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Month: November 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving 2009

I realize most everyone is busy getting ready for Christmas now, but we have just gotten home from our Thanksgiving trip and I thought I’d share a little bit of our celebration while waiting for the loads and loads of our laundry to dry.  

I guess it would have been nice to post on Thanksgiving or the day after, but I was too busy enjoying my family, the food, and watching football to spend much time on the computer.  And let me tell you … I REALLY enjoyed myself.  There’s lots to share, but here’s just a quick peek …

For starters, my mom went all Martha Stewart on us and prepared a pumpkin spice cake complete with a green “stem” made of green icing on an ice cream cone.

I was pretty impressed.  I only dream of doing these kinds of projects.  I never get around to actually doing them!
There was tons and tons of good food and we all enjoyed it so much (Deah and I even got in a quick run before lunch so we didn’t have to feel so, SO guilty for having pumpkin AND pecan pie.  Just so guilty.)

And Jacob really, really enjoyed his turkey leg …

And we all stuffed ourselves pretty good.

And later that night Caroline and I snuggled up to watch the UT/Aggie game.  

I thought the day was perfect!  I am thankful for so many things … including all the family seated around our table. 

We saw a great band and had a great meal!!!

We saw a great band and had a great meal!!!

This past weekend Caroline and I took advantage of two extra tickets that a friend had for the Baylor/Texas A and M game.  It’s just a short trip over to College Station (delayed somewhat by our stop at the outlet mall) and, although it rained on us most of the drive, by kick off the sun had started to shine.

Well, shine on the Aggies.  It’s kind of like Baylor football has a dark cloud over it.  I mean, I love the Baylor Bears, but their football leaves a little something to be desired.

But man did we enjoy watching the Aggie band.  Impressive seems like an understatement.  All I could think about was how I could never, ever even begin to think about playing an instrument, marching, staying in those unbeliveable formations, in step, etc.  But the people on the field did a great job.

We were told to not wear our Baylor gear as we were sitting in the “former student” section and it’s part of the unwritten rules to only let Aggies have those tickets.   And we followed the rules and stayed pretty much in cognito throughout the game.  That is, until all the Aggies put their arms around each other (I mean ALL the AGGIES in the ENTIRE stadium) and began swaying back and forth and singing something about beating UT.  

Which made no sense seeing how they were playing Baylor.  But apparently it’s their fight song no matter who they are playing.  And tradition is a very big deal for the Aggies.  
(Or ATM as my kids call it – as in the money machine – because that’s how it looks written out.)

I think that’s when our cover was blown because if an entire stadium of Baylor people put their arms around each other they’d probably sing Kum By Yah or something.  So we exited the game pretty soon after that.

Then we went to my friend Stephanie’s house.  She moved from Arkansas to College Station last May and it was my first visit to her house.  I loved it and she and her husband CHRIS (explanation for caps later) … took Caroline and I to dinner at a restaurant called, appropriately, Christopher’s.

BEST MEAL I HAVE EVER EATEN in Texas and the only meal I think could have been better or equal was once in St. Johns when Bill and I were on vacation … and that might have had something to do with the ocean being our view.

The food was delicious.  I mean it.  To die for.  Get in your car as soon as you can and go there if you are nearby.  I had duck over gnocchi.  I don’t think I had ever had duck and I will have it again as soon as I can.  It was sooo good.  Caroline got Napa Chicken and literally ate almost every single bite.  She tried it all and enjoyed it all and may have been the happiest she had ever been.

Until dessert.  

Dessert defies description.  Caroline and Stephanie had these chocolate somethings that they loved.  I had a fruit cup in a delicious edible cup with white chocolate mousse and berries in it.  

No words for how delicious it was….truly no words.

Stephanie asked Caroline a question while she was spooning in all that chocolate goodness and Caroline didn’t even hear the question.  She looked up, in a chocolate stupor, and said … “huh?”  She really was lost in the dessert.

We thanked CHRIS profusely and I told him his name was going in all capital letters on the blog.  I mean, how else is he going to know ho much we truly appreciated it?

So, to wrap it up, the football wasn’t great, but the food and fellowship were superb.  Thanks CHRIS and Stephanie!!

