Monday, December 14, 2009

Flubbed Texts

I got permission to use this, although I won't identify the participants.

A friend was out to dinner recently. He was at an Italian place. His wife thought he was at Chuy's, since that was his original plan. She has a new cell phone and was having a little trouble with the texting feature. She couldn't call him since he was in the middle of a business dinner. He got these texts in quick succession:

"Your mom"

"Called and I talked to her"


"Should just give up texting, but maybe you could bring creamy?"

Of course, "hate" has become our new in-joke. She intended to say that she hates texting on the new phone, but "hate" was all she got out before accidentally hitting send. It came out sounding like a slam on her mother-in-law -- definitely not intended.

The last text, for those familiar with Chuy's, is a reference to the magical creamy jalapeƱo dipping sauce for chips. She was requesting that he bring some home because YUM. Out of context it sounds a little, um, strange.

So there's your Monday giggle. What else has made you smile today?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Sunday Strollin' in Chicago

This is my third visit to the Windy City, but it's really my first chance to explore the place. I'm enjoying it a lot.

We got here on Saturday, collapsed in our hotel for a two-hour nap, and took a train ride to Wheaton to visit friends that evening. I failed to take any pictures, but I'm kicking myself now. Their girls are adorable, and we had a great time hanging out with them. It was also my first time on a "real" train, as opposed to a subway. It took two subways and a commuter train to get us there.

On Sunday, we took the advice of my friend Heather, a Chicago native, and went for some real Chicago stuffed pizza.

This location was only one stop away on the El. Unfortunately, our El stop isn't exactly conveniently located. You get used to the cold and the long walk though. I bet I wouldn't have a gym membership if I lived here. Not a lot of really overweight people here, I'm finding. Even though they eat this.

This is quite possibly the best garlic cheese toast I've ever put in my mouth. Flaky bread, melted cheese, perfect marinara... my mouth is watering just thinking about it.

And that was just the prelude to this.

Yeah. They have to cut around the edge of your plate to separate the cheese from the rest of the pizza. This is my kind of meal.

This was when I started to understand what my Chicago friends mean when they tell me the Austin-located "Chicago style pizza" places aren't the real thing, that they're pale imitations. I din't want to believe them, but I have to say they're right. The flaky crust, the sauce... Giordano's is the place. Yum.

After we rolled ourselves out of the restaurant, we headed to the Belmont subway station to find this funky little tile mural. I had to capture it since it was so fun.

We headed to the State Street shopping district. Macy's here, like in NYC, takes up an entire city block. Also like in NYC, they take their window decorations seriously. I won't bore you with all of them, but there were several places where the scene was reminiscent of "A Christmas Story" with the kids pressed against the glass.

There was also a group of several guys playing percussion on five-gallon drums that were very talented. My new camera takes video and I captured it, but I am having technical difficulties getting it onto youtube. I'll leave that on the to-do list and hope I can manage it soon.

We headed inside Macy's -- the biggest department store I've ever seen. If you're an escalator fan, this is the place for you! I really just liked the lines of this shot.

Once we got near the top, we looked out a window and saw this. The architecture was really beautiful throughout the store.

On the 7th and 8th floors was the Great Tree. You can tell how tiny the people are in this shot; the tree is just enormous.

Once outside, the city was dressed in its Christmas best, breathtaking in the twilight.

This was taken near where we ate dinner. I don't know the name of the building, but I loved looking up through the Christmas-lit branches.

We passed a plaza where there were dozens of trees lit up in front of a Christmas tree.

This is the same plaza, shot from the side.

We walked down Michigan Avenue across the Chicago River, to get to a reputed John Cusack hangout. Sadly, there was no Cusack joy to be found. On the bright side, we met a fascinating lawyer from Houston, a fellow who played football for Texas in the Earl Campbell days. I think I may have had a better time talking to him than I would have to Johnny himself!


Anyway, on the way to the hangout we passed the Wrigley building, which is beautiful at night.

These are their Christmas trees, above the main entrance.

And back at our hotel that night, these are the decorations there. Home sweet home-away-from-home!

I've loved exploring a new place this December. What is your favorite Christmas tradition? What is your favorite new thing this year?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Got My P-Dub On Last Night

Don't be afraid; this is still a family blog.

