Thursday, December 29, 2011

Christmas Trees.....

Kerry mentioned – I guess we are what you call “non traditional” when it comes to Christmas trees?
That perhaps is the understatement.

Kerry’s family has always spent Thanksgiving at their ranch in the hill country.  It is a beautiful time for family and hunting BUT it also does not lend time to put up a Christmas tree.  So after 25 years I have managed to still not know when I should put up a tree and this year we did not. 

One year we had a “horn tree” – well actually we have had 3 of those.  But in December of 2004 – we were living at the Concrete House (have a shared why we called it the concrete house?) and getting ready to move to Mimosa.  Our home on Mimosa has elk horns everywhere – and that year we had piled the horns in the corner of our small living room and we just tossed the packages on top of the pile.  Then for two years (not necessarily in a row) we had a horn tree that Kerry created.

This is one of the horn trees looking down from our upstairs

Then notice I am not afraid to use a ladder for a tree.  In 2009 we were watching Son two play football until the weekend before Christmas – so there just wasn’t any time in my crazy world so I made a Graham Steer tree.  However I must not have managed to really get a picture of just the tree – so here’s Niece & Nephew two in front of the tree! (and he even has his eyes closed!)

In 2010 it was a real tree with a cowboy hat on top……

Actually one of my favorites....Can you see the black cowboy hat?

And this year was perhaps the most unusual (and quite the the least time consuming...) – I asked Son two to draw me a picture of a tree – and in about 5 minutes this is what I had:

I am in the market for a 10-12 foot artificial tree – that I want to leave up all year around.  We have plenty of room in the living room – now to see if we can find one that is reasonable in cost!  The part I like best is that my family has always been okay with our lack of tradition for a Christmas tree.  They are such good hearted, understanding men – for those 3 I am thankful (and yes that is my next blog….)

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


Oh how I love the game of football.  I know you know that because I have probably written that exact line sometime earlier.  I am not sure where this love comes from – I think part of it is just watching the incredible talent of young athletes and celebrating their success.  I can remember as far back as Justin Pitcock (who is now a captain in the Marine Corps flying v-22 Osprey…) playing linebacker for the Graham Steers – I can still see his stance as he got ready to tackle the offense, Lance Cauthen as a wide receiver, Toby Dollar at QB and I am going to get in trouble with not remembering everyone.  Of course watching Nephew one play and winning the Defense MVP for the district his senior year was just special beyond description.  For Nephew two’s senior year I filmed the games for Coach McCoy – on the sideline.  That was awesome!  I loved that opportunity.  The memories from the seasons with our sons are moments I will never forget.  Some highlights include Facing the Giants (Stonewall…..), Thanksgiving dinners, Football in December, Son one predicting the score against Brownwood, Son two getting moved up to Varsity after the season had started his sophomore year, and of course the State Championship Game in December of 2009. 

State Championship…..  I never imagined it would happen for the Graham Steers.  The dream just seems a bit too big – a bit too far from reach – and in many ways it is.  It takes a tremendous amount of work and dedication to reach that goal.  But for one heart of Texas town – that goal was within their reach – was something they could do and once they got past the Regional Game their pathway became quite obvious.

Dallas Cowboy Stadium, December 15th, 2011 – Mason Punchers vs. Stamford Bulldogs.  Hard work, dedication, determination, experience, commitment and the descriptives can go on for a lifetime.  What a joy to watch a group of athletes with enthusiasm for their team, excitement for their victories, and the will to win…..

The Apostle Paul writes in 2 Timothy 4:7 ~ I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.  And in I Corinthians 9:24-25 Paul again talks about competition ~ Do you not know that in a race all the runners, run, but only one gets the prize?  Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.  Paul would have enjoyed the State Championship game…..

I wonder if why I love football reflects my seasons with Jesus.  Watching a football game and seeing the success (and lack thereof) of athletes can be similar to our walk with Jesus.  Even though appearances at the state championship game do not always happen, successful athletes train as if it will happen every year.  I wonder if I am training day in and day out for the championship game with Christ? 

