Monday, January 31, 2011

Remember Alex Brown Campaign

Today I’m going to pause from my regular rambling blog posts to share a pet peeve of mine. Texting while driving.

I don’t understand why we think they can drive a 4,000 lb. car down the road at 50+ miles an hour with one hand while looking down at our phone and pushing tiny little buttons with letters on them in the other. It takes the average car and driver 168 feet to bring their car to a stop going 40 miles an hour. So let’s say you get a text from your sister while cruising down the neighborhood and decide to text her back. A child chases a ball out into the street in front of your car. If  you are looking down at your phone it isn’t going to matter what your reaction time is, because chances are you will never see the child.

Why in the world would we risk killing ourselves or someone else? Is any text that important? We all know the answer is no, but it seems to be part of our human nature to think we can do it all.

Now think of all the 16 year olds on the road. I remember when I was 16 and I had been driving the country roads since I was 11. But you know what, I still ran up over curbs and did a few unsafe things, just by being distracted by a song on the radio or talking to a friend. I shutter to think if I had a cell phone up to my ear, or the ability to text, what might have happened.

So last night on Extreme Makeover was the story of Alex Brown. A beautiful young teenager from a small town not too far from me. One morning she told her parents goodbye as she headed out for school and that ended up being the last time they talked to her. Down the road she was texting while driving and her truck veered off the country road and flipped several times. Her parents devastated by the senseless loss have started the Remember Alex Brown campaign. They are educating the public, especially high school students, on the dangers of texting while driving. Many states have enacted laws about texting and driving. Even though I think this is great, it saddens me that we have to have such a common sense law to keep people from doing something so dangerous.

First thing this morning I headed over to their website and signed the pledge not to text and drive. I did it while my daughters watched. They aren’t old enough to drive yet, but I’m hoping they will remember the story of Alex Brown when they are.

I hope you take the pledge tooSmile

Friday, January 28, 2011

Following Your Dreams

Another letter in my Notes to my Daughters series.IMG_0042

To My Daughters,

There are going to be times in your life when what you want the most seems impossible. That what you are striving for seems out of your reach and roadblocks keep falling on your path. I pray that you don’t give up.

I pray that when people tell you, “No, you can’t do that”,while on your journey of achieving your dream that you smile politely and prove them wrong. Some will say the impossibility lies in the fact you are a female, or not strong enough, or that it has never been done before. But God has told you differently. Remember this :

“I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Philippians 4:13

And you can. You can do whatever you set your mind to with hard work, perseverance, and God’s guidance.

Don’t give up when your path takes you on some detours. It is in these detours you will learn the most. Sometimes it is God’s way of showing you what is most important or it may be His way of showing you that where you thought you needed to be and where God thinks you need to be are not the same.

Or sometimes those detours are made by those who want you to stumble and fall. Do not give in to those tricks. Remember and pray this scripture:

 Lead me, LORD, in your righteousness
   because of my enemies—
   make your way straight before me.  Psalms 5:

From the wise words of your Great-Grandmother Nano know this, “You come from good stock.” And indeed you do. You’ve heard the stories of your great’s protecting their family in the dead of the night with nothing between them and the enemy but a shotgun, of mother’s rushing sick children to a hospital hours away during wartime, mothers putting careers on hold to raise their children, and women pursuing their dreams by traveling far from their homeland.  Much of your strength comes from them. Their stories, are in fact, entwined with yours.

I have no doubt you will achieve your dreams. And I pray that when you do, you give thanks. Enjoy the journey!

Hugs and Kisses,


Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Christmas Cards, Cowboys, and Sunsets…

When we went out to take our Christmas cards this year we had quite the experience. I made a comment about our adventures on Facebook and a friend wrote, “Sounds like it could be a country song”. This of course got me to thinking and before I knew it my daughter and I had churned out a song.  We never got around to recording it so you’ll just have to hum along to the tune of Ghost Riders in the Sky.


The Flathouse family went a riding out to Cadillac ranch one day,
determined to get their Christmas pics out of the way.


When all at once a mighty herd of red eyed cows they saw,

A-plowing through Cadillac Ranch and up the cloudy draw .

Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi yaaaaay
Cadillac riders going by


Faces surprised, their eyes open wide, but it was way too cold to sweat,
Waiting for the dust to clear cuz they had no picture yet.


