Sunday, August 27, 2006


I like a good story. Real ones from real people are the best and I heard a great one while we were on our trip. Right after I heard it, I knew I wanted to share it here. It comes from one of the shepherds from my old congregation. He used to be a high school coach and has coached just about any sport imagineable other than baseball. This story had to do with his swim team.

Seems he had one young man on the team who just wasn't possessed of much swimming ability. He was a "good" kid, just not much of a swimmer. But he never missed a practice, never missed a meet. Fast forward to the last swim meet of the school year. The team is doing well and already has earned some medals. Coach is approached by one of his anchor swimmers, who says, "Coach, we want to do something, and we want your permission." He and a couple of the other boys wanted to put "John" on their relay team. He said, "Coach, we think we can get him a medal." There really was no reason to say no to the request, so he gave them his blessing. The relay begins, and when it is John's turn in the water (he was the 3rd swimmer), the team is ahead by several lengths. When John's turn is over, they are behind by almost as much. Coach's anchorman takes over and pushed himself to the max. Remember, they said a medal, so all he needed to do was get them into 3rd place. When he touches the wall, they are in 1st place by less than a foot. John got his one and only medal.

When the coach relayed this story to me, his eyes were brimming by the end. Mine were pooling over. I think it says something about the things he was teaching his boys besides how to swim. He spent a lot of time trying to shape those boys' characters. Is it any wonder so many of his students still keep in touch with him? He is 70 years old and even though he lives states away from his old schools, he is still a part of many of their lives, getting Christmas cards, wedding invitations, birth announcements... Now he is helping shape the lives of his grandchildren and the people of his congregation. They are fortunate to have him.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Home again, home again, jiggity jog

We're back from the Midwest and into the thick of things. We made it home yesterday just in time to drop off our luggage and change clothes before heading over to Antioch to church. Had some last-minute shopping for Emily to be ready to start school today. Her school is only doing "minimum days" today and tomorrow, which means they cram all 7 periods into the time between 7:55 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. Interesting concept. She has already had to type a 2-page essay for her English class. But it's 8 p.m., and that's out of the way. All indications from day 1 are that she is going to enjoy this year.

Campbell was very happy to come home today. He is "plumb worn out," and has spent the better part of the day just resting. The lady at the kennel told me he'd probably be hoarse (not that we'd notice here at home, since rarely barks at home). This was the longest he has ever had to stay at the kennel, and I think it was probably a bit longer than he would have liked. He likes it there, but I think he prefers stays of a week or so to a 2-week stay.

Brian and I had our 20th wedding anniversary while we were away (it was the day we spent at St. Louis Mills). We'll be making plans to celebrate it soon, probably with dinner and a movie. Too bad there isn't a Kobe here. That would definitely be our first choice for dinner. But at least we got to eat there with friends while in Omaha. It had to have been the best meal we've eaten in the last year. I think we'll probably wind up at Merchant & Main.

The kids had a great time on this trip. I think if the 3 youngest had been given the option to stay or come back, they'd have opted for staying. Halle was making plans to "not wake up" on Wednesday so that she wouldn't have to get on the plane. Too bad it isn't that simple!! Truth be told, the kids weren't the only ones wishing they could stay. But back to reality it is.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Blogging from the Show-Me State

We're over halfway through our trip to the midwest... just another couple of days here before heading back towards Omaha and our flight to CA. We're at my mom's house now and the pace is a little slower, giving me time to read a few blogs and update mine.

While we were in the St. Louis area, we took the kids to St. Louis Mills. Even after about 5 hours there, we only saw 1/2 of it. Of course, that was due to spending quite a bit of time at the NASCAR Speedpark. Brian, Emily, and Noah all got to drive in a simulated NASCAR race (Halle and Joel were passengers). Brian and Joel even rolled their car! I was so proud of them for not jumping out and hollering "I'm on fire! Help me, Tom Cruise!"*

We arrived at my mom's in Cape Girardeau shortly after midnight Wednesday night and drove down to my hometown of Sikeston yesterday to show the kids where I grew up. A lot has changed, but a lot was the same. We drove past the house I lived in from the time I was born until I married Brian (save for the months I was in the dorms at college). And we ate lunch at Lambert's. I had intended to get a Kirbyburger, but we thought the kids would enjoy Lambert's more for the atmosphere. They did enjoy catching their rolls, and Mom was thankful for a very nice server who went out of her way to find something she could eat, since she is still on a liquid diet. Maxine brought Mom a big bowl of broth from their chicken and dumplings. Noah paid me a great compliment when he said that Lambert's chicken gizzards weren't as good as mine. I guess I'll have to make him some when we get back home.

