Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, My Interests, Travel, Uncategorized

A Fairytale Valentines Week: Germany Week 3


On our third week in Germany we were starting feel a little bit more comfortable in our surroundings.  This is when we decided it would be a good time to venture out on our first rail trip.  It was the week of Valentines Day and my birthday, so I had the perfect place in mind Hohenschwangau!  Yes, it is a mouthful.  This is located in the southern part of Germany in the Bavarian Alps region.  What I specifically wanted to do was visit the Neuschwanstein Castle – yes, also a mouthful.  (Honestly, I don’t know how German kids pass their spelling tests!)  This castle is famous to Americans because it was Walt Disney’s inspiration for Cinderella’s castle at the one and only Disney World in Orlando, Florida.  It’s famous to Germans because of its mysterious builder King Ludwig II who died before finishing the castle. 

We left on Wednesday morning of this week after our Tuesday midweek Bible Study.  We were so excited to actually take the train somewhere!  (I will insert here that I am not a great photographer.  I realize this is not a good quality in someone who keeps a blog.  However, I get caught up in the moment so much, that I just end up taking it all in through my eyes and forgetting to pull out my camera or pulling it out too late, but I think I got some good shots by which to remember this fabulous trek.)  The train is nice to take because it saves energy mostly.  It can still be long because of all of the stops along the way, but nobody had to drive or navigate us so that we all arrived ready to enjoy. 

I thought maybe that we would have to cancel the trip.  Lynn woke up with a mysterious pain in his elbow in the night.  When he awoke in the morning it was red and swollen.  By the time we arrived at our destination, the picturesque town of Füssen, it was huge, red, swollen and excruciating to touch!  So, though we enjoyed the trip down, he was constantly reminded of his pain with each movement.  We decided that maybe we should find the apothecary and they could direct us to a clinic or something.  Thankfully, the lady at the apothecary could speak enough English to tell us where we needed to go, but her English was broken enough that we misunderstood some of the directions.  We ended up walking around in the freezing night looking for this clinic!  When we finally found it the Dr. there was stupefied as to what the cause was.  She said they could do a blood test, but that would require him to stay in the hospital overnight – not something we wanted to do.  She didn’t see any reason to believe that it was an infection and thought maybe it was gout.  However, she wasn’t completely sure, as this doesn’t usually show in the elbow in a man of Lynn’s health.  She basically gave us ibuprofen and sent us on our way.  It has since gone down, but we’re putting it on a list of things to check out when we return to the States.

Since we were on foot for this trip, we decided that we should have the hospital call us a couple of taxis to get back to our Airbnb apartment.  Lynn, Katie and Jarod went in the first and Megan and I took the second car.  We had quite a scare as he drove as if we were in some kind of high-speed car chase!  Then he dropped us off a block from our apartment.  Since he couldn’t or wouldn’t speak English we just laughed and walked the rest of the way back.

In the morning we made our way on the bus over to Hohenschwangau to see the castles.  Yes, Ludwig II’s father also built a castle in the town which was a beautiful tour as well.  Here are some pics outside of that castle.

It was finally time to get up the hill to take our tour.  This was the exciting part of our day.  The castle sits up on top of a hill.  A hill that takes over 30 minutes to walk!  There is the option of a bus that can take people part way up the hill, but since it had snowed recently the bus was not running.  We decided to go with option three – a horse drawn carriage that would take us up part way.  However, the line was so long for the carriage that we missed our allotted time.  Thankfully, Lynn talked to the people at the castle and they allowed us to go on the next English-speaking tour.  It really was a marvelous experience to see these beautiful castles!  Like we stepped into a fairytale land.  We were able to linger around and take some fun pics outside of the castle.  On our carriage ride back down the hill we squeezed in with a group of Asian ladies who seemed to be having a fun time.  I noticed the woman beside me was trying to take a selfie, so I kept ducking out of the way until she finally let me know that she was trying to take the selfie with me!  Then they all started taking pics of our family!  They spoke little English but were able to tell us they were from Korea.  After a slight pause they clarified “SOUTH Korea!”  When we saw the same group of ladies in a store down in the town, one of them approached Jarod and rubbed his face!  Guess they thought he was as cute as his momma thinks he is 😊. 

Valentine’s Day at the Castle!

After our castle tours, we boarded the train again and headed for Innsbruck Austria.  It was only a three-hour train ride away and we thought it would be a great experience to get to see a little part of another country.  We weren’t going to have much time for exploring as we needed to get back to Mannheim for Church on Sunday.  So, we decided to take the cable car from the middle of town up into the mountains.  Before we went on this trip, I made sure that we all had new hats, gloves, coats and boots.  I was ready for snow and mountains.  What I was not ready for were the breathtaking views and the warm air!  It was amazing to be surrounded by so much snow but not feel frigid.  Check out some of our views at 7,400 feet above sea level!

