Get excited, Coach Fran

Gulley and I got home from College Station at about 7:00 p.m. on Friday night and I have spent most of the time since then doing shockingly little. The original plan was that Caroline would be playing in a soccer tournament all weekend long, but the tournament got cancelled due to rain which meant that we had exactly zero plans for the weekend.

So we watched Guardians of the Galaxy on Friday night and then slept in on Saturday morning. Eventually I got out to run a few errands because P needed another pair of jeans and we’d decided to cook out on Saturday night which meant I had to run to the grocery store to pick up a few things. And here’s where I need to express my sadness over this whole Blue Bell ice cream situation. I spend a lot of time these days in the ice cream section trying to figure out what ice cream to buy since Blue Bell is temporarily unavailable and all others are inferior.

Now I’m just waiting to watch the series finale of Mad Men (Fare thee well, Don Draper. I hope you make better choices in the finale than you’ve made throughout the entirety of the show.) and I was just looking around on Pinterest and saw this.

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I thought it read, “Simple Homemade Chicken Fried” and was about to click on it to check out the recipe for a simple Chicken Fried Steak when I realized what it says is, “Simple Chicken Feed”. And, clearly, I am dead inside because the picture of a baby chicken didn’t cause me not to think about frying it up in a pan. With cream gravy on the side.

But none of that is really the point of this post. Not that this post has a point per se because I believe points are sometimes overrated. Much like baby chickens.

So after I spoke at Texas A&M on Friday, someone gave me one of the best gifts I’ve ever been given afterwards. One of the things Gulley and I say to each other when one of us doesn’t seem very excited about something is “GET EXCITED, COACH FRAN!”. This is a callback to the days when Coach Fran was the Aggie football coach and never displayed an ounce of emotion no matter what was going on during the game. It drove us crazy. So you can imagine my delight when I pulled this treasure out of a gift bag.

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It’s a mini-football helmet signed by Coach Fran. I will treasure it always.

On a similar note, a couple of days ago someone left me a message on my Facebook page and included this picture of a list she’d added in the back of her copy of Nobody’s Cuter Than You.

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If you haven’t read the book yet, there’s an appendix at the end that includes various things like “How to Take a Road Trip”, “Ten Characteristics of a Best Friend” and “The World According to Mel & Gulley”, which is what this reader’s list was patterned after.

I loved reading it so much that I wondered if any of you had a similar list or at least one or two sayings that you and your best friends say to each other. And how fun would it be to add your own list like this in the back of the book and give it to a friend?

But, first, I would adore it if you’d share a saying or expression you use in the comments. There are no prizes or anything, just my love of being in other people’s minds.

And in case you still need a copy of the book, you can find it here on Amazon and here at Barnes & Noble. Or, as always, in your local Walmart or neighborhood book store.

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Fashion Friday: Edition I’m in Aggieland

Thanks so much for all the sweet comments and emails after yesterday’s post. We appreciate all the support and prayers.

Gulley and I left San Antonio on Thursday afternoon and headed to College Station because I’m speaking today at an event for the Texas A&M Foundation. Thursday evening, Honey took Gulley, Tiff and me out to dinner at Christopher’s World Grille, which is just about the most amazing food you will ever eat. They have a crawfish fondue that will make you cry tears of happiness. We all had the best time together and now we’re sitting here in our pajamas so I’m going to make this short.

Here are some cute things I’ve found this week:

1. topshop angel lace caftan

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I think this is so pretty as a swimsuit coverup, but it could also be a great tunic with a tank under it.

2. split neck romper

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I’m not generally a fan of rompers, but this one is really cute. I happen to like it best in black but it also comes in a couple of patterns if that’s more you’re thing. I can totally see this with gold sandals and jewelry.

3. zest case scenario dress

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This has a lot going on but I really like the style of it and I think it’d be fun for vacation or a summer party with sandals.

4. distant travels tunic dress

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I like this as a tunic, not a dress. But love the embroidery and it would be perfect with white jeans.

5. gap leather flip flops

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These flip flops have been one of my summer standards for the last three summers. They’re inexpensive, come in a ton of colors and add a great pop of color to any outfit.

6. j.crew perforated slip on sneakers

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I think these are really cute. Great with cuffed boyfriend jeans and a tee. Or shorts and a tee. Or basically anything.

7. slouchy faux leather tote

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I love a good white bag for summer and this one has a great slouchy style and looks much more expensive than it actually is.

**Edited to add that I fixed the link and it’s correct now! Only $56.00!**

8. sole society retro alexia sunglasses

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I’ve been on a hunt for some great sunglasses and I love the retro look of these.

9. free people santa rosa tote

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How cool is this bag? It’s Free People and on sale for $69.95. Such a great bag to use as a tote on vacation or by the pool or just to carry around.

10. navy & teal embroidered shift dress

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I actually have this dress in coral and blue, but I love it in this navy. If you click the link above it will take you to Ikat Elephant’s Facebook page and you’ll just need to scroll down the page until you find it.

It’s only $35 and it’s a little short, but has enough material in the hem that you can easily add an extra 2-3 inches to the length depending on your leg needs.

