I live in a small southern town at the foot of Dear Old Smoky. I moved home with my family after living away for 20 years, proving that you can go home again! I'm a full-time working mom who is quickly approaching an empty nest. I write about my family, my job, and even a little bit about being Catholic in the South.

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Last Friday's Fave 5 for April

Here are my Fave 5 for this week:

1.  Dinner at my parents' house: A cousin and her husband (who live in S. Tx.) are participating in the Rock & Roll 1/2 Marathons, and they went to Nashville to participate in the one there.  Since they weren't too far away and have friends that live nearby, they came in to have dinner with us.  We don't have cousins coming in a lot, so it was a real treat to see them.
 (This is a picture of the "older" cousins!)

2.  Screenings at one of my schools:  It's a nice break from the regular routine, and it means that school is almost out for the summer!

3.  My favorite comedian is coming to town.  Unfortunately, I won't be going to see him.  He is hilarious!  (Or, maybe it's just my warped sense of humor!)  Here's a clip:

If you've never heard of him, I bet that wasn't what you were expecting:  An Asian with a southern accent!  God Bless America!

4.  Here's another youtube clip from a new bloggy friend that found me this week!  I think I'm going to enjoy reading about what she's up to:

5.  The view as I was driving into work on Thursday morning:

I have to throw this picture in for my husband.  This was one of his Faves of the week:
New motorcycle  boots!  He wore them around all night to "break them in".

Have a great POETS Day!  (Pee On Everything, Tomorrow's Saturday!)

Carbon Neutral & Sad Day.

Do you see my new button over in the sidebar?  I got the link from Debby over at Just Breathe.  This is actually pretty neat.  This  was started by a German company; 1 tree is planted in the Plumas National Forest in Northern California  for every person who puts this on their blog/website.  The goal is to reforest the forest, so to speak.  The forest was destroyed by fires 3 years ago.  Planting the tree neutralizes the blog’s/website's carbon footprint for the next 50 years.  I figured it is worth a try. 

Yesterday was a very sad day:  It was my intern's last day.  She did such an amazing job with my students.  When I think back to the first day she came in until yesterday, I realize how much she grew professionally.  She came in kind of meek (especially with the behavior management) but finished very strong.  She was a delight to get to know, and it's nice to know that I helped someone coming into the profession get a good, positive start. Now I have to get back to work and pick up where she left off!  I forgot didn't even think that I had my camera to take a picture before she left.  She is looking at working in a hospital setting in a big city about 2-3 hours away from here.  She is from that city, although I tried to talk her into staying with us since she has a boyfriend in this area.  But, no dice.  She's ready to go home.  And she'll do great, because she is going to be an amazing Speech Pathologist.  But, I'm going to miss her.

Only 1 more Bus Duty Day and I'm done for the year!  YEEE-HAW!  It's probably a good thing, too, since I was late (again) this morning.  But, I didn't have to be in the gym last, which means no little children were crying.  I am very, very thankful that I don't have duty the last week of school...talk about cruel and unusual punishment!  I am, however, really glad that I have the schools that I have.  Both of them are very laid back, but are so caring about the students.  There may be 1 or 2 teachers that I wonder how much they like their job, but for the most part they are there for the kids.  And, they all know how to laugh and have a good time!  It definitely makes it a lot easier to go to work when you have those people with you in the trenches!  Yes, God is good!

Have a fun Thursday!

Lost Again in the Random Dozen

Apparently Linda is a big "Lost" fan.  Personally, I never got it.  I mean, I tried to follow along at the beginning, but was frustrated by the whole thing, so I thought there were other mindless shows on at that same time that would actually be entertaining to me.

