Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

Is it not amazing that 2008 is gone???

It was our first full year spent in Alabama and we survived :) I need to know - is it y'all or ya'll? I have seen it both ways and now that I actually use it, I need to know. My vote is for y'all (using English rules). What do you think?

The weather is crazy - yesterday, picnic outside with short sleeves on (however, we were a little further south helping some friends move in) ... today, frigid again. No complaints, though - the fact that we can have a picnic in the winter anytime is still a good thing.

Hope you have a wonderful New Year - looking forward to catching up with you in 2009!

ps - I desperately need a new profile picture!!! However, first I need a haircut :)

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Then Sings My Soul Saturday

This is the first time I have participated in "Then Sings My Soul Saturday". When I heard this song on John's new Trans Siberian Orchestra CD, I wanted to share it. Check out more songs here.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Christmas update

Happy New Year to everyone! Here's a little recap of our last week.

Last Sunday night, the temperature got down to 18 degrees - with the wind chill, it felt like 9.!! Now, that's cold for Alabama. When we know there is a risk of freezing, we let the water run all night to keep the water line from freezing. Unfortunately, it just got too cold for our trick to work and the filters outside at the well head froze solid. So, Monday morning, we woke up to no water. We are able to keep warm enough with 2 space heaters - and we have the camper heater set at a "catch" temperature in case the space heaters can't keep up.

This is a picture of the inside of our camper window - frozen!!

Do you want to know the really crazy thing? The Friday before (2 days earlier, mind you), we were wearing shorts outside to work in! We poured some concrete that day and it was plenty warm to be in shorts and a t-shirt.

Tuesday night, we enjoyed Christmas lights at the zoo - complete with train ride, watching dancing lights and petting a Norway rat.

Alabama is crazy for football - it's either Alabama or Auburn. For some reason, the kids have chosen Auburn to "like". Here's my thought - in a year when Alabama was #1 and undefeated for most of the season - call me crazy, but I might have chosen Alabama to be my favorite :)

Christmas morning, we ate cinnamon rolls and then took a nice hike to Chimney Rock. It was Savannah's first time actually up on the rock. I forgot to take my camera along, but it was a beautiful crisp morning.

We decided we had let them wait long enough and opened the remainder of our presents. We have tried to teach our kids that giving is a blessing and that we celebrate Christmas because of what God gave us - His son. This year, we saw them really enjoying giving, too. Our church had a birthday party for Jesus that our kids attended. Part of the evening, they were able to shop at the "store" that the leaders had set up. The kids were able to choose and wrap gifts for their parents (or whoever they wanted to give to). Our kids were so excited to watch us open our gifts - I was blessed.

We were able to get the kids a trampoline for Christmas with the gift money that we had received for Christmas. They were VERY excited and have spent almost every spare available minute jumping on it. It struck me funny yesterday - this is just a bigger version of a pack-and-play! Do you need a place for your kids to play ALL DAY LONG while you work on the house? Get them a trampoline :)

And, finally, Buddy has settled in and is very comfortable - and spoiled, I might add. I call him "little pipsqueak" and that makes Savannah laugh.

Christmas night, we enjoyed an incredible meal at some friends' home - thanks, Cheney family! The kids had a wonderful time playing and the guys had a very long competitive game of scrabble :)

House update:
We have the forms set up again to pour next week sometime. Once finished, we will have 3 full height walls, a 2/3 height back wall, foundation for the stairs, foundation for interior support walls. Progress - exciting!

Hannah's cards:
From the caringbridge site - the card count is over 57,200! Hannah has started chemo treatments - please pray for a miracle.

Phillipians :9-11
And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless until the day of Christ, filled with the fruit of righteousness that comes through Jesus Christ—to the glory and praise of God.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Just for fun

It's finally sunny, but it is really cold, so while John is working outside, I am blogging :)

1. Started your own blog
Yes. Ta-da - here it is!

2. Slept under the stars
Yes - once actually outside and once with a glass ceiling - very cool!

3. Played in a band
No - not musically talented.

4. Visited Hawaii
YES~!! 3 times - I like Kauai best. However, Tahiti was even better.

5. Watched a meteor shower
Not yet.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity
Not often enough.

7. Been to Disneyland/World
Both. We took the kids to Magic Kingdom a couple of years ago. I was in Disneyland with my best friend many years ago :) Remember Splash Mountain, Heidi? HA!

