Tuesday, December 23, 2008


It was a Saturday evening around 7:00 when the doctor laid this little blue, wet, cone-headed baby up on my tummy and said "You have a baby boy!" After 17 hours of Lamaze breathing, parade watching and focal point gazing, I was ready to see this little guy. He was beautiful. I wasn't scared of him, after all, he was a lot smaller than me. I just wanted to do it right. This mother thing. That's what scared me - could I do it? The picture for his birth announcements was taken with a full size football laying right beside him. An indication of the time to come.

Last Friday morning at precisely 11:00 a.m. we heard a big booming voice from the back of the gym. We knew to stand to welcome the newest graduating class of the Tulsa Police Academy. When the first officer rounded the corner bearing the class flag, it took me a minute to realize that this man was that same little baby I had welcomed to this world some 28 years ago. Although he didn't look at me (because he wasn't supposed to - he's such a good boy), I knew he was showing me his newest uniiform. I could hear in my head, "look at me, Mommy! look at me!" I could see in my head this little blonde headed 4 year old running into the living room with his first ever "real uniform" - not something just to wear for the harvest carnival at church. He was a "real" soccer player on a "real" soccer team. That was the time he was also about to have a little sister and wanted to be in there to "help get the baby". When I realized how serious he was, I talked to my doctor and she was all for it. When the time came the nurses gave him some scrubs, shoe and head covers and were excited to watch him work. He stayed up by my head and held my hand until he pulled on his doctor gloves, got the scissors, and cut the cord so Kayla could start living on her own. The next week he put his "doctor suit" back on and took Kayla to Show and Tell at Thursday School.

Fast forward to his first real football suit. We had moved to Houston and he was having a difficult time. His best friend Chad was left behind in Snyder and it was tough on those little guys. They were in the third grade. Didn't ever talk alot but were together all the time. He came home from school wanting to play football - full contact football. I, like any good mother, told him absolutely not. His dad, on the other hand, took him to register and came home with everything a small football player would need. Along with a few things he wouldn't. He tried it on for me and walked into the livingroom grinning from ear to ear. I can honestly tell you I felt something move in my heart. I really did. I saw what I thought was this little bitty face in a big huge helmet and I sure didn't want anyone to hit it. He informed me later and reminded me MANY times later that he didn't get hit - HE hit. It was also during this time that his daddy was diagnosed with liver cancer. When we found out, I took all three kids to the park and we sat up on a picnic table and I explained what was going on. I was honest with them from the very beginning of that whole thing because I wanted them to be able to trust me. When I told them, Adam and Kayla cried while Kyle broke sticks and through them a far as he could. Break, throw, break, throw. I let him throw until he was done, then he cried. My biggest prayer that whole time was that I could show them how Great our God was. That He was faithful. Every night before Kyle would go to bed part of his prayer would be "and let us be happy even in sad times". So much like his momma. After about 3 months the doctors told us we may only have a few more days. I came home, got Kyle and we went into Tomball to the bank and the grocery store. As we were sitting in the drive through. I told Kyle what the doctors said. We held each other and cried across the console. We then went into Klein's grocery store and on the way out I said "Beat you to the van!" and we took off running. I beat him of course, although he would beg to differ, and we were laughing as we jumped up into the van and I said "Kyle, do you know what we just did? We were just happy even in sad times. The only way we could do that is because of Jesus. He's not going to let us do this alone." You could almost see the light bulb come on above his head. For him to understand the power of prayer at that age was priceless to me.

We moved back to Snyder and the next spring He got his Little League baseball uniform. He was on the Braves. That is the season I walked back and forth between his and Adam's field because all their games were the same time. The end of that summer we had the funeral for their daddy and we had so many people around. It was amazing the love we felt. My cousin Randy and his wife stayed a few days extra to help with things. The day they left I brought the kids home from school and Kyle asked where Randy was. I told him they had to go back to work so they went on home. Kyle didn't want to get out of the car to go in the house. He said "Mom, I need company. I want company." So did I, I just didn't say it out loud. As long as company was there we didn't have to start our new "normal". Once again the Lord gave us the strength to get in there and live our new life. He would be our company.

