right back to their conversation. Eventually, they pulled out a Karaoke machine and began performing to various Vietnamese artists. After a while, they put on the only American song they had, and encouraged Trey to sing his heart out...to "Oops, I did it again." by Brittany Spears.

Trey was dying but appreciated their friendship and their efforts to include him. He pulled Tee to his side and laughed his way through the whole song. They love him for it to this day.

Mr. Nguyen, along with Trey, loves him some fishing. The other day, he and his son went to a lake just north of here and brought home a catch and a half.

Trey walked across the street to admire the cooler full o' fish and Mr. Nguyen, who was already frying up the Striper, offered him some.

Now, the Nguyen's can cook and whenever they're making eggrolls or shrimp, we beg for some because it's so delicious so Trey of course said yes.

Mr. Nguyen sent over this. I think we were hoping it would be more of the fried variety.

For a fishing family who primarily practices catch and release, it had a little more scales and eyeballs than we were hoping for. I thought Dea and Darius were going to come out of their skin and Sadie and Olivia wanted to play with it.

I said no. Was that wrong?

Ya'll have a great day.

*

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

One fail swoop.

Sunday morning, we on the Westside welcomed a brand new baby to the hood. Mindy and Garret had a baby girl and we're all in a tizzy about her cuteness, and her smallness, and her smell-goodness.

We also talked a good bit about breast feeding in front of my two girls who were totally listening but pretending not to listen and instead be completely consumed by the new delicious baby and her new bouncy seat.

With her curiosity piqued beyond her ability to ignore, Olivia peppered me with all kinds of questions on the way home from baseball practice yesterday.

"Mom, I know the Bible says you're supposed to wait until you get married to have babies but how does your body know?"

"Know what, small innocent child who I'm not ready to have this conversation with yet?"

"You know, that you're married. You know, 'cause then, when you're married you can get a baby. How does your body know?"

Wait for it...

"And Mom, if you can't have a baby until you're married, how did Kel and Lillian get a baby? And Cormelias? and Tanisha?"

Oh, my goodness, THINK FAST! "How 'bout a Slurpee?" "What if the moon was made of cheese?" "How much wood could a wood chuck chuck?" FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, GIVE ME SOMETHING I CAN USE!!

Nothing worked. She had started down a road and there was no going back. A road that made her laugh hysterically, squirm, and unfortunately for her momma, ask more and more questions.

I answered anything she asked - mostly because she wasn't buying my go-to response of "God magic".

"You mean (counting silently to herself) you and Daddy did that four times?"

"Yes, Baby, four."

At the end of our very frank conversation, I said, "Olivia, I'm so thankful I got to tell you about all of this. It means a lot for a mom or dad to be able to tell their kids about sex so I want you to keep this just between you and me. You don't need to talk with your friends or your siblings about because we want their mommy's and daddy's to have the opportunity to have a great conversation like we just did. And if you promise to always come to me first with any of your questions, I promise to always be honestly and straightforward about anything you want to know. Deal?"

"Deal."

"Mom, one more thing...Is Santa real?"

Crap.

*

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Prom.

It's definitely Spring here in Dallas and we're loving all the great sunshine, warm days, end of year soccer parties, end of year class parties, baseball games, basketball games, finals, wrap up meetings, launch meetings, etc. It's almost as if May read December's book on making Mom's life a walk down the exhaustion trail.

Piled on top of all of these events is Dea's upcoming graduation. I thought it would be years before I would be attending a Baccalaureate but we've found ourselves smack in the middle of the festivities.

That should adequately explain the lack of posting. On the bright side, I have months of things to write about. In the dog days of August, we may still be talking about the end of May - or how green Olivia's hair is from all the chlorine, either one.

First on the list of Senior activities was prom. Pinkston's prom was last weekend and I was heartbroken to be out of town. I would have given my right arm to help chaperone 'cause anyone who doesn't actually know me might totally believe I am a beacon of coordination. I've been working on my "Stanky Leg", my "Dougie", and my "Superman" all year and would have loved a chance to show them off. I can totally dance and my sweet, sweet moves might have won me Prom Queen all over again. Totally.

Or a swirlie in the bathroom toilet.