Looking down on the city of Innsbruck, Austria

 Coming from Oklahoma we had never been skiing (well, the girls have tried out skiing in Nebraska, but, well…).  We didn’t try here either.  However, we had a blast watching these crazy risk takers!  We watched some of them tackle the slopes that were at a 70degree angle down.  One lady that rode the cable car up was at least 70 years old and said she had been skiing this area for 14 years.  At the next stop down from the summit was a landing area where most of the skiers hung out with a restaurant and beach chairs set up on a deck looking down the mountain.  At this point we watched the ski jumpers doing their thing making my heart skip a beat each time one came over the hill. 

We took the cable car down another to another stop where we at lunch at a little Alpine café.  The whole area had kind of an American beach town vibe with skiers instead of surfers.  I was so grateful for the experience.

Each week we’ve learned new things on this journey of ours.  One thing we learned on Friday evening as we traveled home was that the Friday night trains are crowded and that means you stand or sit wherever you can if there are no seats open.  So, we ended up sitting.  This wasn’t too bad until the train came to a halt before we even reached Stuttgart.  An announcement came on over the speaker, but we couldn’t understand as it was all in German with no translation follow up.  After about 20 minutes like this Lynn finally asked some of the men around him if any spoke English and if they could tell us what’s going on.  One young man said, “Something was blocking the tracks.”  This is when another man approached and let Lynn know that was a kind of “code” for a suicide occurred on the train tracks.  Apparently, this isn’t a rare thing in Germany as there are hundreds of suicides on the train tracks every year delaying trains countrywide.  I’ve read since, that the number has even thought to be upwards of about 800 per year.  Goodness, what a horrific thought!  As we waited for the next hour and a half, Lynn kept talking to the man who had shared that information with him.  Giving him as much of the gospel as he could as the man was clearly an atheist.  However, he was very congenial and they both enjoyed talking with one another so extensively.  We have prayed for this man since then.  Praying that God would open his eyes and convict him of his need for salvation.  It was a terrible cause for delay, but a divine appointment indeed for one man.

We finally made it home much later than expected, but thankfully we had Saturday to sleep in and recuperate.  We’re still getting used to the different schedule of the church over here.  There is only one service on Sundays, and it is at 4:00 pm.  We hardly know what to do with ourselves on Sunday mornings, so we’ve been having our own family time of listening to sermons from our home Church’s App so that we can keep up with what our own Pastor is preaching back home.  It’s been a sweet time of fellowship for us.  Just to keep it real though, I may struggle a little bit when we return, and I can’t have Sunday morning church in my pjs.  “

Posted in Associate/Youth Pastor's Wife, My Interests, Travel, Uncategorized

First Impressions: Germany Week 1

Exhaustion thy name is jet-lag!  I cannot recall when I have been more physically tired in my life than upon the day we landed in Germany.  We flew out on Monday Jan. 28th at noon from Oklahoma.  We landed at 8am Jan. 29th in Frankfurt, Germany.  However, to us it was more like 1am!  The Clarks met us at the airport to help us get our rental car and settled into our apartment for the week.  They encouraged us to NOT give in to the overwhelming desire to take a nap, but one by one we fell prey to this debilitating fatigue.  I believe someone could have performed surgery on any one of us without the threat of our awakening.  Truly this was awkward in many ways.  For one, we have never been to their home in Germany.  I was hoping my kids, as well as Lynn and I would give a polite and warming first impression.  But the luring weariness, just controlled us all.  Here I was excited to be in a new country and see my friends’ home for the first time and I simply laid out on her sofa and fell asleep!  When I awoke looking for Lynn, I went up to their third floor bedroom/office to find Bro. Walter studying at his desk while my husband was practically passed out across their bed!  I didn’t remember having this feeling when we went to Romania a few years ago, but it was the real deal now.

Our random greeter at the rental apartment we stayed in the first week.

That first evening we went to the Bible Study that they hold on Tuesday nights at the church.  We were all nervous but also excited to meet everyone.  Bro. Walter did a good job leading the Bible discussion, but I must be honest – I cannot even remember what the discussion was as the room was spinning while I struggled to stay awake.  At one point I thought I was falling out of my chair!  My only hope is that I was able to keep my eyelids open enough that nobody would notice! 

After dinner we went to a family’s home that were members of the church.  When they can, they hold a prayer meeting on Thursday evenings.  We were impressed with their sincerity and openness with the prayer time for their personal needs as well as the church needs.  They were all very welcoming and we enjoyed the fellowship after our prayer time.  This is where we were introduced to all that the Google Translator App can do!

The view from our little apartment. Yay for snow! Boo for parking, only allowed on one side of the street and usually full. We had to do a lot of walking that week.

  Driving was an intimidating concept to say the least.  Only Lynn was on the rental as a driver since we would only have this vehicle for the first week until the Clarks left for the States.  However, as I observed and learned the rules of the road along with him, I was overwhelmed.  There aren’t any stop signs over here, just turnabouts.  This is a good thing in my opinion as it keeps the traffic flowing.  However, there are many more pedestrians and bicycles than what we ever see in the States.  Our family joke has been repeating Bro. Walter when he told Lynn, “Watch out for the bikes and pedestrians.  They really frown upon hitting them over here.”  As if they don’t frown upon that back home.  But we understood what he meant, they have rights over here and are in more abundance over here than at home in Oklahoma.  So added to the observation of the driver is the roundabout rules, the yielding rules to the side roads on your right and the bikes and walkers.  This doesn’t even touch on the Autobahn and all the rules of that road.  you can practically feel the breeze as cars speed by at warp speed.  Believe me there are no problems with people dawdling in the left lane around here!

