Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The State of the College

Again, in looking through my grandmother's genealogy, I am amazed by the fact that for eight generations back there has been a relative associated with Centenary College, whether it was giving the bricks for the first building in Jackson, serving on the Board of Trustees, being President protem, teaching a class, attending classes or graduating from the institution.  There is history there.  Centenary is a part of me.  It is in my blood and I am proud of what the college is and does for its graduates.
Centenary gave me life-long friendships.  These friendships pass the test of time and space.  I can go years without seeing one of my college buddies and pick up right where we left off.  Centenary gave me my husband.  We met one August day in 1995 at Hodges Gardens in Many, Louisiana for choir camp.  But, most of all, Centenary nutured a spirit of integrity, honesty, learning, perseverance and community.  It gave me a chance to belong to cause greater than myself, pushed me just far enough outside my box that I could take bigger steps later, and gave me the life-long tool of learning how to learn. 

Had it not been for scholarships and the generosity of my grandparents, I could not have attended, or I might have but with many tens of thousands of dollars in student loans.  Had it not been for my great-grandparents, I wouldn't have had a chapel to be married in.  Had it not been for other alumni and friends of the college, I would not have had a dorm room to sleep in, a cafeteria to eat in and a stage to perform on.  Had it not been for the one-on-one attention that I received in the classrooms from outstanding professors, I would not be the music educator that I am today. 

I am blessed by my experience and association with Centenary College.  But, my beloved college needs our, the alumni's,  help.  I have no doubt that it will survive.  It has made it through the Civil War, two World Wars, the Great Depression and countless other historical catastrophes.  But, we, the alumni are the ones who must pick up a torch and give back for what Centenary has given us, if we want it to be there for our children. (And, I certainly hope that one of my boys will be the eighth generation to do so.)

In cleaning out my grandmother's house this weekend, I found an article written by Jacques N. Steinau from the Shreveport Magazine, February 1974.  It featured an interview with my great-grandfather, Paul Marvin Brown, Jr.  Here is an excerpt:

"Recently, you and your wife were honored by the Kiwanis Club, expressing its appreciation of the club and that of the entire comunity for the leadership you have given in the religious, cultureal and business life of the State.  What were your feelings when you received this plaque--so richly deserved?"

And what Paul Marvin Brown, Jr., said to me, will remain bright, fresh and undimmed, in that best and safest of regions, the human mind and heart. 

"Jacques, I am not absolutely sure that the honor is deserved.  When I look back, I feel that I have done nothing more for my city and my state and my nation than I should have done.  And when one does what one should have done, there is no reason that he should be complimented or that he should be awarded for those things.  After all, I am trying to build a city in which my children and my grand-children and sometime, my great-grandchildren will live.  To do this, I must, at the same time, realize that what I do for them, I must do for the children and the grand-children of the other citizens of Shreveport, because after all, we are all going to live here and we are all going to enjoy a great city.  And whatever we can contribute is really for those to follow us--for our posterity.  We want to leave them a city of which we can be proud.  I feel that we should leave them our city in a better shape than we found it.  If we can do this, I think this is the greatest reward." 

Think about this.  Substitue Centenary for Shreveport, or the community in his response. 

To my fellow alumni, I ask, are you leaving a great Centenary for your children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren to attend?  Have you given whatever you can contribute back to the college for what it has given you?  Yes, it may not be the exact same place it was 100 or even 10 years ago.  Times change and "stuff" happens, but we need to search our hearts and support our beloved Centenary through this rough patch.  Consider giving to the college today.  As my great-grandfather also stated,  it may feel like you "were really receiving rather than giving something."

Picture#1: Brown family in the Administration building circa 1975.
Picture#2: Paul setting the corner stone in the Chapel at Centenary.
Picture#3: left to right: Dr. Webb, my grandfather, Bert Greve, great-uncle Charles Ellis Brown, and Paul M. Brown, in Rotary Hall when it was paid off.
Picture #4: Willie Elanor Cavett Brown receiving her honorary alumna award at Centenary.


I have been knee-deep in my grandmother's genealogy as of late.  I have created countless family record sheets, scanned many pictures, thumbed through correspondance back and forth between cousins, typed up biographies and tried to dicipher my grandmothers conjecture on relatives we haven't yet pin-pointed. 

I decided to get Cavett in on the action today.  We printed out a family tree that was big enough that he could put pictures in.  We flipped through pictures and found ones that were the right size to cut up and then had to search a bit more to find ones that we didn't have already printed.  Of course, he loved the cutting and glueing and he did already have a good idea about who everyone was and how they were related.  But, it seems we have some holes.  We will have to look for some pictures in Grand Saline the next time we are there. 

Now that I have figured out how to work this scanner, you better watch out family!  Look at what I found and scanned today!  Hee Hee!  I love old pictures!

