Tuesday, June 30, 2009

I'm not witty enough to bother with cutesy blog entry titles

These pics have nothing to do with this post - I just like throwing in random pictures. To the left is Dylan (center, with Bunny Ears!) with friends Charlie and Jake. Below is Ella J enjoying a chair of just the right size - before she took over the kiddie pool with her maniacal ways. More to come ...

And now, for the actual post ...

Yesterday I read the blog(s) of a friend of Mike's from Clemson. He had told me that part of her blogroll is entitled: Parent Bloggers Who Don't Make Me Gag (please note that Mike's blog is one of these), which I thought was pretty witty, so had decided two things: 1) not to like her (because, duh, she’s witty & also, she has great hair) and 2) that I must read her blog. You see, I am not witty, but I have grand desires of acquiring a witty-ness that will draw people to me and cause them to relate tales of my witty-ness to the world at large. Alas, I am that person who reacts in one of two (unfortunate) ways in almost any situation ...

Either: Not knowing what to say or how to stop talking, I continue to talk ala Joe Biden (aka: Diarrhea of the Mouth) or Not knowing what to say, stand there, mouth agape with no response. And later I find myself saying to Mike: “I had a bad case of Open Mouth, Insert Foot today when …” (he usually cringes upon hearing this) or; saying “so-and-so said blah blah today… I just thought of what I should have said. Should I call them and say it now?” On the plus side, I am not Joe Biden and cameras don’t generally catch my open-mouth, insert foot debacles. On the down side, I am destined to re-live these awful moments until my death or my memory is shot, whichever comes first.

Only once in the last year do I recall Mike applauding my quick-thinking response to some situation at the appropriate time, and it wouldn’t make sense to anyone else so I don’t even get to relate the story. See, unfortunate. (But it had to do with the CIA and a new face, so maybe you can make your own witty joke?)

In light of all that, it makes perfectly good sense that in a desire to become witty I would opt to read the blogs of already witty people. It stands to reason that their witty-ness will rub off on me (or, better for the lazy me, I’ll be able to plagiarize their wit and no one will be the wiser). And so off to the witty blog I went… prepared to dislike witty blog-writer girl, but being honest enough to know that I need what she’s got.

Alas, Witty Blog Girl made me laugh. A lot. She and her husband are expecting their first child (congrats!) and she’s done a great job of writing about being married, pregnancy and all that comes with it in a way that makes you think, "Gosh, I like this girl. She makes me laugh."

So I said to Mike yesterday, “Do you think it’s at all weird that I want to be her friend?”

His response? “Oh, this can’t be good for me”.

…So, here , have some fun. And be jealous of fabulous hair.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Ella J & DJ are actually fish. Here's the proof ... enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Happy Anniversary + 2 days!

Right this minute, I'm listening to my new MP3 player. Not too exciting you might think, but I'd beg to differ. You see, here's what you don't know about me (or maybe, after I accidentally posted the same video twice, you do?): I am not technologically advanced. Some might even say I'm about 20 years behind the curve.

I love to write things out - I rarely go anywhere without pen, pencil and pad. I don't care if I have a car with automatic windows (although "child locks" on the windows ROCK). We don't have cable (mostly at my insistance; Mike would love to have all of the sports packages).
In fact, a couple of weeks ago, as we were getting geared up to do some yardwork (if you know us, you know that what I mean by "geared up" is really us complaining about having a yard and how dare the grass grow) ... but I digress ... I was going to cut grass and I said to Mike, "Hey, do you have a walkman I can use while I'm cutting grass?". Well, as it turns out, there is a walkman somewhere in our house, but the real question is where. So I gave up and called my sweet neighbor, Amanda, who has two daughters (ages 14 & 12),

"surely", I thought, "one of the girls will have a walkman I can borrow".

Carley, who is 14, answered the phone and the conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey Carley, do you have a walkman I can borrow?
Carley: A what?
Me: A walkman.
Carley: A walkman?
Me: Yes, a walkman.
Carley: What's a walkman?
Me: You know, a little tape-player or CD player that you can walk around with ... like an iPod but for tapes or CDs.
(let me say here that at this point I could hear Amanda laughing hysterically over Carley's end of the conversation).

Carley: Oh. I've read about those. No, I don't have one.

How old did that conversation make me feel? Ancient. Older than dirt. It was akin to me trying to relate to my Dad's stories of growing up (picking tobacco, driving school buses, bikes with no pedals). In other words, totally foreign.

Finally, Amanda took pity on me and took the phone away from Carley.
"Brooke, why don't you just borrow my iPod?". So I did. And it was wonderful.