This guy was hanging on the wall at the Schnitzel restaurant making me feel guilty throughout my meal.

Schnitzel:  Walter and Dalene took Lynn and I into Heidelberg on night three.  By now, we were still tired, but able to function like normal humans.   This is where we tried Schnitzel for the first time.  Basically it’s chicken fried pork cutlet with any of 101 sauces over it.  The atmosphere was great, the company was great, the conversation totally enjoyable.  The schnitzel -meh.  I think it will have to grow on me.  I guess I have 100 more options to try before my final verdict, but so far, I do not care what Julie Andrews says, this is NOT one of my favorite things.  We walked around Heidelberg that evening and totally enjoyed the old European flair of this amazing city.  The castle was lit up above us on the hill and was awe inspiring to behold!  Lynn and I both felt like we were at an amusement park in the States that was built to look like we were in an old European city …but, no, it was real!

Heidelberg at night! The castle is so pretty all lit up!

This leads me to my next impression:

  Grocery Shopping:  Dalene took the girls and I into town to grocery shop on Friday.  We started with the bottle recycling area. 

Fun times recycling plastic bottles! Seriously, we need this back in the States.

Side note:  Germany is green extreme!  This is not a criticism, it’s an admirable thing.  The garbage isn’t even near the same as they recycle everything they can, so there are four trash bins, paper/plastic, compostable, glass, and then the “everything else” bin.  As good a thing as it is, I’ll admit, I suffered from a paralyzing fear of putting something in the wrong trash bin for the first week or so. 

Basic run of the mill garbage cans in Germany. Can you see why I got nervous?

Anyway, we were walked through the steps of taking plastic bottles to recycle so we could get credit on our groceries.  This wasn’t much different than when I was a little girl and we would take in our glass pop bottles to get dimes at the grocery store.  We were at the store for a couple of hours I’m sure as Dalene showed me the differences and how to find the things I’m used to finding.  This proved to be one of my biggest culture hurdles at first when I tried this on my own and felt lost and rushed.  Thankfully, that church members who introduced us to the camera feature on the Google Translate App saved my life as a shopper!   I can scan the shelves at the store and translate items so as to choose the right one.  It’s not 100%, but it sure is a life saver!  It still takes me a couple of hours to grocery shop, but some of that is my own dilly dallying around the store.

How Cool is this grocery cart feature! There’s a little extra shelf that flips out when needed. I could also see myself using this as a step stool #shortgirlproblems. As you can see all stores work like Aldi back in the States. You have to put a coin in to get your cart and you get it back when you return the cart. You also have to bring your own grocery bags/baskets or buy them from the store.

Bratwurst (brot vurst):  On Saturday of our first week, we went with the Clarks into downtown Mannheim.  It’s a bustling large city like most I’ve been to, so the size wasn’t too unfamiliar.  Of course it mixes the old with the new as some parts of the city or buildings are older than our own country!  It was here we tried our first pretzel on the street – oh so delicious! Then, for our first real German bratwurst. Of course I didn’t get pics because I was too busy stuffy my face. This too was delicious and large!  It was a delightful day navigating around this large metropolitan area.  Our favorite part was the marketplace that had stands with fresh cheeses, olives, flowers and the list goes on.  It was abuzz with people everywhere.  It was unfamiliar with the language barrier and trying to navigate a large city, but we felt at ease having the Clarks with us as guides.

Money:  We fast learned that people in Germany do most of their transacting with cash only.  Even Burger King!  This wouldn’t have been a big problem but that even though we had gone to our bank before ever leaving the U.S. to make sure our ATM card would work, we still ran into problems.  After a few emails with our bank’s fraud dept. things were set straight and we were able to access our accounts and navigate on our own without having to constantly trade money with our friends. 

Rhein River Baptist Church: Mannheim Germany

Church:  The whole reason we are here!  We went with the Clarks in the morning to a service of another missionary in town who holds his services all in German.  It was a good service, well as much as we could get out of it.  We did feel our novice status here as we were observers more than participators in the service. 

     However, in the afternoon at the service with the church for which we came to help, we were able to feel more at ease.  They share the same building as the church that holds the morning service, but minister to an entirely different demographic of people.  Rhein River Baptist Church is made up of an international group who all speak English due to their diverse backgrounds.  There are people from Brazil, Russia, the U.S., England and Africa all in one little body of believers. I love this diversity as it feels like a glimpse of Heaven to me!  Sometimes, in day to day life we get caught up with our own little part of the world and forget that we have brothers and sisters in Christ all over the world!  I find it such an energizing feeling when I am able to meet people like this!  Of course this is also a relieving detail since Lynn doesn’t have to learn an entirely different language or work through an interpreter for this short 3-month stint as filling the pulpit. 

     Since it was also the first Sunday of the month, they have a time of pizza and fellowship after the service.  This was an enjoyable chance to get to know some of the members and chat for a while.

