Saturday, August 30, 2008

It's a Sickness Really

I have spent the better portion of my Saturday scrubbing sinks, washing clothes and dusting every nook and cranny in my house. What sparked the sudden industry? Why, there's a hurricane brewing in the Gulf, of course!

When bad weather looms on the horizon, I have an almost manic need to clean and organize my house. I make sure that every stitch of clothing we own is clean and neatly folded or hung in the closet. I steam clean the deck furniture cushions. I go through all of the clothes that have been laying on my closet floor for the last nine three months, and hang them neatly. I clean my window sills and baseboards.

I obsess over the yard, wanting to be sure it gets mowed and trimmed before the storm comes. I even water the plants, knowing all the while that we are going to get more rain than we can use in just a few days.

I take photos of all the rooms to document our stuff for insurance purposes, and make sure that everything is in it's place. I update the portable, red file box with current immunization records, insurance and account information in case we need to leave quickly.

I will do this up until the moment that I am sure that the hurricane will not be close enough to cause any damage. But if it were, you can be sure that no matter the possible damage inflicted on my home, it was clean to begin with. I'm not sure why this is so important to me. Maybe it's just another symptom of my control freakishness. I guess I figure that if everything is clean ahead of time, then there will be less mess to clean up later.

Yeah. I know.


As it stands now, it doesn't look as though Hurricane Gustav is going to cause more trouble than some fallen branches and some heavy rain, but experience has taught me that you can never truly predict where a hurricane is going to make landfall. We have a pretty good idea, but sometimes they make crazy turns and and jumps so we're keeping an eye on the NOAA website.

I wonder if I can convince Trevor to go cut some branches out of the pecan trees in the backyard before Tuesday?

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Siesta Fiesta Extravaganza!

Well, it's been almost a week post Siesta Fiesta, and I'm finally getting around to writing about the experience. And let me tell was an experience. From being picked up at the airport by my roomie Linda, to the final goodbye as she dropped me off it was a great weekend.

My flight was delayed because of bad weather, so by the time Linda and I picked up our armbands, checked into the hotel and grabbed a bite to eat we were a bit late for the conference Friday night. We didn't mind because it meant that we had a chance to yell visit during dinner, as the Mariachi band firmly planted itself two tables down from us.

When we arrived at the conference, the praise and worship time was almost over as we found our seats in the Siesta section. The tempo had slowed, and women all around me were raising their hands in worship and adoration to the Lord of hosts. It was one of the most beautiful things I've ever seen. I don't remember what we were singing, but the music stopped and it was just the sound of 10,000 separate voices blended into one, praising the Almighty.

The Spirit fell on us like a blanket...warm, almost tangible. I just closed my eyes as they filled with tears of joy and adoration and basked in the moment of preparation for receiving the Word. I am witness to the fact that Beth Moore preached some Truth Friday and Saturday.

Truth, people.

She spoke of our inheritance in and with Christ. She spoke of sonship and of boundaries that we have to protect. She spoke truth. As I was planning for this trip, I am a little ashamed to say that I had not given the conference a second thought. I had been so focused on the blogging aspect of the trip, and meeting so many people in person that I completely lost focus of the real reason we were all meeting to begin with. But it didn't take long for Beth to bring everything into sharp focus, and as I explored the Word with her I became excited about what I was learning, and everything else took a backseat to the Truth I was absorbing.

After the conference was over Saturday, all of the bloggers stayed behind for a photo session and a Q&A with Beth and her daughters. I was in the red group and here is a picture of us with Beth, Travis Cottrell and Kelly Minter.

After the Q&A, Linda and I went in search of some lunch. We knew we didn't have time before the PJ party to walk down to the Riverwalk, brave the long waits for a table, eat and then get back in time to rest, so we did the next best thing.

We found an IHOP.

