Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Garry update for AFE friends

I got home from church on Sunday and received a sad phone call that informed me that Angie, my long time friend and old teaching partner's husband, Garry, was in a very bad car wreck the night before. He had called her and said he would be home soon, but he never showed and wouldn't answer his phone when she called him. She finally got in the car to look for him, and she did end up driving up on the wreck. Thankfully, he had already been taken away, so she did not see him at the wreck-site. As a matter of fact, he had already been care flighted to Memorial Hermann in the med center and was in surgery by the time she found the wreck.

Diagnosis thus far (I'm getting info from Angie's mom and sister, Julie) = He has many broken bones including ribs and his jaw. They are worried about his left arm as the driver's side was hit and a lot of the glass went into that arm. They had to remove his spleen and had to "fix" other hurt organs. (sorry I'm not more specific than that - the list was long and was given to me quite quickly) He had surgery on Monday to repair his bowel and the abdomen was able to finally be closed. No other internal bleeding was found. He is still unconscious, but last night he was able to move his shoulders, jaw, hands and legs. Angie said she saw a tear in his eye when she played their song for him. Today (Tuesday), a tracheotomy was done to prepare for future jaw surgery. That procedure went well. The biggest concern is his head/neck injury. He currently has a halo thing around his head to keep his back/neck straight. Not much more info to give in that area. He is also on a feeding tube. I don't know if he's on a ventilator or if he's breathing on his own... I'll ask Julie.

He remains in the trauma ICU and there is no talk of him leaving it any time soon. They remain hopeful that he will pull through. I have a feeling he will - daddies will do a lot for their families... They appreciate everyone's support and prayers. Angie said she'd talk to us when she was able/ready.

At this point, they do not know much about how the wreck happened. They just know he was hit in an intersection (I believe), and he was struck on the driver's side...

I told the family that we are all here to help and are ready to meet their needs. They said they are fine for now, but they know needs will be changing shortly and will let us know what those are as they arise. Her mom said that money for parking and vending machines (life at the hospital) will soon be needed.

Angie continues to remain by Garry's side all day but does go home at night for sleep. Baby Ashley is continuing to go to daycare this week. They aren't sure what they're going to do with her next week. Right now they are just taking it day to day. Angie requests that no one call her - she just can't handle that right now. Because of this, I will continue to pass along info as I receive it from her mom and sister Julie. I plan on doing most updating via my facebook account, so check there daily for updates as Julie sends me info on a regular basis.

Thank you, Lord, for wrapping your arms around this sweet family during this hard time. We pray that you will continue to speak to the doctors and nurses and hold Garry in your healing arms.

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Sunday, March 28, 2010

It's all about who you know...

We spend Sunday nights with our Lifegroup from church. Our group consists of four families (which includes eight kids - Whew!). Tonight was Sean & Lisa's turn to host... and we are sooooooo thankful it was their turn because tonight just so happened to be the date of an MD Anderson Children's Hospital fundraising event at the zoo that Lisa helped to coordinate. And since life is all about who you know, and we just happened to know Lisa, our entire Lifegroup got into the event for free!!! Our sit down dinner was free! Our drinks (and wine) were free! The cotton candy was literally just sitting out on tables for you to pick up! And as if that weren't great enough, the zoo was closed to all guests - except those of us with yellow wristbands. It rocked! Okay, so the fact that everyone there (except our Lifegroup) had boocoos and boocoos of moola and their kids were dressed to the nines (Strasburg Children outfits, beautiful dresses, smocked brother/sister coordinating zoo outfits - literally. I am serious. Many of the rich kids' clothes matched their siblings', and many were smocked and then embroidered with zoo animals. Wow!) did make us feel a bit out of place, we decided to suck it up and enjoy the free evening.

There were zookeepers walking around the party with animals you could pet. (Yes, I see Grant needs a haircut.
I do promise that I combed his hair
and put hair GLUE in it - it's really obvious, huh?)

They had a beautiful brightly-colored decorated tent with
yummy food and AWESOME desserts!

As if I was going to pass this up! It's as big as my head!
Ask me if I even care how many calories it was...
It was sooooooooo verrrrrrrrrrrry worth it!

Grant and Ethan enjoying their free cotton candy.

Of course the zoo's carousel rides were free tonight, too.

Rhett didn't care about the free part. He was flat out pretty freaked out by the whole tall-animlas-moving-up-and-down-to-loud-muisc-thing. (Shocking, I know, since "Rhett" is synonymous with "Tough Guy".)

