Thursday, December 14, 2006
Imagine there is a bank that credits your account each morning with $86,400. It carries over no balance from day to day. Every evening the bank deletes whatever part of the balance you failed to use during the day. What would you do? Draw out every cent, of course!!!! Each of us has such a bank. Its name is TIME. Every morning, it credits you with 86,400 seconds. Every night it writes off, as lost, whatever of this you have failed to invest to good purpose. It carries over no balance. It allows no overdraft. Each day it opens a new account for you. Each night it burns the remains of the day. If you fail to use the day's deposits, the loss is yours. There is no going back. There is no drawing against the "tomorrow". You must live in the present on today's deposits. Invest it so as to get from it the utmost in health, happiness, and success! The clock is running. Make the most of today. To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who gave birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who missed the train. To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask a person who just avoided an accident. Treasure every moment that you have! And reassure it more because you shared it with someone special, special enough to spend your time. Remember that time waits for no one. Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is mystery. Today is a gift. That's why it's called the present!
Saturday, December 09, 2006
Monday, December 04, 2006
"BRIEF HISRORY OF THE BUELL FAMILY
(As told by Art Buell)
I was born on November 23, 1916, in Beaumont, California, a small town of about 1500 people, 80 miles east of Los Angeles. Beaumont was in a farming area, the principal products being grain, cherries and peaches. The Buell family consisted of a father, from Wisconsin, a mother, who was an immigrant from Germany, and went through the Ellis Island ordeal during the European immigration influx, a brother(Charlie) and a sister (Marion) both older than me.
My dad had a horse with which he did agricultural work for other farmers. He loved that horse, even though once in a while she would get stubborn. I watched him one day when the horse was acting up, went into the house and, clinging to my mother's leg, I said, "Mom, you're a son-of-a-bitch". I leave it to your imagination on how that played out.
I attended elementary, junior high and high school in Beaumont and graduated with about 25 others in the Class of "34, at the height of a major economic depression. Work was impossible to obtain and college financially out of the question, 30 I joined the CCC (Civilian Conservation Corps) right after high school and was able to send a few dollars home. This was not intended to be permanent, so I applied for military service and was accepted by the Navy.
Speaking about the Depression-the period from 1930 to 1938 was a time of dust and gloom. You didn't have any money but neither did your neighbor. Times were tough, but we all survived somehow. The larger Navy ships usually invited the navy families to Sunday dinner, and that helped many of the navy families to survive.
One day, during the Depression, when the longshoremen were organizing to go on strike, the Moore family was taking a Sunday drive around the harbor and was stopped by a longshoreman mob who pulled them out of the car and started to beat them up, thinking that they were scabs. Bettie's mother broke free and, in language that longshoremen could understand, ordered them to stop. I liked the Moore family-they were my kind of people.
The Navy pay was only $21 a month, but to a farm boy with no prospects it looked pretty good. I went to boot camp in San Diego as my first duty. The Navy conducted a series of aptitude tests for all new recruits and operated schools to teach the corresponding disciplines. I did well in mathematics and mechanics, and so was sent to Norfolk, Virginia, for 6 months training in machine shop work, at the conclusion of which I was assigned to the aircraft carrier USS LEXINGTON (CV2). The home port of the LEXINGTON was Long Beach, California.
About that time an aviatrix, Amelia Earhart, was on a round the world flight, and disappeared in an area southwest of Hawaii. The LEXINGTON, with all planes aboard, was dispatched to find her. The search turned out to be unsuccessful, but the ship crossed the equator into the Realm of Neptunus Rex and the 180th meridian of longitude into the Realm of the Golden Dragon simultaneously, a very rare occurrence. Me and the rest of the lowly pollywogs were properly imitated. Now we are Exalted Shellbacks!
Back in Long Beach, I bought a car for about $25 and on one of my trips to Beaumont, met a pretty girl named Bettie Moore. Her father was working on the aqueduct to bring water from the Colorado River to Los Angeles. After a couple of visits I was completely and hopelessly in love! One year the Navy held maneuvers in the Atlantic Ocean, which required that the LEXINGTON, 108 feet wide, go through the Panama Canal locks, 110 feet wide. It was a squeaker, but we made it-both ways.
From the home port of Long Beach, the ship would often go out to sea on Monday morning for flight exercises or maneuvers and come back in Friday afternoon. On going out I would see the service ships, principally the* MEDUSA, VESTAL and DOBBIN. On coming back in, I would see the same ships, moored to the same berths. I decided that was the duty for me and I would transfer to one of those ships. Upon investigation I found out that it wasn't that simple. I would need a valid reason to transfer. So, since my enlistment was about up, I quit. I liked the Navy, and found out that if I reenlisted within 90 days I could request the duty I preferred. I reenlisted within the required time frame and was assigned to the MEDUSA. Oh Joy! But shortly after that the MEDUSA was transferred to the Hawaiian Fleet at Pearl Harbor and my dreams were shattered.
