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What Impact Could You Make in 90 Years?

My grandmother (better known to us as “Nanny”) turns ninety years old today. We traveled to Kentucky over the holidays and were able to see her. We all agree, she doesn’t look ninety. On the contrary, God has blessed her with great health, and we feel so blessed to have her in our lives.

I spent my earliest years in a house my parents had built right next door to my grandparents in the quaint little village of Browning, which is on the outskirts of Rockfield, which is on the outskirts of Bowling Green. My brother referred to it as either “the sticks” or “the boonies” most of the time. But for me, it’s always been a pretty special place – not just because of the rolling hills, neighborly neighbors, and my love for the culture – but because of Nanny.

My memories of Nanny involve walks up and down Galloway Mill Road, watching her sew and quilt, and seeing her hang laundry on the clothesline. I remember getting soft serve ice cream at the Browning store (which my grandparents owned for a time), fish fry’s at the Fire Department (where my grandfather was Chief), and Sundays at Clear Fork Baptist Church where Nanny has been a member for more than seven decades.

How much of an impact can a person make in 90 years of life? I don’t think we’ll ever know in this life. Our influence goes on and on, touching lives the way a river trickles over new rocks downstream until it blends into the sea at its delta. She didn’t just raise three children of her own, but grandchildren, neighbors’ kids, and even great-grandchildren.

Nanny, we wish we could be at your house today. And if we were, we’d hope for chicken hash, pimento cheese, or some boiled custard left from the holidays. We love you and wish you the very best ninetieth birthday anyone could have… and more beyond!

Baby Sam Takes Over the World

Some stories are timeless, like this one, written by one Ella Grace, my eight-year-old daughter. Enjoy.

Once there was a baby named Sam and he had the smelliest diaper in the world. He had decided to that if he distracted his family he could make a run for the White House.

So one day he crawled into the living room while carrying a pooperang! He threw it at them and made a run for the stairs. He ran down the stairs and out the front door. But when he got outside there was a huge dog right in front of him! He reached into his pocket and pulled out another pooperang. He threw it at the dog and the dog was knocked out!

Then he went down the street. But he ran into the town super hero named Robo Baby. Robo Baby was half machine, half baby and he was going for his daily walk doing good deeds. They both gave a nasty look to each other and went on their way. Robo baby wasn’t a very good super hero most of the time. He didn’t care much about baby Sam because he was very hard to defeat.

When Sam reached the White House there were five guards at the front door. He tied them up and threw them out of town. Then he opened the heavy front door. He ran up two flights of stairs to the President’s Office. He captured the President and flushed him down the toilet. Within two weeks he had taken over the country!

I love the ending, but I’m not quite sure if Sam is the villain… or the real hero of the story.

God Took Me To School About My Rules

Treasure Island Beach, Laguna Beach, CA

Treasure Island Beach, Laguna Beach, CA

Yesterday, we headed to Treasure Island Beach. It’s a beautiful spot in Laguna Beach hidden away behind the Montage Resort. You have to hike a bit to get down to it, but once you’re there, you’re enclosed between two beautiful cliffs.

We put our towels down about 50 feet from the wet sand to make sure we were out of reach of the waves, then Ella and I headed down toward the water to start a sand castle empire bump. Ella has a bit of a fear of the waves and was a little paranoid that they would unexpectedly come in farther than the wet sand. This is where my rules came into the picture.

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Today, I Had My Cake… And I Ate it Too!

Ella at the American Girl Store

Ella at the American Girl Store

What does it take to enjoy a nearly perfect day? Well…

Our Cake!

Our Cake!

  • Seeing your precious daughter turn 8 years old.
  • Southern California summer – 80 and no humidity.
  • A trip to the Grove in Hollywood.
  • A visit to the American Girl Store… where they served cake.
  • Watching Ella spend gift certificates on a new doll friend named Lanie.
  • Weekend services at Saddleback Church.
  • Chick-fil-A for dinner (Ella’s pick).
  • Ice Cream.
  • Watching a 3 month old Samuel endure it all, including traffic jams on the 5 and 405 freeways, like a champ!
  • Meeting a neighbor with a 3 month old English bulldog pup who licked my toes.
  • Hangin’ on the couch with Ella and a late night movie.

We were introduced today to what everyone has told us about Los Angeles traffic. Sixty miles takes anywhere from two hours to six days… take long-term provisions just in case.

A New Year, A New School, and New Opportunities

Ella Off to SchoolThe last couple of weeks have been rather interesting at the Cox house. Angie has begun a new career teaching Bible at Life Way Christian School in Centerton, just a few miles away, and Ella started second grade there today. Though Angie will take Ella with her each day, I had the privilege of delivering her to her new classroom today. All I can say is she seems a little bit less like a little girl each time we do this.

For me, I’ve remained a little emotional about it throughout the day. I’m not sad that she’s growing up, though that’s probably Angie’s feeling. Rather, I’m afraid of that day when I won’t be able to protect her. She’s a bit timid and had a difficult time when we got to the classroom. It reminded me of what a comfort zone her parents are to her. At least for now.

Over time, she’ll become a little more independent. Someday she’ll drive herself to school. Someday she’ll move off to college. Someday…

At the end of these thoughts I’m reminded that instead of wishing away the present, or dreading the future, perhaps we should enjoy each and every moment we have with the precious people in our lives. I can’t even begin to express, in this single blog post, just how thankful I am for the gift of Ella Grace, nor can I convey how proud I am of my wife. For both of them, this is a great new adventure with a lot of scariness thrown in for effect. That’s life, isn’t it? It’s how God grows us – by facing down all the scariness with faith, we learn how to run with confidence.

Who knows what else this year may bring?!