Thursday, December 27, 2007

Back to "normal"

Well, here we are - its two days after Christmas - we are back in Virginia after a fun drive up I-85 along with 7 trillion others who had to be back at work today. My tree, unlit, is still standing in front of the window - all of a sudden I realize it is a bit tilted... surely it wasn't tilted the whole season! I am sure it is just tired! After all, it has been standing there for a month now... (will it stay another month?? maybe..) The manger scene is still above the fireplace, frozen in time. The presents are strewn about the living room and kitchen and bedroom where we either left them the night before traveling to Alabama, or where we dropped them when we returned last night around 11:00. I am snuggled on the couch, afraid to move too far or else my head might explode - for ya see - I have a niece, she is 19 months old and ABSOLUTELY adorable.

I got to spend a good bit of time with her this weekend - many times she offered to feed me the cheerios or chex cereal that she was eating, how could I resist??? Unfortunately, along with the dry cereal, she seems to have given me that little cold she had. On me though, it seems to not be a "little cold." It is a full blown deal... throat, head, eyes, nose, ears... the works. Due to this, there is no set date on when the house may return to normal!
We did have a wonderful Christmas. My first Christmas with my husband - and it was one to be remembered. He got that gun that I asked people for help about back a few months ago... I got a shiny necklace with diamonds and all that jazz... then the clothes, gift cards, electronics, and accesories filled the rest of our car to the brim as we were headed home.

We also had an emotional Christmas, with my little brother fighting the war away from the family. As mentioned the other day - the fact that he wasn't there left a tear on each face at different times of the day. The reality hit us all as we walked into the living room to see one stocking still hanging, and not filled to the brim with gifts.



His was left to be filled when he gets home. It hit again as mom opened a gift from Jen including pics of all of her kids and our families. Then, as Brantley opened her earrings sent from him... they were so beautiful - And as dad opened the gift from brantley - a flag picture frame with Jonathans picture in it - on the frame it said "Under God's protection." The tears took turns falling down each face. The magic of Christmas was ever present, but somehow dampened as we remember our brother who just five days earlier had missed an IED by 6 cars. We spent a great deal of time talking to him over the internet - and passed the phone around for 90 minutes on Christmas morning... Thank you to whoever sent him that card!

We are moving towards his return date now. We don't know when that will be - there are rumors, but I think we all fear getting too excited about rumors...
So, on to "normal" whatever that is. Back to work, back to cleaning... I leave you with one of my favorite lines from a Christmas song by the Trans-Siberian Orchestra - "If you want to arrange it, this world you can change it - if we could somehow make this Christmas thing last. By helping a neighbor, or even a stranger... to find who needs help, you need only to ask."

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Through the years...

We all will be together - if the Lord allows.

That is my theme for Christmas this year. It has been so wonderful to be with my family. I love them so much! I forget how much I miss them until I am here with them, hours from leaving and then it hits... the tears threaten to run over... again. (Don't get me wrong, I love my husband, I love my life in VA..... but I love my family too.)

next year Jon will be here for Christmas - So, I am counting on us all being together at some point during the season.... schedules change from year to year ya know.... but at SOME point - we will all be together next year.

I am currently loading pics and video to a jump drive to send to Jon - the laughter, the insanity that only our family could understand, the loudness, its all on a video to send to my little brother - but how do ya put in a box the hugs, the smiles, the watching from the sidelines - We are tryin to do that for ya bro.... but its hard to do. We missed you!

Tomorrow we all go back to the real world... life goes on - Christmas is past and we all have new stuff to show off. I love the Christmas season... I am always sad though, to see the end of the day - because the anticipation is over. I really love this time of year... But, for now, we wait for 11 months for the season to start again. We start looking forward to changing things in the year - I will get into goals and stuff for the new year in a later post this week... but for these last few hours, I am celebrating Christmas... the life of my Savior... the joy, love and peace only He can bring... the forgiveness, grace and mercy that can only come from Him... that is the celebration for this evening...

Well, I think I have rambled enough now.... I am really just writing so Jon has something to read when he gets a break.. I will return probably on Thursday...

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Blog break

Well, due to the insanity of the season.... (ours has been ridiculous) - I am going to have to break from blogging for a few days. Hopefully next week will be back to normal - I still have to get a few of my Christmas characters described... But for now.

We will be at a trans-siberian orchestra concert (thanks for the tickets Jon... I love you - am praying for you - and will be thinking about ya tonight! Looking forward to going to the concert WITH you next year:))

We will be at Ronnie's great-grandmother's funeral.... She is a believer - she was in pain... we will miss her - but we are thankful that she is better now! We love you Oma!

We will do family Christmas with both families... early in VA - on Christmas day in AL... LOVING that 8 hour drive:)

Our first Christmas season together has been one of extreme emotions - but God is good - and we keep going forward...

Stay in touch - Love you guys! come back and visit after Christmas!
MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

Last week, I walked into the local mall and this was the music that I heard. You probably will recognize it.

God rest ye merry gentlemen, let nothing you dismay
Remember Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day
To save us all from Satan's power when we were gone astray
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy.

From God our heavenly Father the blessed angel came
And unto certain shepherds brought tidings of the same
That in Bethlehem was born the Son of God by name.
Oh tidings of comfort and joy, comfort and joy
Oh tidings of comfort and joy.


IN THE MALL!!!! The story of salvation was ringing through the sound system in a MALL! Does this seem strange to you? Well, at first it didn't to me. It actually wasn't until I got back in my car still humming the tune that I realized (for the first time??) the clarity of the message of that song!
Do you find that the message of Christmas carols seems to be lost in the season? What other time of year would a message so clear be playing in a public location without SEVERE backlash from the secular world? What a wonderful opportunity for those of us that are Christians to step up... to find out who it is around us that does not clearly understand the story of Christ... and to CLARIFY for them... Just a thought.

Anyway - I had a great weekend with my Wings friends... two of the girls stayed with us at our house. I have an interesting story about locking myself out of my house the day before they arrived - however, since it include detailed directions on how I broke into my house - I cannot (for safety reasons) give the story on the internet.. just picture me having to climb through TWO sets of windows... over a washing machine - onto the kitchen counter... etc etc etc - thats enough.

My echo is all better and back at home... pics soon!
Later

Friday, December 14, 2007

short update

Ok... I promsie next week I will get back to the Christmas updates....

I can't write much today - - cleaning cleaning cleaning...

Had a great time at a friends house last night... 3 of the newly wed couple in the church got together and really just had a great time!

Got friends from Wings coming to town tomorrow.... two are staying at my house and I am SO excited! But have been cleaning for EVER!!!

Goin on a date with my man tonight.... CANT WAIT!
Ummmm....

More later.... Probably Monday when all the excitement has faded.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The crashes Echo is being restored

I know so many of you are sitting on pins and needles waiting to find out the final report on my Echo after that deer incident.


Well yesterday morning, we took the crushed little echo to the "car hospital" for her plastic reconstructive surgery. So, for the next few days I am driving a rental - a silver PT Cruiser - also a cool car (even though its a Chrysler).


This is what the echo looked like when we took her in -


I will post pics when we get her back. They said it would take at least 3 days - so, maybe Friday I will have the new, improved, Echo.


Last year, between Thanksgiving and Christmas, the Echo had a nose job done because of the remnant of a blowout from an 18-wheeler as I was driving to ATL on I-20... this year, it is because of a deer... hmm.. I REALLY don't want this to become a yearly thing for me!


Our puppy was not amused by me bringing the PT Cruiser home. She got so mad she growled at me the whole morning, and refused to chew on my shoe as I walked to the car (well, maybe that wasn't so bad... I tend to like to keep my Clarke's with as little doggy slobber as possible). She is such a creature of habit - she just refuses to accept change - Lord forbid if we ever move! She may go into full depression!


Wait...

I said that wrong... I do want to move eventually - I do want an oven and a stove one day - I do want a house that is grounded properly so we don't lose at least 4 electrical things every time it lightenings.... and maybe even a dishwasher??? But we may need counseling for our dog when this move occurs:)


Anyway, I should be running today - I am not doing that as well as I wanted to - and in this comfortable (too warm to be December) weather - I really should be doing my exercises - it will be too cold soon.
Well - the writers block is continuing - hence the good sleeping material I have done today - but I will keep writing until something comes out that makes sense. Maybe I will see you tomorrow.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

I got nuthin'....

blank screen.

I have nothing to offer today - but wanted to write anyway - so here goes.

I have had a few emails lately saying how cool my writing was - or other stuff like that... ummm.. i think that has put a damper on my writing. I think my "creative" side gets shy sometimes. That has been the last few days (Since the post that I thought was WONDERFUL on Saturday...) - PS... yeah, I am just over confident like that. So, now I have nothing to offer, nothing to give, no creative thoughts to write down, no new stories to tell.... I can't even come up with a good new Christmas character ( I know the main three are still out there... but those are being saved for next week!) Ronnie and i ate a pomegranate last night. I wonder sometimes when I eat things like that - whose bright idea was it to peel open something that looks so strange and EAT what is inside? Who did it first? I am thankful they did, but does anyone else ever wonder those things? Anyway, it was a good pomegranate - not that I am an expert on the quality of pomegranates or anything like that... I honestly don't think Ronnie liked it much, but he ate it so that I would be happy I think. :) It was more about the experience! Umm... other than the pomegranate, going shopping with a friend yesterday, and having a couple of Wings members come to stay with me this weekend - life is fairly normal... and my creativity has flown south for the winter. Thank you - come back soon and maybe I will have a new story or pictures or something!

