Category: Stanglin Family (page 3 of 16)

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,


My brother, Keith, and I went to a lot of Texas Rangers games back in the day. We’re ten years apart — but still shared a room and slept in bunk beds until I moved off to college — so during the best of those times I was 18 or 19 years old and he was eight or nine. We’d jump in my “metallic blue” Nissan Hardbody, grab a couple of Ultimate Cheeseburgers at the Jack in the Box on Buckner Boulevard, and fly down I-30 to old Arlington Stadium.

Parking was free when you could find a spot behind a warehouse on Randol Mill, a game program was a dollar — those really were the good old days — and the bleacher seats were five dollars each. Keith and I would usually wind up in the aluminum rows in left field.

And there was a lot of room out there. The teams were terrible — the Rangers were still ten years away from their first division title and first playoff appearance — and attendance was worse. A lot of the time it felt like there were only a few dozen of us in those outfield bleachers. But we went faithfully, as often as we could. We cheered on Bobby Witt and Charlie Hough, Pete O’Brien and Steve Boooooo-chele. Keith named himself the president of the Chad Krueter fan club and we killed time in the late innings of blowout losses by chanting his name.

One night the Rangers were actually winning. I can’t remember who they played or what night of the week it was, but I do remember there were only twelve of us in the left field stands. And one guy about twenty rows up from us was very, very, very drunk and very, very, very loud. He was about as obnoxious as you can imagine — sloppy drunk — and giving everybody in the zip code a running commentary on everything that was happening in the stadium.

In between the eighth and ninth innings, they started running the out of town results across the scoreboard: Yankees beat the Angels. Twins over the Mariners. Giants down the Cards. Astros won.

The Astros won. I can’t remember who they were playing — I’m certain it didn’t matter. But this drunk behind us took notice. The Astros had won, his Rangers were winning, and he took that opportunity to bellow his Lone Star pride. In the sloppiest, spittiest, slurriest way possible, he shouted at the top of his lungs, “Texshas Shports!”

He went on and on — now that I’m writing this I’m afraid it’s probably not as funny as I remember — about the Rangers and Astros and how Texas Sports dominate. No shirt, no shoes, this guy was gross. And he was fired up about his rooting interests in his home state. Cowboys and Oilers, Mavericks and Rockets and Spurs, Rangers and Astros. Everybody’s awesome in Texas and all Texas sports are the best in the history of the universe. “Texshas Shports!”

Last night, at 10:45 pm, my phone lit up with a text from Austin. It was Keith. “Texas Sports.”

Yes, I was rooting for the ‘Stros in their World Series against L.A. The Astros have been my second favorite team for the entirety of my life. It’s always been easy to cheer for Houston. They were in the National League, so no threat to my Rangers. And when they do well it makes Texas look good. It was the same way with the Oilers, they were always my second favorite team. I dreamed of an all-Texas Super Bowl between my Cowboys and Bum’s Oilers, an all-Texas World Series between my Rangers and those rainbow Lastros. Honestly, I’ve got a lot in common with that bum in the Arlington Stadium bleachers.

So, I’m wanting the Astros to win this thing last night, but I’ve got mixed feelings about it today. I’m glad a Texas team upset the heavily favored Dodgers. I secretly felt satisfied that Yu Darvish imploded so historically for L.A. These young Houston ballplayers are fun to watch. How can you not like them? But I’m sick that Houston won a World Series before the Rangers did. I’m still suffering from PTSD relating to 2011. And how do you cheer for a team in the Rangers’ division?

I texted Adam Gray, the long-time Astros fan on our church staff, early this morning: “Congratulations. I wish I knew what it felt like to feel like you felt like last night.”

It looks like the Rangers are in for another three or four year stretch of really bad baseball while the Astros appear poised to contend for several more titles. I have only one consolation today. Texas Sports.



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