Thursday, December 17, 2009

Christmas Notes



It's "that time of year" as we all say. It's the holiday season - it's December - it's CHRISTMAS! I have to tell you that this Christmas has been wonderful. I know that sometimes we say that it just doesn't seem like Christmas. Perhaps it "sneaks up on us" and we're just not prepared. Sometimes we are so busy with things that we just don't look forward to this time of year because there is so much to do. For me, this Christmas has been wonderful. I felt like I am mentally prepared for Christmas - in many more ways than one.

There are so many obvious things. I have been busy, like everyone else - and finding times to get the cards out and wrap gifts and decorate isn't always easy. But I've found myself really delighting in all of these things and looking forward to just sitting and enjoying the lights and the sounds.

There have been many years that I'm tired of listening to Christmas songs by December 15th. Not so this year. Each time I hear "It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year" it just makes me smile. I am so content in this season.

By now, the Christmas cards are out and of course everything is decorated. Cookies have been baked, presents bought and wrapped and plans for returning to Kansas are made. I'm giddy with excitement to say the least.

Last night I sat and watched some old Andy Williams Christmas shows. There was a fire in the fireplace (not really necessary in South Carolina, but we had one going none the less) and I had a cup of tea and a Christmas cookie. Was I content? You bet I was - beyond belief. Listening to him sing "I'm Dreaming of a white Christmas" just made me melt.

Do I miss the snow of Kansas? Yes I do. There are lots of things that I miss. I wish I could go with Braylon to visit Santa. I wish I could bake Christmas cookies with my daughters. But I am where I am and I am just as content as I could possibly be.

Now - with all the sights and tastes and sounds of Christmas aside - I have to say that I am the most content I have really ever been in remembering the birth of Jesus. I am content in this entire process being part of my celebration of His birth! I love the decorations and the smells and all of the trimmings that go along with the holiday. But I love most the fact that Jesus Christ came to earth - that God sent his only Son to be born in a humble stable. I am so excited to celebrate His birth - that indeed makes me giddy!

How blessed we are - how wonderful to be able to share this time of year with my friends and family - and to know that on this day......born in a stable.......the baby Jesus. For me.

Christmas blessings to each and every one.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Brothers and Sisters

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Last week, my Uncle Gene passed away. He was one of my Dad's brothers. In the past 1 1/2 years, three of the brothers have passed away.




This is a picture of the brothers and sisters - my dad is front and center with the suspenders on! Too cute!


This is a very close family - and the fact that the next time I go to the reunion in Estes Park there will be three less brothers is very sad for all of us.



This picture was taken in 2008 - and now Uncle Gene, top left, Uncle Bob, in wheelchair, and Uncle Bill (not present as he was very ill) are gone.


Family is so precious - and we are so blessed with this wonderful family. All of the cousins are very close and we will continue the family reunion tradition.




Here are the 1st cousins - the ones that were at the last reunion. I am very anxious for next May to come - so that we can gather again and talk - and remember - and "be closer" to those who have gone before us.









Sunday, September 27, 2009

Things in my yard this September

By the calendar, it is fall. I do admit that the temperatures are dropping a bit - but I've not even remotely ever needed a jacket yet, little alone real shoes or long sleeves. All that said, the yard and surrounding area is beginning to show signs of fall.

This is my bird feeder - ready for the birds and also "ready" for the squirrels. They are huge culprits of food, as are the dear. This feeder is good because A. it is high enough off of the ground that deer can't reach it and B. it has a squirrel guard on it.



The plants in the yard are looking nice right now. Since it hasn't been quite as hot, they are having a chance to flourish. Also - we've had quite a bit of rain.







This is the humming bird feeder and the beautiful plant around it. I don't get many humming birds at this point. I do see one now and then, but we're new on the block and they apparently haven't found us yet. Maybe next year....



This is a random cactus in the front yard. I don't know why it's there - or why it's staying. Very random.



And speaking of rain, we have had quite a bit. Because of that, we have lots of mushrooms showing up in the grass.







This one isn't real - it's made out of concrete I believe. Kinda cute though, huh?


Monday, September 21, 2009

Patiently Waiting

This is just an update of sorts - to let you know that both Jay and I are waiting. Patiently. Sort of.