Good old IHOP. I can always depend on you! We ate and visited, rehashing the conference and sharing stories with one another. It was such a sweet time of fellowship Linda, and it was the first time we had really just sat down and relaxed. We took our time, and then drove back to the Marriott to rest a bit and get changed into our evening attire. (Trevor asked me when I got home if I really, actually wore pajamas to a party with other grown women.)

Yes. Yes, I did. And it was marvelous! We had such a great time although I only knew a few people from the blogging world. Of course I knew Linda (Mocha With Linda) and Lisa (The Preacher's Wife), and I love to read Sophie's blog (BooMama), but beyond that I was in a room with a bunch of strangers. But the funny thing was that none of us felt like strangers. I am not a social butterfly. I prefer to watch the room and the action moving around me, but this time I felt like I was hanging out with friends.

We were some of the first to arrive, and so we picked a table and sat down with our pizza and cookies. Pretty soon, our table filled with the most wonderful girls you'd ever want to meet. Jill (Busy Girls) and Lori (Whatever) were from Florida, and Rachel (Three Boys and Me) was from Missouri. I had never laid eyes on any of these women, but there we were laughing and trading stories like we had been friends for years! The pictures of the kids were brought out for show and tell, and we spoke of home and family and the things that matter most to us.

There were testimonies that made me realize how blessed my life has been, and there were many moments of laughter (I'm remembering in particular a story that Brittney at Lopsided Halo told us. Her mother was convinced that we were a bunch of internet predators that were waiting in San Antonio to trap her!) and shared kinship as the evening wore on. I met Bethany (Beyond This Moment), a sweet girl from Oregon, and so many other ladies that it hurts my brain a little to try to recall all their names and blogs! Good times.

All this to say that I have not had such a refreshing time of fellowship and renewal in a long time. Since last weekend, I've added many new blogs to my Google Reader, and anxiously wait for new posts to appear so I can get to know my new friends better. So the next time the Siestas get together, you can count me in!!

This was the view from our room.

Me and my roomie!
Linda, Lisa and me.
Lori and Rachel
Jill (what a sweetheart!)
Sophie (aka BooMama) and me.

Monday, August 25, 2008

First Day of School

I have so many things I want to write about last weekend at the Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio, but Nathan's first day of second grade completely trumps it for now. I took the day off so that I could drive him to school, and then pick him up at the end of the day and so I was able to get some pictures of him this morning at home and in his new classroom.

I think this might be the last year that I am able to walk him to his class without causing him embarrassment. He was okay today, but I could tell that he was a little antsy about my camera once we got to school. He's still my baby, but he's growing up and I am having to make adjustments to my behavior in public. I try to be aware of the proximity of his friends and try to keep the PDA to a minimum. I don't think he's ever been embarrassed by holding my hand or being kissed in public, but these days I try to keep the ball in his court. If he grabs my hand (and I keep it readily available and accessible), I gladly hold on. But I let him choose.

So now I am sitting here, waiting for the hands on the clock to make the circuit two more times so I can go pick him up and hear all about his first day. I love settling back into the routine of the school year, with Nathan doing his homework at the counter while Trevor or I cook dinner. The summer has been fun, but this is the time of the year to which I look forward.

Click to play First Day of 2nd Grade

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

The Word is Alive

For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:12-13
Looking out from His throne
The Father of light and of men
Chose to make Himself known
And show us the way back to him
Speaking wisdom and truth
Into the hearts of peasants and Kings
He began to unveil
The Word that would change the course of all things
With eyes wide open all would see

The Word is alive
And it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless and afraid
Breathing life into all who believe
The Word is alive
And the world and its glories will fade
But His truth it will not pass away
It remains yesterday and forever the same
The Word is alive

Simple strokes on a page
Eternity's secrets revealed
Carried on from age to age
It speaks truth to us even still
As the rain falls from heaven
Feeds the earth before it returns
Lord, let your Word fall on us
And bring forth the fruit you deserve
With eyes wide open let us see



The bible was inscribed over a period of 2000 years In times of war and in days of peace, by kings, physicians, tax collectors, farmers, fishermen, singers and shepherds. The marvel is that a library so perfectly cohesive could have been produced by such a diverse crowd, over a period of time which staggers the imagination. Jesus is it's grand subject, our good it's design and the glory of God is it's end.

