Friday, November 18, 2011.  Cooking has never been a very exciting activity to me.  I suspect that this is mainly because I live alone.  It can be difficult to cook for one, invariably you end up wasting food or eating the same thing for 5 days.  Earlier this year I had the opportunity to cook for a family who had a newborn baby in the NICU.  Since I was cooking for people I cared about and who were experiencing a time of high anxiety and stress, I prayed for them through each step of the meal preparation process.  At the grocery store I prayed that the food I selected would bring them strength and comfort.  As I chose snacks to include for the 2 other children, I prayed that God would help these young boys understand why their parents had to give so much of their time and attention to their new brother so that they would not feel lost or neglected.  When I got home and began combining ingredients, I prayed for the day that the entire family would be together under one roof.  THAT cooking experience was enjoyably, exciting and spiritual.

I'm not sure why it took me 42 years to learn that cooking can be a spiritual practice.  Each week when I go to the grocery store I now pray for those who grew and harvested the food, those who work in the factories and bakeries who make my cereal, bread and other products, those who stock the shelves, clean the store and check out my purchases.  At home while preparing my meals, I pray that God will help me make healthy eating choices more often than not so that I will be healthy enough to be a meaningful member of my community; that the food I have chosen to prepare this day will strengthen me to lead the life that God is calling me to lead.

Since I've started thinking about my food in this way, I find that I'm making better choices, I don't dread the time I spend creating my meals, I spend more time in conscious communication with God and my life is generally fuller.

Life Simplified

Tuesday, March 1, 2011. Make the most of what life gives you. Leroy LOVES to look out the window next to my desk. Yesterday I was getting some League work done and he sat down. The blinds were closed so, being Leroy, he just looked at the blinds. Oh to be so content!

Simplify Life Challenge: The Pantry

Sunday, January 9, 2011. I actually took these pictures a week or so ago. My first challenge in simplifying and organizing was my pantry. The hard part? I don't have one! I had to "create" a pantry out of two cabinets in my kitchen. Thanks to the Container Store, my label maker and red Rubbermaid I'm good to go. I actually LOVE this system. It's easy to find everything and I can tell at a glance what I need to pick up at the grocery store.

Happy New Year!

January 1, 2011. It's (finally) a new year. I've settled on a theme, or set of themes, for the blog and I'm writing again. For the next several months I'll be writing about 3 broad categories:

My Bucket List-Not things I want to do before I die, but things I want to do before 2011 is over.

Life Simplified-Things that fall into the broad categories of living a simpler, greener, more organized,less expensive lifestyle. I've collected a series of "challenges" from other writers and I'll be working through them.

Favorite Things-Sharing some of the things I've found that make my life easier, more comfortable or just plain happier.

Not to worry, there will still be occasional posts from Leroy Earl written under the title, Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Well.

I'm not promising to past daily or even weekly but I will get into a rhythm as I figure out this new format. I've sure missed my little blog!

On Your Mark...Get Set...Go!

Monday, October 11, 2010. I'm not sure what this blog will morph into this time but I've missed writing. Here are a few of my recent favorite things.

The Llamas (Dolly, Tony and Baracko) in my new office at CCPC:

A spunky pink centerpiece at my first Junior League of Plano event since I returned to the metroplex:

A cookie bouquet from my BFF Kelly to welcome me home:

Wake Up Momma!

Thursday, April 29, 2010 I want to play but the Momma is asleep. I'm a very patient doggie. No, I'm not-WAKE UP KISSES!!!

"Always Give More than You Take"

Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

I've been thinking a lot lately about my Dad and the last really long conversation we had before he died. Given all that I've forgotten in life, I'm so thankful for my memories of that afternoon.

