Family News



I caused congestion in the produce aisle in HEB yesterday. I was getting groceries and happened to see a church friend who either, not knowing or forgetting how I love to talk, asked me how our Israel trip was.  "It was amazing," I said.

But what does amazing even mean?

I counted at least seven glasses upstairs in the kids' rooms yesterday even though I've told them not to bring drinks upstairs. That's amazing to me. Amazing is vague.

So I had to tell her a little about the trip and how it still has my mind boggled consuming my thoughts even in the wee hours of the morning. And then I talked with her doll-eyed boy about the snack tray he munched on which included tiny nacho chips and race car gummies. Then I moved on so traffic could flow more freely by the avocados.

I saw three more friends while shopping yesterday who commented on the trip. I tried to keep my words to a minimum because who wants to be in HEB very long. But each time I was dissatisfied with my having to describe a trip that changed my life in only a few words.

That's why, once again, I'm thankful for having a space to write out my heart's clamoring.

With this post I'll start out light because thoughts of the trip still float dizzily above me like a kaleidoscope of butterflies uncontained yet begging to be noticed.

There's more to come though.

Here are a few of the things I learned on our trip to Israel which also included days of wonder in Turkey, Rome and Greece:

Turkey is beautiful and colorful and altogether visually stunning.

In Rome, you should never say "Ciao" to an acquaintance and definitely not to someone you've never met.

Gelato is nothing like jello. How could I have ignored this stuff at Rao's so long? Why didn't anyone tell me?...



The Circus Maximus wasn't a circus after all, but an ancient stadium used for chariot racing which held 150,000 spectators. Because of its genius, it became a model for Roman circuses throughout the Roman Empire.

All hotdogs are not created equal. Never, never get one while you're in Rome. Do as the Romans do. Eat pizza.....or gelato.

Neither are all toilet seats created equal.


 You can't take pictures in the Sistine Chapel.

I now understand the meaning of Rome wasn't built in a day.




"Prego" means "you're welcome" which is funny when you think of the spaghetti sauce. I can picture a healthy Italian in a white apron handing me a jar of Prego saying in his thick accent "Here's some Prego,'re welcome!"

In Greece I learned that the marble steps leading to the Parthenon are slippery and just how quick Jason and Hayden can be to pick me up when I fall.

I learned that the Greek get it right when it comes to Greek salad. They leave out the lettuce and go straight for the goody.

I discovered that graffiti can be beautiful particularly by a gigantic set of "praying hands" on the side of a hotel in the center of Athens. The "Praying Hands" as they're fondly referred to are pointing down instead of up toward heaven. These are the hands of God reaching down.

I learned what Falaffel is and that Israeli people eat a lot of chickpeas between Falaffel and hummus.

I learned that, like in Egypt, Israel has mountains of dirt, and is as hot as southeast Texas. I learned why scripture containing reference to  "water springing up" and "living water" held such important meaning. I learned that I am often inattentive to my thirst and fill myself with things that don't satisfy.

I learned TWICE that you DON'T cross your legs in the Greek Orthodox Chruch. Sheesh! Some people are slow learners.

I saw an actual ancient manger that wasn't made of wood supported by legs.

As we traveled past the back door of Syria and into Jordan and the West Bank I was reminded that it's sometimes in the darkest places where God's presence is the strongest.

I remembered why I love Peter so much, a man who was willing to die for Christ yet denied him three times. He lived a life of commitment to Jesus that was often clouded by humanity.

But more than anything I learned that my mind can't contain how big God is and how good are his ways. Throughout the trip I couldn't get a tune out of my head that I think more encompasses my feelings than any words I could come up with. It's a song by Addison Road.

Guess I thought that I had figured You out

I knew all the stories and I learned to talk about

How You were mighty to save

Those were only empty words on a page

Then I caught a glimpse of who You might be

The slightest hint of You brought me down to my knees

So What do I know of You

Who spoke me into motion?

Where have I even stood

But the shore along Your ocean?

Are You fire? Are You fury?

Are You sacred? Are You beautiful?

So What do I know?

What do I know of Holy?

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I grew up on a dirt road in the middle of Texas. I used to have a distaste for the dirt road because it was miles from town and because it caused flat tires with its jagged rocks (every time the road was grated). The dirt road causes you to slow down,..... such a bother. I see that road differently now. The dusty road leading to the house where I grew up still makes me sneeze something awful, but I've learned that the brown cloud of dust that envelopes the car as we drive down FM 1232 is rather enchanted. It transports me to a place where the clock works differently and where things other than my schedule matter.