The Weekend

This past weekend we headed to Shreveport--no real reason other than the fact that my sister in New Orleans was in and we hadn't been there since Christmas.  Good times were had with all five cousins.  Most enjoyed was the weather and our picnic at the park. 

We left Saturday to to meet Stephen's mom back in Dallas at the Children's Theater.  She took us to a musical based on the children's book, "How I Became a Pirate."  It was a very cute show and both kids enjoyed it.  Kendrick sat on Grandmama's lap almost the entire time.  Can't wait to go to another show!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Roses are Red

Roses are red and Violets are blue.
If you don't get a card,
Please know we love you too!

This year Valentines were a bit different at school.  We couldn't pass out any candy, gum or even healthy snacks.  We though about pencils, but just decided on making our own cute cards.  Again, Family Fun magazine came to our rescue.  Trouble was:  for Cavett to make and write 19 of them and Kendrick 11, it took alot of time.  Therefore, if you don't get a card in the mail from us, consider this one yours! 

Happy Valentine's Day from the Hills! 

Saturday, February 13, 2010

5 Ring Challenge

The snow is beginning to melt today, so there will be no outside playing.  We headed to the gym this morning for our activity.  They just happened to be having a kid event.  There were 5 stations set up in the Group exercise room--a timed sprint, timed push-ups, a power high jump, an agility exercise, and flexiblity measurement.  The kids loved it!  I think the most exciting part for them was that they finally got to go beyond the Kid's Club room.  They did get into the sprint and the push-ups to.  Mom and Dad did it along with them which made it so much fun to work out as a family.  The trainers recorded our times and measurements and we came home to look on the web at our medal placement.  Of course they didn't have measuements for under 9 years old, but my kids are winners in my book. 

This is what more gyms around the counrty need to keep the kids off the sofa.  Thanks 24Hour Fitness!

Friday, February 12, 2010

Snow Day #2

It conitnued snowing all night.  It ended up that we had 12.5".  Just amazing.  Again, we ate breakfast and Cavett and Dad headed to Walmart for our morning happies--an inner tube and Eagle Brand Condensed Milk.  When they returned, we hurried out the door to trample the newly fallen stuff.  Our snow man was a pile and one wall of our fort had leaned ever so slightly.  But that was not our goal today.  Today was for sledding!

We have a green space in our neighborhood that has some built up hills.  We hadn't figured out why they had built these up until today.  They were perfect for sledding.  The inner tube worked perfectly!  Of course we also ate more snow and they more snowballs.
Jonny and Amber came over for a little while since their heat was out.  We had lunch, but for dessert---snow ice cream!  I mean really.  Who doesn't like Eagle Brand, Vanilla and Snow? 

For quiet time we decided to go ahead and start painting our dining room.  Cavett really wanted to help, so he stripped down and found a T-shirt that we didn't care for.  He had a great time rolling with his little roller.  At one point I loaded his loller and then made 3 swipes to get off some of the paint for him.  He took the roller from me and completed the work with out any prompting at all.  He took my 3 swipes and wrote "Mom."  Gotta love that kid!

The afternoon consisted of more sledding and meeting a few neighbors. 

Truely, I love snow.  This was a miracle and a gorgeous one at that.  God's creations never cease to amaze me.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Snow Day #1

Thursday morning, we woke up to a winter wonderland.  Kendrick got up first and came running in our room shouting, "Snow!!!!"  Stephen flug open the curtains and we were blinded by the beautiful whiteness.  We gobbled up breakfast and got our gear on to go play. 

The first thing they wanted to do was eat it.  Next came the throwing and then we made a snow man.  It wasn't packing too well, but we tried.  After two attempts, we gave up.  But he was nice for awhile.  He had baseball eyes, Dad's scarf, a screwdriver nose and a dog food mouth.  Pretty random if you ask me. 

After a game of Scrabble, we headed back out.  This time the goal was a fort.  It was really packing well now and you could even roll it up like you unroll sod.  We chose a spot next to our retaining wall and had a great time together.   Snow angels completed the outdoor events. 
We warmed up with some hot chocolate with marshmallows in our Centenary mugs and watched "Bolt" as the snow continued to fall.

It was a great day!  One that I thought couldn't have been better, but wait!  The next day did!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

"Cutting" Back

It seems everyone is cutting back these days, even my dear beloved college.  But, I am not going there today.  We are cutting back in other ways that won't harm our quality of life.

Yesterday Cavett received his first at home hair cut.  We put him in our bathroom to contain the fuzz and Stephen went to town on a #3 clipper and I trimmed the edges.  Result was about the same as at the barber shop.  It's not perfect, but close enough.  If we really are going to keep at it, we will invest in some better scissors and smaller clippers. 

Kendrick on the other hand wasn't interested, and that is fine by me as I like his hair longer and it is easier to tame than Cavett's. 

Monday, February 8, 2010


I just have to get this off my chest and this is the last comment I am ever going to make about it.

The food policy at our Pre-School is CRAZY!!!!!