That is certainly something for me to ponder as I watch the awesome game of Football!!!  (It is bowl season you know….. the best time of year to be a football fan!)

And CONGRATULATIONS to the Mason Punchers
2011 Class A, Division I State Football Champions 
Kerry & me at Cowboy Stadium!

JK & ML - two of my favorites... Yes they are family (remember he is Kathy's cousin.....)
but more than that they are our friends!

ML & me!

I thought this looked really cool....

#20 - he's quite good - this season he made 5 out of 7 field goals - longest was 33 yards.  He made 93 PATs (90% for the season and that includes the blocked ones).  He averaged 39 yards for his punts and 26 touchbacks on kickoffs.  Such a fun player to watch! 
Love having a kicker in the family!

#20 as a running back - I know there were others who played
(and quite well - Mason had the MVP for both offense & defense)

This was his TD run....

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I must write!

Good heavens I really must come up with a regularly scheduled blog time!  There are many things I think of to blog about – but obviously not many things I actually blog about!  Most recently we have been really busy with Thanksgiving, having 2 boys in college, and moving my parents to Graham.  They are here – have been for a while – but it just takes time to set up a home! 

My parents' living room at their new home. The couch & chair are new the rocker was my grandmothers and so was the organ in the back.  This room feels so cozy!

We had a wonderful Thanksgiving with lots of amazing food.  Of course we missed our Coastie – FA Nephew two.  He was boating somewhere in the Pacific Ocean at the time.  That is just a weird concept.  But thanks to his brother – we were able to have another reminder of how proud we are of him!  It was fun to visit with Nephew one – his film life is just amazing.  Are you following Ralph Smyth on Twitter (@ralphsmyth) or have him as a Facebook friend?  That’s Nephew one’s boss – they are doing amazing things in the film industry.  (Have you seen I love you Will Smith or The Man Who Never Cried ?)

Our view from the porch at the cabin....

It was great to have both our boys with us at Thanksgiving.  I enjoy my boys – and their love for family is treasured.  We also watched our cousins & the Mason Punchers play an incredibly close football game on the Friday of the Thanksgiving holidays.  How fun it is to watch our cousins… is Jan’s grandson, Jan is Uncle Werner’s daughter, Uncle Werner was Grandpa Schmidt’s brother.  The other is Uncle Kelly’s grandson – Kelly is Grandpa’s youngest brother.  Kelly has a son – James Kelly who is married to Mona Lois.  Even though JK is really Kathy’s (my mother in law) cousin – JK & ML are dear friends to Kerry & me (they are our age…. well a tad younger!).  Wonder if that made any sense!

This weekend (Friday,  December 9th) we will watch the Mason Punchers play Garrison in the State Semi-Final Game – Go Punchers!!!!!

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Woo Hoo - that's my Friend!

I have been doing some blogging of sorts on Facebook.  This month many are writing something they are thankful for each day.  It is a great way to remind me to be thankful and to acknowledge those things in my life that I really enjoy.  Like so many others – I have much to be thankful for.  My friend Stacy said it best on her Facebook post:

Day 10- I am thankful that I have so many things to be thankful for that I cannot decide what to put!  Seriously.  I have so very much to be thankful for.  I am truly blessed.  I suppose I am thankful for blessings!

Love that post – and of course I do love my friend Stacy.

Friends….. I am one of those quote/phrase collectors.  If you follow me on Pinterest – I have a board called “Lots of Words”.  It is the section where I collect funny sayings.   I don’t have very many friend quotes posted right now – I should work on adding those.  A few years ago I read a book that helped one identify a personality type of sorts.  (I love all of that stuff too….this one was called “Strength Finder” – thanks DeAnna for getting that title for me….)  Anyway – my greatest strength is “Woo”.  Here’s an excerpt:

Woo stands for winning others over. You enjoy the challenge of meeting new people and getting them to like you. Strangers are rarely intimidating to you. On the contrary, strangers can be energizing. You are drawn to them. You want to learn their names, ask them questions, and find some area of common interest so that you can strike up a conversation and build rapport. Some people shy away from starting up conversations because they worry about running out of things to say. You don't. Not only are you rarely at a loss for words; you actually enjoy initiating with strangers because you derive satisfaction from breaking the ice and making a connection. Once that connection is made, you are quite happy to wrap it up and move on. There are new people to meet, new rooms to work, new crowds to mingle in. In your world there are no strangers, only friends you haven't met yet -- lots of them.

