December 23, 2010

Whew!

We have arrived at December 23 and thankfully we are no worse for the wear. The first 21 days of December were filled to the brim. Not another item could have been scheduled in any of those days. I think I have taken 6 naps in the last two days to recover from the busyness and that is more naps than I have taken in the last 6 years combined. I started December studying for Finals and completed them with good results. Then before I could even get my book bag put away I had two days to prepare for a cruise. No sympathy necessary here, however it was still crazy. Rob and I celebrated our 15th Wedding anniversary this year in August, we have pinched every penny possible and saved our Tax Return check from last year to celebrate. We had originally planned this trip for our 10th anniversary but at that time we were in the midst of Jack's cancer and of course we didn't even want to leave for a day at that time. We had a wonderful time and it was nice to be together and have new adventures on and off the ship each day. It was a fun experience. We arrived home late Sunday afternoon, washed some clothes and re-packed all of us to head to Dallas for a strabismus eye surgery for Jack. We had a 2pm Pre-Op appt. for Jack on Monday and then headed to the Ronald McDonald House to stay the night. I took some pictures of the new RMH and will post those after the holidays. It is a beautiful facility. Jack's surgery was first on the dock for Tuesday morning, we woke up at 5am and did our cleaning and linen pulling at the RMH then headed out to the hospital for our 6:10 arrival time. Jack did excellent and is always an inspiration to me. I am thankful that he doesn't remember the pain after he came out of surgery, once the fog lifted the pain was under control and he had been given 4 different doses of pain meds. We spent a couple of hours in recovery then were able to get him dressed to head home. We arrived home and put him on the couch where he stayed for the next day. His eyes are doing well, one is open, maybe today or tomorrow the other one will be able to stay open. We are planning on getting out today so we will see how that goes. Tonight is our yearly Family Christmas Party. My favorite family event of the year. I am blessed with a great family, my grandpa always keeps us laughing. We are blessed.

November 22, 2010

Happy Turkey Week

Monday afternoon, Thanksgiving week. Our house is counting down the days until the end of the school semester, and thankful for the short break Thanksgiving brings. We have family that will be joining us in Abilene this week, it is always a great time of fun and fellowship.

Rob and I took the kids to an awards ceremony for our friend Lisa, who received the Distinguished Alumnus Citation at ACU, on Saturday night. It was fun watching my kids interact with adults, shake hands, and speak politely. They are growing up so quickly.

December brings a busy month for us so my goal is to be Christmas ready by the end of this week. I know I wont be totally ready, stocking stuffer's will have to wait. But for the most part it will be done.

If I had to define this semester in 2 words for me it would be "worn out." I am anticipating next semester without Greek. I feel as though it will be much more enjoyable for me and my family. I might need to add the words, "completely happy" to the mix, it is a good feeling to know that I am heading toward a worthy goal. It is very exciting to know what I want to be when I grow up. ; )

I pray great blessings for your week, filled with smiles and contentment, love and peace, grace and mercy. Shine on sweet friends!!

November 07, 2010

She is a delight.

Several weeks ago my bible professor shows us this video in class. We were covering the scriptures on marriage and divorce in the gospels. I have yet to forget this video, I don't guess I ever will, I hope I don't. This is marriage in it's greatest and truest form. Mr. McQuilkin was the president of Columbia Bible College and its graduate school.

October 23, 2010

Pumpkin Patch Family Fun

This is the month for the Pumpkin Patch at DRI where Rob works. Our family went out to volunteer at the Patch on Thursday night. I decided to try and find the most..hmmm, "unique" pumpkins to take pics of. Here are some of the pics I took that night.

Here was a warty pumpkin.



A diverse grouping of pumpkins.


Some white pumpkins.


This pumpkin is kind of freaking me out.


And it's neighbor....


These little mini pumpkins are so cute!!



Sophie looking a little freaked out because I asked her to
sit next to the man dog.


Jack hanging out in one of the pumpkin trailers. I love the
gourds in the background.


Here is Rob and Derek carrying out a load of pumpkins
with the most amazing little Mattie May hitching a ride.


Jack obliging me by standing next to the scarecrow.


The only pic I got of all my kids together. Along with the man
dog, he was so intriuging I wanted to include him in the
family picture.

October 14, 2010

Having a Radical Heart and Living Normal is FRUSTRATING!!!

