Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Birthdays, Turtles, and Snakes

I have to say that I had a great Memorial Day weekend. I went home to Blountstown on Friday because it was my mother's birthday. Here she is with her birthday candle blower-outer helper, Barrett. Barrett helped me decorate mom's cake. Can you tell? 

Barrett was in love with those cheap little cake decorating letters. He thought they were the coolest thing in the world. Guess Sissy got some cool points for that!

Saturday I went to a bridal luncheon for one of my best friends. She is getting married next weekend. I can't believe that the wedding is almost here! She found a wonderful man to marry and I am so happy for the two of them. I can't wait to see what a beautiful bride she makes. While I was at the luncheon, my mother, aunt, and cousin went to St. George Island to go to the beach. Since it was too late in the day for me to drive down and join them, I decided to go to Panama City and go shopping. (what else? haha) That turned out to be trip number one to Panama that day. Later that night, a group of friends went back to Panama to go to dinner and watch a movie. We had a wonderful evening of laughing and fun. On the way home, we got to listen to the musical stylings of my cousin Stacey. I tried to tune it out and sleep, but for some reason that wasn't happening!

Sunday I worked my little butt off with my daddy. We have a swimming hole behind our house and daddy had it drained so he could clean up the grass that was growing in it and remove some of the mud that has accumulated over the years. Even Oscar joined in on the cleaning up fun. I shouldn't have let him out there due to his back problems, but he had so much fun, I couldn't resist letting him swim and play in the mud.

Above is what the creek looked like on Saturday. And with two water pumps going, this is what it looked like on Sunday:

And after walking around in that mud all day, I looked like I had just gotten some tribal tattoos done on my legs!
It was a messy job, but the creek will be so pretty and sandy after all of our hard work. Later that night, we went to our friend, Brett's house to a half-and-half party. His wife came home out of the blue three weeks ago and demanded a divorce. He is letting her keep the house, but he wasn't going to let her keep half of the meat they had recently gotten from having a cow slaughtered. So we feasted on steaks! I like the way he thinks. He has a fish pond on his property, so later that night we went out to get half the fish out of the pond. (ha ha) We threw out a large cast net and came up with tons of catfish, bream, and what else? An alligator snapping turtle. This thing was huge! Of course, the kids wanted to get close to the action, but this guy was super mad. I wish I had taken pictures, but I didn't. Sadly, this is not where my story with scary reptiles ends.

Sunday, a bunch of us went down the Chipola river to go sit on the sandbar and relax. It was a gorgeous day!

Let me set the scene: We were all sitting in the water kind of like the above picture. There was me, Brett, and Keith sitting with our backs to the current. In front of us was Brad, Stacey, and Barrett. Barrett was splashing around in his little blow up ring. We were all talking and laughing. I looked behind me and about two feet behind me was a snake coming right up in between me and Brett. I about died! I stood up and looked at Brett and yelled SNAKE!! I have never witnessed a bunch of grown men get up so fast. Stacey snatched Barrett's ring and drug him to safety all the while his poor little head was hanging down into the water. She didn't even look back to see if she was drowning him in the process of trying to get him away from the snake! Needless to say, we had a critter filled weekend, made some good memories, and had lots of fun. Hopefully we will get to do it again next weekend!

Again, sorry for the randomness of this post. It was a random weekend!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Happy Birthday Mom!

Just wanted to wish my beautiful mother a very Happy Birthday today! I cannot expressed how blessed I am to have this woman be my mother for the past 29 years. She has made sacrifices for me, loved and nurtured me, and made me the person I am today. I am truly blessed to have a mother like her. So Happy Birthday, Mimi! I love you!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Productive Day at Work

