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Month: April 2011

No time to eat …

No time to eat …

A week or two ago I was doing what I always do  ….  getting the kids off to school and racing around preparing for workers to show up in my house.  I didn’t exactly make it because I still had my pajama top on when they arrived.  I threw on a jacket and began my day.  (I did go change after I answered a few questions … not to worry!).

I went from thing to thing.  Answering questions, meeting with contractors, driving out to pick up some chairs and raced back for a 1:00 appointment that didn’t show.  During this, I realized I was hungry and hadn’t eaten and sadly noticed I had no bread for a sandwich.  I hoped, as I opened the freezer door, that there would be something I could microwave, but there was nothing.

I kid you not … at the EXACT time I was standing with the freezer wide open, lamenting my lack of food and inability to leave to go get something, a sweet friend knocked on the door and said … “You’ve probably already eaten, but I brought you lunch/dinner.”  Chicken salad, croissants and this TO DIE FOR chocolate cake.

It still took me another hour and a half before I could eat it as two more appointments showed up but when I did … oh it was good.  Delicious.  It hit the spot … it was just the refreshment and nourishment and encouragement I needed … at exactly the right time.

Scripture mentions Jesus not having time to eat either.  Mark 6:30-32 says:

     The apostles then rendezvoused with Jesus and reported on all that they had done and taught.  Jesus said, “Come off by yourselves, let’s take a break and get a little rest.”  For there was constant coming and going and they didn’t even have time to eat.”

Constant coming and going?  Sounds familiar.  No time to eat?  I was there.
And I think all of us are faced with constant coming and going.

And we have to take time to stop and rest.

We have to get some refreshment, some nourishment.

I love that it was Jesus who suggested it …. “let’s take a break and get a little rest”.  It wasn’t the disciples wanting to slack off.  It was Jesus who knew it would do them all some good.

Does me good too. 

Does us all good.

And seriously, that chicken salad was delicious.
Stories from the road …

Stories from the road …

A few weeks ago I took my first born baby to get her driving learner’s permit.

Apparently the state of Texas thinks she is old enough to get behind the wheel of a car.

When we left I said … “want to drive home?” and thankfully she answered “no” because I wasn’t really serious.

I figured we should get some back roads, parking lot experience first.

The next day I let her drive out of the church parking lot and head towards home.  She didn’t know to put your foot on the brake when you put the car in reverse (funny what you don’t even think about).

Her next question …. “Is this one the brake?”.

OH people, I saw my life flash in front of my eyes.

We made it out of the parking lot and down two streets before I had her pull over.

My nerves were shot.  She went too slow and then too fast … never just right.

When I told her to pull over, it scared her so she parked it right in the middle of the street.

It was hilarious.

It was then I decided she needed one on one driving instruction from someone other than myself.

She has been taking drivers ed after school and it comes with seven hours of car time and she started yesterday.

Forgot her permit on the first day (excited much?).

Ironically … the person we were paying to learn the rules of the road said … “Don’t worry, we’ll let it slide this time”.

Oh boy.

Twenty minutes later I got the text from Caroline that I mentioned yesterday … “Mom, I’m amazing at driving”.

I answered her saying she must have REALLY learned a lot in the ten minutes since I dropped her off.

Then I wondered why she was texting in the car.

And so it begins …

In the words of Carrie Underwood … “Jesus take the wheel”!
Text much?

Text much?

Earlier this year our school district implemented a policy where middle school and older students could use their phones at lunch and in between classes.  Most people didn’t (don’t) like the policy but I absolutely love getting texts from my kids during the day.

I don’t really hear from Caroline much (except today  she did send me a text from her DRIVING lesson at school that said “Mom, I’m amazing at driving.”  I hear from Brittany more often.  She tells me what she made on tests or asks me what her snack is going to be when she gets home. Super important stuff like that.

The other day she sent me several texts right in a row.  It started like this:


(As soon as I read it I immediately remembered that I had indeed forgotten to even make it),


“You forgot to put lemon juice on my apples”.

(Again, I meant to look for the lemon juice but forgot).  

Next …


I laughed and laughed when I got that one although I did worry that she might be right.  I knew when I gave her the pretzels that I hadn’t seen them in a long time meaning they probably were pretty stale.  Plus it was the day after the primer was sprayed so I did worry a little bit that the smell had infiltrated into the pretzels … but what could I do?  Sounded like it was already too late.

The last message I got said … “Mom, what were you thinking this morning?  You are going to have a lot of explaining to do when I get home!”.

That is funny stuff.  I did call her and ask her if she wanted me to bring her a sandwich but she said “no”.

Then later in the day I got one last text … “Mom, the only good thing you put in my lunch today was the water”.  

Well, at least there was that, right?!

