Thursday, July 31, 2008

Proud Mommy

Yeah, my little boy is actually pretty good at this whole football thing.

Tonight, the last night of "camp," they had a pass/kick/punt contest. I know Travis can kick -- we've had a rule since he was 13 or 14 months old (just learning to walk) that he is not allowed to kick in the house. I just didn't know if it was good.

So, they threw first. On the first throw, he was second, and on the second throw, he was third. THIS surprised me.

On the punt, he was second the first time, and not so great on the second kick. :)

On the kick (from a tee), he was second on the first kick and tied for third on the second.

Wow. I NEVER expected THAT. (Lesson? Have low expectations of your children and they will exceed them every time. hahahah)

My nephew Brooks was first every time. :) I think it must be good genes. hahahaha




Wednesday, July 30, 2008

How to Be a Really Good Christian

(subtitled -- and I know these are true because I've either done it myself, or know someone who did)

1. Make sure that your church pays top dollar for really expensive, but uncomfortable pews. Forget those mamby-pamby comfy chairs -- you will be more spiritual the more uncomfortable you are.

2. Prayer Requests. Make them; make a lot of them. Preferably, make one, let someone else (or two) make one, then make another. Keep repeating this pattern. Also, it is even more "spiritual" if you can give nitty-gritty details, or plain 'ole gossip, and pass it off as concern.

Instead of, "please remember a friend of mine," it sounds much more spiritually accurate to say, "My sister's MIL's aunt's daughter' former dog owner just went to the doctor and they found a lump. She has to have a biopsy, and they are also concerned about some spots on her liver. She used to drink, not to the point of getting drunk, alot, but you know, a drink every now and then, and there were also rumors of using drugs. And, well, I don't want to judge, but you know how that can wreck havoc on your body, but remember her. Oh yea, and she is lost, too."

Also, if you can euphemistically request prayer for a sexual problem, without ever saying "sex," you are a very good Christian. It is okay to use the word "prostrate" in this context, and for this purpose. Likewise, "Living in sin" is much more Christiany than "living together" or "co-habitating."

3. If a Mormon or JW comes to your door, how fast you slam it is directly proportional to how good a Christian you are.

4. Saying, "Bless his heart" is simply another form of saying "He is SUCH an idiot," but it makes you a better Christian.

5. Never, ever, ever, ever wear a printed T-shirt that is not Christian. And especially don't wear a Rock Band T-shirt. It absolutely must have a cutesy little saying that summarizes the entire Bible, genesis to the maps, in three or four words.

6. Along those same lines, the more Christian bumper stickers you can put on your car, the better a Christian you are.

7. Always call your fellow Christians "Brother" and "Sister." Especially in public. And especially around non-Christians.

8. Pretend you don't watch the Superbowl.

9. For that matter pretend you never watch TVs, movies, or anything on youtube.

10. Speaking of youtube, it is much more spiritual to watch things on GodTube

11. Always capitalize God, Jesus, Him and He. Use ALL CAPS to really make it stand out. Never capitalize Satan, or Devil. For that matter, the longer, and more derogatory a name you can give the Prince of Darkness-Teller of Lies-Deceiver-Stealer of Peace, Joy, Happiness, Self-Control, Temperance, Meekness, and Gentleness-Prince of Thieves-Ruler of the Underworld, the more spiritual you are.

12. If you are an artist or "creator," everything you do must have obvious spiritual overtones. If you paint or draw, you must only draw or depict scenes from Bible stories. Since I am a photographer, I must put a Bible verse on every one of my pictures, relevant or not.

13. NEVER enjoy anything that is non-Christian.

14. Only listen to Southern Gospel music. If you must do contemporary, Amy Grant will suffice.

15. You must wear a tie to church, or if you are a woman, you must have on a skirt or dress. The longer (for either the tie or the dress), the better Christian you are.

16. Always be willing to stand up and defend your Christian viewpoints, even if they don't align with the word of God in any form or fashion, and especially if you don't know why you believe it.

17. Give at least 11% -- give it proudly. Give it loudly.

18. Use lots of thees, thous, and -ests in your prayers, and ALWAYS volunteer to pray. The longer your prayer, the more Christian you are.

