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Month: August 2009

“Hook up from Heaven”

“Hook up from Heaven”

Many of you probably heard this summer about a church bus from Shreveport, LA that crashed just hours after pulling off from the church for summer camp. A tire blew out causing the bus to roll. There “happened” to be a group of reservists just behind the bus who were returning from training on how to handle crisis just like the one they were witnessing. They jumped out of their trucks and literally lifted the bus off some of the students, helped with triage, and brought some calm to the chaos.

Two students died in the crash. One that day and another, Maggie Lee Henson, a few weeks later. Maggie Lee is the daughter of a minister from the church that owned the bus. In fact, her dad led a prayer on the bus just before they pulled off. (I think it’s kind of neat that the last person Maggie Lee heard her earthly father talk to was her heavenly father she was soon to meet.)

So many of my friends knew this family as they had gone to Baylor with them, seminary, etc. Maggie Lee’s mom is a comedian. I’ve thought so often … I wonder if she is ever going to think anything is funny again. Will she even want to tell jokes? I’ve heard some of her material and a lot of it dealt with her life with her kids. I hope God puts laughter into her heart, even in the midst of unthinkable heartbreak.

They are walking a road no parent ever wants to walk and I’m sure at times (all the time?) they want to cry out … WHY?!? Why her? Why us? Why this? And there really aren’t any answers to those questions right now.

Maggie Lee’s funeral was transmitted live over the internet for all the people around the world who wanted to be apart but couldn’t make the trip. I watched just a few minutes of it and thought I’d watch the rest later. (It will come as no surprise to you I’m sure, that I now can’t access it because you have to have a password and it’s very confusing for me – some things will never change!).

In the short bit I did see, I heard something so moving that I wanted to share it with you. The speaker was sharing that the song “It is well with my soul” had been particularly comforting to the family during their ordeal. It was even sung at the funeral.

The family knew that the song had been written by Horatio Spafford during the 1800’s as he sailed over the ocean towards his wife. He had received a telegram from her that said “saved alone”. His four daughters that had been traveling with his wife were lost at sea, their ship having sunk during the night.

In spite of his loss, he was able to pen these words:

When peace like a river attendeth my way
When sorrows like sea billows roll
What ever my lot you have taught me to say
It is well, it is well with my soul

Though the devil will ruin, though trials may come
Let this blessed assurance control
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate
And He shed His own blood for my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

My sin, oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to the cross and I bear it no more
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul

It is well, with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

And Lord haste the day when my faith shall be sight
And the clouds be rolled back as a scroll
The trump shall resound and the Lord shall descend
Even so, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

It is well with my soul
It is well, it is well with my soul

What the speaker said next was almost chilling: “In doing some research on the song, Maggie Lee Henson’s father found that one of Mr. Spaffords daughters was named Margaret Lee”.

They called her Maggie Lee for short.

And it just seemed like maybe God knew Jim Henson needed that right then. He needed to know that someone else had a Maggie Lee that he had loved and lost. And in the pain of losing his own Maggie Lee he could lean on the words that Horatio Spafford penned after losing his Maggie Lee … “it is well, it is well with my soul.”

I bet the two Maggie Lee’s have hooked up in heaven by now. And maybe one day John Henson and Horatio Spafford will exchange knowing hugs as well….on that day when John Hensons “faith will be made sight”.

And I’ve heard this guy, Wintley Phipps, live before and he is incredible. He sings “It is Well” on this video and shares a different sort of “heaven hookup” of his own.

Dear summer, I miss you already!

Dear summer, I miss you already!


Four days of getting four kids to school, two days of teaching two classes I have never taught before and I am so tired I can barely keep my eyes open. I am not a nap taker by nature … always afraid I’d miss something I guess … and yet today I fell asleep on the couch in about two seconds. Of course, every time I fell asleep I was soon interrupted with …”can I have a snack? Can I have another snack? Why does she get that snack?”, etc. But just that little bit of refresher felt pretty good.

At least I can face the task tonight of going through backpacks and more than likely signing more forms (why is it that it takes one form to get married, one form to prove your were born and about 123 to prove you live in your neighborhood, are a U.S. citizen, have insurance and have emergency contacts on file … I think the forms are why I am so exhausted. They are endless it seems!)

After day one of no lunch, I forgot to pack a snack for Jacob on day two. He loved the school issued animal crackers though so I wouldn’t have even known had the teacher not sent an email to the entire class reminding us “all” that we are to send a healthy, peanut-free snack each day. Got it!

