Tag Archives: memories

Something Much Better Than Overpriced Roses and a Sugar Coma

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Something Much Better Than Overpriced Roses and a Sugar Coma

The three most important words ever uttered are not “I love you,” but rather, “It is finished.”


btwPreface: I have decided that I must carve out space to start writing again. In doing so, I am starting by looking through the ten drafts I’ve had sitting on this site for faaaaaaaarrrrrrrr too long.

This particular post is from Valentine’s Day 2017: the day Brownie got accepted into a private school for her freshman year of high school. As overjoyed as I was in the original post, last year it became screamingly obvious that school, the one for which I prayed, was not the place for Brownie to thrive for another two years. My more studious, philosophical Blondie might have flourished there, but it became suffocating to my more… light-hearted…Brownie.

You see, dear reader, somewhere in the early days of the 2018-19 school year, Brownie finally convinced me to pay for voice lessons. Annnnnnd that changed everything. She is just not a classical Christian school kind of girl, and certainly not if that school is under 160 kids, K-12, with few opportunities for exploring her seriously amazing voice. Nevertheless, more on that later. Suffice it to say, School A was the right place at right time, but School B, with its expansive choir and drama departments, will see Brownie through to graduation. Praise be!

Oh, yes, an an additional aside, Blondie went on to start school at BYU-I in January 2018. As they are on a trimester system, her school terms run from the frwhatozen days of early January to the more temperate end of July. She comes home for 6 months, helps me with my business (also, gotta write about that!!), then heads back up. However, she’s only got one more trimester to go. January to April, and then she’s only got a summer internship to complete to wrap up her illustration degree. Tempus doth indeed fugit!

There was a clear indication I had other thoughts to add way back when, but I think where I left off works well enough as an ending, I’ll just let it lie.

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My heart is very full tonight, and none of it has to do with what many would consider a “traditional Valentine’s.” Somewhere between spending two years in the pit of depression a decade and a half ago and the stresses of mothering two high intensity girls and wifing a type A work-a-holic, my inner romantic realized there was a lot more to life and marriage than roses and chocolate once a year. Overpriced flowers & crap in place of the strawberries I’d much prefer doesn’t do much for me. Yeah, got a little too practical for my own good. So, Valentine’s… Meh.

Nevertheless, lots of wondrous, marvelous stuff today…

~ My Brownie has a place for school next year that is an answer to my frequent and fervent prayers; and I cannot express the pure love I felt pour out on me when I saw the acceptance email this morning from the small classical Christian school to which we made application last month. God, indeed, hears our prayers and knows our needs…ours and those of our children. Through tears I said ‘Thank You!’ over and over again.

We have homeschooled Brownie (in one form or another) since 2nd grade, but the older she’s gotten the harder it has become. When Blondie came “home” for high school and stepped directly into college classes, I became her chauffeur to two different campuses, 25 and 45 minutes from home, respectively, and her “required on campus guardian” for two solid years. When you are constantly in and out of the car, killing time here and there, particularly when it entails dragging a kid with ADD along for the ride, and expecting her to get anything out of your time together…yeah, not cool. Brownie suffered in the process, and so did I. Blondie, however, will graduate high school with 75 hours of college under her belt. But it hasn’t been accomplished without a tax on her younger sister and an increasing strain on the relationship between Brownie and I. Please, pile on the mother guilt. Heap on the ashes.

Despite trying on-line classes, small Great Books-styled pre-college classes at one of Blondie’s campuses, and a few one-on-one subjects mother y daughter, I finally, with the help of hubby and Blondie, ceded my dreams to reality on New Year’s Day and we started searching for a private school we could (choke) afford and still…eat… and put gas in the cars! Very quickly, we focused in on two excellent prospects. Within a month, however, it was crystal clear there was only one choice; gratefully, God agreed.

~ After deciding to have Blondie skip her 9:30 class and me opt out of my usual Tuesday morning scripture group due to some hellacious rain and tornadic winds in the area through which I chose not to drive, the girls and I a blessedly relaxed morning. Unfortunately I considered the holiday a little too late and got to the south side of town too late to meet Hubby for lunch (when your day starts at 4:30 a.m., lunch comes pretty early).

Despite missing my scripture group, which is made up of some dear ladies with whom I look forward to studying God’s word every week, and my husband, I got to speak to two dear friends- and on the phone no less (not usually my favorite mode of communication, but a necessary evil at times). First I talked to a fellow athlete wannabe who is such a stalwart spirit and a sweet, thoughtful soul (much sweeter and more thoughtful than me most days). She actually thinks to pick up her phone and call people. I think of a 100 different ways to get around phone calls! Then, a bit later, my BFF rang me up to congratulate me on Brownie’s school acceptance. I am always grateful for her calls. Seeing as neither of us are big “phone people,” it means a lot. I’m thankful that at this point in our lives neither of us requires an umbilical attachment to maintain the blessing of our friendship, which has dragged out over nearly two decades and several moves. Great is the blessing and the joy that is a low maintenance friendship with the person to whom I would entrust my children.