For the uninitiated, P-Dub is one of the many nicknames for The Pioneer Woman, a popular multi-blog covering life, love, cooking, photography, homeschooling, cattle... I'm exhausted just thinking about it.

Ree, a.k.a. The Pioneer Woman, published a cookbook. I can hear my friends laughing that I would buy (or use) a cookbook, but stick with me here. I've been reading PW for a while and love her sense of humor and her "keep it real" tenet. She's now criss-crossing the country on what must be an exhausting book tour, in December no less. So last night, I headed down to Book People, a great independent Austin book store.

I got there later than I wanted (6:30 for the 7pm event) and found a couple hundred people waiting -- and no chairs. Now, I have plenty of padding, but I really don't enjoy sitting on the floor for long periods of time. Call me a grump. But I found a friend and settled in.

Marlboro Man (the widely accepted name for Mr. PW) and all four of the pioneer kids (called "punks" on the blog) appeared around 7, and Ree made her appearance at 7:15. Unfortunately, my video didn't work out sound-wise, but here are my first glimpses of MM and PW:

You may be able to tell in MM's pic that he's signing a cookbook; he had his very own line. He's such a quiet man. I'm sure he's ready to head back to the ranch and leave the hundreds of women behind. Or maybe he enjoys the attention just a little. After all, PW's adoring posts have caused women all over the country to swoon when MM walks in the room.

For anyone who may be curious, I took notes on the Q&A. Here is what I wrote down, with quotes for what she actually said and no quotes when I wasn't fast enough to keep up with it.
  • Q: Will you publish "Black Heels to Tractor Wheels" (the love story of PW and MM)? PW: Yes, she's working on part 2, and it's due to be published on Valentines Day 2011.
  • PW on Bonnie Hunt (PW was recently on her talk show): "She has cute hair. I'm shallow."
  • PW accidentally bought Spanx in a size too small for her: "I'm finding it hard to breathe. If I turn blue, call 911."
  • Q: Does she like photography or cooking more? PW: They're so intertwined now it's hard to know, but probably cooking since it's done to please others.
  • Q: How does she get everything done? PW: "I don't get everything done. I do what's fun for me." She went on to talk about how she doesn't have to start school at 8:30 and how her closet is a mess.
  • Q: Where do you go for groceries? For other stuff? PW: Ponca City for groceries, milk and butter. Tulsa for a serious run into town or "to see the picture show."
  • Q: Do you read all your comments? PW: Yes, all of them. Well, not the contest ones. Then her closet would be an even bigger mess!
  • Q: Is Ree your real name? PW: "My name is Anne Marie. Mike called me Wee Wee." It was later shortened to Ree, and she was thankful.
  • Q: Why do you pots always look so clean in the pictures? Do you buy new ones for shoots? PW: laughed, said they're just scrubbed. She does not photoshop her pots.
  • Q: Who would you cast as yourself in the movie of your life? PW: Elle Macpherson. Q: What about MM? PW: "Let me think about that..." (never answered)
  • Q: Do you have new [photoshop] actions planned? PW: Yes, in about 6 weeks.
  • Q: How much butter do you use? PW: "That's a personal question. I don't have to answer that!" [pause] "Pounds and pounds."
  • Q: How is your family handling being on the road? PW: "I'm in denial; we all agreed to meet here."
  • Q: Has Oprah called? PW: "No, but Bonnie called!"
How much fun is she? The rest of her family is probably ready to get back to the quiet of the ranch (and she may be too, for all I know), but she handled the crowd with grace and humor.

She called an end to the questions so the line for signing could begin. We were all given colored bracelets, and the line was in rainbow order -- ROYGBIV. Red and orange bracelets could get in line first. Since I was so late, my bracelet was blue.

While I was waiting, I got in the shorter line to have MM sign my book. Here is his signature:

There is also a picture of his famous Wranglers on the last page of the cookbook, with the notation, "The End." When people asked him to sign, MM would inquire, "front or back?" Ha!

I told him I'd like to give his lovely wife a gift and asked what colors she likes and/or wears a lot. He said bright colors, especially red and turquoise. Hmmmm, didn't have anything that color with me. But since I had so long to wait, I whipped up a selection of single beads on cords for her to choose from:

At the insistence of the women behind me in line, I gave her a business card as well. She chose the purple-red heart on the right and asked if I have an Etsy store. (I didn't then, but now I do.) She said I really should. I then gave Betsy, PW's sister, her choice of the remaining beads. She chose the next one on the right, the one with multi-colored stripes.