His Junior High years he wore the Snyder Tiger football and basketball uniforms. Michael and I got married during that time and he became a loyal fan of the boys' sporting events. As Kyle was beginning his freshman football year, we brought home two little babies to add to our family. He knew what time we were supposed to be home and stayed in the driveway playing basketball until we got there about two hours later. He went straight to the door, got out the car seat and went in the house. He couldn't wait to hold those little girls. He was a great big brother. We brought Rachel home almost a year later. Michael and I hauled three baby seats to so many games.

When he started his senior year, I cried over everything. His last first day of two-a-days, his last first day of school, his last first game. But, oh my, that last game was heartbreaking for me. We were in the playoffs, playing in Dumas and after the game, as the players were leaving the field, I just stood in the stands. The other fans were leaving, but I just couldn't. It was kind of like not wanting to get out of the car to start our new normal as a family. I knew when I left the stands, I could never get all that back again. Kyle wasn't a showboat on the field at all. That day, as he was walking to the dressing room, he turned around and looked our direction and held his helmet high in the air. Just stood there a minute before he turned to go in the locker room. Michael and I were standing there with tears in our eyes. When I saw that helmet I knew in his heart he was saying "this hurts, Mom, this really hurts". I sat down and put my face in my hands and cried. We raise our children, knowing they are going to leave one day, but I couldn't put my heart around it yet. The sadness was there at the end of the baseball season and at graduation too, but I think God's grace was starting to prepare me for the future.

That summer we made a trip to Stillwater on a recruiting weekend. There was one time I saw him down by the rail in the Cowboy Stadium looking out at the field and I wanted so bad for him to have it because he wanted it so bad. The good-byes to his sisters and brother and to Chad were difficult as we packed up his car and headed to Oklahoma that warm August. We got him moved in and when it was time for us to leave, we watched from the car as he ran up the steps to Bennett Hall, turned around and stuck his hand straight up in the air. I don't know what he was thinking but I was saying "This hurts, Father, this really hurts."

He looked mighty good in Oklahoma State Orange. The uniform fit fine. His face wasn't too small, the helmet too big. He worked hard and wore it proudly. The first season, he made the travelling team several times. One weekend he wasn't supposed to because Adam had to go in for surgery. The roads were icy and I was afraid for him to drive. A dear friend met us in the parking garage of the hospital and gave us a credit card. He said, "You get that boy here. Get a plane ticket". Kyle got there right when Adam got out of surgery. The nurses would let him stay in there with Adam in ICU because they knew he was going to have to leave the next day. Later in some interview Kyle was doing, he was asked the question, "have you ever been scared?" His reply was when he saw Adam hooked up to all the machines in ICU.

Kyle met Jade at OSU. She, just like Kyle, has been through many uniforms. I met her when she was wearing her OSU softball uniform. She was an amazing athlete. More importantly, she had an amazing heart. Still does. I think of their wedding day and the day of Eli's birth and know this story could go on and on. Sometimes when I ponder those in my heart Kyle still looks 10 years old to me, even though he's doing "husband" and "daddy" things.

This last weekend we were all at their house. Could be pretty overwhelming for most people, but not for Jade. The more the merrier. She loved having everyone there, and we loved being there. Little Eli was all the entertainment we needed. He is so precious to us. We had several family members and a few friends there to see Kyle's new uniform. David Duncan, a fishing buddy of Michael's from Stillwater came over. He's been a great encourager for Kyle to get into police work. Of course, Adam also has encouraged Kyle so much. So as we were doing pictures, I went over and stood between my two big ole' boys, in their matching uniforms. We did this the first time when I was taller than them. They have outgrown me a little.

