His*Story- Part II

Tackling research can be fun.  Let me just begin by saying no cowboys, bulls or husbands were harmed in the writing of this post.  

This whole rodeo week all started out as a dare, really. And with a costume.  My husband claimed to be a cowboy in his life, pre-me.  I set out to prove him wrong.  

That’s when I unearthed these ancient photos my mother-in-law sent me years ago.  I vaguely remember the exchange. I think it was around the time I had a two year old and a newborn.  Most of my brain cells were lost in childbirth, the rest make a random appearance.  Thus, the genius blog you’re addicted to reading.  

Imagine if I was firing with a loaded gun.

Either way.  I never thoroughly looked thru the envelope.  Until now. 

This is my hubby at 2 years old.  Happy little thing, isn’t he?


This cowboy hat is the first actual evidence of an inner cowboy struggling to get out.  My mother-in-law had quite the green thumb.  Look at the way those weeds bloom.


Now, this next photo has nothing at all to do with the west, cowboys or cow manure.  I just couldn’t resist.  I’d bet my cat’slife, it is Easter Sunday.


And, that he’d just finished watching “Staying Alive.”  He’s 10 years old and his feathered hair is John Travolta-ish, don’t you think?

Since I included that one of the hubby at age 10, my conscience wouldn’t let me pass by this one of me at the same age. Just further proof that I was not a cowgirl and that I’m not entirely mean-spirited  (Many of you have wondered about my hubby’s feelings concerning the photos and posts—he’s my editor-in-chief, so he’s aware.  You wouldn’t believe the stuff I don’t blog about.)  



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At the other end of Texas . . . my husband’s dream girl was at  Disney World (with my highly-frosted Momma) and I am in serious need of a hair care professional.  Yes.  It’s a ‘fro AND a smile.  Together.  Amazing.

Sorry, I digressed.   Back to the research.  This is a lovely photo of my husband in the 7th grade, to which my daughter said with a little too much emphasis, “WHO IS THAT?”


Notice the glasses.  Like you couldn’t NOT notice them.  He probably would have been beat up for those, except that everyone wore them.  The lovely 80’s.  I detected a small western clue.  He clearly has ‘hat hair.’  I’m sure he’s holding his Stetson.


I asked my husband about the two photos I just showed you. This is what I learned: His rodeo career peeked between the 7th-9thgrades.  He rode bulls in 8-10 rodeos every summer.  He owned two horses, Hobo and Thumper.  His dad was on the board of directors of the local rodeo and helped my hubby practice roping with a fake steer in the backyard.  And his favorite place to shop was Wayne’ Western Wear.  After a fall from a 1500 lb post-pubescent bull that resulted in a concussion, his career was cut short, enforced by Momma.

And then I found this.  It’s rawness still makes me shudder.  Thank God I did not see this photo before we married. 


Okay.  I agree. This picture screams “HICK!” more than it shouts cowboy.  But just look at the pride in their eyes.  See how my father-in-law a.k.a B.J The Truck-Driver  (10/4 good buddy) lovingly holds the tail of his kill?  And then, in my mother-in-law’s familiar script is written on the back of this photo, “two of the greatest.”  That’s country pride, my friend. Notice the western-cut jacket, the boots. Proof, dear one.


Here he is in high school.  Oh, stop my beating heart.

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(Was I REALLY that tiny AND tall?  I’m standing on the steps, but I  do remember being disappointed that I was over 100 pounds. Now, many pounds heavier, I still have tight pants.  And, I’ve replaced the girlish look with a more mature look.  Yeah, mature.  That’s it).

He put his Wrangler’s away once we finished college and joined the staff of a church.  I guess they distracted him from God.  I know they distracted me from all holy thoughts . . .

I did figure out one thing in my search:  I’m living with the real thing.  Teasing, aside.  He’s the best man I’ve EVER known and I’m still tickled pink we found each other and are on this trail-ride together. And, I’m learning you never really take the cow out of the boy.  

Stay tuned for our first rodeo together . . .

The Costume-Part I

Welcome to the Rodeo Rendezvous. This week is going to be full of stories about our country roots and rodeo experiences. You’ll learn fascinating tidbits of our history (Were we in Pecos Bill’s Wild West Show? Are we related to John Wayne? Do we have annual passes to Dollywood?) No. To all of that. We’re just your average redneck family, exposing embarrassing facts. It’s gonna be fun.

This whole FANTASTIC idea started with tickets.

My husband blew me away on Valentine’s Day this year. He usually does. Gift-giving is—well, it’s one of his gifts. I’m lucky that way.

It’s hard for me to surprise him though. I try, but I usually drop one too many hints or tell my children and I’m sure you know how that turns out.

This year, I was determined to surprise him with something he would love: a date. They happen, rarely-what, with the children and all. But I secured childcare and then I bought tickets. Concert tickets.

Before you say out loud to passers-by, “That’s it? That’s the surprise?”

