Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Gobble Gobble

Magic fills the air as the holidays approach. Everyone and everything seems to dance. Atleast through my eyes. They say we are often sad at Christmas as well. I think for me it's always trying to capture the essence of Christmas through the eyes of a child. The magic never fades, but it is quite different.

We had such a nice time on Thanksgiving. Brenda's family is so nice and inviting to us. We really ate, talked, watched football, opened gifts and hung out literally all day. It was just so nice and relaxing. Nick came with me for the first time and I think he had a nice time getting to know everyone. Ed and Cora, Brenda's aunt and uncle host it each year. They have been married like 60 years. They are very funny and just really enjoyable. Growing up my Thanksgiving meals were usually Dad, Mom, me, my Dad's mom and Mom's mom... it was quite small, but we always had a nice time. I do love being a part of Brenda's big family and just having a room full of laughter.

Katelyn is Brenda's brother's 13 year old. She is in teenager mode of texting the entire day and night. She is very involved in cheer, volleyball, swimming and basketball.

Seva is Brenda's youngest brother's ten year old. She rocks my world. She loved to tell me all about the books she is reading and about her friends at school. She is going to be tall, we think, so we were all playing basketball outside and I taught her a bit of form! She is much more into dancing than basketball right now, but it felt neat to coach the girls!

From left: Brenda's cousin, Eufaula's kids: Morgan, Van & Rebecca; Cameron (Brenda's cousin), Brenda's brother, Jay and his wife, Stephanie; Brenda's brother, Jimmy in back of her; Brenda, Dad (Joe Mark), Nick, Me, Katelyn, Brenda's nephew, JW; Brenda's Aunt Cora and Uncle Ed; Cora & Ed's son, Joel and his wife, Jennifer and son Jordan; Cora & Ed's daughter, Linda and her husband, Mel; Seva.

Saturday when we got back Nick got us amazing seats at the Tech game vs. Baylor so we went with his parents, Geoff, Tony & Blake. Our seats were five rows from the 50 yard line, but the drawback was they were right in the middle of Baylor fans. There is a boy from my high school, Matt Ritchey who I have known since he was born who plays for Baylor. I got to see some Big Springers there to root him on. I wanted to find one of my best friends, Tiffany and her entire family so I set out on the journey. I got lost a few times. I ran into Melissa Perley Land, a sorority sister and her hubby so we got to catch up. Then I finally made it to Tiffany. It was so wonderful to see her entire family and just hang out for a bit. It's like another family to me. We didn't win the game, but it was a really fun night!

Tiffany's daughter, Hailey is just spunky and full of fun. I loved her!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


I've never been a big Thanksgiving person. I don't look back and get excited about turkey. First off I don't really enjoy the meal itself. If you know me I eat some crazy concoctions so turkey, taters and green beans just bore me a little bit. I could eat stuffing and macaroni all day atleast. I also remember it was always around Mom's birthday so we probably rolled it all into one. I am much more of a Christmas girl. I just start to bubble over with Christmas magic as Thanksgiving dinner is served so it may as well be the start of the season for me! I still look to thanks on the holiday and remember there is so much to be thankful for.

When we go through the storms of life we are forced to look for happiness in the tiniest ladybug. I have always said this. We find joy in the smallest things because it's a lot easier than always finding the bad things. So this year hasn't been so great. It's a fact and I don't want to dive into that fact, but it's been trying for my heart. It's funny though because our own perspective is that life is falling apart, but once when I told Dad about this or that, he said, "You haven't been through too much. You are okay." Boy, is he right. Sometimes it is so much easier to focus on the negative things. Strength doesn't always make us stronger per se it makes us calloused, but it also makes us thankful.

When I look at my family and friends I am immediately thankful to God. I thank Him each night for the angels of my life. I cannot even explain this thankfulness in words. My Dad is the wisest man I have ever met as well as the most thoughtful, the most humble, the most kind-hearted. My stepmother fits with us so well as she is just so sweet, moral, Christian, thoughtful, creative. My entire Adams and Corn family just warm me. Without family whether blood or not we are nothing. Friends in that category of family as well. They carry me on their wings when I am sad. They make me laugh. They keep me going. Sometimes when nothing makes sense friends step in to give you a shoulder. If we only look we are able to find amazing people... sent from God. Thankful.

