Friday, December 31, 2010

Who's your neighbor?

Merry Christmas!!!...a little late. I've been a little out of touch with my internet friends and really have lots of excuses but none of them are coming to mind at the moment. Perhaps if I sit a little longer in my bathrobe - like I've done every morning until about 10:00 a.m., I'll remember one.

I hope you had a fabulous Christmas and are looking forward to a new year as much as I am. I honestly can't believe the calendar is about to turn over once again and each year seems like it goes faster and is more full than the one before.

For me at least, this is the day of resolutions. Along with the fun Christmas cheer, and parties, and lots of refined sugar, we've had several circumstances in our neighborhood this season that have reaffirmed our call to West Dallas.

Last December, a sweet fourteen year old kid named Wilber lost his mom. She was murdered in front of her three year old nephew by an abusive boyfriend. We've known Wilber for a long time and he has a mentor through Mercy Street - a dear man named Alan. Last fall, Wilber and his mentor spent long hours together working on homework. Wilber would call Alan, asking him for help but Alan couldn't figure out why it was always late at night. Sometimes, as the clock would tick toward midnight, Alan, dog-tired from his day at work would ask, "Wilber, buddy, why are you waiting until long past dinner-time to start your assignments?"

Wilber never had a very good explaination.

But, last December, it all became clear. As a momma was buried and a boyfriend sat in jail, Wilber revealed to Alan just how abusive the boyfriend was and that, as long as Alan was there in the house, Wilber and his mom were safe from his tirades.

One Wednesday night, as I was baking another round of sugar cookies, preparing for class parties and all the upcoming festivities of Christmas, Wilber and Alan knocked on our door. As we were looking forward to a long, restful vacation, Wilber would spend the next several days testifying at the trial of his momma's murderer. He and Alan came by asking questions like how do we ensure he wouldn't be counted truant and does using epoxy violate the rules for the Physics semester model they were assembling. And would we pray for them.

Y'all, Alan doesn't have to do all this. I'm pretty sure when he signed up to be a mentor at Mercy Street, this wasn't what he envisioned. But, he's faithfully walked alongside a kid who God handpicked for him. Alan has become somewhat of a father to Wilber. A voice of wisdom, a faithful friend, and an example of Christ. With all the chaos that has consumed Wilber's life, Alan has been a source of stability and strength.

There's a little passage in Luke 10 where Jesus is asked by an expert of the law - what is the greatest command of Scripture.

"Easy," Jesus says, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself."

Wanting to justify himself, the expert asks Jesus to define "neighbor" and, since it would be centuries before Webster would publish his dictionary, Jesus defines the word with a story instead. There was this man who was robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the side of the road. Two walked past without breaking stride but one man, a social enemy of the victim, stopped and did everything he could to help.

Geographically, culturally, they were everything but neighbors but the heart of the Samaritan made them neighbors.

Alan has done the same. He and Wilber were everything but neighbors. In fact, Alan probably could have walked next door and helped with chores and had a much easier time. But he's been committed to a kid on the other side of the river who needs him.

So, as we look at starting another year, our family is asking again, who's our neighbor? If you're considering where the Lord might use you this next year, give us a call. We'd love to hear from you.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Too many boys in the house.

We really had a fun weekend, although I can't really remember exactly what it was that we did. I know we missed one of our very favorite Christmas parties on Friday because we were just to stinkin' tired to pull ourselves together and look cute.

Trey doesn't try to look cute - he always looks dashing - and Trey, if you're reading this, my Christmas list is on your pillow. On that, let me tell you a little story...

Before we got married, Trey did a little modeling in Dallas and in Italy. When we moved to Nashville, he literally hadn't thought about modeling in a good five years but, starting a business, thought it might be a good way to earn a little extra cash. Did I mention he hadn't thought about it in five years? Yeah, that means he was practically cutting his own hair and hadn't worked out one day. Not one day. He was 31 and, before the interview, he shaved. That's it. And faster than you can say, totally not fair, he was hired. Like, really hired. Like, could have worked every day and supported our family by smiling cute or giving the "Blue Steel" look. Either one. I've thought about that a lot. Were he a girl, he would have had to have actually worked out, been 15, had a facial and some sort of seaweed wrap, and not have eaten for six days before the interview. He shaved.

Oh, the injustice.

Saturday night, we were actually supposed to go out on a date but instead stayed home and made snack after snack for what seemed like the entire Pinkston Varsity Basketball Team. Then, we watched ESPN's 30 for 30 on the "Death Penalty" handed down to SMU by the NCAA in 1987. It was seriously fascinating. When Trey paused the show for the 104th time to point out another guy he played football with in high school, I poured myself a glass of wine.

And that, my friends, is how we fan the white-hot flame that is our marriage.

On another note, we're not any closer than we were Friday to getting our Christmas cards out. Partly, because we never seem to have all our children home at once. I'm considering just grabbing whatever kids happen to be in the house when I've got my camera ready and calling it a day. Instead of Merry Christmas from Trey, Melissa, Tee, Olivia, Graham, Sadie, Dea and Darius, our card might read, Merry Christmas from Trey, Melissa, Bull, Olivia, Libby, Dea, Sadie, Graham, Alec, and Sebastian.

