Category: Valerie (Page 2 of 13)

A Tent Peg to a Sword Fight

Our official Stanglin family photographer, Hannah McNeill, did a terrific job on Valerie and David’s engagement portraits. I’ll share some here so you can see our beautiful middle daughter and the OU and Arizona Cardinals football fan who’s joining our family on May 15. Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the pictures.





In the very first battle of Armageddon, the enemy commander was killed with camping equipment. The Canaanite commander was a guy named Sisera. And he had his head crushed by a woman named Jael. Sisera was running away from the fight when he came across Jael’s tent. She invited him inside, gave him a cup of milk, and he fell asleep. Then she took a tent peg and a hammer and drove the peg right through his temple and into the ground.

That’s a pretty unforgettable story. What are the odds? You bring a tent peg to a sword fight and win!

But that’s a recurring pattern in the Bible . God’s people win God’s battles in really unconventional ways. Gideon destroyed the Midianites at Armageddon with jars and torches. Another Israelite judge, Shamgar, defeated the Philistines with a cattle prod. The Philistine King Abimelek is killed when a woman throws a millstone over the wall and crushes his head. Jericho was leveled by trumpets. Moses defeated the Egyptians with a stick used for steering sheep.

The strangeness of the weapons seems to be the main point: nobody could win with that unless God was involved!

If the Astros are down in the bottom of the 9th andJose Altuve walks to home plate carrying a soup ladle, it’s not going to happen. He’s not going to win the game with a kitchen utensil. The only way that works is if God Almighty steps in and makes it happen. And when it comes to God’s people fighting God’s battles, it always happens. It always happens in ways that only God gets the glory.

It doesn’t matter if it’s a tent peg or a cattle prod or a jawbone or a smooth pebble or an altar soaked in water. Whatever the means of victory, it rams home the point that, as God’s people, our safety and security and salvation does not come from our numbers or our strength or our weapons or our abilities. Our salvation and assurance and victory comes from the power of God fighting on our behalf.

“Not by might or by power, but by my Spirit,” says the Lord Almighty! ~Zechariah 4:6



Cowboys and Texans

Before I get to a couple of sports points, here’s a first-day-of-school picture from Valerie and Carley who began classes yesterday at Oklahoma Christian University. This first-day selfie was taken before the tornado sirens interrupted dinner last night and forced them into storm shelters during the “inland hurricane.” Of course I phoned both of them early, way before their scheduled 9am classes, to sing “School Bells” and to say, “Work hard, learn a lot, be sweet.” I think they still appreciate that. Maybe.


Ezekiel Elliott is into the fifth week of his holdout, he is yet to sign the latest contract offer from the Cowboys, and I’m not sure where this is headed. There’s so much wrong with this stalemate between the NFL rushing champion and Jerry Wayne — so many weird twists, he-said-she-said stuff, and timing questions. But isn’t that just like the Cowboys? Nothing will ever make sense, it’ll all go against every football maxim and norm, it’ll blow up in the most agonizing way possible, and somehow Jerry’s Death Star will still sell out every Sunday and he’ll still make a jillion dollars and they’ll still go 8-8.

Jerry postures by claiming you don’t need a rushing champion to win a Super Bowl. How in the world would he know?!? He’s never won a Super Bowl without a rushing champion / league MVP and the last time he did that my two daughters at OC in the above picture weren’t even born! Since then, he hasn’t even won a single divisional round playoff game!

The Cowboys have reportedly made an offer to Elliott that is worth between what Le’Veon Bell and Todd Gurley are making, so somewhere between $53-60 million or $13-14 million per year. That would make Elliot the second highest-paid running back in the NFL. And he hasn’t said ‘yes.’ Who’s giving Ezekiel advice? He’s not in the last year of his contract; he has two years remaining. If he holds out the whole season, who’s going to trade for him or sign him to more money next year? If he plays this year and somehow he wins the league rushing title again and the Cowboys go a conference championship game for the first time in a quarter-century, wouldn’t he be in a much-better bargaining position?

This isn’t at all like Emmitt Smith holding out in 1993. Smith had only one year remaining on his current deal, he was a Super Bowl champion and MVP, and the Cowboys had the pieces around him to legitimately win another couple of titles. None of that is the case with Elliott. Ezekiel Elliot has been involved in more league investigations than playoff appearances.

And — people are forgetting this — after the Cowboys went 0-2 during Emmitt Smith’s holdout, he was in the best bargaining position imaginable. And the NFL’s all time greatest running back wound up signing the same deal the team had on the table all along.