Here are the lovely ladies behind me in the line, who really wanted to be on PW's blog and who graciously let me do bead market research on them:

And this is the biggest reason I'm still cursing myself for forgetting my new camera last night. The BookPeople folks were taking photos of people with Ree as the line moved along... but my camera phone did not cooperate on the most important pic of the night. Here is my very blurry photo with the Pioneer Woman:

Still, a great night and some fun memories. Thanks, Ree!

I failed to blog seeing Don Miller on his book tour (I didn't wait around to meet him), but that was a great night as well. His partner in crime did a monologue, and he talked about a mishmash of his books.

If you've hung in this far, a few questions: have you ever been to a book signing / reading? Did you hang out to meet the author? Was it worth it?

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Beadin' It Up!

Glass fans, today is for you! Bead haters, click away now. You have been warned.

I have been busy on my torch, including a really great class this past weekend, so I thought I'd share the fun with you. I'm doing something else fun tonight, so maybe I'll have TWO things to talk about in ONE week.
Nah, never happen.
I had a friend who ordered two frogs and a ladybug for his young daughter. I haven't made a satisfactory ladybug yet (although the teacher of the class chose my first effort bead to go on a necklace for her stuffed animal), but here are the two frogs, one blue and one green. I hope she likes them. Need to get crankin' on that ladybug!

The glass shop where I buy most of my glass has a great necklace made out of all red, white and black beads. I was inspired by this to rip it off shamelessly. Here's what I have so far. The pendant (front left) was actually going to go to my beloved doctor, but I don't like it, so I'll be making her another one.

These beads are all made with silvered glass, that crazy expensive stuff that I love so much. On the left is a pendant that's decorated all in silvered glass except for the pink swirl. Silvered glass fumes the underlying glass, so you can only see the true color of the base bead under the pink.

The four beads on the right were all made with Triton and light purple transparent. I simply have not figured out how to tame Triton under a layer of clear glass, although other people have no problem with it. I keep getting a weird orange color. I described it to someone this weekend, and she made a really funny face at me and said, "Orange? Really?" Yes, I'm a freak.

The four in the middle worked out more or less as planned; I may make earrings out of the matching ones.

The beads in the picture below are my recent experiments with color reactions, which is another particular passion of mine. The three on the left use turquoise, purple (called EDP or evil devitrifying purple because of the difficulty people have in working with it) and copper green, all of which are highly reactive. Until recently, I was skeered of EDP because I've ruined beads with it. Now? What the heck, it's just glass, right? Every bead is a learning experience. And I managed not to ruin those three, or the one on the right, or the one on the bottom left, all of which used EDP.

The one on top is powder pink with rubino decoration, really nice looking. I'll have to pick up some more of those colors to play with them. On the bottom left is copper green and silver pink. I'd like to try copper green and silver blue and am requesting that my handy dandy glass shop stock some so I can try it.

The bead set below is the original one I made for a co-worker. After talking further, we ended up with a different design for her, so I still have these, looking for a happy home. The base bead is blue (messy glass), with a twisty of yellow and silver pink.

The necklace below is one I made for myself in a bunch of different colors I liked together: turquoise, pea green, violet, cobalt, pink... just all sorts of stuff I wear. I made it long so I can loop it around twice.

These are a bunch of black beads. On the left, a spare of a cross I made for a friend. On the right, a suggestion from a friend (he has the one that's not etched), and I kept this one. Then he and another friend asked if I could make a cross like that bead, so I did (sorry for the knot on the bottom of the bead, can't be helped). On the bottom is a black and yellow bead requested by a friend who rode in a LiveStrong challenge.

Next up is my new favorite bead. I got some new silvered glass this weekend called Aurae. I lovelovelove it, and here is why. This is a white bead with Aurae decoration.

Another view of the same bead. I only hope I can replicate it, because this one will probably leave me very soon, and I want my own.

Here are the beads I made in class this weekend. The instructor, Andrea Guarino, was amazing. She was personable, such a great beadmaker, and so generous to share the techniques that are the backbone of her business (not that any of my beads look like hers, so she's in no danger from me). These are Saturday's beads. The two to the left of the hearts are ones I made at home on Saturday night -- I was that fired up.

