the brady bunch




Thursday, February 7, 2013

As A Pendulum Swings

This concept has been hard pressed on my heart for a couple of years now and I don't want it to go unexpressed.   I hope I can easily explain this visual about trying to stay Christ-centered!

As a non-believer in Christ, we all begin on one side of a swinging pendulum.  Lost, blind, deaf, a sinner in need of a savior and yet already loved deeply by Christ, as He patiently waits for us to come His way.  Satan is just fine with us hanging in the balance uncomfortably in this position.  He doesn't have to do too much to make us trip and fall because we are usually wrapped up in own own selfish desires, vainly attempting to satisfy the insatiable flesh.

When we finally accept Christ as our savior and feel the weight of the burden of our sin lifted as it is forgiven and the inexpressible gratitude for the hope of eternal life we begin to look around and feel compassion for the lost.  As we center ourselves, mid-swing, in Christ's perfect love, there is no judgement on others as we ourselves were just as deaf and blind as they.  Now given to us is a wide-eyed window to a blameless heart that wants to relieve others of their guilt and condemnation by pointing them to Christ's perfect love.  Seeing clearly that sin is the symptom of a love-sick heart that Christ wants to heal.

Unfortunately, this person who was previously ignored by Satan has now become a prime target for harassment because they are getting the truth out.  Naturally as a believer we want to know Him better so we learn more and more about God and His Holy Word.  Slowly,  the momentum builds  and we find ourselves unhappily on the other side of the pendulum's swing.  Knowledge puffing up, judgement and pride begin to separate us from others.  The lost and even other Christians fall under our scrutiny as Satan whispers in our ear unloving words. Somehow we forget that it was nothing we did ourselves but Christ's sacrifice on the cross that saved us.  We foolishly begin to compare ourselves to others, monitoring our christian walk and others, often forgetting that we are all sinners in need of a savior everyday!

It is our goal as Christians to stay Christ -centered and balanced by remembering we are no better than our very worst forgiven sins.  We are all in need of love and acceptance and compassion.   Reaching out to the lost because we want to lift their burden and introduce them to the love of their life!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Where is my Alice?

Sometimes I wish our "Brady Bunch" had our own Alice!  Someone to do the cooking, cleaning and laundry.  Oh, I just realized we do, ME!  I am the "Alice" in this modern day family.  So, does that mean our "Brady Bunch" needs a Carol?  A cutely composed and coiffed mother that has endless creativity and caring yet clever comebacks.  I am finding it difficult to be both Carol and Alice.  Anyone else?  If my house is clean, lawn mowed... then I look a fright!  If I have exercised, showered, blah blah blah then my chores haven't been completed but, dinner might be on the table.  Until about five years ago, I found it difficult to fall asleep unless the house was relatively picked up.  Most certainly, the kitchen HAD to be cleaned just like the Bradys.

Fast forward to Brady and I watching a different type of TV show decades latter and you find me still daydreaming about how to be the perfect wife, mother of five and housekeeper.  Several years ago when Brady and I discovered the DVR we began recording CSI (that was when there was only one CSI).  They had a particularly plot thickening serial killer on the lose in Las Vegas that would create miniature models of his crime scene leaving it for them to find at the crime scene to "help" them solve the murder.  One evening after watching that intriguing episode, I had what I though was a brilliant idea!!!  To create a miniature model of my own home,  identical down to the leopard print throw pillows.  Then, I could actually go to sleep easily knowing my house or at least a miniature replica of it was "clean" and picture perfect. No scratches on the coffee table, no marker on the wall, no spots on the bathroom mirror!   As I was enthusiastically sharing this epiphany with Brady he, choosing his words carefully, let me know that I might be perceived as just a little crazy for creating another model house just like the one we live in just to sleep peacefully at night.