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Things I can count on when I go back home

  1. Sunday dinner; ham with a healthy side-dish of arguing. Every once in a while we'll have roast, but we usually have ham and we ALWAYS have arguing. Home is where I learned that people who love each other don't always agree.  Disagreeing with people lovingly takes practice.  There's been plenty of that practice in the house I grew up in.unnamed (39)
  2. Hands rustling in the M&M jar – My mom has a huge glass container of M&Ms. Always. She even has micro candy bowls. When I say micro I mean small, but the bowls most always go into microwave too. We melt our M&Ms. I've written about this before. The way the whole "M&M melting thing" got started is a pretty special story. You should read about it here  I've thought before that it's quite miraculous, the feeding at my parent's house. There are always twenty plus people there. And we can eat a lot of M&Ms.  We eat everything else in the house too. This leads to the next thing I can always count on back home.
  3. A trip to Wal Mart. I never go back home without making a trip to Wal Mart to "get a few things". M&Ms and several gallons of milk are always on the list. This doesn't sound like a big deal, except for the fact that the nearest Wal Mart is thirty-five miles away.
  4.  Eating at Jake and Dorothy's - in Stephenville, TX-Home of the legit Fried Chicken Dinner with Waffle Fries- This is one of my favorite places to eat in the entire world. Eating there on a trip back home is a given. A whole wad of us meet up. Their waffle fries are indescribable. They're cut thin and fried crispy. Putting catsup on them would be an insult. The chicken is fried just right. That's all I can say.
  5.  We go to the creek -with its mostly dry bed and small swim hole. The Duffau is a playground for all ages. This is a popular spot for the man card ceremony. Let me explain.unnamed (37)
  6.  An informal man card 'earning' ceremony typically takes place. These kinds of ceremonies are presently pretty frequent at family gatherings because there are six boys who are either teenagers or close to being teenagers, and one younger one watching. In the country, you don't just get your man card (with fear of it getting taken away). You have to earn it. Over and over. Earning a man card usually involves doing something stupid and somewhat painful like jumping in near freezing water just because. (just because you want your man card) Occasionally one of the girls will try to earn a man card too which I find odd, but I was one of those girls on a few occasions (like the time I volunteered to be the first one to have my foot shocked with a Snake Doctor stun gun.) I'm still trying to figure out how to redeem those man card points.

    You can see somebody got his man card -Proud moment
    You can see somebody got his man card -Proud moment
  7.  I can count on a downtown that feels unphased by time. There's one blinking light in Iredell and I'm almost sure it blinks slower than other blinking lights I've ever encountered. People still stop on the road to talk to other people. If the weather's nice at all, they drive around with their windows down. You can count on getting waved at by everybody you pass; even if they don't know who you are.

    Mom and Pop at his shop downtown Iredell.  He's saying hi to somebody who'd stopped in the road to shout "Hey".
    Mom and Pop at his shop downtown Iredell. He's saying hi to somebody who'd stopped in the road to shout "Hey".
  8.    The hum of a mixer in the kitchen -You can bet there will be brownies or cookies; the homemade kind. We like to eat them piping hot. Not just because that's the way they taste better. If you don't get a hot cookie or brownie, you don't get one at all. They disappear before they cool off.
  9.   I'll always hear the creaking of a screen door -I noticed my parents got a new screen door that leads into the backyard. I wonder how long it's been there without my noticing. And I wonder if the new one actually creaks. Even if it doesn't,  I can still hear it along with kids running in and out. It's one of my favorite "home" sounds. It indicates that the real kind of playing is going on. I imagine I'll always hear it
  10.  Going back home is always a reminder for this "just starting to gray" girl-

Change your opinions, keep to your principles;

change your leaves, keep intact your roots.
-Victor Hugo
unnamed (35) unnamed (38)


Dear Hallie,

Tomorrow is your 13th birthday.  I have a million things I want to say to you. I could tell you the story of how you put yourself in time out when you were three and told me in no uncertain terms that I wasn't allowed to talk to you while you were self-disciplining. Oh there are stories. I could rattle off my hopes for your future. But I'll spare you those tales and wishes because the events leading up to your thirteenth birthday are worth being recorded.

