Friday, September 29, 2006

In the living room, Kristofer and Konner are creating their own musical art.
Sometime this summer, a windstorm came blustering through. We had to go outside and watch all kinds of things blow past us.

Time for a Nap!

So maybe having Keri Lynn take a day trip to California for her orthodontist, instead of a two day trip, was too ambitious for all of us. I didn't account for the fact that we'd be losing two good nights' rest, since we had to wake up so early and then get to bed so late. The whole point was for us not to miss too much school time, but now Keri Lynn and I are BOTH tired today I'm glad the weekend is approaching!

I let Keri Lynn and Kristofer sleep in this morning, since Kristofer needed to be babysitter while I went to go get his sister. It was weird coming back home so late and still having Keith gone. He doesn't come in until 1:45 or 2:00. Here I am dragging after my little excursion and he does this on a regular basis. What a guy!

Part of the challenge of flying standby is to try to fly when the rest of the world isn't. I usually plan flight days on Tuesday, Wednesday or Thursday if at all possible. If I'm gone for a visit somewhere, then we're there from two to five days usually. It's wonderful to fly free, though. And should Keith ever find a job that pays more than what his two jobs currently pay him, then we would sorely miss the flight privileges.

In fact, I'm planning a field trip for me and the kids to go visit Washington D.C. one of these days. Keri Lynn will be going there on choir tour this summer, and that got me to thinking about how we really need to take advantage of flying and go visit our nation's capital. I think we can even just fly into the airport and take mass transit in so we don't have to pay for a rental car. I checked out a bunch of books from the library about that we can start learning more about what we'll be seeing.

Now that we're settling in to our home more, I'd like to take some time to go see the sights in Atlanta as well. We haven't been to any of the museums around here yet. There are also tons of Civil War sites. It would also be fun just to drive out a little to see the terrain. Alabama is just a county away. I think Savannah, on the east coast is about four hours away, and four to six hours away are a variety of states.

When we went to the library a few days ago, we saw a strange flag under the American flag. I pointed it out to the kids, "I think that must be the Georgia state flag," and felt pretty stupid that I hadn't noticed it before or even thought about it. We're just so used to seeing the California state flag.

I'm heading off to bed now that the bigger kids are up to catch up on some sleep. Earlier, I made pancakes to fill the hungry masses until lunch. I read the Times-Herald cover to cover which takes about 15 minutes. Kody is back in his crate after a few morning potty runs. Keva is at school. All is at peace.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

The fence as seen from the deck at the back of our house.
Workin', workin', workin'
Kathleen with Kody -- aren't they adorable!
Kylie at the fence corner.
Boys and their toys, and what is Kylie holding? Her Barbie.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Season of the Steam Cleaner

I'm sorry to be boring you all to death with Kody stories, but I've been obsessed with how to take care of this dog properly.

On Wednesdays, I go to my Bible study group. I had saved some homework for the last minute, and as a result ended up running out the door a little late. I was shouting last minute instructions to kids, warning them that someone needed to take the dog out for a potty break and that he shouldn't be allowed to wander around without someone watching him, when Konner said over his breakfast bowl, "Something stinks!" My warning came too late.

Kody had done his business again. In the dining rooom. (Thanksgiving Dinner in the dining room just does NOT have much appeal these days.) And it stunk to high heaven. I was gagging on the smell, so that would tell you how bad it was -- because I almost have no sense of smell at all anymore. Keri Lynn scooped up the crime scene and I hurriedly got the steam cleaner ready with a quick flurry of instructions and then ran out the door. Gag, gag, gag!

Nothing like calmly walking into church to study God's word after leaving a scene like that!

The good news of the day is that the fence is nearly all up. All that remains is putting up the gate. The rest is all nailed in from the fence along the driveway, then where it turns down the road along the curb and then it curves again for a few feet at the back. Our yard is completely covered! The builder can now proceed with the business of selling houses!

This afternoon, though, an official looking builder guy came by to let me know that Kylie had been sighted throwing BOTTLES at one of his houses in the lot next to ours. Kristofer came over and said he had been doing it, too, so I had them apologize to him and he gave them a lecture about how they shouldn't do that. I was mortified that my kids would even go on one of the properties, let alone throw bottles around, breaking them, etc. I was furious. There are now sore rear ends and children who perhaps understand a little bit better that they are not to go onto properties that do not belong to them.

I will be leaving with Keri Lynn to the airport tomorrow morning at 5:30. Cough, cough, sputter. Supposedly, I'll be back in time to get Keva from school. Keri Lynn will be getting in at about 10:00 AM, California time, going to her ortho at 12:30, having lunch with Grandpa Stan and then returning back to the airport a few hours early for a 4:30 flight. Then, I pick her up again at 11:30 PM. Such a fun day.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

At last, pictures again!

