When we moved to League City, south of Houston, in 2007, we planted a church. It was just a little different from most churches where we had served in the past.
But, it was a good different.
We tried to take the good from the past and chuck the ineffective/not-so-great, and planted a church, designed on the church in Acts, in the Bible.
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common. They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. Acts 2:42-47
Not every idea worked perfectly, and our church, which is still in existence, even though we had to move, is still trying to get it right. (Aren’t most churches trying to get it right? We are a group of flawed humans, after all.)
But, through all of it, we felt (and still feel) God’s hand of favor was and is upon that little church.
One of the things we did a little different was to have weekly local neighborhood gatherings. (A couple different families would host in their own neighborhoods, getting to know their neighbors.)
There was ALWAYS food involved!
(And, you know how I love me some food!)
Long story, short, we would meet at our house, or at our neighbor’s house, bring a pot-luck meal, and while eating, we would share our lives. The highs and lows of the week. The kids were included in the conversation, as well. It was important for them to hear and be heard.
We invited other neighbors and we shared meals with them. It was not designed to be exclusive in any way, shape, or form.
But, it was bigger than just a supper club.
We served our neighbors together.
We played together. (That link is only one of the many Hunks vs Punks posts I’ve written about…do a search for Hunks vs Punks, and you can read them all!)
(Not only did we play football together, we went to football games together…)
(I actually DO know the lady at the bottom right; I just didn’t when I took that picture. She’s probably still talking to her neighbor because he’s probably still texting…)
We prayed together and even baptized together…
And, of course, we ate together.
It was a beautiful thing.
ThrillCam and I will forever be changed, for the better, because of our neighborhood Table Group.
(photo credit to Jeremy Knight)
So, guess what?
We are trying it, again, with our new neighbors!
We had a group of 4 families over, on Tuesday night (no, I didn’t take pictures…yet!).
We threw out the vision.
We’ll see what happens.
Either way, whether we meet weekly and eat together, or not, I’m excited to see where God takes us, as a neighborhood.
Because, I KNOW how lives can be impacted and changed just by reaching out and loving one another…doing life together.
Did you know that there are MILLIONS of little black balls of rubber embedded in field turf ? (Did you know there’s a difference between field turf and Astroturf? Astroturf was first invented for the Astrodome in Houston, Tx. They are both synthetic fibers, but Astroturf was inflexible and caused many injuries. Field turf has been improved over the years and the use of the rubber balls–and sand–help to prevent injuries.)
I knew the tiny bits of rubber existed due to the time I’ve spent on football sidelines, but it wasn’t until I was down flat on the fake grass to grab the above picture that I truly understood just how abundant the black stuff was.
I still have imprints on my legs where the black stuff dug into and stuck to my skin.
The good thing, it camouflaged the cellulite.
Okay, not really. It only lodged itself into the cellulite making it that much harder to remove the dag-blame stuff.
According to eHow, the pellets are made from frozen rubber tires.
Well, here, you can read for yourself:
When you play on, or carefully inspect FieldTurf, it’s easy to notice a number of small, black pellets that sit below the surface of the synthetic grass. These black pellets are loose, and as you run on the FieldTurf, your feet will flip them up into the air. The pellets are made of cryogenic rubber and are a vital part of the infill structure of FieldTurf. The rubber pellets used in FieldTurf are environmentally friendly. They are produced from recycled tires that are frozen through a cryogenic process. While frozen, the tires are broken into the small pellets that will eventually end up in the FieldTurf. —eHow.com
ThrillCam spent quite a bit of time and energy acquiring the turf that had been removed from a high school football field somewhere in Texas.
We were thrilled the previous owners of our new house built a rather large metal building on the property because the front section was just the right length for a batting cage, which both of my boys (and a couple neighbor friends) have put to good use.
Getting the turf TO and INTO the building required an act of Congress; it took multiple days, the use of the tractor, and numerous strong-bodied males to move and roll it into place. (ThrillCam had to cut it into smaller pieces just to be able to lift and move it–with the TRACTOR! It was extremely heavy.)
Then, after the turf was put into place and glued down, the little black pellets had to be spread around to provide spring and cushion.
You can barely see, but to the left of the cage (in the above photo), there are buckets and bags against the wall. See them? Left-over pellets. Extra. Lots. (There are a few mounds of the stuff on outside the building, as well.)
The pellets are environmentally friendly, in that they are made from recycled tires, but, honestly, they will never go away. Ever.
I considered using the extra around my garden as a type of mulch, to prevent weeds growing around the edges. Seemed like a great idea, initially, but, I’ve decided against that because they would eventually make their way into the garden soil, which doesn’t sound beneficial to my tomatoes. (And, we know how much trouble I’ve had in the past growing tomatoes….)
Anyway, we are happy to have the turf, the millions of rubber balls, and the batting cage, because our family loves baseball.
Baseball–actually, any sport–is a great metaphor for life, in so many ways.
Like the Babe Ruth quote I put on the top photo–it applies to all of us whether we play baseball or not.
Every strike can bring us closer to our next home run.
So get out there and start swinging!
Eventually, we will hit a home run!
(Just don’t fall while running the bases–I’m still picking little black pellets out of unmentionable places….)
I’m looking back at some of the highlights of the past few months, especially because I did so little blogging during that time, and a lot happened.
I didn’t carry my DSLR around as much as usual, so I relied on my phone to document our family’s events. (Of course, if you follow me on Instagram, these photos are repeats, for the most part. Sorry.)
So, in Part One, I took you through the summer, culminating with our move from the Houston area to the Waco area.
