Category: Whitney (Page 2 of 12)

Fun Club

As part of GCR’s “Breakthrough,” our church is partnering with Emerson Elementary School to provide needed resources and support for the teachers, staff, and the 420 students there and their families. We’re planning for our church members to serve as crossing guards and cafeteria aids on campus, to stock and organize the Care Closet, and to staple papers and make copies for the teachers. We’re providing teacher lunches and weekend food packages for the kids. We’re putting together a “Fist Bump Crew” to greet the students as they enter the campus on Monday mornings. And we’re committed to completely renovate their interior courtyard, to provide a beautiful space where kids can eat breakfast or lunch with their parents and where we can read with them through Fun Club.

Fun Club is a program through which an adult or two eats lunch once a week with a group or four or five students and reads to them during the meal. You eat with this small group of kids, you laugh together and bond a little bit, and you read. That’s it.

Our children’s minister, Kristin Rampton, and our oldest daughter, Whitney, are already plugged into Fun Club at Emerson. This picture is of Whitney reading to a small group of second-graders earlier today. Does that warm your heart, or what?

Are you telling me you can’t do something like this once a week? Don’t tell me. Tell Whitney.



Take a Pitch!

Whitney and I took a baseball road trip to Arlington this past weekend to take in the Rangers and White Sox at that horribly ugly thing they call the new ballpark. And, of course, we had a blast.


We sang Beatles songs together all the way to Fort Worth. We put on our Rangers gear and ate extra cheesy enchiladas at Pappasito’s, our traditional pre-game meal destination. We arrived at that atrocious barn early enough to take a lap around the concourse and comment on all the things we despise about the Rangers’ new digs. We waved at Chuck Morgan in his bulletproof P.A. booth. Whitney bought a Corey Seager t-shirt and I bought a 50th anniversary edition of the Rangers yearbook. And we watched Texas lose 2-1.

The Rangers scored a run on two hits in the first inning, giving us hope for an exciting game and maybe, just maybe, a Rangers win. But then our boys managed only one hit the rest of the way to lose by one. Texas loaded the bases with two outs in the 8th when the White Sox pitcher lost control. He walked two guys and plunked a batter to put the tying run at 3rd base and the potential game-winning run at 2nd. But Leody Taveras chopped at the first pitch he saw and grounded into the inning-ending and, ultimately, game-ending out.

The Chicago pitcher was on the ropes. He was wild. He had walked two and hit one. And with the bases loaded, down one run, in the bottom of the 8th, Taveras didn’t even take one pitch. He didn’t even look. He swung away and bounced it to short. And the game was over.

But I was with Whitney. And a bad day at the ballparkĀ  – even a bad ballpark – is still better than a good day almost anywhere else.



So Much to Celebrate!

Scattershooting while wondering whatever happened to Efren Herrera.








The incomparable Scott Springer ran the lift and manned the biggest chainsaw as we took out seven pine trees around our new house Thursday afternoon and Friday. There were just too many of these 50-60 foot monsters and they were all on top of each other, crowding each other out, suffocating the live oak and red oak trees in the front yard, and not allowing for even one blade of grass to grow beneath. Removing these trees completely changed the landscape in our wedge on Castleford Road. It’s really opened everything up now – it looks so much bigger and wider. I can almost see the lush St. Augustine grass up against the red brick of the front walk. And we’ve got enough firewood now for two or three winters and at least a couple of camp outs.

With Carolina’s upset win over Duke last night, Whitney clinched the Stanglin family bracket. It’s truly an underdog story, an inspirational come-from-behind saga as Whitney lost her champion, Baylor, before the first weekend. She was dead in the water before the second round was complete. But she did just enough to edge out Valerie and claim first place. Valerie only needed Duke to win or Villanova to beat Kansas – she only needed one of the two. But Whitney got both and today she is the champ.

Speaking of Val, she is no longer working in an official capacity with the Contact Church in Tulsa (don’t get me started), but that girl continues to minister with her God-given gifts and Spirit-inspired mercy and grace. I’m so thankful for Caleb Hatchett, the talented Youth Minister at the Jenks CofC, who has invited Valerie to jump in with their group as a super volunteer. And, of course, she’s doing just that. In addition, Valerie last week painted the windows outside the Children’s Ministry space at the Jenks Church. There’s nothing in church work or congregational ministry she can’t do.