With the exception of football, we haven’t started any of our extracurricular activities yet. I’m afraid if we had, it might have sent me over the edge. I need awhile to get over the summer schedule slowdown! I need a week or two to get back in the full swing groove, please. I’m begging you.

And about football. It was Jacob’s first practice ever and I’m pretty sure it was the cutest thing I had ever seen (I am not yet over the disappointment of forgetting my camera). Except the part when Jacob learned it was flag and not tackle. “WHAT?!? I wanted to tackle!!” was his protest. Sorry bud … not this year. Not even any helmets or pads. Just a flag around your waist and a ball. It’ll be fine.

Bill came to watch as well and told me that in the “after practice meeting” Jacob was held up as an example. I was sure that he would follow that sentence with … “he showed determination, drive, ability” … something. Instead he said … “he was wearing the right shorts for the games.”

And seeing how it was only practice and I was a first time football fan mom, I didn’t know they didn’t wear the game shorts to the practice.

Except my child will because it might be all he has clean.

And I am way too tired to do the laundry!

And they’re off!

And they’re off!

Big day around here as the Baerg 4 headed off on the first day of school.

It was the last “first day” of middle school for this girl: (and it boggles my mind that my first baby will be in high school next year!)

This girl went to her last “first day” of elementary school: (5th grade, seriously?!)

This girl was thrilled to be a third grader:

And it was this little guys first day of kindergarten:

We arrived right on time (and yes, we have been late on the first day before) and took a quick “stand by the sign” pic (the girls would have NOTHING to do with standing by the sign!):

And then found his classroom:

And it was time to say “Goodbye”:

Only I didn’t because I still had to go in the room and check it out:

And when one of my friends saw this picture she emailed and asked….”DARLA, seriously how long did you stay?” And I mean, is it really a problem to stay through naptime?

Just kidding! I left and with only a lump in my throat. He was more than ready to be there and had a few buddies in his class and was clearly excited to stay.

At the last second I suggested to Bill that we run by Savannah’s class just to make sure she got there. I have no idea why I said that since this is her 5th year at a school that really isn’t really that big at all. We’d been in the kindergarten wing a good 10 minutes, at least. When we came around the corner we saw Savannah with a look on her face of “I have been lost the last 10 minutes and please don’t say anything just let me walk with this nice stranger who is taking me to my class.” Wow. But she made it – with her teacher, safe and sound.

And since Savannah seemed to lose her way, we had to then check on Brittany.

Everyone was in their proper place and it was all good.

That is, until 10:30 AM.

When I got a call from the Jacob’s kindergarten teacher.

It went like this: “Uhm, Mrs. Baerg, it seems Jacob doesn’t have a lunch and he is apparently not interested in buying the chicken sandwich the cafeteria is serving.”

And y’all, I ran into the kitchen as fast as I could to see if his lunch was sitting on the counter. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? Caroline’s lunch! I now knew I had two kids at two separate schools missing lunches on the FIRST day.

Waytogo mom!


So I searched the house and found Jacob’s lunch in his bathroom by his stool where he brushed his teeth.

And then I raced to those two schools and did the motherhood walk of shame into the office carrying lunches.


The funniest was when I slunk into the middle school and the secretary said with a knowing smile….”6th grader?”

And I had to say … “no, it would be 8th.”

All of the hoopla reminded me of a conversation Caroline and I had on Sunday late afternoon. I asked if there was anything else I needed to get at the store and she said … “I thought you were going early in the week. You said you weren’t going to be one of THOSE MOMS who waited until the last second and had to go to the store when it looked like Kosovo and there was no bread or milk left on the night before school.”

Almost before she finished her sentence she started to laugh and said…

“Mom, some things never change.”

Praying your kids to school …

Praying your kids to school …

Whew! … the start of school is always crazy!

As I write this my kids are running through the house singing (screaming?) at the top of their lungs, trying on new outfits, making sure I know what they want in their lunch box, wondering what their new classes will be like … and Jacob can’t stop talking about the catfish that his teacher has sitting on a bookshelf in his new room. Their excitement is palpable…in fact I wonder if they are ever going to fall asleep!

I’ve made sure they have their school supplies, clothes, backpacks, water bottles and lunchboxes. Their forms are filled out (well, most of them anyway!) and we’ve set the alarms to be sure and wake up in time. But more importantly than what I can provide to meet their external needs are the things I can pray for to meet their internal needs.

I’m not gonna lie to ya…I’ve worried and fretted about who does or doesn’t have friends in their classes, is the class a right fit for my child, will the teacher understand the needs of my child … the list can go on and on. I keep hearing a nudge in my soul saying … “do you trust me or not?”

