Friday, February 29, 2008

Popcorn's Pistol

My oldest daughter, while a princess in my heart, in reality is more a fiery pistol than frilly royalty. This girl is a dynamo, a firecracker, a synergistic force. Her brain functions in a rapid-fire, free-flowing, super- insightful stream. Never stopping, never pausing, ever analyzing. Her talent and potential sizzle just below the surface of her no fear take on life. Christ is grooming her for a ministry like no other. How he knows what her freight train power can do to grow His Heavenly Kingdom. I am waiting prayerfully, patiently, joyfully, peacefully, and faithfully in the wings to see what unfolds in her precious life. Join me in lifting her up to the Light who is Christ so she can find her way and rest in the joy that is her gift from Him. She can out think you, and you, and yes, you too. She is utterly resourceful and can take care of herself, and me, and the world. In a jam? Call her and she'll figure it out for you. She'll provide you with multiple options, all equally feasible. Need to get somewhere? Give her your quadrants and she'll draft you a map, from all four directions. She can survive many manifestations of wilderness... mental wastelands like betrayal, loneliness, sadness, and fear. Her resilience is astounding! I count myself blessed to have guided her when she was young and as a lucky spectator of a brilliant soul finding solid ground.

Popcorn's Princess and her Pictures

My middle daughter is a ray of sunshine wherever she goes. Currently she is shining in a far away Texas town while she studies her loves, French,Poetry, and Art while graciously tolerating other obligatory subjects. You know the ones... She is quite the photographer. I've posted some pics she took on a recent holiday trip to New York. If you know her, you know how beautiful she is inside and out. Her inner beauty, serenity, calmness, and peace as well as her sunny outlook on life is captured by the still shots she snaps with her camera.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Popcorn's Pentax

Stay tuned! Popcorn is traveling far and wide collecting blog photog. Meanwhile enjoy this: WhereGodWantsMe.pps (techno challenged? Press enter to advance slides)

Monday, February 25, 2008

Popcorn's Politics

Something odd happened to my intellect since 1982. Slowly I lost interest in many of the things that used to interest me. I read Newsweek religiously as a sophomore in high school. I had strong political feelings and opinions even then. I earned a degree in Political Science in '82. I taught Government for many years at the high school my kids now attend. I kept up with all facets of political life in America. This does not mean I am not still a patriotic sap. Did you see the" slide show" before the Superbowl this year of all of the Patriot players and NFL leadership reading from the Declaration of Independence? The quotes of our forefathers being read while they showed an actor dressed up like George Washington and Thomas Jefferson? I was on the couch bawling, sobbing. Mr. Popcorn thought I had hurt myself or something. I cried at the sight of Lady Liberty in New York recently. However, as the years have marched forward, I have slowly lost interest in all things political. Politics have just disappeared from my radar. I tune in to the primary returns, the candidate debates, and the late night show appearances of the hopefuls...but I just can't get that old fire lit. I wonder why my political wood is wet?

Popcorn's Other Phavorite Phood

I run, I work out, I do without many things in the name of fitness. But just so you know, I will never, ever, not eat these:

Popcorn's Panic

Yesterday afternoon, a beautiful, sunny, gorgeous day here in my neck of the woods, disaster almost struck. We were driving to the high school track to get in a little work out. We were chatting and shootin' the breeze when all of a sudden a car came barreling towards us not paying any attention at all to us. The driver was coming out of one neighborhood and crossing the street we were driving on, into another neighborhood. She never paused in the median, she just sped right across and at that precise time, we were passing the entry to the neighborhood she was aiming for. I was in the backseat and Mr. Popcorn and little popcorn were in the front. All I saw was this fast moving object coming at us on the left and I just braced myself and closed my eyes. There was no way she was not going to hit us. And HARD. It was going to be bad. Mr. Popcorn was right in the line of fire, broadside fire. But he slammed on our breaks and swerved hard right- into the entrance of the neighborhood she was aiming for. I heard wheels screeching and smelled rubber as I held on to the backseat. Miraculously, I heard no bang, no clang, no crunch. When we stopped and I opened my eyes I asked, "Did anyone hit anyone?"....Mr. Popcorn said, " no". The only thing I heard him yell before I opened my eyes was "Are you kidding me?"The front of our cars were a hair from touching. We all just sat there for a few seconds, then he backed up and let her go on through, no car exited, no words exchanged. Out of nowhere on a peaceful and flower- lined street we drive every single day shot a potentially life-changing arrow. It shook us up.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

