I have a friend. His name is David. He has known me since I was about 12. And obnoxious. And loud. And emotional. Wait. . .am I still 12????

No. Seriously. David Mathews was my Bible teacher in 8th, 10th, and 12th grades at the little school where Sarah and I attended. He had an office upstairs in the gym in the chapel area–which was also where we did our plays–and I spent A LOT of time there. I called him Mr. Mathews then. Until my Senior year. Then I think I may have called him Mathews. . .or David. But not in class.

Eighteen years ago this June, David laid his father to rest, then drove at break-neck speed to northeastern Louisiana to perform my wedding ceremony. Seriously.

Needless to say, I love David Mathews. . .and his wife Debbie AND their four children (who wouldn’t know me from Adam. . .hey, one of their kids IS Adam) and their grand kids who REALLY don’t know me.

I just found out about this: Spark of Life Grief Recovery Retreats. (This is a link, but it’s not turning blue for some reason.)

David and Debbie are the lead counselors, and it is *FREE* to anyone who has experienced grief or loss. David had this to say, “We have some openings for our Spark of Life Grief Recovery Retreat at Tanglewood Resort – north of Dallas – Feb. 17-20 – This is FREE for anyone who has experienced loss, or anyone in the helping profession who works with those who have experienced loss – all food, rooms, materials provided by folks who care – tell others – register at. .

If you know someone who needs this, please send this information on to them. If they cannot make the February date, there are other dates available on the website.



The children enacting a poster they have seen (since babyhood in their Aunt Lisa’s house) of Ren and Stimpy. Now, mind you, they have never WATCHED Ren and Stimpy much as they have never watched Sponge Bob Square Pants or a myriad of other “cartoons.” But this seems to have stuck. They are wearing Blue Bell icecream hats from Victoria’s field trip with the Girl Scouts.

If you’ve never had Blue Bell Icecream, my condolences. Their Homemade Vanilla really IS THE BEST vanilla icecream I’ve ever had.

Why does Blue Bell icecream taste so good? ‘Cause the cows think Brenham is heaven.

A Day with my Boy (sort of)

Sporting his fuzzy hoody and Lego apparel from Doc Suze.

My district gives the teachers MLK day, and Tony’s district gives the teachers President’s day, and both districts give the kids both days. So. Today is my day. We sent our Daddy off to school (inservice), then worked on The Girl’s science project board.

We then took her and dropped her off to go a-girl-scoutin’. Then, I took The Boy to get a donut. There is no Shipley’s near where we deposited Victoria, so we just had to stop at a place that said “donut” on it.

BUT, BUT, BUT. . .Oh! Joy! They had OAK FARMS CHOCOLATE MILK, MOMMA. Thad dearly loves Oak Farms chocolate milk–served in Cy-Fair but NOT in Magnolia. It is one of the few complaints he has about his “new” school district. So. The Boy is full ‘o donuts and milk–a bag of donut holes, a chocolate iced with sprinkles, and very nearly ALL of a pint of (Oak Farms chocolate) milk.

I win Mother of the Year. Just don’t tell the nutrition police.

He is now playing Lego Indiana Jones ON THE PHONE with his best buddy, Thomas. I swanee, it is so much fun to hear him play with his friend. They are on speaker. Their conversation began thusly:

Thad: Hey, Thomas?
Thomas: HEY THAD!!!! GUESS WHAT I GOT?????!!!!!!!
Thad: What?
Thomas: FERNO 2.0!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thad: NO. WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thomas: WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

There is a fire in the fireplace. It is damp and chilly. (They are now discussing Star Wars. . .something about Darth Maul and a guy who got chopped in half. “That is so messed up!” declares Thad.)
Thomas is now humming. . .this is how you play with your buddy when he lives 20 miles away. . .


Today I want to be a poet.
I want words to flow from my pen like water.
I want them to swirl and eddy and sparkle without my worry
that they are too perfect or too mute.

Today I want to embrace aloneness.
I want to walk aimlessly wherever I go, seeing whatever I see.
I want to eat when I am hungry
and sleep when I am tired
and let the hours and minutes hold no sway over what I do
or when I do it

No. Numbers. Allowed.

I want to climb into bed and read for hours
until my brain hurts
and my eyes blur
and my body demands activity.
Then I want to take a walk in the cold, gray winter day
and come back and get on the couch and read some more.

Today I want to have just one name.
Not the one I inherited from my father
or the one I accepted from my husband.
Just the one my mother gave me
when I was an idea in her heart
and a whisper in her womb.
The one that she could not have known would fit me so well.

I want a day when I have just one name.
And no one knows it but me.

January 13, 2011

Another Friday Eve

It is Thursday. My favorite day of the week. . .because there is so much promise of rest and family ahead. Tomorrow I get to wear jeans. . .and a t-shirt to work. Tonight, I got to cook an easy dinner and listen to my husband and children laugh as they watched the Three Stooges (Thad could very nearly not breathe.) while I sat in front of the remains of our fire.

My “clean” house (from two weeks at home and having company over) is moving back the other direction. On the floor around me at this moment I can see:

four different types of pencils in four different colors.
two 7th grade text books.
flash cards for a Texas history final.
a James Avery catalogue.
two computer games.
a pack of Post-its.
a multiplication chart.
a tube of Neosporin ointment.
a Geronimo Stilton book.
two jackets.
two scraps of paper
a long, skinny Tootsie Roll wrapper (Tootsie Roll impulsively ingested by me just moments ago.)
a wash cloth.
and the recent addition of a husband.
and also a jingle bell from our Christmas tree removal a couple of weeks ago.

