Monday, December 22, 2008

Sunday Before Christmas

The Sunday before Christmas has been a day I've looked forward to for several years now. I get the chance to spoil my Sunday school youngsters a bit and reward them for their work. I always work my schedule so that we have a review day then. This year has been great so far! (we promote in September). I teach 4th and 5th graders and we rotate between studying the Gospels and Acts. Acts is my favorite and we are already into chapter 11 this year.

Matthew L. and Trinity were on Team "Reindeer" and took third place.

Matthew F. (Team "Elves") was by himself until Collin arrived in the last five. They took 2nd Place. (Yeah, there's Christmas lights strung up behind him.)

And Allison and Emily made up Team "Snowmen". They hung in to take 1st Place in our review contest. Since they both came into the day with over 100 stickers each (my reward system lingo), they both cleaned up on prizes!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

A Wonderful Christmas Gathering

Dad, Julie and Me
Julie, John, Jax and Coco hosted a wonderful Christmas lunch this past Sunday. Everything was so very nice. The food was ALL great (not always something you can say at these things ;) ). My strawberry frozen salad was the best dish...NOT! Julie's table decor was amazing and I'm sure she'll be sharing some pix of that. Thanks Chickadee!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Updated Garden Pictures

I've finally gotten around to posting some 2008 garden pictures. There's not a lot to show and some of it is repeditive from previous years, but some plants were newcomers. Check out the new page at the 2008 Summary page.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Some Things I'm Thankful For...

There's no way I could ever write all the things for which I'm thankful. Behind my ability to write this blog are thousands of things to be thankful for...I'm thinking my health, my education, access to a computer...just to get started.

But things in the past (and things that continue on today) are what are on my mind this Thanksgiving. Afterall, it is the past that makes us who we are, and puts us in the shoes we wear today.

So, other than our Father above, I can't think of any other reason why I'm where I am today than the love of my Mom and Dad. For that, I am, and always will be profoundly grateful. There are so many things that Mom and Dad did, and still do, out of a sacrificial heart and a commitment to their God, each other, and their children.

I'm thankful that my Mom made it her ambition in life to be a wife and mother. She gives her life to her children and in so doing, fulfilled the greatest Christian act, quietly leading each of her children to the Gospel.

I'm thankful that Mom loves each of her children equally and embraces their spouses as children as well. I'm thankful that she is a wonderful grandmother. I'm thankful that she has endured difficulties in her life that she often bore in silence and carried on with a meek forcefullness and strength. I'm thankful that she has the ability to make things seem all right, even when the storms arise.

On a lighter note, I'm thankful that she taught me to be organized and to care about my things. I'm thankful that she taught us to be on guard, to listen before we speak, and not to get to carried away with the things of the moment. I'm thankful that she taught us to respect other people.

My Dad sacrificed much and taught us many things as well. I'm so very proud that my Dad worked hard for his family. I'm proud and thankful for the things that he accomplished in his businesses. I'm thankful for his ever generous spirit--and thankful that he fulfills what the apostle Paul told us about working so that we might be able to share with others.

I'm very thankful for the work ethic he showed us and instilled in each of his children. I'm thankful that he never gave up even when business went bad. I'm thankful for his intelligence, for his uncanny ability to see through people...perhaps you could call that shrewdness.

I'm thankful for the financial rewards of his hard work---that his children never wanted for anything and that they each were set well on their way. Perhaps, because of my age, I was shielded from some worries that my other siblings may have experienced, but I am thankful that I never had to worry about having health insurance, car insurance, repaying student loans, or even more basically--having a home and food and clothes.

I'm thankful that Dad has always found a way. I'm thankful that we were always taken to church and taught the Bible. I'm thankful that we had a Christian education. I'm thankful that the top priority has always been to serve God.

I'm thankful that we have a family business and although we are not perfect, we can be Christians there and steer that business as Christians should. I'm thankful for the time we all got to spend together in Dad's business. It's unique and rare to have a family working together as we did--and even more rare that most of the time, we got along well.

I'm thankful that Mom and Dad both taught us to see things through to the end, not to give up, and to stick with our commitments. I'm thankful that they taught us to be frugal and patient.

I'm sure I could think of many other things just in relation to my parents, but for now, I'll just say, "Thanks Mom and Dad, I Love You".

My Cars Through the Years

If there's one thing my Dad and I have in common, it's a love of cars! I'm just crazy enough over my cars that I still dream about the first one I ever had and always wake up wish I still had it.
I remember loving cars way before I could drive. My best friend, John Mark Allen, and I created our own car companies and for years we produced brochures and 3-D mock ups of our creations. Those were fun times!
I decided to go back and get photos together of my vehicles through the years. Unfortunately, I couldn't find a pic of my Jeep Liberty, but I found one of the identical color and model. The same is true of the "green machine" I owned for just a month...but I'm not so sad about that. I told Dad that I'm never traded off a car again because I always regret letting them go. No, that's not very practical thinking. I guess I'm alright as long as I don't buy any more cars, hum?
So, here they are:

Here I am washing my first car in Pulaski, it was a 1987 BMW 325i.

My short lived mistake, a 1995 Geo Prizm in "Tropical Green Mica", yikes! The dashboard was warping from the get-go. Foolish mistake.

I really miss this one! My 1995 BMW 525i. Awesome car.

I sure loved having Grandma's GMC Sonoma pickup. I couldn't have built my garden without it. Later in it's life, it was covered in stick-on apples to advertise Appletree Furniture, Dad's store-in our store concept. We're glad it found a new home with relatives of Arturo, Mom and Dad's landscaper, in Mexico.

Here's my 2003 Jeep Wrangler in "Steel Blue". The Wrangler was fun, but I never used it the way it was intended to be used. It was not very powerful and too noisy, so it didn't stay around long.

Late in 2003, I traded the Wrangler for my Z3. I had wanted a Z3 since they first came out. When I found out that the Z3 had been replaced with the new Z4, I scrambled to find a Z3. My 2000 Z3 was purchased at CarMax with about 24K miles. I found it online and they shipped it here. This is such a fun car and I hope to never let it go!

In 2004, I purchased my silver Jeep Liberty. This picture is one I found on the Internet. I'd have kept the Liberty if it had been a 4X4. Plus, I ripped a nasty whole in the ceiling while loading some wood. That's why I needed a truck again ;)

So, in the summer of 2005, I purchased my '05 Dodge Dakota 4X4. It's been a great truck so far, and I look forward to enjoying it for many more.

And finally, my new 2008 BMW 128i in Cashmere Silver. I'd been wanting a new BMW coupe for a while. I really liked the new 3 series coupes, but they never seemed to get the right car in, and I'm way too impulsive to order one. When the new 1 series came out, I was thrilled. I wrestled with buying this car, but kept driving by the dealership to see if it was still there. Finally I decided to go get it and brought it home in July.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Seen and Heard

...a bumper sticker this morning that said, "Work Harder!", and in smaller letters, "Millions on Welfare are Depending on You!" -- Nice

...Paula Deen was making recipies from her "Bag Lady" days, when she first started her business. She made sack lunches and her sons delivered them. She shared a thought that she had when she first contemplated lauching her own business. She said something like--"I knew I could start a business. If we took care of it, it would take care of us."

...Jillian from the Biggest Loser getting on to Michelle's case while training. She told her, "don't ever tell me that you CAN'T keep going, if you make a decision to stop, that's your problem, but don't say you can't."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

How Time Goes By

As I was arriving at home the other day, I opened my eyes to the beauty of the maple tree in my front yard and suddenly realized just how fast time has gone by. I didn't plant this tree, it was done by the developers, but I did nuture it a lot, especially in those first years. The neighbors got the same variety, but mine thrived a bit more than theirs. The above picture was from late autumn, 2000 and we'd had a light dusting of snow.

And here's the tree this autumn, eight years later. I think it's prettier than it's ever been-- even with our near drought summer.