What are we waiting for? Job notification.

Jay is waiting on the Department of Energy to let them know about a contract. If the contract is approved, he will be working much closer to home. As it is now, he works in Augusta - which is nearly an hour's drive each way. We've been waiting for news of this contract since March.

I am waiting to see if I will be hired at the Community Medical Clinic. I have been volunteering there for a couple of months now - and really enjoy it. They have some hours available to hire me and my resume etc. has been presented to the board - and supposedly everyone is "on board" with hiring me - but the final decision hasn't been made yet. So I continue to volunteer.

So - here we are. Kind of in limbo - but both of us putting in our time. We're both content with what we're doing (though volunteering doesn't really bring in a paycheck, if you know what I mean). It will just be nice when both decisions are made and revealed to us.

So the foot tapping you hear...........its me. Being patient.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Fall

So, we've been in South Carolina now for 2 months but for the most part, it seems a lot longer. And now, it is fall - so I'm curious what fall is like in this area. Certainly already the mornings are much cooler. At the beginning of my walk, I almost need a jacket. I don't take one of course because my hands are already full of things: a tissue, my MP3 player and a little sack of dog biscuits. You absolutely HAVE to take dog biscuits with you if you intend to make friends. Almost everyone has a dog that they walk in the mornings - and you get to know their names (the dogs, that is) and if you offer them a biscuit, they are your friend for life. So now, as I meet them on the street, their tails start to wag and they approach you with those eyes that say "HEY LADY - WHERE'S THE DOG BISCUIT?" As a way of introduction then, you eventually meet their owners and develop new friendships. Some people, I actually only see on my morning walk - but a few I've met in other places around town as well.

OK - back to fall.

I haven't seen any leaves changing colors yet -but it is a little early. We still have the Farmers Market - but the summer concerts in the park are over. The Halloween decorations are out at various places (as are the Christmast decorations. Don't get me started.)

So all in all, fall seems to be "in the air" and I'm very excited to see the changes around here. I'll post some pictures when as visual aids when that time arrives.

For now though, I'm just enjoying the southern hospitality and new friendships.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Journal notation

I'm copying a journal notation from a freebie newspaper called Skirt. I loved it so much - and it could be adapted to just about anyone really. So I'm copying it for a reason. I think that in me, and maybe in a lot of people, there is a dichotomy of "lifestyles" that we'd like. See if you agree.


I want to wake up and walk out my door to a coffee shop on the corner. I want to drop off my dry cleaning on my way to the subway or tube stop. I want to have a book store and a movie theater in my neighborhood. I want to sit in a local bar and have a glass of wine and write in my journal. I want to know the bartender's name and have a bowl of mussels with butter and herbs in broth. i want to wear black and high heels and fake pearls.

On the other hand, I want to own a farm in Kentucky, grow limestone lettuce, adopt a dog and let him run and hunt, listen to rain on a tin roof, raise chickens, drive a pickup truck, sit on the porch at the end of the day and sleep like a baby in a four poster bed that belonged to my grandmother.

Except those two sides of my self will never be fully reconciled, so I live in the between-spaces.


I truly feel about the say way - there are so many cool things about the city that I like (mobs of cars and people aside) but the contrary lifestyle of country living makes me so content and happy.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

More Battlefields

Over the weekend we went on a little drive to look at some Civil War battlefields. We had been to several battlefields when we were in Virginia, but the two we saw on Saturday showed us some very different terrain than Gettysburg or Bull Run.



Imagine having to carry your gun and other equipment high up over your head as you go through rivers and swamps. Imagine what you'd feel like when you got to the other side - did they take the time to remove their boots before they went in?



There were lots of trees. The raised areas where they hid behind were still there. It was really interesting - not to mention quieting to remember that men died where we stood. Men fought for what they believed was the right thing to do. Men died for their homes.



There weren't any other people out at the battlefields the day we visited. It was very quiet and almost somber. Once again, it's a part of history that I really never had thought much about, being from Kansas. That's not much of an excuse, but it's the truth.



Saturday evening we watched The Patriot with Mel Gibson. It was just an interesting comparison as the battlegrounds really looked quite similar.

In a few weeks, we're going to see a new local movie called "The Battle of Aiken" - it should be very interesting as well. I am very much enjoying getting to know more about the local history.