Dea went without a date. So did his best friend Charles. Let me just say right now that Dea and Charles have known each other since they were little, they're best friends. I'd never met the kid until about a week and a half ago which helps explain the whole, he's my cousin, she's my auntie, he's my brother thing. For Dea, a text or comment on MySpace every once in a while practically makes you family.

Two girls who were "ABSOLUTELY NOT THEIR DATES" drove in a separate car. They took pictures with the girls, ate dinner with the girls, and hung out with the girls. But they were, "NOT THEIR DATES." Mostly because Dea said they talk too much.

We worked hard on putting together Dea's suit and he felt as dashing as he looked.

Charles may have worked a little harder.

He had on a white suit with 'King Charles' airbrushed across the front. He had matching tangerine crocodile shoes and a crown design in the back of his hair.

He was pure understated elegance. Love it.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

What I wouldn't give for a dull moment.

The other night, Olivia, Tee, Graham, and some other child I did not know were doing their homework upstairs in the playroom.

I did know the other child, it was Sadie, and they were absolutely NOT doing their homework because then it would be called a homework room and how ridiculous would that be.

Homework room, please.

They called down for me to come watch their latest escapade. I'd hoped it was finding all the Lego pieces to the Star Wars Imperial Destroyer. Can't a girl dream? What they were actually doing was taking all the pillows off of the couch, stacking them up into a tall tower and hurdling over them.

Does anyone know right now where this is going?

Olivia went first...Run, Hurdle, Land, Crack, Scream.

I actually heard a crack - maybe a pop, or a snap to be more specific - and immediately knew we would be spending the rest of the night in the E.R. of Children's Hospital.

Always looking for that opportunity to learn something new, I payed very close attention to the goings-on in the E.R.

1. Always pack snacks. I actually saw a mom take a swig of milk out of her son's sippy cup. That's desperation if I ever saw it.

2. A family of four can consume 26 pixie stix over the course of 4 hours and still all fall asleep, sitting up in the waiting room chairs, despite the sugar.

3. A woman can get so bored in the E.R. waiting on an X-Ray that she'll count the number of Pixie Stix consumed by above family.

4. Said woman can also be so bored that she colors the dot-to-dot pictures in her daughter's coloring book - using shading and blending techniques so that the image "jumps off the page".

5. When the family that was sitting next to you is approached by a nurse, asked to move to a partitioned part of the waiting room, and put on paper masks, you will nonchalantly, but thoroughly bathe in hand sanitizer.

6. No matter how much pain a child is in because she did actually break a bone in her foot, when a nurse says the word "crutches", that child will beam from ear to ear.

Just like it's Christmas.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Double digits.

My firstborn child crossed over this morning into the world of double digits.

Tee turned 10 with one request - Krispy Kreme for his class at lunch.

That would be reason number 1,232,564,644,430 why I love this child.

Oh, and a corn snake. I kinda liked the story with just the one request.

His daddy was thrilled beyond belief to oblige.

The snake came with these...


I found them in the freezer this morning, next to the Eggo Waffles. Do you know what those are? If you do, please pray for me. If you don't, I feel our relationship will only continue to grow if you allow me to keep you in the dark on a few things.

Deal?

Another tradition we've learned in the 'hood is the "birthday dollar". When it's your birthday, you safety pin a dollar to your shirt and all day, people - friends or total strangers - will give you a dollar. Darius gave Tee his first of the day.

Then, at the end of the day, you walk over to Jan's and get some wings, or Big Red, or Hot Cheetos, or if you can stealthly lift a dollar off your child, some Milk Duds.

Happy Birthday, Buddy!

Saturday, May 9, 2009

I'm over here today.

Hope you're having a great weekend and looking forward to celebrating Mother's Day tomorrow.

I'm over at the Dallas Morning News Mom's Blog today, writing about my mom.

http://momsblog.dallasnews.com/archives/2009/05/moms-panel-reflecting-on-mothe.html

And still loving Arizona...and wishing I'd invented sunscreen. We're using it by the truckload.

Sent via BlackBerry by AT&T

Friday, May 8, 2009

Arizona.

