Monday, June 30, 2008

Catching up

When I woke up this a.m. a little after 7, Stan was gone. Very unusual at this household because he is a night owl who has worked 2nd shift almost constantly since Jacob was 6 weeks old. Supervisor of his shop has canceled 2nd shift for who knows how long so my poor hubby has to hit the road before 5a.m. to get to work by 6a.m. I believe he'd prefer to hit the sack at 5a.m.

We are grateful for the job & as a church friend reminded me, grateful that he didn't get transferred to Mayport thus forcing a family move. We do enjoy small town life complete with little traffic (Stan said,"we're gonna have to move" when we got the 2nd traffic light - LOL!), the compact community college & our wonderful church family. We are very blessed.

I heard Jacob leave about 7:30. He opens several days a week at 8a.m. He's a hard & steady, dependable worker who has learned a good amount about plants at Ace. His friendly people-personality is a plus for the company. A month or so ago, the indoor crew asked him to transfer inside seeking to entice him with air conditioning but he prefers the variety of the nursery dept. plus the more independent work environment so declined. He told me that if he switched to indoors, EVERYONE would be telling him what to do. I know I wouldn't care for that!

When I was at Ace the other day, several nursery/pet department people were off work so Jacob & Ann were holding down the fort. Someone was waiting to purchase parakeets. Ann called Jacob (who was filling propane) to come catch the birds. I was surprised that she didn't do it but curious to see him in action. Ann folded a box, Jacob reached in & grabbed the desired bird & deposited it into the box. He grabbed the 2nd bird before the 2nd box was even ready. The birds darting around in the cage were no match for his quick and accurate aim. It takes me longer to catch ONE bird alone in a small cage. I was quite impressed.

Andrew is a good employee for them also. The other day, Kelly said he wished they had more workers like them then asked Caleb if he was ready to clock in. Kelly is looking forward to Andrew turning 18 so he can fill propane, learn to drive the forklift, use a ladder and not have to take the govt mandated 30 minute break every 4 hours. Andrew is regularly scheduled to work on Mondays so he can feed the snakes. I'm guessing that not all the employees enjoy that task.

Andrew is hoping to get his driver's license some time this week. It will be useful to have another licensed driver but I will miss our time together commuting to work & school. He's also not excited about having to pay for insurance but understands that's part of it. Dual enrollment registration begins next week. Didn't summer vacation just begin?

Caleb & Rachel have both started school. FLVS wanted to get them going so Rachel is active in m/j Spanish 1 & Caleb in Spanish 1 & Computing for College & Careers - a prerequisite for the web design class that he's interested in. I told them it is something they can do when it is too hot to play outside (most of the day) & that by starting early, they can finish early - doesn't that sound like a good argument to you?

Both are still riding regularly M, T & H plus have some horse shows coming up. Not sure if they will actually ride in them but they will attend at least one since the 4-H club is doing concessions there as a fundraiser.

Rachel & I have been going through a study for moms & daughters based on the book The Princess and the Kiss (available in the church library) in which the "kiss" symbolizes purity. It has some hands on activities and discussion questions. It's a nice little focus for some mother/daughter time.

Caleb, Andrew & I have started reading & discussing the book Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life by Donald S Whitney (yes, it is available in the library - when I return it!). So far we've covered Bible reading/study/memorization & meditation (Caleb contributed the fact that medication - you know the "traditional" position & verbalization - originated with the Hindus. We discussed the differences between emptying & opening one's mind to spirits vs. filling one's mind with God's Word & being open to His Spirit) and today begin a chapter on prayer, which, of course, goes along with meditation & scripture > praying God's Word.

Time to fix a non-traditional (for us) lunch of grilled cheese sandwiches. Guess our main meal of the day will be supper for the foreseeable future. I know Stan will appreciate your prayers and condolences. Have a blessed day!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Through Teen Eyes

Today I took Andrew to work. Not a big deal, I do it often.

Not long after I returned home, Jacob left to go to Maryn's house. Also not unusual.

Today's difference was that for the past few weeks on Mondays, Jacob has been taking Andrew to work, staying in town to visit Maryn then bringing Andrew home when he gets off work.

Caleb (age 14) could not understand it.

"Why did Jacob go into town?"

"Didn't you (mom) take Andrew to work?"

"Did Jacob need to go to Walgreens?"

"Did he need to deposit his check or get out some cash?"

"Did he have a dentist appointment?"

"Did Jacob need to go to town for ANYTHING?"

I explained that even though Maryn's birthday dinner plans had changed (She turned 20 Saturday & told me that she feels old. Hm. I remember feeling old when I turned 20 but strangely enough I do NOT feel all that old right now. SO, a question to ponder is does that make one OLDER at age 20 than at 40something? But I digress...) even though plans had changed, Jacob didn't know what time he would be finished visiting and was riding his bike so he wouldn't be bringing Andrew home either.