Kathleen was the photographer for this set of pictures. First, are Kade and Konner playing with their action heroes.
Here's Kristofer with his big bad Nerf gun that he got for his birthday.
And Princess Kylie

Procrastination Woes

I've been having serious procrastination issues. They usually involve the telephone. I've never been much of a telephone user. I hate to initiate calls. I enjoy receiving calls, but making the calls are not my cup of tea. I avidly avoid any phone chains. If I have to pay a bill, I prefer to mail it or pay on-line. I don't like to place orders by phone. I dislike setting up appointments by phone. I'm not sure why I'm so phobic about phones except that maybe I don't think quickly on my feet. I prefer writing, when I can think more fully about questions and answers. That's why I'm such an email junkie!

Anyway, all that to say that I made an appointment on Friday for Keri Lynn to go to an orthodontist appointment on Tuesday. This is when she travels to California on her own, sees a family member or two and heads back home with her teeth a little straighter.

When did I attempt to make arrangements for who would pick her up from the airport and take her to the orthodontist and return her to the airport? Monday evening. Why did I wait until Monday evening? I put it off. Didn't want to get on the phone. Then I get so aggravated at myself and so embarrassed. It's like I set myself up for failure on the phone. I've heard myself say countless times to countless hapless relatives and friends, "I'm so sorry to be asking last minute, but . . ." This issue is easily one of the top five things that I dislike about myself.

Of course, I couldn't make arrangements this time for Keri Lynn, so I moved her appointment to Thursday when Stan, Keith's Dad, can get her around to where she needs to go. Thanks, Stan . . . AGAIN!

Anyway, while I'm typing, there's a crew of guys in our backyard nailing our fence up! It looks really nice. They were supposed to come on Saturday to finish the job, but I guess it worked out for them to come today. The nails that Keith had purchased for the job turned out to be just a little too long, so a guy went to pick up smaller nails and they all went to work. It's very physical work and I can't imagine Keith working on that job all by himself. It would have taken him days and days just to do what they've done in a few hours. It follows the whole length of the curb along our property and then curves in at the back of the property for about ten feet.

I had to get the steam cleaner out AGAIN this morning when Kody peed in the family room this time. However, I can't really blame him. Keri Lynn got up before me this morning, and found that he'd thrown up in his crate. So while she cleaned that up, he wandered around trying to hold it all in and she didn't think to FIRST take him out! He upchucks occasionally because he's constantly eating grass and whatever else he can get his teeth on. Kristofer and Kathleen have been taking him for evening runs on their scooters. He pulls Kathleen along. They are such a sight. They go FAST, and Kody is as happy a dog as you'd ever see, tongue lolling, bouncing more than running.

Yesterday, since I had the steam cleaner out anyway, I brought it upstairs to work on the boys' room and to help them get it back under control again. They've got the big bonus room that looks like a barn. Kristofer's space is always nice and neat but he'd given up on the little boys' section. It had gotten to be a huge mess. The boys all worked with me for several hours, picking up toys, filling up two bags of trash, stuffing two laundry hampers and sorting army men, Legos, Bionicles -- It was a disgusting war zone. I vacuumed and steam cleaned and today I've been trying to get caught up once more with all of the extra laundry.

Ever since their room has been cleaned up, they've been playing upstairs and enjoying their space again. Kylie told me that she wants to sleep upstairs, too, but I told her that she needs to sleep in her own room!

Back to school!

Monday, September 25, 2006


Keri Lynn stayed home to get a good jump on her school work and Keva is at her school, so I had just five with me on a little trip to Wal-Mart this morning. I needed fabric softener, steam vac cleaning solution, diapers for my bed wetters, trash bags and paint supplies. When you're going for a lot of odds and ends like that, it's nice to go to a Super Wal-Mart.

I'm planning to get some painting done, first in the hallways to cover up all of the little kid finger prints and then in the main rooms. It will be good practice to start in the hallways -- simple, smaller surface. I'm looking forward to making some headway with my color scheme. I've still got to make a stop at Sherwin Williams for some paint. Details, details. Keith wants to make sure I get a really good quality paint that only requires one coat and will fight off all of those little hand and fingerprints. At least we're finally past the wall art stage so I don't have any cute little pictures in markers or crayons to cover up!

On Saturday, Kody pooped in the dining room twice and living room once -- all in the course of a morning. He had not done ANYTHING at all in the house for two weeks that we'd brought him up from the basement and then all of a sudden he was a poop making machine. I was so mad! So I got the steam cleaner out and cleaned up the mess -- this was after I'd already done all of the living room and dining room rugs after he'd turned into the vomit comet earlier last week. I went on to clean all of the rugs and emptied out a filthy tank eight times. (Thus the need for more steam cleaning solution.)

I go between loving that dog as if he were one of my kids to thinking that we ought to trade him in for a 10-year-old sweet submissive dog. He's all fire and feistiness. If he gets too excited, he's nipping the kids and jumping and barking like a rabid wolf. But then I come after him with a newspaper roll and he's cowering under the breakfast table all sweetness and humility.

Kylie went with me on the last "kid" walk, and she wanted to know if she was going to have to go to the cemetery on Sunday.

"Cemetery, Kylie?" I asked quizzically, "Oh! You mean SANCTUARY!"

"Yep," she said, wondering why I was laughing.

"Well, maybe some sanctuaries ARE cemeteries, Sweetie," I said, "But our's isn't!"

