Saturday, June 27, 2009

Let's Just Clarify Something...My Fears

Before all 5 of you who actually read my last post about a motorcycle begin to think that I am fearless, and am okay with the fact that my 18 year old son who has no previous experience on any kind of motorcycle and spent a very limited amount of time on an atv as a child (yes, because of his mother's fears), I must clarify some things for you. The post was actually just poking fun at my teenager and the wonderful theory of now, pay later.

Oh believe me. I am not fearless by any means.

I fear many things.

Snakes for one. They freak me out. Just looking at them through the glass at the zoo brings on nightmares for weeks.

I fear closed doors at night. What if something happens to one of my kids, or my house catches on fire and I'm the last to know?

I'm afraid that when I die, people won't be able to find good things to say about me.....(I mean if they talk bad about Michael Jackson, what are they going to say about me?) And what if no one comes to my funeral? I guess I shouldn't care. It's not like I'm actually going to be there either.

I am afraid of cruise ships and airplanes. I like my feet to be on solid ground and I've never been on either of these. Don't know if I can ever bring myself to do it. Pete is hoping I'll conquer these particular fears. (I'm working on it)

I don't like shopping after dark. Dark parking lots are spooky and it's not a good feeling. I'm so vulnerable...and clumsy.....and female. A prime target.

I have never let my kids eat hard candy. What if they choke and I can't revive them?

I have always had a fear of things men put together such as rollercoasters and those crazy swings at amusement parks that have you flying over water. What if one just flies right off? The one I happened to be on?

I had a dream one time I drove off a bridge. Since that dream, I have greatly feared not being able to get myself or my kids out of their seatbelts and out of the van. So much that I had Pete purchase a glass breaker and seatbelt cutter to help my insecurities.

So just in case there is any question...I defintely do not want Big Dan to save his money all to spend it on a motorcycle.

Even the very thought of him on something that goes from 0-125 mph in 60 seconds...(or whatever it does)....

terrifies me!

You better believe I'm scared.

Friday, June 26, 2009

Sometimes Kids Are Just Plain Funny

Like when your youngest comes up to you, hugs you, and proceeds to squishy, squishy the flags that are supposed to resemble triceps all the while saying to you...."Mom, I don't want you lose weight in your arms. I like them squishy. They are soft and like my pillow".

Yeah, well, thanks for that, but if that fat decides to disappear, because I am so dedicated to my diet and my 4 miles a day, then who am I to stand it it's way? I'll buy her something else to squish.

But the funniest thing that stands out to me is this comment made by my oldest a day or two ago. It was the day Pete and I both thought our cell phones were going to explode because Big Dan was calling every minute of every hour and the conversation ended with something kind of like this... "Hey, mom, Bubba said I could take out the easy payment plan if you and daddy would just come down here to the motorcycle shop and co-sign for me".

Say What?

Is it as funny to you as it was to me?

You just have to know Big Dan. He doesn't get excited about too much. Studying, no. Bringing down his laundry, no. Going to work, nope. Taking out the trash, well, nada. Even the dating scene doesn't seem to get him too worked up anymore, but I will tell you this. When he gets something on his mind, that is ALL HE TALKS ABOUT for hours. For days. For weeks even. And that is complete with pictures that he forces you to look at, and videos he whines about until you stop and watch.

Big Dan has his heart set on this.

Somebody save me. I'm trying to ignore it, but it's just not going away.

And you know. I am really glad he has found something to get excited about. I'm really glad he's found a reason to save his money and some motivation to go to work. But to me, it's just plain funny how oblivious he is to the real world.

My rebuttal to him asking for my signature on the dotted line? I said "No honey, I'm happy you are excited about your motorcycle, but we won't be helping you go into debt the summer you get out of high school."

"But Mommm!, Bubba says it is the easy payment plan...only $95 a month for 2 years."

all the while I'm thinking..ok, what after 2 years? what about the insurance? I bet Bubba didn't bother to explain the little word interest to you, did he?