"He's only going into town so he can see Maryn?
What a waste of time!"

He rolled his eyes, shook his head and left the room. I snickered as I thought about how one day his tune will change.
I'll make sure to tease him then. :-)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Games People Play

One of the cool things about Stan's folks is that they enjoy playing games. When we lived in TX we'd often go to their house after church on Sunday nights to play dominoes and eat up all the lunch leftovers. When they visit us, we play games that they like such as GOLF, Mexican Train (dominoes) and Phase Ten.

Maryn joined us in a game or two.

Mom C likes Scrabble too. Check out the interesting word she made instead of "MACHINES" LOL!

Sometimes we teach them games we like such as Blockus (which Rachel claims to hate but regularly WINS) and Rumikub - which I won twice.

Caleb, Andrew & Rachel didn't try to teach them the Star Wars cards game. They've robbed dice from I don't know how many different board games and use k'nex pieces too. I've played a couple of times but still can't keep up with all the rules.

M & D also went to horseback & got to ride with Ms. Cindy.
Sometimes they got tired of games & just needed to relax with the paper.

I expect Mom's looking for more words to use in Scrabble!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Spotted Past

We had a busy & successful VBS last week and got Andrew off to camp EARLY this morning so I've been getting a few things done around here: some clutter control, some laundry and spotting a spot on a well used spot of the floor - the spot just in front of our favorite lazy boy (it actually has a few spots of its own...) - I decided to to some spot cleaning so broke out the spray carpet cleaner. While cleaning up all the living room carpet spots that I spotted, another spot came to mind - a notorious spot on my bedroom carpet.

"Notorious? A SPOT?" you say.

Well, really only in my mind.

You see, when we moved here 11 years ago there was a nasty looking rusty brownish spot very prominently displayed on the gray carpet. Stan said that the owners had been unable to get the stain out of the carpet so being busy enough with moving & the four kids (ages 1,3,6 & 8 at the time) & SAD because I was missing home, I did my best to ignore it. But it was RIGHT THERE IN PLAIN SIGHT. It was in a place that was not easily covered so I couldn't just put a potted plant or table over it. I had to walk by it and SEE it. EVERYDAY. I was glad that it was pretty well hidden from company since it was in the bedroom, but I knew it was there.

Periodically, I would look at it & wonder WHAT would make a spot that STRANGE shape and funky color? Who made this stain that I had to live with? How long had it been there? Had the guilty party ever looked at it and sighed, wishing they could go back in time and unmake this blemish on the bedroom carpet, this mark commemorating some disaster?

As time passed, I got used to it being there. Usually, I didn't even notice it or think of it anymore. However, this morning, armed with Resolve Carpet Spray Cleaner & an old towel, after successfully conquering some living room black marks against my housecleaning, I attacked the ancient stain in the bedroom carpet.

And it came out.

11 years I have lived with this eyesore and on my FIRST attempt, I got the stain out. It took a good bit of elbow grease (uh, just translate that to "work" if you don't speak Southern) & pretty much covered the towel with a peach colored substance I now suspect to be makeup - but it is out and all I can think is, "I put up with that stain far too long without even trying to get it out."

While on my hands and knees scrubbing and blotting, my thoughts turned to sin.

Sometimes do I have sin "spots" that I just don't think can come out? Do I not care about them because they are somewhere that other people can't see? Do I get used to them and live with them even though at one time they seemed so ugly and glaring to me?

Jesus died on the cross to pay for my sin & wash me white as snow, scrubbing me clean with his holy blood. I only need to confess and I am forgiven.

Holy Spirit, convict us of the spots in our lives that need deep cleaning. Father, wash us so we can be useful vessels for You. Keep us close to You & clean. I ask this in the precious Name of Jesus.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Maryn's Business

Business cards look better in person (as do most persons) but I wanted to show this one to you in case you don't have one yet - and I doubt that you do since they are brand-spankin' new. The painting displayed on the card is called Waiting. I laughed and told Maryn it means, "I'm waiting for your business!" JIC you can't read the contact info on the card:
Maryn Chilson / Portraits, Lessons, Commissions (various mediums)
P.O. Box 1964 / Keystone Heights, FL 32656 /

I visited the site where her originals and various sized prints are available for sale and was pleasantly surprised to find additional work than had been "displayed" the previous time I was there: A beautifully drawn pen and ink series of the full armor of Christ.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Escort-ing Andrew

Here's Andrew with his 1999 Ford Escort ZX2 Sport (4 cylinder). Now, that's a cool ride.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Rachel's Birthday Party

When Jacob was two, we started the family tradition of parties for our kids only when celebrating even-numbered birthdays. I think they appreciate the special-ness more when the parties are not annual - I know I do!

