Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Poor

Poor people make me uncomfortable.

Or scared.

Or uncomfortable and scared.

We all have things that make us uncomfortable.  Like, being in the backseat of a car when the two people in the front seat are arguing.  Or trying to find the right words to say to a friend who has just had someone they love die.  Or public speaking.

Well, poor people make me feel that way at times.

Poor people, you say?  Really, Shene'?  Who are you?

Well I'll tell you what I'm not...I'm not poor.  And chances are, neither are you.

Don't believe me?  Calculate it here:

Statistics don't lie.  I am richer than 99% of the world.  Yes.  NINETY-NINE percent.

I think we like to conveniently forget this sometimes.  I know I like to have pity parties every now and then and make a mental list of all of the things I am "sacrificing".  I mean, the jeans I have on are from Target and now that we live on one income, I get my haircut at Supercuts.  

And then I look around me and I look at images from around the world and I get so sick of my "iPhone, 35 pairs of shoes, full pantry" self I can barely stand it.

But then, if I am so sick of myself and my "first world problems", why do I still feel the way I do about the poor?

Well, I think we are all uncomfortable and scared of what we don't understand.  And there is a lot about poverty I don't understand.  I don't know what it is like to truly live in those circumstances.  I don't understand the underlying mindsets and behaviors of the poor.  I don't know the "rules" there. (Just like I don't know the "rules" at a celebrity "A List" party.)  Poor people are different from me.  Just read some Dr. Ruby Payne if you need some proof. 

I am scared for my kids to be around poverty.  What will they hear?  What will they see?  What will they, gasp, learn? We are zoned to an elementary school that is not one of the "nicest".  We live three streets south of a major road.  Apparently, this major road is a natural dividing line between the desirable and undesirable schools around here.   We didn't know this at first.  It certainly wasn't on the real estate listing when we bought our house. 

I am uncomfortable with how poverty makes me feel about my life too.  I feel guilty at times.  Why was I born into a loving, middle class, two parent family?  Why did I get tons of toys at Christmas?  Why did I have the opportunity to get a good education and then attend a private university?  Why me and not them?

Tonight, I felt that scared, uncomfortableness in my belly as I drove to serve Thanksgiving dinner to low-income families in another part of town.  I hate admitting that.  I mean, these people are the reason for my husband's JOB.  You know, the one that pays him the money that keeps me in the 99%. 

And then I got there, and everything I just typed flew out the door.

People can be different, and very much the same.  I passed out dessert.  Everyone likes dessert.  That was my ticket in.  I just started talking to the guests.  I talked with a mama about her six month old baby.  I complimented her pigtails, and we discussed the fact that no matter how many bows you put on a baby girl's head, someone is going to call her a boy.  I talked with another mama about the huge leftover box she was taking home, and how her son was going to eat it all in a day.  We agreed that teenage boys will eat you out of house and home.  I talked with teenagers about school, and college, and being a teacher.

People, ALL people, like to be complimented, like to talk about their kids, and like to dream of a better future. 

People like to be loved. 

I saw my daughter play with children who are from a different world than her, and she didn't have a fat clue.  She just played.   She just laughed.  And I prayed that God would give me the strength to let her go, to let my school worries go.  She is not too good to go to school with kids that don't wear Gymboree and have themed birthday parties. 

People like to be accepted. 

The majority of my teaching career has been spent in low-income schools.  Andy works for a non-profit that serves low-income families.

Remember how poor people make me uncomfortable?

Thank you God, for your sense of humor.

Thank you for giving us your best, instead of what we thought was better.  May I not be haughty and associate with the lowly. (Romans 12:16)

May I love, because You first loved me.

Friday, October 14, 2011

I know it's not Wednesday...

Ok, so here's a "What's on my Phone? Wednesday" post. 

I know it's Friday.  I am a slacker.  But I still wanted to look at what our life has been like these past two weeks, according to Iris the iPhone...

We went to a birthday party for Bella's sweet friend, Maya.  It was at Chick-fil-a.  Isn't that princess cow so fun?

Do not, I repeat, do NOT use your hand to push down the trash when you have just made taco soup and there are lots of cans in there with sharp lids.  I cut my finger and it hurt!  I really thought I might have to get stitches, but didn't.  Now I just have a scar, and a fear of the trash can. 

I caught these two playing horse farm together one morning.  I love it when they are sweet like this. 

At Whataburger, because I am teaching my children to love the finer things in life. 

