Further Up, Further In Weblog

Chronicling the Journey of the Homeyers

Hugs August 27, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 4:19 pm

I wrote this for Fellowship’s newsletter this week.  I will continue to post some of these here on the blog for those who are interested. 

Here it is:

                Recently I was asked to serve on the Coordinating Council for the Cooperative Baptist Fellowship (CBF) in Texas.  I had my first meeting as part of this group out at Camp Buckner last Thursday and Friday.  IT was exciting for me to be around other pastors and lay people around the state and spend two days discussing how churches can better partner together to serve the Kingdom of God.  It was a great two days. 

                One of our lengthy discussions centered on how we can lead college students, seminarians, and young adults to fall in love with the local church.  You don’t have to look very far around to see a vast shortage of young adults (say, between 18-35) in church on Sunday mornings or involved in church ministry.  We discussed the reasons for this and ideas on how to overcome this.  These discussions are happening in every denomination and every church as we all struggle together with this, and I would be lying if I said our discussion was terribly groundbreaking. 

                One thing, though, stood out to me that I wanted to share with you.  A former pastor of quite a few years who now works for CBF was leading our discussion.  In the middle of all of our talk he stopped and said, “Do you know what I really miss about pastoring in the local church?” 

                Of course we all waited for his answer. 

And he simply said, “The hugs.”  He talked about how nowhere else is it ok to embrace each other like we do when we truly feel ourselves to be brothers and sisters in Christ and a united family of faith. 

                I’ve thought a lot about his statement since Thursday evening.   I’ve written about this before; about how when we hug, it is more than simply a king greeting.  We are opening ourselves up to one another, making ourselves vulnerable to one another.  We are signifying with our bodies an openness to give and receive and to serve one another. 

                It is nearly impossible to lovingly bear hug someone you have a grievance against.  Hugs can be forgiveness and healing.  Hugs can say what needs to be said.  Hugs communicate love and unqualified acceptance in an innate and immediate way like nothing else.

                I wondered how many young people who drop out of church were ever a part of a “hugging” congregation?  I wonder about so many people who drop out of being a part of a family of faith for so many reasons.  I wonder if they miss the hugs?  I wonder if they were ever truly hugged and embraced to begin with?    

                My family of God, I’m happy to say we are a “hugging” church.  I’m happy to say I’ve ruined multiple shirts from lipstick stains from our hugs.  I’m glad I have an allergy fit almost every Sunday as a result of embracing with you and getting a bit too much of your perfume and/or cologne. 

                My challenge is two fold on this Tuesday morning.

1)       Keep hugging!  Embrace one another.  Communicate to one another the depth of the power of an embrace by a brother or sister in Christ. 

2)      Spend a bit of time thinking about those that haven’t been with us in a while or those in our community who have simply dropped out of being a part of a family of faith, and who very well may miss the hugs in all their glorious depth.  Go to them, and extend yourself and the love of Christ to them.


LoveStorey Creations August 22, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 11:54 am

I’ve mentioned our great friends, Graham and Storey Cook, on the blog several times before.  For all of you parents who read this blog I wanted to show you what Storey made for Brooks’s nursery.















Storey paints these on canvas completely by hand and Kelley and I were just blown away with how cool this gift was for Brooks.  Every time we change him, which is quite often, he just stares at it.  Anyone who comes over to see the nursery goes on and on about it. 

She calls her paintings LoveStorey Creations.   Storey paints these canvas paintings as well as custom birthday banners and other things for quite a few people in Waco and Plano. 


As I said, I think they are pretty incredible and utterly unique and many of you parents and grandparents might be interested in visiting with Storey about creating a LoveStorey Creation for your child or grandchild.  Below are a few more examples.   You can also click on the hyperlinks above  or here for Graham and Storey’s Blog or here LoveStorey Creations shutterfly account to see more examples and information on contact info for Storey. 





















Week 4 in the Wonderful Life of Brooks August 17, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 9:47 pm



It’s hard to believe  that Wednesday will mark on month of life for Brooks!

Here are a few pics of the last week.










 Brooks quickly took to tummy time.  He loves to balance on his tummy with feet and head in the air.  The boppy pillow has also become a favored post-meal sitting spot.  The boppy pillow may be the most used piece of baby tech we have.  We use it when we hold him, Kelley uses it when she feeds, Brooks sits in it, and it has become my pillow of choice for naps. 



 Last week our friends Jerry and Carolyn Edwards were kind enough to let us have a picnic in their backyard by the lake.  Brooks greatly enjoyed it, as did Max and the parents.   














