Sunday, November 29, 2009


When Isaac and I got married, we quickly realized we had duplicates of things, or more of certain items than we needed. Towels, decor, and clothing that we didn't need anymore were in our way. My mom has always donated household items she no longer needs to Purple Heart, so I started doing some research to find out about the program. It's so simple to donate to Puprle Heart. They let you schedule a pick up time online, and then they come and pick up your boxed or bagged items that you leave on your porch. How simple is that?! They leave a receipt for you in case you need it for your records. We've actually had them come twice in the 3 1/2 months that we've been married. Granted, it's not the Dave Ramsey method for getting rid of things, but it is so much easier than a garage sale, especially when we're short on storage space as it is.

For more information on the Purple Heart Household Discard Program in Houston, visit

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Hobby Lobby Baby Thief

Isaac and I needed to make a return to Hobby Lobby today. A box of icicle lights we bought were defective, and Isaac wasn't going to take out every bulb in have the strand to figure out which one was bad. Thankfully, the crowd this afternoon was manageable, and the line at the return counter was short. While we were waiting our turn, a sweet lady came dashing into the store with something in her hand. She rushed up to the manager, and said, in the most apologetic tone, "M'am, I got out to the car and realized this was in my baby's hand! I am so very, very sorry!" The manager was thankfully gracious and don't the mom not to worry and that it happens from time to time. The item was a sparkly, felt Christmas ornament that I'm sure the baby thought was very enticing as its mommy walked up and down the aisles. Can't you just see a mom who's in a rush to get home lifting her baby out of the cart in front of her car just to discover that the sweet little angel is actually a thief?! Isaac and I were almost in tears we were laughing so hard (after the sweet lady had left the store, of course!)! It was also a treat to see intregity in America. No one would've ever missed that little ornament, but she knew to swallow her embarrassement and march back into the store to return the 'stolen' item. Way to go, Mom!

Moral of the story: Isaac and I have learned that if we are blessed with children, always check their hands before walking out of the store!

Has a similar situation ever happened to you? Please do share!

Thursday, November 19, 2009


For most of us, 11-18-99 began as normally as any other day. I was a freshman at CBHS, happy as a lark to be in high school. I knew little of Texas A&M, and even less of their traditions because I saw myself as a Kentucky girl at heart, with dreams of attending UK that lasted until March of '03.

The collapse of the heavy logs at Bonfire on the Polo Fields in front of the Admin Building happened at 2:42 AM, too late into the night to make the newspaper. My family rarely watches the TV in the mornings, so I didn't hear of the devastation 112 miles to the north until I reached school. Many of my friends, especially several of the seniors, were huge Aggie fans and planned on attending the school after graduation. They were obviously upset, and the sheer fact that something so sad had happened mad me sad too.

That evening, I remember seeing the first images of the huge stack of logs in a heap on the evening news, and Tom Brokaw's description of what had happened. For the next several days, images and interviews from College Station filled the news and the papers as time confirmed that 12 had given. What a interesting fact, that a number so dear to A&M would forever now represent something tragic as well. For me, time marched on, and Bonfire moved to the back of my memory.

In March of '03, I finally accepted the fact that my Daddy God was bound and determined for me to attend Texas A&M instead of UK. The fact made me sick to my stomach, but I obeyed, wondering what I was in for in Aggieland. Fish Camp and Impact succeeded in brainwashing me into being a die hard Ag, and the people, students and faculty alike, made me know to my core, that this was family. How 40,000+ people can feel like family, especially when I hate crowds, I can't explain, but it is. We look out for each other. We greet each other when we see the Ring, and we support each other in the good and bad.

As my first anniversary of Bonfire approached, it was the 4th anniversary for those on campus. Very few current students were left that had actually seen Bonfire burn, though several had worked on the Cut and Stack of the Bonfire in '99. The memorial set up in the MSC helped me appreciate the tradition better, as did the growing friendship my mom had with Janice Kerlee who lost her son Tim to the collapse.

