Sunday, September 30, 2007

What happens in Canton...

Stays in Canton!

I'm taking SJ to Dallas to fly home to her sweet family in the morning. We have had a fun four days together. We shopped north Dallas, Canton, and even Corsicana, Texas! We walked to much, spent too much, ate too much, got too lost in Tyler,Texas and laughed until we needed Depends! My legs hurt from walking, my back hurts from pushing that Canton cart all over, and my sides hurt from laughing. But my heart is so happy to have had these days with my dear friend! I wish she lived closer!

I have now been bitten by the Canton bug! Anyone want to go in November? December? (I have rules though. Only on Thursday or Friday and NO KIDS ALLOWED! Sorry but I've done it with kids and it's just not fun. for. anyone. )

Must go get some sleep so I will be able to get SJ to her plane on time! Hope you all had a great weekend! Hope to tell you more later but I can't tell much because that my new rule... What happens in Canton, stays in Canton!

Just wondering... Have you ever been to Canton? If so, what did you think? What was your favorite buy? vendor? food? tip? place to park? Etc? I will answer in comments when I get back!

Monday, September 24, 2007

Halloween Preview

Rhett decided he wanted to be a cowboy this year and the girls went along. YES, I KNOW, THEY WILL NOT ALWAYS WANT TO DRESS ALIKE OR IN A THEME... but I will enjoy it as long as it lasts! And no, it really was their idea. I just ordered the costumes which were pretty cheap considering the boots, jean shirts and hats were already part of their wardrobes.

Now getting a good picture of all three of them dressed up may be next to impossible.

Especially with the littlest tooty boots in the mix!

But great pictures or not, it looks to be a rootin' tootin' Halloween! Di I ever mention how much I love this time of year? Thought so.

They may even wear these outfits again for Christmas pictures...We are from Texas after all!

Friday, September 21, 2007

No justice on Earth

If you have read this blog for a long time, you might remember me blogging about a third grade teacher from our little Elementary school who died of an intentional overdose in April 2006. Her name was Kari Baker. (You can read those post here and again here.) Our little school was broken hearted at the loss of this young mother and teacher. But what I remember most (that I did not dare blog about at the time) were the immediate whispers of many who suspected that Kari did not take her own life. I mean it was in the first 24 hours after her death that people started suspecting her husband. Those whispers grew to groans as people saw her husband dating just weeks after Kari's death. But he was a minister, and no one wants to think a minister.... I can't even finish the sentence.

Though I do not think it is good to listen to gossip, it was really hard to believe that Kari Baker would abandon her kids. She was not he happiest person I ever met, but she loved her girls and her family dearly. The weekend of her death she had planned a family gathering to celebrate her Grandmothers good report from MD Anderson. Third grade was busy getting ready for the TAKS test that was just a week and a half away. Kari decided that she wanted to teach older kids and had a great job interview the very afternoon before the night she died. She told friends the interview went great and was very excited. Kari had made plans to meet people on Saturday and had volunteered to watch other peoples kids the following week. It just didn't add up.

Over the last year and a half the the suspicions and doubts have turned into accusations, evidence, and cries for justice. The local police department really botched the investigation from the beginning by letting Kari be embalmed and buried without an autopsy, and by not treating her house as a crime scene. Kari's parents had to hire their own investigators and experts to plea for their daughters case to be reexamined. It has been very hard on them. But they have never given up and have remained steadfast in their belief that their daughter would not and did not take her own life. Kari's husband took the girls and moved away. The girls have not had a much relationship with their grandparents since because of their Dad.

Today this was the lead news story in our town. The headline says it all...Preacher Arrested for Murdering Wife (I'll post the whole article in the post prior to this one in case the link does not work.)

As happy as I am that Matt Baker, a man who may have robbed two little girls of their mother, two parents of their beloved daughter and 20 third graders of their teacher, might finally be brought to justice, it just seems a little too little a little too late. Maybe Kari's girls will know she did not leave them on purpose. Kari's name will have the awful stigma of suicide removed from it. Maybe justice will be served.

