Thursday, October 29, 2009

Skywatch Friday- Boulder Lake- Idaho

Boulder Lake near McCall, Idaho. I took this while on a hike in July of 2007
View More Skywatch Friday Photos from other bloggers HERE

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Skywatch Friday- The Road to Agdash



This is a photo my brother took while we were in the car on our way to Agdash, Azerbaijan while on a trip in March of 2009.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

We Had Beautiful Clear Gulf Water........

And thank goodness for that! Can you imagine being out swimming and not being able to notice one of these critters until they were right there on ya??!!!





And how about this thing.................

We stayed clear of the water for awhile. After all, it's their home! Later though, they cleared out and , yes--we did jump on in!



Friday, October 16, 2009

I'm at the beach!

My cousin and I drove the 3-1/2 hours down to Destin this afternoon to meet the family at the beach. They've been here all week. Some people had to work though.
We got here just in time to see the sun setting.



We saw this tree while walking to the beach. Which came first? The fence or the tree??

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Well, I don't usually write about current events, but I will have to make an exception and write about the events that unfolded today as I watched a home made helium balloon soar through the air while thinking that a small child was on board.

As soon as a co-worker told me the story, and we started watching video clips online, I prayed and then sent out an urgent prayer request e-mail that this little boy would be ok. I guess not only being a parent, but also being a grandmother to a small boy, just caused me to have major empathy pain for this boy's parents. It was a horrible feeling to think of being totally helpless and unable to reach a small child in need. And that is when I knew I needed to pray.

I prayed that this obviously mischievous boy was oblivious to what was going on. Or that he was having the time of his life on the joyride. Of course- If he had a dad like mine, it would be the last thing he'd enjoy in a very long time! ; ) But, I would rather think he was having fun and not panicking and crying.

Then, I thought--no--even better--------I pray that the boy is not even in the balloon. I hope that this little guy accidentally set this balloon adrift and then knew he was in some DEEP TROUBLE, and decided to go hide somewhere. And then, as things got even worse, he was even more afraid to come out. And, in the end, that is exactly what happened. Praise the Lord for this ending.

I guess I was able to relate to this last scenario. Maybe we all can in some way. I was telling my "hiding from trouble, when I was a kid" story to a cousin today and she thought I should share it. But, the story I like best is one about my brother.

When he was about 3 years old, I was with him and my mom in Kmart, when all of a sudden my mom realizes that he was not standing beside her. She called for him and he didn't answer. We looked around--no Jimmy (he had not yet become J.T.). So, pretty soon the whole store is looking for Jimmy. We are pretty panicked by this time. Yes, even I was getting a bit concerned for the safety of my little brother. Finally, with an ever so slight quiver in her strong-sounding voice, and not wanting the worst to be true, my mom yells something that I think went like this , "Jimmy you tell me where you are right now or you are going to be in big trouble!"

And, then as he comes popping out of a rack of clothes very close by, that we had passed many times in our search, he announces to everyone in a sweet little voice , "Here me!"

Yes--He had decided to have fun and hide in a rack of clothes. But, as he realized that everyone in the store was looking for him, and he was going to be in trouble, he decided he would just keep on hanging out in the rack of clothes to prolong any punishment coming his way.

I don't even remember if he got punished. I'm not even sure I got punished when the whole neighborhood was looking for me that time and I was hiding under the car. At least we didn't shut down flights at an international airport or have a Blackhawk helicopter in the air at a cost of $4600.00 an hour to fly. Then again--we might have got our backsides worn out.

Well, anyway-----I guess we all have our stories of trying to hide from our punishment. And I guess sometimes we have to face the music, and sometimes we are pardoned. I'm very thankful for answered prayers for a happy outcome today!
I have neglected my blog lately. But I have been devoting time to some things that I needed to be doing. I had been using my lunch hour at work for "blog time", but we are no longer allowed to access blogs from work anymore.

But I have taken care of a lot of things and hopefully can manage my time to get in here and write again. I have missed it very much.

In the meantime-------today I found out that I am the featured guest host on Skywatch Friday! I didnt even know till someone left me a comment about it! I am honored!! There are truly beautiful and amazing pictures that people post as a part of Skywatch Friday, so it is truly an honor to be allowed to have my picture among them!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Skywatch Friday - Cloudy Sunset in Haleiwa


This picture was taken in August of 2006 in Hawaii. We made a special trip to the side of the island that was supposed to be best for viewing the sunset. Dark clouds rolled in right at sunset though. Oh well--I'll take a cloudy sunset in Hawaii any time!
See more Skywatch Friday posts HERE

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday - Will I Ever Pass This Way Again?

sorry for the spacing--it didnt show that way in my preview and I cant fix it!
Just a visual to see the distance between Alabama and Azerbaijan

This is a road I walked along in March of 2009. Now I am sitting on my couch 6700 miles away--a whole world away, wondering if I will ever walk down that road again.

Will I ever see the smiling faces of all the wonderful people I met while I was there?





Of all the fun I had even though I could not speak the language of my new friends and they knew very little of mine except for "thank you" and "my name is....." which they liked to practice often.











Will I ever see our wonderful hostess, who allowed us to stay with her even at great risk. A risk that made itself evident while we were there.













I may not ever see our amazing translator and friend again, in this lifetime, but she will always have a very special place in my heart and memory.
.
And of course I wont ever forget this amazing person. An excellent teacher. Full of joy and a pretty good bit of spunk too! She is one of many examples I saw on my trip of someone who lives their faith daily and will sacrafice all for that faith.
















Ok--and of course-it would be fun to be around the table again with these wonderful people. Always a great meal. And a never-ending supply of chai (tea), which is a symbol of hospitality in Azerbaijan.





Why am I smiling? I guess cause I got caught doing the dishes. It was very hard to get someone to allow me to help around there! For some reason, I didnt mind doing the dishes there like I do at home. I guess that is why my sink is full!










