Category: Stanglin Family (page 1 of 14)

After Delivery

My Aunt Alice finished her race yesterday. And she ran well. She ran very well. In honor of her, I’m posting the following short story my Uncle Gerald shared with me a couple of weeks ago. This story has come to mean so much to both of them in helping to articulate the hope and the reality of everlasting life after death in the presence of our heavenly Father. Uncle Gerald has asked me to read it at Aunt Alice’s funeral this Friday in Kilgore. I’m honored. And I share it with you today, praying it encourages you, too.

In a mother’s womb were two babies. One asked the other: “Do you believe in life after delivery?” The other replied, “Well, of course! There has to be life after delivery. I believe we’ve been placed here to prepare ourselves for what will be later.”

“Nonsense,” said the first. “There is no life after delivery. What kind of life would that be?”

The second said, “I don’t know, but there will be more light than we have here. Maybe we will walk with our legs and eat with our mouths. Maybe we will have other senses that we can’t understand now.”

The first replied, “That is absurd. Walking is impossible. And eating with our mouths? Ridiculous! The umbilical cord supplies nutrition and everything we need. Life after delivery is not logical.”

The second insisted, “Well, I think there is something else and maybe it’s different than it is here. Maybe we won’t need this physical cord anymore.”

The first replied, “Hogwash! Plus, if there is life after delivery, why has no one ever come back from there? Delivery is the end of life. After delivery, there is nothing but darkness and silence and oblivion. It takes us nowhere.”

“Well, I don’t know,” said the second, “but certainly we will meet Mother and she will take care of us.”

The first replied, “Mother? You actually believe in Mother? That’s laughable. If Mother exists, where is she?”

The second said, “She is all around us. We are surrounded by her. We are of her. It is in her that we live. Without her, this world would not and could not exist. And neither could we.”

Said the first, “Well, I don’t see her, so it’s only logical that she doesn’t exist.”

To which the second replied, “Sometimes, when you’re in silence and you focus and listen, you can perceive her presence and you can hear her loving voice calling down from above.”

God bless Aunt Alice. May he receive her into his faithful arms. And may God bless Uncle Gerald and our whole family with his merciful blessings of comfort and peace and joy.



Christmas Vacation

We are back home today after spending a wonderful four days snow skiing with the entire Stanglin clan up at Wolf Creek in Colorado. Mom and Dad got the condos, we all shared the cooking, Rhonda planned the games, and nobody died.

Carrie-Anne and Whitney didn’t brave the slopes, opting instead to hang out around Pagosa Springs and do some shopping and, mainly, chilling. Carley got a massive migraine halfway through our first day of skiing and so it was really just Valerie and me swooshing down the mountain together with my three siblings and all their kids and the one in-law. It snowed the whole time we were there — no wind, just perfect skiing conditions. And we just had a blast.









I regret not skiing for the past 29 years. I totally forgot how much fun it is. And it was so much more fun sharing it with my family: watching Isaac and Paul pick it up so quickly, re-living high school ski trip memories with Rhonda, listening to Keith curse the hill at the top of Windjammer, secretly reveling in the fact that there is one single specific thing  — one part of one slope — I can do better than Caleb, marveling at the first aid kit / pantry / pharmacy that is Sharon’s coat, sharing candy bars and beef jerky on the lifts, and laughing out loud with everybody about almost everything.

And I didn’t get hurt. The only times I fell was when I was trying to keep up with Valerie. I gave up on that after the first day; that little girl can ski! Well, also, the times I was just standing there on flat ground talking and got my skis and poles crossed up and took a couple of people down with me.

I wish we could have stayed another three or four days. I completely forgot how much I love skiing. Here in Amarillo, we’re only four hours away from New Mexico skiing and we’re just as close to the Colorado mountains as we are to Dallas. It won’t be another 29 years before I do this again. It might be Spring Break.



Carley: Peace, Out!

Our youngest daughter Carley graduated with honors and a dozen cords around her neck from Canyon High School Friday night. The ceremony at West Texas A&M’s United Bank Center was preceded by a Tex-Mex feast at our house attended by most of our scattered family and Central covenant group and followed by Ping-Pong doubles and more Blue Bell afterward.







