Initially, ‘Glasses of Grace’ started because my niece, Grace, had to get glasses for reading. Since grace is such a spiritual topic and the fact that my niece is such a doll, I started thinking about the ways God shows us His grace on a daily basis. From His servings, His glasses, of grace to us - to seeing the world through the eyes of grace (or Grace, since she had new glasses and better sight), it made sense in more ways than one, so a title was born. Blessings and all, this is my life…

Thursday, May 31, 2007

The fun continues...

You know, I am just lovin' life this week. Monday was a holiday, Tuesday I got to be there for a friend, Wednesday was Grace's awards day, and tonight, I went to dinner with friends.

I know I've mentioned that I work with the Kindergarten children's choir at church. Last Wednesday night we had our end of the year program. The parents of a set of twins that we had this year gave us all gift cards to Carraba's at Christmas ($$$$...WOW!), so we decided to find a night after the choir year was over to all go to dinner together, just to spend time together and to spend time with a friend who works in choir with us that will probably be moving sometime in the next few months because of her husband's job. What a fun night it turned out to be! It's funny how you can work with people week after week and not really get time to talk to them! We all just talked, laughed and genuinely enjoyed our time together. It really was a very fun night....but shame on me....I forgot to take my camera! Terri, the teacher of our class, took hers though and we did get a group shot, but she doesn't know how to e-mail it to me, so I am going to work on somehow getting that done so I can post it. From what I saw, it looked like a good picture of everyone, and when you have 11 people, that isn't always an easy task! Hopefully I can get that done soon. It was definitely a fun night though.

Another great thing today...I have decided I am going to try to work in to my budget every couple of weeks to have someone cut my grass and, when it needs it, do the edging and weedeating, etc. He came today for the first time and although it was dark when I got home, from what I can tell, it looks FABULOUS! I walked down my driveway and around the sidewalk all bent over so I could see how neat the edging is.....I have been here about 2.5 years and have never edged! EEK! My yard looks all neat and 'kept' looking...much better than it has when I've done it myself. I can't WAIT for the sun to come up in the morning so I can see it in the sunlight. Right now, I am pretty determined to get it worked into my budget....even if I have to cut a social activity or two to get it done. There are some HOT days here in the summer and cutting grass with a push mower is NOT one of my favorite activities! :-)

I believe I am picking Grace up at school tomorrow, but she is definitely spending the night with me. Kate is having 3 friends spend the night with her tomorrow night, so I am having Grace over here so the 'big girls' can have time for themselves. Actually, I have Kate and Grace over to spend the night periodically, always separately though because I love my time with each of them so much. I always prefer to do it when the other is busy because I feel guilty and it makes me sad leaving with one of them when the other is sitting there longing to go too! (I'm acting like I'm some kind of prize, aren't I???? haha!) I know Grace and I have some running around to do...and she wants to get a new toothbrush to have here....she believes she's outgrown the one she has here now! :-)

I'll keep you posted on what we do. I'm eager to see what she has in mind myself...I am SURE there will not be a dull moment!

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Awards Day

Well, I went to my sister's for dinner last night and to drop off two weeks of PTO money I had counted over the weekend. After I had been there a little while, Grace looks at me and says, "Aunt Dianne, can you come to my Awards Day tomorrow? I really, really, REALLY want you to! Call your boss!" (Sounds like she's my boss, doesn't it??) Anyway, when I got home, I called the girl I work under and left her a voicemail for this morning saying that I was going to be late. The awards were only for their classroom and given by the teacher. Most kids got awards for the A-B honor roll, etc...one or two had perfect attendance, then it got down to the fun ones.

Here's Grace in all her anticipation of the moment....

Here's Grace laughing at what her teacher was saying...
can't you just see her excitement?

...and here it is.....her award.....
for MOST HUMOROUS! ha! I could have told you that!

Ms Thompson told everyone that Grace always has something to make her smile or laugh and that Grace had told her that every time you laugh, it adds 5 seconds to you life, so Grace thinks she's going to live forever! Everyone giggled, but she was so excited and so sweet up there...just her anticipation....that child is all about awards, what she can do, and encouragement! :-)

THIS is one proud aunt and her sweet niece before the
proud aunt had to go to work.

What can I say....another good day....I am blessed!

