Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
I enjoy going to family reunions though because it gives me a chance to see my aunts, uncles and cousins since I don't get to see them as often as I would like. I love these people. They are my family and family is something that I treasure. I realize that our family is very fortunate in the sense that we all enjoy each other's company. We don't dread holidays. We call each other on the phone just to check in. Now that is not to say that my family is this idyllic little group of people that never encounters any adversity. Like all other families, there has been illness and divorce and other struggles. Some refer to this as life. But we stick by and love each other through it all. It also helps that these people are funny. If they were all residents of dullsville, I would have removed them from my Christmas card list long ago. Not really. And even if we don't end up this way, we all start out as really cute. I mean, seriously...Sophie and Emma are especially cute with their wind-blown Jeep hair. Emma is the most loving little girl I've ever met while her baby sister, Sophie is full of spunk. Just look at her in that picture...I think she's about to throw her fork at someone. Bailey is very serious, but seriously silly when she lets herself relax. Hmm...I think that runs in the family. And her little brother, Zach is a live-wire going in about a thousand different directions at once. I just love little boys. Here he is with his dad and my cousin Kasey showing my uncle Bill how to use a cell phone. I'm not really surprised that Bill needed a tutorial given that he is an Alabama graduate. Even though he is a grandchild and not a great-grandchild like the other kiddos featured here, Micah is still pretty cute. I hope that pre-adolescence attitude stays away just a little longer.And finally the baby...I can't forget the baby of our family. I don't know very many 15 month olds who already have their own dirt bike, but Garrett does...And in the event of a complete economic melt-down, my cousin Kyle, Garrett's dad, will be appearing in a circus side show as the tall man on a little dirt bike in order to bring home additional income. Finally, Cash also got in on the family reunion action this weekend. He got to meet Kyle and Karen's chocolate Lab, Grady...Apparently eating pine straw is the preferred bonding activity among Labrador Retrievers. Cash was only slightly intimidated by Grady's 118-pound size and stature. If Cash ever gets that big, I'm in big trouble.
Edited to add: Correction...it's the 4th Sunday in September. No wonder my whole career as a math teacher never worked out.
Saturday started off dreary and drab. If that wasn't foreshadowing of how the day would end here in Bulldog Nation then I don't know what is. I had determined that I would spend my day working away diligently on school stuff but that got old after about 2 hours. Fortunately by then the sun was out so I did what any normal girl would do on a beautiful fall day: I went shopping. Well, I had to go pick up my contacts and since I was already so close to the mall it would have really been a shame not to stop by. Never mind the fact that I live approximately 1 mile from it. I really just intended to run into the GAP to get a new pair of jeans. First mistake. Never in my entire life have I just been able to run into a store and grab a pair of jeans. Especially the GAP, considering my love-hate relationship with their jeans over the years. I've determined it all depends upon what sweat shop they are sown in as to whether or not they will fit me well. My absolute favorite pair of casual jeans came from the GAP about 4 years ago. I really don't think I'm expecting too much by wanting that same exact pair of jeans just without the frayed edges now, but apparently that's not conducive to keeping with the trends. The next 3 hours of my life were devoted (wasted) to searching for the perfect pair of jeans. And it's pretty hard to spend 3 hours shopping in Athens because while this town is known for many things, great shopping is not one of them. In fact, I feel like I should get a concealed carry permit in the event I ever go to the mall at night. Much to my dismay I did not find the perfect pair of jeans. Maybe I just need to stop shopping in stores where the saleschildren refer to me as "ma'm". But I refuse to resort to Mom Jeans or anything of that nature. Maybe I'll consult the 3 magazines that I have at my apartment that all have the promise of helping women find the "perfect" pair of jeans on the covers. Maybe I'll just continue to wear the same wonderful pair that I love so much and just patch them with cool patches. Maybe I'll get lucky tomorrow and find "the pair" at Georgia's retail mecca. Maybe I'll get a life and quit writing about jeans. My 3 hour shopping trip wasn't a complete waste, but personally I think it's a little ridiculous to spend that much time shopping only to come home with a bottle of nail polish. Fortunately (or unfortunately) I made it home in time to watch Alabama stomp the Clarke County Pee-Wee football team over at Sanford Stadium while I made my special recipe chocolate chip cookies for the family reunion on Sunday. Which brings me to my next topic...But that's going to have to wait for a few hours because I've got to get ready for class. Stay tuned.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
For every Abraham who dares
to kiss a foreign field
where glory for a moment grasped
Is for a lifetime tilled…
The voice of God
speaks not but once
but ‘til traveler hears
“Abraham! Abraham! Bring your Isaac here!”