 Okay, okay, I won't become psychotic over my home, I get it!  I guess it is time for a brainstorming session...  uh let me think really hard, oh I got it, we hire a house keeper!  Hallelujah!  That was a wonderful idea!!!  Especially since the boys were so little and Brady and the girls were so busy!  Unfortunately, since I didn't work outside the home and since I feel guilty pretty much all the time (I am the person who feels guilty if I'm cleaning because I should be playing with the kids and when I'm playing with the kids I feel guilty because I should be cleaning the house).  I ,of course, began to feel guilty about having someone else clean our house.  The biggest reason I felt guilty was I thought I was doing a disservice to my children.  I couldn't help but feel I was possibly setting a precedent that the economy or various other circumstances just couldn't be guaranteed for my would-be adult children in years to come.  I want my daughters to have the freedom to fall in love with whomever they want "for richer or poorer", knowing they have fully experienced the icky ins and time consuming outs of cleaning a home.  That they would never resent their husband for not maintaining the lifestyle they had grown too comfortably accustomed.  I want my sons to know how to clean a home as well.  I hope and pray their wives will thank me for this one day because to be quite honest it would be so nice to have some professional  help around here.  It is a sacrifice that I pray will have a pleasant long term return for all of us.  I haven't let my kids know that this is why we don't have paid help around here.  It is just us,  the ones who live here cleaning up after ourselves. However,  one day they will read my blog and know.  They will know that I loved them enough to make them work and loved them enough to let them see their mama work!  Also, they get to hear me say over and over again, "if you make a mess you clean it up,"  I hope that sinks deep into their soul and carries them through life's messes.   I guess we don't need an Alice after all!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


When Brady and I were first married (almost 18 years ago) I thought "being in love" was about how he made me feel. When he would do something nice for ME I would say with a sigh "I love you." However, what I really meant (even though I didn't know it) was I love me, I love the way you make ME feel. This kind of shallow, worldy, misunderstanding of love I held can't go the distance a lifelong relationship requires. When married life begins to get comfortable and routine, when we quit trying to woo each other, when the business of children, careers, even "churchy opportunities" compete for our attention relationships suffer if the love is based on how I feel. If I put Brady's needs ahead of my own than I am loving him, I love him.

Jesus said all ten of the commandments can be summed up within the first two. Love the Lord your God with all your heart soul mind and strength. Love you neighbor as yourself. Brady sleeping next to me every night doesn't get any more neighborly.

When people say I don't love you anymore what it really means is they don't love what the other person is doing for them anymore. They don't love the way they are making them feel. The older I get and the more I ponder what love really is I have found out I couldn't have been more wrong about love. Love is something you do for another person, it is active, it is a choice. When I say I love Brady it is not about the way he makes me feel. If I love him then I am doing things for him.

I think it is easier to understand this upside down concept in regards to our children. They really can't do much to make us feel loved. But we do things for them unselfishly because we love them and expect nothing from them. This unselfish spirit must be worked into our definition of marital love.

For God so LOVED the world that He GAVE. Not for GOD so loved the world that He TOOK.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. I Cor. 13:4-7

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Sunrise Sunset

Just before Bailee turned eleven she tested in Tae Kwon Do again and is halfway through to her red belt! Yep, she broke some more boards, no big deal.
She wanted to go bowling to celebrate!
Bailee and her Birthday Tree! It's decorated for Valentine's Day since her B-day is the day after V-day. She has always been Brady and I's best Valentine's Gift!!

Riley took her on their (now has become traditional) birthday photo shoot! SUNRISE SUNSET
Let's all sing together...

Is this the little girl I carried?

I don't remember growing older
When did they?

When did she get to be a beauty?
When did she grow to be so tall?

Wasn't it yesterday
When they were small?

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly flow the days
Seedlings turn overnight to sunflowers
Blossoming even as we gaze

Sunrise, sunset
Sunrise, sunset
Swiftly fly the years
One season following another
Laden with happiness and tears

What words of wisdom can I give them?
How can I help to ease their way?

Monday, February 6, 2012

Mother's Day Happy!