That big booming voice we heard before the officers walked in? That was my little boy. It didn't sound like "Look at me, Mommy" at all. At least to all the others in the room.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008


Sunday morning was so sweet. Everyone seemed so glad to see each other, there was such a feeling of family. Michael preached on the angels coming to the shepherds, some of the most insignificant people in the social circles of that time. It wasn't the lowliness of the shepherds that was so interesting. It was the fact that Jesus was born in a stable with the animals because He came to be our Lamb. Our sacrificial Lamb. The Lamb of God. Now He is my Great Shepherd. Isn't it amazing how God did everything He could to show us Jesus? Michael encouraged us to think about what the priorities really are in our lives. To focus on what really is important, instead of things that really don't matter.

At the end of the service 16 year old Jordan came up to be baptized. As he climbed into the horse trough, his two soldier brothers got on each side to help baptize their baby brother. Jordan's back was toward me, Michael was standing by Jordan's brother to help get him down into the water, and I could see through all those manly arms and shoulders to his daddy standing at the other end of the trough. He was standing with tears in his eyes, with his daughter standing between him and his precious wife. Two years ago when this daddy came to church, he sat by himself. Every Sunday when we would all "get up to stretch our legs and give somebody a hug" he would remind me to pray for his wife and kids. Any time he was there he would remind us. God was hearing those prayers. Last year he and his wife were baptized together. So sweet. Every baptism is sweet to me because I know most of the stories that brought them to that point. This one was extra sweet because I saw a praying daddy see another of his prayers answered. I was overwhelmed with the emotion of it all.

We got done with everything and I was getting ready to go home to start the beans so we would have something to dip our cornbread in at the party we were having at the church that night. I went looking for Michael to tell him I was leaving and saw him talking to one of the men of our church. Another man had tried to pick a fight with this man and things got heated. I waited until they were done and drove by where Michael was standing. He leaned in the passenger side window and told me things were okay. I wish I could describe the look on his face. It was a mixture of peace, strength, and responsibility. Many times on a Sunday morning we get to hear of awful things that people are going through, then he will go in to lead us to worship our Lord. After being up most of the night in prayer and study he has to wonder, after a fight in the parking lot, if anyone hears. Maybe that is why he has me. Because I wonder. His face showed no discouragement at all leaning in my window. It was ME who was discouraged. After such a sweet morning and sweet message, someone has to go try to mess things up. As I rolled that window up the tears rolled down my cheeks. Those kind of tears you can't stop once they start. You just have to let 'em go. Once again, overwhelming emotion.

After they stopped, I had such a grateful heart. The kind of grateful heart where you actually feel like your heart is bigger than it really is. I realized that the look on Michael's face was BELONGING. He is where he belongs doing the things God has given him to do. That is where the look of strength and peace came from. I was grateful God called us to this church where the people air their laundry, speak their minds, and love passionately. I was grateful we are not at a place where you have to wonder what is really going on in people's hearts. Here, I know how to pray. There is no guessing.

I was in the kitchen at the party later on that evening and told Wendi to listen. You could hear the Alan Jackson CD playing Christmas songs, the dominoes clanking together, the youth in a corner playing cards, people laughing all over the room, and the little ones playing up on the stage. It was sweet. That night the family we have here overwhelmed us again with a gift of love that we never knew was coming. We belong here because God put us here.

It was SUPPOSED to be Michael who preached that sermon, baptized Jordan, and talked through an altercation that morning. It was SUPPOSED to be Michael who listened at the Christmas party to a sweet, tearful lady tell of an unpleasant diagnosis a few days before; and hear that night of the same type of diagnosis for another one of our precious widows. He was the one who was SUPPOSED to get the call the following morning to meet the ambulance at the hospital because one of our sweet sisters in the Lord did not wake up. He is the one who will stay here to make sure she gets the homegoing celebration she deserves this weekend while the girls and I make a trip to Tulsa to see Kyle graduate the academy. The look on his face was BELONGING because he is right where he is SUPPOSED to be. I love him more than I ever have.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Changing Seasons

The Chipmunks are singing "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer", the Applejack is cooking on the stove with Daddy's old white coffee cup on the spoon rest to dip and pour it into mugs, and the girls and I are decorating the Christmas tree. The tree this year is prettier than it has ever been. We all agree. It doesn't make sense, though, since it has the same lights, angels, and ornaments tucked in the branches that we have used in years past.