You must know that the tickets were to see a little band called Rascal Flatts. At a sold out concert. At the largest rodeo in Texas.

There. Now you can be impressed.


I’m good, huh?

My husband was very pleased. And I must say, it was a proud moment when I knew I’d surprised him. Since the concert was several weeks away, we stuck the tickets in a safe place, far away from sticky hands.

I thought that was the end of it, you know, until we went to the concert.

But, I underestimated my husband.

He came home with these.

I thought it a little odd and wondered what in the world he would do with them. You think you know someone really well until they say, “I’ve been wanting these for a long time.” And he points to boots!


And then a few days later, he came home wearing these.

I’m slow, my friend. I hadn’t really put the boots WITH the jeans. I just thought my husband had a void only shopping would fill.

And my dear ones, I know all about voids that only new shoes can fill.

But then he dug up this from some scary box in the closet. “Where the heck did you get that?” I asked. I’m serious ya’ll. That buckle freaked me out! He explained: “My dad had it made for me when I was a kid. It spells my name.”

I tried for an hour to spell “Hick” and I couldn’t do it.

That’s when it hit me. OH, MY LANDS, He’s either infected with Mad Cow’s Disease or he’s assembling a costume. A costume for the Rodeo.

Now let me just say, the Texas Livestock Show and Rodeo is THE Rodeo. Not just for Texans. It’s world-known and was featured in The Southern Living Magazine a couple of months ago. (The article is actually what led me to search for concert tickets because you know, even though I live IN Texas, I need help, from Southern Living.) It’s where the best ropers and horse-sort-of people gather and compete and win livestock or something. It’s a BIG deal. Later on, I’ll get into our rodeo adventures . . .

So, anyway, I mentioned this to my husband in passing, “Can I see your costume?”

He stared at me. Strangely, it wasn’t a happy stare; it was more a menacing glare.

“What costume?” he finally said.

“You know, for the rodeo?” I said sheepishly.

“It is NOT a costume. I used to wear this stuff all the time and I’ve wanted to wear it again.”

My husband is a salesman in a suit. We live in the city. I am a city girl.

Then he brought home these. For me.

I was scared, now. Really, afraid. If I tasted minty-fresh tobacco after a kiss, I was calling a counselor immediately.

And then one night he came strolling in. This man was not a stroller. So, I stopped what I was doing. He had his ‘duds’ on from head-to-toe.

“I like your costume,” I said in a southern drawl.

He pulled me close and said roughly, “Don’t you remember what you used to say to me in college?

‘Wrangler butts, drive me nuts!’ he growled. I pushed him away, laughing.

And then, I remembered.

Digging thru my box of old photos, I found an envelope from my mother-in-law. Before I even knew this man-child, he was a real cowboy. And it’s just the beginning of the story
This is what I found:

Yes, that’s my husband in his pre-pubescent 12-year-old body. Riding a pre-pubescent BULL.

Did you really look close? I couldn’t believe this was lurking in our family tree:

Notice the truck-driver-looking man in the background? My father-in-law. Something to look forward to as my husband ages. Yeehaw (said unenthusiastically).

My hubby looked over his shoulder, making sure I watched him leave the room and said, “It’s not a costume.” This made my heart thud. Maybe I should be glad he was seeking out his western roots. I decided to do a little research of my own and followed the cowboy . . .

to be continued.


I’ve always written. I love words. I love they way they stir my soul or make me laugh out loud. Tattling on myself and family is therapy. And boy, do we need therapy.

I live with an amazing man. He is my best friend and the only person in the world who can calm down the chaos just be walking thru our front door. I wouldn’t want to live this topsy-turvy life with anyone else.

My main duty besides laundry is mothering three incredible children.

WARNING: My tales are not for the weak-spirited or for perfect mothers. They speak of my zany, unpredictable life. It is very possible that you will be grossed out, nauseated, and feel deep pity during reading. If that happens, the only thing that will help is sweet tea.


I was nearly 30 years old when I became a mother. Just getting there proved to be challenging. 674 pregnancy tests later . . . it happened, I was ready. Or at least I thought I was. Since I was an excellent parent without having children, I figured it would all be a piece of cake.

pan class="style_1" style="color: rgb(0, 0, 0); line-height: 19px; opacity: 1; ">I periodically added to my mental list of things my children would never do. ( They would not eat their boogers, pick gum from under the table, wear house shoes to the mall, fix their own hair, scream in a store, throw a tantrum in public and . . . ) Obviously, I had never been around real children.

I had all the ‘mom stuff.’ I quit my job and dedicated my time to staying at home. Once I got into the swing of all things baby, I tried to fill my long days.

My struggle to be a mommy, was, well, a struggle. I was lonely.