Rachel was celebrating one dozen years May 19 & had some clear ideas about what she hoped to do. I think we did a pretty good job granting her wishes and even threw in a couple of surprises.

The party began Friday at 5 p.m. just as some dark clouds started rolling in. Initially, as the girls arrived, they ran out to the fort to get jumped-upon by Jessi squirrel. The more legs to climb and shoulders to hop upon, the happier she is.

An unusual incident: a large, seemingly friendly husky with no collar showed up in the yard, greeting everyone like he was our welcoming committee. The guests had no idea he was a party crasher. I tried to give him away with no success. As the rain started to fall & the thunder made a little noise, he tried to come into the house but was well behaved enough to obey "NO." Guess he went home because he was gone when we went back out.

First activity: Treasure Hunt

The thunder was fading into the distance but the drips were still drooling so I had the girls get into their water play clothes first. Clue numero uno was found playing a game of hangman on the whiteboard. "Climb up to Jessi's new home." And they were off! 12 clues in all that had them on every side of the house outside and several rooms inside. In and out, searching for that next clue. "Parts is Red parts" (Red mini-van) "Little men kick a ball." (foosball table) "Can't fish from me anymore" (NON-floating dock) "A - G makes beautiful music" (piano)

I had towels at every door.

The treasure was located in "Can't ski behind these jets" the storage area under a jet ski seat (our $500 lawn ornaments). They brought in the duffel bag & each chose treasure bags. Bracelets, pens, flashlights, highlighters, CANDY...

What is this? Each bag contained a can of shaving cream. Were we having a shave your legs for the first time party? No!

We were having a shaving cream fight!

The rain had stopped so I turned on the back yard sprinklers.

The girls began to shake those cans and squirt each other. How funny! They ran around and got covered. Some didn't think they were getting sprayed enough so sprayed themselves. They gave themselves beards and mustaches. Then they did each other's hair. Shaving cream works even better than hair gel.

I told them that once (upon a time) when I had a shaving cream fight at a slumber party, my dad told my friends that shaving cream has a special chemical that causes the roots of hair to disintegrate so that the hair falls out.

Wide eyes looked at me. Hands touched foamy hair-dos.

"Is that true? Will our hair fall out?"

"Of course NOT!"

After emptying the cans & slathering the shaving cream all over until they were almost unrecognizable, it was time to play in the sprinklers and on the slip-n-slide (thank you, Abby!)

I went inside & prepared for supper: Do it yourself french bread pizzas.

You'd have thought those girls had never made their own pizza in their life. What fun spooning on the sauce, adding the pepperoni and cheese. Double decker pepperoni. Triple layers of cheese. More sauce? Why not! They used (0r ate) all the pepperoni, and cheese was all over the table. Some say boys are messy, but in my experience, girls take the prize in that contest.

The pizzas cooked quickly while the girls got drinks and plates. After prayer as the girls started to eat, Rachel asked me. "Mom, Can we have a no-manners meal?" (I know, I know - she should have said "may" not "can" but I'm tellin' it like it happened. Call the grammar police if you must.)

Well, I thought just a second and figured it might be fun for them.

"This is declared an official no-manners meal. Here are the rules: There will be no throwing of food. Try to keep all food on the table and off your clothes. You may not mess with your neighbor's food. Everyone put your elbows on the table. You are required to have food in your mouth when you speak. Smacking is permitted (one girl thought I meant "slapping" each other rather than "smacking your lips" - had to clarify that one). Belches are encouraged."

Their faces went from puzzlement to surprise (true jaw-dropping) to huge grins. "I have ALWAYS wanted to do this!"

I passed out straws so they could blow bubbles in their drinks - then had a bubble blowing contest. One burped, said "Excuse me" then "uh-oh. Am I banned from the meal for saying "excuse me"?" LOL

Rachel opened gifts while I cleaned off the table & got her cupcakes ready. The girls came back into the dining room, sang "Happy Birthday" & the candles were blown out. Then they wanted to eat their cupcakes with their hands behind their backs. OK. When they were finished, I declared the no-manners meal officially over and reminded them that now they were to practice good manners.

As they played, they came up with a "program" to "perform" for the moms as a couple of the girls had to go home. Gymnastics, piano playing and parading around in feather masks and blankets had everyone smiling and giggling (after all, they are GIRLS). Then for the finale, plastic roaches (Yes, you read that right. Never mind where Rachel got them, they've been a source of practical jokes for several years now. sigh) were tossed on the unsuspecting audience. (Rachel claims it was not her idea but that of the daughter of the "victim". I apologised anyway.)

These three stayed the night. Here they were on-line showing Rachel the ropes on the site for her new web-kin.

There was a spin art craft that we did while they took turns on the PC. It is extremely easy and makes a cool little picture. (craft - done. Check it off the list.)

It was almost 11 when Jacob got home. Even though the girls were getting tired, they were happy to go outside and play with sparklers. I was happy to have my pyro-loving son in charge of this activity.

