Monday, August 31, 2009

what's happening...


-> Around here, schools started last week. Yet, I have not heard from the district whether I have my job from last year, when I would start, and when and where I would be working (which school(s). I'm going crazy. I'm pretty sure I have a job, but what if I don't? I could (and would) be spending this time looking for another job. I sent an email to the secretary about a month ago and she sent out a mass email to all the tutors telling them to not bug her and that they would get us the pertinent information some where around the end of August. Well, today was the end of August. Do they think that we don't have lives? I can't even plan anything in the future because this part of my life has been settled. Ugh!

-->> As I waited in a very long line today at my local DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles), I was thoroughly entertained watching and listening to people with the cell phones. I'd say 90% of the crowded room were people who were either talking or using the phones. I must have heard 10 or more ring tones that were songs, mostly TV theme songs or songs from the 50s and 60s. It just struck me funny to see this room full of people (70 or so) in their own little world by using their cell phone. What did we do before we had these things?!

--->>> Jake got a job this weekend at a sporting goods store near his college campus. He'll be working quite a bit for the next two months during their huge sale on ski and snowboard items. This had been his plan all along but it now means that we won't be seeing him very much. He has a very tough semester (actually, the whole year) ahead of him and now he's adding the work schedule to it. Good luck Jake.

---->>>> We're going camping this weekend. We're going with many families from our church and we're going to a place our family has gone to for 18 years (minus a year or two) on Labor Day weekend. Danielle has asked to be baptized again. Her baptism will be in the same pool where she was originally baptized, about 10 years ago. Also, Don will be delivering the message on Sunday morning in the quaint, outdoor chapel. For those two reasons, plus a great time of fellowship and camping, it should be a great weekend.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thursday, August 27, 2009


I finished the book, The Butterfly Garden, a Memoir (Chip St. Clair), yesterday. It was a very quick read as I finished it in 2 days. Chip survived living with his cruel and abusive father only to find out, when he was an older teenager, that his father wasn't who he said he was. Chip went on to get past the wounds of his childhood to live a productive life and advocate for protecting children and keeping child predators behind bars.

I think the genre of memoirs is my favorite. I really enjoy reading true life stories. I guess that's why I enjoy reading blogs, too. There's always pearls of wisdom and lessons learned shared with the reader. The Butterfly Garden didn't disappoint in this area, and for that reason, I'd recommend this book to everyone.

My blogging friend Melissa, of Mejojac's Memos, commented to my post yesterday and recommended that I look into goodreads, which is a site where you can keep track of the books you read, have access to and write your own book reviews, join groups, and converse with other readers. If any of you are on goodreads, look me up or let me know so I can go find you. Here's my profile. And thanks Melissa for the recommendation.

To answer a couple of the comments to yesterday's post...

MightyMom: I enjoyed the first two Harry Potter books very much and I can see where it would be very easy to just keep reading each book, one after the other. But I wanted to spread out the story. That's how I usually read a series of books. After reading the first Twilight book, I plan to read the rest - just not one after the other. I'll probably read the second book after the book I'm reading now.

Jamey: I liked the Harry Potter books much more than I thought I would, too. I am supposed to work at the same schools as I did last year, but I haven't got final word on that. The job actually starts mid September. I'm planning on starting then.

Karen: I'll look into The Unit. Thanks.

Momma Roar: I love Jodi Picoult. Glad you're enjoying them, too. Which ones have you read and what are you reading now?

Mom (Barb): You really should get on goodreads. You've read more books than anyone I know.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

time marches on

Ok... it's time to get back into the habit of blogging. I've been terribly lazy and unmotivated. I miss one day, and then two, and with each passing day, it gets harder to sit down and write something of quality. But I enjoy writing here and reading other bloggers, so I just need to make the commitment.

The last month has been hard because Danielle was traveling and my mind was on her and her trip 24/7. I didn't want to bore any of my readers with my daily thoughts and worries, so I withdrew a bit. I am happy to announce, though, that she arrived home Monday night safe and sound. She had a wonderful time, a lot of interesting stories, and memories to last a life time. Thanks for all of you who lifted a prayer on her behalf.