I had a co-worker, a friend, tell me the other day, “Y’all are like a painting.” Meaning my little family. “Perfect kids. Perfect house. Perfect marriage.” He didn’t say it in an envious way. . .more of a “that really can’t be real, but I kind of hope it is” way. And it isn’t real. . .unless the painting would include arguments, pouting, tears, disobedience, and a lot of dirty laundry along with the love and laughter–the fires and hugs and inside jokes–the family time and the constant strain of balancing it all. I don’t think I try to exude or even imply perfection. I think what I can’t CONTAIN–what I can’t HELP but exude is happiness. Joy. Contentment. Those are blessings from God. Every. Single. Day. This painting of mine. I also know that it’s not finished–there is always room for more light and more shadow to fall. There are moments of complete and utter peace and other moments of white-knuckled terror. But his comment made me think–things both positive and negative.

The fire is dying. I like to poke the embers. There are times when they sound like glass shattering. . .and this batch of wood tends to pop and explode sending little showers of orange sparks onto the hearth.

Tony has draped part of a blanket over my left shoulder. He is piled next to me on the carpet with the majority of the blanket draped over him. This is not selfishness. I have the fireplace (throwing some AWESOME DRY HEAT) on my side. Half of me is baked. Does that mean I’m half-baked? HA!!!!!!!!!

This is me. . .this is what it sounds like when I write a letter to my letter writing buddy. This is up with which she puts. Maybe my blogs are this way too. I don’t know.

What I do know? I know that:
Tomorrow is Friday.
There is hot wassail in a pot on the stove (made by Tony. . .that man has a domestic side when he wants to).
Thad is getting clean (or the water is running so at least he is in the general vicinity of clean).
Victoria’s legs are VERY, VERY long. . .and her waist is VERY, VERY small which makes buying jeans a nigh unto impossible process. (Carolyn recently, and wisely told me to pray for warmer weather when she can wear capris.)
Tomorrow is Heather’s 2nd birthday and her parents’ 5th anniversary.
I am reading The Solace of Leaving Early by Haven Kimmel. And it is good.

I guess outside of that there are lots of other things I know. . .but none of them seem too important at this moment. Time for wassail and bed.


From the bathroom--still sunny, but not for long

I was SUPPOSED to write a very important document today. Alas, I spent four hours in my classroom, 2 1/2 hours grocery shopping, and I wrote captions for these photos. I was nice to myself by eating a salad for dinner and I was nice to my family by feeding them chicken fajitas. I moved. I wrote. I was pleasant (fill in Ouiser Boudreau’s line from Steel Magnolias if you can). Time for Bible and bed in THIS LOVELY BEDROOM. 🙂 It is now clean–and very much as I want it to be. My closet is another story. . .and for some reason a few of the photos are looking a little blurred–click on them to clear ’em up.

From the door--sunny January morning

Photos I changed to black and white--Tony and me with Victoria the summer she was two, and the kids playing in the water at Galveston. Frames--FOREVER old--plastic--cheap. . .but perfect.

Bathroom window. . .SOME DAY when my sister tears down my grandparent's old home, I will get a window pane from there and hang it right in the big middle of my picture window.

Rose dishes belonged to Granny and were in her guest room FOREVER, dried flowers were a Mother's Day gift in 2008, pitcher was a Crate and Barrel mark down, dresser scarf from Carolyn made in Italy

Lamp from Carolyn--belonged to her mother's friend, Sadie circa WWII, table was Granny's, table cloth from Carolyn.

Small glass dish is a Valentine's day gift from Tony long ago, little pitcher with violets belonged to Granny

Now with *FLASH*

At night. . .isn't that pretty?

I took out the sort of gray/green/black/gold floral thing that was in here and replaced it with some toile scrapbooking paper. There are TWO.

Chair we got for next to nothing, and the kiddos--Victoria was 5, Thad was 2, and those are some Southern Living at Home distressed dealy-boppers

A day late: Resolutions for an odd year

I don’t really CARE for odd numbers. . .and 2011 is ODD, people. Although I SHOULD have taken full advantage of the auspiciousness of yesterday in it’s even oddness. 1/1/11. All odd numbers, but an even amount of them.

Yes. I am weird. So are you. Remember–I KNOW you people and your particular oddities, and I love you anyway. Even if you were born in an odd month on an odd day in an odd year. . .for INSTANCE, 9/17/1969. That was a WONDERFUL day. . .but it’s all odd. I’m only partially odd. 8/2/1969.

Why, why, why all the useless drivel regarding numerology? Well, I am setting myself some resolutions, and I’m already a day late. That being said, my resolutions include the following. Mind that this is more of a BRAINSTORMING list than a TO DO list as I am RESOLVED to making a list of resolutions, but only INTEND to TRY to keep the resolutions.

Yoda would be giving me an earful right about now.

1. Read SOMETHING from my Bible every day. Even if it’s just one verse.

2. Write SOMETHING every day: blog post, letter, quotation, thought, etc.

3. Move every day. This does NOT include school teaching. This DOES include grocery shopping. That is quite a workout, let me TELL you. I’d rather do yoga or walk, however, moving is moving. So. Move I will. Even if it’s just once up and down the road.

4. Be kind to people every day. This includes being kind to ME.

So far today, I’m ¾. Oddly even. (And I have NO IDEA why my list is hyperlinked to Yoda, except that he is using The Force. I am going to be kind to myself, and quite trying to fix it. I will LET IT BE.)

Happy New Year from me to you.

My little family at my in-laws 50th anniversary dinner.