Friday, July 31, 2009

4 weeks in South Carolina

Well, we've been in South Carolina now for 4 weeks and it has been such a good move! This place is just lovely and the "Southern Hospitality" is genuine! I have made more friends already in this month than I did in 3 years in Virginia. Nothing against Virginia or the wonderful friends that I made there - this lifestyle is just more conducive to a slower pace of life and time to cultivate friendships.



The area itself is just beautiful. Lots of trees and flowers and shrubs - not to mention the fountains that are located downtown. Everyone cares what their yards and the parks look like - great care is taken for landscaping.



The history here is also very rich. I've read three books so far dealing with the history of Aiken and have enjoyed becoming better acquainted with the area. What a pleasure to see places that I've read about!



I've joined a Bunko group as well as a knitting group. I've been invited to come to the next Newccomers meeting. Interesting - many of the ladies in this club have been members for 20+ years. That says something doesn't it? It must be a club that is fun! Their speeakers are often authors or historians. I'm looking forward to joining!



All in all, this place already feels like home. I'm still looking for a job but the time on my own has been well spent. I feel like I've got a better idea of the town atmosphere. Still - there's noplace like home - if you know what I mean.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Redcliffe Plantation



Today after church, we went for a drive. We had seen a sign for Redcliffe Plantation before, and so we decided we wanted to actually see it.



It was a beautiful day for a drive. This plantation was kind of out in the middle of nowhere - but I guess that makes sense. There was nobody else around so we just wandered around the place. There were supposed to be tours - but I'm guessing they don't have much business out there. We waited around a bit, but there was nobody else there ever.



The porch was so nice - it would be a great place to sit out on and enjoy your mint jullip.



Beautiful scenery - I'm sure it looks more pleasant than some would actually recall. We didn't get to see the inside - maybe we'll go back someday and try again for a tour.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Dear Diary


Did you ever keep a diary? I used to - back when I was a little girl. I had a little pink diary with a lock on it. I kept the key in my jewelry box - so I'm pretty sure my mother must have read it. Not a "sneaky" place to keep a key!

Many years ago, I started keeping a journal. This was a really good activity for me - and as I review over the past journals, I'm surprised to see some of the things I said and the events that I captured. Things I had already forgotten about. I still keep a journal today - though its more of a timeline and a spiritual journey recorder.

So now, this evening, I'm writing a "dear diary" entry - to make note of what i did today.

Dear Diary,

Yesterday, I made a decision that I was going to have to get out of the house and do something. I was lonely and bored and it was time to change that! I had seen an announcement in the church bulletin that the Medical Clinic was needing administrative volunteers. When I talked to them, they were very happy to have a new face and told me to come in on Wednesday.

I was really looking forward to today - it was nice to have a place to go! And I was not disappointed! This is a clinic offered to people who do not qualify for Medicaid or Medicare and who cannot afford any other health insurance. They treat only chronic conditions like hypertension, diabetes, COPD, asthma etc. The doctor sees them and then they help the patients get medications from the drug companies without charge. You can imagine that there is a lot of paperwork involved.

It was wonderful to meet three interesting Christian women and even better to be volunteering for something that is so good for the community.

I'm going back tomorrow and will continue to do so until I find a paying job. :)

Goodnight Dear Diary - until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Adjusting - again

Well, we've been in South Carolina now for a little over a week. This is a very nice place and there are so many pluses! We had dinner last weekend at a BBQ place. Us and about 200 others! It is a very popular place - and now I know why. We had to stand in a long, snaking line for maybe 10 minutes or so. It moved along nicely. This is buffet style, which I generally don't like. You know - little kids sneezes etc. But I didn't mind it at this place.

The charge was $9 apiece. Seriously. And if you wanted ribs, it was an extra 50 cents. I was amazed! We sprang for the ribs and yowza. Delicious! There was absolutely everything you can think of in the buffet. Potato salad, mashed spuds and gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, corn on the cob, green beans, coleslaw, collard greens, hush puppies, BBQ beef (shreaded), ribs, BBQ chicken, bananna pudding (aka bananna puddin') and on and on. There were two HUGE coolers of sweet tea and one little thing of unsweetened tea. It's apparent which is the favorite!