“Bring not the blemished sacrifice.
What lovest thou the most?
Look not into the distance,
you’ll find your Isaac close.”
“I hear the tearing of your heart
torn between two loves,
the one your vision can behold
the Other hid above.”
“Do you trust me, Abraham
with your gravest fear?
Will you pry your fingers loose
and bring your Isaac here?”
“Have I not made you promises?
Hold them tight instead!
I am the Lover of your soul—
the Lifter of your head.”
“Believe me, O my Abraham
when blinded by the cost.
Arrange the wooded altar
and count your gains but loss.”
“Let tears wash clean your blinded eyes
until unveiled you see—
the ram caught in the thicket there
to set your Isaac free.”
“Perhaps I’ll send him down the mount
to walk right by your side.
No longer in your iron grasp
but safer still in mine.”
“Or I may wrap him in the wind
and sweep him from your sight
to better things beyond your reach—
believe with all your might!”
“Look up, beloved Abraham.
Can you count the stars?
Multitudes will stand to reap
from one dear friend of God.”
“Pass the test, my faithful one;
bow to me as Lord.
Trust me with your Isaac—
see, I am your great Reward.”
There is so much to the story that I have a hard time even beginning to sort out my thoughts. I love how the seemingly impossible is made possible in this story. I mean, Abraham and Sarah were old and they had a baby after spending years with no children. Fortunately for Sarah she didn't have a 19 year-old daughter to exclaim "but mom you're so old" when the news broke. (I once heard about a 19 year-old who said those words to her mother upon hearing the news that she was going to be a big sister for the second time. None of you know her though.) I love how God still makes the impossible possible thousands of years later.
And then there's the other part of the story. The part in which Abraham's faith was tested by showing his willingness to sacrifice his son, Isaac. The very son he loved and had waited on for so long. Where is the fairness in that? God provides Abraham with a son yet He commands Abraham to take him to Moriah and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Seriously? Yes - seriously. If you don't know the story, I would encourage you to keep reading to see how this works out.
It's in this part of the story that I really start thinking about my life. There have been times when I did not trust God enough to let go of "my Isaac". And these things were nothing in comparison to a child. I don't even have babies yet and it hurts my heart to even consider such a thing. So now I'm praying that the next time there is something that I need to trust God with, I do it. Willingly. Even if it means that I have to let go of a plan or an idea or a routine. This will be no easy task for a girl like me who loves a good plan almost as much as I love a good pair of shoes or a Sunday afternoon nap. But then I remember that once upon a time there was a father who did sacrifice his son whom he loves very much. For me. Because he loves me very much too. So if he did all this so that I might have life then the least I can do is trust him with it.
Friday, September 26, 2008
I think that the man who owns this one and the other one has a lady friend in my apartment complex that he comes to visit. Now, last weekend he was driving a new Mercedes worth more than I am, but in my opinion it has much less personality than the one he's in today. And it's always personality that prevails in the long run.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
Monday, September 22, 2008
I feel this loyalty and allegiance to Grey's because I've been with it since the beginning. Back when Meredith proved just how much of a lady she is by hooking up with a random man in the bar who we all now know and love as McDreamy. Sure, I cried a couple of seasons ago when Denny died just after proposing to Izzy and she went running down the hallway of the hospital in her prom dress with that Snow Patrol song playing in the background. (Nevermind the fact that she was responsible for his death.) But honestly, I'm over the drama. How many times will Mer and Der break up only to make up? How many more combinations of intern/resident/attending relations will the writers come up with? How many more STD's will be contracted in the process? And these people are supposed to be medical professionals.
Whatever happened to good and wholesome prime time television like Dallas and Dynasty? Er...I mean The Cosby Show and Family Ties. Now that was some good Thursday night television. I was always so conflicted on Skate Night (when the local skating rink would open up one Thursday night a month for my elementary school only) because I hated missing "my programs". Alex P. Keaton was so dreamy. Fortunately we had a VCR so I never really missed an episode, I just watched it a day later. I digress. Back to the current matter at hand...
The Office. What's not to love about The Office? The wit and humor is terrific. I believe that all TV couples should be like Jim and Pam. Everyone needs a Stanley in their office. I could go on and on, but it's 11:24 pm and I have better things to do with my time. Like go to bed.
Which one will you all choose? I'm curious. Because everybody who is anybody will be watching one of these two shows on Thursday night. Not really...Survivor watchers are somebodies too.
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Well, here he is at least. Slim and trim...that's questionable. But that's part of what makes me love him so much. As for me, I'm yesterday's news to him. Especially now that I've betrayed him by getting a dog of all things.
Friday, September 19, 2008
First...Living alone for 4 years has finally taken its toll on me and I just need someone, anyone, everyone to make conversation with me. But then that can't be it because when you get tired of reading all you have to do is click that magic little "x' in the upper right corner of your monitor and I'm gone. Nevermind the fact that these are all one-sided conversations and no one is talking back to me. Which I don't enjoy because I'm really more of a listener than a talker. Really.
Or...I have to put together a powerpoint presentation on how the military is a provider of adult education before my class on Monday and read boring books until my eyeballs fall out of their sockets. Ahh...suddenly the excessive blogging makes perfect sense. Perfect sense to waste time so I'll be stressed out by Sunday afternoon. Actually it does for me because I work much better under pressure.
So what is it that I'm blabbering about now? Oh yes. Life. And my motto of how it begins at 25. I alluded to this in an earlier post so it should be no surprise that I've chosen this moment, when I'm delaying the inevitable class work, to write about it.
Until my sophomore year of college I had my life completely planned out. After graduation I was going to return to my hometown, live on my family's land, teach math at the high school I graduated from all as the new wife of the high school baseball coach. Now at the time I had no idea who said baseball coach was going to be, but that didn't matter...I was certain everything was going to fall into place. Because that's just how life works for good little girls who grow up to be math teachers. But then I failed Calculus. (Up until that point I had never made anything below a B on any of my report cards and suddenly I had a big fat "F" with zilcho quality points to factor into my GPA. Super.) So needless to say I changed my major during my sophomore year and other things began to change as well. During that spring semester I realized that I wasn't going to move back home after I graduated from college. Now, one may ask "how did you know that?" Well, I don't know, but I just did. And because of this new knowledge I was more homesick during those few months than any other time throughout my college career. Which led me to begin wondering...if I'm not going back home after I graduate, then what does that mean for the rest of my plans?
Somehow the next two and half years passed in what seemed like about 30 seconds and suddenly I'm a college graduate who began her first real job the very next day after graduation. It goes without saying that on my first day of work I did not wake up in my own home and share the paper with my husband over breakfast before commuting to work together and sneaking one last smooch in the teacher's lounge before going our separate ways for the day. Instead I woke up in Dahlonega, GA feeling kind of like a failure. (I know...illogical, but we'll get to that in a moment) My best friend, Shelley, had gotten married 4 months earlier and she was off living her new married life. Suz was off in Atlanta living the life of a working girl in the city and while Mag was still in Dahlonega, she was in PT school which I'm convinced was located under a rock because we lived one block away from each other and I never saw her. Seriously. So I wondered things like where did I go wrong? Why didn't my plan turn out? It seemed like a pretty good one with no completely unrealistic expectations. And although I eventually settled into my life, I continued to ask myself these questions for about the next 2.5 years.
2004 was a big year filled with many milestones. It was the year that I turned 25. It was the year that I started living sans roommate(s). It was the year that I was in 4 weddings in a period of 6 months and attended I don't remember how many others. It was the year 3 of my closest friends, one being Shelley, became mothers for the first time. It was the year that I finally became comfortable in my own skin and happy with the life that I was living. So in a sense, my life began. Hence the motto.
Back in 2003 at the naive age of 24, I was pretty much dreading the next year. I thought that 25 was so old. I mean that's practically how old Sarah was when she had Isaac, right? And there I was without an Abraham in sight. I was completely nervous about living by myself. What if I fell one day trying to change a light bulb and no one missed me for days? What if a hornet got trapped in my apartment with me? (ok that really happened and it was scary) What if I made it ok all by myself? (I know, illogical...but we'll get to that in a moment) As for all the weddings, I wasn't so much nervous about making 4 trips up and down the aisle because I had had plenty of practice in 7 previous weddings. For those of you keeping count at home, it's 11 weddings with 11 dresses. And I loved each experience and am still honored that I had those opportunities. It was just that friendships change a little bit with marriage (as they should) and the same goes for when friends have babies. So 7 friends with major life events all occurring between the months of May and October was a lot for a girl to take in. Especially when I was still living in Dahlonega...the very town I swore I would never remain in after graduation back in oh, 2001.
Then 2004 happened. And all of these milestones started taking place. The first being my birthday in March when I realized that I kind of liked the number 25. A good, solid number. Plus, I could rent a car. I was so busy with showers and parties for my girls that I never really thought twice about moving into my new apartment. In fact, coming home after a crazy busy day to no one but my morbidly obese cat was kind of nice. And I felt no guilt about having fancy dresses and strappy shoes strewn out all over the place either. They were in no one's way but mine. Somewhere in the middle of all of the matrimony madness it dawned on me that if I was 1. already married to Mr. Heather Page (teeheehee) 2. changing diapers or 3. choosing my own bridesmaids, I would have missed out on a lot during such special times with such special people. Also during this time I finally admitted to myself and everyone else that I absolutely loved living in Dahlonega. Sure I did not plan to live there forever (and what do you know...I didn't) but it is a great place. Turns out I was actually doing pretty cool things with my life. Things that I would have never had the opportunity to do had I been stuck in Hickory Flat teaching the quadratic formula and tripping over smelly baseball cleats.
Now that I'm 6 months shy of 30 (gulp) and looking back over the past 7 or so years I can see even more clearly why things did not work out like I had planned. For one, I feel as if I'm a completely different person now than I was when I was 22. I had no idea what I really wanted in life at 22 and let's be honest baseball players-turned-coaches kind of lose their charm (and their physique) throughout the years. If I had built a home-sweet-home on my family's land, that home would have been bulldozed down last year because we sold that land and a subdivision now sits on it. I would have never moved to Athens and met the friends I have made here nor would I have Cash, the wonder Lab. These are just a few of many things.
There is nothing magic about the age 25. But that year of my life was a very special and important one. It was the year that I realized that it's not "either/or", but "and then". As in, I can do all of this single-girl-Miss-Independent stuff and then have a family. One day. When it's time. A time not to be determined by me. It was the year that I said "you know what, I'm a pretty ok gal and what you see is what you get. 'I'm good enough...I'm smart enough....And doggone it, people like me.'" Sometimes I refer to it as the Stuart Smalley year. Not really.
While the road to this point in my life was filled with a few curves (and detours, undoubtedly caused by my own doings), I'm glad that I traveled it and I'm glad that it has brought me here. I really am. The reason why is because it was necessary so I can continue to become the person God wants me to be in order to what He has called me to do. Isn't that our purpose after all?
"Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the LORD's purpose that prevails." -Proverbs 19:21
and decided that I must have some. Immediately. Upon making this decision, I began to accelerate my car like a mad woman. Now the problem with this is that I work only about two minutes from the grocery store in an area not conducive for Autobahn speeds. The other problem with this is that I don't even really like potato chips. I can take them or leave them. That is, until I met Kettle Chips a few weeks ago. At Publix I patiently waited in line for my sandwich, and much to my dismay they did not have the little bags of Kettle Chips in the deli area so I cruised over to the chip aisle. I got about 2/3 of the way down before reality hit: NO KETTLE CHIPS. Sure, I found Lay's brand kettle-cooked chips, but those were unacceptable. I wanted the real deal and I would not waste my time, money or calories with any other chip. Shopping was not a pleasure at Publix today. Some of you are probably thinking that I'm a little brand snob and wonder why am I making such a big deal over ridiculous potato chips. If you are, then go eat one of these chips and you'll start singing a different tune. Now my mama worked hard not to raise a brand snob, but thanks to my daddy, I am one anyway. Fortunately it's only in regards to two things: food and shoes. Weird, huh? But we'll focus on those little personality quirks another day. In the meantime just delight in the fact that should you ever visit my house you are guaranteed Kellogg's or General Mills cereal for breakfast. I do have a point that's a little less shallow than a specific brand of potato chips here so please stay with me because I'm slowly getting to it. How is that we can walk out of a store without thinking twice if they don't have exactly what we want yet we'll spend months or even years sometimes in not-so-ideal situations because we're afraid that it is the best or only option? This is where faith and trust comes in and sometimes (most of the time) that is where the difficulty lies. It was easy for me to prance (I didn't really prance because I'm wearing heels and my parents didn't splurge on charm school when I was a girl) out of Publix because I know that I can go to the Kroger across town and have my pick of Kettle Chips. Sure I didn't have them for lunch like I originally wanted, but when I leave the gym today and head towards my apartment, I will drive right by the store and pick some up. And they'll be even better because I'll be able to scarf them down with less guilt since an hour of cardio will have taken place. So the next time you consider accepting a substitute, prance away from it knowing that the best is out there...and it'll be even better because you worked and waited for it.
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
HP - Class of 1960
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Monday, September 15, 2008
Staycation is officially over at 5:00 tomorrow morning when my alarm clock makes that dreaded beeping noise. Congratulations to those of you who managed to make it through this entire post without dozing off and bruising your forehead on your keyboard. For that, you deserve a staycation of your own. I highly recommend it.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
Update: It's already been taken down from YouTube...apparently copyright infringement is kind of a big deal, but here's a picture of Tina and Amy playing Sarah and Hillary...
Friday, September 12, 2008
And to think that these pictures were all taken today before the storm even made landfall. I believe that is not supposed to happen until around midnight or so central time. I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone in the direct path of this storm would ignore evacuation orders, but inevitably some folks always stay put to ride it out. And they are even able to maintain their senses of humor...In case you can't read the message it says "Go away Ike, Tina Ain't Here"Tonight I was listening to a news report and there was a man on the phone who has kept his family in Galveston because they did not want to leave their pets. And he sounded pretty terrified on the phone at that point. It's not my place to question this man's judgment, but my heart became so heavy for these people who are now stuck in this storm. Especially the children. How scary for them because they had no choice in the matter. How sad for these parents who may have to live with some pretty big implications of their decision to stay.But I cannot watch all of this without thinking about the bigness (Is that a word? It is now.) of God. This storm is huge, but it is nothing compared to Him. This reality is honestly much bigger than this little mind of mine can fully grasp. And I know this might sound really weird to some of you, but in natural disasters such as this the realness (look, another new word) of God is much more apparent to me than it is at other times. I'm having trouble putting into words what I'm trying to say...so I'll just keep rambling. While great destruction will undoubtedly come as a result of this hurricane and it makes me sad to think about that, there are also going to be those miracle stories with no logical explanation to them. That's God revealing himself, I believe.
In thinking about all of this today, I remembered a message series by Louie Giglio called Indescribable. It's a two-part series and it's absolutely incredible because he goes into how big God and His universe is and how small we are in comparison. He also does a series about how though we are only small little bits in God's universe we are fearfully and wonderfully made small little bits. I can't find an easy link to the series, but here is one of my favorite parts of this talk. If you want the actual series, let me know and I can get it to you.
(BTW...All of these photes were pictures from the Associated Press. Yes, I should've credited the photographers, but I promise not to be a pirate and sell them or make copies of them at Wal-Mart or anything else illegal.)
Thursday, September 11, 2008
As I type I can think of a few personal defining moments or events that forever changed me. The first one that comes to mind is the arrival of Ethan. My only-child world was absolutely rocked at the tumultuous age of 14. When I was a little girl, I cried and begged and prayed for a baby brother or sister, but by the time I was around 9, I had come to love my little world of undivided attention from mom and dad and my ability to play independently without having to fight someone for a toy. So by the time 8th grade rolled around I was worried about important things like how to tame my frizzy hair and which shirt looked best with my Guess jeans. I had no time for infants in my busy schedule. Or so I thought. Of course I wouldn't trade Ethan for all the oil in Alaska, and that's saying a lot considering the price of gas these days. It was lonely being the only. And I kind of like the role of big sister. There are other moments too like accepting Jesus as my Savior and turning 25 that were integral in making me who I am today, but I think I'm going to devote an entire blog post to each of those events one day soon. I've been putting those together in my head for awhile now, but they are still under construction.
Now for the defining moments that entire groups of people remember. You know...the ones where people can remember exactly what day it was, where they were and what they were doing when they heard the news. Like when Kennedy was assassinated or when Elvis died. Or when our grandparents hear the date December 7, 1941 it is more to them than just something that had to be memorized for history class. I can remember exactly where I was the day the Challenger exploded. It was January 28 which also happens to be my grandmother's (MuMu) birthday. I was actually at Mu's house because schools were closed that day due to snow, so I was thrilled to be able to watch on TV the launch of the Challenger. I was sitting at the bar in her kitchen eating lunch (I'm sure it consisted of milk, eggs and bread since it was a snow day in Georgia, after all) and watching the TV. Even my little 6 year old mind knew that something was wrong when it exploded and the smoke wasn't supposed to look like that. Fast forward to my last semester of college. It was a Tuesday during fall semester, and I only had one class early that morning. After class, I hurried back home to get ready for work and then made it to The Smith House just in time for my shift to start. When I got there, most of the kitchen staff was crowded around the TV, but I wasn't really paying attention nor was I curious as to why they were watching TV instead of frying chicken and making mashed potatoes. Then the North tower collapsed. Needless to say I started paying attention. The work day was a fog. I just went through the motions but that was ok because everyone else was doing the same thing. 3:00 could not come soon enough. I just wanted to go to my house and watch the news to try to get some sense of understanding and an explanation of what was happening. But how can you explain terrorism? How can one make sense of that? I wanted to be with my family, but a trip home wasn't realistic. Besides, I was so rattled, I didn't want to leave the safe-haven of a small little town in the North Georgia mountains. So my roommates and I sat gathered around our itty bitty TV hanging onto the words of the reporters and heart-breaking images of that day. Life as we had known it had changed forever. Not only was I so sad, I was angry. How dare a group of individuals take away my sense of security and safeness and replace it with feelings of uncertainty and fear. If they could pull this off, what else were they capable of? Honestly I choose not to think about this anymore because why sit around pondering "what if?" all day long? What would this mean for all of my camo wearing friends and classmates? We know today that it eventually meant deployment(s) and becoming war veterans. September 11, 2001 is a date that will be an answer on a history test for the majority of anyone who is Micah's age or younger. He was 3 at the time, and has no memory of it when it happened. But for the rest of us, it is a date that will bring back memories and a mix of emotions. And while it was a defining moment for our Nation as a whole, it was also very personal for each of us. We will never be the same as we were 7 years ago before September 11 and many things have changed in the aftermath. But I believe there's one thing that hasn't: This is still a great place with more good eggs than bad ones and I'm so thankful that it is my home.
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
(I would not like to have this larger than life hair though. I haven't developed the super power of keeping the wind from blowing yet.)
A foggy morning turned clear day in San Francisco is always a hit. I've made the trip twice so why not go again?
And nothing beats a redwood forest. Seriously. This is one of my favorite places in all of the world.
But Mt. Rainier runs a very close second...
I wonder how Annabelle the Buffalo is doing out in Colorado. I would like to see her again because it's been awhile. I like to think my posture has improved since this picture was taken...
PS...I'm not sure why some of my pictures have white borders around them. I saved them to my desktop from my shutterfly account so maybe that has something to do with it. I'm sure it aggravates me much more so than it does the 3 people reading this. I think I'm up to three readers now by the way!