We'll see what today brings. School is in session here, so the cousins won't be able to hang out with our kids until tonight. We had a short visit with them last night, and by all indications, tonight will be a grand time. Meanwhile, we're working on getting some laundry done and just visiting with Mom.

* a la Talladega Nights

Thursday, August 10, 2006

One for the road

Not sure how much (if any) blogging I'll be doing while we're gone, so thought I'd get in one last post before we leave. Bags are packed except for the last-minute stuff we'll use in the morning and will need to put in the checked bags.

We've got an early morning tomorrow (up around 3 a.m.) so everyone is hitting the hay early tonight. Then we have 2 flights. Thankfully the longest is only 2 hours and 15 minutes.

I'll leave you with some YouTube fun:

I'm not sure whether to laugh or run screaming from the room. Spencer, put some clothes on!

How'd they do that?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Meme of 3's

First off, thanks for the prayers for my mom. She came home last night from the hospital. She's on a liquid diet for a while (not sure how long) and has 2 new drugs to take, including that purple pill.

I'm outta stuff to talk about, so today you get a meme I got from Carrie:

3 Things That Scare Me

  • tailgating (not the kind you do at football games)
  • unfamiliar places at night
  • raising a teenager

3 People That Make Me Laugh

3 Things I Love

  • books
  • thunderstorms
  • music

3 Things I Hate

  • prejudice
  • clothes shopping
  • being alone

3 Things I Don’t Understand

  • CCLI rules and restrictions
  • my 14yo (sometimes I think she wants it that way)
  • the driving habits of Californians

3 Things On My Floor

  • quilts
  • dog chew treats
  • a stack of pictures to hang

3 Things I’m Doing Right Now

  • blogging
  • laundry
  • thinking about bedtime

3 Things I Want to Do Someday

  • travel to Europe and Hawaii
  • get to goal weight
  • see all my children grown and serving God

3 Things I Can Do

  • sing
  • waste time
  • spell

3 Ways to Describe My Personality

  • funny
  • laid-back
  • curious

3 Things I Cannot Do

  • draw
  • eat corn
  • sleep more than 5-6 hours

3 Things I Think You Should Listen To

  • your conscience
  • True Lift's worship songs
  • the Holy Spirit

3 Things I Think You Should Never Listen To

  • negative self-talk
  • Howard Stern
  • fallacious arguments

3 Absolute Favorite Foods

  • Pizza
  • Chicken Alfredo
  • Onion rings/Bloomin' Onion

3 Things I’d Like to Learn

  • to like vegetables
  • to enjoy exercise
  • how to keep to a routine

3 Beverages I Drink Regularly

  • Water
  • Mt. Dew
  • Dr. Pepper/Pibb Xtra

3 Shows I Watch

  • What Not to Wear
  • CSI (all of them)
  • Trading Spaces/While You Were Out

3 Bloggers I Tag

Monday, August 07, 2006

Just call me the ant bully

I don't know what it is about California and ants, but they have been a big problem in this new house. So we hired a pest control company to come out on a regular basis. After their first visit, the ants disappeared. They made a second visit last Monday. Late this morning, I went upstairs to my bathroom and it was teeming with ants! I called the company and they will be out tomorrow. In the meantime, I killed as many as I could with hot wet rags. I had the counters ant-free, but within 10 minutes or so, replacements were on their way. They're either coming in through the electrical outlets or from behind the bathroom mirror. At any rate, I hope the guys come earlier rather than later tomorrow. In the meantime, I guess I should sleep with earplugs tonight in case the ants mount a revenge attack on me (that probably won't make any sense unless you've seen the movie). Fortunately, that seems to be the only room with any activity. Let's hope they don't head for the other rooms while we're out of town.

Oh and speaking of going out of town... I was fortunate enough to be able to reschedule our regular cleaning for Thursday (it would have been next week, while we are gone). With that out of the way, we should be able to return to a clean house (at least it will be until we start pulling all of our dirty laundry out of the suitcases!).