There were tables where people would sit two sided that sat probably 20. Like at a church social. We ate off of styrofoam plates with plastic silverware and drank out of styrofoam cups.

Truth? No complaints about that from me! Except for the fact that it's not very eco-friendly, the meal was so good it didn't matter!

You paid before you went through the line - it was kind of on the honor system whether you took ribs or not. And honestly - everyone was so friendly!

So here it is Tuesday - and I need to figure out what to do. I admit that yesterday was kind of a "blue" day for me. I really don't have anyone yet that I can call and chat with. It's a little lonely. But I'm going to step out of the house today and go to the bookstore. I'm joining a book club and I need to pick up the next book they are reading. I might also stop at the knitting shop - for apparent reasons! :)

It's a good move - the place we live is nice and quiet. The traffic is minimal. People are friendly to say the very least. Jay is busy and happy with his job. Almost all the boxes are unpacked.

Now - come and visit!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

My son


I've been given a chance again this week to reflect on my son's life. And the fact that he still has one. Yet again.

Josh was involved in another vehicle accident. This time it wasn't his truck, but rather a cement truck (full of cement I might add) that was traveling about 60 mph down the road. His left front tire blew out - not just a flat - but a blowout.

From the observation of the man who was traveling behind him, the entire truck flipped end over end at least the first time - as well as rolling two more times before it landed in the opposite ditch. Quite a feat for a cement truck I'd say.

Josh really only remembers hearing the BOOM and then ending up in the ditch. It's amazing to me how fast a cement truck can roll. I wouldn't have guessed that.

For all that action, Josh ended up with some stitches on his back and his arm as well as a torn ear lobe that was bandaged, a gash in his mouth that is healing on its own, a bandage on his nose and other various bumps and bruises. He lost his glasses and his hat (thrown from his head I guess).

And just like the wreck several years ago, the hat and the glasses were recovered. I remember that we had to search and search to find out where they ended up.

That really was the only similarity of this accident and the first one. Other than one important one. Josh is still alive. This wreck didn't leave him as seriously injured as the first one, but yet not as minor as the second one. The common thread is that he is still alive. His life has been spared - and I cannot help but think that God has something yet for Josh to accomplish.

My prayer is that Josh will seek what God has in mind for him. I wonder if God is trying to get Josh's attention (He sure has mine!!) and if that's the case, I want Josh to know how much God loves him and that He has things in store for him that are wonderful.

I am so thankful - and we are so blessed as a family that Josh is still alive. Thank you to everyone for your prayers.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Isaiah 40:29-31

There is one who takes you with all of your flaws and delights in all that you are. He sings over you when you sleep and hems you in while awake. He destroys the worth-measures of man and pronounces you worthy. He is Jesus. He is the only way we have made it thus far and our only hope for tomorrow.

Amen brothers and sisters!

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Leaving Virginia

This is probably just going to be a rambling - but I think I just need to put my thoughts down.

Leaving Virginia really is hardly even bitter-sweet. In a few cases it is - and those cases would involve friends. One other case would be all the historical things there are around here to see. But beyond that, not so much.

Jay and I have talked about the fact that we have really already mentally checked out. He is finishing a class tonight and then he can really focus elsewhere. For me, I'm not working now, I'm finished going to knitting and we just attended our last worship service this past Sunday. I've had breakfasts, lunches and dinners with friends as has Jay - and really, we're now just waiting for the movers to arrive on Thursday.

We've seen pretty much everything we've wanted to see here as far as monuments and museums go. We would have liked to go to Gettysburg again - but that can happen sometime in the future I guess. We've enjoyed the cherry blossoms and Dorothy's red slippers. We've seen battlefields and statues. We've had fun at the Spy Museum and been teary eyed at the Holocaust Museum. We've viewed art and scenery.

Beyond that, we've made some wonderful friends and been a part of some terrific worship.

All that said, I've had the side of my car scratched up more times that I can even say because people are so careless in my parking lot. It seems like it's every man for himself here. I know that doesn't seem fair - but nobody seems to care if they knick your door.

I've been honked at over and over because I'm not a trigger moment quicker out of the starting gate when the light turns green.

