Thursday, July 31, 2008

VBSing It

This week the members of the Miller Christian Church have been VBSing It (I just made up that term, but it seems to explain this week). Last year we did a day long VBS on a Saturday. This year we’ve worked up to two evenings and a Sunday morning. Next year we may be looking at a full week long program…who knows. Since being in charge of VBS, I’ve kinda treated our church like a naughty kid. Our minister got sick a couple of years ago and we had no VBS that year. Last year they wanted Jay and I to take it over, but getting help was like pulling teeth so we had to move it to a one day event. This year we decided to expand to 3 sessions – with a church dinner on Sunday. It was a test to see if the church would rise to the occasion and actually want to help. Jay and I needed proof that if we ever went to a 5 day, we’d have help. Well our church has done wonderful this year. We’ve had so many people volunteer and we have actually got some other kids attending. It’s helped that Cade’s in school because we invited several of his friends and the best part is they’re coming. If things look as good tonight as I think they will, our church will have proved to us they are ready for the full 5 day program.

Jay and I work pretty well together on VBS, he’s the brawn of the operation and I’m the brains. That means he gets to do all the physical parts and I get to think through who goes where and what do we need. This year, since it’s a County Fair theme, Jay’s physical part involves 12 bales of straw, a handful of live chickens, 10 ten pound baby pigs and a mixture of other farm related animals. I’m promising there are some good times to be had at our little church over the next few days. We have been painting and decorating like mad for the last two weeks. We have a great looking backdrop that several of us helped paint – Jay even Bob Ross’ed in some clouds. Tuesday night we met at the church to finish “decorating”. The volunteers probably think I tricked them, because we ended up doing some heavy duty cleaning…which was badly needed.

Our church was becoming somewhat stale. Nothing was happening. The same cobwebs have been in the same corner for years. I can’t decide if no one noticed or no one cared. We get into this argument with some of the older church members – it’s not the building that makes a church, it’s the members. I will agree that is very true, but first impressions mean a lot. You don’t go to a job interview wearing dirty, ratty clothing hoping the interviewer will see past the dirt at the nice person you are. The same was true of our church. A visitor would come and they see the cobwebs in the corners of a building not being taken care of very well. What do they think? They don’t know the members so you have to wonder – do they think we are as stale as the building?

So…since we had invited several of Cade’s friends I felt about the church like I do my home when people come over. I wanted it clean, so that’s what we did. In the middle of the cleaning we also found out that several other families felt the same way about the building. Another exciting thing happening is that some college volunteers from the local church camp will be doing some painting on Saturday at the church. We are on the road to making the church look more alive. Jay and I are very excited.

This post has been somewhat rambly, but I’m encouraged. For the first time in a long time Jay and I are seeing a little glimmer of life at the church….A little hope that not everyone is content to leave things the way they’ve been for a hundred years….A lot of excitement because we’re going to have a great VBS with more than the 8 kids who normally go to church there……

And a lot of sweat – Jay does have livestock to move around after all.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Outstanding Ag Ed Program

Since being back from vacation I’ve been posting pictures, trying to get the vacation wrapped up. So, I’m just now getting around to posting about Jay and Lyle’s award they won last week. Their chapter has been named the Outstanding Ag Ed Program in the state. The awards luncheon was last Wednesday, and it worked out that I was able to go. It was nice being there to see them accept their award. Jay’s won several things in the almost 9 years we’ve been married and this is the first time I’ve been present for one. I wish I had a picture to go with the post, but things were a little messed up back stage that day. I don’t think they got their picture taken. Anyway….congratulations Jay, Cade and I are very proud of you. You are a great teacher and you are helping to build a great program. It’s amazing to see the progress that’s been made in the chapter just in the short amount of time Jay and Lyle have worked together. Miller may be small, but they’re starting to make a name for themselves around the teaching circles.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Summer Rental

This is why the picture of Jay from the last post cracked me up. After leaving one of the beaches - I think it was Fort Walton - Jay looked just like John Candy from Summer Rental. It is quite a work out walking uphill to leave the beach in all that sand while carrying a bunch of equipment.