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

God at work

When I first got to work this morning, a client called to tell me about how they'd had to let an employee go on Friday and all that ensued with that. While I was on the phone, my sister radioed me (Nextel) and said that she and my step-mom were going to Kate's Awards Day this morning. Well, let me suffice it to say that I have NEVER missed anything those girls have been in unless it has been absolutely necessary...and that has only been about twice in their whole lives. I have been at my job 22 years and have plenty of vacation, so once tax season is over, I can be off to do pretty much whatever I want to do unless there are deadlines looming or something. My sister hadn't told me about Kate's Awards Day, so I had no plans to go and it was starting in about 30 minutes. There was just no way. I sarcastically told my sister to tell Kate that I didn't know about her Awards Day today or I would have been there. She said she would, but I told her, 'Good, because if you don't, I will!' :-) We both laughed because my sister and I are pretty close....she knew I wasn't being ugly, simply that I didn't want Kate to think I had just skipped it.

The other side of the story is that I had plans to attend a funeral this morning, and that wound up being where I needed to be for a couple of reasons. As I sat there listening to the words of my friend who spoke, the two preachers that spoke, etc, I just thought about how much THAT was right where I needed to be at that moment in time, for my friend and for myself. Although I had no intention of changing my plans of attending this funeral, I had been a little disheartened that my sister hadn't told me about Kate's thing, but really, God knew what He was doing in not having my sister tell me about it. Everything worked out just like is was supposed to and I had to admit that to my sister tonight. Kate will have other things for me to attend over time, but this was the one time my friend would experience this loss and the one time I could be there for her, to support her, for that reason.

I LOVE when I can see where God has worked when I may not have realized it at the time.

Today was one of those days. I am thankful.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Encouragement

I have a friend who is going through a difficult time. Nothing really new, but troubling nonetheless. We had dinner with some other friends tonight, but as I was driving home, I felt compelled to give her a call even though I’d just seen her. I didn’t say much, just that I was sorry she was having to deal with all she’s dealing with, etc. She talked some, but she also just broke down into tears. I have learned over time that there isn’t always anything that can be done except to just ‘be there’ for others, but sometimes that is the most and the best that can be done. Although this topic of ‘encouragement’ is frequently on my mind, it did get me to thinking about ways to encourage others again. I found the following on the internet tonight and thought it had some good suggestions. I would imagine we all have probably thought of or done a number of these for others from time to time, but some were things that I know I need to ‘fine tune,’ so I thought I’d post them here in hopes that maybe someone else can use them to encourage others as well.

19 Ways to Encourage Others
by Stacy Wiebe

Encouragement goes straight to the heart. In fact, the word itself comes from a combination of the prefix "en" which means "to put into" and the Latin word "cor" which means heart. Knowing what a big difference encouragement makes in your own life, what can you do to help others "to take heart" when the going gets tough and way feels long?

Become aware of what encourages you, and do those same things for others.

Learn individuals' "love language"-the special way in which they feel most valued. In his book, The Five Languages of Love, Gary Chapman explains that not everyone's emotional needs are met in the same way, and that it's important to learn to speak others' love language. The five love languages are: words of affirmation, spending quality time, receiving gifts, acts of service and physical touch.

If an encouraging thought comes to mind, share it! It may not have the same effect if you wait. Don't let shyness hold you back. Instead, form a new habit: "Encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today…" (Hebrews 3:13).

When you introduce someone, add a few words of praise for the person's abilities, accomplishments, about how they've helped you or about the nature of your relationship. It's encouraging to be praised in front of others.*

When someone is discouraged or hurting, offer specific, practical help. If you ask, "How can I help?" the person might be at a loss to answer. It's better to ask, "Would it help if I…(specific action) or say, "I would like to…(specific action)?*

Remind fellow Christians of the specific promises of God and characteristics of God. We may know something with our mind, but need to be reminded in our heart. The Apostle Peter wrote, "I will always remind you of these things, even though you know them and are firmly established in the truth you now have" (2 Peter 1:12).

Write someone a note to tell them that you're praying for them. Tell them what you're praying. You can pray specific Scriptures for individuals such as Romans 15:13, "[I pray that] the God of hope [will] fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit."

Make celebration a more regular part of your relationships. Celebrate others' victories, large and small-with a note, with coffee together, with a special meal, a congratulatory phone call or just a high-five!

Be specific when you offer words of praise; it makes your encouragement more credible and concrete "You did a great job at…" "I really appreciate that you…" "I was really impressed that you…"

Encourage other believers with a reminder of Christ's coming. It redirects our thinking to an eternal perspective and ultimate deliverance from the sin and death. "We who are still alive and are left will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage each other with these words" (1 Thessalonians 5:17b-18).