I've been a part of traffic that is so annoying and had my bumper ridden every single day because people are in such a hurry to get where they are going - the stress level in this city is incredible.

We've not had close friends. Everyone is busy. Everyone gets home from work at o'dark thirty and leaves at o'dark thirty and don't have time. We've only been invited over to one family's house for dinner. A knitting friend of mine invitited us over but we were unable to go - but that certainly was appreciated! :) I have one friend who I could call and say "Do you have time for a cup of coffee?" and she would say yes. Otherwise, it would take practically an act of congress to find a time with anyone else.

One little comfort zone has definitely been my knitting group. I've felt "at home" there from day one. Those women are for real and know how to share their hearts. That - I will miss.

Ok - so. Now that I've moaned on and on, I am saying this. I'm ready to move on and I'm ready to make more friends and find a place in the south. I'm anxious to settle in our new home and anxious to find the church where God wants us to be. I'm eager to find out how we can serve Him.

We certainly have been blessed here - and for that, I am thankful. Our move has also been a gift from God. Another chapter is unfolding. Stay tuned.

Friday, June 26, 2009

A Bear

Thursday morning, we took a drive through Shenandoah National Park - as a reward for working so hard on our packing! It was a beautiful morning and we got out early enough that the park was not crowded and the animals were still out looking for breakfast.

This was our second time there. The first time was a year ago over the 4th of July and I remember being so disappointed that I didn't ever see a bear.



Well this time I was rewarded with a bear sighting! We were just driving along and this little black bear wandered across the road. These pictures really aren't very good because I took them in such a hurry - I didn't want to miss the photo opportunity!



He wasn't afraid of us at all - in fact, he was rather curious. I didn't see his mama - but then, I didn't go out looking for her either. She might not have been quite so receptive to a human.

It was just fun to see this bear. In fact, it amazes me that they are out there. A bear.

I'm pretty sure there are no bears in Kansas. Are there?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

In Three's

Well, it happened again didn't it. Ed McMahon, Farah Fawcett and now Michael Jackson. I'm not trying to say it is fate or coincidence or anything at all. I'm just saying - it "always" seems to happen in threes as far as Hollywood stars deaths go. Just strange.........quite a week for Hollywood.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The New House

We found our house in South Carolina and so today, I've been "exploring" it and mentally making notes so that when I go back to Virginia, I'll be able to remember what I want to do when I return.




The lady who owns the house let us go ahead and make a key before we return in July so that we could go in and clean etc. Today I spent time putting new shelf liners in the kitchen drawers and cabinets. It was so quiet and nice and I really enjoyed it!



We've already met some of the new neighbors and I'm anxious to have a coffee pot to put on for guests!



It was hard being patient until the right house became available for us - but this one is just what I was hoping for.



I'm anxious for lots of guests - we have a spare bedroom so start making your plans!

Monday, May 25, 2009

City noise vs Rural noise

As I was sitting on my daughter's front porch this morning, drinking a wonderful cup of coffee, I came to the realization that I have "categorized noise" issues. For some time, I have figured out that noise bothers me. I thought it was ALL noise - but after my morning on the porch, I realize that it is city noise that bothers me. Not noise in general.

This morning I was enjoying the quietness of the morning when I realized that it really wasn't quiet at all. Someone was working on their house. You could hear sounds of hammers and the sound of a saw now and then. There were sounds of cars driving past and the sound of children playing in the neighborhood. I could also hear birds chirping. I was as content as can be. The noises really were just a part of the morning and if you live in a rural area, you know what I mean. It was all intertwined. Nothing stood out - and nothing was annoying me. (wow, that's an entirely different issue)

If I were in the city, sitting on my deck listening to the same noises - it would be annoying me. Listening to children play on the sidewalk right outside, making noise and bothering me - well, since I used the word "bother", I think you can see my point. The cars in the city are louder and more offensive. When someone pulls into the parking lot with their radio on loud, it annoys me. They seem to have no respect for those people who live in the same area. This morning there was someone working outside and they had their radio on. It didn't bother me one bit.

What am I to deduce from this? I'm not sure - but I know that I am not content in the city and apparently things annoy me a lot quicker in the city. Is it because there is noise overload? Perhaps. Is it because it is never quiet? Perhaps again. I just know that sitting on the porch this morning, all was rigt with the world. The rural noises were comforting to me. The city seemed so far away.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Speeding Ticket

I am just chapped. Annoyed. Ticked. I could go on.....