And these are Sunday's beads. Notice how many fewer there are on Sunday. These are a lot more complex. The one on the upper left (which, again, looks nothing like one of Andrea's) takes her an hour to create. It's called a Sea Garden. The two in the middle are called Galaxy beads, and the one on the right is an Ammonite.

Same beads, flipped over so you can see the other sides.

If you really like the bead pictures, make sure you're checking out my twitter feed; I post pics there whenever I make a new batch of beads, and lots of those pics never make it to the blog.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

I Love a Halloween Challenge!

It's not often when you're charged with helping someone celebrate a holiday for the first time.

It happens when you're a parent, but then those people don't remember the celebration.

For Halloween this year, I had the great joy and privilege of helping someone celebrate Halloween for the first time as an adult. One of my co-workers , named Pei-Yeh, was here from Taiwan, and she was fascinated by the holiday.

I invited her to my house for the day with lots of plans in store. First up: my friends Matt and Becky came over, with many tools and stencils and a hollowed out pumpkin. Becky is the ultimate craft queen: she can sew (being a lifelong quilter); she can crochet; she papier-mache'd their Halloween costumes. She also, not surprisingly, is a crackerjack pumpkin carver.

Unfortunately for Becky, hubby and I had gotten the world's most difficult pumpkin the day before Halloween. Warty and thick-skinned, it resisted any tools we could throw at it: pumpkin tools, steak knives, paring knives, even a hammer/screwdriver combo. This explains why our pumpkins turned out thusly. You guess which is which.

Once finished with the carving, Pei-Yeh wanted to see my torch and watch me make a bead. I had previously made her a necklace using some beads I made:

So now, since I had a frog bead that I needed to make for a friend, she went out to watch. Here is what I made; it's probably the best frog I've managed to make thus far.

Once finished with melting glass, Pei-Yeh and I changed into our Halloween costumes and prepared to go trick-or-treating with Son the Younger and one of his friends. Since they are 16, we hoped to blend into a crowd of teens. Here's a pic of me and Pei-Yeh in costume:

Here's my sweet baby boy... doesn't he look cute?

And this is his friend the Evil Clown, who took great and horrible glee in scaring older children all over our neighborhood.

We had a wonderful time trick-or-treating, and no one question Pei-Yeh's age, although I got a funny look or two and one snide comment.

After the trick-or-treating fun, we headed downtown. In Austin, that means 6th Street, which is party central. I've never been on Halloween, simply because it's such a zoo. It's a great place to people watch on any ordinary weekend, and the street is barricaded on weekends to allow for foot traffic, so on Halloween? On a Saturday night? With perfect weather? Fuhgeddabouddit. And I would have, had it not been for Pei-Yeh. But what the heck, I'd never been, so off we went.

We left early, arriving around 9pm. There were plenty of families and lots of older folks to be found. I would assume that as the evening gets later, the average blood alcohol gets far higher, the younger set comes out to party, and the costumes get wilder. I was more than happy to come early and go home early. Still, there were some great costumes.

The Shrek family. Notice that even the baby is dressed up. How cute is that?

This guy was on stilts and had some serious stilts skills. He was as comfortable on stilts as I am on my feet (and more so some days).

I'm not sure what this guy is, but it's a cool costume.

Pei-Yeh was delighted to pose with Yoshi.

And tell me this isn't the greatest group costume ever: the entire cast of the Mario games!

I've spared you a couple of the other pictures I took, like the dancing fat man who painted himself blue. Suffice it to say that Pei-Yeh thinks all us Americans are crazy.

I'm not sure she's wrong.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Loving God: Good, Better, Best?

My small group recently finished a study called Morph, produced by my church. There are four modules, and we did the first one, called Love God. (If you click on the Morph link, you can create and account, view the content, and even print it for yourself.) I'm also reading Francis Chan's Crazy Love, which is life-changing if you're willing to allow it to be. And I'm trying.

After a pretty intense 8-week study, I had a sort of idea of how I was supposed to love God. And there are some people in my church who seem to do it pretty well. One friend, Karin, is one of those people who is LOUD in her love for God. She dances, she "AMEN"s in church, she writes of her passionate love for God on her blog.