1. Have you ever been so lost that you were really afraid?
  Thankfully, no.
2. Have you ever been to an island?
  I went to the Bahamas my senior year in high school with the band.  Not a good trip at all.  I really should go back and see if it's really as bad as I remember.
3. Are you more of a thinker or feeler?
  Definitely a feeler.  Thinking makes my head hurt.
4. Do you tend to see issues or situations in life as black and white or shades of gray?
  Ms. Rule Follower here?  Either it is or it isn't, there is no maybe about it.
5. If you were stuck on an island, what book would you hope to have with you (Let's pretend the Bible is already there, so you can't say that.)
  How about "The Dummies Guide to Being Stuck on an Island?".
6. What are you most afraid of?
  Something happening to one of my boys.  I have a feeling this is going to be a popular answer!
7. Would you rather lose all of your old memories or never be able to make new ones?
   OUCH!  I'm having to think...I would say never be able to make new ones.  If I lost all of my old memories, I'd lose the memories of my parents, as well as other relatives.
8. Pretend I'm looking at a scrapbook page about you. There are three spaces for you to drop in individual pictures. What are those pictures of, and why did you select them?
   1) College graduation...I found what I wanted to have as a career...finally.  I know my parents were ecstatic when I decided on my major and didn't change...again.
    2)  My parents & siblings. I woudn't be who I am today with them.
   3)  My husband and my boys...they are the loves of my life; in fact, they are my life.
9. If you were re-doing your wedding, what would you do differently? (If you're single, tell me one thing you would do if you were planning a wedding OR huge party.)
  Hmmm...well, since I didn't have a wedding to begin with, this is going to be a little hard to answer.  We got married by a Justice of the Peace in my husband's hometown with my MIL, BIL, and a couple of my husband's close friends as witnesses, then had our marriage blessed in the Catholic Church with my parents being the witnesses a few years later.  I think having a wedding would have really made me nervous, having to get up in front of all those people.  Knowing me, I would've tripped.
10. Tell me one thing you know/believe about forgiveness.
  It's easy to forgive, but forgetting is another thing.  Forgiveness humbles us.  It's easy to say "It's okay" when someone says "I'm sorry", but it's another thing to actually deep-down, honestly forgive.
11. You're waiting in a doctor's office. What is your favorite way to pass that time?
  That's easy...read.  That is, if I'm not distracted by someone talking loudly, either in the office or in the exam room.
12. If there were a clone of you in a parallel universe what is one way you hope she/he would be the same as you and one way you hope she/he would be better?
  I would hope she would have the compassion that I have; as far as the way she would be better:  she's a clone, right?  So...she'd be perfect!  Okay, okay...about some humility? 

Now, here's your part:  Visit Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee and link up!

Tuesdays Unwrapped & Other Things

Tuesdays Unwrapped is a time to slow down, and think about the little things for which  you are  thankful.  It may be something unexpected, or something that you take for granted.  Join us over at Chatting at the Sky and share!  Don't forget to link up!

 Last night we had a Band Booster Meeting to go over next year's budget and elect officers.  I was secretary this past year, and, since I really didn't have to do anything except take notes at meetings, type them up, send them out, then revise when people let me know what I had wrong, I volunteered to continue this coming year.  The lady who has been President for the past 2 years is stepping down from the position.  Her husband wants her to slow down, so I guess I can't blame him.  I am so very thankful for people like her who are so incredibly organized and have the business sense to take a group from where we were to where we are now.  She has given us wonderful  direction and has given us a chance to grow, both as an organization and even personally.  I am so appreciative of her willingness to give up her own time with her family to make the band her extended family.  I know it couldn't be easy at times when some parents weren't happy with some decisions that had been made.  Over the past 2 years I've come to know her as a friend and confidant.    I am extremely fortunate to have her in my life.  She makes me laugh; she gives me advice; she listens.

Now for the Other Things:

Yesterday was the first day of my last bus duty of the year.  It wasn't too bad, although I did manage to get the week started off right by making a 1st Grader cry.  In all honesty, I did feel bad about it.  My last rotation of duty was in the gym, which, if you've read my earlier posts, is the worst place to be because that has the most kids.  The kids go into the gym when they're finished with their breakfast...sort of a holding place for them until the bell rings and they can go to their classroom.  I called Kindergarten to go to their classrooms, and off they went.  1st Grade started running to the door, so I told them that I hadn't called them; they needed to go sit down.  Then I called 2nd Grade (just for meanness!)...off they went.  Then I called 1st Grade, then the rest of the grades.  When I called 5th Grade, I noticed a 1st Grade girl "hanging out" with the 5th Graders.  I went ahead and walked her down to her room, and one of the 5th grade girls handed her bookbag to her, and let me know (very politely and not disrespectful at all) that she usually walked this girl down to the room.  I thanked her, and told her that I would walk her down today.  The little 1st Grade's eyes started watering and her face got all red.  I completely forgot that the 5th Grader walked her down in the morning...I think this is to make the older girl feel important...she doesn't have a wonderful home life.  So, we're off to a great start of Bus Duty (BD) week!

Sometimes I get so very lazy.  I don't want to sit down and figure out what we're going to have for dinner for 2 weeks; I get tired of fixing the same thing over and over.  I ran by the grocery store yesterday to get the fixings for tacos...who doesn't like tacos? They're easy, fast, and inexpensive.  I get home, and MS is getting ready to go to soccer practice.  I tell him what we're having for supper only to be told that they had tacos for lunch at school. How the heck am I suppose to know that?  YS is throwing up his hands and saying "yes" (apparently the school tacos aren't that great), and MS is groaning about having to eat tacos for 2 meals. I didn't, however, hear too much complaining while he was scarfing them down before heading out to Bio Lab!