But no matter what the courts decide about Matt Baker's role in Kari's death, two little girls will not be getting their Mommy back. Two loving parents will carry the aching whole in their heart left by the death of their beloved daughter with them to their graves. Our little school, and more importantly the 20 kids who had Kari as a teacher, will never be the same. Her friends still miss her. Nothing the courts do to Matt Baker will change that. Is there really any true justice in this world?
It makes me really happy to know that this life, while wonderful at times and full of blessings, is not all there is. It makes me smile to think of Kari and her daughter Kassidi (who died from cancer in 2001) someday waiting at the gates of Heaven to hug her parents and thank them for never giving up on her. And then someday I pray she will be able to welcome her two girls, who she loved so much, to heaven with open arms. I hope she will be able to tell them how much she has always loved them and never wanted to leave them. I get a little teary eyed thinking of that sweet reunion that seems so very far away.

The case against Matt Baker is not all that strong when it comes to physical evidence, or so it seems thus far. I pray for everyone involved, that if he killed Kari, he will just confess and get this whole ordeal over with as soon as possible. It seems the end of all this is still very far off. But today was a victory for Kari, and no matter what the courts say, the people who knew and loved her know that she did not kill herself. Please pray for this family and this situation. God bless them all!

Preacher Arrested for Murdering Wife

From the KXXV website. (There are also articles on and in the Waco Trib)

Preacher Arrested for Murdering Wife
Sep 21, 2007 11:40 PM CDT
by Mark Kurtz
WACO - A former Central Texas preacher accused of murdering his wife has been arrested.
Matt Baker was arrested late Friday afternoon in Kerrville. He was booked into the Kerr County Jail around 5:00 p.m. Friday.
It was originally believed that 31-year-old Kari Lynn Baker killed herself by overdosing on sleeping pills at the couple's Hewitt home in April of 2006. Three months after the teacher's death, toxicology tests found sleeping and diet pills in her system. Kari's family never believed she took her own life and have said Matt killed her all along.
Just this week, the same Justice of the Peace who originally ruled Kari's death a suicide, changed his ruling and listed her death as undetermined.
Friday morning, an arrest warrant was issued for Baker. Police documents obtained by News Channel 25, show Matt Baker used prescription and over-the-counter medication and alcohol to render his wife defenseless. He then used a pillow to suffocate her to death.
The documents also say he researched "overdose by sleeping pill" on his work computer at the Waco Center for Youth and tried to make Kari's death look like a suicide. The documents also say Baker was seeking a romantic relationship with another woman before Kari died. Several days after her death, Baker was seen at Richland Mall in Waco looking at engagement rings with a woman.
Kari's mother told News Channel 25 on Friday she believes justice will be done and Matt will be convicted in a court of law.
Baker has been living in Kerrville, which is about 60 miles northwest of San Antonio, and working as a youth pastor and a substitute teacher. He was teaching Friday at Tivy High School in Kerrville before he was taken into custody.
Baker is expected to be brought back to McLennan County to face charges.
For a complete look at the three page arrest documents click on the links provided.
Matt Baker Arrested for Murder
Matthew Baker Arrest Affidavit pg1
Matthew Baker Arrest Affidavit pg2
Matthew Baker Arrest Affidavit pg3

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Hospitals and brain burps

Last Sunday the guest preacher had a great illustration comparing churches to hospitals. I can not say it as well as he did but he started out asking when you are sick what do you look for in a hospital? Good coffee? Good food? Nice decor? Great parking?Comfortable chairs? Doctors who are really funny and know how to wow a crowd? Of course not. You go to a hospital looking for a cure. You want doctors who know what they are doing. Decor is nice, but you want from a hospital is medicine, treatment, therapy, a plan to beat your illness and hope that you will be OK. He said people come to churches for the same things...answers, help, a plan to get better, salvation, hope, someone who cares. We live in a fallen world where all have sinned and fallen short. We all need a cure for this world and Jesus is the only cure. As he was speaking his illustration it made perfect sense to me. I thought he had great points. His sermon inspired the following brain at your own risk.

As I thought the hospital illustration and the church it did not seem to fit if you take it beyond a life or death crisis.. And the more I think about it, the more I wonder if this is why churches struggle to be relevant to people at times. Yes, the church is here to be Jesus. Yes, Jesus is the cure for the world. Churches are here to bring people to the cure. But does the world really know it is sick? Do I really think I am sick? Do people realize they need Jesus? Do I? Have churches accidentally conformed to some type of religious country club because people don't like hospitals. They don't want to be told they are sick, they just want fellowship and nice place to live. Who would want to live in a hospital? Who really wants to conform to a regimented lifestyle of medication , therapy, diet and health restrictions? Who wants to live like they are sick? Can churches be hospitals for the soul? People don't want to live in a hospital state. They want to get well and leave.. And not all of them will desire to become doctors, no matter how grateful they are to be cured. In fact most don't. They leave the doctoring to the doctors. We only go to the hospital when we have to... and we leave as soon as we can.

