Monday, January 28, 2008
Maybe I could write about the fact that Nathan has had fever since last Wednesday. We paid his doctor a $20 co-pay to tell us that he has a virus (duh), and can go back to school tomorrow.
Maybe I could write about the fact that we had to remove all lotions, baby powder and otherwise messy products from Gracie's room, because the girl is NOSEY and additionally, loves to climb. I found her room dusted in baby powder Sunday morning after she had a heyday dispersing it throughout the space. I wasn't there, but I'm confident it involved twirling and laughing.
Maybe I could write about the fact that our sitter won't be keeping Nathan this summer and that I am stressed about finding somewhere to send him for the 12 weeks between 1st and 2nd grade. Between my mom, my sister-in-law and my sitter, we have 7 weeks taken care of, but 5 more to go. Have I mentioned before how much I hate change, and the thought of not knowing how Nathan's summer will play out is killing me?
Maybe I could write about the fact that my cousin Courtney sent me a fantabulous scone recipe that I can't seem to quit making. Seriously easy....seriously good. I'm not a big fan of scones. They always seem to be too dry, but these make me want to eat the entire recipe.
Maybe I could write about the fact that I have apparently caught whatever it is that is going around this part of the country, my throat hurts and I am ready to go to bed at the embarrassing hour of 7:22 pm. I'm thinking a nice big shot of NyQuil with a Vitamin C chaser is in order tonight. If I catch it early enough, that usually does the trick, unless my body remembers that I don't have a spleen in which case all bets are off. We'll see what happens....
I would love to write about all of these things in excruciating detail, but now I'm too tired. Maybe tomorrow.....
Wednesday, January 23, 2008
The first is called The Bright Light Award, and it was given to me by Zuzu at A View Through the Window. I tried to find where this award originated, but was unsuccessful. This is what she said:
"I wanted to let you know another has felt your touch. Do you realize how many people you have touched by your simple thought (and acted upon) random act of kindness? Your one sweet idea to brighten another's day is bouncing about the internet ... traveling out in cyberspace ... landing blog to blog ... uniting new people, creating new friendships and strengthening the bonds of friendships already glued together by years of trust & laughter."
I hope you guys aren't totally sick of me tagging you for everything, but here it goes. I would like to pass this on to Alana, Heather, Linda, and Lisa.
"Reading their blogs makes me always feel good, that's what I am doing in the office instead of doing proper work :P"
I would like to pass this one on to Debra, Karen, Leah, and Alana (I just totally dig your blog, girl!) Take these awards and know that I love each and every one of you. Every time I visit, I can be sure to laugh, cry and/or be touched very deeply by a sense of kinship among women. No pressure...you don't have to post the award or feel pressure to pass it along. I just wanted you guys to feel the love!
Monday, January 21, 2008
This meme is designed to make some of those old posts readily available to those who may be new to your blog, or even those who are regulars, just not from the start. Anyhoo, here are the rules:
Go back through your archives and post the links to your five favorite blog posts that you’ve written. But there is a catch:
Link 1 must be about family.
Link 2 must be about friends.
Link 3 must be about yourself.
Link 4 must be about something you love.
Link 5 can be anything you choose.
Post your five links and then tag five other people. At least TWO of the people you tag must be newer acquaintances so that you get to know each other better. Readers - don’t forget to read the archive posts and leave comments!
- Home A brief history of where I came from and why I love it there.
- Good Friends I think the title pretty much sums it up!
- I AM--Just in Time This was a post in response to a bible study I participated in.
- Forgotten Lives Strange title about something I love, but you'll understand once you read it.
- Another Milestone and The Magical Panties Two separate posts about the kids.
So there you have it. Probably more than you wanted to know about the workings of my brain and potty training techniques in our house! In the spirit of playing well with others, it's now time to tag 5 other people. Because I'm all about following the rules, as you can see from my link #5.
As if you didn't have enough to do this week, here's a little something extra for Linda, Andrea, Faraja, Karen, and Leslie. If you are reading this, and weren't tagged, don't feel left out! I would love to see this meme on your blog too!
Sunday, January 20, 2008
Saturday, January 19, 2008
But beyond the pain and crushing grief at losing him to cancer when he seemed to have so many more years left to live, was the undeniable beauty of his life. My earliest memories of Uncle Tellius were a strange mixture of love and fear. He was an alcoholic and drug addict, a lifestyle he acquired during his time in Cambodia during the Vietnam War. I remember him breaking the kitchen chairs over the table when he became enraged that Aunt Gail had
But I loved him. When he was relatively sober, he was fun to be with. He had lost his front teeth playing high school football, and he would get on all fours and chase us down the hall with his partials pushed out of his mouth, growling as we squealed in terror. He was so soft-hearted and such a push-over when it came to his daughters, Courtney, Allison and Sunshine.