Let’s get a move on before the sun sets in that big ole sky,
Let’s set the lens on fire,
Before momma starts to cry.

IMG_8975s IMG_8959


And as the dust did settle the pictures they were snapped,
With frigid cold seeping through our bones we hoped that was a wrap.

We left behind the Cadillac’s you could no longer ride

Left them standing upright, against the darkening skies.

Yippie yi Ohhhhh
Yippie yi Yaaaaay
Cadillac Riders going by

Cadillac Riders going by

Cadillac Riders going by







So tell me anything ever inspire you to write a song?

*No cows, cowboys, or children were injured in this photo shoot.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Pursuing The Art

Sunset 5

I’ve been a writer for a long time. I  just  haven’t always pursued the art. By that, I mean I haven’t, until recent years, set out to learn about the craft of writing. I took a lesson from my husband on learning the craft.

When we were first married WB got an old camera off of eBay, a Hasselblad. Suddenly, he was taking pictures everywhere. Studying lighting, angles, and even developing his own film in our little bathroom. 

Sunset 1

He read books on photography, he joined photography forums, and scoured the internet for any information he could find. We spent our weekends trekking across the state to take pictures of wildflowers, festivals, and wildlife. Many times I found myself up before dawn so we could make sure we were in place when the suns first rays framed landscapes in an ethereal light. This was before digital photos and all the photoshopping that is available to us now.

He dabbled in portraits, taking senior pictures in our small town along with being present at all sporting events for pictures. He started to make some money off of his art. He was even published several times in Texas Highways. Published, a place I would love to have been as a writer, which brings me back to my art of writing.

I’d been writing this whole time, even taking some classes here and there, but I still wasn’t pursuing it. I was teaching and then having babies.  I was pursuing being the best mother possible and wife as well. I wrote when I got around to it, and many times I wrote without direction.

So fast forward and here I am. I’ve learned that if I want to be a serious writer I have to learn the craft. I’m getting there. I’ve had a few stories published in a women’s journal and I have a newspaper column. I think I can finally say I’m pursuing the art. My husband, I have to say, has been a terrific role model for me. Showing me that you can have a full-time job and still have time to pursue the art in your off time.

So it is with much pride that I share with you WB’s new photography blog.  It’s a place where he can share his art, maybe even sell some of his work. He has pursued digital photography with the same passion as he did film. And I have to admit, I’m so glad I don’t have to share my shower with trays and strips of film hanging everywhere anymore.

I’d love for you to go check out his blog.

How do you pursue your art?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Conversations With The Delivery Man…

The other day I had a conversation with a delivery man at my front door. He was obviously new to our route and a little in awe of the place. I’m not talking about my house, but the area. And the conversation started out like most conversations I’ve had with first time visitors.

“Wow, I had no idea this place was out here?” looking around at the houses that line the canyon ridge and the ones that sit in its shadow.

“Yep, it’s a well kept secret.” I smile as I jump from foot to foot trying to ward off the cold north wind that is finding its way through my open door.

“You know that sign on the frontage road by your exit? That is crazy, is there such a hotel around?”

DSC04392 (2) “Um, no I’ve never seen it. Somebody has a sense of humor I guess.” I smile as I had off the package he has just delivered to one of my kids.

“Crazy stuff. Like those Cadillac's stuck in the ground just down the way from the sign.”


“Cadillac Ranch, that’s pretty cool isn’t it?” I reply, wondering if his delivery truck is now empty or if he just likes to chat.


“Then, I’m driving up and down this road.” He waves his arms in front of him as if he is about to launch into rendition of the Macarena. “And suddenly there is a neighborhood!”

I’ve seen that look of wonder many times as delivery and service men have arrived in our little canyon for the first time. And it always makes me feel like I’ve found a treasure that the city, just ten minutes from my house, is oblivious to.

The delivery man begins to chuckle at this point and I feel a nudge from one of my daughters. I look over my shoulder to find her staring at the man dressed in brown as if he is an escaped convict. Then she looks at me and without opening her mouth easily conveys the message that she wants me to stop talking and close the door.

But before I can say anything he stops chuckling and says, “Did they find Milton?”