~ Picking Blondie up from classes has been a high point of my days since she was a freshman taking Great Books I and Philosophy from a local Christian university. She is always so willing to communicate what she has learned; her passion for learning is an energy source of its own. One of her courses this semester is the VERY intense “Art of Storytelling,” taught by two men who spent time writing and working in the movie industry in California. It is a class that lights her up when she considers her future. She wants to work on movies that cut the political crap and the filth; movies that make people remember the days when films were of good quality AND entertaining- for everyone. Alas, one of her frustrations with the kids in her class, and at this university, in general, has been the quality of expression of their religious values. The way they speak (word choices), they way they dress (barely, in some instances), and the way they demonstrate their faith has been quite puzzling to her. Today (this being several days post-Valentine’s that I am working on this post), for example, a girl came to her art class class wearing a t-shirt with “Magical Motherf*****” emblazoned across the front! Really?!

Well, for Tuesday’s class they had had the assignment to watch the Brandon Routh/ Kevin Spacey “Superman” from 10 years ago or so. The students had to do a write up on it to be turned in, but the class also discussed it amongst themselves. In my chat with Blondie, she observed how difficult it was for her to wrap her mind around a film in which the creators tried so hard to sell Superman as a type of Christ, yet they chose to give him an illegitimate child? Yeah..connection fail. However, not a single kid mentioned that as an issue. Lots of other stuff, yes, but not ‘knocked up Lois Lane.’ Furthermore, not

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her kid in class made the comment, “Most people I know, and I’m sure most of us in this generation, don’t really think about being Christian except during church on Sundays. I mean you do the church thing and then you go back to what you were doing.” He meant it, too. He wasn’t joking. No one dissented, at least not vocally. Blondie desperately wanted to speak up, to challenge him with, “I DON’T! What is the point in calling yourself a Christian if you don’t demonstrate it by your actions and let it show in your countenance every day!?”…but one of the profs shifted gears shortly thereafter, and her moment was lost.

happyvholyShe has said it a few times in recent months since taking classes only on the main campus, but today, there was a heavier weight to her sentiments: “I thought the difference between the students at [the local junior college] and those at [the Christian university] would be greater, but it isn’t. You still hear foul language, maybe not as much, but they are just as unapologetic and open with its use. The kids at the university aren’t even as friendly as the ones at the junior college, but then to hear ones I’d expect to be more serious in their faith treat it with so little reverence? Well, I’m just looking forward to seeing if there isn’t a more serious expression of faith in the students at BYU (where she’s hoping to go after Christmas break).”

I warned her not to get her hopes too terribly high, people are still people, but ‘yes,’ I think BYU actively cultivates the Spirit in its student body (I’d love some feedback on this point). No doubt the profs at the Christian university are serious about their walk with God, but sadly, it’s not immediately visible in the students- cross necklaces and themed t-shirts aside. They are young though. How many of us didn’t have our own true conversions as adults until our mid to late 20s, or older? Still, I am so grateful to have a kid with her head and her heart pointing to Christ with such depth and understanding at this point.

Tales From Times Past, pt. 2: Barbie’s Dream and Her House

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Second in my Facebook Recovery Posts (FRP). For the first, and an explanation of exactly what an FRP is, read here.

History is fascinating to me. I love the million, billion interesting and important stories of humanity’s past, to see where we were, what we’ve built, conquered, and accomplished- those are stories I could listen to all day long. However, in a recent Imprimus essay, “History, American Democracy, and the AP Test Controversy,” historian Dr.Wilford McClay laments the dismal state of historical studies today, citing, among other issues, the propensity for modern scholars to divide history into micro-oriented grievance groups and to look at everything of the past, no matter how noble, with a jaundiced eye. In other words, since (and because of) the 60’s we’re only allowed to look at the past and be angry, particularly if we happen to be a minority in any way, shape, or form. I am saddened that this is so, for I am angry. I am angry that I can’t simply “enjoy” our common history anymore because, now, everything is tainted by modern man’s need to Monday morning quarterback.

