Category: Valerie (Page 1 of 14)

Beltre and Pally-O

Congratulations to Adrian Beltre on his first-ballot election to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Hitting home runs from his knees, playing every day through injury and pain, creatively avoiding Gatorade showers, physically moving the on-deck circle, busting Elvis Andrus’ chops, interacting with fans in the front rows, dancing at home plate after an inside pitch or with the second baseman during a rundown, all while winning Gold and Platinum Gloves and Silver Slugger awards–there has never been a third baseman more fun to watch play, or more deserving of this highest honor. I feel like, next to Beltre’s bust in Cooperstown, there should be a little Elvis Andrus bobblehead.


And, happy birthday to our little middle! Valerie turns 27 today. And she is still awesome! I love you, sweetie. If you’ll get in your car right now and drive from Tulsa to Midland, we can take you out for a late birthday dinner tonight.



Admiring Val

Our daughter Valerie is on the worship team at the Jenks Church in the suburb just outside their home in Tulsa, and she sings on stage with them at least two or three times a month. Yesterday, she led the congregation in the classic hymn ‘Blessed Assurance.’ That beautiful alto voice she’s had her whole life, her wide open heart to our God and what he’s doing among his people when they assemble in his presence, the Holy Spirit gifts she has and uses to bless our Lord’s Church – all of it was on display yesterday and I couldn’t be more proud. Not just proud, but grateful, thankful that I’m related to her. Thankful for the leadership at Jenks Church and for the ways they encourage Val’s gifts and intentionally fan into flame her service to our God. And blessed, very blessed by God to hear that girl sing his praise. You can check it out by clicking here and forwarding the video to the 16:10 mark. Carrie-Anne and I will be privileged to worship with that great congregation in person in a couple of weeks. I’ve told Val to make sure she’s got a couple of solos and our son-in-law David is leading the communion time and the benediction.


We concluded our Hearing God sermon series yesterday at Golf Course Road. My prayer is that the series has given us permission and some language to talk about all the different ways our God speaks to us and guides us as we follow his Son together. I hope we’re hearing the voice of God and tuned into his continuous communication like never before. I pray we’re embracing and owning the two-way relationship we have with the Creator – it’s not a monologue in which we do all the talking, it’s a dialogue in which the communication goes both ways. And I hope we’ve been liberated to experience and express what we’ve long suspected, that our God is speaking to us and giving us personal guidance every day. Here’s a link to all six of the Hearing God sermons.


I don’t want to risk anything by writing about tonight’s Game Six. Here’s a link to a decent preview from the NHL website.

Go Stars.


Make it 27

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Dak Prescott (4) walks off the field after an NFL divisional round playoff football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Jan. 22, 2023. (AP Photo/Josie Lepe)

Twenty-seven years now, and counting. It’s been 27 years since the Dallas Cowboys last won a divisional round playoff game. The only NFL teams you can place in that category with Dallas are the Dolphins, Lions, Browns, and Deadskins. That’s some mighty fine company there.

A few observations, please, from Sunday’s 19-12 playoff loss to the 49ers and their rookie quarterback:

The very first play of the game was a ten yard holding penalty against the Cowboys. Of course.

The Cowboys scored six points in the first half and six points in the second half. This, from the NFL’s highest scoring team with a $160-million quarterback. Dallas went 5-15 on third downs. This kind of offensive production wouldn’t beat Texas A&M-Commerce.

Speaking of Dak, he threw two interceptions Sunday, more than any Cowboys quarterback in any playoff game since 1998. He had at least two other balls bounce off the chests of 49ers defenders. Prescott led the league in picks this year, even while missing five games with an injury. He can’t read a simple zone defense. He doesn’t make good decisions under pressure.

Brock Purdy is a rookie. He was the 262nd pick in the draft – dead last. When the Niners picked Purdy, the draft ended. At Thanksgiving dinner this year, he had never taken one snap in an NFL football game. Now he’s won the same number of playoff games Dak has won in his seven year career and the same number of postseason games Tony Romo won in his 14 year career. And he’s already done something neither of those quarterbacks ever did: advance to the conference championship game. Purdy’s first playoff game was eight days ago.

The Cowboys defense allowed this rookie quarterback to drive his team 91-yards for a crucial second-half touchdown. The Cowboys offense had the ball at the Dallas 18 with 3:00 to play, down by seven, with all three timeouts. They went three-and-out. Two Dak incompletions and a Dak sack.

