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Month: April 2010

Not a pretty sight …

Not a pretty sight …

Remember THIS?

My infamous face plant into the ice and snow in Minnesota?

Well, Brittany is now sporting a very similar badge of courage …

Close encounter of the trampoline kind.

She has logged more hours on our backyard trampoline than the rest of the family combined.  She has done flips on it since she was tiny.  We used to have a rule that the kids couldn’t jump on the trampoline unless a parent was home but I guess somewhere along the way that went by the wayside.

Earlier this week when I was dropping off someone somewhere (you know, pretty much what I do EVERY day)  Brittany called me.  She is prone to calling and reporting things to me like … “mom, I ate two cookies” or “mom, someone called” or “mom, can I turn on the TV”.  She calls me a lot.

This time though she said … “mom, I was jumping on the trampoline and I hurt my face a little bit.”  (I later learned she was trying to do a front and a back flip …. “at the same time!”  I asked her if she was ok and she said “yes … it just stings a little bit.”

I was not prepared for what I saw when I got home.  It looked awful (this picture was taken a few days after it happened).  I told her she could stay home the next day if she wanted as it was painful to even look at so I could only imagine how it felt.  Trademark Brittany she said … “no, we’re learning about something new today so I need to go.” 

When I asked her if people asked about her face she said … “Yes … EVERYBODY.”

Bill told her that he was proud of her because having those scars was a sign that she was pushing herself and doing hard things and that even if she got hurt she was improving.  Only he probably said it better than what I just wrote.

Anyway … Jacob piped up and said … “HEY, that’s just what my tae kwon do teacher tells me … push myself.”

And Brittany sat there and then quietly replied … “yeah … but look what happens when you do.”

I think as soon as her wounds heal she’ll be back to pushing herself again though.

That’s just how Brittany rolls.

No pun intended.

It all depends on how you look at it …

It all depends on how you look at it …

There are two things I have known with certainty about Monday mornings this past school year.  

The first was that two of my four kids would be buying their lunch at school.  Every Monday is chicken nugget day in the school cafeteria.  And if you think about it … after the words “I love you”, having your children say … “Mom, we’re buying lunch at school today” may be the most beautiful words a mom can hear.  Sadly that Monday morning ritual stopped this week when Jacob reported that “THEY ONLY GIVE YOU THREE NUGGETS and I AM STILL STARVING!”  Savannah agreed and I am back in the lunch making business on Monday mornings again.

The other thing I know for sure is that Savannah is going to bring me her conduct folder to be signed.  The students in our school keep a record each week and if they get a “mark” it is recorded and they bring it home on Fridays for the parent signature.

This Monday was no different.  I said … “Savannah … you got ANOTHER mark for excessive talking?!?”  And I’m pretty sure you know … she comes by this honestly.  Like I think it was hereditary.  I’m a communication professor after all.    But that doesn’t excuse it and quite often we go through the same lectures about the right/wrong time to be talking, etc.  

Caroline makes it well known that she made it from Pre-K through 5th grade without ever getting a mark.  Poor Brittany got one mark (that truly hurt her to receive) and the teacher called me later to apologize and said Brittany was lumped in with a group of kids in the cafeteria who all got marks but that upon further reflection she should not have received it.

So most Mondays Caroline and Brittany roll their eyes and pontificate on how Savannah is “sullying the good Baerg family name.”  

I keep telling Savannah how I KNOW it is hard to keep from talking.  I understand wanting to have a good time … even at the wrong time.  I get it.  I totally get it.

But that doesn’t excuse it.

This past Monday was a little different because in addition to signing the conduct chart I had to sign Savannah’s progress report.  

I should tell you first that Savannah has incredible comedic timing.  She can say some of THE funniest things I have ever heard in the most deadpan way that makes me crack up every time.

So Monday when she handed me the two papers I said … “Savannah … ANOTHER mark for talking?!?”

And without skipping a beat she said … “but look mom … I got a 100 in oral language.”

She had a point.

And you know what … if they offered debate in third grade I bet she’d have a 100 in that too.

In full bloom …

In full bloom …

I mentioned that I was going to be speaking at the Tallowood Baptist Spring Ladies luncheon on Tuesday.  It was so fun and I had such sweet friends there.  The ladies who planned it did a fabulous job … not only in planning it but praying for the event as well.

