You've come a long way baby



A few updates....

Rita the dog had a terrible time of it last week when I put her outside for the day because she scares the housekeeper ....  the housekeeper that visits me two times a month because I learned a long time ago that I can't be all things to all people all the time.  Basically, we can't all look good - it's either me or the house, and I choose me. 

Did I ever mention how afraid Miss Rita is of the wind?  So afraid that she tried to climb the fence to escape the wind..... silly dog... and she tore out a claw on her foot.  The patio and back fence looked like a battle scene from a war movie, but all turned out okay because of Fireman Dave and his emergency medical dog skills.  He treated her and casted her all up in bandages and one of the boys' mismatched socks that come out of the dryer with every load.  Because y'all, what can the man not do?

And an update on my library project for my favorite little African village - Y'all, basically I'm on hold till I come up with a better plan.  Seems that I have no lack of ability to collect children's books, and I think that I could figure out a fund raising plan to get them shipped, but the receiving end is presenting a problem.  My friend, Vornita, would happily accept the books and be a joyful community librarian -  however, she has to have a manageable way to get the books from the post office or other shipping location, all the way back to the village.  And here's how she does it when only picking up pen pal letters and small packages - ride a motorcycle taxi - a boda boda - to the nearest, larger taxi stand where she gets on a 15 passenger van for a long ride into Kampala.  Shop, go to the post office, take care of millions of other things then ride the van back to catch another boda boda home - where she carries everything in her lap back to the village while trying to not fall off the bike. 

So herein lies our problem - I could ship tons of smallish boxes of books in order to be size appropriate and avoid insane Ugandan import taxes upon receipt, but be very inconsiderate of shipping costs to make that happen.  Or find a shipping organization to handle it for me in bulk, but then figure out how to hire a heavy lifter day laborer to get the books from point A to point B.  Geez.  I just want the kids to read some good books and have the fun of being able to have unlimited access to checking out and borrowing like my kids grew up doing.  So for now I'm giving it some better thought.  Maybe a collection for my friend to buy some books at the local market - few but decent offerings, often Christian teaching titles, paper back, think grocery and dollar store style books - and be content in knowing we did some sort of good.

I thought I had found the perfect solution in a charitable organization that organizes book drives for African communities and allows anyone who needs service hours to organize their own library to be shipped to a needy place.  Sounded perfect until I called them and they go to some awesome places, but not Uganda.  I'll keep trying.  And if you already donated books, trust that they will arrive to their destination one way or another. 

And more about Uganda..... yesterday I had the fun opportunity of video chatting my girl, Loyce.  I wish I could've live taped it and shown it to you, but seriously, it was all I could do to handle talking and aiming the camera at the same time.  My kids rank me in the oldish to slightly geriatric category in the technology department and sigh in clear disgust disappointment every time I yell for one of them to come turn on the TV for me.  Especially Kid 2, though he tries to hide his ever so frustrated feelings behind a thin veil of compassion and a hug, he thinks his mama is ready for the modern technology nursing home, constantly reminding me of how things are different these days.  I believe he actually used the words, "back in the 1900's," today at lunch.  Um, back in the 1900's I was cute and smart and somewhat talented with a side of amazing.  If they only knew. 

And my video chat with Loyce was fun even though I had to work hard to hear her sweet voice over the sounds of a million curious little villagers and a very loud rooster.  And we talked about what we might want to do if we were visiting each other - me in Uganda, her in Big D.  I think if I was with her today in her hometown of Bulonde village,  I would have her show me the sights - her water well up close and in person and then I'd find out a 13 year old girl is stronger than me when we tried to carry our 20 liter jerry cans full of water back to the house.  Then we'd hang out with her sisters and her mom and I'd tell her mama what a good job she is doing raising all these lovelies.  Then I'd probably get all sorts of embarrassed as I tried to help cook over a coal stove like she does every day and give up and invite her back to my place where we would order in Uber Eats Africa.  And if she was here, I would spoil her like nobody's business - in so many fun ways, but remembering that my ways are not hers, and that she is happy with her life the way it is.  I've had to learn that over time - that I can't change their way of life.  I can't fix the economy, and I can't assume that she misses things that she has never known.  I can only share her contentment and happiness at having what she needs while sprinkling her with a few surprises.   

Our talk was special to me, though much of what I said was lost in translation due to my not so subtle Texas twang.  Remember I told you that she speaks 2 exotic languages, and her third language, limited, yet very proper English?  Well she does.  And I speak Texan.   But we made it through just fine and had a sweet time of it.  I asked her if she likes to read her Bible and she says yes, a little, but mostly enjoys the part about when God created some things.  Yes ma'am that part is so good, but darling, it gets even better... 