And that’s it for today.

Have a good Friday.

Small beginnings

I was going to begin this whole thing with “A little over a month ago some things began to come together…” but then I sat here and thought about it and that’s not accurate. And so, GOOD NEWS, you’re about to get a long story.

P and I have attended the same church since Caroline was less than a year old. And it was a church we’d had ties to long before that. It was a great place for us for all those years. We were involved with different ministry groups, learned so much from our pastor’s teaching, made new friends, and there was a time when I couldn’t imagine we’d ever leave to go anywhere else.

But then early last summer something began to shift. At first I thought it was just me until P and I talked about it one night and realized we were both feeling the same things. I can’t even tell you what the exact feeling was other than just a little bit of restlessness regarding church that we hadn’t experienced in a long time. So we began to pray about it and just agreed to see what happened next. And what happened was Caroline moved up to the Junior High Youth Group and began to enjoy church more than she ever had during the days of elementary Sunday School. We agreed that was the most important thing and decided it meant we should stay put.

Then about two weeks after that, the youth director sent out an email informing parents that the Youth Group would no longer meet on Sunday mornings and instead would just meet on Wednesday nights. And here’s the thing, that schedule just wasn’t going to work for us since the church is about a thirty minute drive from our house on a Sunday morning and takes even longer when you factor in weekday traffic. Plus, Caroline admitted she never really got to know the other kids because none of them are from our neighborhood or attend her school and what she really wanted was to go to church closer to home.

I remember one time I heard Priscilla Shirer tell how a mother eagle begins to shake her nest when it’s time for her babies to start flying and that’s what all of this was as I look back on it. Our familiar little nest was being shaken because God was calling us out of our comfort zone.

As we talked as a family one night over dinner early last fall, what became clear was that we all had a heart to attend church in our neighborhood, with the people we go to school with and grocery shop with and see every day. Even though we live in San Antonio, our little area feels much more like a small town and we had no doubt God was calling us to be a part of something right here and not thirty minutes away, especially as we have watched so many of the kids that used to be in our Campus Life group move back to our neighborhood to raise their families. Our hearts were increasingly drawn close to home. The problem was we weren’t sure there was a church that would be the right fit for us. Then one night that I’ll never forget, Caroline declared, “Maybe we should start a church!”

I did the mom equivalent of patting her on the head and saying, “Aw what a sweet kid!” while everything inside me was thinking, “PLEASE GOD DON’T MAKE US START A CHURCH! I DON’T WANT TO START A CHURCH!” And I knew P was thinking the exact same thing by the way he looked at me across the table.

But it was one of those things – you know those things – that just burned a hole in my heart and I knew – I KNEW – even though I ignored it, that there was something to it. Out of the mouths of babes and all that.

So instead we spent about six months visiting different churches in our neighborhood and I want you to know this – there are good churches here but none of them seemed right for us. The majority of them are very traditional and we just aren’t traditional church people. And here’s what I know for sure, church preference is such a personal decision. I mean, Gulley and I have never gone to the same church…that’s how personal and unique it is to each person. I don’t see the fact that we didn’t find the right church to be a reflection at all on any of the churches in this neighborhood as much as believing that God wanted to create a new, different space.

Which leads me to the last month.

Right after Easter (if you’re paying attention this was the exact same time I was releasing Nobody’s Cuter Than You which is proof God has a sense of humor because I have been on an adrenaline high for a month now due to all these converging things) P and I began to watch all these pieces fall into place. Pieces that we’d always sited as the reason we would never start a church because where would we find a good worship leader? Where would we meet? What about the fact that neither of us want ministry to be our full-time job? Would anyone even want to come to a new church? All those things just seemed insurmountable.

And I realize now that sounds ridiculous because, well, GOD. It turns out that when he says in Ephesians 3:20 that He will do more than you could ask or imagine, He means it. That’s why it’s more than you can imagine.

Because you can’t imagine it.

Our friends August and John Joffe were feeling called to something new and are going to lead worship for us. A church right down the street from our house and smack dab in the heart of our neighborhood has graciously offered us some unused space to meet at 9:30 on Sunday mornings. P was in full time ministry during the first years of our marriage and is a great teacher. I also happen to be able to teach a Bible lesson from time to time, along with a couple of other people who want to be a part of this and we’ve already heard from several others who are excited about what we are doing and want to be a part.

And so what are we doing?

Well, the good news is God heard my prayers and we are not starting a church. We are starting a Community Worship Service. None of the people involved in its creation are looking at this as a vocation, but rather an organic gathering of people who want to come together for worship and teaching with their families each Sunday morning right in our neighborhood. Kind of like the first churches in Acts, we want it to be about the people and not the place.

I’ve felt so strongly over the last year God saying to me that the way to change your world is to start in your own community, invest in the lives of the people around you.

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And so beginning Sunday, May 31st we are starting a Community Worship Service from 9:30-10:30 a.m. in the Fellowship Hall at Alamo Heights Baptist Church. It’s going to be a family service and everyone is welcome.

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We would love your prayers as we begin this new chapter and, if you’re in the area and want to come join us, we would love to have you.

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