I was thinking seriously about marching myself down to that motorcycle shop and thanking "Bubba" for introducing my naive child to the wonderful world of credit. Or maybe a size 6 1/2 shoe......ohhhhh..nevermind. I just get frustrated at how these business people prey on those that don't know any better especially my kid.

The easy payment plan. I love it. This comes right after Pete and I read Dave Ramsey from cover to cover and began our mission this past January to become debt free come hades or high water.

I know Big Dan's gonna learn some great, valuable lesson from our denying him the easy payment plan. He's gonna save, and be frugal and look so cool on his new bike one day...and it's gonna be paid for.....and he's gonna be proud. And I might even get on back and go for a ride with him.....

or not.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Ignorance is Bliss...The Rest of the Story

The movie is called "The Pursuit of Happyness". I haven't seen it in a long time, but if I recall correctly, this man and his son are homeless...sleeping in public restrooms and train stations or wherever else they can find for that matter. He's trying to make ends meet someway, somehow until he makes it big as a stock broker (or something to that affect).

I'm wondering if I somehow got lucky enough (sarcastically spoken) to have slept in the same train station as Will Smith.

You think I'm kidding, don't you.

Upon arriving in the city, we walked around places like this:

We got some of this:

and saw lots of these:

We shopped in some stores such as these:

And although the weather was misty and extremely foggy, we took a ferry boat out to an island to see this:

It was such a breathtaking sight even in the fog. After exiting the subway and coming up right into the middle of Central Park, evening was setting in. Pete wanted me to be able to savor the glitz of Times Square after the sun went down, but Little Ann and I weren't for sure our little feetsy's could take us very much further. It was then that we had the joy of riding in one of these:

all so we could see this:

but as bad as my feet and legs ached from the 100 miles we walked that day, I was happy to be back in Times Square because I got to eat here:

We began to walk the streets in one last attempt at souvenir shopping when we realized it was midnight. I had no idea of the time, but I knew I was feeling every bit of our day settling in my bones. We began our journey back to the train station where we would wait to board a train back to Trenton. This train would, once again, change over to get us back to Philadelphia where our poor little lonely van sat. By the time we finally boarded the first one, it was almost 1 am.

About 15 minutes into our trip back, there were signal problems so we sat idle for another solid hour. I tried to sleep, but there were numerous passengers on the train, and one man sitting close by that was not very happy about the delay and made sure everyone knew it.

Around 3 am, we arrived back in Trenton, NJ, where we were supposed to switch. As soon as we got there, we hurriedly located the little tv screen that told us of all the times for the train's arrivals and departures. I could feel the tears well up in my own tired eyes as I was consoling Little Ann. The train we would need to be on to get us back to Philly would not be leaving until 6 am.

Not good.

And so I rolled up the souvenir tee shirts into pillows, made a make shift bed while Little Ann opened an umbrella to block the light from our eyes...

and slept.

in the train station.

while Pete stood guard.

for hours.

And the moral of the story is.....

If you're from the South and you know nothing about trains...or train stations....or anything else about the city you should probably either do your research or stay home.

Because I'll be the first to tell you, when your stuck in a train station in the middle of the night, you're anything but happy.

Friday, June 19, 2009

A Story to Tell

I got up this morning thinking about what I was doing about this time one week ago. It wasn't exactly what I thought I'd be doing. I know you want to hear all about it, right?

As you know, a group of 3 couples and our kids ventured off to New Jersey to complete a mission project. The whole purpose of the trip was to work for God, but I didn't think God would mind if Pete took me on into New York City for a little play time before we headed back home, would He?

Thursday morning, our group split up...some heading home, others to stop in Tennessee and us to New York. I knew we were chancing it with the weather, but I didn't care. I told Pete even if I had to experience New York in the rain, it would be better than not experiencing it at all. Boy, was I in for a sur-prise.

