Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Gracious & Football

If you have read my blog for any length of time you know all about my absolute LOVE for football.  My first love is high school football - that stems from years and years of walking with my dad on the sidelines of Perrin High School football.  Then that love just escalated with Nephew One hit high school and our dedication and admiration for Graham Steer football began and I suspect will never end.

We have laughed, cheered, yelled, and we have cried.

This year I also got to see graciousness on the field of play.

Nephew Three is a Graham Steer.  He is also the perfect example of what preparation can do.  He played football for Perrin and really had a great freshman and sophomore season.  Then his junior year he started both ways for Graham on the junior varsity team.  He was moved up to varsity and finished the season as a slot receiver for the 2013 Graham Steers State Semi-Finalist.

Junior Season

Nephew Three with Coach Brad McCoy (My boys' football coach)  & Dillon Cobb - Nephew Three's coach from Colt Camp.  This was after JV game against Abilene Wylie in the Junior Season.

Grandson One wearing the helmet became a tradition in the Junior Season.

The helmet wearing continued into the Senior Season.  

Back to that "what preparation can do".  

The summer of 2014 our #33 spent the entire summer working hard to prepare for the Senior Season of football.  If you want to know how to truly be a part of a winning football team - then ask #33.  He spent day and day in the weight room and practicing 7 on 7.  In fact that Graham Steer 7 on 7 team won the State 7 on 7 meet for the 2nd year in a row!!

Nephew Three & Coach Son Two - State 7 on 7 Champions!

Then came the Senior Season - of which there is much to write about!  Nephew Three was a running back and receiver - played on both the kick off and return teams.  And scored touchdowns!!  It was just the most awesome season and we had so much fun watching him play as a Graham Steer.

Nephew Three with Dillon Cobb again - Wylie football game - 
we won (we beat them twice this year!)

Funny thing about high school sports - there is an ending.  Even though we WON on my birthday - that second win against Abilene Wylie - WON again while playing a tough Stephenville team - even if we could have won that game on December 12th - the season was going to end.

Ours ended one week earlier than what we had hoped.

But in the midst of all of our tears - mine included (I simply hate the ending....).  I witnessed graciousness.

Gracious defined --- very polite in a way that shows respect, showing consideration, showing a natural kindness - thoughtful (prepare2prosper)

One more time he posed for the traditional picture....

That's how one prospers in life - live graciously.  Nephew Three showed that -

Nephew Three knows Jesus.

Nephew Three lives as Jesus instructed and prepares each day for that living.

Nephew Three is a Graham Steer - 2014 State Semi-Finalist.

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, December 3, 2014

Church in the Kitchen

The title was originally Live What I Believe ... but let's be honest - "Church in the Kitchen" catches your attention a bit more!!

Live What I Believe....

Or is it believing what I live?

I think that is where I get caught so many times....

I believe what I am living and that is just not the right way....

I must Live.What.I.Believe.

What do I believe?

That might take a while to answer.  But I believe in Jesus - I believe in His Love - I believe He in his death, burial, and resurrection.

But what do I believe?

If you are joining me from Prepare2Prosper - then you already know about Russ Lee's song - "Live What I Believe".  I simply think it is enough.

Please take some time to listen to the song and particularly the lyrics.

Live What I Believe by Russ Lee

These are the days....Now is the time for the light in us to shine on whoever is around...
One Life Can Be The Proof of the HOPE That Is You!
And LOVE like we mean it...
One would think I would not struggle with this - but I certainly do.  It is because I get the order mixed up.  I start believing what I am living instead of living what I believe.  It takes more work - more study -  more purposeful actions to live what I believe.

When we went to church in East Texas I learned the phrase "having church" - and one can "have church" anywhere that the Spirit resides.  So I can "have church" in my kitchen.

That's what happened this morning..... church in the kitchen.  A rather messy kitchen I might add - Kerry said this morning that he thought we had the pantry in the kitchen - like everywhere in the kitchen.

He was right.

I am secretly hoping the picture is too dark for you to grasp just how much the pantry is in the kitchen!

But before I clean up that mess - it was important to remind myself to live what I believe.

Our M&M jar - one can still find it in the messy kitchen!

And this area on the staircase is free of pantry clutter!

What if I am the one?  What if my light is meant to be shining and I miss the opportunity because I am busy believing what I am living instead of living what I believe?