The end of the year in my school  system means a break from the everyday routine:  Kindergarten Screenings.  The parents who have registered their little ones bring them to the school where they go through hearing, vision, speech, and readiness screenings.  We are assigned to do our own school, then get to go to another school to help out.  If we're real lucky, we get called to help out in additional schools.  When we start the screenings, they're fun: it's a nice break, and it's exciting to see those sweet little faces who will be Kindergartners in the school  in August.  By the time we're doing the last ones, we're tired, we're irritable, and we just want our routine back!  Here's a picture of me and 3 co-workers after a day of screening last year (notice the empty M&M's bag!):

See how one of my coworkers has some pictures in her hands?  That was in case the special ed. director saw this on FB and questioned whether or not we  were really working!
Today we have the screenings at one of my schools.  Today I get a look at the kids who may be in speech next year.  Today I get to talk to parents about their 5 year old not being able to say /r/ (which is completely appropriate until they are 7 years old) and assure them that it is completely normal and they shouldn't worry about it.  Today is going to be a great day!

Oh, and, we only have 3 more Mondays before Summer Break!

Misc. Monday

Saturday night was a little rough around here.  There was a lot of rain, and, around 2:00 we had a pretty big storm.  There was a report of a tornado touching down in the south end of the county, luckily there were no deaths.  There was a report of a tree falling on the house of an elderly woman...her bedpost stopped the tree from crushing her.  I used to be very afraid of storms, but they really don't bother me that much anymore.  They still wake me up, but I usually go right back to sleep while it's still rumbling.  Believe me, I've said a whole bunch of "Hail Mary's" during storms when I was little!  I don't know if the police/fire sirens kept me awake on Sat. night (we don't have tornado sirens here), but I got up and turned on the weather channel.  We were under a tornado warning.  That's warning, not a watch.  We don't get a lot of tornadoes around here (not the weather kind, anyway...the high school my boys attend are the "Tornadoes"!), so when we have a warning, there's reason to take it seriously.  I debated whether or not to wake up my husband and go downstairs, but then the warning was lifted.  So, he had a night of uninterrupted sleep!
Yesterday was Mass, laundry, and dinner at my parents'.  One of my cousins from Tx. and her husband are in visiting friends who live nearby.  Every once in a while a cousin will have a reason to be up here, so it's usually a big deal when they're here.  Here's a picture I snapped:

There's always a lot of talking and catching up when we all get together.  Okay, okay...there's also a lot of BS that goes along with it, too:
And, today starts the last bus duty of the year for me!  HOORAY!  I have 3 mornings of torturing the young 'uns left!  And, not counting today, we only have 3 more Mondays!

Karen over at Still Magnolias had this amazing post yesterday:  The Power of the Pencil.  It's a copy of  her husband's sermon from yesterday.  Like I said, it's amazing.  When you read it, you can just feel the Spirit guiding him through it.  Y'all go have a look!

I'm still looking for opinions on whether to restain or paint our kitchen cabinets, as well as any backsplash ideas:

Have a Marvelous Monday!

