Monday, November 2, 2015

It's Not Easy Being Green in Fort Worth

"Essie, what's going on? Why the sad eyes?"
"I'll tell you when we get in the car."

Once secure inside, doors firmly shut, she let the tears flow.

"Mom, can we please move away from Fort Worth? They are just so mean, and they hate me."
"Whoa, slow down a minute, Es. What's going on?"
I pulled over to the curb, put the car in park, and turned around to face her.

"Everyone makes fun of me because I like Baylor. (A teacher) came in our classroom and asked, 'Who likes Baylor?' I jumped up because they said it with a happy voice, and I thought it was a good thing. But then they told me we weren't going to win any more games because our quarterback broke his neck. And then (my friends) jumped in and yelled, "Boo! Boo!' right in my face."

Esther went on to describe the scene and how embarrassed she felt. After a few minutes, I gently said, "Esther, I know that hurt your feelings, but I also know they intended it in the spirit of fun ~ these people love you, they're just big TCU fans and they don't mean it personally at all."

"No, Mom, they hate me and they hate Baylor." In her heightened emotion, she didn't hear a word. Driving up the hill to pick up Basden, she begged me again, "Can we please just move to Waco so we're not made fun of?"

My gut response was to soothe her pain, remove the vehicle of her embarrassment and persecution.
"Esther, if it's really that bad, you know don't have to stick up for Baylor at school."
I started to say, "There are certain things worth fighting for - your faith, your family..."

And then I caught myself.

At what point do we train our children to alter what they love and value in the face of opposition? 
Tailgating with the Keisters
A rainy Baylor Homecoming with the Brogdons and Moffatts
Esther is not perched on a hill, screaming out to all of Horned Frog Country that Baylor is going to win the College National Championship. She's a nine-year-old girl who has a soft spot for the Baylor Bears. She's been given the privilege of attending home games at McLane stadium, cheering on the football team in all its glory, knowing some of the players by name, and snapping photos with cheerleaders in sparkling green and gold uniforms. She's influenced by her two older brothers, older sister, and both parents. She spent last Memorial Day weekend with about fifteen families whom she knows in her heart are like family ~ more than twenty years of friendships with these Baylor families from across the country with whom we still make time to reunite with on a yearly basis.
It is perfectly reasonable that she's a Baylor fan.

Esther surprised us by decorating our foyer one Saturday morning in September
"Essie - theology"
Baylor v. Tech

Baylor v. West Virginia
Baylor families reunion ~ lotsa future Baylor Bears!
Why in the world would I encourage my young daughter to hide under a rock when she feels opposition?

This realization ~ it's not about the Baylor / TCU rivalry, which for most of the year is not a big deal. Starting our marriage living across the street from TCU and having shared life with hundreds of TCU students, several living with us along the way, we enjoy and appreciate a zillion things about TCU. And it's certainly not about Esther being bullied at school. We have the most AMAZING teachers, staff and community, I'm not even going to waste words defending that.

But it is about training our children - and watching them suffer - to stand for what they believe in in the face of adversity. 

Today, it's a trivial rivalry between two successful college programs (that both BU and TCU fans ~ especially alumni ~ should relax and just be grateful both teams are playing so well. Because we all know how not good they were when we were students).

But down the road, the issues get bigger and more critical. Not fickle college rankings, but unwavering commitment to faith, family, and friends. Integrity with the non-negotiables.

I was so quick to want to rescue my daughter.
It's instinctive to soothe her pain, to remove the things that might cause her to experience loneliness and embarrassment.

So little Essie, after our conversation a few days ago, here's what your Momma Bear (pun intended) says now:

Hold fast, hold true. Stay the course with those things which you hold dear, even if uncommon and not popular.

It may not be easy being green in Fort Worth, but just because something isn't easy doesn't mean it's not good. Those TCU Horned Frogs are not all bad. In fact, we're pretty crazy about the ones we get to live life with.
Connor, one of the two former-TCU football players living with us this year. We surprised each other in the kitchen one afternoon by wearing rival t-shirts. His is a Young Life shirt but in BU colors, so he added the Sic Em' pin and captured the amicable moment.
Our friend and next-door-neighbor, Chauncy Franks, TCU's FCA director speaking to Branson's Paschal High School football team pre-game last Friday. What a gem! Chauncy's influence among TCU athletes for Christ is tremendous.
She may not end up 6'7", 410 lbs, but Esther is aptly named to be a woman of great courage.

You knew it was coming... SIC EM BEARS!

**The title of this post is not original ~ thanks to clever MaryCarolyn Gatzke for coming up with that one!

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 9. 5. 15

- Family dinner. With our new family.
Our home is way more fun with Connor and Chase. Our first meal together ~ and actually the first day we met them!
 - Back to school parties.