19. Never lay out of church, just because your back hurts and sitting on the pew costs you another visit to the chirocracker. It makes you do odd un-Christian-like things.






:P <---- That's Karma with her tongue in her cheek, just in case you are really mad right now and are getting ready to leave me a really hateful comment. If you think I'm bad, do a google search for "Stuff Christians Like."

Football Camp

My little boy started football camp this week.

Watching him run, learn how to do the "warm up drills," and tackling someone other than my husband was a sight to behold.

I offered him $5 if he could hit the pad the coach was holding and knock him over. He didn't do it, but it wasn't from lack of effort. :)

That is probably the hardest, physically, he has ever worked in his 6 years of existence.

His reaction? He almost cried Tuesday night when he found out he didn't have practice on Wednesday, and it would be Thursday night before he could go back.

I may take the camera to his next practice, though video would probably be more entertaining.

So, while I worried about his speed or coordination (or lack thereof), I quickly came to realize that it is a 6 yo boy thing, and most 6 yo are not particularly coordinated (though some are very quick).

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Children and Summer





I love taking children's portraits. Especially when it is in a non-studio setting, and I can just get them being them. :)

It's What All the Cool Bloggers are Doing

Friday, July 25, 2008

Day 5 -- It is Finished

Vacation Bible School is over, and not a moment too soon.

Please don't think I am a persnickety old woman about it, but there are some very real issues with how most churches "do" VBS. There are some real benefits as well, and I guess the trick is to find out how to maximize the benefits while minimizing the issues. Based on my experience at Crossroads, this is what I've found --

The benefits

* The kids absolutely LOVE it (mine included)
* For five days, kids are taught at their level
* For five days, it is high energy and high interest
* Many children come to church and hear about Jesus for the first time, ever
* New people are introduced to the church
* We get to go to church dressed however we please (okay, this may not be quite applicable, because I go to church dressed however, most of the time).

The issues

* High stress, especially for those leading and organizing
* 2 1/2 hours of free babysitting
* Chaos rules supreme
* Spike in attendance after VBS that gradually declines to nothing
* Exhausting. I only work two days a week, but there were others there that worked a full work day and then came and worked 3 or 4 more hours. (Our director uses a week of her vacation to do this).

I suppose in the long run, it is worth it, but there has got to be a better way.

1 Day VBS

The time element is eliminated. Instead of five nights, perhaps one Saturday. Do a morning session, feed them lunch, then do an afternoon session. The church in my neighborhood is doing this this weekend. I'm anxious to see how it goes. The drawback, however, is that if you have new children, or children you haven't seen in a year, it is difficult to get to know them and build a relationship with them in one day. Also, a whole day is a long time to have a 5 year old (that doesn't belong to you).

Abbreviated VBS

Instead of a full five nights, shorten it to three or four. In my experience, night three is always the smoothest, most productive night. Night four starts to get crazy, and then night 5 is absolutely choking. Do three nights of classes, then let the fourth night be a wrap up and picnic. The downside is that there exists the very real possibility that night 3 becomes what night 5 was, etc, and there is NO productive time, whatsoever.

Vacation Bible Study

Instead of 4 or 5 consecutive nights, spread it over three or four weeks. Pick a night and meet for four weeks on that night. You would still get to know the kids, but there would be ample time for resting between. :) The downsides is that it ties up a lot of weeks, and there is a big gap between the meetings, so kids probably wouldn't attend as much.

My kids
Travis is on the left


Kristi is on the right


Other pictures (taken mainly by our director, April Lowe, I think).




Mr and Mrs Preacher seemed to enjoy it, anyway.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

VBS --Day 4

>sigh<

Neat Idea

One of our service projects in Bible School this week is to write letters to soldiers. For a lot of them, we are simply sending letters through our local armory. For two of them, though, we are going to put together care packages. In searching out what is good to send, and what is not, I came across this website.

Treats for Troops


You can even "Foster" an individual soldier through the website, or "foster" a whole unit.

And, maybe I'm just hormonal or something, but this page made me cry.