Our dog, Beatrice, has been attempting to escape.  Don't let her old-lady name fool you...she's a beast.

Since it's kinda fallish outside (below 90), we've been hanging out in the yard a lot more. 

While we were out on the wagon ride above, Bea got upset that she was left at home.  That 2x4 that was screwed into the fence was no match for her. 

Our pediatrician orders standard blood work at 12 months.  Yes, Hayes is 18 months and I just now remembered to do it.  Not only am I late with this "Wednesday" post, I am late with medical lab work too.  Winning.  (He did great, by the way.  He's a brave boy.)

And last, but not least...SIC 'EM BEARS!  Beat the Aggies tomorrow.  Tell them, "(SE)C you later!"

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Fall Fashionista

Big news. 

I am on the verge of being sucked into the fantasticness that is Pinterest.

I realize I am quite possibly the only person left in America that is not doing this yet.  But, I have been putting off for a good reason.  I know that Pinterest is going to be like a pint of ice cream or Mad Men for me...once I start I won't be able to stop.  And my family probably likes clean clothes and cooked meals and such.  They are demanding like that.

Anyway, the invite to join Pinterest (so exclusive...oohlala) is sitting in my inbox.  I haven't quite taken the plunge.  I would also like to share that I have half a pint of ice cream in my freezer that has been there since Saturday.  That is THREE days.  I am a model of self-control.

I have, however, been browsing a bit at what other people have pinned.  I have really been looking at lots of cute fall fashions.  Good news:  The cardigan and chunky jewelry are in, and these things are like my BFF's.  Bad news:  It seems as if it will never be cool enough for me to wear fall clothes.  I am wearing a tank top and skirt as I type this.  Geez.

So my point is, fall weather needs to hurry.  I am ready. 

I also know of a certain five year old fashionista that is ready.  Bella got tons of cute fall/winter clothes for her birthday last month.  I wanted her to try them all on before I took off the tags, so rather than bribing her with candy corn (not that I would ever do that), I made it fun.  We had our own fashion show!

First, we put this little brother down for a nap.
 Oh, I love that face.  Anyway...

Then,we put on some bumpin' music, thanks to the wonder of cable music stations.

Next, we sat up our runway and audience:

Beatrice even attended.  No one knows fashion like our Beatrice. 

And then we modeled all of the hottest new looks:

As for this pose...oh my.  Interesting how sass doesn't have to be taught. 

The best part was that Bella kept calling our fashion show "Project Wrong Way". 

But I know this, if that much cuteness is wrong, I don't want to be right. 

Saturday, September 24, 2011


See this precious, brand new baby girl?

She looks like this now:

She is five.  FIVE. 
How did it go so fast?  How did I get so lucky?

This girl, she is brilliant.  She counted to 100 this morning, knows all her letters and sounds, and can write basic words.   She remembers things from YEARS ago in great detail.  She says, "Well, actually..." when she has every day conversations.  

She is loving.  She hugs her brother multiple times a day.  She ran to get her nurse's kit (that she made at church) when he fell down.  She snuggles in the mornings.  Her lovie duck, Ming Ming, is starting to look like the Velveteen Rabbit.

She is creative.  She sings often, and raises her hands to worship songs in the car.  She gives all of her Barbies different names and remembers who is who without fail. She draws or colors every day.  She is using a trash can and markers for her drum set as I type this. 

She knows what she likes.  She loves green beans and hates corn.  She would eat spaghetti or Chick-fil-a at every meal.  Strawberries are her favorite fruit.  She loves to watch musicals.  She prefers dress pajamas over ones with pants.  She loves to have her toenails painted, but hates getting them cut.  She will choose girly stuff at every opportunity, and spent thirty minutes being "Miss Hairstyler" with me earlier today.

She is five and fantastic.  I'm going to keep her.

Bella Kathryn,

When you were born and I heard your first cry, my heart felt like it was going to burst with love.  It was a moment I had waited and waited for.  I prayed, begged really, for God to give me a baby.  I told him I would take any baby...a girl baby, a boy baby, a green baby.  I didn't care.  Well, you see, God wasn't just going to give me any baby.  He is so much wiser than that.  He is never early.  He is never late.  He waited until September 15, 2006 at 5:09 pm to give you to your Daddy and me.  He was right on time.  And five years later I know that I really didn't want any baby.  What I wanted was you.