Saturday, December 8, 2007

"I'm gonna be late getting home" Christmas Symbol 3

A young boy, around the age of 16 is out on a hillside doing his job. He is watching sheep. It's not the coolest job in the world. Sheep aren't very smart, they just lay down... eat... drink... he was bored!

On this night, the sky was so clear, he thought the stars even looked a bit brighter! he was laying back, just resting when all of a sudden - this flash appeared in the sky! He thought at first it was just lightening, but then, a man was standing there. He had on armor, was holding a shield. The fear that struck this young shepherd was so deep he had never felt it before. He had faced dangers as a shepherd before while protecting his sheep, but this.... this was supernatural!

The first words that the armored man said were "Do not be afraid."

Yeah right

The man went on to describe a child that had been born about 30 minutes away. This child, he said would be the Savior of the world! The man told the boy and the other shepherds to go to see this child. He was telling this as if this child might be that Savior that Isaiah had told about in the Scriptures. The young boy had grown up in a Jewish family. He knew the prophecies said that a Savior would come. But why did the angel decide to tell these poor shepherds?

As soon as the announcement was made, the story became even more incredible! The sky was FILLED with thousands of angels, and with the most beautiful voices he had ever heard proclaiming to the world "Glory to God in the highest! and on earth, peace, good will towards men!"

When it all faded, the young boy looked to his fellow shepherds for some verification that this had not been a dream. They all seemed to have the same speechless look on their faces. He jumped up, grabbed his staff and started running.... sprinting... towards the glow of the city below him. How would he know when he found the right stable? Well, he wasn't sure - but he knew that the other shepherds were right on his tracks running down the hillside. He expected to see the people in the city going crazy when he arrived. The angels were so beautiful and bright, how could the townspeople below have not heard their wonderful voices? How could they have not seen the sky lit up!

But the people in the town seemed to be sleeping still. To this young shepherd, this was the most amazing night of his life! How could they sleep through it?

They ran, checking in every stable when finally, they came upon one that had the light of a small torch burning. They passed the few stalls where the guests of the inn had left their horses and donkeys for the evening, and then, the light got brighter as they turned the corner to see a young girl, not more than 15 years old, and a man, who was not much older than the shepherd boy. The couple had a look of amazement and wonder on their faces as they looked at the child, and seemed to be just as surprised to look up and see a group of shepherds watching them. The silence was overwhelming!

The girl had tears in her eyes as the shepherds slowly began to describe how they had found the child. She knew her boy was special, but this announcement to the shepherds was too much to comprehend this night.

After each shepherd took a turn looking into the eyes of their Savior, they turned to go back to their hill, where the sheep were still grazing. Each one wondering in their own heart how they could ever sit and watch sheep again. Their life had been changed. They had seen the Savior of the world - the Messiah they had been waiting for. They did not know what impact he would have in changing the world, they only knew that their entire world had been changed that night.

Years later - this young shepherd boy - while telling his children of the story that had changed his life... of the angels, the run to town, and the stable - would hear the news that this man was being crucified. The questions that had been in his heart since that night 33 years ago, would echo more resoundly! How is it that this child, whose birth was announced by angels, could be killed at the hands of man? My life was changed because of this man - what will come next?


As we get further and further into the Christmas season, and the business that comes with it. The buying, the wrapping, the giving and receiving.... Ask yourself, when you first met your Savior, did your life change? Did He impact you in such a way that years later - when people talk about Him, you remember that first meeting?

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Neither Heights nor depths

I need to take a day away from my characters of the Nativity talk...

I was practicing piano (I dont do that too often any more - but I did it today) and in one of the songs I was playing are these lyrics... Please read slowly - I have heard this one several times lately, but today - it hit

"neither life nor death, nor powers unseen, not the fears about tomorrow
neither height nor depth, can ever separate us from Emmanuel - He's the miracle with us..."

"In the light of your redeeming love, by the power of your name Lord Jesus, I will scream it from the mountaintop, I'm a child of God..."

When the wrappings, bows, lights, and trees are gone - the truth above remains - I am a child of God - nothing can separate us from our God when we are His children -

That is all for today - coming soon.... The Shepherd - "I am gonna be late getting home!"

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Mary's Mom - The forgotten Symbol

I am not a mother - and it will be a while before I am, but this morning, as I re-read the Christmas story in Luke 2, it crossed my mind that Mary was a young girl, and until this whole marriage thing, still lived (I guess) with her family. We don't know anything about this relationship - but just for a minute, please allow me the freedom to consider what Mary's mom might have been going through. I will write this in a first person - as if I am Mary's mom.

"8 months earlier, my daughter had gotten pregnant and had become the ridicule of the area. The man she was supposed to marry had decided to marry her anyway, but why? She obviously had not been faithful to him. She claimed the angel had talked to her - I know my Jewish history, and angels have talked to people before, but never was there a story where an angel, had told someone they would have a BABY! My daughter is a normal girl. There is nothing amazing about her - there is no reason God would choose HER to carry His Son. I cannot remember that she ever lied to me before, however, I cannot bring myself to believe her completely. My grandson? A Savior?
Now, as she is about to have this child, Joseph had to take her to Bethlehem. They are on a donkey - this cannot be good for such a pregnant girl. Who will help her deliver this baby? Joseph? Does he know anything about delivering a baby? Does he really believe her? The city people wanted her ot be put to death for this - will Joseph protect my baby as she becomes a mother? When will I see my child again?
A few months later I have not heard anything from Mary or Joseph. I hear rumors that the baby boys are being killed. Please Father protect my girl... "

I wonder sometimes when it was that Mary's mom saw her again. I know that throughout my life I have gone months without my mother - but thanks to technology, email, cell phones etc... She has never really been more than a phone call away. I also know that when the time comes for me to be a scared new mother, my mother will be there to help me learn to take care of my baby. Who was there for Mary? Her mother was so far away? Who was there for her mother, to help her learn to believe that Jesus was the Son of God? When did she finally come to understand?

Just a thought... Anyone have any thoughts on this?

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Symbol #1 - The bad wrap

Symbol of Christmas number 1 for me.... the innkeeper.

The Bible doesn't tell us much about this man. Simply that there was no room in the inn for the couple. Now, first I want to think through the fact that this man has gone down in history as the man that offered only a BARN for the King of Kings to be born in... but think about this. Was this the first place Mary and Joseph had tried to stop? I doubt it. This was simply the only place that offered a second chance. In addition to that, for anyone that owns a business - if you think about it, the inkeeper did much more than was required of him. He couldn't have known what amazing event was about to happen that night. He only knew that his inn was already full. He couldn't take the other paying customers out of a room for this young couple. He had no more room.... that is all. He didn't necessarily have a bad attitude about it - he simply had a full inn... but the stable was empty. I am sure that Joseph presented the urgency of the matter to him, but how could he have completely understood that baby would be His Savior! So, the best he had..... was the fulfillment of prophecy in the Old Testament. How wonderful!!
Can you imagine the next morning, finding a stable full of shepherds that say that angels were there to tell them about this birth? He, like the lady with two cents later in Jesus' ministry - gave all he had to the Savior. He didn't have much to give - but he gave it.
And so, throughout history the innkeeper has had what I feel is a bit of a bad wrap, for having no room.... It was not his choice, he did at least offer the little that he had... and that one move fulfilled prophecy.
Anyone have any thoughts about the innkeeper? Are there times in your life in which you have also "played the role" of the innkeeper when dealing with Christ in your life?

Monday, December 3, 2007

Symbols of Christmas

I will begin by saying that Ronnie and I had a wonderful weekend of Christmas preparations. We made ALL KINDS of candy on Saturday afternoon, went to the parade in town, and enjoyed the general spirit of Christmas.


Last night, the children's drama team at church did a play called "Symbols of Christmas." It was written by a lady in our church and was WONDERFUL! I think she should have it published... but that is another story. The idea centered around the multiple symbols of Christmas. Santa, snowflakes, Rudolph and a bunch of elves all competed for the title for "National Symbol of Christmas." All were beaten though, when a humble couple walked out of the back of the church. The young man with a staff in his hands, the young lady walking slowly looking a bit nervous.... they got to the front and the judges for the competition heard the true story of Christmas. The reason for the season. Mary and Joseph then went and knelt by the manger - the angels came and the celebration of the birth of Christ started.

I just heard on the news - as I was typing this - that some athiests are looking for a symbol for Christmas that doesn;t represent Christ. The news reporter's response was "if you don't believe in anything, how do you have a symbol for nothing?" I think this is a sad day. First of all - can we remember how to spell CHRIST-mas? Christ is all over it. Second, if Christ had not been born, we wouldn't have a celebration! I know that Christ wasn't born in December, but it is a time to REMEMBER the birth of Christ, whether or not it is the EXACT day of his birth. There are so many other symbols of Christmas that may or may not have Biblical backgrounds in their origin. Most simply have a back story of people giving and helping people in need.

