Thanksgiving in Kilgore with Sunshine, Color & Change

Thanksgiving this year was spent in Kilgore, with Gam, Gramma Janis & Papa Bob.  Bray had won a 10 lb. turkey in Sunday School that week (they drew his name out of a basket), and was very proud to contribute such an important piece to dinner. To it was added to delicious strawberry salad, mashed potatoes & gravy, sweet potato  casserole with overflowing marshies, & of course, green bean casserole, and for dessert, Gam brought over to the Pilands’ new place, a homemade cheesecake – mouth-watering, with canned cherries.

Bray & Angies spent the 4.5 days on Danville Rd. riding bikes (hers was the tricycle she’s been mastering these last few months, and he loved impressing us with every imaginable “bmx” trick we could throw at him). They also colored, read books,  watched “Open Season”, and played with Magnetix & when it was earned, Bray pulled out his PSP. The adults just sat around & relaxed, watched football (a LOT of it), gabbed and the last night, laughed as we watched, “The Proposal”.

That Sunday we were to leave for home, we packed up, and were about to stop by Gam’s to see her new flooring & such, on our way out of town, when we realized the car keys were locked in the Scion. We’d let the kids play in the car, and I had closed the open doors, having no idea they’d locked them all.

So, after the Kilgore locksmith came and set her free, we were finally on our way. It was strange to spend Thanksgiving without my Bebb family (who were all at my Uncle Steve’s in Milwaukie, OR), Kim’s family (new pastors in Brewster, WA), Jeremy’s family (w/Jamie’s & lil Riley in Cornelius, OR) or Rick’s dad (w/Jan & her family by the California coast).  Kim kept the tradition up, of asking everyone individually, what they were most thankful for…only, all by text. 🙂 Although the Todds & the Collins families were not there (the Todds, we were told, would be spending all future Thanksgivings @ the Cowboy game, and I believe the Collins left town, for a mini-vacation to themselves)…I was still so glad that we were able to drive & spend precious time with some extremely loved family members in Kilgore. Although it was an unexpected challenge for Janis & Bob to find an affordable rental there, it was a blessing to know that they are now just a half-mi. from Gam, and pleased as punch about it. They are always so welcoming… & their home, so inviting.

It was a wonderful time. To me, any quality time spent with family is wonderful, especially on a holiday that lands in the middle of my favorite season, with sunshine, color and change. Continue reading

Protected in the Storm…but not so secure

Texas has the strangest weather. I will never get used to it. Last night I dropped off  Braylon & his buddy, Andre (9) off at another church for their first Royal Rangers meeting (Andre’s first church experience ever!) & then Angel & I drove down the road to worship practice. It was 7pm, in the nineties, & the sky was half filled with dark clouds. I thought to myself, looks like a storm’s brewin’.

After practice, I picked them up @ 8:15-25 & by this time, we could see lightning all around us, but no rain or wind. I got a text from my neighbor, Evie, “Sure is pounding, isn’t it!” We piled in the Scion & took off for home. It was a race against the clouds. Hutto had been hit, & it was headed south toward us. Continue reading

time in tyler texas at the caldwell zoo

we took the 4-5 hr. drive to spend the long weekend with my hub’s dad & step-mom! kind of a make-up celebration for bray’s 6th b-day & great chance to catch up on visiting, relaxing, & loving each other, face-to-face.

today we spent a few wonder-filled hours at the “caldwell zoo” ~ photos are on braylon.com ~ the wildlife was all so close. but strangely, our fave was feeding all the colorful birds on the wild bird walk. braylon’s fave was the white tigers. he saw so many animals he’d never seen or even heard of before.

angel’s eyes were bright and filled with curiosity. i think her favorite was the bird walk, too. she was quite content to be there and wasn’t frightened in the least when they all seemed to land on her at once. her beauty and ease made me think of her as a miniature version of “giselle” from the movie, “enchanted“.

tonight papa rick and granny took them to chuck-e-cheese’s…they said the pizza was entirely nasty and the place was crazy, but our lil ankle-biters tore it up, playing.

tomorrow we may hit the east texas state fair & take some shots of them on rides, & then have a long-awaited visit with great-grandma, deenie.

times are good in tyler.

as certain as death and texas

with hurricane ike’s death toll reaching 51 as of this morning, this great state of texas has been pulling together to help those who’ve survived. my church, calvary austin, put a team together & traveled to calvary houston which along with most of houston, is on its 5th day without power. this is the most current article i’ve found, written about hurricane ike, if you’re more detail-oriented.

here in austin, 300 miles inland, we were safe and warm. disconnected. only felt a brief wind. and it’s back to normal now. normal, disconnected, apathetic, comfortable, enjoyable. yet there’s a lingering sorrow.

there are so many i’m sure, who’ve discovered that a relative or friend is now dead. they may be wondering where that person is now. if they’re in a ‘better place’…or a worse; if there is even a heaven or a hell.

but these are some of the most commonly asked questions about heaven & the afterlife:

  • do pets go to heaven?
  • should Christians be cremated?
  • will we be married or have sex in heaven?
  • should we try to contact the dead?
  • can a person who commits suicide go to heaven?
  • will we remember our lives when we’re in heaven?
  • can people in heaven see what’s happening on earth? and the most important question of all,
  • is there more than one way to get to heaven?

well, earlier this week, my husband & i watched a really great video by craig groeschel who’s studied them all in depth. he gives Biblical explanations, references, answers and opinions for each one of them. i hope this video brings clarity to anyone on their spiritual journey to truth.

but before you navigate away, if you’re a praying person, could you agree w/me in this short prayer?

God, forgive those of us who forget so quickly those in need. quicken our hearts to action, giving us the faith needed to step out & use our resources, whatever they may be. show yourself real and your love present in the lives of those who have lost people they care so much about. bring them peace, beyond understanding.

you are still our God, unchanging and trustworthy. and we love you.

(photo taken not in texas, but haiti where the death toll is over 300 after back-to-back storms. read this well-written article about haiti if you can)