Category: Carrie-Anne (Page 1 of 13)

Does It Feel Wet Outside?

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Ralph Strangis…

All our church ministers and staff, all the Opportunity Tribe kids, and the Mission Agape folks just spent an hour or so enjoying the eclipse together. We chewed Eclipse brand gum, ate lots of Oreos (Ryan concocted some far-fetched eclipse connection), and generally cracked eclipse jokes, made fun of each other, and laughed the whole time. Kim brought out her mystical Mayan stone, Pam produced an impressive array of shadow-casting kitchen utensils and disco balls, and Jim asked several times when it was appropriate to leave an eclipse party and not seem rude. J.E. wanted us to change into our Nikes and track suits (at times, it did look like we were all waiting to be lifted away), we all overplayed the darkness and cool down factor, and at one point Dan asked if it felt “wet” outside. I must have heard and/or overheard fourteen explanations of refraction and at least that many descriptions of how this eclipse is or is not similar to what we experienced back in October.

Some of us were disappointed that the dogs didn’t speak in tongues and no birds dive-bombed the parking lot. Turns out the animals don’t really freak out as much as the humans.


The NCAA men’s basketball tournament concludes tonight, but Carrie-Anne clinched our family bracket Saturday when UConn took down Alabama to advance to the Final. As soon as the clock hit 0:00 on that game, C-A sent her little victory bitmoji through our family text, much to almost everyone’s delight. If UConn wins tonight, Whitney will finish in second place. If it’s Purdue, then Valerie’s husband David takes the silver. I need Purdue to win just so I won’t come in last. My March Sadness began weeks ago.

As for our office bracket here at GCR, if UConn wins, Tim and Cory will finish 1-2. If Purdue wins the title, Kristin takes our office contest and J.E. comes in second.


We have turned MidWeek into MixWeek at GCR by combining all our Wednesday night kids programs, youth worship, and adult classes into one big “Running the Race” series. We kicked it off last Wednesday with GCR Olympics, featuring a massive Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament and an egg-throwing contest. The young people led our church in worship–we sang their songs their way– and then we spent 30-minutes or so mixing it up together with the games.

The idea this past Wednesday was to partner up with someone at least 20 years older or 20 years younger and compete against other similar pairs. By the end of the Rock-Paper-Scissors tournament, we had half the church on one side of the gym and the other half on the other side, all cheering for their representative in the final match. Same deal with the egg-toss. Then we gave out medals and ate popsicles together.








This week, the young people will again lead us in worship, and then we’re going to spend 30-minutes or so in some formative Christian practices. We’ll have nine or ten prayer stations and Scripture stations in and around the Worship Center–some ancient practices and some brand new ways to engage God together in Word and Prayer.

The overarching goal is to intentionally put our children in front of our older adults and for our older adults to pour into our children so we can all learn what God wants us to learn from each other. We are putting ourselves in situations with our church’s children so God can teach us what we need to learn and change in us what needs to be changed to become more like them. And more like him.


I’m not going to write anything about the Rangers. Not yet. Out of the gate, they look like they’re going to be an even better team than they were last year. But I don’t want to jinx anything. For now, I’m putting all my energies into the Stars and their promising Stanley Cup pursuits. Lankford can keep hitting 100-mile-per-hour lasers off his bat, the Rangers can keep averaging seven runs per game, and Bochy can keep whispering into his bullpen. I’m not going to say anything about it yet. Go Stars.


Over the Christmas break, I bought a two-dollar Whoopee cushion with the four-million tickets we collected during a family trip to Cinergy. Now Whitney is pressing the cushion every time a player misses a free throw during the NCAA tournament. Every game. Every miss. “Pppphhhhrrrrrppphhhh!!” It makes me giggle. It makes Whitney laugh so hard she can’t breathe. It wears Carrie-Anne plumb out.




Cry Eagles Cry

The Cowboys demolished the Eagles at AT&T Stadium Sunday night and I was there to see it all. Our good friends, Stan and Kelly Conley, have season tickets and they graciously drug us along to what may be the defining win for Dallas this season. It was the Cowboys’ first victory over a team that currently has a winning record, it was the first time in years the Philly offense was held without a touchdown, it put the Cowboys into a tie for first place in the NFC East, and it was a blowout. It makes me wonder what organ Mike McCarthy is going to have removed this week.

This was the first Cowboys game for Carrie-Anne at the new stadium — she’s been to two or three college games there — and she gave it everything she had for the full three hours. In fact, when I received a text from a friend asking where I was sitting so he could look for me on TV, I replied, “I’m on the 30-yard-line, behind the Cowboys bench, ten rows up, sitting next to a crazy lady waving a towel.”