Last night I was reading a chapter in Chan's book about people whose love for God outshines anything else in their lives. These are some crazy life stories. I asked God last night: why don't I love you like that, with that passion, that intensity, that fire? Help me love you more completely, God! Bring it on!

I got kind of a weird answer. Seems I'm not my friend Karin, and I'm not those other people either. I'm not wired like them; I'm wired just like me. My love may show in different ways. I'm not sure how that works yet, but I'm working on it.

While I was praying last night, and doing my best to listen to God instead of doing the babblebabblebabble that I'm usually guilty of, I heard Him... I heard Him tell me what I told you above. And then I heard a slightly different "voice," similar but different, that I knew wasn't God the Father. Somehow I realized instantly that this was the voice of Jesus. He told me that living with His love unleashed in my life doesn't tie me down; it unfetters me. It FREES me. I had this mental picture of shackles -- cuffs -- falling off my wrists and ankles. Then I remembered a well-known verse: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me!" (Phil. 4:13)

The next morning, when I woke up, I read the next chapter of Chan's book. In it he says that "our talk doesn't match our lives. We say things like, 'I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me,' and 'Trust in the Lord with all your heart.'" Um, W O W. Someone trying to get my attention?

There is power in these statements, in these promises, and we leave it lying there. We don't trust in God. We don't know that we can do all things, so we don't go into areas that require any more than our own puny strength.

I have one life. One. One life on this earth, and it's short. I don't want to settle. I don't want to forget the power that I've been freely given, the power that Jesus died and rose again to bestow on me.

God, please don't let me forget again.

Monday, October 19, 2009

What I Did on My Summer Vacation (All of Them)

This post is shamelessly stolen from Vince's blog since I don't have an original bone in my body and I'm not ashamed to admit it. And I like maps and find it interesting to see where other people have been.

So here's where I've been:

visited 16 states (32%)

I've driven from Texas to California by both the northern and southern routes, thus filling in all those states, and I've driven to Illinois and Florida as well. I've flown to Hawaii and New York for fabulous vacations.

Unfortunately, the rest of the US remains untouched. I hope to make it to Alaska on a cruise next year with my fun aunt who's celebrating a significant birthday. I guess the rest of the country will have to wait.

What am I missing that I must see? Where have you been? Create your own map, post it and tell me -- or just post a comment telling me how many states you've been to.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

What I Love: Today and Always

After a too-long blogging hiatus -- come on, we're all busy, but really? there's nothing to say? And yet I can carry on a conversation with a friend for two hours -- what do I come back with?

Well, with love, of course.

What do you love most? What do you love best about today? And what do you love best about your life in general?

I was thinking about this last night, but yesterday was just too busy a day to write a thoughtful post like that starting at 11pm, so any readers I have left (hi, Daddy!) had to wait one more day.

I'm sure you felt my absence for that one more day.

Without further rambling, here's what I love best about today:
  • It's raining. We've had a lot of rain lately, but as hot and dry as the summer was, I'm gonna love the rain for a long time.
  • I got to go to lunch with a co-worker and two customers, all of whom I consider friends. Some days my job is pretty amazing.
  • Tonight I get to meet with my small group, which is a great bunch of people that I get to love on and learn about God with. Some of them are folks I haven't known very long, but I really enjoy them.
  • Before small group, I'll be cleaning up my house. I love it when my house is clean. (I don't so much love the process, but the product is fantastic!)
  • Small group ends early enough that I'll have a little "me" time. What will I do? Will I make some beads on the torch? Read? Catch up with some Mythbusters on the DVR with my teenager? Do some beading? I don't know, but having an hour or two that I can do whatever I want makes me very happy.
And here's what I love best about my life:
  • My family. I have a husband who truly couldn't love me any more. I have two sons who couldn't be more different than each other -- and who are both amazing in their own unique ways. My dad calls himself a curmudgeon, which is true, but there's no curmudgeon I'd rather spend time with: he's as fun and funny and charming as he ever was. My sister, as different from me as my sons are from each other, is one of my best friends, and her hubby and kids are fantastic. My in-laws are wonderful. Even my crazy extended family, all 173,897 of them -- they're a lot of fun. That's a lot of stuff for my first bullet point, enough for a whole post!
  • Some of the silly material things that I enjoy: my house, my car, my cell phone (my first smart phone, and oh my gosh, how did I ever live without one?). Sure, I could do without any of them, and I have. But I'm thankful for them, just the same.
  • My health. In the last few days I've heard a lot of stuff about people that aren't healthy. A friend's mom is being treated for cancer. Austin's iconic homeless cross-dresser Leslie is hospitalized with a head injury. A four-year-old girl in Uganda needs treatment for a seizure disorder. I mean, sure, I have migraines and rosacea, but in the big picture? No big deal.
  • My friends. I have some really amazing friends. I've had seasons of life without close friends, so I try not to take them for granted.
  • And, of course, I love God, who I consider to be the source of everything listed above, plus the other dozens of things I didn't list. I don't love Him as well as I should, but I'm trying to do better.
What about you? What are you thankful for? What are you loving about your life, today and in general?