We were ignorant. And when I say that, I mean Southerners just don't know much about getting around in the North. We drive everywhere we go. We don't have problems finding parking and it's mostly free. What I mean is, it's not a hassle to take my van when I venture out...but our Jersey friends said, it would be wise to leave our vehicle in Philadelphia and take the train into the city. That it would be much less stressful to get around by foot, or subway, or cab. I could handle that. I wasn't getting much exercise anyway. I could use a little walking. I've never ridden on the subway. Something about that sounded kind of city-girlish..unordinary for an Arkansas gal like me. And Little Ann was determined that she would, at some point in the day, whistle and wave for that taxi, just like she'd seen in the movies.

We left our hotel around 9 am, saying our goodbyes to our group and driving in rush hour traffic from New Jersey to Philadelphia. I think what should have taken 30 minutes took us about an hour. Even once we got into Philly, we had no clue where the train station was and drove around another 30 minutes for a place to park. We were suckers, but desperate and so we gave up $20 bucks for a spot that would ensure us the day.

The rain began to fall. It was busy and dreary and I began to question why I wanted so desperately to spend a day so far out of my element, but I did. After mistakenly going down into the subway station thinking that's where we were supposed to be, we were directed 2 blocks down to the train depot. Pete stood in line to purchase round trip tickets to New York only to be asked to hand over $237. He glanced over at me and I gave him this look like "are they nuts?". Get out of that line. We'll do something else.

It was Amtrack. Oops. Once again, wrong line.

By the time we were finally directed to the appropriate line, it was closing in on 11 am. Tickets in this line were for a train that would leave at 11:37 and change over in Trenton, New Jersey, but would get us to the station directly below Madison Square Gardens for only $93 round trip. Sold.

I only wish I would've know it was going to stop every five minutes and take us another 2 hours to get there.

At nearly 2:00, we exited the station and came up out of the ground onto the streets of the city that literally never sleeps.

I was frustrated at the amount of time we had wasted. We were all starving and a little grumpy, but we were in New York. New York people. I was in awe and ready to stomp some ground.

But I think I'll save all that ground stomping, subway riding, cab calling (oh! and believe me it gets better!) for another post. Come back and see me for Paul Harvey says..."the rest of the story".

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

The Matter at Hand

Several months ago when the pastor began talk of visiting the mission in New Jersey, I was a bit skeptical. A preacher who had been raised in the North, began pastoring in the South, had developed a burden for the people in his home town and wanted to plant a church there. I had heard good things were happening. I had seen pictures of his building and had heard they were having good attendance. "It seems like they are doing just as good in mission status as we are at a church that has been established for hundreds of years", I thought. What could we possibly be needed for?

Boy, did I ever need this trip.

I learned a number of things.

First...God needs a few good men who are willing to answer His call and be willing to uproot their lives and their family and go to who knows where to plant a true New Testament Church. I am so thankful that God called this Missionary to this place where the truth is so scarce.

Secondly...numbers can be oh, so deceiving. Just because they are attending, does not mean they are strong Christians or grounded in the faith. Majority of the people who are coming to this mission are unchurched people and have never given a relationship with Christ or God's people a second thought. How wonderful that they have decided to join His family, but who else is there to disciple but the missionary and his wife. What a great task at hand.

Third...I saw neighborhood after neighborhood of houses. So many houses with people who need Jesus. So many more than our one Missionary could possibly reach. I was so happy to be a part of a team of door knockers. To get the word out about the church and to take every opportunity that God gave me to tell someone about His love. My primary goal with each door that opened was to make sure they knew how to get to heaven.

and Finally...I learned that sometimes, even if there isn't an abundance of work to be done or buildings to be erected, sometimes it can simply be about encouragement. Encouraging our missionary and his family to keep on keeping on. Letting them know how much we appreciate the work they are doing, the sacrifices they are making and the souls they are reaching. (and cooking him a good ol' Southern style meal doesn't hurt any either!)

My eyes were opened.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

What I Have Discovered About New Jersey

I like it. At least the part we are in.

The town is very nice. A small, clean area with booming business and beautiful homes. How cool to actually have an attic and a basement. The people have been very friendly and most receptive.

