Saturday, May 28, 2005

That Nasty Fall

"He said to Adam....The ground is cursed because of you. You will eat from it by means of painful labor all the days of your life. It will produce thorns and thistles for you...You will eat bread by the sweat of your brow until you return to the ground..." Gen. 3:17-19

I'm glad I'm a woman. Today, Clay has gone (with KD and NE) to load up and haul off the massive piles of wasted construction scraps and other trash from our lot. ($2K saved...cha-ching) This, after spending yesterday dropping the cable/phone/computer wires by the sweat of his brow throughout the new house (cha-ching again). Yes, indeed, it's good to be female. Oh, stop thinking that. I'm going out there in just a little while to help, but there are inside chores to be done first; plus, the kids just got up. The bottom line, though, is that I'm not in charge of such horrible little projects, and for that I rejoice. There are some other problems that we women must endure (see v. 16), but overall, I think it's a nice little trade-off.

Well, school ended without incident and now we're preparing to make the most of our 3 months of freedom. I did get to click "send" yesterday on the big writing assignment that I've been working on since April. Now I just have a few loose ends on that and a week of dizzles (hip-talk practice for you, mom....that's a week of devotions) to write in the next couple of weeks. Then I'm through at least until August and maybe September. I'll be on vacation next week, but will post if there's anything exciting to share. Until then, have a blessed Memorial Day, live, laugh, love, and all that other stuff.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

tha peezy fo' sheezy

I can't say much because I've been publicly reprimanded by M&B, but OH MY GOODNESS. I think that was the best season of "24" yet. And quite possibly, the best season of dramatic television ever. It's a sad day now, though. I'm somewhat at a loss as to what I'll do for entertainment between now and 2006. I guess I might have to check out a book or something, because once Alias draws to its dramatic conclusion tomorrow night, I'll be all done for awhile. let's all observe a moment of silence.

You guys are making this hard on me...posting belated comments on previous blogs. But that's ok; I'm up to the challenge, I think. Thanks SA for the reminder of Brandon's "it's a little bit funny" story, and to dad for, well, just being dad.

T minus 1 full day and 2 half-days until I've got 2 kids at home with no state-mandated activities for an extra-long summer. Hey, SP, we're goin' to the peezy! I'm looking forward to a summer full of blog-worthy material. After all, I realize that some of you have real jobs and don't get summer breaks anymore. I'll do my best to keep you in tune with life on the other side.

summer activities I'm most looking forward to:
*family get-togethers (like next week!)
*mission trip to south Texas where it's even hotter than Brandon's last baseball game
*my first Super Summer ever - I'm working in the Wienie Wagon!
*Gage and Britt's bday party
*sleepovers--because I'm cool like that
*tagging along with KP on her educational/recreational-calendar-planned-don't-let-the-children-be-cooped-up-in-front-of-the-PS2-all-summer-long-events
*reading the Bible through alongside Brandon and Clay(we're all 3 in Exodus right now...let's see how far we'll get this summer!)
*and swimming.

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Beff's Dad

I should probably be writing for pay right now since I have two assignments I'd love to get finished before school is out on Friday, but I thought I should first tell you about the 15th anniversary trip. I surprised Clay with a trip down to the place of our courtship...Texas A&M University (whoop if ya' can). We spent Thurs. through Sat. walking around campus, eating at familiar places, updating our former student wardrobes, and mostly just taking it easy. A&M played t.u. in baseball Friday night and it was a GREAT game. couldn't have asked for better. From inning one to the victorious end the crowd was raucous. We were sitting around a pretty good contingent of teasips and some particularly vocal A&M students, which is always an exciting mix. They shared unpleasantries throughout the course of the game, but nothing too uncomfortably ugly. It was all in good fun, and the Ags pulled out the win on a wild pitch with bases loaded in the bottom of the tenth. A good time was had by all, except possibly all those people in orange who left the field with scowls on their faces. But the biggest coup of the trip was that I pulled some strings and Clay and I had free lodging at the VP's on-campus very large and nice home. He doesn't actually live there, but uses it for entertaining, student meetings and such. He was in New Zealand and was thrilled to let The Hopkins stay when he heard from my former Intramural boss that we were coming to town for our anniversary. That "Student Worker of the Year - 1990" is still paying off for me, I tell you. And that's a good lesson for us a good job, even if it's just some hourly minimum wage gig. You never know where your boss will end up down the road.