I am attracted to the radical way of life. I always have been. Maybe that is because my life was anything but boring growing up, maybe it is because I have lived in the valleys and on the mountaintops, maybe it is because God made me that way. I don't really know, but what I do know is that living to acquire stuff doesn't interest me at all. Stuff seems to get in the way. I am reminded to what Denver Moore said to Ron Hall in Same Kind of Different As Me when he saw his keyring filled with keys..."Do you own something for each one of those keys?" to which Ron replied, "yes." Then Denver said, "Are you sure they don't own you?" Mother Teresa said our possessions separate us from God. I have worked to buy the next newest thing, only to have that thing be out of date within a couple of months. Stuff breaks, get's old, get's in the way, must be dusted and organized. Stuff drives me crazy.

What excites me is relationship. Serving the poor, serving the brokenhearted, serving those who think that they are not worth the doormat they walked over. Looking into someone's eyes and reminding them of their value to God, their value to community, their value to the people around them. That's where I want to invest.

I am drawn to people who live radical; Mother Teresa, George Mueller, St. Francis of Assisi, Henri Nouwen, Shane Claiborne,...and today I just heard that Francis Chan (author of Crazy Love and Forgotten God) is selling all of his possessions and he and his family are moving to India. My favorite books are reading true stories about people who have loved Christ so much that they don't let anything get in the way of sharing that love and grace with others. My favorite stories to read in the Bible are those of Paul and Mary Magdelene. Two very different stories, but once each of them had a taste of Jesus, they held on. They were two of Christ's greatest messengers. Two of the great redemption stories.

I pray often that God will show me what He is calling me to. What is He readying me for. As I am a wife and a mom, the decisions are not all mine to make. They must be balanced with respect and honor to those whom I love.

Right now I know my calling includes being the best mom and wife, serving my family and filling them with love. My love and Christ's love. I am taking classes to get a degree to work in an area where I can pour the love of Christ into the poor and needy.

Having a heart for radical can be frustrating when you are living normal. God help me.

I read this today... ..fight the middle ground...

October 10, 2010

Clutter-free zone, thanks to The Magnificent.

Sunday night. The new week is about to begin. I am in a group which is going through the study of the new Breaking Free by Beth Moore. It is the second time I have "broken-free," but the first with the updated study. I am just as blessed this second time, maybe more. The first time I had done several introspective studies in a row, When Godly People Do Ungodly Things (which is by far my most favorite study personally, it is the study that showed me that I had the power to overcome sinful choices through the power of the Holy Spirit. That study opened my eyes to the power of Christ in my life and put Satan and sin in it's place in my life, which was not a small task.) That study along with Believing God, The Study on the Fruits of the Spirit, and Breaking Free we did within a two year period. All were excellent, however it is nice to come at this study with a fresh perspective 7 or 8 years later.

I have been diligent in completing my study each morning before I go to school. I let the stress of school take over for the first two weeks of this study and would put it off till the end of the week, but after about loosing my mind in stress and anxiety I realized that if I want to be sane at all I need to start my day in the Word of God even if I am busy.

Whenever I think, write, or say the words that I just wrote it makes me think of how I have the mindset of the secular. "I" don't have enough time for study, because "I" am too busy. Mother Teresa, George Muller, and Henri Nouwen, all of which I have studied and read about and are heroes and great examples of faith, would differ with my thoughts of I am too busy to study. They would all say they were so busy that they must dedicate even more time to prayer. I am asking God to shift my thinking so it is a natural thing for me to do. The busier I am the more I will rely on prayer and God's great provision.

School is going well, Greek has taken me to new places of memorization and study that I thought were not possible. I told someone today that with all the new neuron's and pathways that I am building with all this memorization I have pushed back any Alzheimer's or dementia for at least 10 years. I am continually amazed with God's graces to me in the area of memorization. I have realized that I see everything in pictures, so if I can associate vocabulary with a picture in my head then I can remember it pretty well. One of our vocab words last week sounded like "idone" so the Ide's of March came to my mind, and I pictured Julius Caesar and the people looking on at his assassination which helped me remember the meaning of "I saw/They saw." Seems like a lot of work for one word but as I just learned in my psychology class in our chapter on learning that I am attaching new info to old info and that helps in memorizing.