Weekend Wrap-Up

Friday I came home to this wonderful sight:
Oh, wait! Let me back up to Thursday morning.  Here's what the lights/ceiling fan looked like in our kitchen:
And now for Thursday when I got home:
My husband had the fans put up in the kitchen area and the eating area of our kitchen.  The one in the kitchen (cooking) area should help keep it cooler in the summer.  We're He's getting things done slowly but surely!  I'm really, really excited about my sink.  It's a lot deeper than the old one and I think it looks great!
Friday afternoon I drove up toward where OS is going to school.  I met a high school friend (who lives on the way) for dinner; we talked for about 2 hours!  We could've sat for hours more, but I had to get up to JC to get to Dress Barn before it closed.  I was invited to sit on a "panel" (but it was really more like standing at a table to answer questions if anybody had them) on Saturday at "Walk to Talk" (see button on left side and link to find out what it is!) at the university that I went to for undergrad.  My spring/summer clothes are still under the bigscreen, so I had to run by and get something to wear.  Then, on to the hotel.  I was beat by the time I got there, so all I did was get ready for bed and hit the hay.  Except, MS texted me at 10:00 and then called at 1:00 to let me know what he was doing and where he was.  Friday night was his Prom, only he was  not allowed to go.  This was punishment for an "incident" that happened before Christmas.  It was a bad decision on his part, but it's over and hopefully he learned his lesson.  I hate looking over at FB and seeing pictures of his classmates all dressed up, but a punishment is a punishment.  At the school MS attends, there is only Senior Prom.  This was his last chance to go.  Oh well, I didn't go to mine (I went to the university and tried out for and made the flag corps), and I turned out okay!  Anyway, back to the story: needless to say, I didn't get much sleep Friday night.
Saturday morning I met my sister for breakfast.  There's just something nice about being able to sit down with your sister and enjoy just talking to her.  Nobody gets you like your sister.  Finally, after getting dirty looks from our server, we decided we'd better leave.  So, I went to Walk to Talk.  OS (oldest son in case you haven't been reading from the beginning!) came by for a few minutes; long enough to get my debit card so he could go get groceries and gas.  While I was at Walk to Talk, I saw this woman who could've been a twin to an ancillary attendant for a child with autism at one of my schools.  I kept glancing over at her, and I thought I should take a picture of her to show everybody, because they wouldn't believe that I saw a lady who looked just like her.   Well, I didn't take a picture, but after about 10 minutes, this lady came up to me and said, "What are you doing here?"  Yep, it was the ancillary!  Her daughter lives in JC and told her about the event, so she went up for it.  Pretty funny stuff!
Here is a picture of the dorm I stayed in for the last 3 years of my college stay (my window for 2 years was the 2nd from the left, the 2nd story...don't count the basement windows!):
See the big tree just barely in the picture?  When I lived there, the roots had broken up through the sidewalk, and there is a little bit of a hill in front of the dorm.  During ice/snow storms, our source of entertainment was standing at the window and watching the girls (who weren't smart enough to wear  decent shoes for that kind of weather) slip and slide!  I know, it's mean, but this was a small campus!
And, here's where I spent many, many hours (steps to the Music Hall):

What great memories I have of that place!  I absolutely loved being in the marching band for 4 years, the concert band for 2, and being in the flute choir. 

Now, I need your opinion:  We are planning  on doing something with the cabinets, but can't quite decide whether we should refinish the cabinets, or paint them white.  Suggestions for the backsplash are also needed!  We're thinking tile, but...what color?  print or no print?  All opinions are welcome:

Another Friday's Fave 5

It's another Friday's Fave 5 hosted by Susanne at "Living to Tell the Story".  So, here we go:

1.  "Little White Book":  What a great follow up to the "Little Black Book" during Lent!  A short verse from Gospel of Luke followed by something to think about.

2.  End of  TCAPS:  We're done with the 2010 version of state testing.  That means that the end of the school year is oh, so very near!  Only 4 more Mondays!

3.  Rain:  We finally had a good rain on Tuesday that washed some of the pollen out of the air.

4.  Southern Mommas:  I don't know how I found this, but it's an amazing site for southern mommas.  Even if you're not southern but are southern at heart, check it out!

