Baseball & Introductions

Today was the best day EVER in campus visits. There was a tournament in Abilene for like 20 high school teams so we had around probably 7 or 8 families walk in wanting to grab information about campus. Baseball boys are my favorite I think (especially since Taylor was one). This one boy and his mom walked in and immediately I could tell they weren’t that interested even though they wanted information. Another lady had offered them the campus tour at 1 but they declined. In comes Sarah, the salesperson of the century (or so I become on things I really love). I started by telling him that it was heavenly timing that the tour ended before he had to leave and ended up resorting to bribery with a free tshirt and appealing to his manhood by telling him he’d be riding on our cool golfcarts. Whichever of the two he fell for, he came back at 1 with his mom and brought a friend. Afterwards I asked how it was and they both said “we really like it…we didn’t even know it was so nice”. They also reminded me oh-so-subtly that I owed them shirts. I guess salesmen come in handy on occasion…hopefully we’ll have 2 new players next year.

We had another boy who came yesterday in the late afternoon when I was trying to finish up to go home. He came in with his dad and I set him up for a campus visit today. He asked if he could have his name put on a visitor parking spot since he’d seen the other visitor names and and I told him absolutely. When he came this afternoon he was smiling from ear to ear and goes, “thanks so much for the parking sign!” His friend then told me they’d been outside taking pictures with it. Way to go baseball tourney for bringing all these cool kids.

Changing gears, a long time ago I got onto a kick about introductions. It occurred to me some time ago that you don’t get anywhere in life without introducing yourself and meeting those around you. It sounds elementary but is shocking how many people forget it’s importance. Think about it – you wouldn’t have any friends or significant others or even jobs without a simple beginning of an introduction. Why is it human nature, then, to skip this step? How many times have you been with a group of people who all know each other and no one introduces you? Even worse, how many times do people judge our churches by the number of people that meet them when they visit? It’s kind of embarrassing how self-focused we get. I wish everyone would just catch on. Every single relationship in life starts with an introduction. I wonder how much better we would all get along if we thought enough about others to meet them, remember them, and introduce them to others. Isn’t that where Marilyn Manson went wrong? Supposedly he went to some youth group that didn’t accept him…chances are they didn’t care enough to even meet him. Now look at what he’s like.

It seems so small and insignificant but it is so powerful. The people that make us feel important are those that go out of their way to meet us and then remember our names the next time they see us. One time in Memphis I visited a church with my friend. The day that I visited, my friend and I were stuck with about 15 older guys (seniors and juniors in high school when we were freshmen) so for one of the few times in my life I was pretty quiet. I had a good time but barely anyone spoke to me. I don’t think too much about it until my friend informed me that the youth minister’s wife had bad-mouthed me to eveyone, talking about how stuck up I was. The only problem with her making this claim (besides the obvious reasons of her leadership position among other things) was the fact that she never…NEVER…met me. Didn’t one time introduce herself yet judged my entire character. Maybe that’s where my obsession stems from, or maybe I just like people. Either way, I stand firm that the world would be a much better place if we learned to extend a hand and meet others, put names with faces, and got past the exterior to the person inside. It all starts with an introduction.

Orphanage & Rats

This weekend was Al & Shannon DeZonia’s weekend. It was a pleasant time, but even more pleasant was the 5 grown individuals we had staying at our little duplex. It was really funny and slightly insane. It made me glad that they knew they were welcome to stay here even though we’re the old married couple. Luckily Estebaan and Whitney will join us soon as grown-ups.

Here’s how ridiculous the Brooks’ Orphanage living arrangements were and how cute our friends look all cuddled up together:

and here is the future Ice family’s newest addition, Lucy:

Lucy got to stay with us this weekend, too. What’s funny about that is how my dog acted like a 5 year old. Jealousy will do crazy things to you. Look at her face…I mean seriously. Mack didn’t really have a chance of getting attention when she was around. To display his frustration, he wouldn’t even look at me when I called his name and he would walk right past me to whoever was sitting closest, lick them, and stand there while they petted him. He completely ignored me and made sure I saw him getting his lovin’ elsewhere. I didn’t realize that dogs acted that much like children.