It was later as I was revisiting Christmas's past that I realized the difference. Always before, most of the older kids were here to help decorate. Jade and Kayla did a great job making the house so Christmasy. The boys would each put on a couple of ornaments, claiming their jobs done. This year it was me and the three younger girls. We were making our own new memories. As I pulled out ornaments with pictures and ornaments with faded fingerpaint I took the time to take them in. I think because they weren't here to put them on, it became more real to me that we are in a changing season. Trying to plan a time around work schedules to get together is getting complicated. We all really like each other and want to spend time together. I cried a little bit, feeling a little sad about it all. Then I got a phone call about a mom just a few miles from us who just found her son dead in his closet. I begin to pray for all the moms who will never get to put arms around their kids again, whether they are in jail, in the war, or in heaven.

I have so much to be thankful for. So Much. The girls love to do things like we've always done them because that brings back good memories for them. They like playing the record player with all the old albums that sound scratchy when the needle hits the vinyl. They like the Applejack cooking even if we don't drink it. The fire going and the Sugared Plums candle lit. Changing seasons is a good thing.

Monday, November 24, 2008


Yesterday at church a lady asked me about the wedding and if I cried. I told her I didn't, then said "Well, I did get at tear in each eye that just kind of swam around in there for a little bit, never fell out or anything." I told her it was kind of like a slide show. I felt like I had one of those old slide projector buttons in my hand and every once in a while I would click the button to see the next slide. His whole life went through my heart in just a few minutes. Click . . .

I'm in the delivery room with a fresh baby laying on my chest as the nurses are searching for the key to unlock the oxygen tank. He was born not breathing. I had read enough midwife books to know I needed to rub him pretty vigorously to get him going and was really glad I read those books. I rubbed and prayed for his life. He gasped in a big gulp of air and started crying. So did his momma. That was the sweetest sound I'd ever heard. Click . . .

Adam is two and a half years old laying in the livingroom floor in a body cast playing with his G.I. Joes. He had broken his leg and they had to put him in the body cast to mobilize his hips so his break would heal. He would just lay in the floor playing and when he started getting tired he would ask me to bring his baby over there. Kayla was 2 weeks old. I would lay her by him and they would nap together. They still like each other pretty much! Click . . .

Adam is about 4 or 5 and we are at Memaw's for Christmas. All three kids are looking through the tree to see if they can find their "Baby's First Christmas" ornament she alway put on the tree. Kyle and Kayla found theirs but Adam wasn't having any luck. He looked up at me with the saddest little face and said "I missed my first Christmas." You see, his birthday is December 29th - four days after Christmas. Click . . .

Adam comes in from jumping on the trampoline. His cheek had just hit Robbie Huestis right on the knee! When the swelling went down he had a dimple where the impact had occured. It matched the one he was born with on the other cheek, just a little higher. He had asked me once before why he had a dent in his face. I told him God had given it to him. Now he had one from Robby too. We affectionately started calling calling him Dentface. Click . . .

I'm sitting in a rocking chair in my bedroom rocking, praying, crying. Adam was about 13 and we had just come back from the orthopedic surgeon's office where we went to get results from an MRI done in Lubbock on his leg. He had a big knot on his shin that was giving him a lot of pain. When we walked into the little room waiting on the doctor, I saw his chart laying on the cabinet. I picked it up and looked at the radiologist' report and saw the word CARCINOMA. I know it was probably typed in lower case, but it was huge to me. I honestly felt the blood drain from my face. The doctor walked in and immediately knew what I'd read. She told me she really believed it wasn't cancer, that she was sending all his records to Cook Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth and that we would hear something in the next few days. I went home, went straight to my room and started pleading with God for Adam's life. Two and a half years earlier cancer had taken his daddy, and I just didn't think I was ready to walk that road again. I knew God's faithfulness was real but I had so much fear sitting in that rocking chair that I rocked him in when he was a baby. The next night Michael and I went out to eat for our anniversary and Christy was keeping the twins and got the call from the doctor that there was a 99% chance it was benign. She called the restaurant and told us the news. Michael and I cried the rest of the meal. We were so grateful to God. Click . . .

