Thursday, November 30, 2006

Another Culture

Ahh, a nice sunset at my favorite place on Earth...the lake we now live on. This is the view from the dam/spillway. Just to the left of where the sun is setting is my family's lake lots. To the right is where we live now.





I'm telling you, it's cracking me up being back in Saline. I love it, but I seriously can't believe how much I'd forgotten.

Just a few examples:

1. We hear gunshots all the time. Now, every other place I've lived, if you hear a gunshot it causes great concern. Here, well...it's just another dead deer. :) It's hunting season...there's gunshots constantly. Even when it isn't hunting season, if someone wants to go do some target practice, heck, they just go out in the woods somewhere or in the backyard...not uncommon to hear gunshots at all.

2. Tonight at church we walked out into the parking lot about 10 feet from the church building (just the front of the church...not really a parking lot...not a paved one that is) and the teenage boys were looking at a big shotgun. Apparently it was a camouflage gun or something (didn't really get the full story) and they were seeing their friend's gun for the first time. It was just funny, because that is so common here. Joel remarked that anywhere else, that might be cause for alarm. :)

3. Also tonight, one of the teenagers there had a big knife in a sheath on his belt. It cracked me up...he and another boy were admiring it during class. So common...seriously, not a common thing in other places. Louisiana is the "sportman's paradise" I guess.

These are just a few things that are so funny. Nothing bad or anything, just funny to me. I totally grew up with that being the norm...I've just been away from that for so long now that I had forgotten, so it shocks me now and makes me laugh.

Some of the super duper things about small town south:

1. We opened an account at the general store downtown the other day. That's where you can just go in and have it written down what you got in the store, then pay the balance later...a charge account. I just put my name on the folder that they keep the receipts in and that was it. I didn't even sign anything. Talk about the honor system. It's great.

2. "Yes ma'am, yes sir." Now to some that didn't grow up with that, that might seem a little too formal, stuffy, and weird (Joel said he's getting used to it). But, I did grow up with it, so I love it (although it's weird when they say it to me). I have personally gotten out of the habit of saying that myself since it's been so long since I've lived anywhere where they really say that (even in Longview, 2 1/2 hours west of here, they really don't say that...don't call their elders Mr. and Mrs. either). But, I really hope that my kiddos can develop this habit...and of course that I will instill this in them. I guess it depends on our surroundings though. Not sure what they do in Brazil.

3. Southern drawl. Again, to some it is annoying. Some people automatically think "stupid hick" when they hear a drawl. It's a great sound to me...I love a good southern drawl.

4. The expressions. I love the expressions people have around here. I always have. Tonight, again in the youth class, a guy was reading a passage (the passage where Paul talks about doing the things that he doesn't want to do and not doing the things he should) in the King James Version. Of course the poor guy wasn't understanding a thing he was reading...it is quite the tongue twister in the KJV. But, in the middle of it, he exclaimed with disbelief at what he was reading, "By George!" If you ever want to see just a small glimpse at what Saline is similar to, just rent the movie "Sweet Home Alabama." In that movie at one point the Dad (Daddy as we call them) gives instructions to close the door saying, "You're lettin' all the bought air out." Now, of course he is talking about the air conditioner. I saw this movie at the theater in Phoenix...it cracked me up, but nobody I was with got this or many other things in that movie (I was with a couple of girls...one from Phoenix, another from a small town, but not in the south). It was funny.

Welp, of course these aren't exhaustive lists, but just thought I'd comment on our life here a little. I personally felt like I had huge culture shock when I moved to Phoenix...it was hard for me. Moving back here isn't culture shock...it's just culture remembrance. It's fun...and funny for me. You definitely don't have to move to another country to experience different cultures...that's for sure.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Steve

Sunday night I had the overwhelming joy of seeing Steve Thrasher get baptized. He is a changed person. We weren't even supposed to go back for the night service, but I just couldn't miss it when he told me he was getting baptized. I have been praying for Steve basically since 7th grade...that's 20 years (wow, am I that old?). Honestly, I started praying for him because I had a crush on him...he was my "bad boy" crush. :) Yes, missionary dating is the way to go (sarcasm). But, through the years, even after I was married to Joel, I always had this huge burden for him and kept praying for him often. To see him get baptized on Sunday night was amazing.

He is currently in a faith-based rehab. program called Teen Challenge. If you don't know anything about it, it is a fantastic program that not only has a wonderful success rate regarding getting people set free from addictions, but also really shows people the love of Christ. Steve is doing great. I always felt that if God really got a hold of his heart, he could do amazing things for Christ. He has such a great personality and is one of the funniest people I've ever met. He seriously should have been dead many times...car wrecks, heart problems, his 15-yr. addiction to drugs of every kind. He talked to me alot on Sunday. He knows that it's only by the grace of God that he is still here and that God must surely have something for him to do. I am so happy for him and continue to pray for him, that God would accomplish the many great things through Steve that He clearly has planned for him.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Lollipops

Joel talks about how sometimes God gives us lollipops...things He doesn't have to give us, that aren't necessary...things that are treats and that sometimes we aren't even expecting or asking for. Living on the lake in Saline is a lollipop for me.

Growing up, my dream was to make the big move from Readhimer to the lake in Saline (about a 4-mile move). :) I was absolutely in love with the lake from as far back as I can remember. I always really thought that I would marry some local boy and live on the lake for the rest of my life. I was appalled at myself that I even moved to East Texas, much less a place like Brazil. I wasn't sheltered or backwards or un-adventurous. I liked to visit places and go on short trips. But, I always just figured I'd do just that...take trips, but live on the lake in Saline.

How sweet of God to let me do that, even for just a short period of time. I tell you what, if you are obedient God will definitely give you some lollipops along the way.

Here are just a few lollipops that I've gotten:
--At the end of our Life Challenge mission trip to Honduras in '99, we had a day to play. We were taken to a place that was like a national park of sorts. We were met as we got off the bus by young local boys who worked as guides (who spoke no English). We were "herded" quickly down the banks of this river to the bottom of a huge waterfall that we hiked behind...it was crazy. Then we were guided along the river to the top of another smaller (but still big) waterfall...this time we got in the water and ran down the rock which was the spillway for this waterfall and jumped in. It was really crazy to be running down a waterfall. Then, right as we surfaced from that jump, we were led up to the top of the bank and told to jump off...a 60 foot jump. We did it. SO CRAZY. But, it was so fun. I was actually able to do the jump twice before we were shuffled back to the picnic area.
--After that day at the park, we were supposed to leave the next day. We got to the airport, but because of overbooking our whole group was delayed a day...so the airline put us up in the nicest hotel in Honduras...like a 5-star swanky place. It was dang cool, and so much fun.
--At the end of our Life Challenge mission trip to Panama in 2000, we had another day to play. One of our contacts there knew this guy who had a house on the beach. So, we traveled to the beach (one of the coolest beaches I've ever been to) and spent the whole day there, snacking on sugar cane. It was awesome.
--This is kind of quirky, but I have always thought it was cool when someone was left-handed. Therefore, I always thought it would be cool to marry someone that was left-handed. I know...a little weird. It was only after Joel and I had decided to marry that I realized he was left-handed. Funny too because we had been close friends for about a year and a half before that and I hadn't even noticed that about him. It's like God had blinded me to even that little thing about him so that I wouldn't be attracted to him before the proper time. But, left-handedness is cool. :)
--I've always loved dimples. I never even thought to pray for this little extra, but all of my kids have dimples. SO FUN.

So, those are just a few of the lollipops that I've had in recent years...the list goes on and on...there are tons. And here I am again enjoying a lollipop. My spiritual teeth are rotten from all the lollipops. :)

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving...










...from our family to yours.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Deer Corn

Wow...we are back in small town Louisiana for sure. :)

It is so funny to see all of the differences in the places we've lived. It's been about 12 years since I've actually lived in Saline, LA (except for a couple of summers home from college). I had forgotten some things. For instance, yesterday in Jonesboro (a town about 30 minutes away where the nearest Wal-Mart is located) there was just a sea of camouflage everywhere we went. When we were in Wal-Mart, almost every buggy had deer corn in it. Yep, deer season is soon and very soon. So funny and interesting to compare that to, let's say, Phoenix...hundreds of miles away in more ways than one.

Welp, better go. Off to go to Granny Hough's house to let her see Asa Rose for the first time. Then it's time for the finals of the Saline Basketball Tournament...our boys and girls are playing. My brother plays and Daddy coaches. Fun stuff.

Oh, another thing that is fun about small towns...and the small Baptist churches in them...Thanksgiving dinner (that is lunch to most of you) tomorrow after services. Yippee!! :)

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Big Fat Lie

We don't mean to be liars, but our lives are just so unpredictable. I know that sometimes we seem really flakey and wishy-washy, but we really aren't. We just don't know our plans from day-to-day, week-to-week, etc. We are just in a season right now where no plans are set. I know that for the people in Longview, this has been the longest goodbye ever...basically since last February. :)

Turns out, we aren't going to Saline today. There was some schedule conflicts with the house we are going to be staying in. So, we will wait until later in the week to go.

Even before we were in this kind of season where our lives are so completely unpredictable, Joel always said that we write our plans in pencil and let God have the eraser.

See you in Saline...whenever.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Packing Up

Well, here we go again. It seems like my life is just one packing day after another these days. Not only are we basically gypsies right now, add to that having a new baby and a season change and there's a ton more packing and unpacking of new sizes and seasonal clothing. Whew...I hope to get a break soon. :) Packing isn't my favorite, esp. now after months of it.

An update is that we are moving to Saline. That was the plan when we moved here to Kilgore...to move to Saline after the baby came. Well, then several different things happened and Joel wasn't too sure about a job there, etc. We just weren't sure if that was where we were supposed to be. But, after lots of prayer, we felt like that was where God would have us be.

So we are headed to Saline tomorrow. We will be there for 10 days for sure. We will be living in the house we lived in during the summer when we were there...the one on the lake. That house was actually occupied until this past spring...the owners of that house are now deceased. All of their belongings were still in the house during the summer when we were there. Our friends, the son and daughter-in-law of the owners of this house, are now busy cleaning out all of their belongings. Depending on where they are with all of that, we will either move all of our stuff that will already be packed up over the week of Thanksgiving...or we will come back to Kilgore for a couple of weeks and move around the 2nd week of December. Either way, we are moving.

Joel will be working part-time at Northwestern State University as a flight instructor while we are there. He's really excited about getting back into instructing and flying on a regular basis...and the mission field that he will have there at that university. Hopefully I will have a chance to settle down a little...set up house, not pack and unpack for a while, really spend time with our kiddos.

The kids are doing great by the way. Asa is growing like a weed, her acne is much better although still not completely gone, and she is cooing tons this morning.

Better go...tons to do.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

4

That's how many pounds I've lost since Monday morning...in 3 days. Not bad. I haven't even started really exercising yet either.

I tell you, that Weight Watchers is the way to go. And believe me, it is totally safe...I am eating enough for sure, it's just of the right things and not in gargantuan portions. It truly is a reflection of how much I was overeating. Can we say gluttony? :)

I mean, other than the fact that it isn't Godly at all (because it truly is gluttony), I have thoroughly enjoyed myself the last 3 months...the beginning of August was when I started eating just whatever I wanted (lots of junk) and however much I wanted of it. It's nice to be back on track though.

After this weekend (I knew it was my last weekend...on Sunday alone, I went to a great Mexican restaurant and then I went to Baskin Robbins and had a big ice cream cone AND a mocha blast...mmmm!), I actually had 38 pounds to lose instead of 35. So, I guess 34 more to go. :) Hopefully it will go quickly though. We'll see. I'll keep you posted.

Also, there should be more pictures up on the website later today, so check them out.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Acne Is Never Good

No matter what your age.

Asa Rose has baby acne. So sad. Of course it doesn't bother her...and she's still beautiful. ;) But, you know...it looks pretty bad. It's on her cheeks and a little on her forehead. Then this morning I found 2 whiteheads on her little chest. There really is no treatment for it. We just have to wait it out. They say that it could come and go for a few months. We are praying it just goes. Thankfully Grady and Hadley never had it...not that I remember anyway.

She's still so much fun of course, blemishes and all. A couple of days ago she started kind of talking a little...you know, a coo every now and then. It might be completely involuntarily, but it doesn't seem to be. She does it in responses to my talking to her and corresponds her cooing with smiling. She's growing up. :) She was 3 weeks old on Tuesday. She started cooing the same day that I saw Grady put on his own shoes and socks for the first time. I was like, "Oh my gosh...he's growing up." Yep, time marches on.

Read a cute little article about baby acne this morning. Here is the link if you want to see it: http://www.drgreene.com/21_1033.html.