Grateful and so in love with you,

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

"What's on my phone?" Wednesday- Edition 3

Hello blog readers!  Here's a tour of my phone from the last two weeks.  Brace yourselves...I live a wild life. 

First, I have a confession to make. 

My kids love Hamburger Helper.

Don't judge me.  They will live.  They also had delicious pot roast with potatoes, carrots. and biscuits tonight.  So it's not like HH is all I do in the kitchen.

2-0.  Ranked 17th.  HB1 wears his RG3 jersey and says, "Sic 'em!"

I'm so glad Baylor Bear football is here.

Does this even look like Rachael Ray to you?  I didn't think so.  I thought it was very airbrushed, and just...odd.  She's a pretty lady.  Leave her alone.

And here is something Rachael Ray would never eat:

It's actually quite delicious.  I close my eyes and try to pretend that I am a PeiWei. 

Look at this masterpiece...

And no, I don't mean the marker drawing.  It's good, don't get me wrong.  I mean that sweet baby face.  God did some amazing work knitting this boy together.  I am still in awe.

And another happy sight...

We got our carpets cleaned for the first time ever in this house.  It's make me sooooo happy.  Do you see any coffee, mud, baby spit up, or throw up?  Yeah, me neither.

Andy and my brother-in-law don't see much difference.  Boys do not appreciate the finer things.

And last but not least, I had a Pumpkin Spice Latte today because as you can see, it is clearly below 90 degrees. 

Hot coffee when it's 86 outside.  I told you I was wild.   Happy fall, everyone.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

"What's on my phone?" Wednesday-Thursday Edition

I'm a day late. 

Punctuality has never been a strength of mine.  Ask anyone that knows me.  I love "fashionably late".

Here's what is on Iris the iPhone this week:

(Yes, all of our Apple products have been named with "I" names for when we hook them up to our iTunes.  I find it to be interesting and intelligent on our part.)

Bella and I went to the dentist for check ups.  This was only her second time, and she was a little hesitant.  Once they brought out Allie the Alligator and Bella was able to brush her teeth, she became a fan of the dentist. 

As for me, I'm not a big fan.  I don't have a fear or anything, it's just every time I go I have something else that is wrong and is going to involve pain and money.  If only I had Allie's teeth...

The kids were all smiles after swimming at Uncle Matt's.  Bella's hair post-pool = Oh my.

My rocket man...

I bought a certain little girl this tunic to match these funky green leggings she had.  I got it for TOTALLY FREE!  (Thank you Kohl's $10 off $10 or more coupon.)   I walked out of the store without even handing over a penny.  How often does that happen?  I took this pic to send to my mom, because she had purchased the leggings for Bella (and I wanted to brag about my deal).

Even worse than last week...Fall, where are you?

Our four-legged family member, Beatrice.  She is not allowed on the couch, but she was looking so sweet that I put a blanket down and let her watch some TV with me.

And last but not least, my baby girl started preschool (two days a week).  She is SO excited!  I am so excited that she already loves school.  And this picture will go great next to her Valedictorian cap and gown picture at her graduation party in 14 years.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Update: The Summer List

Remember the summer list?

We've been busy having fun and checking things off over the past three months.  It looks something like this now:

 I've loved having this list.  It has really helped us be more intentional and focused with how we spend our time.

I also get great satisfaction from checking things off.  I stand in my air-conditioned house and stare at our progress daily.  (I felt like my air conditioner needed some public praise because I could not live without it in the oppressive 90 million degree weather.)

Here are some pictures showcasing our summer fun...

We played at the Woodlands Splash Pad with our sweet friend, Maya (not pictured).

We made homemade apple pie and celebrated Andy's 32nd birthday on July 4th.  

Bella took swimming lessons for the first time.  She went from crying the first day, to diving at the end.  We were so proud!

We spent a weekend in Galveston and took Hayes to the beach for the first time. 

Mimi came with us to Galveston and treated us to an adventurous lunch at the Rain Forest Cafe.  (Bonus!  This wasn't even on the list!)

We've had many family movie nights, and even got fancy by making homemade pizza to enjoy one evening.

We toned our arms by squeezing and squeezing and squeezing lemons for refreshing lemonade.

There are some things not pictured and there are some things we haven't done.  I am giving the list until after Labor Day weekend.  It's my list and I can make the rules.

But the perfectionist in me is hoping to get really close to completing it.  

We sure know how to squeeze lemons, so I think we can squeeze in more memories too.