Saturday, August 29, 2009

Cougars v. Hawks

High school football in a small south Texas town. Gotta' love it! Friday night was Canyon High's first game of the season. Hannah has been practicing with Color Guard for three weeks and it was time to see how all her hard work in the Texas sun would pay off.

As Lanier and I sat in the stands, I figured why not photograph the whole event? Honestly in my four years of high school, I only attended TWO of my school's games. We lost both of them. Lowndes didn't exactly have the reputation they do now for winning. That honor belonged to Valdosta High, and Valdosta was nicknamed "Winnersville" because of VHS. But boy our band rocked! And our theatre department went to the state finals every year!! :)

Here you see the boys bursting through the banner, ready to play the Pflugerville Hendrickson Hawks. Below is a photo I took of a rather astonishing sight: both teams knelt on the field for prayer before the game. My gosh, I had a lump in my throat. Maybe there's hope yet.

All warm and fuzzy feelings aside, once the game began the energy of the crowd stayed high. Dad always said high school football was most fun to watch because anything could happen.

At half time, the Hawks led 0 - 17. It was nice to take a break from the game and watch the bands come out to perform. The Hawks' band was nice, but nothing compares to Canyon High!

Finally! Our baby came on the field! Lanier easily picked her out as the prettiest girl on the field.

What stage presence. Thank goodness I have a telephoto lens. We're so proud of her!

Here's a shot of the Aristocats performing their jazz routine. Hannah originally asked to audition for this group, but I had said "no." Lanier was glad I did; he didn't like their uniforms, ha ha ha.

That's a wrap for now, ladies and gentlemen! If you're ever pressed for ideas on what to do for a Friday night in the fall, I suggest attending your local high school football game. It's highly entertaining, and those cheese-covered nachos loaded with jalapenos started looking really good after two week, Canyon Cougars v. New Braunfels Unicorns!!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What's It All About

This may offend some people but after considering that, I decided to go ahead anyway. Once, I saw an article or a news story on the suffering of Palestinians. It moved me so much that I immediately looked for a way to send money to help with food/water/shelter/etc. I picked an Islamic organization and sent them fifty bucks.

Now I'm on their email list and get their publication in the mail. Of course. I was irritated, but the magazine I got this month focuses on Ramadan, the Islamic holy month of fasting and prayer. I'm familiar with Ramadan and even get daily prayer points from a Christian organization on how to pray for Muslims during Ramadan (hey if they're praying and fasting, can't we attempt to do the same?).

I was taught years ago about prayer and fasting in church. There's a whole chapter in Isaiah, chapter 58, which focuses on fasting. It's great instruction, and it's pretty blunt:

3 'Why have we fasted,' they say,
'and you have not seen it?
Why have we humbled ourselves,
and you have not noticed?'
"Yet on the day of your fasting, you do as you please
and exploit all your workers.

4 Your fasting ends in quarreling and strife,
and in striking each other with wicked fists.
You cannot fast as you do today
and expect your voice to be heard on high.

5 Is this the kind of fast I have chosen,
only a day for a man to humble himself?
Is it only for bowing one's head like a reed
and for lying on sackcloth and ashes?
Is that what you call a fast,
a day acceptable to the LORD ?

It's funny because it pretty much nails me. When I fast, I know I'll be grouchy that day. Things will get on my nerves that normally wouldn't affect me. Why? Because I'm hungry! Because I'm trying to be spiritual, dernit, and you're aggravating me in the process!

This morning I got up and thought about Ramadan, and decided I'd read through this magazine and see what THEY have to say about why THEY'RE fasting. Here are a couple of excerpts:

"Ramadan, the ninth lunar month in the Islamic calendar, marks a special time for over one billion Muslims around the world. It is a time for reflection, devotion, and self-control. But the experience of Ramadan is about more than just skipping meals. Whether it's done through a solemn prayer, a helping hand, or a considerable contribution of wealth, Ramadan is truly a test about reaching within to provide for those without."

"Ramadan is the month of mercy and compassion. But it is also a month that helps bridge a relationship between rich and poor."

So that's what good Muslims are supposed to be doing for 30 days. And what are good Christians called to do when they fast? I return to Isaiah:

6 "Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen:
to loose the chains of injustice
and untie the cords of the yoke,
to set the oppressed free
and break every yoke?

7 Is it not to share your food with the hungry
and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter—
when you see the naked, to clothe him,
and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?

