Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A Free Enterprise Lesson

I love this!  Cavett came up with this idea out of the blue!  He has been working hard at saving up his money to buy a Nintendo DS.  Something we would never buy him, especially at this age.  Today at lunch the conversation went like this:

Cavett:  Mommy, I want to open up a restaurant.

Mommy:  Why is that?

Cavett: Because I want to make some money to get a DS.

Moomy:  That is a great idea!  What kind of restaurant?  Is it an Italian restaurant, Mexican, Chipotle, or something like a Chick-fil-A?

Cavett:  The one like in Houston, you know with the ice cream, but not an ice cream store.

Mommy:  You mean Gringo's?

Cavett:  Yeah, that's the one. 

Dad then joins the conversation...

Dad:  So, what do you need to open the restaurant?

Cavett:  Build a building, unlock it, open it up and then there it is.

Dad:  Where are you going to get the money to build it?

Cavett:  From the bank.  I can use your money.

Mom: That's called a loan.  You borrow money from someone, but then you have to pay them back even more.  Like if I let you borrow 25 cents, you would have to pay me back 30 cents. 

Cavett:  That sounds like a good idea, I guess...

Mom:  Or you could just help me with the laundry and dishes and earn a few extra coins and keep collecting them for your DS. 

Cavett:  Alright!

It's great to see his free enterprising spirit!  I hope to nurture this, but keep the borrowing in check.  If only more would see this as the right way instead of leaning on the government to provide for them.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Kindergarden Registration

It's finished.  After all this paperwork, two trips to the school and several calls to iron out his immunization record, Cavett is now registered for Kindergarden at Cheatam Elementary in Allen ISD.   This will be the first year that the school is open and Stephen has already met several teachers through the office. 

I'm WAY excited for him, but sad at the same time.  He's growing up and fast!  It amazes me when he puts on last season's clothes and they are so short on his arms and legs. 

(That's last fall's shirt and last summer's jacket.)

Monday, March 22, 2010

An Address for Today

My maternal great-grandfather, Paul Marvin Brown, Jr. was truly amazing.  To read his autobiography and the list of things he accomplished in his life all with an attitude of humble servant-hood is inspiring.  I barely remember him.  I was 5 when he passed away, though I do remember one birthday present he gave me, maybe my third.  It was a brown paper bag with several peppermints and a red plastic football.  Nothing out of the ordinary, but he bought it himself, not my great-grandmother.

He had a way with words--an excellent speaker, writer and teacher.  I so wish I could have been old enough to remember and understand some of his addresses.  This past weekend I ran across two scripts of two related addresses one at the opening Convocation at Centenary College in 1962 and the other delivered to the Southwestern Associates and the Board of Trustees of Southwestern University in Georgetown, TX.  What was so striking was how appropo they are for today.  Literally--TODAY and these were written almost 50 years ago. 

Let me share...

This is a high hour in history.  It is a'tingle with urgency.  It must not be wasted.  Some of us have had our day.  For most of you, the future is calling and it is to you that I want to address myself.

Today this nation is the most influencial power in the world.  How long it will hold that place, only time will tell.  Our destiny was projected by a political system set up 175 years ago as a representative form of government.  Under this system have been developed the most virile economy and the highest standard of living ever yet attained on such a broad scale.

This place in the sun carries with it definite responsibilites which we cannot escape.  We are not the the first power to hold such a place.  Many other peoples have held it before and, once having lost it never regained it.... Only by maintaining a great strength can we continue to exert a great influence.... Much then depends on the strength of Amercia.  It must follow that America's strength depends on the strength of the individual citizen of America.   

...I am reminded of the words of Benjamin Franklin as he came out of the Constitutional Convention on September 17, 1787: "You have a Rebublic if you can keep it."  I wonder whether we are not losing it.

Seventy years later, in 1857, Thomas Macaulay, the great English historian, said: "The day will come when in the State of New York, a multitude of people, non of whom had more than half a breakfast or expects to have more than half a dinner, will choose a Legislature. Is it possible to doubt what sort of a Legislature will be chosen? ..."

Both great parties, at least great in size, have for the past generation fed the growing hunger of a welfare state and as Macaulay foretold, a great many seeking political office do so on promise of bountiees from the public purse which though enormous, is not inexhaustible. 

You should never forget that out of your pocket will come the pay for welfare, for social security, and the burden of public debt which my generation has allowed to be saddled on you. 

The office seeker who asks for your vote by the promise of bread [or health care] and circuses both insults your intelligence and fans the flames of national destruction.  If you want proof of that, you have but to read the history of the decline of the Roman Empire.

We need to remind ourselves that those men who signed our Declaration of Independence pledged for its preservation their lives, their fortunes and their sacred honor.  And, let us remember too that almost without exception, they were called on to redeem that pledge in full.  Losing lives and fortunes, they maintained their sacred honor.  To them, liberty was sweet, to them honor was sacred, and no price was too great to pay for our freedom....

