Monday, April 30, 2012

book of memories

When I was a young mother, my family and I were spending the night at my Granny and Pop's house for the weekend.  It happened that my Aunt Marcella was in town and visiting also.

On Sunday morning - just as we had done 100 times before, we all got up and were getting ready to go to the service at Alvin Missionary Baptist Church.  My granny was bustling around with her pokie curlers with pink toothpicks in her hair, putting on her lipstick and looking for the mate to her retro clip on earrings.  As she was getting ready, she was saying how the ladies at the church never speak to her.  After she had talked about the ladies and feeling excluded for a bit, something happened that I had never seen happen before.

My Aunt Marcella looked directly at my granny and said in a very clear, gentle voice "well mother, did you ever stop to think that you aren't talking to them either?"

I'll never forget that moment.
That one sentence has given me enough lessons to last a life time.

First of all, my aunt was speaking to my granny as an adult.  A friend.  Being completely honest.  And respectful.
Isn't that what we want from the people in our lives?  To be told honestly when we are lacking clarity.

Secondly (and the thing I say most to my kids) - be the person that starts the conversation.  Extend a smile or kind word.
It goes a million miles and touches people deep down inside when genuine kindess is shown.

I tell that story often.
I imagine I will be telling it for the rest of my life.

Because my Aunt Marcella set the example.
She layed the path for me to speak first and from the heart.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

work smerk

We have a large family.
I like to have fun.

When you put those two things together, it ends up being lots of dough.

So I gotta work.

I always have my hand in a few pots. I am so thankful and lucky that my friends always have their ear to the ground and will let me know when there are job opportunities. And boy-o-boy, have I done it all. Right now what is keeping me busy is working for a local catering company.

I was pretty nervous when I started because it had been quite a while since I was a server at the Busy Bee.  I knew I could do it.  Duh.  (i can do anything - cause i am perfect, remember?)

It is really fun to see the way other people live.  I knew that people had fancy parties, dinners, weddings, etc., etc.  But I just had no idea.

big huge fresh flowers
there were many of these in the tent and outside

don't tell anyone i took these pictures, i could get in big fat trouble

And the food.  Good Lord, the food is crazy.  I have been so lucky to try so many different types of food because of this job.  Things that I would never ever in a million years eat.  I have huge respect and admiration for the chefs that work at the company.  I don't know how they make all of that food taste so delicious and be so beautiful.  It is truly something to see.

for this wedding, the bride had 5 cakes.
yes, you read that right.
And some of the venues and homes I have been into are amazing.  The most breath taking views.  The biggest most beautiful homes.  It is sometimes hard to believe that people actually live like this.  I have been to The Salt Lick (sounds lame, but it is truly a beautiful wedding venue), University of Texas, UT Chancellor's house, Blanton Museum, Laguna Gloria, and many many MANY private homes for private dinner parties.  I love seeing what is happening at the party and trying to learn about what the guests are celebrating.  Some of my favorites have been watching a very smart person receive a $50K gift from UT for their research and working a Passover dinner.  At both of those events I was full on breaking my neck to hear what the people were saying and doing.

this picture does not even come close to capturing how beautiful it was
I am sad to report that I have spilled on the job.  And of course, we are not talking just little spills.  Oh no, the first time was at the UT Chancellor's house.  Full tray with 3 reds, 3 white and 3 champagne.  An older woman bumped into me, it spilled all over me and every single glass broke.  I was totally shocked when it happened, but I was able to laugh it off, change and move on. 

The second time was at Laguna Gloria and it was totally my fault.  Fortunately the tray wasn't very full.  Unfortunately, it was that dang red wine again.  It was SO crappy.  It frazzled me to the core.  When it happened I said a few four letter words very loudly - in front of guests. (because I am cool that way)  And then I went to the bathroom to 'clean up' (read try to not cry) and stayed in there for a while.  It sucked.

hiding in bathroom
trying not to cry
taking bad pictures of myself
the old lady apologized
i just couldn't believe it happened

The worst part about the job is that my feet hurt SO SO SO bad when I get home.  I have gone back and forth between wearing my Dansko clogs and a pair of Born black lace up shoes.  You can't even imagine how bad my feet hurt.  And after long events, I can barely move the next day.

look momma, i hemmed my pants all by myself!!!

In addition to all of the cool food, I have learned a lot about drinks.  And what I have learned more than anything else is that EVERYONE DRINKS.  I have never worked a party where there hasn't been a bar.  NEVER.

empty tequila bottle
the bartenders were calling this burning bush tequila

Another thing that I have loved about this job is that I have gotten ALL of my work clothes at GoodWill.  Yesterday I bought 2 new shirts (literally with the store tags will attached) and a pair of black work pants.  All for less than $15!!!  Which is really great when you consider my spill rate.  ha.
very proud of my purchase

So as I get ready for my 14 hour day today, I know that I have so many things to be thankful for.  And even though the work is sometimes back breaking and I can't usually walk the next day, I can also see that it is a load of fun.  And when I think about missing my family and I am sad because I am missing their games, their sleepovers, driving them to babysit, and the general laying around of Saturday nights - I know that this is what I've got to be doing because we like to have fun.  And until we win the lottery, I will keep serving folks with a smile.

anything for these people

And a side note:  I didn't mention that all of this is made so so so much more fun because I get to work with my dear dear friends Kristin (who told me about the job) and Stephanie (who I told about the job).  It is weird that I couldn't find any pictures of us at work - but I'll work on that.

And if you happen to have any side jobs that you need help with, let me know.  :)

Monday, April 16, 2012

Giving Love

Once again, our family is setting out to ride our bicycles and raise money for those less fortunate than us. All 7 Carrs will be participating in the Hill Country Ride for Aids, a beautiful ride through the Texas Hill Country that raises money for folks living in Central Texas that have HIV/AIDS.

I think some of you have wondered why we do this ride.
A few years ago, we talked as a family about doing something to help those less fortunate than us. We wanted to do something that benefited people in our own community. We wanted to do an event that allowed the younger kids to participate. And we wanted to branch out and put ourselves outside our normal group of friends/neighbors, meet new people and even become friends with folks that have a different life style than our own.

How could we have known when we started doing this ride 4 years ago, that it would become such a part of our lives? We have made so many new friends, we have become closer as a family and our family has been listed in the top 100 ride fundraisers for the last 3 years. In addition, the team we helped to start - the Heavy Breathers - was the largest team last year with over 80 riders and we have more kids on our team than all other teams combined.

Did you know that all of the money you have helped us to raise has stayed right here in our own community and has benefited 10 non-profit organizations?
Did you know that we have personally been able to hear from a few of the benefactors about how this money bought medicine, provided counseling, and paid for hospice care for people in our area with HIV/AIDS?
I hope you know that our entire family is working hard to raise funds.
We are all sending out emails, Jena has made a lemonade stand and is donating all of her money to help the cause, the older kids have taken flyers to school and we tell just about everyone we know how important this cause is to us and our community.

I always feel awkward and a little bad asking for donations. But then I think about the person that is alone and dying with no money, no medicine or hope and I realize that it is something that we've got to do.

If you are so inclined to donate, please know that we sincerely thank you.
We wouldn't ask if it wasn't something that we believe in whole heartily.

Please know that every donation helps - even $5.

donate by clicking here

And I encourage you to watch this video - you will be moved! (and watch for Carrs and loads and loads of Heavy Breathers!)
With love and gratitude.
The Carr Family
Jeff, Kathy, Sam, Ella, Jena, Miles and Wyatt