... hanging on my chalkboard door - maybe it will help me remember!

Church in the kitchen.  I am not sure how one can sing the song and not "have church".  

Now to clean up that kitchen.... and straighten up me to living what I believe.

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, November 25, 2014

Figuring Out Christmas

Here we go again....


Unfortunately if you know me very well you have heard me say "I hate holiday/Christmas - etc..."  Yes I hate to admit - I have used the word hate.

That is most likely misunderstood.  I feel quite sure when someone hears me say that they do not realize that the part I hate is really not a part at all - it is the lack of parts...

I simply cannot get all the parts to work together.  You would think since I have been married since 1986 I would have come up with some traditions for Kerry & Cheryl and traditions that we could share with our children and their children. (Oh do you know that Son One will have Grandchild One in January?)

We have traditions....

***Getting to unwrap a gift on Christmas eve - it was always pajamas - something that looked good - something to wear to bed that night so that on Christmas morning the pictures looked good!  

***My mom started giving socks at Christmas many, many years ago - and it became the tradition for Christmas with DJ & Grandad.

I think the mixed up part for me is that I really don't do anything like I used to do and I have allowed it to all get lost.  When I was growing up we always went to my Grandma's and my mom's family.  On Christmas Eve would we go to my Aunt Joyce's house and everyone in my Grandma's family would be there.  For many years we would spend the night in Collinsville and I would spend Christmas morning with my cousin.  What a gracious family to allow the cousin to spend that family time with them.  I feel quite sure I  never said thank you enough to my aunt & uncle.  

***Tradition - spending Christmas Eve with Bobette and her family. 

Somewhere along the way we stopped spending Christmas Eve and we would drive back to Perrin and then the next morning get up early and go back to Collinsville.  We would have Christmas Day lunch with my dad's family and Christmas Day evening with my mom's sisters and their families.

***Tradition - Christmas in the Dallas area with Aunt Mary, Aunt Catherine, and Aunt Gloria's families.  A different family would host each year - we still try to have these times together but now we have the Adams family Christmas in December on a Saturday or Sunday.  Most of the family still live in the Dallas area.

The grandchildren and great grandchildren of Fred & Ethel Cannon have not continued the Christmas Eve and Christmas Day tradition - and I completely understand that!  We each have our families and the traditions those bring when we married.  My dad and his younger sister Helen are the two children who remain.  It has been years since we have been to Collinsville for Christmas - and that's okay - it is all part of how life goes on.

So now we look to the traditions we have established for Cheryl and Kerry.  We still do the pajamas - although as time goes on I am sure those might have to be mailed or opened much earlier - or opened on Christmas Day but I hope our boys realize that they will always be able to count on pajamas at Christmas.  And I will always continue the sock at Christmas tradition too. 

Since I love to cook I have tried to start a Christmas breakfast tradition of sorts.  That is pretty fun and I enjoy cooking.  My parents and Kerry's parents too usually join us for that breakfast.

***Christmas morning breakfast - the menu usually includes potato casserole, waffles, bacon, fried chicken and scrambled eggs.

I don't really hate Christmas - I stress over all the parts and the fact that those parts move and move.  I completely understand families and not being able to keep all of my parts the same as they always have been - that is easy - the parts look completely different for me - almost every year.  After that breakfast at my house we now go to Pap's.  We have been doing that maybe even since Kerry and I married and only missed probably one time - the first Christmas when we only had Christmas day and could not travel 4 hours to get home - we came on the weekend instead.  Anyway - we go to Kerry's Dad's Dad's house for Christmas Day lunch (known as Pap).

***I LOVE Christmas at Pap's (this picture was taken on his 90th birthday last May)

Maybe Pap's Christmas is the best for me now because it is the generation that is still with us.  I  miss that Christmas with my grandma but I am so thankful we still have a part of that generation with us.

One day Kerry and I will be moving up in that generation ladder.  Perhaps it is time for me to embrace Christmas - create traditions that my grandchildren can write about some day - 

Of course it will forever include food!  

Maybe that is what I have been missing - 

Just embrace the gathering together - 

Worry about the decorating when I can - 

Keep those traditions that we enjoy - 

Pajamas - Socks - Breakfast - and just time to see each other.