See More Wordless/Wordful Wednesday posts here:


The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at www.ordinaryandawesome.com. Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

10 on Tuesday- 10 Things I Need To Plan For

10 things I need to plan for --

1) my niece's baby shower I will be co-hosting next month

2) a day to finish taking wall paper down in my bathroom and repainting

3) to actually find someone to make some minor repairs around my house

4) to go to the Dr. early one morning, without eating or drinking and get some blood work done

5) getting off my lazy hiney and start working out so that my weight doesn't start bothering my lower back and knee.

6) a time to get together with a certain person who is supposed to help me with a slide show I am preparing of a mission trip to New Orleans

7)a time to do more sight seeing downtown and take more pictures for my photo blog.

8) a time to sit and do more writing

9)a certain time of day- each day for Bible study and prayer time.

10) healthy meals ahead of time and healthy foods on hand so I don't eat the wrong things.

See more about 10 on Tuesday here

Friday, September 18, 2009

Skywatch Friday- New Orleans



This was taken July 09, while I was on a mission trip to New Orleans, LA. Off to the left, in the distance you can see the tall buildings along the river, near the French Quarter. Over where this picture is taken, you can see all the rubble and what remains of an area that had several different restaurants built over the water, near the marina. Amazing how the areas each were affected differently by Hurricane Katrina. Across the horizon you can see a very long bridge.


See more Skywatch Friday Photos Here: http://skyley.blogspot.com/




Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Last weekend I was in Seagrove Beach, FL with other singles from my church for our annual Beach Retreat. We have been coming to Highpointe Resort the last several years. As much as I absolutely love sitting on the beach, digging my feet in the sand, and listening to the waves crashing in to shore, when I come to this particular place, I do something I rarely do at other resorts or hotels at the beach. I actually spend more time at the pool than the beach.

This place has the most beautiful and relaxing pool I have ever seen. It winds around through two "islands" and several waterfalls.
Check out other Worldful/Mostly Wordless Wednesday posts by clicking the buttons below:


The chronicles of my Ordinary and Awesome life, family, and thoughts at www.ordinaryandawesome.com. Ordinary and Awesome is also the Mostly Wordless Wednesday headquarters as well as the home to several original awards and memes.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Time to get a Peep Hole!

I haven't been visiting here as much lately. I miss posting here, but mostly I miss reading all my favorite blogs. I had been in a habit of writing/posting on this blog and my photo blog during my lunch hour. But, the reins have been pulled in tighter and now I cannot access any blog spot.com sites anymore at work. I don't have much time in the evenings to post. I'm up late tonight only because of an incident that happened earlier that has caused me to not be able to sleep.

Seems someone wanted to visit my next door neighbor. This someone, who had been drinking, came to my house instead of my neighbors house. I was just about to go to bed when I heard someone knocking on my front door. Unfortunately I don't have a peephole on my door, and although I can look out the window and see most of the front porch, I cannot see someone who is standing right in front of the door.

I wasn't expecting anyone, so I went to the door and asked, "Who is it?" The person replied with some name that I didn't understand and the voice was not familiar. After asking the person to repeat his name, I told him that I did not know him. He was not happy with me saying this and let me know with a few choice words. I told him to go away.

He asked me who i was and when I said I was the owner of this house, he told me in a very descriptive and obscene way that I was lying.

So, I went and got my phone and dialed 911. I told the man what was happening. I was more startled than I thought. I guess talking about it made me feel more nervous. The 911 dispatcher asked me to please take a deep breath and stay calm.

At this time, I looked out the window and could see the backside of this man standing on my porch, leaning against my brick column. He was about 6ft tall, slim, wore a long sleeve button down style shirt, tucked into some Levis that looked pressed, and had grey hair. He was just leaning on this column, smoking a cigarette.

He saw me peeking out the window, and came back to knock on the door some more. At this point, I decided that he really was looking for the house next door. but, not everyone looking for my neighbor is going over for a nice little visit. this man sounded very mad about something. And he was getting angrier and angrier that I would not let him in .

At this time, i went to the door and told the man he was at the wrong house. This made him angry and caused the 911 dispatcher to tell me to just not talk to him. We didn't know what state of mind he was in, if he'd try to break in, or if he had a weapon.

This guy then starts to beat on my door. Its more to get my attention than to try and break in. But it was very frightening, nonetheless! The 911 dispatcher helped me to stay calm and told me the policeman was less than five minutes away. I am so glad I had called the emergency number and had accepted the dispatchers offer to stay on the line till the police arrived.

When the policeman arrived, he knocked on the door and asked me if I knew the gentleman, but I didn't. The man said he was looking for someone in particular who used to live in this house. I recognized the name as my neighbor. I told the policeman that it was my neighbor this man was looking for. The man STILL insisted that it was my house. At this time I look out and get a better look at the vehicle he must have driven. it is a big truck that I have seen parked at my neighbor's house before. Yikes--this guy must really be out of it!

The police officer told the man they were going to go next door to look for his friend. Finally, when they got next door, the man's fuzzy memory started coming back to him, and he realized he was indeed, at the wrong house.

I was very thankful for the 911 dispatcher and the police officer.

Friday, September 4, 2009

As I start this blog post, we fade into a scene from Serial Mom:

The trial for the mom accused of being a serial killer has just ended. She has been found not guilty of killing people for behavior she deemed offensive and inappropriate.

Juror #8 (who has just helped serial mom to be a free woman) is talking on a payphone, when Beverly (serial mom) comes up behind her and grabs the phone from her,

Beverly Sutphin: You can't wear white after Labor Day!

Juror #8: That's not true anymore.

Beverly Sutphin: Yes it is! Didn't your mother tell you? Now you know. [She whacks her in the face with the phone]

Juror #8: No! Please! Fashion has changed!

Beverly Sutphin: No... it hasn't. [She hits her again]

Has fashion changed? Is it ok to wear white after Labor Day? Stacy and Clinton from What Not To Wear say its ok. They also say your shoes don’t have to match your handbag. How liberating is that?

