Friday, October 31, 2008


My favoritest holiday of the year. I love the spooky decorations, the costumes, the candy, and of course, the scary movies.

Today for work I'm dressed as a hippie (Mom always said I was born in the wrong era), and tonight I'll be a Sooner football player. I'm throwing a big party at my casa, complete with beer, jello shots, and food, fog machine, black lights, and an outdoor screening of The Changeling. If you have not seen The Changeling (the old George C. Scott movie) you should definitely check it out. They used to show it at the Paramount every year at Halloween. It's awesome!

I'm excited!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thieving B*stards!

So I checked my bank account online this morning, and I found two charges from Netflix. While this is not altogether odd, as I do have a Netflix account, I have not bought anything from them recently. So I called 'em.

Apparently, somebody opened up a new account yesterday using my debit card. WTF? No dvd's have been sent out, but they have the person's email address, and I assume they have the mailing address as well.

Two questions:
1. How did my account # get stolen?
2. Why would someone steal my account # and then open up an $11 Netflix account?

I'm VERY glad that whoever got my account # is an idiot. And that I spotted it this morning, and not a few days from now. No telling what would have been charged on there...a pack of gum, a movie ticket, and *gasp* a burger & fries??!?!? (insert scary music here)

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

To Write Love on Her Arms

I've seen the t-shirts, but to be honest, I never really wondered what they were about. I figured it was a band or something. But today, I came across it again, and so I looked it up. This is what I found. I know it's kind of long, but it's definitely worth a few minutes of your time. I had a few friends in high school commit suicide. The more help we can give to teenagers, even if it's just a hug or a listening ear, well, the more we protect our future generations. You can find out more about TWLOHA here.

The Story

To Write Love On Her Arms

Pedro the Lion is loud in the speakers, and the city waits just outside our open windows. She sits and sings, legs crossed in the passenger seat, her pretty voice hiding in the volume. Music is a safe place and Pedro is her favorite. It hits me that she won't see this skyline for several weeks, and we will be without her. I lean forward, knowing this will be written, and I ask what she'd say if her story had an audience. She smiles. "Tell them to look up. Tell them to remember the stars."

would rather write her a song, because songs don't wait to resolve, and because songs mean so much to her. Stories wait for endings, but songs are brave things bold enough to sing when all they know is darkness. These words, like most words, will be written next to midnight, between hurricane and harbor, as both claim to save her.

Renee is 19. When I meet her, cocaine is fresh in her system. She hasn't slept in 36 hours and she won't for another 24. It is a familiar blur of coke, pot, pills and alcohol. She has agreed to meet us, to listen and to let us pray. We ask Renee to come with us, to leave this broken night. She says she'll go to rehab tomorrow, but she isn't ready now. It is too great a change. We pray and say goodbye and it is hard to leave without her.

She has known such great pain; haunted dreams as a child, the near-constant presence of evil ever since. She has felt the touch of awful naked men, battled depression and addiction, and attempted suicide. Her arms remember razor blades, fifty scars that speak of self-inflicted wounds. Six hours after I meet her, she is feeling trapped, two groups of "friends" offering opposite ideas. Everyone is asleep. The sun is rising. She drinks long from a bottle of liquor, takes a razor blade from the table and locks herself in the bathroom. She cuts herself, using the blade to write "FUCK UP" large across her left forearm.

The nurse at the treatment center finds the wound several hours later. The center has no detox, names her too great a risk, and does not accept her. For the next five days, she is ours to love. We become her hospital and the possibility of healing fills our living room with life. It is unspoken and there are only a few of us, but we will be her c hurch, the body of Christ coming alive to meet her needs, to write love on her arms.

She is full of contrast, more alive and closer to death than anyone I've known, like a Johnny Cash song or some theatre star. She owns attitude and humor beyond her 19 years, and when she tells me her story, she is humble and quiet and kind, shaped by the pain of a hundred lifetimes. I sit privileged but breaking as she shares. Her life has been so dark yet there is some soft hope in her words, and on consecutive evenings, I watch the prettiest girls in the room tell her that she's beautiful. I think it's God reminding her.