I am very much a homebody. The thought of being halfway around the world, away from my family and friends is just downright scary to me. Also, today, one of my former students left for Germany, and will be in Iraq in a few weeks.

I pray daily for their safety and quick return.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

VBS Day 3

Over half way through.

No funny or cute stories from tonight.

I'm just tired.

Try This

1. Get six saltine crackers.

2. Get a stopwatch. Here's one online if you need it

3. Try to eat all six in less than a minute.

NO WATER or fluid of anykind. Just eat the crackers.

But, have some water nearby, for when you get choked.

:)

Me? 2minutes, 24 seconds

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

VBS Day 2

Little boys amuse me. They truly do. Maybe it's because I'm a "girl" so I can understand the female mindset and the motives behind the actions. I don't have that advantage with boys.

I had two little boys in my class tonight. And, they were all boy.

For some reason, one of them loves to be under the table. At one point in the lesson, my assistant looked around and panicked when she didn't see Andrew. I simply pointed, and he was all scrooched up listening. Then, when we went back into "big church" for the final assembly, he didn't want to sing, so he sat with me on the pew. For a minute. The next thing I knew, he was under the table Bernard uses for the projector.

The other little boy would answer, "Mary Jane," for every question I asked.

"Who was the baby put in the basket?" MARY JANE
"Where did they put the basket and the baby? MARY JANE
"Who found the basket?" MARY JANE

"Who were the four men wanting to take their friend to see?" MARY JANE
"How did they get their friend in the house to see Jesus?" MARY JANE

After several rounds of this, my "teacher training" kicked in and I decided to engineer some success for this little guy, who, to the best of my knowledge, may have never been in church before.

"Who is your friend?" MOSES

I don't *think* he was doing it deliberately; he honestly seemed confused.

I have days like that.

Two days down, three to go.


,

VBS Night One

Monday was the first night of Vacation Bible School, also known as the Week of Terror and Torture for the Volunteers (at least in my mind).

I am teaching 2, 3, and 4 year olds.

At one point we were reviewing our Bible verse, which I have, ummmm, simplified, to "Love the Lord with all your heart, soul, strength and mind, and love your neighbor as yourself."

I also have little rudimentary signs to go with the key words.

I point to my heart for heart.

My shoulders for soul (don't ask, it just "fits.")

Make muscles for strength,

and I point to my head for mind.

Got it? Good.

So, last night went kinda like this --

Karma: Andrew, Love the Lord with all your (points to heart)
Andrew: HEART!!!!
Karma: GOOD! Mary Jane, with all your (points to shoulders)
MJ: Soul.
Karma: Very nice. Kristi (who shares my last name, yes, THAT Kristi), with all your (points to head)
Kristi: (Pauses with a puzzled look on her face, then offers, quietly) eyebrows?

So, do you love Him with YOUR eyebrows?

The Things I Do

Each week at dpchallenge.com, we are given a "topic" that we must shoot on. This week, for one set of challenges, I could choose hot or cold.

I typically do not spend a lot of times setting up my shots for challenges. Perhaps it is laziness, perhaps is a desire for simplicity, or perhaps I am just a lazy simple-minded person. Maybe, though, it is because I can't stand spending all that time for a mediocre score. :)

This week, though, I could only come up with one idea. I would have abandoned it altogether, but I am also involved in a couple of "side tournaments" where we do "team play," and I didn't want to let the team down. (I'm so good.)

So, I bought the necessary materials at Wal-Mart (one tube of $0.97 lip gloss) and did the shot tonight.

The make-up -- a very thick layer of concealer, covered by a layer of foundation, and then another layer of concealer. (For those that don't know -- concealer is kinda like bondo, it covers and smooths and generally makes the skin look better. foundation is like primer). And, it wasn't just any concealer, but Mary Kay concealer which is known in the industry as "industrial strength." This stuff will cover anything!

Then, for my lips, I had a bottle of light blue lip gloss. It wasn't blue enough, so I added food coloring. :) Took the shot, did a bit of stuff in post-processing, and here it is --




And yea. Food coloring stains. Soooooo, now I have blue lips (and teeth, and tongue and fingers). I'm just suffering for my art.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Another Blast from the Past

It is September, 1983.

