Wednesday, July 30, 2008

first moose, now whales...

In my last post, I made mention about the sun being out most of the day. This is such a hard thing to get used to. My final line should have read, “It’s 9:45 at night and I’m still wearing my sunglasses.” It doesn’t really get dark until after midnight and then the sun is back up around 6 am.

After I wrote and posted, we drove over to the grocery store to pick up a few things. It’s 10:30 at night and there’s people walking around and doing normal daytime activities when anywhere else in the states, they would be in bed, or at least in their homes getting ready for bed.

I love the sunshine and is one reason my blog is named what it is, but I don’t know if I would want this much of it.

Yesterday we went whale watching and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. Since they can’t guarantee that we’ll see any, the fact that we saw many made for a great day at sea. Many of the sitings were of mother and calf so there were double spoutings and fluking. We even saw some playfulness when both mother and calf breached (jumps out of the water). Here’s about the best picture I got of this.

There was another time when we came up on a whale so fast that the captain had to throw the boat into reverse as not to hit it. The next thing we know is that the whale is directly under our boat where we could look down and watch it swim underneath us. Amazing is about the only way I can describe that site.

I found myself in a bit of a quandary. I wanted to take pictures but wasn’t able to simply watch the whales with a camera constantly up to my eye. So I took some pictures, but most of the time I just stood at the railing and watched the show.

What a lovely day it was.

Monday, July 28, 2008

land of the eternal sun

Greetings from Homer, Alaska.

We flew into Anchorage late Saturday night and drove into Homer on Sunday. It rained the whole time. But today we awoke to bright sunshine and blue skies. It's beautiful!

All Dani wanted from this trip was to see a moose. She started looking from the minute we departed the airport and was disappointed we didn't see one on the way to the hotel. She was sure she would see one on our five hour drive to Homer. Her eyes did not leave the scenery on her side of the car the whole way.

This time she wasn't disappointed. All of a sudden we heard a shriek. "A MOOSE! A moose!!" She had seen it standing in the middle of a driveway (which is actually a long road off the main highway). We turned the car around and headed back trying to remember which road it was.

First turn.... no moose. We told her it could have gone into the forest by then. But we tried the next road... and there it was! Danielle screamed, I kid you not. Either her scream or the car startled it so it turned around and ran into the trees. We pulled up a little more and once it saw us again, it took off running. But we had seen our first moose. She saw another later in the day standing down an embankment with it's baby. We didn't turn around for that one. And we told her she couldn't scream anymore.

Our cabin is nice, but small. Smaller than the brochure let on. But we love the area and the view from our front windows and porch is breathtaking.

I have no internet at the cabin and you wouldn't believe me if I told you how I ended up being able to write this post (I'll write a separate post on it when I get home), so I'm not sure if or when I'll post again. This is mainly for my family so they know we got here and that we're having a good time.

Today (by the time you read this) we'll be going on a boat to do some whale watching and Don and Jake will be halibut fishing on Wednesday. Until I write again, farewell from the beautiful state of Alaska, where the sun hardly sets. I'm writing this at 9:45 and you would think it was 6:00. I'll write about that soon, too.

Friday, July 25, 2008

hee, hee... that tickles

It's Friday... Aloha Friday. In Hawaii, Friday is the day to relax and look forward to the weekend. In the spirit of that attitude, I make it easy on myself on Friday and join other participants in asking a simple question in hopes that readers will answer it and I can get to know people better.

Well, I am definitely looking forward to the weekend. We're leaving for another vacation. The BIG vacation. The vacation we've researched, booked, and have looked forward to for months. Should I tell you where we're going? Should I make you guess? I'll make my decision by the end of the post. But don't scroll down right away. Read the post and watch the video first. And don't forget to answer the Aloha Friday question. Thank you so very much.

I've heard about this a couple of times now over the past week. It's a new type of pedicure where you submerge your feet into a tank of fish. These little fish nibble at your feet, eating off the dead skin. It seems that women (and men, I guess) are enjoying the sensation.

Looks like it's the newest rage. My question is:
Would you try this kind of pedicure?

