Well we are back from a great day at the Johnson lake house on Lake McQueeney. A great day of swimming, skiing, ropes swings plus a great fireworks show. We were there with a bunch of Young Life kids and Beck. The girls are both at Pine Cove this week so they missed the fun. Thanks Patsy and Willis for hosting us what a beautiful place…
We are just getting back online
We had some trouble getting our site hacked. We will try and move over the content from the previous site. Otherwise stay tuned….
Back in Mexico
Well I am back in Mexico a mile from the border. We were up and on the road again at 5. So I will be short but i do want to share my experiences with you. For some you have gotten these notes before and I thank you for your prayers.
I am always amazed at how much withdrawing from life to come across the border changes my perspective. There is so much need and it is really just a matter of listening and putting faith first
I really did not think I could make this trip with my work being so crazy these days. But I am thankful for my team and though I am only down for couple of days I have already felt closer to God in many ways. And felt satans constant pull to safer things.
I am here and I could not feel more safe and alive. I sat at dinner on the front patio area of a small house and had the best tacos of my life. A man and woman with there small daughter. Cooking from the house. So good. We were able to bless them with some money and I will give more tomorrow but here support goes far. We also prayed for them and I have forgotten how powerful it is to be around Z when he gets going.
I love being here. We painted a room in a building Z is turning into a center for kids of the area. See Americans are no longer coming to help as they once did. The violence has them scared. I understand but I do not see it or understand it. I am here because I love it and i love these people. They are real. They are struggling and they need our help. And not much help. Just time and money.
Today I met one of the girls that lives in a house I helped build 2 years ago. Wow. Just to be part of that is very special.
I am pretty tired but today I remembered that focusing on a relationship with God is truly life giving and makes so much of the world i live in everyday seem…wrong.
Come with me next time I promise you will live and it will change your perspective.
Love to all
soccer is our weekly and weekend outings through November. We’re enjoying it. Jaye is our coach for Beck’s team and Jim coaches Libby’s team. Go En Fuego and Go Dolphins!!!!! Ella is sticking to ballet and decided to sit out soccer this year.
First Day of School – big day..
What a great week, so far. The day started early, 6:45, where I kept my priorities straight and got the french press ready and coffee brewing…THEN, I went and flipped on lights, turned on stereos LOUD and gave kisses and hugs and rallied everyone for breakfast… Bagels and cream cheese and scrambled eggs are most common around here so I kept to tradition… soon we’ll graduate to frozen waffles and toast with Jelly, but my kids LOVE eggs.
We got out the door early, and all 4 of us walked the block to school from our parking spot, took Ella to her new class, then Libby to the Portables, which by the way is the absolute farthest spot from her sister in the entire school, and then Beck and I sprinted back to the car to get him off to Kirby Hall. All in all it was a great start to the day, and each day I am loving hearing about what they did, learned and that there’s “no homework until next week.” Bless Ms. Brink. ahhhhh.
Libby loves her sweet teacher who gives hugs when she walks in and when she leaves for the day. And Ms Hill is a blessing for Ella since we love her so much, too. Ms. Campbell has been wonderful with Beck and Beck literally RUNS into school every day, plays for 15 mins on the playground with me (coffee in hand of course) and then walks in, hangs his backpack and takes a seat for circle time.
This is our one week of relaxation when next week kicks off soccer, ballet, brownies, and HOMEWORK…
Go Doss Owls! and Go Kirby Hall Penguins!!!!
My Aunt Betty
It was early and we were staying at a hotel and heading over to the house to wait for the car but before we left I grabbed my ipod to listen to some music. I find that when I listen to music I can focus on larger things than what is happening in that moment. I heard some great tunes again from mercyme and also from wide awake and our friend scott leger. He sings: ” I know love is more than a feeling. But I would give anything to touch you now. I wish that I could get to you somehow.” So I am listening to this and thinking about everyone around me and how we are all feeling the same miserable feelings. Just hoping to feel better somehow. Wondering how she could have been called to heaven. Then the comotion begins again and it is time to leave. We get to their house and I am talking with Uncle Jerry and he gets upset because he turned around at the back door and saw some flowers that Aunt Betty would always water just about the time they were to leave. They might be rushing out the door and she would turn around and see those flowers and say something like look at those flowers they need some water. Then he went on to say “you know Aunt Betty did not want to go anywhere early. We would be ready and dressed to go somewhere and I would say let’s just go but she would tinker and do things until it was the time we were ready to go”. So I know it is silly but this brief discussion had a huge impact on me because I felt comfort that she had stayed on this earth as long as she could even though we wished she was still there. I got a peace that nobody was going to make Aunt Betty leave before it was time to go. Thank You for letting her stay with us this long.
We spent a about an hour at the house and shed some more tears and more laughs. When it was time to go we all got in cars and drove to the church. I was really in shock I could not look at anyone and I did not want to see anyone that would make me lose it. So I pretty much stared at the floor. The music was rough but the service was perfect and the minister very good. We left the church and went to the burial site. I can’t do the site justice in words but the location out is out in a large valley with huge sweeping views in all directions under a warm sunny sky with a great SC breeze that keeps you cool. The cemetery is about a mile out a small road not far from the house.
As we sat listening to the minister at the site a butterfly landed on the flowers on the casket. What a great tribute to the beautiful things God created in this world like Aunt Betty.
After the service we went back to the church and had lunch and got some more time together. The church is small with a beautiful red and white exterior and a white steeple. Inside there were about 20 or 30 rows and completely packed at the time of the service. The were was a choir bay beside the minister where Betty and Jerry sung on Sundays. And of course the red carpet that I stared at for most of the service. It had a great fellowship hall and kitchen area off the side. There were some pictures of the church luau party including pictures of Betty and Jerry dancing the hula.
We left the fellowship hall and again went back to the house one more time. We hung around there and a few changed clothes then we drove back to the site. We shard a few moments together as a family and embracing each other and promising to stay in touch better. I hope and pray that we will be able to come back soon as I want my family to get to see their cousins and know that they are part of something much bigger than our little family in Texas. Jennifer brought up how it was such a huge blessing for my parents to get to spend the last couple of summers out at the Buck with Auny Betty and Uncle Jerry.
We went back to the Buck that night and had some time with some of my dad’s friends from college. Don, Jim and Robin. We sat around and talked of other things and heard stories from their college days it was a nice distraction because leaving Blacksburg was very difficult. I wanted so badly to get home to hold Jeannie but at the same time I wanted to watch over uncle Jerry and keep him distracted.
Now I am riding home on the plane and my anticipation to see my family is growing and I am very excited to see my Jeannie and the kids.
I am flying above the clouds listening to mercyme again. The words to the song “homesick” are hitting me and I think of uncle jerry “Your in a better place I’ve heard a thousand times. And at least a thousand times I have rejoiced for you; but the reason why I am broken; the reason I cry is because how long must I wait to be with you “. Please pray for strength for him and their family.
I know Aunt Betty has gone home and that I will see her again soon and look forward to that day. But for now I am going to water my flowers and watch them grow and I will go home soon enough.
I too will always love you Aunt Betty.
My Aunt Betty
I am in Blacksburg, South Carolina tonight for my Aunt Betty’s funeral. She was 65. She died of a massive heart attack without any warning to anyone including herself but I did not start writing this to tell you that because that sounds tragic and makes you feel a way that Aunt Betty never would have made you feel. She was love. Pure and simple. She gave it out in so many ways and until tonight I only knew of the ways she gave it out to me and my family.
I would like to share with you some of the experiences from my day today. Really just the good parts because really it was a crappy day. But even crappy days have great parts and that is what I want to share with those of you that could not be here. I won’t share with you the many sounds of my dad snoring as he is sleeping next to me.
Aunt Betty lived in SC and I only got to see her once in a while at big events, weddiings or their vacations to Texas. And man she could bring the love. She had this laugh that just seemed to warm your heart and it just went on forever. I can hear her voice in my head now this southern draw that is only heard here in SC where “e” sounds like “a” and the “a” is somehow silent. I hope and pray that her voice in my head never leaves me. See I knew I loved her she was my aunt and that was it for me. But that is not the whole story see she was also a mom, spouse, coworker, friend, neighbor, patron, cousin, sister, daughter-in-law, and so much more. Tonight at the visitation I was given a gift that I never expected to get. Uncle Jerry asked Jennifer and I to stand in the receiving line. We felt awkward doing so but I have to say it was my daily bread and a gift. We shook hands and hugged people we never met and they told us of simple stories and things that she had done for them over the years and I just feel like I got this gift from God that allowed me to see what I had failed to see all these years that she was not just loving on her nephew but she was loving on them ALL. She gave it all to everyone around her. There were no less than 400 people that came through there. How many of us touch others like that. Sure we are nice and courteous but really. Man I want to love like that. I know she must have learned that from my grandmother that died when I was 6 months old and I do wish I had gotten the chance to know her. They both went early in life and it is hard to not understand that. Real hard. I know there are reasons and I trust in the plan of God. Just sometimes I wish I could understand it but I guess if we were given the reasons we would not explore all the 10 billion possibilities I have been trying to figure it out. I have been listening to mercyme music the past few days and they have written about loss. The song Homesick by mercyme is about going home and I know my Aunt Betty is home.
My Uncle Jerry is doing his best to keep it together and I know and pray that he will be comforted by all these people here when we leave to go home. Something I am truly dreading. See he plays a tough guy but he is really faking it and is a softie on the inside. He is the kind of guy that when you go for a hug will either put you in a pinkie finger lock or give you a giant bear hug. I like the bear hug better. I found myself thinking back to being a little boy and wanting to just climb in his lap and wrestle. He is on this roller coaster ride like we all are where we can be laughing one minute and crying the next. We had great times today telling old stories and cutting up. But we always end up back where we are with a huge part of this world and our lives gone to heaven and leaving us down here to wonder how or why.
My second cousin Bob Holland wrote one of the most poignant notes I read today and I will paraphrase because I cannot remember every word but it touched Jerry, my dad, me in one of my great moments today.
My love to Jerry and the girls and to Jerry and Judy Hampton I will always love you Betty.
I will always love my Aunt Betty too but I really want to love like her.