Yep. I have been super productive at work lately.....doing arts and crafts! I have been searching high and low looking for activities for our kids to do at History Camp. This is one of the crafts that we will be making on Victorian day, a spool puppet. I had to try it out to make sure that little kids could do it. If you notice, my puppet is decked out in his orange and blue finest, getting ready for football season. Ha ha! And no, I did not draw the scary robot face on him. My co-worker, Ephraim decided that he needed to be decorated and drew that horrendous face on my precious little doll I spent 30 minutes making. I found this craft in a very cute American Doll book that tells about each of the American girls. It gives different theme ideas for old-fashioned parties, crafts, and recipes. I love this book. It had some really neat ideas in it. Hopefully one day the good Lord will bless me with a little girl so I can take her to the American Doll store. I need an excuse to go and pick out cute doll stuff, since I am a little over the age range! So this is what has been occupying my days here lately, History Camp planning. Can't wait til the kiddos arrive! I have another craft for Victorian day and that is to draw each kids silhouettes and put them in a frame. I tried to get Ephraim to let me draw his outline, but for some reason he wouldn't let me do it. I can't imagine why, it's not weird or anything to stand in front of a light and then let someone draw your profile! The things that go on here at the museum are hilarious. I do believe I have one of the funnest jobs in the world! Oh yeah, I have been practicing on the old 1880 pump organ that we have here in the museum. The lady that usually plays the pump organ for the campers is unavailable this year. So since I play the piano, that leaves me. Somehow I got volunteered for this job!  I have to admit, playing the pump organ is super hard! I am not coordinated enough to play the keys and constantly pump the pedals back and forth with my feet to keep the thing playing. I feel sorry for my co-workers having to listen to me practice. I think I want to find some Phantom of the Opera music to play for the kids, since it is super creepy listening to that organ play. So yes, I am super productive at work these days.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Birth Pains

"Nation will go to war against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. There will be famines and earthquakes in many parts of the world. But all this is only the first of the birth pains, with more to come." Matthew 24:7-8

I have to admit with all the May 21st rapture talk, tornadoes, floods, wars, tsunamis, and earthquakes going on, it's hard not to see these things as birth pains getting ready for the second coming of Christ. Just this morning waking up to see the tornadoes rip through Joplin, MO is enough to break your heart so soon after the destruction in Alabama. All you have to do is look around at this depraved world and see that Jesus is desperately needed. We are told to keep watch and to do what is right and what is good until the day that we are either taken from this earth or the Lord returns. We never know when either of those scenarios will take place. "However, no one knows the day or hour when these things will happen, not even the angels in heaven of the Son himself. Only the Father knows." Matthew 24:.36 So, don't get too caught up in the hype like the guy from California and all of his 5-21-11 rapture stuff or the 2012 doomsday predictions. Just keep being obedient to the Lord and like the parable of the two servants later in Matthew 24, you will be rewarded, not assigned to the place with the hypocrites where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth. Do what you can to witness for the Lord and help those who have been touched by all these disasters.  Pray for these people and remember that these things have to take place because it is written in the good book itself. My prayers are with everyone who has been touched by these destructions.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

It Doesn't Take Much ...

...to make me a happy gal! I usually go to the store every morning and gather up a bunch of goodies to take with me to work that day. My usual granola bar and juice for breakfast, a Coke Zero for the afternoon, maybe a pack of crackers, and if I am splurging a candy bar or some candy. (I know I should really buy this stuff at the grocery store, but I like to have my options every day. Ha Ha) That's when I happened to look and saw this:

I have loved Chex Muddy Buddies ever since our chance meeting at a Vacation Bible School one year when I was younger. I. Love. Them. What's not to love? Chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and cereal. However, I hate making it from scratch. It is somewhat messy. So you can imagine my happiness when I saw this bag staring back at me from the convenience store display. Love at first sight. Told you it didn't take much to make me happy.

And speaking of VBS, I am bummed that I don't get to help out this year with the one at my church. The museum I work at does an annual History Camp for kids and of course it's the same week. I have always loved Bible School. It's just something about watching kids learn about Jesus that is so precious. But this year, I still get to love on some children and watch them grow a love for history (not even close to some Jesus, though!). I am thinking about making some Muddy Buddies for a snack one day for the kids, so that will make me happy!! I am looking forward to our camp though. Each day has a different theme from a period during the county's history. The days are: Native American day, Pioneer day, Antebellum/Civil War day, Victorian day, and 20th Century day. I am super pumped. However, I've got to learn how to do the Virginia Reel, so that I can teach the kids on Antebellum day. And if you are unfamiliar with the Virginia Reel, it's the dance from Gone with the Wind, in which Rhett bids for Scarlet to dance with him at the Confederate Bazaar. Should be fun times. I hear that the boys (3rd-6th graders, I might add) always throw a fit to "have to touch a girl" to do this dance. I can't wait!!