So yes … I’m sending them to school tomorrow trusting. Trusting that He knows where they should be and what needs they will need met. Trusting that my children will make decisions based on what we’ve tried to teach them and hoping and praying for the best.

All that to say … one of my friends sent me this prayer guide today that her mom had given her. It’s such a great reminder and outline of things we can pray (daily!) for our kids.

Things to pray:

1) Your child’s teacher – They spend a significant amount of time with your child and have an enormous influence on their year. Pray that they have a Christ-like heart and a love for children.

2) Your child’s friends – Pray that they are kind and loving. Pray that your child can share Jesus with them if they don’t already know Christ.

3) Your child’s academics – Schoolwork loses it’s luster for some children after a time. Pray that your child will love learning this year and absorb all that’s required of them. Ask that this love of learning never cease.

4) Safety at your school – We live in an unpredictable world. Pray for safety on your child’s campus and safety for all of the schools in our country.

5) Pray for your Principal/School Leaders – Decisions made by Principals and School Leaders have an incredible impact on our area. Ask that decisions be made in the best interest of all and that single agendas be left to the wayside. Pray for protection over these leaders and for their courage when standing up for Christian values.

6) Yourself – Pray that you, as the parent, will make wise decisions regarding your child’s education – academic and spiritual. Ask for guidance and for strength as you guide your child through this year.

Happy 2008-2009 School Year! Here’s to hoping it’s a great one!

UPDATED: 8/24/09

Another friend shared this prayer with me today and I love it too:

Here we are again, Lord. Their backpacks are loaded and their faces are scrubbed and their lunch accounts are full.

And I know you’ll walk with them, Lord. You always do. But a mom still has to ask.

Will You walk with them? Will You whisper to them what they need to hear, when I’m not there to whisper it?

Will You please, oh please, cover their school with the protection only You can give, and will You keep harm far away?

Will You make their minds strong and ready to learn? Will You help them understand that hard work honors the One who created them?

Will You guide their teachers, giving them patience and wisdom and creativity and more patience? Will You bless them for their efforts?

Will You love all those children there, the ones whose lunch accounts aren’t full, the ones who feel alone? Will You teach my children to be kind and unselfish and to love those who are different from them?

Will You point them back toward home just as soon as you can?

Lord, I give them to You today and everyday, trusting them to Your care.


All good things … including summer … must come to an end

All good things … including summer … must come to an end

The last few days have been filled with back to school business. Jacob and Savannah went on a much anticipated … “Daddy is taking us to work today” adventure complete with a trip home on the city bus. We’ve also had haircuts, gotten new shoes, bought first day outfits and a backpack or two, had dentist appointments and have tried …. very unsuccessfully I might add, to go to bed a little earlier.

I told Caroline she would have to get up one hour earlier every day this week. She started at almost noon, then 11:00, then 10:00. Today she came in my room at 9:30 and said … “I’m up” and then promptly went back to bed.

Bill an I went out Tuesday night to celebrate a belated anniversary with dinner and a movie. There was no one else in the theater and it felt like they had a private screening of the movie just for us. It was so fun! We saw “The Proposal” which seemed like a good anniversary choice.

The movie started at 10:05 and driving home after midnight I was thinking … next week is coming oh so quickly. There will be early, early mornings complete with scrambled eggs and scrambles to the bus.

As much as I’ve enjoyed summer, it will be good to get back into a routine. I’m tired of the Disney channel, the bickering and people saying they are hungry around the clock. I swear my kids eat more times a day now then when they were newborns.

But as ready as we are, I will miss the long days, late nights and laid back schedule. In fact…the last 2 days we have eaten lunch at 3:00 which is exactly what time the bell will ring to send the kids home from school this year. Yep, next week is going to be different all right.

A few things I will miss:

Jacob, I’ll miss watching you walk to the end of the high dive at the pool and never even stopping before you jump off. I’ll miss you begging to go to Incredible Pizza and how much you love to be at home. That week the girls were gone and it was just us? That was a great time buddy! Oh, and the way you hold your mouth while you play your Wii games … it’s something I love to watch!

Savannah, I’ll miss all the help with “jobs” you so willingly gave me every time I asked. I’ll miss being able to sneak out on “errands” to see a movie with you or how excited you get to do just about anything. I love how you and Brittany get up at the exact same time everyday and how you can climb up the rock wall at the gym faster than anyone I’ve ever seen.

