Thursday, July 31, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

It is sometimes better to travel hopefully than to arrive.

Backyard Slackin'

I've been slackin' big time in the blogging department. Last night my intention was to finish up my post about the great weekend I had in Austin. Instead I lounged on the back porch with Chris and Mavis with the off and on rain showers. We needed to enjoy the break from the daily 100 degree temperatures we’ve been having. I made breakfast for dinner and we ate out on the back porch, and then just sat there for over 2 hours. So, after I went to bed, I fell asleep with my laptop on my belly while attempting to finish the Austin post. I’ll get it done soon. Pictures and everything. Really I will. (I think I’m trying to convince myself more than I am you)

I really needed a dose of the backyard to slow me down and remind me what the important things are. Why I do what I do. I’ve been at the same job now for 9 years, and have gotten to the point of being an over achieving work-a-holic crazy person. I have put this picture up in my office with the caption “Work hard and take time to enjoy moments like these as your reward”.

I have a habit of taking pictures of myself putting my feet up in wonderful places. This was taken at Cocoa Beach Florida on a quick weekend getaway…one day before I broke my left foot last March. In a cast for 6 months, some of that in a wheel chair (it was a nasty, nasty break) – you think someone was trying to get me a message? I think I’ll slow down. Don’t need anymore broken bones.

Sitting in the backyard last night I realized that this Saturday, August 2nd, I will have been married to Chris for 6 years.

I've been so busy that it hadn’t even crossed my mind that it was this weekend. I don’t think that we’ll do anything special other than stay home and just be. That will be nice…because the next weekend we are off to San Diego for a week on one of my business trips. I’m taking Chris and the doglet along. It’ll be her first plane trip. AND she’s going sailing with us! I got her the cutest little life jacket. She will probably be strapped to me anyway. I’m just terrified that I’ll lose that 5 lb baby in the Pacific.

Friday, July 25, 2008

April Update....Malaysia (but not from April)

I haven't gotten an email from April since July 15th, but have been lucky enough to catch an update on one of her team members blogs. It sounds like they are so very busy with teaching, building relationships, and doing some community outreach. She posted this picture that I will share. April is the one in the blue shirt seated on the "bikeshaw". I was really glad to see that smile.

Apparently Friday is their day off, so I'm trying to imagine what kind of fun they are having today. Trip to the beach? Shopping? A chance to use a real toilet? (I'm sorry, but I am going to dwell on the toilet situation until she is home safe and I know all the details! Crazy, but that is what I've worried about the most.)

Live the moment while you are there sweet April. We are all anxiously awaiting your return so that we can hear all about it. I am continuing to pray that you find joy in the details of your adventure.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Backyard Hi Jinx

A couple of evenings ago, I'm attempting to wind down in the backyard with a glass of wine while the husband and doglet play in the backyard. The sprinkler unexpectedly goes off catching Mavis by surprise. She runs around like a mad dog in the water catching pine needles all in her hair until she looks like a porcupine. Then I spot a hawk swooping through the yard (attempting to murder my little Mavis I'm sure - do hawks eat porcupines?). I scream, Chris runs, Mavis runs, I run after both of them.

This is what a waterlogged doglet looks like.

As we settle down, Chris decides he will adjust a sprinkler head. It breaks off in his hand and now we have a geyser. Screaming ensues again, and now we have to perform surgery on the sprinkler system, again. I would have caught that Kodak moment but he was screaming LOUD for me to turn off the water. We laughed in the end, but relaxed I was not. I do love my life. I love my husband, and I love the little dog who is Mavis Pearl. I wish I had something more interesting to tell you, but I wouldn't trade any of this for the world. Well, actually I am going to temporarily trade it for a 2nd try at the BFF weekend in Austin tomorrow. Just for 2 nights though.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Weekend Postponed

This past weekend I had planned the perfect girls time away with Pamela, my BFF that I so rarely see. I had to cancel due to a train wreck of a migraine that had me flat on my back for the entire weekend. So, instead of writing to you about how wonderful our time at the Bed and Breakfast in Austin was, or how perfect my two little God Children are, I'm writing to tell you that I lost $159 on the reservation at the inn (curtly explained by the owner), and spent another $200 at the Urgent Care center getting Phenergan and Stadol shots so that I could live. The up side? I lost 4 pounds puking my guts out. And, I am now well rested - something I haven't been in..I don't know...months.