Adam is laying in ICU hooked up to machines that were breathing for him and monitoring his heart. He looked so lifeless. The cardiologist had just repaired a hole in his heart a little bigger than a silver dollar. He was 16 years old and he had a new scar down his chest that most don't get until they are much older. We were so grateful they found the hole, because the doctor told us that if they handn't found it . . . well, you know. Click . . .

I'm looking in my rear view mirror at the police car behind me. Adam and I had just eaten at Rosa's in Lubbock. He was on duty so I met him for supper. As we left and pulled out to a stop sign, I glanced up to see him behind me. I took a picture and sent it to Kayla and told her this is what it would look like if she ever got stopped by him. Click . . .

Last Thanksgiving I was standing at the stove cooking and Adam was helping. He started telling me about this amazing girl he had met. Told me all about her heart and her love for Jesus. They had emailed and texted, but hadn't talked on the phone. He was a little gun shy of pursuing anyone because he didn't want to get the wrong one. So he took it pretty slow. I started praying for Amber and for Adam to hear from the Lord. At Christmas he asked if I was still praying for her. I told him I was and he said he was thinking about taking her to eat. A month or so later I went to Lubbock and he asked if Amber could go with us to eat. As I sat across from them I knew I was sitting with Adam and his bride. Click . . .

As Adam watches his bride come to him dressed in her beautiful gown, he has a little half smile. When she gets there and her emotional daddy passes her off, Adam holds on to her with both hands. He can't take his eyes off of her. Click.

I love you Dentface.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Eli turns one!

All the kids were here this weekend except Adam and Amber. We had a Young Married Ladies' Retreat, so Jade and Kayla came to be a part. Amber had a wedding so they couldn't make it. It was a sweet retreat. We also got to celebrate Eli's first birthday on Sunday. Can hardly believe it. He's walking everywhere and loves to play with balls. If anything is round or close to round, to Eli it is a ball. Pumpkins, grapes, potatoes,. . . anything. He's so adorable.

When the kids leave, there is a part of me that grieves every time. I know my prayers are enough to keep them loving Jesus, but it is hard sometimes to trust that. I need more faith. I know Jesus is coming for us soon - very soon - and I just want all of them to be found faithful. Father, let all these boys - Kyle, Adam, Kevin, and little Elijah be warriors for You. Not afraid to stand up for what is right, even if it goes against what everyone else is standing for. And let my precious girls, Jade, Kayla, Amber, Hannah, Leah, and Rachel also be warriors. Let their knees be calloused from coming before You on behalf of themselves and of the men You have put in their lives. Protect them all Sweet Jesus, and keep their hearts close to Yours. Oh, yeah, and thank You for letting me have them for awhile to take care of. I love that in my life.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Drug of Choice

A couple of weeks back I went into a Kohl's and kind of shopped around. I tried on some things thinking I might get something new for my neice's wedding. The size I think I am is not the size I am. I'm sure as I was leaving the store incoming customers probably thought I had just received a phone call informing me of the death of a relative. I was DEPRESSED. I headed out the door to the first clean convenience store I could find, went straight to the candy aisle and found the Reece's Cups. I picked one up, feeling the glands in the back of my throat switching on the party lights and my uvula (the little hangy down thing) begin it's rotation like a disco ball. The party was about to begin.

It was then I remembered a quote I once read from Miss Piggy: "Never eat more than you can lift". I heard the music getting louder as I placed that sweet candy back on the shelf and reached for the King Size Reece's Cup. It didn't weight much more than the small one. I was trying not to smile, but for the life of me, the corners of my mouth kept going up. I quickly checked out and ran to my van before I ran into anyone I might know. I ate that cup. I mean I ate those four cups. There wasn't even any left on the bottom of the paper. It was all gone. Quick fix. Instant gratification. Guilt.