Speaking of animals, this story goes down in the history books and is being told by request. Last year, we had a girl come visit campus with her parents. They came because of the hurricanes in Houston so the fact that they were there was sort of unfortunate, seeing as they were evacuated and all. So I’d been with them all day and they seemed pretty normal. In the late afternoon I was going to give them a tour of the dorms and they were walking back to meet me at Zellner, our old Welcome Center. The dad walks in first followed shortly by his daughter who – picture this – sprints into our building crying hysterically and throws her arms around her dad. In between sobs and shrieks she tells her dad something very serious because they both run outside towards the parking lot. Obviously curious at this point, we all go over to the window to watch the scene unfold. So dad and daughter go to the car, look inside to see something horrific, and daughter runs and throws her body down on the grass in front of Zona Luce. The mom (who is several yards away) somehow catches on and is bawling in the middle of campus. Not knowing what to do, I walk outside to make sure everything is ok. I’m thinking surely they hit someone with their car or left Grandma in there who has since died or something.

I walk over to mom and ask if everything is ok. To this she replies, “NO!! Ohhhhh ohhhh I just can’t believe it. Ashley has just had such a hard time this year. Ohhhhhh ohhhhhhh…our dog died and then she broke her wrist playing sports and ohhhhhhhhhhhhh. We were supposed to go to the hotel to drop them off but we didn’t ohhhhhhhh and now…. ohhhhhhh no no no no.” I was a bit confused so I asked her more clearly what had happened. She then says, “They died. Oh they died. She’s so upset. Her rats have died in the car.”

Let me get this straight, ma’am. You are causing such a scene that people are walking out of their offices to make sure everything is alright all because some rats died? Oh wow. At this point all we could do was try to keep a straight face as Jacob Martin got a box from somewhere to dispose of the dead rodents. The mom then told me all about how these weren’t just any rats, they were very special rats. In her words, “Buttons just had the best personality and Fuzzy was just….. well, retarded… and they are just irreplaceable.” Riiiight. The best part? Ratty will be at ACU in the fall.

In other news, these two kids came today that had terrible terrible speech impediments. I thought the kid’s name was Doe. It was Joe. It was really sad, but they were homeschooled by their mom who also had a speech impediment. That seems counter intuitive to me. I felt really bad for them but I couldn’t understand them for the life of me. Some people were so good at talking with them … they wouldn’t even really look you in the eye when you talked. You could tell that they were extremely insecure and it was heartbreaking. I wish that sympathy would have helped me understand them better though. Sheesh. We need Sara Craddock or Kylie to come to the rescue.

Walks & Quilts

I just went on a walk. It convinced me that heaven will have a sweet iPod mix and a beautiful walking trail. Maybe even a dog to walk with you. I just love the carefree feeling with music blaring in your ears and a breeze in the air. My playlist was playing our wedding mix and it reminded me for the ump-teenth time how blessed I am. I have a fabulous husband…end of story.

So this might be the funniest thing ever if you don’t already know about it. (Allison, if you read this one too you’ll love this.) Yesterday, we had a group of kids come to sing. Luckily, Laza and I got to give them a tour earlier in the day so we got to know them. It was one of the best groups we had because they just opened up really well and asked good questions (I think they came from pretty conservative backgrounds). Anyway that’s not what’s funny.

We were all strongly suggested to attend their performance that night during which the kids sang some songs, had a devo thought, sang some songs, rapped a little, had an encouraging word or two and sang some more. That’s pretty much the exact chain of events. At the end, however, they called up one of our VPs for a time of blessing. The director asked if anyone had a chair for Phil to sit in at which point we all became nervous. They gave him a present that, as it turns out, was a quilt. He’s then forced to compliment the pattern while they bring in a ghetto white plastic chair. Phil sits down (quilt in arms) and the entire group songs a song just for him. During the song the students come down one by one to touch Phil and whisper blessings in his ear. If you’re imagining an awkward scene in your head, multiply by about 4 and you will be more accurate. It might have been the greatest moment in campus visits history, save the time that the girl’s rats died in her car. Seriously, it was one of the most fun groups, just slightly awkward ending… I think quilts are meant to only be hung on your grandmothers wall.