I'm getting more comfortable with the idea every day.

Speaking of Christmas cards, I'd now like to give you some insight into the culture going on at our house these days as our little boys grow into pre-teens. We opened a precious card from some clearly more prepared friends of ours who's last name is Ball.

immediate peals of laughter from Tee and Graham.

"MOM! MOM!!" Snort. Gasp. "Read this card!!!"




There are too many boys in my house.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Better than a post about food.

Although I had something totally deep and fabulous to write today about food, I can't get this post from my friend Missy out of my head. She always has good stuff to say but this post hit me and hasn't let me up for a few days.

Please read it - it will both encourage you, and give you pause, and cause you to worship the Author and Perfecter of our faith.

In a Stable
by Missy @

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Gift Idea #1.

Anyone giving an iPad for Christmas?

Since it is the number one item on most people's wish list this year, I want to show you something...

A few months ago, I started a business with my friend Madelyn, working with Barrington Gifts.

There's a tab under my header. See it. Yeah, there.

They sell primarily, personalized executive gifts. I get them wholesale, shipped right to your door.

How easy is that?

Totally easy.

We've got some beautiful things - one of them being a beautiful iPad case. There are several choices of leather, it's personalized, and would be the perfect accessory for that iPad waiting under the tree.

Trey told me the other day I was getting coal. I wonder if Barrington has a snoochy case for that?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Where I've been.

I know it's been a few days since I posted and my excuse cup runneth over. Kind of like my children who leave their shoes downstairs by the couch for four days in a row because the newest Phineas and Ferb Christmas Episode is coming up and somehow, the anticipation erases everything else from their brain.

I'm not bitter.

Actually, I would have posted if I'd had a computer but mine decided to erase everything from it's hard drive and then die. Thankfully, I had everything backed up so all our pictures weren't lost. Everything it seems except my Christmas card address list.

It's kind of important.

Especially around Christmas - when I'm trying to send out cards. Trey promises he'll be able to find it so, baby, the pressure is on. And, since I don't even have a picture of our family yet, he's got some time. I'm nothing if not a poor planner.

Actually, last year, I had the picture snapped at Thanksgiving but since the big boys weren't with us in San Antonio, I couldn't get 'er done. Now, we'll have to find a time to gather all our family together when we're decently dressed, ie: not pajamas, and have Hannah come over and play photographer. She'll probably cut my head off in all the shots just to be snarky so if you get a card and my head is cut off, or my eyes are closed, or I just look generally ridiculous while the rest of the family looks beautiful, it's not me, it's Hannah. Totally Hannah.

On another note, Mercy Street had their annual fundraising luncheon on Thursday morning. As I've said before, I love people who surprise you. Dr. Anthony Gordon was our guest speaker and he's been a mentor and friend to Trey for some time. He's an incredible man of God and has encouraged my husband tremendously but is very quiet and soft-spoken.

We're alot alike that way.

When he walked up on stage, he began quietly but, within minutes, the Holy Spirit filled him with boldness and a fervor befitting the best of preachers. He has been in ministry, especially inner-city ministry - for 33 years and his passion is unmatched. He spoke of the beauty of Christ actually grafting us into His family and how we have the opportunity, moreso the call, to do the same with our families in our community. To say he was inspiring would be an understatement and we're so thankful for his presence and his commitment to Mercy Street and West Dallas.

Mercy Street will be graduating our first class of Seniors this Spring and four of our kids were at the luncheon. It was great seeing these young men and women stand onstage and say where they plan to attend college and what their majors might be. And to see their pictures from when they first started in the program was priceless.

Here's Larry 7 years ago...

And here he is now, on the left, with our friend Jamie...

What a gift it's been to walk with him all these years.

And finally, another good friend of both Trey and Anthony flew in for the night to have dinner with both men. Danny Wuerffel heads Desire Street Ministries and happens to be a very humble past Heisman Trophy Winner and ex-NFL Quarterback.

And a good sport because only scoffed a little when I asked him if I could take a picture with him doing the Heisman.

He asked if I even knew how to do it right.

"Absolutely." But he saw the fear in my eyes.

Then I quickly pulled Anthony aside so he could show me.

Totally busted.

Despite his better judgment, Danny posed anyway and Trey took this ridiculous picture of me posing wrong and Danny trying not to die of embarrassment - in front of our couch covered with a blanket so Scout can be comfortable and not get hair on the sofa.

I was also wearing house-shoes with my trousers but Trey managed to crop those out of the photo. Or I did. Whatever.

And if you look really close, just to the left of Danny, you can see where Scout chewed a piece of fabric off of my couch five years ago. Three days after I'd had it recovered - which I'd saved my pennies for a year to do.

Humility doesn't knock - it just keeps barging right on through my door, doesn't it?

Y'all have a great weekend.