Brittany … you are the calm in the storm and I’ll miss your sweet spirit and loving heart. I’ll miss you asking for sweet tea whenever we drove past a McDonalds, all those times you came to the gym by yourself to workout with me and you playing “Great is the Lord” and “Lord I Lift Your Name on High” over and over on the piano until you got it “just right”.

Caroline … It won’t be the same sitting at the computer not being able to call on you for help – be it scanning pictures, making a slideshow, or posting on ebay. I enjoyed these projects with you so much. You took the responsibility and ran with it. And those videos of myself you taught me how to make on the MAC … I think that is the hardest I have laughed in years.

And one last thing … Brittany, tonight when I asked you to read me something from your Bible and you said … how about my favorite verses … and then proceeded to read about the wise man who built his house on the rock … well, add that to the highlight reel of my summer. Especially when you proceeded to tell me what those verses meant to you. Then when Savannah wanted to read “The Lord’s Prayer” and you said….”oh Matthew 6:9″ I sat in amazement. I wanted to call and thank every Sunday School teacher and Pine Cove counselor who has ever poured into you because you are both spilling out what they have poured into you.

As much fun as we’ve had this summer, tonight is surely one I never want to forget.

And when Caroline read the title to this post she said, “I don’t want summer to end.”

And now that I think about it, I’m really not that ready for it to end either.

Another little tip …

Another little tip …

Here is my problem (well, one of the many!):

I love finding these cute ideas. Sometimes I tear them out of magazine and put them in a binder. Actually, it’s been a few years since I’ve put anything in the binder. Now I just tear them out of magazines and then can never find them again (but that’s a different problem).

The problem with these cute ideas is that, so often, I fail to try them (except for those mint brownies I showed you a few weeks ago … I totally tried those – the easier, Darla version) and they were great.

So, I’m hoping that by posting this cute idea I will not only try it, but will actually have it in a place where I won’t forget where I put it. Any ole time I want, I can click back to this post and see this cute idea:

Sorbet Cakes

I know these are meant for wedding desserts, but it is okay to serve mini three tiered cakes for any occasion…right? I am sure Martha would agree:

Especially if they are made out of sorbet like these little cuties! You just soften the sorbet and scoop it into a round cookie cutter (on top of a parchment lined cookie sheet:

Lift the ring and put them in the freezer to set (an hour-ish). Then stack and serve. Pretty easy and VERY cute!!

This came from

Now all I have to do is remember to buy sorbet and stackable cookie cutters.

I’d put them on my grocery list, but that’s another problem…I never make a list.

Or if I do, I forget to take it to the store with me!

Does anyone else have these types of problems, or is it just me?

I think it might just be me.

Facebook Find

Facebook Find

I was perusing through facebook not too long ago and I saw where someone had written this:

“May God be glorified and not horrified”.

Now I don’t think you can really shock (horrify) God because, for starters, he’s pretty much seen it all. Besides that, He already knows what we’re going to do or say or how we are going to react.

But I did like that thought….that truly I want to glorify Him in all I say and do …and yet, even today …. I blew it.

And for all those times when I’ve blown it, I’m so glad that I can ask Him to forgive me and, in the words of Psalms 51:10 to, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.”

And I’m so thankful that He does just that.

It was a one day va-cay!

It was a one day va-cay!

Thursday night my friend Carol called and said she was going to be in the Galveston for the weekend visiting with some friends of hers from high school. Through the years they have become friends of mine and I love spending time with them. Carol asked if I wanted to come down for the day and bring my girls.

The funny thing is we rarely go to Galveston and when we were driving back a couple of weeks ago we remarked … “it’s so convenient, we really should go more often.” So, twice in two weeks we headed down I-45 just a little over an hour and dipped our feet in the Gulf.

It was a girls only weekend and I didn’t know how much I was in need of one of those. I loved visiting with my friends and
our daughters all had a blast together too. As soon as we got there Caroline recognized one of the girls from her week at Pine Cove camp. It really is a small world. Here was our gaggle of girls:

We tried out two different pools. This one had a beach view:

And let me tell you, it was like we were at a resort!

And even though the Gulf is not prettiest water in the world…it’s still a beach!

Savannah hunted for seashells …

And after dinner and lots more laughs, the girls and I headed back to Houston for the last week before school starts.

Summer 2009, I’m sure gonna miss ya!

Darla Stories, school supplies edition

Darla Stories, school supplies edition

My mom sent me an email today about someone who got in the wrong car and then left their food in that car and …. it went on and on. It was hysterical and for a second I thought I might have been reading about something that happened to me.

Cause y’all all know I’ve gotten in the wrong car before.