Whenever I tease her, she always says, "Mo-om!" in teen-like mortification.

Kylie continues to improve on her reading. She plodded through her American Girls book because she wanted to be like Kathleen who reads one series a week. But the problem was that she was struggling through and not enjoying the actual read. I was impressed with her tenacity, though. She was going to finish that book if it was the last thing she did, setting her goal to read two pages a day. However, when she did finish, she announced to me that she wouldn't read any more American Girl books for a while. So I got her a Barbie book and a Princess book for her night time reading, and she told me the next morning that she had read AND understood them and enjoyed them. Once she gets a little bit faster in her reading, she'll be reading through those American Girl books just like Kathleen.

Keri Lynn will be going for her next orthodontist appointment in California tomorrow. Ah, the life of the jet set. : ) We're aiming for a one day trip -- she'll be leaving here early in the morning and getting into California probably about 8:00ish and then taking an afternoon flight back home. The whole idea of letting her have some time to spend with friends and family hasn't worked out as I'd thought because it's just simply too much time away from school.

A group of Mexican guys came to work on our fence on Saturday. They put up the posts all along the road and into the back a little. So far, I think, it looks really nice. It will block any view of our backyard, so potential buyers can skip the mud slides, hay bales and kids' toys from our yard and go on to make happy purchases in Phase II. Now the cement that holds the posts has to cure a little. Next Saturday, they'll come and start hammering the fence together. We'll also be putting in our maple trees along the fence, too. I think it will look really nice and the trees will help the land not to slide so much in the rain.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Pastor at Last!

Today, we met our senior pastor candidate. The whole set-up for the day was different. Sunday school classes merged for various breakfast potlucks (yum -- nothing like a Baptist potluck) and the kids had their own programs, too, with breakfast. Even Keva was taken care of during this time. Each group got to meet the pastor candidate and his wife.

The pastor's name is Jimmy Patterson. He's 6'6'', 47, and looks a lot like Rush Limbaugh. But when I waited for him to make a satirical comment about Hillary Clinton, I heard instead a very soft spoken gentle voice. He was a football player in high school until a knee injury ruined his chances for college football. The Lord had other plans for him.

My prayer for a pastor was that he would be a godly man who preached God's word. I've been hugely concerned with the way churches have become so modern and "seeker friendly" at the expense of discipleship and I didn't want to see our church follow that path. So, I've prayed pretty much daily for this man, and I was SO EXCITED to finally be able to see who I'd been praying for!

What impressed me most about him was that he was not actually seeking a new pastoral position. Another man, who the pastor search committee had wanted to be our pastor but who had gone on to missions work instead, submitted Pastor Patterson's name as a consideration. And after several interviews, meetings, listening to sermons, the Pastor Search Committee extended a call to him just a few weeks ago and he accepted on condition of congregational approval.

The second thing that impressed me about him was his love for his wife. She's a dainty thing, especially next to her very tall husband, and he didn't meet her until he was 29 and nearly given up on the idea that he would ever find someone. She's six years younger, but because he's going gray and losing hair, he looks quite a bit older. Anyway, someone asked what he loves to do the most, and he said that it was to be home with his wife. Even in our short Sunday School class interview, we could all tell that he held great regard for her. I whispered to Keith that he had all of the women ready to vote for him!

The third thing that impressed me was that he intends to work with the current associate staff. He's not starting fresh by getting rid of the pastors we have here and bringing in his own crew. That was another huge answer to prayer to me because we all love the pastors that have worked so diligently.

Once all of the classes and small groups got a chance to meet him, we all gathered in the sanctuary for a short DVD presentation about him and how the Pastor Search Committee decided on him. Then, when he came up to speak, everyone gave him a standing ovation. This church has been waiting TWO YEARS for this pastor! The Pastor Search Committee has been working for two years almost to the day.

The only bad part of the whole morning were my younger kids' behavior sitting in church. Granted, they had to wait a long time, but Kade and Konner drove me nearly to the crazy house with, "I got to go to the bathroom!" "I'm hungry" "When is this going to end?" "I'm hungry, really hungry!" Not only were both of the morning services melded into one for this special moment, but the attendance was up, too, so we were packed into our row like sardines. This made little kids even more squiggly and Keva more rambunctious. By the end of the service, I was exhausted and more than a little perturbed with my offspring.

The vote was a standing vote. The pastor and his family left the sanctuary, and we were asked to stand if we wanted to vote for the candidate. The vote was unanimous. Then, when he was ushered back in, the whole congregation gave him another standing ovation. So, it's official!

He's supposed to start preaching toward the end of next month so that he can give his church in Florida 30 days notice.

This afternoon, I sacked out on the couch and fell asleep. I've been tired all day today -- too many late nights and early mornings. I'm aiming for a 10:00 PM bedtime tonight, so I better go and stick a load of Keith's work clothes in the laundry before it gets any later!

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Doggy Flu

Today, I played referee for neighborhood kids. I had to go talk with a couple of moms and get some things straightened out. The new kids down the road have played havoc with the pecking order. At first, Kade and Konner where enthralled with them and the new boys felt that Kade and Konner were their "best friends" but they would pick on Mac. Then, Mac became the favored one and now Kade is being picked on. It's gotten to the point where if my kids are going to play with those kids, I'll have to supervise at all times. Otherwise, they can't play together. Sigh.