8 Then your light will break forth like the dawn,
and your healing will quickly appear;
then your righteousness will go before you,
and the glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.

9 Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
you will cry for help, and he will say: Here am I.
"If you do away with the yoke of oppression,
with the pointing finger and malicious talk,

10 and if you spend yourselves in behalf of the hungry
and satisfy the needs of the oppressed,
then your light will rise in the darkness,
and your night will become like the noonday.

11 The LORD will guide you always;
he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land
and will strengthen your frame.
You will be like a well-watered garden,
like a spring whose waters never fail.

12 Your people will rebuild the ancient ruins
and will raise up the age-old foundations;
you will be called Repairer of Broken Walls,
Restorer of Streets with Dwellings.

I think Muslims are on to something. God doesn't seem to care much for people who give up food and pray, and then turn around and yell at their kids, argue with their spouses and grab to be first. He wants us to share with the poor, help fight injustice, and set the oppressed free.

How do I do that?

Well I went to and donated to their hunger relief fund. I shared the brownies somebody gave me as a thank you gift. I have $6 I found in my pocket and if anybody asks me for money, I'll gladly give it. The opportunity hasn't presented itself yet, but it is only 2:30pm and there's plenty of daylight left. I've got half a dozen heavy coats and jackets sitting at home, waiting to be given away, and my coworker just told me she knows a pastor friend in San Antonio who collects coats for the homeless. I begged her to let Jennifer know I have some to give her. Mission accomplished!

There's lots for me to learn but that's what I've done so far. I write this to encourage anyone who was willing to read this thing to do as I have tried to do. Let's pray and fast, and then share what we have, and help those who are oppressed in whatever way we can. Thanks for reading!

Friday, August 21, 2009

CHS Color Guard and Band Pre-Season Show

Hannah is on the Color Guard team for Canyon High this year. What a commitment! I guess I'm a CHS football fan from now on. Geeze, the irony. Rachael Hall, a football fan. I figure this'll be mine and Lanier's "date night" and he'll never have to wrack his brain again for ideas....

Anyway, I took along my trusty camera and thankfully, my 70-210 telephoto lens. Hannah is the little white shirt third from left behind the band members. It was only 100 degrees at 6:30pm.

The drum line. Everyone's favorite part of a high school band.

Below is Alyssa, Hannah's best friend. She's the one in sunglasses.

Here's Hannah, in the center.

These flags are six feet tall. Hannah is five foot, two. A challenge. They got their uniforms yesterday and they are CUTE! I'll post photos of those when I get a chance.

So there you have it, ladies and gentlemen, the Canyon High Band and Color Guard. It was pretty fun to watch, and I'm so proud of these kids. They've practiced for three weeks already, in August, in south Texas, outside. The first game is NEXT Friday. Go, Cougars!!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Making Pretty Stuff!
Hello again! Here are some nifty little felt barrettes I made this week for my niece, Sara. I'd seen some very similar in Claire's, but figured I could make them for a whole lot less money. And, I did. It's a piece of cake! Just cut out felt shapes, stitch together and sew on bobby pins or barrettes, as I did here.
Hannah liked them so much she begged for her own pair. And then I decided I should have a pair, too.
WIM Orientation and Training is going on this week. We have 9 people attending, which is a huge increase from the past! WIM has 3 goals for the next 3 to 5 years: 1. Recruiting new members, 2. Increasing WIM's income and 3. Developing a strong member care program.

WIM exists mostly from the 10% it gets from all members' income. So when membership is down, income is down. When members lose financial support or come off the field, it directly impacts WIM. This makes it difficult for WIM leadership to travel and minister to those on the field, and it makes it hard to do things like keep up equipment in the home office and maintain the grounds (parking lot, building, etc.). WIM thrives when its members thrive!

How are we recruiting new members? This is where my job comes in: our new website, launched this year, attracted three of our current candidates. That's awesome! It's so important to have a clean, attractive, engaging website.

Another way we recruit is by sending representatives to university campuses and conferences. Next month our director of training goes to recruit possible candidates. I've ordered a brand new conference display this week which I worked on with Julie Beader, one of our newest members. I also printed, burned and assembled 50 information packets to be handed out to interested people. I'm doing my best to make WIM look good!

Personal news:
Hannah begins her freshman year in high school next Monday. She's really excited! Her class is about 530 students. Whoa! That's a lot of kids. Our area continues to grow in population. Pray that she can find her way around campus; they are doing a LOT of construction to expand, which makes it tricky for students to navigate.

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