I feel like I have to remind people at least once a year that I am not a Cowboys fan. I stopped rooting for the Cowboys when Jerry Wayne fired Jimmy Johnson and replaced him with Barry Switzer at head coach. I am a Houston Texans fan. It’s like rooting for the JV. It’s brutal. I mean, how bad does your organization have to be if you’re an irrelevant football team in Texas? I cheer for the Texans as a protest against Jerry Wayne and to spite ridiculous Cowboys fans. And it’s terribly lonely. It’s awful. I’ve made the five-dollar bet every year with our Central youth minister — Tanner in the past, Josh now — that Houston will finish with a better record than Dallas. And I’ve won that bet four out of eight years. But they’re just as bad as Dallas. No divisional playoff wins. For almost two decades, the same level of success as the Redskins and the Bills.

Now Lamar Miller is out for the year after tearing his ACL on his first carry of the preseason and they’re refusing to pay Jadeveon Clowney. The only intrigue or suspense for me this year will be in which team, Dallas or Houston, goes 9-7 and which team goes 8-8. Just like last year. And the years before.



Back to OC

We’re still two weeks away from classes beginning at Oklahoma Christian University, but we moved Valerie and Carley back to Edmond Saturday. Both of our younger daughters have leadership roles with OC’s annual orientation next week, “Earn Your Wings.” So they were going to get there early anyway. But Val needs to be there even earlier to attend training as a new residence director. Well, we’re not making two trips. So, they’re both in.

Valerie is in a different on-campus apartment with just one roommate — one of the perks of being a residence director. And Carley is sharing a dorm suite with a bunch of her buddies.






At this point, the whole thing has become a foregone routine. We eat dinner at Alfredo’s in Yukon Friday night on the way to my sister Rhonda’s house in Edmond, spend the night with Rhonda and her family, move the girls in at OC Saturday morning, eat lunch at The Garage, go shopping for the girls (trash cans, storage drawers, milk, bread, chips, ice-cream sandwiches), fill up their cars with gas, and be back in Amarillo before dark.

Valerie is a senior Youth Ministry major. She’s graduating in April with a Youth and Family Ministry degree and is in the beginning stages of looking for a full-time youth ministry gig. If you know of a Church of Christ that’s looking for a dynamic, hard-working, self-starting, female youth minister with a heart for young people, get in touch with Val right now. She’s going to be in high demand.

Carley is a sophomore Psychology major looking to complete her bachelor’s degree in under four years and earn her doctor’s degree from OSU or UT or some huge state school in less time than that.

Carrie-Anne is also starting back to school as the Culinary Arts Director at Canyon and Randall High Schools in the Canyon ISD. She’s in a brand new kitchen in a new building and will probably be living/teaching out of boxes for the first few weeks.

As for Whitney and me, we’re trying to squeeze in a couple of more Sod Poodles games before the season ends.



Finally! Another Guy!

When I tell people that I have three daughters, their typical response is, “You are really outnumbered!” My clever reply is, “I was outnumbered the day I got married!” The truth is, yes, I exist and thrive in a world of women. I’ve learned how to make it work, I’ve learned to love it and feel really blessed by it, and I believe God has shaped me into what he intends for me by surrounding me with these beautiful, emotional, delicate, fiercely tough and determined females. I’ve also always been aware that when my daughters married, their husbands would bring a new and needed dynamic to our family. I would finally have male cohorts, comrades to take my side in the inevitable discussions and debates that fall along gender lines. Somebody to back me up when silly theories about men or sports or marriage are posited as truth or when overreactions to normal minor inconveniences are treated as appropriate and they need to be challenged.

And that strange, wonderful day has come.

David Richardson has asked for Valerie’s hand in marriage and she has enthusiastically accepted!

David and Valerie met a little over a year ago on a church college-group mission trip to South Texas and bonded almost immediately. They share a love for our Lord and a passion for his people. They selflessly serve others in the name and manner of Christ. And they truly love and care for each other. I really like their comfortable, easy manner with each other. I like the way they look at each other and look out for each other. They understand each other’s quirks, they laugh at each other’s jokes, and they seem to have a mature outlook and plan to work hard to nurture and support their relationship.

David is from Phoenix. So he’s a Cardinals football fan. That’s weird, right? Who’s a Cardinals fan? I mean, only people from Phoenix. So, it’s not a knock; I’m just observing that I’m going to have to work to be able to talk knowledgeably about Arizona and the Suns and Arizona State.