I have followed a lot of Stacy and Clinton's rules. And, since I live in an area where people are sometimes known to wear shorts in December, I may sneak in a wearing or two of the white capris after Labor Day.

But--maybe not. And definitely not to work. Why? Because that rule is just ingrained in me I guess. And because down south, we just follow this rule.

I remember when I was younger, the excitement of being able to debut my new white shoes for Easter. And those shoes were worn all summer and put away after Labor Day. They probably didn’t fit much past Labor Day anyway. And probably had so many of those black scuff marks on them that don’t like to come off, that they were ready to be chunked anyway.

I did a little research and found that the rule did seem to originate with just white shoes, and then expanded to encompass white clothing as well.

No one could say for sure where and why this rule originated. There was mention that it started because white reflects light and heat, so wearing white would make one cooler. Another version stated that in the 1950's more people were entering the middle classes and were unaware of the standards they needed to keep, so they were given specific rules in order to fit in.

Whatever the reason, I know that Southern girls used to be raised following this rule and that it is still highly regarded among most women.

Even though a lot of schools actually start school a couple of weeks before Labor Day, it just seems to be the weekend that wraps up the summer for most people, even though fall doesn’t begin for a couple more weeks.

And with Fall, we start thinking of Fall clothing and Fall activities. And white clothing and shoes are usually packed away till the following Spring.

I'm wearing my white capris and white sandals today. But, already I am feeling like it is time to say goodbye till the rules say we can meet again.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday- Rowdy Girl


I don't know this "ROWDY GIRL" , just thought it was such a cute photo and copied it off a website. She's just doing her thing, watching the parade. I like that. I hope she had a great time.
HERE'S THE STORY THAT ACCOMPANIED THE PHOTO:
A spectator watches dancers in a street parade during the annual Asakusa Samba carnival in Tokyo, Japan, Saturday, Aug. 29, 2009
See more Mostly Wordless or Wordful Wednesday Posts here:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

10 Things On Tuesday--Ten Things I Hate About Traveling

Today I'm gonna join in on a meme that I have been following lately. You can see more HERE
(I haven't figured out how to "grab" a button yet.)

TEN THINGS I HATE ABOUT TRAVELING
1)Deciding what to pack. I like to pack as light as possible, but you also want to be prepared for different weather situations, etc. And as some of you know--I have a habit of second guessing myself alot!! ; )

2) When flying, having to worry about the three ounce/quart size bag rule for liquids. Especially since I like to just have a carry- on bag and not check luggage if possible.

3)Not knowing how to pack and keep things wrinkle free (a trick my mom has mastered), so I hope I will have an iron available where I will be staying.

4)People making fun of me because I want to iron over my clothes while on vacation

5)Having to wait forever, it seems, to deboard the plane. I get a little claustrophobic.

6)Getting to my destination and wanting the item that I decided not to pack.

7) When traveling to a different country , having to figure out a different currency and wondering how much I'm paying for something.

8)Living out of my toiletry bag and not being able to have a place for it all in the bathroom.

9)Not having electrical outlets in convenient places for drying hair and using curling iron/hot rollers.

10)Someone making a comment about me using the curling iron and hot rollers while on vacation.

Ok--so this was a tough one because I LOVE to travel. If I had to travel for business, it might be a different matter. but since its usually to go on vacation, to visit family or to go on a mission trip (where I know I will have to be flexible) , the things I gripe about are really just trivial things that I will choose to accept any day to be able to travel!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones..........

We all said it as kids, or at least heard someone else say it. Maybe one child yelling it across the schoolyard playground at another child. Sticks And Stones May Break My Bones, But Words Will Never Hurt Me.

But, that was just a defense, wasn't it? Really those words did hurt. We just felt it necessary to put up a front and let everyone know that we were just fine. There was probably a hint of hurt in our voices as we sang that little phrase.

Sometimes words can hurt just as much as sticks and stones. They can leave emotional scars just as sticks and stones can leave physical scars.

I know physical scars can sometimes fade. If not, my knees, shins and elbows would be nothing but scars from falls, skateboard mishaps and bicycle crashes. Emotional scars can fade sometimes too. But, the memory of what caused the emotional scars do seem to stay with us longer than the memory of what caused that skinned knee or elbow.

People use words as weapons. People use words to hurt other people. To belittle other people. They can be very effective weapons. Some people just have a talent for wielding them and hitting their target dead center.

I have always tried to not use words in that way. As weapons. To hurt someone in a fight. Because they are something, that once said, can never be taken back. You have tarnished the relationship you had with the person forever. It will never be quite the same.

I also know that if someone can feel angry enough to want to hurt me with words, that they will do it again. That they will use words as a weapon again and again. Even if they are sorry afterwards

I have tried to remember that if I use words to hurt someone, that I will later regret it. That it will make me feel bad.

I also know that using negativity with someone, intentional or not, is just as hurtful as purposely using words to hurt someone you are angry with.

Especially with kids. Kids should not have to hear negativity all the time. There should be another way to present an issue in a more constructive way. Negativity weighs a person down. And negative words cannot be taken back, just like the hurtful words spoken in anger. That is something I need to work on.

Although I try not to use words to intentionally hurt someone, I realized that I sometimes use words to punish someone or to make someone realize how serious I am about something. If they hear me use words in this way, then they will know that I mean business. And they will take heed.

But, that doesn't really work either. And it only makes me feel bad for saying words I cannot take back and wish I didn't say.

Words hurt, just like those sticks and stones. Words cant be taken back. That is true. Remember that the next time you are about to let that word roll off your tongue and go flying at someone else.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Ignorance is Bliss

I know something that someone else would like to know. Well- they might not like to actually know , but would like the information. It would help them understand one little situation. It would take away one frustration and time consuming ordeal, but it doesn't solve anything in the end. Its something I'd want to know. In fact, I've been in a similar situation. So, I know I'd want to know the information whether I liked it or not.