You've been wanting a dog since last Fall, if not long before then. You're an animal lover, if not part animal. Still, getting you a dog had not been a part of our plans.
One week before your birthday, I asked you to get out of bed (around noon) and to do something stimulating (besides washing your hair), something that would better your life or the life of someone else. You wrote me a witty, charming and convincing text explaining that getting a dog would provide just the stimulating opportunity you needed.

Your dad originally was't having it. I, however, was "ON IT"!  I began to look at the Humane society website for pictures of a possible pet. Several cuties didn't work out and being approved to adopt a dog was a pretty serious process. I'm pretty sure we could have adopted you a baby brother just as easily. But going through the frustrating process revealed some good stuff.

1. We found out Griffin has a mild case of heartworms. Had we not tried to adopt a dog, Griffin would have gotten more and more sick without our knowing. Getting the bad news is the first step in solving problems. You can only mend what you know is torn.

I also found out that you're supposed to give your dog medicine EVERY MONTH to prevent them from getting heartworms. Who knew? (Apparently everybody but us). Boy I felt like a dummy. But here's the deal. You'll have more occasions than you want where you'll figure out you messed up, sometimes royally. Wallowing in dumminess does nothing to better the situation. Educate yourself. Learn from your mistakes. You'll be better because of it. And you'll serve people better by your learning from errors.

2. Several times I saw a dog I thought "was the one" on the shelter website.  You almost got a dog named Mallie; a couple of the dogs I had my heart set on weren't available. Some times when things don't work out?..... They really do. Remember this every day of your life.

3. I relearned the importance of patience.  I didn't say that I like being patient or that I'm good at it, I said that patience is important and sometimes the only option, besides freaking out (which, by the way, is never a good option).

4. I was faced with a test of my integrity. I had the chance to lie to the people at the shelter so that we could for sure get the dog. Everything else had checked out and all I had to do was give them one little dishonest answer when they asked a question about Griffin. I had to silently pray repeatedly something like "Please don't lie, please don't lie..." while I talked to the people at the shelter because I have a creative mind (which is a nice way of saying untruths at times pop in my head and find their way to my mouth conveniently and quite naturally). Sometimes being dishonest to ensure you get what you want is SO tempting. Integrity is always the right choice.

5. Dogs are fur real friends. The minute I met your little dog we were instant and forever friends. I think about the trouble we go through with our people friends and the people we think are our friends. I'm glad to have them but it's nice to hang with a canine girl who may not "get it" but just loves you like the dickens. The handful of girls in this world  with whom you find friendship is easy and real, be thankful!

6. The whole "To give is better than to receive" thing? That's legit! I've been more excited about this gift than ANY gift I remember receiving. Be giving and trust that God will put you on the receiving end more than you'll deserve. Let Him be concerned with your "getting". 

I hope this is a birthday that will go down in history as one where you felt love and experienced laughter and one which made you look forward to rest of this thing called life.

I love you much,

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The past few days have felt like Spring. And though I never feel like Spring cleaning, there's a fresh feeling in the air that makes me want to do something. So I cleaned the kitchen; like I mean I cleaned 100% of the counters with mild cleaner and then I shined its top instead of doing the 60% countertop swipe. I cleaned the laundry room too and helped about forty socks find their match. To the kids' dismay, around noon, I urged them to do something stimulating.

"Do something to better yourself or do something for somebody else," I orated.

Hallie said she'd take a shower later, but I told her that didn't count.

Her 13th birthday is in exactly one week. I think she's using the birthday thing as an opportunity to seize whatever gifts and privileges she can, while she can. Who can blame her?unnamed (31)

Jason and I ran to the store to pick up some S'more fixings (hotdogs cooked on clothes hangers and S'mores will be our afternoon stimulating activity). Here's the text I got from Hallie just as we pulled in the driveway.

Well……I asked for it.

Dear mommy,

I've been thinking about what I want for my birthday, (notice I am using correct grammar so I must really want this) and there is only one thing I truly desire. It is not the latest smart phone, not a tablet, it is a puppy. When you said "you should do something stimulating today" I thought, why not give an animal in need a home? I think we should adopt a dog in need from the humane society. It will also help me learn:

A: responsibility

B: socail skills (which I am in desprate need for) and

C: that you two are the greatest parents on earth.