So upon our return we had Brandon's last regular season game in the hotter than Sheol afternoon. They lost, and finished in 3rd place, which is still quite an accomplishment for them. They'll have a tournament that I can only hope will be played in the evenings, because I don't know anyone, child or adult, who enjoyed being out there Sat. when it was 200 degrees (or something like that). The Abster has her last game tomorrow night and I'm pretty sure she's invited everyone she knows.

And speaking of the Abbinator, I've been reminded of a story that I failed to share earlier when we were doing that. It's funny, and I want to share it now just to show that I was not the only recipient of her zings.

I think she was 3 years old -
me: who's your favorite mom?
Ab: you are
me: who's your favorite brother?
Ab: Brandon
me: who's your favorite daddy?
Ab (deadpan): Beff's (Beth's) dad.

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

When you're 36, do people round up to 40?

Well it continued to be a great bday. It started out a little hectic, though. I was planning to write yesterday morning before my lunch date, but turned on the computer and my brand-spankin' new keyboard and mouse wouldn't work. So I tried to make it work for way too long before I had to step away from the situation entirely so as not to reign curses down on an inanimate object. Because that's not a very mature thing to do when you're aggravated, and I am 36 now. So I thought I'd take it back and get a better one, but this made me sad because I love this one. That's why I picked it. So last night we (and when I say "we", I mean Clay) reinstalled (thanks for the tip T&LDW) and hooked it up a little differently. Waaaalaaa! It's working perfectly.

That's probably a little TMI, I know. Lunch was fun and after I got the kids from school they swam happily before coming in to get ready for dinner and Brandon's game. I tell you that pool is going to be great to have this summer. We had chocolate chip pancakes and sausage for dinner. mmmmmm. Then...this is the neatest part....we went out to the new house (which has been framed and there are some wall-innards and stuff)and wrote Scripture verses on the floor and framing. The kids had picked some to write on the floor of their rooms and Clay and I wrote some in other parts of the house. Then we had a family prayer time as we walked through the house. It kind of reminded me of the unit I'm writing about on leadership. The session I've been working on this week is from Joshua 4 where the Israelites set up the twelve stones before the ark is carried up out of the Jordan. The point of the lesson is that it's important to lead others to recognize God's work in their lives. Anyway, remembrances are good and I hope that ours serves to remind us who God is, what He's done in our lives, and who He'll still be in the not so far away future.

Brandon's team that started out like the Bad News Bears this season actually has a chance to finish in first place. Unbelievable. The transformation is incredible, as we witnessed them beat, no...DOMINATE, the first place team last night. funny, and I'm sure there's some spiritual app there, too, but I know that you prefer levity here in blogosphere, so I'll save it for another day.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

Best Birthday Ever

So my mom and dad always give me birthday money for my birthday. Usually I'm very responsible with it and buy myself clothes or useful and needed things for the house or yard. But today, I'm sitting here at the computer witha brand-spankin' new cordless and ergonomically correct keyboard in my LAP (I got a mouse, too) while my HoMedics SBM-200 chair massager is working out the knots in my back. I can't recall ever spending my money on items of such frivolity, self-indulgence and pamperedness. This massager is so great that I'm even making up words like pamperedness. I'm pretty sure that's not a proper use of the root word, but I'm so relaxed I don't even care!