8. Climbed a mountain
Yes - Mt St Helens twice.

9. Held a praying mantis
Yes - they are my favorite "little" critter. We had some interesting pine-looking ones this summer.

10. Sang a solo
Oh NO!!!

11. Bungee jumped

12. Visited Paris
Close, but no. I spent a few days in London, England and had thought about taking the chunnel over, but didn't end up going.

13. Watched a lightning storm
Yes! One this summer was INCREDIBLE! It wasn't actually lightning here, but we could see this huge thunderhead cloud with lightning going everywhere inside of it. Also, once while driving to visit my parents in OR, there was a beautiful one along the Columbia River Gorge.

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch
Hmmm. Not sure if training horses counts (although I did have some help from 4-H leaders, etc).

15. Adopted a child
Technically, no. But we have 2 Compassions children in Tanzania that we support and pray for all of the time.

16. Had food poisoning
Not that I can remember

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
Yes! I LOVE NYC! However, the view from up there is not the greatest.

18. Grown your own vegetables
Yes - tried this summer. Looking forward to trying again next summer and getting an earlier start.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France

20. Slept on an overnight train
No. But I have slept on an overnight plane.

21. Had a pillow fight
Yes - I have 3 sisters - I am sure we had pillow fights growing up :)

22. Hitch hiked

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
I don't think so.

24. Built a snow fort
Yes, but not recently :)

25. Held a lamb
I don't think so.

26. Gone skinny dipping
Not that I can remember.

27. Run a Marathon
No, but maybe someday ...

28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
Many, many sunsets. A few sunrises :) In Hawaii, we had to do the Haleakala sunrise, of course.

31. Hit a home run
Oh no - baseball is not my friend.

32. Been on a cruise
Yes - to the Inside Passage in Alaska - incredible! Highly recommend this one.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
Yes! Twice! The Canadian side is more impressive and more clean, I have to admit.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors
Not really intentionally. I was in Germany and England, but I didn't go in search of ancestors while there.

35. Seen an Amish community
Yes. We lived in Lititz, PA in Lancaster County, PA - lots of Amish in the surrounding areas.

36. Taught yourself a new language

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
Money will never satisfy - only Christ will.

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person

39. Gone rock climbing
Part of the Mt St Helens climb is through boulders - my favorite part! I wouldn't necessarily say it was "climbing", but it was still very fun.

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David

41. Sung karaoke
Definitely not!

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt

43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
Maybe - we gave a homeless man $5 in a McD's in NYC once (one of those situations where we felt like the Lord was prompting us to do that). Hopefully, he bought a meal with it.

44. Visited Africa

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight

46. Been transported in an ambulance
Thankfully, no.

47. Had your portrait painted

48. Gone deep sea fishing
Yes - that was our summertime vacation growing up. We would fish off the coast of Vancouver Island for salmon.

49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
No! Not been to Paris.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
Snorkeling - I enjoyed snorkeling in Tahiti a lot!

52. Kissed in the rain
Most of the time that John came to Portland (rains lots!), it was sunny and nice, so I am not sure.

53. Played in the mud
Oh, definitely!

54. Gone to a drive-in theater

55. Been in a movie

56. Visited the Great Wall of China

57. Started a business
Yes - John and I started a software business.

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia

60. Served at a soup kitchen
Yes, but just a few times.

61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies

62. Gone whale watching
Not specifically, but I have seen whales in the ocean!

63. Got flowers for no reason
Yes - John just recently brought me some wildflowers. Also, the kids are always giving me little "bouquets".

64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
Yes - in college.

65. Gone sky diving
No, but you can ask John about wearing a jump suit :)

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp

67. Bounced a check
I'm not sure - maybe in college, but I don't remember a specific time.

68. Flown in a helicopter
Yes! My BIL took me up in his helicopter once. Also, on the Alaskan cruise, I splurged and took a helicopter flight up/over/and on the glaciers - it was worth every penny. Loved it!

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
Yes. A poor, ratty-tat stuffed dog that I can remember riding as a "horse" when I was very little.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
Yes. Love Washington DC, too.

71. Eaten caviar
Oh NO!

72. Pieced a quilt

73. Stood in Times Square
Yes - love NYC!

74. Toured the Everglades

75. Been fired from a job
No, but I quit after 1 day of strawberry picking!

76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
Yes - at Buckingham Palace.

