Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Second only to Easter.
Easter is hands-down my favorite holiday but it's November, and talking about Easter when the leaves are falling and the air is crisp with the smell of Autum would be, well, ridiculous.
Actually, we're in Dallas so the weather now may or may not be the weather we'll be having come Spring, and, since there are still mosquitos trying to consume my children in small bites, it may not be such a stretch.
Anyway, we're talking about Thanksgiving - the greatest holiday ever because it revolves around food. Lots and lots of delightful food. Food and football.
Food + Football = Wonderment
There aren't presents to buy, one million parties to line babysitters up for, finals, fireworks, or the guilt trip associated with forgetting to buy your spouse a romantic pink and red card covered with hearts and stuff. I don't know that last part first-hand, I've just heard rumors. From my husband.
THANKSGIVING, I LOVE IT!
We're getting ready over here at the Hill house and are camping out inside for the day. I've got myself a lot of cooking to do since, over time, I have slowly been entrusted to some of the Hill family recipes. It's taken 15 years but I've finally been given something besides the pies.
Something VERY important.
This year, I'll be making the Sweet Potatoes (please don't let me ruin them, please don't let me ruin them).
The sweet potatoes are a VERY integral part of our Thanksgiving menu. Were we to rank them, they'd be almost as important as the broccoli rice, on par with the stuffing, and exponentially more important than the rolls which I'm also in charge of.
Oh, the pressure.
And so begin my annual jokes that I'm making the recipe with Splenda and it will be, for the first time, gluten-free.
Of course I kid because actually altering the recipe at all would easily cause an insurrection in the Hill house the likes of which hasn't been seen since the great 2006 Thanksgiving Day game upset of the #10 ranked University of Texas by the unranked Texas A&M.
I had to sleep outside that night.
Truth be told, the Hill family love of food is one of my favorite things about being part of this crew. I grew up with a dad who was constantly in the kitchen trying out recipes on us, making vats of Spaghetti sauce from scratch, and feeding us grilled chicken covered with crazy-spicy African peppers and loving food in general.
It doesn't get much better than sharing a wonderful meal with people you love and eating until you want to die.
Darius just came in and said that's his goal for tomorrow. "MaMelissa, I'm gonna eat tomorrow until I want to throw up. Can I wear basketball shorts because, you know, they're stretchy."
Yes, Darius, you can.
Welcome to the family.
Wishing you a blessed Thanksgiving from our table to yours.
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
I'm already tired.
Thankful, but tired.
All the fun started last Friday when we celebrated our school's annual Living History Day. This year, we celebrated Ancient times and dressed as the following: Romans, Greeks, Hebrews, and Egyptians.
The Greek goddess costumes were fabulous, as were the Egyptians'. They were white or pale blue and adorned with jewels, gold, and fabulousness.
I was a Hebrew.
May I just say for the record that, after seeing myself in the mirror in a 'to-sack, head-covering, and sash made of ticking, I now, more than ever believe in the Immaculate Conception.
In costume, I made eyes at Trey and said, "Hey, Baby, what's this do for ya?"
"Not much, Sweetie. Not much."
And, there you have it.
Sadie, on the other hand, looked precious.
My other children were running around like wild banchees so I didn't get shots of them. What I did get were lots of pictures of the backs of heads. Perfect for the individual and crafty scrapbooks I haven't made for them.
It kind of reminds me of Graham's first birthday. I forgot to take pictures so, a month later, at a friend's birthday party, I sat that little man down in front of the pretty cake, put a party hat on him, and captured his "first birthday" forever on film. He was none the wiser. Um, except for now. Secrets are not my gift but, come on, it's not always the accuracy of the picture, it's the idea represented in the picture. Just like on Fox News.
Can I get an "Amen, Sister"?
What would be fun now, would be to actually show you that picture. Unfortunately, those photos are forever locked inside my now broken computer. As I wait pseudo-patiently for it to be restored to me, I am once again harkened back to the days of my Hebrew brethren wandering in the desert.
Adorned in 'to-sacks' and unfortunate head coverings.
"Melissa, the Immaculate Conception is not the same as the virgin birth of Christ. Catholics believe that Mary was conceived sexually but without original sin. That is the IC. I don't think any Protestants hold this doctrine. I won't tell Trey."
To be clear, I hold to the doctrine of the Virgin Birth but the Immaculate Conception sounded funnier. I don't always believe in throwing doctrine out the window for the sake of comedy but, in this case, I didn't know any better.
On my blog.
In front of millions.
Thursday, November 19, 2009
Tuesday, November 17, 2009
Thursday, November 12, 2009
For the first time, Mercy Street is in need of formal fundraising. Giving across the nation is down 35% and we have not been immune to this statistic. What's not down, though, is the number of children, and their families, who want to be a part of this ministry. Kids wait outside for the doors to open at every event and, on a daily basis, children are asking one of the mentor coordinators when they can get a mentor.
Wednesday, November 11, 2009
I'm not proud.
I am proud though - especially today - of the countless men and women who have fought, and are fighting still, on behalf of our country.
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Tuesday, November 10, 2009
He spoke about dignity. And about how we, in our efforts to help, to bring aide, to transform a community, often rob the recipients of dignity.
We do this by refusing to come alongside in humility and by assuming that we know the "fix" regardless of the culture or opinions of the ones we are ministering to.