Realize the power of presence. Just being there is encouraging! When you're with others, you're telling them that they're important. The Apostle Paul closed his letter to the church at Colosse promising to send his friend Tychius "that he may encourage your hearts" (Colossians 4:8b).

If you're part of a church, Bible study or fellowship, be committed to showing up. Your simple presence encourages others that they are part of a community of faith and that they are not alone. That's why the writer of Hebrews says, "Let us not give up the habit of meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another-and all the more as we see the Day approaching" (Hebrews 10:25).

If someone you know is working on a large project, send her a single flower to encourage her at the beginning of the project, and a full bouquet when it's done.*

Use encouragement as an outreach. If anyone should be known for being an encourager, it should be the Christian. Write a letter of appreciation to people at work, your apartment manager, your child's teacher or your doctor. Often when we interact with these people, we are asking for their services. Take time just to say thank you!*

If you really want to encourage someone who gives you excellent service, write a letter of commendation to the person's boss.*

We could learn something from the way team athletes freely pat, touch and high-five each other in competition. Touch is a powerful encouragement. Be sure to be sensitive in this area, though. Ask someone if you can hug her first.

When you see someone making positive changes in their lives, affirm them. "You seem to have a really great attitude about…" "It may be that I'm just starting to take notice, but I see that you're…" "Do you think that you are becoming more…?"

Tell people how they've encouraged you!

Walk daily in the power of the Holy Spirit, asking Him to give you what you need to encourage others. Just as it is impossible to live the Christian life in one's own strength, it's also impossible to freely, unselfishly pour out encouragement without the help of the Holy Spirit who is our Encourager.

I would be curious if you have any other suggestions or ways that others have encouraged you. It is certainly something we all need from time to time!

Friday, May 25, 2007

Finally!

Wow. What a week! I hope all these pictures post like I want them to....

My sweet 7th grade niece, Kate, had a chorus concert Tuesday night. We were too far away to get any good pictures, but I did zoom in and got this one that I've worked on to hopefully get decent enough to see. She was an adorable little girl that captured my heart from the start, but now she's growing into a precious young woman as well. They sang a couple of songs that they'd done at a competition earlier this year on which they received superior ratings, a medly of some Disney songs, then they combined with the band and sang 'America the Beautiful.' By the end of that, many of us in the audience were singing along. It was a sweet way to end the concert, especially in light of all that is going on in the world right now. Of course, they were very good and I was as proud as I could be, but I sat there part of the time with tears in my eyes thinking that this time next year, they will be moving. I am going to HAVE to get a grip on myself, but right now, I just don't see it happening.


Wednesday night, we had our preschool children's choir program at church. I work with the Kindergarten class and it went very well. I thought about trying to get a picture of them in their cute little outfits, but as busy as that night was and as active and excited as they were, I was glad just to emerge with breath in my body! :-) I'll suffice it to say they did a great job.


Yesterday, I took a vacation day from work and went to my friend Chris' graduation. (He's the son of my friend Gina, but he's a friend of mine in his own right.) He goes to a Christian school that only goes thru 8th grade, so this was his last year there. He'd been attending there for 10 years....since 4 year Pre-K or something and there was only one other person in his class that had been there longer!











I just couldn't get enough of his handsome face!






There were only about 12 - 14 people in his class and Chris and his
friend Lance were the only 2 boys!


This is me and Chris at his house after we'd gone to lunch to
celebrate with his parents, grandparents and his aunt that
is here from out of town. Cracker Barrel...YUM! :-)
We had fun. He's a great young man.
I just can't believe how much he towers over me now!
I'm proud of him and proud to call him my friend. I can't wait to
see what God has in store for his life.

Lastly, I don't have any pictures from this, but I went to a high school graduation last night for my friend Joan's daughter, Brittany. She also attended a Christian school and I think that was probably the sweetest high school graduation ceremony I have ever attended. Joan and her husband were clients where I work for years and we struck up a great friendship that continues to this day. When they came to our firm, Brittany was just a little, little girl and it's wonderful to see what a great young woman she has become. I was very proud of her last night too!

So that has been my week in a nutshell...just running, running, running. It hasn't beeen my intent not to blog, it just takes me SO long to gather my thoughts, even for a quick post....what can I say?