Today I am thankful for many of my friends – okay ALL of you!  And because I do love to make connections – here are some that keep me going….(I am only mentioning a couple….)

Church friendsCoffeeRoomGirls is just an amazing group.  I came in from church last night and Kerry asked me why I was acting so goofy.  I said that group energizes me!  They do – what an awesome group of women.  I am blessed to be a part of that Wednesday night Bible study. 

Also on that note I think of Luciana from Brasil.  I have known Luciana since I was 17 years old.  We met when I went on a Texas Baptist Mission trip to Brasil.  We found each other on Facebook a couple of years ago. 

School friendsWhen I taught school there were many that I called my friends – I remember Karen from Gilmer (whom I have lost contact with) – then there’s Susan from Gilmer too – who I have as a Facebook friend and the ones from Graham – like The Codys, Carmichael, Dee, Ken & Sheri, Gaye, Tracey, Beckyoh good heavens I am going to be in trouble for starting that list – but oh so many people that I treasure as friends – even though I do a horrible job of telling them how important they are to me!

Tarleton Cohortsfrom the doctoral program.  What a strange collection of 15 we were.  But those 15 became dear people to me – and they still have that place in my heart that will stay forever.  It is so true that without their support I would never have accomplished the all important ~ Cheryl Groves, EdD.

Sports friendsthis list could be way long…in no particular order I think of Karen Diesmany connections with Karen but having her come to my home on Saturday mornings during the 2009 football season is just one of my favorites.  The McCoy Familymy boys played for Coach McCoy, I watch their boys play football, and most importantly we worshipped together when they lived in Graham (and Debra is my dearest friend….).  Coaches that my boys have had through the years are still many of my dearest friends.  Then my Roll Tide friend Doug who lives in Montgomery, Alabama and even has a sports radio talk show!  My friends have many layers and many reasons that I call them friends.

One couple that has taught me much about what God has called us to do is Leanne & Chad RogersTheir love for my son that they never met was the initial reason they became my friends.  Now after a year – we are friends because they continue to let me pop in and out of their lives and seem to love me just the same.  Chad is the coach at Snyder – and he contacted our football coach after Son two got hurt to check on him.  Because of the way Son two left the field – it was the Snyder crowd that knew more of what happened. They live too far from me but dear friends they are!

Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow.
Don't walk behind me, I may not lead.
Walk beside me and be my friend.

~ Albert Camus ~

I will post pictures of some of my dearest friends in the next few days.

Leanne Rogers & me after the Snyder win....

Coach Rogers during the Snyder game

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

I Will or I

The last few months have been most interesting.  I have experienced a wide range of emotions and I guess at times I am just weary.  There have been many changes – one son comes home from living 12 hours away, another son leaves for college 4 hours away, I move my parents to my town so that I can help them (don’t tell them that they need it – they are in denial!), my husband’s company experiences a work related serious injury of an employee, it was the summer that never cooled off (very difficult for a HVAC husband), AND I became Cheryl Cannon Groves, Ed.D.

Ed.D. – better known as Dr.  In this case I am a doctor of Educational Leadership.  I completed the final step on Friday, October 7th at Tarleton State University.  I am no longer ABD (All But the Dissertation).  ‘Such an awesome feeling – and I just wake up each day wondering if it is really true!  A person in my office asked if it was somewhat pretentious to be referred to as Dr. Groves – in a workforce office where the title/degree are not required.  I said ABSOLUTELY not……  once I started the course work and went through that experience I vowed to always refer to someone as Dr. Whomever – it is quite a task.  So – by all means if anyone wants to call me Dr. Groves, Dr. Cheryl, Dr. Mimi Falaca (there’s a story to that one….) or just Dr. – then of course I will gladly answer. 