The signs are up today at the brand new Chuy’s on Loop 250 just west of Midland Drive! I don’t know exactly when it’s going to open, but when it does, we’ll be there regularly for the authentic Austin-style Tex-Mex that we learned to love so well during our two stints down in the Texas Hill Country. It’s probably not right that you can eat at Chuy’s in Midland, just like it’s probably not okay that you can get a Whataburger now in Chicago. But I’m so thrilled that I won’t have to drive to Lubbock anymore for Chuy’s Chicka Chicka Boom Boom enchiladas!

In a special offering at Golf Course Road this morning, the Lord provided $93,686 through our church family to buy food for the For Ukraine food packing event! The goal was $73,280 to pay for the 285,120 meals we’re going to send from our church parking lot directly to war refugees on the Ukrainian border. But, not surprisingly, our God moved in and through the generous hearts at GCR and overwhelmed us with much more than we need. Praise the Lord for this great group of Jesus followers at GCR. What a joy and a blessing from God to be the preacher at such a wonderful church.

If you have not signed up yet to pack food, you’d better hurry – half of the one-thousand shifts have been filled, including all the slots on Friday night April 29. There are still right at 500 of the 90-minute shifts to fill on Saturday April 30. But it feels like they’re going fast. You can register to participate in this community-wide mission effort by clicking here.

Finally, I know the Bradford Pear tree is the worst tree in the universe and it is single-handedly destroying our planet. But the four trees along the fence here at Stanglin Manor are in full bloom and it’s just breathtakingly beautiful in the late afternoon sun. Don’t tell anybody I said that.



29 and Holding

It seems impossible that our first born daughter, our Little Whittle, is turning 29 today.


Oh, yeah. She’s old.

She is optimistic and hopeful and cheerful beyond belief. She’s a non-stop chatter box, about her work, about her friends, about her sisters, about the children’s ministry at GCR, about whatever the Cowboys or Mavericks or Stars or Rangers or Longhorns did last night. Non-stop. She is faithful and loyal to a fault. She has the deepest bluest eyes you’ve ever seen and a nervous laugh that’s as cute as you’ve ever heard. She’s a decent Backgammon player and an unbeatable fiend at Connect Four. She’s a devout reader of Scripture, an inspiring leader of prayers, and a committed follower of our Lord Jesus. She’s a people person. She’s a rock star at Market Street. She has no filter. She’s as honest as the day is long. She’s generous. She is a giving and sharing person. She takes in a lot of movies and stays up way too late watching whatever game is being played on the West Coast. She sees the very best in everybody. She gives everyone the benefit of the doubt. She forgives completely. She loves quickly. And she is really easy to love right back. She reflects the glory of our God in word and deed, in attitude and outlook. She brings joy to her parents and to everyone she meets.

And she is old.

Happy Birthday, Whitney. I love you dearly.


How ‘Bout Them Conleys!

Our great friends Stan and Kelly Conley treated Whitney and me to their amazing seats at last night’s Monday Night Football game in Arlington. It was the home opener for the Cowboys against the hated Eagles and the first Cowboys game we’ve attended in ten years. Needless to say, Whitney was beside herself. She wore out her rally towel and both arms before kickoff. She exulted with every Cowboys score, gloried in every Philly penalty, and nearly fainted with delight when Dallas went over the 40-point mark in the fourth quarter.

I hate it when the Cowboys look good. It would be very easy for me this morning to write about how Jalen Hurts is a disaster and this Eagles squad might be the worst team in the league. But, Dallas did play a great ballgame last night. You play the schedule as it comes in the NFL and the Cowboys, for once, committed to the run against Philly’s two-deep safety zone all night. Dallas dominated time of possession, kept the penalties to a bare minimum, and basically allowed the Eagles to beat themselves. Which they did. And while I did not love the whipping it turned out to be, I did thoroughly enjoy the experience sitting next to our oldest daughter.