He and Aunt Gail eventually divorced, but he finally admitted that he had a problem with substance abuse and got help. I was a child, so in my mind it happened overnight, but I'm sure there were times he backslid and fell off the wagon, but he eventually kicked the habit. He built a house on the property that belonged to my great-grandparents and started over fresh. He was the kind of uncle that never forgot a birthday, and I was sure to get a crisp $5 bill inside my birthday card. Somehow, losing him on my birthday seemed strangely fitting. I don't see it as a sad thing...it makes me feel all the more connected to him, in that no matter how many years go by I will always think of him on my birthday.
I don't remember how old I was, but at some point it occurred to me that we celebrate Veteran's Day for a reason, and that I felt that Uncle Tellius had been neglected in some way because of his service in Vietnam. I decided that year to send him a card thanking him for his service, and that was when our relationship changed. That one random act touched him deeply, and he let me know how much my words had meant to him. I vowed from that year on, I would always send a card on Veteran's Day.
Some years it was a card and some years it was flowers, but I always sent something. In 1997 when I announced that I was getting married, he was unable to attend because he was working a shut down at the plant where he worked. I know that it bothered him, but he sent me a letter explaining how much he wanted to be there and how he was flattered that I considered him role model and hero. Then he wrote:
"But you need to know that I also look up to you as a role model--you are my hero.
There are all sorts of heroes in the world, and all kinds of ways and events that turn people into them, but there is one ingredient I feel must be present in all heroic deeds and that ingredient is bravery. Not too many people possess it, understand it or even display it. Brave acts usually occur in a very few minutes or even seconds. The deed is done, the medal awarded and all is over.
But this is not so in your case. The bravery that you displayed over a very long and bitter conflict is to me what real heroes are made of. In most cases for what you did and what you went through, the medal of honor would surely have been issued--your courage and bravery is truly what makes up "The Right Stuff"!
You fought the long battle, and when the enemy laid siege you dug in and held the high ground. And when you were seriously wounded on the field of battle someone in the ranks yelled for a medic. But on this day there was no medic to be found--all had been killed. Then, out of the gun smoke and carnage came a man that no one knew except for you and a few of your comrades. He wore the insignia of a doctor--a Physician, and He tended to your wounds and stopped the bleeding. You recovered from your wounds and returned to the battlefield to see your army win the conflict.
Because of you Xan, I am able to cope with many conflicts in my life. The Bible says that we have been given a gift--you are one of my most treasured gifts. I know Trevor is a good man and that he loves you very much. I wish the both of you all the good things in life and many years together. It is logical. (You've totally got to be a Trekkie to get that reference)
I knew when my dad called me with the diagnosis, that it was only a matter of time before we would lose Uncle Tellius. I felt like even more of a kindred spirit because of our shared experience with cancer. Although the treatments devised by man failed him in the end, God did not. He went to his death surrounded by family and with the blessed assurance that he would be free from sin, pain and suffering forever. It was an unimaginable comfort to think of him singing songs of praise at the feet of Jesus, and knowing that I would see him again one day.
Although the years of addiction that tore his family apart could never be undone or forgotten, he was proof that God's sovereign plan for our lives cannot be stopped by our own sin and weakness. Uncle Tellius left behind a legacy of faith and an incredible example of how lives can be changed by the indwelling power of the Holy Spirit.
My grief is still raw even after a year, but I suppose that will heal with time. I find myself in tears at the most inopportune moments, and unable to find the words to even speak to his wife, Jan. If my grief is still fresh, what must it be like to lose a spouse? What must it be like for his son, Zach, to lose his father at the age of 14? Although I am unable to speak, I pray for them daily and I continue to remember the man I loved like a father. He was my hero.
Thursday, January 17, 2008
But after Nathan was born, I struggled with my job. One of the things I liked least about training and working at Anderson was the stress that went along with long hours and a heavy workload. We had moved about 45 miles outside of Houston so that we could live in our hometown and be close to our parents after Nathan came. That translated into an hour and a half commute one way, and the last place I wanted to be was in my car for 3 hours a day. I found myself dropping Nathan off at the sitter's house at the crack of dawn, and then arriving home after he was already asleep.
The stress of being a new mom, coupled with the stress at work and the fact that I was missing out on actually raising my son led me to search for a new job. I found one that cut my commute to about 35 minutes one way, and allowed me to work reasonable hours. At the time, the promise of more time with Trevor and Nathan made the pay cut and using older technology seem like a small price to pay. The sacrifice of my pay potential has never caused me a moment of regret. My life settled into a comfortable routine of a relatively stress free job and more time with my family.
