Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Special Gift

As some of my friends and family know, I have been volunteering at Marshall's school this school year. Little did I know just how rewarding these experiences would be. Funny, I was just looking for a way to get out of the house for a while when Rachel was taking her dance program. The gig at the library has been feeding my thirst and passion for children's literature. I only there had been the caliber of authors and illustrators when I was younger.. It's like i'm in heaven and I get to check out whatever I want. Woo hoo.. this is better than being in a candy store.. And I have been thinking about finding a job in literacy once the workplace comes calling once again after the kids are settled in their school schedules.

The cherry on top has to be the opportunity of mentoring an adorable first grader. Since I have been meeting with him, it seems the week drags on a little slower until I meet with him again. We hang out for 30 minutes or an hour if I have lunch with him and one of his buddies. We can pretty much go to any free space in the school during our time. We usually go to the mentoring room where we get to play games or go on the computer. He has shown me some awesome educational sights for our kids.

When I first met him, to say his young life was in turmoil would be an understatement. He didn't like school, didn't have any friends other than the older adults working at the school. In the little time we have hung out,he has literally blossomed into an outgoing, funny and well liked leader in his class. When we walk down the hall I get the opportunity to see him interact w/ kids of all ages. He knows many kids and loves to laugh, joke and act like a normal outgoing kid. And it has been a wonderful experience to watch the fear, insecurity and over imagination calm down into security, courage and a better sense of reality. My joy is immense and yet I also have to admit that I yearn for the time to continue getting to hang out with him. This school year is flying by and he's making such progress.. the best news would be he would not need a special friend to help him achieve his goals. And yet it will hurt if we have acheived what we have needed to do to get him to this point. He may not need to miss class to hang out with an old lady like me.. and that would be good news and sad.

We have used art, drawing and games to keep out conversations not gifted. No child should never have to live through and endure what he has lived or carried upon his shoulders. but the sad thing is many kids today do. Thankfully, we have programs as this one to try and help these kids out. And he's very blessed to have a mom who allows him to spend time with me to hang out with. Some parents can get jealous and not agree to a program that will help their kids. What a priveledge and honor it has been to have this child enter my life. The week never comes soon enough so that I can get my Huge Hug that he gives when we meet and depart. What a blessing he is and I pray he continues to keep plugging away.. He has the potential to become a very special and talented young man. I hope I'm around or in contact to see it happen. What an awesome school district we are able to be associated with for our kids..

Monday, February 23, 2009

Another Family Celebration

Happy 50th Anniversary Mama & Daddy

Wow!! It's hard to believe that we celebrated my folks 50th Anniversary in mid December. We were finally able to Surprise them and get them good. We all met at one of their favorite restaurants and honored the life they have lived together. They were actually fooled (which isn't easy) thinking they were going out w/my sister and her family to celebrate my niece's boyfriend, Josh's birthday. We had a special and beautiful cake made for them (the picture does it no justice). They finally got a special cake as they never had one when they got married.
They got married in Abilene, Tx. while my dad was in the service and my mom was in college.

I keep asking myself where has the time gone? Then that makes me ponder that they are probably thinking the same thing? We've had such good times as a family and have always been close knit and tight. We can easily spend an afternoon recalling some of the funniest and challenging of memories. Marshall told me we shouldn't do that cause he said "We yell too much".. his version of hysterical laughter.. the gut wrenching almost peeing your pants laughter" that you still feel days later with sore stomach muscles. It's also hard for me to think that at the age I am now, I'm not too far from the same age that my folks became grandparents for the first time.
No wonder I feel old.. I really am.. :Q

They are such a great team together. And they started out with nothing and have worked so hard to provide and have sacrificed so much to give to us kids. Education was always so important to them and I'm so greatful for instilling that in all of us. I guess I did fail in realizing that they really meant me to leave one day.. 7 yrs. later.. Their quiet strength and honorable example has provided so much nurturing for us and the grandkids. Actually, I think they really lucked out when they got us three kids.. since we fought so very little and truly loved and cherished each other.
Having said that, my own dilema is that my two fight and argue mercilessly making me feel like a fish out of water in my own home and stressed to the max.. It's so hard to relate to this fact of life. Under it all Marshall and Rachel love each other and are very tight.. but man do they try us endlessly.

Mama and Daddy.. thanks for all that you have taught me and loved me so thoroughly. You never missed a mark. And I am forever grateful. You have set the bar so high, if I can achieve half of what you have with my own family then I will be pretty successful in passing it forward to my family. But again, man that bar is so incredibly high from this view.

Oh and a side note: After all these years, my dad admitted that he has never liked black olives.. This stunned us all.. for countless meals have been made and eaten thinking they were a favorite. I shudder to think what will be revealed at the 60th Celebration?

My hats off to you both.. Not bad for a chick who grew up in a small hick town in the dust bowl of Texas and a Virginian who grew up in a large city. And my love and forever indebtedness to you both..
Congratulations on a blessed love story~~

Hip Hip Hoorah!!

Maw Maw is now 95 years old/young. What an accomplishment. We are so happy and blessed to still have her in our lives. We celebrated with a family birthday party to honor this special woman. She was born in 1913 and I can't even begin to fathom all of the things she has seen and all the changes and advancements she has witnessed. If I remember my history correctly, women weren't even allowed to vote the year she was born. We were in the midst of World War I and the automobile was just beginning to take off. She was born in a small community just a few miles south of Oklahoma in the Panhandle flats of North/West Texas. She came from very modest means on a small family farm. She was the fourth daughter and would later be joined by a younger brother. Unfortunately, by the time she reached her seventh year, her mother had died. And the absence is one she has felt every day of her long life. Shortly later, her daddy remarried a woman not equipped for a step family and domestic responsibilities.

