Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Future Volunteer Firefighters

I have been knocking around an idea for a digital kit, so I called my friend Joy today, who just happens to work at our fire department. She was nice enough to let me come over after work with my camera to take some pictures of truck parts.

I brought two of my little people with me. Faith was very impressive. When I turned over a crate to stand on, a very large spider scuttled out of it and headed towards her in an aggressive manner. Silly spider, this is the girl who rode on a plane that wanted to fall out of the sky and wondered why other people screamed. She lifted up her feet that now fit my shoes and stomped it. She will make a wonderful civil service person if anybody needs critters stomped.

Kyle was, as always, completely enthralled with the trucks and machinery. He was happy to climb on the sideboard to have his picture taken. In fact, it was his idea. However, he would have been thrilled if he could have sat in the truck and imagined his future life as a firefighter. He was disappointed to realize that we don't have firemen who live in our station. Our department is a volunteer force, so they are only there when they are needed. I don't think that will quench his dream of being a cop or firefighter, though. He will just need to make sure he has a home to call his own.

Thank you, Joy, for letting me come take the pictures I needed!

Monday, July 27, 2009

The Naked Ladies Have Returned

Jack cleared out the majority of our front yard a couple of weeks ago, and seemingly overnight these lovely flowers have burst out of the ground and blossomed.

They grow in batches, and are so pretty. Last year I was told they are called Naked Ladies. I was also told their scientific name, but of course I can't remember what that name is. "Naked Ladies" is a much easier name to memorize.

And of course, it is a much funnier name to remember.

After all, what did you first think I was talking about when you read the title of this post??

My favorite kind of Sunday

Sunday was all about the kids. The majority of the kids who came all week for VBS were there for both services, where they got to share their scriptures and sing their songs. They were, in a word, awesome. Awesome. They sang, they danced, they ate donuts, and then they sang and danced again. I was so incredibly proud of them. It is THIS Sunday that makes being a VBS director worth it. I love seeing kids enjoying worship through music. Next week we are taking them on a day mission trip to perform their VBS program for the senior center. This is the first time we have taken them on a mission trip, and I am so excited about it.

Our VBS week itself was really great too. The kids had fun, we had wonderful volunteer leaders and workers, and we had about 20 of our youth come out just to help out. I am so grateful for everybody who pitched in to make it all work well!

After the VBS program, the youth group reported on their mission trip to Texas last month. Matt was the first teen to share his testimony and talk a bit about what they did. My favorite parts were, "We built a rock wall and then we had the girls finish it." and "We built a porch for a lady who..... needed a porch." (The lady is terminally ill with cancer and wanted to be able to spend her mornings on a porch for her daily devotionals.) Matt, however, was not alone in brief reviews. Another boy turned 16 on this trip and said, "On my 16th birthday I had to get up at 5:30 in the morning, and then scooped water out of a big hole with buckets, but that night we got to go to a Texas Rangers game and that made up for all the crap I had to do." I don't think I have ever heard "crap I had to do" preached from the pulpit before...hehehe.

But as much as he cracks me up, and even he is laughing about the talk he gave, I am extremely proud of Matt, and all of our youth. They did a good job down there in Texas, and I know Matt came home with a deeper testimony and an appreciation for performing acts of service. After he came home, he went on a Chrysalis Flight. On Sunday all of us who are local members of the Emmaus community stood up to welcome him to the group. Between the mission trip and the Chrysalis weekend, Matt has had a very busy spirit-growing summer!

After the youth presentation, we closed our service with prayer and the hymn "Here I am, Lord." This is one of my favorite hymns, which was a perfect way to end my favorite kind of service. I wish you all could have been there with us to see it!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Survival of the Fittest

This was Vacation Bible School week. I haven't been home and awake at the same time long enough to post anything.I don't have any pictures uploaded yet. I think it was mostly a success. The kids were great and seemed to have a good time.

All of the major summer events are over now. I thought it would mean at least a week or two of "off-time," before football and school began again but silly me should know better than that. We have had a major water leak in our bathroom which caused a lot of damage,and we had lightning damage to several items in our house. This isn't really bad news because our homeowner's insurance is covering it and we get a sparkly new bathroom and a new TV out of the process, but it does mean we have some work ahead of us.

Anyway... Give me a day or two and there will be photos and some non-rambling posts to share. Hope you are all enjoying the last weeks of your summer!

Friday, July 17, 2009

On Solid Ground

A couple of weeks ago, Jack and I took Faith to the airport to send her to Vegas for two weeks of spoiling. I was able to escort her to the gate, then was allowed no farther. It was hard, but I stood there at the entrance to the loading ramp, and watched her carefully.

She just walked to the ramp door, waved goodbye one last time, and headed out on the tarmac to get on her waiting plane.

She had to walk down one set of stairs, then up another ramp to the plane, and I stood there watching with a lump in my throat. Surely she is too little to be flying alone!

As I headed back out the gates to meet Jack on the patio where you can watch planes take off, Faith called Jack to tell him she had a window seat. He told her to look out the window and she would see us. For the next twenty minutes we would watch this window, and a little hand kept reaching up and waving to us.

Notice the grey in Jack's hair. There is a lot of it. Little did we know that two weeks later this trip would give him cause to add a whole slew of new greys to his head.

We stood there and watched as the plane backed up,

taxied to the runway,
and then carried our baby west-ward on what we hoped were steady wings.

The two weeks went by quickly, and although Faith says she wasn't ready to come home, she called all of us each at least twice a day. She was having fun horseback riding, swimming, getting a manicure, shopping, riding rollercoasters, and generally being pampered by my mom and brother and sister-in-law. She was also loving spending copious amounts of time adoring baby Sophia. But she missed us, and we all missed her like crazy.

Jack and I were attending a funeral on Wednesday when Faith was supposed to be coming home. We had silenced our phones, but as the service ended we noticed that Faith had been calling us. Jack went outside to call her back, mostly worried she had missed her flight because she was supposed to be in the air. It turns out she was in the air. It seems that shortly after take-off the left side of the plane quit working somehow, and began to dipping to the left. It had to turn around and return to Vegas for repairs.When Jack called her back, Faith said "We are landing now because our plane almost crashed." All I heard was him suddenly nearly yelling "Are you okay?" A few minutes later I had spoken to Faith, who was amazingly calm even though she was worried. I spoke to the stewardess who told me they had just finished landing and would be putting her on another plane. I wasn't so sure I wanted her anywhere off the ground at that point, but there weren't a ton of options that didn't involve two days of driving to get to her.

After a change of planes, Faith made it home in a few hours without any further incidents. The little boys and Beth made signs to decorate the door.

Beth still hasn't stopped following her around and clinging to her every chance she gets. Even the dogs came running out to welcome her home.

Somewhere along the line, mine and Jack's hearts began to beat again and we gradually have gotten past the instant fear that curdled our stomachs when we heard the word "crash." Faith is back on solid ground again, and she is staying there for the time being! I am very glad she had a good time visiting some of our loved ones, but I am even more glad, and deeply grateful, to have her home in one piece!

Monday, July 13, 2009

1, 2, 3 WAR!

My internet was zapped by lightning at home. At least I think that is why it isn't working. Our TV was apparently zapped too, because it won't even turn on anymore. So I can't share the pictures yet of Kyle's all-star games, or Beth swimming with a frog, or Matt and Jack splitting wood, or Todd breaking rocks for a drain pipe, or the butterfly that was flirting with Beth the other day. Instead, I will just tell you about the fastest game of War ever held.

Last night the kids were in bed, and we couldn't watch movies due to the TV's failure to power up. So Jack and I broke out the two new decks of cards we picked up this weekend to play with friends. We haven't played cards with just the two of us in forever, and it was fun. We started out playing rummy. We are pretty evenly matched in that game. (Jack won't play spelling or trivia games with just me. I trump him everytime.) Then we were talking about games we played with our siblings growing up, and I mentioned that Jesse and I played War a lot. We decided that sounded like a fun game to play, and since it takes a while to play it we would enjoy the time as we just chatted about things in general. (It is so nice sometimes to just have the chance to sit and gab with your spouse about nothing in particular and everything under the sun.)

Since we were using both decks and the jokers, you would think that game would have gone on forever. However, after the hands were dealt and we began to play, it was clear that I somehow ended up with 3 of the 4 jokers, and nearly all the high cards. Our game of War was over in 15 minutes. I have never had that game go by that quickly! So we refer to last night's game as "Swift Annihilation," and will probably be returning to Rummy tonight.

However, neither of us have played Canasta in forever, and we miss having Spades nights with friends, so very soon we want to have a card-playing night. Who wants to join us?

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Weeds and Wildflowers

The first time we were here to see the area, I fell in love with all the wildflowers that grow free and wild all along the roadways in the Ozarks, and they are still one of my top-ten favorites about this place. I found all of these today on our road, but there are tons and tons of them all over the countryside right now. Mother Nature really knows how to grow a garden!

The best part of these nature walks to take pictures of the flowers I love so much is being joined by a little girl who loves to gather and admire God's handiwork too. Bones doesn't care as much about the wildlfowers, but she does enjoy the oportunity to sneak a quick lick in here and there. The melancholy part for me is that little girls and puppies grow faster than the weeds and wildflowers do.

Football on the 4th

Initially, there weren't any All-Star games planned for Saturday, so we asked some of our friends to come over for food and games. Then Kyle was supposed to play on Saturday after all, so we called them all back and cancelled. Then a storm rolled in and the games were postponed until today. We called them all back again and said, "Come on over!" So they did. We had a minor feast spread out, there were 16 kids in various forms of play, 8 adults feeling outnumbered by the kids, boardgames and fireworks were brought out, and most importantly, there was football.

Nathan, Jack, Josh and Matt started warming up before everybody else got here. It was the "young" ones vs the "old" ones.

I think my old one and young one were each surprised by each other's strength.

A lot of times I shoot, and just hold the shutter open to get 6 shots in a frame to capture the action. It means I get some unusual shots sometimes, especially when things happen so fast your eyes can't keep up with everything. This is one of those shots. Things look potentially painful in this shot, but neither one can remember this moment now.

There was a lot of smack being thrown around out there. Some of it was deserved.

There was some showboating going on too. I am not sure all of that was deserved.

After Slade and Brandy arrived, the guys wanted the gals to play too. Then they immediately called for "Skins and Shirts" and tried to call "shirts." We told them it was tackle football, not flappy football, so "skins" was out of the question.

Mystery and I were able to play, while Brandy took care of her baby and Crystal (married to Nathan) took my camera and was the photographer. Mystery was trying to distract me from my quarterbacking duties in this shot.

Here are all 8 of us running after someone who had the ball again. All of us "old" ones should be physically recovered enough from our football injuries in time to play again next July 4th. I just want to mention that in my day to day life I take a lot of pictures. Sometimes I take a few hundred in a really busy day. However, Crystal (married to Nathan) has me beat for sheer picture taking volume, hands down. She took over 1200 (that is not a typo) pictures in the time it took our team to beat Matt and Jack's team. That is some impressive picture taking!

During our feast, Nathan and Crystal's little girl sang "Open the Eyes of my Heart, Lord" to us.

Nothing is as cute as being serenaded by a pre-schooler.

It was a good day. After the football games were over we set off our collective fireworks and then watched the neighbors shoot theirs off. Afterwards a mean round of Cranium WOW was played, where the guys actually won. Happy Birthday, America. It was a lot of fun enjoying our independence today!