Lots of stuff to do this week... packages to mail, books to go back to the library, some gift-wrapping... and the ever-joyful task of packing. At least that one can wait until the night before.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Just another Saturday night

It's just me and the 3 youngest this weekend. Emily is camping with some of the other junior high/middle school group from church and Brian is off in OH. He is actually in the Dayton area tonight. He had a free evening from his conference, so he rented a car and drove down to visit old friends there and spend the night with them. He gets to go to church with them in the morning and then head back to Cleveland afterwards for meetings in the evening.

The kids and I went to see Barnyard earlier today. Cute movie; the trailers are a bit misleading, since they make it look like the movie is one big party. It actually explores some serious themes like responsibility and maturity. After the movie, we had some lunch and went shopping for birthday gifts to take with us when we go back to the midwest. We will be arriving on Noah's best friend's birthday. His brother, Joel and Halle's friend, had his birthday last month, so we're bringing his gift along as well.

Those of you out there that are the praying sort, please add my mom to your list. She had her gallbladder removed about a month ago (exactly a month to the date) , and still hasn't been able to keep food down. She finally ended up going to the ER Thursday evening, was admitted to the hospital and had lots of not-so-fun procedures on Friday. They found out she has a couple of big ulcers right near the beginning of her small intestine and the swelling was keeping food from leaving the stomach the normal way (no way to go but up!). So she is stuck in the hospital for a few days more (I don't know how many) and for at least this weekend, can have nothing to eat or drink. The doctor says there is a chance she will get clear liquids on Monday. Please pray she'll be feeling better soon, especially considering our upcoming visit. Having our family of 6 in her house is stressful enough on her without her dealing with pain and/or nausea.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

(Good) hair day

Today was beautification day for both Campbell and Emily. Campbell had an appointment on the books to be groomed for a couple of months now (I guess that's how popular this place is; I need to book his next appointment NOW.) He finally looks like a terrier again. He was getting very "poodly", which I think is uncool for a fox terrier. The groomer also owns a wire fox terrier... hers is *17 1/2*! Campbell has 14 years to go to make it that far. This is the first time we've had Campbell groomed all over (I used to keep him stripped out myself)... now he looks like he's part dalmatian! He does feel very soft, though.

Emily made an appointment a couple of weeks ago to get her hair done. She wanted to cover up the blonde color she put on last fall and try something a little closer to her natural color. We're both pretty happy with the results. This color goes great with her skin tone. She also wanted to try a slightly different haircut with sideswept layered bangs. I like it... it's definitely a welcome change to her usual pony tail!

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Time, she marches on

Emily and I celebrated the imminent onset of August (with school not far behind) by spending this past Saturday shopping for school clothes. The Christian school she'll be attending this fall doesn't require uniforms, but the dress code does not include Emily's main wardrobe staple, t-shirts. So we headed off to Kohl's and spent a couple of hours there. Amazingly enough, she found everything she needed. This was one of our more painless shopping trips, probably made easier by the fact that we had pretty specific guidelines as to what we were looking for (button-down shirts, polos, shirts with collars.... long enough to cover skin when bending over). She got some really cute stuff, including a nice pair of dressy cropped pants. I think we walked away with around a dozen different tops, 4 new pairs of jeans, the dress pants, and 2 pairs of shoes. We spent enough money to earn a $60 Kohl's cash certificate, which I'm hoping to spend later today.

We met up with Brian and the other kids for lunch at a Chinese buffet, then she and I made a quick stop at the commissary to restock the pantry on a few items. We were all home together for just a couple of hours before Brian and the other kids took off to go to another Solano Thunderbirds game. Em and I took advantage of their night out to go see John Tucker Must Die together. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. Lots of laughs.

We got to repeat the movie thing last night (another Dad/kids baseball game... free tickets!), but this time saw The Devil Wears Prada. We both liked this one too. I kept wanting to know what kind of makeup Anne Hathaway was wearing.... she had some really pretty colors on.

That'll be the last mother/daughter movie for a bit. Brian left on a business trip today and won't be back till the end of next week. Then it will be time for us to head out on our trip back to the midwest to visit family and friends. August, she will be over before you know it.

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