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, November 11, 2014

Remembering East Texas

This time of year I often think about our time of living in East Texas.


On our way to church in Mt. Pleasant there was this really tall tree (not like I see around here) and when it changed colors - the red was absolutely beautiful.  I would always say that I wanted a picture so I could remember that tree.  I never took one - Kerry mentioned that the memory in my heart might just be enough.

He was right.

I have those same colors in my back yard now.

Soon it will be a backyard with a patio.  I simply cannot wait!  I am learning a lesson in patience - which  I did not particularly ask for!  I was hoping our patio would be finished by October 1st.  Then I was hoping we would start by October 1st.  So November 1st was a bit soon - but we are on our way now!!!

I simply cannot wait! (Son Two is sitting on the steps and Kerry and I are on the right - I am in the pink shirt....)

Our time in East Texas was so very short.  I taught school in Gilmer and Kerry worked in Mt. Pleasant for Pilgrim's.  Our best friends in ET were Tom & Dixie and The Whites.  We have done a horrible job of keeping in touch - although with the connections with Facebook at least we have some contact.  

We learned about love in East Texas too.

We learned that it is about opening our hearts to new ways of worship and loving those who at first our different but in the end are just the same.

Over on the prepare2prosper site I mention that I grew up thinking my way of worship and what I believed was really the only right way.  I even told Kerry that I thought those people at that church had it all wrong.  Well those people at that church taught me once again about love.

We had fun going to church with Tom & Dixie and listening to Pastor White preach.  So glad that I went to God's word to figure out the "right or wrong" and did not close my personal door to learning more about God's love in a different place than I had learned before.  I would have missed out.

Have I written about Micah Drew?  He is the oldest son of Pastor White & Sister Teresa.  He lives in heaven now.  But we remember him each spring - we call fireflies "Micah Drews".  If I have written about our "Micah Drews" before - I haven't found the link!  But I will either find and share or write for the first time..... very soon.

Living in East Texas - the best of memories.... (picture of Don & Teresa White - borrowed from Donesa White Walker - their oldest daughter).

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, November 7, 2014

Do You Talk To Your Plants?

We love plants.

I am actually in my home as I write - I am going to count the house plants we have.  I guarantee I will not get the same number twice.

16 - 15 of those are in the main dining - kitchen - living area.

We also rescue plants.

This one Kerry rescued a couple of years ago - we weren't sure it would survive.  It only had a few leaves - oh how I love this ficus tree!

We also have plants that were gifts for milestones...

My mom & dad sent this one to me when I finally defended my dissertation! That was in October of 2011.  

And evidently we have plants with a mind of their own.  In the photo below notice how the one on the upstairs landing has decided to come toward the light (oh there's a blog for another day...) and is crawling around the deer.  The plant on the right of this picture is a cactus of some sort.  A person I worked with several years ago had several of these and they are easy to share.  In fact I have at least 3 pots with this plant and I think a couple more outside.  They are quite easy to grow - would you like one?

There's another one of the cactus plants with a football decoration.  The plant in the background I don't so much remember the history behind that one but this one in the tall pot - it is from the services for Kerry's grandmother.  That was in April of 2007.

From The Codys when I finished that doctorate!

This final one from our landing the closest plant is the one that is growing toward the light - in the far left background is the ficus tree - on the shelving with the TV is a plant from Uncle Mike for Corey's senior year in football (2010) - then there's a palm tree just to the right of the wooden beam and just to the left of the top deer's nose is a plant from my dear friends who now live in Denison.  That plant was sent to Corey after his football injury (2010).  

Isaiah 61:11

For as the soil makes the sprout come up and a garden causes seeds to grow, so the Sovereign Lord will make righteousness and praise spring up before all nations.

You should read my other blog - - more plant pictures with a history lesson too.

**** 16 - in the dining/kitchen/living area this time.

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, November 5, 2014

More than one....

There is more than one place to write!

I have another blog - it is a bit different - my goal is for it to be more devotional in nature - more specific about Biblical studies rather than whatever event in my life I want to share with you ....

Which lately has not been very many....

We are loving every moment of Graham Steer Football.  I wonder just how many times I have said that!!

I created a notebook for my dad to have to look through - primarily on Friday evenings when we are at football games.  My dad always called me his "favorite daughter".  Yes - of course - I am the only daughter.

