Wednesday, July 22, 2009


Today I told a four year old child that there was no more food so he couldn't have lunch. Then I watched him cry.

I was ten minutes from my house.

One of the outreach missions of our church is called Southgate Lunches. In the summer, various groups take a day or two and deliver sack lunches to kids at Southgate Village Apartments who otherwise wouldn't have lunch. I assume these kids gets free breakfasts and lunches at school, but in the summer there just isn't enough money for the two extra meals per day per kid. Our church also collects breakfast cereal to deliver to these kids.

This week, our Sunday school class was assigned three days: Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. There was some debate over whether we needed 100 or 120 lunches, and we chose to go ahead and make 300 for the three days. Monday night, we met at the church and assembly-lined ham and cheese sandwiches, chips, fruit snacks, and juice boxes into paper bags, and then we loaded them into the church's giant refrigerator.

Yesterday, a few members from our class delivered the lunches, and I signed up to help today (Wednesday) and tomorrow. One of yesterday's volunteers told me that they used all 100 lunches they took, but there were no extra. So I decided to take 120, but leave 20 in the car to use today if necessary, but keep until tomorrow if not necessary.

The boys and I loaded up 5 boxes of lunches and headed to Southgate. When we arrived at 12:10, there were more kids in line at the distribution table than I could count. There were so many that I thought I was late, but the coordinator who met me there (Bonnie) assured me that the delivery time was, in fact, 12:15. Trey came on his lunch break to help, too, so he unloaded lunches from the car while I helped Bonnie.

Then we started passing out lunches. Bonnie asked each child their apartment number, and then the kids rattled off the names of the children in that apartment. Some had as many as five kids. We made sure each child was present to personally pick up the lunch, and Bonnie checked them off in her notebook as I handed kids sack lunches.

We had barely gotten started when a young woman walked up with her little boy who looked about four - Keaton's age. She asked for a form. I realized then that parents have to complete a registration form for their children to receive the lunches. I'm sure there are bureaucratic reasons for this, but I also know that's how we figure out if kids are allergic to certain foods and things like that. Anyway, Bonnie quickly handed her a form, and we continued passing out lunches.

The woman's little boy came around to the side of the distribution table, anxiously awaiting his delicious sack lunch. Bonnie calmly reminded him that his mom was filling out the form, and we had to make sure everyone on the list got a lunch first, but then he could have one. He sweetly said, "okay" and just stayed right there with his big brown eyes watching us pass lunch after lunch across the table.

As we neared the end of the lunches, Trey got my attention to tell me he only found five boxes in the car. Yes, I told him, I brought five boxes. That's when I realized there were 20 lunches in each box. I had only brought 100 lunches.

About fifteen kids in line didn't get a lunch today, and when they realized the food was gone they just turned to walk back home. Bonnie, knowing many of them by name, called out that we'd be ready for them tomorrow and we were sorry. The little boy waiting by the table turned to his mom, buried his face in her leg just like my kids do to me, and cried silently. She told him it was okay. There'd be more tomorrow.

We were ten minutes from my house.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Tuck's Town

Tucker REALLY wanted to start his own blog, and Trey and I decided it would be okay. Go check him out at

Keaton wants a blog, too, but he's not a very good speller yet.



Saturday, July 18, 2009

Book Talk

Can we talk about books for just a sec?

In the summer, I usually devour books. Many years I find a wonderful, inspiring piece of literature that makes me a little more who I am, and I look forward to this experience when school lets out every year.

This year, however, has been a disappointment.

Let me begin at the beginning. When school let out, I finished Gone With the Wind which I had been reading for several months during the spring semester. I loved this book, and I can see why it's a classic. It's an epic tale with characters that surpass their time period. It was good.

Then I read The Last Child. This is a book I picked up on a whim because, well, there were killers in it and I enjoy reading about killers from time to time. The book itself is okay. The only real issue I can find with it is that the plot isn't as well produced as it could have been. For me, the plot of a story needs to either be believable or so well-constructed and mystical that I don't care that it's not believable. This book was neither. There was a kid, whose ancestors were Native Americans, who killed an eagle for its feather, who put on war paint to find the killer. It was just kind of "eh."

Then I read Rhett Butler's People, the sequel to Gone With the Wind that was commissioned by Margaret Mitchell's estate. It was good, too. Not as good as the original (that would be blasphemous), but good nonetheless. Rhett Butler is the perfect man in that he is perfectly imperfect, and reading his side of the Scarlet O'Hara affair was a pleasure (even if Melanie became a suspicious, catty little thing).

Next I began The Picture of Dorian Gray. I say began because I didn't finish it, although I probably will some day. It's just not what I was looking for in a summer read.

So I started reading The Doctor's Wife thinking it would be a good, quick, fluff read. As I got into it I realized it's about a doctor who performs abortions in his free time but doesn't have time to spend with his family, his wife who rationalizes having a physical relationship with someone other than her husband because he works too much, and some wildly crazy fundamental Christians who want to blow up everything that isn't pasted with a Jesus bumper sticker.