But Bruvher, Ethan, Mia and Avery were having a good time,
so Rhett decided to give it another go.
(Grant was waving at me.)

And he LOVED it!

So did I!

Rhett loved it so much, we had to take turns riding it with him.

We finally got him off the carousel and got to see a few animals in
the children's area before it got dark.

You'll just have to trust me that this is the owl cage
since I took a picture of their dinner (dead rats) instead of them.
The owls were really very pretty though, but their dinner was really pretty funny!

We got to pet and brush the goats. I think Rhett brushed every. single. goat. Surely the Houston Zoo has the most handsome goats tonight thanks to him.

City boys Grant and Ethan quickly learned that when a goat raises its tail, it's about to poop... They got a real kick out of it! Boys will be boys - especially when goats will be, well..........goats.

This is Keeley. She was in a bad mood tonight. She yelled at everyone. But then again, if I were a stinky, ugly goat with an overbite that lived in a petting zoo, I'd probably yell at everyone, too. This is the one goat that Rhett chose to stay away from.

The boys got to fulfill their lifelong dreams of being prairie dogs.

Ethan, Grant and Rhett enjoyed being some of the few
lucky Houstonian kids running and screaming through the echoing bat caves. I did not enjoy being one of the few Houstonian parents that lost my hearing because of it.

Icing on the cake = there was a beautiful full moon shining down on us.

And the weather... Oh! the weather!! It was perfect. Now, for a Houstonian to say that, you know it's a big deal. There was low humidity. The temp was in the low 70's. There was a light breeze and lots of sunshine (before the gorgeous moon came out). In case you still don't understand how rare of a beautiful day it was here in Oven Land, here's one more hint = It was actually a good hair day! (except for Grant - ha ha)

This is the outside of the zoo when we left. Notice there is NOT a crowd! Rare sight!

Gee, it's fun knowing the "right" people.

The animals were getting tired and were literally starting to go to sleep for the night, so we decided to go home to our beds, too. Grant was too sleepy to walk back to the car (so he said), so he hitched a ride on Daddy's shoulders.

What a fun evening! I think I can speak for the whole group when I say all sixteen of us had a BLAST! What a great way to end the weekend. Gee whilikers, I can't wait until Sean and Lisa host again. Ha! Tonight's going to be pretty hard to beat.

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Sunday, March 21, 2010

Howell Life Group (Final part of "A Youth Group, a Vision for Haiti and a Talent Show")

So I am actually admitting to the world that yes, I call these people my friends. We were actually in a Lifegroup with them, but the group got so, so, so big and we had to split into two. Anyway, I LOVED their act as it was very creative, and as you can see, their goal was to be as random as possible. (Toooooooo funny!) Points of interest = the five people eating hamburgers - just because, the saxophonist playing different tunes, Courtney and Lisa blowing bubbles behind the hamburger eaters, Amanda juggling, Ryan dressed up like Mini Me, Josh wearing a bunny outfit, Angie speed walking around the stage, and let's not forget the cartoon that was being shown on the big screens behind them. Are they not the most awesome people, or what? Yes, we have a GREAT time together!

Stuff LikeThat There (Part III of "A Youth Group, a Vision for Haiti and a Talent Show")

Thanks to sweet Rick, I now know how to upload videos from You Tube. And let me just say, it is waaaaaaaay faster than using Blogger! (note to self)

Okay, family, here's my talent show act Kerry recorded with my little Cannon camera (NOT a video camera). WARNING = The quality is not the best, but at least you get the idea.

I think I may have had a little too much fun with this song- but, it is one of my favorite songs, after all, and I do LOVE performing! I continue to be my worst critic, though. I see/hear many flaws (flailing arms - was I trying to swat a passing bee??? Gee whiz!!!!!, shaky pitch at end of song, was my vibrato really that happy is it the poor recording quality???) that I hope you overlook. Oh well - at least I had a BLAST on my way-too-short vacation that performing can take me on. Laundry was not on my mind. Errands were not on my mind. Keeping track of Grant and Rhett was not on my mind (they were on Gramma's - ha ha). My To-Do List was not on my mind. It was just me, a mic, my favorite dress and my favorite song. And let me tell ya, it was very freeing!

Oh, in case you are wanting to know what I said before the music began (Mom), I told the sound guy to "crank it!"

Taking Care of Business (Part II of "A Youth Group, a Vision for Haiti and a Talent S how")

This is the video of Kerry and Grant at band practice as I mentioned in this post.