I am going to try again next weekend, and with any luck I will be telling you all about the fantabulous time I had with Pamela, Lanegan, and Madeleine.

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

You are a lover of words, someday you should write a book.

(I think I will.)

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

April Update...Malaysia 2 Weeks

Got an email from April last night. Now 2 weeks into her adventure in Malaysia she is experiencing a wide variety of emotions. The group of girls that she is living with have shown her so much love and hospitality. I think it has really helped her overcome some of the tough stuff. I sent her this quote the other day. I thought it profound and hope that it gave her a little courage:
"Although the world is full of suffering, it's also full of the overcoming of it." -Helen Keller

I'm still waiting on the update that will tell me more about the environment. I want to know what it looks like (has she seen any beautiful birds, the ocean...), how it feels (temp etc) and what she is eating. Has she been well? And all of the other "mother questions". Thank you God for giving me the gift of a daughter in April, so that I have had the opportunity to wonder these things!

It sounds like as she played for about 2500 people the other day, doing a Colby Callait cover, she was treated like a rock star. Not quite what she expected out of this trip:) My prayer for her is that God continue to keep her heart protected big time. Body, mind, and soul too. I can't wait to have this girl back home.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Lions, Murders, and Ghosts! Oh my!

I would like to write about something a little more lighthearted (kind of). This last weekend we went away with some friends for an overnight "Murder Mystery". This entailed a stay at the Stone Lion Inn, a bona fide haunted house that has become a bed and breakfast inn. There was a candle light dinner followed by mystery solving in the library after dinner. We were all sent parts to play in the story a couple of weeks ago, along with some background information on the story. In this particular mystery, we were all possible heirs of the recent find of Elmer McCurdy's fortune. Elmer was a real person and was really buried in the nearby cemetery. The part about the recently found fortune and his many wives hence many children and grandchildren (that was us) was fiction.

We would have even visited his grave before dinner had there not been a ferocious thunderstorm that stuck around for the entire night. This made the whole experience even more creepy and real. You can't stage a good thunderstorm, and during the candlelight dinner it got so bad the lights even went out for a while. Couldn't have planned it better. That was just as the "murdered" character had just been discovered. Couple that with the fact that I had been researching the supposed "ghosts" that haunt this house (as featured on the TV show Ghost Hunters), I started to get the "willies". As the evening went on I relaxed. By bedtime I even decided that if little Augusta (the 8 year old ghost) came to visit me in the night, I would just visit back..."hi sweetie, yada-yada-yada".

Our group were not the only guests. In all there were about 40 of us. I was pleasantly surprised at how much fun I ended up having. Chris was an absolute ham and played his part to perfection. A former OU quarterback turned TV evangelist. Yeah, you can imagine. He made me SO proud. I don't know if I would recommend it for what it cost us, but had it been a tad less expensive, definitely would.

Mostly I was very glad to spend time with Johnny and Kellie, who we don't get to see often enough. On the way back we stopped at Pops in Arcadia OK on old Route 66. They claim to have at least 500 different sodas in the cooler for you to enjoy. We had grapefruit, root beer, ginger beer, espresso soda, sangria soda, and remember Jolt Cola? The BLT with egg salad was pretty tasty too. Good times.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Sad Update on the Kittens

I have an update to this post. It's taken me a few days to feel like talking about it. I'm just that stinkin' sensitive and it makes me so sad. The 2 little brother kitties didn't survive. I went to the vet to visit one day and they gave me such somber looks. It really bummed them out too. One made it a couple of days, and the other a few more than that. I feel like marching door to door and preaching the importance of spaying and neutering your pets. There are places in a big city like this (and even small ones) that will spay / neuter for nothing or next to it. There's no excuse.

It gets better. Tonight we get home from a road trip and as Chris is making the rounds with Mavis in the back yard, he finds 2 more kittens. I didn't take pictures this time, it makes me too sad when they don't make it. I saw the same mother cat in the yard, and I'm pretty sure they are the same litter. These were on the other side of the pampas grass in yet another possum den. They are of course 2 weeks older than the others, and beginning to have personalities. But they were skin and bones. I just can't understand why they didn't scream their little heads off 2 weeks ago like the others. Maybe because the other 2 were starving (the vet confirmed this) and the 2 I found tonight were not. I knocked on some doors looking for the owner of the mama cat with no luck. Finally the super kind hearted animal loving neighbor Bill down the street just scooped them up and said "I'll handle it from here!" It won't be his first adoption, and I know that he will do the right thing.