I was just starting to think, "Hey, this dog stuff isn't so bad. It may work out after all!" when Kody decided to get sick. This morning, he threw up twice in the breakfast room, once in his crate that was in the family room, and a couple of times outside and then once in his crate that was moved to the kitchen. Lovely. And he turned down his doggy treats -- Kody NEVER turns down a doggy treat! The one decidedly good thing about a sick dog was that he was as quiet as a mouse all afternoon. He slept most of the day away, and would sometimes wake up to see what was going on and give us the saddest puppy dog eyes ever. As it turns out, I found out, Mac's dog had just been sick like Kody, too. Doggy flu?

Those of you worried about Kody's health -- I think he'll pull through. He was kind of dragging on his morning walk, and when I took him on an evening walk tonight, he seemed like his old feisty self. This is good. One of the neighbors who knows a lot about dogs and has been giving me advice, told me to watch that he didn't get sick. It might be a bowel obstruction and that would require surgery. I listened politely, all the while, thinking, "It's too bad for Kody that he belongs to us because if he's going to need surgery to survive bowel obstruction, then he's going to die!" I'm not paying for doggy surgery!

When working out the dog walk schedule, there are days when I can't give him a morning walk, so I got to thinking it certainly wouldn't hurt to take him on an evening walk, too. That way, most days, we'd go for two walks, but some days, I'd only take him on one walk. Now, on my morning walk, I plug myself into my latest book on tape and we go walking. It's my time to breath in fresh air and be by myself. However, for an evening walk, I got to thinking it would be fun to take one of the kids along with me. We could have a little one-on-one time. The kids agreed that it would be a good idea, but they each wanted to be first, so we did what we always do when we've got to choose one person -- "Pick a number". This is where I have a number in my head, and the kid getting closest to that number wins. Kathleen won, so that means that from there, we'll go by age, and Kylie will be going with me on the next walk, and then Kade, Konner, Keri Lynn, Kristofer and then back to Kathleen again.

Kathleen and I thoroughly enjoyed our walk. The sky had beautiful sunset colors. There was an amazing cloud formation, too, when we first came out. We didn't talk about anything significant. We just were together. I treasure those times and often wonder why I don't take more of those moments. Sometimes, I get to caught up in my own wants. I think children are God's way of helping us think outside of ourselves.

Then, after clean-up, we read from The Chronicles of Narnia. I love those books. We're reading Voyage of the Dawn Treader now. The little kids play with their toys "quietly" and sometimes Kody joins us if he's behaving. Otherwise, he goes back into his crate.

Now I'm going to go take my shower and get myself off to bed! I am beat!

Monday, September 18, 2006

A Beka DVDs

This afternoon, I went to an A Beka Display to go over our homeschool materials and options. I'm so thrilled about A Beka and the DVD program, but it is expensive. So I'm exercising some of my "creative genius" to make it more affordable! Basically this means that I'll be doing more of the teaching for the younger kids, but the bigger kids will work mostly with the DVDs. I'm planning to move Kathleen and Kylie up to grade level by January. They have both made tremendous strides over the course of this last year.

Kody is doing better since we've had him in the house. He has not messed one time inside -- a HUGE blessing! He can really get wild with the nipping, but then he has to go into the crate in the family room. If he barks, he gets put in the bathroom with the door closed. And it is so sweet to watch the dog with Keva. At first she was afraid of him, but now she's gotten braver and will sit and stare at him all day long, sticking her fingers in the crate and dangling her soppy well-loved doll in front of him. He does not bark at her and seems to be gentle (so far), as if he knows that she's special. This afternoon, when Keva came home from school, she plopped down on her tummy to see the dog and they were licking each other. Gross!

I had a time this morning, though. I'm usually the first one up at 6:30 to get Keva ready for the bus. I get dressed, then I get Keva dressed and then usually we camp out at the couch and wait for the bus to come. Kody was having none of that watching us watch for the bus. He wanted to be free of his crate and he wanted to play and get some attention. So he was barking and whining. I finally got him out and managed to get Keva, Kody and Keva's backpack out the door to the bus. Kody was trying to get Keva's scrumptious doll and then her backpack and I was trying to herd them all down the driveway -- It was all pretty insane. Nevertheless, I did manage to put Keva and stuff on the bus and keep Kody. Tomorrow morning, kids are going to be getting up earlier to help get Kody out and walked while I'm getting Keva ready. It wouldn't be such a big deal just to let him bark and eventually learn that he's going to have to wait his turn except that Keith desperately needs those last few minutes of sleep -- He wakes up at 8:00 AM after getting to bed after 2:00 AM. A barking dog does not help the tired husband sleep.

We were thrilled this Sunday to go to church and find out that our pastor search committee has at last found a senior pastor. He will be coming to "candidate" next week. Sunday school classes will get an opportunity to talk with him, and then he'll preach and then we vote. We've been told he's a great guy who's main emphasis is preaching God's word. You can't ask for more than that, I figure. It's been two years since our church has had a senior pastor. Change is in the air, and we pray daily for a godly man to take up that post.