I was driving along Tuesday morning and there at the corner stood a policeman and he pointed at me. Me! I looked at him and pointed at myself saying "Me?" He pointed POINTEDLY at me. I knew he meant me.

I pulled over.

He clocked me going 44 in a 30. I didn't know it was a 30 but it probably wouldn't have made any difference because nobody and I mean NOBODY drives the speed limit in Fairfax or DC or anywhere in this fast-paced area. I was going with the flow of traffic - which happened to be 44 mph. I admit I was speeding. And he had proof. But seriously. SERIOUSLY! I had just pulled on to this street - and I truly didn't know it was a 30 mph zone. I pulled around a car to pass in another lane and gunned it a little bit and he clocked me. I wasn't even speeding up until that point! I was probably going 44 for about 2 seconds. Does that count??? It must.

I have not had a speeding ticket since 1972! Where's the grace????

I'm just annoyed. This little ticket is going to cost me around $300. Terrific. There's always an extra $300 laying around waiting to be spent. Why not spend it on a stinking traffic ticket. That I shouldn't have got anyway. Or if I should have, then everybody else in this huge fast-paced out-of-control on-your-bumper-if-you're-going-slow city.

I'm having trouble letting go of this. Can you tell?

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Sunday Afternoon in the Park

I told Jay this morning on our way home from church that after my nap, I'd like to stop and get an iced coffee and then go to a park or go to a nursery to look at flowers. I'm not going to get any flowers for the deck because we're going to be moving in about a month and a half. I might as well wait until we get settled in instead of moving outside plants.

So - Jay "googled" Fairfax parks and came up with Meadowlark Park. We thought it was just a nice park, but as it turned out, it was Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. It was an absolutely beautiful day with a little breeze and I had a wonderful time taking in all the beauty.



The place was not crowded at all - just a pleasant amount of people. It was quiet as well. There were a good number of flowers out but an even larger number that were not even blooming yet. The peonies had huge buds on them - I'm guessing that in a week, they would be in full bloom.



The grounds were very well cared for. They had little signs stuck in the ground all over the place for identification purposes. They also had several benches along the way so that you could just sit and enjoy the view.



There were a couple of ponds with geese and a very nice fountain. They also had a children's area with a Maypole!



It was just such a pretty afternoon and a surprise treat - we had no idea that it was a botanical garden.



And in case you were wondering, the iced coffee was delicious as well!

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Friends



Throughout the years, I've found that friends are one of the most important things you can have. Without them, there is a void that really is hard to fill. I'm not saying that friends are THE most important thing in life - but they are definitely in the top 5.

I have friends from when I grew up. I have a friend that I literally went all through school with and roomed with 2 years in college. When Marsha and I get together, we pick up where we left off. Like we had never been apart. We can still finish each other's sentences.

I have many friends still from college. We may not talk on the phone often, and may only actually write to each other at Christmas, but we are still friends and when we get together, which may only be every 5 years, it is a wonderful thing!

I have friends from Kansas that have stayed beside me through thick and thin. They have supported me even though they may not have understood me at all times. They loved me in spite of things. They stood beside me, cried with me, laughed with me and are still there for me today with a solid hug and a warm smile.

I've made new friends here to some degree. I have people who I am friendly with and people who I can smile with. For some reason though, it's not the same. There has not been a connection here and with only maybe 1-2 people aside, these friends are fleeting. They don't stand beside you. They don't support you - or at least they don't appear to. You shouldn't have to "search" for support. You shouldn't have to wonder what you did wrong to make them have disappeared off the radar screen.




I am so thankful for my forever friends. For those women who are there for me at any turn. And it is to those women I say this: I will be there beside you as well. I support you and love you and cherish the bond that we have. You are such a blessing in my life. After all these years, I can count myself blessed to have been given a sisterhood of friends.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Banquet

The ministry I work for had their annual fundraising banquet a week ago. It is a huge project that I am involved in and it totally takes up months of time. We have it at the Sheraton Premiere in Tysons and ended up with nearly 400 people which is a record.