After a year at Pearl Harbor, the ship came back for a couple of weeks R&R and Bettie and I eloped to Yuma and got married. Well, it really wasn't an elopement, because Bettie’s father and my mother came with us. As soon as I got back to Pearl Harbor I applied for housing and transportation for Bettie, but before my request could be acted on, something else happened--
December 7, 1941 was a Sunday, a nice day, as is every day in Paradise. I had just got up from my cot in the machine shop, thinking that maybe I would have a leisurely breakfast, go ashore and rent a bicycle and go riding with some of the fellows in the shop, when I heard a noise through the open porthole that sounded like explosions. I couldn't figure it out at first." I thought maybe the Army was holding exercises. The admiral isn't going to like this. He likes it nice and quiet in the morning, especially Sundays. Then I noticed that there were several planes in the air, and when one of them banked into the sun and I saw the red circle on the wing, I knew that something was wrong. The MEDUSA was moored to a buoy on the west side of Ford Island, on the opposite side from Battleship Rowand the noise and smoke seemed to be coming from Battleship Row. About that time the general alarm sounded and,” All hands man your battle stations. This is not a drill." I closed the port and went to my previously assigned battle station, which was minor, so I went topside to see what was happening. The scene was utter chaos! The UTAH was listing to port and was sinking, and most of the other ships were on fire, as was the oil on the surface of the harbor. Many men had jumped from the burning decks into the water, which was also burning. The MEDUSA had not been hit, but I could see a miniature submarine getting into position to torpedo us. Fortunately, the gunners and one of our destroyers saw it about the same time, and sank it. A Japanese plane on fire headed toward us, but hit the ship in the next berth, spilling flaming gasoline over the whole ship. I saw a friend from that ship later and said, "You took that plane for us, that's one I owe you". So we had an excuse for a drink together. A fragment of our own anti-aircraft shrapnel dropped on the deck near my foot. This was probably the first incident of what was later known as "Friendly Fire"! Although ships were hit and people all around us were burned, drowned, and otherwise injured and killed, the MEDUSA led a charmed life through it all and suffered only minor damage, consisting of one minor strafing.
A few facts about the raid on Pearl Harbor: The Japanese task force consisted of 9 destroyers, 8 tankers, 6 aircraft carriers, 3 cruisers, 3 submarines, 2 battleships and 353 aircraft. There were several submarines in the area also, not part of the task force. The task force came to within 200 miles north of Oahu before launching its aircraft, and retreated without being discovered. There were about 100 ships at Pearl Harbor, including 8 battleships. All battleships were sunk or damaged. Fortunately no carriers were present. 18 fighting ships were either sunk or damaged.
In the fall of 1942, American strategy turned to amphibious landings, and I was transferred to amphibious and diesel schools in Flint, Michigan, Cleveland Ohio, and Norfolk, Virginia, ending up on LST 1059^ which was nearing completion! in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Cruising down to New Orleans on the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers in a full size Navy ship was an adventure in itself! After training in the Gulf Area, we proceeded to Guam, where we joined the group preparing for the invasion of Japan. The atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki ended the war.
Some people, who were never in a real war themselves, say we were wrong to use the atomic bombs, but in a war it's either "Us or them" and I would never have made it had we proceeded with the invasion.
The war's end made it possible for many draftees to go home. Although I started out on the 1059 as Chief Engineer, when the dust had settled, I was the only regular Navy officer left, so I was made Captain of that ship.
After the war, the ship made several trips around the Orient, taking Japanese soldiers from Manchuria back to Japan; Chinese Nationalist soldiers from Indochina to Manchuria; UNRRA supplies (rice, sugar flour, etc from Shanghai up the Yangtze River to Hankow. On one of these trips, taking Koreans from Japan back to Korea, a baby was born. Being born on an American ship on the high seas, he/she is an American citizen. I don't suppose I could find him now. In another of these trips, I was invited to a formal dinner given by Chiang-Kai-Chek. He was still premier of China, but was heading for Taiwan, to establish the Nationalist government there. According to news reports, this matter still isn't settled. On another of these trips, as we rounded the Shantung Peninsula, on the way from Mongolia to Shanghai, I saw some game birds on the beach. Some of the crew wanted to have some sport, so I authorized a boat trip for the volunteers, with rifles. I happened to look up the hill and saw a Chinese Communist army coming toward us. You can bet we got back to our ship but fast, before an international incident was created!
One evening, when we were anchored in the Yangtze River, the Chinese river pirates tried to take over our ship. They approached silently in small boats and climbed up the sides and stern. The lookout saw them and yelled, "All hands on deck. Stand by to repel boarders." The crew came up and we threw the invaders overboard. They left us alone after that. No firearms were used in this incident.
Then there was the Korean War, sometimes called the "Forgotten War". I was on the destroyer USS GUSHING (DD 797) then. We couldn't tell the good guys from the bad guys, so the Navy furnished us with a Korean Naval officer whose job it was to determine the nationality of the vessels we encountered. We became good friends. His name was Eun Lee or Lee Eun, I never did determine which. After the war, Bettie and I went over to visit him and family. What a transformation Seoul is! From a village of scroungey shacks with narrow dirt streets with sewers running down them, as I first saw it, to a modern city with 8-lane plaza avenues and glass-and steel buildings!
I retired from the Navy in 1958, and worked in the Security Department of Univac, finally retiring in 1981. I have lived in Salt Lake City, Utah ever since, with the same Bettie mentioned earlier."
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Tuesday, October 31, 2006
I have learned to trust my children more. And I hope they are learning to trust me more. I have always known that we get along better the more time we spend together, but I am often in awe of how smart they are, or gentle, or kind etc..
I have learned that I can stay up until 3:30 in the morning cleaning because I just don't have any other time to do it!
I have learned what strong verbs are!
I have learned that my children teach me as much as I teach them..
I am learning patience (this has never been my strong suit!)
I am learning that I love homeschooling, and my boys so far want to homeschool forever. So far, I am in agreement!