My dad is doing well.  Sometimes I wonder how to answer the question "How's your dad?"  My dad is different but yet he is the same - he is sick but yet he is well - he is human but yet he receives God's grace.  And that last part is the part I remember EVERY time I see him.  He never shows unhappiness even though I know that if he completely could verbalize his living arrangements he would not be very happy with me, he is physically doing just fine and holding his own, and every day he shows and voices his love for Jesus.  I simply cannot ask for anything more.  He is a living example of God's Grace.

Me & my dad taken rather recently....

While it is busy - it is also so much fun to have teenagers in our home.  Spaghetti Lunch on Fridays has become the best time.  

Nephew Three (far right) with Grandson in the middle.
I think he is LOVING being with the Graham Steers!

Would you like to follow my "other blog"? Here's the link...... Cheryl's Other 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.

Monday, September 22, 2014

But What If?

Where have I been?

I am retired.  Don't I at least have time to write?

Now it all makes sense - one is busier when they retire.

So I must share many things with you.  Much has happened this summer and now at the beginning of fall.  I certainly survived the summer at Groves Mechanical.  Son Two worked with us and Nephew Three worked some and concentrated on his preparation for Graham Steer football.  I am so proud of the work he put in - and BTW - hard work pays off! (There can be a whole blog entry for that!)

Thank you Mirus Studio for this wonderful picture of Nephew Three & Me!

My parents are still thriving at Horizon Bay in Graham.  I am so blessed by the wonderful place that we have just 5 minutes from my home.  Son One got married in May and my friend Sarah took some great pictures for us before the wedding.

Thank you Sarah!  Nephew Three, Son One, Son Two with D.J. & Grandad

While much has happened over the summer - one aspect of this journey has not changed.

That's the aspect of learning more and more about LOVE.

I believe that I felt love while growing up.  In fact I know I did.  But I don't remember church conversations about love.

I wonder when it is really going to sink in.

Am I really willing to believe and act upon love being the greatest?

Do I want to live a life that is evident by knowing that love is all that matters?

How do I love that way?

Do you remember when I shared with you about Ms. Love? < Our Dancing With The Stars is the location of that story.>

Me & Ms. Love (I truly cannot take selfies!)

The day that picture was taken she asked me to sit with her.  That was just a short time before she became unable to ever ask me that again.

Why does this love thing hurt so much when people are not here like they were?

But what if I had not loved Ms. Love?

Oh I would have missed out!

Since August 16, 2014 we have had a love hurt place for 3 above the age of 75 and for 2 below the age of 40.

And I found myself with tears for each one.

But what if?

Mrs. Peggy - I knew you when I was just a little girl.  I loved you for many, many years.  And you loved my family.   
Shane - I always thought of you as one of my favorite students.  You made me laugh.  I loved you - do you know that?  Did I really ever tell you? 
Ms. Alma (aka Ms. Love) - I have only known you since February.  But every time  we talked we said "I love you" 
Nik - my boys adored you.  You were their larger than life hero.  I can still remember asking them how they even knew you (because we were watching you play basketball and I kept hearing all about Nik Hobson) - you would have taught me about love - that's evident by what I have learned about you through your leaving.  You are my inspiration now.  I am listening - keep reminding me.   
Mr. Evans - My dad loved you.  My dad and you showed how one can love and never speak a word. The bond that you two shared in Jesus transcends even audible language.  I know you are well - and I am thankful.  I too loved you.  

But what if I had not loved each of these?

I am not trying to play the guilt card.  I refuse to feel guilty about something I simply cannot change but I do think it is perfectly fine - and in this case - the right thing for me to do - to learn more about love.

If I adore someone - I should tell them!  If I love someone - I should tell them!  If love matters then I must live it.

But what if?

My friend Sarah with Shane at a Chamber Event

Nik - picture taken by my dear friends at Mirus Studio - Kelly & Michael

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 6, 2014

#Intramural - Part One of NYC

I can still remember the day I became an aunt.  Well - it really wasn't my day to become an aunt because it was in 1983 and I wasn't married to that baby's uncle yet.  But I still remember....

We are a family who celebrates each other....

A couple of summers ago (almost 3) it was a United States Coast Guard graduation ceremony on the East Coast and as our life so often becomes...... fate sent us back to the East Coast this spring.