The Clark family. Our favorite Germany missionaries.

We felt like we were getting our land legs as the jet lag was subsiding and we were learning new things each and every day.  That one week felt like an entire month, but we were in for more as we approached the time of the Clarks leaving us for the States…

Posted in Decorating, My Interests, Uncategorized

A Summer of Weddings Part II

 

 

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Ok, so it’s been a year – yes a full year since my summer of weddings. That summer turned into a year and six weddings later with a 7th on the way. I’m not sure how this all came about, but for now I’m going with it. For memory’s sake though, I’d like to look at wedding number two from last summer. My second wedding happened to be the wedding of our Pastor’s second son. This was the day of  Sam Waterloo and Sarah Graham.
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Back when 2nd man and I first came to OK, I taught 5th/6th grades at the local Christian school. That’s when I first experienced Sam Waterloo. The quirky, ultra-polite, pleaser son in the Waterloo clan. He was a treasure for sure. The school shut down as he was going into 6th grade and I was soon to have our first child, so I home schooled Sam that next year. I’m pretty sure it was the most excruciating year for this people pleasing kid who had to sit through the hormonal pitfalls that accompany new moms. I remember someone coming to the door one day and I had to put Katie down somewhere. “Here Sam, can you hold her a minute?” I asked quickly. His response went something like, “uh, uh, ooh, oh, um…” “nevermind Sam.” I put the crying child in her bassinet and went on with business.313212_3960445883519_1717640416_n

Well, long gone are the days of hesitation. I like to think I maybe pushed him to a brink that brought out some boldness. Oh, it was many years later until he finally achieved manly boldness, but I played a small part and that makes me smile. Sam went through highschool and college being one of those guys that everyone likes. You really can’t not like him. He’s just sweet, kind and genuinely loves the Lord. Right after highschool he decided to pursue Sarah Graham. She was a beautiful, smart and sophisticated young woman who also went through our youth department. (I don’t excel in any of those qualities, so all the credit there must go to her parents – wish I could’ve been a better influence.) Anyway, they were going to separate colleges and the pressure of long distance accompanied by other factors put a stall on the relationship, so they called it off almost as quickly as it had begun, much to the chagrin of Sam’s mother. Through those years she didn’t give up hope though both of them seemed to be moving on with life. She was almost as in love with Sarah as Sam had been in a weird mother-picking her daughter-in-law kinda way. Well, her praying payed off and they found themselves reuniting after college. It’s more their story to tell, but lets just say that this friendly, unassuming youth pastor has a bold, “I wanna marry you” “you gotta be mine” side. Gives me chills really.

So, again, I found myself honored to be a part of their wedding. This one was a vintage wedding filled with nostalgic memories and literary nods. They chose to do the “first sight” picture before the wedding. The wedding party and I were all bawling at the back of the sanctuary windows as she handed him a box of letters she had written throughout her teen years to her future husband. Many in which she had pictured Sam as their receiver.
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In the ceremony they had taken a large photo of the two of them and made it into a puzzle. They had asked several people (2nd man and I included) to place a piece of the puzzle on an easle while Pastor read a letter they had written about how each person or couple represented inluences in their lives be it friendship, spiritual leadership, etc. It was truly moving. Then Sarah walked down the aisle to the music played in Jane Austin’s Sense and Sensibility (which is so cool since that whole story includes the love story of a friendly unassuming clergyman and a young woman who tries to handle things right and it looks like they won’t make it and then they do…((breathe)) ok I’ll stop walking you through it now.)
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Anyway, I had so much fun with this one. We rented chairs, set up lacy tablecloths, and made the church gym into a retro picnic feel with an ice cream bar and glass bottles of pop. It was a sweet affair all the way around including the extra hundred people we weren’t quite prepared for (but that’s a memory we won’t delve into here).

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The work was hard, the pressure high, but the honor was out of this world!527207_4056126074567_1105078114_n

Posted in Decorating, My Interests

A Summer of Weddings Part 1: Jonno and Esther

     So, finally, here is the explanation of where I’ve been all summer.  Well, actually it’s going to take a couple of posts (so bear with me).  I was honored last January to be asked by the lovely Esther Welbourne to help plan her wedding to Jonathan Waterloo.  Jonathan (or Jonno as we call him) is our pastor’s oldest son and went clear through our youth department since the first year we came to Oklahoma.  Phlegmatic to the bone with a sense of humor that makes everyone smile when he walks in the room, Jonno is very dear to our hearts.  When he brought Esther into our lives we were thrilled and quite frankly unbelieving that he would find such a beautiful girl who is absolutely perfect for him.  Always one to enjoy decorating AND spending other peoples’ money, I jumped at the chance!  We had so much fun with planning, shopping trips to Tulsa and work nights putting flowers together.  Esther loves purple Calla lilies, so there was our inspiration from which everything else fell into place.  I’d love to tell you that I personally assembled all beauties in this post, but, I’d be a liar.  Thankfully, there were a host of ladies and friends who were willing and honored to jump in and help, without whom none of this would have actually become reality.   Below, I’d like to just comment and go through my thoughts on various aspects of wedding planning…a job I won’t be doing full time anytime soon. 