They crashed before "The Princess Diaries" was over. Rachel was actually the first to fall asleep. We will not mention SNORING.

We had baked eggs and toast for breakfast - with manners. Then came a surprise call from Ms. Cindy. Bonny had finally foaled so we took a spontaneous field-trip a couple of miles down the road to see the new baby.

This colt was born around 6 hours earlier. He is a beautiful tri-color paint.

The girls also enjoyed seeing a kitten that had followed Cindy to the barn.

What a perfect conclusion for Rachel's party.

All Their Bags Were Packed

And they've gone. :-(
I know you laugh when I say it but it really is quiet here now.

I have added a link to my eclectic list:
Note that this is not a Christian site. It provides info on the actions of muslim terrorists - initially in hopes of shaming them into change but now mainly to keep alive the memories of those who have senselessly died at the hands of some of the fanatics caught up in this brutal religion.
I thought this page had some interesting insights:
addressing what we can do to promote change. My number one activity to promote change (PRAYER) is not listed since, as I said, this is not a Christian site but I don't want you to get all caught up in the reading & forget to pray for the situations & those involved/effected at the same time. Work that multi-tasking brain!
I can hear it now: "Oh, Father, it is horrible that all those children witnessed such an awful thing. Please use Your Mighty Power to open their hearts to the TRUTH of YOU and Your LOVE which is so different from the darkness and death and lies and hatred they see around them..."
I placed this link right before the one that provides resources for Christians to witness to muslims. :-)

Breaking News:
Andrew purchased a car yesterday. I'll give you the stats when I get a picture to post so for now you are just gonna have to wait. Just this tidbit: It is a FORD.

Irony: Andrew doesn't have his license yet so he can't legally drive his own car unless a licensed driver over age 21 is in the front seat. Jacob doesn't own a car. If he & Andrew go somewhere together, Jacob has to be the one driving even if it's Andrew's car.

I get to drive it today to pick-up Andrew from work because Stan took my car.
He's taking those packed bags to the airport in Jax & he couldn't convince either one of his parents to ride in the back of his truck. Imagine that!
I think I'll go make some noise.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Hail and High Water

Praise the Lord! We had a storm yesterday! Stan said the rain gauge held over 2 inches but we know there was more than that because part of the time the wind was blowing the rain sideways. It came into the house under the doors on the lake side. (Yes, I realize we no longer actually have lakeside property - it's now lakeview - but if the lake ever comes back, it will still be on that side of the house. Duh!) I was stuffing towels into corners & crevices where the rain was entering thinking (as my in-laws watched) "I'm so glad we recently cleaned this!" and thanking the Lord that we were home to sop it up.

Stan's dad had been saying that they came to FL to see some rain. What we really didn't expect (and what they have fairly often in SA, TX) was the HAIL. Thankfully it was small enough that it didn't cause much damage - just lost a few small branches & some of my little yellow pear tomatoes (yum - but not if they are smushed).

The rain came down so fast that our drainage system couldn't keep up & water almost started to come in under the door at the foyer entrance too. Stan went out in his swimsuit with an umbrella (read "lightening rod") in the thunder (and LIGHTENING) storm to try to unclog the front drain. I did my part to encourage him to stop. With his mama in the house, I had the perfect leverage and I used it. I TOLD ON HIM! She & I laughed together.

I looked out to watch Stan and a furry blur caught my eye. Our little Manx cat, Smokey, was doing a fast zig-zag dash through the rain & hail toward our neighbor's porch - why he didn't stay under the car I don't know. Poor little thing looked so upset, I think he'd have tucked his tail if he had one.

Of course, Rachel was worried about Jessie the squirrel (who currently has the fort as home base) and Ms. Cindy's horses. "They've never SEEN hail!"

I personally think that the SEEING would not be the issue. Can't you just hear all the squirrels? "The sky is falling! There are pieces everywhere! Let's hide it in the dirt!" Or the horses? "Run away!" Molly, being the Jack Russell that she is, wanted to go outside and play in it. (Stan's dog!) "Catch the ball! There's another one! And another! And another! And another!..."

The rain came down so quickly that the water was standing in the yard with the little hail stones floating around like jellyfish. Dad C. gazed out the sliding glass doors at the pooling water and said, "Look! I can see the lake!"

We were glad that the Lord provided a little excitement for our guests.

Stan has enjoyed watching thunderstorms for as long as I've know him. It had to grow on me. We had a covered porch on our last house that provided a wonderful vantage point for watching God's light shows. Especially at night. Stan would share a chair with me, wrapping me in his arms to keep off the wet chill as the fingers of light tickled across the wide Texas sky. And I would be reminded that "the heavens declare the glory of God" and think "how awesome the Creator".

But I still jump when the thunder booms!