Nephew Two (middle) with his precious wife - July 2011

Our East Coast trip this time was to the Big Apple.  Yes we went to New York City.  I still cannot believe we got to do exactly that!  We went to NYC.

I am a bit intimidated by vacations.  And quite honestly I feel quite sure I would have never asked to go to NYC - under normal circumstances.  But a film - premiering - at - the - TriBeCa - film festival....

Well that's a Coast Guard graduation equivalent!

This #Intramural event really started a while back in our community.  Nephew One brought some of the group to Graham to talk about the film and raise money for production.  We had a wonderful time meeting his friends and even hosted some in our home.  

Do you recognize us?  (Febreze commercial....)

That's what aunts do - we follow those nephews around celebrating their success.  I found another aunt in NYC.

And when I found her -

I knew how this blog would go.

I believe that Christ has called me to celebrate my nephews.  I have the 3 best nephews that anyone could have.  It is pretty easy to celebrate a teenager while playing sports & making awesome grades (currently Nephew Three) and likewise a nephew who serves his country - well that is quite easy too (Nephew Two).

But a nephew who produces movies?  How do I celebrate that - how do I celebrate something that probably would not be shown in "a church"?  (you know where I am going with that I am sure....)

David Kinnaman writes about something just the same in his book You Lost Me: Why Young Christians Are Leaving Church.... And Rethinking Faith.

My friends Steve & Valerie have modeled this "new mind" as their son, a filmmaker, has grown into a man..... Steve told me, "You should see some of the major films his' worked on to build his credibility in mainstream Hollywood - It's mostly great stuff.  But sections are jarring.  ..... Who do I feel comfortable inviting to see this?  How many Christian folks will understand how strategically he's placed?  That he may be the only Christ-follower some of these Hollywood-types ever meet, one of the only believers with inside access?  When some Christians pray for him - I think they are really saying they hope he doesn't go to hell in Hollywood - we wish their prayer was for him to find favor and work for God's can reveal the truth about human condition and our need for redemption in ways that are as powerful & provocative as any sermon."

Film also can bring families together.  My nephews work hard and long hours on the things they do.  But for a few short days in a great big city far from Texas - we were together.

Son One, Son Two, Nephew Two, Nephew One, Nephew Three - and 
it was Nephew Three's 17th Birthday!!!

I wasn't the only aunt celebrating a nephew.  I really don't know this family - oh how I wish I did - I know we would be immediate friends.  But I suspect she has some Christ-like conviction too.  Some thought that along the way - she will celebrate her nephew.

Me & Jay's Aunt Shaunda (you must pronounce it as Aunt is pronounced in the South)

Jay's sister, Nephew One, Me, Jay's Aunt Shaunda, and Shaunda's Nephew Jay

So I found the Aunt who traveled to see her nephew on that big screen. Aunts..... we find a way to celebrate.

Me, Kerry, LynDee, Nephew One, Nephew One's Precious Friend, & Kevin

I don't have all the answers to how God is using Nephew One in the film industry.  I do know that throughout EVERY conversation that we heard regarding Intramural:  The Movie - the cast - crew - people associated with the movie - ... the conversation always went back to what a great time they had - great experience filming - the bond that the group of people created is forever etched in their Austin Texas minds.  Nephew One gained some great friendships from this experience.  And I suspect they were amazed that there were 10 Groves Family members that traveled to NYC - to celebrate Nephew One's accomplishments.  

This movie has sophomoric humor and  Intramural:  The Movie is not for everyone - but it is absolutely hilarious.  If you are my age and you saw Airplane - then know that Intramural:  The Movie is the Airplane for now.  

I loved the movie.  I really cannot wait to watch it again.  There is so much humor and I know I missed a great deal.  (there's also a great message hidden among the craziness - a message about dedicating yourself to something - a message about listening to your heart...)

Most of all - I cannot wait to celebrate Nephew One again and again.  I know the production company - Ralph Smyth Entertainment - has many more films to share with us.  In fact - you should go find out about Dealt ........

The reason we celebrate - the reason Ralph Smyth Entertainment has movie stars talking about how much fun they had - the reason all comes back to having a relationship with something bigger than us - something that holds us all together.

Something that takes us to an ocean in July of 2011 

and a park in 2014.  

Part Two of NYC  - coming soon...... 

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.