Lots of changes and there were moments that I just wasn’t sure about anything.  I think that is how life is sometimes – all around us seems to change – all around us seems to fall apart – all around us is uncertain.  I wonder do I use the phrase I will or do I just say I?

I will Trust in Jesus
I Trust in Jesus

I never really thought how different those 2 expressions can be.  I will Trust in Jesus or I Trust in Jesus.

Third Day captures it best (this is the second verse)
What are you going to do when your time has come
And your life is done and there’s nothing you can stand on
What will you have to say at the judgment throne
I already know the only thing that I can say I
Trust in Jesus
My great Deliverer, my strong Defender, The Son of God
I trust in Jesus
Blessed Redeemer, My Lord forever
The Holy One

I think that is all that really matters.  Am I saying – I will or I?  I think many times I have used the expression – I will trust in Jesus.  But I have decided that I trust in Jesus is so much more and the statement that I want to be living.  If you haven’t heard the song – take a few moments to listen.  

2 Thessalonians 3:3 – But the Lord is faithful, and he will strengthen you and protect you from the evil one.

My favorite College QB - before the RRR

Debra, Chance, Brad, Dr. Groves, & Kerry in front of the entrance to the Cotton Bowl
(my first picture as Dr. Groves....)

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

So Much More Than a Game...

It began a long time ago…. At least 40 years ago.  It is not a secret that girls are often “Daddy’s girls” and the bond between a dad and his daughter is often quite strong.  Of course since I was my dad’s birthday present in 1964 – it goes without saying that our bond would be forever strong.

There are many directions that this entry could take – some would make us all cry – some would make me cry but today is about something so much more….. Today is Saturday – and I am doing one of my most favorite things – watching ESPN’s College Game Day!

My dad would walk the sidelines of the Perrin Pirate football games.  In fact when we go watch my nephew three play – I still want to walk the sidelines and watch.  There are others that continue to do the same.  I went to every Pirate football game from 1966 – 1983 and during that time we also went to Baylor Bear football games in Waco.  And of course we watched the Dallas Cowboys on Sundays.  When I was a freshman in high school – a friend of Danny White’s got us tickets to see the Cowboys play at the old stadium – football is just a part of who I am.

That love of football has never left me.  It was a bit difficult when I married a wonderful man who went to a school without a football team – he did not understand my withdrawal on Friday nights when we were first married.  That quickly changed – and we watched Gilmer Buckeye football in East Texas.  Then when I started teaching in Graham we became avid Graham Steer fans.  In 1998 when Nephew one was a freshman that love of football went to a completely different level when I started watching our boys play and our boys of four increased to our boys of seven when the McCoy family came to Graham.

David Rupkalvis, editor of the Graham Leader, perhaps said it best…..

Quote from the editor's column in the Graham Leader

I do love football.  It has been a joy to watch #12 play in the Longhorn uniform and now leading the Cleveland Browns, we had so much fun watching the receiver at Hardin Simmons – he was a receiver that is steady and strong (Son two took after him – they both have the best hands….) but the bond between a QB and his O line is much like that dad and his daughter bond.  Forever.

So it was that the forever bond took us to California last weekend.  One dream I have is to visit football stadiums and watch college teams play all over the nation.  Of course the Rose Bowl in Pasadena would be a place to visit.  I will never forget Vince waltzing into the end zone nor the one standing on the sidelines a few years later.  But this year it was about a QB – and for me it was about his O lineman.

The friendship of those two has done more for my family than most will ever know.  In many ways the QB's love for Jesus brought our family back to that in a time when we did not even know we were away.  He was our Graham Steer quarterback and for three of those years – Son one was his O lineman.

When Texas announced that our QB would be the starting QB on Saturday against UCLA in the Rose Bowl – we started looking for tickets.  God blesses people in many different ways and for us it was with reasonable plane tickets, a time frame that worked, and being able to find game day tickets.  The QB’s dad – Brad was flying into LAX on the same flight and Colt’s financial agent was flying out of LAX that evening at the same time.  All the details worked and that O lineman got to watch his QB start in his first college game.