Anyways, this is a very random post. I just realized that. And on Oscar news, that dog is amazing! He has bounced back so well. He is like a young pup again. I guess that his back had been hurting him for a while now and now that he is on that medicine, it's like he realizes that he can move without pain. It is so awesome and I am so thankful that God was merciful to me and helped my little baby out! 

**And this is for my cousin Stacey who has a hatred for my history stories:

It is said that the first viewing of Gone with the Wind was not in Atlanta, it was actually in Thomasville. Mr. Whitney that owned Greenwood Plantation was one of the investors in the movie and it is said that he showed the first viewing of Gone with the Wind here in Thomasville at the Showboat Theatre on Melhana Plantation. It is also said that his plantation, Greenwood was the inspiration for the fictional Twelve Oaks Plantation. And you can see why.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Poor Pookie

Oscar will be seeing a lot of his bed in the next few weeks. He gave his mother quite the scare over the weekend. He became very lethargic (even more so than he normally is! ha ha), didn't want you to touch him, yelped whenever he would try to move from a laying down position. He just looked like he was in a lot of pain. It totally scared me to death. At one point, he crawled under the bed. When I went to check on him, he would not lift his head, make any kind of movement or anything. I even rattled a bag of Chex Mix Muddy Buddies to entice him to look at me for a treat. Nothing. I reached under and grabbed his leg. Still nothing. My heart just sank. I just knew that he had crawled under there to die, because he had me that worried. So picture me, half way under the bed, frantically trying to reach him to pull him out. When I got him out, he was of course still alive. He just didn't want to move. So I put him up in the bed and wrapped him in his blanket where he stayed until the next morning. He woke me up several times during the night whimpering and yelping whenever he would try and change positions. It was so pathetic and pitiful. My poor heart was broken. Oscar is my baby. I have had him for over a decade and I couldn't bear the thought of him not being around for several more years. I took him to the vet yesterday morning. As it turns out, he has Degenerative Disc Disease, which is very common with dachshunds. What he was experiencing was the onset of this disease. But with steroid and joint treatments, he should do just fine. He is already feeling so much better on his medication, so it will be hard to keep him quiet and still for several weeks so he can heal. I took him to work with me yesterday. He was pitiful when he first got to work. He just laid in his bed. An hour or so after taking his medicine (and yes, I stopped at McDonalds to get him a sausage and egg biscuit to hide the medicine in) he was a new dog. He wanted to get up. It was like he realized he could move without being in pain. So, when I had a lovely family come in for a tour, Oscar went with us outside to tour the five historic buildings out back. I think the museum needs a mascot because Oscar was the center of attention and everyone just loved him.

I just have to thank God for helping him and that it wasn't a serious enough problem to warrant back surgery or even worse, to put him down. I was so worried about either of those options. God has been so merciful to me and to Oscar with this. I felt dumb praying to God about my dog, but at the same time, I knew God knows how much Oscar means to me and Oscar is His creation as well. Plus, God's eye is on the sparrow, right? Right now, Oscar is happy to not be in pain. I was thinking that he must be on some good medication and that maybe I could use some. Ha Ha! So that has been the dachshund drama around my house lately. At least this time, the drama didn't include a x-ray looking for my diamond earrings like it did with the younger two dogs!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Musings of a Museum Docent

I have the wonderful job of working at a History museum. I absolutely adore my job and when needed, I perform tours of the outside historic buildings at the museum. I get to interact with wonderful people not only from around the country, but from around the globe. We recently even had a real-life Bavarian prince and princess come through our doors! So, from day-to-day I never know what to expect. Like one day, I gave a tour to a view sweet couple from North Carolina. All was well until we headed outside. The nice gentleman then proceeds to pull out a pair of Speedo swimming goggles. And yes, he put them on. And wore them the entire duration of our 40 minute tour. The purpose of said goggles was to keep the pollen out of his eyes. So it took all I could do to talk to this guy without laughing. The goggles just enlarged his eyes and that was all I could focus on! It was the weirdest tour I ever gave.