My first surprising heart change came with the concept of the “first sight” photos that are gaining in popularity as a modern tradition.  I’ve always been a firm believer in the groom no seeing the bride until she walks down the aisle.  Not that I’m superstitious, I’ve just always enjoyed seeing the reaction of the groom!  However, it is true that in all practicality, this creates a time issue for picture taking between ceremony and reception.  Yet, the romantic in me just has never been able to give up the dream…until I see pictures like this

1st sight, Esther coming up behind.  Don’t you love all of the “peekers” out in the foyer?


     Now, how isn’t that one of the best reactions of a groom turning around to see his bride!  Oh, Jonno I love when you get all sappy.   This was truly a sweet semi-private moment for the two of them and still didn’t seem to take anything away from the ceremony.  As a matter of fact, I wonder if he felt more comfortable giving the full reaction than if he knew all eyes were on him.          

They chose to show a video before the ceremony and then came the moment of truth.  Now look at that picture.  Tulle and lights sigh…..Who wouldn’t want to walk down that aisle?

So this picture is purely for selfish reasons.  Can you say “best looking groomsman ever?!!”  Yes, 2nd man was a groomsman in his second “former teen” wedding.  That’s not me as a bridesmaid, but I like her and she’s another pastor’s wife so it’s OK.

Next, lets talk aisle runners.  My thoughts?  Ditch the whole idea….NIGHTMARE!  Ever see an usher sweat?  Well, this will drive him to it. 

The ceremony was precious.  I’ll admit I missed most of it, because I had to run down and get the reception ready.  However, when pastor (father of the groom remember)cried during this reading the whole wedding became an instant success in the eyes of every guest there. 

     Esther is nicknamed princess, because she’s beautiful and sweet and into the bling, hence the gorgeous tiara!  We tried to bling up the unity candle display for her as much as possible.  We glued purple and black ribbon with borders of diamond mesh.  We then wove purple ribbon through some tulle to make a cloud like surround.

         The beauty of this wedding was found in the detail.  Esther has a great eye for detail and thus wanted to make sure special attention was paid to every aspect of her wedding day from the moment guests entered the church.   We had fun making some special features for the lobby.  My personal favorite were the trees.  I’m planning to post a separate explanation of the making of these trees in a blog post to come.  However, for now suffice it to say they were stunning!  Four tree branches about six foot high concreted into coffee cans, were painted and glittered.  We strung beads and glued purple hydrangea blossoms for a sweet effect, and put two on each side of the foyer where guests entered. This made a path to the guest book area that was decorated with tulle, lights, calla lilies and a large portrait of the couple.

On the hallway wall leading to the reception area I had my flower lady, Betty, create a heart with an arrow out of purple mini carnations and foam core board.  I think it turned out absolutely lovely.

     One of the unfortunate results of Baptist weddings that do not include dancing or drinking alcohol is that people rarely hang out for very long.  Esther really desired to have her guests relaxed and mingling.  She totally wanted to enjoy everyone and wanted to create a relaxing atmosphere.  We chose to do this through both the lighting and by playing music in the background.  Guess what…it worked!  It was by far the longest reception I’ve ever attended at a wedding at our church.  The whole room seemed to be buzzing with guests eating and mingling. Wahoo!

    We set up a table of family pictures and an engagement album for guests to enjoy as they arrived.  The food tables and the head table were adorned with flowing tulle and lights with mirrors for a reflected glow.  (I’ll take a moment to say here that from a wedding planner’s standpoint I’m disappointed that I didn’t get more pictures than this, but oh well).

Our round tables had white tablecloths with black tops.  The centerpieces were simple with mirrors and lots of candles.  We used white calla lilies and turned water and wine glasses upside down for candle holders with purple carnations inside.  Inside the vases were water beads and submersible LED lights.

     Our piece-De-resistance was the cake table with the balloon backdrop. Ahhhh sigh.
cake by A Sweet Success Ponca City, OK
And what do you do with all of those balloons after the wedding?  Well, set them off at the exit of course!
And this?  Well, this was getting my J-Lo on with the wedding planning bit at the rehearsal.  My only
regret?  I didn’t have the head piece to cue all my “people” hee hee

Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Groupie Stalking…again

My girls and me with Ree Drummond.  She doesn’t look too scared does she?

     So my girls and I went groupie stalking the Pioneer Woman, Ree Drummond, again.  Really, she was asking for it.  After all she puts out this great new cookbook and comes right into town to have a book signing.  I was one of the first at the bookstore that morning waiting to get my ticket.  Only problem was, there was no “official” line formed until about a dozen or so people started milling around.  Then, when the manager comes out and says “form a line!”  I got pushed around like I was in a pinball machine.  Ok, maybe that’s an exaggeration, it really wasn’t that bad.  I was actually surrounded by other crazy people like myself and we were all enjoying it.  I ended up with line ticket number 9, not too bad I think.  I like to do this so I can get up to her while she’s still fresh and not sick of all the people and giving out the obligatory answers to all of our silly questions. 