The Word is alive
And it cuts like a sword through the darkness
With a message of life to the hopeless and afraid
Breathing life into all who believe
The Word is alive And the world and its glories will fade
But His truth it will not pass away
It remains yesterday and forever the same
The Word is alive

---Casting Crowns

Friday, August 22, 2008

Giddy Anticipation

Today is the day that I leave for the Siesta Fiesta in San Antonio!!! I used lots of exclamation points to relay the message that I. Am. Excited!!!!!!

I'm at work right now, but in a few hours I'll be boarding my flight and then on my way to meet Linda and a plethora of other wonderful women that I have met in the last year or so through my blogging endeavour. Did I mention that I got a round-trip flight on Continental from Houston to San Antonio for $74? I think that might be 72% of my excitement right there, because I love very few things more than a really good deal.

Linda is my roomie for the weekend and she is picking me up from the airport, so the fun will start pretty much as soon as I land. Blogging will be non-existent this weekend, but I am armed with my camera and will have much to report Monday (or Thursday...whatever).

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A Product of Greediness

I realize that there are many quaint traditions that have gone by the wayside in today's society. We have become lax about many social niceties, such as thank you notes and being bothered to actually RSVP when requested. Although these things bother me, they don't shock me as much as seeing someone wearing white shoes after Labor Day and before Easter, or brides who print where they are registered on their wedding invitations.

But I digress.

Am I the only person who has noticed an increase in the number of baby showers given for women having their second (or third...or fourth) child? I was brought up with an understanding that baby showers for the first child were perfectly acceptable and appreciated. New parents have absolutely nothing that they will need, and showers are a perfect opportunity to help them get started.

But how many Boppy pillows, bouncy seats and strollers can one family need? Is there really a need to have a shower for the second child? And it's not like I'm receiving invitations to diaper showers (which all parents need more of, no matter how many children they have!). These are printed invitations to full blown baby showers, complete with where the mother-to-be is registered. (And just for the record, mother-to-be isn't really accurate, since if there is already a child at home, she is already a mother.)


What is there to register for? The brand of diapers that you prefer???

Once you have all the big items for the first baby (crib, stroller, etc), there is really nothing else that you need. Particularly if your children are 4 years apart or less. You should already have bedding, burp cloths, onesies, clothes and all the other stuff that you need to keep a newborn happy.

Having said all of that, there are three exceptions to the rule that make second baby showers perfectly acceptable. The first is if there is a large gap between children. Sometimes it's planned, but more often than not it's a big surprise. As in "Surprise! Your youngest child is 14 and you are now having another one!". Most parents have either sold or given away all the baby furniture and accoutrements. In this situation, a baby shower is a necessary event. These parents are effectively starting over in the baby department, and I gladly attend these events.

The second exception is if all previous children are one gender, and the new baby will be a different one. In this case, a small shower of very close friends and family is a lovely idea. No one wants to dress the new baby girl in blue, so this is the perfect opportunity for guests to bring pink clothes and blankets. But I think this shower should still be small and intimate.

The last exception is if twins are expected. Obviously there will be a need for another crib, stroller, etc, and having a shower is the perfect way for friends to help out.

I know that I am not alone in feeling this way, but I still keep receiving the invitations. I was discussing this with a friend at work last week, because she was dreading a second shower that she felt obligated to attend. She had asked the person throwing the shower why they were having it for the second child of the same sex, and what her friend said gave me pause. She said that she knew it wasn't really socially acceptable, but that everyone else was doing it, so why not?