I'll do better....and thanks for missing me (those of you who did anyway)! :-)

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Yard sales

Here's something I've realized as an adult: As a kid, I never knew what deals you could get at yard sales. We never went to any. Occasionally my mom would have one and we got rid of some stuff, but I always thought that people who went to them were poor and didn't have the money to pay full price for what they wanted like we did. (AAAwwwww....they can't be lucky and pay full price like us! 'Poor' them! Yeah, right!) I assumed that those poor people had to go perusing through someone else's used goods to try to find items they wanted. I don't know where I got this impression, but it was there. Boy, was I wrong!

Well, here's another thing I've realized as an adult: I was not a smart kid! :-) People who go to them are NOT always as 'poor' as I thought....and it is not always a great, fun thing to pay full price for something I want! NOW, I pride myself when I can get a real deal on something I can't wait to call my own! :-) Funny how times change!

Long story short....the neighborhood my friend Gina's sister-in-law, Wendy, lives in had a neighborhood yard sale today. Anyone who wanted to participate could and it was at each person's house throughout the neighborhood. Wendy had to leave to go to her son's baseball banquet this morning, so Gina took some stuff over and was going to watch things for Wendy while she was gone. I had told Gina I'd come over and keep her company while Wendy was gone, so I got there about 10:00. There were LOADS of people there. Gina's son, Chris, was also there selling some old guns and toys that he's outgrown. Gina had clothes, some household goods, things she'd cleaned out of a camper they just bought, etc. As I was sitting there watching Gina and Chris make money hand over fist, I remembered that I had some things in my trunk that my sister had given me months ago to take to Goodwill.....so Chris helped me get those things out and I sold some of them myself!! Some of the clothes my sister had given me still had the tags on them and I sold them for .50 each! I had clothes and books mostly that sold, but when I got ready to leave, I had made about $13 - $14 off my sister's stuff! :-) I had bought some of the kids books that I sold to have at my house when my nieces were younger and they were still just like brand new, but those were the only things that I had paid for myself. I know for a fact that some deals were gotten today from Gina, Chris, Wendy and me....and Wendy's neighborhood is having another one on October 14! My mind is already thinking about what I can take over there then. I'd better start getting my stuff together now!

Seriously, before it was over, my friend Gina and I were planning to pick a weekend in the next month or so to go 'yard sale-ing' ourselves....after all, 'One man's junk is another man's treasure,' huh? Who knows what we'll find! :-)

(And for those of you who may ask, I am not going to tell my sister that I sold her stuff and made money unless it comes up. They are in Florida this weekend looking at land to build their house on so they can move in a year or so and I'm dreading that, so the way I figure it, that's what they get!) :-) (just kidding of course, but I'm probably really NOT going to mention it!)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Lucky me -- for real

Here's my dilemma:

Nothing much has been going on this week, but my friends RealEstateGirl and NspiredbyFaith still want me to blog!

So what's a girl to do?

Monday night I did nothing, Tuesday night, I went with my friend Gina and her son, Chris, to do some running around, last night, I had church stuff, but today....

I went to Field Day at Grace's school. In all truth, my thoughts are that I am sure you get tired of reading about my nieces, so I wasn't really going to blog about that either...BUT, it was a pretty fun day. I had intended to only go for part of it after lunch, but Grace called on Tuesday night and begged me with this message...."Aunt Dianne....pllleeeaaassseeee, ppllleeeaaasseeee!!!! Ask your boss if you can be off the WHOLE day.....No one has EVER come for ALL of Field Day for me!!!! PPPPLLLLLEEEAAASSSEEE!!!!" There was more to the message, but that was the jest of it. She just cracks me up with that beggin'.....SO unnecessary because all she had to do was ask to begin with! Anyway, being the aunt that I am, of course, I took the whole day off to spend the day at her school. It was fun, but I got sunburned! I always seem to forget how easily I burn and today was no exception. Field Day was fun though....I just don't know how the PE teacher comes up with all the activities that were there!

Here are a few pictures:

Grace and the 'kangaroo relay'





Grace and classmates...






Grace and her 'best teacher ever'...Ms Thompson. (I love her too...she's GREAT! Lots of working as a 'team' in her class and Grace told me today that she likes Ms Thompson because she makes her work hard on her schoolwork! Go figure!)



Bein' sweet with her friend, Kara.

I love that little hand over Kara's....Grace is ever the caretaker!

There are days that I am especially lucky be an aunt....today was one of them.

Monday, May 14, 2007

More plant pics...