I'm struggling with the question of whether or not I should have taken them out of the den. She must have been feeding them some or they wouldn't have lived. But it doesn't look like she is feeding them enough, and what happens when they get bigger - assuming they live that long. It's been close to 100 degrees every day for the last couple of weeks here. I can't take care of 2 kittens right now (you'll have to just trust me on that one), and I sure don't want more strays in the neighborhood. I'm going to make sure they get taken care of...a good home and the treatment at the vet that every animal deserves. Since they are older than the first 2, I'm pretty sure that they can thrive on bottle feeding. I'm trying to talk myself into knowing for sure that I did what I should have done. I may have to sit here and have this self talk for a while though, before I stop worrying.

I may end up needing to help with these 2 again after all, but at least I have an ally. And the both of us are going to keep looking for mama's house so that I can have a talk with the owner. I'll even pay for her to get spayed myself.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Celebrity Collage by MyHeritage

MyHeritage: Family trees - Genealogy - Celebrities

Chris and I have this game where we "cast" celebrities to play the characters in the movie of our lives..our family members, friends, and even our not-so-much-friends. I plugged in this old picture of myself just to try it out. I think I'm going to be playing around with this some, it should be pretty fun, I'll keep you posted...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Failure is the mother of success.

(These are words I really needed to hear today, perfect timing.)

Sunday, July 6, 2008

In the backyard, holiday's end.

The house is quiet, I have poured myself a glass of Tawny Port, and I am going to tell you about my day from the back porch. Astrud Gilberto is serenading, along with the tree frogs and crickets. Indulge me if you will, that is after all why you and I are here.

It's the last day of my long 4th of July weekend, and Chris and I spent the afternoon working in the backyard. After a trip to Lowes (doglet in tow) we set out to re-do the small bed on the back porch, and some clean up out here in general. I should have taken a true before shot, but in hindsight I'm glad I didn't. Frankly, it was embarrassing. This "post excavation" shot will have to do.

I have been mourning the loss of my favorite Rosemary bush for quite some time now. I've been in denial and have let the dead, dry stick of a bush sit in the dirt for too long. Out it goes!

I chose assorted ferns to fill it up since it gets no direct sunlight at all. It's been a while since I really got down and stuck my hands in the dirt. I used to do it so often, I need to do it more. Trouble is I have some pretty hefty neck and back issues that remind me after I'm done why I don't do it more often. (so there, I shouldn't have been embarrassed about the state of the beds in the backyard now should I have?) We also put up a small trellis for one of our many trumpet vines. There is a constant debate on whether or not the trumpet vines get to stay. Of course, my vote is trumpet vines wherever they please. I love the feeling of being hidden away in a jungle.

Oh, yeah. We also stopped at the grocery store for something to grill after we finished. This is the result of me getting excited about a sale on chicken at the store.

For crying out loud, it's just the 2 of us now and one 4lb dog. I guess there will be chicken leftover, chicken salad, (and you can comment with any ideas) for the rest of the week. It was good stuff, and I'm glad I didn't settle for a snack and then to bed like I wanted to. Mavis even got in on the excitement. She could hardly contain herself with the yummy smell of chicken on the grill.

(Mavis caught in the act of "boinging" up and down to try to get a swing at the chicken)

I'm grateful for the chance to garden with my husband, cook as much chicken on the grill as we want, and then sit in peace all by myself and reflect on the day. I know that it is a privilege much more than I deserve. I love what my brother in law Richard always says to his teenage son, "if life were fair, I wouldn't even be alive right now". Same goes for me. I cherish all the good things that happen in my backyard.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

April Update...Malaysia

Got an email from April today. I knew that she made it to Malaysia OK, but it was so good to actually get word from her! She will be teaching music for 6 weeks (when she is not performing with the band). It sounds like the living conditions are drastically different than what she experienced in India. I'll just say that some of the "facilities" are extremely primitive compared to what we enjoy in the western world. I know that this is the experience she has been craving. My prayer is that it will be a blessing to her as well as those she meets. I am so honored to have her in my life. What a special soul she is, and so full of love. If this is the life she does indeed choose, the world will be so lucky to have her out there.