Our speaker was Fred Barnes, who is on Fox News and a member of "The Beltway Boys". He had a wonderful talk - it was fun to hear him.




The music was provided by Rob and Linda, who are supporters of CSM, I thought this picture was just good of them - not that you can see much of Rob - but it is a great picture. They sing together so well.........beautiful music!




Here is Jay and I, after the banquet, handing out sponsor gifts. By this time, I was exhausted, a little cranky and hungry. I didn't end up getting my dinner until the speaker started and by then, I didn't care! Thank goodness Jay was with me at the table - he was definitely in his element talking to people.




I'm just very glad it's over. This week has been all about follow-up letters and analyzing what went right and what went wrong and e-mailing pictures..... I'm really ready for the weekend. All that said, God truly blessed us and it was a wonderful event.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Knowing When to Keep Quiet

OK - so I have a few "shortcomings". And I admit that one of them is knowing when to keep quiet but I've been working on that little detail very hard. It makes it much easier here in the city. If you say things to strangers, they don't like it. Not one bit. They think you might be an ax-murderer. Or a weirdo. Or worse yet, trying to invade their space. Truly - things could easily be the reverse. I could say something random to someone who in turn could be an ax murderer and there you go. Wham.

So - that being said, I'm a lot more careful.

Saturday was a true test of my ability to keep quiet. Twice.

Sitting a couple of rows in front of us at the ball game was a young woman in her 20's. She was dressed very nicely and very stylish (not necessarily appropriate for a baseball game but I digress). Anyway, she had her hair pulled back in a ponytail. Cute little ponytail - except for one thing. There was a huge lump of hair on top of her head that she hadn't smoothed down. At one point she took the holder out and smoothed through her hair with her fingers and put it back into the ponytail - with the same results. I really thought that she should know - but decided against it. Someone SHOULD have told her - like the guy she was sitting with - but probably not me. So I kept quiet.

Same day, same ball game.....and the father with the two kids sitting behind us were not for the Nationals. They were for the Marlins and as the game went on, they became more and more annoying. I truly don't care if they root for the other team. It's a big stadium and there are likely going to be people for the other side. But seriously. The language these kids used was horrible. They cursed! And then they started yelling BOOOOOOO instead of Ta da da dadada.... CHARGE. Every time they did that little routine, Jay would holler CHARGE louder and louder - but not enough to drown out those two kids. They kept yelling THE NATS SUCK! And their father really did nothing. They argued between themselves and were really obnoxious. So - was this a time to keep quiet? I'm not sure. I really wanted to say something like "Do you mind?" or "Your children are really annoying" or.... well, you get my point.

Once again, safety was on my mind. You just never know. So I kept quiet and didn't embarrass anybody. But it was close.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Sleep Study

Well, the sleep study is over. It started Sunday evening at 9 pm and ended this morning at 5. Yes - that's correct. I'm tired all the time - feel like I never get enough sleep - I doze off during the day - and they woke me up at 5 am.



They hooked me up to lost of different wires and sensors and gadgets. They measured all sorts of things including my breathing, oxygen, measured when and how long I was in REM, leg twitches, so on and so on. I thought it would be hard to sleep with all that on, but it really wasn't at all.




I've been struggling for several months now - wanting to fall asleep all during the day. Whatever I'm doing.



And I just don't feel "myself". :)



Blood tests have turned out ok so far - and this might just be something else checked off the list - but it's a step towards finding out what's going on.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a nap.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

We're Moving!

So we finally got the word last Thursday that we're moving south! Should I say SOUTH! We're not entirely sure if it will be South Carolina or Georgia - that is yet to be determined - but by the first part of July, we should be down there - somewhere.

This is rather bitter/sweet in the fact that I will definitely miss our church and miss my friends in the church. But otherwise - not so much. I will not miss the traffic and the congestion and the people honking their horns at the slightest irritation. I will not miss this apartment complex and the lady who vacuums at all hours in the apartment above us. I will not miss the people who come home at midnight with their car stereo blaring and their need to hear the entire song before they turn their car off - or shut off the lights that shine into our bedroom window.

I've got into my head just exactly where I want to live and what kind of house I want and all sorts of details and how everything should fall into place. But I also know that God is in control of this entire process and any strategic planning and orchestrating on my part will only get in the way. So - I will continue to pray for His direction and for His leading and prompting. I'm excited to see what is in store for us.