I've been reading a lot. I found that my mind wouldn't wander to Danielle as much if I was engrossed in a book. I read a book titled Still Alice and would highly recommend it as it sheds light on the reality of living with Alzheimer's. It's told in the first person of a 50 something year old who starts displaying symptoms of early onset Alzheimer's. It really makes you think and helps you understand what this terrible disease does to not only the patient, but the family as well.

I also started reading the Harry Potter series. I saw the sixth movie over the summer and became intrigued. Or maybe it was because Jake read all seven books over a month's time and kept talking about them. Don't ask me why I haven't had any interest before now. All I know is that I found myself having the desire to read them. I've read the first two and enjoyed them very much. I think I'll read them two at a time, and read two or three other books in between.

We are once again empty-nesters as Jake and Danielle started classes this week. As always, the summer flew by. We didn't have any of the super hot weather, so in some ways, it didn't even feel like summer. Since we didn't get the hot weather, I'm wishing summer would last another month or longer instead of looking forward to Fall, like I usually am about this time of year.

But life, and the seasons, march on. And so do I.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

trip down memory lane

If I Could Blog Back Time
is hosted each Thursday by Lola of Lola's Diner.

Today's topic: Back To School
Tell us your school stories.

I have so many memories - as I'm sure everybody does - of school. I've decided to share one memory from each grade through elementary school.

First Grade: I lived in Maine. One day I decided I didn't want to be at school any more so I just walked out and on to home. No one stopped me and, boy, was my mom surprised when I showed up on our doorstop. To think of it now, it makes me cringe. Can you imagine your first grader walking home all by themselves with no one knowing that they were doing so. It was a safer time back then but still.

Second Grade: I live in Ohio. I attended a very large school where the elementary, middle, and high school were all located on the same campus (weird, now that I think about it). I remember the restrooms didn't have any doors on the stall (weird, too) and I, as a second grader, used the same restrooms as the older girls. I watched them and from my vantage point and young eyes it was obvious that they didn't have to wear their underwear around their ankles when they peed. So, trying to emulate the big girls, I tried keeping my underwear up as I went about my business. Result, I walked away with wet panties.

Third Grade: I moved mid year from Texas to California. This is going to sound sad, but I spent many lunch hours in the lost and found room. Moving mid year meant that I really didn't have any friends. The lost and found room was a small world of wonders to a third grader. It was my escape. I remember how much time I spent looking at all that had been lost and abandoned, and then sit down and spend the rest of the time with my nose in a book. What I don't understand is why the front office ladies allowed me to go in so much and why they didn't check to see if and when I left.

Fourth Grade: I lived in another city in California. I remember I had a crush on my male teacher. I remember he had a detailed map of the country on the wall. Each day he'd have a city's name posted at the top of the map. The challenge was to be the first student to find the city. I figured out I could go to the dictionary (or maybe encyclopedia) and find exactly where the city was located. Day after day, I was the student who "found" the city. It became boring to me so I started telling other students where the city was so they could share the spotlight. I don't think anyone ever figured out how I was so good at the game.

Fifth Grade: I went to the same school as fourth grade. The only memory (I mean only!) I have is an accident I had on the monkey bars. I remember flipping around like I had done so many times before. There was this move where after spinning around the bar several times by your knees, you swing high, let go of the bar, and land and your feet. Except this time I wasn't high enough and I went face first into the sand. I ate a bit of it, bloodied my lip, and felt very disoriented. I remember walking myself to the nurse to be cleaned up before they sent me on to class.

Sixth Grade: We moved to a different city in California. There were some tough girls at this school. I remember getting socked in the stomach to the point of having my breath taken away by one of these girls (also my neighbor). There were many "people" lessons for me that year and from there, the lessons never stopped. What I mean is that I started having an awareness of different cultures and lifestyles and how people act and react. The study of people has been a passion for me ever since.

When and where I was going to school at this time, elementary ended at 6th grade, and 7th and 8th were considered middle school or Jr. high. I'll finish my walk down memory lane in a future post.