5.  Honeysuckles:  They are blooming!  I finally smelled them when I took the girls out this morning.

Hodgepodge Thursday

It's just after 11:00 p.m. on Wednesday night, and I'm sitting here posting on a blog.  WHY?  I usually blog at night, revise after I've slept on it, then post first thing in the morning.  I can't help  it; I'm obsessive a perfectionist that way.  It's been a busy week, and it's just Wednesday.  Monday was the easy day...no after school activities.  MS did have a soccer game, but it was an away game, and it was quite a distance away, so I chose not to go.  So, what did he do?  He scored his 2nd goal of the season.  And I missed it...again.  Tuesday night was a Reunion Meeting.  What a blast it was to look through old pictures and realize that I either didn't go on the senior field trip, or I completely don't remember it.  I'm pretty sure  I didn't go, although I have no reason why.  One of my friends said if she hadn't been in the pictures she wouldn't have believed it!
Tuesday morning I took a Double Chocolate Gooey Butter Cake (Thanks, Paula..as in Deen!)  to school for the teachers in celebration of the end of TCAPS.  It must've been okay...it was all gone by 9:30!
If you've ever tried that cake, you know it's "Slap your grandma" good!  When I got to my room, this beautiful sight was waiting on me:
My heat/air is finally fixed!  HOORAY!  It only took 5 months, but it finally got fixed!  I had a meeting during the day, and, y'all, the view outside of the principal's window is amazing.  There's just a big ole hill with trees all over it.  I had to snap this shot as I was leaving school Tuesday afternoon:
You have to look past the wires, but the view from this school just takes my breath away!  The clouds are incredible.
Which brings me to Wednesday.  I get a text from my intern...she can't find her keys.  She thinks maybe she locked them in her car, and she doesn't have a spare.  After a while she texts me again...still can't find them.  I tell her it's no big deal, just take her time.  I'll get started on the kids and she can jump in when she gets to school.   I finally get a text from her after I get to school:  she found them...in her bathrobe.  She wasn't very late, but I think she felt badly about it.
It's the lovely time of the year when we're running around, trying to get IEPs done  before school's out.  Another meeting Wednesday afternoon, but it didn't take very long.  As I'm leaving  the school, I get a text from MS:  I need to make baklava for him for school tomorrow...a school project.  Great.  I've never made baklava in my life.  My nephew's  wife makes a mean baklava, but I don't have her recipe.  So, when I get home, I look it up on the 'net, and print off the recipe.  When I asked MS why he waited until the last minute, he said that he didn't think I had anything else to do!  HA!  Guess what...I had a band booster budget meeting at 6:30.  And, I still needed to go by Home Depot to see if I could find a couple of ceiling fans I liked.  (More on that in a future post.)  The meeting lasted until 9:10...we closed Panera down.  Then, off to Home Depot for the quest for ceiling fans.  As I'm going in, I get a call from MS saying he's changed his mind...Persian Raisin Cookies would be easier and faster.  I tell him that I'll call  him when I go into the grocery store so he can tell me what we I need to get.  Find a couple of fans I like, then off to Kroger.  That's one scary place at 10:00 at night, let me tell you.  There was a high school boy who was harassing   asking the bag boy where he went to high school, then proceeded to tell him that one of the city schools  was better.  Then, the high school boy looks at me and asks which one I like better.  I tell him I went to the other city school (which is a huge rival  of his school.).  As I'm getting in my car, I look at the car parked next to me...bad mistake.  Really weird looking people.  Not that I have anything against people who look different...I  just don't want to cross their paths at 10:15 at night in a dark parking lot when I'm alone.
I finally make it home, make the cookies (in all fairness, MS did help), and now here I am.  Can barely keep my eyes open, but I'm going to finish this post!  5:30 is going to come awfully early.  I don't think the cookies turned out exactly like they're suppose to; I don't think they were suppose to flatten out like they did.  But they're done.  And I don't care what they taste like.

And now it's Thurs. morning, and, yep, I was right:  5:30 did com awfully early this morning.
Oh, and:  Happy Earth Day!  In South Carolina, the town we lived in had a huge Earthday Celebration at the museum (it was a small museum, but it was a pretty good one!).  I don't think they do anything like that here.  Anyway, here's a fact from my "Little White Book":  The first Earth Day was celebrated in San Francisco, which is named after St. Francis, who is the patron saint of ecology.

RaNdOm FuN

It's Wednesday again, so it's time to join in the fun, read a bunch of "Randoms", and make new friends!  Join us at "2nd Cup of Coffee" where Linda hosts the weekly "Random Dozen".   Don't forget to link up so everyone can see your answers!  She's gone totally Random this week! 

1. Ever had any run-ins with the "library police?"
Well, when I went to the library last week I was told I owed a little over $1.  I had no money; luckily I knew the lady and she told me to just pay it the next time I come in.  Oh, and by the way...the fee isn't mine.  I would never dream of missing a library deadline.  It must be YS' fine.
2. Do you have a special organizational plan and place for wrapping paper, gift bags, etc., or do you just purchase whatever you need as you give gifts?
LOL!  Oh, this is making me crack up!  I have some paper under the bed (in a box), and Christmas paper in the basement.  That's the extent of getting organized with the paper.
3. Have you ever been in (first-hand witness) a natural disaster?
No, thank God.  I did feel an earthquake yesterday, though.
4. What's your favorite Barry Manilow song?
Seriously?  Just one?  I can't do it.  I absolutely sing my heart out to these songs:
Even Now, One Voice, No Other Love, The Old Songs, Lay Me Down, I Write the Songs, Mandy, Weekend in New England, Could it be Magic, This One's for You, (you get the picture)

Or, this one that I loved because at one time I had dreams of being a studio musician (but then got to college and realized that I was really a little fish in a big pond!):

5. What's the best costume you've ever worn?
I'm such a party pooper when it comes to costumes.  I can never think of what to be...most years I went as a hobo.
6. Which do you use more often, the dictionary or the thesaurus?
Thesaurus, especially the older I get.
7. What's your favorite breakfast food?
I love breakfast food, especially if we go out!  Pancakes, biscuits & gravy, or...my all time favorite...
 If y'all are ever in Sevierville/Pigeon Forge/Gatlinburg, this is a must.
8. Have you ever purchased anything from an infomercial?
 I did buy some of Cindy Crawford's facial products...they made my face itch and break out!
9. Have you ever crawled through a window?
When I was young I vaguely remember crawling through a basement window in our house (to get in, not out).  Apparently someone had all of the doors locked and forgot we needed to get in.  Of course, that's just a vague memory!
10. Do you believe in love at first sight?
Yes...been married to him for almost 26 years.
11. How many pairs of jeans do you own?
12. If someone were going to bake a cake to honor/represent you, what would it be? (Think creatively, like Duff and Crew on "Ace of Cakes.")
A cake that looks like Jethro from NCIS...that man looks good enough to eat!

