Blessed are those whose strength is in you, who have set their hearts on pilgrimage . . . They go from strength to strength, till each appears before God in Zion.
~Psalm 84:5

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Dieting by Default

So, my brother Eric/Bird and his wife have been on South Beach Diet for a few months now. Amazingly Eric has stuck to it, hasn't cheated, and therefore, dropped 40 pounds! (Good for u, bird!)
So last week my brother David/Sha decided to give it a try, after seeing how successful Eric has been. Plus Bird and Brandi convinced him he could drop 5 pounds by the end of the week, allowing him to fit more easily into his suit for the funeral. Well, we all went to lunch that first day (Tuesday) and Bird and Brandi schooled him in the ways of South Beach. I told them all I will do South Beach for the week, to give Sha moral support. Honestly, I just didn't want to be the only one pigging out all week.
Fast forward to today, 9 days later: Everyone's gone, but I'm still dieting! What the heck?!
I figured I would try to hold out and complete Phase I. Plus, Sha is still on it. Now, I'm okay with one brother weighing less than me, but not BOTH OF THEM. Plus, I'm pretty sure I can do whatever they can do.
Therefore, I'm dieting by default (with a tinge of sibling rivalry mixed in).
And I've lost about 10 pounds. Hopefully, next week I can start consistently going to the gym again . . . I wonder if my trainer remembers me . . . He better, since he's engaged to one of my best friends and they're coming to my birthday party next week!
All that being said, I want sugar, darn it! I can't wait to start Phase II so I can start eating those two squares of dark chocolate everyday!

I'm a Texas girl!

You Are 72% Texas

Well, knock me down and steal muh teeth! You're pretty darn Texan.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Summer To Do List

I'm a bit panicked cause I blinked and it's already the last days of June. How the heck did that happen?!

When I dreamed of summer during those long days of educating America's future generation, I had many hopes and dreams for how I would spend my days. What have I accomplished, you ask? Well, let's see, I've gone swimming multiple times a week, my tan is looking nice, I found a place near my house that threads for cheaper than the place I used to go to last year, and I've gone swimming multiple times a week. Yup, that about sums it up.

In an effort not to waste the rest of my summer, I'm typing out my summer to do list here. Hopefully, seeing it in black and white will breathe some life into my summer plans and prompt me to get to work!

So, I present to you, in no particular order, my Summer To Do List:

1. Organize the boxes of papers I brought home from school w/ me.

2. Finish unpacking and organizing my room (honestly, this may not happen, but I really hope it does!)

3. Sort through my classroom materials (yes, this is different from #1).

4. Finish reading Watership Down, Anna Karenina, the lastest Wheel of Time book, and the numerous other books I started reading in the past year(s) that I have yet to finish.

5. Go to England (unfortunately just to visit, not to live).

6. See Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix at IMAX in 3D!

7. Visit Waco (especially Antioch -- I sure do miss that church!)

Hmmm . . . when I began writing this post I thought my list would be much longer than this . . .

Well, I guess it's enough to get me started and keep me busy. Hopefully I get it all done! Why am I such a procrastinator???

Monday, June 25, 2007

So far, my summer's been

Have you ever experienced something that was so real it felt like a dream?

Or have you ever had so many words to say or write you can't help but say or write any of them?

That's been my life so far this summer. The past few months, really.

On having too many words: School ended but there was still the stress of cleaning out my classroom, then pre-prep for next year, then subbing for summer school. Plus trying to tie up loose ends w/ Mr. Lying-South-American (who turns out to not have a girlfriend or fiance back in his country, but a WIFE! yeah, i know!) Add to that buying a house, packing and moving. Suddenly, in the midsts of it all, my Grandpa Jimmy (my dad's step-dad) was hospitalized for high fever due to his pneumonia. Simple enough, right? Not so much. Turns out he has a problem w/ his blood. After nearly a month of tests, the doctors figure his body is producing too many antibodies, which began attacking his platelets and then his red and white blood cells. So the grandparent we believed would out-live them all, is dying. We've known for months that my mom's dad was also dying of liver (and possibly colon) cancer. He just got weaker and weaker (thankfully w/o any pain) until he went to sleep in his home last Sunday night and woke up in Heaven Monday morning.

On things that are so real they feel like a dream: When my dad called me at 7:15 a.m. Monday morning and told me "Grandpa died," I wasn't sure which one he meant. He and my mom had gone over to her parents' house late Saturday night when my grandma called to tell them Grandpa was complaining of being in pain. They called the doc who didn't seem to think he needed to go to hospital and called in a pain killer for him. He slept most of the day Sunday, hardly eating or drinking anything. Then, he went to "bed" that night, insisting he wear his dentures and glasses (something he has NEVER done before). When they went to wake him up Monday morning, he was peacefully lying there, with his hands folded across his chest.
In a daze I called my brothers to give them the news. I had a last minute trip to England planned for that night, so I immediately called to cancel that (I had been planning to cancel it anyway, since it looked like Grandpa was getting worse). I got dressed and left home, not really knowing where I was going. I stopped by work to close out my timesheet then talked to one of my good friends for nearly an hour. I left there and decided to call my mom to see if I should go to Grandma's. She told me to come on over, that they had just come for the body and one of my uncles and two of my cousins were already there. So I made a beeline to my grandma's house, crying most of the way over. I composed myself once I pulled into the driveway, only to lose it again once I stepped foot inside the door and saw my mom. And my poor Grandma. She kept telling me, "I can't believe he's gone . . . " I can't imagine saying your final goodbye to the man you've been married to for 60 years . . .
I stayed the whole day and then spent the night. It was precious, seeing my uncles arrive one by one. They would quietly make their way over to their mother and then bend over and embrace her with tears in their eyes. I cannot put the words together to describe the sight of seeing these grown, middle-aged men crying in the arms of their 4'11" 80-year-old mother. It's a sight I shall never forget.
The rest of the week seemed a blur. After I got home Tuesday morning, my brothers and I went over to the hospital to visit Grandpa Jimmy. That was hard. Then his daughters and sons coming over as we were leaving to give their condolences made me break down again, something I NEVER do in front of my brothers. But I got used to it by Thursday night, when it took what seemed like ages for me to compose myself long enough to read what I wrote at my grandpa's wake, in front a room of nearly 200 people.
The funeral on Friday passed as quickly as the days leading up to it. But again, there are things I shall never forget: Grandma saying, "Bye, darling" as she looked at grandpa for the last time; my mom crying at the coffin as she, too, said goodbye for the final time; my brothers and uncles lined up, teary-eyed, waiting for the coffin to emerge from the hearse; hundreds of people speaking of the wonderful things Grandpa did to help them while growing up, even though it had been no less than 13 years since they all last saw him; the veterans firing their rifles, folding the flag and handing it to Grandma; all current and former military men saluting him for the final time; grabbing a fistfull of dirt and watching it slip through my fingers, onto the coffin; seeing the coffin slowly descend into the grave.
Grandpa was 89. He will be greatly missed by his wife, daughter, four sons, son-in-law, two daughters-in-law, eleven grandchildren, six great-grandchildren, and countless others he touched through the years. He was an orphan and spent his life taking care of others who lost a parent(s) or who had a need he could fill. The greatest inheritance he left us is having his same type of servant's heart and the joy of the Lord as our strength. I am ever so grateful for these two gifts.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

You know you're getting old (or just sleep-deprived) when...

1. You think the cruise control on your car is broken until you realize you were just pushing the wrong button.

2. You have a meowing contest with your cat across from the other side of your apartment.

3. You're sure that a bird outside your window was serenading you with the "La la la la la" chorus from "Lovin' You."

4. You think an anti-drug commercial is asking you if you're hooked on math.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Reflections of the third decade, part IV

It's staggering to take a step back and see how much has changed in 10 years -- not only with obvious stuff, but also with attitudes and paradigms. For instance:

Me at 21: Praying for a car!
Me at 31: Praying that my car will last for another 2 years!

Me at 21: Hoping my hair coloring will grow out soon.
Me at 31: Hoping I won't have to start using Rogaine For Women anytime soon.

Me at 21: In college, with barely a penny to my name.
Me at 31: Working, with the bills getting paid (hallelujah!) and actually USING my college degree (hallelujah!!).

Me at 21: The internet: that scary thing that my professors make me use sometimes.
Me at 31: The internet: that wonderfully convenient thing that can be really hard to live without.

Me at 21: The cell phone: good for emergencies.
Me at 31: The cell phone: being without it is an emergency.

Me at 21: Cats are snobs. Dogs (and squirrels) are more fun.
Me at 31: Dogs are nice and squirrels are fun to chase, but cats are da bomb!! Yes, with lots of time and love, they CAN be trained.

Me at 21: Surrounded by dozens of people all the time, I feel pretty popular.
Me at 31: Most of the time, it's just me and my cats, but as long as God is in control, I'll be content.

Me at 21: Trying to be better than everybody else.
Me at 31: Trying to bless and serve everybody else, and avoiding the high horse at all costs!!

Me at 21: Ready to conquer the world.
Me at 31: Not ashamed to admit when I want my mommy.

Me at 21: Expecting life to be handed to me on a silver platter.
Me at 31: Knowing that life can suck, but trying to stay hopeful. And I ain't gonna hold my breath for no silver platter.

Me at 21: A heartbeat away from questioning if God even exists.
Me at 31: Of course God exists. I know Him. And if I didn't try to rely on Him every day, I would be toast. (I kid you not.)

Me at 21: An even bigger heartbeat away from believing that my life had become a pile of crap.
Me at 31: Thankful for every heartbeat and every minute that God has given me in this big, crazy miracle called life.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

My Impression of Local Drivers

DALLAS: Excuse me, pardon me, coming through. Oooooh, waaaait a mmmminute... It's a wrrrreck... Let's gawwwwwk... OK, gawking over. Where's the accelerator? Excuse me, pardon me.


ARLINGTON: What? I wasn't tailgating you. I was only 2 inches away from your rear bumper.


LUBBOCK: Why do they keep putting up these speed limit signs? Driving should be an expression of the soul.

ODESSA: The red light means that you have either 5 seconds to cross the intersection or until cars start coming from the other direction -- whichever comes first. Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm late for my appointment at the bar. Unfortunately, I can't drive too fast to get there, because if I go 4 MPH over the speed limit, a cop will appear out of nowhere and give me a ticket. Although, I'm not quite sure where the cop goes AFTER the bar closes...

WACO: Please observe that I-35 has 3 lanes to accommodate various traveling speeds: 60 MPH on the far right, 70 in the middle, and 80 on the far left. By the way -- can anyone explain to me what a "traffic jam" is? I've heard of this phenomenon, but I don't believe I've ever witnessed one myself. Is it anything like waiting in line to get into the stadium on Valley Mills to see a Baylor game?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Reflections of the third decade, part III

As I get older, I find that I am more concerned with being myself than with trying to be cool. More concerned with spending my money on what counts than with splurging on the latest thing that everyone else is getting. More concerned with doing unto others than with striving to please others. More concerned with communicating well than with getting a word in edgewise. More concerned with being at peace than with being understood.

I spend more time developing friendships with faithful people than I spend chasing friendships than may never really develop. I value time spent with family more than I value time spent trying to impress some cute guy (who has already noticed somebody else, anyway).

I am more content with enjoying a sensible home-cooked meal (even though I am not really a good cook -- trust me on this) than with rushing to the drive-thru at some mouth-watering fast food place that will probably just make my cholesterol levels go up.

My cats are more adorable, more appreciated, and more precious to me with each passing day. (Even though technically in the feline world, they are senior citizens now (and they can get crotchety) and they regularly try to blanket my apartment with their hair.)

I spend more time trying to absorb the meaning in a good book and less time trying to read as many books as possible. I don't mind watching the same movies over and over again if each viewing is enjoyable. I don't mind listening to the same album repeatedly if each playback is still a masterpiece. I don't mind strumming the same tunes on my guitar if I get to genuinely express myself each time.

I am less concerned with what I am supposed to become and more concerned with who I am. Less freaked out about all the mistakes I've made in the past and more freaked out about how I could miss the whole point of today. Less in a hurry to arrive to the next season in life and more eager for time to slow down so that I can fully enjoy this era that God has given me.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

After 11 months, I break my silence with this story:

This gives me hope.

Clive is a super hottie!

Except being married to someone that hot and that famous will prob make me very insecure.
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