“Milton?” I ask confused. “Oh, Milton. Yes, they found him.”


“I’ve never seen a missing donkey sign in a neighborhood. Cats, dogs, even a bird once, but never a donkey!” He continues to chuckle.

I hear the phone begin to ring and the daughter by my shoulder runs to answer it.

“Oh, hi Dad.” I hear her say from the kitchen.

The delivery man starts to back down our stairs. “Yep, this sure is an amazing place.” Suddenly, he looks down at his feet. “But, I bet you have snakes.”


“Yep, we do have those.” I reply as I hear my daughter on the phone behind me.

“Oh, she’s just talking to some man again…No, I don’t know who he is.”

I wave goodbye to the man, who is now studying the ground cautiously before he suddenly leaps into his truck from my sidewalk step.

I close the door and whirl around to face my daughter, who is holding the phone out to me.

Man? Again?” , I whisper to her as she smirks at me.

“Mom, you talk to everybody about anything. Geez, just take the package next time.” She says loudly as she hands me the phone.

I groan as I take the phone and put it up to my ear, anticipating what the first words out of my husbands mouth are going to be. But first I have to wait for him to stop laughing.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Confidence is not doubt-free

I'm not the greatest; I'm the double greatest. Not only do I knock 'em out, I pick the round.
Muhammad Ali

I love this quote. Sometimes it’s hard for me to imagine being so confident that I could say such a thing and mean it. Of course, Muhammad said all sorts of things along these lines while boxing. Maybe he didn’t always believe what he spouted, but usually he delivered. He had confidence in his abilities, and was able to brush aside any doubts and stare down his opponents.

I don’t think I need to boast about how great I think I am at something. But I would like to have the confidence to believe I can do whatever I set my mind to. I’d like to have a goal, like write a novel, and have no doubts that one day will it not only be finished but published.

For me,  confidence is staring in the mirror and seeing all the flaws and insecurities and using them to push myself forward. If I am to be confident I know that those flaws and insecurities I have must be addressed.  I know I have a weakness for being disorganized and scatterbrained at times(I like to think of it as multi-tasking). So I know the more organized I get the more confident I will become.

When I was in high school I took on a weekly after school babysitting job of a 2 year old and a 6 week old. The first time I looked down in the crib at that precious little baby I was terrified. She was tiny and I had never taken care of one so small. I began to have all sorts of doubts about caring for this baby along with her sister. I was afraid I might not hold her right, might not be able to get her to stop crying, I might not be able to change the cloth diapers and on and on. Quickly, I realized that dwelling on my insecurities was not going to get the job done. So I focused on everything I did know about babies and addressed those I did not. I read about newborns, I practiced with cloth diapers and I got to a point where I felt confident in my skills.

I may not be able to pick the round, but I’m confident that I can “knock them out” (goals that is) as long as I stare down my insecurities.

How do you gain confidence at something?

Monday, January 17, 2011

Finally, I’m Making Some Lists!


So I’m making lists galore around here this year. I’ve always known that when I make a list I’m not only better organized, but better prepared. But, I’m afraid many times I neglect making one. Maybe it is fear of seeing all I need to do lined out in front of me. Sometimes it is me refusing to spend the time physically making one up. I’m not sure why, but I can be really good at throwing roadblocks up in front of my success and ignoring the call to make a list is just that.

My first list is a grocery list for the week, followed by a menu plan. A written menu plan, not a bunch of thoughts floating around in my head and rushing to the pantry each night to see what’s for dinner. So far it is working wonderfully.

Next is a list of what I want to accomplish with homeschool for the remainder of this year. I totally stress myself out thinking I am ruining my children’s education on a daily basis because I’m afraid we are not covering it all.

Then is the list for chores I’d like to get done for the day, and for the week.  When it is staring me in the face, it is very hard to ignore that  yes, I do need to clean all the baseboards today.

And the list I am the most excited about is my writing list. I finally have one! No longer am I wallowing in my excuses of what I might do if I have time. Now, because of all my above lists, I actually have the time for my writing. Go figure. And yes, I am a slow learner. All my blogging writing friends have written many a post about organizing, time management, goad setting etc. Well, it took awhile but it has finally pushed me to get it together. Thank you!

