Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Friends, Old and New

This is gonna be a long one, folks.

I've blogged about my friendship with Angela in the past on my old blog. But, since she is the oldest friend in this post, I'll start with her and refresh your memories.

Angela and I met in the 7th grade at church camp. We discovered that we both had a crush on a boy named Ben. It bonded us pretty quickly. Our friendship began, and the next year, I began to get involved with the youth group at her church, so we saw one another more frequently, and we shared a friend, Tricia. So, there were numerous hanging out opportunities (and chances to talk about Ben).

Ninth grade came, and Angela came to my school. We were in class together and maintained our friendship. We then shared another friend, Allison. We still went to church camp every summer and hung out. She home-schooled after that, but we still saw one another at church functions and sporting events. We talked on the phone from time to time, and I went swimming at her house several times. It was a typical high school friendship.

Then at the end of high school, she moved far away to Washington D.C. and started the adventure of life on her own. We lost touch. And then, about three years ago, our friend, Allison, told me Angela had a blog. I had a blog too, and so we caught up.

Angela is (and always has been) a very encouraging person. She was not a fan of strife in relationships. I can't remember ever getting into a fight with her. She's a peacemaker--and now this plays out in her professional life as a photojournalist. She is giving a voice to the voiceless through her photographs. It's incredible the many places she's gone and the things she's experienced. I am so honored to know her, and I was even more honored to attend her wedding to Craig (not Ben! :). Check out her blog if you want to be inspired to love people because that's what will happen!

Of course, Angela and Tricia introduced me to Allison. Allison is funny. Very funny. But she doesn't mean to be. That's what is so great about her! Alli and I became very good friends very quickly. We both shared a heart to know God. Our times at church camp together were so very special and holy. Alli was one of the few people in high school who spurred me on to love and good deeds. She was a constant source of encouragement and friendship. She was very good at accepting me, warts and all. I have so many wonderful memories from high school with Alli.

One of my favorite memories is riding around in her purple convertible singing Fleetwood Mac tribute songs at the top of our lungs. We studied God's word together, we watched a lot of "Dawson's Creek" together, and we spent entirely too much time arguing about how I didn't wear enough makeup and why Alli would only eat Snackwell's cookies instead of Oreos. I wore her down on the Oreos eventually.

We lost touch briefly after college, but we soon reconnected. I am so glad I know Allison. I'm also so proud of her as a wife and mommy. I was so glad we got to spend an entire evening hanging out before the wedding. It was so good to be with her again. She married a funny man, and she has an adorable, wide-awake daughter. I'm so proud to call her my friend.

I had to put a pic of Lucy in here. She was such a good little traveler. She rolled with the punches, slept when she could, and had an overall sunny disposition. But then again, that's my girl. Isn't she pretty in her party gown?

Joanna. Sweet Joanna. I met Joanna through my friend, Carrie, who just said, "You have got to look at her blog. Her pictures are awesome, and she's a believer!" That's what I did. I went to her blog, began commenting on her thoughtful and beautiful posts. I can recall many days when I would read one of her posts, and it would edify me to no end!

We began messaging back and forth, and I knew she was a kindred spirit, a bosom buddy, a soul sister, whatever you want to call it. I so wanted to go to Angela's wedding, and what an added perk when I found out that she had asked Joanna to be her photographer (they met through my blog)! We were going to meet!

It was arranged. We talked on the phone for the first time, and even though I was at a baby shower, I was so excited to talk to her, that I hated to get off the phone. One night, we chatted on the phone for a couple of hours. It was awesome. It was like we had known one another forever. And it felt so special, because I know how she hates talking on the phone (ahem...I LOVE to talk on the phone).

When the time came for me to finally meet her, I got nervous. I had wondered if she would like me as much in person as she did through the blog or on the phone. I worried it wouldn't be the same. And it wasn't. It was better.

We hugged instantly, and it was like two sisters who hadn't seen one another in a long time. She had warned me that she might be kind of funky because her mind was on the wedding. She was delightful. I totally and completely loved her even more.