If you can't view the video, you can see it by following this link.

My answer: yes, I think I would like to try this. If I ever find some where local to do it, you can bet I'll post about it.

Okay... the vacation... I'll tell you. We'll be spending the next week in Alaska. I'm not sure how much posting I'll be doing. I'm planning to spend most of my time with a camera stuck to my face. But don't be surprised if I get a post in here or there... maybe even pictures.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the things i do for my kid

I didn't want to do it.

I really didn't.

Jake kept bugging me until I finally relented.

I guess a little part of me did want to.

One of my reasons for not wanting to was the same reason I wanted to...
Heath Ledger.

I agreed to see, and went to see The Dark Knight.

I'm not a Batman fan - never saw any of the other Batman movies. But this one is different. It has the late - and in my humble opinion, great - Heath Ledger in it, brilliantly playing The Joker.

He did a fantastic job. Actually, fantastic doesn't adequately describe his performance. It was over the top sensational. That may not even be adequate either, but I don't know what words would be, so I'll leave it at that. I hope he is nominated, and wins, an academy award.

And as far as Batman movies go, I'd have to say that this one was good and I did enjoy it. It had a plot line that was a little deeper than most super hero movies have. There were plenty of twists and turns. And even the traditional good vs. evil aspect had more depth and dimension and gave you a chance to examine what really is good and what really is evil.

... and did I mention Heath Ledger is in it ...

And I think it's only fair that since I agreed to see The Dark Knight with Jake, he should have to go see Mama Mia with me. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Monday, July 21, 2008

forgiveness and hope

Today I had lunch with an old friend. We had been very close for more than five years before she moved away. I looked to her not only as a friend, but a mentor and counselor. She taught me so much about God, ministry, and myself. I cried the day she left.

She told me when she moved away that she wasn't the type to keep in touch. She didn't do email and she definitely didn't do snail mail. It was pretty much the end of our friendship. I had to accept that and be content with having her friendship for that phase of my life.

She would come back to visit occasionally and it was always good to see her but it was a hug and no more than a few minutes of conversation. The last time she was in town was during a time when I wasn't in a good place. It was when we were making the decision to leave our church. She was going to be in town for a couple of weeks and I told her I would really like to get together with her. I needed my wise friend and counselor. I told her my time was flexible and she said she would be in touch so we could grab at least a coffee.

For the next two weeks I waited for her call.... and waited... and waited. She never called. I was so hurt. My mind went wild with reasons why she didn't call - why she wouldn't want to meet with me. I was sure it had something to do with why we were leaving the church, but the truth is, I really don't know why.

That was two years ago. I hadn't heard a word from her since that time. It was very easy for me to stay hurt and mad. Satan not only uses our weaknesses against us, but our pain. It would have been very easy for me to stay mad and nurse that wound so that it would never heal. I felt justified in that thinking.

But somewhere along the way, I realized that that kind of thinking and wound nursing was not helping me - in fact, it was hurting me. I knew I needed to forgive this friend, even though she had no idea that she had hurt me. I needed to do this for me, not her. So, this was indeed what I did, with God's help.

About three months ago I heard some news that both excited and scared me. My friend was moving back, taking a job with our old church. I realized I was most likely going to come face to face with her at some point. I also realized that forgiveness was so much easier when I didn't have to face the one that hurt me. I didn't know what I was going to do. I did the only thing I knew to do; pray and put it all in God's hands.

And God is faithful. My friend and I ran into each other in the most unexpected place a couple of weeks ago. Thankfully, the place didn't afford us the opportunity to really talk. My friend said she wanted to meet for lunch so we set up a time and place. This gave me the time I needed to pray and prepare myself for this meeting. I wasn't sure what to expect. Even though I had forgiven her, I wasn't sure how I would respond to being with her. I wasn't sure how she was going to respond to me. I'll be honest - I was scared.

Today was the day. We met for lunch. And it went well, very well. It was almost like no time had passed from the old times. There was no hurt on my side or uncertainty on her's. I thank God for that and the opportunity to renew our friendship. There might be some future unease since she's working for the church that we loved and left, but thankfully, God can work that out. With God, anything is possible. He's made that clear to me through this situation.