So I was thinking... what in life can illustrate the relationship of people to the church? I instantly thought of grocery stores. You have to go to the grocery store to get food to nourish your body. Everyone needs groceries. Everyone has to eat. But the grocery store illustration puts churches in a position to cater to a consumer mind set. That just isn't what Jesus intended for his least in my mind.

So then I thought about people needing Churches as they do employment. You have to earn a living. You need to work as a team and use your talents. Everyone has to get money from somewhere. But I have problems thinking of the blood of Christ as a paycheck since we could never earn it on our own so that doesn't work.

The thing is the our relationships to churches and to Jesus just don't conform to the examples of our world. They are unique and upside down in relation to our culture. If you think I am going somewhere with this, sorry! Just thinking on-line. Not sure I have any answers. In fact it seems to me that the older I get, the less I feel I know. The questions are multiplying by the day but the answers are harder and harder to come by. Sometimes in life I feel like I am back in preschool Bible class where every kid knows that the right answer to every question asked is Jesus, even though they don't understand the reasoning or the whys. Anyone else feel this way? Just wondering...

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Blog, What blog?

Sorry. I have been out for a while. Since school stated almost three weeks ago life has been going by so fast. I thought it would slow down. It hasn't. If anything it is going faster and faster. There have been many days when the computer hasn't even been turned on. Keeping up with e-mail has been a challenge. But I think things are going to wind down a bit now that we are in the "school routine."

I haven't blogged much about my little EK lately. She is growing like a weed! If I were to pick one word to describe her it would be BUSY!

Do I look like trouble or what?
The girl never stops moving! At 14 months some are surprised to find her walking...WALKING!? That was old news four months ago! This girl is running, climbing, jumping, and dancing her way into everything! She can out run kids twice her age and may be able to out climb a few of them. I have found her on top of the kitchen table, the counter top, and the washer.. and that's just today! She has no fear. She loves to explore. Her favorite thing to do is to take the lid off a box and dump all its contents out. She is also fond of scribbling on anything she can with a pen, pencil, crayon or close facsimile. Pictures. Everyone tells me they want pictures of Ella Kate.

Yes I am wearing an apron, brown capris and cowboy boots.
Well I do too! Good luck getting any! We went through two photo sessions with a local photographer in the last month. After an hour of trying to get Ella Kate to just sit or stand still and smile long enough to get a picture each time... we gave up! It doesn't happen. She is never still. And if she is still she will not even glance towards the camera. It's a side view or an action shot of her running the other way. I think EK is adorable and has the sweetest little smile, but in pictures she is just a blur. You need video to capture this girl!

I don't want to smile!
Although this week a video might even be a stretch. Ella Kate fell outside on the patio (trying to climb a folding chair) and banged her mouth and nose up pretty badly. She is pretty pathetic looking. There was a lot of blood. CSI might convict me of murder with the splatters Ella Kate sneezed through out my kitchen during the ordeal. She seems OK though. I called to see if we needed to take her in to see if her nose was broken, but the nurse said it is very rare for a 14 month old to break their nose as the nose bones are still pretty pliable at this age. Besides there is not much they can do.
It's not easy being 14 months old!
The nurses at Dr K's office recognize me by my voice. Last week when I called to see if we could come in for an X-ray when she saw my name on caller ID the nurse answered the phone asking "What has Ella Kate done now?" That time EK needed to have an x-ray to see if she had swallowed some spiral shaped paper clips. She was choking when I pulled three out of her throat and I didn't know if more had been swallowed. The X-ray did not show paper clips or any other foreign substances in her tummy, which was such a huge relief! But it was relief laced with the fear of what she will find her way into next. This little girl keeps me on my toes! You can not leave her alone for a minute...which also explains my recent absence from blog world. An active 14 month old and blogging do not mix.

Which reminds me that I need to go. You can bet if I'm not blogging, I'm just trying my best to keep up with Ella Kate and our family's full schedule. Gotta run! Happy Thursday blog world!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Six years ago today...

God blessed us with the birth of this little guy. I have much more I want to say about this but this old malfunctioning computer, a stressful PTA deadline and Miss Ella Kate are not going to give me much time to reflect or blog today. However, I couldn't let the day slip away without saying how special this boy and this day are to us! Happy Birthday Rhett!

Posted by Picasa