Just to make sure you understand my lists I need to clarify. They start off neat and then become a mess with crossed out lines, check-marks, and arrows moving things around.  I’m constantly reminded that my plans need to align with God’s plan and I need to be flexible. The good news is that when I plan, being flexible is easier.

On another front I just want you to know my physical blogging facelift is still in the works. But I’ve already started switching up my posts here to include all aspects of my life, not just writing. Thanks for reading along.

Now, tell me, what about a list do you find the most daunting?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Dear Daughters, It’s Me Mom

I’ve often found myself wondering about how sad it would be if I don’t get a chance to tell my daughters all I need too.  I’ve thought of writing   a journal, Notes to My Daughters, it would be titled. But I’ve never started it. Maybe I have a fear that if I write it all down then something terrible will happen to me and I won’t be around to see them grow up. Sort of like the thinking of not making a will, because if you do you are sure to need it. But the fact is we will all leave this Earth sometime, and my faith in God tells me He has a plan for me and writing or not writing this journal is not going to alter that course:)

So I’ve decided to start my journal and to share some of the entries here. Because, after all, Motherhood is a universal language of sorts. I think all mother’s share certain fears, hopes, and dreams for their children. Maybe your mother didn’t get a chance to tell you all she needed to, maybe you’re a mother who struggles to find the words to share with your daughters. Maybe my letters to my daughters will help you, or maybe they will just entertain. And maybe you will have words to share that will help me along the way!

Dear Daughters,

Today I am reminded of how easily we place our value on the image we see in the mirror. Our world seems to be on a quest for the “perfect” body, face and hair.  The magazine covers, the television shows, the never-ending stream of talk about a person’s physical features. It can become overwhelming and cause doubt about your own body to creep in.

First, I want to remind you of a scripture:

So God created mankind in his own image,in the image of God he created them;male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

It does not say that man created man in the image he thought was perfect. Which is what happens when plastic surgeons create a woman in the image of what the media has deemed beautiful.

So this is what I say to you. When you look in the mirror see  all the beautiful traits that make you you. I learned to dislike my freckles, being told one too many times they were “cute”. Or some boy would comment, “You mean the girl with all the freckles?” I read historical novels that commented that freckles were considered a flaw, and women who had these were homely. Ouch, really. I thought of covering them up, getting rid of them with lemon juice, but in the end I decided I wouldn’t be me without them. Thank goodness too, because one of the first things your Dad noticed about me were my freckles. He loved them:)

Next, I want you to realize that your value does not have anything to do with your physical appearance. And I realize that now and for the next several years that won’t seem the case. But what I hope for you is that when you look in the mirror and doubt or dislike what you see that you think of this:

Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious. Peter 3:3-4

Girls, you will just have to trust me that inner beauty is what is truly precious. It might not get you a modeling contract, or voted Most Beautiful, or even Homecoming Queen, but it will make you a most amazing person. One precious to those that love you, and trust me, many will love you.

We can’t all be 6 feet tall, blond and blue eyes and I’m sorry to say that you won’t be either, because it’s just not in your genes. But what I do know is that you ARE beautiful. Walk with the knowledge that God created you in His image. He believes you are truly beautiful, and as for perfect, well none of us are. Don’t ever give the power of your worth or your beauty over to someone else. Remember the saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder”. Well, you are the most important beholder. So look in that mirror and  celebrate who you are.

Love you bunches,


Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sprinting To The Finish

IMG_9516 Do you have feel like you are sprinting to the finish of some project? It might be a 50 yard dash or it could be the last leg of a marathon. No matter what the distance when you see the end in sight you seem to pick up momentum.

Right now I have several writing projects that I can’t wait for that last sprint to the finish. I’m working on a cookbook with my girls that includes short stories with the recipes. It’s a fundraiser for their Dad’s MS 150 bike ride that is coming up soon. We need to race hard to get it finished and published in time.

Every other week my article for my family column seems to be a sprint. It’s always done that way. I think of the topic for a week, make notes, do some research and then the week it is due I find myself writing fast and furious to get it in by the deadline.