 Actually I had a purpose in going this time, it was also to drop a couple of names and ideas by her.  Is that tacky?  Duh, you don’t really have to answer…I already know.  Anyway, I reminded her of how we church ladies were gawking at her husband at the fireworks stand last summer and forgot to put their sparklers in the bag.  (By gawking I simply mean we were awestruck at his famousness, nothing lusty I promise)  I think I even stated that last line to her.  So I proposed that she come on back and bring the Food Network with her this time and we’ll set her up well if she’d give us a second chance.  I even offered to deliver.  She responded graciously and took my husbands card.  Which makes me wonder where that card will end up?   Probably at the bottom of her purse and she’ll find it and read the crazy note on the back and call the police and give them my husbands name or something telling them to keep us away from her.

 

 My second motive was to get my sis-in-laws recipe in her thoughts.  You see, Jessica is making up this fantastic recipe to enter into PW’s grilling contest.  The winner gets to take a friend and spend a day at the ranch and get on the show.  Jess and I don’t get to see each other very often and we’re both Food Network junkies so this is perfect! She is definitely the better cook and more creative of the two of us so I turned it over to her to do all of the work; I’d just tag along and gawk.   Now  if only I could get PW to see the beauty in all of this.  I explained this whole plan in 30 seconds or less feeling the pressure of the eyes of 200 other waiting fans behind me.  I’m not sure what she thought…probably back to the whole calling the police idea.
    At the end of our two minute or less conversation she was sweet to include hellos to my girls and have a quick home school- lots of things in common- kind of talk.  Maybe they won her over for me.  I guess I’ll find out come May 17th when the contest is over and winners announced! 

     Hey, before you click away thinking I’m too brash or goofy you don’t even know what I didn’t say.  Like how I was going to sneak in a contract for use of her lodge when family comes in this summer.  Do you think that would’ve been too pushy. ..?

Posted in Decorating, My Interests

Valentine Banquet

            Just finished decorating for our latest event at church last week.  I figure event-planning goes really well with my personality.  It is something I can plan and dream about for weeks, prepare for days and spend literally 10+ hours setting up.  Usually something goes wrong or a plan doesn’t work, so I have to spend a senseless number of hours trying to figure it out with the rest of the team get it worked out, ooh and ahh over the results and tear it down in about 20 minutes.  Now, three days later, I still am not finished washing the tablecloths!  Yes, it’s definitely a fitting area for a melancholy perfectionist to work.  As a matter of fact, our head decorator and my dear friend, Stacy and I have a motto that goes something like this, “we take a good plan and make it harder.”

            However, I really do get a joy out of seeing a plan come together.  I especially get a joy out of seeing others enjoy themselves in an atmosphere our team was able to create.  This last one was a true sense of accomplishment, because we tackled the ever-present dreaded gym lighting.  Yes, that lighting has been the bane of the decorating teams existence since moving into our new building…you know, the fluorescent kind that takes ten minutes to “warm” up.  It’s great when using a family life center for volleyball, but events? Well…not so much.  At our team meeting in January the ladies were discussing this issue.  We were considering our options for investing in up lights or something.  We’ve even tried to come up with ideas to cover the gigantic ceiling with draped fabric. 

However, we came up with something even better (at least that’s what the men of the church should think since they now do not have to set up scaffolding to drape fabric at every event).  Actually Stacy came up with it.  While walking through our teen classroom a few weeks ago she spotted a lamp we have in there.  It’s a simple Wal-Mart column lamp with a rice paper shade.  She brought it downstairs and tried it out and wa-la!  It gave off a beautiful dim glow in the family life center. 

So, a plan was born and we set out to hit every Wal-Mart in Oklahoma to collect our lamps.  (It was going to take too long to order online, if you were wondering).  We hit up about seven or so stores in three or four different cities.  Then we hit the dollar store for plastic tablecloths.  Yes, you read it right $1.00 plastic tablecloths in pink to cover our shade and we had instant mood lighting for our Valentine Banquet.  I was so excited over it that I just wanted to sit in there for as long as possible basking in the pink glow.  This was one of our greatest decorating successes as it landed in the category of cheap and easy…something in which we do not excel.

The centerpieces were a different story.  We were just as pleased at the results, but since they were my Pinterest idea I’ll take full responsibility for how complicated they were.  It started out looking so cute on pinterest.  Just a few cupcake liners pinned into a foam ball and placed on a candlestick…how hard could it be?  
Well, considering that only four of us showed up to put them together and the pins didn’t exactly do the trick it wasn’t the greatest feet.  I’ve got the glue gun burns to show for it.  I was happy with the result, but no event can go by without some complicated mountain to climb.  Thanks to the dim lights any imperfections were hidden and I think everyone who came had a good time. 
Posted in Daily Musings, My Interests

Scoopin The Poo

            What a delightful interruption we had Monday evening at our house!  A mysterious ring at the doorbell about 7:45 brought two daughters of a friend of mine announcing they had “poop for Miss Jenny.”   I was so excited as my family stared at me in a strange dumbfounded way.  On the curb of our driveway they left me four yard bags filled with chicken droppings for my garden!  Yea me!  No seriously…Yea me!  What you’re not feelin the love here either? 