On 11-18-04, my mom came to A&M to join some friends and me as we attended the Bonfire Memorial dedication. Govenor Rick Perry spoke, as did Robert Gates (how I miss him as president!). It was a time of hope for A&M, not necessarily that Bonfire would burn again, but that healing was coming, that lives were not lost in vain, and that traditions, new and old would live on.

November 18th has continued to come and go. Yesterday marked 10 years since the collapse. All 12 families attended a beautiful memorial at Reed Arena on the night of the 17th. Isaac and I attended as well. To me, it's important to know the past to understand the future. Aggieland won't ever be the same, and those of us who are or were students there understand that, though it's hard to explain it.

At 2:42 AM yesterday morning, Isaac and I, with candles glowing, were surrounded by Aggies from all walks of life, from all parts of the world, new and old to remember. The 12 families met in the middle of the Bonfire Memorial, in the place where the stack had collapsed. I couldn't see her in the dark, but I believe it was Mrs. Kerlee who called all the Ags to gather round, in the circle of the memorial. She said that we're all family, and that this was for all of us. As hundreds of Aggies slowly made their way with glowing candles, it was beautifuly to see a campus come together to remember something most of have never seen. Thank you to the families for sharing this time with us.

I'm not one of those Ags who is pushing for Bonfire to return. I think it would be fantastic if it did, but a lot of changes would need to be made first. I'm ok if it's a tradition that has ended, never to be forgotten, because 12 Ags gave their lives to be a part of something greater than themselves. Regardless, A&M lives on, for There's a Spirit can ne'er be told...

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Road Trips

Meredith and I hadn't seen each other in a while, so after church I went up to her side of town to have lunch with her. While we both live in Houston, it takes an hour to get to her. Oh, the joys of big cities. We had a wonderful visit, despite her bad cold, and it was great to catch up in person instead of with just the phone.

Having two uninterrupted hours to myself today was also a rare treat. It made me miss my drives back and forth to school. I am an avid anti-cartrip campaigner, but I loved that time alone in my car because it was a beautiful drive, and it also was a perfect opportunity to have some impromptu praise and worship time. God can speak loudly on the road (and it has nothing to do with my driving!), and it's a wonderful time to pray. I thoroughly enjoyed my drive time today. I listened to a Smitty CD that was mostly instrumental and prayed. What a joy!

Tanner Baby Shower

Michelle and Will sweetly allowed me to host a baby shower for them yesterday. Miss Megan will be here soon, and since big sissy Maddy is 6, there aren't a lot of baby things left in the Tanner house. Lots of Michelle and Will's family and friends joined them yesterday to show them how excited they are for Megan's arrival. They received all sorts of fun (and cute!) baby essentials to help make life with Megan a little bit easier. We also played a few baby themed games and munched on Isaac's yummy chocolate cake! Thank you Isaac for all of your help!

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Bailey vs. Grasshopper

Last night Bailey stayed with my grandparents. They like to keep their great-grandson overnight quite often, so I left them have him last night so I could prepare for Michelle's baby shower today.

Bailey loves his Nanny and Dede, and he loves being at their house. He adores his tromps around the lake and patrolling the neighborhood for unknown critters. Today he spent the afternoon in the backyard gardening with Nanny and Dede. He loves to sniff around the plant beds and rolling in the grass. Bailey found a new creature today-a grasshopper. Like the frogs at night, grasshoppers hop! Bailey was apparently fascinated by this fact and silently stalked the grasshopper across the yard each time it hopped. Bailey loves to stalk/tree/chase any critter as he feels he is the only animal that deserves to grace this planet, and this grasshopper was no exception. Eventually, the grasshopper's pattern was deciphered by Bailey, and he was able to pounce at the right moment. Byebye, grasshopper! Nanny did take the prize away from the little boy before he was able to taste his catch, for which I am grateful! Let's just hope the day never comes when he catches his most despised squirrels!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Oral Histories