Be brave dear April, we are with you in spirit.

4th of July, the way it should be!

We had a super time at the lake last night. I'm an enthusiast for doing holidays right, especially the 4th of July. It's a favorite, as I really appreciate living in this great country and the freedom it affords me. Unless we have a picnic outdoors and go for fireworks, it's just not the same. Brannon and McKenna joined Chris, Mavis,and me for the festivities which included lots of assorted cookies, chips, tacos, and other snacks (tailgate required for maximum enjoyment).

It was quite a crowd. You have to get there early (7pm'ish for 9:30 fireworks) and wait a while for the traffic to clear (about an hour). But you know what? It makes for a really good time to be together. We are all so busy, and usually have something scheduled for right after whatever we are doing. It was a good time to be stuck with one another, listening to the crowd noises, and feeling that breeze off the lake. Yes, give me the crowd and the wait. A good excuse to sit and do nothing for a change.

(I promise, Chris really was having a good time despite the forlorn look.)

And, by the way, April..we really missed you this year.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Read in a Fortune Cookie....

Trust your intuition.

*so timely, as I was told the very same thing last night by wise counsel*

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Rescued Kittens

Since Sunday morning we have known that there were kittens buried somewhere deep in the Pampas Grass in our back yard. It's a rather large and overgrown stand of the stuff full of vines and other treasures. I have seen Possums waddle in and out of it, bird nests, and *cringe* snakes. On Sunday we were out back and saw one of the cats that frequent the neighborhood run from it. Shortly after, I heard the teeniest of mewing coming from the grass. I had to investigate and soon figured out that there were 2 distinctly different little voices in there. I tried to part the grass and look with a flashlight. That stuff was thick. I went in a couple of feet and still couldn't find them. Chris assured me that Mama Kitty would be right back. He had great faith in the ways of nature (um yeah, whatever honey...I suspect another motive on his part, he was not ready to go Indiana Jones style into the Pampas Grass). I reluctantly went inside and put earplugs in to block out the heartbreaking meows.

Fast forward to this morning. The meows I could still hear, and they sounded so weak. Since the husband wasn't there to talk me out of it, I donned leather gloves, long sleeves and pants, and boots. That's right, I went in after these little rascals commando style. I had to use a small machete kind of thing and a tree pruner, but I got there. It looked like there was an old Possum den or something, like a little cave. Very sturdy and about 3 feet from the ground. (You can kind of see the hole I started to make a couple of days ago about half way up in the above picture)

I had to kind of climb in and there they were. Just 2 little gray kittens. Just days old. I don't believe the Mama had been back at all. I'd been watching for her. I think she is a young cat - maybe didn't know what to do? I called Chris to let him know not to worry, that I had fearlessly gone into the wilderness and rescued the kittens all by myself. Now what to do with these little ones?

Fortunately one of the local animal hospitals that has round the clock care volunteered to take them. They have to be bottle fed every 2 hours. God bless these people. I gladly paid what it took to cover milk replacer and other supplies just to have the peace of mind knowing that these little brothers were in good hands.
They said that I could come and visit too. Any time I wanted.

April Update...Phone Call to Asia!

I was actually able to talk to April on the phone today! There is a phone line that rings a US number that I've been able to call. She sounds great and is wishing they didn't have to move on so soon.

She told me stories of the children she has connected with, and even a small baby that she was able to hold and rock. Although there have been heartbreaking things to see, she has also seen beauty. It also sounds like performing for large groups is becoming second nature. This is a big step for her. Funny how God will take us around the world to grow us in areas that could just have easily been cultivated at home. He has big plans for this child, I suspect.

Her group leaves tomorrow at midnight for the next destination, a large metropolitan city in SE Asia. My prayer is that she will find the next stop just as fulfilling, and be a huge blessing to each person she comes in contact with.

Thanks to those of you who are keeping April in your prayers. Although I am busting with how proud I am of her, and so excited for her, I just can't wait to have her home again. Even if it will only be a few short days before she treks cross country to her new school. I will treasure those days.