Gas prices were as low as $2.24 at BJs yesterday. Who would have thunk that we'd be so excited about gas closing in on $2!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Sweet Konner

I just got back with Kody after his fun little expedition to the mobile vet. He was neutered, given a shot for rabies, and checked for heart-worm. Thankfully, he doesn't have heart worm, so can begin monthly treatment. I also got antibiotics for him to stem any infection from the surgery. He was nice and quiet on the way home and is now camped out in our guest bathroom off the family room whimpering over the doggy gate. I think he's really hungry and thirsty, but he can't have anything until evening.

The guest bathroom might very well be his "dog house" for awhile. I'm going to try to house train him so that he can hang around with the family in the community living area while we do school, cook, etc. Other times, he'll be going for walks, playing outside off of the tether. He was just spending too much time in the basement all by himself, and never such a sad sight did you see whenever he was left there.

Keith and I went around and around with keeping Kody up in the house because Keith had wanted an outside dog. I've always wanted an inside dog that can go play and frolic outside, but sleep and "hang out" inside. So, since I'm the one who will be the primary caregiver for the dog and since we don't have our fence up yet, I'm getting to have Kody inside. We'll see how it goes. He's already a challenge because he nips too much and is not house broken. However, I've been reading some really good books and getting a good idea about how to handle it. Kody also seems to mind me pretty well and follows me wherever I go. I'm worried about the nipping around the little kids, but hopefully it will be curtailed now that the testosterone is no longer an issue and also I'll be right there to watch his behavior.

Keva's not sure she likes Kody much. She petted him originally, but whenever he'd approach her, she'd push him away. So, of course, that means that he's interested in the kid that's not bothering him.

Yesterday, I had a sweet time with Konner. It was one of those afternoons that I wish to remember because I know just how fast he's growing up. A neighbor had called asking if I could go pick up a prescription for her downtown, and Konner decided that he'd come with me. He's never been a big talker because Kade does all the talking for him, but when he's on his own, he talks a mile a minute. All the way back and forth from the pharmacy, it was one question after another. And whatever he'd say, he'd automatically repeat it three or four times, and I'd wince inwardly because I'd realize that he has to regularly repeat himself to be heard. In between questions, he'd make special sound affects for my amusement. Then, as we walked into the pharmacy, I took his hand and he let me keep that precious independent little hand back and forth to the car. It was just one of those times that I appreciated being with my son, my baby boy, already FIVE years old.

The same neighbor, Kathy, who I went to go get the prescription for asked me to get the word out to pray for her brother-in-law Gene. Kathy's husband is Gene's brother, and might have to be a bone marrow donor. Kathy and her family have been under intense health-related stress. Kathy has a rare disorder that did not allow her cerebellum to grow properly, so as a result, she has severe symptoms that sounded like MS. She doesn't have MS, but she will need surgery to release pressure off of her brain and move the bone down to allow that part of her brain to grow better. It's scary and she's been shuffled from one doctor to another. Meanwhile, her son has had some orthopedic issues and now there's this deal with her brother-in-law. Please remember to pray for this family.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Just for Fun

1. FIRST NAME? Jackie

2. WERE YOU NAMED AFTER ANYONE? After my Dad -- Jack -- and I think after Jackie O.

3. WHEN DID YOU LAST CRY? Labor Day when I thought my nephew had died. Instead God delivered him from a fall out of third floor window!

4. DO YOU LIKE YOUR HANDWRITING? No, but Mom has the best handwriting. She makes capital Ws an art form. When I was in high school, my handwriting actually slanted to the left. I think I'm a little dyslexic.

5. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE LUNCH MEAT? Roast Beef with lots of salt and mayo on white bread. Yum.

6. KIDS? Seven, ages 15 to 5. Yes, they're all mine. No, none of them are twins. Yes, it is a lot of hard work. And, yes, I know you're glad it's me and not you, but I'm not! : )

7. IF YOU WERE ANOTHER PERSON WOULD YOU BE FRIENDS WITH YOU? Probably, but I'd have to not take it personally that I rarely called.

8. DO YOU HAVE A JOURNAL? Of sorts -- my blog --

9. DO YOU USE SARCASM A LOT? Only if someone is really bugging me.

10. DO YOU STILL HAVE YOUR TONSILS? No. I did have a hernia repaired at my belly button when I was a baby. I'm a permanent "inny"

11. WOULD YOU BUNGEE JUMP? Absolutely not. I'm scared of heights, and I really don't like falling. I would go on a roller coaster in a second, though -- the biggest baddest roller coaster ever. But I would not go on any of those rides where you're dropped. I hate those. I also greatly dislike ferris wheels.

12. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CEREAL? Captain Crunch. Goes back to high school days and only magnified during college. Now I sneak a little from the kids' cereal when I'm feeling feisty.