I Feel the Earth Move

After I let the girls out, I was getting ready to sit down at the computer and write a new post, not sure what I was going to say.  Then, I heard a rumble, not quite like thunder, and not quite like a semi-truck rolling down the road.  It was a lot louder, and I actually felt it.  It even made one of my girls (the one who isn't jumpy) jump.  I have the news on and their website up to see if they'll say anything about it.  We don't live very far from the airport, so that's another concern.  I'm not hearing any sirens, so I think everything is A-OK there.  I'm wondering if maybe it was an earth tremor.  We get them every now and then; nothing major, just a little shifting every once in a great while.  When I was in 5th grade we had a pretty big one; it was big enough to wake people up.  My parents had gone around to check and make sure everybody was okay, and found 2 of my sisters hugging each other!  Then there was the time right after I got married:  We were living in N. Ga., and my husband was working for a Heating/Cooling Company.  He was under a house when we had a tremor.  That was a little scary, for sure!  We're not so used to the earth moving 'round these parts!  Okay, my favorite meteorologist just mentioned that I was right...earth tremor originating in my county.  It sounded and felt like it was very close...as in under my feet!

I've got a couple of wonderful blogs to share with you.  First, my sister, T, has started a blog!  She's written a couple of posts so far, so check her out!  It's called "A View from a Hill".  Go meet her!

Another blog is Kitchen Belleicious  who just happens to be having a giveaway! Check out the soaps she's giving away, along with her mom's book.

Just one more:  My Home and My Hips Are Both Double Wide.  I just discovered this blog within the past couple of days.  She's a southern woman who obviously has a great sense of humor and is a member of Southern Mommas.  If you're a Southern Momma, even if it's only in spirit, check that out, too and join!

Yep, definitely an earthquake:  a 3.3, and, no, it wasn't under my feet, but not too far away from my house.

Hope everyone has an "Earth Shaking Tuesday"!

Another Monday

Saturday started off with one of my sisters (Jeffie) and I going to a nearby town to watch one of our nephews participate in a rowing event.  I have no idea what those races are called!  We learned quite a bit about rowing, such as:  the rowers (or whatever they're called) have their shoes in the boat (or whatever it's called).  After their race, they hoist the boat out of the water and put it back on the trailer, and you'd better be on the lookout because they'll yell, 'heads up'  and then turn their boat whether you're ready or not.  Luckily we didn't get hit!  Jeffie pointed out that usually when we hear "heads up" when we're with my sister "T", we're looking at the sky since her oldest is a pitcher for a minor league team.  My nephew rows with the Va. Tech Rowing Team.  Apparently this was a pretty big event; these are some of the schools that were there:

 And, of course, the "home boys"  (excuse the quality of the picture!):  Notice the orange and white checkered oars!
Here's a picture of my nephew after the race:  (he's the one in front)

 See the smokestacks in the background?  Jeffie said that when there is steam coming out of it, her grandson calls it the "cloud factory"!  Is that not the cutest thing?

If you've been following me since the beginning or have read my "Meatless Friday" posts during Lent, you know that I read "The Little Black Book".  When I went to Mass yesterday, there, on the table, were a lot of little white books.  Here's what they look like:

Holy Moly:  There's a "Little White Book" to go along with "The Little Black Book"!  We missed the first 2 weeks, but I guess that's okay.  These books are GREAT.