Case in point: We have amazing historical neighborhoods in Houston, thousands of beautiful lots with stunning homes from the 20’s and 30’s. Be they small craftsman and Tudor-style bungalows or massive mansions on finely manicured lots, these houses, many of which have been either well-maintained or meticulously restored, are quite simply lovely. The era in which they were built, an era that included      The_Public_Enemy_1931_Poster
trans-Atlantic flights, the Stock Market Crash of 1929, the Great Depression, Mae West, James Cagney, Errol Flynn, Bonnie and Clyde, the Olympics of Jessie Owens, and the rise of Adolf Hitler, saw many old conventions fall away and opened the door to both miraculousp5436_p_v7_aa progresses and never before imagined horrors. To some degree, I look back and think of those years as, in Dicken’s words, the best of
times and the worst of times
. And the people who built and lived in those homes saw it all. How cool is that!?

Sadly, that was also the era when Jim Crow reigned, with no small thanks to that progressive demon Woodrow Wilson, mind you. In all likelihood those grand homes had “negro” nannies and servants, and every last one of them rode in the back of the bus, drank from separate water fountains, and sent their kids to “separate but equal” schools. More broadly, children died from diseases we nip in the bud so easily now, there were few social safety nets to help the poor and the destitute, women had little control over their own lives, abuses occurred without laws or law enforcers willing to support the victims of rape or incest, Indians languished on reservations, South Africans were brutally oppressed, Britain ruled India, and Belgium the Congo! Western imperialism was in its heyday!

See how I dip5920_p_v7_aad that? Despite the fact that people talked to one another, neighbors knew and helped each other, movies were unrated, and children got to roam freely, to be children, though at a certain point it was expected that they would put away childish things, marry and start families of their own, because of inequalities everything was awful. Regardless of the fact that the nuclear family was the only norm, children of all colors, were largely born within the bonds of holy matrimony, divorce was uncommon, as was abortion, and people worshiped at church on Sundays, instead of at the mall. But according to those in charge of the academy, we’re not supposed to remember any of the good of those days gone by, only the bad.

As usual, I refuse to comply.


April, 21, 2014

Today, today, I am waxing poetic.

What a good morning I had. Brownie is taking a class at MFAH’s Junior Art School this week. So, everyday at 8 a.m. we’ll be heading to the Hermann Park area for a class that runs from 9-11. This
morning I took a long stroll around the neighborhood, reveling in childish fantasies for the better part of two hours. The ‘hood directly behind the building, which is off of Montrose, is rife with 30’s & 40’s era apartment buildings and quaint homes that have often been converted into apartments. Of course, there are also some newer, sleeker patio homes, with lots of frosted glass, metal trim, and art deco numbers affixed to their facades. The older places just scream “starving artists live here,” while the newer, pricier builds are more demonstrative of the choices common among the young urban singles with high paying jobs. BMWs and Range Rovers were not uncommon sights in those driveways.

Following the homes back a few blocks, the narrow, “mulit-family dwelling” lined streets gave way to a wide, tree-lined boulevard featuring a median divided in half by a long, broad walkway made from terracotta pavers laid in a herringbone pattern. Massive century old oaks sheltered what was Oaks North Blvdessentially a linear park in the middle of row of 1920’s mansions, sitting on lush, well-landscaped lots of four or five acres each (by my estimation). I felt like I had stepped back in time to the Golden Years of Hollywood. All that was needed to complete the image in my mind was a platinum blonde Greta Garbo look-alike outfitted in a designer red silk dress, dripping with furs and jewels being driven up one of the long drives in a silver Rolls Royce by a tuxedo clad chauffeur.

North Boulevard captured my heart & took me back to the days when my family would drive through the equally august Monticello and Westover Hills areas of Ft. Worth “just for fun” on Sundays. For a young girl living in a mobile home with orange shag carpet and vinyl couches out in the sticks, my mind would soar during those drives! Goodness, how I wanted to live in one of those special homes.

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Yours for a mere $3.8 million!

After the mansions, came the more “modest” homes on more “modest” lots. The next block or two had beautiful multi-story villas of Tudor, Spanish, and Craftsman design, and a few of those stylish contemporary homes, too—the ones where it was obvious the original home had been razed to make way for a twenty-first century variation on a theme: contemporary conveniences, sleeker styles, no rusty pipes, knob and tube wiring, or window units, but generally, with a few exceptions, enough charm to fit in with the original models. Yes, my fantasies did just fine there, too.

Further along, the lots got ever smaller, and the houses began to shuffle closer together, as if they were lining up to be photographed and had to squeeze into the camera frame. The appeal of these smaller bungalows did not diminish in relation to their size though. In fact, I loved them even more for their small yards, narrow drive ways, garage apartments, lush greenery, and brightly painted front doors. Not to mention the fact that I might someday actually be able to afford a mortgage on such a property. After

Event this small shack would run you about $600K

Event this small shack would run you about $600K

all, Fantasies are all well and good, but in the end, I’m a realist.