Yesterday I got another text about lunch.

It said … “Left my lunch on the bus”.

And when I looked again I saw that it was from BILL.

Hilarious (and so unlike him).  It was the first time he has taken his lunch in ages which is probably why he forgot.

Then I felt badly that I wasn’t offering to bring him a sandwich.

But at least I made his!  


Enjoy your day and enjoy your lunch!

Easter Bunny Gone Wild …

Easter Bunny Gone Wild …

Easter was a fun, relaxing day around our house.  After church we went to Pappasitos  – because nothing says Easter lunch like a fajita and some chips and salsa now does it?  Our friends the Pauls (who also have four kids – so we need a table for like 20) came too and the kids got to do an egg hunt there.  The Easter bunny who wears a sombrero and a Mexican blanket wasn’t there this year which was about twelve kinds of wrong for me.

But the (mama) Easter bunny did come to our house.  In my post move “I’m never buying more of anything we need” phase, we had lean Easter baskets.  A chocolate bunny, a little candy and a few things for Jacob and Sav from the dollar area of HEB. 

One of those things happened to be a “whoopie” cushion.

Bill thinks the (mama) Easter bunny should never shop at the dollar section of HEB again.

It was the hugest hit with Jacob although the fact that he was still chuckling in church over how he “really got dad” when Bill sat down at breakfast on the cushion (which makes “not so nice” noises) was probably not very Easter like.

In fact, at one point during breakfast Bill mumbled something about not understanding where the Easter bunny shopped this year. He wondered aloud when and why the Easter bunny had gone wild and even suggested that perhaps the Easter bunny was a little crazy.

And maybe that is true, but the (mama) Easter bunny laughed her head off when Caroline … at 11:00 last night, laid down on her pillow only to find the whoopie cushion under her pillow.  I heard … “MOM!!!”  “MOM!!!!” and when I got upstairs she was holding it in her hand with a slightly amused/slightly annoyed smile on her face.

And even the (papa) Easter bunny cracked a smile.
“I have seen the Lord!”

“I have seen the Lord!”

He is risen!  

He is risen indeed!

I don’t know about you but I started off the morning singing “Christ the Lord is risen today”.  

Isn’t that what you are supposed to do?  🙂

Then I got to teach Sunday School and we looked at John’s account of the encounter between Mary Magdalene and Jesus when Mary came to find the empty tomb.  Studying it this week caused me to fall in love with so many parts of that passage (one of the perks of meditating on scripture!).  It is a short encounter but yet so rich.

11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
   “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
 15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
   Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
   She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
 17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her. 
Three things:
1.  Love that Jesus asked Mary why she was crying.  Same for us … he is there to wipe our tears, to comfort us … He wants us to tell Him our hurts.
2.  When Jesus said her name (can’t you just hear the tenderness with which He said … “Mary”) … she recognized His voice immediately.  When He speaks to us are we quick to recognize His voice?  Not the audible voice she heard, but are we in fellowship with Him in such a way that when He does speak to us (in so many different ways) … do we know immediately it is Him who is speaking to us?
3.   Jesus tells Mary to “go tell his brothers”.  Many say she was the first missionary as she runs to tell the others that she “saw the Lord”.  We need to tell our stories of Christ working in our lives.  
Have you seen Him working?  
Have you heard His voice?
Several in Sunday School shared of times they had felt God’s unmistakable presence in their lives.  What better time than Easter to share of God’s presence that is in our lives TODAY … because he lives.  Not lived.  LIVES.  We stand on His promises and they are good.
I have seen the Lord work in my life, I have felt Him speak to me through His word or through a nudge in my spirit or through someone else speaking to me.  
Yes, in the words of Mary … “I have seen the Lord”. 
From our family to yours … Happy Easter!

PS  You have probably seen this, but if you haven’t, you should watch it through to the end.  It’s like an Easter service led by Vince Gill and Carrie Underwood.

Happy Good Friday?

Happy Good Friday?

Yes, Friday is good!   Because on this day so many years ago all my sins were nailed to a cross.  Or as the old hymn says … “on the cross He sealed my pardon, paid the debt and made me free”!  And that is good.

I so identified with the author of this article when she says the horror of Good Friday is something she dreads.  Me too.  I never saw the movie “Passion of the Christ” because I didn’t think I could handle the crucifixion part.  I love the joy of Easter Sunday but so dislike the awfulness of Good Friday.  But yet … “without Good Friday there is no Easter Sunday”!
Celebrating Easter … Because He LIVES!

Happy Easter!!!
You know you are in the middle of a remodel when …

You know you are in the middle of a remodel when …

Yesterday the primer went on the walls of Bill’s study.  It stunk to high heaven.  It made me feel woozy and light headed and gave me a terrible headache.  And that was only after one hour.  As soon as I saw (actually smelled) what they were doing I quickly got ready and spent the rest of the day running errands.  