Also, I got to go out to dinner last night w/out kids and that was fun. And tomorrow I get to go to lunch with some friends at a place in Waxahachie that I hear is great, even though it might remind me of my San Angelo experience of croissant with turkey-for-her-only bias. Oh! AND, a couple of concerned blog-readers (S and LsS) got me an extra special treasure---a whole bag full of SPAM products! Did you kow that there are many flavors and varieties? It's "CRAZY TASTY"! I think I got all the different flavors, plus a "SPAM Single" package--"Just rip and tear your way to CRAZY TASTY town!" Very funny gift, but know this S&'s ON! I have awhile to plan, but there will be sure and swift retribution on the days of YOUR birth.

Let's see...I also bought some of those really neat flip flops that have the soles of a tennis shoe. I like 'em. I like 'em a lot. And Clay got me the new Jars of Clay cd, "Redemption Songs". It is very very good...old hymns sung in a modern way. If you liked the music from the movie "O Brother Where Art Thou?" (RJ, for sure), you'll LOVE this cd. I especially like their renditions of "I'll Fly Away", "Nothin' But the Blood", "On Jordan's Stormy Banks I Stand", and "It Is Well." good stuff.

All that, and my birthday hasn't even actually ARRIVED yet! Yes, indeed, Gloria Deluxe CH has nothing on me. She probably only got a new saw or accordian strap for her birthday.

Thursday, May 12, 2005

Go Google Yourself

Have you ever googled yourself? It's quite interesting, but also a little bit depressing. I googled myself yesterday and found out that I'm not the most famous Cynthia Hopkins around. It's really weird to see your name with someone else's picture, but that's what I found. There's this chick who is, apparently, a very successful musician. Anyone heard of the band, Gloria Deluxe? Well, the other CH started the alt-country band and plays the accordian, guitar, saw, trumpet, viola, and drums. She's a "magnet on stage" and has written the award winning gleeful musical odyssey "Accidental Nostalgia," that explores the pros and cons of amnesia. hmmmm. Then there's also a CH who was the set dresser for the 1986 TV show "Yuri Nosenko" with Tommy Lee Jones. AND, if that weren't bad enough, there's another CH who is a writer! She's Canadian, and I ran across an article she wrote for "Mothering", which I have to admit, was very good. So there's a chance that I might not even be the best CH writer!!! How am I supposed to work this morning with this newfound knowledge????

But there is a ray of sunshine. I did run across the real me on two web pages and that was kind of cool. The ec sample on LifeWay's site is a devotion that I wrote. You can see it here.

Scroll down to see my name as a devotional writer on the bottom right hand side of the contents page. Then, scroll down past the article to see a devotion that I wrote awhile back. And then there's this old notice from a church in Lubbock for their "Holiday Celebration" that I spoke at last fall. They put my name on there and "Featured Guest Speaker", which is kind of funny to me, because I'm pretty sure that didn't help them sell more tickets. Maybe if it had been Gloria Deluxe CH.... :-)

I also googled my maiden name and found out that I may, in fact, be the most famous Cynthia Wooldridge, if I still went by that name. Because mostly I just found genealogy stuff for that name.

Now I don't want you worrying about me---I don't have this deep inner desire to be famous or anything, it's just that it's kind of fun to see yourself on the world wide web. So take a few moments and go google yourself. You might need to narrow your search by adding your city or something. Have fun with your new little project, and let me know how it turns out!

Wednesday, May 11, 2005

the complexity of brick and some other stuff

So it turns out I was wrong about a few things~
1. all brick is not, in fact, created equal. Thanks to my builder brother for straightening me out on that one. And just in case the rest of you didn't know, clay brick is way better than concrete brick.
p.s. the house is taking shape-it's framed and looking good!

2. Chick-fil-A is not actually a good place to eat breakfast, health-wise. Thanks to Sharon for spending time in her last semester at A&M to actually study each menu item for nutritional value. (this really isn't new news to me, it's just that I've chosen to ignore the knowledge. and will, it seems, continue to do so as I have just this moment polished off a delicious chicken biscuit)

3. Jack didn't stop the nuke in time, but I'm thinking he's going to figure out how to make it land in Siberia or the ocean or something before it actually destroys us all. And also, I'm tired of Audrey, the acting President, and that guy from China. 3 hours before it all comes down...whew!

