December 29, 2008

We laughed, We cried, We played Wii

Happy New Year to everyone!

We had a wonderful Christmas here at home.  This is only the 2nd year I have spent Christmas away from my parents, many of those years we traveled to Michigan to be with them and all my siblings.  My sister, who lives in Jerusalem, will be coming to Houston in January, so my parents will make the trip here and we will continue our Christmas festivities then.  

Some highlights from our Christmas:
  • Christmas Eve service with good friends followed by our (now traditional) dinner at their home.
  • Staying up entirely too late Christmas Eve wrapping gifts.......any year now I will learn to start the wrapping earlier.  
  • Finding out that my 8 year old could not sleep and so a couple hours after being put to bed, he snuck out of his room just in time to hear me say, "Put 'To N from Santa' on that present".  He asked to speak to me privately the next morning and questioned me about it.  I threw out all the "Magic lives on as long as you believe" type lines, but the damage had been done.  I don't know who was more disappointed, N or my husband who was very upset about the whole situation.  
  • Watching as my 10 year old actually cried after unwrapping a Cowboy football jersey with Romo on the back......a jersey he has wanted for a while now and that I, the master hunter gatherer, actually found in his size only to watch as G's father got ALLLLL the credit for the gift.  It's what I do.....I create magic.  
  • Opening a gift from my husband that was a gift certificate for sky diving lessons.  Nothing says "I love you" like paying to have your wife thrown out of a plane at 16,000 feet. 
  • Realizing that I have ADD when it was impossible for me to pay attention to any game on the new Wii for longer than 5 minutes.  
  • Having my 85 year old Grandmother here at my home for the entire day.  I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that she lives here in Houston now.
  • Enjoying Goode Co. bar-b-que for our "traditional" Christmas dinner.  If you've read this blog for any time now, you have come to realize that we don't adhere very well to traditional menus.
  • Taking a long, wonderful nap in the afternoon while Scot, the boys, and Grandma were outside throwing around yet another new football.  
  • Holding hands at the dinner table while G prayed for all of us, throwing in a fervent "Happy Birthday to you, Jesus" at the end.........tears all around!
I pray that each of you had a wonderful Christmas with family and friends.  Happy New Year!!

December 20, 2008

Out of the Box

I am the oldest of 5 children.  I know, that explains a lot.  Growing up my parents worked very hard at making our family cohesive.  I, of course, didn't appreciate any of that then, but now that I'm older and a parent myself, I am astounded at the way they prioritized and selflessly raised us.

There was a Christmas in the mid 80's where my parents decided that "gifts of experience" were going to by and large replace our typical Christmas gifts.  This meant waking up to a pile of inner tubes under the tree with the announcement that we were going tubing Christmas afternoon.  This meant tickets to Phantom of the Opera with the announcement that we were going on a cultural field trip.  I have no doubt that the decision was partly motivated by the financial strain of providing 5 children with Christmas.   I also know that my parents were wise enough to realize that 20 years later we would remember the experiences more than what toys we opened Christmas morning.

There is a lot of talk at Christmas about the birth of Jesus and how He is the true gift of Christmas.   Is Jesus a gift we unwrap Christmas morning, get excited and tell everyone about only to be forgotten as Christmas fades?   I want the gift of the birth of Jesus to be a "gift of experience".  The Gift that I can reflect on with familiarity and love.  The Gift that has a whole lot of good stories behind it that make me laugh and cry.   The Gift that makes me want to run out the door Christmas Day because I can not wait to tell all my friends about what I received.  The Gift that I don't try to keep in its box so it won't get dirty or worn.

My hope for myself and my family is that we enjoy Christmas and all of it's fun.  That we are grateful for the presents under the tree, for time off from busy schedules to rest and enjoy our family, for good food and a gym membership that will get lots of use in the New Year (but not before then!!).  

My biggest prayer, though, is that the True Gift this Christmas will be one that we take out of the box and experience all year long.

"Jesus came so we can have real and eternal life, a better life than we ever dreamed of."
John 10:10

December 15, 2008

New Pajamas

I admit it, I'm a blog addict.  Now, I keep my addiction under control by only bookmarking my absolute favorites and keeping up with only those.  They are all either friends of mine or women I've never met, but feel like friends of mine after reading and commenting on their everyday happenings for so long.  

Recently, one of the blogs asked everyone to comment on their favorite Christmas tradition.  It was a blog that draws LOTS of readers.......hundreds and sometimes thousands of comments.  It is not usual for me to read comments because who has time?  I only do if I'm truly interested in how people are responding to something that was written.  Stick with me here, I do have a point.

I was HORRIFIED to discover that I have been neglecting my children all these years by not buying them new pajamas to open and wear Christmas Eve.  I don't buy them Christmas ornaments either, but that's for another post.  I bet 1 out of every 3 commenters talked about all the years of great PJs they got from their loving and adoring parents.  My boys are going to be scarred for life when they find out what they've been missing out on.  I better start saving now for therapy!

What is even more horrifying is the fact that while they don't get new pajamas, I do.  For the last 3 years I have hosted a PJ party where my friends come over and hang out and we exchange pajamas and everyone goes home with a new pair.  I amaze all who come with the complicated mathematical equation I use to ensure everyone leaves with the same size they came with, without creating mass embarrassment by asking all who wear sizes they wish they didn't, to stand to receive their pajamas.  (It's really not that complicated.........math and I don't get along very well.)

This year I opted out of having a PJ exchange party because I just didn't have it in me.  But I realized that it is a simple sacrifice on my part, and it is a lot of fun to have women I love come together in my home.   Given the circumstances in our country right now, a new plan started to form.