Friday, September 22, 2006
After my healing experience I had a period of time when I was again in pain. It was about 3 weeks after my Remicade treatment. I found myself feeling very discouraged. I kept praying, because I really felt like I was healed. I have to wonder if others have had this happen? Well, I continued praying and ultimately decided that my medicine is doing very little if anything for me at this point, so I have stopped taking everything. I know this is NOT going to go over well with my doctor, and I really haven't told anyone yet. It started when I was having another bad day in a string of bad days. I was in Midland and called my Dr. He called in a pain tab for me (I forget what it was called now) and I took one before I went to bed. Then next day I was sick to my stomach all day! I threw the bottle of pills out. I felt so horrible! I felt so bad I wasn't able to take anything that day. Ironically I started to feel better the next day with no medication. So I thought I would just wait to see if I needed any Ibuprofen or what not. Well, so far I haven't needed it and it has been a couple of weeks now. So, I may be taking a huge risk, but I have to wonder if God made my pain come back to tell me that the medication is not what is help me, but He is? I could be just totally off my rocker, but I am really trying to listen to Him more and follow when he leads me. Things just seem to work out better that way. So, currently I am off all medications and I am claiming my healing! God is healing me. God is working in me. I know, because I am not this good of a person on my own! LOL!!
So, in other news, we have started our homeschooling year and it is going pretty well so far. Again, that for which God has called you to do He will equip you to do. I know that He is with me because I have been so at peace with this decision. I also know that He will equip us financially because he is blessing my business and I am experiencing a good amount of growth right now. It truly is amazing what He will do for you if you just ask.
He is also healing my relationship with my mom. She is trying to come for a visit in October. She is having a hard time getting the time off from work, but she is working on it and that means the world to me. We need each other. I need her. I know she needs me. We just need to find that again. Something really spoke to me in my bible study on Thursday. Don't forget that you are forgiven. But also, don't forget that you HAVE forgiven. Wow, that was just what I needed. I need to let go of past hurts even more with my mom and just continue to try to push forward.
Which brings me to another cool thing in my life! My boys go to an enrichment program on Tuesdays. They had a welcome brunch for the moms. There was this one mom that I just knew we were going to be friends because we have the same very cool jean purse! LOL!! Well, we did in fact start talking and her son Andrew is in Gregory's class. As we were talking she told me about a bible study she is in that is an intense study of the book of ACTS and there is a homeschool class to go along with it where the kids are studying the same thing as we are, but on their level. Well, we started attending that on Thursdays and I am really loving it! It is just what I need! And the kids are loving it too!
So, so far all is well around here! Mikey is turning 35 tomorrow and I am having fun talking about what an old man he is. Which brings me to my final thought. There was an officer shot yesterday here in Houston. He leaves behind a wife and 5 children. Click here for the news story..
Most days I am at peace with my husband's job, but times like this especially when it is so close by make it harder to deal with. I am especially thankful that my husband is still with me today, but it is a reminder to us all not to take that for granted. Your prayers for the family are appreciated and pray for all of our first responders and military personnel as well as they are all put in harm's way every single day.
Friday, August 11, 2006
Sunday, July 30, 2006
Let me say that I have always been a believer of healings. I believe that God heals us in many ways. I have never experienced it or watched it happen with someone else, but I have felt the hand of God on me on more than one occasion. The first time I felt it was the day I decided that I wanted to be baptized into the Catholic Church. (I am not attending St. Cuthbert Episcopal Church) I was 15 and had been raised in a non-denomination church. I had never been baptized. I knew I needed more structure in my life (I was, after all a teenager) and decided I should get it from church. I began studying the different religions, and ultimately decided that I wanted to attend the Catholic Church that my grandma attended. I was praying one night about this decision and when I decided I felt this overwhelming sense of joy come over me. I started crying and I just knew that God was encircling me with the Holy Spirit and I was making the right decision. I was alone when this happened, and have told only a handful of people about it.
The next time I felt the hand of God, I actually heard His voice. A few years ago we were attending St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Katy, Texas. We were taking my children and my sister's children to a children's program on Wednesdays called Veggie Kids. Well after over a year of doing this my oldest niece told us that she had been molested by Mr. Fletcher. She is still in a mental treatment facility to this day and it has now been over 3 years. You can imagine this had a profound effect on our church life and our spiritual life. Unfortunately we learned first hand that a church is a church of people. Even though it is a house of God, the people are still broken. The hardest part about that was that the people of St. Paul's did not so their part to take care of us. Instead they were more concerned with sweeping the whole issue under the rug to avoid bad publicity. They were in the process of building a new building and didn't want to lose any pledges. Even in the church it all boiled down to money.
You can imagine this sent us into a period of time when we did not attend any church at all. I never lost my faith in God, but I definitely lost my faith in people. As time went on and we continued to pray about what to do I really didn't want my children to have the joy of being involved in church taken away from them. We decided that even though we were still scared to death of going back to church the worst thing that could happen here is our children could inherit that fear and never have church for themselves. So, we spent about a year going to several different churches, and none of them really seemed quite right. Then one Sunday I went to a Presbyterian Church. The minute we sat down my oldest son (who I consider to be a spiritual leader in some form) started to freak out. He never does this. My children rarely go to children's church because they like to stay in church and listen to the sermon. My oldest pulls out the Bible and follows along. I ended up walking out about 15 minutes in. But, I got out to and told the kids they weren't getting out of church that easy, and I went right across the street to St. Cuthbert's Episcopal Church. We went in and sat in the back row. In the middle of the sermon Fr. Desmond pulled out his guitar and started singing! I loved it! After we left church that morning I was praying and asked God why hadn't I gone into this church that I literally passed every day on my way to work before? He said to me, "Because you weren't ready". I heard Him speak, clear as day. People talk about hearing the Lord speak to them all the time, but I never knew what that meant. And often times it means different things, but this time it meant he SPOKE to me.