When consulting dad on this matter remind him, that I am using an astronomical varity of vocabulary so I am smart enough and, I am his little girl still. By the way, might I remind you that you and dad both had many dogs, and turned out to be great adults. I did a little research and, Hitler did not have a dog, coincidince? I think not. I have been putting much effort in to griffin now and I think it is time for me to have another dog.



p.s roses are red

violets are blue

I want a dog,

mom does too.



When those are not the roses you ordered


I wasn't looking for roses today. Roses didn't show up at my door with one of those clear, long plastic forks that has a card wedged between the prongs that says something like "-With all my love". The roses came in the form of an impromptu date with my soon to be thirteen year old daughter.

She's supposed to be at Hot Hearts right now. I encouraged her and her seventeen year old brother to go because that's what six thousand-plus other local youth are doing today. That would be a good place to be. But my kids don't really like loud music and they really don't like crowds, so they're hanging out at home today.

My first sweet rose of the day came this morning in the midst of my sweating it out on the rowing machine at Exygon. I've been away for a week and my workout was quite the punishment. But as I rowed away, Brandi Carlisle booming in my earbuds, my phone rang. You're not supposed to answer the phone at the gym, but I did. It was Hallie and I needed to make sure the kids were safe on the home front.

"We haven't done our devotion yet," she reminded me. (She, Hayden and I have been doing devotion on the weekdays,……another rose).

I promised her that we'd do devotion when I got home. We had the best little discussion about the Holy Spirit being our advocate, one of my favorite ways for the Holy Spirit to be characterized. And then our independent, turning into a teenager in exactly one month daughter, agreed to go to the grocery store with me; something she seldom does. Ah, the roses.

It's been a beautiful day; one that we've all been able to enjoy each other, but the best surprise came around three o'clock when Hallie offered to let me take the pictures I've been asking to take of her for months. She's been asking for me to replace the several-year-old pictures hanging on the living room wall and the stairwell.  And you see, I love taking pictures and she rather despises my taking her picture. The last two attempts have been ugly; not the pictures, but our interaction with each other. My trying to choose her pose and telling her to smile differently ends up in a battle that's best not captured.

Today was different.

I allowed for a little freedom. Here are a few of the pictures I took on an afternoon that will not be forgotten. I'm in awe of who she is without my prompting.

IMG_7943 IMG_7939 IMG_7934 IMG_7924 IMG_7914 IMG_7912 IMG_7905 IMG_7896 IMG_7883 IMG_7870 IMG_7832 IMG_7821 IMG_7852































Like unordered and unsearched for roses, there they appeared out of thin air with a sweet scent I can hardly describe.

Roses sometimes just show up.

Stop and smell them.

Thank you in advance for allowing me this bragadocious moment.  I'm sure I'll feel a little guilty later.

For some reason they're not so clear here on the website.  I'm also putting them on Facebook in case you want to see them clearer....or again.

....Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus.

November is "Be Thankful" Month.  So I'm joining the ranks of those out there who share their appreciation publicly.  And while I'm thankful first and foremost for obvious things like my salvation and my family, I'm trying to branch out and see gratitude in simple places and surprising sources.  Here's the run-down so far.


Day 18 Thankful for a messy dinner table; for scraps of hot pink tulle, smatterings of silver sequins, globs of glue and Rylie's words still stuck to my heart "I'm just glad we get to spend this time together". -Messy times like Rylie's Turkey Project and staying up late studying Spanish 3 with Hayden often result in sweet (67)

Day 17 Thankful for the smell of new books.

Day 16 Thankful that our "Drama Queen" finally found some POSITIVE recognition for that flair of hers at the EDA (Educational Drama Association) (70)

Day 15 Thankful for almond/chocolate bark.  Bad cooks needn't worry about the taste; just the shape.

photo (69)


Day 14 (I'm backtracking here).  Thankful that there won't be stomach bugs in Heaven. And for the first successful Saltine cracker digestion after a stomach bug. Thankful there won't be allergies in Heaven (68)

Day 13 Thankful, though last weeks' nights were full of good times, that I won't be sleeping with Zeebie, Stripes, Val and Rylie's other stuffed friends tonight. My guy's home from Africa.

Day 12 Thankful that just a little bit of sweet makes things better; a philosophy that should be practiced with both food and people.