I've never walked this road, but I decide that if we're going to run a five-day rehab, it is going to be the coolest in the country. It is going to be rock and roll. We start with the basics; lots of fun, too much Starbucks and way too many cigarettes

Thursday night she is in the balcony for Band Marino, Orlando's finest. They are indie-folk-fabulous, a movement disguised as a circus. She loves them and she smiles when I point out the A&R man from Atlantic Europe, in town from London just to catch this show.

She is in good seats when the Magic beat the Sonics the next night, screaming like a lifelong fan with every Dwight Howard dunk. On the way home, we stop for more coffee and books, Blue Like Jazz and (Anne Lamott's) Travelling Mercies.

On Saturday, the Taste of Chaos tour is in town and I'm not even sure we can get in, but doors do open and minutes after parking, we are on stage for Thrice, one of her favorite bands. She stands ten feet from the drummer, smiling constantly. It is a bright moment there in the music, as light and rain collide above the stage. It feels like healing. It is certainly hope.

Sunday night is church and many gather after the service to pray for Renee, this her last night before entering rehab. Some are strangers but all are friends tonight. The prayers move from broken to bold, all encouraging. We're talking to God but I think as much, we're talking to her, telling her she's loved, saying she does not go alone. One among us knows her best. Ryan sits in the corner strumming an acoustic guitar, singing songs she's inspired.

After church our house fills with friends, there for a few more moments before goodbye. Everyone has some gift for her, some note or hug or piece of encouragement. She pulls me aside and tells me she would like to give me something. I smile surprised, wondering what it could be. We walk through the crowded living room, to the garage and her stuff.

She hands me her last razor blade, tells me it is the one she used to cut her arm and her last lines of cocaine five nights before. She's had it with her ever since, shares that tonight will be the hardest night and she shouldn't have it. I hold it carefully, thank her and know instantly that this moment, this gift, will stay with me. It hits me to wonder if this great feeling is what Christ knows when we surrender our broken hearts, when we trade death for life.

As we arrive at the treatment center, she finishes: "The stars are always there but we miss them in the dirt and clouds. We miss them in the storms. Tell them to remember hope. We have hope."

I have watched life come back to her, and it has been a privilege. When our time with her began, someone suggested shifts but that is the language of business. Love is something better. I have been challenged and changed, reminded that love is that simple answer to so many of our hardest questions. Don Miller says we're called to hold our hands against the wounds of a broken world, to stop the bleeding. I agree so greatly.

We often ask God to show up. We pray prayers of rescue. Perhaps God would ask us to be that rescue, to be His body, to move for things that matter. He is not invisible when we come alive. I might be simple but more and more, I believe God works in love, speaks in love, is revealed in our love. I have seen that this week and honestly, it has been simple: Take a broken girl, treat her like a famous princess, give her the best seats in the house. Buy her coffee and cigarettes for the coming down, books and bathroom things for the days ahead. Tell her something true when all she's known are lies. Tell her God loves her. Tell her about forgiveness, the possibility of freedom, tell her she was made to dance in white dresses. All these things are true.

We are only asked to love, to offer hope to the many hopeless. We don't get to choose all the endings, but we are asked to play the rescuers. We won't solve all mysteries and our hearts will certainly break in such a vulnerable life, but it is the best way. We were made to be lovers bold in broken places, pouring ourselves out again and again until we're called home.

I have learned so much in one week with one brave girl. She is alive now, in the patience and safety of rehab, covered in marks of madness but choosing to believe that God makes things new, that He meant hope and healing in the stars. She would ask you to remember.

There's only 1 Oklahoma

I get chill bumps every time I watch it. Every single time.

I'm going to the OU/Nebraska game on Saturday, it will be my first game of the season, which is just crazy.


There is nothing like sitting in the stands with 85,000 other crazy football fans, surrounded by a sea of crimson and cream, screaming at the top of your lungs, your heart racing...


There's only 1 Oklahoma.

Friday, October 24, 2008

New pots!!

I've been spending a lot of time on the wheel since I started this pottery class at McMurry. The more I throw, the better I get. I'm still experimenting with glazes until I find my favorite combo. I'm getting close though...

My goal is to make my own dinnerware set: bowls, plates, cups, etc. It takes a lot of practice to make a set look like a set, i.e. throwing the same size and shape. I'm excited about how far I've come, and I am definitely looking forward to my trip to Gruene this weekend for the Texas Clay Festival. Learning from amazing potters, getting to watch them do what they do...excitement!!