I drove awhile and came into Corsicana. I knew I was going to pass a Braum's and began talking myself out of a hot fudge sundae. I was so proud of myself as I passed right by and turned into Sonic and got me a drink. As I was leaving Sonic, I found myself to be in a delimma. I often plan my trips to town like UPS does. I try to make as many right turns and as few left turns as possible. I needed to turn left to get home but wanted to stay true to the UPS, so I turned right. Then I turned right again right into the Braum's drive through. I ate the ice cream with extra chocolate and then left to come home. Quick fix. Instant gratification. Guilt.

Funny how it didn't bother me to turn left leaving Braum's to get home. I'm not saying that UPS is from hell (place, not cuss word) or anything, but for some reason coming from Kohl's I picture a little squad of demons on my shoulder shouting "Give me a "C", give me an "H", give me an "O", give me another "C" and on and on until by the end of their little chant we all had one fist up in the air shouting "CHOCOLATE!!!" Then leaving Sonic they were chanting "To the right, to the right, to the right, (clap,clap). Silly, weak, me. Giving into the flesh. Needless to say, I didn't feel so good about myself by the time I walked in my front door.

I love the fact that on this journey to a greater holiness, even when we fall down, Jesus is so quick to help us up with so much grace. He wants to help us with EVERYTHING. I've had times in my life when I felt alone and asked Him to be the Lover of my soul. He obliged. There were no big hairy arms at the time to comfort me, but I was able to fall asleep in peace because I felt as if I was being held. Why do I forget those things? I know that when I crave chocolate, my drug of choice when I'm depressed, all I have to do is call out to the One Who tells me to open my mouth wide and He will fill it. He is the One the Word talks about when it says "Oh taste and see that the Lord is GOOD!"

Oh Sweet Jesus, I know that you are all I need. I get so mad at myself when I choose not to remember that. Thank You, thank You, thank You that You continue to be there when I get weak, and again when I blame someone else for my weakness. (Sorry, UPS). Thank You for the strength given to me daily for my taking. You bless me.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Kimberly Bridal

We did Kimberly's pictures on campus at A&M under the century tree. This is where Chris proposed to her. We also went downtown Bryan and found some pretty neat places. This first shot was in Bryan. If you look closely, you can see her mom and dad, Cathy and Monty, in the upper right hand corner. Over to the left of the bench is the word LEGACY. Cathy and Monty have given their kids a legacy most parents can't, by trusting the Lord through the ups and downs of marriage. They still hold hands and laugh together and enjoy being with family. I love this picture.
The picture of the clock tower has Kimberly under it if you look real close. It was a fun day.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Family Reunion

For 28 years now my mom's side of the family has been meeting at the lake for a family reunion. The bulk of the family comes in on the weekend, but several of us come early in the week. We stay in campers, tents, shelters, and cabins. We've survived tornadoes, floods, droughts, raccoons, family squabbles, water basketball, and "Sarge".
Mom and her sister Nancy had six brothers. Since the reunions began, their mother and four of their brothers have gone on to be with Jesus. Mom has buried two husbands and a son-in-law and Nancy has buried a daughter. We have grieved through deaths, miscarriages and divorces.
But we laugh. We laugh a lot. That's what family does. We love and we laugh. We celebrate new life born into the family and we celebrate new life married into the family. Every year we come back together and do the same things with the same people and always look forward to the next year. Some people think we are crazy because our vacation every year is a week spent with 40-60 family members. We think we are blessed.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Chiggers are from H E DOUBLE TOOTHPICKS