Sweet, Sweet Mother's,

I must confess I've had a few Mother's Day Sad! I think it is because I was expecting a parade or ... not have to cook or pick up clothes off the floor or change a dirty diaper. Maybe none of you have ever experienced the Mother's Day Blues but, I hate to admit it, I have. This year I am determined to have a Mother's Day Happy!!! So, I opened my Bible in preparation for Mother's Day and don't ya know the love chapter revealed itself to me! (First Corinthians 13) The following is The Message's version of this chapter...
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2 If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love. 4 Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self. Love doesn't want what it doesn't have. Love doesn't strut, Doesn't have a swelled head,5 Doesn't force itself on others, Isn't always "me first," Doesn't fly off the handle, Doesn't keep score of the sins of others, 6 Doesn't revel when others grovel, Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, 7 Puts up with anything, Trusts God always, Always looks for the best, Never looks back, But keeps going to the end. 8 Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. 9 We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. 10 But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled. 11 When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good. 12 We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us! 13 But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

I was reading it through tear filled eyes, and I'm not a cryer. First, because I felt guilty that I don't love that perfect. But, then it moved me and encouraged me because Jesus does love that perfect! He appreciates everything little thing you mamas do. He applauds your sleepless nights. He sees how much you sacrifice for others. He knows you put the best and the most food on everyone else's plate and give yourself the least or the burnt one. He hears your prayers and is working them out. All this to say thank you for being an amazing mom. It is a privilege and an honor to know you and your precious children. I want you to have a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY. Love Always, Vicki

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Magnolia Tree

When Brady and I lived in Temple, TX he was in his third year of Medical School. We were blessed to have a very low monthly rent by living in the student housing on the campus of the VA hospital. Complete with charming post traumatic stress disorder patients wandering around our door. I could go on but, the point of the story is I would drive through neighborhoods in Temple dreaming of a day when I too could have a yard of my own complete with a big beautiful Magnolia tree.

Fast forward a few years, give or take a state and a residency, and we find ourselves living in Galveston, Texas with, you know it, a big beautiful Magnolia tree front left of our yard!!! There is something an inexperienced home dweller like myself found out, along with that yard came yard work! That Magnolia tree dropped its very lush large leaves 365 days a year. Which meant much raking and raking and raking. (No, we couldn't afford a leaf blower, still just living on love. Residency #2 and Baby #4) During one of those many hours of raking and scooping and bagging a very good lesson occurred to me... If you want something beautiful in your life you must be willing to work for it! Anything truly worth while requires some sacrifice, some inconvenience and even a little sweat. If you want a beautiful marriage, a beautiful relationship with your children, a beautiful (fill in the blank), a beautiful Magnolia tree gracing your front lawn it requires 365 days of attentiveness. I miss that Magnolia tree.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Tough Mudder 2011!

Beaver Creek, Co Tough Mudder June 2011. Brady and I met Jason and Mary our dear Texan friends from Medical school and residency to participate in this extreme competition. Jason had our t-shirts made with Psalm 119:32, "I run the path of Your commands for You have set my heart free" on the back of our shirts. Two Brudderz and Two Mudderz was our team name!Running through water over hay bales through dangling wires charged with 10,000 volts of electricity! I can proudly boast no one in our team uttered one profane word!!
Brady and I's calves flexing before the 10 mile, 4000 ft elevation change British Special Force designed obstacle course. BTW, when I agreed to join their team the race was only going to be seven miles and I can say those last three miles were TOUGH!!
This is one of our favorite pictures from the whole trip. Check out the guy in the back on the left. There were some fanatics all dressed up and barely dressed. However the point of this picture is a salute to Mary. She has inspired me in so many ways... to be a better mother, wife, friend and to start running! Over the years she has said many wise things to me but, I think my favorite is... "everyone should just scrub their own toilette". So thankful for this sweet friend!

These two wild stallions can't be tamed! They are officially the President of each others fan clubs!!