Saturday, July 19, 2008 haiku

last weekend's get-away
in haiku
(and photos)

Family and friends
Enjoying the time away
And with each other

Chairlift to the top
Awesome views of land below
Back down the same way

Laughter on the lake
Speeding thru sun and water
Fun in a speed boat

From a time gone by
Abandoned and forgotten
Crumbling into dirt

Beautiful mountains
My heart and soul, one with thee
God’s gift to the earth

Friday, July 18, 2008

i'm no rocket scientist

It's another Aloha Friday and here's my question for this week. Actually, it's two questions. I can never quite leave it at one.

Did you go to college?
If so, what was your major?

I ask this question today because the whole college process is on my mind at the moment. I took Jake up to the school he'll be attending for a meeting with the department head of Aerospace Engineering. That is what Jake is interested at the moment. He will be attending the Engineering School of a highly regarded college about an hour away from our home. It hit me as I was sitting in this meeting that I could have a son who ends up being a rocket scientist. Where did this kid get his brains?

After the meeting, we walked through some of the beautiful campus just to look around and take note of where Jake's and his friends dorm halls were in comparison to each other. Even though it's the middle of summer, there was a lot of activity and people around the campus.

I love the beauty and atmosphere of college/university campuses. I have only experienced this through my children's visits and attendance at schools because I personally did not go to college. Actually, I went one year to a community college but then dropped out with the intention of going back at a later date. That date never came.

Every time I'm on a college campus, I have this yearning to be a part of the whole experience. I want to be a student, or maybe have a job somewhere within the system. I can't help but feel a little sad because I think I really would have enjoyed being a student in a college or university environment. I feel like I missed out on a wonderful opportunity. But I also know my life would have taken a different turn had I gone on to school. I may not be where I am today, and I wouldn't want that to change. So I guess things happen for a reason and I'm where I'm supposed to be... and I can be happy with that.

Visit Kailani and all the Aloha Friday participants here.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

a real page turner

I finished the latest book I was reading, Angels & Demons by Dan Brown. I mentioned in an earlier post how much I enjoyed reading this book. It was a real page turner.

I know there is some controversy over this book and one of his other books, The DaVinci Code. Both books involve history and most specifically, the Catholic church. I enjoy the fact that Mr. Brown uses enough history ('cuz I love history) to make the story interesting. And I really, really like the way he writes. Did I mention it was a page turner?

The problem, and where the controversy comes in, is that he skews the facts a bit in order to make a compelling story and I can see where the Catholic church takes offense to the way the early church is portrayed. I think if the reader starts reading these books knowing that what the author writes isn't the truth, they can enjoy the story.

One of the themes in Angels & Demons is religion versus science. Part of the plot is about how science can be used to prove the existence of God. There is some great dialog in the book on this. There is also some excellent content on how science has robbed us as spiritual beings. Here is a excerpt in which a priest from the Vatican addresses the public because of an upcoming danger. I'm not spoiling anything by sharing this.

"Science may have alleviated the miseries of disease and drudgery and provided an array of gadgetry for our entertainment and convenience, but it has left us in a world without wonder. Our sunsets have been reduced to wavelengths and frequencies. The complexities of the universe have been shredded into mathematical equations. Even our self-worth as human beings has been destroyed. Science proclaims that Planet Earth and its inhabitants are a meaningless speck in the grand scheme. A cosmic accident. Even the technology that promises to unite us, divides us. Each of us is now electronically connected to the globe, and yet we feel utterly alone."

This came from chapter 94 in the book and I highly recommend everyone to read this one chapter. I think so highly of it, I've typed out most of the chapter and posted it here. I hope sincerely hope you can take the time to read it. Again, I don't think any of the plot is spoiled by reading this. Please let me know what you think.

Dan Brown has written two other books. From what I understand, they don't involve the church. I've added both to my reading list. I'm looking forward to reading them both.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

in bloom...

Not completely wordless...