Since that post about my house and plants last week or whenever it was, I know you have just been sittin' on the edge of your seat waitin' to see my Daisy Gardenias in bloom! :-) (yeah, right!) Anyway, I thought I'd post a new picture...or two...or three. They just started blooming over the weekend and when I left for work this morning, this one had practically expoded overnight. I was running late though, so had to wait until I got home to take any pictures. There are lots more buds still to open, but I didn't know how many would be open at one time if I waited, so this kinda shows what they look like....too bad you can't smell them though...there are three planted there together along the front walkway and when they bloom, they smell GREAT! I'm glad my sister knows about plants because I am DEFINITELY lacking in that department!

Friday, May 11, 2007

The Cost of Kids

A little goodie I found while perusing the internet:

I have seen repeatedly the breakdown of the cost of raising a child, but this is the first time I have seen the rewards listed this way. It's nice, really nice!

The government recently calculated the cost of raising a child from birth to 18 years old, and came up $160,140! That doesn't even touch college tuition. For those with kids, that figure leads to wild fantasies about all the money we could have banked if not for (insert your child's name here). For others, that number might confirm the decision to remain childless.

But $160,140 isn't so bad if you break it down. It translates into $8,896.66a year, $741.38 a month, or $171.08 a week. That's a mere $24.44 a day! Just over a dollar an hour. Still, you might think the best financial advice saysdon't have children if you want to be "rich".

It is just the opposite. What do your get for your $160,140? Naming rights. First, middle, and last. Glimpses of God every day. Giggles under the covers every night. More love than your heart can hold. Butterfly kisses and Velcro hugs. Endless wonder over rocks, ants, clouds, and warm cookies. A hand to hold, usually covered with jam. A partner for blowing bubbles, flying kites, building sand castles, and skipping down the sidewalk in the pouring rain. Someone to laugh yourself silly with no matter what the boss said or how your stocks performed that day.

For $160,140, you never have to grow up. You get to finger-paint, carve pumpkins, play hide-and-seek, catch lightningbugs, and never stop believing in Santa Claus. You have an excuse to keep: reading the Adventures of Piglet and Pooh, watching Saturday morning cartoons, going to Disney movies, and wishing on stars. You get to frame rainbows, hearts, and flowers under refrigerator magnets and collect spray painted noodle wreaths for Christmas, hand prints set in clay for Mother's Day, and cards with backward letters for Father's Day.

For $160,140, there is no greater bang for your buck. You get to be a hero just for retrieving a Frisbee off the garage roof, taking the training wheels off the bike, removing a splinter, filling the wading pool, coaxing a wad of gum out of bangs, and coaching a baseball team that never wins but always gets treated to ice cream regardless. You get a front row seat to history to witness the first step, first word, first bra, first date, and first time behind the wheel. You get to be immortal.You get another branch added to your family tree, and if you're lucky, a long list of limbs in your obituary called grandchildren. You get an education in psychology, nursing, criminal justice and communications that no college can match.

In the eyes of a child, you rank right up there with God. You have all the power to heal a boo-boo, scare away the monsters under the bed, patch a broken heart, police a slumber party, ground them forever, and love them without limits, so one day they will, like you, love without counting the cost.

Author Unknown

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Birthday update --

Well, the birthday surprise was a hit! I think she was a little thrown as to what it was at first and I think she thought I'd put that shoe picture on front of the card just to be mean (!!), but once she clued in, she was happy! She asked how I knew what to order and I told her, "I'm just smart!" :-) She thinks I saw the chewed up box in their garage or something and I didn't tell her HOW I knew because I wanted to save that little Amazon.com trick for future use if I need it for anything again. No sense in giving away all my tricks! Good thing she doesn't read my blog, huh? She knows I have one and she knows the name has to do with Grace, but she has never even asked about it. None of my family reads any of this, so I am especially grateful for my little 'blogger family' because it gives me a little safe place to share and get feedback on things I might not share otherwise.

On that note, I was driving home on Tuesday night this week, after I'd been to Grace's 'spirit night' at Chick-Fil-A, thinking about how excited I was to get home and check everyone's blog for the evening. I think I realized then, maybe for the first time, how connected I'm beginning to feel to my blogger friends. It's kinda weird because Tracey is the only one I personally know who reads any of this on a regular basis and I'd tell her most anything anyway, but I've really come to look forward to knowing what is going on, the struggles and the good times, in the lives of so many people that I've never even met! Isn't that funny? I just like reading peoples' thoughts, 'real life' stories, and the things God is teaching so many people. They are encouraging, thought provoking, inspiring and funny. As for me, somehow it is easier for me to get my thoughts out in writing than it is in speech sometimes, and I have a feeling that my nieces' moving next year will definitely fall into that category....I am sure there will be MANY posts about that! I mean, a friend of mine just mentioned, MENTIONED, to me at church Sunday night that they'd heard my sister talking about moving next year at the school last week and I burst into tears right there on the spot! I mean, it is a year away and I'm already messed up about it sometimes, so I have NO idea what I will be like when it actually happens! I can see already that writing is going to be great therapy.....

