Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Thoughts from an Exhausted Mind

I'm tired tonight. I mean plumb worn out. My brother and sisters will tell you that when I am tired I am not worth a plug nickel. They think I don't know this, but it was always when I was tired or sleeping that they would ask me for things ... because I would always say "yes". There have been things I have been mulling over in my head the past few days ... BEWARE ... who knows what I will come up with. I am really tired.

-Today I watched a Dad pray with his daughter at lunch. And, it is a dad who a few years ago walked a road none of us would want to walk. Ya'll, the national media can be downright cruel. But, here he was setting an example for his pumpkin girl ... a dad who lives out his faith in front of his child? Priceless.

-Fall has arrived in Texas. Fall has arrived in Texas. I repeated myself because it is glorious news (and, in my exhaustion I am a bit giddy!) It is 70 degrees right now. 70 degrees. I could write a song I am so happy. It has been the hottest of summers ... a LOW of 100 degrees is not right. At all. Yesterday we woke up to a steamy 87 degrees ... we wake up at 5:00 in the o'dark early morning. And, today ... bliss.

-Torrey's bathroom is finished. Well, almost. I need to decorate it now ... and, find a shower curtain. Which, is turning out to be harder than I thought. Oh, shower curtain makers, can't you make ONE measly pink and green shower curtain ... since it is Torrey's signature colors and all?!

-I ordered a book so I could really know how to use my camera. I studied the books for days to make sure I got exactly the right one. I had Dean help me with my selection. The book arrived on Friday. Oh, I was giddy. I decided to make some coffee (it is pumpkin spice season after all) and study my book so I could learn how to use the camera I have had since the summer of 2006. I read the first paragraph and knew instantly I had a problem. It said something about how Nikon surprised the camera community by coming out with the D60 in January 2008. Ok, so if I got my camera in the summer of '06, exactly what camera do I have? The Nikon D50. For the past year I have deluded myself into thinking I had the D60 ... not that any critical decisions were made based on this fact. Until now. Can I just say "GRRRRRR". Book went back. I still don't know how to really use my camera. Bother.

-We are studying bugs in Kindergarten. Which means growing butterflies. I had a four-class supply of caterpillar larvae shipped to our house. I sort of left them alone for two days and when I went to move them to their new home they appeared to be dead. We wrote the company an email. I felt sorry for myself (this was the day after the camera book incident after all) I actually threw the caterpillars in the garbage ... only to retrieve them hours later in case the company needed them back as proof they were really dead. Imagine our surprise when the next day we realized the caterpillars were really alive! They were just playing possum. Exciting ... but I still have a Nikon D50 camera. Maybe I should put it in the garbage for a few hours and it will turn into a D60?!

-Bella lives. I know that in May you grieved because my funny "Bella Blog Tales" would end with her moving up to 1st grade. Not so. Sweet girl has been sporting a pair of glasses for the past 3 days. The lenses are fake and on the left side they are bent a little so they sit on her face askew. (I'm sure that mental picture is causing you to giggle ... I beg of you to read on ...) She dropped her glasses on the floor and was on her hands and knees, with her hands in front of her, and her eyes closed saying "I can't see to find my glasses. I can't see to find my glasses." Um, open your eyes. Man, do I miss her in my room all day!

-But, do not fear ... God has blessed me with a classroom of some of the funniest kids who keep me in stitches most of the day. I may just put them all in a bus and take them on the road ... ala Last Comic Standing!

-I got a new phone. And, this weekend Tracy entered the new millennium. I got a BlackBerry. I am too cool for school. Today I tried to text Dean and ended up calling him instead. I will figure this new phone out if it doesn't kill me first! I am pleased to say that I am getting pretty good at "Brick Breaker" ... up to Level 5. I am also pleased to say that my new phone has my phone number listed right on the front screen. Actually, Torrey would be the one who is happy to say that the number is listed on the front screen since she was tired of having to tell me my cell phone number. All the time. One of my summer goals was to learn the number ... almost accomplished ... I learned the wrong area code. Whatever.

-And, today my new phone did the little ringy thing it does to let me know I just got a text or email. In the middle of class. My kinder friends immediately let me know that my phone rang ... it was so loud I am pretty sure they heard it in the Starbucks across the street! One little buddy asked, "Do you want me to get that for you?!" When I told him no, he said, "It could be important." True.

-Mary Poppins is coming to Houston. As in the Broadway musical ... not the actual Mary Poppins. That would be weird. And a bit creepy. I am telling you this because I really want to go and see it and sometimes my blog makes that happen because my husband, who I really love, reads my blog.

-And, that could be the end of all I got. That, or I have totally run out of steam. Tomorrow is "Apple Day" in Kindergarten ... oh the insanity. I am off to get apples ready to make applesauce. Man! I love my job!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sometimes it is Just Better to Bring Home a Bad Report Card

I have giggled and giggled about this story all week. Perhaps it is the teacher in me.

An 11-year old boy in Huntsville, Alabama received a bad report card this week. He decided that instead of bringing home the report card, he would make up a story ... so he wouldn't get in trouble.

Here is where you want to say, "Grasshopper, bring home the bad report card. Whatever you have planned is not good. Not good at all." But, alas, the deed has been done ... and, even if you say it, he won't hear you. He is in Alabama after all.

So, he said that he had been kidnapped. By a man. A man with a gun. A man with a gun in an old, dirty car.

But, fortunately he was able to escape from the car. Unfortunately he was not able to escape from the car with his backpack. His backpack with his report card inside. He ran to his grandparents house and told them the story. They were so thankful the boy was able to escape from the kidnapper ... they didn't even care that he wasn't able to escape with his backpack.

And, then the police came. Dun Dun Dun.

And the interrogation began. Double Dun Dun Dun.

Soon the police were able to break down the young man and got him to confess that he had made up the story. Great police work ...

Well, actually, the police thought it odd that while he wasn't able to escape with his backpack, he was able to escape with his trumpet.

Here's hoping the boy hadn't planned on a life of crime. He won't get very far.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Living in "The Sweet Spot"

I've said it before, and I will say it again. Our dogs are crazy about each other. There has not been one day where they have not been best buddies ... although you would not know it when there is food to be had. Then, it is every dog for himself! Often, during the day we will come around the corner and find the two of them curled up together ... comfortable and content.

I commented to Dean the other day, that I feel like right now we are living in "The Sweet Spot" ... we are comfortable and content. Things seem to just be "clicking" in all the important areas of our family. (Now, that isn't to say that the laundry is always done when we need it or that the grocery shopping is done regularly ... I said we are living in "The Sweet Spot", not a Disney movie!) We just feel God's presence. And, it feels good.

I debated writing this post. You may not be where we are ... goodness knows we aren't always here. I didn't want to jinx us out of it. I didn't want to sound braggy. But, I really write this blog for my family ... Dean, Torrey and I ... and, when we look back 6 months or a year from now and we aren't feeling like we are in "The Sweet Spot", I want to give us hope that we were there and we will be again.

In the Middle of a Bathroom Remodel

So we are in the middle of remodeling Torrey's bathroom. It wasn't a terrible room ... I just hated the color and the tile. It is small. And, it always felt dark to me. And it was dull. Not the bathroom of a vivacious teenager. I wanted it to be fresh and bright. And, I secretly hope that redoing it will inspire someone to keep it clean. (And, Torrey that someone is not Dalila!) It isn't finished yet ... although we are close. I wanted to give my dad (and my mom) a few pictures ... if he were here he would be stopping by every day to check the progress. Not because he is nosey ... but, because he digs home projects. So, Dad ... this is for you!

As you can see the tile is in and grouted. We went with mostly white tile on the floor with a little black square here and there for color. We used a subway tile (matte finish) in the shower. I am a BIG fan of subway tiles. I may never have another house without them.

We also added crown in the bathroom. I know you don't usually put crown in the bathroom ... but, I just thought it needed a bit of something up there. We also put a bead board around the entire room. Do you like how I say "we" ... as if I did any of the labor?! Well, I did help carry the toilet out ... evidently I would have done anything to get this bathroom redone!

And, another picture of the floor with the bead board. The small black squares were added almost as an after thought. I really like the way it turned out.

Tomorrow the painters come ... the bead board and the rest of the trim will be painted a creamy white (to go with the rest of the trim in the house) and the upper walls of the room will be painted the same green as in Torrey's room.

We are closing in on the finish line. It will be an exciting day when the toilet makes it out of the game room!

Ready or Not 8th Grade ... Here We Come!

Our girl started 8th grade this year. Gulp. Not sure I am really ready for it ... but, she sure is! For the past few years, we would pass 8th graders in the hall and I would marvel at how grown up they looked ... and would be thankful that Torrey wasn't there yet. Well, now this is her year ... and she definitely looks like an 8th grader!

She was excited and ready for the first day of school. It was only a half day ... which was good because she went home and took a 3 hour nap. (Which only reminded us that High School is right. around. the. corner. Shudder!) I think it will be a great year for her. Now ... if I can just figure out a way to keep her in 8th grade forever ...

Oh, I looked thrilled to be starting the year, don't I?! I really was glad to be back!

And, I know that school started on August 19th ... the beginning of the school year is always crazy. I don't come up for air until, well, now. Oh, how I love September!

Sunday, September 6, 2009


As I write this, my house is quiet. Dean is resting. The dogs are resting. Torrey is finishing homework. It is quiet. It is good.

Labor Day weekend has been one of rest for our family. And, for that I am thankful. We are enjoying just being with each other. We have talked and dreamed of a future trip of a lifetime. We have laughed. We have rested. We have worshipped. We have just had a good weekend.

The tile guys appeared at our house on Saturday morning ... at exactly the same moment as the lawn guys. We have two dogs ... one of which likes people in his house, one of which does not. Neither of the dogs like people in THEIR yard. It was a mess of a start to Saturday! The tile guys did not speak English, but I do think they spoke dog ... and, I think they knew they were not welcome!

The tile turned out great ... grout should come tomorrow. Trim guy comes on Tuesday ... to add the beadboard and crown moulding in the bathroom and Torrey's bedroom. Then, I think just paint and putting the toilet and cabinet in. Right now the toilet is in the game room ... we are classy!

Dean did his draft for Fantasy Football. Here's hoping he picked well. He had the first pick ... if that tells you anything about his season last year.

Church today was great. We so love our church. Today a young man was baptized. He is autistic. He hasn't been baptized because he struggles with water on his face. This summer he was going to go kayaking with his boy scout troop. In order to go he had to get acclimated to the water. He finally put his head under the water ... and as soon as he came up he told his parents he wanted to get baptized. And the whole church cheered when we heard his story. And then we wept when he was baptized. Hit close to home for many reasons.

And, now I am off to find snacks for my family ... because they are no longer resting! Enjoy your labor day ... and hug someone you love.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

When God's Miracles are not Our Miracles

I first met Kelly when Torrey was 3. Our girls attended the same preschool. We attended the same church. I was instantly drawn to her kind and gentle ways. Torrey and Caroline were fast friends. When the girls started Kindergarten, we were thrilled that they were in the same class. There is something special about your child's Kindergarten friends ... they are friends for life. And, the parents of those friends ... well, they are just something special.

Kelly was older than the rest of the moms in our class. She had been there and done that. Throughout that year she guided a group of inexperienced moms ... not by being bossy, but rather just by being. I am a better mom today because of Kelly. She became a mom I wanted to model. She used her words and ways to encourage. I have never heard her speak unkindness or be negative. She saw the best in others ... and through her example caused others to see the best too.

Kelly never spoke a word of unkindness of her husband, Rob. She had the utmost respect for him ... she guided us in the importance of putting our husbands first. She showed us the gift our respect and honor was to our husband. Kelly didn't just say it, she lived it.

