Wednesday, May 30, 2012

When life hands you lemons, you should .....

make lemonade?

Here's what you get when you squeeze a lemon and it explodes all over your clothes!  It's a good thing this is an old top or I'd be really peeved.

Anyway, today I want to talk about blogging. It's pretty evident that I have fallen so far off the blog trail that mine barely exists anymore. I never was good at daily blogging but for awhile was doing what I consider a pretty decent job at being regular. Sure there was the occasional "fall off the wagon" but I was always able to pick myself up, shake the dust off, and start over again. And then ..... I don't know what happened. I just got totally sidetracked, by life I guess. On top of that, I think I began to feel pressure to produce something that everyone would find entertaining. Apparently (in my mind anyway) I was blogging for everyone else and not myself. It was just too much. So, I quit.

Yes, I QUIT.

But you know what? I started having ideas pop into my head, "hey, that would be a good blogging topic," followed by, "no, we're not doing that anymore." Then there were other things - events, photo ops, memories, etc. - that I began to think, "I really should write about that," and still couldn't bring myself to put it in black and white. And yet it kept gnawing at me ... put it out there. you need to write it down. you need to make sure you don't forget about it. 

Finally I've decided to once again give it a try. This time I'm going to work real hard to not create pressures for myself. My goal is to capture moments. They may mean nothing to anyone but me, but that's ok. No one may read this but me, but that too is ok. If someone leaves a comment I'm going to be pleased and grateful that someone cared enough to comment, but if there are no comments I'm not going to be disappointed or give up because I'm going to remember that I write this blog for ME.

So there you have it ... me, once again .... tryin' it

One more thing, here's a shout out to my "sister" Janet, you've stuck by me and encouraged me all along. Thank you!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

How We Spent Memorial Day

Thank goodness for long holiday weekends! My dear husband has been experiencing mild to severe back pain for several weeks now. He's seen his regular doctor and a more recently a chiropractor in an effort to identify the cause of the pain and more importantly, a cure for it. The doctor prescribed a muscle relaxer and an an anti-inflammatory that hasn't done much to help. More recently the chiropractor has called for rest and foregoing any type of physical activities. According to DH she said, "no honey-do list this weekend." I think he was secretly thrilled at the prospect of being lazy with a excuse.

He spent most of the weekend on the couch watching TV. One day of it was good - it allowed him to catch up on all the sleep he missed out on during the week. Day two he felt somewhat rested and still relished the idea of doing nothing. However by day three, he was getting a little stir crazy. I knew I was going to have to step in and suggest something or he was going to drive me crazy for the rest of the day.

We needed to find something that wouldn't cost an arm and a leg, that would give us a little exercise but nothing overly strenuous, and something that was mildly entertaining. We ended up going to Town Center Park in Suwanee. For those unfamiliar with it, Town Center Park is an urban-style park. It consists of homes, shops, restaurants, green space, interactive fountains, and sidewalks for walking and riding bikes. (More can be read about it here.) We started with lunch at Mellow Mushroom, (yes, apparently all of our outings seem to revolve around food),  followed by a walk around the park.

The park was busy but not crowded. Their big Memorial Day festivities were Friday, Monday was just a day of family time.

We saw kids playing in the fountains, 

families on the lawn throwing balls and frisbees, couples sitting on blankets reading and napping, kids and adults riding bicycles, and people walking their canine friends.

... and then there were the art sculptures scattered throughout the park. Hubby and I instantly went in to "tourist mode" and out came the cameras (much to the dismay of our twenty-something adult son who had tagged along).

Dale started it when he took this shot of me and Ian standing next to the "Wall Walker" 
this guy was a little creepy with his two legs and one arm.

I captured a shot of the Hubby 
in front of the whirly thingy. I can't remember the name of the sculpture.

And then there was this piece 
which was strangely fascinating. I liked it the best.

There were several other sculptures that I didn't photograph but I did get a shot of this chalk drawing

which I'm willing to bet some middle-school girl left behind.