4. Boston Rob and Kelly didn't win the Amazing Race. Yea, Uchenna and Joyce!

Abby has her end of the year party today, a luau! The next couple of weeks are fun-filled for both kids. Clay and I have apparently been assigned a very important job at Brandon's Field Day this Friday. So important, in fact, that Coach Oliver had to lay it down for us Monday night at Abby's softball game (the other team didn't show up :-( Word must be getting out, the Stars remain undefeated with only 2 games left on the schedule.) Next week, Abby has field day and Brandon will have "Cowboy Day". I'm not sure what that one's all about, but he said something about a longhorn at the school, grilling hot dogs and other cowboy-type stuff.

And next week will surely prove to be fun-filled for me as well. After I turn 36 on Monday, there are only a few more days until our 15th anniversary. Clay and I trade off each year who has the duty of planning a date/trip or whatever. It's my year, and I must say, I've outdone myself. But I can't tell you now because he reads this and I'm keeping it on the down-low. But I will say that we'll be out of pocket for a few days. More to come!


Saturday, May 07, 2005

Mother's Day

The kids gave me my M-Day gifts a day early today. They helped clean the house, drew pictures and each gave me a card they had picked out at Target. Brandon even stuck a dollar bill in his card for me. :-) And Abby hasn't stopped showering me with words of love and kindness all day long. See? Some of our moments are tender. Here are the best of the best:

* We talked with Abby a lot last year about what it means/takes to be a Christian. One night after she'd asked some questions and I'd explained it, including the fact that it involved making Jesus her boss, she thought for a moment then said, "Maybe I'll do that tomorrow." She then rolled over and went to sleep.

But then, on Dec. 8, all on her own, Abby prayed to make Jesus her Lord and Savior during her bedtime prayer. When she was finished she looked up at me and smiled that great big smile of hers and said, "I did it, Mom." We're waiting a little bit on baptism, but know that the choice was her own. Since then, we've watched with great pleasure as she has sought to grow, even at her young age, through reading the Bible and having "quiet times."

*July 2001 - Brandon had been asking about getting baptized for awhile, but had not yet understood about grace up until this point. Then, one night during his bedtime prayer he said all on his own that he wanted Jesus to be his Lord and Savior and the boss of his life. We talked about it a lot the next few weeks and felt confident that Brandon understood what he was doing. He prayed again with Clay and was baptized a couple of weeks later.
August 2001 After Brandon's baptism, we were looking at the pictures I had taken of the event. Brandon saw the one where he's looking seriously down into the water, seemingly prayerful. He laughed and said to mom, "Nana, you know what I was thinking right there? I was thinking, 'I sure do wish I was swimming in this water right now, because it is so warm.'"

It's funny to me how both kids came to Christ in similar ways. I guess I had this picture of leading them to a point of decision, and in a sense we did. But mostly, both kids just took the lead when they were ready. When I was trying to hold Brandon back a little bit, concerned about how young he was, a friend reminded me that salvation is between them and God, not them, MOM, and God. Guess I'll probably have to learn that lesson about some other things along the way as well.

It's a very, very good thing to be a mom.

Thursday, May 05, 2005

Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 3

Did I mention that the foundation has been poured? It has been raining since then, so no framing has taken place yet, but still...we have a floor! Our current assignment is to choose brick, which is a difficult task. We're supposed to drive around and write down the addresses of exteriors that we like. Then the brick guy will go look at them and match them, with his instructions, "We want the cheap kind" because the way I look at it, brick is brick. As long as it looks good, I don't care.

but you didn't come here to read about that, probably. Here's what you're looking for~

Brandon on personal space:
first grade Sunday School - to his teacher as she was about to trace his body on a large sheet of paper: "Well, ok, but don't touch my privates."

Brandon on discipleship:
In a prayer Brandon said, “And God, help me to be like you. Not all the way. But, some.”