Easter Blessings to everyone!

Sunday, April 5, 2009

I wonder what all we're missing?

A man sat at a metro station in Washington DC and started to play the violin. He played six Bach pieces for about 45 minutes. During that time, since it was rush hour, it was calculated that thousands of people went through the station, most of them on their way to work.

Three minutes went by and a middle aged man noticed there was a musician playing. He slowed his pace and stopped for a few seconds and then hurried up to meet his schedule. A minute later, the violinist received his first dollar tip: a woman threw the money in the till and without stopping continued to walk. A few minutes later, someone leaned against the wall to listen to him, but the man looked at his watch and started to walk again. Clearly he was late for work.


The one who paid the most attention was a 3 year old boy.


His mother tagged him along, hurried but the kid stopped to look at the violinist. Finally the mother pushed hard and the child continued to walk turning his head all the time. This action was repeated by several other children. All the parents, without exception, forced them to move on.


In the 45 minutes the musician played, only 6 people stopped and stayed for a while. About 20 gave him money but continued to walk their normal pace. He collected $32. When he finished playing and silence took over. No one applauded, nor was there any recognition.



No one knew this, but the violinist was Joshua Bell, one of the best musicians in the world. He played one of the most intricate pieces ever written with a violin worth 3.5 million dollars.



Two days before his playing in the subway, Joshua Bell sold out at a theater in Boston and the seats averaged $100.



This is a real story. Joshua Bell playing incognito in the metro station was organized by the Washington Post as part of an social experiment about perception, taste and priorities of people. The outlines were: in a
commonplace environment at an inappropriate hour: Do we perceive beauty? Do we stop to appreciate it? Do we recognize the talent in an unexpected context?





One of the possible conclusions from this experience could be: If we do not have a moment to stop and listen to one of the best musicians in the world playing the best music ever written, how many other things
are we missing?

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Looking into Jesus' face

My devotion this morning started a wonderful train of thought for me today.

"Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said 'Brother Saul, the Lord - Jesus, who appeard to you on the road as you were coming here - has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit." Acts 9:17

When Paul received his sight, he also received insight.

From this devotion, God put the desire into my heart to look into Jesus' face, into His eyes and keep my focus there. So many times, when friends have described how they made it through a trial or a really hard time in their lives, I've heard them say that they kept their focus on Jesus and not on themselves. Our Sunday School class is studying the book Facing Your Giants by Max Lucado where we've been discussing the fact that when David met Goliath, he kept his focus on God and not on Goliath. We are encouraged to keep our focus on God as well, during the hard times as well as the easy times.

Why is it so difficult to focus on God when we have so much to worry about? Is it because we think we can handle things ourselves? We wake up thinking about the problems or the burdens and we go to sleep thinking about them as well.

I just have several things that are on my mind right now, not the least of which is wishing some lab results would hurry up and come back to me. There are other things of course - we all have lots on our prayer list. I'm not depressed and I'm not down. But I do find myself focused on every single issue if I'm not careful.

Today, God asked me to focus on Him. To look into Jesus' eyes and give Him my full attention.

I was immediately reminded of that song "Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus". I admit that I prefer praise and worship songs - but this hymn really had some truth that was perfect for me today.

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in His wonderful face -
And the things on earth will grow strangely dim,
in the Light of His glory and grace!

Today, this has been my focus. When I look into Jesus' eyes, when I am solidly looking at Him, the other things are very dim. I can see how much He loves me and cares for me - and how nothing else is more important than being with Him.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

The White House of the Confederacy

Today our small group visited Richmona, VA and went to the Confederate White House. It was a lovely house where Jefferson Davis lived. We took a long tour but we were not allowed to take pictures inside.



Some of the things inside of the house were the authentic, but unfortunately most was destroyed by the Yankees during the reconstruction.




We also visited the Confederate Museum. They had a lot of very interesting displays.









I have to say that the time I've spent visiting battlefields and museums here in "the south", I've come to understand an entirely different side of the Civil War. I'm not going to start flying a Confederate flag or anything, but it's nice to find out more about the history and fill in the blanks that have been there in my knowledge bank.

Pictures of Lighthouses