Saturday, March 20, 2010


Today I learned that my friend, Rick Johnson, died today while on a walk with his wife near their home in Antioch, CA. This is very shocking news - especially because Rick was an avid runner. He was in G.O.O.D. shape! This came out of no where, and it hurts. I hurt for his sweet wife, Virginia, who crocheted my treasured "Kilgore" doilie when K and I got married that now hangs above our front door. I am sad for his younger son, Jeremy, who just had his first child. I am sad for his older daughter, Jennifer, and her three kids. I am sad for those of us that truly valued him as a person and a friend and a leader.

I first met Rick when K and I started attending Sugar Grove Church of Christ here in Sugar Land. He was the music minister here, so of course we hit it off. They moved to California a few years ago to continue their ministry, and I've continued to keep up with Rick via blogging, and of course enjoyed seeing him and Virginia when they came to visit SGCC on occasion. He was easy to talk to. He was a very, very good man. I just can't believe someone the world really needed was taken away - - - just like that, yet it happens every day to people everywhere. And this is why I say it's unfair. I did not know him as long or nearly as well as so many others did, but I am blessed to have been able to call him a friend.

Wouldn't you know, he's the last person to post a comment on my blog - just yesterday.

We love you, Johnson family.

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Saturday, March 13, 2010

A Youth Group, a Vision for Haiti and a Talent Show= Part 1

I have been trying, to no evail (sp?), to upload videos from the talent show our youth group planned to help raise money ($7,000) for Haiti. But, being the hard-headed person I am, I shall NOT give up! After all, tomorrow is another day...

In the meantime, I thought I would post these two pictures that depict the rocker that Rhett is sure to be, come to find out. We know he likes music. No shocker there. We know that if you dare to change the station in the middle of a song that he likes while driving in the car, you will get lip about it. Loud lip that goes something like, "Hey, Mama! Dat is my bavorite tong!" (BTW, they are all his favorite.) We know that he spends 99% of his days chanting and singing, but we did not know that he was a mic hog. Yip. Go ahead and give a big "Oink!" at him because he will take charge of your mic, and you will NOT get it back.

L.O.N.G. story short, Kerry and a band from church sang "Mustang Sally" and "Takin' Care of Business". I was asked to sing back-up and play the tambourine. I laughed at this thought for a few days because I was pretty sure that NOTHING would make me feel more dumb and useless than standing there playing a tambourine. But, I walked away having had a BLAST, and I also learned that I actually rock the tambourine. It's okay that I sometimes accidentally referred to it as a cymbal during band practice... It just matters that I rocked the house with it in the real show.

Back to Rhett... So while we were rehearsing, Rhett asked me to hold him. I thought it was because he was tired. Silly me. You better believe that just as soon as I picked him up, he reached across me, swiveled the mic stand to face his mouth, and he began to sing lead with Kerry, "Ride, Sally, ride!" And he knew when to do it, too, which means he had to have been sitting there and internalizing the song as we practiced. I got so tired of holding him that I ended up pulling up a chair to the mic and letting Rhett stand on it so I could catch my breath.

After I tried many times to get my mic back, I finally decided to go with the wise, old saying (that I've altered a bit for this post's purpose), "If you can't beat 'em at the mic, join 'em at the mic."

More talent show pics and videos to come soon including a video of Rhett singing lead with Kerry, my performance of my favorite big band song "Stuff Like That There", and a group of very funny people, that we cautiously admit are our friends in the fear you might think we're crazy, participating in thier own "special" way for the youths' Haiti Talent Show fundraiser.

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Friday, March 5, 2010

A Lunch Date with "Bruhver" (Brother)

Rhett and I had lunch with Grant today. By that I mean the plan was to just go sit with him while he ate since his lunch is at 10.30. Not sure if it should be called "lunch". I am thinking "brunch" would be a more appropriate choice of words. I thought Rhett and I would actually eat our real lunch at a real lunch time once we got home. Rhett, however, had other plans. He knew we were going to "eat" with Grant at school, so he wanted me to pack him a lunch so he could eat, too. He was so very proud (although in this picture he looks annoyed) to walk into the school with his big boy lunchbox...

...and its contents because his lunch was just like "Bruhver's"!!!!!