MK & House

I got to see Mari-Kate on Sunday for the first time in forever. She brought her boyfriend (who I didn’t really get to meet at the wedding seeing as a: she was deathly ill and b: I was getting married = preoccupied) who I decided I really like. I’m really happy for them…but more happy that I got to see her. We have the kind of relationship that is unexplainable. I strongly believe that MK and I were born half boy/half girl. We have a very boy-ish friendship where we say exactly what we think no matter how much it makes the other mad, we spend a few hours apart, and we’re good as new later. Most girls are not like this. Seeing her made me sad that I don’t have her in my life more, and that friendships like that are few and far between. I bawled on the way home from Pocahontas on Sunday because I was blubbering to Taylor how I didn’t know anyone there and how I didn’t have a job yet and how I just wanted to have really good friends like MK there. Think I’m a little stressed? Me too.

Funny story… we had a dad come today who was wearing a “John Hopkins Medical” shirt and I asked if he knew Dr. House. (You would understand this joke if you watch House – if not just stick with me) It got awkward for a second and then the dad said something along the lines of, “No. That show is banned from my home. When I watched it for the first time and saw how his personality was, it did not depict the Christian morals that I am establishing in my home. We do not watch that show in our house because it is trash.” Huh. Well, welcome to ACU! This day sure did get off on a great foot! Yikes…

Uncle Elwood’s funeral was so good. It was funny – exactly how I want my funeral to be. Almost all the siblings (all 9 remaining brothers and sisters) got up and told stories about funny things Elwood did. It was a good time. The best part was that we had 2 southern potlucks back to back. You seriously can’t beat a good C of C potluck.

Elwood the Great & Arkansas

I’ve been dreading this day since I was little. Uncle Elwood was and probably will always be my favorite uncle. It wasn’t that he played games with me or taught me funny songs. I don’t know what it was about him but I loved every time I got to see him. He was always mismatched – and I mean severly. Stripes on stripes, Dickies full-length jumpsuits…he wore it all.

When I was in elementary school in Omaha, Papa, Claxton, and Elwood (the Smiths were very fearful of generic names) all came to pheasant hunt. When I was going to bed one night, I asked my mom if I could take Uncle Elwood to show-and-tell at school the next day. Most kids brought ant farms or gerbils…I wanted to bring my 80-something year old great uncle because he was that special to me.

So the day finally came when my mom called and told me that he’d had a stroke and died. I wasn’t devastated or even really that sad. He was 94 for goodness sake! I don’t blame the man for going to hang out with Jesus, Mother Teresa, and anyone else he finds to party with. It’s just a sad realization that the Smith family reunions I dreaded going to as a kid won’t be around much longer. Unless you have been before you just can’t imagine Aunt Polly’s canned pickles, the random junk my great aunts bring to sell in the family auction, or the acapella gospel hymns we sit around singing for hours. I’m looking forward to this year because I think I have a better appreciation foe the uniqueness of my family. I know Uncle Elwood will be kickin it in heaven singing right along with us.

At any rate, Taylor and I decided to get our dog and gear and head to Pocahontas for the funeral. You know you’re close to memphis when a disgruntled, ghetto Taco Bell employee is yelling in jibberish getting frustrated that you can’t decode it. You know you’re in Arkansas, however, when an old beat up Chevy pick-up rolls down it’s windows from the drive-through and a semi-toothed woman inquires about your dog. Better yet, Toothy gets out of the car, pets our dog, and then asks, “you gon’ get any pups outa ’em?” I wanted to say, “Ma’am, even if he can somehow reproduce again, I highly doubt that we will subject his offspring to a life of backwoods beer pong and ‘coon hunting.”

Addictions, Rangers & Ozarks

So as it turns out I didn’t at all change the look of my blog. Apparently my hard work didn’t pay off when reading my blog anywhere other than my computer. I promise all the fonts looked awesome on my screen though. Crap. I guess the background is still okay.