She sweetly carved out time to hang out with me the morning of the wedding. We had breakfast in the hotel restaurant and chatted about our families, our lives, and God. She photographed Lucy and me for a little while in the hotel lobby (pics--and a humbling and incredibly kind post about me--can be seen on her blog). She set me so at ease in front of the camera. I have NEVER liked pictures taken of my profile, but the one she took is so good! She says I'm photogenic, and I say she's an amazing photographer!

It was such a gift to be able to meet Joanna. I do hope we don't have to wait until eternity to meet again. And, it's nice to be able to say that I've finally met an internet friend (and I'm still alive).

Joanna was not the only internet friend I had the pleasure of meeting while I was on my trip. I also got to meet Katie. Katie and I met through xanga (though I'm not sure I remember how). As I read her blog, I realized we were cut from the same cloth. Here are the things we have in common:

We were both English teachers.
We both have stair-step children (though she has four and I have three--for now).
We both had our kids in this order: boy, girl, girl (and then she has another boy--which I'm hoping for us!)
Our third child is a girl and they share the name Lucy along with lots of hair and a sunny disposition.
We're both anal.
We are both opinionated.
We're both a little clumsy (sorry Katie, but it is true).

I know the list could be longer. Katie lives outside of Baltimore. When I booked my flight, I realized I had a layover in Baltimore on my way home. So, I gave her a call, and we set up a meeting at the Baltimore airport. She had to cancel because her son was scheduled to be baptized that Sunday. I was so sad, but I couldn't really expect her to miss that to meet me!!! :)

Then, due to the heavy rain, they had to reschedule his baptism (they baptize in a creek) for another week. I was thrilled! So, when we met, it too was like old friends coming back together. We had a nice chat at Starbucks for a couple of hours. We talked about books, schooling, our kids. It wasn't awkward or weird (at least for me!). It was wonderful to meet Katie and see her face to face. She's everything I knew she would be, and I hope we get to meet again.

Friends are a gift from God. I have a brother, but no sisters. I am so blessed to have so many wonderful friends who are like sisters to me. Our Father knows what we need, and I'm grateful for the many women He has supplied me with in my journey.

Hebrews 10:24, "And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--all the more as you see the Day approaching."

Thank you, friends, for a lovely weekend I will never forget.

Friday, September 25, 2009

The Things I Saw There

The main purpose for going to Norfolk was to attend Angela and Craig's wedding (heard them referred to as "Crangela", and I haven't stopped chuckling about it!). I briefly got to see Ange on Thursday night, and she looked like a radiant, slightly stressed bride. There were so many people to talk to, mingle with, and details to remember. She did her best making her way around the room.

It's weird because I haven't seen her in probably about 10 years. So, my only communication with her has been over the last three years in the blog world. I became enthralled with her new life in Africa, and I enjoy reading her blog and seeing her pictures. She has changed so much, but when I saw her again in person, she was still Ange.

Her wedding was BEAUTIFUL. I loved how Jesus was the centerpiece of their ceremony. I could feel the presence of the Holy Spirit hovering in the sanctuary. It was really amazing. She looked so gorgeous. Her dress was killer. Go to Joanna's blog to see pics from the wedding. It was so fun to watch Jo in her element running around snapping pictures. That was a gift in itself!

I felt so many beautiful moments that weekend, and the wedding really stood out to me. Even the reception was so holy to me. I saw everyone dancing and celebrating, and I couldn't help but think of how someday, the church will have her wedding day, and there will be a great celebration!!!

Craig was very nice. I'm so glad I got to meet him. He is perfect for Angela. I love their shared vision and the way their hearts are entwined on many levels. I snapped a couple of blurry photographs at the reception during the first dance. They are an amazing-looking couple! My pictures are poor, but I needed something to remember that night.

The kiss during their first dance as husband and wife. I kind of like the blur for this.