One day Kelly shared with me how much God had blessed her family. Her first daughter was a miracle. She knew it. And, she gave God all the praise for the miracle of Becca. Eight years later, God again blessed them with the gift of Caroline. She said, "God has been very good to the Baker family." The past nine years, Kelly's words have echoed in my heart. Oh, God has been very good to the Townsend family too. Kelly's words remind me of that often.

When the girls were in the 3rd grade, Kelly was diagnosed with cancer. It was a shocking diagnosis that ripped through our circle of friends. Kelly fought ... and, she didn't fight alone. As much as those around her did, it was our children who made me the most proud. They circled Caroline and protected her like a mother bear. Not only because they loved Caroline, but because they loved Kelly.

We cheered when Kelly went into remission. We sorrowed when the cancer came back. We prayed for a miracle.

On Thursday, we got the news that that day could be the day Kelly could meet Jesus. The family was praying for a miracle. We were praying for a miracle. Later, Torrey received a text from Caroline saying "My mom is happy and healthy and with Jesus."

And, so, Kelly's miracle came. Not in the way we planned. Not in the way we hoped. Not in the way we desired. But, it came. And, Heaven is a bit sweeter today.

Kelly lives in the lives of everyone she touched. Torrey is a better Torrey because Kelly loved her. I am a better person because Kelly loved me. I carry a bit of her with me where ever I go. It is my prayer that I will be like Kelly ... and that others will know who I am and what I love because of the life I live.

Kelly lives. Not because of doctors or man ... but because of Christ. And, that was all the miracle Kelly needed. It is the only miracle any of us need.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Where Are You?

So, after a month-long absence, I ventured back to the blog to post an update. And, my blog totally acted like she didn't know me. I had to sign in and everything. Has it really been that long? Um, yes.

What have we been up to? School. School. School. School is back in session. In case you hadn't guessed. The start is always rough. Maybe "rough" isn't the right word ... I would more classify it as CRAZY. There were days I didn't know which end was up. And, now September is here. And, I can breathe again. I heart September.

Torrey spent the week of pre-planning in Florida with my parents. She had a blast. She came home (with my dad) the day before school started. Eighth grade is good. She likes her teachers. And, is looking forward to a fun trip to Washington, DC in February. Partly because it is a trip. Partly because she is going with her friends. Mostly because her parents aren't going! We still know our place.

She did get two parts in the Middle School play. This year they are doing Aladdin. She has a solo as a grocer and she will also be an Aladdin dancer. Rehearsals start Tuesday. I will try to keep my complaining to a minimum this year.

I cannot say enough great things about my class this year. It does make me chuckle because each year the makeup of the class is similar to the one from the year before. No matter where we have lived or what grade I have taught or how the classes are formed, I get the same kind of kids. And so, in this instance I can say it is all about me.

We are renovating Torrey's bathroom. It started out as purely cosmetic ... I was wishing for different tile. Today the cabinet came out and we realized that there was a leak behind the wall. Small. Fixable. Won't slow down the process. It did make me happy because there have been a few times this week that we wondered if perhaps our timing with the renovation was crazy. Evidently this was a project that was needed. And, I am happy to say that once again the hardwood floors were not injured ... although in a few more weeks it could have been disastrous!

And, in other big news this week, my parents headed back to Israel. They are back at the Garden Tomb. They will be back in the states the end of October. We miss them terribly, but we live vicariously through them here.

Back in December I posted this. On that day my brother had been laid off. And, so we waited for him to find a new job, knowing that God had the perfect one for him. And, this week, seemingly out of the blue, "snow" came in the form of a job. We know it didn't really come out of the blue, but rather came from God. His timing is perfect. His ways are perfect. Steve loves his new job and we are all thrilled. (I would like to throw in that when I got the text about the job I cried. My parents didn't cry. My sisters didn't cry. Just me. Steve, don't you think you should let me have the picture of the great grandparents for crying?!)

And, now I am off to enjoy my family. This has been a week that has caused me to think on them more. To love them more. And to know that each day is a gift. More on that later ...