This brief job history has been a lead in to the topic at hand, which is the fact that I feel completely out of touch with technology. My ability to assimilate and use new technology quickly and efficiently was one of the things that made me good at my job at Anderson. I'm a fast learner, and in spite of my distaste for change, I was remarkably adept at facilitating it with respect to my career.
An old friend and colleague from Anderson called me the other day, and we were discussing work. About halfway through the conversation, I realized that I understood what she was saying but had no clue what she was talking about. The words were familiar. In the 6 years that I have been away from Anderson, I have attended lectures and read literature on new technology as it relates to my field. I understand the concepts in theory, and can pretty much visualize the techniques, but I have absolutely no working or practical knowledge.
As the conversation ended, I felt a little out of my element but quickly put it out of my mind as I arrived home to my family. It wasn't until this morning as I was sitting in traffic that I was suddenly hit with how out of touch I am. I would be so lost if I had to go work at Anderson tomorrow. Oh, I could learn, but I couldn't march in with my usual confidence and get to work.
Can I just say that my pride was more than slightly injured? I take a great deal of pride in being good at what I do (a good quality in someone who gives really high doses of radiation for a living), and the thought of being less than I had been was somewhat disturbing. Then I had all of these images of Trevor, Nathan and Grace flash through my head. I was sitting there in my car second guessing my decision to spend more time with my family because of my stinkin' pride!
My decision to nurture my family instead of my career wasn't a sacrifice at all in the grand scheme of things, although sometimes I feel like I haven't done enough nurturing with the stress of working full-time. But in the end, the benefits far outweigh the negative. I take my children to the sitter's house after the sun comes up, and I am able to spend time with them in the evening before it's time to go to bed. I don't have to work weekends anymore, and taking call doesn't mean getting home at 8 pm anymore. It's not perfect, but it works so much better than it used to.
So I've decided it's time to put on my big girl panties and move on. No more regret about how good I might have been if I had stayed at Anderson. No more complaining about how much I miss new technology and how out of touch I feel sometimes. No more feeding my own sense of pride. I am officially over it.
And it only took six years.
Sunday, January 13, 2008
But what does the second part of that verse mean? To die is gain. Dying to sin? Certainly that is one meaning. If we are to even try to be Christlike, we must die to our sinful nature and be truly reborn. It's not a matter of fixing our old life, it's a rebirth into a completely new one. One that is marked by our obedience and submission to the Father.
But "to die is gain" means something else as well. Out lives should be completely focused on the eternal implications of death when the end comes. This earth is completely temporal. The only thing that matters in this life is our obedience to God and our desire to glorify Him by being witnesses of His majesty and grace so that we may be used by the Holy Spirit to affect the eternal fate of those around us. Everything else is just dust in the wind. Our stuff, our jobs, even our relationships with those we love, all come in second to the command to love and obey God. We should be anxiously awaiting the time God has appointed for our deaths. We are assured of an inheritance far beyond the imagination and scope of man.
However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him."
I Corinthians 2:9
Even the apostle Paul was torn between being used by God during his time here on earth, and the ultimate joy of dying and being with Christ forever.
For to me, to live is Christ, and to die is gain. But if I live on in the flesh, this will mean fruit from my labor; yet what I shall choose I cannot tell. For I am hard-pressed between the two, having a desire to depart and be with Christ, which is far better.
So while we are here, let's make a difference. Comfort the hurting, love the unlovely and bring the truth of the gospel to every person God places in our path. Let's die to the world and remember that our earthly death is simply a stepping stone to the glorious, eternal future of praising God forever. Let's be so filled with the Spirit that we long for death, in the sense that we will finally see our Saviour face to face.
Friday, January 11, 2008
For more photo hunting, go here.
When I ask her a question to which she either:
- Doesn't know the answer or
- Doesn't want to answer because we're gearing up for some discipline
I don't understand what you're saying.
I think I might start using it on a regular basis. I can think of so many applications.....
I couldn't share a Gracie story without mentioning Nathan, so here we go. We were sitting at the dinner table last night and out of nowhere he said, "It's not fair that Easter is the first holiday of the year for kids."
(translation: it's too long until the next holiday that allows me to gorge on sugar and sugar products and to receive ridiculous quantities of gifts)
Trevor turned to him and asked, "Why do we really celebrate Easter?" Nathan put his finger to his chin and said, "Because God got out of that, what is it called? Cave." I felt the conversation spiralling out of control and in an effort to slow the descent, I asked him why Jesus was in the cave to begin with. He said, "Because He died on the cross."