Only problem is, I don't really know the person who would like to know the info. And this person wouldn't like to hear it from me. It might make this person uncomfortable to know how I know the information.

I'd like to be able to tell this person but the situation isn't right. And, although I have been in a similar situation, and want this person to be able to have this information to use it accordingly, I also wonder if I want to tell my information partly for other reasons. For self-serving reasons. To let another person involved know that I know.

That's not a good reason to tell someone something. I want to be better than that. Sometimes, don't you wish you just didn't know????

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Wordless/Wordful Wednesday- The Doggie Repairman

Pluto didn't bark or wag his tail and walk around on his leash anymore. Pluto needed new batteries. I was going to put new batteries in it, but the Camster decided he needed to fix it himself.


This was some tough work! You can tell he's serious about it. He's all stretched out laying on the ground. It helps him to work better.






HMMM.......wonder if this other doggie over here needs some fixin' ?????? Since I have the screwdriver out and all.





Bingo's looking a little worried. He's hoping the Camster doesn't decide he needs some fixin' too!



Monday, August 24, 2009

On a Quest to find Tales from The Grave

Hey there. I am on a little fact finding adventure and its getting kind of interesting!

Last week I headed over to the cemetery to take pictures of Hank Williams grave/memorial . I was thinking about making Hank the "H" for my Montgomery Daily Photo ABC's of Montgomery Blog.

Anyway-so I get over there and notice to the right of Hank's Memorial, are two neat, long rows of headstones all the same size and style. They have the cutest flowers all perfectly manicured in front of them. I'm wondering if these are new grave markers, because I have never seen them before. I walk over to take a closer look and see that they are marking the graves of young men who were members of the French Air Force. And most of them died on 13th of November 1941.

Now I'm really interested. What happened to cause the death of all these French men on the same date, or shortly thereafter? And why are they buried in Montgomery, AL, so far from their homes? So far from their parents , who left messages to their brave sons, engraved on headstones.

I walk down a little further and there , the names start to look a little different, and I notice that these are graves of members of the Royal Air Force. With almost all the dates of death showing as the 13th of November, 1941.

I really need to find out the story of these people and why they are buried here!

I headed back to my computer and started doing a search, but could not come up with anything. I looked up information on the cemetery and found out that the main part is maintained by the city of Montgomery, but the annex, where these graves are located, is privately owned a department of the State of Alabama. I decided to go ahead and e-mail the contact person shown for the main part of the cemetery to see if he could point me in the right direction.

This morning I got an e-mail from him giving me the name , address, and phone number of a gentleman, whom he said could help me with this information. This man has a French sounding name. And he lives close by Montgomery.

I was feeling a little hesitant about calling someone I don't know, but certainly want to find out the information. Not long after I received my contact information, a customer walked in, who I know lives on the same road as this man with the French sounding accent. I asked the customer if he knew of this man and he did! They live across the street from each other!!

I was able to find out that this man was about 80 years old. He is from France and was a navigator on bomber planes that flew missions over Germany during WWII. He came to the U.S. to teach Navigation at Craig Air Force Base in Selma, AL.

So, now I all I have to do is get up the nerve to make the phone call!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Around The World And Back In a Weekend

I've been away from this blog for a few days. I've been traveling to cities all around the world. Yep---in just one weekend. And you can too..........

I dont remember how. But, somehow, about a month ago, I ran across a blog, who's blogger posted a picture almost everyday of his home city in Turkey. He would give a brief description of what was going on or what the scenery was in the picture. I just thought it was very interesting. I decided to follow this blog.

Last week, I noticed that he followed someone from Sheki, Azerbaijan, which certainly interested me, because of my mission trip to that country recently, as well as getting to have a tour of Sheki on one day of our trip.

Ok--sometimes I am a little bit slow. Or maybe I've just been so busy lately, but at first I didnt see that there was a theme going on with these two blogs, as well as other blogs that they followed.

But, finally I did realize that these blogs are a part of City Daily Photo. A whole network of bloggers from cities all across the world who post one picture a day of their home city.

What an awesome idea! I LOVE to travel. To experience the people, architecture, landscape and customs of a different country and culture.

And, although I have no training and very little skill, I love to take pictures.

So, since I posted here last, I have been busy traveling the world through these different blogs. And I also took the time to set up my City Daily Photo Blog to share pictures of my city.

You are invited to come by my Daily Photo Blog and find out more about my hometown. And, please take the time to look at the blogs of any cities around the world that you may be interested in.

Friday, August 14, 2009

Eating Ice Cream for a Good Cause

On the way home from work yesterday, I decided to stop by the grocery store.

I flipped open my phone, and turned it on to call my daughter. It had been turned off because my battery was really low. I've heard that there are actually people out there who put their phone on a charger every night.


I've found when your battery gets to the point of making that little warning noise (quite irritating while trying to talk!) , you can just turn off the phone for awhile and the battery magically gets a little bit of charge back in it. I can make a low battery last for a few extra days like this without putting it on the charger.

Guess I kinda push my cell phone battery to the limits like I do the last little fumes of gas in my car. But, that's another story. And,well, yes I do happen to miss a call or two when my phone is off.

Yesterday, I had missed not only a call, with voicemail (from my daughter) but also a follow up text message telling me, "check your voice mail".

So, of course I didnt check my voice mail. I called my daughter immediately, thinking there was an emergency.

"Oh, hey mom. Did you check my voice mail?"

No

My daughter: ..... "Oh, well, um.... ", said kinda sheepishly. "I was just reading on Facebook that Dairy Queen will give a donation to Children's Hospital if you buy any size Blizzard today." (this last part said like she was doing a radio advertisement for the event)

Me: Oh really? (oh- so -nonchalantly)

"Yes!"