I am in my last month of "childhood," and will become a teenager in one month.

I am in 7th grade at Waynesville Junior High School.

And my world was rocked. Oh yea. Someone finally recognized ME.

Well, not really. But, you see, for almost 13 years, I had lived with the name "Karma." It is rare today, but essentially unheard of then, especially in the mountains of NC. (I remember one trip to Myrtle Beach. At the Gay Dolphin, they had this huge wall of those little bicycle tags and a sign that read, "Free Sand dollar if your name isn't here. Guess who got a free sand dollar?) My name was on NOTHING, unless it was customized. I liked the uniqueness of it, but still, when you are 8, things like that are, well, just big.

Then, along came Boy George and the Culture Club and I was on the charts!!!

(You can think Sonic for this reminder. We were doing our nightly Shuford Ice Cream thing -- seriously, all four of us are like addicted to ice cream right now -- and they played this.)



I have so got to get a hat like that, and if I ever get to go to GV and hear Tony preach, I am sooooooooooo wearing it. Oh yea.

You Know You Want One

Seriously.

Doesn't everyone need a roller coaster in their yard???

Friday, July 18, 2008

Alone in a Crowd

I once heard someone define the difference between an extrovert and introvert in terms of how they get energized. An extrovert will come away from a large group or social interaction ready to tackle anything and the subsequent "alone" time leaves them feeling disgruntled and adled.

On the other hand, an introvert needs "alone time" to regroup and "calibrate" so to speak.

I am an incurable introvert. The first time I participated in the Myers Brigg Type Indicator, the professor explaining the results to us said that anything near zero was a "type" that was marginal and we could go back and forth. From around 7 to 15 would show a strong preference and up to 25 a very strong preference. Anything higher was so ingrained in us, we could probably never change.

My "score" for introverted-ness was in the high 50s. It has since gone down, some, but my most recent "test" still had the "I" in the high 20s.

Couple that with a basic shyness, especially in new situations or around new people, and I am probably a near basket case by the time I get alone again. It also tends to make it difficult for me to "open up" to make new friends and makes me appear to be much more of a loner than I may truly want to be. I also hate talking on the telephone, or calling people. My first line of defense is to try and talk my husband into doing it. However, he hates it as badly as I do. (So, if I need to return your phone call, you may find I've sent an email instead. :)

Other people (once they have gotten to know me) admit to thinking I was the most stuck up, snobbish person when they first met me. Others admit that my prolonged bouts of silence in group situations make me seem mad and pouty.

Lovely.

I think that is why I like the Internet. I can take the time to think through a situation and how I want to respond. And, pixels are less threatening to me than actual people.

(For the record, I have NO problems with public speaking, and actually enjoy being in front of a crowd. It is the smaller, more intimate encounters that can send me skittering.)

I am not alone. In this obviously outdated study, Revenge of the Introverts, the Internet was just getting going, and already introverts were finding a way to express themselves. And for further, amusing, reading, check out Caring for Your Introvert

In my own personal experience, I have found that most of the people I associate at DP Challenge and another Christian photography website that I help moderate also admit to being more of a "loner," and enjoy online interaction because it allows them to be "part of society" while remaining in the relative safety of their own home. (I say relative because I live with a 6 yo and a 3 yo, and things can get a bit harried at times.) It also makes the person that typically hasn't had hordes of friends in life feel like part of a larger network. (Test -- If you refer to someone you've never met or talked to in "real life" as your friend, I may be talking about you.)

But, can the Internet and cyber-relationships truly replace flesh and blood relationships? Can I continue to hide behind my screen forever?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Question of the Day. . . .

What event or activity in the next few months are you looking forward to more than anything else?

Monday, July 14, 2008

Is This Witnessing?