Which brings me to healing. I have a good friend that I call my pew jumping freak friend. She attends one of "those" churches. You know what I am talking about. I have nothing against them, and I know the Bible speaks of the gifts of the Spirit, and I do believe that they are led by the Spirit. However, the whole thing freaks me out! LOL!! We talk about it all the time, she knows how I feel. But when my niece was killed in the car accident you can bet your buns that Gwenn was the first person I called to pray with me. I have an enormous respect for her spirituality. I have always believed that healings happen, but that I am not worthy and there are others who need to be healed more than myself. I have always had a very hard time praying for myself. Well, you know that my Rheumatoid Arthritis has been progressing significantly lately. I have been in an incredible amount of pain and have had to go through a round of steroids just to get by. I have been taking 3 800 mg Ibuprofen every single day in addition to the supplements that I take from Melaleuca. This is barely taking the edge off, and on more than one occasion I have had to hang that annoying handicap placard to go into the store. I have not been able to fully close my hands in at least 3 months. My ankles catch and I have a hard time walking. I was sitting in church the other day and my pastor felt led to talk about healing and the story he chose that day (a day in which I was in an incredible amount of pain and feeling particularly defeated) was the story of how his wife had been healed from Acute Rheumatoid Arthritis. She was wheelchair bound. And after she had been healed her doctor who was not a Christian told her that her God had healed her. When it was time for the peace he came over to me and asked if I was ok. I told him I had Rheumatoid Arthritis and was in a lot of pain. During announcements he told us that they had decided to have a healing service. (Episcopalians don't do this often). He encouraged me to come.
So, over the next few weeks my pain continued to build. My friend Michelle said she thought it was so that I would know when I had been healed. I began receiving emails from people about healings that had taken place. Weird, because this hadn't happened before. Everything was pointing to the healing service. Fr. Desmond called the prayer teams to the altar. There were probably 15 or so teams that went up there. I didn't recognize most of them. Then he called those of us who wished to be healed to the altar. I got in line and followed everyone up there. Imagine how I felt when the person I ended up standing in front of was Fr. Desmond's wife! I told her what to pray for (we haven't met before) and she began to cry. We prayed and I felt a hand on my back. It was my oldest son laying hands on me and praying for me. (I have not taught him to do this, in fact I instructed him to stay in the pew, he was led by the Lord to do so). I went back to my pew and prayed for others I knew who were in need of healing and prayed in Thanksgiving for whatever was God's will for my life. Then the congregation prayed together. As I knelt there I literally felt warmth around my hands. I can't describe it, but it was literally hot around my hands and knuckles.
The next two days I slept a LOT. I am usually up around 6am every day. I didn't get up until about 8 and took a nap both days from 2-4! Guess what?! I have not taken ANY pain medication at ALL since Wednesday. My left ankle has had a catch a couple of times, but my hands have no pain. Where my index finger knuckle was so tender the last time I went to the doctor that he wanted to give me a cortisone shot there is no tenderness. And... I can completely close my hands!! I mowed the grass Friday night and I felt fine afterward. Last time I mowed the grass I was in such pain by the end of it I literally cried for an hour and could barely walk for several days afterward.
You may think this is all in my head. I guess it could be. But I truly believe I am being healed as we speak. I also asked that the Lord heal my heart so that I could again feel comfortable in church. I have a peace inside me. I am eager to become more involved in church again. I know He healed my heart and I know He will heal my body too.
Thursday, July 13, 2006
Thursday, July 06, 2006
The other day I called and talked to my sister. I was telling her and Dad that I was going to be up there in August for Convention and telling her that Michael and I had gone back and forth about it because of the expense. She says, yeah, I am going back and forth too. I said, about going to Convention? (She is a business builder too) and she said no, about moving. (My dad has been wanting to move here and get a big piece of land for us to live on together so he can be closer to the kids. But she doesn’t want him to leave her, (or for his checkbook to leave) so she said she would move too. Now for the last 2 years or so it has been a stalling game on her part of multitude reasons why she can’t move now.) So I asked her what was up. She said while she was down here in May she felt great, and was really ready to move, but now that she is back up there in her comfort zone she doesn’t know if she wants to or not. So, I told her maybe she should just let Dad move then, if she isn’t ready and move if and when she gets ready. Well that threw her into a tizzy and she started telling me all of the things she can’t do by herself (which I don’t buy half of them) and that she couldn’t just let Dad move. Then she said she guessed she was being selfish and I didn’t say anything. I didn’t say anything because I do think she is being selfish, and she knows it. So then she got even more hysterical and I told not to be too hard on herself, that pain makes you do weird things, but that she does need to try to be more independent because she is way too dependent on Dad and one day he isn’t going to be around. Plus that is just part of growing up. Well, she got off of the phone and told my dad that I told her she was keeping Dad from doing all of the things he wanted to do. Now, I do think that, but I would never say it, because it isn’t my place to speak for my dad. So, now my dad and Trin are both mad at me for saying that (which I didn’t say). Welcome to my entire childhood revisited. I would be playing with Trin, she wouldn’t get her way, she would fuss and tell my parents I did something completely different from what I had done and I would get in trouble. Then they wondered why we weren’t close. Hmmmmmm….
You know what it really boils down to? All of my childhood I always felt like I was sort of second class. My Mom and Dad always favored my sister. She was the baby, so I just always did my best to ignore it. When my parents split up I had a fleeting moment when I actually felt equal in my Dad’s eyes. I felt like he loved me the same as my other two sisters. And I loved it. But it was only temporary. Now I am back to being a second class citizen. I have to walk on egg shells every time I talk with my sister because anything I say could be taken the wrong way at any moment and then she will spin out of control and then my dad will be mad at me.
I almost feel like I am in a game of tug of war, only I am losing because I refuse to play! I am not going to participate in the “who is sicker” game either! I am in an incredible amount of pain lately, and am not able to do the things I usually do, (which is killing me), and I guess my feelings are still hurt because I was criticized about how clean my house was or wasn't when my dad and sister came. It was as clean as I could get it! I can only do what I can do, and my husband works a huge amount of hours every week and can only help as much as he can help, which is not much. I don't have my dad living here and helping me keep the house up. Cooking when I am not up to it, doing the dishes when the very act of picking up a plate sends pain through my body. Nope, I have to do it anyway. I don't have someone going to see what my child needs when every time my feet hit the floor it sends pain through my body. I have to do it. And I have to do my best to put a smile on my face so my kids don't worry. Even typing this is painful, but the old stand by the pen is not my friend either.
So, for whatever reason I allowed myself to get my hopes up that my dad was going to move here and my kids were going to get to know him and I might have some time with him. But the bottom line is, he is a person, and I refuse to play tug of war with him, so she wins due to forfeit.
I guess no matter how old I get I am still just a child who wants to be loved by her parents.
Friday, June 30, 2006
Michael was not on board with me going. Originally we planned to make it a family vacation and drive out and hit the Grand Canyon "on the way". But, with gas prices where they are and the fact that we spent almost $500 on gas going to his Granny's funeral a couple of months ago, this just became less and less of a reality. I really didn't want to go to Utah AGAIN without them. But, the simple fact of the matter is, we can't afford it. So I started to wrap my brain around flying out alone and going to Convention. Well, Michael was still not really on board with this, because it is still quite an expense. Our team had a training a couple of nights ago about less than supportive spouses. So, I made Michael listen while one of my teammates whose husband is a police officer talked. After he got off the phone I asked him what he thought. He said he should be more supportive of me. So I led right into Convention. I actually didn't plan it this way, it just happened :) Anyway, after a rather heated discussion he agreed to me going. (I better deliver in my business, though!) So after he went to work I decided I better hurry up and buy my plane ticket before he or I changed my mind. When I got the itinerary I sent it out to my mom and dad and trin and Jer and Mel. Mom writes back that she is confused about this ticket from SLC to Houston... ARGGGG@!!!! I need to fly FROM Houston TO SLC!! So I call Continental and the not so helpful person on the other end told me that if I had put my onepass number in while making the reservation I could change it in 24hrs with no fees, but since I didn't he was charging me $100!! Oh man, Michael is going to kill me!! So, I reluctantly let him change my ticket. Well, this just doesn't sit right with me. So, I call customer service and explain to them what happened. After talking to two different people I get the $100 refunded. Turns out this is a benefit of being a OnePass Member, and it makes no difference if I put it in WHEN I made the reservation. What a moron. Anyway they get that taken care of. So, next I call to schedule my tour of the facilities in Idaho Falls. Well, the only tour they have available the days I am there is the one that leaves at 10am Tuesday Morning. I am arriving at 10:06! There is also space available on Monday's tour, but I was supposed to leave to come home Monday morning. So, I get back on Continental.com and cancel my ticket AGAIN and rebook it arriving in SLC Wed and coming home Tuesday. PHEW! What an exhausting process! BUT, I am going to Convention, so look out! I am on the move now!
Can you believe this picture was taken near the heart of Houston? These sites are the sites that we see when letterboxing in town! I am continually amazed at what wonderful parks we have here.
We spent the day last week with our friends, Lois, Bubby and Sarah letterboxing. We literally spent the day! We had a wonderful time! We went to the Orange Show and looked around and I had an idea that when Melaleuca buys me a new car, I am going to turn my old car into an art car! Michael isn't exactly on board with this idea, but I will keep working on him! LOL!! We hunted for 9 boxes and found 3- I think this is an all time record of ours LOL!! (I mean fewest boxes found percentage). Anyway, it was a great day and I just HAD to share this picture!
Monday, June 19, 2006
Anyway, I enjoyed Scout Camp thoroughly and will plan on volunteering next year. I met a wonderful lady, who is a writer and mom of SEVEN! She also homeschools and she was like the calmest most laid back person I know LOL!! HOW does she do that? Anyway, she has some books out that are worth looking at. Not being mormom myself I believe I will start with Make me a Memory, though the Molly Mormon series does sound kind of good to me LOL! Maybe because I grew up in Utah, and therefore can relate to that lifestyle? I don't know. At any rate check out her website: TamraNorton.com . I am also toying with the idea of going back to my book. I actually started writing it about 3 years ago maybe and got away from it. Well, lately, it seems like God may be calling me back. (This is how I am now a homeschooler too LOL) Anyway, it is on marriage. I find it strange that I have been thinking about it lately, and then I work all week at camp with a writer, and then I read on one of my email groups and one of the ladies is considering divorce. Hmm.... Whoever said there is no such thing as coincidence? So, I may fire up the old computer and see if I can get that file off of it. I better have the fire extinguisher handy, though, cause it has been a while since I turned that computer on LOL!!! In the meantime I am going to begin a blog, where your comments are welcomed!
Sunday, June 04, 2006
Mikey and Gregory (note Gregory's look of fear and tight grip on the bar) and Calley behind them on the Sombrero
Plain Tuckered Out after a great day at Six Flags over Texas!
Gregory and Auston in Yosemite Sam's Ride, (pronounced YOS Mite Sam by Gregory!)
Can't remember the name of this ride, but Auston, Gregory and Calley enjoyed it! All in all we had a great time in Dallas with Michael's brother and his family. We went to Disney with them last year and we really enjoy vacationing with them! We started the trip off with a trip to Texas Christian University for the Duke TIPS awards celebration. Calley was awarded for outstanding performance on the SAT as a 7th grader! We are very proud of her! Then we went to Six Flags on Thursday. It was wonderful! There were hardly any lines at all, so we are all making a mental note to go back the same time next year! Our night ended in excitement when there was a drive by shooting at the cabaret next to our hotel! Needless to say, we will not be staying at the Motel 6 next to 6 flags EVER again! But all was well, and we had a fantastic time!!
We got up early Friday morning and headed back to Houston so that I could go to the setsha Homeschool Conference. It lasted Friday and Saturday and Michael went with me on Saturday. The kids were enrolled in their children's program for the weekend and they had an absolute blast! As for me and Michael, we have now purchased our curriculum for next year- There is not turning back now!! LOL!!
Seriously, we left the conference feeling energized and excited about homeschooling our children! I met so many wonderful people and just really enjoyed myself! For those that are curious, here is a snapshot of our chosen curriculum for this upcoming school year:
Bible: Picture This!: They color a page for each book of the bible and when you are done they have an illustrated page for each book, essentially their own illustrated Bible! It sounds more simplistic then it is, it is actually recommended for grade 4 and up, but I think Grego will do fine with it. I am even going to make my own!
Math: Singapore Math: I think this will keep up with both of them, and keep them on a fast pace...
Science: Great Science Adventure, Human Body for the 1st Semester: We will kick this study off with a visit to the Body Worlds exhibit at Houston Museum of Natural Science! I am VERY excited about this one!!
History: The Story of the World: This has a book that tells the history of the world in story format starting at the beginning. It is actually a 4 volume set that takes 4 years to complete. The workbook has gobs of extra activities to do with it too, like using dirt, rocks and grass seed in a roasting pan make your own model of the Nile and flood the Nile once a week to see how it makes the grass grow... Cool stuff!
In addition to the Story of the World about once a month we will do a Unit Study on a State and occasionly encorporate visiting that state if possible! I got a cool book to help with this called Cantering the Country to help with this, but I will encorporate my own stuff to..
Handwriting: Pentime looks like it is short sweet and to the point, so we will try that. We are doing A reason for Handwriting this summer, and they don't really care for it, so hopefully they will like Pentime better.
Language Arts: Learning Language Arts Through Literature. I am excited about this one too, it is written by one of the authors for the Great Science Adventures and I heard good things about it. I think it will be really fun!
Chess: Yes, Chess! We got a book/DVD pack and will be working on Chess this year!!
And finally, journaling. I got several story prompt books to choose from and we will journal daily. I am going to try to find a pretty nice notebook for their journals, because I have always considered them keepsakes..
The only thing I haven't got yet is a Spanish Curriculum. This seems to be more difficult that I anticipated, so I am not sure how that will work out. They will be taking Spanish at the Enrichment program, but I was hoping to do a little more with them...
Oh, that reminds me, they will go to the Enrichment Program on Tuesdays and there they will take Creative Writing, Spanish, Art, PE, and Science. It was recommended by the administrator, though to enhance the Science curriculum. So, that's it in a nutshell! I will keep you posted on how it is going!
Oh, one final thought: As I was watching the 100+ children from the children's program go outside to watch the man juggle the fire torches I wished I had my family members who do not support my decision to homeschool with me. The theory that homeschool children are unsocialized misfits is completely false. These were normal, well behaved children. If being well behaved makes you a misfit then that has always been my goal, homeschooling or not, so this shouldn't really be an issue.
Thursday, May 25, 2006
Yep, that's me holding a giant sting ray!! It was one of the most awesome experiences ever! String Ray City is out in the middle of the ocean off of Grand Cayman. You are completely surrounded by water and can't even see the island from where you are, but there is a sand bar and you are only standing in about waist deep water. The water is so clear and beautiful! The stingrays just swim right up to you! It was an unforgettable experience!! Mikey wouldn't hold a sting ray because he was scared!! LOL!!
We had a wonderful time and were treated like Royalty for the majority of the cruise (except the day we came back which I will get to)..
We left Sunday and when we got on the boat a short while later had to do a drill where we put on our life jackets and when to our Muster Station. That was fun! Then we left Galveston and we were off! My father in Law and his wife pretty much did their thing and we did ours and we met up regularly, so that actually worked out great. The show the night before we got into Key West was so awesome! It was by a group that does all of the music with their mouths.. They were so awesome! Here is their website (the are called Mosaic) http://www.notaboyband.com
We got into Key west at 3pm on Tuesday and Mikey and I went Parasailing (one of the pictures I wanted to send in). I was terrified before we did it! So much so that I was literally trembling! But once up in the air, I was SOOO glad I did it!! It was so beautiful! Then we went shopping a little bit and headed back to the ship. Michael’s dad was not allowed off the boat because he was too drunk! His fault! The next day we were at sea again and Mikey and I climbed the rock wall on the top of the ship. That was pretty cool!
Thursday we went to Georgetown, Grand Cayman and we went out to Stingray City. Stingray City is a sand bar in the middle of the ocean (literally you can’t see land from where you are) and you get out of your catamaran or whatever you got out there on and you are standing in waist deep water that is so clear you can see all the way to the bottom of the ocean. It was so beautiful! The stingrays swim right up to you and I have a picture of me holding one!!
Friday we were in Cozumel. Cozumel was hit really hard by Hurricane Wilma last year and the island was literally devastated. It was rough to see. Our pier has actually only been used for 3 weeks now and it is only repaired enough to use it, but by no means is it repaired. The whole island looks like a bomb went off. We went to Adventure Park and we went rock wall climbing, rappelling and did like an above ground obstacle course. It was fun. Not what I expected, but fun anyway. Then we went snorkeling and that was really cool too!
About 4 hours out of Cozumel we had a medical emergency on board and had to turn around and go back! Michael and I were asleep because we are whimps and still went to bed real early LOL! Our stateroom was directly above the gang plank and we heard them messing with it, but just assumed they were being loud for no reason LOL! The next day we found out they were getting the lady out and she was med evaced to Mexico. So, because we were now almost 10 hours behind we were going full speed ahead all day and that caused Mikey to get sea sick our last day at sea. So, he spent a good portion of it in bed and I spent a good portion of it making a donation at the Bingo game and then in the Casino…. When we got into port we were supposed to get in at 7 a.m. and that would put us off the ship at around 10, but we didn’t even get into Galveston until 10:30 and didn’t get off the ship until after 1… Funny thing… They didn’t think it was necessary to feed us lunch! I was kind of irritated! But, I do have to say in all fairness we were treated great the rest of the time
Friday, May 05, 2006
Monday, April 24, 2006
Can I just say that no, not all police officers do a good job, and yes there are crooked police officers, who of course, get all of the media attention. My response to this lady was that there are people in every walk of life and every profession that are "crooked". There are bad sales people, bad mailmen, bad teachers, doctors, and even bad drivers. This does not, at any time, give anyone the right to shoot them!! A police officer is killed in this country every 2.2 days. This is not a small statistic. In my 10 years as the wife of a police officer it has come close to home on a couple of occasions. My husband goes out every single night and risks his life for people that he doesn't even know. And guess what? He is barely paid for it!! Do you know that he makes around 40,000 a year without overtime? In this day and age that isn't much, and I don't have one friend who makes less than my husband. It is horrible how these officers are paid.
This brings me into another thing. Police Week is coming up. Please pray for all of the families of our fallen officers as they travel to Washington DC to pay tribute to those that paid the ultimate price.
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
In other news I have pretty much decided to homeschool the boys next year. We did sort of a practice run over Spring Break and it went pretty well. Now comes the huge task of figuring out what curriculum to use and planning out our year. This will be nice to not have to jump right into school directly after Convention for Melaleuca too. I think we will wait and start after Labor Day, since I can decide that now! LOL!! I have never agreed with the kids starting in early August and now we don't have to!
Our neighborhood is continuing to go down the tubes and I wish we could move right away. I really would like to wait until my Melaleuca earnings are enough to supplement Michaels to the point that he doesn't have to work step or the extra job since he will be driving such a long distance to work.
Thursday, February 23, 2006
So, as is my usual way of dealing with things, let's start with the good! My Melaleuca business is going GREAT! Sure, it could be moving faster, if I wanted to devote more time to it, and I might, but for right now I am very pleased with my return to the time investment I am willing to do. I feel like I have turned the corner in a positive way, which is a good thing, considering I have had some set backs. I hear people tell me all day when making dials that this just sounds like a scam or a pyramid scheme, or too good to be true etc.. And, it really doesn't bother me because I know in my heart that it is a business of enhancing lives, not destryoing them, and I know what kind of person I am, and that if it weren't everything it claims to be and more I would not be associated with it. Well, the other day my dad (natural father) said those things to me. And, while it wasn't the first time I had heard them, it was the first time a member of my family hadn't trusted my character as a person and it hurt. I wallowed for a minute, but then I found more resolve then ever. I will succeed with or without him, and he is not in control of my destiny! So, now it has become my mission to move on!
Another twist in my life that isn't so pleasant, in fact it is downright scary is a dear friend of mine's daughter was diagnosed with cancer. She is a beautiful 8 month old girl who needs all of our prayers. You can view her page at http:///www.caringbridge.org/visit/LittleWarrior . It just further cements my personal mission with Melaleuca to get these toins out of our homes! If you are in the Houston area I encourage you to go to the blood drive this weekend.
And, it is spring here in Houston, which I LOVE! I love the flowers, I love not having to wear a coat (even though I have only had to do that a handful of times this year) and I love that Spring Break is fast approaching. It also means that I am really beginning to miss my kids. I don't like that they are in school for so many hours every day, and I really only get about 4 hours of their awake life, most of which is spent doing homework and getting dinner ready, going to scouts, football practice, getting ready for tomorrow, and bathing. I feel like I am losing my kids. Every year around this time I consider homeschooling, and this year is not really different, except that I think I actually might do it this time LOL! Gregory is back on his "I don't want to go to school" kick, and while I don't have any specific issues with the school this year I don't want him to either!! I miss him, and I feel like Auston and I are growing further and further apart every single day. Do I have concerns? ABSOLUTELY!! I am not sure this is the right thing, and I am not sure it is right for me. I am not sure I won't end up resenting my kids, I am not sure I can still move my business (which I need the money LOL) and I am not sure I won't feel suffocated. I am not sure that Gregory wont become a momma's boy and be a social misfit, I am not sure Auston will ever talk to me again if I do this. I am not sure how my extended family will react, and I am not sure how my friends will act. That isn't all, but all I can think of at the moment. On the other hand, I think it might do us some good to spend more time together. I want, for example to go and get my kids early today because it is beautiful outside and I want to spend some time letterboxing with them, or riding bikes. If we were homeschooling that would be our major activity today! I also know that both of my kids are smarter than a lot of the kids in their class. (That is not, by the way, me bragging) Most people would think this is a good thing, but in Gregory's case especially, it is not. He is bored. And Auston is breezing through everything too. If I had them at home we could go at their pace and continue to nurture their love for learning instead of making them wait for everyone else. We have considered letting each of them test up to the next grade, and in Auston's case his teachers have mentioned it a couple of times, but I don't want him exposed to the social issues of the next grade any sooner than necessary! I don't want him going to Junior Hight any sooner than he has to. I have heard some scary stuff about that place! I also worry constantly about the inevitable time when someone in my family in Utah get's sick. How can I go and feel good about the time I spend helping them if I am having to either leave my kids here, or take them out of school? Then what? Do I enroll them up there and expect them to be fine? Unfortunately, the time will come when I need some flexibility. It is one of the perils of living so far away. And, as distant as my mom and I are, I would not be able to live with myself if I were not there for her in every way possible if she were to become ill. So, that is my current exciting turn! Stay tuned for updates, and I welcome your comments as long as they aren't things like, you are a complete moron!! Constuctive criticism is ok, but please, don't just hurl insults and unfounded assumptions at me..
Sunday, January 22, 2006
The night before the races they have test runs and you can check in your car if you want. Well, we ran both cars down the track and Greg's did ok, but Auston's wasn't so fast. So, I took it aside and adjusted it and we proudly put it back on the track...... Well.... now it didn't even make it to the finish line! Oooooopppssss..... Well, one of the guys helped me out and readjusted the wheels and then Auston's other den leader got there and we promptly added some good old graphite lubricant and they were both much faster.
Now, in order to race the car has to weigh in at 5 ounces or less. So, when I got there both cars weighed in at exactly 5 ounces. I told Michael that I was going to go ahead and check them in that night if they were that close because I didn't want a piece of dust to fall on it or something and have it be over in the morning. One of the other fathers was there with his and his were weighing in at exactly 5 ounces too... I was telling him I was going to get mine running good and get them checked in so I didn't have to worry about them weighing in over the next day. Well, they all laughed and thought that was just so funny.. Then as the other parent was checking his in... it weighed 5.1! I told them "SEE! That is the dust!!" He ended up having to pry a tail light off to get it weighed in!
Anyway, race day we get there and as we are driving up Auston says, "I'm not going for speed, just most colorful". I was glad to hear that since we didn't do so great last year! Well, Auston ended up getting 2nd place in the Bears Den and Most Colorful! Gregory got 2nd place in the Tigers Den, Most Colorful, and Best Theme.
All in all it was a great day!
Saturday, January 14, 2006
They say time flies... And I have to say, I agree. Just the other day I was looking at my children as they were playing in the yard and it hit me like a ton of bricks how fast they are growing! You know, I am pretty sure that I have been here pretty much every day of their lives, but somehow I feel like I am still managing to miss it!! I guess the death of my girl scout leader is bringing up some feelings. Like I was trying to remember the last time I saw her. It has probably been more than 15 years. Where did that time go? I don't believe she ever saw my children. I do live far away now, but do make it up to the state to visit from time to time. It also got me to thinking about my own kids and how am I going to tell them when their grandma dies? I can't even imagine how hard that has been for Mindy and Danielle. But you know, probably harder for Mindy because she still lives in the state. As for me, I got to thinking how much it will really affect my kids when my mom dies. Then I got angry. I know anger is a normal part of the grieving process, and even though I haven't seen Lani in a long long time I am still grieving. But I got to really thinking about it, and it breaks my heart to realize that my oldest son is 9 years old, and my mother has only been to his house to visit him TWICE. Once when he was born, and once when Greg was born. Once for Greg (when he was born). I can count on my fingers the times they have even seen her. Now I agree that it is as much my fault as it is hers. I am the one that moved 1500 miles away, but it breaks my heart to know that she is missing out on them, and they are missing out on her. It is so easy to get caught up in the things of life and then when you look back you realize that missed out on all of the important stuff because of the other things that you let take priority. Take time today to spend the time with your kids. I spent time playing board games with mine today, and had the privilege of spending time with my nephew too. He has turned into a very enjoyable young man. I just hope nothing clouds my vision and I miss out too.
Friday, January 06, 2006
Sunday, January 01, 2006
Anyway, I hope everyone had a good and safe New Year's celebration. I could not have enjoyed ours more. We had my brother in law over and my girlfriend and her son, and we had turkey and all the trimmings with good food, and good fellowship. Then we watched the New Year's Rockin Eve and I was so surprised to see Dick Clark! Honestly it was hard to understand him, but I have to say it was so nice to have him on! Felt right, you know? We toasted the New Year with lots of noise, poppers, and champagne and sparkling grape juice for the kids, and then headed outside for fireworks. Let me tell you, my neighbors went all out on fireworks this year! We didn't even have to buy any! LOL!! But, we did, so we started lighting ours off.
Do NOT light the fireworks that go up like the ones in the shows when it is extremely humid!! We think that is what happened towards the end when the last one we lit took forever to burn down the wick, and then, you know how everything moves in slow motion when it is bad???? Well, it lit, came out of the cannon about ONE foot and exploded as we all ran IN SLOW MOTION!! It was very scary, but we were all ok. So, then we decided we were done for the night, and came inside!! LOL!! All in all, it was great.