There will be new pajamas this year, but they are all going to the women and children at The Mission of Yahweh.  This is a live- in facility for homeless women and children, often the victims of abuse.  There are 45 women and 10 children living there right now and this ministry relies solely on donations.  Their website is  

I'm very excited about the opportunity to bless these women and children and I'm super proud of my friends who have stepped up in a HUGE way to help out.  No, my children will not be getting new pjs this year, but some very deserving women and children that I will probably never meet.  So if you're in the Houston area Sunday night and want to pop in to experience the Hot Chocolate Bar or some yummy desserts, just let me know!  

December 09, 2008

Here Comes The Rain Again

A storm is blowing into town right this minute.  Luckily, thanks to modern day technology, all of Houston was anticipating the rain and drastic drop in temperature that is blowing into H town.  We knew several days ago that today, Tuesday, it was going to rain and get cold - the kind of cold that means I get to turn on my fireplace and wear a cute scarf tomorrow.  

How nice would it be if we had advanced notice of storms blowing into our lives?  "Attention, Keri.....on Friday, there will be a large thunderstorm dropping 3 inches of rain right into your life with a blistering cold and lonely front right behind it."  Would I prepare?  Would I be afraid?  Would the anxiety of the unknown keep me awake at night?  

As much as we would like to think that some advanced notice of tough times would better enable us to handle them, I'm not convinced it would.  I would be so focused on the impending storm,  that I would miss the moments of sunshine between now and then.  I would become fearful of the unknown and my tendency to try to control the situation would come blazing through.  I would lose faith that God is in control.  

I have been in the midst of a storm for awhile now and it has not been fun.  There have been some rays of sunshine here and there, but I have no way of knowing when the sun will coming blazing out and the temperatures will rise.  I don't I hold on.  I hold on to the One who walks beside me and quietly whispers, "I am here, have no fear".  

December 03, 2008

Double Digits

10 years old......10........that's a decade.  I can not believe that I have a 10 year old, but as of 8:25 this evening G has moved out of single digit land into double digits.  I don't know how to parent double digits!  I'll have to check with Focus on the Family and see if they have any books on parenting double digit kids......I think it makes him an official "Tweeny".  

G, I will never be able to thank you enough for making me a mom.  You will always have the honor of giving me that title.  You have forged the way and I have learned a lot about myself in being your mom.  How in the world did I ever live without you?  I still vividly remember your birth and the joy and wonder I felt at meeting you.  I often feel like I am meeting you all over again these days as you grow up and mature.  

I love, love, love your red hair.
I love your tender spirit.
I love that you amaze me every day with some random fact that means nothing to me.
I love that you are a staunch supporter of Abraham Lincoln and his title of being The Greatest President ever.
I love that you still want me to scratch your back every night.....please don't ever let that stop.
I love that you do your hair every morning, you handsome boy.
I love that you would give every last dime you had to someone in need.
I love that you have asked Jesus into your heart about 30 times.......I think you're good, buddy.
I love how you watch me during sad movies to make sure I'm not crying.
I love how much you love your dad.
I love how much you love my cooking.
I love calling you my son and I would NOT trade you for anything in the whole world.

I so look forward to our future a family, as a mother and son.  I thank God every day for choosing me to be a part of your life!!

December 02, 2008

Belated but Beloved

My very oldest friend (as in longevity, not age) had a birthday on Thanksgiving Day and I totally forgot to call her.  Don't you hate it when you do that?  No excuse is good enough, there is no "do-over", I just plum forgot.  

Christie, I am so sorry.  Please know that not a birthday of yours goes by without me thanking God for your birth......for putting you on this earth for someone like me.  Our friendship is nothing short of a divine appointment.  

I don't even remember meeting Christie......she is a part of my earliest memories.  Our families lived in Virginia, her dad was military and mine worked for the government.  We went to private school together and attended the same church, her mom was my first piano teacher.  Our families would get together and we would catch fireflies and watch Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and pretend to have fallen asleep hoping our parents would let it turn into a slumber party.  My parents made Christie's parents our guardians, which was no small undertaking since there were 5 of us (only 3 when they agreed.......heehee).

We moved to New Mexico half way through my 3rd grade year and eventually Christie moved to Japan and then Hawaii.  We sent cassette tapes back and forth and boy do I wish I still had those.  As it turns out, we both ended up at Baylor - in the same dorm, on the same floor.  I spent several holidays at her parent's house since by now my family was in Michigan and hers was in San Antonio.  Do you see God's hand in all of this??  He obviously knew that this was a friend I was going to need forever.

I can thank only Christie for my husband.  After graduation Christie and I moved in together in Houston.  In the same apartment complex lived a friend of hers who had a roommate that was named Scot.  Just over 2 years later, Christie's dad was at the front of the church performing our wedding ceremony.  

Christie is one of the most giving people I've ever met.  She is incredibly creative and very outgoing.  I lived vicariously through her during our dating years.......or should I say her dating years and my very non-dating years.  Christie has a HUGE group of friends that love and adore her, and yet she still has a knack for making you feel the most important of them all.  She loves God with her whole heart and inspires me to live a better life.  She is an incredible wife and mother and picked one of the best little girl's names I've heard to date.

Christie, thank you for being my "I can't remember life without you" friend.  I can't imagine what life would have been like without you.  Is it presumptuous to say that God sent you to earth just for me??  I love and adore you and hope maybe in some small way this makes up for me forgetting your special day!!

December 01, 2008

Paintball and Theater

G's birthday is on Wednesday, but he decided to celebrate over Thanksgiving when all the family was in town.  What do 10 year olds want to do?  That's right, paintball.  Off we went with G's best friend, Nick, and his dad who just so happens to be a Sergeant with HPD and is SWAT trained.......we were all fighting to be on his team!!

In the interest of being a cool mom, I dressed in black and bravely stepped onto the field.  I was TOTALLY unprepared for the searing pain of being hit by a paintball........especially when the first shot got me in the neck and drew blood.  As I was moving into the "safe zone" I was hit probably 10 more times in an effort to kill me, I think.  