Mom had a lot of questions in her last comment, which I hadn't done a very good job in the last post. I was trying to get all of the pictures on there.

1. The pictures of Jay and Cade in the streetcar and Cade in the suit - those were taken at Pensacola's Historic Village. They had some neat exhibits to go through. In the top of one of the museums they had a play area where the kids could dress up as French Solders from the French and Indian War. They had a fort and a boat and several other areas. It might have been Cade's favorite part of the trip.

2. Yes my burger had something green on it. At McGuires you could have a steakburger with any kind of topping you could imagine. They even had a peanut butter and a hot fudge burger. I opted for the tomato and guacamole, which I ended up wearing most of.

3. As for the pictures looking as imagined, yes they do. The only thing missing is sand. Sand that gets in places sand has no business being. Sand that I will be finding in my car the day we trade it off. Sand that I'm still finding in the bottoms of bags. All the times I dreamed of going on an beach vacation, I never imagined the sand. The sand has a way of bringing you back to reality quickly. Don't get me wrong, we had a great time, I just never dreamed sand could be so irritating.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Last of the Pictures

Sorry, these pictures are just all over the place. These were taken our last day in Pensacola and then Thursday on the way home. The beach pictures are of Pensacola Beach.

This beach picture is my favorite on from the trip

This picture just cracks me up, that's Jay in the orange trunks.

The picture of me with all the stuff on my shirt is one of Jay's favorites. Our last night in Florida we ate at MgGuires Irish Pub. I had a steakburger and ended up making a huge mess. Usually Jay is the one making dining errors, but that night it was me. It was very embarrassing, I had stuff everywhere. Luckily Cade fell asleep so I carried him out of the restaurant. He worked great as a 50 pound cover up. Finally in the parking lot I gave him to Jay, I was about to slip a disk.

The USS Alabama in Mobile

Jay's great uncle Ted and his wife Nan

We drove through Mississippi on Thurday and stopped to see Ted and Nan for a couple of hours. It was a nice visit, except I think Cade drove Nan crazy. Cade still doesn't understand that just because his grandparents stop what they're doing to listen to him - not everyone wants to do that. We've been working on not interrupting people, but so far we haven't made much progress.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Blue Angels and Dolphin Crusie

On Tuesday we got to see the Blue Angles practicing. It was facinating. For someone who hates to fly, I can't imagine what it would be like to be flying that close to another plane. Cade loved it. When they were ready to land all the kids got to stand by the runway holding a flag. It was a neat experience for Cade. The only downfall was that we had to give the flag back. That would've been a great souvenier for Cade to have kept. After watching the Blue Angels we went to the Naval Aviation Museum. They had different planes and things from the different wars. The boys both loved this place and could've spent all day there. I, mostly because I'm a girl, wasn't quite as excited about looking at planes. To my untrained female eyes it was a bunch of planes in one building - to the boys it was a huge play place.

That evening we went on a Dolphin Crusie. I had posted earlier about being a little afraid of going on this. I don't like the feeling of being in the middle of a body of deep water. As soon as we got on the boat, my fears were calmed. The Captain said we'd only be in 4-8 feet of water for the whole trip. Once we got started I also realized I could see land on either side of me. I was set. Of course we couldn't find any dolphin's at first. The Captain drove and drove and drove. Finally he found one. That one lead us to some more so we were able to see some. I was afraid we wouldn't find any - but we did. I didn't get any pictures of it because they were too quick and they were all over the place. It was neat seeing 3 or 4 of them jumping together at one time. Cade made a friend on the crusie - her name was Elizabeth and she was from Texas. She also is 6. The two of them talked non-stop. It was really cute.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Back Home

We made it home Friday afternoon about 2:30. We logged in 1,922 miles on this trip. The first 1,852 occurred without incident. Somewhere around 70 miles left to go a rock got thrown on my windshield. I'm getting ready to place some calls this morning to see about replacing a windshield in a G6. The way the tires and wipers have gone, this may not be a pretty phone call. But other than that, we had a really good trip. I'll give you some highlights of the first 3 days and some pictures today.