We are both "Fans" of Children's Hospital on Facebook, as her son (my grandson I call "The Camster" in a lot of my posts) was at Children's Hospital the first two months of his life. I am so grateful that Children's Hospital was available for us during that time.

So, I say, "That is very nice. What a nice thing for them to do."

silence

Me: "Ok--I am gonna go in the store now. I'll see you in a little bit. Bye."



Well, YES!! ----OF COURSE I drove through DQ and got Blizzards to bring home. One Oreo Blizzard and one M & M blizzard. And two balloons too! YAH! & YUM!








Saturday, August 8, 2009

Where's my maid? Where's my yard boy? Y'all are FIRED!

About 4 months ago, I wrote a little post about Saturdays. And how I should make the most of my Saturdays. So-----what have I done so far today?

Well, first off, I did not keep up with housework during the week. So, I have a room to clean, and some laundry to do. I have a car that is desperate need of cleaning out so that I don't have to be reminded of all the junk food and frozen coffee drinks I've had the last week. OK-OK--the last two weeks ("or so" said in a mumble)

I need to get my grass cut. But my lawnmower is not working. That is a whole different story, involving my neighbor. ahem! Wow--if I'd started this blog when I first moved in this house two years ago, you'd know my neighbor quite well by now. IRGH!!

Anyway--I digress--just as I have been doing all morning, knowing I need to get my housework done!!

So--in about an hour, my friend is gonna call. Wanting to know if I've decided to buy a new lawn mower or if I am gonna borrow my mom's lawnmower and just see if mine can be repaired. She's gonna help me haul whatever I decide on getting!

As much as I've paid others to cut my grass for me, while mine has been in and out of commission, I could have ALREADY bought a new lawnmower. sigh!

OK--so here I go-----I'm gonna get some laundry started. I'm gonna get dressed. Then my friend and I will meet for lunch and I will decide my lawnmower business.

Then I just hope to goodness that I will have the ambition to get the yard work done. Oh--and clean my room too. OK---Off to salvage this Saturday!

Hope you are having a great one!!!!!!!!


Friday, August 7, 2009

I'm a dork . I know it. I admit it.

I am sitting here with tears in my eyes.

Tears of happiness.

Over an e-mail.

Well, yes, I am a dork, but maybe in this situation, I'm
just an extra sensitive person.

Remember my other post where I talked about how fun and
exciting it is to find a real piece of personal mail in my
mailbox?

Well--something else that is really exciting is to receive
an e-mail from my friend in Azerbaijan
.

We have not exchanged actual addresses to send mail to each
other. It might not be such a great idea. No sense doing anything
to cause the family any potential problems.

Problems? Yeah- I get the feeling that the police in their
village would look for just anything to cause problems for this family.

Why? Well- you can read about it here or here. and fyi-- he's out of prison
and back home now.

And--well, my brother and I kinda got caught up in our own little bit of trouble while over there. (ps--I'm Wolton Kalie )

So--naturally ---I count it a blessing whenever I get to hear from
one of my friends in Azerbaijan!

And--blessings bring tears of joy to my eyes!!!

I am a very blessed dork! Amen!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

This is what I've been stewing on---Glad I let it out!

Boy, is God giving me the perfect opportunity this morning to work on not being bitter or holding a grudge! To trust in him & that He will provide for me.

For about 17 years I have worked in a sales position for the same company. This company has branches in 6 different cities across three states. There has always been an average of about 4 people in my office, though at times there have been three and other times five sales people. Even though this is a sales position, our salaries or bonuses have never been based on individual sales. It has always been a combination of our office as whole and the other branches also.

Yes, we have always had a daily print out to show our individual sales figures, and that has been something I have always used to gauge my progress. But there has never been a lot of stigma attached to any one individuals figures, because we have worked together as a team.

Because we have worked together as a team, we have always had unwritten rules of courtesy. If a co-worker was at lunch, and his customer called and gave me an order, I would give it to my co-worker to write up. And vice- versa. If I quoted material to another salesperson's customer, I would give it to the other salesperson, in case we got the order. Sometimes, if a salesperson went through extra steps and measures to take care of another person's customer, we would just let that salesperson write up the order. No big deal.

This worked out well, because we could feel OK about being out sick or on vacation and know our customers would be in good care. They wouldn't be slighted by a salesperson saying, "I don't have time for this customer, I don't get commission off this sale."

I have wonderful customers, who through out the years, have asked me, "Now don't I need to make sure I get you when I call back so that you get the commission for this?" Or some variation of that question. My reply has always been something like this: "Of course I would like you to call me back, but if I am not in the office or not available, you can talk to another salesperson. We do not get individual credit for orders." I understand that my customers are busy. And sometimes they want to take care of their business of ordering from me, and then move on to something else. I don't want to delay their work, just because I am at lunch, at an appointment, or with another customer.

Well, now a lot of things have changed and it is causing me to have some hard feelings. First, off, the company has decided that part of the basis for deciding our year end bonus, will be our individual sales figures. Well, that really shouldn't matter too much, because, like I said earlier, we have always had an unwritten rule of courtesy and also have a good idea about who a customer usually tries to call first. And we honor that.

So--what is the problem? A new sales person who has come in the last few years. He's doesn't play by our courtesy rules. If I am at lunch and one of my customers calls, he will write up the order in a heartbeat. Especially if it is a large order. If it is small,he might give it to me to write up. He checks the fax machine and will take large orders off of the printer, and disregard the small orders for someone else to write up.

And ever since we have been told that our individual sales will count toward our year end bonus, this person has acted even more in a way that is not consistent with the courtesy we have always shown each other in this office. There have been several occasions where I quoted a customer, and even had the quote put officially into our computer quote system. Then, when the purchase order has been generated and faxed to us, he has taken the order and written it up himself. He did not bother to ask if anyone quoted the material. Knowing that if the purchase order had prices on it, then the customer got pricing somehow!! This has happened on a couple of very nice size orders of mine.