From the International Mission Board
ZIMBABWE. Baptists in Zimbabwe are being blessed abundantly by donations from the United States through the newly formed Baptist Global Response (BGR). BGR has provided more than 100 tons of food in the form of food boxes delivered to destitute families. The boxes include staple items that could be purchased for approximately $25 U.S., but it would take more than a year’s salary for most Zimbabweans to purchase these items--if they were available in the grocery stores! One woman wept as she opened her box, “I was praying this morning, asking God what to do because I have no food to eat. Then you brought this food to me. I know God really does care about me.” An elderly man, not a Baptist, who has been surviving on one bowl of porridge a day, was overcome and could not speak for quite some time after getting his box. Everywhere people are saying that Baptists don’t just talk about God’s love, they give it away! BGR has also purchased more than $40,000 worth of essential medicines for the Sanyati Baptist Hospital and is currently working on re-vamping the hospital’s water system. Another project on the drawing board is to distribute school supplies to 25,000 needy students along with book covers imprinted with evangelistic stories and Scriptures, as well as the plan of salvation. Pray that as Baptists in Zimbabwe continue to provide for the needs of the people, many will be open to hearing the gospel, and ask that Baptists will be able to meet spiritual needs as well.

Or is this --

A church decides to spread the gospel, so they invest in a variety of gospel tracts covering everything from the return of Christ, to which Bible translation is the most spiritual, to how to get saved. They then "blitz" the community with them. They then leave them in books in the library, on shelves in the grocery store, as a tip when they eat out, in public restrooms, and even on the windshields of cars in parking lots. The church's name and phone number is clearly printed on the back.

Are both of them witnessing?

Are neither of them?

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The Name Game

I have been involved with homeschoolers for almost 8 years.

I've taught homeschoolers with "supplemental instruction." I've counseled homeschooling parents on curriculum, learning styles, strategies and techniques, and learning differences.

I've tested several hundred homeschoolers and interpreted the results, and made recommendations to the parents.

I know a lot about homeschooling. Undoubtedly, there is a lot of me to learn, but I am no "newbie" to the game.

We homeschooled Travis for Kindergarten last year, and now it is time for first grade.

It is a big deal, because now we "register" with the state and become official.

To do that we have to have a name. My husband doesn't want "Shuford School (or Academy)," though there is nothing wrong with that.

We have been delaying this "decision" for several months, now. It is not a decision to be made lightly, though because you could change it every year, henceforth, the state of NC will only recognize us as "WhateverwedecidetonameourselvesNow."

This morning we called an official Shuford meeting. (Actually, we didn't, because we don't do those, we just happened to all be in the same room at the same time and I brought it up.)

I asked, "What should our homeschool be named."

Answers given were as follows --

The Sewer (I promise, the first answer given. No coaching. No explanation.)
Ninja Turtle School
Pooper School (from the same origin as the first option -- she's a little obsessed right now).
Ninja School
Blue Angels Training Center
Shuford AFB
Boomer School
Blackberry Estates
Mayberry Academy
Army School
Rangers Training Battalion
Green Beret
Shuford Education and/Airborne/Aircraft Learning Services (SEALS)
Eagle View Education Services
Robbie-cation (I have no idea.)

So, at some point between now and when I actually mail the intent to homeschool to the state, I will come up with a name. Thus it will be written. Thus it will be so.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Living

About 10 years ago, I decided I wanted to participate in a triathlon. At the time, the sport was virtually non-existent around here, so I had to go to the Bladen Lakes region (the "other side" of Charlotte, NC, basically) to do it. I worked for months leading up to it, and I only had to swim 3/4 mile, bike 14 miles, and run 3 miles.

Being out of shape, and a non-athlete, it was tough, not just physically, but also emotionally.

It was quite possibly the most painful thing I've done (except childbirth), but it was also one of the highest highs I've ever had when I crossed the finish line (finally). My "performance" didn't break any records, and could even be considered poor or embarrassing, but still. I set the goal, and I did it. I didn't do it WELL, but I did it.

So, combine that with the fact that I was a daddy's girl, heard "I Can only Imagine" sung at my dad's funeral, and I have a place in my heart with children and people with special needs, and you can see why this video tears me up.

It is not new, by any stretch, so you may have seen it, but I still thought it was worth a look.

You can read their story HERE

The Mommy Moment

In my short time of being a mother (6.5 years, exactly, today), I have narrowed down the two main "mommy moments."