Anyway the whole thing reminded me of another Darla story. I haven’t posted one in awhile because sometimes these things happen to me so often that it’s just part of my day. And then I’m reminded that not everyone lives like this … or maybe they do and just don’t laugh about it as hard as I do.

So, about two years ago I received a call from one of my kids at school who started out with this phrase … “you remembered it’s your day to bring ______”. I don’t even remember now what it was, but I quickly answered ….. “yes, I’ll be there. You got it … I’m on my way.”

And I packed up Jacob and ran off to the Wal Mart rushing like crazy so no one would know that actually I didn’t really remember it was my day to bring whatever it was I needed to bring.

I loaded up my cart and looked at the time and panicked. I had to HURRY.

So I paid for my stuff and pushed my cart out to the parking lot and took Jacob out of the cart and drove off. Without ANY of my stuff.

All I remember is being on my cell phone with someone and screaming …AUGH! and hanging up. And I did what I do in these types of situations and called Bill. And I asked him to call Wal Mart and ask them if my cart (with all the bags in it) was still in the parking lot.

And his response was this … “you seriously want me to call Walmart and tell them my wife drove off without any of her stuff?!?”

And I said … “you heard me correctly”.

And I can’t for the life of me remember why I couldn’t make the call myself but I’m sure I had a good reason (ahem).

But good ole Bill called them and called me back and said they located it. Just sitting out there in the middle of the parking lot, stacked with bags.

And y’all, worse than the having to make that call was the walk of shame I had to take up to the customer service desk to tell them I drove off without my stuff.

I tried to not really make eye contact with them while I took my stuff and high tailed it back to the elementary school where I handed over whatever thing my child needed.

And I’m sure I smiled and said something sweet like “you didn’t think mama would forget now, would you?”.

Fire and Ice

Fire and Ice

One of my growing up friends, Stephanie, was in town yesterday. I have called Stephanie “Zeb” for years. So many years in fact that I have forgotten why I started calling her Zeb in the first place. I think it had to do with her having a relative named Zebedee and then in Sunday School we heard about Zebedee in the Bible and after that I never really called her Stephanie again. But I could be wrong because facts often elude me.

Zeb and her family recently moved from Arkansas to College Station, TX. Her husband is working at Texas A and M. I loved it that she was wearing her WHOO PIG SOOIE Arkansas Razorback t-shirt. ‘Cuz you can take the girl out of Arkansas, but you can’t take the Arkansas out of the girl.

Or something like that.

I’m so sorry that I didn’t take a picture of us all together. This may have had something to do with the fact that it took three separate tables to find a place for the eight of us to sit. Anyway, she brought her girls over to Houston to do some school shopping and we met them at the Galleria yesterday for lunch (Chick Fil A people, where else?).

After lunch their shopping extravaganza continued but my people (well two of my people) REALLY, REALLY wanted to go ice skating. And since the thermometer on my car read 104 degrees outside AND Jacob and Savannah have been asking all summer to go AND there are only 7 weekdays of summer left … I thought now was as good a time as any.

So we laced up the skates (only they don’t lace anymore which is a HUGE improvement in ice skate technology in my opinion) and these two headed out on the ice.

The only problem was that this skater is pretty good:

And this skater is what you might call a wall-hugger:

But Savannah makes a good instructor:

And before long Jacob was gaining a lot more confidence.

And one of my friends asked me why I wasn’t out there with them. And let me answer that question … Last Christmas I did go ice skating. Only Jacob wasn’t holding onto the wall, he was holding on to me. FOR DEAR LIFE. I honestly thought I was going to spend the next month in the care of a chiropractor. So I told him … “you want to skate….you go out there and skate.”

Tough love you might call it. Or tough luck … however you want to look at it.

And he took a tumble or two:

But he got the hang of it pretty good towards the end (just look at that hand letting go!):

And was quite proud of his accomplishment:

Brittany, on the other hand, was just bored. She had a bum foot from a gymnastics tumble the night before so she and Caroline just watched the show.

And after cooling off at the ICE rink, we decided to go to the Rainforest Cafe and huddle around some FIRE for dessert:

People, this is called a volcano. And this is what it looked like before:

And this is what it looked like after:

It was like a natural disaster or something.

Someone asked me what we were celebrating and I said … “just summer and a fun day”. Although Jacob did ask me over and over to tell them it was his birthday. Boy likes a party I guess!

Anyway… we all enjoyed it:

Some more than others:

And since these two missed out on getting their pictures taken with the elephants at the circus…they posed for one here.

And as Zeb and I used to say back in the day …. “a good time was had by all”.