All is not lost! He has retained the last 3 years of teaching. Then I asked him why Jesus died on the cross and he said, "To cleanse us from the sins." I was so proud. You have to understand how far we've come in three years. When I explained why we celebrate Easter when he was 3, he paused and said:
"So let me get this straight. The Easter bunny died and then came back to life on the third day?"
It's ok...you can laugh. I almost wrecked the car when he said it.
Thursday, January 10, 2008
I received an email from Virtue Alert informing me that I was a VIRTUE ALERT WINNER! and that my name was drawn from the list of people who voted on the book cover options for Vicki Courtney's new book.
I can barely remember conversations that I had last week, much less that I threw my name into the hat for a FABULOUS PRIZE back in December. So when I received the email to inform me of my good fortune, I scared my husband with the yell that I let out! What I meant to say, is that I sedately smiled at my good fortune and responded politely and quietly to the email. I was particularly excited because the prize turns out to be TWO BOOKS! That's right. Not one, but two. This is the perfect prize for the person who will read the shampoo bottle if all other reading materials in the bathroom have disappeared. Seriously, people. It's a sickness.
If you've never visited Vickie Courtney's blog, I can promise you that you will be blessed and encouraged by what she has to say. I would particularly recommend reading this and this. She is the perfect mix of humor, scripture and mercy.
So thank you Vickie Courtney! Thank you for giving me the opportunity to live the dream. Now I can confidently add my name to drawings and raffles with the knowledge that I too, can win.
Wednesday, January 9, 2008
Until Monday on the way home from work. I was sitting at a stop light (right before a long bridge) and when the light turned green I released the brake, stepped on the gas and...
Imagine my surprise when my 3 year old vehicle decided that it didn't like to stay in gear any longer. The engine just revved up when I gave it gas, so I coasted into the providentially placed gas station to my right and promptly called Trevor. I tried switching gears (all of them including reverse), and all I got was wasted gas from the spinning engine. Trevor suggested turning the Tahoe off completely and then restarting the engine.
I put it in gear and made my way back out to the road and put my blinker on to turn right on the bridge. I stepped on the gas and...
After turning the engine off and restarting, I was able to move it to the shoulder and out of traffic. I called OnStar to do a vehicle diagnostic and almost laughed out loud when they said that the diagnostic showed no problems.
I'm not a mechanic, but I'm pretty sure that when the vehicle won't move, there is a problem. I wasn't thrilled with being on the shoulder of a bridge, with traffic whizzing by inches from my door, so I made it across the bridge by driving 20 feet at a time, turning the Tahoe off, starting it again and then driving another 20 feet.
So by this time, Trevor was on his way. When he arrived, he did a once over and for the first time in our marriage did not have a ready solution to a mechanical problem. This is not a dig at his expertise, rather surprise. I mean, duh, he knew it was the transmission and checked a few things but beyond that, he was stumped. We called his brother to come tow us home, and while we were waiting in the dark with our two small children, I was suddenly glad that he has a concealed handgun license. And he's always packing. God bless Texas!
So, to make a long story even longer, we both took Tuesday off from work to tow the Tahoe to a transmission shop (the filter was completely clogged and there was a ton of metal shavings in the pan...whatever that means). They are still working on it, and I am the proud driver a stripped down, white, Ford Taurus.
I can't wait to get my Tahoe back.
(Update: Ouch. It will be $2200 to repair the Tahoe. Praise God for the emergency fund!
Monday, January 7, 2008
Sucked in never to return to my family as I manically surf the web, bouncing from blog to blog. You know how that works: the "I tell five friends, and they each tell five friends", and so on and so forth until my eyes are bloodshot and my children are weakly patting my leg to get my attention because they are, you know, a little bit starved, because I have ignored them (and my husband) for roughly 12.8 hours.
Well, 12.8 might be a little extreme, but the fact that Trevor suggested a governor on my Internet use indicates that he too feels I've been spending too much time in the blogosphere. So, I think I might have to stop the madness. It's been fun visiting new sites, and finding new friends here but it's time to return to the real world. You know, the one with children who need attention and a husband who would like to carry on a conversation with me where I say more than, "uh huh" and "yeah".
I'm still planning to visit all of the blogs that link to the award post, but the madness must stop.
I mean it.
Right after I check a few more.......
Saturday, January 5, 2008
A theme is given for each Saturday. Post a photo that best represents the theme. New and old photos welcome but must be from your personal collection and not photos obtained from the web. Play along once a week by posting your photo on your site.