All that said, I don't want to do another semester of Greek. For me it is about balance and studying/memorization is taking much more time than I had thought it would, so I am switching over to a different major at the end of this semester. I was in Biblical Text where 2 Semesters of Greek are required, to Psychology or maybe Social Work. I am pretty sure I will continue on for a Master's Lord willing, and I am deciding which direction I want to go. God is continuing to put people in my path, or bringing to mind people I can talk to that will help me with good information to help me make my decision.

Tonight we had a beautiful sunset. We have a storm blowing in, which always makes for the most spectacular sunsets in our big Texas sky. I wish I would have pulled out my phone to take a pic, however, my view of the sunset had obstacles like a building and telephone poles in the way, that to me would take away from the photo, so I decided it wasn't worth taking the picture. I have thought about that decision and regretted it now for 2 hours. I lost an opportunity to take a picture of the beauty for all the clutter in the way. I am glad that when God looks down to see His children that He see's us even more beautiful than the most gorgeous sunset, and He doesn't see the clutter that we bring along because Jesus took all of that away when He bore for us the "clutter of sins" on the Cross. He is truly Magnificent.

I am Tammy in whom Christ dwells and delights.

September 27, 2010

Catastrophisize.

Thanks to the television show, Parenthood, and to the characters Adam and Kristina Braverman, there has been a new vocabulary word added to our house. Catastrophisize. Apparently I am quite versed in catastrophisizing, as Rob has found ample opportunities to use this word to bring me back to his reality. My personal definition would be: to envision a catastrophe happening as a possible outcome to a certain scenario. Will it happen, it could. Might it happen, maybe. The odds of it happening, slim. I personally think that mother's lend themselves to catastrophisizing more than fathers do. Obviously, I am not the only catastrophisizer as they have highlighted this phenomenon on national television during primetime at the Braverman house. I think there is nothing wrong with catastrophisizing, it seems to be the mother's job to think through a situation to an outcome and decide if it within her comfort level to allow one of her chicklets to participate in such situation.

I will not rehash each scenario for you however I will bring forth the latest application for this word and the mockery of me, a concerned mother. Yesterday, Rob, Jack, Sophie and myself, had classes/bible bowl up at the church. Our soon to be 14 year old son would be home alone for a bit. As I am getting my bible study materials gathered and about to head out the door I don't see Derek, but I do hear the noise of the lawnmower out the front window. Where is Derek I ask? The kids tell me he is out front mowing the lawn. Now this is a problem for me on two accounts, one - we do not live in a world that is safe to let your kids roam unattended and two - the lawnmower is a dangerous object. Both problems above I deal with when I am at home, they both happen, I do let my kids be in the front yard if I am around and can keep an eye on them, and I do let Derek mow the lawn because it is very helpful and he enjoys it...but there is a parent around when this is happening. Rob notices right away the panicked look I have on my face and I believe he can even anticipate the words before they are being said..."He shouldn't be outside mowing the lawn while we are gone." How does he respond..."Catastrophisize." He then says, "Why do you think he shouldn't mow the lawn without us here?", my response was, "what if he falls down, or reaches down and the lawn mower runs over his arm? We wont be here to help him." This seems like a possible scenario to me. I was quickly shut down by Rob's quizzical look and I decided to defer to my husbands judgement on this and let it go. I did whimper and whine a bit on the way to the car, but as I watched Derek in the rear view mirror I decided that he would probably be o.k.

We had taken two cars to church and I was dropping Sophie off at a friends house after church so I was about 10 minutes later than Rob arriving home. As I am driving down the street I can clearly see Rob and Derek jumping around in the front yard as though they have ants in their pants. I pull into the driveway and Derek has on one of Rob's old thermal long sleeved shirts with his arm pulled all the way up to make it look like his hand has been severed, there is ketchup poured over the hole of the sleeve, Rob has numerous paper towels bunched up with ketchup smeared on them, and Derek has water poured on his face to look like tears and sweat all the while he and Rob are screaming...you were right, his hand was cut off by the lawnmower.

I pouted in the car and told them, "I refuse to be mocked!!" They just laughed their heads off and went inside. Derek scrubbed the shirt to rid it of the fake blood and I just pretended that none of that ever happened.

Catastrophisize. It is a mother's right.

September 25, 2010

Shane Claiborne - ACU Summit 2010

ACU's Summit this year was extraordinary in many ways. Conversations about being "Aliens and Light" were taking place in many different places, from classrooms to coffee shops. One of my most favorite Alien types is Shane Claiborne. He has been transformed by Christ in more ways than a bystander, or reader like myself could possibly even know. He is someone who is referred to as "a modern day prophet."

