Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Strong Women

I have been thinking a lot lately about our family legacy. As I spent the last nine days with my grandmommy, her three daughters (my mom and aunts) and their grown daughters (my cousins), I was constantly aware of the similarities between each of us. My grandmommy is the person responsible for these things. The gifts that she has given each of us are far too many to name. Some of these gifts include strong faith in God, unconditional love of family, open mindedness, love of self, strength to overcome tough situations and the desire to always put family first.

I overheard my Aunt Marcella say on more than one occasion "I could have never done this without my sisters and my girls." And even though my grandmommy is fighting that horrible Alzheimer monster, she is still able to express concern for her children when they are in need - in this case, it was my aunt losing her husband.

My grandmommy instilled in each of us the 'I CAN DO ANYTHING' attitude. She loved her family, took care of her husband, worked hard and still had time to help her neighbor.

Although it was under a sad and stressful situation, I feel so fortunate to have been able to spend this last week with the women in my family. I was able to watch them all love each other and take care of each other (and me too) - with no questions asked. What a beautiful group of women.

I am so thankful!

P.S. The only thing that could've made it better is if you were with us too Niecie! We missed you!!!

About Funeral Processions and Cemeteries

The funeral for my Uncle Freddie was yesterday. It was REALLY nice and very sweet. Here are some things that I noticed about funeral processions and cemeteries...

1. It seems like I never see people in Austin stop their cars in respect when a funeral procession is driving by. If the city folk do stop, it might only be for the hearse. And if the road had a median, they certainly will not stop.

In Missouri, practically everyone (including 18 wheelers) stopped on the side of the road and sat there until the whole line of cars has passed. The funeral procession drove about 30 miles from Cabool, Missouri to Licking, Missouri. It was a really nice drive where we went past his home with my aunt and his parent's house. The funeral director came to every car and requested headlights and hazard lights be turned on. There were a few times when we would be going over a hill that I could see the long line of cars in front and behind. I wish I would have gotten a picture of it. What a great tribute to Freddie.

2. #4 and I spent sometime walking around the Boone Creek cemetery. This is a small town cemetery that was established in the early 1800's. (wow) It is maintained and owned by the Boone Creek Baptist church (right next door). I took pictures of a few headstone because they moved me. There were so many more to look at, but not enough time.

Notice that the couple was married 72 years when the husband died. Isn't that amazing. 72 YEARS!!! I would love to know them. I would love to talk to their kids (assuming that they had some). What a beautiful thing. And they both lived to be almost 100! So cool.

I was really struck by this headstone. The first thing I noticed was the photo. A lot of the headstones in this old country cemetery have black and white photos mounted on them. This young man was pretty attractive. Then I noticed that he was only 21 when he died in Vietnam. My heart hurt for his family. For his mother. How sad. I wonder if the small town of Licking mourned his loss and came out to support his family. I am aware that there are soldiers coming home to be buried everyday. I wonder how it is different now than it was 30 years ago.

This is the headstone that got me to walking around the cemetery. When the funeral procession drove into the cemetery, we pasted this headstone and it caught my eye. After the graveside service, #4 and I took some time to walk around and find it again. I love its simplicity. I love how it so beautifully says 'His wife'. I forgot to take a picture of the back. It said 'their children' and listed out four or five names. It is so so so old, but looks so well taken care of.

And lastly - a little funny from my funny #4. We are standing back watching all of the people at the tent. Lots of family, hugs, love, kind words, and caring moments. And #4 says, 'This would be a great place for my next birthday party.' 'We can hang my pinata in that forest behind the tent.' So naturally I had to take a picture of what he was seeing. It was a wide open place. Lots of people hugging and loving. Beautiful weather, beautiful family time - why not go ahead and plan a birthday party here too!! Oh my sweet sweet angel!

Things I Don't See in Texas

Got home this morning. So so so tired. Had very limited access to my friend the computey while I was gone. Everyday I thought of multiple things to blog about. Now they have all gone from my head. I'll start with this though...