So I asked her to learn Proverbs 31:25.  She is clothed in strength and dignity, she laughs without fear of the future.  Y'all, one thing I've learned about Loyce in our time together is that she is full to the top of kind and sweet and loving, but that she is meek of spirit in so many ways.  She looks to her best friend and her sisters for guidance and approval, and she waits to register her actions and responses based on what is expected.  I am praying for this young girl the gift of confidence, and I am working in each correspondence to teach her that she is fearfully and wonderfully made.  That she is completely clothed in the strength the dignity of the God that made her and loves her as his own. 

Then I asked her to write to me something that she would like for me to learn.  Seriously, no promises, but I can try for the sake of love and friendship.  I wish I could upload this video for you, but you can click HERE to see the follow up video I received a bit after our conversation.  This is Loyce reading and soaking into her already sweet heart, the promise of the verse we talked about yesterday. 

Before we ended our conversation, she got to meet Kid 3 and Rita the dog - 2 of my other favorite people.  And we ended with kisses blown from American all the way to Uganda and back.  Who knew blowing kisses was a world wide love language?  Turns out it is. 



And today this happened.  We went to the Arboretum after church and had all three of my sweet babies with me.  We were in the elevator to the parking garage with a tired mom of two little boys who thought they remembered which level the car was parked on.  They didn't, but I totally get it.  I'm forever trying to get into the wrong silver car in packed parking lots.  And the mom was apologetic and asking if Fireman Dave and I have kids..... so I gave her the Vanna White Wheel of Fortune hand sweep across my 3 handsomes standing quietly in the elevator with us - and she was, shall I say, shocked that the three grown "men" in the elevator were indeed our own version of littles. 

I've noticed that about moms of young kids - I remember doing it myself back when - that big kids seem SO BIG and SO GROWN UP, and SO FAR DOWN the ROAD.  Until day by day, they morph and change and become on the outside, as my friend Loyce would say, big people - but on the inside they remain very much your babies.  And yes, I still call each of mine, baby, and pumpkin head and anything and everything else that drips of love and affection.  I plan to keep it up till we're all too old to know each other anymore. 

A few random kids and I had to have some serious parent to son talks this last week.  And I'm talking the  no nonsense, hide your eyes from embarrassment if you want to, kinds of talks.  But the kinds of talks that I am committed to having with my boys to make sure I can deliver them safely to their Godly ordained life destinations.  Or something like that.  Really I just hope to deliver them safely to  adulthood with the ability to live both independently and responsibly, and I'll consider that a prize of this life. 

So we talked about sex and the consequences of.  About sex and the price thereof, and what all of those choices look like from the other side of the teenage years.  We talked about decisions regarding the crap content we fill up our minds with each day via music and TV and social media - and how all brain roads lead directly to the heart and have even bigger prices to pay on that end.  And in plain Kristi/Mom talk, if something you are listening to or viewing or reading or whatever the h-e-double hockey sticks you are doing - contains lyrics, words, or a  script that you can't read out loud in front of me, then it's probably something you shouldn't be dabbling in.  And yes, Kid 2... when that little voice is nagging you to text your mother and ask when she might be home from running Kid 3 to his friend's house so she won't have to listen the that foul language movie you chose on Netflix - then you can be assured that the little voice is pretty much your body's alarm system that something is totally messed up in this situation.  Danger, Will Robinson...... abort mission. 


then and now.....





But then things like this  roll around  - and I can look back at all that has happened and can still happen and call it good.  Much like God did with his own creation, but on a much smaller scale.  Here is a before and after picture at the Dallas Arboretum, almost 17 years ago with Kid 1 with me and Kid 2 on the way. 

Man, we were both babies back then,....  but as the old cigarette ads of my youth claimed, You've come a long way, baby.  Kids 1, 2 and 3, we all have.  Fireman Dave included, of course, but the sentence flowed much smoother written like this.... 

And finally, last weekend I actually had a really tough time of being me when the whole family had things to do and places to go  - except for me.  And then it rained and darn if the the lonely didn't show up -  and I just had a bit of a struggle like no other, and finally ended up starting a new Netflix show and letting the troubles of others replace those of my own.

Y'all know that about me, right?  I'm all good when everything's busy and loud and plans are swirling about... but leave me alone for too long and the dark side appears out of nowhere like that rare eclipse we had around here not too long ago.  But I muddled through, I hung out at the fire station and bothered the guys and ate their food, and basically moved one foot in front of the other till I got to a better Kristi place. 

I've had to learn that sometimes times like this happen, and that 9 times out of 10, these times pass on by to be replaced with something far more favorable and productive. 

All in all, I'm going to channel my inner God voice on it all and call it good. 

  1. I just started reading your blog, you are bookmarked on my google home page. As a thought, our local Goodwill stores have TONS of books always looking for a good home. I see many Christian related and many just purely good books, you should try there for books, or do a car wash to raise the money to go to a local thrift store to buy them up!

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