Wikipedia's definition of a prophet: In Christianity a prophet (or seer —
1 Samuel 9:9 ) is one inspired by God through the Holy Spirit to deliver a message for a specific purpose.... includes those given the power to preach repentance to those who do not want to hear the message and to warn of God's wrath for disobedience. God's calling as a prophet is not considered to elevate an individual for their glory, but for the glory of God and to turn people to him.

My journey into the message Shane Claiborne gives started with reading Irresistible Revolution, a book he authored several years ago. From there I was hooked, Shane's message comes from the words of Jesus in scripture and is a message of love for all of God's people on this earth. He lives a life of simplicity, in community and shares Jesus every step of the way. He calls all of us to reach out to the poor, keep our eyes open for injustice among the weak and weary, to live sacrificial lives for the cause of Christ. His message is not new, it is over 2000 years old.

I had never heard Shane speak live. There are several You Tube clips you can pull up on him, but I guess I just wanted to experience what he said from the stage at Summit for the first time in person. I was surprised to hear a slight Tennessee twang, as he lives in Philadelphia now, among the poor. He has served along side Mother Teresa in India, he has served those with Leprocy in one of her homes. One thing I did not expect was to hear him speak so graciously. With the message he has been called to share he could have left all of us in a pool of guilt and anger trying to justify our living the "not so simple way." His words were full of mercy and inspiration, along with humor to help us all take in what he had to say in an easier fashion. He is truly gifted by God. He makes you want to live a better life, a better story, pouring into a story that makes a difference to people, God's story. He called us all to the cause of Christ.

For those of us who hear this story of serving the poor, and see Shane who lives among them, we can walk away from this experience and be conflicted, feeling like we aren't truly embracing this cause unless we do give away everything and become poor ourselves. The scripture he referred to in this was the "If a man has two tunic's and one man has none, you should give him one of yours." We just need to share what God has given us with others, our giftedness and our stuff. Whatever we do we should use our gifts for Christ. If we are a lawyer we can be serving Christ with that, if we are a doctor we can serve Christ with that. God can use all people on earth to share His love with those we come in contact with.

I could go on and on about this day. But I will leave you with a quote Shane shared from one of my great "shero's" on earth.

"In this life we cannot do great things. We can only do small things with great love. "
Mother Teresa





Shane is saying here that one of his mentors said to him
that we need to read the bible in one hand along with the
newspaper in the other. Read God's word along with the
happenings in the world to see where we can be serving.


Clothing designer..."a la Shane Claiborne."





















After the main presentation is completed at Summit all
of the theme speakers are invited to sit and talk with Brady.
Brady will then be the fielder of questions that were texted
or emailed in from inquiring minds.


Then there was a class time Q and A with Shane where
the audience could come up to a microphone and ask Shane
a question.


Here is a college student asking Shane a question, and I
can't remember why he is waving around the book.


September 22, 2010

Summit 2010 Aliens and Light

Wow. I have been to a dozen Lectureships/Summit and this years Summit was by far my most favorite to date. The classes were excellent, the call to be Aliens and Light in this world was made very clear. All the speakers were wonderful, however the transformation and the dialogues that are going on during classes, or because of classes will be ongoing. Today I was blessed to attend a full day of Summit. The pinnacle of today was hearing Shane Claiborne. I took some real camera pics of him speaking and of the question and answer class after. I will make a post of Shane's pic after I get those edited, however I thought it would be fun to make a post with random Summit post I have taken this week with my phone camera, all of these pics are taken with the hipstomatic app.

Monday morning before Summit I took this cute pic of Sophie and Snickers playing before the bus came for the kids and before I headed out to ACU.


Walking up to campus, you can see the construction.



Pretty flowers.


I was meeting Denise for a bagel in the campus center at Einsteins.


Should I get this one? Nope, decided on the Tribeca Blend.


In this pic is my Greek binder, Summit Schedule, Shane Claiborne book, "Jesus for President," and my yummy coffee with real half and half in it.


Denise giving me her drinking coffee pose ; )


We are always blessed to see Karene's mom, Barbara, at each Summit. She is a Summit regular and always a blessing and uplifting friend. We were all waiting for our 9am class to start.


One of the theme speakers.