And just as a side note … Stephanie left today for Little Rock because her mom is having surgery at 6:15 in the morning.  She was recently diagnosed with lung cancer so if you would, pray for her.  CHRIS will join them tomorrow.

He would have some leftovers tonight for dinner if we hadn’t eaten EVERY single bite of that wonderful meal!!

Y’all enjoy your wonderful Thanksgiving meals and enjoy time with your friends and family.

Little Indians

Little Indians

Friday was the kindergarten Thanksgiving feast at our school.  The students make their own Indian costumes:

They sing lots of songs for the parents:

I think in this song the Indians had to rest:
There was even a turkey in the show!! 

 After the performance, we all went back to their classroom for a traditional feast.  Well, not really traditional but they did have corn on the cob, turkey rollups, cheese sticks, bananas, pumpkin pie … and chocolate chip cookies.  The chocolate chip cookies were the untraditional, but very well liked, addition.
 I’m always a big fan of the rolls too:
 Apparently the pilgrims didn’t use utensils so this was very authentic:

 In first grade they will dress up like Pilgrims.  It will be cute too although Jacob is quite concerned about being a Pilgrim.  He told me they watched a movie about the Pilgrims and “it was SO sad.  A bunch of them died and they were SO young.”
And lastly … a bit of a Darla story:

I was visiting with one of the moms while the kids were eating.  She said “Have you seen Plymouth Rock?”  I thought she meant a movie.  I said “no” which worked either way because I haven’t seen the rock or the movie.  But then she started telling me how it was really small and kind of a disappointment and, I kid you not, it took everything in me not to bust out laughing and tell her I thought she meant a movie.

But I played it cool.   Just nodded as she spoke and told her I’d have to go see Plymouth Rock sometime.

The actual rock.
Busy, busy, busy …

Busy, busy, busy …

The last three or four days held so many events that I couldn’t keep up on the blog!  I shared Jacob’s encounter with the cow at the Oil Ranch, but had a few more pics to show.  It was a fun day made all the more worthwhile when Jacob said to me as I was leaving … “one more hug Mommy.” 

I was happy to oblige.

Here was our day:

In addition to feeding those cows, Jacob and his friends pumped water:

We had some lunch.

Took a train ride:


Took lots of pics:

Played some hoops … (this was a pick up game on the way to the train ride).  

Apparently Jacob has been paying attention in Sunday School because he said … “mommy, take my picture climbing the sycamore tree!”  I finally had to tell Zacheus to come down!

We had a great time!

I wouldn’t have wanted to miss that trip for anything!

Up Close and Personal …

Up Close and Personal …

I’m pretty sure this is the closest I’ve ever been to a cow.

Like, it was RIGHT there.

It might have even been giving me the evil eye.

I think it wanted food.

It tried to eat my baby.

My baby got away.

He kind of thought it was funny.  I think the cow was a little embarrassed.


This city slicker boy tried to tell that cow a thing or two.

He talked to it a bit more.  (Please note … the girl holding onto Jacob was not the girl who gave him the love note.  If it was, mama might have had to sit in between those two.)

They joked around a little bit.

He thought about petting the cow.

Made faces at it instead.

And the cow made faces right back.

Mine … all mine.

Mine … all mine.

The other day Jacob was at the park and a little girl came up to him and yelled RIGHT IN HIS FACE … for all the other little playground people to hear … “I KNOW THE BOY I’M GOING TO MARRY AND I’M LOOKIN’ AT HIM.”

I kind of laughed and thought it was cute (as well as forward and aggressive) until tonight.  Tonight when Jacob and I were snuggling before bedtime, he told me that he had “pinky promised” his Daddy that he wouldn’t tell anyone, but that he wanted to tell me anyway, that a girl in his class had given him a heart that said “I love you” during naptime at school.

My first thought … ohnoshedidn’t.

But he clearly wasn’t making it up.  So I guess she did.

And here is what that little girl needs to know.

He is mine.  All mine.  

In fact, I might send him to school in a “My heart belongs to Mommy” t-shirt – except that we don’t have a t-shirt like that.  Besides, we are going to the Oil Ranch tomorrow on a field trip tomorrow and he has to wear his school t-shirt.  Otherwise I might go buy or make one.  And I’m not a crafty type, but this is important.