As I was dropping Caroline off at her middle school, which is across the street from Tallowood, I prayed for the women who were coming and that we would be able to feel the Lord’s presence at the event.  I would have liked to have gone inside the church to pray but …. seeing how I run carpool in my PJ’s with a sweatshirt on top … I didn’t think it would be appropriate.  

I could only smile when the director of the event mentioned that she had prayed over each table that morning and for the women who would be sitting at them.  I was so glad the Lord had taken care of even that for me.

But … THIS YOU HAVE TO HEAR.  I thought it was so cool.  Maybe it was just to me, but I thought it was beyond neat.  Or as my mom said … “just like our God.”

I have been working on today’s talk for months.  They told me when they asked me to speak that the theme was “in full bloom” which immediately made me think … I know NOTHING about flowers.  Nothing.  

Like I barely got the ones in the pots at my front door planted a few days ago.

Actually I didn’t even plant them myself.  Bill got so tired of seeing the plastic pots sitting on top of the dirt that he planted them for me.

 The verses I wanted to use were from 2 Corinthians 2:14-15 …   14But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 15For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing.

I thought they were perfect verses because flowers have fragrance and we want to be the aroma/fragrance of Christ to the world.  

But I still didn’t know much about flowers.

And as I prepared my talk I prayed over and over about what to share and prayed that His words would be my words.

On Sunday our pastor gave a message that was so similar to what I was going to say that I joked that my talk was going to be the “refresher” class for his sermon.  And I felt that was some confirmation that it was the right message.

But I still wondered … is this the right talk, are these the right words … do I share this story or that?

And I continued to pray all the way up until almost time to leave.  I had a brand new pink jacket (that I love!) that I was wearing and it still had the tags on it.  I cut the tags off and the extra button bag … and Y’ALL … attached to the tag was this little plastic bag of tiny dried roses.

The first thing I did was check all the labels.  Nothing about roses.  Nothing about flowers.  No reason AT ALL that there would be a little plastic bag of flowers attached to the jacket I was about to put on.

All I could figure is that the Lord wanted me to know He had it under control.

I might not know much about flowers, but I know Him. 

And He created flowers.

And their fragrance.

And that was all the confirmation I needed.

It’s like the stars aligned …

It’s like the stars aligned …

I had it … my one shining moment.

Or as I told Bill … “the one time in my life where I was the person I’ve always wanted to be” … at least in regards to this situation.

Remember the cake balls?

Well, I actually made 2 batches and froze one of them.  



Last week’s cake balls were dipped in chocolate almond bark.  After talking with a friend today she suggested I try dipping them in the milk chocolate candy wafers.  Turns out I had some of those left over from a well intentioned but poorly executed Christmas plan of making chocolate pops for people.

Anyway … when we got home from church Brittany was helping me out in the kitchen (she enjoys cooking … she has been scrambling her own eggs for a couple of years and is always willing to cook something with me).  I asked her if she’d like to help me dip the second batch of cookie balls. 

That wasn’t really on my agenda but the other kids were occupied and I thought it would be a good way to spend some time with Babs (our nickname for Brittany … Brittany Ann Baerg … Babs for short).  We melted the chocolate and dipped the balls and even added some sprinkles on this batch.

An hour or so later I posted a birthday greeting on facebook to a friend that said “Happy Birthday … what time is cake served?”  I was just joking of course.  His wife commented and said .. “well, that would mean I need to make the cake … I better get busy!”  She is a very good friend of mine and for a second I was almost giddy.  I didn’t even take time to respond … I just ran and began packing up cake balls to take them.

Bill delivered them and before he even got home the phone was ringing and my friend was telling me that I’d totally saved her because she needed to go to the store to buy the things she needed for the cake and now she was off the hook.

And I could not have been happier.  I’ve always felt like I was surrounded by people who could whip up a meal at a moments notice, had freshly baked bread on hand or who had just the right thing at just the right time.  Today … just this once … it was my turn.

Tomorrow I am spending the day preparing for the talk I’m giving at the Tallowood Baptist Spring Womens Luncheon on Tuesday.  

And when that is over I’m going to make more cake balls!

Because you never know when you might need them.

A few of my favorite things …

A few of my favorite things …

One of the latest joys of my life is pitching balls to my son in the front yard.

Savannah took this picture (taken as I was coming in from a run) and thought it was SO funny that she caught him swinging at a pink ball.  That poor boy can’t catch a break in his house full of females.
But truly, for hours and hours he can swing at balls …
His favorite is hitting them over the roof!
Eventually he starts acting crazy and we have to call it a day …

But the good news is that, the last few days, we’ve been able to come in and have these:

I made cake balls … and they’ve been a big hit.
Bill even said … “these are REALLY good” but he kind of acted surprised … which cracked me up.
The only “trick” was that you were supposed to add vegetable oil to the almond bark when you melted it.  