There were days where the only thing I accomplished was leaking milk. And that wasn’t even voluntary. As my baby grew and I grew another baby, I had desperate moments: being pooped and vomited on, in an airplane, without spare clothes. Watching in horror as my toddler’s temper tantrum stopped the world from spinning on it’s axis-in
the library, where it is quiet. Managing to get thru Wal Mart
, with a screaming, hiccupping child with toys clenched in each fist, just so I could feed my family. Lying to my children and convincing them that the overhead store speaker was telling them to SIT DOWN in the cart OR ELSE. Opening and consuming unpaid for food and leaving a messy trail for the store security to follow, occurred on a regular basis.

Moving across the country to a tiny home with a toddler, a huge belly and no friends made things even worse. But in time I made ‘mommy’ friends. I watched them struggle and it did something in my heart. You know what I learned? They weren’t perfect. Sometimes they were even bad, like me. Their kids, were just like mine, perfectly human.

And thru the years of diapering and disaster, I discovered the most amazing thing of all: I was really never alone. In the darkest moments, He never left my side: As I held my oldest child’s hand and looked into her pleading eyes for me to stop the IV from poking into her arm, He was there. When my son, fell from the loft of a hay barn and couldn’t walk, He was there. When my third child born too early, fought to breath through tiny tubes, He was there.

I love reading other mother’s heroic stories of extreme circumstances and mundane living. They make me feel normal. It is comforting to identify my struggles with others. an>

You may feel isolated. Tired. Alone. But there is a gigantic group of people who are just like you. They are called mothers. They know what it feels like to love a child more than life; feel their child’s pain; to move earth to be with their baby.

There is also a HUGE God who is always there, especially when others aren’t.

And that’s why I blog. That’s why I have to do it. I do it because laughter is easier to swallow than tears, and because sometimes we just need to be reminded that WE ARE NOT ALONE.

Oh, and about that mental list, my kids have done it all!

Why THAT family?

Through the years, I’ve been in different conversations and either said or someone said to me, “You know THAT family?” They don’t even have to say a name usually. My mind automatically pulls up THAT family.

You know the ones.

The family that always has troubles. Something out of the ordinary is always happening and they are usually followed by disaster.

As I sat in the Emergency Room last night with my little boy, it dawned on me: Oh my word, WE are THAT family.

I don’t know how it happened or when, but we became THOSE people that trouble follows.It’s been a crazy month, even for our family. Let’s just put it this way, our family of five has met individual deductibles and it’s still January. I’ve never had a longer month. It’s been hectic, unpredictable and well, you just wouldn’t believe it!

My son created a swing in between the couch and air hockey table in our playroom last night and lost his balance. Three of his top teeth took the brunt of the fall and are now hanging half-hazardly. I’ve never seen so much blood.

At first, I thought it was just his cut lip, but once I saw his teeth, I nearly passed out. Really. I had to put my head between my legs. It wasn’t so much the blood, it was knowing it was my son’s blood that did it.

My husband was gone, but my family lives close and they helped get the other kids to bed and we rushed to the ER. As I applied pressure and quieted my crying son, I had my epiphany.

I used to gossip about THAT family. I’d quickly pass judgement on the mother who didn’t watch her
kids closely enough or the kids who were overly active. We are THOSE people now. I don’t know if it was adding another child or a genetic mutation, but I know trouble is now a member of the family.

In preparation for upcoming disaster, I’ve adopted a new theme. I repeat it daily.My kids will jump in mud puddles. They will need stitches. We are THAT family.

Please don’t be alarmed. Don’t send condolences, although small gifts are accepted. We have come to grips with this and we are okay with it. Just remember the next time you talk about THAT family, we have feelings too.

My Africa Story with Compassion International

Was Your Entry Deleted?

First of all, double-check to make sure it was actually deleted.  If a few people ahead of your entry were deleted, it might have bumped your number up several places.

Please note that I automatically delete any posts that link back to the front page of your blog, instead of directly to the WFMW post.  This is not because I’m a control freak and a meanie (really!  I’m not!), but as a courtesy to (and at the request of) the other participants. 

See, people will be scrolling through these links all week long.  If you’ve linked to the front page of your blog (instead of directly to the post), then once you have a few posts on top of your WFMW post, it’s hard for others to find the right place.  And then they get cranky and e-mail me.  And I don’t like cranky e-mails.

So, for all our sanity, I automatically delete links done incorrectly, and (the good Southern girl in me shudders) the volume of participants prohibits me from contacting each participant personally to explain. 

This post will explain fully how to link directly to your WFMW post.  If it still doesn’t make sense, e-mail one of your bloggy friends, and they can probably walk you through it.

Other reasons posts are automatically deleted is if they don’t offer a link back to the main page (really, that’s another courtesy to your readers–the point of WFMW is to generate traffic for your fellow participants, and that can’t happen if you don’t link to the main page), or if they don’t actually contain a WFMW post!

Thanks for understanding, and feel free to re-enter your link correctly once you’ve figured it out.  I’m sorry if this causes anyone frustration, but playing by the rules on this one makes it more fun for everyone.  If you have any more questions, please look through the guidelines.