Please note, I’m going on this field trip.  I’ll be looking for this girl.  And I may have to tell her that he is mine.


Until we meet again …

Until we meet again …

One of my favorite memories of high school is going on our church’s high school mission trip, or Mission Tour, as it was called.  One year in particular we went to upstate New York.  We helped build the church, we sang the musical called “The Witness” and had a really good time being together.

It’s funny the things you remember from those trips.  I remember Jerry Greg Johnson playing Jesus and Holly Tompkins Singleton playing Mary (or was that Carol?  I can’t remember!).  I do remember having to dress up in our costumes and pass our flyers at a stoplight in the town.  One man drove up … saw us in costumes… and my friend Sharon read his lips as he said … “lock your doors!”  We still laugh about that.  I’m sure we were a pretty unusual sight.  I remember Neil Hardwick burst his eardrum swimming in a pool.  I remember Kathryn Krodell getting some sad news from Little Rock as we were on our way home.

A few times during the trip we would break up into small groups and stay in various “host homes” from the church we were visiting that night.  We were instructed to sing this song … an Irish blessing … to the family when we left as a type of “thank you” for their hospitality.  I loved the way we sounded when we sang that song together acapella.  It might have been because I was mouthing the words that we sounded so good (I’m planning on being able to carry a tune in heaven).

But I did love it and I’ve sung it to my babies throughout the years.  I sang it last night to two of my daughters as I was putting them to bed and one of them (the know it all one) said “MOM, no one knows that song.  No one has ever even heard of it.”

And I thought to myself … now that’s a crying shame.  It’s far too pretty a song not to know it.  I love it so much.  I searched all through youtube until I found a choir that sang our particular version … and it just so happens it was a church youth choir reunion video.  (I had to search through so many of another particular version that I’m starting to think this group stole our version from us.  Or borrowed it maybe … seeing how they are a church and all).

Anyway … Little Rock’s First Baptist Mission Trip to New York …. this is for you.

Until we meet again …. may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

P.S.  Please feel free to leave your favorite memory of this trip in the comments section!

A little bit of money and a ruby ring …

A little bit of money and a ruby ring …

I told you a few weeks ago that I had some stories from Midland.  

One of them is about my new friend,  Alta Lynn Gerlach.  She is married to the pastor of Crestview Baptist Church.  I didn’t say “pastor’s wife” because I didn’t want you to get the wrong idea.  She doesn’t really fit the “pastor’s wife” mold except that she fits it perfectly.  

Alta Lynn is fun, funny, creative, accepting, kind, smart … to know her is to love her.  She helped pick out all the furniture for their new church building, she works full time at the Miss Cayce’s Christmas Store – you know, the one that I RAVED about, leads a design team at that store,  has two daughters, she seems to always be on the go and yet … in just the little bit of time I got to spend with her, she seems so grounded.  I can’t explain her … and she probably likes it that way.

This is Alta Lynn: 

And this is her story.  It’s one of my favorites.

Alta Lynn was the daughter of an American soldier and a Korean mother.  She was born near the end of the Korean War.  I don’t know anything about her father and I’m not sure she does either.  Her mother however loved Alta Lynn and wanted the best for her.  She told a missionary who was visiting that he could take Alta Lynn to America in order for a family to adopt her, enabling her daughter to have a better life than the one she felt she could provide.

A family in Texas was told that their daughter was coming soon and they began to prepare for her arrival.  But shockingly, they found out that somehow, the little girl they thought would be their own, had been sold on the black market.  They were planning to begin praying for a new daughter, but their church said “no”.  We’ve been praying for this daughter and we’re going to keep praying for her.

Because Alta Lynn’s father was an American, the CIA was able to get involved and they found her.  (The CIA is really good at their job but I personally think those prayer warriors back in Texas had a little something to do with finding a little girl lost in a big country.)  When the missionary went to the person who had bought Alta Lynn, he offered “a little bit of money and a ruby ring” and “bought” her back.

Alta Lynn came to America and grew up in the most loving of homes.  She completed her education and got multiple advanced degrees.  She married John Gerlach and became a mother.  And she tells everyone  that she has had a ” truly wonderful” life. 

A life that was changed because someone bought her for “a little bit of money and a ruby ring”. 

And why is that one of my favorite stories?