PROUD Popcorn

I know I know, pride cometh before a downfall and all...but what's a mom to do? My son, precious young kernal, light of my life...anyhoo...At his track meet Thursday afternoon, first of the season, he WHOOPED SOME MAJOR TAIL in the 100 meter dash. Ran it in 11.94 seconds placing first out of four heats for his grade with five high schools in our district competing. I knew you'd want to know.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Popcorn's Partner~When Cary Sings

This is Mr. Popcorn, a.k.a. , Cary. One of his gifts, and it's a mighty one, is the gift of song. This man can sing. His voice has a quality of indescribable sincerity that seems to rise from somewhere inside of him that he rarely taps into, until he sings. His everyday life is very full. He is the IT guy for a firm that employs many engineers and his job is demanding. He is the father of three and his relationship with all three of them is first-hand, hands-on, right there. Every minute they know he's a text, a call, an e- mail, a laugh, or a cry away. He teaches adult Sunday School, leads music on Sunday nights, attends men's Bible Study Thursday's in the early a.m. At lunch each and every day he is in our neighborhood running his mileage, you've probably seen him. It's like clockwork. He's a disciplined machine. He has a side computer consultation gig going, he feeds the homeless once a month at Loaves and Fishes, he keeps our cars going, our grass mowed, our bills paid, our trash out, light bulbs changed, Christmas lights up then down, trees pruned, beds mulched, all the while pampering me with a lifestyle with ample time to blog... Get the picture? He doesn't have the time to stand around and let his soul hang out. Until he sings. Then all of the soul that rides around in him when he's living his busy life, emerges. His character, his faith, his honesty, his vulnerability, his love for Christ, his kindness, his joy, and his peace, they are all exposed. It translates into a glorious sound. If you've heard him, you know exactly what I mean. It just doesn't get any better. That picture is Cary recording a song for his first CD project. He's working hard with our friends Seth and Tan to get it finished up soon. I'll give you a big heads up when that happens.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Popcorn's Pals

Our dear friends, Amber and Seth Ward, live in New York City. We met them when they lived here in Sugar Land and served on the music staff at our church. They are both wildly talented and we loved every minute of their music making here in Texas. Amber can sing like no one else I've ever heard. She sings from her heart and soul and is gifted beyond belief. Seth is also a vocal talent but his main focus is writing music and playing the piano. The Wards have two CD's, "What Do You Say? " and "Bitter Kiss", both cutting edge Christian works. Upon completion of the second CD, they took it on the road. They toured all over the south sharing their music on college campuses and churches and blessing people with their music. The music on their CD's is all original... composed by Seth, Amber, or both. I'm telling you these two are dynamite. AND they have credentials out the wazoo. Both are graduates of Baylor University in music this and music that. Seth is poised to finish his doctorate in music any minute now from the ivy league school of the south, Rice University. Amber taught one of our kernals voice, and Seth taught our youngest one piano and guitar. Seth is currently producing Mr. Popcorn's first CD. His music writing gift and fine tuned musical ear is unmatched. The whole time we were blessed with their sweet presence, I lived in fear that due to their talent they would move on to bigger and better things. Lo and behold the dreaded day came. They announced they had been praying about moving lock, stock, and barrel to NYC so they could both explore creative opportunities and that God had given them the go ahead. Hence, they are now living happily in the Big Apple. We had the pleasure of visiting them over the holidays and they took us to a great little restaurant near Central Park called Sarabeth's and we had a great meal and a great time. Seth later took us on a tour of Central Park and the weather was New York perfect, crisp and cold. Amber had to catch a train to Long Island where she was playing in "It's a Wonderful Life". Amber is the next broadway sensation, it is only a matter of time. Ok, all that to say this: Amber and Seth are talented, yes. Quite so. But the engine driving their talentmobile is the dedication of their persuits to God. They are both strong, growing Christians. When they sing, you feel it, when they talk, you hear it, and their lifestyles clearly reflect it. The Lord seems to exponentially multiply talent molecules in Christians that dedicate that gift back to Him. Have you noticed that? This phenomenon is evident in these two multitalented individuals, this supercharged couple. The good news is Amber is currently back in Sugar Land for two weeks playing "Belle" in Fort Bend Community Theater's production of "Beauty and the Beast". The show will run from Feb. 29 to March 2. The company called her and asked if she would do this because they knew she was the perfect person to play Belle. You'll never see the part so perfectly cast again, I promise. Amber and Seth, it was a short-lived blessing to have you in our midst those years and we knew it at the time. God bless you in your new life in your new city. Sugar Land and the Popcorns miss you terribly. Break a leg Amber!