My sophomore year in high school I sat behind a boy in government class that always called me “legs”. He was pretty impressed with my calf muscle. Between cheerleading and running track my legs didn’t look all that bad. As a matter of fact, they looked pretty darn good. They don’t look so good anymore.
When we moved down here from Oklahoma almost three years ago it was Autumn. It was so beautiful here. It was cool outside, the colors of the leaves were so pretty, and most of the bugs had already gone into hibernation. That next May all of our kids came in for Mother’s Day. It was such a fun weekend. The next week I started getting phone calls from them confirming what we also had just come to realize – we have chiggers in our yard. I hate chiggers. I have yet to figure out if they fly, walk, or just plain run as fast as their eight little legs can carry them to the playground of your body. They think elastic is more fun than Six Flags. I believe they set up base camp at your ankles, lay out their maps, and start their adventures from there. Several hang back just in case they are needed later on.
The thing with your skin as you get older is that it gets “see-through”. Your scars don’t heal quickly and they show up better than they ever have before. I’ve mentioned before that I fall a lot. I have several scars because of it. I also have the heartbreak of psoriasis on my knees. I also have scratches from trekking off into the woods to see the land one of our church members just moved on to. It was beautiful out there and as we were praying God’s blessing over their place, I could feel a little trickle of blood slowly coursing it’s way down to my tennis shoe. "oh shoot! Another scar!" Nothing comes without sacrifice. So Lord, I give You my legs. Sorry for the pride I had in high school all the way up to a couple of years ago because I thought I had nice legs. Sorry for the envy I have over Christy’s thick-skinned, beautifully tanned legs that poke out of her shorts down to the sandals that show her pretty toenails that she can clip with regular fingernail clippers. Thank You that I can still walk on my legs and that even though Fred Flintstone feet aren’t pretty, they are kinda cute sometimes if I have toenail polish on. I guess I’ll get used to the scars and the GPS system mapped out in blue all up and down these tired old legs.
As for the chiggers . . . I’m on a mission to eradicate them from our yard. I feel power when I have a sprayer in my hand knowing that chiggers are dying. My legs aren’t too pretty, but if I can get rid of these little varmits, I’ll have less scars, and if I ever hear anyone shout “hey, legs!”! I might turn to see if they were shouting at me. Ha.

FYI - Use Equate Acne Treatment cream instead of regular chigger medication. Just spread it on and your chigger affliction is reduced from a couple of weeks to a couple of days.
FYI - Don't use Terro Spider Killer instead of Equate Extra Hold hairspray. The cans are the same size and the lid is the same color, but the spider spray will not keep your bangs in place.

Hey Punkin, what are you doing here?

Last January our ladies Bible study started learning about the women of the Bible. We started in Genesis with Eve and have been slowly working our way through. A couple of weeks ago we were in I Kings and starting on Jezebel. This woman was one that had to be in control, and would do anything to get what she wanted. The gods of her country were Baal and Asherah. She was pretty tight with the prophets of these gods, even feeding them at her table.
Elijah was a prophet of the one true God and decided to have a little contest with the prophets of Baal to see whose god was really God. He had the people bring two bulls and told the prophets of Baal to cut it however they wanted and then to pray to their god and he would pray to his God, and whichever God answered by fire was the true God. They cut up their bull, and started calling out to their god. No answer. They called some more. No answer. They limped, they cried, they cut themselves. No answer. Elijah comes up and says, “Hey guys, your god hasn’t answered. Maybe he can’t hear you. Maybe he is asleep, or on a journey, or reading Western Horseman while sitting on the toilet!” Their time was up, so Elijah had the other bull cut up, laid it on the altar and told the people to fill up four jars and pour it on the bull. Three times. The water soaked into the bull and filled up a trench around the altar. Then Elijah said, “O Lord, God, let it be known that You are God in Isreal and that You, Lord, ARE GOD!” Fire fell from heaven and consumed the bull, the dirt, the rocks and all the water and then the people fell on their faces and cried “The Lord He is God!” Then Elijah had all the prophets killed.
Somebody told Miss Jezebel and boy was she hot! She got word to old Elijah that by that time the next day he would be 6 feet under. Elijah, this mighty man of God, who had just seen the fire from heaven, started running. He ran straight to a cave. Many times in scripture a cave represents shame or fear. In Elijah’s case I believe it was both. He was hiding in this cave and the word of the Lord came to the cave and asked, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Why does that woman’s condemnation scare you? Elijah began telling God all he had done for Him and that he was the only one left to do the work. There came a strong wind, an earthquake, and a fire, and God wasn’t in any of those. After all that, there came a still small voice. Elijah covered himself and went to the opening of the cave. Once again, God asked, “Elijah, what are you doing here?” Once again, Elijah started telling God all he had done for Him and that he was the only one left to do the work.
Jesus did an amazing work for us and because of that we don’t have to live in condemnation. We don’t have to stay in the cave of shame. All the ladies at the study that night (including me) came to that table with a past.
Some of us find comfort in bringing condemnation on ourselves. We enjoy being in the cave, maybe even hang curtains and have a “home sweet home” sign on the wall. We can’t forgive ourselves. We live in defeat instead of victory. Jesus comes and asks, “Hey punkin, what are you doing here? You don't have to live here.”
One lady had family members who would remind her of her past. Remind her of her kids’ imperfections. She would run to her cave. None of us are worthy of His love. He gives it to us anyway. We can choose to stay in the cave or let others keep us in there. Or we can listen to that still small voice that draws us to another shelter full of grace. The shelter of His wings. Safe. Peaceful. Forgiven.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Stars at Night are Big and Bright