I forgot that part (would have seemed weird if it all just went perfectly for me now wouldn’t it?!).

They still tasted good … and that’s what matters!

Jacob has told me he’s gonna hit a homerun in tonight’s game.

Either way he can have a cake ball when he gets home!

Darla Story – For whom the bell tolls version…

Darla Story – For whom the bell tolls version…

I know I’ve come a long way in the internet world.

For example, I can do things like … post a blog.

Order books from Amazon.

I google stuff all the time.

I tweet, facebook, follow other blogs … the like.

It seems almost impossible that it was only 11 years ago that we got this thing called internet (dial up!) in our home.

I can still remember when Bill told me about a site on the internet called ebay.  He told me how cool it was … that you could find anything.

And, sure enough, I found some very cool things.

Like these figurine dolls that are bells.  I have collected them for years and years.
There were more bells on ebay than you can imagine.

Bells for each holiday, bell collections, bells for this and bells for that.

A treasure trove of bells.

And I thought it would be fun to bid on them. 

I lost track of how many “bids” I submitted.   But I do still remember how much fun I had hitting the button that said “bid”.

You see, no one (ie BILL) told me that if you win the bid you buy.

I just thought someone would check with me first. 

Make sure I really meant to do that.

Unknowingly, the ebay account I was bidding from was linked to Bill’s work email address.

As he sat in a meeting the next day, he got email after email saying … “Congratulations … you won …. a bell.”

He knew.  

OH PEOPLE, HE KNEW what had happened but there was no way to stop the train wreck.

And for weeks and weeks UPS showed at my door delivering bells.  It was before paypal too so “as my punishment”, I had to send all those bell owners checks for my new treasures so as not to sully Bill’s “perfect” ebay record. 

Perfect because he’s never bought or sold anything!!!

Oh, but I have bought some things. 

I have this bell cabinet to prove it.
A fitting epitaph

A fitting epitaph

So often you hear …. “it takes a village” …

And last week one of the “mamas” from my village died suddenly.

Although she was sick, she was doing well and it came as quite a shock.

I drove straight to the visitation and then got to spend some time with her daughter, my friend Stephanie, and “our gang” Sunday night.  Then Monday I went to her funeral service and headed back to Houston.

The church where we grew up was where her service was held but since the time we’ve left they’ve added screens on either side of the choir loft.  During the service they played a video that the church had recently made that featured Mrs. Nadyne speaking about grace and it was moving and sweet and poignant and perfect.  It felt kind of like she was giving us her last word.

But before the video played they had a church “slide” on both screens.  It had the name of the church and a cross on it.  I kept thinking … “gosh, they should turn that off”.  It’s not that it was distracting but yet it seemed (to me) kind of like advertising.

But the more I thought about it, I was so struck by the tag line that was at the bottom of the screen.

Under “First Baptist Church Little Rock” it read … “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Lives.”

And I must admit … I could not get over HOW appropriate those words were about Mrs. Nadyne.  She was our church receptionist.  She didn’t live in a mansion or drive a fancy car.   She didn’t travel the globe or write a book.

But she was beloved by so many.   She had a sweet spirit that conveyed she genuinely cared about you.  Not too long ago when we all met up for girls weekend at Stephanie’s house in College Station, Mrs. Nadyne sent pillows and towels.

She wanted to make sure we had enough.

We had plenty but all smiled at the thought of Mrs. Nadyne packing towels and pillows to send across the miles … so we’d be comfortable.

That was her gift.  She made people feel special and loved … in a quiet sort of way.

And that, my friends, made her extraordinary.

Darla Story – email version

Darla Story – email version

I’m back.

I took a quick trip to Arkansas earlier this week and in the process of catching up with myself and needing to explain to our entire middle school my lack of technological skills, there has been no time left for the blog.

My PTA “job” is to send emails, using a PTA database (is that even the right word?!?).  All the school asked me to do was to send a simple email – to parents of 8th graders – about the upcoming 8th grade dance.
I was supposed to include a picture order form as an attachment.

Only I forgot to attach it.

So I sent another one with the clever subject line that said “the attachment is … attached.” 
But I didn’t think it sent.