Unfortunately, I also think that there are other underhanded things he is doing, but do not know for certain. And I do not like feeling that way. And I do not like the feeling I get knowing that am working with someone who does things like that.

I know times are tough and I understand people have to provide for their families. I am all for someone wanting to be ambitious and successful. But not if he or she has to do it by stepping on someone else's toes , not displaying a good character and sometimes being out and out sneaky. It disappoints me to think this person would act this way, because we have to work so closely together. And outside of this issue, we actually talk and will do things for each other.

I did confront this person when I found out he had written up some orders I quoted. And I have made comments that I know make him understand that I have not appreciated the fact that he wrote up certain orders instead of giving them to me. Another salesperson has had to do the same.

But, it doesn't really do any good. In fact, it has become the office joke that he is an order hog. Some days it just bothers me more than others. I guess it was just bothering me this morning. In fact, my feelings were a little hurt by the customer that called him and gave him the order, when I was not available. But, it is not my customer's fault. This customer is one of the main ones that was very concerned about making sure I got any individual commission on orders.

I am just not the kind of person that feels comfortable now, going back and telling all my customers, "Hey--remember when I said it was OK for you to talk to other sales people? Well- could you stop doing that?" I'm sure they would understand. I just cant do that. I'm just not like that. So-- I better learn to deal with it, right?

I tell myself not to worry about "getting my fair share". That no matter what, God is going to take care of me. I tell myself to not worry about what this person is doing or how he is doing it, because in the end, he has to live with himself. I tell myself to just do a good job and God will bless me with good things. And to not stress and worry too much about this new inter-office "less than honorable" competition that seems to be going on. And most importantly, to not get wrapped up in it , and do things that will make me unhappy with myself.

OK----now that I've rambled on and let it all out, maybe this will help me to deal with things better. I'm not as upset as I was earlier, so that is a good thing.

Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice
Ephesians 4:31 (New International Version)


But why do you judge your brother? Or why do you show contempt for your brother? For we shall all stand before the judgment seat of ChristRomans 14:10 (New King James Version)

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Wordful Wednesday- A Letter in the Mailbox

Isn't it fun to get something in the mail that is not a bill or a sales -flyer? Maybe a colored envelope with your name and address actually handwritten. Or a postcard with a fun picture and a personal message that you get to see right away. And a stamp that someone took the time to personally add to the envelope. It is even more fun when you recognize the handwriting on the envelope and you cant wait to open it and see what is written inside.

I communicate so much by e-mail and Facebook these days, that I dont send or receive many personal items through the Postal Service and my little white mailbox . I even receive e-mail invitations. These have become socially acceptable, and I have made up a colorful and clip art- adorned "invite" to send out myself a time or two.

So, to go to the mailbox, open it and find an envelope, hand-addressed to me by a friend, hidden among all the sales papers, is like finding a little treasure or prize.

One envelope I always look forward to seeing, actually has my name and address typed out and is from an organization. But, when I see that envelope I know I have a letter inside from Riashi, the wonderful little girl that I sponsor through Compassion International.

Yesterday I got one of those envelopes. It didn't have a letter inside, but it did have an updated picture of this beautiful little girl who lives in Bangladesh. I was so excited and surprised to see how much she has grown since I first started sponsoring her.


I have saved every letter that has been sent to me from Riashi. She does not write the letters herself, they are written by a social worker at her Project home. She does however, add a drawing that she has made on her own and then colored. I love those drawings.

Last night I took all the letters I've received from Riashi, and each one in a protective cover and then into a folder. I want to share the letters with my Sunday school class, as I have asked them to prayerfully consider helping me to sponsor another child. I want them to see , through this child's letters, what she gets to experience by being a part of a Compassion Project. And how blessed they can be to be a part of a child's life in this way.

I realized last night, that as much as I enjoy getting letters and pictures from Riashi, that she may enjoy getting letters from me as well. Last night, while writing a letter to her, I remembered how much fun it is to sit down and write a letter, instead of just typing an e-mail. The last few months have been filled with many things going on in my life, and I forgot to slow down long enough to write a letter.

But. today a hand-written letter will be on its way to Riashi. I hope she will be half as excited to receive it, as I am going to be when I see my next letter from her in the mailbox and have to open before I ever step in the house . Until then, I pray for this beautiful little girl who's life I feel very fortunate to be a part of in some way.

Have you ever considered sponsoring a child through Compassion International? Please go to their website and find out more about how you can do this. You will be greatly blessed!

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

my brother--a legend in his own mind

Tribute Tuesday-----just in time to honor a request from my brother. While discussing my blog in an e-mail, that I received this morning , he had a few suggestions. "write more about me. like, have a j.t. tuesday thing where you always write about your famous brother on tuesday. starting today."

So--here goes. A tribute to my brother JT. My "little" brother, who came along and took away my spot as the baby of the family. I think I tortured him relentlessly because of this. Well, at least till the day that he actually got bigger than me and could hit back.

My brother, who one minute I could pin down on the floor and not feel bad about torturing, but at the same time wouldn't let anyone else mess with. Did I mention my brother could be quite the pest and he was a skinny little fellow back in his younger days? He'd pester someone till they came after him, then big sister would have to step in when he took off running.

But, our relationship wasn't always about fighting, even though our mother has many stories of having to discipline us for arguing over one of us touching the other, getting in the others space, or heaven forbid, just looking at the other.

I remember many a rainy day making tents in the living room with blankets and chairs, with my brother. We even spent entire afternoons setting up those little red, green and blue plastic cowboys and indians. Strategically placing all the little green army men was fun too.

When I really got into playing Barbies, he always wanted his GI Joe to play along too. (Is this the kind of stuff you wanted me to write about, dear brother??) Sadly, I rarely let GI Joe get in on the action.

During Jr High and HS, if I ever had a question about a band or a song that I liked, my brother was the one I turned to for information. He had (and still has) a great love and knowledge of music and a record collection that was amazing!! He even went down the road of "rock star" and played in several bands through the years.