Yesterday morning, Graham, Sadie and I boarded a Southwest beauty at 7:00 a.m. for a visit to their Grandaddy's house in Scottsdale, Arizona. Everytime I say that out loud, I think, "I got me some baby grub, baby wipes, diapers, them disposable kind. I also got a package of balloons." "They blow up into funny shapes and all?" "No, just circular." HAHAHAHAHA! Quick, name that movie.

I've never seen two children more excited about a Sprite and honey roasted peanuts in my life. Please remind me of their penchant for these things when it comes time to do a little Christmas shopping this year. As a matter of fact, I may just stick a few packs in my purse on our way back and call it done.

Dallas has exactly 6.8 days of Spring each year and there are actually days where you might need to throw a sweater on for about half the day so as I was packing, I kept thinking I needed to make sure I brought some sweaters/jackets for the kids.

We got off the plane and it was 100 degrees. I think my mascara melted off.

But, you know, it's a 'dry heat', kind of like fire, so we're all good.

Actually, we're having a great time. The kids have been swimming for fifteen hours straight. They ate dinner in the pool, brushed their teeth in the pool, and finally fell asleep in the pool. Not really but they did basically pass out at 7:30 last night.

This morning, they were up at 6:30 swimming in the pool. The great thing is, there's absolutely no need for bathing with this much chlorine. Can I get an Amen?

Ya'll have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Worth a thousand words.

My baby graduated today.


From preschool.

Chapel School to be specific.

Once a week, mom's take their kids to Chapel School and teach them phonics, language, math, art, and cooking.

I've done it with all of my kids and love, love, love it.

And now we've graduated.

Forever.

I cried big ugly tears.

Sadie asked if I wanted to wear her hat.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Because 1+1=2

I know when you saw the title, you probably thought you were going to read a post by someone who is almost, if not totally, inept at math.

And you were right. But I love me some Mercy Street Ministries, West Dallas, inner-city kids, and the foxy Executive Director who happens to be the father of my children.


Now I may not be very good at math but I can do some simple addition and I know that 2 is more than 1. On May 20th, The Communities Foundation of Texas and The Dallas Foundation are launching what's called Donor Bridge. On that day, a dollar-for-dollar match will be given for every gift to Mercy Street made through www.donorbridgetx.org. Online donations are made with a credit card and any gift from $25 to $2,5000 is eligible for matching funds while they last.

To learn more and donate, visit www.donorbridgetx.org

This is a rare opportunity to make your giving go even further and impact the lives of inner-city kids who desperately need to know the relentless love and hope of Christ.


For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; I was naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to me.' Then the righteous will answer Him, 'Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?' The King will answer and say to them, 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.'

Matthew 25:35-40

Monday, May 4, 2009

Oh, this bleeding heart.

Often, emotions trump logic. I find this happening to me over and over again - almost like a bad scene in Groundhog Day.

As we were driving home the other day, we almost ran over, and therefore felt obliged to pick up, take home, bathe, and feed this...

My kids called it ARK as in Almost Road Kill.

He lasted for about 45 minutes until my children became engrossed in an episode of Spongebob Squarepants and he escaped through a hole in our fence. I think he'd had enough of Sadie trying to clean his shell with a sponge and Bath and Body Works Ginger Body Scrub and decided to get the heck outta dodge.

The kids were watching Spongebob as part of our research on the various trends and societal impact of such cartoons on our nation's youth. Over the summer, my children will be writing a thesis, composing a power point presentation, and then presenting their findings to the entire family. For a grade.

Or, I was trying to cook dinner and needed them to be occupied to the point of comatose. Either one.

While making dinner, Hannah stopped by. She seemed amused that I was doing this...

Amused enough to take 27 photographs with my camera.

One of our Betta fish, no name, apparently has an issue with his swim bladder. I know this because I Googled it so the information I found was tantamount to the gospel.

He/she/it only swims sideways and floats to the top.

Google said it's constipated. The cure for Betta fish constipation is fasting it for two days and then feeding it a cooked shelled pea. Unfortunately, the pea sinks and the fish can only float so I have to feed it with my hand. It's no problem because I really don't have anything else to do.

So far, nothing but a happy, floating Betta fish. I would put it out of it's misery with one flush but Google also said it's totally painless, just annoying to the fish.

Unlike my trainer on Wii Fit. He's both annoying and painful.