As we were walking the path Hubby and I discussed how nice it would be to buy one of the condos or townhomes for our retirement. We would have plenty of restaurants to choose from daily and cooking at home would be a thing of the past! Ahhhh, a girl can dream, right?

Anyway, it was a pleasant day, sunny with a cool breeze which made for a perfect outdoor outing. The only thing missing was our youngest son and room in our tummies for dessert. Maybe next weekend?!

Monday, May 28, 2012

Happily Ever After

Once upon a time a young damsel met a charming young prince in what many would consider a fairy tale come true. The dashing young prince, once a wanderer, had finally settled down in the giant kingdom of Metropolis Atlanta, and commenced to carving out his own little niche within the kingdom . Although employment and living quarters were established, the young price was not as successful when it came to matters of the heart ... apparently there were no suitable young ladies to catch the eye or heart of the discouraged young man. 

One day a woman who worked along side the young prince made a surprising proposal. This woman claimed she knew of a lovely young girl, living in a faraway land, who would be a perfect match for the charming prince. She further claimed it was her mission in life to see the young couple united in matrimony and promptly hatched a plan to bring the two together.

And the rest, as they say is history. 

The couple were introduced on a snowy weekend in January. The actual date they first met was the 23rd. They attended an indoor soccer game, ate dinner, returned home, and talked into the wee hours of the night, learning all they could about each other. The following morning the young damsel informed her trusted friend,

"I have met the man I'm going to marry!"   The rest of the weekend was a whirlwind affair, ending as the damsel tearfully returned to her faraway land. The young prince vowed this was not the end and promised they would soon be united. 

True to his word, the young prince commenced to court the young damsel, first from afar via modern technology and finally in person as he traveled to the far away land. After several weeks of long distance romance it became apparent the woman who introduced them was indeed correct and the couple were destined to be together. The young damsel decided to throw caution to the wind and forego her home in the faraway land. She called for the young prince to come and gather her and her belongs and return to kingdom where the prince dwelled.

Once the young prince and the young damsel were living in close proximity it quickly became apparent that it wasn't enough. Overcome with  desire to be united in holy matrimony, the young prince asked the young damsel to become his beloved bride. She eagerly accepted and they began preparations for a wedding.

The time proved fortuitous as the parents of the young prince happened to be visiting the young prince and his sister who also lived in the kingdom. Rather than go through a long engagement the couple decided to seize the moment, to gather family and friends together, and have the father of the prince unite them in holy matrimony. And thus it was, sixty-six days after first meeting, the young damsel and her prince were joined together.

Following are renderings of the blessed event, occurring on March 29, 1987.

The father of the young prince officiated at the joining of the couple.

The young couple repeated their vows and pledged their undying love, forever united, 'til death do us part.

The couple's first kiss as husband and wife.

So happy to show it's official!

The bride and groom were attended by the fair damsel's college roommate and the groom's best friend.

The parents of the Bride and Groom, so happy that everything went off without a hitch. Finally no more worries because their babies have found true love.

The Groom surrounded by the women who have and will dominate his life!

The Bride was attended by her siblings and their offspring.

The Groom's extended family is in partial attendance. One brother and his offspring live too far away to travel at so short a notice.

No wedding is complete with out cake and other delicious treats (including the Bride's specific request of cheese wafers - no wedding is complete without them!)

The cutting of the cake using the young Prince's sword.

There will be NO shoving of cake in the face of this fair damsel.

This is a civilized union.

Gifts were bestowed upon the newlywed couple. This particular one will come in handy as the young lady learns to prepare massive feasts for her beloved. Notice the young page as he takes a photograph of the Prince and his wife, storing away memories for when it is his turn to follow in his uncle's footsteps.

and thus begins the story of a lifetime, guaranteed to have a happy ending!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Graduation 2012

Guess who graduated from college?

Graduation Day started with a reception at the White House where President Weedman and his wife greeted all the graduates and their families. 