The line of the trip went to Cade of course. That happened on Sunday when we were in Gulf Shores. We were very careful about sunburn, especially the first few days. We didn't want to get a bad burn and be miserable the rest of the trip. We went to the beach in Orange Beach Sunday morning and then went to Gulf Shores that afternoon. When we got to Gulf Shores Cade and Jay had the following conversation.

J: Cade, I'm going to put your t-shirt on you to swim this afternoon. I don't want you to get burnt.

C: NO, I'll look like a dork.

J: No you won't, you'll look just like me. I'm wearing my t-shirt.

C: Yeah, I'll look like a dork.

Cade didn't wear a t-shirt that day, or any other day.

On Saturday we first got into town and headed to Pensacola Beach and proceeded to drive into one of the worst messes we've ever been involved in. I guess the Blue Angels were having a show that afternoon over Pensacola Beach. If we had known that, we wouldn't have gone. I guess the 3 mile bridge that had traffic at a standstill that connects Pensacola to Pensacola Beach should've been a warning, but it didn't register with us. When we got about half way across the bridge it started raining. Not just any rain but a monsoon type rain. When we finally made it to the beach we were on a little island with about 300,000 other the rain. I guess at least one riot broke out that afternoon. There were sirens everywhere. Not exactly the welcome we had pictured when we planned this vacation.

The Blue Angels rescheduled their show for Sunday so we headed in the opposite direction. That's how we ended up in Alabama. The day was pretty uneventful. I will say that Alabama seems to have the best facilities at the beaches. The only downfall of the day was the jellyfish. There were a lot of them on Sunday. When we first got to the beach that day a little girl right beside up got stung. It put a damper on the beach for the rest of the day. Cade wouldn't go in past his ankles, which was fine with us. The last thing we needed was a 6 year old tangling with a jellyfish.

On Monday we traveled to Fort Walton and went to the Gulfarium. We got to see dolphins and sea lions perform. I find the sea lions to be more entertaining than the dolphins. They're very human like, which was amazing to me. That afternoon we went to the beach in Fort Walton. The water was very pretty, I know why they refer to it as "emerald" in their marketing brochures.

The Gulfarium

Fort Walton Beach

Friday, July 11, 2008

0n the road

I'm using jay's blackberry to update the blog. We are about 20 miles from Meridian Ms where we are planning on staying tonight. Things have gone well for today. We've made it farther than we thought. The only rough spot was 154 miles into the drive and Cade told us we were on his last nerve. He started watching a movie so things got better. We should be about 3 hours from Pensacola when we start out tomorrow. Keep us in your prayers, we've got some 2 lane roads tomorrowm

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Happy Birthday Avery

Today is Avery’s 2nd birthday. It’s hard to believe that she is already 2. We went to her birthday party Saturday night.

Here she was a year ago

Here she is now

When Charity was taking these pictures before the party she couldn’t keep Avery’s fingers out of the cake. We ended up eating cake with about 5 little finger marks in it. It was pretty sweet looking.

These are the shoes Cade gave her. She loved them, but I don't think her daddy was quite as thrilled with them. They are pretty loud on the laminate floors.

What's wrong with this picture? And he was embarrassed about carrying a present in a purple bag

This is the present from her mommy and daddy. Her cousin Kennedy is the other little girl in the background.

Some cute pictures of Avery and Cade together

and the cool girl the day after the party.

Happy Birthday Avery

my favorite niece!!!!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

The Other Trauma Incident

The last post about Cade’s church camp experience might be more *******if you knew what happened to us last week. Feel free to insert any of these words in place of the ****** – funny, ironic, irritating, or use your imagination.

Last Wednesday Jay was working with a former student on a welding project. Ethan was the one doing the welding so Jay didn’t have on his helmet. Around midnight Wednesday evening/Thursday morning Jay woke up with flash burn. It’s common for this to bother the welder about 12 hours after he burns his corneas. Of course Jay fell right into the textbook description of this. Luckily Mom had spent the night with us because of our traveling plans for the holiday weekend. She was going to take me to work and then Jay would pick me up after and we’d head to Fayetteville. Instead we headed to the Emergency Room about 1:30 Thursday morning.