            To their defense, I had asked for the poo a few weeks before.  We had such a terrible gardening year last year and this time of year always gets me eager to start again.  I had heard from another friend of mine that chicken poo is great fertilizer in the vegetable garden, so I thought I’d give it a try. (2nd man still hasn’t caved on the issue of building me a chicken coop and buying chickens…but I’m still working on him. Look at the one I found on pinterest.) 
picture via www.HeatherBullard.typepad.com

        To my eager surprise as well, yesterday turned out to be in the 60s outside!   I put my kids to work on their schoolwork, and gave the older two assignements to work on with their brother and I put on my scrubbies and headed out to the back forty (forty feet in my case).  

I haven’t had tremendous success with the whole composting thing yet.  Mostly, it’s my fault.  With all the dryness and the type of compost bin we have, I haven’t been vigilant in watering and turning.  Last year, though we did, surprisingly get a good wheelbarrow full of the black gold.  This was a surprise since we had to fight the city over it.  In late fall the year before I had moved the bin back behind my mother-in-law’s cottage to the ally side hoping to get more sunlight in the winter.  It wasn’t near my trash area, however the trash men took it anyway.  Even more perplexing, they took all of the compost inside!  I was amazed.  I’m pretty sure that if I had asked them to scoop my compost by hand they would have abruptly refused.  Yet there it was, the empty spot where I had put my compost bin.  I called the department of waste management.  They sent two guys out to tell me that I had placed it on an easement and it was fair game, but they did yell at the trash truck guys about it.  What?!  I didn’t want heads on a platter; I just wanted my compost bin back.  After a series of phone calls 2nd man took over and called saying that he’d like the city to at least pay half for the new bin. We’d admit our mistake if maybe they could admit theirs too.  We’ll the guy finally caved and said it was easier for them to just buy us a new one so a new one I got.

Anyway, my mom had warned me that the nitrogen in chicken poo can burn the plants already in the ground so I thought I’d empty the compost bin and restack it with layers of poo. 

So, out came the pitchfork, glasses and gloves and mask (yes, chicken poo can be toxic to lungs nasal passages and eyes.

I was giddy with domestic bliss!

 

Wasn’t this poo beautiful?  My friend was nice enough to give me some that had been partially composted already…bless her!

So now, I’m going to be diligent about turning it and making sure it’s moist and hot. I might add here that never…ever in my growing up years did I think I’d say something like that previous line about chicken poo.  Amazing what comes with age isn’t it?  But I digress…Bring on spring!
Posted in Daily Musings, Healthy Living, Life Lessons Disciplines of the Faith, My Interests

I’m a Runner not a Singer

            The woman in this photo is not me.  Oh I wish I were that cute.  The man isn’t 2nd man either.  I like 2nd man the way he is though…I don’t want this guy.  Anyway, I just had to find a picture for today’s post.  It’s about running –in case you didn’t guess. 
Yes, in my never-ending quest to get healthy and look kinda cute too, we’ve taken up running.  We’re now in week 6 of the 9 week Couch potato to 5K running plan.  (I mentioned it in a previous post last week sometime.)   Anyway, I’m starting to get past the “What am I doing out here?” stage and moving into the excited, “I think I can” stage.  It feels good to be accomplishing something.  Especially since my running partner is a foot taller than I am and running brings on all sorts of heat rashes that they just don’t talk about on those biggest loser shows. 
I’ve been trying, unsuccessfully, for about 10 years now to lose weight.  Everyone in my family is unhealthy and quite frankly, I’m scared to death to end up that way.  However, I’m beginning to wonder what my body’s deal is anyway.  The more I try – the unhealthier I get.  Since starting P90X and incorporating clean eating, I’ve now gained 10 lbs in the past year and my cholesterol has gone up.  So you might understand that I need to set goals that lead to other things than health and weight loss.  We’re on our way to doing this 5K in just four short weeks.  Then I can go around saying things like, “yeah, I’m a runner.”  Or “In my last 5k…”  I’ll let ya know if I make it.
This is not me either.  It’s my beautiful first born, Katie.  She can sing, so can my other daughter too.  I’m not sure where they got it, certainly not me.   However, I almost got my big chance last night.  Our new song leader, Jose approached me to inquire if I was a singer.  (Jose is an exciting new addition to the church staff.  I first heard him sing last winter at a youth retreat.  I could listen to him all day, such a beautiful and soothing voice.  He hails from West Coast Baptist Bible College and Lancaster Baptist church in Lancaster, CA.  I never thought he’d come to the middle of, well, here to be a song leader, But God is good and we got him!  And I just love to say his name, don’t know why, it just has such and exotic and fun feel to it.) Anyway, I hesitated for a few awkward moments trying to figure out how to answer him.    I finally went with the honest answer and told him no.  Our last song leader always said he’d save me a spot to sing on Thursdays of revival weeks.  That would be great except our revivals generally run Sunday through Wednesday.  Instead, I call myself an appreciator.  Society needs artists, singers and creative minds.  Those great minds need an audience, someone to appreciate them.  That’s where I fall in, as an appreciator.  It’s a non-glamorous job, but I try to do my part. 
Posted in Healthy Living, Homeschooling, Life Lessons, My Interests

