Friday, March 20, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 3.20.15

- A few days over spring break just at home, with no real agenda, lazy mornings and slow evenings with very few responsibilities.

- Getting to read in the mornings with Essie right next to me, a book on her lap as well.These are just things that simply don't happen during normal weeks.

- Coffee with Jessica C ~ sweet time with a sweet woman. I admire her transparency and deep love for you, Lord. And the way you orchestrated our convo with Nick ~ crazy. You are indeed in the details.

- Baseball tournaments rained out (with gorgeous weather over the weekend). Boo. Practicing thankfulness in all things.

- TCU v. BU baseball game Friday night ~ we were a bit out of place in our green and gold, and Baylor lost 3-1. Could have been much worse, however, and it was a fun evening with Branson and Hudson with a Fuzzy's dinner afterwards.

- Girls getting sleepovers at both Mama and Papa's, and Cappy and Daboo's.

- Hair cuts! Free and convenient - and good!

- A date with Corbin at Blue Mesa, we both love that place. So nice to get away to a quiet dinner amidst our home filled with kids all week.

- A Spring Break sleepover

- A quiet Saturday morning - don't quite know what to do with ourselves!

- Cinderella with the Sanders girls - great outing, great friends, great film. Lily James is just so stinking fun to watch on screen.

- Watching Bran and Hud have fun together.

- Papa taking Bran and his friends fishing several times last week. Sweet investment.

- Finding Essie's pics on my phone.

- A drive to 7R for a cancelled horse lesson. Again, thankful for all things. Really hate seeing Basden disappointed, but the Lord knows, and He will use it.

- That we still enjoy the park behind our home.

- Watching Hud run at his first track meet ~ wowzers. He's not just a fast runner, he's a determined runner!

- Daboo helping Es with homework

- The mullet - Frederick - is GONE. Praise God. At Bran's request.
How many brilliant business men are up at midnight (after a late-night track meet) cutting hair??! This one!

- Encouraging words from friends.

- Elvia!
Her hard work blesses us so tremendously
- Our Tanglewood / McLean Moms in Prayer group, and Paschal Praying Moms. When I feel out of control in parenting (and I am - so often - cannot control things), I know the Lord is. Praying with these SCHOOL moms makes all the difference in our weeks. And seeing answered prayers for other students and teachers is so incredibly encouraging. 

- This - tomorrow night - curious and excited to see what the Lord has in store through Bran and his friends "gathering" for a night of worship (?!)

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Friday, March 13, 2015

Hudda's Night Out

This written by my dad, aka Cappy. He jotted it down recently and sent it to me in an email, and I'm posting here with his permission. The power of an engaged, loving grandpa (or two)  ~ tremendous.

One evening Charles called and said we were heading out for a spur of the moment man’s dinner, the two of us, Cap and Papa, and oh yes, Hud. My immediate response was "Count Me In" with no further thought.
He said we would meet at Olive Garden.
Not my favorite place.
On second thought, I might have some things to do.
But I was certainly up for a quick meal with my co-padre Papa, and of course, Hud. I think Hud was about nine.

We arrived at Olive Garden and it was packed, shoulder to shoulder. Charles was at the desk about ten feet in front of me and turned and mouthed, “forty-five minutes," with a nod and a smile down at Hud, standing next to him. I finally squeezed over to them and suggested that there were plenty of places where we wouldn’t have to wait. With a flurry of his eyebrows and a grin, Charles mentioned that this was Hudson’s favorite place.
Papa and Hud
I looked down at Hud and asked him “What is your second favorite place?” Charles deftly moved in and continued an on-going conversation with Hud. Something about fishing gear.  He craftily drew me in, nodding and including me in the conversation. My thoughts of getting home in time to do anything settled into the background.