Things I don't really see in Texas -

1. Liquor store auction on a Sunday (or ever for that matter). Two lane country road and a shack of a store. Aunt Marcella said that the proprietor had a heart attack and died. All of his stuff went to auction. Tables and tables of liquor. Real live auctioneer. "One give me one give me now two I say two give me three I hear 5 from the drunk in the corner..." ha ha ha

Kids running all over the yard. Hot dog cart in the driveway. And rows and rows of booze. My cousin Codi and I did the drive by (oh no you didn't just drive past my sale) and I had her (the Baptist preacher's wife) hang out the window to take the pictures. :) Of course, they were all staring at us. Some even calling out to her and saying lovely things like "take my picture baby, I'll smile!"

After taking a few pictures, she says "Kathy! Drive. I know these people! Really!!!" ha ha.

2. Logger trucks. We went past a handful of saw mills. Many of my family members have worked in a mill. It is truly something to see these giant 18 wheelers driving down two lane country roads. Then to drive past the mill and see the stacks and stacks and stacks of lumber. I wish I would have stopped to take a picture of one of them so that you could see. It seems like something from a day gone by. But it is real and still happening.

3. Leaves. Especially where we live (Central Texas) there are very few places where you can see the beautiful changing of the seasons with every fall color you can imagine. It is almost impossible to describe the beautiful leaves in the Ozarks. Don't get me wrong, our trees are pretty - and I love Texas, but man-o-man, the rolling hills of trees as far as you can see with so many colors.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Life and Death

Funny how those three words can have a few different translations. For example:



life and death - as in two things that happen on a daily basis.

Anyhow. About life - I am trying so hard to relax and have peace. I mean, just daily things like breathing and staying calm and taking in the moments. No stress. No drama. Everything is gonna be ok.

About death - My uncle Freddie is going to be taken off of life support tonight. He has had stomach cancer for a few months. I don't know what the word is to describe how I am feeling. So so so sad and at the same time - a little bit of peace. He married my aunt Marcella (mom's sister) in the 90's (maybe '93). He is her second husband. Her first husband, my uncle Buddy, died after having a massive heart attack one morning. They were high school sweethearts and had been together for 40 or so years. No one could imagine her without him. Then she met Freddie. Initially, everyone had a hard time with their relationship. It was just shocking to see her with someone else. With time, everyone could see how truly happy they were together. He held her hand and took care of her. You could tell that they were in love.

I have always had a very special feeling about Freddie. From the moment we first met, he was kind and accepting of me and my Carr family with no questions asked. Sometimes that is the nice thing about having a new person come along. They just don't care about the crap of the past. Anyhow, we saw my Aunt Marcella and Uncle Freddie a few times here in Texas. Most memorably though, we spent time with them at their house in Missouri.

Tonight when we were talking to the kids about Uncle Freddie dying, they all were sad. The older kids remembered fun times with Freddie, like when he caught lighting bugs with them or when he taught Sam how to play dominoes. We looked at pictures of him from our last vacation to their house.

I will be leaving early tomorrow morning to go to Missouri with my parents. This will be an adventure. Something I know I need to do.

I'll keep you posted on the journey. It isn't very often that a grown child takes a trip with her aging parents. I am very much looking forward to it.

Summer 2005 - (right to left) Aunt Marcella, Uncle Freddie, Me, 5 kids, cousin Stacy and Grandmommy.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Under the Weather

So I have been home from work the last few days cause I have been feeling pretty crappy. Today (between blog entries) I have been washing clothes and piling them on our bed to be folded.

Much to my surprise, I walked in the room to start folding and there was our sweet Jessie in the pile. Somehow she had buried herself in the clothes. What a sweet kitty surprise!

Big Money

Oh and one more thing about Big State...

I thought it'd be cute to get my girls (HB, AJ and VJ) t-shirts at Big State. And I wasn't even being sneaky - JC and I had talked about it and he said it was ok...

We'll by the time I got to the merchandise tent, all of the styles I might have bought were gone. I was a little surprised at the cost of the Big State t-shirts cause they all looked worn out and some of them even had holes! Who in the world would buy a t-shirt with holes and worn looking fabric??? (Sign of getting older - and funny that I saw a zillion young cowgirls wearing them!)