I ended up buying an iPhone. I love every second of it too. I added about 3 pages of apps in the first few hours and have been adding and deleting since. I knew I had a problem, however, after I woke up in the middle of the night in a sweat worrying about if I downloaded the app or not. This is bad news. Taylor is also slightly addicted – every time I set the phone down for one second he picks it up and starts playing with it. Coolest thing about the phone: the Bloons app. I played it on and now it is right on my phone. Sweet.

This weekend we drove to Fort Worth to go to the Ranger/Yankee game with Luke. The game was on Monday, so we decided to go up on Sunday early to lay out by the pool and hang out with our friends that night. It wasn’t a problem, because Taylor’s parents were on their anniversary trip. We pull up to their house in NRH only to see Wes & Ellen’s car. We called again and told them we were coming to FW (even though we were right outside) and they told us they not only hadn’t gone on the trip but Taylor’s sister and brother-in-law had come to visit and brought their dog. Whoops…ruined that party. It was interesting with Mack and Blanco together but it was fun.

The Ranger game was so bloody hot that I got a full frontage burn on all exposed skin. They also lost 11-1 to the Yankees. Way to go, Rangers! Also, I tweeted about CJ Wilson but yet again he didn’t respond. One day he’ll reply – I know it.

Houston and I gave a tour today to two families: a football player and a music major. Sometime over the course of the tour, Music’s family started talking about some Ozark college whose curfew is 10 p.m. (curfew meaning lights out) and who locks up freshman cars on Sunday night until the next weekend. All week the cars cannot be accessed. When I was alone with Football, I begged him not to compare Ozark with ACU. ACU has rules that seem strict compared to other schools, but Harding for goodness sake doesn’t even let students live off campus or wear shorts to class. That’s just a little bit outrageous. Yes, you do have curfew one year at ACU and yes you are required to attend chapel daily, but at least we don’t make cookie cutter students – you can at least have a zillion piercings, tattoos and a mohawk while you do it. Thank goodness for ACU letting us be our own person and have our own beliefs. I wish next time Music would save the Ozark talk for when Football isn’t around – it sort of ruins the experience.

HTML Colors & Nerd-Alerts

Redesigned blog. Like it? It only took me about 3 hours. I looked at every website known to man that gives information on html color codes and website design codes. I feel like my brain could explode. I found the background on a blog design site and then altered it some. I think I could have gone into computer science. I kind of like figuring out how to do things like that. Taylor for sure does…maybe we should become anti-social and open a computer store.

I’ll have you know, by the way, that the font used in my blog is none other than MY own handwriting. Taylor let me make a font for Christmas so the font you see is Mrs. Brooks.

While I was working on my blog, I had the music going pretty loud and I started singing – also pretty loud. I was jammin along by myself trying to decode these stupid things and occasionally going off the beaten path by showcasing my singing abilities. I’d throw in a few extra notes here and there and harmonize every now and again. It didn’t matter because Taylor was outside on the phone so it was just me and Mack. After a while of my singing, Taylor says, “Hey – do you think you could turn that down?” OH…that’s embarrassing…you were sitting on the chair reading the whole time, huh? I laughed so hard I cried. It was more of a I’m-glad-you’re-already-stuck-with-me-but-that’s-super-humiliating-still kind of a laugh. Good times.

Rosa’s & In-Laws

Man…when I first got this blog I must not have had a life. I haven’t posted since Monday which is like a record for me.

So here’s a good one… our office bought gift cards for Sharky’s and Betty Rose’s to give to our visiting families. Someone decided we didn’t have enough money to pay for the gift cards, so we needed to return them to the restaurants. Who wants to volunteer to make an idiot out of themself? “Hey – thanks for hand-writing all of these gift cards, but can we return them and get our money back?” Not happening. So I suggested that we eat the cost and just send them to various restaurants when we run out of coupons. I know that if we advertise 3-4 restaurants, they’d offer us some sort of a deal for our families. On Thursday my mission was to get these restaurants to give us discounts. I went to Sharky’s, Betty Rose’s, Rick & Carolyn’s, and finally Rosa’s. I walk into Rosa’s Cafe and Tortilla Factory, ask for the manager, and introduce myself. I ask him if he has 3 seconds to talk. He steps back, looks me up and down, and says, “I have 5” with a sick smirk on his face. Wow. I’ll only take 3 but thanks for the offer, sir. Although your job is highly esteemed and coveted, I unfortunately do not want to date you.