My family loves Christmas movies - I was introducing Ronnie to the George C. Scott version of Dickens' "A Christmas Carol" last night. During the "ghost of Christmas present" portion of the story - Bob Cratchet has this to say.... "Tim gets so thoughtful while he is at church - He told me on the way home, that he hoped the people saw him... and that they would be reminded about the one who makes lame beggars walk, and blind men see."

As my friend Jeff posted on his blog - Linus has a very clear description to Charlie Brown of what Christmas is all about. - It starts like this... "And there were in the same country, shepherds abiding in the fields keeping watch over their flocks by night. And Lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid. And the Angel said to them, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy to all people, for unto you is born this day in teh city of David - a Savior which is Christ the Lord...."


I want to use this Christmas season to think through how it must have felt to be different people in the time of the birth of my Lord.... So, stay with me throughout the season - as we review not only the symbols of Christmas, but also the people who were part of that original Christmas story.

Friday, November 30, 2007

TAGGED

I was tagged in a meme... I am kinda excited, while these things are kinda silly - I have never been tagged before!!! YEA!!!

Anyway - its really long... I am going to tag Jenifer, Jonathan, and Kathy

1. What kind of soap is in your bathtub right now? Ronnie uses dial.... the bar kind. I have equate brand with the little "exfoliators" in it.
2. Do you have any watermelon in your refrigerator? its WINTER! no.
3. What would you change about your living room? the placement of the doors - and the cable... the TV is just kinda stuck in one spot, and not the best spot for decorations
4. Are the dishes in your dishwasher clean or dirty? dishwasher??? thats a luxury item
5. What is in your fridge? its the end of the month... not much:)
6. White or wheat bread? i like wheat better.... but right now the budget calls for white... $1.50 a loaf!
7. What is on top of your refrigerator? the electric skillet
8. What color or design is on your shower curtain? we have a boring white curtain... dont plan to live in this house long, dont knwo what the next bathroom will look like
10. Is your bed made right now? no but it will be when i get off this internet
11. Comet or Soft Scrub? i dunno... i use 409
12. Is your closet organized? its not bad... but kinda crowded.. need to do a cleanout.
13. Can you describe your flashlight? its blue???
.14. Do you drink out of glass or plastic more at home? Glass - i like plastic better... but the glass ones are easier to get to in the cabinet
.15. Do you have iced tea made in a pitcher right now? yeah... made it yesterday
16. If you have garage, is it cluttered? no garage... just a carport
17. Curtains or blinds? Blinds.except in the kitchen where i have both
.18. How many pillows do you sleep with? One. any more hurts my neck and stuff.
19. Do you sleep with any lights on at night? no, but our alarm clock projects the time onto the ceiling, so that throws a blue "hue" around the room
20. How often do you vacuum? I dont... i have all hardwood floors (the kitchen is linoleum) but no need for a vaccuum
21. Standard toothbrush or electric? Standard.
22. What color is your toothbrush? green and white
.23. Do you have welcome mat on your front porch? yes... it says welcome.
24. What is in your oven right now? ovens are also a luxury item... my oven is in the same place as my dishwasher... the house we will move into one day... somewhere in southern va.
25. Is there anything under your bed? all my musical instruments... (guitar, keyboard bag filled with random percussion stuff, a bass, a couple of keyboard stands etc.etc.
26. Chore you hate the most? dishes!!!
27. What retro items are in your home? im not a very retro type of girl... cant think of anything
28. Do you have a separate room you use an an office? no... we have two bedrooms... one for us, and one for all of our stuff that we dont have other space for:)
29. How many mirrors are in your home? three... two in my room, one in the bathroom
30. Do you have any hidden emergency money around your home? first of all, if i did, would i announce it on the internet?? NO... .second... no i dont:)
31. What color are your walls? all are generic offwhite... its a rental - who wants to put all the money into fixing up a rental???
32. What does your home smell like right now? "Christmas wreath" by yankee candle... it will burn ur nose!.
33. Favorite candle scent? anything clean smelling... not a big fan of fruity stuff
4. What kind of pickles are in your refrigerator right now? none... grocery trip is tomorrow
35. Ever been on your roof? no... i might fall off... or through!
36. Do you own a stereo? I have a DVD player... and a ipod station... thats enough
37. How many TVs do you have? Two. the one in the den has the DTV hookup... the one in our room has the DVD player...
38. How many phones? one... and each of us has a cell
39. Do you have a housekeeper? huh??? i wish!
...40. What style do you decorate in? whatever has been given to me
41. Do you like solid colors in furniture or prints? Solid all the way - too hard to match stuff to prints!
.42. Is there a smoke detector in your home? yeah... but i dont know for sure where it is, or if it works... we just like living on the edge...
.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

New Pics

Ok, I loaded 3 pics to the post below that you guys all read yesterday... you can also see more pics at:
http://picasaweb.google.com/allegro425

I will write more later - I am on my way to give out information about our church at the college here in town. They have a religion fair today.

Have a nice Thursday!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Its beginning to look.... smell... a lot like Christmas






Ronnie and I decorated our house for Christmas Monday night. This was quite an adventure for the two of us. Being newlyweds, we are stil learning that there are somethings that we always thought the Christmas fairy... or Santa... did for us! For example, did you know, that Christmas ornaments don't come with HOOKS? You have to go buy those yourself! This discovery led to a 9:00pm trip to our favorite place to spend too much $$ - Wal-Mart. Then, you have to decide, do you want big green hooks? big silver hooks? or little gold hooks? I am sure there were more options, but since I am not a very good decision maker, I decided that three choices were PLENTY for me!

We returned to the house - when I walked in I was OVERWHELMED with the smell of Christmas. Now, I would love to tell you that this is because the wonderful real tree in our living room, however, we have a wonderful fake one... (it was a GREAT deal though!) The smell came from the "Yankee Candle" Christmas Wreath smell tarts that were burning in the living room... and the kitchen... and the bathroom... Did you know your nose can ACTUALLY BURN from the smell of those things? Our house may smell like this for MONTHS! I think my sense of smell has been damaged because of these candles. I LOVE the smell - it reminds me of Christmas as a child, but WHOA, NEVER burn three of those in a small house with only 5 rooms in the whole house!

In the end, our tree looks BEAUTIFUL! At one point I thought we would have the most pitiful looking tree and stuff in the area, but thanks to my family helping us to get some extra lights and giving me my decorations from their tree... and the leftover gift cards from the wedding that we saved so we could get some decorations, I would venture to say we have one of the prettiest trees in the area! (Not that I am biased or anything). We had a blast decorating, even with the moments of realization that came to us. We have a wreath over the mantle and one of my grandparents' nativity scenes on the mantle as well. There are other small decorations throughout the house - but I am so happy with the living room. I love my little house!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Back to the real world

Ronnie and I had a great time visiting all appropriate family over the weekend, but WHAT A WHIRLWIND! It started at 9:00am Thanksgiving morning getting to his parent's house... then after lunch we headed to Bama, arrived around 10:30 there... I went on the annual Warren girl's shopping trip on Friday from 5:00am till after midnight, (yes, I left Ronnie alone with my dad all day... they handled it well:)) Saturday was full of getting Christmas decorations down, Ronnie and I got our Christmas tree - (to be put up tonight, I am sure the story will show up later). We helped mom and dad decorate the tree per the tradition on Saturday evening. Jen, Aubrey and mamaw were all there with us doing that... Sunday morning we went to church and then started the trek back home! The car was full of Christmas decorations and we drove with all the other crazy people that waited till the last minute to go back home from visiting family on Christmas.

I hope to write a more detailed "deep" blog later - it was a wonderful weekend... I am so thankful for the time to see my family:)

today we start with the Christmas decorating... I am so excited to decorate my own home!!

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

The Typical Thanksgiving blog

Here it is, knowing that I will probably not have a chance in the next few days to write a new blog... I will write the Thanksgiving blog today.

I want to focus on the things that have happened in the last 12 months that I am thankful for. I mean, there are things that happened years ago that still impact my life that I am thankful for - but for today, I think that I prefer to focus on the things since Thanksgiving 2006. So, here is my list.

- Meeting, being engaged to, and marrying the man of my dreams... yes, it ALL happened since last Thanksgiving!
- Participating in the missions trip to the Dominican Republic in March - once again, God taught me more than I expected!
- Spending half of the year living on the Wings bus traveling and doing a combination of the things I loved the most.
- Getting off the bus:) to move into the next phase of my life
- spending 2 months with my mom and my niece planning my wedding.
- Having my brother at my wedding even though the Army almost stopped that:)
- having my sister as my matron of honor at my wedding
- the wedding of my dreams... to the most amazing man ever!
- my little house in southern VA - yeah its small, no it doesnt have a dishwasher, stove, or ice maker... but it is a CUTE house... and we have learned to be creative! (Plus I am thankful that Ronnie washes the dishes:))
- the time to say goodbye to my brother before he left for Iraq. I will never forget fishing with him on that Tuesday - He had all the other guys to let me pull in any fish that they caught so that I could be sure to catch one... Andy and Joey were nice enough to let him call the shots that day:) Thanks guys - the memory of standing on the edge of the pond on the Roberson's property will always bring tears to my eyes I think.
- The picnic in Mississippi where for 4 hours we did nothing but spend time with Jon before that stupid white bus took him back to his camp.
- flowers from my husband when i got to the airport from saying goodbye to my brother.
- making new friends here in VA... nicole and zach... kathy and jason... and many others!
- working on the campaign here in VA. I learned a lot, met a lot of people, and we won... what else could I ask for?
- new opportunities opening up for me in the next few months!