The transition from a rebuplic to a democracy, if that is whither we are heading, presents a contrdiction in terms.  It seems that the closer we approach this so-called democracy, the more powerful grows the central government at Washington and the more definite the trend toward socialism. 

So, in drifting away from the original concept of the republic, we really find our selves on uncharted seas not knowing whither we are going.  We seem to be moving to an all-powerful central government, losing our our individual rights and freedoms to a bureaucracy which feeds on its own uncontrolled hugeness.  Alexis Carrel wrote: "The democracy ideology itself, unless reconstructed upon a scientific basis, has no more chance of surviving that the Fascist or Marxist ideologies." 

You see, herein lies the danger in the situation: the problem is so difficult even to define that one is almost completely frustrated and the temptation come to give up and let apathy take over.  This you cannot afford to do. 

I could go on, but let's suffice it to say, Paul was a wise man.  And lest you think he was a greedy, right wing extremist, I am here and there are many other to vouch that he was just the opposite.  He was a very generous man and gave in so many ways other than just monetarily.  It comes down to the American dream of working for your own way and earning what you have, then giving generously to those in need. 

My very humble and generous great-grandfather is my role model and I only hope that I can give back as much as he did one day, not the government taking it from me. 

Will they survive?

Mother Nature has lost her mind!  Snow, 7 inches deep in Allen on Saturday night.  Here it is Monday morning and it is still lingering though melting quickly.  Question of the day.... Will my plants make it?

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Wednesday, March 17, 2010


Mother Nature teased us this week and we were able to have a park playdate during Spring Break with our friends, Skyler and Oakley.  We enjoyed the warmer weather and getting a bunch of energy out. 

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Guess who got a camera for "work"!

Stephen needed a camera for his before and after pics at the office, but I must say, I think we will use it at home more often than not.  I'm no pro, that is Stephen, but this camera is awesome!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Spring Is Springing!

Found this lovely in my yard today.  It's my Japanese Maple in the nook between the garages.  I can't wait to post more pics of what is to come.  Maybe I'll have one each day this week of Spring Break!  I love Spring!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Before and After

We began on Thursday morning with a trip to a wholesale nursery.  Stephen borrowed a 16' foot long trailor and completely filled it stacking plants on it and filling the inside of the truck.  By lunchtime we nearly had it unloaded and positioned.  We did as much as we could with two kids running around the backyard and sometimes "helping."  But we decided it best if we hired an additional pair of hands to work on Friday.  The three of us worked hard until 6:00 that night.  Saturday, we completed the planting of all the perinnials that we had and did a good clean up.  We still aren't finished.  We are still missing several shrubs and all the flowers, but it looks so much better and I can't wait to see all these tiny little blooms spring forth with leaves.   

We enjoyed the view from the hot tub and watched Kendrick swim without a life jacket for the remainder of the evening.  Couldn't have been a better weekend. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010


It is a wonder, this world and how it was created.  His creations are just amazing and he is as well.  I was blessed today to see not one ultrasound, but two.  Two different babies, two different wombs, both of which will call me aunt.  He thought of it all--down to each and every eyelash.  I can't wait to meet both of these precious children of God.

In addition to human creation, I was able to dig my hands into the earth for the past two days.  It felt good to scrape it out of a hole, squeeze it and break it apart with my hands.  Adam was made of this stuff.  Awesome. 

The dirt in this neck of the woods is called caliche.  It's a mess.  When wet it is a sticky, glue-like substance.  When dry, it can be as hard as a rock.  And when tracked into my house leaves white footprints everywhere.  We had the flowerbeds made for us back in the fall, but we wanted to plant everything ourselves.  They mixed in good dirt and mulch, but as I labored with my trowel I couldn't help but worry about the rest of God's creation--the shrubs, the trees, the flowers.  How were they to grow in this "gumbo" dirt?  How were the roots going to find enough nourishment?  My mind/the Holy Spirit kept taking me to Luke 12:27.  "Consider the lilies." 

I knew this meant something and I was to discern what He was trying to tell me. 

Typically, I am not a worry-er.  I know it does no good.  One of my earliest memorized verses was "Cast all your cares on Him, for he cares for you."  But, maybe my "worry" comes in another form of second-guessing myself, being to critical/analytical or obsessing over things letting them consume me.  I'm a little "all or nothing." 

There are a couple of issues which have surfaced lately, that I will have a blog for later and that I'm not ready to talk about.  But, I guess I took my hint.   I'm going to stop second guessing, worrying about what I should have done differently or blaming myself.  I'm going to be disciplined but yet with an ease of spirit.  And, I am going to place all of my cares in His hands. 

The work is done.  I'm going to sit back and watch Him work wonders in our lives and on the branches of these little plants whose buds are just waiting to pop out at the right time. 

Monday, March 8, 2010

A New Blogger

I'd like to formally welcome my dear friend, Kelli at L to the 3rd Degree to the blogging world.  We set her up with an account a few weeks ago and there is BIG news to share!