Brandon on forgiveness:
last month - his SS class was asked if they ever had to forgive anyone? B - "Yes. My sister. I've had to forgive her a LOT of times." (pause) "for 6 years."

Brandon and perhaps a somewhat overdeveloped esteem of self:
When we came to Midlothian in view of a call, we went to watch the football team play Everman (Bulldogs). They lost, and we all know how competitive Brandon is. Later, when talking about the move, he told me that he knew that we had to move because God has a purpose in Midlo. for Clay. I explained that yes, that's true, but He also has a purpose in Midlo. for Brandon, Abby, and me. He thought about that a moment and then said, "I wonder if God wants me in Midlothian to help the Panthers beat the Bulldogs when I'm in high school."

"If I like a girl, I'm not embarrassed at all. In fact, I'll just come right out and tell her."

to TW, an adult youth worker at church: "We need to get together sometime."
TW: "Yeah, that sounds good. Have your people call my people."

"I have a solo voice."

B: I have an athletic build, like mom.
Clay: If by athletic you mean as skinny as a toothpick, then yes, you're very athletic.
(and don't worry, Brandon is seemingly unphased by these harsh statements of reality)

and there you have it. at my house, it's very hard to not laugh out loud at inappropriate times. I think I'll have one more post of stories...because I told you there were some that were touching, and we haven't really gotten to that part yet.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 2

Apparently, Abby made great use of her free time and took advantage of a substitute at school last week. She made invitations to her "birthday party" and distributed them to her classmates. One problem...we're not planning a birthday party in the near future because her birthday isn't until next January. Today I had to call some kid's mom to explain the whole situation since she had left a message asking for details. Her son, quite naturally, was very excited and didn't want to miss the big event.

With that, here's Abby, the Early Years-

* while Brandon was in trouble, crying, and needing to apologize: "You have sumin say to me?"

* after putting pizza cheese up nostrils (I was unaware), Abby exclaimed from the backseat of the car: "Wha's in my nose? Wha's in my nose? I can't git it!"

* Abby and Brandon had received a chocolate advent ribbon from church. Talk about a lesson in self-control when you're 2! The ribbon, complete with Hershey's kisses, was attached to the wall in the living room and while I was cooking, Abby stood beside it saying, "Mom, don't wook at me". I did wook, so she refrained, but only for a couple of hours. After she had already eaten the Kiss for that day, she quickly grabbed day 5's candy and crammed it in, thinking she was so fast that I wouldn't see her. Wrong! I made her spit it out.

* and then there was that whole naptime incident when she, um, had an "accident" and then pretended it was food for her dolls and beanie babies. (yeah, I know...thanks for sharing)

* 10/02 - As the kids and I were leaving the house, I pushed the garage door opener and then ran back in to lock the front door. Abby grabbed on to the garage door (2 or 3 years old)and rode it all the way to the top, where she got scared and dropped back down to the ground. I made it back just in time to see her drop to the ground, terrified. She was upset about it for half an hour, vowing to never ever do that again. She had tried several times before, but I had always been there to stop her.

* Abby had several imaginary friends: Shaylove, Tommy, Chuckie, and Angelica, to go along with her imaginary pet, Vinyoo. When asked where she got the name "Shaylove"...was it on TV or did she make it up, she replied, "Mom, she's real."

* Abby: Chaz is going to marry me.
Mom: Who are you going to marry?
Abby: Maffew

*Abby: Mom, can we go to Blues Clues house?
Mom: I don't know where Blue lives.
Abby: Dad does.

* Mom: (to Abby who was in the tub) Abby (sweetie pie, sugar darlin'), I'm ready for you to get out now.
Abby: Well, I'm ready for you to get out. (as in, get out of here and quit bugging me)

* One day when I picked Abby up from preschool she was crying. I asked her what was wrong and she said, "I don't want you to pick me up." I asked why and she said, "If you'll go to work everyday, I can go eat lunch with my friends!" I said, "You don't want to eat lunch with me?" Abby said, in tears, "NO!"
The next day at preschool, Abby walked in the room and informed her teacher that her mommy was working now and that she would need to go with the daycare to lunch.