77. Broken a bone
Yes - my elbow during basketball season my senior year of high school.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
Well, I'm not sure you could call it a speeding motorcycle, but I have been on a motorcycle.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person

80. Published a book

81. Visited the Vatican

82. Bought a brand new car
Yes - and I still have it and it has 140K miles on it!

83. Walked in Jerusalem

84. Had your picture in the newspaper
Yes - for various high school sports items. We lived in a small town.

85. Read the entire Bible

86. Visited the White House

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating

88. Had chickenpox

89. Saved someone’s life
Not that I know of.

90. Sat on a jury
Yes, I was picked for a jury - it was very exciting to actually make it out of the jury "pool". However, the dude ended up settling before we made it into court.

91. Met someone famous
I went to basketball camp at the same place the Seattle Seahawks had training camp, so we saw a few of the players there.

92. Joined a book club

93. Lost a loved one
Yes - a few.

94. Had a baby
Two - Savannah and Hadden.

95. Seen the Alamo in person

96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake

97. Been involved in a law suit
Well, I guess so. When I was a nanny in CT, the first week I was there I was in a car accident. Apparently the other person involved saw an opportunity and sued for damages. However, they determined that the accident was not completely my fault (the other person was exceeding the speed limit on a blind corner), so they did not win.

98. Owned a cell phone

99. Been stung by a bee
Yes - and then passed the bee on to my sister so that she could get stung, too!

100. Picked up a stray animal (I modified this one)
Yes. Buddy. We saw another stray today and just.kept.driving!

Friday, December 19, 2008


Please continue to pray for a miracle for Hannah. The local community had a wonderful gift for Hannah last night - at least 54 fire departments, police departments, EMS, etc. joined together to deliver 1000's of Christmas cards to Hannah! The local community came out and supported Hannah and the family as well. Read here for more about it.

The weather has not been the greatest for trying to pour concrete, but we are hoping to try either today or early next week.

He is still with us and we named him "Buddy". We reported him to all of the local vets and the local shelter, took him in to check for a chip, made a sign that we had found him, asked many people if they knew who he belonged to, etc, but he has not been claimed. He is doing very well at finding his way around our property, it seems. He is home every night to sleep in his warm bed :) He loves Hadden's bed, but we don't want him sleeping there so we keep booting him off. He is a persistent little fella.

Feeling a little behind. We are hoping to do our Christmas shopping for the kids tonight while they are at a "birthday party for Jesus" at church.

Many frustrations with trying to get a package delivered via UPS. I have had to force myself to be kind in the midst of it. I think there is a big lesson in here for me - in light of MUCH bigger situations, this one is nothing - and I mean NOTHING! So, my parents don't get their present on time. Do they really mind? No. So - why do I get all worked up for such small things?

Christmas cards are just not going to happen this year. Maybe New Year's cards :)

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Christmas wish for Hannah

This so touched my heart this morning. Would you consider sending a Christmas card to Hannah? She is a little girl from our church in PA - the family lost her mother about 2 years ago to breast cancer and Hannah is a very special little girl. Please pray for Hannah and this family.

Hannah's cousin had the following note on facebook:

Hannah is my 5 year old cousin who, just a few weeks ago, was diagnosed with Glioblastoma Multiforme, a rare and incurable brain tumor. She has been given 12 weeks to live and is currently in her 7th week. Hannah's story is sad, but especially sad because her mother passed away just two years ago from breast cancer. Her father, brother Jordan, and sister Brittany are dealing with the unthinkable.

Right now Hannah has lost most of her motor skills. She is confined to a bed and cannot really do anything or play with the gifts she has been receiving. Hannah LOVES getting cards, though. She has gotten so many and has so much fun opening them and reading them with her grandma. She is so proud of all of her cards - her room is filled.

When asked what she wanted for Christmas, Hannah said she would like to see how many Christmas cards she could get. Many people have passed along this wish to their churches, friends, prayers groups and families and I'm asking you to continue to pass on Hannah's story.

So if you have time during the holidays, and would like to help Hannah with her wish, please send her a card. Her address is:

Hannah Garman
704 Orchard Rd
Lititz, PA 17543

You can feel free to forward this to as many people as you wish. If anyone has questions, they can email me at If you want to keep up to date on Hannah and her progress, check out her Caring Bridge website at

We appreciate your thoughts and prayers especially through the holiday season.