I guess this means that I can start registering my kids for new school clothes each year. Maybe I'll go one step further and throw this Beginning of School Shower for myself, so I don't have to wait for a close friend to do it for me. This would really take the pressure off my wallet if everyone else would just pitch in each year and buy all of Nathan and Grace's school supplies and clothes. I could send invitations with their supply lists, and size clothing that they will need. I should probably specify brands as well, so I don't get any cheap stuff.

Okay, I'm slowly stepping away from the edge now.

It just seems like second showers are just a product of the greediness of our society. Any opportunity to "get something" for free (particularly when there is a registry involved) is deemed appropriate these days. I'm certainly not saying that showers (or registries) are a bad thing. I had wedding and baby showers, and they were wonderful expressions of love and affection by my friends and family. They helped me get started, first in my marriage and then when I had Nathan. I received many gifts that were the product of mom testing, and was able to benefit from wise women who had been through it before. I love bringing hand sewn quilts to showers and participating in this rite of passage.

I even had a small shower given to me by the wonderful ladies I work with when I had Grace, and they outfitted me in more pink than I could shake a stick at! It was a welcome and appreciated gesture, but it was intended to provide me with things that I did not have. Newborns do not care if they are sleeping on blue or pink sheets. I reused a ton of Nathan's layette with Grace, and dressed her in the cute, pink stuff when we went out. His old stroller/travel system was blue, but who cared? I had a stroller and infant car seat.

I just have a hard time understanding the mentality of people who do this. And unless the shower is a surprise, the mother would have had a conversation with the person throwing it to decide on a date. That would be the time to graciously thank the friend for the thought, and to suggest if they want to do something for the new baby, that maybe a small diaper shower would be more appropriate. So to lay the blame at the feet of the person giving the shower is not truly accurate. The mother-to-be should have nipped it in the bud long before an planning was started.

My solution to the influx of invitations to these tacky showers is to RSVP my regrets, and then to deliver a package of diapers to the new mother at some point before the baby is born, or send them with someone who is planning to attend the shower. To not send a gift to a shower to which I am invited rubs against the social grain of politeness, so I would not be crass enough to snub the mother-to-be, but it is my prerogative to choose the type of gift. But you can be sure that I will not be perusing the registry list, agonizing over which item to purchase. It's just tacky.

Monday, August 18, 2008

An Arresting Afternoon

It all started with a sharp yell. We were sitting in our living room, and heard the neighbors begin to fight. I wish I could say that we ignored it and continued watching TV, but we didn't. I'm a little ashamed to say that we went outside on the deck to better hear what all the fuss was about.

This wasn't the first time that David and Annette had put their domestic discord on display for the neighborhood. A few weeks ago, David took a bat to Annette's car and it still bears the indentions on the hood and windshield. Earlier in the week, Charly told us that they were literally in a fist fight in the front yard. More often than not, one or more of their children are standing by watching.

So we were sitting on the deck listening to them argue and scream about some furniture. The yelling and screaming escalated into banging and loud noises. Trevor went inside to grab his gun (just a precaution--he has a concealed handgun license) and then told me to go inside and call the police. I dialed the number while Trevor went to look around the fence to see what was going on. He came back into the house before I was even off the phone and said that they accused him of pulling a gun on them. When he looked around the fence (staying firmly on our property), he saw David hitting Annette (with 17 year old son trying to get in between them) and yelled for him to stop. It had the desired effect, and that's when they saw his hand held down behind his leg.

David's mother was there, and she asked Trevor if he had a gun. He said that he did, and she asked him if he was pulling a gun on her. He told her no (in no uncertain terms) and as she advanced on him, he switched to gun to his left hand and turned it so the butt was facing her and the barrel was down.

When the police arrived, they separated Trevor and me to get our statements. They took pictures of his gun and the ammunition. They went next door and talked to our neighbors. When the officer that was talking with us came back to our house, he told Trevor that he was going to have to arrest him for deadly conduct.

Oh yes he did. He arrested my mild mannered husband for deadly conduct.

