Catching up...

It seems like my occasions to blog are become fewer and fewer. I miss you, dear friends, and miss reading about what's going on in your lives! I try to check in every so often and "catch up" on your last few posts, but don't always have time to comment. Just know that you, my bloggy sistas, are in my thoughts---especially my "B Club" girls!

I'll try to update you on what's going on down here with us, without this become so lengthy that by the time you're done reading, you're ready to gouge your eyes out...or order a pizza (which sounds like a much more pleasant idea!)

In my world of real estate, I've been pretty busy lately. The new year has been off to a great start and in spite of what you may keep hearing in the media, I think the market hit rock bottom last year and now we are turning a corner---at least, I hope that is the case. That's the feeling I get here and also what I'm hearing from other Realtors and experts in our industry in this part of the country. I picked up a new listing two weeks ago, along with another buyer, both of which are former clients. So aside from the part-time stuff I do at the school, I've been super busy in the evenings and on weekends with clients too...which can be pretty tiring, but I love it! I really am passionate about real estate and love working with buyers and sellers and playing a part in the whole process!

School has kept me pretty busy too. I'm still working as the Guidance Assistant 4 days a week and inbetween achievement tests, college transcripts, and subbing for absent teachers, I'm juggling planning our Band's spring trip to Disney! Yes, Gary and I are still Band Booster Presidents until the end of the school year. Sometimes that can be a full-time job in itself! When I'm updating the band blog, emailing parents, talking with the travel company and figuring out a rooming list for 85+ students and 25 chaperones, sometimes I'll spy hubby with his feet propped up, kicked back in the recliner catching a re-run of Seinfeld, it's then that I realize I got the raw end of the deal! Yeah, yeah. I like to say he's the "pretty face" and Mr. Microphone of this partnership, but I'm the brains behind this operation!

Zack has had some pretty incredible opportunities lately! He has made me so proud that my cup runneth over! As many of you know, he's been volunteering in a local candidate for president's office for several months. Now I'm not going to get into a political debate here on who the better candidate is, I'm just so proud that my son is so involved and passionate about a worthy cause...even though he will not be old enough to vote in the Primary this next Tuesday. Anyway, back to my story! A team from the National Headquarters in Chicago came down to the local campaign office here two weeks ago and were so impressed with Zack that they've asked him to "head up" their student division in this area! They've also asked him to speak in the local schools here to students on the importance of voting. Oh! my! word! I would crawl up in the fetal position and die if I had to speak in front of a group! And when I asked him if he was nervous, he just replied with a simple "no". This past Sunday, his candidate was speaking at a rally at UAB and Zack was given a special delegate ticket and sat in the 2nd row! 2nd row people! His candidate shook his hand and also signed Zack's copy of said candidate's book! Zack has made some incredible contacts through his volunteerism and was introduced to a gentleman that will be running for Governor of our state in two years. The person who introduced Zack told this gentleman, "you need him working with you on your campaign!" My heart could just burst with pride! Zack is totally in his element in this crazy world of politics--he's passionate, driven, and determined to make a difference.

...which is why he's majoring in Political Science at the University of Central Florida! He's already begun picking out his classes and is very excited about one entitled "Presidential Campaigning". One day you'll see his name on a ballot, and I couldn't be more proud of his ambition and the goals he has set for himself. He starts classes in mid-June and that countdown is LOOMING over me! I have been "knee-deep" in housing applications, scholarship deadlines, registration and book deadlines...aaahhhh!!! I'm so stressed in that area, that I'm afraid I'm going to miss something that is vitally important in this whole college process! And those of you that have already been through this with your children, I have only one word...FAFSA. Holy cow at the length of that paperwork! I'm not sure I'm going to make it out on the other side, but if I don't, I hereby bequeath my precious little kitty, Zoe, to my friend Dianne, so "Sweet Kitty" will have a playmate and also because she's the only other person I know that loves her kitty as much as I love mine!

And finally, yes, I said "finally"...are you still with me? Is your pizza almost here? The Holy Spirit has been hammering away at my heart in an area that I have let harden. Several years ago, we went through a terrible experience at a former church and I've been using that as an excuse not to serve Him wholeheartidly. I've had the attitude of, "well if this is what I get for serving, then I'll just take a seat on the bench and watch from here!" I've been reading the book, "Get Out of that Pit" by Beth Moore. It's taken me a while because I have to read it with a box of tissue (literally!) and it's so emotionally overwhelming for me that I have to put it down for a few days (or more) and then pick it back up again. The Lord is bringing me to the outer ring of this den of fire that I've been in and for some reason, I'm just not ready to step out into the fresh air. Partly for fear of what I know HE will expect of me, and I'm not sure I'm ready to leave my "comfort zone" and partly for fear of disappointing Him again. But as the song "Through the Fire" says (which has been so powerful in ministering to me), He never promised that our cross wouldn't be heavy, just that HE has already provided the Victory! Go on now! Preach it! I better wrap this up cause I hear an altar call coming!

Well, "kuddos" to you if you stuck with me through this whole post! We have alot going on here in our "neck of the woods" and I just wanted to catch you up and let you know that I miss you! I'll try to check in a little more frequently so you don't have to take a nap while reading my latest post!

Too good not to share...

Today was the second time in a week that this song crossed my path. I can hardly get through it without the floodgates opening. It has been ministering to me in a very timely way.

Please take the time to watch the video by The Crabb Family, "Through the Fire".

Milk, Bread and Eggs

No, my absence from blogland is not due to being abducted by the "children of the corn"...I've just been covered up these past two weeks. I've had a few calls from blogger friends wanting to know my "thoughts" on the New Hampshire and now the Nevada caucuses...don't even get me started! Especially today, all I could do was laugh at the coverage on television. Besides, I had way more important things to do.

Like get caught up in the swirling vortex of panic that ensued once the news announced last night that we MAY get between 2 - 4 inches of snow today. What?! This is the deep south! It doesn't snow here! We don't do snow!

You should have seen the rush at the grocery store last night about 5:15 p.m. I, too, succumbed to the pressure of feeling the need to have milk, bread and eggs on hand in case of a wintry blizzard that might keep me indoors for more than say, 8 or 10 hours. I told Gary we must go to the grocery store right! this! minute! Think about it...why do people rush out and get milk, bread and eggs? Are we going to live off of french toast if we're snowed in? Or maybe we can have scrambled eggs too! I asked Gary that question on the way home from the store and he said, "oh, I can think of lots of things we could make with those ingredients!" Okay, let's hear 'em!


then hysterical laughter when he couldn't add more to our menu than french toast and scrambled eggs!

Needless to say, we didn't get snowed in, nor did we get 4 inches of snow. Maybe 1 or 2 inches, but it's all gone now! It was beautiful while it lasted and here are some pictures from our Winter Storm '08! Okay, Jean, you can stop laughing now!!!

Here's part of our back deck...whew! Better get some snow shoes!

This is looking out the side window of our bedroom towards the neighbor's house (you can see the snow on the roof of our carport)

This is looking out the dining room window towards our front yard. Notice the snow on the neighbor's house across the street. Their house isn't covered up so much by lots of trees like ours is.

Spoiled little Zoe doesn't realize how good she has it indoors. Gary took her outside on the deck to let her little paws feel the snow. She was quick to want to come back inside!
Tonight it's supposed to go down to 17 degrees! Brrr! Better go get started on letting all the faucets drip so the pipes don't freeze! Hey, do you guys up north do that? Stay warm amigas!

Please just sit down and pass the corn!

Yesterday, after a full day of working to get the house back in order, I laid down to take a quick nap before deciding what to do for dinner. When I awoke, the Iowa Caucuses (or is it "Cauci"?) were in full swing. As I've said before, I'm not much into politics, but what I was witnessing on tv certainly caught my attention.

Now let me preface my observations by saying that I mean no disrespect to Iowans. I mean, come on, a state that grows corn could not be all bad, right? It should be a food group unto itself. Silver Queen corn, whole kernel corn, creamed corn, corn fritters, corn nuggets, corn on the cob...and don't even get me started on popcorn, candy corn, and not to leave our native American friends out, Indian corn! But, I feel those corn-growing Iowans have been wandering in the corn fields too long, along with their children...which would make them children of the corn.

Bada-bing! I'll be here all week, people! Try the veal!

I digress.

So here are my observations of the Iowa Caucuses. It was like watching a grown-up political version of "duck, duck, goose". The Democrats all gathered in a big room, went to their respective corners for the candidate they were supporting, and started counting off. The head "duck" gets up on a chair, tells people to raise their hands, and when he points, holler out your number and put your hand down. Well, that didn't work. Okay, let's all raise our hands, start counting off, but each individual duck points to another duck to say their number. Oh shoot! That didn't work either! Let's all waddle out into the hallway and come in one by one and say our number as we enter the room. Oh no! We lost some! Where did they go?

Here's where they went...

You see, if said group doesn't have something like 15% for their respective candidate, they have to disband and choose another candidate.

Now it becomes "Red Rover, Red Rover, send Biden's group right over!" Oh my word! The pressure of standing in the middle of the room deciding which corner to run to. This was the most hysterical thing I've ever seen in the world of politics.

And to think the Democrats were criticizing Florida for the hanging chads episode.

Did you see the Republicans? Nice, orderly fashion---mark a ballot, have a little church, now let's all go eat!

God Bless America.

Every time you hear a bell ring...

Today I'm packing up Christmas. It makes me sad. I always feel we never have had enough time to enjoy our decorations, even though we start putting them up the week of Thanksgiving. I got 4 trees down, with one to go---but it's the mega tree, so I save it for last. It pretty much takes me an entire day to "un-decorate" the Great Room.

Or maybe I'm trying to hang on just a little longer. There's something magical in the air at Christmas time. The twinkling lights, the anticipation of knowing what gifts under the tree bear your name, the crackling of a warm fireplace, listening to Christmas music and sipping hot cocoa with extra marshmallows. It's like we can step out of the reality that is our world and just forget our cares, the daily stresses and worries, and just enjoy the season of Christmas.

When the trees are packed up, the decorations carefully wrapped, the Christmas dishes stored for yet another year to pass, the realization of beginning work again, the bills piling up, deadines to meet, chores to be done, rushes over you as briskly and quickly as the northern wind, sending a chill up and down your spine.

But I want to hold on to the warmth. I want to hold on to the Christmas spirit, the joy and delight in seeing a gift that is truly treasured. In remembering the greatest gift ever given, that alone should create the warmth of Christmas each and every day in our hearts.

I want to find that warmth again, for I fear I've grown cold to that fire that once burned within. But yet I hold on, with knuckles white, trying to firmly grasp other things that have taken first place in my life.

This year, I want it to be different. Am I willing to make the changes and decisions and choices that I know will bring about change? Time will tell. But for now, I hold on to hope, with a grateful heart for all the Lord has done for me thus far.

Happy New Year!

The gifts have all been opened and much food has been consumed and it's time to wrap up the holiday season. Weighing heavily on my mind this 2008, is the fact that my baby will be going off to college in about 5 months. I can remember when he was younger and he would say "I'm going to be the 'Class of 2008' " awfully far away that seemed! And now here it is. I'm standing at the edge of a cliff with my baby bird in hand, ready to gently toss him in the air to see if he will fly.

But the fact is, I'm not ready to let him fly. It's not a fear of if he will fail or succeed, because I believe he will succeed. He has succeeded in everything he has put his mind to. Some of the fear is in the unanswered questions of have I taught him enough? Is he grounded enough in the truth of God's Word not to be swayed by anything or anyone he may encounter at college? Has he been schooled in how to be a proper gentleman in matters of the opposite sex? Has he been taught the difference between right and wrong, and also the consequences of making wrong choices? Is he considering what the Lord would have him to do in the career path he may choose?

I've tried to guide without smothering. I've tried to encourage without pushing. Above all else, I've tried to love without condition. Does he understand and recognize these things or is he secretly so eager to get out on his own that he's counting down the days? The countdown. It's like a black cloud that looms over me as night falls too quickly on the rising sun.

A mom. It's who I am. I'm Zack's mom. Even though I consider myself to be a career professional, my first priority and greatest love has been being a mother. Without that, who am I? Without the need for checking his temperature and doctoring him when he's sick, or cooking him one of his favorite meals when he's hungry, or praising him on a job well done, or telling him I love him before retiring for the the absence of all of those things, who am I?

Here's what I hope he knows I am---I'm his biggest fan. I'm his constant encourager, his sounding board, his cheerleader, his advisor, but most importantly, as he spreads his wings and flies away, I hope he knows that I am and will always be his safety net.
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