My first stop was to go pick out a new front door.  I smelled something in the door store but didn’t think too much about it.  Then the sales person said … “Something just REEKS of paint.  It’s so strong I think I’m going to pass out.”  She began smelling all the doors around us thinking one was freshly painted.  

Then I sheepishly said …. “I think it might be me” and she (I kid you not) smelled me and said … “IT IS YOU”.  

Y’all I smelled like primer and primer stinks.  I had JUST taken a shower too.  That smelled seeped into me something awful.

I drove down the street to another door place and as the salesperson was printing out my paperwork she said … “OH, the paint smell is AWFUL” … and I couldn’t even bring myself to tell her it was me.  

I did spend the entire rest of the day trying to air out!

Although we are still a long way away from yelling … “Bus driver, MOVE THAT BUS!” like they do on Extreme Makeover Home Edition, there are some rooms that are ready to do a reveal.

The first is the upstairs hall bath – which is also serving as the master bath too.  Soon and very soon we should be able to move entirely into our bath downstairs.  But for now, the hall bath is my favorite room in the house.  I really love it.
Here is was before:

 During …

After …

We still need drawer pulls, towel racks and a rug (oh, and a toilet paper holder!!!) … but I will get to that shortly.

This is the bathroom that Caroline and Jacob share … and I think it’s a great combination of masculine and feminine.

Stay tuned for more!  In the meantime I’ll be trying to rid myself of the primer stink!  It’s AWFUL.

Because exactly two of you asked. :)

Because exactly two of you asked. :)

The blog is back!
The blog was felled by a move, a remodel and several retreat weekends in a row where I was speaking. 

I had decided the blog could wait.  
The blog had to wait.
Then I decided the blog could die because no one really read it and I could remember the things I wanted to remember without writing them down (that is HILARIOUS that I thought that because I can’t remember much of anything right now). 

But yesterday when I was dropping off Savannah at her piano lesson a mom/friend who I rarely see told me she enjoyed chuckling at the blog and that laughter was just what she needed during a stressful day at work.  


It’s a hobby of mine.  

(I’ve heard it uses up calories too which means I should be laughing more … tell me something funny people!!!).

Then at the bus stop this morning my new neighbor (whom I love!) asked me when I was going to post again and right then and there I thought … well, today … today I am going to post.

And truth be told, this whole remodeling thing has felt VERY lonely.  VERY.  I think in part because I was used to going to see college students two days a week, played tennis sometimes and saw friends more regularly.  I need social time and as social as it has gotten  (other than the retreats which were wonderfully refreshing for me) … is talking to Marty the carpenter and Solomon the contractor.  
Every day I talk to them.  We joke and laugh and sometimes it’s stressful.  I know many of the workers at the Great Indoors and several at Lowe’s.  

These are now my people.  

I even took their picture the other day … I always tell them they are my first dinner guests!

But I miss my old friends.  I missed the blog.  And so here we go again.

Tomorrow I will show you the first before and after of the house.

And there will be some stories.

And I hope we’ll laugh a lot.

It’s good to be back.

Are you there blog? … it’s me, Darla

Are you there blog? … it’s me, Darla

I know the blog has been radio silent for almost a month now … and to be honest, there were days I wondered if it would come back at all.  Trust me … the last 30 days have held TONS of stories … but I was too tired and overwhelmed to write them.

For me, moving seemed much like living through the hurricane … except it was longer.  There was such a whirlwind of packing, moving, there was a time we had no electricity at the Gretel house, there was a time where we lost power at the new house (after we had moved everything to the freezer over here) and so we had to cook what we could and throw away the rest, there were days I was so hot and so tired and days I wondered if I would ever feel normal again.  I’m telling you … it was just like the hurricane.  We were grimy, icky … and we still have no kitchen or TV

But we are moved in and things are moving forward and there are days it feels like just maybe we will be normal again.  This past weekend was a big step towards that.  I “got to” go speak to a church group at Camp Tejas.  It was a great group and a fantastic facility.  I don’t know why, but it made me feel like I would be back to myself one day.

Bottom line is that moving is hard.  Even harder when you haven’t moved in 16 years, you’ve had four kids since you’ve moved, and your purge was taking on epic proportions.  It was crazy.

Spring Break we worked and worked and worked and the kids were great.  It wasn’t the most glamorous of Spring Breaks but we were thankful to have a week long break from being slaves to the schedule.

Here were some parting shots from our Gretel house:

Pics of the new house, before and afters … and yes perhaps a few of the stories of the last month are to come.  But for now … I need sleep.

I’m sure you understand.