Flash really can ruin a picture! They're still great looking.
I also really enjoyed being in a harbor city while I was in Norfolk. I didn't realize there would be ships everywhere. They were pretty cool. I was wishing the whole time that Dave and the kids were with me. They would have loved seeing the big ships.

I took this at sunrise the day I left.

This one too.

This one was a daytime pic on my first day there. I love how industrious it looks.
It was so fun to be in a place with a different culture and landscape. It is on my list of places to return to someday with the family. There's so much history there, and it is so fresh-feeling.
Next post: my friends, old and new.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Historic Jamestowne

I have several posts about my trip, but my first will be about Jamestown, VA. When I was planning my trip to Norfolk, I googled a map to see how far the airport was from the hotel, etc.  What I found was that I would only be an hour from Yorktown, Colonial Williamsburg, and Jamestown. I have an affinity for these colonial settlements. Yorktown has a special place in my heart, thanks to Mary Landreth, one of my professors in college, who helped me love history.  I have always wanted to go to Williamsburg. It is a reenactment of colonial life, and everyone there is in character. I wanted to go to both of these places, but I knew I just didn't have enough time. However, Jamestown was doable. So, I made the plan to go to Jamestown while I was in Virginia. 

I know this sounds incredibly nerdy; it is, and it is okay. It's going to get worse. 
I promise.
I totally geeked out over Jamestown. Some of you are thinking, "Jamestown? Does that have something to do with American history?" Yes, indeed it does. It was the first colonial settlement in the New World. King James commissioned a group of adventurers onto a ship under the leadership of Captain John Smith to establish this colony. That is why the town is named after him. They also renamed the Powhatan River after him. It is now called the James River. Nice.
I got all teary-eyed seeing my history. I felt very young and very grateful. It was surreal and eerie to be walking on the same ground that those who first settled here walked upon. 400 years is a young age for a country, but it still seemed ancient to me. Here are some pictures I took while there.

There was this large cross to commemorate all those who gave up their lives to establish Jamestown. My favorite site was here where the first ship actually docked. They were able to run the ships right up to the shore to disembark. This sign is just in front of this part of the river.

Here is the spot. This was a very important moment for me, looking out on the water, imagining the ship docking and the weary men tumbling ashore.

I saw this lone flower growing right around that spot. I felt like it was a little gift from God. I know that sounds corny, but I really thought that.

These rocks were just picturesque and seemed appropriate for my imagination.

Of course, there is a statue of Pocahontas. The artist used poetic license in the sculpture--Pocahontas was between 10 and 12 years of age when the settlers arrived, and she was in no way romantically attached to John Smith. She saw him more as a white father.

And, the illustrious John Smith...he was a storyteller (an embellisher, to be sure), but he was a successful leader. He thought an awful lot of himself. You can almost see that in this sculpture. :) That smug look...

This is the church that was established there. It was Anglican, of course.

Here is the inside of the church. Sorry it's a bit blurry. It was so minimalistic and beautiful.

The fort here at Jamestown is slowly being uncovered. You can see the beginning of it here. It has been reconstructed as much as possible. You can see the James River as well.

Here are the reconstructed barracks. Homey, don't you think? They would normally have a thatched roof and would be enclosed. I don't know if they plan to do that with these or not.

There were several graves marked with crosses. I guess they were just unidentified settlers who probably died during what is called the "starving time". I didn't read all the plaques. Woops. For all I know, they could just be for decoration. :)

And the picture tour is now ending. Please do not exit the vehicle until we have made a complete stop. Thank you for joining me today.

More posts to come!!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009


I got home on Sunday afternoon.

It was wonderful. I want to tell you all about it, but I have to wait.


Because right now, I am seething.


Someone compromised my debit card number while I was in Virginia.
They are using it on telecommunications (about $600 worth).
They used it at Lowe's ($400+).

So, I can't talk about how lovely my trip was or how wonderful it was to meet Joanna and Katie. (Yes, I got to meet Katie as well b/c her plans changed).

So, after I calm down, you can expect a post (or three...I have several in my head currently).