Monday, August 31, 2009

Should The Church Play It Safe?

I'm glad I go to a church that doesn't, but I'm speaking here of The Church in a Biblical sense as Christ did, as His bride.

My church has been doing a series on sex, the rationale being that everyone else is talking about it; why shouldn't we? Topics were GodSex, MarriedSex, SingleSex, UnfaithfulSex, and SameSex.

That's right, we actually talked about homosexuality in church.

My church has a large homosexual population. We're a seeker church, modeled after Willow Creek (both original pastors came from there), and a lot of people who have been burned by church or who never set foot in church feel very comfortable there. The flip side is that we end up with a lot of messiness. [Tongue in cheek] I'm sure Jesus never had that problem Himself. [/Tongue in cheek]

For years, this has been the elephant in the room. It's a topic that's easy to mess up. You can alienate the gay population, or you can alienate people who see themselves as believing in Biblical truth. I would not have wanted to be in the shoes of my pastor yesterday. He restricted himself to a 15 minute talk, then interviewed three people from our congregation who struggle with same sex attration (two women and a man). Unfortunately, I can't embed the video, but you can click here to see it.

One of the staff members sent out an email asking people to wear a white t-shirt if they would commit to pray for these folks as they courageously agreed to be interviewed. She said she would be on the front row praying through all three services. I joined her on the front row for the last service. Hearing what these folks went through brought tears to my eyes. There was a lot of emotion in the room, even for the normally emotionless last service.

How does your church handle tough topics? Do you talk about them head on or shy away from them?

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Life is Fragile

It's not like I didn't know that, but I got quite a reminder today.

After I'd been at work for an hour or two, my hubby called me. He'd been talking to some of my former co-workers (we're all still friends) and found out that the wife of one of my old managers passed away last night. She was young and it was very unexpected, and it leaves my former manager as the single father of their daughter.

I went by this afternoon to visit with everyone, and a couple of the guys had gone to see him over lunch. He's not going to be himself for a long time, I think. I wish there were something tangible I could do to lessen his suffering, but of course there's not.

On the way back to the lab where I've been working, I ran into an acquaintance whose wife died several years ago. He hadn't heard the news, so I told him and we talked for a bit. He and my old manager have been acquainted for years, but of course this is something he would never have wanted to have in common with anyone.

Never leave anything unsaid, folks. Tell your loved ones how you feel. Don't wait until tomorrow. It might not come.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Ode to True Friendship

During this, the last week of her single life, I would like to tell you a little about my good friend Heather.

Good friends are hard to find -- I can count the very best, the closest, the most loyal, in my lifetime on a single hand. I've been privileged to know Heather for probably six or seven years now, and we have been running (or accountability) partners for about three of those years.

Heather is ten years my junior, but she is far wiser than her years, and her senses of fun and style make sure I never tire of her. I'll share with you a picture we took together the night she was engaged. It's not my favorite of me, but she is glowing, of course.

For a friendship to form, you need time, trust, loyalty, honesty, and some fun times thrown in for good measure. Heather and I have had all those in abundance. It's easy to see why she has been chosen as a bridesmaid twenty-four (24!) times: she's just that easy to love.

My friend, I have known for years that you are a catch. I knew that one day you would be caught. I am thrilled that Tim knows how lucky he is to have you, but just as importantly, I know how blessed you are to have found a man like Tim: Godly, wise, thoughtful, kind, loving, sparing nothing of himself to support you in every way. Even though I know our relationship will change, I cannot wait to celebrate with you on Saturday as you become his wife, his bride, the woman he chooses to spend the rest of his life with.