The first is that moment when they lay the little baby in your arms for the very first time. There is NOTHING on Earth that can describe that. ("They" also say that at that moment all the pain and suffering of labor and delivery will be forgotten. THAT is a bold-faced lie. It makes it worth it, yes, but I still remember delivering Travis all too well.)

The second is when you think back to life BC (before children) and realize you can't "remember."

I had that experience today.

Not too long ago, my mom asked me if I could imagine what I would do without kids. I think I disappointed her when I could, rather quickly even.

Today, though, we were outside fairly early. Both of my kids were up and ready to go at 7:30 am. By 10, we were outside playing. They swing, play in the dirt, fight with each other, and I sit in a lawn chair and read. Pretty cool arrangement (except for the sunburn I got today).

While I was watching them, I had the thought, "What did I do during the summers before Travis was born?" I was teaching full time, so I had summers "off." I honestly cannot remember what my day to day schedule was like.

I remember going to a couple of workshops, during a couple of summers.

I remember being trained as a lifeguard one summer.

I remember a couple of vacations.

Bernard reminded me that I mowed the yard once and picked blackberries a couple of times.

What did I do with all of that time when I didn't have to feed, entertain, and supervise my little boy?

Then, I tried to remember what we (Trav and I) did before Kristi was born.

I remember we had a little inflatable wading pool on the back porch. He loved that. We played, we read. We drove around alot.

Now, our days are full, it seems, and I wonder if in a few years, if we were ever to have #3, if I would look back with this same child-induced amnesia?

All that said, it was awesome, for some odd, unexplainable reason, to not be able to "remember" life without my babies. :)





Thursday, July 10, 2008

The Fast and the Furious

Actually, that title has nothing whatsoever to do with this post. If anything, it probably should be called "The Spastic and the serious."

First the spastic.

Have you ever really watched ants work? They are fascinating little critters. I discovered some gaining entry to our dining room a week or so ago. They march in, zero in, and leave. sortof.

Today, though, there was a small crumb, well, maybe slightly larger than small, in the floor. The ants were making a bee-line (hahahhahaa) toward it and attacking it like there was no tomorrow. For kicks, I left it.

In a few minutes, the food, AND the ants were gone. Well, that was cool.

So, tonight at supper, I notice that Kristi has dropped some pieces of crackers. Once again, the ants have found their way to the manna. What was interesting, though, was this one little guy was simply trucking it with a piece of a cracker that was like 50 times his size. I called the kids over and we watched for a while.

I got everything swept up and cleaned up, and later noticed a couple of pieces of bread or something, and a cheeto, lying by the door. My kids fed the ants. The crackers are almost gone, and I left the cheeto just to see how long it would take them to get the thing out of there.

There's a life lesson in that somewhere. "The Parable of the Ant"

Hmmmm, actually, in comparison to the rest of this post, perhaps THAT is the serious part and the rest is spastic.

Yesterday, my children ate some watermelon. Knowing the little they know about plants and gardening, they saved the seeds and wanted to plant them. No problem, I also have some pumpkin seeds that I have saved from last fall. ("some" might be a bit misleading -- there were probably over 200).

So, it rains all day today, but when it stops, we head to the backyard.

Travis shows me where to plant them. It is a good spot. There is no grass growing there so Bernard won't have to worry about mowing it.

I dig up the topsoil, and poke 12 or 16 neat little holes in the ground for the seeds.

Travis starts to put the watermelon seeds in, only to have Kristi start WAILING that that is what she wanted to do. Fine. Travis starts putting the little pumpkin seeds in (I have two sizes). We get, oh, 4 or 5 holes "seeded" and decide that is ridiculously slow, so we just scatter them on the ground. I cover them up, smooth it over, and throw the rest over the bank.

It must be noted that I have a black thumb. I can't keep a plant alive, NO MATTER WHAT I DO! It is for this reason I do not have houseplants, I do not keep a garden, and I do not housesit for people. I kill plants. It is what I do. I am like a walking, talking herbicide.

Therefore, it does not matter to me that I "started" our "garden" two months after everyone else in Western North Carolina.

It does not matter that I did not "prepare" the soil, though it obviously needs it -- heck, it won't even grow grass.