Finally seated at our table, we perused the menu. I was looking for the least worst item and quickly chose an old standby. Charles led Hud through the menu, several times.
I was intrigued.
Hud and Cappy

As Charles touched on each item with Hud he approached the selection with care, as if each one was special… as if each item was of value, an experience not to be passed by too lightly. I watched mesmerized as something beautiful was happening. As Charles led Hud through the options, and then back and forth, discussing the special ingredients in this one or sauce in that one, it became apparent that what Charles truly valued was not the selections, but it was Hudson he valued. What Hudson thought and did mattered to Charles. Charles respected Hudson’s opinion and listened to him. It was evident that Hudson knew ingredients and sauces just as well as he knew fishing lures. Charles had seen to that in dining experiences with Hud through the years. It was very obvious that, to Charles, it mattered greatly what choice Hudson would make. Because Hudson greatly mattered.

Waiting for our selections, Charles led Hudson through several discussions that primarily resulted with Hud voicing his opinions. Hud fit right in, knowingly making observations and judgements with ease. When the food came, they discussed the ingredients again for a moment and then moved back in to the prior conversation. I don’t know that I have ever seen such a beautiful experience.

To be clear, this was Hudson’s night. And I was truly glad to be part of the evening.

That night Charles led the two of us on a great experience of adventure and learning… two more in the lengthy and significant procession of boys and men that have been loved and mentored by Charles Wilson.

Footnote - Papa knew Hud needed some encouragement and attention, and he knew just how to administer it. 
Baptisms ~ April 2007
Papa's prayer with Hud's sweet grin

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Hudson ~ "Where I'm From"

The following is an essay Hudson wrote for a school assignment earlier this year. I posted Branson's "Where I'm From" last week, and wanted to share Hud's here as well. Love his words.

Where I'm From
Hudson James Wilson

I am from ping pong, from pool basketball, and gaga. 

I am from the pillows, blankets, and soft carpet in the pool house.

I am from the slackline, and the big magnolia, the odd circle of dead grass, and leaf piles in my front yard. 

I am from Ross Purdy, and Chris Wolfe cracking jokes, and telling me to "suffer quietly" while pinching me. I am from Paul Gerrish giving me Idaho horse bites, and the excitement of snowmobiling in Chama. 

I am from spending Christmas in New Mexico, and Thanksgiving at Bourland. I am from my middle name, and the Lodge, and Cappy's plane. 

I am from Yukon, Cross and Ruby. I am from TCU baseball, and Tanglewood Elementary. 

I am from "Feed the dogs" and "It's alright."

I am from a strong Christian belief, and Ryan to Kevin. 

I am from Daboo's hamburger straganoff, and my mom's breakfast casserole, I am from November, and dark skin. 

I am from Basden's blue eyes that match Yukon's, the shaking hands of Mama drinking wine through a neon straw, to the steady hands of Papa nailing wood to make a raft. 

I am from the family that comforts me, and the good family reunions celebrated twice a year. I am from the James and Wilsons that I call my family.

Monday, March 9, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 3.9.15

 - MORE snow... this is kind of getting a little crazy here in Fort Worth!

 - Snuggling with Daddy
One reason we love snow mornings
Mini snowman

- Corbin's first week of work ~ very full, a little overwhelming, but he's thrilled to be there.

- Reconnecting with so many old friends through Remembering David. Corbin and I are certainly not the only ones missing him.

That Basden’s 5th grade year is not hard on me. She is so responsible. So precious. 

- Jim taking Hud along with he and Jennings to Angel Fire for a few days ~ that Hud gets to snowboard AND see his cousins - a gift! And for Jim driving 24 hours to get them there and back (!)
Jennings and Hud
Foster and Hud
- THIS. I find this so stinking hilarious.
- PHS baseball tourn in Abilene. Two of the days were rained out, but we still got in two games Saturday. First game - great. Second game - could tell none of our players had eaten since 8am. Oh well. Fun to watch the boys and learn names / numbers.

Bran and Matthew
- A cold and kind of rainy couple of days at the lake. Time with both sets of grandparents, Marc and Grey.
Marc's nearly imperceptible photo bomb ~ funny kid
Bran, Grey, Marc
- Celebrating Papa's birthday with a humongous chocolate cake.