For me football is about the game – I do love the Xs and Os (I understand the game – I could probably coach a team ….) but it is also about the people and the excitement it produces.  Just this morning on ESPN College Game Day – they interviewed Dabo Swinney – coach at Clemson – I loved that interview and now will want to watch teams he coaches.  He talked about showing enthusiasm, loving what you do and being excited.  He also has a sign on his desk - There is nothing less important than the score at half time.

David was right – I do love football.  Thanks Dad – following you around is where it all began…

Notes: There is so much more I could write about football!  Last year when Son one was in Montgomery – getting to be in the stadium where the historical Blue/Gray games were held and seeing the Roll Tide/Auburn rivalry.  Son one’s senior year we took the QB to an A&M game and I have even been on the field at DKR when Colt was a QB at Texas.  My football experiences are just some of my favorite memories!  And of course watching our boys play high school football was the VERY best and ones I will treasure for a lifetime. 

Before the game!  Hook 'em!

His first TD pass!

Our group after the game

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Monday, September 12, 2011

He Inhabits Praise...

When you’re up against a struggle
That shatters all your dreams
And your hopes have been cruelly crushed
By Satan’s manifested schemes.
And you feel the urge within you
To submit to earthly fears
Don’t let the faith you’re standing in
Seem to disappear.

Praise the Lord….
He can work through those who praise Him
Praise the Lord
For our God inhabits praise
Praise the Lord
For the chains that seem to bind you
Serve only to remind you
That they drop powerless behind you
When you Praise Him.

I grew up in Perrin, Texas and worshiped at FBC, Perrin.  I love that church.  One summer we went to an Imperials concert.  I tend to be obsessive, compulsive about music and particularly lyrics.  The “Praise the Lord” song was recorded by Russ Taff & the Imperials somewhere between 1978-1981 – and was written in 1978 by Brown Bannister & Mike Hudson.  I memorized the song years ago and I still know those lyrics today!  My poor parents (you know those people that gave Greta the name of Cheryl…..)  – we did not have internet back then….. so in order to know the lyrics – I had to play the song over and over and over and over.  Needless to say “Praise the Lord” wasn’t the only song I memorized! J

I have the song on my iPhone now and I played it on my way to church this week.  Struggles have seemed a little to close to home and a little to frequent of late.  Mine are certainly not more than anyone else’s but I realize that any time struggles happen with those closest to us – it just weighs heavily on our hearts and our minds.  For me it is easy to know that God is going to take care of me – in the big picture but I think I tend to submit to earthly fears on the day to day matters. 

And of course – as usual God just works when we need him to work!  Our minister shared from Psalm 29 this same day.  I particularly heard the following:

When we realize who God is – God is in charge. He is enthroned over the flood (over my struggles….) – enthroned as King forever…. “The Lord gives strength to his people; the Lord blesses his people with peace.”  Psalm 29:11.

Now Satan is a liar
And he wants to make us think –
That we are paupers, when he knows himself
We are children of the King.
So lift up the mighty shield of faith
For the battle must be won
We know that Jesus Christ has risen
So the work’s already done….

Say an extra prayer for those people that gave Greta the name of Cheryl and taught me to Praise the Lord.

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Driving The 102

Do you ever have those moments in your life that grace just abounds?  I hope so – I certainly do.

This past week or so was just that for me.  It began by learning that my nephew had to find a place to live in San Diego – in less than 10 days – alone.  I of course immediately volunteered to go with my sister in law to help her youngest son. She looked at flights – round trip would cost way too much – no way to justify her flight much less one for me too.

I wish I would have taken a picture of what I saw later that evening… I got onto AA and found a flight to San Diego on Friday and one returning home on Tuesday – for less than ½ the cost of ALL the other flights.  I put those on hold for us.

The next day we waited to see if the place Nephew two found worked out – went to our CoffeeRoomGirls ( Bible Study and shared our worries.  Those ladies prayed for Nephew two and his home hunting and prayed that if we were suppose to go – we would.