An example he gave was of a church that came into his village to build a latrine where there had previously been none. Their efforts were efficient, their design flawless. Flawless except for the fact that they had failed to consult with the villagers about their culture and their desires on the placement of the latrine and more importantly, the door.
The latrine, built with skilled hands and professional tools, was placed adjacent to the playground and common area where all the village gathered - the door facing all the people.
For this village, for there culture, it was extremely undignified to be seen walking in and out of a latrine so, after the workers left, feeling satisfied that they had been a blessing, the villagers simply continued to go into the bush to use the restroom.
Being paternalistic means to treat someone in a fatherly manner, instead of a peer, especially in providing for their needs.
It's SO EASY to do this. To come in to a community or a situation and think we have the answers and ours are inherantly right. We're efficient, we're educated, we're seasoned, and we've read lots and lots of books.
But, without humility, we can strip away the dignity from those we come to serve, to uphold, to encourage.
Thank you, Victor, for this gentle reminder - and for coming alongside all those within earshot of you that afternoon, and in humility, asking that we become humble.
Sunday, November 8, 2009
Unfortunately, she wouldn't let me read it. My curiosity is killing me.
Trey paused the game and dug a hole for his daughter.
Friday, November 6, 2009
I'm taking the afternoon to let my little monkeys run around the park and hopefully exert all their energy before they step one foot into my sparklingly (not a word) clean house.
Oh, who am I kidding? It's a mess but I like to dream.
The sun is shining and I'm incredibly impressed watching my kids climb all over the playscapes one handed because their other hand is occupied by a giant Slurpee. Being relatively quick learners, they've realized the best way to keep mom away from your Slurpee is to make a "suicide". It's where they go down the line of Slurpee flavors and put a little of each into their cup. No matter how many times I tell them that Mango Fangango and Mountain Dew, much like, in my humble opinion, Kool-Aid and dill pickles, were never meant to go together, they just look at me like I have ulterior motives and fill 'er up anyway.
"Mom, wanna taste?"
"No. No thanks. And why can't you just mix Coke and Wild Cherry like normal people?"
Then they flash each other a knowing, satisfied grin, confident they can enjoy their entire drink without having to share with me.
We can't stay long because the three dozen or so live crickets bagged up in my car won't survive the heat and our bearded dragon, Augustine, only likes 'em alive and hoppin'.
That's a sentence I never thought I'd write.
Anyway, this is how our weekend is starting - all posted from my Blackberry because my computer decided to crash yesterday. What I love about my computer crashing is...nothing. It should also explain the total stream of consciousness feel of this post. Remember, I'm reading it on a 2x2 screen so it makes perfect sense in small snippits.
Hopefully, I'll be back Monday with a report on our weekend. It's parent day at Pinkston so let's pray I don't embarrass Darius.
Odds are NOT stacked in his favor.
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Monday, November 2, 2009
Instead, we had ourselves some out of town comp'ny. Staying with us. In our home. Which I hadn't gotten around to cleaning yet this year.
Becca and Adam, whom I met via this blog, are starting a mentoring program in Atlanta and wanted to come in town and
I'm going to be honest, and we've already told them this story, the whole thing gave Trey pause.
"Now, how do you know these people?"
"Uh huh. And they're staying with us? In our house? For four days?"
"Um, baby, that's great and all, and I get the whole 'Body of Christ' thing and everything but, um, is there a chance they could also be serial killers?"
"Naw. They're fine."
And they were. They were more than fine. They were amazing - the sweetest, most genuine couple who love Jesus and are really looking at what the Bible says about the poor, the marginalized, and the needy, and what biblical justice and mercy really look like.
And as soon as they said, "Kevin should TOTALLY win Top Chef this season.", all Trey's fears about serial killers went out the window. Meeting people who'd vote for the same chef you would on a reality show is, for Trey, tantamount to running a background check through CIA Headquarters.
You know what I like about writing CIA Headquarters in this post? Becoming the cog in the machine for people legitimately searching Google for 'CIA Headquarters'.
Anyway, the Lord has been incredibly faithful to allow us, over the past several weeks, to meet face to face, several friends who are doing incarnational, inner-city ministry around the country.
It's been such an encouragement to both of us to sit down with more people who share the same heart, have the same outrageous stories, and love what they're doing enough to think they're the luckiest people in the world to be called into this kind of ministry. Admittedly, sometimes I wondered if everyone on the Mercy Street staff had just fallen into the same pool of crazy. Apparently, it's a pretty big pool full of pretty inspiring people.
What, however, has not been great has been realizing that every woman I know who does urban ministry has really great hair. The kind they can just let air dry and it looks all beautiful and shiny and Pantene-commercial-like.
Hannah has it.
Mindy has it.
Stephanie has it.
Becca has it.
Delta has it
Nicole has it.
Carly has it.
I don't has it. The 80's were not good to this head of hair and I'm not sure it's ever recovered. My hair is fine, kinda naturally wavy-straight-frizzy, and I ashamedly take my hot rollers on out of town trips. Without a hair-dryer, well, you don't want to go there right before bed.
In the interest of revealing my complete insecurities, I wonder...Becca's whole blog is chock-full of pictures. She's a pretty great photographer. But, the whole time they were here, the whole four days, she got out her camera zero times.
I mean, I don't want to seem paranoid or anything but, does anyone have the 411 on good hair they can give me? Apparently, with this kinda company, I'm gonna need it.