So then #1 and I see this cute t-shirt that says "KISS MY GRITS!" and I know that is the shirt for me and my gals. Well, holy cow if it isn't $36!!!! Can you believe it?!?!?!?! $36!!!!! I 'bout fell over. #1 says 'mom, you should get them' and I say back 'are you crazy?!?!...that'd be $144 for me and my girls and that is NUTS!!!!!'

What happened to the day when you could buy a cute t-shirt for $20?

They also had this cute wife beater tank top that said "Mama tried" that was only $30.

So girlfriends, the next time we are all together, I'm gonna bring some paint and a pack of hanes and we are gonna make our own dang tshirts!

Big State Big Time

What: Big State Festival
Where: Texas World Speedway

This weekend we had the great opportunity to go to the Big State Festival in College Station. JC got VIP tickets from his work, so we drove down there after all of the Saturday games. As soon as we pulled into the parking field, I knew this was going to be the festival for me! We parked in a giant field outside of the Texas World Speedway that reminded me of parking at the Brazoria County Fair. The line of vehicles to get in was 99% trucks and there were cowboy hats as far as I could see. (Hmmmm...gotta love a cowboy)

This was the first year for Big State. It is put on by the same folks that do our beloved ACL festival and the line-up consisted of mostly country acts. I had heard about it a while back and was just dying to go! (My sweet sweet JC made it happen!)

We got there Saturday night around 7pm. We were able to see some of Miranda Lambert, most of Chris Cagle, most of Lyle Lovett and his large band, and the tail end of Lynard Skynard. Unfortunately, we didn't get any pictures of the first night because the batteries were dead in the camera and I didn't want to pay an insane amout of money for new ones. (*Note to self - pay the outragous amount next time.)

My favorite of Saturday night was Chris Cagle. We watched him for a while from the VIP section where we could see him from the side of the stage. One after another, he belted out songs that we all know. As it got time for Lyle Lovett to come on, we walked across the field to the other stage where we could REALLY hear and see the Cagle band and stage. He gave such a charasmatic show. The crowd was with him 100%. We all stood in the wide open space and enjoyed and laughed and danced and sang along with him. I must have said 8,000 times how I wished my Heather was with me. The girls and I danced and danced and there was so so so much love. Our three favorite songs that he sang were "What a Beautiful Day, I Breathe In and Breathe Out, and In a WalMart Parking Lot." For the rest of my forever, when I hear these three songs, I'll remember dancing and loving with my family under the big Texas sky full of stars.

The other highlight from Saturday night was catching the end of the Lynard Skynard show. It was such a thrill for our family to see them perform Sweet Home Alabama and Freebird live. Again, we were at the back of the crowd in the wide open field just dancing and carrying on. We all loved it. We REALLY love Lyle Lovett, but unfortunately, it was kind of hard to listen to his beautiful music when Skynard was blaring in the background. Good thing our whole family has seen Lovett a few times before.

We got up early Sunday morning and made our way to the show just a little after it opened. We started the day off with one of our local favorites, Kelly Willis. Boy-o-boy, can that girl sing. We really enjoyed seeing her live. Every word that she sings is given with so much passion and sincerity. She seems like the kinda gal that could be my BFF in a heartbeat.

After Kelly Willis, we went to find the best seat for our very first stock car race! Wow wee! Lady luck was on our side. We took the stairs up into the spectator boxes where the kids were standing on the back rail of an empty viewing box. A really nice fella named Cliff came up and said for us to come on in. Apparently, he was part of a BBQ cook-off team that paid big bucks for the box and all of his buddies were too hung-over to come up to watch. So there we were, up in the shaded box watching our very first race! The cars made their first lap and we all picked who we'd be wanting to win. Finally the green flag came out and they were off. The kids LOVED it!

What great great fun. You know, we are part of the NASCAR generation. Many many of our family and friends live and die by the races. What a perfect addition to an already perfect festival!

After the big race, we made our way to the Little State stage (kid area). The kids fished, decorated grass plants to bring home, got tattoos, and dyed their hair. We also really enjoyed watching the TAMU Aggie Wranglers dance. These guys and gals were truly incredible!