My sister in law and I are the best of friends - she’s actually my sister more than anything.  She asked my husband if I could go with her - due to our family business – Nephew two’s dad could not go.  Kerry said yes – and we left early Friday morning.

I should have kept a list of how many places we saw.  I bet it was between 15 – 20.  On that first day we found one that Nephew two liked but it was small and out - off the beaten path.  So we kept looking.

We did not see the ocean until Sunday morning.  I woke up that day early and told them I felt like we had to look at places near the ocean.  So we headed that way.  I found one on Craig’s list – unusual though because it did not have a phone number -  just an email.  So I emailed.  After several exchanges we arrive at the condo – and I had forgotten to ask about pets.  This place did not allow pets!  BUT… I asked her if she had other properties.

She told us of her friend -  Paul – who had a condo in El Cajon.

El Cajon was the area we kept coming back to.  It’s about 20 minutes to the base and the locals think it gets hot out there (like at 85 degrees).

Nephew two turned in their application on Monday morning – we prayed the process would go quickly – went to Coronado Island – enjoyed the sun & as we were leaving (and a Coast Guard Jayhawk was flying over) – his phone rang and…..

Grace Abounded.

As we left – and Nephew two settled in his perfect California condo – his landlord told LynDee he was so surprised that it all happened so fast.

I’m not…..
This has been hanging in my kitchen since May 17th.

So many people in Graham and Blanco (where Niece is until her grad school is finished) and lots of places in between prayed for our journey – so many people helped us – Scott, Tyson & Trey, Kallie, and Jesse – the Coast Guard is an amazing family.  And the niece back in Texas searching the internet for us!

Oh and I LOVE San Diego and the west coast.  They did have some concerns about my southern accent and early Friday I asked about their highways.  I kept hearing something that sounded so different than the way we speak of roads in Texas. 

The 102 that’s The 94 and The 8 together (our fun way to remember) – which is how you get to their home from the base (later on we added the 125 but 102 sounds better than 227!).  Now I guess LynDee will be taking The 16 to work!

Their condo in El Cajon, California

Coronado Island

Downtown San Diego
(yes we have on sweat shirts!)

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Thursday, July 21, 2011


I am quite far behind on blogging - but God's grace has just been amazing....

Here are some things I will tell you about soon:

*Cape May, New Jersey
*Summer of Heat (my men are just about to melt)
*San Diego (yes I am leaving on a jet plane!)

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

4 Men AND a graduation, movies, some music, & a cutter

My sister in law (LynDee) made the comment this week that our boys are more like brothers than cousins.  I agreed.

Our boys – that’s what they’ll forever be but actually they are men now.  The baby has graduated from high school and Son two will be living in Bryan – College Station in the fall and going to school at Blinn.  He’s studying Kinesiology and has plans to transfer to A&M.  His brothers have been watching out for him all these years and lovingly refer to him as Crudder.

Our oldest is living in Austin and doing what he loves – producing films.  His production skills have taken him across the seas to England where he produced a film about Lord Montague of Beaulieu.  Most of Nephew one’s films are filmed in the Austin area including one that all of his brothers worked on with him.  It is that film where they met Ryan Lee.  His name now appears in the credits of “Super 8”. 

Son two lived in Alabama last year and is back in Texas now.  He is working for our company and is earning an associates degree in Oil & Gas Technology.  I suspect that degree will take him back to Alabama but while he’s here he blesses our lives with music.  As a self trained player of the guitar – he has written and shared some amazing tunes with his brothers and the rest of our family.