For Cowboys fans, there was plenty to be waving towels about. Dallas scored on just about every possession, their outstanding kicker outscored the Philly offense by himself, and the Dallas defense held the Eagles to zero touchdowns. It was the kind of signature win that’s been missing from the Cowboys 2023 portfolio. But this was a no-doubter. From the moment Philadelphia won the coin toss and chose to give the ball to the Cowboys at home, I felt like I was in trouble. That’s a bad call. And the Eagles never recovered.

We had a blast. Our youngest daughter, Carley, drove down from Flower Mound to meet us for a pre-game dinner at Pappasito’s.  We’re next. They kept assuring us we were next. Stan kept us laughing and everyone around us wondering with his off the wall comments. You can’t ask the waitress at Pappasito’s if they sell hot dogs. You can’t ask the ticket taker at the season-ticket holders VIP parking lot if they take cash. You can’t be wearing Cowboys gear and approach three other people in Cowboys gear in the airport the next morning if they went to the game and, when they say “yes,” then ask, “do you know who won?” You can’t. But Stan can.

I giggled at Michael Irvin’s pre-game hype speech on the giant video board. I gave Too Tall Jones a personal standing ovation when he was introduced during the first quarter. I expressed to anyone who would listen my righteous disdain for the Cowboys color-rush all-white uniforms. We all took turns imitating Dak’s “Here we go!” with various levels of success and attention from those near us. I marveled at Brandon Aubrey’s 59 and 60 yard field goals that would have been good from another ten yards out. I shook my head in disgust at the valuable piece of the puzzle Jake Ferguson is becoming. I kept waiting for McCarthy to do something really dumb — he never did. And I realized that my season prediction for this Cowboys team is in some serious jeopardy.






The only way they finish 10-7 is if they lose all of the last four games of the season. At Buffalo, at Miami, against the Lions at home, and then at Washington. If any team could find a way to lose four straight, it would be the Cowboys, especially with three of them on the road. But I’m losing hope. I needed Dallas to lose Sunday night. And they looked as good as they’ve looked all year against a really good opponent.

If Dallas gets that 11th regular season win in the next four weeks, I’m going to have to buy Danny and Claire Brock dinner at the Wall Street Grill. He keeps texting me the menu, zoomed in on the appetizers.



Last Go ‘Round

One year ago this week, Carrie-Anne and I met with our doctors at M.D. Anderson in Houston for the first time after her breast cancer diagnosis. Now, after 12 months, 16 chemotherapy treatments at the Allison Center here in Midland, eight trips to H-Town, and three surgeries, we’re done. It is finished. Over. Yesterday’s last reconstructive surgery went well and we couldn’t be more thankful. Thankful to God, thankful for our friends and family, thankful for healing and peace, thankful for the good people our Lord has placed in front of us every step of the way.

When we got to Houston Sunday afternoon, we did what we always do: drove immediately to Pappasito’s for dinner. Actually, we go to Pappasito’s if we’re anywhere near one and we’ve been to the one across from NRG Stadium eight times. The Texans had just completed their crazy win over the Cardinals and the place was packed with Texans fans in their Texans gear. It was fun to be in the middle of their celebration, talking about C.J. Stroud, congratulating them on their three-game winning streak. They were so giddy, nobody noticed C-A was wearing her Texas Rangers American League Championship t-shirt.

Well, one person noticed. The lady sitting at the table right behind us was wearing an Astros West Division Championship shirt that featured Alex Bregman’s quote about never knowing what would happen if Houston didn’t win the division. Obviously, these shirts were made and sold before the Rangers beat the Astros in the ALCS and seem a little silly to be wearing now in the aftermath of the Rangers World Series title. A friendly conversation was initiated between Carrie-Anne and this nice, but misguided woman, and a picture was taken to commemorate the exchange.

The surgery was yesterday morning and, again, it went perfectly. The doctors and nurses are over-the-top wonderful in every way and our experience was about as good as it could be. Carrie-Anne is super sore today — don’t make her laugh yet — and it’s going to take at least the rest of the week for her to walk straight up without pain. But this is one determined chick. Through this whole ordeal, not one part of It has gotten her down. She’s amazing, this woman. Her motto has become, “Whaddaya gonna do?” But she does it — all of it — with grace and grit, with incredible faith and strength. She’s beautiful in a million ways and more inspiring and magnificent every day.

Coincidentally, my sister Sharon and our brother-in-law Brent were at M.D. Anderson this morning for one of his lymphoma treatments, so we spent an hour or so with them today in the Mays building, four floors up from where C-A had her surgery 24 hours earlier. Brent has responded miraculously to his treatments — the doctors are telling him that the lymphoma is gone. And we praise God for that, too. Our Father is blessing us beyond anything we deserve and we are all so thankful.