13. DO YOU UNTIE YOUR SHOES WHEN YOU TAKE THEM OFF? Yes, unless I'm totally exhausted.

14. DO YOU THINK YOU ARE STRONG? Yes, but only because God is the strong One -- "He is my strong tower."

15. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE ICE CREAM FLAVOR? I forget what it's called, but it's vanilla ice cream with maraschino cherries and chocolate chips. It's to die for. Add a little (okay, a great big glob of) fudge and it's probably pretty close to heaven.

16. SHOE SIZE? When I'm at my proper weight I'm at 8 1/2, and when I'm overweight it's anywhere from a 9 to and 11, depending on the shoe width. Depressing.

17. RED OR PINK? Pink on me. Red in my house. My family room is going to be red and the rest of the downstairs community areas will have red accents.


19. WHO DO YOU MISS THE MOST? My Dad. I would have liked to have him see his grand-kids growing up.

20. DO YOU WANT EVERYONE TO SEND THIS BACK TO YOU? Of course, but I know that not everyone is a computer addict. No pressure!

21. WHAT COLOR PANTS AND SHOES ARE YOU WEARING? My cool brown cargo pants that can button up to become capri-ish and my beat up comfy sandals that I've been wearing all summer. These sandals saved me from plantar fasciitis. I will endeavor to find good replacement shoes once I've finally worn them out, but I'm worried that nothing will replace them. The last really good sandals I had were from FOUR years ago! I'm sure this is just fascinating information.

22. LAST THING YOU ATE? Two sugar cookies. Shh.

23. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW? The happy sound of tapping keys and the air conditioning system graciously saving me from September humidity.

24. IF YOU WERE A CRAYON, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE? The purplish pink color of the sky at sunset.

25. FAVORITE SMELL? Steak on the grill. (Note: Not steak on the barbecue. Barbecue is an entirely different thing here in the South. Barbecue is slow cooked meat in a pit. Although I have to say that I'm getting a taste for southern barbecue as well.)

26. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU TALKED TO ON THE PHONE? Keith. This is very unusual because I don't usually talk with him during the day or evening on weekends. He can't receive calls at either job, so I usually leave a message on his cell phone or just wait until late at night or until the weekend. This time, though, I needed to give him the fence update, so got him on the way to his next job.

27. THE FIRST THING YOU NOTICE ABOUT PEOPLE YOU ARE ATTRACTED TO? I like people who are naturally friendly and interested in the welfare of others.

28. DO YOU LIKE THE PERSON WHO SENT THIS TO YOU? I love June. I value her opinions and I love how she loves the Lord.

29. FAVORITE DRINK? Coke or Pepsi, doesn't matter, as long as it comes with a burger and fries.

30. FAVORITE SPORT? Not a big sports fanatic. If I had to sit through a game, I'd pick baseball. It would be even better if you let me go back in time to watch a Dodger game in the early 80s. Those were the days!

31. EYE COLOR? Brown.

32. HAT SIZE? Big! Does that same something about my personality, too? "Hey, she's got a big head!"

33. DO YOU WEAR CONTACTS? No, but I'm now having to wear reading glasses when I want to read anything for any length of time. This is greatly contributing to my general feelings that my whole body is falling apart. It doesn't help that my kids laugh at me when I put my glasses on.

34. FAVORITE FOOD? 1) Burger, fries and a coke 2) Steak tenderloins with mushrooms and onions at Bugaboo 3) Ribs at Texas Roadhouse or Shanes

35. SCARY MOVIES OR HAPPY ENDING? Happy Endings definitely. Scary movies are stupid. Start of scary movie: 20 people, three of which are the hero, heroine and goofy sidekick. End of scary movie: 17 people dead except for the hero, heroine and the goofy sidekick.

36. LAST MOVIE YOU WATCHED AT THE MOVIES? I saw a stupid movie with Keith, but I can't remember what it was -- expunged it from my memory -- but the last movie I saw that I LOVED was The Lakehouse.

37. WHAT COLOR SHIRT ARE YOU WEARING? Connie is going to laugh and probably a few others . . . my sweater shirt with the false t-shirt underneath that I have in four different colors. Really, I've bought some new shirts, but I'm behind in the laundry like I usually am on a Monday . . . Really!

38. SUMMER OR WINTER? Summer until it gets to hot. Winter until it gets to cold. I like moderate climate. I think Autumn might be my favorite time of year here in Georgia.

39. HUGS OR KISSES? If I had to choose . . . kisses. Kisses from Konner who probably gives the sweetest of sweet kisses on my cheek and kisses from Keith who . . .well that would be TMI.

40. FAVORITE DESSERT? Haagen-daz ice cream bars . . . chocolate ice cream dipped in chocolate. It should be illegal.

41. WHO IS MOST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Fellow computer addicts. You know who you are.

42. LEAST LIKELY TO RESPOND? Those who have better discipline. You know who your are, too.

43. WHAT BOOKS ARE YOU READING? Right now I'm reading A Ticket Home. I've been enjoying going back to old favorites lately that I haven't read in years. With Keith gone in the evening, I'm not watching as much TV and have more time to read!

44. WHAT'S ON YOUR MOUSE PAD? It's just a boring black one.

45. WHAT DID YOU WATCH ON TV LAST NIGHT? Didn't watch TV, I was reading and writing instead. I do think I'll watch that 9-11 thing tonight, though.