Kelli and Joe, we look forward to welcoming little Hunter Alexander into the world and will surround him with our love!  Congratulations you guys! 

Poor Kendrick

For the past couple of nights Kendrick has had a hard time going to bed.  He is either scared of something and wanted a night light or is being stubborn.  Those of you who know our sleeping routine, know that it is usually a piece of cake.  These kids are trained, but Kendrick keeps getting out of bed.  We put him back in several times last night and assuring him that everything is ok and that there is nothing to be scared of.  He was so tired though, rubbing his eyes and such.  Finally, he settled down and stayed in bed, or so we thought....

At 9 o'clock last night I rounded the corner and saw this.

Poor thing had one of his blankets stretched out on the ground perfectly and the other blanket covering him in the middle of the hallway.  We felt so bad for him.  He knew that if he came into the living room we would just put him back in bed.  Hopefully, we can get the problem figured out tonight. 

On another precious note, he are my boys ready for church--matching!  Love them!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Las Vegas Institute

For the past 5 years Stephen has been going to Las Vegas to attend and teach classes at the Las Vegas Institute for Advanced Dental Studies.  This is an institute that offers specialized training in Restorative, Occlusal, Ortho, Implant, Endodontic, Laboratory, Practice Management and Team Training.  I have been to a couple of their yearly destination meetings, but never to the LVI campus.  It was a long standing joke that Stephen was just coming out here to live his double life. 

Well, I have now visited and had the campus tour.  It's real.  This week's course was on dental implants.  I got here on the last day of the course when they were actually drilling and placing the implant using a model.  Stephen had previously done it on his Dad and so he let me do the procedure.  It really was pretty interesting and fun.  Easy as pie, by the way.  Now, add in salava, a tongue, and blood and then, I'm not so sure.  I get to watch them do it on an actual patient this afternoon.  We will see if my stomach stays in place!   

Monday, March 1, 2010

The Lord's Prayer

As we are searching for a church, Cavett has been joining us in worship every now and then, checking out all aspects from Sunday School, to the bulletins, to the Children's sermons, to the bogs or notebooks offered for entertainment during the sermon.  He has enjoyed the hymn singing and has been trying to read the words and also likes the "rock-n-roll" sound of the praise and worship teams of other churches.  One of his new favorite songs is "We Are Marching in the Light of God" or "Siyahamba."  But, what I had yet to teach him that would be so easy to participate in was The Lord's Prayer. 

Why hadn't I thought of it before?  Well, the words, I just thought they were a bit to hard to understand at this point.  Silly me! Such nonsense.  Our old church back in Houston is doing a whole Lenten series on the prayer and so I decided to make it our Lenten Challenge.  We began repeating each phrase once every night for our prayer beginning Ash Wednesday.  Three days later he was anticipating what I was going to recite.  A week later, he nailed it.  We are still discussing the meaning of each phrase and I am confident that by Easter, he will know the salvation and the love that Our Father has bestowed upon us.  He will understand that God is like a "third parent" who loves and cares for us giving us an example to follow.  As he grows older I hope that He will become more of a friend, a confidant, and a source of strength. 

I'm getting the daily devotionals from our old church still and this past week has focused on "Our Father."  I loved how Tom Pace said it. 

"As children, we learn that the identity and vocation of our parents gives us credibility and a derived sense of worth. As we grow older, we move into a phase in which we believe that it is all up to us, that we need to make our own place in the world, to make our own mark on creation.

Over time, though, the notion of creating our own identity begins to grow hollow. We begin to ache for an identity that is unrelated to our accomplishments, that is defined, once again, by remembering the unconditional love of our parents. This time, though, we come to understand that it is not the love and approval of our earthly parents that give us our real identity. That identity comes from “Our Father, who art in heaven.”
We have the right to say, on the playground of this life, “My father flung the stars into the sky, and he built that mountain over there, and made the oceans, and made a man and a woman out of clay and then brought them to life. What did your dad do?”

I guess next up is the Gloria Pati and the Doxology.  These kids are sponges watch what daily bread you "feed" them.

Art by: Mark Lawrence  "The God of All Grace." 1 Peter 5:10

"But may the God of all grace, who called us to His eternal glory by Christ Jesus, after you have suffered a while, perfect, establish, strengthen, and settle you." 1 Peter 5:10

Camping with the Alexanders

This weekend we braved the cold and wind to meet our dear friends, Anna and Mark and their son Walker for a weekend of camping at Huntsville State Park. There was.....

bacon cooking...

friend making...
backpacking...relaxing...pinestraw discovering...stick sword fighting...2 mile hiking...hot dog and marshmallow roasting... s'more eating...bonfire making while catching up with friends.

I couldn't have asked for a better time.  Ok, well other than being just slightly warmer or no wind. 

My favorite pic of the weekend was catching Kendrick chillaxing in the tent warming up in front of the space heater. 

Looking forward to the next time with the Alexanders.