One of the first things we did was move our oldest into his dorm at college.
(There are no words to describe how much I miss this punk being around on a daily basis.)
After we got him moved into the dorm, we headed back out to the middle of nowhere to hang out for the next 6 weeks with my sister, who lives in the same house where I grew up.
We weren’t able to move into our new house, immediately, so in order to get our youngest started in school we had to live with my sister. We drove him 45 minutes, both ways, every day, to and from school. I wouldn’t have wanted to do that for much longer, but it was fine while it lasted.
While living out in the boonies, ThrillCam took our youngest dove hunting one weekend. In the shot above, he’s showing our son how to clean the dove he shot.
(I know I took pictures of the bacon-wrapped doves we grilled after their hunt, but I can’t find them. Probably a good thing. It would make us all hungry, and I’m trying to lose weight, so no need putting you or me through that agony.)
Of course, one of the many benefits of moving to Central Texas is the close proximity to ThrillCam’s and my alma mater, Baylor University.
You know, if you’ve read this blog for any amount of time, I bleed green and gold. And, during this particular time in the university’s life, it is very, very exciting to be a Baylor Bear! I have ALWAYS, ALWAYS supported my Bears, through thick and thin, but I must say, it is quite fun, especially when it comes to athletics.
(Here’s one of the many reasons being a Baylor Bear is so fun! Our Heisman Trophy winner, RGIII:)
But, Baylor football wasn’t the only scene in town.
Our youngest put on the pads and played hard.
Last year, in 7th grade, the kid was an offensive lineman. He was tall and sort of on the chunky side. (Aren’t we all? …No? …We’re not? …It’s just me? …Shoot.)
After that football season, though, his entire body went through a complete metamorphosis. He dropped a ton of weight and slimmed up so much.
I think he grew 35 feet, too. …Give or take a few.
He could no longer play on the line.
Instead, he played Tight End on offense and Outside Linebacker on defense.
Below was one of my favorite shots during football season. I just loved the lights on either side and the team in the middle. And the sky’s colors…dreamy.
In the meantime, our oldest son discovered a local wake boarding cable park. I’d never heard of such a thing, but leave it to my thrill-seeking boy to find it.
You grab hold of a handle and the cable pulls you around the lake, while you
hang on for dear life wakeboard. There are jumps and ramps and such all the way around the lake. It’s honestly way cool!
I’ll try to remember to blog about it more, soon.
At the end of September, our family made its way back down to League City to have one last celebration with our church family. They held a lovely reception for us.
Oh, how my heart aches for these folks.
In October, we had some of our first visitors! Our youngest’s best buddy and his mom (one of my best buddies) made the 4-hour trek to hang out for a while.
November brought a number of visitors. Which meant I had to scramble to unpack most everything and finally get the house in order!
First, I hosted a small reunion for my childhood summer camp friends. (Which tribe do you think I belong to?) (Answer: the winningest tribe, of course!) (I’ve now made my Huaco friends angry…again.)
Then, the very next week was Thanksgiving and we hosted ThrillCam’s family for a few days.
ThrillCam and the boys went deer hunting in December, right before Christmas, and they got 2 deer each.
(I should take a picture of our freezer, right now. It is packed!–we eat all that my boys/husband hunts. We are eating the healthiest we’ve probably ever eaten, thanks to all the venison; it’s lean and hormone-free.)
I was going to end there, but for those of you who might get a little squeamish at the sight of blood (sorry), I figured I should end with something else.
Something festive and pretty.
There. No one gets squeamish over Christmas presents, right?
After I rushed to get everything into its place, in the new house, I turned right around and moved it all to decorate for Christmas. I felt like I was in a perpetual move.
Our December was busy and fun, so I’ll save that for tomorrow or the next day.
Then, for the most part, we’ll be caught up on the past 6 months or so.
I’m one of those people (read: girls) who actually likes football. But, I will qualify that by saying, I like it in person. I’m not as keen on watching it on tv; I mean, I’ll watch it on tv, but it’s not the same. There’s just something about being at a stadium watching live football.
I’ve never been to a professional football game, and I’m sure I’d like it, but, I probably wouldn’t like it as much as college ball. And, I know I wouldn’t like it as much as high school football.
See, I live in Texas. And, in Texas, high school football is King. Friday night lights. Cheerleaders. Stale popcorn and that odd processed cheese slopped over chips, with a side of jalepenos, of course. Does it get any better than this? (Okay, ask me next Spring when baseball season starts and I may beg to differ, but for now, football rules!)
This week, I had the opportunity to run over to my son’s high school to document Two-a-days. (If you are male and played football in high school, those words still strike fear in your heart.) Two-A-Days, for those of you who have sweet, little girls who smell good, aren’t wiggly, and have no desire, whatsoever, to put on pads and tackle someone, is exactly as the title says. The boys meet early, early in the morning (in an attempt to avoid the rising heat) to practice for a couple of hours, then they go home for the day only to return later that afternoon for more practice.
(In one of my later posts, I’ll strive to describe just how breathtakingly horrid it smells while standing in the midst of 90-plus high school boys at 4pm, in 100 degree weather, with nary a breeze to be found…. Let’s suffice it to say, I’m still waiting for my nostril hairs to grow back.)
The practices are seemingly never-ending.
But, it builds character.
It builds unity.
It builds a team.
And, the boys love it. I mean, they really, really love it.
They must, because they continue to return, twice a day, to the heat, the humidity…
the clashing of helmets…
and the slamming of bodies….
I don’t understand it. But, I’m glad they do.
Did I mention it was hot?