Early on, when I realize the doctor's beliefs regarding abortion, I start hoping this thing doesn't get too preachy. I'm firmly against abortion, but don't be offended because I don't think you're a malicious idiot or anything if you disagree with me. In fact, I felt more convicted to keep reading because it's often good for us to read about people and ideas we disagree with. It's sometimes called education, and I'm strongly in favor of it. So I kept reading.

But I don't like these people.

I realize yet again that I'm addicted to characters that I either love or hate. I need a book with someone I can root for. Someone I can watch grow and change for the better or worse. But I've happened on this book with mediocre, morally-depraved people who rationalize their physical relationships with people other than their spouses because he/she doesn't pay enough/pays too much attention to them. In short, I don't like them at all. Not because I don't agree with them, but because they're, well, pedestrian.

(Hey, I just realized a little irony from Fahrenheit 451 where they arrest people for being pedestrians but encourage people to be commonplace. hmmm)

Anyway, in the words of Bonnie Tyler, I need a hero. I need Amir from The Kite Runner, a boy who makes mistakes he must pay for well into his adulthood as he learns how important it is to find redemption and forgive himself. I need Edgar Sawtelle, a young man whose life as he knows it is ripped from him and he has to use every faculty he has to save his mother and himself from a family past they don't even know is haunting them. I need someone to love or hate as he or she travels life's weary road and finds beauty and gritty sadness along the path.

So, dear blogfans, please recommend a book for me before summer is over. I think it's sufficed to say that I am, indeed, a book snob, and this summer is proof. Give me something good.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


I just found out I have superpowers! Here's how I know.

We left the Bombers game tonight before they put the suckers out. But everyone was tired, and it was time to go. Apparently, my superpowers were the only solution. The boys screamed for my help all the way home. It started before we were even out of the parking lot, and I told Trey they were tired, we should just let them scream. Then I attempted my best tuned-out look. Here's how it went down:

Keaton: I'M THIRSTY!
Tucker (clutching his throat with mock hyperventilation): I'M SO THIRSTY!!!!

Okay, you get the point. Isn't it cute the way they take on one another's problems? It makes me happy that they are so close.

Finally, Trey pulled the car over (just like dad used to do), and asked Keaton the only appropriate question.

Keaton (whimpering): no

Then Keaton's screaming cry turned into a quiet cry. Trey pulled back onto the road and after a few quiet seconds, this:

Keaton (quietly, almost a whisper): mommy?
Me: Yes, baby?
Keaton (still whispering from the backseat in a voice everyone can hear): I really want a sucker, and we don't have any at home.

See? I can apparently make suckers and water appear out of thin air! My boys actually believe I can do this. When we got home, I found out that I can microwave two plates of chicken nuggets, open two chocolate milks, and explain to Tucker why he's not old enough for a Twitter account all at the exact same second. Again, my kids are honestly convinced I am capable of these feats, so it must be true. I must be a superhero!

I think I'll call myself "Miracle Mommy."

Friday, July 3, 2009

Have I a Zealot?

Keaton's been a busy boy lately, and I'm amazed at how much he learns every day. It seems that his greatest interest has been religious in nature. Here are just a few a his shenanigans of late:

1) During vacation Bible school, he learned all about Moses. He loved Moses's stories so much that he went around for days making me call him Pharoah. If he really had my attention, I was to yell "Pharoah!" to which he would respond "LET MY PEOPLE GO!" Of course this was followed with a hand clap (his characteristic gesture) and an "oh, yeah."

2) He found two little silver boxes on the bookshelf in their room. One has his initials engraved and the other has Tucker's initials. He carried the boxes around the house for days giving us communion from them. He would gently open the first box and recite, "The body of Christ," and then open the second box and say, "The blood of Christ." He was never quite happy unless you said "Amen" after you were done.

I was quite troubled about whether I was letting him be openly sacrilegious or encouraging him to participate in church.

3) We went to my nephews' baptism at my parents' church. They are Baptists, so Brian and Colton were dunked in the baptistery after their professions of faith in Christ. We go to a Methodist church, so both of my boys were sprinkled when they were babies. They didn't seem to care one way or the other about this new kind of baptism, but we did try to explain the differences as well as possible.

About a week after my nephews' baptism, I was folding clothes. Here's the conversation that ensued:

Keaton: Brian and Colton got 'tized, right?
Me: They got baptised.
Keaton: Right. Baptised. I got baptised before, right?
Me: Yes, when you were a little baby. I'll find you a picture of it. Do you remember how you've seen Jerry baptise little babies at church? He did that to you when you were a very little baby.
Keaton (with his serious face on): Thanks be to God.

I may have a little preacher man on my hands here. I guess only time will tell.