So I sent another one that said “oops” except that it only said “oop” because I accidentally hit send before I added the “s” and the rest of the message.  It literally ONLY said “oop” in the subject line … that was it.

And then I realized I had sent that to 6th grade parents instead of 8th grade parents.

I FINALLY sent the correct email with the attachment actually attached to the correct parents.

Then I found out one of the earlier versions had actually worked so people were getting multiple emails from me saying the same thing.

And I’ve spent the rest of the week answering emails that say things like … “oop   ????” or “nothing attached” or “did you mean for us to get this?”.
If I’ve said “sorry for the confusion” once this week I’ve said it a thousand times.

Bill and I both thought it was hilarious that I can’t even send the “oops” email without it being an “oops”.

The very fact that I have this PTA job just proves that scores of more knowledgeable people turned it down first before they finally got someone to say “yes”.
You wouldn’t think they’d make that mistake again.
Only they already have asked me to do it again next year when Brittany starts 6th grade.

And I already said “yes”.


Dusty Journal

Dusty Journal

I was going through some bookshelves the other day and came across a journal I hadn’t seen in years.  Curious about what was inside, I opened it to find a journal of the “early  years” of Caroline’s life.  I’m pretty sure I intended to write in it regularly and perhaps make one for each child.  As it is, that is the only such journal in our house and the last entry is during Caroline’s kindergarten year.  

I loved reading about that time period in our lives.  I read about Brittany’s arrival into our family , Caroline riding the school bus for the first time … and about the time Bill took Caroline to the park and, after having a great time, said … “I hope that is Caroline’s very first memory”.

I cracked up when I read that one day she was helping me in the kitchen and Brittany became fussy in her bouncy seat in the den.  I asked Caroline to go “be with her” so she would settle down.  Caroline promptly went into the den, got down by Brittany and very matter of factly said … “Brittany, Jesus is in here with you … now I’m going back to help Mommy.”  

I so wish I had more memories recorded … and in many ways this blog is helping me record those events I don’t want to forget.  I used to scrapbook … and Bill always laughs at how Caroline has two albums that I spent hours and hours creating.  The very last time I scrapbooked was the Saturday before Brittany was born.  After that I guess I got a little … busy. 

 And poor Jacob … he has not even a word written in his baby book.

I have a friend named Katy Moore who wrote a blog post last week called “Supermom“.  There are so many things she said that I absolutely loved but one of my favorites was when she described no longer worrying about monogramming her daughter’s dresses but instead focused on “inscribing character on her heart.”  

And although I may not have everything recorded for posterity (like those supermoms!) … I hope, like Katy, that the things really worth remembering, the things you can’t even take a picture of, are etched into my children’s hearts and minds….forever.



Saturday, after a quick Easter Egg Hunt in our neighborhood, 
we headed out to Brenham, TX …for some pictures in the Texas Bluebonnets.
We took a few shots near a favorite spot of ours:
Then we got hungry so we “took off” to the Southern Flyer Diner at the Brenham Airport.  The airport is really tiny and only has little bitty planes there.  They have a 50’s style diner that people literally fly their planes to … eat … and fly out.  It was so fun to watch the planes take off and land while we ate.

After dinner the light was just right for pictures.  We had passed a yard on the way to the airport that had THE prettiest, lushest bluebonnets we had seen … so we stopped and asked if we could take some pictures.  Talk about having “yard of the month!!” …
  Aren’t those flowers amazing?!?
This boy has stolen my heart forever.  
The owner offered to take our family picture:
 On our way out of town we stopped on the side of the road for a few last shots.  The lighting was really perfect and I thought we got some great shots:

There were more yellow flowers than I remember and Savannah’s yellow shirt made them really pop out.

Have I ever mentioned the time we took Caroline to take pictures in the bluebonnets in San Antonio?  She was just about to turn one and we took some great pictures.  Walking through the MEADOW, I failed to realize my Baylor class ring (which is the Baylor seal with diamonds around it), fell off.  We searched and searched and then gave up.  The next day I rented a metal detector in Houston and drove THREE hours back and searched.  No luck.  I put the metal detector back in the car and gave it one last go … and unbelieveably, I found my ring.  I kid you not.  Totally worth the six hour round trip.  But just look at these meadows of flowers and imagine me finding my ring!  Here is that “baby” all grown up:

My favorite shot of the day:

The sun began to set and we decided to head for home …

It might be against the law to pick the bluebonnets in Texas … but there’s nothing wrong with picking up your little brother and carrying one tired little boy to the car!