I could go on all day I think, but I need to get ready for tomorrow. So, I will do that. Ronnie and I have a full weekend of visiting both families over the next 4 days. I am so excited to see my family again!

What are you thankful for? What has God provided you with in the last 12 months?

jwm

Monday, November 19, 2007

New addition to my blog world

As mentioned last week - I have started a new blog. This one is specifically geared for some girls that are dear to my heart. However, it is also meant to be broad enough to encourage other teenagers in their walk with Christ as well. I am writing with the intended audience, and hopefully with the understanding that others will join our journey.

Parents are welcome to join in with us. Actually - I think it is mostly "parents" that read my blog anyway... so, encourage your daughters to take a look every now and then. I cannot promise how often I will write. My goal is at least weekly - but if you ask my brother, he would say that I am not very good at that. :)

For more confidential comments... please use this address: hearttohearttalks@gmail.com

A deer+A dark country road+Julia's driving = Smashed Echo

Friday night was an adventure! I won't bore you with tons of detail - because the most exciting (terrifying) part comes at the end. However, Ronnie and I got off work around the same time, I went to Wal-Mart and the Post Office, he met me for dinner (with coupons of course:)) and we went to pick up some tickets that were given to us for a concert on Saturday night. We also delivered some of the tickets to some other friends that were also going - we went by Toys'R Us to shop for non-lead filled toys for Aubrey for Christmas. I might end up getting in trouble with my Christmas present this year - but that is another story. (Jen, I got the list of approved toys - I have studied it and Ronnie and I will make our decision accordingly).

Anyway, after a fun-filled adventure at Toys'R Us, Ronnie and I (being in separate cars since we came to work at different times today) had to drive both cars home. Now, we live about 20 miles outside of civilization (Yet another long blog one day... city girl in the country). I was driving along, having a good ole time listening to the Radio. (A station in town is already playing Christmas music... shhhh.. don't tell my mom!!) All of a sudden, a deer JUMPS out from the woods that are dangerously close to the side of the road. He runs along beside me for a second, and I did what I thought I should do. I slammed on the brakes... HARD! This gave plenty of time for the deer to jump in front of my car. Now, I was still doing a good 50 MPH... (no comments about my speed are necessary.. thanks) and I hit the deer..... HARD! It flew up in the air, I thought it was going to land on my windshield - but due to the miracles of God, and the angle at which I hit the deer, it flew to the side of the road. I continued to slide, still riding my brakes, and came to a stop on the side of the road. My heart flying out of my chest, my arms shaky from holding the steering wheel, my mind racing with OH MY WORD!!! Ronnie pulled up behind me (he was luckily far enough behind me to begin with that he didn't also have the joy of crashing his car.) - he pulled over and helped me calm down, called the insurance guy, made sure the car was still drivable to get it home etc.etc.

All is fine with me - my shoulders were sore Saturday and Sunday, but are much better now. No, we didn't go try to find the deer for our roadkill dinners.... (if this costs too much to fix we will wish we had!) :)

The rest of the weekend was relatively uneventful. We went to Charlottesville Saturday with his family to visit his great-grandmother, we went to a concert Saturday night, had a good day at church yesterday, and had a very productive Sunday afternoon (including getting the window unit air-conditioners out of the windows, finding the few Christmas decorations in my boxes that are stored outside, gave him a needed haircut, and began the process of cleaning the extra bedroom since in a couple of weeks some of my friends will be staying with us for a weekend and they might want to be able to sleep in the bed). Basically, other than the smashed front end of my Echo.... life is good in VA.

AND - 4 days and counting till I get to see my family again! It has been two months, and I can hardly WAIT!

(PS. note to Jon... I will try to do better this week... I promise:))

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Procrastination

I am in the process of procrastinating a LONG list of things to do.

I have been asked to start a new blog for some of the teenagers that I used to work with in AL. I am praying about how to do this.... I just wanted to update you guys that I am working on it, I just haven't got it in my head yet. For those of you Alabama girls that I love so much, please know that I am PRAYING for you! I am hearing that you guys are having some tough times. (I have heard stories from more than one of you!) I also know, that you know the truth. And I know that if you will back up and keep your eyes on Jesus as they should be, that you will remember that He is your rock, fortress, protector, guide... etc.etc. You guys know this... Ok, well, I will make an announcement when I get a plan in my head - be looking in the next week for an announcement!

I don't have anything major to discuss today. I was kinda sad yesterday because the church where I was doing some work has blogspot blocked from being accessible, it seemed that I had much deeper thoughts! Oh well.

I will say that fall in VA is BEAUTIFUL! In Alabama, we have pretty falls, however, they are so quick! I mean, Summer is really long, but the other three seasons just get skipped. I have been amazed here that the colors of the leaves on the trees are not only beautiful, but they have been beautiful for almost a MONTH now! As I told the youth praise band at the church last night, how creative is our God - He didn't have to make it so that the leaves would change colors before they fall off of the trees. The color change serves one purpose, to be beautiful! How wonderful! How amazing is our God! He could have had the leaves go straight from green to brown and dead - but instead, our creative God painted the horizon here in VA with a pallete of red, orange, green, brown, and yellow. There is a hill that I go over on the way home from the city every day where I come up over a rise, and all of a sudden I can see the colorful rolling hills in our area - it was pretty in the Summer, but now, with the colors so brilliant, I remember daily to thank God for the beauty around me!

Well, my house is clean - my coffee is hot - I need to practice piano - I need to write out a Bible study that I need to teach in January - I need to start writing a syllabus for a class I am teaching in a local college soon - etc.etc.etc. I think I will finish my coffee first.

Please be praying for my brother.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Veterans day and beyond

Isn't it wonderful to have a day to relax? First of all, I have to brag on my man... (you know how it goes). He knew we had been so crazy busy that the house had gotten a bit out of control.... So, Sunday afternoon, when I had a bridal shower and other party to attend, he started the cleaning! He had the bathroom, living room and our bedroom done by the time I got back... we went to church, but afterwards I wasn't feeling too well. He finished up what he had started before he went to bed even "swiffering" everything befor he slept! How blessed I am!!! So, yesterday morning, when I had planned to spend the whole day cleaning... He and I worked to finish dishes, and got the clothes cycles started - then we had time to do other stuff! We went on a Bike ride that ended up being longer than either of us expected. We just kept taking some extra routes along the way, and it ended up leading to QUITE a few fun hills to climb... We needed the exercise though:) (trust me!) We also went and took some pics that I may use on a Christmas card, or, on second thought, maybe I will just post them here and say Merry Christmas when the time is right - who knows:) But with the beautiful colors on the trees here in Southern Va, the pics are WONDERFUL. At least they look that way on my camera, I haven't had the chance to load them to my pc yet - maybe I will add them to this blog later.

We then went to use a gift card left over from the wedding, to buy some Christmas decorations. I have never had to decorate a house for Christmas before - so, needless to say - my decoration options are limited. I am so excited about decorating my own house this year though! Hmmm... where do I start?? That is a blog for another day I am sure.

The end result - a wonderful day honoring and rembering our veterans spending time with my husband...

I want to note as well that my family has been blessed with people that have served our country in the military. Both of my grandfathers fought in the Korean conflict. My uncle served in the Coast Guard and passed away while on the Presidential honor guard in Washington D.C. and of course you all know that my brother is currently serving in the middle east today. Thank God for an "all volunteer" army that has stood for over 250 years protecting our freedoms... because as we all have heard many times... our freedom is not free - it comes with a GREAT pricetag of blood being shed....

Friday, November 9, 2007

Change is a comin'

Today is my last day at the political campaign office. We won, I have tied up the loose ends that I had left - I am cleaning today (BIG JOB). Next week I think I am on call just in case anything goes crazy... but all in all, this job is done. I have learned a lot, and met a lot of new people... but since I just went through that the other day... I will spare you the repeat. However, since it is such a special occasion.... I did make a starbucks stop on the way in to work... :) This makes me smile!

Last night Ronnie got a prize for putting up with me through the campaign. Everytime we eat at Chick-fil-a, he says that one thing he has NEVER had, is a WHOLE tray of chicken nuggets to himself! You know, those party trays? Well, I have to say, I understand... after all, who can actually be full after the 6-8 that you get in the lunch order? I mean come on! (Its remarks like that, that remind me why I still need to be working out.... hmmm...) Anyway, so, I got him his surprise. He got the small tray (with only 64 nuggets) all to himself last night. I even bought myself a sandwich just so he didn't even have to share with me! He was like a little kid. When he came through the door, he saw the chicken nuggets (complete with a cheesy card from me on top) and could hardly wait to sit down to eat! I was so proud! He does so much great stuff for me regularly, it is hard to surprise him with something that HE would actually enjoy. I mean, I could light candles, and all that jazz, but that is more for me right?? I wanted something that made HIM happy:) I think I found it! As info, he didn't finish the whole tray alone... I ate a couple, and we are having more nuggets for lunch today... but he ate until he could eat no more chicken nuggets! It was so cool to have a night at home!

For you lurkers! Thank you so much! I didn't know half of you even knew I HAD a blog! Hey Melissa! I haven't seen you in FOREVER! And yes, I also miss my BellSouth friends.... as well as my "childhood friend Jessie." :)

Well, the time has come... the piles of folders and papers have to be sorted, so that when I leave today, I don't leave an unorganized mess of junk! (Imagine that... Julia has a mess on her desk! Who would even DARE to guess that??)

Thursday, November 8, 2007

my friend

is having a BABY! I am so excited for her! (No names because I don't know who all reads this) but she is a newly wed and they will have a baby next year!

I don't have any deep thoughts today - really don't have any shallow ones either. I am so glad the campaign is over, but now, there is an emptiness in my time sitting here. I guess I should be cleaning out the piles of papers and folders surrounding me - but where is the fun in that?

Anyway. I wanna do something that my brother did the other day... Out of the closet you Lurkers! I am opening the door and wanna see who all is out there reading this junk that I write! Whether I know ya or not, please just leave a little comment (you dont have to be a blogger to comment.... I can take anonymous ones too... but please leave a name:))

SO, to the Lurkers - the ones that read but never comment... AND to the ones that comment regularly - Say a quick hi today:)

Plus.... I just wanna say that there are people in my life, that mean a lot to me, that I don't see very often... 1. my parents... 2. my brother and sister... 3. my niece... 4.my Wings friends (those still on the road and those that are off the bus) 5. my CBC family.... I miss you all today. I miss you all the time... but sometimes more than others and I just wanna tell ya that I really wish I could just give ya all a hug right about now and let you know that I miss you. I think I will have a chance to see you all in the next 6 weeks or so - and you have NO idea how much that means to me.... (except Jon.... it will be a bit longer for you:))

anyway - just wanted to say:) I love you guys!
Julia

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Campaign is OVER!

Good guys win again... but by a close margin.

Last night was long... well.. the last week... umm... month... was long. The race was ugly - there were untrue statements made on the "other side." I am EXTREMELY competitive, and the thing that just burns me up is when people win by cheating and lying! It was so close that I STILL am angry that so many people were confused about the truth before the end! Whatever, the bottom line is that around 9:30 last night, the candidate I work for claimed his victory over the opponent. YEA! I was on TV and just found that out as I was typing this blog, they said I looked good, smiled, and looked confident that I had been on the winning team... good..

So, I guess it is time for some lessons learned from my time working with a political office.

1. I will always disagree with someone in politics... however, I will still work to support the better candidate because that is what our system is made on.

2. Campaign workers have hearts and emotions too. To those of you that hang up on the political calls, slam the door in the face of the political walkers, or give hateful looks to people wearing the "other side" stickers.... PLEASE consider that the other person is still a person. THey may have different beliefs, or different opinions... but having been on the side of the person knocking on the door, or making the phone call, it still kinda hurts my feelings;)

3. We have a right.... and a responsibility to vote. Even when we think we can do no good, even when we think that it is a runaway... In 2004, I was in Germany and did not vote for the president because I knew which way Alabama would go. Alabama is a Republican state... and they always vote republican. What if the rest of the state had the same attitude? Many people in my area thought that the race was a runaway... People told me that they would be SHOCKED if my side didn't win. Hmmm...As the numbers came in from the areas where I talked to those people.. I knew that many of them had that same attitude, because the opponent won those precincts. It is our right... and responsibility to vote.

I have walked miles, stood in the rain, walked through windy, rainy, not so good areas of town. I have convinced people to vote, and have convinced some students to help me walk. I have lost sleep, and gotten up early because of this. Who knew I would even CARE? HA!

On the positive side, I have met some wonderful people (a few crazies, but I won't go there now... oh the stories I could tell though!!! One particular gentleman used the phrase... "people want to support education... I think that education is overrated. I think people have gotten too smart and now they think they know everything! I think that we should CUT some education and quit telling people they need it... the world is better when we are stupid.".... OH the stories:) Regardless, some opportunities have opened for me because of some of the people I met. My confidence has gotten better in this new area of town. I have even been on some streets that Ronnie had not been on before (they usually weren't particularly safe... and I got in trouble for being there later when I reported on my work for the day... ) I have talked to people on their doorstep - As mentioned before, I have had doors slammed in my face, been yelled at, cussed at, and told to "get off my property." All for the sake of this campaign... hmm... makes me think..

(ready for spiritual application?)

When was the last time I felt comfortable enough in who I am in Christ to knock on a door, to walk on "unsafe streets," to have a door slammed in my face, to have someone hang up the phone, to be yelled or cussed at for the sake of my Savior?!

Anyway, I am back to blogging, back to thinking, and promise not to talk about politics too much... after all I am just as tired of it as most of you are!

PS - if ya get an extra chance today... pray for my brother... he is working! Our God is big enough to protect him!

Saturday, November 3, 2007

missing in action

To my readers:

I am SO sorry this week has been so blank! As I mentioned a week ago or so, the political season is in high gear. I have worked more hours this week than the two weeks prior (both of those were over 50 hours). I hope to return to regular posting after the vote on Nov. 6. Until then,.... please feel free to check out my family and friends blogs as they are on the side of my page... mom, Jonathan and Jenifer happen to be my favorite becasuse the are my family and I love them so much....

the others are great friends of mine... read and enjoy...

Julia

Monday, October 29, 2007

What else is new

Friday night was so cool!
I had planned a date with my man. We are in "money saving mode" so it wasn't anything extravagant, but was so much fun! I went to Wal-mart and bought a couple of pumpkins and a carving set and we carved our pumpkins! They looked pretty good when we were done. Well, to be honest, mine was really bad and cheesy and I almost cut out too much of one section and had to change my plan in the middle, that is never good ya know. Ronnie's on the other hand, was AWESOME! He thinks things through so much better than I do. He had a hill, and on that hill were three crosses, and had noted that "Jesus is the light." With all the junk that people say about Halloween, and the history that it has... even with the "legend" of "Jack of the lantern" it was awesome to have my husband reminding me that Jesus is the light of the world. To me, that statement is so often almsot overplayed at Christmas time - it was cool to have it brought up at a time that is not traditionally Christian.

We also attempted to roast the seeds. I had gone online to find recipes and EVERYTHING. I was SO prepared.... No one told me that they are NASTY!!!! I tried garlic, on some, salt on some, and cinnamon on some.... they still tasted like wood. Whose idea was this? We ended the night with watching "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" (the latest version... I don't have the old version on DVD yet... Although, I am a purest when it comes to this movie and think that the old version will always be the best!)

The pumpkins are now laying in the woods behind our house. We thought about trying to put them out and all, but our beautiful young puppy "Ziba" would have them strewn about the yard in no time at all! So, we also had a great time throwing them into the woods yesterday:)

Well, we spent Saturday ALL DAY walking for the politician that I work for. Its all good, I am even losing some weight in this walking stuff. The cool thing was that even though both of us could have found 100 better things to do with our time, we got to do it together, and that was important.

In the evening we took some time to clean... again, it wasn't the FIRST thing on our list of things to do with a Saturday evening, but it needed to be done DRASTICALLY! The kitchen and Bathroom are at least clean now, AND the clothes that are folded, are at least put away! I even cleaned the baseboards! (sp?)

Sunday morning I felt like I had been hit by a truck! I went on to church anyway, (mainly because being a preacher's daughter, I was raised that if you weren't dead or headed that way, you should be at church.) It was a great service and the music was KICKING! but when it was over, I just wanted to CRASH! We got our lunch headed home, and spent the afternoon watching TV/sleeping on the couch. Here I am again, watching TV... I know, I know... moving on.

Around 5:00 we decided we need to get up and do something... we went to a local park next to the river here in town and had a wonderful SLOW walk together, holding hands, along the edge of the river. It is so wonderful. Sometimes, I wonder if I am living in a dream, or if I really have married the man of my dreams. I look at his beautiful blue eyes, and watch him smile at me, he picks me up and carries me... he leans in and soflty kisses my head. It is so cool to know that the man I was dreaming about all those years, is now REALLY my husband! Sorry - I got distracted...the walk was beautiful - we had to promise ourselves that for the time we were walking we would not discuss anything of a political nature, or of work. This was great! We talked about all kinds of other things! It reminded me of our dating time..... Such that it was... for our dating time was spent primarily on the telephone while I was traveling on the bus with Wings. We had to talk then.... there was nothing else to do.

Well, that was the weekend. The best part was that for two full days, I got to be with my man... in good and in bad, he was beside me, and I LOVE that about him!!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Update to the Bad Mood

Well - - I have to back up and discuss all my complaining from yesterday.

Yes, my mother-in-law did see my house a mess, and that is not a good thing.... However, on all other counts.

For the home telephone - we bought the $2 insurance on it - so we get a new one for free.

For Ronnie's cell phone - a co-worker of his had an older phone, that was not as old as those old Nokia phones. It is a Motorola flip phone and is quite nice! We got his stuff transferred and it costed NOTHING!

Our internet motem? They are replacing it for FREE!

Ok, so my bad mood was STILL uncalled for. I have now tried to get my heart right.

Campaign is ROUGH this week - and it is finally raining in Southern VA.
That's all the update I can give right now... as a good German friend of mine once used to tell me.

"More later Julia"

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Bad mood questions

Do ya ever have a day when you are in a bad mood for no reason when ya get up? That was my yesterday! I was in SUCH a bad mood all morning.... and then, I guess to give me a reason to be in a bad mood... things happened!

1. As I left my house, the thought crossed my mind - ya know, the clothes are folded, but still laying on the love seat - maybe I should at least just put them up really quick. ummmm... nah - no one is going to come here today. I will do it after church..... Around 10:00, Ronnie calls, looks like there is a tornado warning at our house. No problem I am at work. ummm... Then Ronnie says that his mom needs to go somewhere safer than their house. Since ours in brick.... she is going to go there for a little while. "WHAT???" My house is a WRECK! I have been working a ridiculous number of hours in politics and we are both just trying to keep it clean enough until the election is over! I mean, I wanted her to be safe...... but I didn't want her to see my cluttered house!

2. Ronnie's phone got chewed up by our dog Monday night. (don't ask, its a long story) - we went to the Alltel store to get him a replacement one. I was thinking that the "free" phone that you get with a new contract would probably be about $30-40. WRONG! Those phones, if you aren't in a new contract, and aren't qualified for an upgrade - are $140!!!! WHOA! Looks like he will be using one of those old brick Nokia phones that we all had like 10 years ago for a while. That stinks!

3. When I got home from church last night. Our telephone wasn't in its usual place on the shelf. No problem - "Ronnie, where's the phone?" "Ummm... I think lightening struck again. The phone, the internet, and the DVD/VCR are all gone." Now, this would be a pain regardless, but this is the third phone and second internet box to go out since we got married in June. Our house isn't grounded properly (it's a rental) and we are going to KEEP losing small junk till we move I guess. (that is what is wrong with the 55 inch TV Ronnie was trying to fix the other day.) So, the frustration continued.

So, was it a self fulfilling prophecy? Did my bad mood make these things happen?? I dunno. Some good things happened too - the youth praise band played for the first time in several months (for the first time since adding keys, bass, and female vocals) and did a GREAT job! My Bible study went well, I had a great time teaching, and fun at adult praise band practice.... so it wasn't a totally horrible day .... but I definately had a reason for the bad mood... or did I?

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Devo time

Ronnie and I are going through several things together as a couple during our newly disciplined time together with God in the mornings. We have actually been steady at doing this for over 3 weeks now! Since I have had to walk so much with the campaign, our physical training has faltered in the mornings some, but I am proud to say that our spiritual training has continued every morning! I am learning to LOVE those times with my Savior and my husband together - (if you knew me in the mornings, you would realize what a HUGE deal this is! I am NOT usually a nice person prior to two cups of coffee and a couple hours of quiet morning time.)

Anyway, we are currently doing a devo book called "Pierced by the Word" by John Piper. Today's topic had to do with how much time we as an American culture waste via TV. He talked about how many times even if the name of the Lord is used - or if God is referenced in anyway, He is trivialized, and laughed at. He also referred to how much time is lost from doing things that we SHOULD or even COULD be doing. As I read this (in the mornings Ronnie reads the Scripture for hte day aloud and then I read from this book.) I was thinking of even last night. I got SO much stuff done when I got home from work. Ronnie was a bit late, so I went running, then got dinner ready before he got home. After dinner, we talked a while, I did two loads of laundry, he did dishes, I prepared my Bible study for Wednesday night, and the whole time we were having so much fun together. At 8:00ish, I turned on the TV. At that point, our conversation stopped, he got on the internet to find a remedy for our broken 55 inch TV - I didn't go get the last load of laundry out of the dryer, I didn't put away the clothes that I had earlier folded so diligently, and an hour later, after no more talking, we went to bed.

This morning - you can imagine the conviction. Even his time on the internet was spent trying to fix the one thing that stopped our time together, as well as trivialized EVERYTHING. I will not go into which sitcoms we watched, because that isn't important. They were "funny." The point is, that if the same conversation were happening in our home, we would not have approved. The jokes were crass, the family in one show is a humorus look at a divorced couple, the story in the other had to do with three men - one married, the other two simply dating - - but their conversation was almost 100% about things that should be sacred to a married couple. What were we thinking? I was the one that chose the channel... I cannot, and will not try to place blame here. Would I really have been comfortable with those conversations in real life? My answer is no. Why not? Because I have a Savior that died for my sins, and the sins of many - and to laugh at sin trivializes the death of my Lord. When TV and the American culture makes fun of things that should pierce my heart with saddness and pain for the state of our world around us - I should NOT laugh. I should be overcome with mercy, and compassion - and yet I should also be outraged at the way they take Jesus' sacrifice so lightly.

This scene echoed in my mind this morning. "So," Ronnie asked "Are we really going to try to fix that TV? Do you think if we fixed it that would help us get a little more money for it when we sell it?"

I am not saying that we are about to get rid of all TV and trivial entertainment in our home. Although there is a part of me that is afraid we should..... I am saying, that the next time Ronnie and I have time together, I will think twice before turning on the junk box and watching things that make light of the death of Christ. I also believe I will be evaluating my DVD collection soon as well. I am QUITE sure that there are some movies that need to go.

Anyway, that is my lesson for the day - I have to get back to work now.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Staggering numbers

I usually am a "one post per day" type of girl - But I just came across these numbers from a blog that I linked to from my sister's blog. The numbers shocked me.... I don't know why - I just felt the need to share them... so, here are the numbers, and my limited response.

Deaths
Holocaust- 3,546,211 Jews
Nagasaki/Hiroshima- 74,000 / 140,000
Tsunami in Indonesia- 212,000
9/11- 2,997 Americans
Pearl Harbor- 1,177
Slavery- 17,267,000
Rwanda- 937,000

TOTAL: 22,054,385

ABORTIONS:46,000,000 each year worldwide.

Since the beginning of the Iraq War.... 5,940,715 ABORTIONS!

Lives of children - snuffed out before having the chance to live - why? convenience, shame, embarrassment, money, selfishness.... People get on bandwagons against the events at the top of the list - and I understand. I don't think it is right to murder at any level, however, I still struggle to understand why we don't get on the bandwagon for the lives of the children around us. I could go on.... I won't... enough has been said - and the numbers alone speak more volumes that I can begin to communicate.

Music to my ears

Saturday evening ended up being one of the coolest nights that Ronnie and I have had in a while. At least in my eyes;). We were out during the day Saturday doing some political stuff and heard that the Danville Symphony Orchestra was giving a free concert at a local high school. I have not been to hear a symphony in over a year - pushing two... In my college and grad school days, this was an event that happened many weekends of symphony season!

So, my wonderful man, knowing that I am buried in political stuff (which is HIS passion) got all dressed up on a Saturday night so that we could go be cultured together. I even wore the "stereo-typical" black dress - he was in a tie and stuff - and we went!

The music was mostly British. They did some Haydn, but it was a London Symphony, John Ireland, and Gustav Holst also were on the program!

For those of you with classical music backgrounds, the Holst was 3 of the movements of the "Planets" suite - Mars, Saturn and Uranus....

Basically - this is an all volunteer orchestra, and so I wasn't sure what I would actually be hearing, however, once it was all going - even with a few intonation moments, and the like.... it was altogether a very nice evening! Ronnie even admitted to enjoying it!

Now, it is Monday - and after a weekend filled with politics, church stuff, the symphony, and even some time with our dog yesterday - - I am back.... once again, for a couple more weeks, in the midst of the political drama and insanity that is going on....

Back to the real world.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Politics are taking over!


If anyone had told me a year ago that I would be neck deep in a political campaign right now, I would have died laughing! I have always been interested in being a responsible voter - knowing that my votes do matter... however, I have never before been so involved in the inner workings of the political system.

I am working for a state political campaign as a form of "assistant to an assistant." I walk door to door asking people about their concerns, and their support - I go to forums with a video camera, I talk to high school students about the political situation and even explain what events mean when they happen, (the fact that I can even have an intelligent conversation about some of this is more impressive than you would think at first... I have even met some of the more powerful people in the state of Virginia. It is crazy!

What have I learned from this? 1. "Politics" as a job - is tougher than anyone ever could have described to me. Everything must be examined and guarded for you never know what can happen once the information gets out. 2. I am not a politician.... at any level. I don't think like that. 3. I am thankful beyond belief to the families of the men and women that put themselves through stuff like this to serve the people. I do realize that there are times when it is not an act of service - but for some, it is... a way to give back to this country that has given so much to us! Thank you - to those men and women, who subject themselves and their families to the critical nature of a country that has so much and yet always wants so much more.

Anyway - I just needed to release a little of that - I am also even more thankful, to serve a God who "raises and lowers kings and leaders." He is God over all of these politics - and is sovereign and supreme in all things.
Also - I added a pic of my little bro - still serving overseas - just a reminder to keep praying for him. I haven't talked to him in over a week now, mom and dad say he is doing well and ready to get going. Thanks for the prayers

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Not much bloggin' time today

But I found a quote althought I am not sure who gets thte credit for it- - - but, I leave you with this thought....


Far better is it to dare mighty things than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows not victory nor defeat......



What mighty things have you dared today?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I wish I had written it....

I don't know for sure if Jay Leno actually wrote this, or if that is a ploy to make this be read around the country - - but I do know that there is a lot of truth in it... and I wish I had written sometime similar.... so, I decided to post it anyway.

interesting perspective by Jay Leno...

"The other day I was reading Newsweek magazine and came across some poll data I found rather hard to believe. It must be true, given the source, right? The Newsweek poll alleges that 67 percent of Americans are unhappy with the direction the country is headed, and 69 percent of the country is unhappy with the performance of the President. In essence, 2/3's of the citizenry just isn't happy and want a change. So being the knuckle dragger I am, I started thinking, ''What are we so unhappy about?'' Is it that we have electricity and running water 24 hours a day, 7 days a week?

Is our unhappiness the result of having air conditioning in the summer and heating in the winter? Could it be that 95.4 percent of these unhappy folks have a job? Maybe it is the ability to walk into a grocery store at any time, and see more food in moments than Darfur has seen in the last year?

Maybe it is the ability to drive from the Pacific Ocean to the Atlantic Ocean without having to present identification papers as we move through each state? Or possibly the hundreds of clean and safe motels we would find along the way that can provide temporary shelter? I guess having thousands of restaurants with varying cuisine from around the world is just not good enough.

Or could it be that when we wreck our car, emergency workers show up and provide services to help all, and even send a helicopter to take you to the hospital.

Perhaps you are one of the 70 percent of Americans who own a home. You may be upset with knowing that in the unfortunate case of a fire, a group of trained firefighters will appear in moments and use top notch equipment to extinguish the flames thus saving you, your family and your belongings. Or if, while at home watching one of your many flat screen TVs, a burglar or prowler or intrudes, an officer equipped with a gun and a bullet-proof vest will come to defend you and your family against attack or loss. This all in the backdrop of a neighborhood free of bombs or militias raping and pillaging the residents. Neighborhoods where 90 percent of teenagers own cell phones and computers. How about the complete religious, social and political freedoms we enjoy that are the envy of everyone in the world? Maybe that is what has 67 percent of you folks unhappy. Fact is, we are the largest group of ungrateful, spoiled brats the world has ever seen. No wonder the world loves the U.S., yet has a great disdain for its citizens. They see us for what we are. The most blessed people in the world who do nothing but complain about what we don't have, and what we hate about the country instead of thanking the good Lord we live here.

I know, I know. What about the President who took us into war and has no plan to get us out? The President who has a measly 31 percent approval rating? Is this the same President who guided the nation in the dark days after 9/11? The President that cut taxes to bring an economy out of recession? Could this be the same guy who has been called every name in the book for succeeding in keeping all the spoiled ungrateful brats safe from terrorist attacks?

The Commander-In Chief of an all-volunteer army that is out there defending you and me? Did you hear how bad the President is on the news or talk show? Did this news affect you so much, make you so unhappy you couldn't take a look around for yourself and see all the good things and be glad? Think about it...are you upset at the President because he actually caused you personal pain OR i s it because the "Media" told you he was failing to kiss your sorry ungrateful behind every day. Make no mistake about it. The troops in Iraq and Afghanistan have volunteered to serve, and in many cases may have died for your freedom. There is currently no draft in this country. They didn't have to go. They are able to refuse to go and end up with either a ''general'' discharge, an ''other than honorable'' discharge or, worst case scenario, a ''dishonorable'' discharge after a few days in the brig.

So why then the flat-out discontentment in the minds of 69 percent of Americans? Say what you want, but I blame it on the media. If it bleeds, it leads; and they specialize in bad news. Everybody will watch a car crash with blood and guts. How many will watch kids selling lemonade at the corner? The media knows this and media outlets are for-profit corporations. They offer what sells, and when criticized, try to defend their actions by "justifying" them in one way or another. Just ask why they tried to allow a murderer like O.J. Simpson to write a book about "how he didn't kill his wife, but if he did he would have done it this way"...Insane! Stop buying the negativism you are fed everyday by the media. Shut off the TV, burn Newsweek, and use the New York Times for the bottom of your bird cage. Then start being grateful for all we have as a country. There is exponentially m ore good than bad. We are among the most blessed people on Earth, and should thank God several times a day, or at least be thankful and appreciative. "With hurricanes, tornados, fires out of control, mud slides, flooding, severe thunderstorms tearing up the country from one end to another, and with the threat of bird flu and terrorist attacks, "Are we sure this is a good time to take God out of the Pledge of Allegiance?"

Jay Leno 2007

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Campin' We will go!

Friday afternoon, Ronnie and I, along with another couple, Zach and Nicole, went camping.

Now, I must begin by stating that each of us had BEEN camping before. However, none of us had even been in charge of the preparations for camping.






Nicole and I started this plan a few weeks ago, and wanted it to be a surprise for the boys. However, by two weeks ago, we realized that this wasnt going to work, so we included the boys in the planning. We got tents ($25 ones from Wal-Mart.... our first clue that this was a problem should have been the day before we left... Ronnie and I saw them on SALE at Wal-Mart for $11.....hmmmm... we will call this mistake number 1) - We planned the trip - well, Nicole planned the route, and did a good job of it. We planned the food, along with a travel grill for chicken, pancakes, and sausages. We had firewood... enough for several hours at night time. (Not enough for a morning fire tho.... mistake number 2). We had flashlights.. (but no lantern... mistake number 3.. as I will explain later.)



THE TENT

(a.k.a. mistake number 1)

As previously mentioned. We got a GREAT deal on our tent! We went to Wal-Mart, and got the smallest cheapest tent we could find. How wonderful to have a tent for only $25! A 4-man tent (which we all know really means a 2 person tent) would be PLENTY for us right??



Well, we had plenty of space, however, it seems that the cheap tents have LOTS of ventilation. Which is wonderful in the summer I am sure. However, we were camping on the top of a mountain, in the blue ridge mountains, IN OCTOBER! The tent probably protected us from a few bugs, and maybe a critter or two during the night, the tent did NOT protect us from a BIT of wind that might blow through at less than 40 degrees!











THE FIREWOOD

(a.k.a mistake number 2)

Zach did a great job getting cheap (free?) firewood for us. We thought, as we left home, that we had too much. It took up so much space in the jeep! But we took it all with us, and built a GREAT fire Friday night while we were setting up camp. We sat around the fire, ate dinner (chicken on the grill, pasta salad, and baked beans warmed over the fire), and toasted marshmallows for S'mores. It was great! The fire kept us so warm and we were so thankful for it. Since we only had one night, we wanted to stay warm as long as possible, so we used all the firewood that night. Ummmm.... We obviously weren't thinking that it would STILL be cold the next morning! We had no more firewood for the morning. We spent the morning gathered around the grill and looked longingly at our camping neighbors... you know.. the ones who had a nice warm fire that they were gathered around!






THE LANTERN.... or lack thereof



(a.k.a. mistake number 3)



We didn't have a lantern. Normally, this might be ok. But since we couldn't leave until 6:30 Friday evening, we didnt arrive until almost 8 at our campsite. 8:00+October+Eastern Timezone=DARK! We left the headlights running, and used our two flashlights, for the first 10 minutes. Maybe it was the loudness of our arrival, maybe it was the statements of "have you guys even opened your tent yet?" or "I hope all the parts are here" or "who knows how to start a fire?" that led our camping neighbors to think that we weren't prepared. Whatever the reason, those two gentlemen saved our tent settup up... One came walking over with a Coleman Lantern in his hands and asked if we needed it... "YES" Thank you so much!!!



TO SLEEP? OR NOT TO SLEEP?



We brought lots of extra blankets to sleep on... not enough... I have camped once on an air-mattress... I have also decided that for the rest of my camping life - I will camp on an air-mattress. It may be flat by morning, but at least for PART of the night I will sleep without my bones digging into the frozen ground!






We decided that next time, these lessons learned would be helpful! We also decided that we would need better tents before next time. We do know that there will be a next time... we have to get better at this! We don't think that next time will be before the spring time. We actually had a great time.






We spent Saturday driving along the BlueRidge parkway stopping to hike and "view" all the scenic overlooks that we wanted to. We sat and admired God's creation, we laid down and looked at the sky, we grilled our lunches sitting on the side of a mountain viewing the city of Roanoke from above.


God has a wonderful creation. As we looked up into the night sky on Friday night and saw more stars than I have seen in a long time (its amazing how many there are when there are no other lights around....) As we drove along and watched the velvet mountains rise and fall to the right and left of us as if they were rolling along like the ocean...I could not help but wonder how it is that they say there is no God. That beauty like this could come from an accident makes no sense to me. I took several moments to do as I wanted to do on Friday. I thanked God for the moment. For the moment to cuddle with my husband, for the moment to stand alone on the edge of a mountain, for the time to spend with wonderful friends that God sent to us, and for the mistakes we made that make for a good story and good bonding time.... I was thankful.
(There are more pics at http://picasaweb.google.com/allegro425/CampingInOct)


Friday, October 12, 2007

Am I thankful?

Yesterday, in his post, my brother (currently serving in Iraq) reminded me of so many things. However, as I re-read it this morning, I saw a theme that was emerging in him. He was convincing himself to be thankful for now. So often, I am not thankful for now. I am looking forward to next, but forget that now is what I was hoping for just a few moments ago, and I need to enjoy it.

As a teenager and college student, I remember taking time at different points in my life to notice "now." While on my first mission trip to Wyoming, I remember standing on a mountain (actually in Colorado) in the snow, in June, and thinking, I want to remember what this feels like. I want to be thankful for now.