Many blessings,

Hannah with one of her dolls.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

She's 8!!!!

We celebrated Savannah's 8th birthday yesterday! As with any parents, it is hard for us to believe that she is already 8.

The kids and I went to the McWane Science Center and were able to catch the eel feeding. Unfortunately, my camera was MIA so I don't have any pictures to share.

Just a few days old here.

Thought this one was especially cute :)

Savannah - you are very precious to us and we are so thankful that God chose us to be your parents! Our prayer for you is that you would seek Him all of your days. We love you!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sounds and sights ...

"No, Savannah, I don't think we are going to be able to get a puppy for your birthday or for Christmas"

Meet "Buddy" - aka PAL (note: this is the morning after we found him, so he is still pretty skinny)

We are still not sure what exactly to do with him ... and he is not technically a "puppy", right? We did take him to the vet today to see if he has a microchip and he does not. Also, I was wrong in thinking he was a bagel - the vet said he is only beagle.

Sympathy from my family? Nope! Teresa said, "you had better get that house done soon, so that you have a place to live!". The camper seems to be going to the dogs.

"I don't think we really need a tree inside this year, do we?"

Outvoted 3-1 - at least is a little step up from our Charlie Brown tree of last Christmas.

Well, could you resist this face? (either of them)

Aren't the lights on the house absolutely lovely! My husband put ours up without any nagging - bet you wish you could say that!

As promised - Clampett camper.

I think she is embarassed that I showed you that picture :)


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Hmmm ...

So, we woke up this morning to Hadden's front tooth missing ... not to be found anywhere!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Not Me! Monday

And ... we certainly DID NOT pick up a stray dog tonight and bring him home. That would be generally considered a little crazy - four people and three dogs in a camper! We're calling him a "bagle" because he looks like some cross between a beagle and a basset hound. He is very cute and sweet, but we are going to try to find his owners.

I have not participated in this before, but have several things that I wouldn't want to admit to. :) Check out this site for what this craziness is all about.


We did not spontaneously enjoy our time with 3 other couples from We Care which made us arrive home at 11 pm Saturday night - this was already after a very nice Christmas banquet on Friday night.

I did not buy a red velvet cake yesterday for $12.99 plus tax because I didn't have time to make anything for dessert for our home group after arriving home at 11 pm. I do not love red velvet cake icing (the only real reason to eat cake, after all)!

Our camper was not 37 degrees on the inside when arriving home at 11 pm from our Christmas party weekend! It did not take 3 heaters and an hour to get it to a bearable temperature.

We did not pile our stacks of pink insulation around the bottom of our camper to try to keep a little of the heat in. That would look WAYYY too Clampett for us! I am positive I will not post a picture when I have a chance.

I did not have a meltdown over buttons because I was worried about wearing a black sweater with 2 missing white buttons. I did not make my poor husband feel so bad that he stopped twice (even though we were running late) for me to find some. Then, I certainly didn't sew them on on the remainder of the ride, only to find out that they wouldn't actually fit through the button holes! (Thankfully, it was just a cardigan).

Oh, and I don't stick my foot in my mouth - ever. Not Me! Nor, does my facial expression change in the least when someone says something to me that is just "out there".


Head on over to MckMama’s page and see what other people have Not Done!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The almost great escape and a 2-legged dog

So, have you seen the kids movie "Finding Nemo"? Do you remember the "great escape" plan that the fish in the dentist's tank came up with to get back to the ocean?

We had a real-life great escape plan, but this time it involved a lizard.

Our version started when the kids found a most pathetic looking little lizard on a cold day. I, being the softy that I am, allowed them to bring it into the house to warm it up. John and I both thought that it was about ready to keel over and sure enough, the next morning it appeared to be dead. When I picked up the container and tilted it slightly, the lizard just stiffly slid across the bottom of the container.

However, when the kids woke up and Savannah checked on him, he moved a little bit. We decided to make his plastic bucket a little more "homey" and added some rocks, twigs, a dish of water and a clump of grass. He seemed to perk up some and we even caught him up on the grass a couple of times.