Jay had his eyes shut tight so he couldn’t see anything. I parked out front of the hospital and walked him in. I was getting ready to grab onto his arm, kind of like a wedding escort pose but instead he grabbed my hand. I was a little unsure of this move because the wedding pose seems to offer the leader more control than a hand hold. The hand hold means the other person is two arms lengths away, but since Jay did it this way I went along with it. It worked all right for about 2 steps and then I ran him into a wall. Not only did he hit the wall he stubbed the toe that’s missing the toenail (I told him God gave us toenails for a reason and you shouldn’t make such rash decisions when removing them permanently). He was not pleased with me. I started laughing and the ladies at the front desk saw it all happen. I think they thought we were drunk because they had a somewhat concerned look on their face as we walked through the door. They relaxed considerably once I told them why we where there. They did offer Jay a wheel chair so he wouldn’t be subjected to my abuse any longer.

Once we finally got into the exam room our nurse came in. I had a hard time looking at him with out laughing. Imagine Billy Ray Cyrus during the Achy Breaky years. Now picture him 50ish, graying hair, beer belly, scrubs, gold chain around his neck surrounded by chest hairs and a belly bag. I’m still not sure what was going on with the belly bag. As soon as he left I asked Jay if he saw any of that. He could briefly make out long gray hair. He was pretty disappointed that he couldn’t see the whole thing. Once they got Jay started on the pain reliever there were a lot of Billy Ray jokes flying around the room.

Jay’s eyes were fine, only a burn. The doctor told them it is very typical for welders to come in in the middle of the night. She said a welder will hardly make it through the night with one of these burns without getting some kind of relief. Everything’s back to normal with Jay’s eyes – this was just a good lesson to remember. Even if you’re not the one welding it’s a good idea to wear a helmet.

So since we’d already had one trip to the ER, it made yesterday’s trip even better. It’s just one of those things in life. Cade is doing fine today. He and Jay went back to the camp this morning so hopefully Cade will come home with his t-shirt. After getting more information from Jay last night we’re lucky 3 stitches is all we ended up with. Cade fell off of the monkey bars. He could’ve broken an arm which would’ve been more devastating to our vacation plans than Bertha could be.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Church Camp

My family does not have the best of luck when it comes to church camp. I first attended church camp the summer before my 2nd grade year so I'd have been 7. One of the local ministers was cleaning up after dinner that evening and had a heart attack. I remember the camp workers taking all of us 7 year olds outside and explaining that there would be some ambulances but not to get scared. Um, yeah that's gonna work for a 7 year old.

The next time I tried church camp I was going into the 3rd or 4th grade. I went with Deanna and we both got extremely homesick. The first night we were supposed to go somewhere for a movie. Deanna and I were so homesick we were physically ill. We spent the evening in the nurses office, but the nurse wouldn't call our parents. I never attended another church camp.

Once Charity got old enough to attend camp our church was using a new camp (which happens to be close to where we live now). Charity got so homesick she also got physically ill. The good thing about Charity is that she really can get sick, run a fever, etc. My sickness is more in my tummy and no one believes me. Charity will at least have some physical symptoms that warrants a call home. I guess she also fell during this particular experience and still bears the scar on her knee. The nurse must've took her seriously, or she had a nicer nurse than I had, because mom went and got her a couple of days early.

Jay and Cade left for church camp (the same one Charity attended) this morning. Seeing how church camp hasn't been a "friend" to my family I asked Jay to go with Cade. Jay's never been before so it was going to be a good experience for all. Jay called about 1 1/2 hours ago - they're on their way to Urgent Care. Cade fell and split his chin open. I guess his camping days for this year are also over.

You know how people say been there, done that, got the t-shirt to prove it. Well we can say we've been there, and we've done that, but technically we didn't get the t-shirt. I've paid for it, but I guess they hadn't gotten to the t-shirt part of church camp yet. I guess we've just made a healthy donation to the camp. Do you think this could now be deductible?