It does not matter that I did not plant in neat rows and furrows, and when they start coming up, we can't weed because I don't have a clue what is a weed and what is a pumpmelon or waterkin. (Which is what they may very well be, because, well, we scattered).

But, because I think it is a requirement if you homeschool to plant *something*, we did it.

I don't think it will grow, but if it does, we are going to have pumpkins coming out of our noses!!!!!

When Failure Equals Success

10 failures

1 big success

3 or 4 little successes


We are potty training.

This is GOOD day.

:)

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

95 Days

Bernard is working on his personal health and fitness. He's been doing pretty good at it, as well.

SEE??

And, that got me to thinking. (scary, eh?) It wouldn't do for him to get all fit and buff, and me still sitting around breathing heavy after walking up a flight of steps. Admittedly, I've been going at it half-heartedly for several months now, AND I am 20 pounds lighter than I was at the end of January, but still. . . .

When I was a consultant for Mary Kay, we would have "100 Day" challenges, on the premise that you can do anything, intensely, for 100 days.

So, I thought about it and decided to do a 100 day challenge for myself to generally help develop some healthier attitudes.

I counted and realized that day 95 fell on the most awesome day of the year -- October 12 (It's right up there with April 20, January 11, February 8, [eta=May 10] and December 25). :)

So, in 95 days, I should be eating better, sleeping better, exercising more, and generally more self-controlled. :)

Tuesday, July 08, 2008

Freshman Flashback

When I was in college, I went through a "country phase." (I confess, I still tend to drift there, occasionally) My favorite, bar none, was Aaron Tippin (who proves that good stuff CAN come from the upstate). <---joke for Tony.

Go back with me, to the early 90s! I was a sophomore/junior at Appalachian State, majoring in music (oh, the irony).






Is that not the coolest song? EVER?

David Terry Photography

David is an incredible photographer -- whether on the field photographing your kids, or in the temple/church preserving your special day.

What I am always astounded at in David's photography is the clear and crisp focus and the clarity and richness of his colors.


His profile on DPChallenge

His blog

His Website

Monday, July 07, 2008

Poor Bernard

Proverbs 21: 9
It is better to live in a corner of a roof
Than in a house shared with a contentious woman.


Proverbs 27: 15
A continual dropping in a very rainy day and a contentious woman are alike.

Proverbs 21: 19
It is better to dwell in the wilderness, than with a contentious and an angry woman.


I gotta stop arguing with people.

Sometimes I do it because I honestly feel like I am right and have something useful to say. More times than not, though, it feels like I am just doing it because I can. I have caught myself today posting to a forum that I frequent, and offering an opposing viewpoint, EVEN THOUGH IT IS NOT MINE! In other words, I was arguing, just to be arguing. ugh. I didn't post the comment, because by that point, I was already "embroiled" in several other "discussions."

Maybe I should be more like this little lady --


Monday Musings

Last night as Daryl preached on the parables of the lost sheep and the lost coin, one thing struck me.

Diligence.

In both, diligence was required to find or regain that which was lost.

How diligent am I in doing what I am supposed to do at church? at home? with my family? with my friends?

How many times do I let my own selfish wants interfere with what I should be saying and doing?

How diligent am I in making sure that I think about the right things, focus on the right things, and do the right things?

Do I simply say, "not now," and pretend I'll do it later. Or, do I bite the bullet and do what I know I need to do? And say (or hold my tongue) what needs to be said (or not said, as is more often the case).

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Lake Junaluska

ONE Day at a Time

One Day At A Time

I'm only human; I'm just a man
Help me believe in what I could be and all that I am
Show me the stairway
I have to climb
Lord for my sake
Teach me to take
One day at a time

One day at a time, sweet Jesus
That's all I'm asking from you
Give me the strength to do everything that I have to do
Yesterday's gone sweet Jesus
And tomorrow may never be mine
Help me today
Show me the way
One day at a time.

Could you remember
When you walked among men
Jesus, you know when you're looking below
It's worse now than then
Pushin' and shovin' crowd in your mind
Lord for my sake
Teach me to take
One day at a time


One of my dear friends sang this at church tonight. As she was singing and as we came home tonight, I realized just how often I am so focused on what I am going to do tomorrow, or later, that I completely forget to live in the now.