He still looked terribly pathetic as he was shedding his old skin. He had some dark patches and some lighter, scaly patches of old skin.

Then, the day came for the great escape! John and I were outside working on the house all day and the kids were enjoying playing outside in the nice weather. In the late afternoon, I came in for a quick break and found several ladybugs right inside the front door of the camper. As I was sweeping them out, was I ever surprised to find the little lizard right there by the door, too! I immediately thought that the kids had been playing with him and that was why he was out, but they both said they hadn't.

So, my hunch is that the lizard climbed up the grass, over the edge of the container, down onto the floor (a fall of about 2 ft - pretty big for a 3 inch lizard!), then across the floor to the front door. (can't you just hear the music in your head?) Not sure what his next plan was as I caught him in the middle of it. His escape plan was successful however - we ended up turning him loose to enjoy life in the great outdoors again.

Hopefully he is staying warm on these cold nights!


Our dog, Mercy, who is normally a three-legged dog, became a two-legged dog for a short while. Probably not terribly funny for her, but it was rather amusing for us (after, of course, she recovered and we knew she was ok :). She has been down to 3 legs ever since her fall off of the 40-foot cliff when we first arrived in Alabama and she was down to 2 the other night most likely from being bit by something. Probably a no-legged critter.

When we got home from church on Sunday afternoon, she was wobbling/hobbling on two legs because one of her back legs was swollen and painful. On a side note, she is the biggest wimp of a dog ever, so it is hard to tell just how painful it really was.

We brought her in, examined her, and gave her some Benadryl. We assume it was a snake bite because by the next morning, she was fine and ready to go for a walk.

I am kicking myself for not video'ing her, though, as it was pretty funny. She can be thankful that the bite and swelled leg were on her "good" side. Not sure what she would have done if they were both bad on the same side :)

Sunday, November 30, 2008

We had help! And ... Space and Rocket Center

We are so incredibly grateful for the help we had on Friday! We poured the final height for our end walls and some good friends joined us in the fun. Don and the kids came up from Atmore to help us out and also our friend Brian from our home group unexpectedly showed up - Lord, please bless them all! We truly would not have been able to do this without them. It was our most complicated pour yet - we were working at the full height of the wall (9') so it was challenging.

Savannah and Hadden had a great time playing with Lauren (and Perry, too, before the concrete truck arrived).

Biking and bubbles

Here's the whole crew at work. We chose not to rent a concrete pump as they are pretty expensive, so we built a trough to pull the concrete down to where we needed it. The system worked pretty well, but it was pretty labor intensive. I felt like I had played in a full volleyball tournament the next morning :)

The rain held off until we were just about finshed, so we were also very thankful of that. We have MUCH to be thankful for.


On Saturday, we took the kids to the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville. The admission was free with our McWane Science Center Membership, so we finally were able to take advantage of it. In some of the pictures, you have to look very closely to find us :)

John and kids with SR-71 Blackbird

Me and the kids with Saturn V

John and me in front of the Blackbird (Savannah took our picture :)

Me and kids beneath the indoor Saturn V

Me and kids with Space Shuttle

John and kids with Space Shuttle

John and Savannah going back into the building that houses the Saturn V.

For Don's sake :) - the Iron Bowl on the BIG screen! They broadcast the game on their theater screen. We only watched for a few minutes, but I think this is the place to watch the game!

Thursday, November 27, 2008


May you enjoy a blessed day being thankful to Him is worthy of Thanks!

Monday, November 24, 2008

So true

I really liked this - I received it in an email and am not sure who the author was.

Three things in life that, once gone, never come back -
1. Time
2. Words
3. Opportunity

Three things in life that can destroy a person -
1. Anger
2. Pride
3. Unforgiveness

Three things in life that you should never lose -
1. Hope
2. Peace
3. Honesty

Three things in life that are most valuable -
1. Love
2. Family & Friends
3. Kindness

Three things in life that are never certain -
1. Fortune
2. Success
3. Dreams

Three things that make a person -
1. Commitment
2. Sincerity
3. Hard work

Three things that are truly constant -
Father - Son - Holy Spirit

May you put your trust in Him who is the only true constant!

Phillipians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Uber Award

Thank you, Susan, for passing on this award to me. How very sweet of you! Y'all need to go check our her blog for some great tips, good advice, thoughtful insights and just plain fun. Be sure to leave a comment, because she is the absolute best at leaving comments!