Rule #1--You can't bring food for the class unless it is store bought, sealed with the label on it stating it is tree nut free.

Fine.  I completely understand this one.  People have allergies.

Rule #2--You can't bring in your own lunch tree nut products.

Fine.  I understand this one as well.  Some people's allergies are bad enough that smelling it is enough.

Rule #3--You must must the package or cut out the label of the food you are sending if it is even remotely questionable of having or being processed in a tree nut environment.

I have succumbed to this and am now over it.  Whatever...my boxes have holes all in them.

Rule #4--You may not bring anything homemade for your own child's lunch even if you include the label of all the ingredients used and there is no indication of a tree nut product anywhere.

WHAT???? ARE YOU KIDDING ME????  It's for MY child and it is TREE NUT FREE!!!!!!!  GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!

There.  I am done ranting, but this is RIDONCULUS!!!!!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Cavett's Commission Calculator

We are in the midst of taking Dave Ramsey' Financial Peace University class.  So far it has been good and reinforced what we know and have been doing as well as should have been doing all along.  But, it also told us we need to make a decision about how we are going to approach money and chores with our kids.  I had tried a more rigid strategy with Cavett last year, but didn't stick with it.  So, now we have decided to adopt Ramsey's philosophy.  Cavett now has a chart with 4 jobs.  Some of them must be done every now and then and some are a required a minimum amount of times per week.  He is receiving 10 cents per stamp/job completed.  What was utterly amazing to me this week was that making his bed is a new thing.  We have never required this of him, but he did it every day this week without being told or reminded.  Is this kid awesome or what? 
We are also trying to teach him about spending, sharing and saving.  He now has three containers--one for each category and we are letting him decide how much to put where, with a bit of suggestion.  At first of his $1.40, he was going to save 20, spend 70 and share 50.  We suggested that he up the savings by ten and that would be perfect.  Happily, he put his money in the jars and he's ready for the next trip to the store.  Let's just hope we can keep up with this idea and it is a lesson that sticks for a lifetime. 

Family Fun Saturday

During the past month, Cavett has had a time trying to stay in control, and curb the talking back.  We enlisted the help of our "Cheerful Chart" again and things seem to be much better.  As a result of him receiving 20 smiley faces, we got to go bowling.  The kids had bowled on the Wii, but never at an alley.  They had a great time and enjoyed themselves.  I captured several funny faces and was amazed at the brute strength of Kendrick.  He was picking up and hauling 12 pound balls some of the time. 

It seems that after I found the right ball, my Girl Scout bowling badge came in handy!  It also brought back great memories of Stephen driving us to our bowling class in college and my days of Middle School Choir Lock-Ins.  There is just something about a bowling alley that reeks of good times.  We should do it more often.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Cavett's 5 Year Old Check Up

Cavett went to the Doctor today for his 5 year old check-up. He was so grown up about it answering the checklist of questions that the nurse asked him. Things like: What is your address? Phone number? Do you know about 911? Do you know your alphabet?

My favorite was when he asked, "Do you ride a bike?" Cavett's response was, "I ride my Spider Man bike with training wheels and that is just fine." He used the most adult hand gestures and it was just too funny.

He is 42" tall--40% and 41.5 lbs.--60%. BMI of 80%, but she was fine with that, he is not fat at all. He will be having surgery on his herniated belly button sometime during the next year though.
She said he's ready for Kindergarden. Let's hope I am.

News Flash!

Kendrick is becoming very independent. On the way to school yesterday, he took off his shoes in the car. I handed them back to him and asked him to put them on and he did it. When I picked Kendrick up from school his teacher told me that when he got up from his nap, he tee-teed in the potty! I said, "Are you kidding me?" You see, he hasn't been truly interested in the idea at all. He likes to flush it; he likes to unroll the paper; he likes to sit on it (sort of), but he can't get anything to come out. Not a drop. So, we did a dance and I praised him sufficently that he is interested in it now. He came home and tried again, but to no avail. He was also frustrated and didn't want to put his pants on, so I told him to do it himself. This pleased him just fine, as he got the on and came to show me. Oh well if they were backwards.

After getting home from errands this morning, he goes to his room and proceeds to strip down. His teacher had taught him an easier way to stand and hold himself up. So, for an hour and a half we rotated through drinking water, reading a book and trying to go. I was getting tired of it after an hour and nearly gave up. At one point he said, "Go away!" I went around the corner and he did it! Got on the wall and floor, but he was close. He just needed some privacy.

He got to put on underware and made it through lunch, but didn't make it back to the potty in time. He's on the right track now and he will learn. I guess I need to now get my brain in gear and keep at it.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

More Heard Museum

Tuesday we passed some time at the Heard Museum taking a 1 1/2 mile hike and I didn't carry anyone. On the trail we found a cool pond/creek, a beaver dam, a tree nawed on by the beavers, and a dandilion like weed. But the most fun was playing with our shadows.