Monday, August 17, 2009

back to school

It's that time of year once again. Excited children are busy filling their backpacks. Teenagers are simultaneously complaining about returning to school yet looking forward to seeing their friends once again. And parents are either cheering or dreading the fact that life will be back to routines and homework nightmares. The summer is coming to an end and the new school year is about to begin.

This got me to thinking about public schools and our expectations of them. I've seen too many parents who drop their darling five year olds off on their first day of kindergarten, pick them up at high school graduation and expect them to be well educated, well behaved, and well adjusted adults.

If we, as parents, expect the schools to fulfill these roles, we will be sorely disappointed. Public schools are flawed and and have their limits. Even if your child is attending a top notch school, there's more learning needed that the school can't and shouldn't provide.

Know that the family life you provide for your child(ren) will have a much bigger impact than any school can give. Remember that there are things a public school can't teach, such as ethics, morals and Biblical truths (if that's important to your family). We, as parents, can teach our kids how to get along with others, how to show compassion, how to respect authority, how to take responsibility, and the list goes on.

We also need to let our children know how important the family unit is. Do whatever you have to do to make this a priority, as it will get harder the older your children get. Before you know it, your children will care more about what their peers think than what mom and dad say. This is normal, but if they know their family is there for them and love them unconditionally, they most likely will come through it all as well adjusted adults.

Side note: Speaking of school starting, we will be taking my baby up to school Wednesday to start his second year in college. Danielle will start as soon as she returns from Nepal. Boy, the summer sure went by fast. We'll be back to living in an empty nest and missing the life and love of our two children living here with us. Life goes on.

Friday, August 14, 2009

diana, the shopkeeper


Happy Aloha Friday to you all.

My question for you is...

If you owned a store, what would you sell?

For me, it would be scrapbooking supplies. I love everything scrapbooking. I can spend hours in such a store. Needless to say, I have way too much "stuff" and don't spend enough time actually using the "stuff" along with my photos to put together books. But that doesn't stop me from checking out the scrapbooking aisles whenever I frequent a store with such aisles. And I do have good intentions of putting the rest of my photos (boxes full of them) in books.

My second choices would be books. I also would love to have my own coffee shop, but I didn't consider that a store.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

spiritual snobbery

I met with a couple of people yesterday and our conversation meandered into the discussion of spiritual snobbery. It was easy for the three of us, who were pretty like minded, to see how some people, even some churches, get wrapped up in religious legalism and the perceived DOs and DON'Ts. They then have a sense of superiority of who they are over those who don't measure up to their expectations, or what they feel like God expects of each one of us.

I thought about our discussion the rest of the day. I could instantly think of people that I could and would put into this category. I thought about those people and tried to figure out why they viewed their religion and life in the manner that they did. I am so far from the DOs and DON'Ts and the righteous judgment of others when it comes to being a Christian.

Or am I? I realized, as I was having this conversation in my head, I was judging. I realized, if I was honest with myself, I had to put myself in that same group of spiritual snobs. I try really hard not to judge, but it was obvious that I was doing a little of that at this moment. At this point, my thoughts changed tracks a little. What does God expect from me when it comes to my spirituality and sharing my faith with others?

I honestly don't feel like I come on too strong and make people feel judged when it comes their faith, but I had to wonder if I wasn't coming on strong enough. Maybe God wants me to speak up more, get more in people's faces, preach the Biblical truths every moment of every day, and make sure my friends and acquaintances all know that the end may be coming soon and heaven and hell are real places.

The more I thought about this, the more I realized I do all these things, but in a way that is appropriate for my personality. I realized that my spirituality is between me and God, and I need to remember that about others. I have certain opinions, but so do others. I can be turned off by how some people choose to show their faith, but maybe that's more of my issue than theirs.

It's when we - yes, you and me - feel a need to judge other's levels of spirituality or how they live out their faith that we become spiritual snobs. Let us not judge others for what should be strictly between them and God. Help them appropriately, yes, but judge, no.

Monday, August 10, 2009

julie & julia

I saw the movie, Julie & Julia yesterday and enjoyed it very much. First off, I saw it with twelve other ladies from church - so that made it a fun outing, but the movie was good, too.