About the award: Uber (synonym to Super) Amazing Blog Award is a blog award given to sites who: ~ inspire you ~ make you smile and laugh ~ give amazing information ~ are a great read ~ have an amazing design ~ and any other reasons you can think of that makes them uber amazing!

The rules of this award are:
* Put the logo on your blog or post,
* Nominate at least 5 blogs (can be more) that for you are Uber Amazing!
* Let them know that they have received this Uber Amazing award by commenting on their blog,
* Share the love and link to this post and to the person you received your award from.


Blogging is and has been such of a fun outlet for me - I have learned so much through, laughed with, cried with, praised God with, been challenged by, prayed for, sought prayer from many uber amazing people. I honestly had NO idea what I was in for when I started this thing back in January - I thought it would be a quick and easy way to stay connected to family and friends. And it is that, and so much more.

Just last week, I learned from blogging that sweet potatoes were on sale at Wal*Mart - I was blessed by that because I love sweet potatoes and Susan had some great ideas of how to stock up on them.

The week before that, I learned that Snapfish was offering a free photo book (and I am kicking myself that I didn't also blog about that one). John and I had a lot of fun putting together a book from our first year in Alabama.

Passing awards on is always hard for me because I would choose everyone that I read :) However, I am not always so good about commenting, so it would be strange for me to give someone an award who does not even know me :) OK - I hear you now - start commenting more.

So, if you read this, count yourself uber awarded, because even if you don't blog, I think you are uber :)


Thursday, November 20, 2008

Random pictures

Spring and fall together - the white tree looks like it is blooming and the red trees are losing their leaves. Makes for a neat contrast.

This didn't fully capture the beauty of the sun peaking through the clouds and hitting Barker mountain and none of the other ridges, but I thought I would share it anyway.

Have a wonderful day!

Monday, November 17, 2008

So, what's your $6 doorknob?

While in PA on our latest trip, I had a wonderful time catching up with my good friend, Andrea, while the kids enjoyed the barn party. It just so happened that the barn party was at her barn, so it was a win-win for me! She is one of those friends that you can just pick up from where you left off and just keep right on rolling. In the midst of our conversation, kids came in needing to use the bathroom and she would point them in the right direction. After a while, she commented how they had fixed the bathroom doorknob so she didn't have to rescue anyone any longer. In a tone all her own, she said something like, "how long did it take us to fix a $6 doorknob?"

Their previous bathroom doorknob didn't work - it had a special quirk that you had to know in order to get out of the bathroom. We had talked about it before, and I knew exactly what she meant.

Growing up, my family lived in a house that had a quirky doorknob for the bathroom door, too. You had to turn the handle all the way to the right or the door would not open. We had to rescue many people from our bathroom, even after the warning "you have to turn the doorknob all the way to the right".

So, why didn't we fix those doorknobs sooner? Maybe because they weren't technically "broken" - if you knew the trick, you could get out every time. However, once they were fixed - we also wondered what on earth took so long! Having the doorknob work properly certainly saved a lot of explanation and even embarassment at times. (I still vividly remember one of my sisters dates getting stuck in the bathroom once!)

As Andrea and I talked, it struck me - how many things in our lives have quirks that we do not bother to fix? Spiritually speaking. Those seemingly small, nagging things that keep us from working to our full potential. Those "$6 doorknobs".

Hebrew 12:1
Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.

So - what's your $6 doorknob?

Saturday, November 15, 2008


John and the kids arrived home on Thursday night. It was good to see them and I am glad that they are home safely. It's good to have a little break once in a while, but it is also good to have them back!

The kids are doing well - it seemed like they had grown the 2 days they were gone! It's just amazing how quickly they grow up!

While they were all gone, I enjoyed Pride and Prejudice - I borrowed both the old and the new versions from the library. I watched the old one ... all in one setting ... on Wednesday night. I really liked it and I can't believe that I haven't seen it. If I remember correctly (and I don't always), I think my sister Debbie chose it for us to watch one time and I just wasn't in the mood for the pace of the movie. I have not yet watched the newer version, but hope to before I have to return it to the library.