I guess, after sharing all that, what I most want to say is thanks to all of you who make this such a fun experience. I'm most grateful for the things in your life that you've shared with me...but for the encouragement, camera, CD and Netflix recommendations, etc, that you've given me, I am also thankful. I really do feel like I've gained, and am gaining, new friends...and I know that is no accident.

'He's and On-Time God,
Yes He is!'

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

I'm so excited!

My sister's birthday is tomorrow and I've been wracking my brain about what to get her. She's getting an ipod from her husband and my nieces, then I took my nieces Saturday night to let them pick out cards for her and get her a little something they had picked out themselves. Of course, they wanted ipod accessories, but settled on a $25 iTunes card. She'll be happy with that, and I was happy because it was like they'd only spent $12.50 each! :-)

BUT....that left the big question...what would I get her?? Usually, she will tell me an idea of something she wants, or I've heard her mention something that I've kept in my memory bank over time, but this year, there has just not been anything.

So I was sitting at my desk today and it hit me....the PERFECT gift! I did a little super sleuth research and found a pair of shoes that she wants. Here's the story: She ordered these shoes from some retailer on Amazon.com and had them delivered to their house. They have two chocolate labs who are quite active (!!), so there are notes on the front door and the door to the garage for any deliveries to be left inside the garage door...obviously out of reach of the dogs. Well, you can guess that the delivery person left the shoes on the front porch, despite the notes, and the dogs got my sister's shoes and chewed through two boxes to to get to them! Needless to say, they were destroyed before she ever saw them....and they were Clark's, so they were not cheap! Not only was she mad at the dogs, but she was mad at the delivery person when her note was posted as plain as day...and I can't say that I blame her for that. She never spends money like that on herself, so she was really disappointed when all that happened.

I decided the best thing I could get for her was to reorder those shoes as her present. I went to Amazon.com, typed in what I thought would be her password, (it was!), and looked at her recently ordered items! YEA! I thought I'd hit the jackpot....Shoe style, color, size and everything! (I'll probably have some 'splainin' to do tomorrow!) But anyway, since I only came up with that idea today, there is no way for them to be here tomorrow, so I brought my crafty self home from church tonight and made a card for her! I printed a picture of the shoes from the website and made a card from some stuff I have here! YEA! (The cards are cute....they are like old library pockets where you'd check out books...the note on the right slips into the pocket on the left.) I'll put the receipt and confirmation in there with the card, but I thought it turned out cute! I don't often come up with ideas on my own for her that I am SO excited about, but I did this time!

I hope she's as thrilled with me as I am! :-)

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

OOKED OUT!!

I know what I am about to say is not even a word, but I am OOKED OUT tonight! UGH!

I went to Chick-Fil-A tonight because my niece's school had 'spirit night' there and we were wanting their class to have the most dollars spent...but that's not the ookey part. (Nothing about CFA is ookey!) I came home and was watering my plants out front, minding my own business, just pondering life, weeds and whatever else it is that you may think about while watering plants. I made it all the way across the front and was coming back across just hitting a few of the plants again when a MOUSE came running out from under one of my daisy gardenia bushes! (Okay, THAT'S the ookey part!) If there is one thing in life I am horrified of, it is rodents.....EEK! I tried to douse the thing with water, but it just kept scampering on.....so I raced over, turned off the water, fixed the hose back, ran in to close the garage door (lest it help its little self to my belongings in the garage), then gathered up Sweet Kitty and went to stand at the glass door until we saw that little mouse start emerging from the bushes again. Well, needless to say, that didn't take but just a minute, so I THREW Sweet Kitty outside and slammed the door behind her (and I DO mean slammed!)....because hey, isn't that what cats are supposed to do....chase mice??? She definitely saw her, but I'm not sure she got her. I can say one thing though....THIS big ol' body hasn't moved that fast in a while! :-) I was definitely scootin'!