I seem to work better in the 50 yard dash mode. My marathons are my novels. Most days I feel I will never finish the race. I will never get that finish line in sight, or feel the exhilaration of that final leg.  Maybe I’m just a sprinter, not a marathoner. Or maybe, in this time of my life sprints fit my lifestyle better. I’m not sure. But I do know I’m not ready to give up the dream of the marathon, even if for now my training just consists of the sprints.

Where are you in the race? Which do you prefer the sprints or the marathons?

Thursday, January 6, 2011

To Make A Resolution or Not…


I’ve never liked New Year resolutions. Why? Because they always seem to take flight  about 2 months into the year.  I usually make big plans to start some intense work-out regime, run a 5K, write a novel or something along those lines. And I always fail. So this year I took a really good look at why my resolutions always took a nosedive.

I was reminded of a saying that is repeated over and over in groups like AA.  Take it one day at a time.  This phrase came to me again yesterday at my doctor’s appointment at MD Anderson. Once again I was humbled by the challenges of those I encountered. Isn’t living with cancer a day to day challenge? My doctors appointment was fine, after all I’m not facing the big “C”, but the news I got wasn’t all good. But it wasn’t all bad. I felt down, but then I decided all I can do is live today and deal with tomorrow when it comes.

So all this brings me to the New Year Resolution. I thought I was just not going to make any, but I decided I would after all. My resolution is to live each day to the fullest.  When my head hits my pillow each night I’ll look back over the day and celebrate my accomplishments and lament over my short-comings. I’ll say my prayers and ask for the strength to make the next day even better.  To get done what I didn’t accomplish that day or to at least get one step closer. 

And I’m making a list of things I want to accomplish:

1. Give acts of service by focusing on the small things.

2. Continue to get better organized with homeschool  and household chores..

3. Start my days early, which helps with number 2.

4. To engage in some form of exercise each day, this includes playing hide and seek with my kids.

5. Write a little each day, even if it’s just a blogpost.

6. Deepen my faith through reading, prayer, and appreciation.



I’m leaving some of my numbers blank, because if there is one thing I have learned it’s that God has a list too. And sometimes we have no idea what is on His list, so this year I’m going to make sure and leave room for Him to work on me:)

Do you have a list? If so what is on it, I could always use some more ideas!

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Soaring Through The Clouds

Sixteen and a half years ago a boyishly cute, brown-eyed young man caught my eye. I’ve written about our love story before. How we met, why I call him WB, etc. But today, after 14 years of marriage I am reminded of a plane ride he took me on.

We’d only been dating a couple of weeks when he called and asked if I wanted to go for a ride.

“Sure, where are we going?”

“Up” was his reply.

After a short ride in his Jeep I found myself at a little community airport. I quickly took in the tiny, two-seater plane we parked in front of. My mind processed the small frame, not so strong looking wings, and the front propeller, that resembled the model planes people liked to fly at the park.

WB jumped out of the car with his black flight bag and a huge grin on his face. He promptly led me through the pre-flight check as we inspected the outside of the plane. Next, we hopped inside, where I immediately noticed that there was just enough room for the two of us to sit. He handed me a headset which covered my ears and had a little microphone to talk into.  The engine roared to life and through my headset I heard his deep voice ask, “Ready?”

“Yes”, was my amazingly steady reply.

The deceptively  fragile-looking  plane gently lifted off the ground and slowly gained altitude. I stared in awe at the tiny people we left behind at the airport and the fields of cotton that were just beginning to grow  looking like etched lines in the dirt fields. Blue sky stretched in front of us for miles, with just a tinge of clouds gliding along the horizon.

I had no idea then, but that ride would mimic our life together in many ways. I literally was swept off my feet by WB. His quiet, calm ways let me step into that plane without any fear. Later, in our marriage those traits would help to guide us through some turbulent times. Confident and steady hands, flicked through the instrument panel as we prepared for take-off. Those same hands would steady mine as my confidence waned in the years to come.  WB’s ability to assess a situation and then plot a course would navigate us through life’s many adventures.

And that feeling you get when you first take-off, that stomach dropping thrill, it doesn’t really go away. It will reappear at times, sometimes when you least expect it.   But the most wonderful thing is that that part of the ride is no longer the most thrilling. After 14 years I’ve come to realize that just soaring through the calm skies, as we navigate through the turbulence, is really the best part of the ride.

I love you WB, thanks for sweeping me off my feet!