* 12/02 - Abby started to stick her tongue out at me. I told her she’d better not. She said, “Yes, ma’am”, then started to walk off. She stopped dead in her tracks, looked right at me, stuck her tongue out as she fake coughed.

* 3/03 - Abby and I were watching the Prince of Egypt together. She asked TONS of questions throughout, then our conversation turned to heaven at the end of the show. Abby: “Are there gonna be spankin's in heaven?” me: "nope" Abby: (with big grin) “Cause there aren’t any spoons there, right?”

* 9/03 - Abby told me the whole story of David and Goliath. Then I asked, “Who helped David do that?” Abby answered, “God.” So I asked, “Do you like that story?” Abby: “No, but I like Tarzan.”

And there are SO MANY other stories from Abby's toddlerhood that I couldn't possibly tell you them all. She's come a long, long way...and it's a good thing, because one of us wasn't going to make it.

Sunday, May 01, 2005

Out of the Mouths of Babes, Part 1

What a fun-filled weekend we've had! Both kids had games Friday night and it was cold, but it was still fun. Abby threw out a girl at first from short stop for the second time this was a thing of beauty. Brandon pitched and in two innings struck out 6 and gave up no runs. He is very, very proud, so we didn't point out how horrible the other team actually was. I mean, he really did pitch great, but they, not good. Anyway, on Saturday we ate all 3 meals together around a table. We ran errands and played lots of games and then, for our only dissatisfying moment of the weekend, we watched the Rockets choke...again. sigh.

Did you know that next Sunday is Mother's Day? I've kept a word document for each kid through the years where I've recorded funny things they've said and done, and some rather touching things as well. In honor of the occasion, I thought I'd share some of them with you this week. We'll begin with some early stories from the eldest child. Enjoy... I know I have.

Brandon, the early years:
* to my good friend's mom while riding next to her in the car- "Hey! You’re big….and SQUISHY!"

* June ’98 Clay: “Who do you want to invite to your birthday party?”
Brandon: “Girls.”
Clay: “What about Colt?”
B: “No, just girls.”
Clay: “What about Aaron?”
B: “No, just girls.”
Clay: “What do you want to do at your party with the girls?”
B: “Have a swimmin’ party!”

*July ’98 at the dinner table: (singing) “I got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my...(pause) WHEW!!!! I need to go potty!”

*When eating and/or drinking or wanting something to snack on: “Jesus needs a Cheeto”(or whatever he wanted at the time because, naturally, if Jesus is in your heart He must be in your stomach, too)

*Sept. ’98 after “helping” Clay put Abby’s crib together…”When Abby leaves our house, we’re gonna break that bed down.”

*After watching the final scenes of Home Alone, where the mom and son are reunited in the foyer, embracing and tearful, Brandon sighed and said, “I wish I could have a mommy like that.” hmmmmmmm....hope he didn't pick a card that expressed THAT sentiment

* Shone a flashlight on his tummy, then explained: “Well, it’s dark in there, and God is scared.”

* Sept. 99 when asked what’s 5 minus 0 while in bed with us at night Brandon said, after a long pause, “I can’t see my hands.”

* When his hermit crab named Big Stick died, Brandon asked, “Did he die on a cross, or did somebody shoot him with a gun?” Then, upon Big Stick’s burial in the back yard, Brandon said, “Now maybe he’ll come back to life.”

* Clay and Brandon went golfing and had to golf with 2 guys they didn't know. One of them used very colorful language until he learned Clay's occupation. Then he began to get more creative with his exclamations. After missing an easy putt, he shouted, "Holy Moses!" Brandon stepped up and sank a putt about 7 or 8 feet long. He lifted both arms to the sky and shouted, "Prince of Egypt!" (yes, Clay lost it.)

* Feb. ’00 prayer: “….and thank you, God, for letting us build a house. A big, big house with lots and lots of room. A big, big table with lots and lots of food. A big, big yard...” (you get the picture)