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.  


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