- Hudson and Basden doing their own school supply shopping at Staples. They took their lists and off they went... didn't need supervision from me. Awesome!

- Soaking up last days of summer.

 - Saturday mornings. Sometimes.

 - Football season!

- First day of school. Ready or not, here we come!

- Essie - 4th grade.
Last one at Tanglewood.
With her teacher, Mrs. Patterson ~ my friend of more than 20 years
- Hud (8th gr) and Basden (6th gr) ~  and John - we'll claim him!
Our mid-morning carpool
- Bran - 10th grade. Didn't get our traditional front porch pic - this will have to do.
Real time in chemistry.
- And... first night's math homework... here we go

- First scrimmage - a win!
Met halfway in Bowie, Tx to face an Oklahoma team - a mere hour and half from Fort Worth

- Taylor and Tatum at TCU!
From Wimberly to Fort Worth... precious girls
- These two.

- Meet the Panthers. Have been doing this for years, since our boys played PeeWee football. Introducing PHS band, cross country, volleyball and football players.

A mostly all-new Paschal football coaching staff. Pretty exciting changes in the air.

- Bran’s text ~ “Can you buy me seaweed?”

- Quiet porch time in the mornings.

- Enjoying Chase and Connor living here. Add such energy and laughter to our home.

- Her favorite.
Bourland frogs are fun!
- Mama’s AMAZING pancreas cyst report- no surgery, no more scans for a year. Best news ever.

- Date with Mama ~ girls' night!

- Paschal's first game ~ Bran's first Varsity game.  #27
He easily admits it ~ more than a little scared to play varsity linebacker

Sideline instruction... Coach Hardin utilizes every moment for coaching
Go #27!
One for the W column - 72-42 v. South Hills

- Hud running for Student Body President
Hud and his fabulous campaign manager
Great friends, great candidates!
Proud Momma. Courageous boy.
- Essie and how much she loves these pups

- That all my pictures uploaded from my phone to my laptop! Haven't in about two months!

- Mitchell staying with us this week. Cammie’s dad’s funeral at the Cowboy Church in Granbury - loved the hymns most of all. Lunch at Babe’s after ~ what sweet friends.

- Elvia!

- Playing school.
Because they don't get enough all day long.
- Jonathan Jackson’s service last week, just beautiful. Seeing the support and love surround Cathy and John and Abby. Our neighborhood candlelight prayer time in their front yard Sunday evening, Absolutely precious. Such a dear family to us.

- Velvet Taco with Victoria. Have missed her so much!

- Dinner (and pinball!) with the Phelps ~ such a neat family, Corbin is so happy to work with David.

- Still soaking up summer... whether it's summer or not.

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, August 27, 2015

Fatigued Muscles

I am so sore.

I'm walking ok, and actually, walking feels good. But if you see me going up or down stairs, or bending my legs to sit in a chair, I look a little odd. Like a little old lady pausing mid-step, reminding her brain to strain those muscles even though they're crying out in pain.

I started a barre exercise class last spring, kind of a mix of yoga and pilates, and they're not kidding with the tagline, "Know your body. Strengthen, Lengthen."


I took the summer off completely with our crazy, non-routine schedules (I've learned summer does not bode well for exercise OR writing / blogging) and started back to these workouts this week. Yes, I was there the first day of school. And the second. And the third. 

And today my muscles are crying out a bit.

When I first started these 30-min barre workouts, I found that I couldn't do some of the exercises correctly without shaking. After several 8-counts of pulsing up and down on my toes with slightly bent knees, my legs would involuntary quiver. No, not quiver - convulse. And there wasn't much I could do to make them stop, even with the impeccably-toned 19-year-old TCU gal on the mat behind me, a captive audience to my noodle legs. But my embarrassment faded (a bit) when the instructor called out to all of us, "Bend lower, you should be shaking ~ we need those muscles fatigued!"

Because it's in fatiguing the muscles that they are strengthened.

We've been through some seasons recently that have caused my parenting muscles significant fatigue. Many days and weeks over the past year especially I felt shrouded by a "heavy parenting" blanket. A blanket that weighted my days with prayer, communication, strategizing, thinking, listening, reading, researching, and the hardest of all ~ keeping an open hand to see how the Lord might be working in my kiddos' lives and in my own heart (and Corbin's) as well.

My heart feels kind of like my legs during that barre workout - tired, shaking, and fatigued, but all the while building to greater strength. I have great hope that these "heavy" seasons are not all in vain. That in time I'll see strength not just in my parenting skills, but even more so in my wisdom, my love.