The grounds of the White House included lots of flowers and lush greenery. 
I was totally enamored of this flower so my husband took a photo of it for me. I wish I knew what it was but who am I kidding .... I will never have a garden like this. I have a brown thumb when it comes to gardening and have to rely on others to provide me with outdoor beauty.  

Dale was also sneaky and caught a shot of me, something that usually isn't allowed.  
I'm searching through my purse for the beloved chapstick, none the wiser that I'm being shot.

As the name suggests, the White House is the official residence for the President of  Johnson. Part of the house (shown here) is the original house where the founders (Ashley and Emma Johnson) lived. This section of the house was built in 1890 and is used for social events and to house visitors. This part of the house was extensively renovated after the addition was added. (construction and renovation occurred from 2008-2010) The addition houses the school's President and his wife. 

When Ian served as a Presidential Ambassador one of his duties was to serve at these social functions and give tours of the White House ... so, we had our own personal tour guide! 

Here is a view from the house's backyard. It overlooks the French Broad River. Imagine how nice it would be to wake up to that view every morning. According to Ian way back in the day students would arrive at school via barges on the river. 

I think Ian has had enough socializing for now and is ready to get on with the big event. 

Graduation is held in one of the local mega churches. We thought we had gotten there early enough to get a fairly decent seat. As you can tell from this photo, we're pretty far back. 

This date marks the 119th graduation. The class of 2012 was the first to graduate under the name of Johnson University. Ian started out at Johnson Bible College but graduated from Johnson University. 

We found our graduate's name in the program. We're so proud of our boy who graduated with honors (Magna Cum Laude). He earned a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Counseling and Biblical Studies.

I forgot to take my camera so all my photos are taken with my phone. The zoom feature isn't so great on the phone. Ian is somewhere in that mass of black. 

These shots are pretty blurry too. There were a total of 180 graduates - 45 Masters, 130 Bachelors, and 5 Associates. Two interesting notes: twelve of the masters graduates are from China and received their degrees abroad, and one of the undergrad students earned her degree at the age of 71! 

180 graduates is a small drop in the bucket for a lot of schools. Heck around here most of the high schools have five times that many in a class. But, it was just the right place for our son. It is very evident this a close-knit family of students and faculty.  

For the first time this year JU broadcast the graduation ceremony online. Aunt Pat, who had a big hand in making this experience possible, was able to watch from her home in Jasper, Georgia. She captured a screen shot of him as he received his diploma. Thank goodness because Momma and her cellphone failed. Yay for technology!

After graduation Ian showed off his diploma.

Isn't he handsome and doesn't he look relieved?

Here's a shot of Ian with one of his good friends Tyler Paulson. I think Tyler's family have adopted Ian. We're very thankful for all the times they've welcomed him into their home and are especially thankful they took care of him one weekend last fall that was probably one of the lowest points of his life. 

There was mass confusion in the lobby of the church after the ceremony as all the grads, their family and friends milled around visiting and taking photos. I watched one family in particular where the girl's father took a photo of her with anyone and everyone - seriously, every person that walked by got their photo taken. Here she is with my boys.

and here we are, one big happy family.

After dinner we went out to eat and wind down from all the hoopla. Father and son - 
they look so much alike. 

Here I am with my baby. I'm trying to ignore having my photo taken while Andrew is looking pretty serious. We enjoyed a nice dinner before sending the boys on their way while we retired to the hotel. They were going out to celebrate further, we were off to bed. We're definitely turning into old folks!

One more thing to share ... 

A day before graduation this advertisement showed up on my Facebook. The irony of it all! I had to snip it and send it to Ian with the following comment: Wow! You could have saved yourself three years and lots of $$

But, I think the sheepskin from Johnson means a whole lot more.

We're so proud of our boy and can't wait to see what the next chapter in his life brings. Grad school/seminary, a career, a wife and kids .... we rest in the confidence that God has a plan for him. Meanwhile, for the short term, our boy is home and once again our nest is full.