Peaceful Popcorn

That's right. This week's Bible study session was on the spiritual fruit of peace. Peace. The very sound of the word is soothing. Jesus, the Bible tells us many times, is the Prince of Peace. For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Isaiah 9:6 I have sung those words every Christmas in choir anthems for many years. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. For he himself is our peace. Ephesians 2:13-14. I have to say, however, peace is sometimes hard for me to find amid life's knocks and pings. Pings like parenting challenges. Knocks like the drain of every day committments. I can start out a day on top of the world emotionally, and end the day with a racing heart full of anxiety. And don't get me started about those 3:15 a.m. wake ups where I lay there in the dark in a silent sweat fuming, ruminating, reliving, dreading, wondering, second guessing, and regretting. Those are the moments when I wonder, where is the peace I learned about in today in Bible study? So much of my Christian walk is knowing what should be, yet failing to apply the needed action. Learning verses in the Bible that speak of an attribute I should have as a Christian, and yet when in comes to the actual living out of the concept, IT IS HARD. As a woman, so many of my moments of turmoil are fueled by the smallest (read: stupidest) things. Things like worrying how something I said may have come across to my friend, wondering why someone didn't call, wishing so-and-so hadn't called....small resentments or even regrets that eat at me. Those are the peace stealers that inflitrate my mind. I have tasted the peace that passes all understanding, but it is fleeting. I let go of it somehow and begin to take over the solution finding/problem solving tasks without giving the hurt, the problem, the wound, the whatever completely to Him and the anxiety washes back over me. As an educator, I teach people to problem solve and "think critically" for themselves. As a Christian, this is precisely what I shouldn't do. When events perplex us, stump us, frustrate us, or sadden us, that's when we should hide ourselves in Him. Peace I leave you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27 When I am able to do that, it is then I find that precious peace that makes no sense. Those circumstances in which I have no right to peace from the outside looking in are exactly when it is there for the taking if I allow Jesus, the Prince of Peace, to govern, problem solve, and rescue me. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 Peace be with you.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Mr. Popcorn and Little Things

Occasionally, even after being married for many years, Mr. Popcorn will say or do something unexpected that sits on that spot in my mind that serves as a backdrop for all other thoughts streaming through the brainscape in the course of a day. Even more than a day, for days. I was showing him a dress that I bought for a dear friend's wedding in May. He had a puzzled look on his face and I could tell he didn't really like the dress. He said that while it didn't look that great to him on the hanger, he knows that "You will make it look good".Wow. Then the other day we were out running together. He runs faster, so he gives me a head start. At some point during the run I needed to cross the street and when I did, there he was. He was running and grinning and holding out his hand for me to grab. We ran holding hands for a good while which was killer for me because he runs so fast, but I just kept holding on and running with him. He totally improved my running time at the end of the run. Just that little bit of "pacing up" cheered my heart and improved my outcome. That whole scene struck me as tender and sweet. I felt loved and wanted and cared for with that spontaneous fun sort of best friend gesture. It brings to mind the way God grabs our hands, our psyches, and our hearts out of the blue just in the nick of time to push us along. He, too, paces us up, cheers our hearts, and improves our outcomes. So to Mr. Popcorn I say thank you for the real life little things that are pure reflections of God's love.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Nailing Down Joy