The Cowboys offense averaged 27.5 points per game this season. That many points wins this game. The 49ers gave up an average of 16 points per game this year playing the NFC West. The Cowboys couldn’t even reach that.

After the game, Mike McCarthy told reporters this Cowboys team was “factually” better than last year’s team. “On paper,” he said, this season was a step forward from last season. Okay. I suppose. Dallas won one more game than last year, they advanced one round further in the playoffs, and maybe the last play of the game Sunday was slightly less embarrassing than the play that eliminated the Cowboys the year before. That’s only if you consider Dak running up the middle with 14-seconds left and no timeouts and handing the ball to his center instead of the referee as time expired a little worse than whatever that play was the Cowboys rolled out there Sunday. Zeke snapping the ball from center and having to be declared an ineligible receiver, all the linemen spread out beyond the hashmarks, Dak throwing a seven yard pass to a punt returner, and the whole thing blowing up in two seconds. It looked like something Kellen Moore drew up on the back of his notebook during a sophomore English class in high school.

Dan Quinn is surely gone. He’ll be wearing a different colored hat backwards for somebody else next season. Kellen Moore will surely be gone. You can’t score twelve points in a divisional playoff game and keep your job. Zeke might be gone. You can’t pay that much money for a pass blocker and short yardage expert. Tony Pollard won’t be the same after his fractured tibia. The only certainty with this team is that Dak will be back. He’s counting $50-million against the cap in 2024.

At least three times on Sunday, the television broadcasters said something to the effect of if Dak can win today he will solidify his legacy as a Cowboys quarterback, he’ll be established as a Cowboys legend. What?!? By just getting his team to the NFC Championship Game? My, how the bar has been lowered! The standard for this once proud franchise has been completely erased. I remember a time when Danny White took the Cowboys to three straight NFC Championship Games and we hated him for it! He couldn’t win a Super Bowl. That used to be the standard. Now, Cowboys fans tout a road playoff win over an 8-9 Buccaneers team as success.

This is a second-place franchise that got to the divisional round by beating the disinterested 45-year-old quarterback of a team with a losing record in the wild card game. When the Cowboys go up against real teams, with real coaches, and real quarterbacks, with real stakes on the line, they turn the ball over, commit costly penalties, and score twelve points. This is what they are.

I don’t know why the Cowboys still have so many fans. It’s stupefying. This is an over-hyped, do-nothing football team, and has been for 27 years. The foundation of this once proud franchise has been totally destroyed by an owner who’s sold a sacred public trust down the river for his own wealth and power and ego. There is no continuity between the Cowboys who consistently played for conference and league titles every season for thirty years and what we’ve been watching now since 1996. The Cowboys are the Lions, Browns, Dolphins, and Deadskins.

And Jerry Wayne will still be the owner and Dak will still be the quarterback in 2024. And 2025. And 2026.


Happy Birthday today to our middle daughter who was born 54-weeks AFTER the last Dallas Cowboys divisional playoff victory. Valerie Nicole is 26 today. She’s learned to walk and talk, she’s gotten a driver’s license, she’s earned a college degree, and gotten married all since the Cowboys last won a divisional playoff game.



Retiring Tom Brady

Congratulations to the Dallas Cowboys.  Seriously.

The 31-14 blowout of the Bucs was the very last thing I expected to see last night. Yes, I figured the Cowboys had a 50-50 shot of winning their first playoff game on the road in 30 years against a bad Tampa team that entered the postseason with a losing record. I expected them to win it or lose it in a tight game in the 20s, say 27-23, something like that.  I wouldn’t have been surprised by a back and forth barn burner in the 40s or by a modest 13-6 score, either. But Dallas’ total domination last night was shocking, and they deserve a lot of credit from the coaches to every player on the team not named Maher.

Tampa Bay is not good. We know that. Still, that should not take away from what the Cowboys accomplished. They played a perfect game against the scheduled opponent. Flawless.

Coming off arguably his worst career game in D.C. last week, Dak Prescott turned in an all-time beauty last night with four passing TDs and one running on a spectacular 4th down bootleg. At one point, Prescott led the Cowboys on four straight scoring drives. He threw no interceptions and he completed balls to every receiver. Tony Pollard opened things up with his tough running. The defense put constant pressure on Brady, batted away every other pass he threw, and totally shut down the Bucs’ running game.  No turnovers for Dallas and they only committed two penalties.