From there we went to look at a few other exhibits, like the Toyota Tundra experience, the Texas Parks and Wildlife booths and the Go Texan Market that featured
products made in Texas.

Next up...getting in position for the rest of the night. The three big shows that we (I) really wanted to see were all at the Toyota Tundra stage, which had a VIP viewing area. So you know we had to go on and get over there to get the best seats possible.

At 4:00pm we watched Jack Ingram. He can REALLY put on a good show. Everyone in our family enjoyed his performance. We'd all seen him once before at ACL, but it had been a few years ago. We all love his music. Sure was missin' my Amy though - cause she would have thought she'd died and gone straight to Heaven. We were SO close to the stage. We could all see him perfectly!

After Jack Ingram was another stock car race. We made the smart decision not to leave our VIP seats to go to the box and watch the race. People were really starting to pour into the seating area. It was a lot of fun to watch the race on the screen and hear the announcer.

After the race, we were getting pretty excited. One of our VERY FAVORITES was coming up...Willie Nelson. I was really surprised that he wasn't the final act. I guess he just isn't as popular as Tim McGraw..I don't know. Anyhow, as always, he was great. I feel like we need to give our kids the opportunity to see him every chance we can get. There will never be another person make a mark on country music the way that Willie Nelson has.

And he had a special guest come out and sing some gospel favorite with him (and you guys know how I feel about gospel music!)...AMY BRACE was Jack Ingram. At first Jeff said that he thought it was Hal Ketchum. I almost killed myself and a few innocent children trying to get up on the chair to see. Too bad it wasn't Hal, but I was really really glad to see that it was Jack.

I included the picture above because of #2 and her Willie bandana. She looked just like him with her red bandana and her braids. Both of the girls had their hands in the air enjoying every moment! :)

After Willie was done, we were treated to a very special event! Some yahoos in the front of the VIP section got into a fight. UGH. I've never really seen a real live fist fight before and I know that the kids haven't either. This was something! I got up on the chair to see better (I know, classy) and was shocked to see that it was boys and girls. Swinging, yelling, punching - you name it they were doin' it. It was a little unnerving at first. There are just so many people there that you initially get a little bit of shakey leg. But I knew we were all safe. We were probably 5 or 6 rows behind the really smart people - so no one was gonna bother us. One thing that makes the fight even more classy is the fact that these idiots paid $500 per ticket to get into this area. What dumbasses. The girls and I went to the bathroom before Tim came on and saw the paddy wagon coming to pick up the winners. It was a great opportunity to tell all of the kids what I hope they won't choose to do when then grow up!

Another funny thing that happened before the Tim show was that this guy was kind of standing by our chairs and people started going hog wild over him. He looked like Tim McGraw. In real life - I saw him with my own eyes. He really truly looked like Tim. Tons of ladies were asking him to take pictures with them. He was getting moved to the front - it was crazy pandamonium. Of course, I didn't have the nerve to ask him for a photo, but I did take this one of him kinda far away. The good news is that he was not taking the money that people were offering him for a picture.

And finally...the big moment. My boyfriend Tim came to sing to me and my girls!!!! Oh my heavens - that man can put on a show!!!! The crowd was going wild. For every song that he sang he had 40,000 backup singers.

Naturally, during his performance, it started to really rain. At one point he hollered out to the crowd that Texas wins the prize for the very biggest wet t-shirt contest. Of course, the crowd went wild! (Oddly enough, the last time we saw Tim it was outside in the pouring rain - remember Heather???)

Thankfully, a guy behind us was giving Tito's vodka shirts to all the cute cowgirls and saw that our kids were soaking and freezing and gave them tshirts too. Of course, they know they'll never be able to wear them again. I don't think it go over very well in our granola community for #4 to be wearing an offical Tito's Taste Tester shirt to preschool! :)

My one disappointment was that we didn't get a good family picture at the festival. :( Every family picture that we took was either blurry or too dark. I think the rain screwed with our borrowed camera. And even though the picture below is blurry, I still love it cause it's my happy family and Tim is behind us!

