Thursday, July 24, 2008


So, the red car is gone. I never really figured out a name for it. Some called it Big Red.. But it usually was just "Mom's car" or "the red one". I really will miss it, so sporty and fun. We had it for almost 9 years. RIP good friend

And now we have a special gift. It's already got a couple of names cuz this is a car with personality. Some call it The Hulk.. I keep coming back to the Green Machine. We figured out that it's a year older than Chris's grandmother's car. Same model. But the best news of all is that it gets better gas mileage than the old one. Woo-hoo!
Now this car truly is special. Even though it has radically "grandmotherly" tendencies, it was a gift in a time of need. And we are so grateful for Air Conditioning. Notice the capitals?? It's that big of a deal in Houston in the summer. While we may joke about the "largese" of God's bounty, shown in perfect metaphorical style, we are happy to welcome this machine into the family.

Oh yeah, and the boys love the HUGE backseat. Due to the leather seats, they slip and slide around like they are on ice. Big fun for the brothers! AND the trunk is large enough to fit both of them with extra room should the need ever arise. Yep, thanks isn't the right word for our generous friend. I don't think English has a word that could express the depth of gratitude that we have, so it'll have to do.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Where's the Job?

I'm bummed. Just frustrated and sad at the lack of job opportunities to meet our family's needs. Teaching positions are filling up fast. No call for an interview on any of the resumes we sent in there. Church positions are starting to open up... in other parts of the country. I know we couldn't make a move without some serious divine intervention.

And I know that God's got a plan in all of this. I am still awestruck by the way He provided some reliable transportation for us in a 24 hour turn around time. I should be content to know that we are in His hands and that the job will come when it is supposed to. But I'm not really content with that thought. Mostly because I want some movement on this sooner, rather than later.

God is faithful to protect and provide for us. Period. Whether I like how He does it or not. But I feel like I've stopped learning from this process. I've learned a lot too. How we can live frugally and financially soundly. Patience when things aren't going right. I've learned how to be more sensitive to others when hard times hit. I've even had a lot of pride erased through needing others in areas of physical and emotional support. I've loved having time with the whole family together this summer. Time to just "be" without outrageous demands of ministry.

And in all of that, I want this season of life over. I want to be able to use some of these lessons to help others. I want to stop the stress of knowing that my husband is on the brink (or way over some days) of depression. I want my children to have the ability to tell kids what their daddy does for a living. I want to stop having to explain the situation to everyone who asks "What's Chris up to these days?" I'm ready to focus on the here and now, wherever that's going to be.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Answered Prayer

Hi again. What a day for posting. Some of you might be reading this 2 or 3 times. Too bad! I'm that excited about sharing this.

Thank you for flooding the throne room of heaven on our behalf. We went to clean out the old Grand Prix today. And got the estimate for fixing Chris's car's AC. About $900 to get a new compressor. It was another sad day in the house.

But, we should not have worried. Our God is mighty and good and has even chosen to solve our car situation. Tonight we had a very good friend show up at our house. He does this occasionally and we love to see him when he can make it. I'd brag on him more about how many times he has blessed our lives with encouragement or wisdom or gifts of service, but I know he'd be embarrassed. Tonight, he came bearing a wonderful gift. Apparently the Lord had provided him a car to give to us. So we are now the proud owners of a 1996 Mercury Grand Marquis. In very good condition. With a very cold AC. Praise God!

Chris and I are humbled and awed and so full of gratitude. God has again shown that He is the giver of all good things. And He will use us as we are willing to be used. Thosw who pray for us are being used for God's glory in that act of service. We would be sunk without your support these days. And we know it's only through God that we have anything good.

Now, we just need that job for Chris. I say "we need". I guess I should say "we'd really like to have". If you're reading this, keep praying, it's working.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Oh yeah, and....

... the car is toasted, roasted and no longer able to be driven. Silly machine doesn't like metal shavings in the engine and seems to need ALL of the motor to work. Go figure. I am very sad.

Did you know....

....that if you give the boys a bunch of baseball caps, they are no longer bored??? Suddenly everything gets turned into a song and new superheroes are born. They just use their IMAGINATION. So cool.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

My 35th Birthday

Yesterday was my 35th birthday. It hit me a little different than others. I'm am officially "middle aged". I don't think I like that classification. And I don't really know why. I don't care about my age. I'll tell anyone who asks, though I AM trying to teach my boys that it's rude to ask. I think it hit me because I finally feel my age. I haven't felt my age since I was about 17.

So here's what I did. I got up, made coffee and fed the kids. Then I went out to lunch and shopping for new glasses with my best friend. It was so good to see her. I didn't get any glasses, but we had fun trying them on. And I found out that Wal Mart is no cheaper than anywhere else. They just have worse lighting. Then I came home and took a nap while Chris watched his history DVDs from the library. Then the boys surprised me with excellent cards, perfume, and a French Silk Pie. They think I'm "unbelievable" according to the card. :) After that I went to work out. And by "work out" I mean I went to the gym and walked a treadmill for a bit. I'll do more later. Then, I got ready to go out for a lovely evening of Mexican food and hanging out with my Man.

On the way to dinner my car blew up. Something popped in the engine and we lost power and the ability to use the gas pedal. After some serious car babying, we got it to a gas station driveway and waited for the tow truck for an hour. It was after nine by the time we all got home. So I had Whataburger for dinner.

Now I am worried about how we're going to afford a new car. I am assuming my car is beyond repair. It sure sounded like it last night. I'm gonna miss my car. I think I might just be sad about losing my car this way. Quick, unexpected, the end.

