Friday, June 30, 2006

I Might Order This Book...

...but I'm not sure. I think maybe I've read enough old maid books already, but this one looks really entertaining.


Thursday, June 29, 2006

Trip Photos Part Three

Here are the girls riding the steam locomotive narrow gauge train. We rode in an open car, and even though we wound up looking like chimney sweeps from the soot, we had an excellent view the whole way. Blowing off steam over a bridge.
The boys.
The little girls in front of our locomotive. This was at the turn-around point in Silverton.
One of the many breath-taking views from the train.
It was a blast!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Trip Photos Part Two

These are from Mesa Verde National Park. Here's one way to keep the hot, high-altitude, desert sun off.
This is Cliff Palace, probably the most famous dwelling. We got to take a tour of it. I thought it was fascinating to be in a place where people lived almost a thousand years ago.
This was the highest point in the park. We could see for miles and miles in all directions.


Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Trip Photos Part One

These are from Arches National Park. Here's Papa trying to push a rock down the mountain. Pushing rocks down mountains was sort of a running joke after Seth decided to try moving a giant rock and it actually did move and nearly flattened our grandparents' dog!



We all had sand blowing into every crevice of our body at this spot, but the view was worth it.
This spot was so spectacular, but scary too, because the wind is very strong through the arch and it's on the edge of a cliff. Yikes! That's John, Anna, and Seth below, trying not to blow away.

Trip Pictures

We arrived home last night after sixteen days on the road. Here are a few pictures:

This is Delicate Arch in Utah. That's Seth in the white shirt and me in the red.
These arches were huge. The people in the background were still several hundred feet from the first arch when the picture was taken.
Instead of assigning the dishes to a few people, we all decided to pitch in. So we loaded up all our dishes, soap, towels, and even a drain rack, and marched off to the shower house. Doing the dishes has rarely been so fun.
We spent one day riding the train.

One windy morning it took all of us to get the tent rolled up.
We got to see our cousin Bree get married. Congratulations, Bree!!
Our grandmother gave us her piano, so we rented a U-haul and towed it back to Houston. Here it is coming through the front door.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Back Home!

I returned safe and sound from my exhausting but fun vacation yesterday afternoon. I have some pictures, but I couldn't post them last night because the phone and DSL are out at my house. Maybe I'll put pictures up tomorrow. Maybe I'll do a few each day. Maybe it'll be a mini-series!

In addition to the lack of phone service, I also came home to two roaches in the kitchen, 95-degree weather, a bunch of little dead bugs on an endtable, no food in the house, and no hot water because I couldn't get the water heater relit. Nevertheless, I'm glad to be home and it was nice to get to fly back early and have the afternoon to unpack and rest before the rest of the family gets home this evening.

As I think about the trip there are a few things I'm thankful for:
  • I got to visit with cousins I haven't seen in years.
  • I saw lots of beautiful scenery.
  • I got to spend some time in cool weather.
  • I was able to get the pine tree sap off my khaki capris. (Secret weapon: alcohol. Lesson: don't wear khaki capris on a camping trip.)
  • We found a campground in a nearby town when we were run out of Arches National Park by a sandstorm.
  • We got to see some fantastic arches in spite of the sandstorm.
  • I didn't get sick on the five 10-foot ladders at Mesa Verde. (I hate ladders.)
  • Becca only stuck one foot in the ice-cold creek and didn't fall all the way in.
  • It didn't rain on our open-car narrow-gauge train ride.
  • The twig that smacked me in the face when I leaned out of the train car didn't draw blood.
  • Seth didn't find the abandoned bicycle horn until the second-to-the-last day of the trip.
  • The chicken grease I splattered on my pants while serving food at my cousin's rehearsal dinner came out completely. (I kept having laundry problems this trip!)
  • The sunscreen-induced rash on my face that caused my skin to bubble, turn red, then start flaking off got quite a bit better before my cousin's wedding.
  • The wedding was a beautiful outdoor ceremony that went very well in spite of the pint-sized ringbearer throwing a fit and the mother of the bride standing up at the wrong time and the grandparents doing musical chairs at the front trying to get seated!
  • When a Bible for the Scripture reading at the ceremony couldn't be found, John came through with his nice, black-leather, gold-edged Bible that he had in the van. Yay!
  • The two alarm clocks I'd set for getting up for my flight ended up being unnecessary because I just woke up. (Maybe I was still wired from the night before.)
  • My uncle took me to the airport, along with my cousin and her new husband who were departing for their honeymoon. I was afraid it would be awkward and I'd just be in the way, but it ended up being a great chance to visit, even though I think they were more exhausted than they'd ever been in their whole lives!
  • Last but not least, most of the 500 emails I found when I got to work this morning turned out to be junk that was quickly deleted.

Hooray! I've had a vacation and lived to tell about it!!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Our Trip So Far

Right now we are in Grand Junction, Colorado, on the first leg of a swing through southern Utah and southwestern Colorado. Here are just a few glimpses of our past week:

We saw roadrunner eating a mouse.

We saw a truck on fire. We could see the smoke from a mile away.

We had a rear tire blowout at 72 mph. BANG, thump, thump, thump, thump, everybody screams, etc. Fortunately, the rain had stopped three minutes before it happpened.

We met some cousins we hadn't seen in eight years.

Three of us spent the night sleeping under the stars on our grandparents mountain property. Well, we didn't exactly see a lot of stars; it was cloudy all night, and at about 3:00 it started drizzling. We had been told that there was not a chance of our staying out all night, so we were of course obligated to stay out all night, waterlogged though we were. It at least made for lively breakfast conversation.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Going On Vacation

Tomorrow afternoon, I'll be flying to Colorado to join my family on their vacation up there. Much as I've enjoyed having the house to myself since they left on Saturday, I'll still be glad to see them.

The day after I get there, we'll be going to a Gospel Grass Festival.
Then, we'll go here:
and here:
and ride this train:
and go to my cousin's wedding.
It'll be great to get away for a while, and I'm looking forward to our adventures. I just hope there's no repeat of my family's 70mph rear tire blowout that they had on the way up. Yikes!

See you in a week!

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

I Wonder....

...how fast would you have to be to take a picture of your camera?
?
?
?
?
(I may not be getting enough sleep lately.)

Monday, June 12, 2006

Sunday, June 11, 2006

From the Yard

This hibiscus bush might be getting a little bit carried away, but it sure is beautiful! (I can say that because I'm not the gardener.)

An Inspiring Thought From Church

My pastor's sermon this morning included an analogy that I thought was very insightful. The church is described in the Bible as the temple of God. If you observe the finest and most beautiful temples, you notice that they are built without mortar. Instead, the stones are shaped to fit perfectly together.

In a similar way, we believers are being formed into a "temple" for God. With Christ as our cornerstone, we are built together for God's glory. So, if you feel like you're being pounded on, chiseled, and ground down, just think of yourself as a stone being shaped to fit perfectly into the house of God.

Friday, June 9, 2006

Taking Leave

This will probably be my last post for a while, but I'm only taking vacation, not retirement. Our family is going to Colorado and Utah for a couple of weeks. I may or may not have time to blog and access to the internet concurrently at any point while we're gone; if not, I will at least check back in by the end of the month.

Here is a link to a beautiful song, "Hold My Hand". It's written and sung by a girl we met several months ago. The song is the one at the top.

Coke and Mentos Goes BIG TIME!!!

Did Anybody Notice?

6/6/06 came and went and we're all still here. How about that.

Wednesday, June 7, 2006

Heroism

I am currently reading a novel which is set in post-Dunkirk France. The hero is Mr. Howard, a 70-year-old Englishman who had been visiting in France when the Nazis invaded Holland, Belgium, and France. He has no extraordinary abilities, nor is he an important person who can demand attention or respect. In the course of the plot, Mr. Howard is made responsible for several children as he makes his way with them back to England though war-torn France. I feel like there is something compelling about the way a physically feeble man is obliged to rise up and protect the even more helpless children. This book has made me aware of how accustomed I am to heros being young, strong, or quite capable in some important way. I am reminded that heroism may or may not look impressive to other people. The essence of heroism is doing what you know you must do, and sacrificing what is yours for others.

You've Probably Seen This Before If You've Had Email More Than A Week, But That's OK, It's Still Funny

The European Commission has just announced an agreement whereby English will be the official language of the European Union rather than German, which was the other possibility.

As part of the negotiations, the British Government conceded that English spelling had some room for improvement and has accepted a 5- year phase-in plan that would become known as "Euro-English".

In the first year, "s" will replace the soft "c". Sertainly, this will make the sivil servants jump with joy.

The hard "c" will be dropped in favour of "k". This should klear up konfusion, and keyboards kan have one less letter.

There will be growing publik enthusiasm in the sekond year when the troublesome "ph" will be replaced with "f". This will make words like fotograf 20% shorter.

In the 3rd year, publik akseptanse of the new spelling kan be expekted to reach the stage where more komplikated changes are possible.

Governments will enkourage the removal of double letters which have always ben a deterent to akurate speling.

Also, al wil agre that the horibl mes of the silent "e" in the languag is disgrasful and it should go away.

By the 4th yer people wil be reseptiv to steps such as replasing "th" with "z" and "w" with "v".

During ze fifz yer, ze unesesary "o" kan be dropd from vords kontaining "ou" and after ziz fifz yer, ve vil hav a reil sensi bl riten styl.

Zer vil be no mor trubl or difikultis and evrivun vil find it ezi tu understand ech oza. Ze drem of a united urop vil finali kum tru.

Und efter ze fifz yer, ve vil al be speking German like zey vunted in ze forst plas.

If zis mad you smil, pleas pas on to oza pepl.

Monday, June 5, 2006

Papa's Birthday

Yesterday evening we celebrated Papa's birthday. Papa and I actually share a birthday in August, but several years ago we started celebrating Papa's birthday in June. Yes, it's true, we have Papa's Birthday and Papa's Birthday, Observed. To observe this holiday, we ate cake and ice cream, decorated our good-natured father with a funny hat and balloon, and had a good time generally. In a few weeks, we will continue our observance by going to the circus together.




This is obviously a man secure in his manhood.

Papa has been the greatest father for me. He taught me good morals and careful reasoning. His sacrificial leadership and his willingness to swim against the cultural current are examples that will influence me for the rest of my life. On the occasion of his birthday, I am acutely aware of how blessed I am by him.

Shocking

We had a little trouble taking a dignified photo of Papa on his birthday yesterday.

Friday, June 2, 2006

Singing

I just finished a singing class. If you had asked me a year ago if I would ever take a voice lesson, my answer would have been something like "I can already sing, can't I?" I have come to realize that being able to hit the desired note and making people want to listen to you are two entirely different matters. Now that I've received some great pointers on how to use my voice properly, I'm going to be motivated to practice singing just as I practice any instrument. I think I am also going to have a lot more enjoyment and confidence with my singing now. I feel like a flatpicker who has only been picking down when someone tells him to pick down and up.

Expanding My Horizons



I'm a pushover, which is how I ended up at a Mary Kay party last night. A friend of mine is starting a Mary Kay business, and I wanted to support her, plus she promised not to smear makeup all over me and she said, "Don't put on anything you don't want to!" So I went. Me, who thinks makeup is cruel and unusual punishment, who believes that thirty minutes should be plenty of time to go from just-crawled-out-of-bed to ready-to-face-the-world, who gets treated like an art project whenever I get near women with makeup applicators, who doesn't even put lipstick on for dance performances half the time.

Much to my relief, the evening was more about skin care than color. I can handle lotions and cleansers a little better than eye shadows and lip liners, which strike fear into my heart. So, I actually had a pleasant time, and best of all, I did not have a huge breakout when I got up this morning, which has happened to me before following other, less fortunate makeup experiences.

I may have allowed myself to get a little too comfortable, though, because I found myself signing up to be a model/sample face/practice subject, or something like that at another event next week. Part of me thinks I must be nuts, but the other part of me thinks it will be fun. I'll let you know.

Trying to get in touch with my girly side and praying I don't end up looking like this,

Blank Canvas, at your service.