My most recent funny story happened just this past week. We had a "Forever Young" group from a church come in to tour the museum. There were about 20 in the group so me and our curator split them up. I take my group outside and everything is going just fine. We leave one building and start making our way to the next. As we pass the outhouse, I made a joke. I asked if anyone needed a bathroom break. Of course everyone laughs and we move on. I normally use that joke on every tour I give, and it never causes any problems until this day. So, I have my group in our Victorian cottage and I'm talking. I look outside and notice that one of the men from my group is outside wandering around. Then I watch in disbelief as he heads to the outhouse. He goes in and closes the door. I couldn't believe it! I was thinking surely he's not doing what I think he is. The outhouse is a fake. There is no hole dug into the ground to make it a true-blue outhouse. Shortly, the gentleman emerges from the outhouse and rejoins our group. No one at the museum has been brave enough to go check out the situation in the outhouse. Note to self: don't tell the bathroom-break-at-the-outhouse joke anymore!!

I have several more stories similar to some of these that just make you scratch your head. These are just two adventures in the life of a Museum docent!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

What I'm Digging

I'm loving these earrings. They are from Kendra Scott Jewelry. I heart them and considering making these pups mine someday soon.

I am also loving all of these monogrammed straw tumblers. I am planning on hitting up Loli's downtown and ordering one of these to take to work everyday.
And what Southern lady could resist personalized stationery? And a cute dachshund design to boot? Love it. I found this on Etsy. It also comes in blue.

I also found these on Etsy. I think they would be super cute hanging in my office. And a good reminder to look at everyday.

Anyways, these are just a few things that I have found that I thought were cute while I am goofing off at work, shopping on the internet. Ha ha!


Monday, May 9, 2011

Happy Mother's Day

This post is a day late, but better late than never,right? Since it's Mother's Day, I thought I would post some pictures of my babies that I get to be a mother to. They are so precious to me and I love every second I get to spend with them. Yesterday was a little sad because it would have been my first official Mother's Day as a real mom. But at the same time, I know that God has bigger and better blessings down the road for me. He has a plan for my life. I just need to do my part and be obedient to Him and follow wherever He leads. So in the mean time, I will enjoy being a mother to these precious three dogs. Mommy loves you, Brutus, Oscar, and JR!!

And speaking of mothers, I have to admit that I have the best mother of my own. She is an amazing woman. She always puts everyone else above her own needs and takes care of all of us first. I could not have chosen a better mom. God truly blessed me with her as a mother.

Her children arise and call her blessed;

her husband also, and he praises her:
“Many women do noble things,
but you surpass them all.”
Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting;
but a woman who fears the LORD is to be praised.
Honor her for all that her hands have done,
and let her works bring her praise at the city gate.  ~ Proverbs 31:28-31

Yes, my mother is worth far more than rubies. Happy Mother's Day, Mimi!

Did that just happen?!?!?

This is where I spent Saturday. On the beautiful Chipola River. I may be a little biased, being a Calhoun County girl and all, but the Chipola is the prettiest river to me. These pictures were taken down the river at a slough known as Cotton Lake.  

It was a gorgeous day and it felt great to be out on the river enjoying all the surrounding beauty. It was also great because I got to spend the day with one of my most favorite people in the world, my brother Brad. He is super good to me and I sort of planned his day for him. I basically let him know on Friday that he was taking me fishing, whether he knew it or not! But he was a good sport and took his baby sister out on the river.
He got a little annoyed at all my picture taking. Since he was my only subject, he got the brunt of everything. I took a lot of really close up shots, but I doubt he will appreciate me posting those. Above is proof that he actually caught a fish. I caught the majority of the fish. And that was only because I had the best rod and reel available on the market today. Only a few lucky people are allowed to own such a special fishing pole.
Ok, so I got bored and decided to fish with my nephew's fishing pole. But I have to say, Spiderman didn't disappoint! And please excuse the mess that is me. No makeup, didn't fix my hair. It was obviously skank it up day. I was looking beautiful, let me tell ya! Ha Ha!