The weekend will go down in family lore as the time Keith brought the Griff’s cup, when Carley forgot her gold National Honor Society tassel, and when Calico County couldn’t quite handle fifteen for breakfast.





Thank you so much to everyone in our immediate family and our wonderful church family who have made the past couple of weeks so memorable for Carley and us. Thank you for taking the time and energy to share your love and pour yourself into our daughter.



Recreating the Laundry Hamper Pic

The first picture was taken twelve years ago when Valerie and Carley were six and eight-years-old. We were living in Kyle and Marti Futrell’s rent house on Mission Hills Road in Marble Falls while I was going to grad school in Austin. The laundry hamper in the master bath was a favorite hiding spot and they played in there often. I have no idea where the ivy on the counter came from.

The second picture was taken today, right after lunch, just before Valerie headed back to OC. Valerie and Carley are eighteen and twenty and they don’t fit in tight places the way they used to. The ivy is twelve years older, too.



Faithfulness of Family

There were 20 of us crammed together for parts of three days and two nights at Stanglin Manor over the Christmas weekend. My sister Rhonda and her family from Oklahoma and Arkansas, my sister Sharon and her husband from Dallas, my brother Keith and his family from Austin, and our parents from behind the Pine Curtain all made the trip to Amarillo for everything that makes a Stanglin Christmas special: air mattresses and sleeping bags, egg nog and Pit, Mexican food and Oreo balls, Chipmunks and Chet Atkins, Ping Pong and football, and over-the-top chanting and ranting during the gift exchange.

Friday night we feasted together at Abuelo’s, the adults on one end of the just-long-enough table reminiscing about growing up together in The Grove, laughing until we were crying; the younger adults wondering what was so funny and then doing those unmentionable things with the uneaten food they always do when we’re out together at a restaurant. After dinner we opened gifts — everybody came away with some form of a puffy and/or fuzzy vest — and trained our new nephew-in-law Logan in the finer points of filling all quiet spaces with obnoxious noise. On Saturday we ate and played games and ate and watched football and ate. Then we divided up into four teams and took in the escape rooms at Amarillo Escape and Mystery. My team of Valerie, Sharon, Isaac, and me were in a relatively easy room, but we still struggled to get out with just seven minutes to spare. Sunday we all worshiped together at Central, ate a quick lunch, and everybody headed their separate ways. Except my parents — they stayed through Monday morning to share our Christmas Eve and Christmas morning traditions with the girls.






I thank God for my “only slightly dysfunctional family” as I referred to them during Sunday’s sermon. I’m grateful for all the shared experiences — the good and the bad, the things we laugh about and celebrate as well as the things we regret. I praise him for the love we all have for each other and the great time we have when we’re together. I love the chaos and the uncertainty when we’re all in the same place at the same time. I enjoy the noise and the chatter, the life of the whole thing. I’m thankful for the good kids, the bright futures, and the faithfulness of it all. Faithful to the traditions that hold us together. Faithful to putting other things aside and making the sacrifice to drive to Amarillo. Faithful to love and care for each other’s spouses and children. Faithful to forgive and encourage, to laugh and to cry together.

Today, our family of five heads downstate to Arlington for another parts-of-three-days-and-two-nights with Carrie-Anne’s side of the family. It won’t be as loud or as chaotic, it won’t be as crowded or as messy — I wonder how it can be so much less organized yet so much more calm and certain. Everybody on C-A’s side lives in DFW and they all go home and sleep in their own beds when the family time is over. But, again, the word is faithfulness. There’s a faithfulness to family that I appreciate more and more. The faithfulness to keep coming together. The faithfulness to stick out the tough times and grin through the good times. Faithfulness to take everyone in the family just as God gave them to us and to love and protect and understand each one just the way he wants.



Happy Thanksgiving

Mom and Dad up from East Texas and Valerie home from OC.
Happy Thanksgiving from all of us around the same table in the same house for the first time in a long time.

Grace & Peace,

Older posts