So while Sweet Kitty was outside looking for her little 'treat,' I called my sister to discuss Mother's Day for our mom and to try to garner some sympathy for the mouse incident....and NO sympathy! She knows I am horrified of them and all she did was giggle....NO HELP AT ALL! I thought she might tell me, since she is a horticulturist, what I could get to keep nasty things like that away that wouldn't hurt plants....NO HELP....just giggles. While we are talking, I hear my neighbor's DOG (who is literally smaller than my cat!) outside barking to the high heavens, so I just KNOW she has seen my cat and that is what she is barking at. Still on the phone with my sister, I go racing outside to check that out and my cat is nowhere to be seen. I am SURE she was IN the bushes with the mouse. She's really scared of people and anything that isn't familiar, so I am sure that dog incident was almost more than she could handle. I am still trying to beg her to come in, all to no avail....you know how cats are when they don't want to do something.....I just hope she caught that mouse!

So anyway, I hang up from talking with my sister and am still creeped out about the mouse thing, and I decided to call one place that I KNEW I'd get sympathy. My mom. There was an incident when I was in high school where a mouse got in our house and I just FREAKED, so she knows what a predicament this was for me tonight. She did give me some sympathy, but she really just laughed too!

FAMILY.....whaddaya do? :-)

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Kodak moments


First of all, my apologies to Tracey for using this 'Kodak moment,' but I tried to find camera images that were what I wanted and they all were too blurry, so I started brain-storming 'Kodak moments' and thought I would re-post this picture from when I went to see Tracey back in December....It makes me laugh just looking at it, so I had to use it! :-) We were laughing SO hard trying to get a good picture....but we usually DO laugh this hard at some point when we are together anyway. It's nice to have friends who just 'get' you!

Anyway, this post has no meaning or message to it or anything, but I do need some suggestions. My camera has been acting up for a while now and I have decided that I want to get a new one. (I had 'need' in there, but decided this wasn't really a 'need' situation...it's definitely more of a 'want' situation....). With SO many cameras on the market now, I don't even know where to begin looking, so I wanted to see if some of you would tell me what kind of camera you have and if it is something you would recommend. The camera I have now is a Canon PowerShot S400. It's started sticking when I try to look at the pictures I've taken and it has WAY too much shutter lag, plus the battery life stinks. My sister has a Kodak Z710 that she's pretty happy with, so I am going to read up on that one and the Kodak Z712 which is a step up from hers. I am definitely going to do my homework before I buy one and I am open to pretty much any brand, so don't feel like there is any pressure (!!), but asking for CD suggestions worked so well a few weeks ago that I thought I'd ask about cameras too! :-)

Also, I wanted to let you know that I saw my friend Carla at church this morning and she said she had a wonderful visit with her friend on Thursday, so thanks to those of you who remembered them. She knows without a doubt that God is at work in a HUGE way, and so does this friend of hers. I will keep you posted on them from time to time, but please continue to say a prayer for them anytime they may come to mind.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Relay for Life

All I can say is "WOW!" It seems like God keeps putting things in front of me that touch my heart in huge ways and tonight was no exception.


This word so boldly declared above....HOPE....is spelled out with luminaries given in honor or in memory of people who have had cancer. There were more luminaries there than I would have ever been able to count, but I couldn't pass up this picture...only four letters, but SO much meaning.

I went to the American Cancer Society's Relay f0r Life event for our county tonight. I go every year because my sister is involved in it with my niece's school, and every year I come away amazed and grateful for the huge showing of support and for the number of people who pour so much of themselves into this cause.

I got there with Grace shortly before the 'Survivor's lap' around the track. Last year was the first year I had been there for that part and was absolutely moved to tears just looking into the faces of so many people who had survived this dreaded disease. I couldn't help but to imagine all they had dealt with, then to see children holding banners stating how many years they have been a 'survivor,' then seeing how grateful everyone was just to be able to take this 'survivor walk,' all I could do was stand there, unable to speak, with huge tears in my eyes. What I really wanted to do was lay down on the ground and SOB but that would have been kinda silly lookin' (!!)...that IS what I wanted to do though!

So with that being last year, I sort of knew what to expect tonight, but it still stirred up huge emotion looking into all these faces again. I saw several people I recognized during the 'survivor lap' that I didn't even know had had cancer. It's just very eye opening. There was one little girl there that is obviously going through chemo right now....she's probably between 8 and 10 years old. She had lost her hair and was sitting in someone's lap in a cart that was being driven around the track during the walk. Because I'm so short, I was standing on a ramp above everyone's head and had a bird's eye view of the whole thing. It was an amazing sight to see how many people are survivors of this disease. They just kept coming and coming and coming around the track. And this is only locally....it takes my breath away to think of the number on a global scale! Below is a picture below of my sister's friend, Cheryl (the blonde on the right).....a survivor (and she's my friend through my sister too). With her is the music teacher at Grace's school....evidently another survivor.