We were flabbergasted. We could not believe that we had called the police on a husband who was hitting his wife IN THE FRONT YARD and my husband was being read his rights and loaded into the back of a squad car. It was the most surreal moment of my life.

Luckily, the kids were in the back of the house playing in Grace's room, so they didn't see a thing and still have no idea what happened. I sprang into action, calling family and friends to see what we could do about getting him out of jail. A good friend of mine is a lawyer, and she began to make phone calls hoping to smooth the way for his release. Here's a friendly tip:

Never get arrested on Friday night, Saturday or Sunday. You will sit in jail because judges do not work weekends in small towns.

Because of all the phone calls on Trevor's behalf, the judge released him on a PR bond which just means that he was released with no money due based on his character. However, he was not released until we had both spent a completely sleepless night waiting for 5:30am to come. This was the time that I had been instructed to be at the jail to pick him up. As with most things governmental, it took longer than expected, but this turned into a bit of a blessing.

You see, I have an issue with pride. I know...surprise, surprise! Some time back, David and Annette's oldest son was arrested for vandalism (we think). We privately laughed about it and felt like he had gotten his comeuppance. Not a very Christian attitude to have about anyone, particularly a child. Every time they would get in trouble with the police or have a fight, we would rush to the door to hear what it was about and smugly point to our own marriage and how wonderful we were.

Yeah. God tends to not like that sort of stuff.

So, as I was waiting for Trevor, David's mother (Faye) came in to pick up Annettte (who had been arrested for an unrelated hot check writing charge). As we sat there (the only two people in the waiting room), the silence was thick. She had been very ugly to me the night before at the police station when I was there to make my statement. As we sat there, the silence thickening around us like congealed pudding, I just knew that I had to say something.

I made the first move and we began to talk. I told her that Trevor had been genuinely frightened for Annette and was only trying to help. She cried into her tissue and told me that she appreciated my saying that, and that she regretted that the situation had gotten so out of hand. She spoke of the difficulties her family was having, and the longer she talked the more my heart broke for her. I'm not saying what they did was right, but they had gone so far down the path of violence and hate that they had no idea how to turn back.

She loved David and defended Annette. She spoke of her grandsons with pride, just like mine and Trevor's parents speak of Nathan and Grace. I thought of something Patrick had said the night before. He said that in a few hours, our lives were going to be back to normal with Trevor home and all of this behind us, but all they had to go back to was their life. Their difficult, joyless, violent life. I told Faye that I was going to pray for her and her family. I wanted her to know that someone cared about them and their problems.

The Holy Spirit moved in me and caused my heart to be softened towards this family that had caused us so much heartache and trouble. Believe me...based on my previous behavior, it HAD to be the Holy Spirit. I was able to forgive them in my heart and pray for them.

So, Trevor is home safely and the charges have been dropped against him. His arrest record will be expunged and it will be as though it never happened. But it did happen, and once again I am humble and amazed by God's sovereign grace towards His people. It took something terrible to make me see how sinful my behavior had been towards my neighbors. He worked an awful situation for my good. Now, Trevor was the one who had to spend an entire night on a kindergarten nap mat (his words) under a dirty wool blanket, being treated like a common criminal (so much for innocent until proven guilty). I think his journey to forgiveness will be a longer one than the one I took.

One last bit of good news: Faye told me that David and Annette had sold their house and were moving out in a matter of days. For the sake of Nathan and Grace's safety, I'm glad but I will continue to pray for this family that they will be healed of all the many hurts they have inflicted on one another.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

Slow Fade

Blessed is the man
Who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly,
Nor stands in the path of sinners,
Nor sits in the seat of the scornful;
But his delight is in the law of the LORD,
And in His law he meditates day and night.