They will both graduate from OC next April — they’d better! — and will get married pretty quickly after that. By then, hopefully, Valerie will have a youth minister position at some really great and lucky church and David will be enrolled in law school. And I will have talked them into serving only peanuts and mints at the wedding. And I will have learned how to dance.

Carrie-Anne and I couldn’t be more proud of these two. We love David and his family — his sister Claire has become a really good friend of Carley’s — and we’re excited to add him to ours. We are committed to doing whatever it takes to support these two and their marriage for as long as we’re around. And we’re beside ourselves with joyful anticipation for what our God is going to do in them and through them to his glory.

Welcome to the family, David. I can’t decide yet if you need to sit right beside me at the dinner table at family gatherings to present a physical united front or straight across from me to strategically cover more area. This doubles the number of males for us and I want to use this to my best advantage.

God bless Valerie and David. May the blessings of heaven crown their marriage with increasing joy and peace. And may their hearts and lives be forever united by the love and grace of our Lord.



March 2 in Oklahoma

Carrie-Anne and I are spending Texas Independence Day in the state of Oklahoma. The timing’s not great. I should be on Texas soil today, with Texans, breathing Texas air, listening to Stevie Ray Vaughan, eating tacos, and reading a Larry McMurtry book. We’re in a state today where the citizens are so proud of their heritage they declare on their license plates that their home is “OK.” Gives me chills.

It’s Spring Sing time at OC. Valerie’s in charge of Theta’s makeup, she’s singing and dancing on the front row of Theta’s patriotic show, and she’s helping Gamma Rho with their Grinch fingers.¬† Carley is Theta’s self-proclaimed “play-pusher.” I didn’t know what that was until she explained she’s the one who pushes “play” to start their soundtrack. My nephew Asa is in Delta and their lifeguard show is hilarious. We’re staying at my sister Rhonda’s house, getting caught up on family stuff, eating her homemade chili, and getting ready for the show and the awards tonight.









So, Happy Texas Independence Day from Oklahoma.

To scratch your Texas itch on this most wonderful of days, click here for a 601-word history of our great state. And, maybe, put another dozen or so slices of jalapeno in that chili.



Winterfest Superstar

When six thousand teenagers packed the Arlington Convention Center this past weekend for the largest annual gathering in the Churches of Christ, our daughter Valerie was on stage rocking her artistic abilities to glorify God and inspire his people. The story is long and the details are many when describing how Valerie came to be the artist selected to paint the murals in real time, on stage, to illustrate each of the keynote themes for the three day event. The bottom line is that our Lord has brought our daughter into holy community with  Dudley Chancey, the genius and driving force behind nearly 40 Winterfests, and there she is!

Carrie-Anne and I had so much fun from the fifth row, watching Valerie paint, listening to her interact with the likes of Jeff Walling and Eric Wilson and The Skit Guys, and watching her legions of fans from Edmond CofC and Pleasant Ridge CofC flock to the front of the stage before and after each session to talk to and take pictures with her. Eric Wilson was effusive in his praise for Valerie’s skill, interrupting his own Saturday night presentation to step over and marvel at her work. Jeff Walling was more than generous in his interactions with Valerie during his keynote Sunday morning, acknowledging her talents and her growing fan base. It was just so much fun!






Six thousand teenagers! Worshiping God! Our students! Committing publicly to telling others about the Lord! Our kids! Promising to live for Christ! This is the generation we’ve been waiting for!

God’s Church has seen a terrible decline in this country during my generation’s turn at the wheel. It’s our fault. We’ve messed it up. We’ve gone about church in the wrong way and it’s time we admit it. We’ve compromised our allegiances. We’ve pursued power and glory, control and fights. We’ve shied away from suffering and sacrifice and peace. We’ve lost our way. We’ve embraced a distorted version of discipleship and communicated to the world a twisted vision of our Savior. We’ve lined up with the ways and means of the world and totally turned off everybody my age and younger. People are rejecting the Jesus our generation has expressed, they are leaving the Church we’ve modeled. And we deserve it.

God is going to use this upcoming generation to get his Church back on track in this country. These young men and women are going to show us how to embrace the way of Jesus, how to pledge allegiance to only one Lord, how to sacrifice and serve, how to live the eternal life we’ve been given right now instead of only after we die. This is the generation we’ve been waiting for!







And Valerie is right in the middle of them. Painting and singing and serving and encouraging, smiling and laughing and giving and loving in the name and manner of our Lord.

Go Rams,


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