For starters because Alta Lynns story is so much like our story.

We were bought for a price.  A price far higher than “a little bit of money and a ruby ring.”  We were bought as a result of Jesus dying on a cross.  As I Corinthians 3:20 says … “you were bought at a price”. 


You were bought. 

At a price … and a large one at that.

Although Alta Lynn has no memory of her mother, she told me that she knows her mother loved her.  She has a picture of herself and her mom when she was about two or three and her hair is perfectly curled.  It is flipped “just so” and Alta Lynn said … “that wasn’t easy to do”.  And although she doesn’t remember her mother or her mother fixing her hair, that picture, to her, proves her mother loved her so much that she spent time and fixed her hair … “just so.” 
Like Alta Lynn, we know we are loved.  God made us … formed us.  Knows the number of hairs on our head.

Alta Lynn feels like she has bad a pretty remarkable life and I’d have to agree. 

And that is why I love this story.
Our story.

The story of “a little bit of money and a ruby ring.”
For this I am thankful …

For this I am thankful …

We are a busy family.  It’s true.  We spend a lot of time participating in sports, music lessons, various after school activities, etc.  

Sometimes I think we should limit it better … but I never know what thing(s) to cut out.  If anyone ever balked … we’d back out … but they don’t.  Britany goes to the gym four days a week for four hours each day … and she prays on all four of those nights … “thank you God that I got to go to gymnastics today.”  

On Wednesday nights our family chooses to do church choir and a missions program.  Sometimes I ask myself why we are doing this … it seems crazy.  We race all week … why not set aside this night to stay home.  And there is a lot to be said for that and I don’t fault anyone who makes that decision.  But for us, we go to choir.  Our church has a fabulous childrens choir program with wonderful workers that teach the children hymns, Bible verses and a love for music.  The program goes from 3 years through 5th grade.  (My 8th grader said “no way jose” to the youth choir.  At first I balked, but we reached a very happy agreement where she goes to the youth Bible Study on Wednesday nights but uses the other time to study.  She is an excellent student and not one of those who likes to do it all.)

Last night Brittany, Savannah and Jacob all three sang in the Thanksgiving program.  And watching them I was so … well, thankful.  

*Thankful for 4 healthy children.
*Thankful that our children are learning to sing God’s word.
*Thankful they are making a joyful noise unto the Lord.
*Thankful for a church that emphasizes music and has a such a wonderful choir program.
*Thankful for workers that take time out of their own busy lives to teach my children.
*Thankful that their choir programs reflect the importance of giving God your best work.

 *Thankful that Brittany got a small speaking part and valued it so much that she didn’t go to the gym Saturday morning (shocking, I know!) so she could participate in the dress rehearsal.
*Thankful that I made the effort to get them there … even when we were slamming down supper and no one could find their shoes.  🙂
*Thankful for Jacob … looking back at me with his sweet smile.  

Thankful for the joy of watching my children sing:


That’s Brittany on the right … telling everyone to have a Happy Thanksgiving.  

And I will … because I have so much for which to be thankful.

The rest of the story ….

The rest of the story ….

I just had a “request” from Dallas.  My friend Debra says you need to know the “rest of the story” about the McDonald’s Arch cards for the soldiers.

Long story short … I happened to tell someone at the McDonalds by my house about it (because I am, uhm, a “frequenter” of their business and they know me there) about my idea.  She loved it and said she wanted her boss to hear about it … who then wanted the Houston office to hear about it, who then, I assume, called the Dallas office (regional headquarters) and told them about it.

And then a nice lady named Erica from Dallas called me and said … “we’re shipping you Arch cards today to pass out to soldiers”.  She went on to say that they generally only support Ronald McDonald charities, but they wanted to help out with this project.  She also said they were sending BGO cards to the families left behind by the soldiers who were overseas.  I had to ask, but BGO cards are “buy one/get one” cards.

Today my cousin wrote this sweet blog, and it made my day.

Because really and truly … it only takes a spark.  

I’d love for you to join us in setting a fire of thanks to our soldiers.  As we fly to see our familes, let’s thank those who are flying away from their families to protect our freedom.

I kind of thought McDonalds was in the burger business.  According to Erica … they like causing people to smile ….

And I’ve signed up to help them out.