- Girls enjoying 7R's heated pool (brrr!)

- Guys' hike


- Very glad for Spring Break, although it's kind of weird following all of those FWISD snow days.

- Space for baseball players on a rainy Monday of spring break (and that they stopped to eat lunch on the way over to our house!)

- Grateful that all of this ice and snow slow the last couple of weeks down, but looking forward to the sun too!

- "Let the beloved of the Lord rest secure in Him, for He shields him all the day long, and the one the Lord loves rests between his shoulders." Deut 33:12.

Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always. Remember the wonders he has done, his miracles...   1 Chronicles 16:11-12

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Remembering David Phillips

 It's been nine years and we miss him.

Nine years since that freezing Sunday morning when his car spun out of control on an icy highway en route to Christ Chapel. He never arrived to deliver his sermon.

It's been nine years, and still his personality, his humor, his contemplative theology, his practical jokes, his commitment to disciple students, and his love for travel and missions continue to infuse our church body.

Sometimes mid-sermon, a phrase or story from Ted Kitchens evokes a strong memory of David. In earlier days with a more intimate sized-church staff, Ted served David in a fatherly role, a spiritual mentor / pastor role, but also just as a good plain friend. Their mutual love for Young Life and relationships and laughter imparted a lightness from the pastoral staff that somehow balanced our church body's heavy hurts and needs.

Corbin and I met David in September of 1996, our third week visiting Christ Chapel. We had been married less than a month and wanted to visit this church because Sharon Wimberly, Ted's assistant, was so kind to us over the phone. We visited three Sundays in a row, attended the only worship service offered - 9:30 Sunday morning - in what is now the chapel with Louis at the piano leading us in hymns.

Right as the service ended, I said to Corbin, "It's just so weird not knowing anyone here. Maybe we should go visit some other churches and we might circle back here at some point."

At that moment, the young woman in front of us turned around and said, "Hi, I've never seen y'all here before. I'm Lisa." We told her we were newlyweds, looking for a church, and that we might want to work with youth or something like that. She responded with, "Well, my husband Steve is out of town hunting, but we're helping starting a new college class downstairs - want to come check it out?"

We followed our new friend Lisa down to the basement where a handful of TCU students gathered with their warm and engaging student pastor, David. He looked about a day older than the college seniors. That very week we started up Bible studies and filled the calendar with college gatherings and social events. Weeks turned into months, and the college group grew so large that we removed the room dividers and took over the entire basement. Within a couple of years, our college group was simply too loud for the sanctuary above, and the church bought us a temporary, enormous "bubble." The bubble sat at the east end of campus, which at the time was at the opposite end of campus from big church. I'm still impressed that David somehow talked the Elder board into purchasing that (very attractive) temporary facility and putting it smack-dab in the middle of church property.

One August Sunday morning, David, Corbin and I flitted around the bubble talking and visiting with a couple hundred TCU students who had just returned to campus. The fall semester was just starting up, and the college students filled the domed room to overflowing. Jon Dansby and Ryan McCarthy sang and played worship on stage as students grabbed seats. For some reason, this brief season represented the harvest being plentiful, but the workers few - with all of the amazing couples who invested in the college class in those years, this particular semester David, Corbin and I were the only leaders available.

David pulled Corbin and me into the little hallway outside the main room. With wide eyes and a smirk, he said, "Ok guys, what do we do? Do we just go on stage and say, "Welcome back, everyone, but you may as well go on back to your dorms. We have absolutely nothing for you here." Moments later, David ascended the stairs and spoke a meaningful message to those hundreds of college kids, and the semester rolled right along.

For the better part of a decade, Corbin and I considered the college ministry team our small group - we worked together, studied Scripture together, prayed together, laughed together, ate together. We debated whether it was acceptable for ministry leaders to drink alcohol, and what standards to expect from college student leaders. We led Bible studies that started at 9 or 10 pm to accommodate college schedules. We put in all-nighters for slumber parties, set aside weekends for college retreats, and eventually reared our babies and toddlers through a lens of college ministry life.