Nick continues to keep me laughing, makes me angry at times when he tells me the truth, pushes me to keep going, keeps being thoughtful and blowing me away at every chance he can. His family is wonderful and angelic. We joke around a lot because that is just how I show affection, but he better know I'm thankful. We've both been in situations where we felt helpless for the other going through tough stuff. Sometimes I wonder how couples that have never faced anything together really make it. Somehow it makes us stronger. To get me to realize something and face something I have to be pushed and pushed to the brink then I just melt away.

I've always liked to run from obstacles, but sometimes being pushed is the only way you are thankful. I don't want to deal with Grandmommy's things. I don't want to call my uncle wondering about the house selling and the car selling and all the business. I didn't want to go to the funeral home and I wanted to tell the preacher I needed more said about her at the funeral, but doesn't it make me thankful? Thankful that I have a family support system that stepped in to deal with the business. Thankful for Mom's cousin and a family friend to help plan, thankful to my Dad to go to everything with and grieve together even without the words to just know, thankful that she went without a fight the way she wanted to go. Annoyed selfishly she is not here for me, thankful she is in Heaven because that is all she wanted for years. Thankful I still miss her when I want to call, but so thankful I don't dream of her meaning I am peace she is in Heaven with Mom and Grandaddy Bill and all of her family.

I know a lot of people and I love a lot of people. I began thinking this year more and more about God's grace. You want to talk about something to be thankful for! I look back ever since I was a little girl and I see God in the smallest things we never understood at the time. Do you want to know something funny I have probably said before? When I tore my ACL my freshman year of high school I thought life was over. I asked God why for years. My knee would never be the same for basketball. Well, ya know what is funny, I met my good friend, Keele Barnes in Rehab. She was from another school so I doubt we would have ever hung out otherwise. When I moved to Dallas who introduced me to Nicholas? Keele Barnes. It's simple and I'm sure there were a million other reasons I tore that ACL, but something that happened in 1996 could have lead to 2008 to Nick who has been a huge part of my world. I don't sit down to map out God though. There is no way I could ever predict Him or understand Him, I know. But, sometimes it's nice to sit down and just realize the blessings in life. I try not to ever take anything for granted because we are never promised anything in this life, but that we are not alone.

I am so thankful for my wonderful youth minister in Big Spring, Texas now pastoring in Dallas. What are the odds? I never thought you could come close to recreating the environment in which I grew up at church, but here it is right in the heart of Lake Highlands.

I know I'm writing a lot about faith in being thankful. I struggle a lot with faith at times so even I must remind myself. We all feel lost at times and we all don't understand the journey at times. Sometimes there will be these years that we are on top of the world. Then there will be other times when life is crumbling. Things are never perfect for anyone and everyone is always fighting a harder battle. I enjoy my life and I enjoy the sunshine of each day. I am so thankful to God for giving us His grace and mercy because I know I sure do fail Him many times!

And, yes, I sure am thankful for that gobblin' dinner. I'm even more thankful for those sitting around the table as I snap their photos and they grimace at the camera because it's always in my hand and then we watch football in the recliners as the men grab a catnip and we play dice games as the laughter embraces the entire room and I talk to my little cousins about their lives and their friends and give them advice that atleast right now they follow and then we tell old stories about the adults growing up and we hug and laugh until the day is almost over. Now that's Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Church Anniversaries

As a little girl I remember running through the halls of our church. I remember endless choir and handbell rehearsals. I remember walking down to my parents' Sunday School room as my mother waited there for me playing the piano. I sipped my first sip of coffee there and quickly spit it out. So many birthday parties in the Family Life Center. Thank God my parents had me at church at every opportunity growing up. First Baptist Church turned 125 years old this Sunday. Ironically I attended a 75th anniversary at Lakeside Baptist in Dallas watching my youth minister from First Baptist growing up as he preached and sat next to one of my churchmates from First Baptist growing up.

It is so interesting to dive into the history of a church. It is interesting to see how they grow and change. Growing up I remember really only one pastor. He retired at some point and we had a hard time finding another one to really stick around. I can tell so many stories of Vacation Bible School, youth basketball, Wednesday night dinners, my friends and I running up and down the halls, peering into the HUGE auditorium when it was so dark just to see what it was like when it wasn't Sunday morning...

Looking back I see how important church is in little one's lives. I never thought anything else of Sunday morning. When I got to high school I think I missed more often just because I was insanely busy and needed an excuse to sleep in! I've told my story about trying to find a church home in different cities so I'll skip that. Sometimes I just get plain lazy and don't attend and others I just need a break and a day to do nothing. I'll admit it. I am so thankful that as a family we went as often as possible and grew with the church.

Nick and I attended the 75th anniversary as I said of a church we barely know, but we enjoyed it. We met one lady who had been a member for over 40 years; she looked to be about 80 and lived in Canton and had come in especially for it. Churches change so much over the years. I remember when we had some contemporary musicians come in high school to the church the older group went insane. They shunned it. Sometimes choir singing bores me, but other times when I know the song I enjoy it. I really enjoy the instruments now paired with the songs we know. So I guess I am sort of in between traditional and conservative. I don't get all bogged down in that like some people. These days society sometimes doesn't think it's cool unless you go to a megachurch and it's as big as Joel Osteen. Why the heck would you go to a small Baptist church? I don't really care as long as the person is happy where they are!

I guess it all boils down to faith. I attended the First United Methodist Youth Group because most of my friends did and I loved it so much. One time we did the trust exercise where everyone holds out their arms and you fall blindly back hoping they will catch you. For me, the most untrusting girl in the world, I was scared to death. I actually did it and they caught me. Yep, so no matter which church whether one year, 75 years, 125 years as long as God is catching us we keep on growing, changing and loving.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011


Kids scatter across the streets dressed in their costumes. They laugh loudly as they run to the houses in search of candy. One night a year we fill large bags full of candy to make the little trick-or-treaters happy and full of sugar. I smile because I remember being one of those little kids one day that seemed not too long ago. I would always go with our best friends of the family. Our best friends, Quintinn led Stephanie and I through the neighborhood. After we got done with both of our neighborhoods we ended up at their grandparents' house. Mr. and Mrs. Annen always gave us a big bag of candy and a present!!! We would empty our loot on the floor and sift through it looking for the best candy. I also went to the school's Halloween carnival each year. Back in the 90s you could actually have a haunted house and say the word "Halloween" at school. Those were the days. This year I gave our candy at Nick's parents house because they live in Lake Highlands and have a lot of visitors. Nick lives in a nice Plano neighborhood, but there is a big festival right down the street so most of the kids go to it instead. We took his dogs for a walk with me wearing my outfit of a little kid in pajamas and my Mom's old huge cow slippers. Lots of people commented on my shoes!

This year for Halloween we decided to throw Geoff a birthday party instead of go out. We all brought fun food and played spooky music... after football was over, of course. The Rangers lost the World Series. Tech lost. Cowboys lost. What a great sports weekend... not. We had fun anyway! I love to dress up, but this year I just didn't get in it too much so I just threw together an outfit and called her Nicki Minaj or Lady Gaga. Not sure which. She had a good time with her microphone and blue hair is all I know. I absolutely love the way imagination comes to life during Halloween. I received an email that Halloween should not be done by Christians and it is a pagan holiday. Oh, puhlease... it's a fun day to dress up and just have fun with life!!! I didn't worship the devil once that day ;)...

Jersey Shore castmate - I think he looks like Pauly D so we shall say Pauly D with his chapstick & his date, Gaga Minaj

"Fist pump, push up, chap stick." Jersey Shore

The gals. Shanna as Nascar chick. Allison as German chick. Michele as sports chick. Keilly as herself chick.

Keilly's husband, Matt is a hot woman.

Yes, Colby overshadowed all of us as the life of the party.

Brothers Nick and Justin DID NOT plan this! Insanely they both came as Jersey Shore castmates in different colors. Freaky.

Time to take that horrible wig off. My Jersey Shore friend is doing push ups while I pose.