Wednesday, August 25, 2010

When I Miss My Silver Spoon

Last week, I was in the studio at Lightning Bear TV shooting my world famous Red Beans and Rice dish that is our College Gameday staple meal! This, in lieu of writing a 1300 word column in the Cross Timbers Gazette, was going to be a month off of research, deep thinking, and word processing in the night.

Little did I know that it would turn out to be three times the work!! Why? First, I had to actually formulate the recipe. Second, I had to buy the ingredients in triplicate, cook the recipe, prep the veggies, and pack every pot, pan, and dishrag necessary to make this yummy concoction! My next goal: finding parking in Downtown Dallas that would be nearest to the 4th floor studio. A lingering question: "How in the world am I going to leave two boxes of food in the hundred degree heat to haul box three up to the studio?" Enter "fresh out of Beverly Hills" Executive Producer J. Michael Brown sauntering onto the scene, shades and all, still in the afterglow of the Lightning Bear TV Open House just hours before. Stepping out of his Red Porsche I inquire,"Can you help?" Agreed. Whew!
I unload the three boxes of food in the lobby. He stands guard while I attempt to find a legal and adequate parking place for my new car, my baby. I find a nearby pay and park lot. Distracted by the presence of a homeless man sleeping in a nearby alley, I pull into space 12. I fumble through my rather deep purse in the heat and retrieve my last $5, exactly what I need to pay for parking. Still shaken up at the thought of anyone having to sleep outdoors in the Texas heat, I accidentally put the money into slot 15. Darn. I can still barely see the edge of the five dollar bill, but since I clipped my fingernails for the cooking show, there was no way to retrieve it. I have an idea.

I run back to slot 15 and it is still available. No one has used it because of the shotty parking jobs of Mr. 14 and Mrs. 16. Nothing more than crazed stage Moms trying to get their kid to the ensuing auditions at Lightning Bear for an upcoming Coca-Cola commercial. But I think I can squeeze my car in there. I run to slot 12, start the car, and rush to grab slot 15 and park legally. Meanwhile, J. Michael...still waiting with the wilting vegetables.

My flat-ironed curly hair is threatening to rebel. I'm sweating. This is why Rachael Ray has a personal assistant, valet, hairdresser, make-up artist, and kitchen prep crew. I tell myself "...So I'm not Rachael Ray" and think what a good country song that might be!

We finally get the food upstairs and I am all calmed down, prepped, and ready for action. Enter Ulises, pop artist preparing for music video in a few hours. He decides to help out on the scene and becomes a great comfort to me on the set with his encouraging words and feedback. Between takes, we share life stories and I listen to his amazing voice. There is promise there...a star in the making. He could rival the fame of Lady Gaga with his artistry and talent. After a few hours, we all high five, and enjoy a bowl of red beans and rice together--watching all my bloopers and blunders!

I convince the guys to help me carry the food down to my car so I can rush off to Argyle. We all look funny walking the streets of downtown Dallas with hot pots of beans. A homeless man approaches. "I won't harm you," he says. "Is that food I smell? I'm hungry."

My first Samaritan inclination was to tell this man that I didn't have anything in which to serve the food. In addition, I had already spent thirty minutes packing it up so it wouldn't spill inside my new car. Did he really expect me to open up a pot of beans and ladle it over rice INSIDE my car?? After all, I had to get to church! But the thought was very short lived when I looked into the eyes of this man. They were filled with hunger--more than the physical kind.

I told the man to bear with me while I disassembled my good packaging job, glancing at J. Michael and Ulises with eyes that pleaded, "Don't dare leave me out here." They stayed right with me, even though time was getting away and they needed to get to work on the music video.

I found a Rubbermaid container with the leftover rice and ladled the beans and sausage over it. "Today's your lucky day," J. Michael told the man.

The only spoon I had to give the man was my silver spoon from my family's flatware. It was a small sacrifice. "Sir, whenever you use this spoon from this day forward, I want you to remember to put your trust in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ." I told him. "I already do." He said. Right there with Ulises and J. Michael, we were able to fill the need of one soul. Oh how I wished I could have done more! Everytime I am missing a silver spoon from my table, I will remember this man. Sometimes the absence of something we once had is the reminder that we have emptied of ourselves, just waiting for God's promise to fill us again.

Monday, August 23, 2010

School Begins

So it's the first day of school. My candles are burning, my heart is ready. To me, it's the official kick off of Fall AND another great year begins for my child. By this time next year...we'll be eyeball to eyeball. I'm sure of that.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

So Long Fish Bowl

In the past, I lived in the fishbowl. Now, I just fish or bowl.
--Brandi Chambless, August 19, 2010

So today's the last day of combat in Iraq, as troops depart to begin Operation New Dawn. The past three years have been an Operation New Dawn of my own as God has allowed the unraveling of everything I knew as He has begun weaving together something I can't quite understand that will hopefully be useful and interesting...but definitely different.

Faith unwavering: check. Childlike faith: not necessarily. I would say that my faith has been more childish than childlike, holding on to every last fiber God stripped from my old tapestry. Like a child at play whose Daddy made an attempt to pry a sucker from her hands readying her for a more substantial meal of meat and potatoes, this has been the story of my life. Little tantrum girl.

And then there are mornings like today when I thank God for what He is doing. My head is clear. My heart is collected. I'm ready to do His will. Thank you, Lord.

To read about the life I've left behind, click here.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Sometimes It Takes a Shipwreck

Can you imagine being arrested, appearing before authorities, being shipped off to a new place, living through a raging storm for about two weeks with very little food, being shipwrecked at sea, swimming to shore in turbulent waters, depending on the kindness of strangers for three months, then ultimately making your way to your destination as a prisoner ALL to be allowed to rent a home for two years just in time to fulfill your God-given destiny?

Wow. That was Paul's story in the New Testament Book of Acts.

I got to thinking...sometimes it takes a shipwreck before we can get to exactly where we need to be for God to use us as He had planned. If you are in the turbulent waters now, my friend, do not let your heart be troubled. For God knows the very number of hairs on your head. He may be waiting for a surrender of your own will, for an admission of trust in His plan, for a readiness to go whatever.

My dear friend Andy Magee's famous last words before one of my incredible journeys...."Hang on for the ride."

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

GLEE's Mark Salling CD Set to Release in October

Mark Salling of GLEE recently announced that he will be releasing his debut CD project Pipe Dreams on October 12.

A Dallas native, Salling's lyrics are filled with scriptural references such as "equally yoked", reference to the Son of God, and the Heavenly Father. The CD will be released as a rock/jazz project inspired by Nine Inch Nails, Miles Davis, Alice in Chains, and Herbie Hancock.

These lyrics from "Yoked Equally" speak to the righteous religious leaving behind those are in the fight of their lives against the principalities and darkness.

Cause the only road I've known goes down, down
where the ride seems so righteous
they've left us on the ground
There's a reward for capturing my soul
so, let the heavenly father shine down on me
til the day I am yoked equally

To view the official website of Mark Salling's project, go to

Monday, August 9, 2010

Until Next Year: Goodbye Creative Arts Camp

We said goodbye to The Music Man yesterday. To read why this musical is so special to us click here.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Best Freelance Writers of Dallas

When I began writing years ago, I had no idea of the wonderful opportunities my hobby would bring. I have met so many wonderful people and become a student of my life experiences. In this short video segment, my work in the real estate industry is highlighted.

Video produced by Lightning Bear Productions, Downtown Dallas.