I mentioned in an earlier entry that I had no earthly idea what Echo 185 meant – well my limited knowledge just continues to shine.  This week I realized I had no idea what “cutter” meant.  So I started researching and found lots of pictures of cutters.  They are the high endurance ship/boat of the United States Coast Guard.  Just a couple of days after I learned about cutters we found out that our Nephew two will be stationed on a cutter for his first assignment.  Niece (our first daughter) received the call this week that Nephew two will be stationed in San Diego California on the USCGC Boutwell (WHEC – 719)

Our four are all named after family members:  Nephew one – for LynDee’s dad – Wayne Curtis, Nephew two – for Kevin’s dad – Kirby Groves, Son one – for my family, and Son two for Kerry’s family (his grandfather William Harold Schmidt).  I think that must be where it all began – from the naming of each son – we have made an effort to make their lives about family. 

Oh how LynDee & I love being moms of boys – unbelievable joys that never cease.  Each of our 4 are in different stages and very soon they will each be in different places of the world.  Son one in Graham – for now, Son two in Bryan – College Station, Nephew one in Austin, and Nephew two if in port will be in California and if not in port – he will be all over the west coast of the US and maybe even up to Alaska.  We are thankful when we have them all together – ready for Nephew two to be home before he leaves and maybe we can get one more picture….

4 Men – and a lifetime of joy.

Christmas 2010 

USCGC Boutwell (WHEC - 719)

Summer of 2009 - Set of Playland

The last time the 4 were together

Son two's graduation - May 2011

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Monday, June 6, 2011

More Than A Game....FCA All Star Classic

What does Fellowship of Christian Athletes mean to you?  Quite honestly sometimes I think we do some lip service to the phrase.  I am not so sure that my boys really participated in FCA like one would like for them to – but I do know that my boys know what it means to be a Christian athlete and their FCA experience was amazing.

It all began in 2006 when Nephew two – he was selected to play in the FCA Myrle Greathouse All Star Football game in Abilene as part of the Big Country FCA Chapter.  He was in the first group of Graham athletes to participate.  Coach Brad McCoy had been a part of the Big Country FCA Chapter in his previous school and he understood the value of FCA and wanted Graham to be a part of that group.

Nephew two loved the experience and we loved watching him play one last football game.

Then in 2009 – Son one was selected to play in the game.  He too loved the event – again it was great to see him in a football uniform on a field one more time.  He stayed with a great family – The Nichols from Abilene – roomed with a football player from Snyder and really appreciate the emphasis on Jesus and being a Christian. 

Now it was Son two’s year – except do you know how his football season ended – on a stretcher (from the very field of the FCA game) as he was taken by ambulance for broken transverse processes in his back (that’s a way long story that I will have to tell later….).  BUT he healed up nicely and was selected to play in the game – only to be injured in the last basketball game and decided he could not play in a football game.  We contacted the FCA and they encouraged Son two to attend the week’s activities – that they recognized that some kids would not be able to participate but they still wanted him to have the experience of the FCA event.

Wow – what a week our Son two had.  Its hard to write how incredibly proud of my son that I am.  Our older son has always been very comfortable around people – he doesn’t meet a stranger and will talk to anyone.  For Son two – that has been a learned skill but he has learned quite well and is really quite good.  Both the boys are leaders – and both boys served as team captains their senior years.  Their leadership tends to shine in all kinds of places.

Son two went to the FCA All Star week knowing that he would not be able to have contact play in the football game but he found a way to participate.  No one on his team had served on special teams as the holder for the kicker (imagine that ---- God is just pretty good) so he volunteered and since they do not allow the kicker to be rushed – he held for the kicker and all three extra points were good!!! (The North squad won – 21-10 Woo Hoo!)

Son two’s leadership shined – one coach said that he knew everyone’s name within a couple of hours and made a point to help the North Squad become a team.  Because of that leadership he was selected by the coaching staff (both the North and South) to receive the Jon Rhiddlehoover Memorial Spirit Award – the award is given to the player who exemplifies courage, sacrifice, and selflessness. 

The Mission of the Big Country FCA Chapter:

Our mission is to present to athletes and coaches, and all whom they influence, the challenge and adventure of receiving Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord, serving Him in their relationships and in the fellowship of the church.

What a great way for our #88 to end his football career – this time at Shotwell walking off with smiles on our faces.  We loved the Saturday events – honoring Son two as he received the award and watching him be a part of a football team once more….