After cutting grass that afternoon, I said to Mike, "I think I want an iPod shuffle - you know just something I can have some up-beat music on that I can sing along to while I'm cutting grass or laying out" (because there aren't many other instances when it would be o.k. for me to tune out totally to both of our kids and my husband and other duties). Well, we did talk about it a little more, but honestly, Mike is generally the grass-cutter and I'm generally the kitchen-cleaner/task-master, so my desires for my iPod shuffle were forgotten.

Which brings us to Monday ...
Our anniversary. Seven years. Two (amazing, unbelieveable, beautiful, smart) kids, 2 dogs, 1 cat. One '95 Ford Taurus, 1 '93 Jeep Wrangler, 1 '01 Volvo, 1 '06 Durango; 2 lawn mowers; 2 severe cases of poison ivy; camping & beach trips; countless lunches & dinners; car trips & leisurely drives; music (lots & lots & lots of music of all kinds); books (enough to start our own library); student loans (& paying off other debt - together); old friends & new friends ... How do we tally the moments that combined to give us seven years of marriage? Of loving each other more as we know each other more, of knowing the answers before we ask the questions?

If you know Mike, then this makes perfect sense. He's the perfect gift-buyer, searching out the thing that will be impactful & practical. On Monday night he gave me an MP3 player to block out the world and sing-along to "brooke radio".

So far, I've uploaded 35 songs out of my alotted 900. I offered Mike half for when he cuts grass, but he said they're all mine. I've got some Buffet, Sugarland, OCMS, Josh Ridings, Lynard Skynard ... I'm saving room for some Chris Tomlin (& the like), Simon & Garfunkel, Dixie Chicks & others to be named at a later date. 900 songs seems like a lot, but it's really not - I have to be careful with my use of space ... and the songs should mean something (which is sort of another post, later).

855 more songs.
Countless memories to be made.
25 years, here we come ...

Friday, June 5, 2009

Rice Bowls

Let’s first take a trip back in time …

A year ago (May 2008)

I was at the Angie & Ben’s house, enjoying the End-of-Year YoungLife All-Area Worship Time. Really, Mike & I haven’t been hand’s-on with YL since Ella J was born, but we’ve been privileged enough to be included in some of the Sunday evening worship times. This was one of those times … A group of us was hanging out in Angie’s kitchen, either getting ready to fill up our plates with yummies from Salsarita’s or sort of cleaning up/milling around. On one side of the kitchen, I was talking with a couple of friends about how my time with the Barnets had sort of naturally run its course and I was looking for something part-time that would allow me a similar sort of freedom in scheduling.

On the other side of the kitchen, Katie was talking with another group of friends about how she was excited that Rice Bowls had increased enough to allow her to hire someone part-time to act as Campaign Liaison. In that funny way that He has, God allowed someone to overhear snippets of both conversations — enough to know I was looking for part-time work and that Katie was looking to hire someone. The next thing I knew, Katie and I were involved in a conversation about Rice Bowls, specifically how it had changed over the last 18 months, the vision for where God was taking the Rice Bowls ministry, and the needs that Katie and the Board of Directors had prayed about & talked about. A few short days later, Ella J & I were having a lunch interview with Katie … and then, here I was.

Back to the Present …

It hardly seems possible that 13 months have gone by since I joined the “team” here at Rice Bowls … a team that’s comprised of myself, Katie (Director of Program Growth) and Kathy (our accountant), as well as the ladies who take phone orders and those who work in shipping (ensuring that Rice Bowls find their way all across the United States), our Board of Directors, and (most importantly) our partners (churches, schools, businesses, neighborhoods) around the U.S.

Over the last 13 months …

  • Rice Bowls has grown from having five (5) Orphanage Partners and about 150 children (from June to December of 2007), to supporting over 30 orphanages and more than 1000 children in 2008-09.
  • Two of our Board Members (Dodd & Richard) were able to visit some of our orphanages in India during the Fall of 2008 and from their pictures and videos, a friend of ours (Ben) put together this great video which features music from another friend & Artist Partner, David Walker.
  • Right now, there are more than 700 Rice Bowls Campaigns in various stages (waiting to give out their bowls, collecting their bowls, counting change from their bowls, waiting on those last two bowls, or writing us a check!) and more than 50,000 Rice Bowls have been shipped.
  • Rice Bowls has been featured in the Greenville (S.C.) magazine, and has had ads in Relevant and Rejoice! We've even had a couple of blurbs in newspapers in Missouri, Georgia & South Carolina.

God has moved in big ways this year for our small nonprofit, opening doors, moving mountains and showing us everyday that His plans are bigger and better than anything we could imagine. I am humbled to be united with this group of people here in Spartanburg, S.C. and across the United States and across the seas India, South Africa and Haiti who want to see God’s plans come to fruition.