One day at a time. That is all I can handle.

That is all I need to handle.

Small Luxuries

Warning -- When I mentioned to my husband what I thought I would blog about, his comment was, "Babe, show some class."

He's right. I should. I'll start that next week, maybe.

So, you have been warned, this post has no class whatsoever.

We went to Ichabon's tonight -- a Japanese steak house in Asheville. The past several times we've gone, the service hasn't been all that great. Unfortunately, tonight wasn't altogether different, but the food is GOOD!

Also, they have one other secret weapon that continues to draw customers back in.



One stall in the women's restroom only (how's that for marketing?).

You can read about it at this website -- Performance Toilets.com

hey, you were warned.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Dietary Habits to Avoid

Veggie Taco Salad (tomatoes, onions, green peppers, shredded cheese, kidney beans, Catalina dressing

PLUS

IBC rootbeer

PLUS

2:30 AM

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Can You See IT??


We were eating supper tonight at a Drive In (you can sit in your car and they bring the food to you) and I heard Travis say, "That light looks like it has a baseball cap on backwards."

I looked,and it did look like that.

It also looked like a Superhero Cat kinda dude...So, I got out my camera and was taking a picture of it. The curbhop came out and just kinda looked at me and asked what I was taking a picture of, and I showed it to him. I think he was a bit freaked out by it.

Lose a Camera?

Check this blog. . . .
Found Cameras and Orphan Pictures

Siskine Chapel

So, the Rambling Prophet considers himself the laughingstock of Waynesville. See why HERE

So, I decided to help him out a little bit. You know, custom paint job, vanity plate, fish decal.

Tony and Camilla's new ride ---

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Homemade Ice Cream

We made ice cream at the Sr. Center this morning, and much to my surprise, it was actually very good.

I'm going to make it with the kids this weekend. :)

1/2 cup of milk or half-n-half
1 tablespoon of sugar
1/4 teaspoon of vanilla
6 tablespoons of rock salt
gallon size ziploc bag
pint size ziploc bag
ice

Put the milk, sugar and vanilla in the small bag.
Put the ice and rocksalt in the large one. Add the small bag and shake for around five minutes.
Wipe the small bag off (or you will get a really salty bite on occasion), open and enjoy.

:)

If you don't do the whole dairy thing, apparently, you can use fruit juice and make a sorbet of sorts.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Don't Worry; Be Happy

Bernard got one of these (the top picture, not the swing set; we're still working on that.


So, he cooked supper tonight. :) Mostly.

Helped my mood immensely. That and I got the house sort of straigtened up AND my floors are so clean you could almost eat off them. I wouldn't even be embarrassed if the Sisks showed up.


Wait a minute, I wasn't embarrassed the last time they were over. :)

The downside is that the inlaws picked the kiddos up so they could take Travis fishing. Supper was very quiet, and calm. For that matter, the house is really quiet and calm right now. I don't think I like that as well.

The ants are at bay for the moment.

The dishes still have to be done, but the dishwasher is empty and clean (does the inside of your dw get gunky and nasty, or is it just mine?), so that is a quickie job.

My world is good, right now. Well, better than 12 hours ago.

I have a lot to be thankful for. I probably should stop whining and "be happy."

(A YouTube video of Bobby McFerrin's "Don't Worry, Be Happy" was here, but the code kept messing up. :()

Discombobulation

That is my word for today, or better put, the word that describes how I feel.

It is not an entirely unfamiliar feeling, as I seem to do this periodically. (No, Bernard, not THAT periodically).

It's kinda like having on underwear two sizes too small, forgetting to brush your teeth, realizing you don't have deodorant on, seeing ants in the kitchen (again), cleaning up yet another spill, getting made fun of or criticized for something you tried in earnest to do, and not being able to find your keys (or realizing you locked them in your car) all rolled into one.

Just for clarity, not all of those things are going on in my life right now, but the feeling is the same.

I tend to feel like this when I get overwhelmed or am unsure how to go about a situation.

The trick is figuring out what I feel overwhelmed about or unsure of. :/