It’s good to be home. It’s good that we get to sleep in a bit tomorrow. And it’s good that, by God’s grace, we’re on the other side of this thing.



The Good Group

Carrie-Anne and I went to her final oncology appointment at MD Anderson in Houston yesterday so everybody could look at her one more time and officially declare her cancer-free. Her two doctors must have said half a dozen times, “You are cancer-free. Your cancer is history. You do not have any cancer anymore,” as if to reinforce it in both our brains and our souls. “According to your doctors here,” they said, “we know you do not have cancer. The only way to prove it, is for you to come in once a year for five years so we can document it. But you do not have cancer.” They said many times that Carrie-Anne is in the “good group,” the group the comes in only for routine checks to confirm what they already know: she is cured.

And we thank God.

To help us celebrate, the Rangers completed a wild card sweep of the Rays in Tampa to advance to the ALDS. The timing could not have been more perfect. Carrie-Anne’s last appointment was scheduled for 1:00pm. They took her at about 12:15pm instead. We returned the rental car, took the shuttle to the airport, checked in, went through security, ran to Buffalo Wild Wings, and were seated in front of a large TV before the end of the first inning. I was wearing a Rangers shirt and we were both openly cheering for Texas in the middle of enemy territory as they dominated Tampa Bay and won their first playoff series since the ALCS in 2011. C-A jumped to her feet when the final out was recorded, securing the Rangers win. And, yes, there was some grumbling among the B-Dubs patrons. More than a couple of people reminded us that, in Houston, they only celebrate World Series wins.

We stayed in the restaurant long enough to watch one post-game interview of Josh Jung, then hustled to our gate where they had just announced boarding. The timing could not have been better.

Carrie-Anne has one more procedure related to her reconstruction set for November 20 in Houston. It’s a day surgery, and we should be home the next evening or the Wednesday afternoon before Thanksgiving at the latest. And I don’t care who says it or how many times they keep saying it, I’ll never get tired of hearing people in white coats tell us she is cancer-free.



On the Mend

Just a short post today to update you on my wife Carrie-Anne. Yesterday’s reconstruction surgery went perfectly, of course — these folks at MD Anderson know what they’re doing. They started the surgery at just after 7am and we were both back here at the Hampton Inn before 12noon! Crazy how quickly they turn it around out here! She spent most of yesterday afternoon and evening on pain meds, slipping in and out of sleep. I cooked chicken spaghetti for dinner while Carrie-Anne directed me from the couch. By the way, it is impossible to heat up frozen cheese bread slices without an oven. She ate two bowls of the spaghetti and slept well last night, we both had hearty breakfasts this morning, and she’s getting around pretty well. They want us to take 5-10 minute walks every hour-and-a-half, so that will pretty much define our day. We’re just taking it easy. We’ll drive back home tomorrow, stopping every 90-minutes to walk around and stretch. So it’ll take like four days to get to Midland.

Carrie-Anne is still super sore, and will be for about a week. She won’t make her first day of school, July 19 — we have a video follow up with her surgeon on Friday the 21st. But she might be ready to ease back in to work on Monday the 24th.

Thank you so much for your concerns and prayers and kind words and sweet gestures toward us over the past week or so. Yesterday’s surgery was the last big step in C-A’s treatment and healing. There will be follow-ups and check-ups and another procedure or two this fall related to the reconstruction. But, in the big scheme of things, we are now done. It’s over. My wife is cancer-free and we are overflowing with gratitude to our God and to all our dear friends and family scattered all over Texas and the Great Southwest and throughout the Lord’s eternal Kingdom.



With Family in Houston


Carrie-Anne and I have endured four appointments over two days at M.D. Anderson’s main hospital in Houston and the campus in Sugarland. C-A has been poked and prodded, we’ve had all the conversations and signed all the waivers, and we’re ready for her reconstruction surgery at 7a tomorrow. We are cancer-free and overflowing with gratitude. And we’re waking up at 4a in the morning to be at M.D. Anderson before 530a as the temporary expanders are coming out, and the permanent implants are going in. Finally!

The best part of our day today was spending a couple of hours with my sister Sharon and her husband Brent at Pappasito’s across from NRG Stadium. Brent was recently diagnosed with lymphoma – C-A’s last day of chemotherapy was Brent’s first day for his treatments – and they happen to be in H-Town tonight for some of their own appointments tomorrow. So we compared doctors and cussed and discussed the pros and cons of ports, caught up on our kids, and laughed and laughed and laughed.

Y’all lift up my precious wife to the Lord tonight. And say a prayer for Brent.



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