Family and Banana S'mores Double Sweetness
Family and Banana S'mores
Double Sweetness

-The kids and I made these the other night.  I can't stop thinking about them; the leftover bananas on the table can't stop thinking about them either. They look sad.....

Tabetha Franklin, the "Main Dish Lady :)" taught me how to make them.  She teaches me a lot of stuff.  I'm thankful for her too.

Just take a boring banana and make it extraordinary with just a few added chocolate chips and mini marshmallows. Leave the banana in its peel. Make a slit into the banana, but don't cut it all the way through. Grab both ends and push toward the middle opening  the slit, making the perfect spot to drop in some chocolate and marshmallow goodness. Wrap in foil, leaving the foil loose (tented) on the top. Broil on low for about ten minutes.  Reminds me of a song...... "Sweet dreams are made of this".

Day 11 Some of the greatest friendships aren't planned; they sort of fall into place. Working together and having like-aged kiddos are two great friend generators. Sending your husband off to Africa is another great way to forge friendships as you wing-it solo. I had pizza and open-mouthed laughter (not at the same time) tonight with two great girls and their pint-sized sweeties. I regret not having invited them into my home before now.  Another one of my dearest friends became one of my dearest after our husbands made several trips to Africa together several years ago.  So.  I'm thankful for surprise friendships.  And I'm thankful for sending my husband on a mission trip.  You should try it.


Day 10 I am thankful for our veterans. I don't think I can wrap my mind around the sacrifices that have been made for me to be able to enjoy freedom. Day after day I take that freedom for granted, but today I am grateful- for my Grandad and for all the great men and women who have given, that I might live with liberty.

Day 9b Thankful for my husband's stinky workout shirt that always hangs in my closet doorway.  Jason. you linger even when you're not here.

stinky workout shirt
stinky workout shirt

Day 9 Thankful for fierce, smash your hair and forehead hugs-by my seventeen year old.

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Day 8 Thankful for Tests. Seriously. Just read this

Day 7 Thankful for Jason who loves me unconditionally; in posed moments and the candid ones too.

Day 6 I'm thankful for chicken wings; particularly from Wing Stop when accompanied by those fries with the secret seasoning. Trust me.  They're good.

Day 5 Thankful for Africa and its teaching that God is much bigger than we could have dared to imagine.

photo (55)

Day 4 I'm thankful for the little stranger in the kindergarten hallway that told me I looked ravishing (and on a bad hair day at that).

Day 3 Thankful that Jesus is a friend of sinners.  And thankful to have heard my friend Christy Zenon sing about it like it was gospel truth.

Day 2 Thankful for my talented and abrupt daughter who wrote a poem about my cooking  (Move over Shel Silverstein). Check out her poem (or mom roast rather) here .

The Next Shel
The Next Shel

Day 1 Thankful for these rays of sunshine.

cc 1





It's ten days before your seventeenth birthday.  I find myself eating up bits of time we get to spend together and letting go things I once thought important like whether or not there are dirty socks under your bed.  I've always hoped I'd be able to teach you everything you need to know, and that you'd learn and practice everything I'd taught you.  Funny though,  the years have passed quickly and you still have a world of learning before you.  However, you left and will continue to leave, an indelible mark on my heart.  Oh how I've learned from you; I could tell you a hundred life-impacting ways.  But I think I'll keep it light.

Ten Things I've Learned From You:


10. I've learned that it's ok to not be in a hurry.  Sometimes we need to make time to slow it down, so as to glory in our surroundings. We don't always have to move "like a cheetah" even though that's all I told you when you were a preschooler stopping for every bug and rock.

9. If dessert is good enough, it's totally acceptable to lick your plate.... or your fingers.  It might make the person who made it feel good knowing that you enjoyed it so much.

8. I've come to know that even the most blunt and innocent objects (like a glass of water) can be turned into weapons of sibling torture

and that chair railing is the perfect spot to stick that wad of gum you may want to chew again tomorrow.

Taken somewhere between broken arm #1 and broken arm #2
Taken somewhere between broken arm #1 and broken arm #2

7. I've learned what a broken arm looks like, without needing an x-ray

6. It's never too early to have a love for philosophy/psychology; things like what makes people tick and who makes the world go round.

Dr. Phil Birthday Party Age 8
Dr. Phil Birthday Party Age 8

5. Nothing good happens after midnight, except for mother/son conversations about life.....just because.

4. You can never have too many pocketknives

or jugs of milk.