He couldn't have made a better choice.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Praying for Candi

I have nothing more important to say today than to ask you to click here and pray for Candi. The link will tell you her story in her words.

Candi is a friend of my sister's and has been for many years (since high school? junior high? a long time, anyway). She is facing a very serious surgery next Friday to drain and/or remove a softball-sized cyst from her brain.

Yes, you read that right.

Please pray for Candi's doctor, for her surgery, for her recovery, and for her family. I'm sure she will be nervous during the next week, and I know she wants your prayers and good thoughts.

If you'd like to leave a comment here for her, I'll send them to my sister and make sure she gets them.

Thanks, y'all.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

What a Cool Birthday Gift!

Those who know me well know that I was married on my birthday, so I celebrate my birthaversary each year. Or whatever you want to call it.

This year, for our 20th anniversary, hubby and I celebrated by going to Hawaii. I had wanted to go to Europe, but our friends were headed to Maui and offered us a room in the house they were renting. With arm-twisting like that, who were we to say no?

Since that was a couple of months early, I kind of wondered if we might have some sort of smaller local celebration. As the time approached, nothing really presented itself. No big deal, really. I'm not the kind of girl to kick and scream. I mentally shrugged and went on about my business.

On Saturday night, we went to see one of my all-time favorite songwriters, Terry Taylor. Terry is the front man for Daniel Amos, a Christian alternative band, and the Swirling Eddies, a humorous offshoot. He also plays with the Lost Dogs, a band comprised of front men from other bands. On his current tour, Terry is playing with his son Andrew for the first time, which is fun to see. He's also being accompanied by Steve Hindalong, a recent addition to the Lost Dogs and drummer and songwriter for The Choir, another band I've followed for more years than I care to count. You, dear reader, would know Steve best for his songwriting credits... perhaps not my favorite ("Beautiful Scandalous Night") but probably his most famous ("God of Wonders").

Saturday's show was fun: great musicianship, to be sure, but also wonderful comraderie between three men who clearly were having a genuinely good time playing music together. I had my camera with me, but the pictures were abysmal, so I shall not burden you with them.

Cut to Sunday. I get an email from my friend Angela, forwarded from Terry's manager. Seems there has been a cancellation, and they'd like to schedule a house concert anywhere between San Antonio and Dallas on Monday night. Angela is an apartment dweller, but my house is perfect for such a thing. Angela's birthday is Sunday, and she knows mine is Tuesday. We're both huge fans; what a great gift to both of us! I book the show, knowing I have about 30 hours to pull together a crowd for it.

I invite everyone I know on Facebook who lives in Austin, regardless of whether they might have heard of Terry. One of the people I invite is the sister-in-law of the promoter from the Saturday show. She gets him involved, and he adds another hundred people to the invite. Suddenly, we're talking about a potential real crowd here!

Forty people come to the show. Andrew (Terry's son) tells hubby it's the second biggest crowd they've seen at a house concert. He's impressed we've managed to publicize this well given a little over 24 hours for a Monday night show. So am I.

The crowd is appreciative. Many know all the songs; a few aren't familiar with Terry but come because of friends or because of other reasons. We don't charge admission, but the tip jar fills nicely, and the band sells some merchandise.

Most of the pictures don't turn out, but a few do, so I'll share those. First up: a shot of the band from the back of the room, showing part of the crowd. I counted about forty people, including kids. Not bad.

The guys jamming. From L-R, Andrew Taylor, Terry Taylor, Steve Hindalong.

During one song, Steve shows off his lasso skills: risky business in Texas. It's the only time I use a flash during the show.

After the show, hubby insisted I get a pic with the band. From L-R, it's Andrew Taylor, Terry Taylor, me, and Steve Hindalong.

It's not often you get to spend an evening with people you've admired for so long. The talent and poetry that flows through these gentlemen is hard to describe to the uninitiated.

I asked them each to sign something that would be meaningful to me. Terry signed my copy of the first Daniel Amos CD that I fell in love with. It's from the '80s, and I can't say it's aged best of all his music, but I still love it. Steve signed the first recording of "Beautiful Scandalous Night." He wrote, "On the hillside you will be delivered," which is a lyric from the song.

What did Terry, ever the jokester, write on the Daniel Amos CD? "Don't listen to this."