This year my brother turns 40! The BIG 4-0! Wow! In some ways he is still that little aggravating pest. He just has a knack for it. No one is spared. My heart goes out to his wife and children for what they must endure. (wink)


But let me tell you. I am very proud of the man (husband, father) my brother has become. He traded in that long hair for a much shorter style. (not that there is anything wrong with long hair--but thank goodness he got over his mullet stage!) He traded in playing in rock bands in bars for playing praise music at his church. And several of the songs are his own special lyrics and music. Last year he was ordained into the ministry and is working on become a full time missionary with International Commission.

I hate to break it to him, but I will not be writing a "JT Tuesday" every week here. But, he will be featured in upcoming posts about our trip to Azerbaijan. Lets just say that I was very much impressed with my baby brother's knowledge and faith, as well as his ability to share this faith with others.

And, maybe, from time to time, like when he does things like he did with this crazy photo, I will have another JT Tuesday. Just for my favorite brother.

My brother-----he knows people!

Can you believe he used to be a skinny lil ole runt?

t This was taken after he officiated my niece's wedding ceremony. Thankfully he didnt wear these during the wedding, but she sure was brave in asking him to perform the ceremony!


Friday, July 17, 2009

I Gave Her My Heart, She Gave Me A Pen

"Miss Jean Louise, Mr. Arthur Radley. I believe he already knows you." --Atticus Finch (Gregory Peck), To Kill a Mockingbird.

"What I really want to do with my life - what I want to do for a living is, I want to be with your daughter. I'm good at it"
"She's gone. She gave me a pen. I gave her my heart, she gave me a pen." -- Lloyd Dobler (John Cusak), Say Anything

"I'm a full-time dad. I'm a working parent. I'm a mother and a father. I'm a guy who reads parenting books and cookbooks before I go to sleep. I spend my weekends buying tutus. I'm learning to sew. I'm Mr. Napkin Head" --Graham Simpkins(Jude Law), The Holiday

"Well, like I told Max... I was trying to cut my way through your wire because I want to get out".-- Capt Hilts (Steve McQueen), The Great Escape

"I am nothing special; just a common man with common thoughts, and I've led a common life. There are no monuments dedicated to me and my name will soon be forgotten. But in one respect I have succeeded as gloriously as anyone who's ever lived: I've loved another with all my heart and soul; and to me, this has always been enough." --Noah Calhoun (Ryan Gosling), The Notebook

Ok--so what is up with all those quotes? Oh, I'm just sitting here thinking of some of my favorite on- screen characters. On the way to work this morning, I was just thinking about Atticus Finch, and what a wonderful man he was. A "True Southern Gentleman" trying to raise his children to have manners, compassion, and respect for others. I just love when he so formally and respectfully introduces Scout to Boo (Arthur) Radley. Of course, there are many other scenes in that movie that I just love. I also enjoy his conversations with Scout,as they snuggle together sitting on the porch in the evenings.

Lloyd Dobler. I could dedicate an entire blog post to the "favorite" Lloyd Dobler sayings.

"I draw the line at 7 unreturned phone calls."

" How many of them really know what they want, though? I mean, a lot of them think they have to know, right? But inside they don't really know, so... I don't know ,but I know that I don't know"

"I don't want to sell anything, buy anything, or process anything as a career. I don't want to sell anything bought or processed, or buy anything sold or processed, or process anything sold, bought, or processed, or repair anything sold, bought, or processed. You know, as a career, I don't want to do that. "

What is not to love about Lloyd Dobler?

And, even as a little girl, catching glimpses of The Great Escape, while my dad was watching it, I knew that Capt Hilts, with his baseball glove and ball was the coolest guy around.


And, I cant forget to mention Mark Ruffalo, while talking about my favorite on-screen men. His characters in Rumor Has It, Just Like Heaven, and 13 going on 30 are just irresistible.

So, what does all of this have to do with anything? Oh , nothing really. Just sharing, once again, those random thoughts bouncing around in my head. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

St. Bernard Project Tribute


Well, I am back from my trip to New Orleans. It was an awesome experience and I would love to go back again. It has been such a busy week, that I didn't really feel organized enough to be posting yet. BUT--as I was just trying to catch up on some other blogs, I saw that it was Tribute Tuesday on The Seven Clown Circus Blog.
OK--so again--not really organized since I've been back--but want to take this time to do a quick tribute of my own, and to spend a few minutes on my own blog, so it doesn't feel so neglected. So here goes..........
St. Bernard Parish is a community adjacent to New Orleans. Before Hurricane Katrina hit the area in August of 2005, the population for this Parish was 67,000. There were 27,000 homes and 14,000businesses. All 27,000 homes were inhabitable after the storm. Now, almost 4 years later, there are still countless numbers of houses that are still in need of repair so that they can once again become homes for families to move back into this community.
So much has been done in this area, but there is still so much more to be done. FEMA has already started removing the trailers that families have been living in. Some of these trailers have been parked right in front of the homes that the families once lived in. But, when the trailers have to be removed, some people will again be homeless. There are still 1000 families displaced in St. Bernard Parish. 75% of homeowners did not receive sufficient funds to rebuild their homes.
That is where the St. Bernard Project comes into the picture.
This is a non-profit, community based program that is helping to get people back in their homes. The Project has helped to rebuild 221 homes, and are currently working on 30 more homes. I had the privilege of working with the St. Bernard Project last week on a home. And like I said, it was an awesome experience.
So-----My tribute today is to the St. Bernard Project for putting together this awesome organization and helping to get people back into their homes.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Not So Easy Work In The Big Easy

This is the home we are working on. It is already stripped down to the studs. Our job is mold remediation. In other words--every last piece of wood (beams, studs, rafters) must be scraped down with a steel brush. Then it every bit of it gets wiped down with a cloth, and a special chemical that will help kill mold. And then, we will paint on a substance to also kill any mold and to seal the wood. The picture above shows how the home was marked by people who went in to search homes after the flooding. Notice the date they were able to get to the house. 9-18 (Sept 18th). That is 19 days after the Katrina and the flooding took place. Thankfully, there were no casualties in this home. That is what the zero means. The initials indicate the name of the organization who searched the home.