CCISD was awarded a grant called "Teaching American History". Being the history nut I am, I quickly applied to be a part of this grant, even though I don't teach American History. It was open to all faculty in the district, and it has been full of amazing personal growth opportunities, along with some good teaching methods and ideas that were thrown in for good measure. :)

Last night's training centered around the oral history of a 93 year old WWII veteran named Fred Machoul. The cool part was that he brough a jeep from 1944 with him! Fred was a lieutenant major in the Army, beginning in 1940. He spent a lot of time in Iceland training with his counter-intelligence division before spending time in London and Paris. Essentially, he was in Europe for nearly 6 years. Fred and his son travel around Houston, and anywhere else they are invited, sharing with school children the experiences Fred had during WWII. Fred was one of the first Allied troops to enter Dachau after the camp was liberated. Most of you know I've been mesmerized by the Holocaust since I was 10 and should've gotten a degree in Holocaust Studies, but not even all of that research could have prepared me for Fred's stories and pictures. I suppose editors have deemed truth to be too graphic for America, but the pictures that Fred took with his own camera aren't in any of the books I've read. The stories he told about his interviews with the few SS guards that the Allied troops kept alive for testimony are more horrendous than anything I'd imagined. What they did to the people, Jews, Christians, and anyone else deemed unfit, 'just because' is inexcusable.

Fred told us that Eisenhower, who was his general, kept telling them to get to Dachau because in 50 years some SOB would say Dachau never happened. Sure enough, that 'SOB' (these are Fred and Ike's words!) is alive and brainwashing minds all throughout the Middle East today. I spent a lot of time talking to Fred one on one last night, and it ludicrous to tell a man who stumbled into hell on Earth that what he saw and smelled with his own eyes and nose never happened. To say that the piles and piles of bodies and the rail cars overflowing with bodies, all left to rot, didn't exist is mortifying.

The Holocaust isn't a pretty topic. It is proof of the power Satan has, thankfully for only a short time, over the souls on this Earth. It is a constant reminder that as humans, we have a long way to go before we reach the everlasting arms of Christ. The Holocaust needs to be taught, even in all of it's gruesomeness, so that children today don't grow up to hate, so that there is no excuse for genocide to continue, so that Christ's love can shine through the darkness, and so that those like Fred won't have to ever hear some 'SOB' say that their nightmares and screams were in vain. Fred, thank you for sharing your story.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Babysitting Adventures

Last night Isaac and I visited our favorite brood for about 3 hours. David and Suzanne had an awards ceremony to attend, so of course we were more than happy to entertain the kids!

When we arrived, we immediately headed to the back yard to join a game of statues. This is a very fun game of being sneaky...ask if you don't know what it is. It's such a good game because it interests the wide age range we had: 5-24! I finally convinced all '4' children that pizza/dinnertime was a good idea, so we went inside. It's always a delight to hear any of those children pray, and last night was no exception! They know how to talk to their Daddy God like He's right in the room and not some far off, distant being. Dinner was full of discussions of how 7 people would fit into one van for a trip to Florida. I think the consensus was that Zach would be tied to the roof. :)

Thanks to Day Light Savings Time ending, it was dark by the time dinner was ended. However, darkness doesn't stop three funny kids from wanting to go back out side. They popped out the left over Halloween glow sticks and some book lights for us to journey back out to the backyard for some glow in the dark tag. It was actually quite a challenge until the moon rose over the roof. One hour and lots of dirty feet and giggles later, it was time to head inside for some quieter activities for the night.

We played another round of statues inside and then broke out the cards for some exuberant rounds of No Peeking and Spoons. It was decided that a 5 way game of War was in the line-up, which proved to be much more fun than I thought it would be.

Next time we babysit on a non-Thursday night (we go over on Thursdays to put them to bed while their parents are at Bible study), the kids will have to come to our house. They severely chastised us for still not having them over to our new house. Oops!

Best line of the night award goes to Savannah! While we were playing Glow in the Dark Tag, she was tagged by Isaac. Her response: "I can't be it! I'm climbing a tree!" She really had made it halfway up a big tree in the dark. The joy of being 5!
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