I have a few action shots of me trying to get this dumb fish off the hook. Spiderman didn't want to release his victim!

Finally! Success! It was a fairly uneventful day. We saw a few folks on the river that we knew and waved to, but nothing too exciting. That is until it was almost time to go home. We weren't having any luck with crickets or worms, so we broke out the Bitsy Minnow lures. Everything was going smoothly until I decided to get hung up and yank the line up. I got the lure unhooked from the limb, however I caught something much bigger.
Yep. I caught myself with a treble hook. Talk about hurting. But that's not the best part of the story. I am such a baby when it comes to hurting myself. I will pass out from a simple paper cut if I think about it enough. So of course, after this all happened and I realized that it wasn't going to simply just come out, I started to get worked up. I told Brad as I was trying to get to the side of the boat to lean out, "I'm about to throw up or pass out one." Turns out, I passed out. Yes, I passed out and proceeded to hit my forehead on the side of the boat. Needless to say, I had quite the goose-egg and my head is still sore even today! Leave it to me to do something so stupid. After I woke up and found my brother still fishing, guess he was just waiting for me to finally come to, I made him pack it up and take me home. Of course, I begged him to take me to the hospital, because I just knew it was that bad. (I can be a little dramatic, ok?) He assured me that he could get it out. Of course, I had to push the hook all the way through my skin, so that the barb could be cut off. That was fun, let me tell you. We finally got home and Brad was able to cut the hook out with a pair of guitar string pliers. So, that crisis was then over. But I do now have a nice souvenir that Brad made me.

My little lure is now attached to my key chain to remind me of that traumatic episode!
Even if I had a little accident, it was still great to be at home for the weekend. It's always nice to be reminded who you are and where you come from. It's always nice to go home!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

A Single Blade of Grass

Every spring, countless people burn off their yards. They light the grass on fire and let the fire go. The purpose of this is to clean the yard of anything that shouldn't be there, especially invasive weeds. Although by doing this, the yard is left a charred, black ugly mess for weeks. However, slowly but surely, tiny blades of a vibrant green grass start to emerge from the ashes. Soon, the yard is a luscious patch of beautiful green pasture. Our lives are like those yards. We can cut the grass, pull up the weeds, and fertilize the soil. No matter how much we try, there are still patches in the yard where grass refuses to grow. And no matter how many times we pull up the weeds, they keep returning. Sometimes those weeds return in more numerous numbers and bigger than before. We can try on our own to make our yards beautiful, but sometimes it takes a more drastic measure. A yard cleaning so thorough that only God can do the weeding. The Bible assures us that we will all be tested by fire, so we can be refined like gold. Right now, your life may be in flames, still burning and destroying everything beautiful in sight. Or your life could be what remains after the fire sweeps through your life- a big, ugly, black, charred wasteland. Or your life could be in the rebirth of growth, with blades of grass springing forth from the ashes making way for a glorious green field of beauty.

Right now, I can honestly say that I have been through the burning flames. Nothing in my world has been left untouched by the scorching fire. My life has been a wasteland of ashes, where everything looked bleak, hopeless, and plain ugly. However, through God's grace and mercy, my life is now springing forth with new growth. A beauty so abundant that it can't be measured. It started with just a blade popping up here and there, but in time, more and more blades continue to grow and now my lawn is beginning to look even more beautiful than before. All I can attest to is that the new growth in my life has been a creation that only God Himself could bring about. He is the only one who can bring forth beauty from ashes.