Friday, January 4, 2008
One of my favorite days of the year is putting the decorations up, but equally as enjoyable is taking them down. The decorations look great because they are supposed to make the house look and feel all Christmasy and cosy, but I generally like the "less is more" approach. And seriously, is it possible to live by that creed when it comes to Christmas decorations?
I think not.
So when the day comes that I am able to get my house back in order after the madness that is Christmas, I am overjoyed. The clean lines of my home become visible again when I remove the garland and lights. I replace pictures of the kids with Santa with my old, familiar pictures of family and friends. It's like rediscovering my life once a year.
I was out on the deck taking down the lights on the railing, and Gracie asked me what I was doing. I told her that Christmas was over and that it was
Gracie: But I like the lights!
Me: I do too, but we can't leave them up. It would be tacky.
Gracie: But I like tacky.
My poor baby. She's going to grow up to be one of those people who leave their lights on the house until July. The wooden snowmen in the yard will fall over around February and leave large brown patches on the lawn. The chickens in the front yard will choke on the tinsel that has fallen out of the tree, or possibly get electrocuted by the frayed extension cord hanging from its branches.
I'll be right back...I need a paper bag.
Wednesday, January 2, 2008
So, in celebration of my stick-to-it-ness I am creating a blog award. I'm calling it The Daily Dose award, and it goes to the blogs that I must read every day without fail. Seriously, I might as well mainline new posts...it's that addictive. I feel acute disappointment when I go to my favorite blogs and find old posts (no pressure here, girls!).
So here's to all the blogs that you've discovered that you can't possibly live without. They make you laugh, cry, think and feel connected every time you read a post. They give you a thrill as you see them loading into your browser and you get an equally satisfying thrill when you see that they have commented on your blog.
I am giving this award to Alana, Heather, Sue, Leah, Lisa and Karen. Please feel free to pass this award along as you see fit. All I ask is that you link here so I can also visit the blogs that each of you find so interesting.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008
Although we promised ourselves that we would start getting up early in preparation for going back to the real world of work and school, Trevor and I slept until we woke up this morning. Granted, we stayed up until the unheard of hour of 11:15 pm (we're seriously hard-core party animals), but we still needed to make an effort to get up.
Anyway, as we were sitting in the living room, sipping coffee and trying to wake up, Trevor made a most unusual request.
"How about we get out of the house with the kids and take a road trip?"
The silence was a bit deafening, due to the fact the day I had planned out in my head was the polar opposite of a road trip. Mine was more along the lines of laying on the couch and watching movies, never getting out of my flannel pajamas and perhaps getting in a game or two of Cadoo with Nathan. However, Trevor very seldom wants to just "get out of the house" so we were galvanized into action by his excitement about driving down towards Galveston.
I should mention a small detail here....this was a 90 mile trip one way. Yes folks, 90 miles with two children and the promise of a beach somewhere along the way. We went south through the boon docks of southeast Texas, and ended up on High Island. We ate lunch at a local
dive restaurant, and got ready for the trip on the Bolivar ferry.
We ended up waiting about 40 minutes for the ferry, but it was worth the wait to see Nathan and Grace get so excited. We got out of the Tahoe, and went up to the observation deck with the bag of crackers we brought to feed to the seagulls. We were told that we had to go to the back of the ferry on the bottom deck to feed the birds, so we made our way back down to enjoy the aerial acrobatics of the gulls. Nathan just loved throwing the crackers into the flock and Trevor even had a gull take one directly from his hand. I took several pictures of the birds to try to show how close the gulls were to our heads. I could have literally reached up and touched them.
After the ferry ride (and a melt-down on Gracie's part because we had to get back in the Tahoe), we went on to Stuart beach in Galveston. Nathan lamented that he had not brought his swimming suit, and no amount of logic could convince him that the water was too cold. Gracie wanted to build a sand castle like Curious George, but I wasn't about to let them get covered in sand. I foresee a trip to the beach this summer!
After a pit stop at McDonalds, we decided to make our way back home and ended up going back to the mainland by way of the Lynchburg ferry. The road to the ferry also goes right past the San Jacinto Monument and the Battleship Texas. We promised Nathan and Grace that we would come back in the spring to tour them both. The kids got really excited about riding on another ferry, but were disappointed by the small size. The Bolivar ferry held about 60 cars, and this one only held about 12-15.
As Trevor and I evaluated the "fun factor" of the impromptu trip, we decided that the kids were still a little too young for this sort of outing. They would have had a better time if we had had a drive with a specific destination in mind, an opportunity to stay and enjoy said destination and then a trip home. Although we had a good time, we could see ways that it would have been better. Maybe next year.
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