Kevin and Kayla are moving to Texas! Last week I went up to Tulsa to help them pack and drive her car down as far as our house. They loaded all their stuff on a uhaul, grabbed Kevin's mom, Carrie, and drove down to Austin on Saturday. They are a couple of hours closer to us now, which will be nice. There is a part of me that is a little sad they are leaving Tulsa. I know it is God's will for them to move, but Kayla was keeping Eli for Jade and Kyle, so he was being spoiled like we think he needs to be spoiled! She also kept a precious little girl named Cameron that is the sweetest thing. I know she will miss them both terribly.

To be quite honest, I didn't help pack much. I held Eli, I fed Eli, and I played with Eli. He's so fun. He is crawling now and it is the cutest! We took a few pics of the little ones playing and some of Eli's bath.

Welcome to Texas, sweet ones, we are glad you are here!

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Graduation Day

A couple of weeks back, I went out the back door to our makeshift chicken coop to change the water and feed the chickens. It seems like overnight the baby chicks had grown in to adolescent chicks. The baby chick poop had changed to adolescent chick poop. The smell was almost unbearable. It didn't blend well with the Creme Brulee' candle burning in the kitchen window. It was time for a move into the big boy and girl chicken house. Hannah, Rachel, and I grabbed up some chicks and headed out to the barn. Bogey and Bacall (the grownups already in the chicken yard) weren't too sure they like the new residents, so I stayed out there with them while the girls made several trips back and forth with their arms full of chicken. I was standing in somewhat of a daze watching the chickens running around finding things to eat off the ground. The horses were in the pen next to us and I thought to myself, "Is this my life? Really? Standing in a chicken yard and loving it?" I kind of time travelled back to the halls of Denver City High School, and don't recall one time ever thinking I would one day own a horse or come up with movie star names for chickens. But I do. And I really like it. Then reality hit again when I had to go back to the house and move the 6 foot tub we used for a nursery. The girls and I lifted it up on its side and they rolled it to the back of the yard behind the trampoline. I shoveled most of the stuff out of it and threw it over the fence. I forgot about it until last Saturday when we were cleaning up outside. I walked over with the hose to finish cleaning it out. It smelled awful, but as the water hit it and spilled out on the ground it was exactly the color I've been wanting to put on my living room walls!
A real pale shade of green. I believe that Lowes wouldn't appreciate me bringing a sample of that to put in their color match machine. I'll just have to find a color swatch like most other people do. Anyway, my back porch is finally back to normal. Smell and all.

Here are a few chicks that already have names. George and Martha Washington, and Phyllis Diller. Obvious, huh? It looks like George is sitting for his presidential portrait!