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Indiana, part deux

We had a fantastic time in Indiana, though it was certainly a bit too short. We got to see family, spend time with Grandma & Grandpa, go into Cincinnati, and we drove around the Liberty area and took hundreds of photos.

We also found a potter in Centerville that was amazing (Scott Shafer), he showed us his wood kiln and his studio. I bought an awesome pot from him, I'll upload a photo of it later.

Here are a few of my favorites:

We love to fly! (clearly this was taken on the way to Indiana)


Sunrays! (one of my favorites)

Becky said the colors weren't as vivid as they usually are. Right. In Texas we have green and dead. The colors were awesome!

Fencepost! Another favorite.

Corn! It was everywhere!!

Friday, October 17, 2008


This has been the year of traveling for me. First was a rather impromptu trip to New York City in April, then came a road trip to Florida in July, and now, in October, I'm heading to Indiana. That's craziness!! Mom and Dad headed out today, they're driving and will pick us up from the airport in Indianapolis tomorrow afternoon. Leslie is flying from Lawton and I'm flying from Abilene. We'll meet up in DFW and fly to Indy from there. We're going up to spend time with my grandparents on my Dad's side. It's been quite a while since I've been up there. My grandpa isn't doing too well, and we decided a family vacation would be a great idea.

I'm looking forward to spending time with family that I rarely see, experiencing a real 'fall' season in the northeast, wearing hats and scarves and other fun cold weather clothes, and getting away from Texas for a few days. So expect a LOT of photos of fall foliage when I get back. You've been warned.

On another note, big game in store for Texas tomorrow as they take on a scorned Mizzou. Granted, they are playing in Austin, but hell hath no fury than a team beaten by Oklahoma State. Believe me. My boys are playing Kansas up in Norman, and I'm afraid for Kansas. We too have something to prove this week. GO MIZZOU! (sorry Mom) and BOOMER SOONER!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Stand Up!!

Even in tough economic times, we want to make sure the next president, no matter who that is, keeps his commitment to fighting global poverty.

The total spent on all poverty-fighting programs make up less than one percent of the entire U.S. budget, yet we are saving millions of lives and helping the world's poorest people break free from crippling poverty. These efforts will be even more critical as the effects of any global economic slowdown are magnified in already struggling countries.

I just took action with ONE to tell my leaders to keep their promises to the world's poor, and you can too, here:

New Music Wednesday

A new segment to the HT blog!

Every Wednesday I will review an album that has recently been released. Today's selection:

Ray LaMontagne
Gossip in the Grain

The first track, 'You Are the Best Thing,' is very bluesy and rough and is probably my favorite so far. 'Let it Be Me' tugs on the heartstrings with its dramatic piano overtures emphasized by soft string sections. It segues nicely into 'Sarah,' and then Ray hits us with 'I Still Care for You' (which is a bit haunting) and 'Winter Birds' (which I enjoy the verses, but the chorus just doesn't fit for me). 'Meg White,' a tribute to the drummer of the White Stripes, is exactly what you think it would be. A banjo intro into 'Hey Me, Hey Mama,' immediately sucks me in and for some reason makes me hungry for biscuits (and mustard—hehe). 'Henry Nearly Killed Me (It's a Shame)' is my 2nd favorite (and may overtake the first) with its bluesy riffs and foot tapping score that leaves you wondering where the song will take you next. 'A Falling Through' and the title track close the album with slow and emotion-driven ballads.

I must admit that I have a bit of trouble deciphering the lyrics on some of his tunes, though it could be the number of distractions here at work…probably should be working instead of playing, eh? Nah…

3.5 out of 5 stars.

Fine holiday fun!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Well &$(@#&

The referees made bad calls on both sides of the football. In a game as big as this one, you would hope that the teams could just play each other and fight it out, instead of having to overcome bad calls and no calls. However, we lost. We didn't play as well as we could have, or should have. They outplayed us in the 4th quarter.

But, thanks to Missouri and LSU losing, we're #4. That's not bad. We still have a decent shot at the national title game, and there's a LOT of football left to be played. Texas has a big target on their backs this weekend, and Mizzou has something to prove. We've got Kansas at home, and we have something to prove too. Should be another good weekend in the NCAA world.