One spring break we, along with Richard Petty, accompanied David on a college mission trip to his beloved Guatemala, where he taught us the importance of staying at a nice hotel and enjoying great food even when on a mission trip. Seriously, David planned those mission trips in such a way that we jumped in and lived among the villagers during the week, but the last couple of days were capped with travel and leisure, so that we understood the country offered a variety all levels of wealth and poverty. 

So these days, as I walk into our church on cold wintry mornings nine years after David's passing, I am at times choked up by his deep legacy in our church body, and how his ministry continues to ripple through our congregation.

Last month Kathy Burr and Michael Burr - mother and son - joined up and presented some encouragement to high school parents by sharing their experiences during Michael's teen years. We first met Michael as a high school student, and his mom Kathy was and continues to serve as our Children's minister. Woven through their stories of conflict throughout Michael's teen years, David's name surfaced as one who remained tethered to Michael during that tumultuous season. David never gave up on Michael, which in part kept Michael from giving up on Michael. Michael is now married with two darling little girls, and he oversees a thriving high school ministry, tethering himself to students who might need a little extra TLC. Corbin and I are touched by Michael's kindness, his vision for ministry, and his attention to students - including our own.

We met Ryan McCarthy during his senior year at TCU, right at the time we started attending Christ Chapel. Ryan was fresh out of a crazy lifestyle, head-fast into an even crazier lifestyle following Jesus. Ryan played the drums in the worship band, accompanied David on a zillion pranks, and worked alongside David discipling students behind him. Years of leadership at church followed, and now Ryan, husband and father of three, oversees all of Christ Chapel's student ministries from middle school through college. In the way he depends on God's Word as truth, the way he manages his family with kindness and fun, the way he serves student and student leaders, we see the investment of David's life poured out through Ryan's.

When I listen to Cody McQueen, one of our teaching pastors and a truly gifted communicator, I hear echoes of David's kindness and grace. It was an abundant, over-the-top joy when David finally found the woman of his dreams, Jen. They met, married, and he was head over heels for that girl during their brief marriage. Jen was all that David's friends hoped that he would find - kind, beautiful, lovely Jen. And then, when she spoke at David's funeral, she again spoke the encouraging, life-giving words that we his friends needed - kind, beautiful, lovely words about the truth of David's character, his life, and his place in eternity with Jesus. She shared that through his actions, David taught her the definition of grace. The irony that Jen later married Cody, and as a teaching pastor Cody continues to guide our church body with kindness, truth and grace, is a stunning picture of the grace David so passionately overflowed to all who knew him.

There's a camp in Santiago, Guatemala I've never visited. Campamento David. Even after David's death, those student mission trips to Guatemala continued on. Around 2005, Christ Chapel students helped clear the land and our church donated money to help build this retreat center, named by Alfa y Omega church in David's honor due to their close relationship.

David's legacy of living solely for Christ's glory certainly continues to seep through our church body. David's email tag line (yes - we barely had email back then, but we did!), was Soli deo Gloria. That thought - that our lives are solely to bring God glory - permeated his conversations, his decisions, and his relationships.

David, we miss you. We certainly haven't forgotten you. And the impact of your relationship with Christ continues on in so many of our hearts. And - surely there's practical joking ahead as we all regroup in Heaven, yes?!

Foot note - way to go, Christ Chapel elders, for supporting a growing college ministry. College is the most self-centered group on campus. This is the age group who typically takes and uses resources, but rarely gives back. Yet our church saw the value of lives impacted for Christ during this season and put staff and facilities at David's disposal to grow the ministry. Countless lives have turned to Christ as a direct result of David's ministry and influence. Not only that, but our church body receives the tremendous gift of these college kids pouring into our high school and middle school students as volunteer leaders. There are so many amazing things happening in and through our college students through the amazing leadership of Ben Fuqua and his team, but that's another post entirely.