On our way home yesterday, from our stay in the mountains, we came across this little lake and took a walk around it. There were wild flowers everywhere. I wish my photography could do them justice. They were beautiful.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

getting away from it all

I am on a mini vacation at the moment. I'm in our local mountains, which would be the Rocky Mountains. We drove up Friday afternoon and will stay until Tuesday. We're staying in a condo with free internet service, which is why I can get on my computer to write a post, leave a comment on Facebook, or finish a game of Scrabulous. But I'm not wasting much time on it because I'm enjoying all that is around me.

Danielle and her friend, Megan, drove up Friday night and will go home tonight (Sunday). We've had a good time with them. We did a lot of sightseeing yesterday and today we plan to spend a couple of hours on Dillon Lake in a speed boat. Should be fun.

Jake and Hollee will be driving up this afternoon. They'll get up here just in time to join us on the boat. They will then spend the night and go home Monday in time for both of them to go on to work for evening shifts.

Don and I will have one night here by ourselves. I think it worked out perfectly. We get to spend time with our kids and still have a little bit of alone time - all in the beautiful mountains. Up where the temps are much cooler than the high 90's that we left down below. Up where the air is clear and the woodsy smell of the greenery is all around you. Yep, I love the mountains. I feel very lucky to live at the foot of the Rockies.

Friday, July 11, 2008

it's friday

In Hawaii, Aloha Friday is the day that the locals take it easy and look forward to the weekend. Kailani at An Island Life has turned that into a blogging carnival. Anyone can participate by asking a simple question for readers to answer. You can check out all the participants here.

My questions:
What are you currently reading? and Are you enjoying it?

I pose this question because I am currently reading Angels & Demons by Dan Brown (author of the DaVinci Code) and I can't put it down. I'm sure I will finish it today. It is such a page turner and I'm enjoying every page.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

how to...

Kailani over at An Island Life has a group writing project going with the prompt of "how to." I've been thinking about what I know enough about to write a "how to" post on. I thought of such subjects as, "how to put off doing the laundry for a whole week" or "how to spend the day blogging"... oh wait... those would be the same subject. Instead, I decided to write on something everyone should know about and consider how it might personally affect them.

How To Contract Diabetes

I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes last November. Now that I know a lot about this disease, I know exactly how I got it. Here's how you, too, can get Diabetes in 3 easy steps.

1. Ignore your family's history when it comes to Diabetes. I had relatives on both my mom's and dad's side of the family that had and even died from Diabetes.

2. Have an unhealthy diet. Yep, that was me. More carbs than protein. Too many sweets. And yes, I even dabbled in fried foods.

3. Don't exercise. I've had my moments, but making exercise a regular part of my life... HA!

There you go. Pretty easy, huh? You would think it would be more complicated, but it really isn't. That may be why Diabetes diagnoses continue to rise. More than six percent of the population has either Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes and each year 1.3 million people over the age of 20 are diagnosed with the condition. One of the fastest growing age groups is children as it's obvious that too many children in our society do not eat well and do not exercise regularly, and therefore they are over weight.

Of course, you don't want to contract Diabetes. The solution is almost as simple. Take the three easy steps listed above and do the opposite.

1. Find out your family history. If there is diabetes in your family, then you are at greater risk. If you had pregnancy gestation diabetes, you are at risk. If you are African-American or Hispanic, you are at greater risk.

2. Make a healthy diet a lifestyle. Eat high fiber foods and healthy fats. Avoid artificial sweeteners. A good, in-depth study has found that just one can of diet soda a day can increase your risk of becoming prediabetic. The study suggested that the sweet taste of the artificial sweeteners may actually confuse the brain and cause us to gain weight.

3. Exercise! Studies say that regular exercise can decrease the risk of Diabetes by 60%. Losing weight in your waist is also key. Simply walking 30 minutes a day is considered exercise and helps you lose that waist weight.

Diabetes is a serious condition and recognized as one of the leading causes of death and disability in the United States. If you think you may have Diabetes or pre-Diabetes (elevated blood sugars as an indicator that if lifestyle changes aren't made, Diabetes is imminent), I highly recommend you make an appointment with your doctor. Waiting can be very detrimental to treatment and management. Find out now!