Whitney’s about as hard core as it gets among Cowboys fans and she had an absolute blast last night. Stan and Kelly’s seats are on the 40-yard line, a perfect ten rows up behind the Cowboys bench. And Whitney was just overjoyed to be able to watch Dak and Zeke and Cooper and her favorite players, up close, in person, on the sidelines. She kept waving that towel madly throughout the game, whacking me in the side of the head after every good play and during every third down. She stood for nearly the entire game, exchanged wild high-fives with everybody sitting within a ten foot radius, and went through two massive nine-dollar Diet Dr Peppers. She loves the Cowboys and she absolutely despises the Eagles, so it was a perfect night for the Whitster.

My favorite moments came at the half. The Pro Football Hall of Fame presented Cliff Harris, Drew Pearson, and Jimmy Johnson with their HOF rings during halftime in a ceremony that featured every living Cowboys Hall of Famer in person together on the field. Staubach and Lilly, Rayfield Wright and Tony Dorsett, Mel Renfro and Randy White, Aikman, Emmitt, and Michael Irvin – they were all there on the field to welcome Captain Crash, Drew, and the Jimster. It was chilling. Goosebumps. The three newest inductees each gave short speeches, brief synopses of what they’ve been saying for a year now. Harris recalled his humble origins as an undrafted free agent out of Ouachita Baptist and thanked Gil Brandt for hunting him down, Drew (sadly, I think) raged into the microphone again about how his Hall of Fame induction validates his career and himself as a human being, and Jimmy thanked Jerry (boo), his players (yay), and all the Cowboys fans (crescendo of applause), for the great honor of coaching the Cowboys. And then, of course, he punctuated the end of his time with one more “How ’bout them Cowboys!” to which the stadium nearly collapsed with thunderous ecstasy.





I didn’t realize then that the game was already over. But it was. After Trevon Diggs’ pick-six to begin the third quarter, it was only a matter of how much. As the second half wore on, the guys on the row in front of us got drunker, the over-the-top couple from Corpus Christi next to me got rowdier, the Eagles wilted, the crowd overall became more aggressive, the Cowboys dominated, and Whitney’s grin grew bigger and wider.

Thank you to Stan and Kelly for their great generosity and a wonderful night together in Arlington. Thank you to Dale and Rita Brown for the gracious gift of their transportation and their pleasant company to and from the game. And thanks to the powers that be for opening the roof of the Death Star.

Experiencing the game with Whitney, enjoying her joy, I allowed myself a little smile here and there at this perfectly-scripted night for the Cowboys. It’s nights like this, when the fans leaving the stadium are all talking Super Bowl, that make the inevitable loss to the Panthers this Sunday so delicious.



Sisters, Showers, and Sandy Cheeks

The loving and generous folks here at GCR yesterday threw a “shower” for Whitney as she prepares to move into her own wing of our new house. It was borderline obscene – the amount of furniture, appliances, towels, dishes, and gift cards she received. Wow. Overwhelming. It took all of Carrie-Anne’s car and the entire bed of my truck to get everything home. Just another example of the way we are being loved and blessed by our new church family. The way GCR is taking care of Whitney is an answer to our prayers and a gracious gift from our God.

Both of Whitney’s sisters came out of Oklahoma exile for the event, driving down from Tulsa and Edmond and arriving late Friday afternoon. We made up Whitney’s bed with Valerie and Carley inside, under the sheets and blankets and pillows, so that when Whitney got home from work and went to her room, they popped out as a big surprise. (We would have it on video, except, I was the one in charge of that part.) It was the first time we’d seen these two since the first week of July so, needless to say, we thoroughly enjoyed all the catching up, all the food (Blue Sky, Carrie-Anne’s fried chicken), the laughs, the stories, and worshiping together for the first time at GCR.

We also did the one-hour drive down to the sand dunes in Monahans on Saturday and tried our best to climb up and slide down the biggest hills, with varying levels of success and frustration. The attendant at the check-in station was exaggerating when she said purchasing and rubbing a two-dollar lump of wax on the bottom of our sleds would give us the “Griswold Effect.” It didn’t. The “Loose Sand” signs along the roads in the state part, I think, refer to your vehicle’s floor mats. Forever. And the inside of one’s shorts.











Overall, a truly wonderful weekend. Carrie-Anne and I both feel so grateful to God for our fabulous daughters, for the love we share together in our family, and for the community of faith he’s moved us to in Midland.



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