And they officially retired Tom Brady. Didn’t they? Didn’t Dallas last night finally put Tom Brady out of his misery? And ours?

Brady did not want to be out there last night. His facial expressions, his body language, his posture – all of it looked like a guy who had ended up in a neighborhood he didn’t recognize. He didn’t want to play, he wanted to get out of there. He didn’t want to get hit, so he took one step away from the pressure and drilled the ball into the ground. Like a dozen times. He wasn’t scrambling to make a play as much as he was getting rid of the ball so as to get off the field without getting hurt. It was clear he didn’t want to be out there and he had no intention of doing anything extra or special to try to win. He just wanted it to be over.

And it is, right? Dak has never looked as good as he looked last night and Brady has never looked as bad. Never. Tom Brady looked like a third-string QB on crack. He underthrew, overthrew, and threw behind his receivers all night. He attempted 66 passes and most of them were ugly. He was out of sync, out of rhythm with his receivers, and out of sorts all the way around. And out of time. It’s over. Right?

If you had an NFL team that was really good on both sides of the ball and all you needed was a quarterback to take you to that next level, would you call Brady? Not me. He’s done. Finally.

Brett Maher missing an NFL record four PATs was my glimmer of hope last night. Certainly those historic misses would turn out to be a deciding factor. The Cowboys always lose playoff games in the strangest way imaginable. It’s always something you’ve never seen before, something that drops your jaw and defies explanation and gets talked about for months. Like missing four extra points. The perfect script had the Cowboys losing by one point last night. Can you imagine? Of course you can, because things like that have happened to this team regularly for the past quarter century.

But not last night. The Cowboys were too good and the Bucs were dreadfully awful.

It won’t be the same thing in San Francisco on Sunday. The 49ers are the most dominant team in the NFL since November. They are on an eleven game winning streak and they are solid on both sides of the line. They will run the ball 35 times against Dallas, Brock Purdy will scramble away from pressure and make big plays against the Dallas secondary, and they will stuff Zeke and Pollard and show Dak defenses he’s never seen before. It’s a road game for the Cowboys, all the way to the West Coast, and on a short week. The string of consecutive seasons without a divisional playoff victory will extend to 27 years. And the Cowboys will lose Dan Quinn and make Kellen Moore an assistant head coach.

But that’s next week. For one day, the Cowboys deserve to celebrate a postseason road victory, the first one since before my 30-year-old daughter Whitney was born.


Our middle daughter Valerie flew in from Tulsa to spend almost a full week with us as we acclimate from Houston back to Stanglin Manor here at home. While she was here, we celebrated her birthday a little early with a Hibachi dinner at Hayashi – her call. Of course, she wore the cheesy inflatable pink princess crown when they brought out the birthday drums! Valerie helped with the cooking and cleaning, turned Carrie-Anne on to a couple of TV shows she’ll be streaming for the next several weeks, and provided a real emotional boost during this up-and-down time of transition. It’s always good having our Val Pal around.

We meet with the doctors at Texas Oncology here in Midland tomorrow to work out the game plan and finalize the time frame for Carrie-Anne’s chemotherapy. C-A was scheduled to return to work on February 9, but that may be the same week we start her infusions. We’ll see. They told us at  M.D. Anderson that this type of chemo isn’t the kind that knocks you out for a week. They say she’ll be able to go to work the day after each treatment. But, of course, everybody responds differently. We’ll see.



Tulsa Time

We’re having a fantastic weekend with our middle daughter Valerie and her husband David in their hopping little town of Tulsa. They’ve given us a wonderful tour of the city – downtown, shopping, the sprawling parks, the Gathering Space, and the riverside casino. We saw the Jenks church where Val is working with Caleb and Hailey and their exciting youth group. We had a massive brunch yesterday at Hatch, a great dinner last night at The Vault, and took in some of the atmosphere around the Juneteenth celebrations happening in the Greenwood District. And then Dave gave us a walking tour of the beautiful campus at Tulsa University where he is about to begin his second semester of law school. If one must live in Oklahoma, Tulsa seems like maybe the only place to do it.

As I’m typing, Val is in the kitchen making pancakes (super cute!) and we’re gearing up for some more catching up before heading back to West Texas.

The beauty of the whole thing, of course, is hanging out with these two kids we love so much. It does our hearts good to be in the same rooms with them as they do life together and to watch how much they love each other and to see how well they’re doing. I am filled with gratitude and joy. And Loaded Tumblers and Key Lime pie.



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.



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