3. I've learned that homemade gifts crafted from ordinary things, like a BB gun and an empty can of Dr. Pepper are the best gifts a mom can get. The flattened framed piece of aluminum bearing the word "Mom" in BB enforced holes is the most delightful piece of art I own.hug

2. A hug is truly a healing agent.

1. You can fit a bed, dresser drawers, a loveseat, a small entertainment center with a sizeable flat screen and a recliner in a bedroom, but you couldn't fit more love in this mom's heart.

Happy last ten days of being sixteen!



From Hallie's point of view:

Grace Unplugged was an amazing movie. From my point of view, it was about a girl who was tempted with everything in the world that seemed great. And she found out it wasn't all it seemed to be. It reminded me to keep thinking, that the world will try to show you what is good and convince you to do it. It also shows you that what God has in mind is always best for you.

A Mom and Daughter Review
A Mom and Daughter Review

From a Mom: 

I can't think of a better way I could have spent last night.  A friend had the great idea for a Mom/Daughter Girls' Night Out that consisted of Mexican food, laughter and tears.  We even scored this life-size souvenir at the theater. I'm seeing a major Movie Night in the future.

Best Date Souvenir Ever
Best Date Souvenir Ever

Grace Unplugged

I saw the preview for this movie a couple of weeks ago.  The movie is based on a true story of a pastor's family. This film is for any family with parents who want the best for their children and for children who are determined to find their way, their own way.

Grace is a good girl with unimaginable talent and a bright future.  Her Dad,  painfully similar to myself, tries to hem her in to the point of suffocation.  It's clear that his intentions are from deep seeded love.  He wants to preserve her innocence; to shield her from the world and from the consequences of wrong choices. What parent doesn't want to do that?

She's ready to bloom.  She knows she has musical talent but feels her creativity is being squashed and unrecognized.  She has a firm knowledge of right and wrong if only she had the opportunity to make her own choices. The spreading of her wings leads to a quick rise in fame.  But the world is asking for more of her than her God-given talent.  Rather than being filled to overflowing having more than she ever dreamed of, she finds herself empty and broken.

I love how this movie effectively shows the perspective of parents, who in undying love, work tirelessly to guide their children. It reminds us that children have to grow up. And as painful as it may be; part of that growing may just be outside our control.  This movie is a great reminder that both parents and children have the same need; we just can't do without God's grace.

The music appealed to Hallie and I both which doesn't always happen.  It was a "clap at the end" kind of movie; one where no one got out of their seats as the credits rolled because they knew they had seen the kind of movie that could impact conversation and relationships.  Go see it! photo (44)


Well we survived another birthday party.  I'm not talking the benign kind; you know where the grandparents come and there's cake with candles and singing and a couple of presents, and then the adults have coffee and visit?  I like those kind.

This was another kind. Rylie recently brought it to my attention that she's never had a "friend party".   I've found a perfectly good excuse for her to not have one every year.

She's the third kid.  I've learned from her older siblings that friend parties can be nightmares.

Pandora's box is always one of the things unwrapped and opened at the parties I've had for the kids.  Things have been broken.  Stuff has been spilled..... including tears.  I remember one party sitting catatonic in the middle of the floor while the children ran around in a circle and threw bits and pieces of wrapping paper in the air in some sort of frightening sacrifice ritual. Another time (a slumber party gone wrong) a sandwich of some sort (slathered in ketchup and ranch, topped with pickles and cheese slices) was built in my underclothes that were heisted from my room. I have a picture of it, but I'll spare you.

(Sigh.) Memories.

Rylie had her "friend party" at Max Bowl Saturday.

8 Years Old-First Ever Friend Party
8 Years Old-First Ever Friend Party

I just knew her birthday cake was some sort of bad omen.  I'd grabbed it at HEB.  I told the lady behind the counter (who did not ask) twice how to spell Rylie's name.......  She still spelled it wrong. However she let me know it was no big deal as she scraped off the incorrect letters and squirted nice, thick purple letters to disguise the error.  Hours later the icing on two sides of the cake wilted, looking somewhat like a landslide.

Rylie's Cake 2013

But we carried on.