After the survivor lap, they had them do another lap with their caregivers....well....again.....BOO HOO! I don't know why I just cannot pull myself together during things like this, but I just can't. I have a friend who has been seriously battling cancer for 6.5 years now and just knowing her story as personally as I do drives home what I know so many of these families have dealt with....and it's just very touching. So there we were, clapping, cheering them on, and crying even more!

A little bit later, they had the sponsors all come around the track with their group. The pictures I took of the banner and everything from Grace's school turned out blurry, but I'm going to try to get Cheryl to send me a couple that she took, so I'll post them when she does. The banner looked great and they had on matching shirts. Hopefully they will get the award for 'most spirited.' They had a baseball theme with 'Strike Out Cancer' as the slogan. Cute idea!

Below is a picture from early in the evening of Grace and her friend Kaylee. Never a dull moment with Grace, that's for sure!


Anyway, as emotional as tonight was, it was a good night. It makes me grateful to know that people really do care and how many people are so responsive to such a worthy cause. I would imagine that it is a RARE person who has not had their life touched by cancer in some way, whether through a family member, friend or acquaintance. It is one of my biggest prayers that we will soon see some sort of answer or cure for this disease....tomorrow would not be soon enough!

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Prayers for a friend.

I don't know how to start out with all I want to say tonight, so I guess the best way is to just jump in...

I've been thinking a lot lately about friendships and the ministry opportunities involved in times of crisis. I included in a recent post a story about a wife and mother who had lost her husband and two of her teenage sons in a plane crash last week. Well, when we were at choir last Wednesday night, my friend Carla told us that she was friends with the mom and her son was friends with the boys that were killed. She just asked us to remember them because it had been VERY difficult. Knowing that Carla was friends with this woman, I had already began praying that God would use her to minister in this situation. I sent Carla a note sharing these things with her last week, so when I spoke with her tonight, she said that she is going to see this friend tomorrow and asked me to pray for her and this visit. Besides the hurt and loss of all this, she feels that a door is open to discuss salvation a bit moreso than it has been in the past and she wants to have the opportunity and boldness to walk through it. There is no doubt that this friend is hurting and probably seeking more openly than ever before, so I wanted to ask my 'blogger buddies' to pray for Carla and this friend tomorrow too. We never know why God puts us in situations or in relationships with other people sometimes, but when things like this happen, there can't be too much doubt. I can't help but to believe that Carla's friendship, life, example and convictions are the things that are leading this friend to seek her out and reach out to her at this moment in time, I just pray that HE will move and speak through her like never before.

I know that I can count on the few of you who read this blog to pray for them tomorrow....that means a lot and I am grateful for you!

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

It ain't much, but it's home!

I was telling a friend at work today how much I LOVE my yard right now! I've been in my house for 2.5 years and am just now starting to feel like it is 'home.' Although I do not know a thing in the world about plants, my sister has a horticulture degree and my dad has a tree farm, so last May, we did a makeover on my yard. We planted 7 trees between the front, sides and back, and miscellaneous other plants along the way. There were two big ugly trees in the front where that one is now (that's why there's such a big bed...we're going to plant more there soon, hopefully!), then my sister and I planted day lilies and a few other plants that I have no idea what they are called. There are little bushes in the front, which I LOVE, when they bloom. I believe they are daisy gardenias. They haven't bloomed and made their appearance yet, but I'll post a couple of pictures when they do. Anyway, the day lilies and everything are starting to bloom and I love the way it looks. I just like that there is so much color, but that is one of the things my sister was going for. You can't really tell all that from this picture, but this is my house:









These roses are by driveway at the garage. I don't know that this picture does them justice!

Some of the mulch has washed away, but these are little puffy things that I have NO idea the name of, and some day lilies. There are also day lilies by the walkway leading to the door. This doesn't look as fabulous as they do in real life either, but you get the idea!


(There are more plants along the sides of my house and in the back, but I'll save those for later...no sense boring you all at once!) :-)




And this is my lazy cat who I also love! She is sitting in the window in the kitchen and I couldn't get her to look at me to save my life.

Anyway, like I said, 'it ain't much but it's home.' When I think about the fact that I am single and have one income, it doesn't take much to look around and see what God has allowed me in this life and I am one grateful girl!

Life is good!