46. PETS? Kody! Our six-month-old black Lab. We've had him for a little over a week now.

47. ROLLING STONE OR BEATLES? Beatles. I actually like quite a few Beatles songs despite my Quaker background!

48. THE FURTHEST YOU'VE BEEN FROM HOME? Well, I was born in Guatemala, but that was home while I was there, so I don't think that counts. I've been as far south as El Salvador and as far west as Hawaii and as far north as Canada and as far east as Florida.

49. WHAT'S YOUR SPECIAL TALENT? I like to write, crochet, teach Bible stories to little kids.

50. WHEN AND WHERE WERE YOU BORN? Guatemala City, Guatemala on Dec. 3, 1965. I expect gifts on my birthday. Just kidding! Money would be better.


This is a busy day today with a somber feel to it as we all remember Sept. 11. Five years ago, I was in the living room at our Harvard house in L.A. getting Kathleen ready for a special birthday trip to Disneyland with Mom. Mom called me and said, "Turn on the TV!" And that's where we all stood riveted for hours watching the horrors unfold. It's hard to believe that Kathleen was only five, Konner only a baby, Keri Lynn only 10! The years do fly and the times do change!

This morning, in the freedom of living in the U.S., I went to the grocery store and had my pick of thousands of products. I ate a quick Sausage McGriddle (I love those things) on the way home. In a few minutes, we'll all gather around the table and have prayer and read the Bible -- all completely legal and open! The kids will then return to their studies; they'll read and write in freedom. All the while, our flag will continue to wave in front of our house. God bless the USA!

This afternoon, I'll be taking Keva to get her eyes checked -- I've put this off for YEARS! I've been working steadily this last month or so to get Keva caught up on all of her various health issues. She's supposed to have another hearing test coming up and then we'll work on her cardiology check up. I had to postpone her visit last week when it turns out that we were going to have to pay some $600 out of pocket up front since she's supposed to have an EKG and echo-cardiogram. Hmm. We'll have to save up for that visit!

Meanwhile, while the kids get their own lunch together, I need to stop by the doctor's office and get him to sign yet another form for Keva's Special Olympics participation with her school. She's also going to go horseback riding, swimming and bowling over the course of the year! Doesn't that sound like fun! Her teacher and aides take her class all around school for daily walks, so she's getting a lot of good exercise.

Kylie just came up from the basement, crying, as Kody bit her on the head. I'm sure it was one of his nips or she'd be bleeding, but it did hurt. He is pretty aggressive with the little kids. When he's with bigger ones, we can get him to behave. He's still learning and has a lot of puppy in him still.

On Thursday morning, I'll be taking him to get neutered and get treated for heart-worm. There's a inexpensive mobile vet that comes through, stopping at the animal shelter. She answered a bunch of my novice questions.

Last Wednesday, I went to my first morning Women's Bible study group. It was so fun and felt like I was HOME! I had been attending an evening study last year, but (as is the case with most evening studies) there was no time to socialize or even pray together. The Wednesday group meets from 9:30 to 11:30 and is set up similarly to the one I attended at JOF, with the exception that the leader does a lecture first instead of having singing or devotional time. the lecture is put on video and broadcasted on the local channel here in Newnan. Then, we break up into our small group and go over homework questions. We are studying Revelation, and I'm so excited about it! I love studying prophecy! It's also kind of nice, I must admit, not to be the one leading the small group. I'm the oldest in the group (gasp -- feeling decrepit right now) and I've studied Revelation before, and I keep worrying that I'm coming across kind of know-it-all-ish. I don't want to be a quiet little sheep but I don't want to take over discussion either. The leader asked what each of us was looking for in the class, and I said that I'm praying that I won't try to fit Revelation into my own theology but that I would truly understand what His word has to say.

One more note about my Bible study leader. I'm so excited to have Joy as my leader. She was children''s director when we first came to First Baptist. She set up people to watch Keva during Sunday school and on Wednesday nights, and was very involved in helping us feel welcome. She has since retired to be able to stay at home full-time with her little boy and is now expecting a second baby! If I had had my choice, I would have picked Joy as my Bible study leader because I wanted to get to know her better.

As for my own Bible study that I had hoped to lead here in our neighborhood, that is still in the making. I've been talking with several women in the neighborhood, but I need a few things to settle down a little bit before staring something like that -- particularly Keith's work schedule.

Keith started a later shift today. He doesn't wake up until 8:00 AM, but he won't be getting back home until nearly 2:00 AM. Last week, with only four work days, it was a little easier to get through. He's not doing nearly as much physical work as he was doing before and he's getting to know more of what's expected of him. We continue to be thankful for this extra bit of income and we all really enjoy the weekend!

So much for keeping it short!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Back on Line

Guess what!

My desktop computer is still dead, but Keith fiddled around with my laptop for a few minutes and hooked me up to the cable modem, and here I am on line at HOME! Yippee! No minimum hour at the library once a week.

I think I may now go and beat Keith up for taking so long, but I'm so glad to have Internet access again after so long, I may just show a little grace.