Everyone had a great great great time. We are so blessed to have gotten to go. All of the kids loved it and the country crowd is such a nice loving crowd to be with. So thanks to C3 and Simpler-Webb for another great event. We drove home Sunday night blissfully tired, heads full of music and love in our hearts!

Eckerd Drugs

The other day, JC and I were having a conversation about how the chain drug stores are popping up everywhere. We are truly being surrounded by them. We talked about who actually shops in these stores, if the prices are higher, do they have most things?, ect., ect.

This morning I was on a quick run to get a coke before JC and #4 left for school. (I'm still sick and staying home) I decided to stop by the CVS cause we needed toilet bowl cleaner and q-tips and I didn't feel like going into HEB.

A few things of note...

1. I am surprised by how many things are under lock and key. I'm sure it is like this everywhere and I just haven't noticed. Here are a few...perfume, baby formula, OTC birth control, diet pills. I am surprised that these things are such hot items that the stores are willing to pay for plexiglass cases to lock them up.

2. While looking for q-tips, I passed the perfume section. Obviously I am feeling sick and very sensitive because I just about burst into tears. They still sell Charlie, Jontue, Jovan Musk, Navy, and Chantilly dusting powder. I wanted to stop and smell all of them, but of course they are all locked away and I didn't want to bother with finding a helper with keys to do it. All of these scents make me think of my mom. She always wears perfume. Sometimes I can close my eyes and think about how she smells. It is almost like she is here with me. If I had $100 to waste, I might have bought them all just to keep at home and smell on occasion.

3. I noticed a VERY young and VERY VERY skinny girl getting assistance with the locked up diet pill cabinet. If I was the worker, I might have told her to spend her money on a sandwich.

4. The older lady at the check out stand had a coupon for my toilet cleaner. Oh no, not a CVS coupon, but a coupon that she had clipped and saved and was keeping in her little coupon holder for just the right customer. What a kind kind kind thing to do. I love nice people.

So, I don't know if I'll go back. But it seems like those stores aren't so so bad.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


This afternoon, I was visiting with my good friend LC. We were sitting and talking while the kids had piano lessons and were running around on the playground at a little church. As we sat in the chairs visiting, a couple that she is good friends with walked up and joined in the friendly conversation. I watched LC as she chatted with both the husband and wife. I am struck by her ability to be comfortable and move freely in these types of conversations. She gave gianormous hugs (like full body) to both the husband and wife. And during our conversation was very tangible with them - smiling, hand holding, friendly nudges and hugs of excitement and laughter. I see the same beautiful quality in my good friend Sara. She hugs everyone she meets. I mean like giant huge body touching hugs. Or like my BFF HB, all huggin' all those church people and their kids. I swear, she has been my BFF for as long as I can remember and I can barely stand for her to hug me. Not because I don't like it, but mostly cause I know if she touches me that I'm gonna burst into tears cause I love her so much.

I want to be more like that. Inside, I want to hug every person makes my heart sing and smile. I want to be able to walk up to people that I know need a little extra love and give it to them. I have friends that are my dear dear friends that I love so so so much that I cannot reach out and touch. What is it with me? Why...

Well, I know I am working on it. When I'm old and crazy(ier), I'm gonna grab everyone I see and hug the hell outta them. Who knows, maybe I'll even be kissin' folks too! :)

I am glad to say that my freakish body bubble does not pertain to my children. I try to hang on them and touch them every second that I can. I want them to grow knowing how comforting and beautiful it is when someone who loves you so dearly touches you and holds you. There are times that I can feel their arms around me and it brings me such a beautiful sense of calm and of love and of family.

P.S. And don't get any bright ideas, I don't want some weird hug the next time I see any of you. It'd prolly cause me to burst into tears and then you'd hafta clean up the mess. :)

Monday, October 1, 2007

In My Bones

I won an Ipod Shuffle at ACL. JC loaded it for me. What a gift. What a great great gift. I've been signing at the top of my lungs...

I've got the Reivers in my bones right now. Enjoy!!!