There are many different symptoms to having this condition and you can find out what they are and/or read more about Diabetes at a number of excellent web sites on the subject. I suggest that you google the word Diabetes and pick any of the top ten listings.

Fortunately, my Diabetes has been kept under control with medication, diet, and exercise. It has been quite a change for me and I'm still not where I want to be with the diet and exercise -but I continue to work at it. I'm working towards a healthier me. How about you?

** some information taken from Good Morning America

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

scary stuff

A girl from our youth group (which really isn't ours anymore) called last night to tell us about the harrowing experience she had the night before. She works at a local sandwich shop and as she was working that night, two men came in and robbed the place - at gun point! She actually had a gun held to her head while they took money from the drawer and took the purses of two of the patrons in the store.

After this girl's call, I couldn't get her story or the image of someone holding a gun to her head, out of my mind. Partly because I had a similar experience. When I was a junior or senior in High School, I worked at a small, independent drug store as a cashier. One day a man came to my register and as he lifted his shirt showing me a gun in his waistband, he demanded that I open the draw and give him all the money.

I remember being in a state of shock and not much else. Evidently, after opening the drawer, I moved away and allowed him to reach in and take whatever he wanted. After he left, I stumbled to the back room, told the manager and then collapsed into a chair, shaking uncontrollably. Tears followed shortly thereafter.

Knowing how I felt after my incident where the gun was only shown and never pointed at me, I can only imagine how this girl felt during, immediately after, and then long term, after having a gun pointed at her head. It's definitely something that stays with you for a long time. It must be some form of post-traumatic syndrome and my heart breaks knowing that this sweet young lady has to deal with this.

I, as well as she, would appreciate any prayers on her behalf for peace of mind and feeling safe as she deals with the emotional shock of this incident.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

moving on

It's official. Besides one more outing where we're taking the senior high kids on a boating trip, we are officially done as youth leaders. We have handed over the reins and look forward to the next chapter of our lives.

But what does that chapter look like? I've been doing youth ministry for over 8 years and I'm used to knowing what God has called me to and what He expects from me. It's been a long time since I've felt that searching feeling and earnestly seeking His guidance and leading in where I should be serving.

I'll be honest, part of me doesn't want to get involved in anything. But I know that's normal for the time being. I need to time to sit back, relax, and refresh. I know my desire to get involved in some sort of ministry will return. Not only do I believe that we are called to serve in some way, but it's part of my personality. When I am a part of something [like church], I usually want to take on some degree of responsibility.

But I want it to be more than that. I want God to give me a passion for something like He has for working with kids. I want to feel like what I do makes a difference. I want to use my gifts and abilities. I want to feel the joy that one feels when they truly doing what they are called to do.

All of this is my current prayer. I am a firm believer in prayer and know that God answers prayer, but in His own time. So, I will try to be patient, enjoy this time of rest, and look forward to what He has planned for me [and Don] - whatever that may be.

Sunday, July 6, 2008

in case you wanted to know...

It's been a nice and lazy weekend around here. Here are a few random thoughts and happenings:

~~> On the 4th, after our family BBQ and Jake going off to work, the rest of us went to see WALL-E. What an interesting movie. It's not quite the way I thought it was going to be. There's very little dialog so it was slow at times. It's for this reason that I'm not sure little kids would enjoy it, although the characters were very cute. But the storyline was good and it made me think on a deeper level.

~~> After the movie, we hurried over to where a grand fireworks show would be performed. It's the biggest in the area and they were predicting 100,000 people would be in the area. This was our first time to this show but we had a pretty good idea of where we wanted to sit. So we went early, set up our chairs and blanket, and just hung out for nearly an hour. We were on a grassy area next to a large parking lot. There were a lot of people sharing the grass with us. About 20 minutes before the show was about to start, the unthinkable happened. [hehehe]

The sprinklers turned on. You should have seen the crowd scramble while grabbing all their belongings, including younger children. Luckily, we were sitting on the very edge of the grassy area and the sprinklers barely hit us. We only had to casually get up and move away. It was one of those cases where you shouldn't have seen it as humorous, but couldn't help but laugh =D

~~> I started a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle on Friday... and finished it Saturday.