Her older sisters were older and had already begun the next phase of their lives, leaving MawMaw to fend for herself for the most part. She quit school by the seventh grade and has always regretted that move. And in all the years that I have known her, she has underestimated her knowledge and abilities. However, I will wager the family farm any day against anyone when it comes to intelligence. She has the common sense and ability to make any rough situation into a temporary situation that she realizes that will pass if given the chance.

She married my granddaddy during the height of the Depression and they scratched for anything and everything they obtained. Then they had my mom. In better days, she was the first woman in town to have her own car. She stayed home and took care of her family and extended family. It has become my theory that women thrown into a rough situation have the endurance and drive to teach themselves things they didn't have access to with help from others. Both she and my MIL are self taught cooks. And they are the very best cooks I have ever had the blessing to share meals with. By trial and error she has mastered the Art of cooking. To decipher "her" recipes is a task in vocaabulary. She cooks by taste and knows just when it's perfect. A smidgen here, a drop there can make cooking quite difficult for the novice cook trying to learn from her. Her specialties hands down are her scrambled eggs and her pies. The consensus is her pecan pie tops them all, but my all time favorite is her chocolate cream.

My mom inherited MawMaw's gift of artful entertaining and love of family. They also are great gardeners with green thumbs that seemed to bypass my. They both are extremely thoughtful, putting everyone else's needs way before theirs.

My Big Daddy has been gone for almost 40 yrs. and I miss him at least once every week. I believe that he would be very proud of how my MawMaw has lived her life and carried herself in his absence. And I know he would be most proud of the fact that she has beent he glue that has held family connections intact for all of these years for both sides. She has now outlived all of her siblings and inlaws. And her memory is uncanny. Her memory is awesome. To this day, she can tell you about a meal she served in 1942, who was there and exactly how many pies and all the food she served. I can't remember what I had for supper last night and she can tell you about a meal that occurred over 60 yrs. ago? Names, places and people are important and she has always cherished those times and memories.

When we had her 90th birthday party nephews, nieces and others literally travelled from both coasts and areas in between to pay tribute to her. It blew my mind how they dropped their schedules and lives to come and see her again. Her home always reminded me of the Route 66 highway I have heard and read about all my life. It's as if her home was on the map for something very important. And I believe it was.

Words are really hard to come up to honor her. Her sense of humor is wicked and always on the surface. Underneath is one of the most sensitive and kind hearted people I have ever known. today, I believe she was ahead of her time. I doubt that she would see this. But when I watch Paula Deen I see the first. Julia Child she was not.. Paula Deen even better. If she had had her own cooking show she would have been a hit. Only she would have been imbibing while she cooked and would let you know it and invite you as well. And the birthday cake in the picture says it all..She really did ride a motorcycle in her mid-later years, and she is the model that Maxine is fabricated after. A Maxine/Paula Deen combo. And she's tough.. She survived breast cancer 30 yrs ago without a complaint.

The mold was certainly broken when she was born. And the nearest thing I think I will ever see are in the little glimpses of her in our daughter Rachel. Is it a coincidence they are both Scorpios? Naw.. she is alot like her. And it thrills me to no end cause I know you have to be both tough and soft to get through this life..
and a wicked sense of humor will carry you far. My prayer is that she will remember her special buddy since she's only 3 right now..
And I know that MawMaw will be the one skidding across the finish line leaving rough marks in the ground laughing and bragging about what a ride it was..and I am so blessed to have ridden part of the way with her..

Love ya MawMaw..more than you will ever know..
and may you have more healthy and happy days..

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Easy Come Easy Go

Ok.. the high from such an awesome season for Tech came to a screeching halt.
But I admire the team, coaches and fans immensely. They finally got noticed and
recognized for their achievements. And Graham Harrell ended up getting screwed but what's new? And Crabtree as well.. But they did an awesome job. Have to admit I feel ambivalent now.. They will be elevated into a totally new realm of game and expectations and that can be good but yet the innocense will quickly fade with the big dollars and all the hoopla that go wit it.. Great job though..
thanks for the wonderful euphoria while things were so dark and bleak.. what a nice diversion..Go Red Black and White

Tuesday, February 17, 2009


Holy Moly.. has it really been over 3 months since I last wrote on here? I guess so since it took me forever to try and figure out my password. Oh how the memory can slip on a person. Let's see.. where to begin? I believe the election took place right after this and the stock market fell even further and the corp. big wigs greedily cried how poor and terrible things were and then they bought jets.. flew to Lord know where and spent unaccountedvastly sums of money.. laid off thousands more hardworking (ok most of them) people and then cried even harder for even more money.. People are still losing their homes, jobs and faith in America? Ok.. now that covers what the first week of Nov? Woo Hoo!! Aren't we off to a good start?

I would like to wish President Elect OBama good luck. For he will need more than he ever imagined once his feet hit the floor of the oval office and the phone starts ringing off the hook (wait, do phones even have hooks anymore?) to start prioritizing all the favors and promises made while campaigning during those oh too short 2 years of handshaking and baby kissing. Wait, did I see him kiss one baby? I don't remember.. it's all a blur..

All kidding aside..I truly hope that he has the ability to pull all the rabbits out of his hat and make the wheels of this country turn again. It's gonna take alot of oil, elbow grease and accountability to make this baby hum again. And there should be plenty of unused oil since Detroit has all but dried up the motor city majic of years past. The truly sad thing is that some awesome sales have lowered the prices of almost everything and we still have trouble scraping up the money to take advantage..and the even sadder thing? All the lost jobs that are taking a hit.
So let's see what 2009 has in store for us...