And since it is very close to dinner, I'm going to have to sign off right away. I'm also going to be a little more responsible with my computer time, since I learned just how much more time I had in my day when I wasn't holed up in my room with my computer!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Labor Day News

What a Labor Day weekend we had!

First and foremost, on Labor Day, we got a call from Mom telling us they were on their way back from a trip to Santa Barbara to go to the hospital. Gabriel, my two-year-old nephew, Connie's boy, fell out of the condo bedroom window -- THIRD FLOOR -- ONTO CEMENT! The report was that when Connie got to him (and I can just imagine how terrible that must have been) that he was breathing. The ambulance took him away . . . and we all were waiting and praying . . . and waiting and praying . . . and waiting and praying . . . to find out how that little guy was doing.

I thought about how I had had the privilege to see him born. I thought about how cute he had been the last time we'd seen him on our trip to California. He had announced, "I'm GABRIEL!" real loud and proud! I thought about how his voice had gotten so husky and boyish, that he was already growing out of his baby days. Was the Lord going to take him so early?

I told my family and we all stopped what we were doing to pray for Gabriel. I went into the bedroom to cry and then to call prayer chains. I talked to one of the associate pastors on call for just these type of emergencies. He prayed with me for Gabriel and I felt the Lord's peace fill me. Then I prayed for that same peace to fill Connie. Then, I called my friend Ginny who's spiritual gift is to get the word out for prayer. She called her church's prayer chain and various family members that know my family and had them praying as well. Then, I sat down to wait, wishing so badly that I could hop a plane and go to the hospital!

Thankfully, Connie did have a lot of support there at the hospital -- pastors, friends, and family -- all mixed in to make up God's family. And again I wondered how we could ever get through something like this without the Lord.

Anyway, by evening, we got word that Gabriel was STABLE; he was talking (asking for his sister Lola) and he was moving. They couldn't do much for broken limbs until his head was stable. They couldn't even give him any pain medication, from what I understand, until he got through the night without his brain hemorrhaging. Connie stayed with him and Lola went home with Mom and Rich to attempt to get some sleep. By the next morning, we got word that he was talking and moving arms and legs. The doctor said that he was "a fortunate young man." But I think, as do other family members, that it was a miracle. He went home the day after the accident with a cast on his arm (broken in two places) and a crack across his head from his forehead to the back of his ear (yikes!)

Now the trick will be to keep him from ramming his head into anything for awhile while his bones mend! Ha! He is still two, after all!

So far, I've told Gabriel's story to Keva's bus driver and assistant -- The assistant said, "Praise God!" And I've told the ladies who work with Keva at her school, and they were so glad to hear how the Lord had worked in Gabriel's life. And now I share with you how thankful I am for the Lord's mercy to our family.

On to more MUNDANE things, but things that didn't seem that mundane until Gabriel's accident.

We got our dog! His name is Kody. We had to pick a "K" name, of course, and then we decided to give him an "L" middle name to make him truly part of the family. Kody Lick Johnson. Kody is doing very well in a household of nine people. Keith wants him to be an outside dog, so he sleeps in the basement for now and goes for lots of walks and hangs out in the backyard on a tether when he's outside. He found a place in the very back of the basement to poop, since he's not house trained, and he also does his business on walks. Walks, so far, have been Kody-led. We're trying to get him to walk to heel, but it is certainly easier said than done. How does that Dog Whisperer guy do it?! He's learning how to sit and stay and not nip. This is not easy for him because there are all these great short people to romp around with and nip and play with. And all these short people like to put their hands out for him to grab onto. But they are learning. And they all love him. Kylie keeps telling me, "Mommy, I'm so glad we got a dog!" Kathleen even cleaned up three poops yesterday without me even asking her! Wow! I take him on a morning walk. Keri Lynn takes him on her mile run. Kristofer takes him on a walk, but not as regularly. And Kathleen takes him on walks around the yard, since she's not quite big enough to take him on walks around the neighborhood yet, at least not until he's better trained.

When I was walking Kody today, I was thinking about our fence that Keith still needs to put up and wondering how in the world we're going to get it up with his work schedule the way it is. There just aren't enough hours in a week to do a project like that! I thought that maybe we could hire someone to do it, but that would be expensive even if we had the materials already. Then I thought maybe we could get one of those electric fences for now, but those are expensive, too, and -- I've heard -- not always reliable.

Enter Jim (Remember Jim? The guy who works at the model home at our development?) He comes to our house this afternoon, looking kind of sheepish, but has to speak to me. We've got to do something about our yard. It's the last thing people see before driving into Phase II with all of the new houses. The Homeowners Association had called the Builder and the Builder was offering to put our fence up for us! I gaped at Jim in astonishment.

"You mean, Jim, that since we're here at the corner right before you go into Phase II, that the builder is going to put our fence up for us?"

He said that that was indeed what they were offering! So it looks like we may be getting our fence up sooner than anticipated. Please pray for all of this as it progresses. Keith is very concerned about the landscaping, or actually the lack of landscaping, that needs to be addressed. We shall see what happens!