This birthday has reminded me that I need to be more proactive in life. I need to quit waiting for things to happen and then reacting. I need to be the catalyst for whatever happens. So, I decided to start working out like I should. And I decided to do what needs to be done, even if others don't join me. I'm going to get new glasses after a long time. And I'm going to pray when I don't want to. I will start that regular savings program. That's my plan anyway. And since it seems like I'll be buying a car now, I have some creative financing to figure out.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Monopoly Madness

My home has been invaded. Little land sharks, deal makers, financial whizzes have come to life in the form of my children, all thanks to that game of which we will not speak. I will thank my mother in law. She started it.. that's my story and I'm sticking to it.

It all started many years ago. I was traumatized by the game of gasp, I have to say it, Monopoly. Not on purpose, of course. I just never could see the purpose in playing all the way to the end of a game I knew I was going to lose. And the house rule was you play until everything is mortgaged and you have no cash and no hope of getting any. It was embarassing to be so bad at a game of luck and skill. I couldn't make a deal to save my life. And, really, who wanted to spend 4 hours that way??

Fast forward to this spring. I had put my Monopoly hating ways behind me. We just haven't been a game playing family. My fault, not theirs. And then my Mother in Law buys a really lovely new Monopoly set. And she introduces the boys to the joys and fun of counting money, making deals, avoiding jail, free parking, and Boardwalk-- Welcome to OZ! Before long, they have incorporated Mob-like behaviors into their daily speech. "mmmmm, I am very interested in your St. James Place... Are you interested in a deal?" All said in smooth charm and con.

Before long I hear "Hey Josh, want to make a deal? How about I give you these two Kung Fu Panda toys for your Transformer?" "No way man, that's not a good deal. You get the best one." "How about if I throw in some free passes next time we play Monopoly?" "Hmmm, let me think about it."

Yes, the life lessons of Monopoly have invaded our Summer. Now, every morning they ask to play. And I get drug into games about one evening in 7. I have to relive the horrors of childhood. I'm no good with dice. Property strategy evades me. I can't bring myself to hose them in a deal to get ahead. But I play. They enjoy the family fellowship. So, I smile and pretend to enjoy my 3 hour tour through game hater's hell. I do get a giggle when the kids encourage me.

"Come on Mom, it's ok.. I'll come visit you in jail."

"It's ok, you can get those properties out of mortgage the next couple of times you pass go."

"Ooohh, to stay in a Marvin Gardens Hotel will cost you.... Well, I would just take your Park Place in place of that since you don't have enough cash."

I'm glad they love to play games. I love that Ryan can add, subtract, and manipulate big and many numbers in his head. I love that they will have happy memories of games. It'll certainly help them later in life. I enjoy the time with the family. But, wow, the vehicle of Monopoly would not have been my first choice.

So thanks for the new memories, dear mother in law. Really. Thanks.I never would have gone there on my own.

And Mom and Dad, watch out. The boys are coming, ready to play. And Dad, maybe one day they'll even love chess.

Monday, July 7, 2008

You know your child is going into 2nd grade when....

*Everything is stated as a question

*Every question starts with "But Mom, why....."

*Your sweet baby discovers sarcasm... and uses it on you!

*Mom realizes homework is now the child's responsibility, not hers

*More independence means more for Mom to clean up with heavy duty cleaners

*Several new businesses are started in your living room whenever you make them turn off the TV

*Little brothers(or sisters) suddenly start counting backwards

*Practical jokes and knock knock jokes are discovered and practiced, over and over again

*They can take a shower by themself and NOT soak the bathroom

*Bedtime routines are no longer needed, or so you are told. Then you are back in the room in 5 minutes to tuck them in anyway when they can't fall asleep

*Parents can no longer spell out words we don't want them to hear

*they start eyeing the knives during shared cooking time and assure you they can cut without bleeding.. and it's true

*New words start coming out of their mouths.. you know, those words
that are so bad they'd never DARE utter when they were in first grade.. things like stupid,shut up, dumb, loser, and the occasional, edge of your seat "crap!" - this should just happen once if parents are paying attention

*Parents start fervently praying "Lord, let _____ be kind to others and follow the rules and not embarrass me in public."

*The grocery bill starts to go up as the appetite increases

*Moms have to teach the basics of color coordinating and clothes matching to boys and "how to put your hair up in a pony tail" to girls

*Back to School night includes the phrases "independent learning", "where we turn boys into men", and "responsibility" more times than you care to count

Friday, July 4, 2008

The trip to Space Center Houston

We went to NASA with Katie and Erin. I hadn't been there in a long time and they've done a great job making it tourist friendly. Here's a snippit of what we saw.
The boys loved playing with the control panel. Josh would have punched buttons for hours.

Here are the kids in a mock up of the Space Shuttle. Erin was not happy with getting her picture taken.

They got to touch some moon rocks. The sign said they were 2.8 BILLION years old. Hmm, methinks they guess a little bit.

The Saturn V rocket has been refurbished and now looks almost new. The kids were in awe of the size. And they really liked the air conditioning after being on a tram for 45 minutes in the heat.

Here is a shot of mission control. We climbed 87 steps up to reach the control center that ran the space program until 1995. It was cool to sit in the observation seats that so many families and dignitaries have used while they watched their loved ones lives in the hands of people here on earth.

Here's a shot of the guys on the tram before the tour began.

Here's the family getting ready to take the tour. Thanks for taking that picture, Katie.

The boys only kind of enjoyed Rocket Park. It was too hot and maybe we should have had lunch first. I'll know next time, right?

Those are the highlights of the trip. Let me know if you want more pictures. We took tons.

Chris came to a sad realization. Neither of his children is as interested in soaking in all that history can teach us as he is. They were not all that impressed with "experiencing" the museum side of things. And the fact that they got to see JFK's podium that he gave the "space speech" from didn't make a huge impression. When I told him there was still time for them to catch the bug he assured me it would have taken effect by now. Poor guy seems doomed to wander museums by himself for a while longer.