Better Is The End of a Thing…

            Ecclesiastes 7:8 says, “Better is the end of a thing than the beginning thereof: and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”  Boy howdy that’s been ringing through my mind for nearly two weeks!   Yes, it’s the beginning of another home schooling year.  I love the beginning.  I mean I really love the beginning.  It marks the return of a routine (in theory anyway).  Its precious achievements and light bulb moments all ready to burst forth like a tulip in the spring.  Yes, it’s that time of year when goals are made.  I love the moment when I get to sit down with a new pencil from Mardel’s bookstore and stick it into the electric pencil sharpener getting it as pointed as possible and smelling the sawdust and lead that is torn away.  Then, I crack open my fresh new lesson plan book, not yet marred by the eraser, and start to jot down the weeks and dates, followed by the subject headers and known holidays, the daily schedules and even lunch menus. Oh the sweet joy of a new year that is just waiting to be filled with pedagogy and field trips.
            Then, reality hits in right in the middle of my perfected schedule that I have vowed to uphold and protect.  Yes, just when I’ve sworn off any answering of phones until after noon, no appointments until after 2:00 and absolutely no thoughts of dinner preparations until at least 4:00.  Errrrt! Arghhhhh! Crash!!!!!  “Oh yeah, I already made those eye doctor appointments and dental appointments months ago.  They are at 9:00 and 10:00am during the first week of school!  Then the second week comes with the missions’ conference at church.  What’s that? Oh right I’m supposed to take people out to lunch during that week.  My kids?  Oh they’ll be fine scrounging for peanut butter and jelly.  I’m sure they’ll stay right on task all by themselves.  What?  Their teacher?  Oh yes, that’s me, but they’ll just have to deal until I can give them attention.  Yes, I’ll admit, it was real fun explaining that to my crying 10 year old this morning when she frustratingly let me know that I’ve never explained to her how I wanted her to set up her arithmetic homework page before laying into her about the sloppiness of her work.  Oh yea, we’re off to a greeeaaaat start.
            This is really nothing new to me.  I’m a melancholy sanguine…that means I smile a lot in public and go home and cry about everything.   It also means I have a tendency to start a lot of things but not finish.  Oh how I despise this flaw in my personality.  I can’t tell you how many diets, schedules and gardens I’ve started and blown.  Then comes the self-deprecation and mean talk.  Did you ever see the 1969 movie “Support Your Local Sheriff” with James Garner?  Some of my favorite lines come from that movie:
Joe Danby: I’m gonna get you for this, Jake! 
Jason McCullough: Well, you are the toughest talkin’ blowhard I ever heard! 
Or how about this one:
Joe Danby: I hear you’re gonna try and arrest me. You know you don’t look near as tough as some of them other sheriffs we’ve had lately. Particularly that old boy that done run off about an hour and a half after he took the job. 
Jason McCullough: Joe, you just make me feel tired all over when you talk like that. 
Joe Danby: Now, what do you mean by that? 
Jason McCullough: It’s bad enough to have to kill a man without having to listen to a whole lot of stupid talk from him first. 
           
I don’t think I’m actually schizophrenic or anything like that.  But I do have a little Joe Danby that whispers in my head and I have to pull out the “Tired all over” quote.   
I was thinking about this just this morning when I went running with the 2nd man.  Yes, surprise, we’ve got a new kick we’re on now.  I decided that since the weight lifting thing wasn’t helping me lose any weight that I needed to add more cardio.  That’s when I happened upon the Couch Potato to 5K running program online.  They insist that you will be able to run a 5K at the end of 9 weeks.  Well, we’re now in week 5, which is pretty impressive to me so far.  However, I’ve reached the stage in the program where I look at the next day’s jogging schedule and about have a panic attack.  Then I get out there and think “what are you doing out here?”  Between the heat rash and trying to keep up with 2nd man (who is exactly 1 foot taller than me), oh yeah and the asthma, I wonder if there really is a way to get this body healthy.  The program looks great on paper, but whoa it’s hard. 
            I must concede though, that doing it with 2nd man pulls some sort of stubborn reserves from me and I have made it through so far.  However, this morning, as he was congratulating me for making it to the final bell on my stopwatch, I explained that what he just witnessed was 8 straight minutes of me arguing with myself.  Truly, I need to put the headphones on and get some diversion. 
            I’ve got us scheduled to run a 5k for our local YMCA on October 1st.  Now, I have yet to reach any weight loss goals in my whole life.  I’m banking on the satisfaction of at least finishing this program and making it to this goal.  I keep saying to myself “Better is the end of a thing…Better is the end of a thing…. Better is the end of a thing.”  Of course it’s about here that I forget the end of the verse…ironic isn’t it? 
            Anyway, I’m hopeful that this will still be our best home school year ever.  It’s just our life that guarantees that the only thing that is consistent is change.  So with a flexible mind, and unwavering desire I’ll press on.  Maybe my kids will learn a lot more about life and flexibility than academics, but at least they’ll be learning.  It’s become one of my greatest desires now just to NOT be a big blowhard, but actually accomplish something…we’ll see.