Friday, January 30, 2009

Newest Nephew!

Welcome to the world to our beautiful new nephew, Waylon Duke Greiner, son of Andy's brother Matt and his wife Lydia. Maddie is excited to have a "baby" cousin now! He is so gorgeous, I could spread him on toast and eat him up! (That's for you, Aunt Kate!)

Waylon Duke
January 27, 2009

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Picture Tag!

This is from Audra, and it only took 30 seconds, so I actually did it! Yay! I've gotten lots of cyber chain letters, but I like this one the best!


Here are the instructions: Go to the place where you store all of your pictures on your computer and open up the 4th folder. Open the 4th picture. Post the picture and give an explanation. Tag 4 people!

This is a picture from Andy's 30th birthday party, and from the looks of it, everyone is enjoying a frosty cold Coke and toasting to another awesome dish of my baked beans.

I'm not sure if I know 4 people who will see this, but I will guess and say that I tag: Kate P, Erica, Jake, and Mel.

A Tale of Two Christian Schools; or, Texas High School Football gets it right

I had every intention of posting a big family update today, but somehow the memory card from my camera (which has the pictures I need) has grown legs and walked away. I'm going to be REALLY upset if it doesn't turn the meantime, here is a great story I heard about last week on the radio and wanted to send out. I copied it from the blog of a radio DJ in Dallas, and here is the link to the original post, so I don't get sued. Hope you enjoy it as much as I did (I cried like a baby!). It is really powerful stuff!


Chances are, you saw the story out of Dallas about the Christian school whose girl's basketball team played a school for developmentally challenged kids...and beat them 100-0. The school is embarrassed about that now, but the damage is done; not only to the school, but to any Christian who believes compassion and respect are important qualities.

Texas prep hoops team might forfeit 100-0 win

I'd like to give you another story that shows a different side. This story is real. It was written by the talented Rick Reilly of Sports Illustrated and it inspires me every time I read it:

High school football is big in America, but I suppose there is no place where it is bigger than in Texas. Friday nights there are legend.

The fans scream; the stands are packed; cheerleaders with pom-poms jump and sway to the beat of the school band and everybody joins in the chants and stomps their feet on the metal stands until you are sure they will collapse.

This is the frenzy of Texas high school football.

But there is one football team in Texas that is a little different. When they play on Friday night, their stands are empty, no band, no cheerleaders, no mass of parents or townsfolk wearing the school colors and waving banners and flags. They take the field without anyone cheering them on. When they score a touchdown, which rarely happens, there is no wild celebration behind them… All of it seems hollow and muffled in contrast to the tidal wave of roars and drums and chants that come from the opposing side.

They are the Tornadoes of the Gainesville State School, a fenced, maximum-security facility. The young men who go to Gainesville State are there because they have made some major mistakes in their lives. But the players who are on the team are there because they have worked hard and have earned enough good behavior points that gives them the privilege to leave the facility and play football on Friday nights—always an away game for them—always a home game for their opponents—and almost always a loss. They don’t have a weight program or training equipment or high-paid coaches and assistants. They don’t have a large pool of players to draw from. The school has 275 boys, but many are too old or too young or can’t or don’t meet the “criteria” to play. And they don’t have the support of a town and a mass of parents and family and reporters and bands and cheerleaders.

That is, until November 7th. Something changed. They played Grapevine Faith Christian School.
A few days before the game, the Gainesville coach, Mark Williams received a call from Faith Christian coach, Kris Hogan, asking him if it would be okay if Faith formed a “spirit” line for his team when they ran on the field. Mark said, “Sure, that would be a real encouragement to the kids.” He thought that the line would consist of a couple of the JV cheerleaders, but when they took the field, there were a hundred people in it and it stretched to the 40-yard line, filled with Faith Christian parents, fans and varsity cheerleaders, complete with a banner at the end for them to burst through that read “Go Tornadoes!”. And then, those parents and fans sat in the stands behind the Gainesville players and when the Tornadoes broke the huddle and went up to the line they could hear people cheering for them, by name. When they got a first down, “their” fans erupted.

You see, coach Hogan had sent an email out to the Faith Christian parents and students asking them to consider doing something kind for these young men, many who didn’t know what it meant to have a mom and dad who cared, many who felt the world was against them, not for them. Hogan asked that they simply send a message that these boys were “just as valuable as any other person on earth.”

So half of the Faith Christian fans were now sitting on the visitor’s side of the field, cheering for the Gainesville team, and in some cases, against their own sons.
–Cheering for a team decked out in mismatched old uniforms and helmets.
–Cheering for boys who wouldn’t go home that night and have a smiling dad slap him on the back and feel his mom put her arms around him and say “I’m so proud of you son!”
–Cheering for the underdog.

This was a Friday night like no other for the Tornadoes. In the locker room, the players were confused.
“Why are they cheerin’ for us, coach?”
 “Because, men, they want to encourage you. They want you to know that they care about you…that you have value.”

Coach Williams said the boys were stunned. For many of these kids, it may have been the first time that anyone had shown them, so visibly, unconditional love.

They were down 33 to nothing at the half. Williams encouraged his team to set a goal for the second half: to score a touchdown against this vastly superior team. And when the boys from the State School took the field again, with their fans cheering them on, everything started to click.

And they did score. Not once but twice.

And the fans went wild.

Coach Williams was asked what the bus ride was like on the way home and he laughed and said that they were all asleep—their bellies were full. That’s because after the game, the parents brought a whole bunch of food over to the guys: hamburgers, fries, candy, sodas…and included in the meal sack was a Bible and a personal letter of encouragement from a Faith Christian player. But then, he said, they formed a line for us out to the bus. And the parents patted them on the back and said, “Nice game” and “Look forward to seeing you guys next time.”

As they left the field that night, Coach Williams grabbed Coach Hogan and said to him: “You’ll never know what your people did for these kids tonight. You’ll never, ever know.”

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Just for PeePaw....

Despite Uncle Al's protests, PeePaw's request that I put this on the blog won out. He is my dad, I have to listen!

Friday, January 23, 2009

A beautiful message.

This really touched me. Hopefully a lot of people will see this and think twice about what they "know" about Former President Bush. Also, if his daughters can create such a touching message of support to the Obama girls, everyone else can back our new president 100% too! More posts later...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Home again, home again...

Wow. Two weeks in Tennessee, two flights with a 4 month old, and too long living out of suitcases! It was a great trip, but we are all glad to be back (even though we miss everyone)! Maddie handled the travel better than anyone, and she had a great time meeting all her aunts/uncles/cousins! She is a real social butterfly, I'm going to have to get her in Mom's Day Out soon; she seems bored with just me around now!

Since I have so many pictures, I decided to upload slideshows instead of individual shots. I am also splitting everything up by the events: Greiner Christmas and Friends, Elkins Christmas and Condo, and Maddie's Baptism. Chapter 1 is Greiner Christmas and Friends, and hey family...remember you can order these and others from my Picasa account:

I will try to get the other slideshows up this week too.