One more note, before I lay this game to rest. My good friends know not to bother me when OU is in danger of losing, or when we actually do lose (which, thankfully, is not very often). They know that I'm a die-hard fan, that I take these things very seriously. If I want to talk about the game, I'll bring it up, otherwise, it's in your best interest not to say anything, especially if you aren't a die-hard fan on the other side of the football.

I'm a Sooner born and Sooner bred
and when I die, I'll be Sooner dead
Rah Oklahoma, Rah Oklahoma
Rah Oklahoma, OK U!

Friday, October 10, 2008

dang it!

I should have worn my helmet to work this morning!!

OU/tx shenanigans

I got to work this morning and walked into the breakroom (like I do every morning to make the coffee), and *gasp* there was a smattering of cupcakes with orange icing and ut paraphernaila plastered all over their plastic trays. Ick. By the time I had walked back to my desk, there was a 'hook em' sign taped there along with a ut flag. After tearing the sign off, I turned the flag upside down. (hey, if you're gonna put that near my desk, i'm gonna turn it over--deal with it!)

Tami had apparently been conspiring all week to get everyone in the office to wear orange today. Many complied (as you can see in the photo). There's even a die-hard A&M grad wearing a longhorn shirt, though he immediately ripped it off after the photo was snapped.

Some kind soul informed me that there was a tiny longhorn taped on my car, so I immediately took care of that. It's a good thing too, I can't imagine what my reaction would have been had I found that tomorrow or later. Ugh.

It's all in good fun, though. I'm sure my Mom is encountering the same fate this morning (except in reverse) as she's likely the lone ut fan in Duncan. Good luck Mom!

Thursday, October 09, 2008


I feel like poo.

Sore throat, cough, congestion, a little dizziness. I sneezed this morning and thought my throat was on fire.

It's awesome, really. You'd think that All-State choir competitions were soon...I used to lose my voice before each and every choir competition throughout high school. Could have been stress or something, but I figure it was probably me screaming my lungs out at football games that did it. Whoever chose the fall for those stupid competitions must not have been football fans.

On the bright side, I've discovered hot tea. One of the girls in the office had some pretty fantastic tea from overseas called Lupicia (check it out here). This morning I had Sakurambo, a Black tea with fresh Japanese cherry flavor. Quite fantastic. It's one of those that actually tastes as good as it smells.

Brief rant:
There's a rather small table that sits directly behind my desk (separated by a 6ft or so glass block wall), and occasionally, the engineers will have little meetings there. Thing is, I can't concentrate on anything when they're sitting there talking. That's what your offices are for!! Take them in there so I don't have to sit here and listen to your entire conversation! Seriously!

Deep breath (cough, cough, cough).

Sigh. Is it Friday yet? At least I have a yummy sushi dinner to look forward to tonight. That is of course, if I can stop coughing long enough to eat it.

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Big weekend

For those of you that live under a rock, this weekend is OU/TX weekend. And btw, you really should climb out from under that rock. It's not healthy, or sanitary for that matter. And probably uncomfortable. But I digress.

OU/TX weekend. Arguably the biggest rivalry in college football. This year there's a bit more at stake than mere bragging rights. My boys are the #1 team in the country, and I'd like to thank Coach Stoops, Sam Bradford, Juaquin Iglesias, DeMarco Murray, Jermaine Gresham, Chris Brown, well—the entire OU team, Oregon State, Alabama, and Tennessee. Your efforts have been spectacular. Texas comes into the game at #5. Not too shabby. But really, neither of us has played much of anyone.

Back to the matter at hand. Saturday, 11am.

"The Texas-Oklahoma football game -- or the Oklahoma-Texas game depending on your slant in the rivalry -- is the bedrock of Big 12 football." –ESPN's Tim Griffin

"If OU-Texas (or, to be non-partisan, Texas-OU) is not the essence of college football, we don't know what is." – John Walters of MSNBC

"Crank up the deep fryers at the State Fair and turn up the volume on "Boomer Sooner!" and "Texas Fight!" The Texas Longhorns can finally start talking about the showdown with No. 1 Oklahoma. No more of this taking the season "one game at a time" stuff. Texas-OU is THE game..." – AP's Jim Vertuno

Yep. It's a big one. My prediction? A close game in the first half, but expect OU to widen the victory margin in the 2nd.

Boomer Sooner, Boomer Sooner…