He shall be like a tree
Planted by the rivers of water,
That brings forth its fruit in its season,
Whose leaf also shall not wither;
And whatever he does shall prosper.
The ungodly are not so,
But are like the chaff which the wind drives away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment,
Nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.
For the LORD knows the way of the righteous,
But the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1

We are like children. If we are given an inch, we will take a mile. When we stray away from the gospel of truth, we find ourselves mired down in worldly things. It only takes a glance, a slip or a compromise to find ourselves so far from what we know is right that we feel we can never be restored. Restored to our families, our friends or our God. When we meditate on God's word, the choices we make seem much clearer. We must constantly be filling our minds with the law of the Lord, so that we will be able to resist temptation no matter the guise in which it presents itself.

I love this song by Casting Crowns...they are so good about speaking the truth of the gospel and not shying away from solid doctrine and theology. When I heard this song, it spoke to me about my own weakness and how easy it is to slowly turn away from God and His commandments. The lyric "People never crumble in a day, it's a slow fade" really touched me. When we stray from Him in baby steps, we don't realize the damage until it is too late, and often the damage is inflicted on our families and our children. Praise God, it is never too late for Him. He is always faithful to forgive us when we confess and repent of our sin.

Be careful little eyes what you see
It's the second glance that ties your hands as darkness pulls the strings
Be careful little feet where you go
For it's the little feet behind you that are sure to follow

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
It's a slow fade, it's a slow fade

Be careful little ears what you hear
When flattery leads to compromise, the end is always near
Be careful little lips what you say
For empty words and promises lead broken hearts astray


The journey from your mind to your hands
Is shorter than you're thinking
Be careful if you think you stand
You just might be sinking

It's a slow fade when you give yourself away
It's a slow fade when black and white have turned to gray
Thoughts invade, choices are made, a price will be paid
When you give yourself away
People never crumble in a day
Daddies never crumble in a day
Families never crumble in a day

Oh be careful little eyes what see
Oh be careful little eyes what you see
For the Father up above is looking down in love
Oh be careful little eyes what you see

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Chemo Brain

I work with cancer patients. I've seen pain, sorrow and grief. I've felt those things for some of my patients. But I've also seen joy, hope and the amazing capacity of the human spirit to overcome great odds. I have many moments that would bring anyone to tears, but probably more that brought tears of laughter to my eyes.

The other day I had a patient who told me that she "didn't have time to be cancerous today," because she had too much to do! I just laughed and laughed with her, although we both know that she is dying. She has one of those beautiful spirits that just takes the good with the bad and moves on. She understand the gravity of her situation, but refuses to be pulled under.

Another patient came in today with a tee shirt that made me choke on my drink because I was laughing so hard. People who take chemotherapy often complain of a phenomenon called "chemo brain." As a cancer survivor myself, I can totally relate to these patients. The complete inability to remember what I was talking about. Forgetting why I went into a room. Not being able to process information accurately.

Wait. That's me now.

Seriously, we all have moments when our memory lapses or we can't think of a word, but chemo brain is worse than the normal brain freeze. It can really affect your life in an adverse way if you have a particularly bad case. So when I read her shirt, you can understand why I got so tickled. It said:

My mind is like a steel whatchamacallit.

I think I might embroider that on a pillow.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Our Little Oasis

I finally got some pictures of the new fence/wall that Trevor built. They are a little fuzzy, but I took them at night because I love the way our deck looks in the dark! Trevor built the entire thing from top to bottom by himself. I just love begin married to an engineer/handyman!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

The National Anthem?

Please, oh please tell me that we are not going to hear this every time USA wins a gold for the next two weeks. This was disgraceful. Trevor and I couldn't believe that this was happening when we watched it live...


Hmm...they removed the video from YouTube. At least they fixed the problem and there have been no other issues at the Olympics!

Unwelcome Surprise

Despite our best efforts to do nothing this weekend, Trevor and I ended up spending most of our Saturday running errands and working outside in the heat. We started early and had finished mowing and trimming the yard by about 10:30, and were sitting on the deck contemplating our neighbors. More accurately, we were contemplating the cost effectiveness was erecting a sound proof barrier between our yards.