Sometimes God allows pain and suffering into our lives for a reason. For a greater purpose that only He can see. Rest assured that God will never tempt us, but sometimes like in the story of Job, He will allow Satan to tempt us. He allows this because He wants our faith to grow and to teach us a few lessons along the way. Sometimes it takes a good run-in with the flames of hell to help set our faith on fire! When life is going well and you are happy and things seem to be going your way, God gets pushed aside. Yeah, we may take Him off the shelf on Sunday and for a quick reading of a chapter of Scripture at night and a hurried prayer over the dinner table. But we never fully need to depend on Him, because we are walking around on our own strength. I was that person. I had everything a girl could want. Things were going great. However, all of that changed in an instant and I suddenly found myself thrown into the fiery flames and desperately seeking a way to extinguish them. I prayed to God for Him to put the fire out in my life that was consuming everything that I loved. But He didn’t. God knew that everything in my life needed to be burned to the ground. He needed to remove those things in my life that I thought I needed to exist and be happy; to take away the things that I depended on for security. I seriously believed in the midst of the flames that I would surely be burned and scarred so severely that I wouldn’t get out alive. I’m beginning to realize that I was rescued and made it out with nothing more than maybe smoke inhalation! Praise God!! The only thing that God wants from us is our love. He wants us to depend on Him for everything. To praise Him for our blessings and to seek Him in times of trouble. He wants to be our everything. If we allow Him to be our everything, we can experience a joy and a love so profound, that we realize that love and joy from other sources can’t even compare to the unfailing love of the Father and the Son. In this time of great trial, I have had to lean on Christ as I have never had to lean on Him before in my life. He finally brought me to my knees and broke me of my pride and arrogance thinking that I could take care of myself. I had weeds growing in my heart and in my life that I didn’t even realize had invaded. Thank goodness God is the great Gardener and could pluck those weeds out and then cultivate the soil of my heart to make it ready to receive the seeds that He wanted planted instead. It has been a long learning process and He still has things to teach me that I need to learn. Those seeds He planted are beginning to sprout. I no longer need to wade through the ashes looking for charred remains of my previous life. God has laid the foundation of a promise for a brand new life, one even better than the one I had previously. God has taught me that I am here on this Earth to love Him. To serve Him. To bring glory to Him. God gave us a free will because He wants us to choose Him willingly. He wants us to love him with everything within us. He wants our faith to grow!! Yes, there are times that I am like doubting Thomas, but instead of asking to see the nail scars on His hands or the wound in His side, I have to ask God to help me believe in my faith. To believe that He holds my future in the palm of His hands and that He makes things perfect in His own time. God has had to beat patience into my heart over and over. To trust in Him fully and faithfully. Slowly but surely, my blades of faith are peaking up through those black ashes.

The reason why I am sharing all of this is to shed some light on the truth. God has revealed Himself to me more clearly than I have ever seen Him before. Instead of feeling sorry for ourselves when times of trials head our way, we should look at that time to grow some deep roots with God. To see our sufferings as blessings because through suffering our endurance and strength in Him grows! And fires in our life help get us running in His direction for safety and refuge. So if you are in the midst of some kind of trouble in your life-lift it up to God in prayer. Let Him begin to put out those flames in your life. God will supply the all the water you need, if you will hold the hose and point it in the right direction! Let Him remove in your life what needs to be gone. Obediently follow Him and let Him speak to your heart and lead you in the right direction. And once you have sifted through the ashes, let the re-growth begin! I promise you, I have been through the toughest time in my life and it’s still not over; but I have a renewed strength and gladness in my heart that I could never have imagined was possible. God is faithful. Do you feel like something is missing in your life? God can fulfill it. Not feeling loved? God has more love than you can imagine! Not feeling appreciated? God considers you precious in His sight! Not feeling joy? God can turn your weeping into dancing! Trying to fill that void in your heart with people or things? God’s the only thing that will make you feel complete! I just had to share with you some of the things that are happening in my life right now. I want to testify at how great my God is and the miracles he can perform in your life. He is the great I AM. You need a healer? He’s the great physician. You hungry for a fulfilling life? He’s the bread of life. Whatever need you have, he is the great I AM _____ (fill in the blank). Apparently I needed a good yard man, thank goodness God said to me I AM He. My yard needed a good overhaul, one blade of grass at a time. What about yours?