We had a busy day today. I think we actually knocked on approximately 350 doors to get word out about the new church recently planted in this area. The guys did some needed maintenance around the building and I thoroughly enjoyed listening to their praise band practice tonight. Dinner at Applebee's was delish and the kids are having a great time. Something about being in a hotel with your bestest friends. Good times.

I am looking forward to what tomorrow brings....

Monday, June 8, 2009

Stopping in to say Hello

I am so tired at this moment, I wouldn't dare be able to think of eloquent posts that include lots of pictures like this blogger/real life friend of mine. We both happen to be traveling the same route this week, but she has taken far more pictures than me, and spent way more time blogging. Would it be so bad if I just linked to her all week?

Actually, Sunday after morning services, 3 families from our church hit the road for what is my 2nd mission trip ever. Well, actually, Chickadee and her family left a day earlier than us for baby reasons. We arrived at our destination, which is New Jersey tonight, traveling through states I have never been through before (excluding Tennessee...I have actually been there). We stayed the night in Knoxville last night which was about half way and we covered the rest of our ground today which included the entire state of Virginia, on into Maryland, DC, Delaware and finally New Jersey. I have enjoyed every minute of the scenery and sights, wishing I could journey off our interstate route to catch a better glimpse. Hopefully there will be plenty of time for tourist attractions on the way home and after we take care of our business at hand.

I had a little catastrophe today which resulted in having to locate a camera repair shop during our lunch stop. Note to self and to anyone else that might have a brain of my caliber...NEVER try to clean your camera's inside parts. The pieces literally fell out of the camera and into my hand. Luckily, I found an extremely talented camera repair man that fixed my problem quickly and for only $40. Whew. That was a close one.

At least now, I will be able to blog and actually share pictures with you. Not sure when, but I will.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Is it Really June Already?

I am thinking.....that I'm ready to see my Little Ann who's been at the grandparents for a few days. I miss her.

I am thankful.....that Pete and I continue to be faithful in our commitment we made to get healthy. Some days are a challenge with so many ballgames and reasons to "eat out", but both of us are trying to make good food choices and are still walking 4 miles a day. Hoping it pays off!

From the lieu of that last comment, there isn't anything going on in that kitchen right now, but I think I am going to cook up some Taco Soup for dinner before church. For my fellow weight can have 1 cup for 3 points according to my recipe.

I am walking clothes. a tank and shorts.

I am reading.....nothing you could say would convince me to read my summer away.

I am hoping.....that I can scrapbook soon. I am feeling the urge BIG TIME, but it's one of those things where I get overwhelmed with guilt if I do it when I have other things lingering over my head. Believe me though. I've got the FEVER.

(haha...notice this is the same thing I was hoping the last time I did a daybook, (and the time before...and the time before)...but I STILL wanna scrapbook and STILL haven't had the time!)

I am creating.....I really got nothing here. Sorry folks. I have just never been accused of being too creative.

I am hearing.....mumbling and grunts as I watch Pete put together a baseball gizmo that Big Dan purchased with some of his graduation money. (don't you just love men and their directions!) It is called a "Quick Swing" and enables Big Dan to get in some batting practice without the assistance of me!! Very neat concept.

Around the house.....messes everywhere I look. I have got to get ready and start preparing for our Mission Outreach trip we are taking next week. We are heading out to New Jersey on Sunday afternoon.

One of my favorite things.....right now I am in total love with McDonalds Ice Cream Cones. Since being on this diet (aka health kick)..I have been lucky to find that McDonalds uses reduced fat ice cream on their cones. I can guiltlessly enjoy a nice, yummy, summer treat for only 3 points! Aren't you excited?

A few do I begin here? It's clean, clean. Wash, wash, pack, pack, buy some snacks and drinks for our trip, and Sunday we are off! I am so anxious to blog and post lots of pictures of our outreach AND the fun stuff. I never thought I would ever get to go to New York or Washington DC in my lifetime. I am pumped about being used by God AND getting up close and personal with Lady Liberty!!

A a couple of picture thoughts for the day.....

The gardenia's around my porch are just blooming away. I love them. They smell wonderful.

Hoping everyone has a great rest of the week!