polka dots

Saturday, December 1, 2012


I have started a new journey in my life.  After 16 years, I stepped down as the kids' pastor at our church.  I knew it was time and I knew it was right.  It's been a little strange not to be in that role anymore, but I'm excited to see what new adventures are out there.  Besides, the kids are always right upstairs if I need to go get a hug. 

Here are some pictures from "thank you night" at CityLife.  The church was so kind and I felt so very honored.  It will be a night I will always remember.

 Ashlynn brought me a charm that the kids' ministry gave to me.  What a cutie she is!

 Karen and JT said some very sweet and encouraging words.  They are precious friends!

 Hope (Hopie) brought me a scrapbook that had all the kids' handprints in it.  And it's my favorite color:  PURPLE!
 Brenda (in the orange) gave me a beautiful arrangement of PURPLE flowers.  Alyssa (in the gray) said some very sweet words on how much she had learned about God since coming to CityLife.

 Passing the baton over to Shawna.  The kids COULD NOT be in better hands!

PARTY TIME!  Nothing like cakes covered in M&M's.  What a sweet night - in more ways than one.

Thursday, November 29, 2012


What a difference a year can make!  Last year about this time, I had pulled 1200 lights off of my prelit tree, and had been so angry (and sore from 8 hours of pulling attached lights off a tree) that I asked Wes to just throw the tree back in the box and put it away.  If it hadn't been for Shawna, I wouldn't have even had a tree last year.  (If you're interested, you can go back and read the whole story.)

So, this year I was ready.  I wasn't going to let the tree win this year and decided to go on the offensive.  Usually, I don't even think about Christmas decorating until after Thanksgiving.  But I've learned that if you wait that long to buy your decorations, many stores are already sold out of what you want.  November 13th, I was at Home Depot, buying 20 boxes of tree lights and 10 boxes of outdoor lights.  Yep, I was prepared.

The following week, Wes pulled out the tree for me and the tree lighting began.  I wound lights in and out on every branch of my tree.  The more I put on, the happier I got!  Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you, the lights are purple.  Yes, I know that's not the traditional color for Christmas, but it's my favorite color and Wes and I both agree that it is the prettiest color tree we've ever had.

So, we're all decorated.  We've got a whole month to enjoy it!  It was such a pain to pull off all those lights last year....but it sure made it worth it this year!
Wish I could get a better picture....but I just can't get the purple to be purple enough.  I mean, my tree is PURPLE!  It is absolutely beautiful. 

We're all ready for Christmas here.  It is the most wonderful time of the year!

Sunday, November 4, 2012


I went to my brother and sister-in-law's house a couple of weekends ago.  She has this on her mantle and I immediately fell in love with it.  Fortunately for me, she is one of those gals who doesn't care if you have the same thing in your house that she has in hers. 

I immediately told her I needed one and we headed off to get it.  I thought I'd put it on my mantle too, but when I got home, I ended up putting it on my bar.  This is the first thing I see when I walk in the door and I probably walk by it a hundred times a day.  I love it because it constantly reminds me that we are blessed.  Yep, no matter how things are going....we are blessed.  Sure helps keep things in perspective!

Restoration Church

Something that I have never experienced before...watching your church building that you've been a part of for 22 years be demolished.  I've seen church buildings torn down before, but it was always because you were building a new part of the church on it.  I've never watched your church building ripped apart knowing that it was truly the end.

Restoration Church became no more in May of 2012 - and that is really a good thing.  We became CityLife Church and a new beginning was born.  So many people were sad to see the buildings go, but I'm not.  I'm thankful they are gone.  We spent so much money just trying to keep those old buildings from falling a part.  We also didn't have the money to rebuild or even get these buildings up to code.  Plus, we were in so much debt, that we couldn't even use what money we had to help others.....most of it went for the mortgage or repairs.  

So to me, watching the buildings come down was one way God showed His faithfulness to us.  We sold the property to the HEB school district.  They are going to build new administration buildings and a bus barn there.  God not only got us out of debt, but also gave us money so that we really could go into our community and serve our city.  It was also fun to see that "our land" would be used for the schools and not a shopping center or office building.  

Memories?  Oh my, YES!  More memories than I can count.  My boys grew up in these buildings.  They were baptized here, I watched them play guitars on the worship teams, Austin met his wife in those buildings, we've made lifelong friends, we watched many friends get married here and we even said goodbye to some, too.  But just because the buildings are gone doesn't mean that the friendships and the memories are too.  They linger today and will continue. I will cherish them all in my heart.  