As a 15 year old, traveling with the Young Continentals on the West coast, I remember sliding down the banks of a mountain close to Multnomah falls Oregon, and thinking, I want to be thankful for now.

In 2001, my first international mission trip - in Punta Gorda, Belize - I hiked a mountain with people from the village and thought.... I want to thank God for now.

In January 2004, I stepped off of a plane in Frankfurt, Germany - the beginning of a year there, what I had dreamed about - and thought... This year needs to be full of "now." I was NOT always successful at being thankful for now that year - but thankfully, there were many moments that I remember... Hoerselburg mountain with the snow falling beneath me, train ride through the country, trip to Paris with students, trip to Italy with my German sister Lydia... the lsit could easily go on.

In July 2005, standing on the shores of Phuket, Thailand, looking at the ocean that had swept away so many lives just 6 months earlier in a Tsunami, I wanted to be thankful for now.

In December 2006, looking at the Rockefellar Christmas tree in NYC - I was thankful.

In June 2007, looking into the eyes of my groom as I walked down the aisle as his bride, as he placed the ring on my finger, as I promised to honor, love and care for him the rest of my life, over all others, as we kissed...... as we left our families in that Limo - as husband and wife. I was thankful.

All of these moments are etched in my memory for several reasons - first, that they are all momentous moments, second, I believe, because I thanked God for them. I took a moment to acknowledge the giver of all good things - and for that, he allows me a vivid memory of those moments.

I only wish that I would actually remember during the more mundane daily moments to "Rejoice evermore, Pray without ceasing, in EVERYTHING give thanks..." (1 Thessalonians). I know that the daily moments, that Ronnie and i have together are going to fade in my memory if I am not careful, and yet, so many people say to cherish those moments too since once a child comes along, those moments will fade. I want to be thankful for everything... the momentous occasions, as well as the not so amazing ones - so that in the end... I will ahve been obedient and been "thankful" for everything. The good, the bad, the exciting, the mundane. In my obedience then, I do believe, that my good memories will last much longer!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

in memory of the man responsible for my fishing skills

Papaw... My mom's dad. Passed away on this day in 2001. 6 years have passed since then, and I still sometimes check my missed calls on my cell phone so that I can hear a voicemail that says something like "If you aren't going to answer the phone, then why do you have an answering machine? If I wanted to talk to a machine I would have called a tele-marketer."

I want to list some of the quotes said to us, his 5 grand-children... I am sure those of you who met him, or know him, can add many stories to this... but here are the few that come to mind.

1. "Here comes DeeDee and her daycare" - said when we would go visit him (DeeDee is my mom)
2. "You are my favorite granddaughter [son]" - Spoken to whichever of us was with him at the moment.
3. "The rooty-tooty store." The description of ANY gas station where he could get us a small brown paper bag and we could fill it full of junk that we didn't need. The only rules were that a coke and bag of chips had to be present.
4. "If I go to bed, ya'll can go home." Usually said around 7:00 pm or so when he was ready to go to bed but we weren't showing signs of leaving.
5. "You're wet behind the ears." - Jen was the only one of us that even TRIED to understand that statement... her response? "Well, you're wearing tippy-toe shoes!" - - Papaw was a 280+ lb man... tippy toe shoes don't even BEGIN to make sense!
6. "If I had known I would live this long, I would have taken better care of myself!" a quote from his 60th birthday.

To the man who trained soldiers how to ski in Alaska, taught all of his grandkids how to fish, taught me how to drive... (WHAT A FEAT!), who loved us all more than he EVER dared to show on the surface.... We miss you Papaw...

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Walking in his shoes

I am new to this marriage thing, and therefore, I went yesterday to buy dress shoes with my husband for the first time.

WHOA! We both have an hour for lunch, ate our spagetti-o's in the car while drinking our $1 tea from McDonald's, and then headed off to the mall. I thought this would be a short looking trip, I had NO IDEA we had enough time to actually buy shoes. Now, I am not a big shoe shopper. I buy them occasionally when needed, but even then, being a girl, it takes time. I look, try-on, go to another store, try-on, go watch some commercials, try- on some more... and then, a couple days later, I buy the shoes that I tried on first time through. They were, after all, the most comfortable.

Well, I have to give him the benfit of saying that we knew we were buying at a particular store because we have gift cards stored up there left over from the wedding returns. So, obviously, there was no choice of going to several stores to find the best deal. However, I still expected to take some time.

15 minutes later, we had purchased new black dress shoes! WHAT??? 15 minutes??? he only tried on ONE PAIR OF SHOES!! How is this accomplished? How does he know he got the best ones? What if they don't go with every suit? (My husband is an attorney, so he has to wear a suit daily). I don't get it! We even had time to go get a cookie from the cookie store before we headed back to work! AMAZING!

Anyway, I guess he would say that he was more effecient with his time than I am.... I say, that boys have it easier because there aren't so many to choose from... I mean, he had to choose square or round toe - thats it. No heels, no lack of support, no crunched pinky toe.... just two choices...

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Small shiny objects

I just need to annouce that I recieved my first "Columbus Day" present yesterday. In the afternoon, my wonderful husband walked into my office with a small box wrapped... (Girls like small boxes!!) - to completely understand the excitement I felt, you must realize that first of all, from my 16th Birthday, until my wedding day (12 years) I wore one necklace. It was a heart and a key - around my neck symbolizing that my heart belonged to my daddy. On my wedding day, I took off that necklace, my dad (who is a preacher, and therefore performed the ceremony), presented the key to my heart to my husband, and I haven't had a necklace since then. I wore that other necklace day and night, I can probably count the times that necklace came off my neck on my two hands. Namely, if I were in a friend's wedding where there was uniform necklaces for everyone... in the ocean, where I was afraid to lose it, or a couple of performances with Wings where I needed a different necklaces... but there was not a full day in those 12 years that the necklace was not around my neck.

So, since marriage, I haven't worn a necklace. The one I wore in the wedding belonged to my sister... I didn't have another.

Ronnie walked in yesterday with a BEAUTIFUL white gold necklace with a heart pendant with small diamonds up one side of the heart. It is beautiful!!! All because it was Columbus day! (That's my story and I am sticking to it!)

Thanks sweetie!

I also need to ask for some help - He may read this - but he knows I am looking for Christmas ideas, and he has given me one. The problem is, that I don't know much about this thing that he wants.... so, I am asking for advice as I am considering SEVERAL items as Christmas ideas...

Ronnie wants a new handgun - He has one... but wants a smaller one. (I don't know what he has...) I know how to shoot guns, but have never been on the "buying" side of this. He wants one that is either a 45 or a 9mm... and a compact body - I want one that is quality. If I were to go into a store right now, I would have NO idea what brands to look at. I would end up paying too much for not much of a gun I am sure.

Does anyone know much about this? Name brands? Things to look for? Cues that it is quality?
Please ask your men to get more info please...
Thanks!

Monday, October 8, 2007

Weekend extravaganza

It was Friday afternoon, mom had just called to say that Jon was going to be online in about 10 minutes, and I had at least a 20 minute drive to get home. Ronnie and I had a planned "home date" since we are paying off debt right now and trying to save money - and well, we needed to stop by the dump to empty the junk from the week.... ahem.... month.... into the dumpster. So, in the mad rush hurry I jumped out of the car, threw open the back door and started shoveling junk out of the car into the dumpster. We were both running like crazy! We were in a hurry not only to get home to talk to Jon on SKYPE - but to get ready for our romantic movie night! We pulled away from the dump, successfully making my car smell better immediately! We were about 4 miles away from the dumpster when the thought crossed my mind.

I wonder if mom will call my cell phone when Jon gets online?.... Hmmmm.... where is my cell phone??

"Ronnie, can you call my cell and see if it fell in the floorboard?"

Ring once, ring twice... hmmm... that is ok, it vibrates the first few rings anyway

Ring 3 times, Ring 4 times..... "Hey, this is Julia, I am sorry I missed your call, Please leave a message and I will get back to you as soon as possible!"

WHERE IS MY PHONE!

Quick U-turn in the road, going back to the dump... "I am sure it just fell out of my lap onto the ground, maybe no one else has driven up to the dump since we left."

When we pulled up, there was a HUGE Tahoe sitting where my car had been, Oh no, my phone is probably crushed!

"Ronnie, call my phone again." Now we are walking outside of the car, looking around everywhere on the ground. WHOA IT STINKS!!!

"I hear it!!!" what?? is it coming from inside the dumpster?? Oh my word!

Ronnie shoved me out of the way (well, ok, he kindly stopped me from digging in the trash myself) The gentleman in the Tahoe made some crack about wondering what that noise was when he heard it the first time. Under the half eaten sandwich, three bags of trash, and some plant that had been dumped out - there it was, my cute little phone. Laying there ringing like there was no problem.

How did I throw my phone in the dumpster?? Who knows.... regardless, I owed him bigtime - Ronnie doesn't like germs. He comes from a family that doesn't like germs. (I think it is his only child status that is impacting him still.)

He, being the wonderful, protective man that he is - then cleaned my phone for me with the clorox wipe, and proceeded to cook dinner while I talked to my brother, mom and dad, (and watched my sister and niece) online for a while.

The rest of the weekend was still quite adventurous - but not nearly as bad as dumpster diving for my little cell phone.