The kids all wore armor, but the parents were just too cool.  Next time I won't try so hard to be cool, if there is a next time!  Unfortunately, N got shot in the neck as well and in true fashion, we had to take a picture of our very cool injuries.

By the next day, my injury looked more like a massive hickey.  I wasn't sure how I felt about that and it was hard to cover up, so I wore it proudly.  

A shot of the whole group, blissfully unaware of what awaited us!

In order to keep a balance in our lives, the 4 of us cleaned up for a trip to the Alley Theater on Sunday to see A Christmas Carol.   I LOVE all things artsy and try to even out all the football and paintball in our house with some cultural events.  Fortunately, my boys love it as much as I do and are always willing participants in museum outings or theater.  

Never a dull moment around here!  I appreciate all the prayers for our situation with G.  We go on Wed. to visit a private school in the area and will be making a decision after that.  Please keep us in your prayers and I'll let you know what happens.  

November 28, 2008

Football and Tamales

We have officially shunned traditional Thanksgiving food for food we are truly thankful for.  Our feast consists of tamales fresh from San Antonio, thanks to Scot's brother, red and green chile, black beans, tortillas, and a salad thrown in for good measure.  Let me tell you, there were 10 VERY grateful people at our table last was good eating!

I made the green chile, Scot made the red.  It wasn't a contest, I promise.  I absolutely put behind my competitive tendencies and never, ever measured the pots to see which one was more popular.  I also didn't even think about telling Scot that he couldn't make his chile for our Thanksgiving meal in an effort to dominate the chile portion of the meal.......I would never do that and then have to make up for my moment of craziness with a secret kiss in the pantry....never.  Just for the record, they were both pretty amazing, but more of my chile was eaten and that's just a fact, people.

Piled up in the TV room for the A&M vs UT game.  All of our Aggies and Longhorns behaved themselves..........even though the game was very much dominated by UT.  

I did take some time out yesterday to spend by myself.  I had gone running with my sister and her roommate, who are triatheletes, so my recovery took some time!  It was nice to hear the conversation and laughter in a house full of family and friends.  It was good to remember the things I am truly thankful for.  
  • A God that loves me unconditionally and serves up more grace and mercy than I ever deserve.
  • A husband that loves and respects me and makes me laugh on a regular basis.
  • Kids that keep me young and remind me daily to expect the unexpected.
  • Family that stands by you when everyone else fades away.
  • Friends that love me.

November 20, 2008

A broken heart

My heart is breaking for my little boy.  We have watched him struggle in 4th grade all year long, but have just finally gotten him to admit that he's being bullied at school.  

I want to wrap him up in my arms and hide in a corner to keep him from being hurt.  I want him to stop trying so very hard to regain favor with the boys that have chosen to tease and make fun of him.   I want to magically restore his confidence so he will believe in himself again.   I want to go to the school and wring some 9 year old necks.  

We are trying to figure out where the line is between teaching your child how to face and overcome adversity and flat out removing your child from a difficult situation.  

Please pray for us as we try to work through this.  

November 15, 2008


We had a HUGE game today.  We played the Keith Bears, an undefeated team with big, big egos.  One of their coaches is a PE coach at our school and one of the players is the son of our Assistant Principal at school.  The boys were ready for them and we ended up with a tied game of 12 all.  I paced the sideline the whole time because I just get too nervous to watch.  I do jump up and down like a mad woman when we get a touchdown which only serves to remind me of my need for a bladder lift.

The purpose of this post: I talked to my wonderful friend, Lisa, who lives in Florida.  I told her we had a big game today and that there would be hundreds of fans there.  She could NOT believe that was possible for a game between 9 and 10 year olds.  This is Texas people.  We take our football very seriously!

The post-game talk.  Helmet stickers are given to those who performed well in the game.  Needless to say, the entire offensive line and many defensive players got stickers today.

Oh, yes.....there was face painting.  If it hadn't been so chilly, I guarantee there would have been some shirtless dads with TITANS spelled out on their bellies.

As far as you can see down the field were the fans for our boys.  Not pictured:  the other fans.

Our cheerleaders that took 1st in Cheer and 2nd in Dance at the cheerleading competition last night.  Not pictured:  the other cheerleaders.

For the most part, all fans behaved.  Our Assistant Principal's husband could use some serious detention and maybe a suspension, but other than that, everyone kept it real.  Well, as real as you can when it's football in Texas.

Quote of the Day

Courtesy of my 8 year old.....
"You know what mom?  If it wasn't for Adam and Eve, Abraham Lincoln would still be alive."

November 13, 2008

Mystery in the Candy Bowl

Has anyone ever actually eaten one of these??  What are they?  The fact that it says "Vanilla" on the bottom leads me to believe that there are actually other flavors.  

The leftover candy has been combined into one bucket and will sit there for another week or so before it is thrown away.  It will be WELL picked over before leftovers are tossed because one of my biggest weaknesses in life is candy.  I love it......all kinds.  Chocolate, gummies, sweet tarts, lollipops, carmels, mints - there is no limit to my love.  Except the mystery candy I've never heard of before.

November 08, 2008

He's 96 Months Old

I have a wonderful friend who blogs about her daughter every month on her birth day.  She always starts by telling her daughter how many months old she is........she's in 2nd grade, so it's a lot of months.  Remember those days when our child's age was defined solely by how many months they were?  That's kosher until about 2......then the division gets too difficult for most and it switches to years.  

On Saturday, my baby turned 96 months old......or 8 years for those who don't have a calculator handy.  If you noticed the post November 4,  you'll realize that 8 years ago we celebrated our 5th anniversary with a light meal and an early night since I was NOT feeling the whole romance thing.  Four days later, on November 8,  I dropped my 23 month old son off with a friend, drove to the hospital to be induced, and 4 hours later at 11:07 a.m. I was falling deeply and madly in love once again.  