Like most people, I'm anticipating this new school year, looking forward to a really great year. We have a lot to be grateful for, and a lot to look forward to. Yet just a few days in, I'm aware that it's going to take lots of hard work, and quite honestly, I'm still a bit sore from previous years. 

The shaking, tired, fatigued muscles are no fun. I love water breaks. And days like today, where I get to skip the workout and enjoy lunch with friends. But I'm reminded that the heavy seasons are all part of the process, one I can truly keep an open hand with.

Hard work and fatigue ~ a sure way to strength. 
Perhaps sore muscles aren't all that bad.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Practicing Gratitude 5.15.15

These gratitude posts ~ better late than never!

- Reed moving in last Friday night, getting to meet his friend Lucas from South Korea in the process.

- Watching Big Hero 6 with the kids on a rainy Sunday night.

- Worth this tub of uniforms sitting in our garage for twenty years!

- Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your heart be troubled and do not be afraid. Jn 14:27

- How much Bran loves his church small group.

- Cross and Ruby's summer haircuts.

- Essie's proclamation on the kitchen.

- One more science project checked off the list. 
Molly and Basden did this 100% by themselves.

- Fifteen years of monthly dinners with dear friends. This particular month ~ Blue Mesa after  Anthropologie's Fashion show.
Lovely Beth as an Anthro model
Love these dear friends.
 - Kevin and his investment in our middle school kids

- Special Moms in Prayer meeting, praying over our graduating 5th graders. Very special tradition.

- Alan and Jeremy's generosity to immediately jump in and cut up an enormous fallen branch in our yard last Saturday, then a delivery of Mother's Day flowers to me (and many other moms) an hour later. Such helpful neighbors.

- Sweet friends.
We love the Rooneys!
- Where Cross sleeps each night ~ at the entrance to our room.
Our great protecter
- Knowing that a TCU student was baptized in the hot tub last week, with nearly a hundred kids here watching and celebrating, even though we were gone the whole time. Precious to get to be a part.

- An expensive home repair. Practicing gratitude in all things, that your will is good, acceptable, and perfect, Lord. Grateful Jordan is available and can do it.

- Daboo signing Esther up for ....baton lessons??

- Corbin "repurposing" part of Saturday night's dinner into Sunday's lunch.

- Lots of reasons to celebrate Hud's successes this year
McLean Athletic Banquet
Football awards
Coach Beltram awards

What a gift to share these moments with all four grandparents
A special privilege to win the same "Most Outstanding" award Bran won as a 7th grader
 - Bran's very quick recovery from wisdom teeth removal. Thank you again, Dr. Stella!

- Surgery Friday, at church by Sunday. Still chubby bunnny, but so thankful for quick healing.

- My distress call to both grandmas ("Help!") about making Basden's Glenda the Good Witch costume
Texted them for help on Tuesday, Wednesday they had Basden at JoAnn's
Just the right Glenda dress - $8 at McCart thrift (funny daddy)
Creating "Glenda crowns" with Claire from transparent cutting boards and sequins
Cutest Glenda ever
She was really happy with her costume. Made me so happy.
- One of my favorite dynamics of the whole Glenda costume process - when we ran into McCart Thrift on a Sunday afternoon and found the basic white dress, we got to the counter and realized that if we'd had a McCart Thrift rewards card, we would have saved even more money by shopping on a Sunday. But as I gave the cashier my card, she informed me no worries, that my husband had already registered for a rewards card. Of COURSE he had.

- All this rain is good for something.
Hudda and his crazy buddies at the Thursday Boys "pond"
- Radiology Assoc dinner here Saturday evening. Such neat families.

- Mother's Day with both sets of parents and all four kiddos.


- Reed jumping in to help Essie with a song on the piano, call out Basden's spelling words. Both instances when they asked for my help as I was doing something else, and Reed immediately jumped in, "Here, I can help!"

- The fun of watching the Rangers, esp as they’ve been winning lately.

- Cindy Burlin, aka Tanglewood's music teacher and our dear friend.
Mrs. Burlin is a GIFT to our family and our community
3rd grade Robin Hood play
 - This cutie. You never know who will emerge from the sun room costume closet

- Kelly Orthodontics. And especially Abby.
No more braces! (at least not til round 2 in a few years)
- That Bran is good at this.

- How she came to the car when I asked her to hop out of the pool because we needed to run to Tom Thumb.

- These boys love their Mama! 

- Front yard picnics on a pretty spring day - why not??

- That we get Mama and Papa in town for "dailies" in the spring months

- More volleyball
Love this (blurry) pic ~ Basden's excitement on the court

- These two. That they've become good friends.

- Getting to live my days with these funny (amazing) girls

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