Yesterday after Mass, the priest read a letter from our Bishop.  There was a man who came forward last week and said that he had been molested in the late '70's by his parish priest.  This happens somewhere else, right?  No way could it happen in a parish where some of my college friends attended.  Wrong.  When you hear things like this, it's always "somewhere else"; in a big city far away from where you are.  I recognized the accused priest's name; some of my college friends (in fact, one of my former roommates) attended Mass at that church.  The priest did, in fact, own up to what he did.  I'm not saying that it makes the situation any better, but you do have to hand it to him for saying that he did it.  Or, maybe it was just that he was caught and he knew it would be stupid to deny it.  The bishop did a fantastic job in explaining things.  He described the incident as a "punch in the gut" to all priests.  He assured the people in the diocese that this is not going to be tolerated.  Requests are being made to the parishioners in all of the parishes in this part of the state to come forward if they have been a victim of abuse.
When you have children, you think that they are safe in church.  You think that you can trust the people in the church to help protect your children.  You expect that when they go on church related  trips that they will be protected from people wanting to hurt your child for their selfish reasons.  How awful it must be  for those children and their families to have to deal with those incidences and the psychological backlash that comes from them.  I have seen it in the schools; you just don't expect it to happen in church.
My diocese has implemented the "VIRTUS" program.  According the diocese website:
"“Protecting God’s Children” is required for parish and school employees and regular volunteers in contact with children or vulnerable adults and is recommended for parents and grandparents. The training is offered free of charge."  Every person who comes in contact with children is required to complete the training.  The program began around 1998.  This won't help those who have been abused prior to that time, but hopefully it will make sure that the abuse will stop. Some people will immediately say that priests should be allowed to marry.  In my opinion, that's not the answer.  You have married ministers, married teachers, married people from all walks of life who are child abusers; not just priests.  I don't know what the answer is, but I think that the Church is learning from past mistakes and doing the best it can to make sure that it doesn't happen in the future. 
It is a sad thing that the abuse puts the Catholic Church and priests in a bad light.  For every priest  who abuses a child, there are hundreds of those who would never even dream of doing such a thing.  I've known many wonderful, amazing priests so far in my lifetime, and I've known just a few who I didn't think were that great, but, as far as I know, I have known none who have been abusers.  The only analogy I can think of is likening it to a pit bull.  We always had pits or pit mixes until we got our  schnauzer.  They are the biggest babies in the world.  But, because some people breed them for fighting and make them mean, they all have a bad rap.  I know that's a crazy analogy, but it's the best I've got.  Anyway, today, my heart is hurting for the Church, priests, those that have been abused, and their families.  I have wondered why the man chose now to come forward.  I wonder if it has something to do with April being Child Abuse Awareness Month?  I have never known that April is Awareness Month, so the media must be really talking it up this year.
The message from the Gospel this week:  Do what you do best, just do it in a different way.  The apostles were on their boats fishing, thinking that they needed to go back to "life before Jesus".  They weren't catching anything, then Jesus tells them to try the other side of the boat.  Apparently this wasn't as easy as just pulling in the net and throwing it on the other side:  there was a lot of things that had to be maneuvered in order to get to the other side. Then, after they catch a whole bunch of fish, they bring it to shore, only to find Jesus has fish over a fire, and invites them to breakfast.  Here's what I got out of that:  Obviously, I must do my job pretty well:  I've been in the same occupation for 26 years.  So, I should look at going to work every day as doing it for Him, not myself.  Whatever you are good at, give that up to the Lord.  He's the One who gave you the talent in the first place!

Here are just a couple of pictures I took around the yard yesterday:
The honeysuckles are starting to bloom!  I love the smell of honeysuckles in the wind!  Growing up, they used to make my mama sneeze!
How weird is it that I took a picture of a hole in the ground in my yard?  I have no idea what's in there, but my Jack Russell mutt was sniffing at it like crazy.
And here's the little stinker who is camera shy...she refused to look at me so I could get a good picture of her!

Today is the last day of  TCAPS:  HOORAY!  Hope everyone has a Marvelous Monday!

The Party's Over & Then Sings My Soul

The Ultimate Blog Party 2010 has ended.  I visited a lot of interesting blogs and have had a lot of visitors to mine.  Here are just a few of the favorites that I visited for the first time and are now following:
Julie the Army Wife
Girls to Grow
Blue Jeans & Cotton Tees (which led me to The Chocolate Lady)
The Green Greek
The Groschen Goblins
Messy Mommy
School Teacher by Day Superhero by Night
Home is Where My Story Begins
Mommy has to Work 

Last night my biggest brother's band played at a local grill.  They were outside, the weather was nice, and they sounded awesome.   His wife and youngest son and his wife were there, as were my other big brother and his wife.  I went with my football friend (FF); we had a good time.  Here's a picture of the band:  Faded Blues (excuse the quality...I have a really cheap camera that doesn't take the best pictures under light):
My brother is the one in the white t-shirt...pretty sexy legs, huh?  (LOL!)  He's a great guy, a terrific big brother, and has a great sense of humor.  My sister-in-law is quite the saint for putting up with him!  Before I took this picture, this is the picture that was taken:
FF & I just laughed about that!  I was taking a picture of the band with the "Night Scene" option.  The camera flashed, so I put it down, and then it flashed again!

It's time for another Then Sings My Soul Saturday hosted by Signs, Miracles, and Wonders.  I absolutely love this song by Stephen Curtis Chapman; I love the orchestra playing.  It's one of those songs that gets stuck in your head and puts a skip in your step. Hope you enjoy it!