Love that there was a parking space partitioned off and there was an old pc monitor being used to hold it down so it didn't blow away. When ACU says it is technologically advanced, this proves it, who else would use a computer monitor to keep a chair put in the middle of a parking lot. ACU is a Mac campus....notice the monitor is not a Mac.


This morning when I was walking up for Summit I walked past this car in the parking lot and loved the bumper sticker.


A couple steps farther ahead was Jacob's Dream. An adult son and his dad reading the Bible taking in the peace from this area.


In the midst of all the fun...Greek Vocab at 8:45am for the afternoon vocab test.



Now at 2pm, more Greek Vocab, another test tomorrow.



After Shane Claiborne spoke in Moody there was an informal Q&A in Cullen.


Look for another post of some real pics of Shane C. in the next day or so.

September 18, 2010

No Rhyme or Reason

"The older I get it seems as though there is no rhyme or reason for why things happen in life". That is a movie quote from a movie I can't for the life of me remember at the moment. Maybe it will come to me when I hit publish. Those words keep running through my head today. I had two photo shoots today. The first for a little 3 year old girl who is finishing up her time on earth unless God sends a miracle her way. Praying for that miracle. I just got home from the last photo shoot, a wonderful family celebrating the 50th Wedding Anniversary of a beloved mom and dad. Two extremes, a cute little chubby cheeked toddler, and a couple who have held hands and walked through life together. God is the Maker and Creator, He is the Weaver of the great stories, the Beginning and the End. His ways are above our ways. I accept that, but from a mere earthling's perspective the rhyme and reason is a mystery. I have a God whose character is beyond reproach, He is the Creator of love, He is LOVE. When the little chubby cheeked girl crosses over to the other side, it will be a joyous filled moment that continues into eternity for her and she will be completely healed. The hand she will hold and the chest she will lean on will be her heavenly Father. Father, the rhyme and reason I leave to you, I also leave you a number of tears that I have shed thinking about the family who will say goodbye. But the other side of that coin, I also give you my joy, you have added unto me today laughter and joy while watching a family gather and share history, pictures and love. You give and take away, may You be praised through it all, and may you help us to be faithful to you even though we might not understand.

September 12, 2010

2010 West Texas Taylor County Fair

Rob and I took the kids to the County fair yesterday. We had a great time, it was pretty hot as we went in the heat of the day thinking it might be a good way to miss the big crowds. Our plan worked and the kids didn't have to wait in any of the lines for rides. As we left the fair at about 7:15 pm people were parking on the street and up by the freeway as the parking lot was overflowing! The kids rode some rides, we ate our dinner there, and we looked at all the submissions in the Round building. It was a great day.



This goat was being groomed to be shown. Right after I
took this picture he started bleating at me, I wish I would
have stopped, turned around and gotten that picture too.


Here is Jack and Sophie riding their first ride. Jack is trying
his hardest to not smush Sophie.


Apparently Sophie has enough time to poke out her tongue
at her brother Derek as he is watching from the side. Jack's
hair took on a life of it's own here.


Jack and Sophie about to go hang gliding ; )



This ride makes me sick just to look at it. Makes me
queasy just to think about it, here is a shot of the worker
man adjusting something on the ride.


This is one of Derek's favorite rides. It goes forwards
and backwards and blares ridiculously loud music the
entire time...I think I am getting old.


Here is Rob on the left waiting for the kids to exit.


This is the angle I see of Jack most of the time, he is generally
leading the way and moving on to the next place at all times.


The kids on another ride.


Derek yawning as he exits that ride. I guess it wasn't loud enough.


I love this pic of Jack.


Jack and Sophie sliding down the big slide.



Derek about to ride on another ride that makes me queasy just
watching it.


The Pop Bottle Game


What would West Texas be without a Vittle Barn.


In the Round Building there were all sorts of things to look at.
This year I was taken by all the lovely produce. Here is a mongo
watermelon and pumpkin right behind it. The watermelons to
the left were typical sized, so you can compare those to these
monsters.


Red Onions


Garlic...perfect looking in every way. Wish we could buy
pretty garlic like this at the grocery store.


And these onions are picture perfect too.


Cotton Seed being judged.


And the cotton on the stalk.


Pretty.


Dried Sunflower


Patient family waiting for me to finish taking pictures of
all the produce ; )


Indian Fry Bread...YUM!!


My sweet Sophie Girl.


Sophie was the only person on this ride.



And lastly Jack had $10 of his own money and he wanted to win a
large minion stuffed animal.