I haven't stopped falling since that day.  I often wonder why I was chosen to raise this incredible little boy.   I still get feelings of absolute giddiness about the privilege I have to Do Life with both my boys.  They are VERY different and both have incredible strengths and a myriad of weaknesses, but I love the whole of them.

N, I love you with my whole entire heart.  You love life and hold nothing back.
I love that you are already planning your campaign to be student body president even though you have to wait another 2 years.  
I love that you are a thinker and were so open about how torn you were between Obama and McCain and why.  
I love that you are so kind to everyone you come into contact with.  
I love that you get emotional when I talk about my feelings for you.  
I love how social you are and that you are always the life of the party.  
I love how you pray.  
I love knowing that when you give your money to a cause, it's because you believe in have a very hard time parting with your money.  
I love that you want to charge me interest every time I have to borrow some cash.  
I love how intently you look into my eyes when telling me something important.  
I love every single freckle that dots your nose and that you don't try to stop me when I tell you that I want to kiss every single one of them.
I love your pokiness....even though it can drive me crazy!!  It is evidence of you walking to the beat of your own drum.
I love that you are a rule shows integrity.
I love that you will get down and boogy for talent day at school.
I love that I get to be a part of your every day.
I love you NJ!!  You will always have my heart!

November 04, 2008

13 years ago today, I could have cared less about who was President or what was going on in out nation's capitol.  I was solely focused on marrying the man I loved.

Today, on a very big day in our nation, I got to spend the evening with the man I would vote for again in a heartbeat.  It has not always been easy, but we have stuck together and are stronger for that.  

Both of our boys wished us a Happy Anniversary today and I told them that a happy marriage is the best gift we could give them.  I have learned a lot about myself and Scot in these last 13 years and I look forward to all the years we have ahead of us.  

Scot, I think you are the most intelligent and witty person I know.  You treat me with respect and love even when I am just itching for a good fight.  You are a good provider.  Thank you for loving our boys so thoroughly and giving them so much of your time.  You challenge me to think outside the proverbial box and encourage me daily to spread my wings.  I love that you approach your relationship with God in a straightforward way.....not driven by emotion, but driven by knowledge and experience.  We are blessed.  I am blessed for having you in my life.  I love you!

November 03, 2008

Deep Thoughts

I usually have several inspirational books going at the same time.  I am working through Beth Moore's "New Every Morning" devotional during my quiet time right now (I highly recommend it, it's excerpts from several of her Bible studies in easy, daily reads), but I've also been reading "Hearing God's Voice" by Henry and Richard Blackaby.  

A statement in their book completely struck me the other day.  It so imbedded itself into my mind and spirit I thought about it all weekend.  

The more we focus on the suffering, the more indignant
we can become at God.  When we do this we are allowing
our circumstances to inform us about God.  That is backwards.
We ought always to allow God to inform us about our circumstances.

Wow!!  How many times have you heard, "If God truly loved me, He would never let me go through this"?  Or, "If God is love, why does so much evil exist?".   We too often allow circumstances define for us who we think God is.  Most of us would be irate if people judged us solely on our circumstances.  

They are wealthy, they should be giving more to the church.

They have 10 kids, they must be Catholic.

Their teenager got a DUI, they must not be praying for him.

That married couple fights a lot, I wonder if they're going to get divorced.

I am so guilty of this.  I realized that it is unfair to others to judge on circumstances, how much more unfair when I judge my God's character based on life's circumstances.

God's Word talks about how sovereign our God is.  He will lead us through the valley and never leave us.  We can lean on Him in times of trouble.  We do not need to fear, He is always with us.  What is meant for evil, He can turn into good.

It gives me peace to know that no matter what my circumstances, I serve a consistent God.  That when times are tough, He still loves me, but can use those times to mold me and refine me.  He can show Himself to me through good times and bad, as long as I'm looking for Him.

November 02, 2008

A Blast to the Past

Last night I got to take G and N on a trip back in time.  We went to the drive-in movies.  The kids I had in my car had absolutely no concept of the drive in theater and the questions I was fielding on the way were priceless.  

"Miss Keri, do people work there?" 
"Mom, is it like that light show we drive through at Christmas only you see a movie as you drive?"
"Where are we going to sit and do they have food there?" 

The last time I was at the drive-in, it was to see the Apple Dumpling Gang with all my siblings in the back of our wood paneled station wagon.  I remember the popcorn and that my mom watched Private Benjamin on the other screen the whole time.  Give her a break, she had 5 kids and I'm sure she saw more than her share of the Apple Dumpling Gang in those days.  

All I can say,  it was SO MUCH FUN!!!  There were about 12 cars in our group, never mind the 2 families we ran into once we were there.  LOTS of people were out with their lawn chairs, blankets, and kids.  It was a double feature of High School Musical 3 and Beverly Hills Chihuaha.  There are no more car mounted speakers, you tune into a radio station for the sound, which is the only time my car stereo has really shown off to its full potential.  Zac Efron and Vanessa Hudgins at full blast.....nothing like it!  

G and I getting the back of our car movie worthy.  I had two 4th graders and one 5th grader hanging at our mobile movie hut. 

This would be what it looked like at the other cars.  I would say I sooooo got the easy end of the deal.  You can see N front and center in the middle of all the girls, just where he likes to be!

A quick view of the screen before it started getting dark.  

I threw in a picture from halloween night for good measure.  I have one every year in front of our front door.  G is on the far left dressed as a gladiator and N is incognito in the middle right dressed as Secret Service complete with ear piece and sunglasses. 

October 25, 2008

Dumpster Diving

What is missing in the top picture?  That's right, a mouth full of metal.  G posed for one last shot of his braces before having them removed about 3 weeks ago.  Between a palatal expander and then braces, he's had metal of some kind permanently adhered to his mouth for a year and a half.