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Our Vacation

I finally have an excuse to use another ticker - we are getting close to leaving on our vacation. Our plans are to leave on the 11th and drive to Pensacola, FL. We'll be there from Saturday through Thursday. I think right now we're wanting to drive to Gulf Shores for a day, go to an aquarium in another town in Florida (think smaller version of Sea World) and maybe go on a dolphin cruise. The jury's still out on the dolphin cruise - in theory is sounds neat. In reality being on a little boat in a vast amount of water will more than likely freak me out. (Leslie, I don't know how you've been able to go on so many cruises)

I know, we are probably the only family in America driving anywhere this year. For awhile I felt guilty about spending money to go on vacation when Dave Ramsey (christian financial guy) keeps whispering in my ear - get your debts paid off, snowball your payments, become financially free, etc. After I found out about Skyler, my attitude changed. In the whole scheme of life, Cade isn't going to care if we took this small sum of money and paid down on something. He is going to remember his parents taking him to the ocean. The three of us are healthy and we are going to enjoy going to Florida as a family this summer.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Being Content

Somehow I missed my 1 year anniversary of having this blog. My first post was June 13, 2007. When I started this blog I named it the Shepherd’s flock because it was a good play on words – we are Shepherd’s, we are trying to add to our flock and we all are part of The Shepherd and His Flock

Then my tag line or subtitle was “Our journey through adoption and life in general”. At first I thought this might be some profound blog about adopting where I’d explain all of the details about adoptions…….little did I know that there’s only so much you can say unless you want to turn the blog into some huge debate on ethical adoptions or correctness in adoptions. Or saying we’re adopting, but adoption is evil because I’m stealing someone’s baby. You’d be surprised what lurks out there in the blogging world concerning adoptions. I can’t read too much of the stuff because it makes me angry for one and then it depresses me. It makes me feel like no matter what I’ll ever do, I’ll never be able to parent an adopted child. I know that’s not true, but hearing/reading so much of that stuff can really mess with your mind.

Instead I like to fill it up with things about our lives, our crazy dog, our nervous child and the fact that Jay and I love being married to each other – but sometimes we have our moments. If you’re wondering what I’m talking about just visit his comment on the “Charlie Tails” post. Now my posts aren’t so profound, but mostly just a human look into the lives of a couple trying their best to raise their one son and his dog while waiting on God for the next step for their family.

I’ve been gong through a 12 week Bible study called Calm My Anxious Heart by Linda Dillow. So far I’m on the 4th week, which is an accomplishment in itself. I’m notorious for starting something and not getting it finished. But I’m determined to finish this. So far it’s been about:

Philippians 4:11-13
Being content here and now, not when things change
Contentment is the state of the heart, not the state of affairs
Philippians 4:6-9
Leave everything up to God, it’s in his control. It’s the only way to have His peace
Dwell on the positive things God has given you, not the negative
Psalms 139: 13-16
Being able to thank God for the way he made you – abilities and disabilities.
Remembering God created you with a specific purpose in mind

After reflecting on this for the last few weeks I think a better subtitle for this blog would be While We Wait. Right now, for the first time in several years…maybe even ever, I can say I’m content. If we could freeze time – I’d be happy with right now. We may not have another baby yet, but I’ve reached a point where I can say ok (at least on most days), whatever you want God, you’ve created me and our future child with a specific purpose in mind – I’ll wait for you to show the path to me. We may not be rich, but God’s providing for our needs as they arise. I may not be as thin as I’d like, but I’m healthy. The list could go on and on…..

So I guess I’m announcing that I’m really working, and making some headway, on trying to be content right here, right now – While We Wait.

I just got a phone call from Jay and God’s really working on this contentment/trusting him thing. I needed new windshield wipers. Not only are the tires for this car expensive, but the wipers are outrageous. I am content with $40 wiper blades, I am content with $40 wiper blades…… It may take the rest of the day, but I’ll eventually become ok with it.