Saturday, May 31, 2008

Last week of school!

8th grade BEACH PARTY!!!
Check out our yoga sandals from!
We love 'em...

Karen said we look so skinny here that we need "neck spackle"...
one of our favorite lines from Mystery Science Theater 3000!

Monday, May 26, 2008

My heroes...

Talked to Aunt Doris today...and told her that she was my hero. What a lucky niece I am!

We're all missing this handsome fellow, John Greek...not just today on Memorial Day, but every day...

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Jesilinah's parents came all the way from Kenya to enjoy Harold's Barbecue! We had so much fun...laughed and laughed...what a wonderful day.

(It is AMAZING to know that we have brothers and sisters all over the globe! They told me to be sure to come visit them if I ever visit Kenya...and they will take me to their church and to the market for their version of Harold's..."nyama choma.")

P.S. The address of this blog is changing soon! Email me at if you'd like to know the new URL.

I'll send out the info the same day I change it...

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Mostly-Wordless Wednesday

Thank Heaven for little girls!

Here are a few of the people who wished me a happy Mother's Day last Sunday...

P.S. The address of this blog is changing soon! Email me at if you'd like to know the new URL.

I'll send out the info the same day I change it...

Sunday, May 11, 2008

FESTOON your mom with praises today!

Happy Mother’s Day!

Hey, moms! Did you know that it’s BIBLICAL to work out? In Proverbs 31, when a virtuous woman is described, most translations say she also “girds herself with strength and strengthens her arms.” So let’s hit the gym this week! (Also, weight-bearing exercise strengthens our bones so even though we may *prefer* the cardio classes or walking/running in the park, we HAVE to hit the weights, too. Ick.)

Here’s the passage in the Darby Translation:

10 Who can find a woman of worth? for her price is far above rubies.

11 The heart of her husband confideth in her, and he shall have no lack of spoil.

12 She doeth him good, and not evil, all the days of her life.

13 She seeketh wool and flax, and worketh willingly with her hands.

14 She is like the merchants' ships: she bringeth her food from afar;

15 And she riseth while it is yet night, and giveth meat to her household, and the day's work to her maidens.

16 She considereth a field, and acquireth it; of the fruit of her hands she planteth a vineyard.

17 She girdeth her loins with strength, and maketh strong her arms.

18 She perceiveth that her earning is good; her lamp goeth not out by night.

19 She putteth her hands to the distaff, and her hands hold the spindle.

20 She stretcheth out her hand to the afflicted, and she reacheth forth her hands to the needy.

21 She is not afraid of the snow for her household; for all her household are clothed with scarlet.

22 She maketh herself coverlets; her clothing is byssus and purple.

23 Her husband is known in the gates, when he sitteth among the elders of the land.

24 She maketh body linen and selleth it, and delivereth girdles unto the merchant.

25 Strength and dignity are her clothing, and she laugheth [at] the coming day.

26 She openeth her mouth with wisdom; and upon her tongue is the law of kindness.

27 She surveyeth the ways of her household, and eateth not the bread of idleness.

28 Her children rise up and call her blessed; her husband [also], and he praiseth her:

29 Many daughters have done worthily, but thou excellest them all.

30 Gracefulness is deceitful and beauty is vain; a woman [that] feareth Jehovah, she shall be praised.

31 Give her of the fruit of her hands, and let her own works praise her in the gates.

The paraphrased translation The Message leaves out the arm strengthening, but has the best ending: “Festoon her life with praises!”

A good woman is hard to find,
and worth far more than diamonds.
Her husband trusts her without reserve,
and never has reason to regret it.
Never spiteful, she treats him generously
all her life long.
She shops around for the best yarns and cottons,
and enjoys knitting and sewing.

She's like a trading ship that sails to faraway places
and brings back exotic surprises.
She's up before dawn, preparing breakfast
for her family and organizing her day.
She looks over a field and buys it,
then, with money she's put aside, plants a garden.

First thing in the morning, she dresses for work,
rolls up her sleeves, eager to get started.
She senses the worth of her work,
is in no hurry to call it quits for the day.
She's skilled in the crafts of home and hearth,

diligent in homemaking.

She's quick to assist anyone in need,
reaches out to help the poor.
She doesn't worry about her family when it snows;
their winter clothes are all mended and ready to wear.
She makes her own clothing,

and dresses in colorful linens and silks.
Her husband is greatly respected
when he deliberates with the city fathers.
She designs gowns and sells them,
brings the sweaters she knits to the dress shops.

Her clothes are well-made and elegant,
and she always faces tomorrow with a smile.
When she speaks she has something worthwhile to say,
and she always says it kindly.
She keeps an eye on everyone in her household,
and keeps them all busy and productive.
Her children respect and bless her;
her husband joins in with words of praise:

"Many women have done wonderful things,
but you've outclassed them all!"
Charm can mislead and beauty soon fades.
The woman to be admired and praised
is the woman who lives in the Fear-of-GOD.
Give her everything she deserves!

Festoon her life with praises!

My mom deserves to be festooned with praise...she ROCKS! And anyone who ever met my grandmothers would also throw some festoons their way, too. God certainly blessed my life with amazing women!!

Garrison Keillor praises moms this way in his Mother's Day column:

"You could come home with snakes tattooed on your face, and she still would see the good in you...Your father has a hard time remembering your Christian name, but your mother knows you by scent, thanks to years of doing your laundry. She knows when you're in trouble. And you will get into deep trouble someday. Count on it. Someone will file a lawsuit against you and subpoena your email, and it will all come flooding out, your dark secrets, your nefarious dealings, and your friends will cross the street to avoid you, and your brothers and sisters will fade into the woodwork, but your mother will still love you. Like an old lioness, she'll come running even if you're two thousand miles away."

I love that. (Say what you want about Keillor's politics, the man can write.) And his ode to mothers gives us one one more reason we need to "gird ourselves in strength and strengthen our arms"--our children may need us to come running someday...and God help the wretched soul who gets between the old lioness and her cubs.

***Update: 8:46 p.m.***

Wow. I knew Mother's Day celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2008, but I'd never read THIS before! Poor tragic...

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Saturday!

What a lovely day!

May Bee and I ran to the bank (YAY, REBATE!), the post office, and HEB first thing this morning, then off to a wedding shower with Kirsten, and then back home to beat the heat by reading, watching Edward R. Murrow interview Dick Clark & Billy Graham (thank you, NetFlix!), power napping, and working on the church bulletin.

Oh, and remember how I encouraged everyone to honor their moms with a gift to the mothers of Zambia? Well, I decided to honor my dad, too. (He's becoming one of the most vocal feminists I know, and I could think of nothing he would want more for Father's Day!) Well, my parents and I both received hand-written thank-you notes this week. The Zambian Medical Mission is a class act, that's for sure!

"Thank you for your contribution to Zambia Mission honoring your mom and your dad in such a special way. Your thoughtfulness and generosity will ripple blessings to Zambian moms and their families as they use the Clean Delivery Kits when their precious little one is born. May God continue to bless you richly in every way!"

Tomorrow is Mother's Day...and I truly am "blessed richly in every way"! The plan for tomorrow includes running with May Bee in the morning, tea with friends in the afternoon, and church tomorrow night.

P.S. Oh, and that box of Girl Scout Thin Mints I bought outside an Austin Chuy's back in February? It's time to light that candle.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

One week until Mother's Day!

Don't give your mother another knick-knack to dust...honor her on Mother's Day by helping mothers in Zambia!


We would like to propose that our Zambia Medical Mission team members honor their mothers this year by donating $10 to purchase two individual clean birthing kits for Zambia. We plan to give these CDKs out to expectant mothers during our Zambia Medical Mission and throughout the year at the Namwianga Rural Health Center. We will be targeting mothers who will not have access to a hospital or rural clinic for delivery. The kit will include the following:

Bar of soap
Square yard of plastic sheet
Razor blade (single edge)
String for umbilical cord
Sealed bag for packaging
Cotton cloth to wrap baby
Pain relievers
Two pairs disposable gloves

Each year about 60 million women in developing countries give birth with only the help of an untrained attendant or family member or with no help at all. Many of these deliveries take place at home and often in a small hut in a remote village.

The infection rate is high with some 1600 women per day dying from complications associated with pregnancy or childbirth, and infection is a leading cause. Around 950,000 newborns per year die from infection, according to the World Health Organization. Many of these infections can be avoided when Clean Delivery Kits (CDKs) are used.

What better gift is there to give than a gift that will give an expecting mother in Zambia a better chance for her to survive delivery? These delivery kits will also give her a better chance of having a healthy baby. This all seems so simple, but a woman who uses this kit is 13 times more likely to survive her labor. The average woman in Zambia delivers six children. Sadly, the infant mortality rate in Zambia is so high that only three of those children are likely to survive. Three out of four women never make it to the hospital, giving birth on the dusty ground or on the road, many using saw grass to cut their baby’s umbilical cord.

We make our own kits and assemble them in Zambia. We estimate we can purchase about two CDKs for each $10 donation. We are making a special drive for Mother’s Day by encouraging family and friends to donate to Zambia Mission in honor of their mother or friend. A personal note will be sent to individuals informing them of this gift.

If you are interested in participating, please make checks to Zambia Mission and send it to the following address (Zambia Mission, 658 E.N. 21st St., Abilene, TX 79601). If you would like to honor anyone, please let us know.

My mom was tickled that two mothers on another continent will be getting these in her honor. Send your donations today!!

Saturday, May 03, 2008

Sick and sleepless...still happy.

Oh, good grief...I'm SICK. Double ear infection/sinus infection sick. Up half the night sick.

The good news? Antibiotics, Puffs Plus with Lotion, and a great book--An Emergent Manifesto of Hope.

*Doctor story: I had to see a new doctor because the world's best P.A. (Jerry Bingham, the one who put me on the "Sugar Busters!" diet) was booked. She walked briskly into the room, asked me why I was there, and I told her that it sure would be awful if a sinus infection ruined a highly-anticipated 3-day weekend...oh, and I have blood pooling in my left ankle that is ugly and HOT to the touch. She took my left leg in her hands, turned it to check both sides, peered into my face, and said, "Are you a teacher?"

HOW DID SHE KNOW???? (Is this like when my friend Kelly filled her bedpan to the brim and her Labor & Delivery nurse laughingly said, "You're either a teacher or a nurse."?)

Maybe Dr. Hamilton knew schools were closed for Alternate Staff Development this Monday. Maybe my whole presence--even when dressed in shorts & a tie-dyed t-shirt I bought at Eeyore's Birthday in Austin--screams "TEACHER!"...or maybe most of the pale women with connective tissue disorders and bad veins who turn up in her practice each day are the educators who spent their careers standing on concrete slabs! (No complaints...I'd become a teacher again even if it meant my legs turn completely Smurf blue!)

So, anyway, I made her laugh when I told her that my divorce was final in December so my weird veins and hot blood ankle pools were now nobody's problem but mine. She told me that the extensive varicosity (sp?) in my left leg means I have to wear support hose from now on. Oh, she also said that traveling could be very painful if I don't stop frequently and move around...and even EXERCISE between driving spells.

~~~Yeah. It's like the whole world is conspiring to make me an eccentric spinster librarian in support hose and bifocals who briskly exercises when driving to see her parents in Virginia and who rides her bike to school (WITH basket on the front handlebars, of course!) and who recycles and takes yoga classes and is the Neighborhood Crazy Lady completely devoted to her horrible dog.~~~

Stuff that makes me deliriously happy, no matter how sick or eccentric I am...

*Cooked all night last night. Had the kitchen to myself and BLASTED the taped Thursday night NBC comedy lineup while I chopped & stirred & grated & boiled & stuffed shells & sipped Merlot (who cares about Sideways? i love's cheap/red/delicious!). When I ran out of comedies, a fascinating documentary came on about the Sistine Chapel & Michelangelo's hidden messages. (Falisha is coming in with friends today and specifically asked for my shells...made the homemade sauce Thursday night, made more sauce and stuffed 4 pans of shells last night, and they're in the oven baking right now so they won't heat up the house this afternoon.)

*Making breakfast before 5:00 a.m. means that KACU is streaming the BBC.

*Yesterday, our whole school squeezed into the gym to watch the Faculty vs. Student Basketball Game. At half-time, the principals presented our wonderful custodian, Mr. Steve Hawkins, with the announcement that we had raised over $22,000 for his new home in our Madison Extreme Home Makeover! Kirsten and I served on the Lawn Chair Drill Precision Team (light on the precision, heavy on the team); even though I was out sick yesterday, there was no way I was missing out on that!

*Here's a passage I read & enjoyed at 4:30 this morning, written by an Australian man who now lives in a communal society in Kentucky (and has apparently embraced the word "y'all"):

"Our devotion to Jesus requires us to form interdependent relationships with people around us, and in so doing we more accurately reflect the mysterious image of the divine community--Father, Son, and Spirit. Paul reminds the church at Philippi that they must work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Phil. 2:12). The language he uses here is plural. In the South we might use the word "Y'all" to get the same effect--'work out y'all's salvation.' It is our contention that salvation is more than personal renewal; it is at best a collective experience...This angle on salvation has reframed our experience of evangelism and mission. Through practices such as caring for AIDS sufferers, feeding the homeless, protesting the wanton destruction of the environment, or welcoming newly arrived refugees, we find salvation that is closer to the shalom of Scripture. These disciplines lead us deeper into the compelling and radical ways of Jesus. As educated, wealthy North Americans, the greatest saving might come to us as we are liberated from our unholy apathy and poisonous indifference to the majesty and misery of the world that God so loves."

--Geoff Maddock in An Emergent Manifesto of Hope