I am participating in a Bible study on the Fruit of the Spirit and this week's focus fruit was joy. Joy. Hum. What springs to my mind when that word is mentioned is sort of an inflated feeling of happiness. Almost a giggly, silly, skipping around feeling. I must admit that I don't feel giggly and silly very often so do I not "have" joy in the sense that the Bible talks about that manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our lives? Troublesome. I feel happy, satisfied, and mostly content with life overall but there are some circumstances in my life that sort of hold me back from all out joy in the overhappy, blissful sense of the word. Most lives have pockets of pain. The verses that I was led through pointed out something that I already knew but had not contemplated fully....that our joy comes from our salvation. Period. Not our circumstances, the weather, our body type, our friendships, our marriages, the speed of our last run, our kids' grades, our health, our bank balance, our abilities, our talents, just our salvation through Jesus Christ. That's all we need to provide all of the joy we need that will supercede any other small irritant or huge heinousness in our lives that ordinarily would kill joy. Here's something interesting...all week long I had a new spring in my step and a refreshing lightheartedness. I may have even giggled a few times. I felt an underlying sense of happiness that brought a new perspective to everything I did each day. My mind kept drifting back to the loving sacrifice that Jesus was willing to give for us and I was so genuinely grateful to Him no mundane hassle that I faced could bring me down. That's divine joy. The buoyed spirit and sense of peace that passes all understanding as we travel through our day. Car on "e" when already late to get child from school? Child in college patting foot waiting on valentine package that you've already promised her but are still hauling around in the backseat of car not yet mailed? Husband asking for debit card receipts from Saturday's shopping trip but that you know you put chewed gum in whilst prissing into Bible Study? Both dogs' fur matted and need to go to groomer but really don't want to shell out the money especially in light of said Sat. shopping trip? Oldest kernal making decisions that make knees weak and heart pound in chest 24/7? NO PROBLEM. I have the healing power of salvation infused JOY. Cling with me to the joy of our salvation as your spiritual, physical, and psychological lifejacket and you won't sink. It is all we need to have everpresent joy that undergirds our every step. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and make me willing to obey you. Psalm 51:12 Now go pop some popcorn and think about that one.

Monday, February 4, 2008


Popcorn is the perfect food. It is clean, simple, salty, and yummy. For whatever reason it cheers me. Maybe it's the little girl memories of sitting on my aunt's front porch in the tiny east Texas town of Linden in roomy rockers passing enormous bowls of white, freshly- popped corn. The rocking and chatting went on for hour upon relaxed hour when my family would go for a weekend or holiday visit from Houston. In fact, that was the sum total of activity for the entire visit! Sitting there just visiting. Not one more expectation beyond that. No one was patting an impatient foot just biding time until we could do something else. It wasn't something to endure politely as a bridge to the real reason we were there. The fellowship was reason enough. Grandmother, mom and dad, sisters, brothers, aunts, uncles and cousins all together on a porch with no more entertainment than each other and my favorite hors d'oeuvre. Now why wouldn't the crunchy stuff throw me into a spontaneous happy place? The only time I eat popcorn is when I'm having fun. Movies-popcorn. Baseball games-popcorn. Parties-popcorn. Zoo-popcorn. Cheap carnival-popcorn. Car wash (yes! mine has it!)- popcorn. Popcorn is nothing but happy. That's what I want to be.