"Legacy" by Nichole Nordeman

I don't mind if you've got something nice to say about me
And I enjoy an accolade like the rest You could take my picture and hang it in a gallery
Of all who's who and so-n-so's that used to be the best At such'n'such ... it wouldn't matter much
I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an 'Atta boy' or 'Atta girl'
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides the temporary trappings of this world

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough to make a mark on things?
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace who blessed your name apologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

I don't have to look too far or too long awhile
To make a lengthy list of all that I enjoy
It's an accumulating trinket and a treasure pile
Where moth and rust, thieves and such will soon enough destroy
Not well traveled, not well read, not well-to-do or well bred

Just want to hear instead, "Well Done" good and faithful one...

Dang Momma!

Monday, March 1, 2010. Leroy, "Dang Momma! I'm just takin' a little nap with your sock monkey. I don't know why you are so uptight about this. You can take a nap with my sock monkey if you like. As a matter of fact, I think you could USE a nap!"

Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Well Part 3

Friday, January 8, 2010. Leroy Earl here! Every year on December 24 an unfortunately dressed obese man breaks into our house and leaves stuff. SERIOUSLY! He's real! I can't make this stuff up. It's always on the same night and since it's kinda creepy I stay extra close to The Momma on that day. But boy oh boy! On the 25th (which also happens to be Christmas) I'm so excited to go see what the guy left. It's always something good and he never comes back for it. This year, we all got Sock Monkeys! Fred and I also got some squeaky toys and yummy treats.

So, be careful on December 24 in case the guy decides to come to your house this year-and enjoy the spoils on Christmas morning!

Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Well Part 2

Wednesday, January 6, 2010. The Momma had a tough day yesterday so I snapped into "Therapist Leroy" mode and set out to improve her mental health.

As soon as she got home she took me and my brother Fred for a long walk. I was very careful not to make poopy while we were out. When we got home she went to change clothes. While she was changing, I went into the kitchen a laid a stinker. Worked like a charm! It took her mind completely off of her bad day. Maybe it was too much poopy. Maybe it was too stinky. Something went terribly wrong with my plan. Sure she wasn't thinking about her bad day anymore but...she was REALLY mad at me.

After she picked up the poopy and cleaned the floor she went in the living room and sat down on the couch. I jumped up beside her, made a pathetic face and barfed.

MISSION ACCOMPLISHED! Who could stay angry with a sick puppy? The Momma forgot about her bad day AND the fact that she was ever angry with me.

Good work, Therapist Leroy. That will be $150 please.

Deep Thoughts from a Shallow Well

Monday, January 4, 2009. Hello! I'm going to be blogging from time-to-time this year so I thought I'd take a moment and introduce myself.

Name: Leroy Earl Brown
Age: Three and a half
Breed: Redneck Poodle
Hail From: The Great State of Texas
Sibling: Fred Dog
Momma: The Momma
Job: Snuggling and being cute
Hobbies: Wresting, squeekin' toys, flushin' the potty just to watch the water and suckin' the bathroom wall
Turn ons: Cheese cookies and long walks
Turn offs: Short leashes and fireworks
Love Interest: Kami (she lives down the block)
Philosophy of Life: It's all good!

Now don't you be a stranger! I've got a lot to say this year.

Thoughts on the Ending Decade

Thursday, December 31, 2009 Since this is the last time I'll blog during this decade I thought I'd share ten of the most important lessons I've learned in the last ten years.

1. God's love and grace are given to us with the same abandon we are to share them with others.

2. My capacity to love is greater than I ever imagined.

3. Friends are the greatest treasures of life.

4. Nothing in life is so bad that a warm puppy can't make it better

5. Life is better when lived in the company of a very old dog.

6. Trying new things is more fun when you are with the "old things" at the end of the day.

7. If you aren't giving you aren't living.

8. Find something you love and make your living at it.

9. Find something you love just as much and make a life of it.

10. The world is full of cactus but you don't have to sit on it.

Jerry Self-Some people you always remember

Then (November 20, 1999)
The letter I wrote to Jerry 3 days after the tragedy. The words in maroon are words that were later inscribed in his portal in the Bonfire Memorial at Texas A&M:

I have spent the better part of the last three days remembering you. In every memory you are wearing the biggest smile I have ever seen. Remember the time I asked you why you were smiling? "I told myself a joke." What a silly guy! What a loving guy. I'll never forget all the hours of talking about our A&M experiences. Or all the trips to the Athens Wal-Mart during camp. I have so many visions of you at camp with kids hanging off of you like tinsel on a Christmas tree. I'll never forget how excited you were the first time a fourth grader told you that he wanted to accept Christ. The solace that I have found these last three days has come from you. I have never known anyone who lived their life so completely focused on God. If there is anyplace you ever wanted to be it was in the arms of the One who holds you now. I will miss you. I will know in my heart that it is you who says "Here!" on April 21st.
Until we meet again,

Bridget Maloney,
TAMU '90
Now (November 14, 2009)
Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
I feel you everywhere I go
I see your smile, I see your face
I hear you laughing in the rain
Still can't believe you're gone
It ain't fair you died too young
Like a story that had just begun
Then death tore the pages all away
God knows how I miss you
All the hell that I've been through
Just knowing no one could take your place
Sometimes I wonder who you'd be today
Would you see the world?
Would you chase your dreams?
Settle down with a family?
I wonder, what would you name your babies?
Some days the sky's so blue I feel like I can talk to you
And I know it might sound crazy
Sunny days seem to hurt the most
I wear the pain like a heavy coat
The only thing that gives me hope
Is I know I'll see you again someday someday
(Who You'd Be Today-Kenny Chesney)

Good Times

Thursday, August 20, 2009. It's been a busy, busy week. I can't count the number of times I've glanced at this picture and smiled. One of my favorite places in the world (Mo Ranch) with one of my favorite people in the world (Carroll Pickett) doing one of my favorite things in the world (ministry).

Thank God for good friends and good memories.

Charles Isaac Brown

Charles Isaac "Charlie" Brown was born in 1990 in South Carolina. He spent the first 10 years of his life there with a 'human' who neglected him on his best days and abused him on his worst days. At the age of 10 he moved to San Antonio (and later to Fort Worth and Albuquerque) where he worked as a super hero. He didn't have a cape and he couldn't fly but for the price of a cup of kibble a day and the chance to sleep in the big bed he taught wise life lessons to a hard- hearted woman most people would have given up on.

With the scars on his body he taught her that even though you treat them with love and loyalty some people will lash out at you. With his soft breath as he slept cuddled up tight to her he taught her that even though some people will hurt you-you should always give the next person a chance. Love is out there if you are willing to keep looking for it. By tearing a piece off of every toy he ever got and giving it to his younger brother Fred he taught her that the best thing about having good 'stuff' is sharing it. With his peculiar little bark in the middle of the night he taught her that it's OK to ask for what you need in life. With his less than intimidating growl when Leroy would become annoying he taught her that you have to set your own boundaries in life or people will take advantage of you.

Charlie died peacefully Thursday, February 21st at his Auntie Tricia's office. He had a full tummy, a new toy, and died while being petted by two of his favorite up-right walkers.

He is survived by The Momma and his brothers Fred and Leroy.

So Long Old Friend

Rest in Peace
Charles Isaac Brown
October 2, 1990-February 21, 2008

What's his name?

Thursday, May 31, 2007. LEROY...from the Shania Twain song lyrics..."We'll have a little girl, a little boy, a little Benji we call 'Leroy'."


Wednesday, May 30, 2007. (part two) Here is Leroy at my office. He's saying, "I did NOT wee-wee on your Dictionary of Reformed Theology-that was some OTHER puppy!"

The Cost of Parenting

Wednesday, May 30, 2007.
Giant pillow bed $35
New supper bowl $8
Collar and leash $25
Tag for collar $8
Assorted toys $15
GIANT bottle of pee-be-gone $32
Getting this guy out of jail and into our home...PRICELESS!