Jason wanted to turn around and go home when we had a hard time finding a parking spot at the bowling alley. I'm pretty sure the inside was crowded too, but I could barely see a thing- except for red and green laser twinkles and whatever fluoresced with the black light.

I was terrified that a kid in my care was going to get lost or snatched.  There were a couple of times that a kid would try to wander over to the arcade.  I'd bring them back.  I guess it's the teacher in me, but I pretty much did a headcount over and over the whole time we were there.

Rylie's Friends, bday 2013

I drew imaginary lines for them at the border of our bowling lanes much like an air traffic controller and told them to stay inside them.  I even dangled the $5 arcade cards literally over the heads of the two escapees as an encouragement to stay put.  I was a total party pooper.

I hemmed them in.

I do a lot of hemming.

I hem myself in too; tight, like the shirt that I attempted to put on the day before yesterday that got stuck at my shoulders (I love that shirt, but it's too binding). I hem myself in to where there's no freedom, only security with fear of what exists beyond my safe place (Is that really security)?

I have no business hemming really.  I can't even sew on a button.

We survived the party, and good news, nobody was hurt and no tears were shed.  I've returned to the world where I do my best to control my surroundings; my personal Gilligan's Island. Still, with certainty life will throw me curve balls tomorrow that force me to step outside my safe borders.

On all occasions it does me good to remember that there's a master seamster:

Waiting on texts from your teenager to assure you he's ok

New opportunities; ones you aren't sure you can handle

In the mystery and in the scared-known, we can rest assured:

      You hem me in behind and before, and you lay your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;  if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn,  if I settle on the far side of the sea, 10 even there your hand will guide me,  your right hand will hold me fast.

Psalm 139

As we run in circles

In our wandering off

and stealing away

Beyond the safely defined borders

Into the unknown

He is there.













Diary of a Wheat-Free Gal

If you missed my last post, due to some health issues, I shared that the 0 (17)Burdens are attempting to go a week with no wheat.  This is difficult for two reasons. 1. I am the grocery buyer and family chef (sorry as I am at it). 2.Wheat is in almost everything.  I LOVE BREAD (Oops! that's three).

We have survived the first thirty hours of our wheat-free week; with only like one hundred thirty-two hours to go.

8/4- Yesterday wasn't too terrible.  I had a Rice Crispy treat for breakfast.  I realize that doesn't fit the general good-health bill, but it doesn't have wheat.

Church cheered me on with a good message and some of my favorite songs.  (If you're dying to know what those were, they were "Soon and Very Soon," and "Days of Elijah").  One song, that I can't remember, had the perfect line for me:

 photo (10)

I had to grab a pen and madly scribble down those words.  They'll be my worship words this week.

Yesterday for lunch I fixed a potato and ham casserole and substituted regular flour which contains wheat with rice flour.  When asked if it should be something we have again, the dish passed 4-2 (Our schnauzer Griffin gets a vote because he eats the leftovers). The family has been very cooperative.

In case anybody from church was wondering, I ditched my bun at the hamburger supper last night.  Sorry you had to see me eat my beef patty with my fingers, but I didn't see a fork. So though ill-mannered, supper was a success.

I had a Mooo Bar for a snack.  It gave me a nightmare last night that it had wheat.  I was terribly disappointed that I had unwittingly consumed wheat disguised in an ice-cream bar.

8/5- After a rough night, I went to HEB this morning and stocked up on more gluten-free snacks and lots of veggies.  My receipt wasn't that much more painful than usual.  I never foresaw (is that a word?) healthy eating as something that I would choose to struggle with.  And in some way, it still doesn't sound mention-worthy.  But here's a few things I'm looking to see happen.

1. I'm hoping that my family will be healthier.  I'm hoping for fewer headaches and less belly issues.  Being able to say hello to some of our old jeans would be nice too.

2. I know that it's those things I can't do on my own, that cause me to pray.  I'm hoping that I learn to better pre-emptively pray and not only pray when I'm desperate though it's a good idea to pray then too.

3. I'm hoping that my self-discipline, with God as the source, will be increased.

4. I would love for my kids to learn alongside me that doing things we don't want to do (but know we need to) is a part of maturing.

5. In case you noticed, I mentioned that my family is going wheat-free, then I said a lot of me, me me'sI believe I am the tone-setter for my family.  My decisions and attitudes are an important guiding force in my home; I pray I would be a good guiding force.

Emeril's Potato Casserole: