Not About a Tree

Last night at Steve and Debi’s, we were all talking and having fun – including Rocky and Kourtney and baby Bayleigh Bebb, the Stewarts and Sami! It was pretty special. And loud. So when Steve went to the attic and brought out Gramma Grace’s hand crafted and framed Christmas Trees made of sparkly jewelry and broaches, it caused a bit of a switch in the atmosphere. We all gazed at the four of them in their imperfect glory.


One actually still worked when the light strand was plugged in. The wooden backings were drilled with holes so that tiny white lights could be pushed through from behind, making it even more special than any other kind of framed Christmas tree made of jewelry. ūüôā I remember these being hung around her and Grampa’s house every Christmas. Gramma Grace was a lovely, creative, funny, sometimes harsh, but most of the time kind and welcoming Gramma. I rarely talk about her, but miss her very much.

So Uncle Steve brought out the decorative trees and displayed them in the living room, giving Charity and I first “dibs” probably due to our childhood memories of them. There were some hurt feelings in the air, because Sami wasn’t considered. It wasn’t really about the trees, as much as it was about her feeling of being overlooked. I understood. She quietly made her way upstairs to her bedroom and I felt the Spirit just as quietly tell me to follow her so I made my way up the dark, narrow stairway and was happy she let me in.

We talked for a while. I was pleasantly surprised how easy it was. ¬†And was kind of concerned that everyone had eaten dinner without us at one point, but not enough to cut the conversation short. I learned many things about my sweet cousin as we dove into some deep subjects like depression, panic attacks, suicidal thoughts and their threats on the Bebb family. Our words waded through the safe but murky waters of spiritual things like supernatural healing, speaking in tongues, and the intrigue of dream interpretation. And we also splashed around in shallow-water topics like our favorite memorized movies of the past (hers was Ironman and I had three: Dead Poet’s Society, Reality Bites and The Notebook) and our fave subject in school (which happened to be English and writing for both of us).¬†Ricky came in and let us know that everyone was in fact, eating, so we better head downstairs if we wanted in. So we wrapped it up, just like that. But I was so thankful for that time we got to spend together.

I texted her on my way home to see if I could go sing at the nursing home she works at, since that’s been on my heart lately. She texted me back at almost 1am with a positive reply. ¬†

I think God is reminding me of the importance of investing in a life, once again. I suddenly want to get to know her more. This new connection is not a coincidence. Life on this earth is too short to not really know or invest in your own family.


Birthday wishes for me and my boy

Today’s the birthday of ¬†my favorite 7 yr old, Mr. Braylon Emmanuel Russ! After just returning from Oregon & lettin’ both sides of the fam dote on him w/2july 09 039 parties, we caved & let him have one here w/his 4 closest friends ~ Abigail Llanas (who lives behind/right of us), Andre’ (who lives 3 houses down & across Orgain St. from us), Chaney & Brady (who he met in Kinder. @ Nadine Johnson Elementary & never lost touch with). A strange bunch, but I love them all.

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This mornin’ I got lots of party goodies @ the Dollar Tree and then came home and baked a strawberry cake, frosted and decorated it. Cut some watermelon, put up streamers & a few helium balloons – let’s p-a-r-t-…why? because who said you can’t have three stinkin’ birthday parties in 8 days?! Right now, they’re at the theater watching “Aliens in the Attic” w/Ricky. After they come home, it’s pizza, cake, & presents – speaking of which, Bray is really into spy stuff this year – and tricking people (so a lil birdie told me Chaney got him some fake poop!) He also got an Mp3 player w/$ from Aunt Kim & Uncle Jeremy, and “Horton Hears a Who” from Papa Rick & Granny. There was more, but let’s keep this post simple, yeah?

Update: After gifts, there was¬†one more thing ~ a little competition & ¬†a lot of good, clean fun for just $1.89: the egg toss / egg launch (where we all threw eggs as high as we could throw eggs into the sky and still have them land in our yard).¬†Too bad I was busy officiating & didn’t catch it on film.¬†At bedtime, Ricky asked B. what his favorite part of the day was…and this was it. It doesn’t take much for a 7 yr old!

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(Above is the moment when Ricky presented our gift to him, an artist’s easel, to which he was exclaiming with full force, “YES!!!!”)

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(Princess Angel stuffing her pizza hole)

Even though we have to move out cause our home’s owner wants to sell this place vacant, we are only moving about a mile away (if that)! We just want Bray to feel secure and familiar with his surroundings…not to mention still close to those 4 crazy friends of his. ¬†For 2nd grade, it looks like he may get to return to NJES where he spent Kinder.

God has given us wisdom, steady income, great health and a close-knit family, even the ability to fly to Oregon now & then. He has been so faithful.

I’m sure Bray could come up with a list of things he wishes for today, but as for me, I’m good. I’m trusting God to provide every lil need & not afraid to throw in some wants. ¬†I hope & believe that my trust in him will stay strong when life throws us a curve…cause it will. ¬†But until it does, I’m dancin’ in his unmerited favor…and I’m making the most of this time I get to spend with my babies. It’s been a long Saturday. I’m going to bed now.

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Our top 10 Movies {starring the “mentally challenged”}

Ok, I just thought I’d do a little post on something pure surface and fun. I am a fun person, ya know! (Ok, and sometimes surface). Ricky & I¬†have realized that we both share a common interest that goes back¬†pretty much since our dating years:¬†movies with plots centered around a mentally retarded person (or “challenged”, slow, special needs,¬† autistic ~ you get the idea).

Something about those actors, especially the ones who are really dang convincing, just draws us in! So without further ado (whatever ado is! Nobody wants much of it), here’s¬†Ricky’s & Chelan’s¬†top 10 list of films that meet the criteria of ¬†a.) having a mentally challenged person in a lead role,¬†b.) having a plot centered around their disability, & c.) having made it to the box office… counting down from 10 to our favorite of favorites:

theothersister 10. The Other Sister

waterboy 9. The Waterboy

silentfall 8. Silent Fall

rainman 7.Rain Man

iamsam 6. I Am Sam

radio1 5. Radio

forrest-gump 4. Forrest Gump

awakenings 3. Awakenings

sling-blade 2. Sling Blade

whatseatinggilbertgrape 1. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?

That about sums it up! Dicaprio playing “Arnie” is THE best. Hands Down. But¬†there are 5 more we have yet to to see from start to finish…we might just put them in our Netflix queue:

* One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

* Charly

* Mercury Rising

* Of Mice and Men

* Benny and Joon

And lastly… 3 that don’t really make the list, but are hilarious, so def. worth a mention, in my book!

* There’s Something about Mary

* What about Bob

* Multiplicity

Let me know if I missed any great ones (that are fairly clean) so we can check ’em out!