Eventually, I reached a block where the lots gave up on sidewalks, as the front doors were just a few feet from the street. At that point, sidewalks apparently became less important than a tenuous, but necessary finger hold on green space.Sadly, it was at that moment the outside world intruded into my day dreams, just as the street had intruded upon the front yards of these fanciful doll houses. As I glanced a little farther along my path, I recognized the familiar golden arches of Mc Donalds on Kirby; the noise and industry broke the spell the trees had cast upon me, and my imagination could go no further.

But wait! I remembered something very important at that moment: I still had to turn around and go back to get Brownie.

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As an aside, there was something I couldn’t help but laugh about on my walk, strike that, my stroll, today, and that was the sidewalks. They were simply hilarious to me. The few people 007I did encounter in the hour I was out were not walking on the sidewalks, but in the street! The roots on those massive old oak trees had pried up large sections of concrete with the ease, if not the speed, of a 50 ton bulldozer.
Every time I came to a curb cut, I smiled. Seriously, if the idea of a curb cut is to take away the need for one to step-up, or make it possible for a wheel chair bound individual to roll across a street and back onto the safety of the sidewalk, making them was a huge waste of tax payers money. Huge! No grandma or gandpa with any sense of joint preservation would dare attempt to walk anywhere BUT the street! LOL. I’m so grateful I get to walk this area every day this week. But, tomorrow I think I will check out South Boulevard instead.

Tales From Times Past, pt. 1: The Importance of Three Simple Words

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So, earlier this week I fired up my old primary Facebook account again. But, unlike my previous breaks from social media, this restart will be short lived, serving only as a precursor to a complete shut down before the weekend is over. Since suspending that account on May 18th, I’ve thought long and hard about the posts that have accumulated under the name of Darling Sam since 2008, and while it would be ideal to just delete every.single.posting from the past seven years and wipe the slate clean, there were a few that sprang to mind that I didn’t want to lose forever. They were important, or sentimental, or something, but most of all they mattered to me. I’m sure there are many more that deserve preservation than I can recall. Alas, I’ve slept since 2008…

With that in mind, I’ll be transferring the selected Facebook Recovery Posts here under the title “Tales From Times Past.” Mostly, I’ll simply post them in their original form with a little background info, but occasionally they’ll get a light polish for the form. Here are my first fruits…

From March 18, 2015: The Car Wreck

My oldest learned a difficult lesson today about staying up late when one has to be up at 5:30 a.m. Trying

My big girl had a rough morning

My big girl had a rough morning

to get this girl to go to bed at night, regardless of the coming day’s events is like pulling teeth. Unfortunately, today her sleep debt came due…and the Buick is no more. Totalled on Gosling Road some where near Rayford. She had driven to and from Seminary this morning with no problem, but the hour between our arrival home and our next trip out for her 9 a.m. Lonestar class allowed her adrenaline to drop & she didn’t tell me she was too drowsy to drive.

 

April 3, 2015: The Day Before Knee Surgery

Ok, time for another nap, but a quick story first.

Blondie went from being a very emotional, exhausting, high energy child to a calmer, more introspective, less emotional kid in what seems like the blink of an eye. Because of this massive shift, it is often hard to read her. She so hates to display emotions or lead on as to how she is feeling, particularly if said feelings seem to display a vulnerability or demonstrate a lack of self confidence. Even in expressing her fears, she refers to talking to me or her dad as making her feelings “public,” like we’re both just part of the ugly masses. Getting to the quick with her in regards to the wreck has been very hard- on her and us. She feels regret and remorse, but she has yet to go through through the “public” sobbing and wearing of sack cloth that hubby and I would have…appreciated or expected. Her “I’m sorries” have felt very forced.

Well, last night, as I was trying to get in the tub to relax before bed, she had several tasks she need me to do for her. She and two of her BFFs have been planning to go to Matsuri, which is like a Comic Con, but it is centered around Anime, and of course they must dress up, I mean Cos Play. Little Miss was trying to pull the rest of her mess together between 10 & 11 last night…at the same time I was trying to rest & hubby & I were having a little “Come to Jesus” meeting with our youngest.

By the time the meeting had broken up, Blondie wanted her turn. So, I helped, though it hurt. As she was leaving my bedroom, she turned back around and said, ” You deserve a hug.” I asked if that was just permission for me to hug her, or if she was actually doing the hugging (never happens). She assured me, she was hugging. I almost fell over. To top it all off, as she was leaving I said, ‘I love you,’ just as TJ and I do nightly. In reply, she actually said, ” I love you, too!” When I asked her to repeat that into a voice recorder, she laughed and walked away.

In all seriousness, as I don’t think she has told me she loves me in over four years (maybe five), that moment with her was the best present I’ve had in a long while. Sniff…

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