The fence between our yards is just not enough anymore, and we need something more. When Trevor originally built our deck, he abutted it against the existing 6 foot fence. This made the 6 foot fence more like a five foot fence from our perspective and our privacy was compromised. This was especially apparent when we had friends or family over and we spend time outside. So we bought 8 foot bamboo blinds to hang between the posts to cover the space between the top of the fence and the bottom of the roof.

This has been the arrangement since the cover for the deck was built, but the bamboo blinds are beginning to dry rot, and we felt it was time for a more permanent solution to the privacy issue. The blinds were an imperfect solution to begin with, but at least they hid from view the rusting cars, old bed springs, beer cans and overgrown grass in the neighboring yard. I wish I could take a picture to document how these people live. They have no one to blame but themselves, because when they moved in the yard was pristine. On the bright side, our yard (although pretty plain) looks fabulous in comparison!

Anyway, we decided to make a wall along the edge of the deck using 6 foot fencing, which would make it 6 feet tall from our perspective and about 7 feet from their side (since they would be standing on the ground). Of course, if they really wanted to look over the fence, they have lots of broken, rusted stuff lying around on which they could stand. If I sound bitter and cynical, it comes from having the police as constant companions since these people moved in. Breaking up screaming matches between the parents out on the front lawn, arresting the oldest son for vandalism...oh, the list goes on and on. The other day, the husband took a bat to the wife's car because (according to the accusations flying around the side yard), the phone bill was too high for his taste.

Yeah. Welcome to our world. Not to mention that they are free with the vulgarity, and hold to the belief that louder is better. I think that I might be in the running for world's worst neighbors, along with Alana.

So Trevor was outside taking down the outdoor fans he had mounted to keep the air circulating under the cover, and suddenly ran in the back door with a wild look on his face and breathing as though he had just run a marathon.

He had pulled the fan down and this was suddenly right in his face.

Except when he saw it in an up close and personal way it was crawling with red wasps. Just for perspective, that board on the bottom is 6 inches across.


When he was describing his degree of freak out, he said:

I went from zero to heebie-jeebie.

I probably would have just passed out and awakened to life threatening stings all over my body. I was amazed that he didn't get even one sting, and we spent the rest of the afternoon swatting them away and spraying them with poison because they kept looking for their nest.

(I tried to get a picture of the new wall, but the humidity is so high this morning that it keeps fogging my lens, and after about 47 attempts, I just gave up.)

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

Before the Throne of God Above

I discovered the group Selah almost 3 years ago through a friend at work. I love Christmas music and she let me borrow one of their albums. I was immediately hooked and went out and bought all of their music.

This song was on one their albums, and although the tune is relatively new (it was originally sung to the tune of Sweet Hour of Prayer), the lyrics are not. They were written in 1863 by Charitie Bancroft. I was looking for information about this hymn, and found a great post at the Orchard Keeper.

If you go there, you can find the lyrics and a beautiful breakdown of the scripture found in this song. Once you've read the post, come back and listen to the rendition by will be blessed.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

The Post That Explains It All

I saw this little test over at Lisa's blog and then again at Linda's. So in the interest of jumping on the bandwagon, fitting in and generally being a lemming, here are the results of my brain test:

Xandra, you are somewhat left-hemisphere dominant and show a preference for visual learning, although not extreme in either characteristic. You probably tend to do most things in moderation, but not always.
Your left-hemisphere dominance implies that your learning style is organized and structured, detail oriented and logical. Your visual preference, though, has you seeking stimulation and multiple data. Such an outlook can overwhelm structure and logic and create an almost continuous state of uncertainty and agitation. You may well suffer a feeling of continually trying to "catch up" with yourself.
Your tendency to be organized and logical and attend to details is reasonably well-established which should afford you success regardless of your chosen field of endeavor. You can "size up" situations and take in information rapidly. However, you must then subject that data to being classified and organized which causes you to "lose touch" with the immediacy of the problem.
Your logical and methodical nature hamper you in this regard though in the long run it may work to your advantage since you "learn from experience" and can go through the process more rapidly on subsequent occasions.
You remain predominantly functional in your orientation and practical. Abstraction and theory are secondary to application. In keeping with this, you focus on details until they manifest themselves in a unique pattern and only then work with the "larger whole."
With regards to your career choices, you have a mentality that would be good as a scientist, coach, athlete, design consultant, or an engineering technician. You can "see where you want to go" and even be able to "tell yourself," but find that you are "fighting yourself" at the darndest times.
Much like Gracie's ear confection, this explains so much!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

The Cone of Uncertainty

If you live on the Gulf Coast, then you know exactly what I'm talking about. It's hurricane season, and when there is a storm brewing in the Gulf the possible track that it can take makes up the Cone of Uncertainty (imagine a man with a deep, reverberating voice saying that every time that you read it).

When we woke up yesterday morning, tropical storm Edouard had formed seemingly overnight. We begin making plans at work to have the patients call us before their appointment times, in case the storm wreaked havoc on the electricity and we were unable to treat them. I dutifully took home a list of patient phone numbers in the event that the weather worsened overnight and I couldn't get in to work to call them.

When I woke up this morning, the Cone of Uncertainty (Did you do it?...You know, the voice. It's important that you imagine the voice) had narrowed and we were right in the middle of it. Eduard made landfall between High Island and Sabine Pass. We live east of Houston, so we are right in the path, but luckily it never strengthened into a hurricane, and even if it had it would have only been a Category I. If you live on the coast, you don't really get concerned until you hear Category 3. The danger with the tropical storms is not the wind, but the rain.

So, I'm sitting here at work, watching the weather so I can get home if I need to. I work in Houston, so the weather here is not as bad as it is where I live. My concern is flash flooding, but since Trevor is at home with the kids today, he's keeping me updated on the current weather conditions.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Warning: Lock the Door

It finally happened. It's been seven years and it finally happened. Be warned that this post merits an R rating for partial nudity. The humor isn't coarse, but rest assured it is hilarious.

Trevor got home on Tuesday night after 10 days in Shanghai. At 8 o'clock we put the kids in bed, as per our usual schedule. Trevor was so tired and jet lagged, that he wanted to go ahead and hit the sack too. It was still light outside, but we didn't care and we started making our way through the house, turning out lights and locking doors.

When we finally made it to bed, we were enjoying some close, marital bonding when all of the sudden there was a small head next to my pillow. We froze (luckily under the covers for the most part) when we heard Gracie's little voice ask,

Mommy? Why aren't you wearing any pajamas?

Now I realize this might be more information than anyone needed, but I was crying I was laughing so hard. She proceeded to ask us what we were doing, and Trevor told her we were wrestling. This just made me laugh harder, so I didn't actually see her leave the bedroom.

Just for reference, Trevor installed a motion sensitive light in our hallway when we moved in. It makes it easy to know when the kids get up at night, and it's nice to never have to turn on the hall light. Since the kids are still little, we sleep with our door open so we can hear (and see) them at night. We've never had the problem of being, ahem, interrupted, because the light always gives us enough warning, and they are typically in a deep sleep by the time we got to bed. Unfortunately, the fact that it was still light outside made the hall light less noticeable and thus we were discovered.

Later, we were reading in bed, and we saw the light come back on. Gracie peeked around the corner and asked,

Are you finished wrestling?

Oh yes. She did. All we could say later was thank goodness it wasn't Nathan. I doubt very seriously that we could have brushed the 7 year old off so easily. I guess we have entered the phase of closing and locking our bedroom door when we want to be alone. Or get rid of the kids...wait, no. They're too useful for getting the remote control and fetching drinks.