This whole follow/copy-my-older-sibling thing bewilders me. If Grant says it, Rhett says it. If Grant yells, Rhett yells. If Grant wants a drink, Rhett wants a drink. If Grant wants to put on shoes, Rhett wants to put on shoes. If Grant is mad, Rhett is mad. I guess since I was the oldest and never had an older brother or sister to follow around, the idea of being someone's shadow is foreign to me. Therefore, I've really enjoyed watching this phenomenon at our house. Thankfully it's only a phase - not sure I want Rhett to copy everything Grant does.

Grant (and his Cheeto smile) and Stephen at lunch

I am so thankful Grant really seems to enjoy school. I absolutely HANDS DOWN hated school. I hated kindergarten up through junior high. I dreaded going to bed at night knowing that the only thing the next day had to offer was school - again - another l.o.n.g., boring school day that I had no choice but to endure. It got MUCH better in high school, but I still never loved it. I never really liked my teachers until I got to high school. Well, there was my junior-high math teacher, Mr. Pearson. He rocked. But high school is where it changed - barely. Only a few teachers made a difference to me. (which I think is kind of sad) Mrs. Cleveland was awesome. She and I had a special bond (still do). Mr. Lee was awesome. He got a bad rap (My heart still hurts for him). Mrs. Hope was awesome. She was the first choir teacher I ever had that I felt actually taught me something and respected me and cared about me. That woman taught me singing, and that woman taught me how to be a confident and competitive soprano. She showed me "the ropes" for surviving as a soprano in a competitive district, and for that, I'll always love her. Who knew that sopranos could be so catty???!!!!!! Not me - until state choir auditions, that is. (I know, DUH! I think everyone knew this about sopranos, but me. Leave it to me to be the last informed.) That's where I learned to play the mind games, thanks to Mrs. Hope, and I learned that those mind games were just as important as singing your music perfectly in order to defeat your opononents. Let's see... That's about it. I hated my math teachers. Ya, that was mainly b/c I was bad at math and they really didn't help me - even when I went to tutorials. They just sort of threw me life vests to keep me afloat when I was so close to drowning and really needed saving. Come to find out, I think they were just really bad teachers. In college, Kerry tutored me in math, and I had no trouble learning from him. He just knew how to present the material to me. (sort of sad, in my opinion, since my teachers actually had a degree for teaching math and Kerry didn't - then again, Kerry is a C.P.A., so he's really got this number thing down) You know who really stands out to me though? Mrs. Reed, and NOT for good reasons. And honestly, I don't see me getting along with someone that boastfully called herself "Baby Hitler". That woman still boggles my mind. She HATED me. Now, she LOVED my sister and brother, and she loved most of my friends, and she loves my dad, but I'm pretty sure she thought I was as worthless as belly button lint. Not sure why she thought that... I was good in her class. I followed the rules. I was nice. She just chose to hate some of us (a lot of us) and was down right mean to that select group, and she chose to love others (if you were in her AP English class). That always made me mad. Like you weren't worth her time unless you were in one of her upper-level courses. What a witch! But, I suppose that although as odd as it sounds, I should thank her. She made me a better teacher. She made me want to make every one of my students feel loved and worthy. She, along with most of the other teachers I had, made school a pretty big bust. I should thank them, too. Because of them, I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to make a difference in the world by being the nice/cool teacher. (For the record, that doesn't mean that I'm the "easy" teacher. I tend to be the most strict with both discipline and academics.) I wanted my students to look forward to school, not hate every second of it like I did. Mr. Lee taught me how to do that. Mrs. Hope taught me how to do that. Mrs. Cleveland taught me how to do that. The final tier came in college. Some of my professors were FAB-U-LOUS-O! Truly gifted would be a better discription. They were born to teach, and they excelled at their craft. Dr. Rankin, a literature professor, stands out the most. That man is a genious. Not only was he a genious, but his teaching style and my personality totally clicked. He made class FUN, and I found myself feeling bummed when the class was over. From him I learned that teaching.......... was an art.

I am also thankful that school has changed drastically from when I was a student as it was certainly overdue. It has changed for the better for the kids. School is hands-on now. There are manipulatives out there for every possible subject under the moon. Kids actually move around and stay active at school as opposed to sitting at the same desk hour after hour like I did. School is fun. Even if you have a bummer teacher, there are still really awesome things kids get to do. I do have to take a sec to give a shout out for all those hard-working teachers out there. They no longer "have it made" and instead work their tooshies off day in and day out thanks to wasteful programs like "No Child Left Behind" and receive very little pay for their efforts. God, help 'em! God, love 'em!

How did I get off on this tangent????? Oh, yes. I am glad my kids love the idea of school. That's all I was really wanting to say.

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