House update:
John had Friday off because of the staff meetings and we were hoping to work on the house. Unfortunately, the weather has not cooperated at all. We were only able to do some more prep work, as the wind has been blowing and it has been raining off and on for the past 2 days. Our next pour will be fairly tricky - we are planning on doing the final pour on the side walls. Although this is very exciting, it is also quite high in the air, so it makes it a little bit tricky.

On a positive note, since the weather was bad, we were able to clear some more brush and clean up about 10-12 trees that John had previously taken down. The trees were in a rocky area where it is pretty likely that some snakes live. We have been waiting for colder weather to get in there to clean them up and today was the day.

Lilly is loving the cold weather. When we still lived in PA, she loved going out and playing in the snow. She has a pretty thick coat of fur, so she would really rather live in a cold climate, I think. Alabama was probably not on her top 10 list :)

Mercy is still doing well on her 3 legs. We didn't think she was the brightest trail dog (for several reasons) and today we took a hike "through" the woods, exploring new territory and after about a half an hour, she found us!

Note: There is a LOT of unchartered territory on our land. Plant life really grows in Alabama, so most of our land is really thickly wooded. Here in the winter, we will be able to explore a little more as some of the underbrush dies off.

Well, it's time for a bedtime story for the kiddos. I must go now...

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

You're just wantin' to know, aren't ya?

What did she do all day? :) I have to admit that I find pleasure in simple things - coffee, walks, and working hard.

So, here is how the day went:
Woke up this morning and read in Jeremiah. Good stuff!

Took the dogs for a walk ... a longer walk than usual.

Enjoyed some blogging time while drinking my coffee.

Took a shower - a really long shower and realized that there were no interruptions. (OK - as long as a shower as 6 gallons of hot water will get you :)

Worked on the house as much as I could. Cut insulation and drilled holes for the next pour. I also tried to clean off the threaded rods, but that wasn't very successful.

Tried to fix my carpet cleaner so I could clean the carpets (don't ask - I think it is genetic in my family - both the attempt to fix something and cleaning carpets while loved ones are away ;) My steamer has sprung a leak - a big leak. So much so that it is more like flood the carpets, make a big mess on the rest of the floor and then try to clean it up. So I ended up just using the steamer to soak up the water and to scrub the carpets.

Decided I really do HATE carpet. NO carpet, thank you very much. Carpet holds dirt - disgusting.

Ran books and movies back to library that were due today. Picked out new movie - "Pride and Prejudice". The library was closed yesterday for Veteran's Day, so I went to the local video store to pick out a movie. Bad idea. Let's just say that I have decided that, in general, PG-13 movies are just trash and I won't be bothering to watch them. Hollywood, hear this - please stop making stupid, crappy movies!

Talked with my wonderful hubby and kids. I really do miss them all! It's nice to have a break, but it makes me realize how blessed I really am! I love you guys!

Off for some supper and then my movie.

Hope you had a great day today!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Oh boy - it's QUIET!!!

This is the most amazing thing ... I have two days "off" from the normal routine. John took the kids to a staff meeting and I stayed home to take care of the dogs.


Two days! Well, and the dogs, which means that sleeping in isn't really an option. However, going back to bed is :)

AND ... John picked the coolest bunch of wild flowers for me on his way home.

Seriously cool flowers.

Look closely - this is actually how they grow! One stem, bunch of flowers - now, there's a God stop for you.

... yes, the vase is a Starbucks thermal coffee mug ...

Oh, and MANY THANKS to the two friends that made it possible for John to bring the kiddos - hopefully, they aren't too much trouble! May He richly bless you for your kindness to us!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Time to come down off of the pole now, honey

But first, the kids and I enjoyed a day at Homestead Hollow - a nearby festival/craft fair. It was a beautiful fall day and we enjoyed walking around looking at the crafts, eating some fried food and hanging out with friends. John was in the prison enjoying a motorcycle ministry group.

Savannah enjoyed a pony ride with "Buster Brown". Like mommy, like daughter :)

And then ... there is "like daddy, like son" ...

I was very surprised when Hadden spied this from across the field and said "I want to try that, Mom". I was even more surprised that he still wanted to try it when, while we were waiting in line, an older boy got off saying "that's scary"! Let's just leave it at this - John's going to have to be the one going with him on rides at the amusement park!

Time to come down off the pole now, honey! It's getting cold out here!

"What are you doing up there?!"