I gave a tour today to a fairly important person. I thought the tour was for prospective students that this person wanted to see ACU. Unbeknown (?) to me, the tour was actually a ploy for this person to bring his in-laws and entire extended family to visit campus while in Abilene. They arrived 45 minutes late, we waited around for them, took our golf carts, and then this person gave most of the tour. Call it what it is – if you just wanted to use us for our carts, please don’t make me go. I actually took family portraits at Jacob’s Dream, too. I didn’t realize my job description included chauffeuring families around for a reunion. This person at one point also suggested that Houston and I leave and move the golf carts closer to the building we were in so that they could just walk out the doors and hop on. I don’t do well in situations like that. The family was really nice, I just don’t particularly enjoy abuses of power.

Taylor and I are currently watching about 27 shows. Check out our list and if you currently aren’t subscribing to a particular show, you haven’t been living:
1. House
2. Lie to Me
3. 24
5. Hell’s Kitchen
6. Leverage
7. SouthLAnd
8. The Office

Skanky & Weddings

A nice young lady came in to campus visits today wearing the most unbelievable dress. It was a string bikini top and almost completely backless. I guess it was supposed to be a sundress….but I almost saw her hoo-hoos. It might have been the tackiest thing I’ve seen worn on our campus before….and it was a senior in high school. Denied for admission…I wonder why!

Her outfit was slightly less awkward than the nice girl who decided to take her senior portraits in a white string bikini next to the lake. She then moved on to Jacob’s Dream. In a bikini. In the middle of the day. That is outrageous.

I had 3 friends get married on Saturday. We have about a kazillion weddings to go to this summer, and it just weird. I guess it was crazy for all of my friends when I got married, but now it’s my turn to be weirded out. We’re getting old I think. I saw the wedding pictures of a friend of mine from Memphis, and she looked like a grown woman. How did this happen? It seems like just yesterday I would go to the park and hang out with Sam or go to MK’s and swim for hours on end. Now we’re all in completely different states with spouses. As soon as that thought gets normal, we’ll start poppin out babies. What in the world is happening to the time?!

Twitter & iPhones

I hated every second of Twitter before I was on it. I judged those who had it and thought that if I hated Facebook statuses, why would I like this new thing? Sooo I signed up so that I could check it out (you can’t really preview it without having an account) and now I’m addicted. What I like about it is not the constant connection, but how connected it makes you feel. I’ll explain: I follow Shaq and other celebrities as well as many friends from ACU. When Shaq says “I just saw the new Budweiser commercial and thought it was funny” it makes me feel like we are buddies that watch the same shows and commercials and then talk about them. Obviously that isn’t the case but it makes you feel cool anyway. Because of Twitter today, Taylor, Luke and I ate at Little Italy with our new boss man. I tweeted “hey going to church – anyone up for lunch after?” and much to my surprise he responded and ended up eating with us. Crazy. Gives me a lot of respect for him though, when he wants to eat lunch with me, my husband, and random.

At Southern Hills last week, they took about 15 minutes to say bye to their music ministry intern. At the end of this big ordeal of calling his family forward, giving him a blessing, etc. they said “But the good news is, he isn’s leaving! He’ll be here another 2 years!” Oh, excuse me, why did we just have that little fake reception? I have no idea. That was free.

Today though at SH, Phil told us that we could access the scriptures used today from our phones by going to the SH website. It struck me how many people pulled out their phones, but it also made me wonder why every church isn’t keeping up to date with technology. We have these awesome tools we can use by putting our Bibles on our phones, texting our friends to invite them to church during the service, etc, and in some parts of the U.S. churches are still arguing about whether or not they will go to hell for using powerpoint. Unreal. If we have any hope of reaching my generation and beyond, technology has to play an active role…and it can be such an incredible experience with it. Let’s get with it, tweeple.

I’m also currently trying to convince Taylor that I need an iPhone. I just feel that it will really enhance my current state of being. That, and I’d be able to check Twitter constantly. Yesssss.