So, this is just another part of our adventure.  What does God have in store for us?  Who knows?  But I'm glad that I get to be a part of it all.

The main wing's roof being torn off.

The west wing

Ah, SO MANY songs, VBS's, AWANA nights, and Superbooks happened in that room.  So many kids have walked through those doors.  What a treat to be a part of it all!

So thankful God provided this place for us.  Even more thankful that we're not responsible for it anymore.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Ronald McDonald House

Several ladies and I had the awesome opportunity to love on some families staying at the Fort Worth Ronald McDonald House.  We got to cook lunch for them!  First of all, I've never been in a RMH before, but have known friends who have been blessed by this wonderful organization. This one is located next to Cook Children's Hospital and it is incredible!  Their goal is to make every family feel like they are at home and try to provide everything they need so all the family needs to be concerned with is the sick child.  And they do a fabulous job!

Janie, me, Elaine, and Shawna.  Pat and Louise were taking a break when this photo op happened.

 Their kitchen is incredible!  They even have their own embroidered aprons!

 Louise browning the meat so we can make taco soup.

 Janie trying to figure out how much tea to make.  We were very thankful she was willing to do all that figurin'!

 Shawna and Pat making the fruit salad.

 Yep, read those directions because they are making brownies!!!

Everyone was so very grateful and thankful!  They even invited us back and asked us to cook the exact same thing.  So next week, it's taco soup, tortilla chips, fruit salad, and brownies again at the RMH! 

 I had the opportunity to talk to several sets of parents and a couple of patients of Cooks.  I was so touched by their courage....I loved hearing their stories.  And the good news was that everyone I talked to should be home by Thanksgiving.  Such a simple thing....to cook a meal with friends....but it can touch a soul. 

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Texas Railroad

Who knew Texas had its own railroad?  I didn't.  But Wes and I had a chance to ride on it a few weeks ago.  It travels from Palestine to Rusk and back.  This usually takes about 4 hours with an hour lunch stop along the way.

We thought that was the trip we were headed for, but we ended up on The Great Pumpkin Patch train ride instead.....which turned out to be so much fun!  We headed to Rusk, TX, was met by Snoopy and boarded the train with a bunch of kids all dressed up in costumes and headed to the Great Pumpkin Patch.  There were all kinds of fun stuff for the kids to do including a bounce house, petting zoo, hayride, and trick or treat street.  Even had corn dogs and funnelcakes to eat.  YUM!  After playing for about an hour, we got back on our train and headed back to Rusk. 

We will try again to make the Palestine to Rusk trip one day...but we were so glad that we got on this one by mistake!  It was one of the most fun accidents we've ever been on.  The kids were so much fun to watch - it was just an enjoyable afternoon.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Lunch in the cafetorium

Wes, a.k.a. Granddaddy, and I got to have lunch with Ashlynn at her school yesterday....in the cafetorium.  Cafetorium.....odd name, but basically it is the school cafeteria with a small stage so that the room can also be used as an auditorium.  Hence the name, cafetorium.

Anyway, I digress.  Wes and I had been looking forward to our lunch with Ashlynn all week.  We don't get to see her quite as often now that she is in school, so every chance we get to be with her is a treasure.  We stopped at McDonalds to pick up a cheeseburger happy meal and some chicken nuggets for us.  A huge smile and hugs welcomed us as we entered the cafetorium and we had a great 30 minutes of food and laughter.

We were also thrilled to see Shawna walk in to join us.  She came because she knew we would want pictures and needed a photographer.  I love her thoughtfulness.  

Just another treasure that I will remember.  I love when God stops my day for just a bit and shows me how much He loves me....through the smiles and hugs of a beautiful little 5 year old.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Laughter Even in Tough Times

It's amazing to me to see how God can bring laughter to you and your family even when the circumstances around you aren't pleasant.  

One of the first things I would do after I woke up in the morning was to ask Wes how Dad was doing.  I took the first shift at night, which ended at 2 am.  Wes would go to bed at 7 and get up between 1 and 2 am and stay with Dad the rest of the night.  When I went in to check on Dad on Wednesday, May 16, I found him unresponsive to me.  He hadn't been real responsive in the last couple of days, but he would at least acknowledge my presence.  That morning, he didn't.  I started to look for other signs our hospice nurse had told me to look for and sure enough, most of them were present.  I immediately called hospice and they sent a nurse out to confirm my observations.  Yes, we were in the last days of Dad's life here on earth.  Yes, it was time to call my brother and sister and tell them they needed to come.  Both dropped everything and came immediately.

Let me back up and give you a little history........

In 1968, Dad went to Florida and caught this huge sailfish.  From the tip of its nose to the tip of its tail, it was 91 inches long.  From the top of its top fin to the bottom of the fish's belly was about 3.5 feet tall.  It was huge!  And from the time I was 10 years old, that fish hung over my parents' fireplace.  It really was one of Dad's prized possessions.  

As time passed on, my brother, sister, and I would joke about who would inherit the fish.  Even though it meant so much to Dad, it really didn't have a sentimental value to us.....plus the thing was so big that it would take up a full wall wherever it hung.  We would kid and tell each other that Dad had specifically put it in his will that whoever we were talking to would get this fish.  We would laugh and joke, but deep down I became a little concerned. 

Once Dad moved in with us we decided it was time to sell his house.  I called our Realtor and set up an appointment for her to see Dad's house and list it.  She walked in the front door, saw the fish, and said, "Oh my!  What is that thing?  It has to go!"  I knew I was in trouble.  The fish was coming to my house and it might never leave.

Wes and Dad brought the fish down to our house and mounted it in Dad's tv room.  (It was actually one of our bedrooms, but became one of Dad's rooms when he moved in.)  The fish was proudly displayed over Dad's tv and honestly, it looked pretty good.  He would proudly tell every hospice person or visitor about his fish when they would come visit. 

So......back to the top of my story.....

When my brother and sister arrived at my house, the kidding began again who was inheriting the fish.  We even told all the grandkids that Pawdy had "willed" it to them, but no one would bite. No one wanted the fish.  Yep, I was going to get stuck with that fish and had no idea what to do with the thing.  It's not like you could donate it to the Salvation Army, or sell the thing, or even put it out on the curb.  I mean, what do you do with the monster?  But pressing matters put the fish in the back of my mind.  Dad's earthly days were coming to an end.  

So, Dad passed on Saturday, the 19th.  We were so thankful God allowed him to go home.  He was so ready....and because of that, we were so ready for him to go.  The funeral home came out that evening to pick up Dad's body.  The young man, Victor, walked in and very respectfully gave his condolences, and honestly, I'm not sure he knew what to do with us.  We were all laughing and having a great time.  Dad was in the presence of Jesus and seeing family members who had gone before him.  We knew we would see him again and we were happy for him.  So, we weren't the normal crying, somber group that Victor was probably use to.  Victor also informed us that his helper, Don would be coming shortly to help him.  And it turns out, Don, almost showed up immediately.....in another hearse.  So I have 2 white hearses in front of my house.  Our neighbors were quite concerned.  They knew about Dad, but with two hearses.....what was going on?

My brother takes Victor to the room where we had Dad's body....which happened to be the same room with the sailfish.  Victor walks into the room and is overwhelmed with the fish!  It is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.  He is in awe!  So, what does my brother do?  He looks right at Victor and asks, "Would you like it?"  Victor tells him not to kid him.....that's the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.  My brother looks back at him and says, "No really....would you like that fish?  You can have it".  And yes, my friends, he took the fish!  Don walks in about the time Wes and my brother are taking the fish off the wall.  Being a little confused, Victor explains to Don that they are going to put the sailfish in one of the hearses and put Dad's body in the other.  I wish you could have seen Don's face, but he shook his head and said, "Ok".  So Wes and my brother take the fish out and place it on top of the gurneys in the back of one hearse, and then the gentlemen go back in and get Dad and put him in the other.  We are all giggling....no, just down right laughing at the sight of Dad and his sailfish heading off together!

Isn't that like God?  He took care of a really kinda unimportant thing - a sailfish.  But during our time of saying good-bye to Dad, God steps in and does something so fun to let us know, "I am here.  I will take care of things for you."  And He did and gave us much laughter and a memory we will NEVER forget.

Oh, and by the way, Victor sent me a picture the next morning of the sailfish in its new home.  What a treat, to be able to give it to someone who will truly enjoy it.  So, I've put on a couple of pictures....one of the fish in the hearse and one with it hanging it its new home.  Yep, a memory that will last forever.  

Thanks, God, for the good laugh.  It truly is good, good medicine.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012


Good-byes can be strange things.  Sometimes we are very saddened by them...sometimes we have mixed feelings about them...and there are other times when they can be a happy occasion.  I had the chance to experience all of these feelings a couple of weeks ago.

On Friday, May 18th, my twin chocolate grandbabies went back to their biological mother.  My son and daughter-in-law had been fostering them since January 2011....so to say the least, they had my heart wrapped tightly around their little fingers.  They were a joy and my heart would burst with love and happiness when I would hear them squeal out for their "JuJu".  I have missed them so.  I am so very proud of my kids who have given them everything they could over these past 16 months.  They loved these babies as their own and spent many hours in doctors' offices and therapists' offices to help these little ones get their bodies back on track.  My heart goes out to them as they had to give "their children" back....not knowing what the future held for them.

On Saturday, May 19th, I said good-bye to my dad.  He left this earth 4 days before his 85th birthday.  He had been living in our home since last December.  We knew he was having some medical issues, but we found out in March that he had lung cancer that had mastesized in his brain.  A month and a half later, he was gone.

But these two good-byes were very different and very much the same.  I was ready for Dad to go home.  He was ready to go home.  It was very joyous in my home when Dad left his earthly body.  We knew he was standing face to face with Jesus and that he didn't have to deal with his ol' body that just didn't want to work anymore.  Of course we would miss him, but what a comfort to know God was taking every step with Dad and that they had an eternity together!

I wasn't ready for the babies to go.  I wanted them to stay...to be a part of my family....permenantly.  I didn't understand why they had to leave.  I didn't want to tell them good-bye.

But God was so very gracious.  On Monday, May 14th, I heard Him speaking to me very clearly.  He told me I was entering a week of "good-byes".  I knew what that meant.  I knew I would not only be telling Dad good-bye, but also my little chocolates.  But He just didn't stop there....He told me to trust Him and that He understood how I felt and that He really did have everything under control.  If I would rest in that, I could walk through a hard week with peace and joy.  And He was right......it was a week of peace and joy.

I wish I could say that the babies are back with us....that we are in the process of becoming their legal grandparents.  No, that's not the case.  It may happen one day....but then again, it may not.  But I can rest in this, that God loves those little ones much more than I could ever possibly love them.  He has big plans for them - and it may include me or it may not.  And if I just keep resting in that, I can walk through some pretty tough stuff with peace and joy.

Different types of good-byes - but one Heavenly Father who has it all under control.  Which means I can sit today with peace and joy.  Yeah, I'm good with that.

Monday, January 30, 2012


The kids' ministry just completed a month long "competition" for the 1st - 6th graders. We call it Superbook. We divide into two teams, Red and Blue, and compete all month by answering questions from our "homework" and playing games. It is another one of the things I love to do with the kids.

Above you see a picture of all my volunteers that helped me this year. They were all coaches, except for Ref Dani and Brendon. These guys were the very best! They yelled, screamed, and cheered their team on. They ran races, got wrapped up in toilet paper, sat on balloons to pop them, did their homework, brought their Bibles, and emptied their piggy banks for our mission project. Brendon had music blaring, awesome graphics for our scores, and all kind of surprises for us when we would dance to our song! I could not have asked for better role models for our kids. And the kids couldn't have asked for anyone to make our last four Sundays more fun than these folks did for them.

I am so very thankful for these people. Yes, I am the Children's Pastor, but I can't pull off Superbook all by myself. But with my team.......it's pretty easy. Yep, I'm blessed.

Also, our kids did a fabulous job. They brought in 191 Box Tops for Education to give to our elementary school that we have adopted and they brought $398.53 to give to our Haitian missionaries who have a feeding program for the children there. Just so you know, most of that was in change....I know....I counted it all. :)

They are already asking when we can do it again. We usually do it once a year, but I'm not sure we can wait that long. We'll see........

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Christmas 2011

We had a wonderful Christmas this year. It took a little work, but all our men were able to get the 23rd off, so that was Christmas Day for us. It started with Ashlynn and the babies coming over in the morning in their pjs. I loved that! We had homemade cinnamon rolls still warm from the oven. Then we let the twins open their gifts. We did this because they were going to spend time with their mom and dad in just a little while. Didn't really care for them to leave, but we didn't have any say in that matter. After the little ones left, we opened up gifts and spent the rest of the day eating and playing. The babied joined us in the afternoon and the playing continued. After turkey or ham sandwiches for supper, the gang all loaded up the van and headed back to their house with 3 tired, but happy kids.
I wish I could post pictures of the babies....they are getting so big and are so adorable. But maybe, just maybe, one day they will be ours and we can post all the pictures we want. Until that day, though, we will do everything to protect them - including no pictures on public websites. So, even though there aren't any pictures of them......they were there.....being a part of our family.