My blogging time is gonna be very limited this week. I left on Sunday morning heading for New Orleans with some members from my church. We will be here this week working on some homes with the St Bernard Project. It has already been such a great experience. I look forward to writing more about the home we are working on and some of the stories I have heard from people who have lived through Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 4th of July


HOME OF THE FREE BECAUSE OF THE BRAVE

Happy 4th of July! Today we celebrate our Country's Independance. We celebrate our freedom.

And I want to thank the men and women of our Armed Forces who have given their time and sometimes their lives to help us to have that freedom.


And, here's just a little something in honor and memory of my dad, who I think was one of the greatest Army soldiers of all time. There may be a smidge of favortism in that statement, but probably not much.
As a matter of fact, lets just honor all the branches of the military.




Wednesday, July 1, 2009

This Gives Me The High-Rise Heebie Jeebies!

The tallest building in the U.S., the Sears Tower in Chicago, has added some new features. 1,353 feet in the air, on the 103rd floor, are some balconies. Not just any balconies. No--these balconies have transparent walls, floors and ceilings. I don't know about you, but just typing those words gave me a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. If you dare step out onto the balcony, it gives the appearance, of walking out on air over the city. I don't know about you, but I just felt my legs go weak just thinking about it.
And look at these kids. Just laying there as if its no big deal. 103 stories high, now! I think I'd just freak out watching anyone walk out on a see-through floor like that. Just ask anyone who has been on a ferris wheel with me. No talking--No laughing---don't move--not one muscle.

I couldn't do it. Nope. I would feel like the bottom was going to fall out. What if there was a crack in the floor? What if it wasn't attached onto the side of the building very well?

Pardon my English, but I just have to say, "AIN'T NO WAY! UH- UH. NO WAY!"



Thursday, June 25, 2009

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, LET'S ROCK AND ROLL




And-that is how it began-----MTV---Access to music videos 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. That's the way it used to be. First, video killed the radio star, but, then, who killed the video star? At some point, Reality TV shows , dating game shows, tours of celebrities "cribs" , and other programming took the place of the original concept of the station.
I can complain about all of these shows being the death of the real MTV, but actually, I guess it was the only way to keep the channel alive for the younger generation of TV viewers. They wanted to see shows where a guy went out on a date with 5 women at one time all trying to outdo each other to win a one on one date with him. They wanted to see how a group of young adults( I use the word lightly) would act while living together, with no parental guidance, with all the world watching. Or better yet, a show that documents parents throwing a Sweet 16 Birthday party for their daughter and spending more money than the cost of my house, its entire contents, my car and my life savings. Besides, I had really stopped watching MTV several years before The Real World first aired in May of 1992. My real world had taken over and there was little time for MTV. "I want my MTV" gave way to my daughter wanting her bottle and my time and attention.
But, last night, as I watched MTV paying respect to Michael Jackson by playing all of his best videos back to back, I was taken back in time.

When "Video Killed The Radio Star" by the Buggles aired as the very first music video ,in August of 1981, I was just getting ready to start the 10th grade. (guess I'm dating myself here, but--that's ok!) My two favorite VJ's (video jockeys) were Mark Goodman, whom I think I may have had a crush on, and the very sweet and cute Martha Quinn.

The summer after 10th grade I moved with my family to Germany. Seeing as we only got one TV station for our viewing pleasure, and were at the mercy of what the AFRTS (Armed Forces Radio and TV Service) chose to air, we were (gasp) MTV-less! Luckily , my brother and mom were able to make a trip back to the States when my nephew was born. It was during Christmas break so we were out of school. My mom didn't think it wise to leave us alone in the house together during the day while my dad was at work and she across the ocean on another continent. So, since I was older, and probably had a babysitting job, my brother was chosen to go along with my mom. My brother used his stateside vacation very wisely and spent most of his time taping MTV on VHS tapes to bring back. We spent a lot of time watching those video's over and over and it helped us to feel connected to everything going on back across the ocean.

I'm sure if I think about it long enough, or get into some conversations, I will remember all of my favorite videos from that time. There are several that do usually come right to mind. I remember that I always really liked Owner of a Lonely Heart. I remembered bits of what was in the video, and knew it had a snake in it and some other weird parts, but when I looked at the video today(for the first time in at least 20 years-wow!), I wondered was a bit, how should I put it, grossed out!
Then there was, of course, the song that paid homage to MTV, Money for Nothing by the Dire Straits. Without a doubt, all of Michael Jackson's videos were great, with Billie Jean being the one that got me trying some of his fancy footwork. Loved the way each block on the pavement lit up as he stepped on it.
Lets see, there was Total Eclipse of the Heart, I Need A Hero, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, Time after Time, Borderline, (ditto almost all of Madonna's earlier videos) and Dancing in the Dark (oh yea!) , which featured the cute little Courtney Cox, long before she hung out with Rachel, Joey and the gang. I'm sure I could go on forever, now that I think about it. Oh yeah, cause there's Stevie Nicks in Stand Back (I practiced my dance moves with this song too) , and.......... (ok, enough)
Well, that was a nice trip down memory lane. Hope you liked some of the videos. Do you remember MTV back when there were still VJ's and 24 hour videos? If so, what are some of your favorite memories?
PS--oh nephew, thanks to the help of you and a fellow blogger (who's permission I did not get to put a link to her site) , I think I've figured out this link thing! Now you are going to remind me again, that sometimes less is more, huh? It was just a fun little learning experience. PS again-- I taught you to sing "Stand Back" and do hand motions when you were still in diapers. : )