The family of Jon Rhiddlehoover presented the award

Sam Corn, Kerry, Me, and Coach Quinn Conley with #88

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Send Support Letters Often ...

I really do have a few more things to write about than USCG Echo 185 – however they deserve one more blog entry.

It has just been a week and I feel as if we have been part of the Coast Guard family for a lifetime.  With the levels of technology we have these days we actually have several ways to “stay in touch”.  Not literally with SR Nephew two – but many USCG families and wonderful people who have been down this road before.  I am finding that I can see God’s grace in so many places.

This evening it was in the posting on facebook on the USCG Echo 185 group page.   USCG moms post information for those of us who are new – and they share great things.  I mentioned in my post that I was “just” an aunt and being a parent has to be even more difficult than how I feel.  My heart strings are just so tight – I cannot imagine how (LynDee & Kevin’s and niece's) the others must feel. 

This USCG mom (since 1999 – how special that she is still taking the time to help even 11 years later…) told me today that “just” an aunt is not really what I am and her son’s “just” uncle had similar responses – she then mentioned:

There are only 40,000 plus Coastie, we are all one big family. Welcome.

I love the word “Welcome”.  Of course we all know what the word welcome means – but I had to see what Websters Online had to say – I like 2 of their notations:

Received with pleasure and hospitality into one’s company or home
Cordially or willingly permitted or invited

If you have noticed in my previous blogs – this Groves bunch is all about family.  What a blessing to find another family that we can share with – and this one has that same love of family that we have.  What a blessing to be Welcomed into this United States Coast Guard Family.  Thank you Jane & Dawn and others – it is such an honor and pleasure – we accept your invitation & hospitality.

Until July 8th

Semper Paratus – Nephew two

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

USCG Echo 185

USCG Echo 185 - It was only a short time ago that I would have had no clue what those words even meant.  I might could have figured out USCG – but Echo 185 would have had no meaning to me.

Now it means the world.

The world for our Nephew two & niece.  Seaman Recruit Nephew two left for Cape May, New Jersey this afternoon.  Cape May is a beautiful place (from what I can tell from the internet sites) – and it is the location of the Training Center for the United States Coast Guard.

There are many Nephew two stories however 2 come to mind particularly.  He named Son one (really – he was 2 ½ when he was born) and helped us take care of Son two after he broke his back.  I guess it was about a year ago (okay probably less than that) that Nephew two told us he wanted to join the Coast Guard.  It sure takes work – he had to physically prepare – lose weight – gain strength – etc… plus he had to mentally prepare for the ASVAB.  While Nephew two was taking care of Son two – and I might add – he was PERFECT – he studied – worked out and also worked for our company.  Nephew two put in a tremendous amount of physical and mental effort so that he could be accepted into the USCG.  Today SK1 Howie Groves (his recruiting officer) told me that he will be a great member of the USCG.

According to their website:

About Us
Overview of the United States Coast Guard
The U.S. Coast Guard is one of the five armed forces of the United States and the only military organization within the Department of Homeland Security. The Coast Guard protects the maritime economy and the environment, defends our maritime borders, and saves those in peril.

The word “maritime” is not a word I have used often – you can basically substitute “sea” for that word – The Coast Guard protects the sea economy and the environment, defends our sea borders, and saves those in peril.  The word “peril” – Webster’s online defines peril as exposure to the risk of being injured, destroyed, or lost.

It makes sense – when we needed someone to protect Son two, someone to defend him, but most of all someone who would save him should he be put in risk of being injured again – it was Nephew two.  He was amazing.  I feel quite sure that I never thanked him enough.

God Speed SR Nephew two – we anxiously await July 8th

Semper Paratus (Always Ready)

Always, May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all. 2 Corinthians 13:14.

Nephew two & niece with the Texas flag they received that had flown over the Texas State Capital from Representative Rick Hardcastle to accompany him on his journies while in the USCG!

Fellow military friends

Here's to Brian!

Nephew two, niece & LynDee & Kevin

Uncle Kerry & Aunt Cheryl with Nephew two & niece