The movie was a dual story, one being about Julia Child, a little bit about her life and how she came to be such an amazing cook. The other about a young woman (named Julie) who cooks her way through Julia's cookbook, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in a year and blogs about it.

To be honest, I didn't think I would like the movie because although I know who Julia Child was, I've always thought her a little odd. I'm not a foodie person and didn't think I'd enjoy that aspect of the movie. But through Meryl Streep's wonderful portrayal of Julia, I found Ms. Child to be delightful and fun. And there wasn't as much cooking in the movie as I'd thought there would be.

I equally enjoyed the story of Julie. She was a young, struggling in her world, young woman who needed to find fulfillment in her life. She took on a project and chose to share her experience and feelings through a blog. Something any serious blogger can relate to. At least I could.

She started her Julie/Julia project and her blog in August of 2002. I was intrigued, so I googled her name and found her blog. I read through several of her posts. Her posts were much lengthier than shown in the movie and she writes about more than just cooking (and it's not G rated).

What really surprised me is that she does all this cooking but doesn't post one picture. That's definitely not how a cooking blog is done nowadays. I have a few blogging friends who post recipes and, like I said, I'm not a foodie, but I can't imagine finding any interest in their latest conquest without the pictures. The pictures are what makes me actually want to try to duplicate their creations

It would have been so fun (and appetizing) to see, in pictures, the Julia Child creations that were recreated by Julie Powell.

Friday, August 7, 2009

what's your favorite...


Happy Friday all. Here's my Aloha Friday question for this week...

What's your favorite movie that was made before you were born?

As much as I love movies, I don't really get into the older ones like some people do. I remember when I was a kid, I used to love watching the old Shirley Temple and Doris Day movies, but I wouldn't consider them favorites. I've seen such classics as Breakfast at Tiffany's, Casablanca, It's a Wonderful Life, The Birds, Vertigo, African Queen, The King and I, and Gone With the Wind, but again, none are my favorites (although the last two come close).

If I have to name just one favorite, it would have to be The Wizard of Oz. I'd call it a favorite because whenever it comes on TV, I can't pass it up. I still enjoy watching it even though I've seen it innumerable amount of times. It brings back childhood memories of watching it with the family, eating popcorn, and being frightened of those flying monkeys.

Thanks Kailani for giving us such a fun place to hang out each Friday.

Monday, August 3, 2009

where are the trees?

Momma Roar made a comment to my post yesterday, in essence asking where the trees are in my picture of our campsite. It is an excellent question because, in my opinion, camping should be done amongst the trees. Yes, we camped in a public campground and no, there were no trees.

So where are the trees?

For the past few years, Colorado's pine trees have been under attack from a pesky little creature and it has been devastating to the natural beauty of our mountains. The Pine Beetle infestation has been unstoppable and has killed an uncountable number of trees. If you look at any part of the mountain side, you see more brown, dead trees than the lush greenery you should see. It's actually very sad.

Dead trees in the mountains are not just sad and ugly, but dangerous. It's just dead, dry wood ready to go up in flames if lightning or a spark hit. So, in many areas, the dead trees have been cut down, especially in and near campgrounds.

Fortunately, there are signs of new growth. Small pine trees dot the landscape and I look forward to the day when the pesky Pine Beetle has been banished from our mountains.

Sunday, August 2, 2009

i forgot

I forgot how beautiful a field of wildflowers is.

I forgot how much the weather can wreak havoc on campers and their outdoor homes.

I forgot how inconvenient it is to have to walk to the bathroom each time you need to go.

I forgot how wonderful the trees, lake, campfires, and sunshine smells.

I forgot how many stars are in the sky.

I forgot how cold it can get in the Colorado mountains at night.

I forgot how much reading I can get done when there's nothing else better to do.

I forgot that it's better to have shorter nails when camping, so you don't break them all.

I forgot how good food tastes when it's cooked outdoors.

I forgot how much work goes into setting up and tearing down camp.

I forgot how good a shower feels after a camping trip.

I forgot how much I love camping!