His braces came out once his retainer arrived.  They have come a long way since the retainers of my day.  The plate of his is orange with a longhorn painted on it with the words "Hook 'em" in honor of his beloved UT Longhorns.  I thought it was cute, but had no idea how handy a bright orange retainer would come in some day!

Yesterday, I was at the school all day doing Hearing screenings on all the kids.  I actually enjoy this since it gives me a chance to see lots of kids I know from years of school stuff.  The best is when I had a 3rd grade class with boys that play football with N.  A couple of them were goofing off and in the middle of doing a child's hearing exam, I turned to them and told them they better knock it off or they would do "up downs" for me.  They got big eyes and stopped immediately.  A couple seconds later, I heard one of them whisper to an unknown friend, "It's ok, we know her".  As if to reassure the other children that I'm not a raving lunatic with an audiometer that's going to force small children into torturous physical drills for talking.

Anyways, the day was over and I was leaving when the secretary motioned me over to tell me that G was in the cafeteria because he had thrown away his retainer.  Let me just say, I knew this day would come.  I asked about replacement fees before we even left the orthodontist because I knew it would be misplaced.  I just thought MAYBE we'd make it a least!

I went and grabbed G and we went dumpster diving.  I was sweet enough to give him latex gloves and my assistance.  We dug through 4 or 5 large trash bags of 4th grade lunch leftovers.  It was disgusting........but true to 4th grade form, not too much uneaten food in there!  I had just prayed and asked God to help us find the retainer when G shouted, "I got it!!".  I could NOT believe it!  We went straight to the nurse's office for some serious disinfecting before it resumed its job of keeping many dollar's worth of orthodontic work in place.  I wonder how long it will be before I go digging through trash again???

October 20, 2008

Tag, you're it!


Ok, so I've seen this on several other blogs, but have never been "tagged" myself.  It makes me feel so official!!  Thank you, Misty, for tagging me.

Let's see......random facts and I have to narrow it down to 7.

1.  I got to shake hands with Garth Brooks when I was in college.  He came to Waco for a concert and I got to go backstage.  We presented him and his wife, Sandy, with a Bible.....because we were good Baylor Baptist girls and that's what you do!

2.  I don't mind doing laundry and I never, ever have piles of clean clothes that need to be folded.  I fold it all straight out of the dryer.

3.  I drive everywhere way too fast, but have never gotten a speeding ticket.

4.  I hate getting highlights, pedicures, massages......but will do it all for the pure maintenance factor.  Something about having to sit in one place for hour after hour.

5.  No wire hangers in my closet.

6.  I love Sonic drinks - my fav is Diet Coke with fresh lime.......I can milk a large all day long!

7.  My nickname in college was Toe Rot.  Thank you, Baylor Health Clinic (the Quack Shack).

Now, the rules say I'm supposed to "tag" other people......but I am not very Blog savvy so I have no idea how to do that........I'll play "tag" as soon as I learn!!

October 12, 2008


Take the cute, but posed, pulling out my hair picture from 2 posts ago, and insert genuine "I'm so overwhelmed I don't know where to start", face.  That would be a true portrait of me right now.

This Friday night is our C3 event at our church.  This is a ministry I've been entrusted with and it has been a real pain in the hiney this time around.  I can say that because it means that God has something great in store and satan is ticked off royally.  The problem is that all that ticked offness filters right down to me, and while I enjoy a good standoff, I'm losing steam.

C3 stands for Coffee, Calories, and Conversation and we have it twice a year.  This time around it was scheduled for one week after Ike rolled through here.  So we rescheduled and then found out a theater group was doing Driving Miss Daisy in our student building where we have C3.  Ok, hurricanes and Driving Miss Daisy, at least we're getting creative here.  We rescheduled again for this Friday.  Half our speaker team can't make it this Friday so we've scrambled to make up the rest of the team.  

I have handed this over to God many, many times.  The ironic thing is that we are talking about how "You Never Know".  We serve a mighty God.  He does mighty things in the lives of broken people.  You Never Know what the person sitting next to you in Sunday School, at work, at school, is going through.  What if you have been chosen by God to be the catalyst in someone's life, but are too busy with your own to even notice.  Don't worry, He will use someone else.  But how incredible to be used by God in His divine workings in someone's life.

October 04, 2008


I don't even know what to say about last night.  It was amazing on so many levels.  The first being that a large group from that very church had been to Isreal in March and my sister was their teacher and guide while they were there.  How ironic is that?  I had so many women come up to me to tell me how much they loved my sister and what an incredible teacher she is, that I felt like I was in a room full of friends.

These past few months getting ready for last night have been tough and life changing in many ways for me.  I would do it all again in a hearbeat - it was totally worth it.  I have so much to say, but at the same time, I'm utterly speechless.

I just feel so honored to have been a part of something God was doing in the lives of many of those women.  I wanted to throw up all day, but I got on that stage and the peace of God just flowed all through me.  IT WAS SOOOOOO MUCH FUN!!  

I do have to tell a hysterical story.  I'm sure it struck me as hysterical because I had so much adrenaline pulsing through me when it happened that I was barely sitting still in my chair.  First of all, two very sweet ladies from the church choir were in the middle of their rendition of Amazing Grace when I decided to go ahead and turn on my boy-band mic (which I was earlier told I could leave on because it was muted, but I had turned off in the bathroom because I don't always trust technical people, and having a room full of nice Methodist women listening to me go potty was NOT on my agenda for the night).  Anyways, I thought it was safe to go ahead and turn it on and as soon as I did the LOUDEST screeching noise I've ever heard came out of the speakers.  The over 70 crowd was on their knees holding their ears with all the hearing aids going crazy.  It was BAD!!  My mom was like, "It's you, it's you!".  So I quickly turned it off and played it off like you just can't trust those technical people.  I'm not sure the sweet ladies ever did get back on track with the song after that, but they had an incredible attitude about it!  

Then, my friend, who got me into this whole thing in the first place and was the MC for the night, got up on stage following a funny movie clip.  It's the clip from Fried Green Tomatoes where Kathy Bate's character rams her car into the young girl's car after they stole her parking spot.  That was where the clip was supposed to end.  It didn't.  She's up there ready to introduce me, and the movie is still going.......on full speaker volume.......when in the next scene Kathy Bate's character says something along the lines of "I don't put of with (insert 4 letter word that starts with SH and ends with a T").  Again, the over 70 crowd was on their knees, but for an entirely different reason.  My friend was MORTIFIED making a cut, cut motion with her hand to the tech person (I told you they are untrustworthy) and I'm sitting there hysterical because I know at that moment, that I'm going to be ok.  It was priceless!

I don't think I have stopped thanking God once since last night for asking me to do this and sticking with me until I decided to be obedient.  For giving me the incredible privilege of speaking His word to those women.  For the grace to allow me to get through it all with confidence and for giving me peace.  

It's an incredible thing to be used by God.  I highly recommend it to anyone!

October 02, 2008

no, no, no, no.........ok

Yes, this is me laying on a pile of clothes (you can see my wedding dress towards the top) and I'm pulling my hair out......well, with one hand anyways since the other was taking the picture.

Let's go back about 5 months when a very good friend of mine asked me to speak at a women's event at her church.  She had barely gotten the words out of her mouth before I was saying "No, no, no, no".   She insisted I think about it, but I was determined that the answer was going to remain, you guessed it, "NO".  

Evidently God had other plans for me and He began the very slow and laborious process of changing my mind.  I think God feels like all His dealings with me can be slow and laborious, but we'll deal with that another day.  After much work on His part, I agreed to do it.

Well, the event is tomorrow night and I'm nervous, jittery, excited, and emotional about it.  God and I have been talking about my subject matter for months now.  Late into the night I will lay awake and dialog with God, we've chatted in the car about it.  I have a special attachment to my shampoo these days because much has been accomplished while washing my you understand how laborious I am now??  God has to take every opportunity when I'm actually standing, sitting, or laying still to talk to me or I'll completely miss Him.  YIKES!!

Anyways, tomorrow night I'm going to share with about 200 women a message that only God, myself, and my poor sister have talked about for a long time now.  My prayer is that I am completely removed from the equation so He can speak.  I pray that even one woman hears something I have to say and experiences a heart change.  I pray I don't throw up on stage.

Now, for the clothes on the floor and why I'm laying on them.......I'm talking about Cleaning Out Your Closet and that means getting rid of things from the past, getting rid of your skinny clothes (unrealistic expectations), and getting rid of the burden of unfulfilled hopes and dreams (wedding dress).  You have to clean it out to put on the outfit God has designed for us - our spiritual armor.  

It's going to be good and I'm excited.  There will be clothes flying everywhere and who doesn't like a good closet cleaning?  I do, even if it is a slow and laborious process.

September 29, 2008

life is random and so am i

It's now been just over 2 weeks since we made Ike's acquaintance.  Clean-up continues and I have several friends that just got power again last week.  For those of us who were mildly inconvenienced, we've been a refuge for those who need their clothes washed, a couple of hours in AC, or a good hot meal that does not involve a can of soup.

The night Ike hit, the sunset was incredible.....the beauty before destruction.  I couldn't resist a few pictures, this one is my favorite.

On Saturday after the storm, friends of ours who were without electricity came and camped out at the house with all their electronics in tow.  We had laptops, cell phones, video games, etc, plugged into every available outlet.  NONE of us would have made good pioneers.....I can guarantee we would have been kicked out of the covered wagon for sure!

Our friends are big Georgia Bulldog fans.  Our satellite was hanging by a thread off our roof, so Scot hooked us up on the computer.  A couple of arm chairs later and they were good to go!

I have to say that the weather after Ike was gorgeous!!  My boys played outside from 9:30 until dark almost every day of their "Hurrication".  I couldn't resist a good game of 4 Square so I jumped in and defended my 3rd grade title (actually, I was so clumsy in 3rd grade that I may have had a title, but it wasn't very nice).  Needless to say, I dominated the "King Square" and scored major points with all the pre-pubescent, jock wannabe boys around here.  We even had's all good people! 

So this is Ike related in a round about way........because of Ike, my girl's weekend to Charleston, South Carolina was cancelled.  Scot took the opportunity to get tickets to an UT game (I must insert here that he is an Aggie through and through, we just happen to have a Longhorn in the house which is fine with me because the UT colors look better on G, with his red hair, than Aggie colors do) and he and G went to Austin for a Boy's weekend.  That left me and N to our own devices so we went and watched Aunt Lisa jump out of a plane.  Let it be said, I WILL be jumping out of a plane before I turn 40.  It was AMAZING!!  I would have gone that day, but I was wearing a short skirt and noonoe, I mean NOONE, needed to be a part of that.

I was so proud and excited that I did get a little misty eyed when she landed.   

Lisa and her friend, Jill, after the jump.

School has finally resumed and life has returned to some kind of normal.  I could get poetic here about all the things Ike taught me, but I'll leave at this.  Appreciate everything that is normal around you that you find mundane.  And by all means, have you hugged your lamp today?  

September 13, 2008

The Other Side of Ike

Well, here's my big hurricane story........I got to interview with Campbell Brown on CNN.  Crazy, right?  You just never know what can come of a simple blog post.  Unfortunately, there was a train wreck in LA that bumped my national debut (a real train wreck with a choo choo.....not another Britney or Lindsey fiasco), but the director was nice enough to send me the video clip of the edited interview.  

Ike was kind to us all things considered.  It was a loud and somewhat scary night, but the boys and I rode out the storm on air mattresses in our closet and they slept through the whole thing. We already have our electricity back which I can NOT believe, but I'll take it.  I'm in the process of freezing out my family in an attempt to cool the house in case we lose electricity again.

I will try to figure out how to post my 60 sec. claim to fame..........stay tuned!!  

September 11, 2008


They make you sign a mandate when you move to Texas.  You have to promise to:
  • Honor Texas as if it's a country of its own
  • Try to have even a slight appreciation for country music
  • Find some way to sit through a rodeo where the poor baby cows run for their lives only to be roped by some testosterone driven cowboy
  • Choose sides between UT and A&M but NEVER side with Texas Tech
  • Have a favorite Mexican restaurant
  • Be able to share you favorite Hurricane story at the drop of a hat.
When Rita roared into town on the heals of Katrina, I hit the road with the boys and all our most important stuff.  I sat in bumper to bumper traffic for 10 hours and went a whopping 25 miles before I decided that I could take Rita and all her fury more than I could take sitting on a freeway with the masses.  Rita turned out to be incredibly unimpressive, but by golly, I now had a Hurricane Story.

Now Ike is bearing down on us and many scarred by long hours on the road the last time, don't even want to attempt to leave.  So we are staying..........and I fully expect to have a newer hurricane story.  Especially since they are building right behind us which leaves all kinds of possibilities open.  Like having a bulldozer land in our backyard or a 2x4 come through our window.  

Stay tuned.......Ike story to come!

September 03, 2008

Going Home

* Update - I got home early this morning from a wonderful trip to California.  My Grandpa Hal perked up and we talked a lot about his life, our lives.....we laughed and he told stories.  I met his son that I've never had contact with before, so now I have a new relationship with Uncle Jim.  I spent time with my parents, my brothers and their families - the trip could not have been more incredible.  I will treasure every moment for years to come.  My Grandpa went Home at 12:40 this morning.

Tomorrow I'm getting on a plane to California with my sister to see my Grandpa Hal.  He was just placed in Hospice with end stage COPD and the family is making a mad dash to see him before he heads Home.  

It's interesting, the rush to see a loved one, when news has spread that their time is near.  Why do we rush to spend time when years have gone by with many missed opportunities to spend time together, to make memories.  I must admit that I'd rather people rush to see me when I'm healthy and happy.

My Grandpa Hal has always been a distant part of my life.  He and my Grandmother divorced when my mom was very young.  His involvement in her life was minimal after that, something she deals with to this day.  My Grandmother remarried and that man was who I referred to as my Grandpa.  I knew who Grandpa Hal was and would get cards from him and Jan, his wife, at Christmas or on my birthday.  When my Grandpa died, Grandpa Hal very respectively stepped up to the plate.  Something I'm sure he wished he had done all those years ago when he saw a very young 5 year old girl crying in his rearview mirror.

I'm sad because he is a man I've seen make a lot of effort to regain a family.  I'm sad because I know he has regrets.  I'm sad because as a teenager and young adult I did not fully appreciate the value of family and what that means.  It means that we will make mistakes, disappoint others, hurt people we love, but at the end of the day, it means forgiveness and love.  

That is why I'm rushing to see him, because he is my Grandpa Hal and there is still time to love and make memories.  And I love him.

This was Spring Break a couple of years ago and I'm so happy to have these photos.  Grandpa Hal was so excited to meet my boys.  I remember how he blushed when I went on and on about how cool he looked in his Doc Martins.  I remember the effort and the camera he carried at all times to capture every moment.


August 31, 2008

the wheels on the bus

Nervous stomachs, new shoes, empty backpacks, excitement, tears..........yes, it's the first day of school.  This year I sent a 2nd and 4th grader off to school and it is vastly different than a couple of years ago.  As usual, I took pictures of the whole crew.  (The picture on the left is from 2 years ago when G and N were in Kindergarten and 2nd grade, the picture on the right is this year.)  They stand there and tolerate me until I have the shot I want and then they are off to chat with friends, destroy ant piles, and race up and down the sidewalk to see who's the faster runner that day.

This year I didn't even get to stay until the bus arrived because I had PTO duties at school that required an early arrival on my part.  I said my good-byes, kissed foreheads and headed off. They didn't even notice.  

They are growing up and I couldn't be more proud of those boys.  Look out world, here they come!

August 24, 2008

Hatch Green Chile Time

That's right, it's Hatch Green Chile time!!  While most people may buy a pound, I buy a whole box.  I get them at our local grocery store and they were fresh, hot off the roaster.  The aroma brings back many memories from my New Mexico days.......the same aroma made N dawg gag.  Oh well!!

They are bagged up and in the freezer ready for Green Chile Stew, Green Chile Chicken Enchilads, and anything else I can use them for.

August 19, 2008

Florida Fun Part 2

The sandcastle that was a joint effort between kids and moms.  Here is TL putting on the finishing touches!
One of my favorite pictures of little AK.  She LOVED Scot and it was very cute to watch.  I even asked him once or ten times if we could have another.  He very clearly said no.....even though he was completely taken with this little girl.

All 6 kids did great and would intermingle with each other all week.  G and N were the only boys, but they didn't seem to mind!

August 17, 2008

Florida Fun

So we all have post-vacation blues on this rainy Sunday night.  We had a wonderful time in Destin, Florida where we went for a week with 2 other families.  I took lots of pictures, but thought I would share just a few of my favorites!  Love the one of N Dawg above.....nothing like getting buried in the sand and then finding it in all kinds of body crevices for days to come!
Scot and G Man spent lots of time together on this trip.  One evening after hanging out together on one of the balconies, G declared it the best 45 min of his life.  Amazing how as the boys get older, their dad becomes their whole world and I am just the one that feeds them.....a lot.....all day long.  Heaven help us, it's going to get crazy the closer to the teen years we get!
Nathan and I chillin on the beach. 

G actually worked all day one day and conquered the Skim Board.  He was really good at it!  Only took one fall that had 2 adults running for him thinking he had for sure broken something!  We'll save that for football!

August 08, 2008

Caged In

                                                                         N Dawg - 7

                                                                       G Money - 9

I have control issues.  There, I said it.  I don't like it, but I will admit it.  

I have never considered myself to be controlling.......those people are obnoxious and noone around them can breathe.  They are loud and have to be in charge of every situation and when people don't obey the rules, they run for their anti-depressant of choice.

No, I'm just mildly Type A with good leadership skills.  Oh, and I like rules, as long as they make sense and aren't dumb.  I'm not controlling, no, just over-protective of my kids - like any good mother. I admit, I can be loud at times, but only at really good football games.  

Then last Saturday I was out for a run and was chatting with my head....because if I was trying to talk outloud while running it would have sounded like this:


 I was chatting to God about an incredible Bible study I've done this summer called No other gods by Kelly Minter.  I was telling Him that I felt like I had really dealt with other issues in my life this year that took my attention away from Him.  Then, like I didn't even hear what I had just said, I launched into a monologue about my fears and concerns regarding my boys.  

Like, they are growing up.  And sometimes I don't like that.

I distinctly heard God tell me that I need to be careful to not be controlling.  I need to let HIM be in charge.

"Who me???? Are you talking to the right person or is like when your baby monitor would pick up the neighbor's phone conversation.  Maybe I am so spiritual I can hear what God is saying to people inside the houses I run past!!"

No, Keri.......I'm talking to you.  You will never, ever, ever be able to do this parenting thing without letting Me be in charge.   You stood at the front of a church with both boys and gave them back to Me when they were little.  I hear your prayers to give you wisdom and creativity in parenting.  If you don't stop trying to do this without Me or parent in a way that is driven by fear, you will constantly be frustrated trying to control their world.  Let Me help you!


You see, I want my boys to be independent and to have their own thoughts and opinions.  I want them to be secure in who they are as boys....soon to be men.  I want them to be able to stand up for what they believe in and not be swayed.  I just don't want any bad things to happen to them.  I don't want them to lose their innocence.  I don't want other kids to say mean or inappropriate things in front of them.  I basically want to keep them in a bubble away from the yuck in the world. 

The problem is they will not grow if I keep them caged in.  They won't learn how to fly.  And boy, let me tell you, they are going to need to learn how to fly well so mama bird doesn't have to kick them out of the nest one day.

I'm working on it people.  My first act as a new non-controlling person, but still somewhat type A, was to let sweet N Dawg (nickname courtesy of my sister) to get the haircut he's been begging to have for 2 years now.  The type A part kicked in when he wanted to hilite his hair blue.  It's takes time, people.......

July 27, 2008


I promise that I'm a fun person.  That I don't sit around analyzing things all day.  I want this to be a place I can share the funny and serious........and be super random.  

But I have to say that I had a conversation with a 14 1/2 year old last night that got me thinking.  You have to understand that the last couple of years as puberty raged in this boy, my husband and I would hardly be acknowledged by him when we entered his home.  It was a "Hi Miss Keri and Mr Scot".....head hanging down with a newly acquired deep voice.  No more bouncy little boy that liked having Mr Scot pull Smarties out of his ear or could talk for 4 hours about his latest adventures.  Puberty.....UGH!!  I'm dreading it, can you tell??

I digress, for some reason, last night he was somewhat back to his old self
       except he shaves
       and text messages girls
       and is taller than me *****sidenote here - I'm thinking I may need therapy in a couple of        years when this starts happening at my house!

He had just gotten back from a trip with his church youth group.  After warming him up all evening by talking to him about starting high school and football, football, and more football, I went in for the kill.  I was stirring the caramel sauce to go over the bread pudding for dessert and he was sitting on the counter chatting with me.

Me:  "Do you find that it's hard to live your life at school like you do when you're at church?"
K:  "Yeah, my buddy and I were just talking about that."
Me:  "How does it make you feel?"
K:  pause......"Disappointed in myself."

Bam!!  There you have it folks.....more maturity packed into that sweet boy than many people my age have.  

A total recognition that living 2 different lives - no matter what they might be - can leave you feeling disappointed.  That doing Bible studies during the week and getting plastered on the weekend or strutting around in designer labels and crying over bills at night can leave you feeling like you aren't living ANY life very well.

There is a reason God highly recommends that we lead a life that puts our beliefs into action.  Not to make life miserable for us, quite the opposite.  

So we can live a life where we are not disappointed in who or what we are.

July 26, 2008

bits and pieces

I find myself having this need to recap bits and pieces of my life experience on this blog.  That's a lot of years of some pretty and some ugly experiences.  I wonder why I feel that way?  Why the Blog phenomenon has been so big?

Is it the need to be heard?  Is it the need to reach out to other people?  Is it the draw of writing something, that may or may not even be true, and sending it out to cyberspace to be accepted or rejected by strangers?

For me, wanting to share is a way to have a heart to heart with people I love, but don't get to see on a regular basis.  I can't worry about the strangers, because all they'll see is a girl trying to be transparent and honest about her life in a world where pretenses and false image reign. 

I was rocked to the core by the recent entry on a blog that I love.......the entry is called Blink.  It made me want to step back and absorb every moment I have.  Both pretty and ugly.  Because ultimately all those images will put together in a life album that is beautiful.....because it's my life.  And I want to share.

Because I am computer challenged and don't know how to link a website to a word in the blog, you can go to my favorite blog lists and click on Bring The Rain to read the entry Blink.

July 24, 2008

Blogging of many new verbs in the English language since the dawn of the computer savvy age.  I've enjoyed reading several blogs over the years and through them have journeyed with many I've never met face to face.

I realized that "doing life" is about more than walking hand in hand with someone through experiences.  It is about connecting in a spiritual and emotional way.  It is about making people you love a priority.  It is about remembering Who you do life for.

Maybe this is my small attempt at doing life with those I love, but don't get to share face time with.

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