Enjoying the view - he says this is motivation for building the house. After I took a turn up the tower this morning, he asked me if I was also motivated. Oh, honey, I have been motivated for a loooong time :)

And, here's the reason for the motivation!

Speaking of building:
We poured front and back portions of the wall on Tuesday morning. We rented a concrete vibrator for the first time and we are very pleased how the wall turned out. The only difficulty that we had was that all of the shaking shook the juicy smutz (that's a word, right?) in between the pvc and the threaded rod, thereby locking the threaded rod into the wall. It was a real challenge trying to get them out, but we did manage, finally.

So, now it actually kind of looks like a house. We have all four walls defined - yippee! Next, we will pour the final height on the side walls. That will be exciting. Then, two more pours on what we poured last week and then the stair well ... let's just say that we will still be pouring for quite a while :)

And, finally...
I have been drawn to read Jeremiah - good stuff and timely for what I feel the state of our nation is in. Powerful stuff, there. This one jumped out at me:

Jeremiah 2:13 "My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

And the WINNER is ....

The kids helped me do the drawing. Savannah wrote all of the entries on slips of paper. We put them in Hadden's cap and then Savannah drew the name out. I video'd it, but for some reason, my camera didn't store the video clip :( Oh well.

The winner of the CD "Hello Love" is Ross' Cottage!

I am praying that you enjoy it as much as I do!

I just marvel at the tenderness of God. Kim is having an MRI this Friday (you can read details at her blog) and He chose her to receive the CD. As much as I would have wanted each person to win for different reasons, He chose her. Brings tears to my eyes just thinking how much He cares for each of us. He SEES us! Kim - we are praying for good results and for His peace as you undergo the waiting and tests.

Thanks for participating! The kids thoroughly enjoyed the drawing, too. In fact, Savannah has continued drawing, so honorable mentions are Don Metzler and Hi-d :) I am sure you will all be winners by the time she finishes!


Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Deadline - Thursday, 9:00 am CST

Just a reminder, if you want to be included in a drawing for Chris Tomlin's "Hello Love" CD, please post a comment before 9:00 am tomorrow morning.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Trip to PA plus 100th post giveaway

So, my 100th post wasn't developing as I had hoped, so I am just going to skip my idea and post the rest of our PA trip pictures and do a giveaway (see the end of the post).

Monday morning before we headed back to Alabama, we enjoyed the streets of Lititz. It's amazing how much more quaint and cute it has become in the last year :) Just kidding - it has always been this quaint, but I now appreciate it more having not been there for some time.

First, we had breakfast north of Lititz at "The Udder Choice" restaurant.

On the way into Lititz from the restaurant, we passed the 5 acre piece of land that we used to own. Whoever owns it has a beautiful log cabin overlooking the farms below. I had another shot from the front, but it turned out blurry, so you will just have to imagine it.

Must stop at Wilbur Chocolate when in Lititz. They make the base chocolate for some more famous name chocolates such as Godiva. GOOD STUFF!

A little "train station" visitor center at the park.

We enjoyed some fun at the park feeding the ducks and playing at the playground getting out some energy before our long trip back to Alabama.

Grandpa bought each of our kids a model truck from the auction. Savannah's truck was from this company in Lititz.

Family photo taken in the park (thanks, Lauren!).

Don't miss the duck - it was an unusual colored one.

This old church was bought by a private party and is being renovated - I think for a residence. At one point, it was rumored that it would be torn down - I have always liked it, so am glad that it was not.

General Sutter Inn - neat "fine-dining" restaurant - established in 1764.

We didn't eat Roma pizza this day, but had to get a shot of the front anyway. I have to laugh at this picture because of the blanket on the ground behind John. The city was having a parade that evening and people go to the street ahead of time and put out blankets, towels, chairs, etc to save their spot. There was a policeman walking up the street "moving" all of the items away from the curb because it was not time to put them out yet.

I have always enjoyed this quaint little garden right on main street. I think it is part of a B & B and is just so inviting.

It was cloudy and chilly that morning, but we really enjoyed our little stroll down the street in Lititz.

Now - onto the giveaway ...

I have so enjoyed my "Hello Love" CD that I think you may like your very own copy, too. (We sang one of the songs in church this morning!)'s the deal. Just leave a comment and a way for me to contact you if you would like to enter. I will have the drawing at 9:00 am CST Thursday morning.

And, remember to pray for the elections!