I worked from home about half the day today and took the rest of the day off to help Kelley out with a fussy Brooks as she was still running a fever and feeling bad.  She had pumped a couple times over the past few days and I got to feed Brooks for the first time.  It was very cool.  Brooks looked very confused as he looked up at me. 
















Tonight mom and Brooks were both pretty worn out as I blogged.  I couldn’t resist snapping these shots.  IMG_2197

 Absolutely beautiful.  The loves of my life.



The Latest August 16, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 6:47 pm

IMG_2190It’s been a pretty busy week, thus not too many updates.  I apologize (especially to the grandma’s) for not posting more pics and video. 

Kelley’s Grandpa (Pa), his wife Peggy and their good friend Don and Wilma Neal came and met Brooks yesterday evening and came and visited again this morning.  Now if only my Mam-maw can get down here Brooks will have met all of the Great-grandparents! IMG_2191


Brooks has been really fussy the past couple of days which has not been fun.  It seems we are constantly either trying to keep him awake so he will sleep later or coaxing him to go to sleep so we can as well.  If this is a war…Brooks is winning. 

Kelley woke up last night feeling pretty badly, and after visiting with the Dr. this afternoon she has been diagnosed with mastitis (complete with 102 fever, chills, with a good measure of pain thrown in).   Luckily he sent in the prescription without us having to go see him in Round Rock (an hour drive).  The antibiotics are doing their thing as of an hour ago and hopefully she will be back to feeling good soon. 

On a lighter note:  I tried this afternoon, in the midst of all the fuss, to capture a few of Brooks’s coos and sounds on video.  It didn’t work out too great, but if you persevere to the end of this one I’ve posted you will be rewarded.  I promise. 


Yelling at dogs August 12, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 8:47 am

This weekend was pretty nice. 

Thursday (our weekend starts on Thursday, just like in college) the Stanley’s brought us dinner and met Brooks.  Courtney and Logan are excellent cooks.  Kelley and I tend to be a little unadventurous in our cooking, but the Stanleys are not.  They (or should I say, Courtney!) made Greek Wedding Soup complete with lamb meat ballsand pita bread as well as strawberries, cool-whip and angel food cake.  It was excellent!  Sadly we didn’t get any pictures of dinner OR of Logan, Courtney, and Weiss with Brooks.  I guess we’ll just have to do it again!

Friday Kelley’s uncle and aunt, Randall and Donna, brought Kelley’s grandma, Ma Genie, down from Vernon to meet Brooks.  Terry, Amy, Aaron, and Chelsey came over as well. 

It was incredibly sweet watching Ma get to hold her first great-grandson and get to visit with the Grafs. 



Saturday the Cook Family made the trek down from Waco to meet Brooks as well.  We one day look forward to receiving great wealth from Graham and Storey in the form of a dowry when Brooks marries Cambell, so it was very exciting to see Cambell and Brooks meet for the first time. 

Graham and I met 10 years ago this month on our first day at Baylor.  We’ve been great friends for a decade and it was incredibly special  to be together with our kids. 

On a lighter note, Cambell loves animals (dogs included) and enjoys giving them a piece of her mind.  We’re not sure exactly what she tells them, but she lets them know what she is thinking, in her own language, and with great passion.  Max was a good sport.  See the video for details. 


20 Days of Brooks August 10, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 10:00 am

So today marks 20 days of Brooks being with us and in commemoration if this momentous day I thought I would post pictures of 20 people holding Brooks over the past 20 days.  We have been blessed to have family and friends completely surround us during these days with Brooks and it has been a joy to spend so much time with so many family and friends and to introduce our son to the people we love. 


First and foremost:  Mom and Dad










GJ and Sassy follow closely behind!




Sweetest of all are great-grandma’s Maw-maw and Ma Genie!



The yet-to-be-named Grandpa’s are already talking tackling techniques and how to properly execute a 3-point stance.




The aunts and uncle






The incomparable Dr. Fernandez!


The great aunts and uncle










Cousins and Friends


Soon-to-be-mom Gina







So maybe Graham isn’t technically holding Brooks, but he did throughout the day and I needed a 20th picture, and this is a very special one.  On a side note, the picture just to the right of Cambell and above Brooks was taken by Graham.  Good stuff. 


Sorry to those who have visited and we have not photographed!  You’ll have to visit again.  It’s been a great 20 days.


Brooks on Film August 9, 2009

Filed under: Uncategorized — furtherupfurtherin @ 6:47 pm

I finally took some good video of Brooks this afternoon while he was working out on his stomach.  He’s a baby, so he doesn’t do a whole lot, but I find it captivating.  I may be biased…

This one is a little longer, it’s for the hardcore Brooks fans, but there are a couple hiccups that are pretty adorable if you persevere till the end.