Time for Flashback Friday

 Friday Follow

In addition to "Flashback Friday", I'm also linking up to "Friday Follow" this week.
Time for another "Flashback Friday" hosted by Mylestones.  This week, I chose to write about family vacations.  Growing up in a family with 10 kids, the only vacations we took were to Texas, where both of my parents are from, and we only went every other year.  Both parents are from a family of 8 kids.  Mom would make fried chicken the day before we left, and would have a big box of food to take.  This was before the days of fast food, so when we stopped, it was at rest areas for picnic breakfast/lunches/suppers.  We would drive about half-way the first day; the big treat was staying at a Holiday Inn and swimming when we got to the hotel.  We had games that we played during the trip, but we were only allowed to play them the 2nd day.  I never understood that, but looking back, I know it was so that we wouldn't get bored the 2nd day.   Especially since we didn't have a radio in the station wagon...or air conditioning.  The alphabet game was a must (the first person to find each letter A-Z won...you could only get one letter off of one sign), as was the license plate game. (And my sisters-in-law wonder why we're so competitive!)
I guess there was really only 1 time we had all 10 of us in the car at the same time since there is a 14 year difference between the oldest and the youngest, but  it seems like it happened every other year!  We would have Daddy driving with 2 of the oldest kids in the front, mama would be in the middle of the back seat with a kid on either side (so she could reach everybody and keep us from fighting), and 6 in the "back-back".  Mama would make a palette in the very back so we would be somewhat comfortable.  She had a big jug/thermos of water.  If we had to go to the bathroom and it wasn't time to stop, she had a plastic potty from a potty chair ready for us.  It was also ready if someone got carsick.  We did have some amusement with the cars that passed us trying to count how many people were in the car.  I think at one point someone made a sign that said "10 kids, 2 adults" so people would stop staring at us.
Once we got to my mom's hometown, the fun began.  Out of 8 children on mom's side, 3 were priests and 1 was a nun, but there were still 27 grandkids.   We always stayed at my Aunt C's.   Her house was next to my mom's Aunt F's  house, which was next to Grandma's house.  Grandma lived with Aunt C ever since I can remember; I only remember seeing Grandma walking 1 time, and even then she had to hold onto the counters.  With the 3 houses together, that gave us a huge (or so it seemed!) place to play.  We would have softball games (I remember the fire ants), camping in the yard, and plays.  Oh, we could do some plays!  Here is a picture of one of my older brothers with some cousins in my aunt's backyard:
We also had some awesome food!  We had kids sleeping everywhere; at Aunt C's house, Aunt F's house, and maybe even Grandma's house (although I'm not real sure about that).  I loved the way my aunt's house smelled...it smelled like some kind of bread, coffee, and a hint of dill.  Apparently my aunt put pickles away either while we were there or before we got there.  If you've never read the children's book "The Relatives Came" by Cynthia Rylant, check it out.  Then you'll have a pretty good idea of our trips to Texas.  I'm sure Aunt C was so very glad when we left!  My Aunt C was such a saint...but that will have to be another post.
Mom's hometown was just one stop on our South Tx. Tour.  We spent time with my dad's side of the family, but it wasn't an all-out family reunion, that I remember anyway.  I do have memories of attending this huge reunion on my dad's side...it is the biggest family reunion in Tx.  As I got older, there were trips to the Alamo, the Space Needle, the River Walk (although I'm not real sure that's what it was called back then), slip & slide at my Aunt A's house,  and  the Gulf:

 (Obviously this was before my dad had a zoom option on his camera!)
One of my mom's brothers used to take the older kids on a canoe trip on the Rio Grande.  Unfortunately, I was never old enough to go, and when I was old enough to go, my uncle had stopped taking anybody.  Here's a picture of one of my brothers and a cousin crossing the river to Mexico:
I was always so jealous of the ones who got to go:  they always came back with such cool stories:  who lost their glasses, who lost shoes, etc.  Good times, for sure.
The last time I was down in Texas was 2000 for a reunion on my Mom's side.  It was a quick trip, just for the weekend, but man the memories came back.  All 3 houses are now occupied by other people who have no idea of the love and good times that were shared in those houses.  As we drove by the back of the houses, I couldn't believe how small the yards were.  In my mind, they were these huge fields, but in reality, they weren't very big at all.
So, there you have past family vacations when I was growing up.  I have no idea how my parents kept their sanity through it all:  the whining, the fighting, the heat.  It was always sad when we had to leave; I used to beg my mom to move down there.  But, oh, the memories!
I'm looking forward to hearing other blogger's past family vacations!

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