~~> Our dog, Brody, has a cowlick on the top of his head. It makes it look like he has a mohawk. The problem is that it continues to grow and it looks... well, for a lack of better way to describe it - weird. I've always thought it needed to be trimmed but Jake, who is the official owner of said dog, has always been adamant that no hair will be cut.

Don gave Brody a bath yesterday and those flyaway hairs just looked ridiculous. After pleading for a whole day, Jake finally gave me permission to cut it. Oh, it looks so much better.

Before and after....

and what was cut off...

Friday, July 4, 2008

fireworks and all...

Happy Birthday America

... and Happy Independence Day to you

Since the 4th has come and gone, I have deleted the firework display I had posted here. If you would still like to take a look at it, you may view it by following this link, although I don't know how long the web site will stay up.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

got milk?

Have you seen the new milk jugs yet? I've seen them on the news but have yet to see any in my local stores. I've heard Wal*Mart and Sam's are carrying them. I just don't buy my milk there.

Anyways, I guess there's controversy already. Consumers are saying they don't pour very easily. They say they don't like the way they look. I say, get over it! I don't think it will be that hard to get used to.

And why change the shape of the milk carton? Stores are saying that they can stack these where they weren't able to do so with the old shape. By doing this, they can ship 50% more per delivery truck. That saves on gas. And since they can be stacked on top of each other, they can stop using the milk crates.

So, this is an energy efficient design where the benefits outweigh the hassle of learning to pour from a new carton or just wanting to stick with the old design because it's what we're used to. Change can be good.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

cutting edge

These (and a few more) were sent to me via e-mail. I think they are incredibly amazing. I wish I had a name in which to give credit to, but none was given. Enjoy.

Wordless Wednesday Headquarters here and here

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

take me out to the ballgame...

Ten On Tuesday's prompt this week is 10 favorite sports to play/watch. Here are mine, but in no particular order.

1. Probably my favorite game to watch is baseball. I don't know why exactly. Most people complain that it's too slow of a game. But I enjoy the statistics and the precision of the game. It really is a game of inches. I also thoroughly enjoy watching a game live and that's because I love the atmosphere of the ball park.

2. I also love volleyball. I wasn't good enough to play on my high school's team, so I did the next best thing; became the manager for the boy's team =). Living near the beaches of southern California, I ended up playing a lot of beach volleyball with friends or picking up a game in the local park. I still enjoy playing. It's one of those sports that age doesn't affect as much as in other sports. And of course, I enjoy watching it, too. High School level is my favorite.

3. Lacrosse. I didn't even know of this sport 4 years ago. But Jake gave it a try his freshman year and I really enjoyed watching him and his team. That then transferred to watching the televised games of college teams playing. It's a fast paced game that's just fun to watch. I've seen indoor Lacrosse games but those aren't quite the same.

4. I also used to play Soccer. I was a young teenager and not all that good at it, but it gave me a healthy respect for the skill involved in playing the game. I enjoy watching the sport just for that reason.

5. Another sport I used to play was softball. I can't say that I enjoy watching the sport because you usually don't see these games being televised and I haven't had the opportunity to watch a live game recently, but I sure did enjoy playing it.

6. Hockey. Even though I have a hard time keeping up with the puck and I don't enjoy the fighting, this fast paced sport keeps my interest.

7. I've enjoyed watching football since I was a young girl. I attribute that to having my father explain the game to me. I've continued enjoying the sport, mainly because I live in Bronco territory.

8. Track and Field is actually many sports, but I'll lump them all together here. Again, part of it is the atmosphere of a meet that I enjoy so much. During Jake's meets, I enjoyed watching all the events knowing how they were scored and knowing that they all contributed to the larger score of the school's and waiting for a winner to emerge.

9. I really like watching the Olympics. For the Summer games, my favorite sport is gymnastics.

10. And for the Winter games, much to my family's distaste, I'll be sitting in front of the TV for all the ice skating events.

If you leave me a comment, tell me what your favorite sport to play or watch is.

link of the day: