22 Oct

 the entries for the raffle:

1) Amanda T

2) Solstice Event Photography

3-6) Nicole B

7-16)* Carolyn C

17-20) Meredith W

21) Michelle T

22-23) Lariscia J

24 – 26) Marta D

27-28) Jennifer Po.

29) Tressa W

30) Sara A

31) Jeff G

32-33) Britni L

34-38) Kodi S

39) Elizabeth E

40-41) Cassidy T

42-45) Karen E

46) Carolyn E C

47-48) Jennifer Pr.

49-50) Cara C

51) Charlotte C

52-55) Kimberly P

56-65) Rhonda L

66-70) Dawn D

71-80)* Brenda L

81-85) Amy DLG

86-90) Lunch B

91-115)* Michael E

116-120) Janie H

121-125) Cathy W

126) Michelle C

127-129) Erin Q

130) Christopher H

131-132) Steve W

133-182) Elliott P


Drumroll please!  The winner is number 166, Elliott Pittman!

Thank you so very much to everyone who entered.  A huge thank you goes to Lisa Woods for

putting up the prize (Lisa is traveling to Haiti SOON to be part of the Archibald Project.  Check it out!)  An enormous

anonymous thank you goes to our anonymous donor who matched donation (you know who you are!).  A bear hug

thank you  goes to Meredith West for the genius idea and legwork involved with finding a donation matcher.  And a

somewhat cold yet still genuine thank you to colon cancer, for convincing me that now is the time to do things I’ve

always wanted to do!

The final tally was $3620 raised for Amy, and I couldn’t be happier about this.  Much love to all who participated!



AND a generous donor has agreed to match raffle entries up to 180 entries.  Let’s get to 180!

We have about ten  three  1 day to go until the drawing; tell your friends!  This is a great opportunity to help out someone amazing and possibly win a photo shoot in the process.  Check out Lisa’s work on her blog and think how wonderful it would be to have such high quality photos of your own family.  Remember, if you enter the raffle and don’t win, you will get 15% off your session fee with Lisa if you book with her in the future.  That means you can donate, do a good deed, and still come out ahead.  A win win win!

*These numbers belong to donors who have opted out of the drawing, so these numbers will not be entered.   You’re chances are even better!  Booyah!


Help Amy go ninja on ms!

17 Oct

Hello all!  I am elated to announce an online raffle to benefit my dear cyber friend Amy Peterson.   The winner gets a photo shoot with an amazing Austin photographer.

Amy and I went to the same church as kids, but she was a few years older than me.  I didn’t know Amy well back then, but I had a massive (as in REALLY big) crush on her brother Nathan.  He was a year younger than me, and since I didn’t want to be a cougar I never would have admitted my smittenness, although I always knew he and I were kindred spirits in the sense of humor department.  He was the main reason I went to youth group activities (thanks for keeping me off ‘da streets, Nathan!).  Nathan passed away in car accident several years ago.  In the past couple of years I’ve gotten to know Amy through facebook and reading her blog.  She is hilarious like her brother was, so it must run in the family. 

Amy has been battling ms since her teens.  Months ago, she announced that it was her time to kick ms to the curb and regain control of her body.  She’s currently in Moscow, Russia undergoing a treatment that will do just that, and simultaneously informing and entertaining the masses about the process.  You can read all about it on her blog.* 

Amy’s friends and family have rallied around her to gather the funds needed for her travel and treatment.  She’s really close to reaching her fundraising goal.  I’d been brainstorming for a long time trying to think of a way to help too.  Then my super talented photog friend, Lisa Woods, stepped in and made it easy!  Lisa is donating a free photo session with a cd of the images for the raffle winner.  Lisa is the read deal, yall.  Not only is she a loving, compassionate, generous person, she’s also a spectacular photographer.  Her work will knock your socks off.  Or your flip flops if you’re an Austinite.  In addition to putting up the prize for the raffle she is offering a 15% discount to all who donate to the raffle if they book a shoot with her in the future.  It’s a win win win!


The prize: The winner gets a mini session with Lisa that includes a cd of the images.  You may use the session for your own family or give the session to someone else as a gift.

The raffle: Each ten dollar donation is good for one entry in the raffle. There is  no limit on number of entries per person.  So, if you donate $10 you get one entry, $20 is two entries, etc… Donations will be submitted through the Paypal link below.  This is a separate paypal from the one on Amy’s blog, so that I can track raffle entries.  I will post a list of the entries in the raffle here on my blog, updated frequently, and will use a random number generator to pick the winner on November 2.   Donations are NOT tax deductible.**   When you make the donation, please give me your email address in the field that says ‘add special instructions to the the seller’.  That way I can contact all the sweet people who entered to inform them of the winner, and Lisa can send out the 15% off coupon.  Your email won’t be used for anything else.

The deadline: November 1 is the last day to get in on the raffle.

Now go!  Enter the raffle!  Help Amy kick ms to the curb!  Tell your friends!Here’s the link to the Paypal account for the raffle:


*You’ll notice her blog looks just like mine.  I picked the pink wordpress theme long before Amy did.  I’m not accusing anyone of anything, just stating the facts. 

**If you prefer to donate funds to Amy in a tax deductible way, you can mail a check to Westover Hills Church of Christ at 8332 Mesa Drive Austin, TX 78759-8197.  Checks are to be made payable to Westover. Attach a note with “Amy Peterson” on it. This makes their accounting easier instead of putting Amy’s name in the memo box. Please message me and let me know you’ve done this so Amy knows to be on the lookout for your donation.  Westover receives a high volume of checks on any given week and this will help us make sure your donation is held for Amy.

Who loves spring break?

17 Mar







Merry merry!

24 Dec

resigning as sherriff

28 Oct

As I’ve written about before, I’ve been on this Christian journey of wanting to live my faith for several years now.  My vision has been evolving.  I’ve been inching along and learning and studying and trying.  I take a few steps then stop for a few months to digest, breath, and sometimes regress. 

Although this process started several years ago, I don’t feel any closer to God now than I did before it began.  I don’t feel any more holy.  I don’t feel any more useful in the kingdom of God.  I’m not bearing fruit.  I have learned a lot, and read a lot of books.  I’ve formulated many opinions.  But I’m not bearing fruit.

That bothers me.

A few weeks ago I decided to separate myself from several of the fruitless distractions in my life (more on this later) so that I could focus more time and energy on this bearing-fruit situation.  I began praying for guidance in the process. 

And then it hit me, like a ton of Bibles.

My realization had to do with my own past church experience and its effect on my current situation.  Several years ago, about the time my journey began, there was something else going on in my life.  It was unrelated to my new pursuit of being transformed by the renewing of my mind, but parallel in chronology.   I had the misfortune of being on the sidelines of several ugly church situations:  black eyes that occur within that cause the deep kind of hurt that can only happen in settings where we are the most vulnerable. 

I allowed the resulting pain to direct my fledgling spiritual fervor in a wrong way.  Instead of jumping into the deep end of the joyous life of servant hood that Jesus commanded, I named myself church sheriff.  I took great pride in blowing my whistle, in calling it like I saw it in the church.  Some examples of my indictments:

Maybe if you weren’t so laser focused on building your flippin’ Worship Building buildings you’d see that there are bajillions of orphans that need homes. Maybe if the preacher wasn’t the sole soul-winner in the church, he wouldn’t be under so much pressure that he loses it and skirts around on his wife.   Maybe if you challenged the decidedly de-churched gen-x’ers to a life of adventure dependent on provision from the Lord rather than offering a weekly  pep-talk for keeping up the Joneses ( to the glory of the Lord), the church here wouldn’t be dwindling.  Maybe if you quit spoon- feeding gospel sound bytes to blessed people, you could get around to serving the lost. 

I took delight in formulating my thoughts.  I enjoyed flinging mud in the general direction of the church (like I did in this post) under the guise that I was a soldier for the Lord.  Instead of revering the church as the bride of Christ, I pegged it as my scapegoat for everything wrong in the world.

It was ugly and wasteful.

All of the energy I spent on my sheriff job I could have spent elsewhere.  I could have found some lost people to love on.  I could have cared for the least of these.  I could have discipled someone new to the faith.  I could have lifted up the bride of Christ rather than rolling my eyes at her.

So here I am, thankful for the scales falling off my eyes.  Again.  Grateful for forgiveness.  Eager to make up for lost time.  Hopeful in the Lord.

Now that I’m a mom

15 Oct

Once I became a mom,

I understood so much more.

I realized that all of the crazy parents

of former students

 that I’ve worked with over the years

 weren’t actually crazy after all.

They were just so deeply in love with their child

that they did and said things that someone without children

would find ridiculous.

But now I get it.

I think this girl is absolutely precious even when she’s out of focus.



Even when she asks for apple slices

only to chew them up and spit them out,

I think she’s wonderful.



Diapers, puke, drool.

They don’t phase me.

Because I’m in love.


I even love her to pieces

when we’re out in public

and she points and shouts “DAAAAAADDY!”

at each and every black man we see.

But what really blows my mind-

God loves me (and you and every other individual in the world) even more

than I love Carolyn.

To say he loves us thiiiiis much would be an understatement.


Just something I think about

now that I’m a mom.

2nd birthday party

9 Oct

My sweet girl turned two on September 27th.  We had a family party for her last weekend at a park near our house.  She loves her cousins!

The facial expressions in this photo make me laugh.  It’s like a bunch of ragamuffins are lost in the woods.  They weren’t.

Carolyn was more impressed with the cake this year than last year.  She still wasn’t too sure about the candles.  Good thing Miley was there to help.  Carolyn has a stalker-like fixation with really loves Miley.

She liked the cake.  But as with most foods, she mainly wanted to shove it in someone else’s mouth.

He’s a good daddy.


Happy birthday Carebear!