I keep thinking, "Was it that waitress at Chili's? Or the ATM I used at the mall? Or the other waitress at Joe's Crab Shack? Or was it the parking attendant?" Seriously.

Thank God He is the judge and not me.

Pray for me, and use cash when dining out. I should have known better.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Trip for Mama

Since I don't get monetary compensation for the work I do at home and with the kids, I relish opportunities to get away once in a while. I'm flying out tomorrow to go to my friend's wedding. Angela and I have known one another since junior high. We shared a couple of best friends, Tricia and Allison, as well as a crush on a boy (or two). I'm very excited to see Ange marry Craig on Saturday (as well as get to see her family and our mutual friend, Allison and her NEW baby!).

Well, it turns out, Ange and I also share an internet friend. If I'm correct, it went something like this:

My friend Carrie told me to look at Joanna's blog. I became friends with Joanna who, in turn, ended up on Ange's blog. Ange loved Joanna's photography, and when she and Craig got engaged, she asked Joanna to be her photographer.

So.....not only do I get to see some old friends, but I get to meet my internet friend!

I will let you know how it goes...

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Corny Jokes and a Spanish Riddle

So a panda walked into a cafe and much to the shock of the patrons went right up to the counter and demands a meal. The waiter was stunned, first that a panda can even talk, but even more that he was wanting to be served a meal there. Uncertain of what proper protocol may be, the waiter refused insisting that this just wasn't done. The panda argued saying this was in fact true to nature and if they didn't understand they could look him up in a dictionary. Frankly, pandas are big frightening creatures so the waiter conceded, thinking that it was best just to go along with it.

The panda enjoyed his appetizer, his entree, and finally his dessert, something with ginger in it according to some witnesses. The waiter went above and beyond the call of duty to make him feel welcome, partially out of curiosity and partly out of concern for the other guests. After a waft of his napkin and a hearty sigh, the panda stood took out a gun and simply shot the waiter dead.

The panda casually began to walk to the door to leave, but was stopped by a crowd of patrons who in astonishment of the whole scene forgot about their fear. Shouts rang out and everyone demanded to know why the panda had just shot the one person who had worked so hard to help him. His simple reply as he left the cafe, "I’m a panda. It's what I do."

The crowd was stunned and silence filled the space over the dead waiter's body for a few moments until rumbles of questions rose. Should they call the police, animal control, the zoo? Why this cafe, this waiter? The words of the panda haunted one man who remembered his own briefcase... a dictionary was in his possession. Could it really be that simple?

Panda - PANDA: a large bear with origins in Asia; Eats shoots and leaves.

Q: What is Bruce Lee's favorite drink?
A: "Wa-taaaaaaa!!!"

Knock, Knock.
Who's there?
Chugga chugga.
Chugga chugga, who?
Chugga chugga chugga chugga WHOOO WHOOO!

Why did the pirate get his ear pierced?
It was a buccaneer.

Why is it un-biblical to fly?
Jesus said, "Lo, I am with you always."

What did the Zen Master say to the hot dog vendor?
"Make me one with everything."

What lies on the ocean floor and shakes?
A nervous wreck.

What kind of animal can jump higher than a fifty foot wall?
All of them. Fifty foot walls can’t jump.

What do you get when cross a potato with a sponge?
I don't know, but one thing's for sure, whatever it is, it can hold a LOT of gravy!

En un cerrito, habia un viejito, con tres pelitos, en el culito? Quien es?
(If you speak Spanish and can answer this one, please enlighten us all!)

Hope you all had a laugh...even if it was a pity laugh. :)

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Takin' it down a notch.

Let's be unserious for awhile.

If you read my blog, I want you to comment (either on the blog or on Facebook), with your favorite corny joke. Then, I will post them all here so we can have a corny laugh, a pity laugh, or just an all-out belly laugh (if you like corny jokes, that is).

I'll start.

Why did the cowboy ride the horse into town?

Because he was too heavy to carry.

Your turn.