Thursday, November 27, 2008

Thanksgiving, My New Favorite Holiday

For so long I've been thinking Christmas was my favorite holiday. After all, it's the day we celebrate God sending His perfect son to live amongst the rabble of humanity. Christmas is also the holiday where we all get presents. Everybody loves receiving gifts, right?! Hopefully, at Christmas we also enjoy 'giving' presents, too. Who doesn't enjoy watching kids eyes light up as they open Christmas presents? Christmas is a great time of year!


But I'm thinking Thanksgiving is even better. {I know you're thinking "Well, Meggy girl, get on with it and tell us WHY you've decided Thanksgiving is better than Christmas!" (I was right, wasn't I? Remember, I ALWAYS know what you're thinking!)}

So, here's my answer. Thanksgiving is a time where you don't EXPECT anything for yourself. Wow! A day dedicated to being grateful for what you already have. What a concept!!! Those pilgrims really had the right idea, didn't they? Then...you get great food on top of that? Wow! Food is sure in MY top ten!

We can all list things we're thankful for in a general sense... our faith, family, friends, a roof over our heads, our church, etc. Add to those -- wonderful visits with family and/or friends, a plethora of foods and tasty treats to choose from, a day off from work (for most), and wonderful store sales on Friday. Those are all great.

But on this Thanksgiving, I'll share a few MORE than just general thankfulness. Maybe its that AGE thingy creeping up on me. Remember, I'm blogging for Bex. One day, I'm hoping she will care what her dear mother thinks. (Not that she doesn't now...some of the time...)

Maybe it was talking on the phone with an old friend I haven't talked to in about 30 years. THIRTY YEARS!!! I don't even feel 30 years old yet...how can I remember somebody from that long ago? Even with my half-heimers I can remember the names of two of her dogs...walking on the sidewalk in our little town singing "Feeling Groovy"...I think I even remember the date of her birthday (Jan 10?). Our lives have definitely taken different paths since Jr. High, but with technology we found each other again. I'm thankful for that.

The thing I'm MOST thankful for is the fact that Jesus died on the cross with ME on His mind. It still is beyond me how He could bless me so much. You can read my testimony here. Without Christ in my life, the rest is just foll-der-rall...

But I'll list a few other things that are important to me anyway...you know me...Miss Wordy!

I'm thankful I have a husband who is a jack-of-all-trades. He is wonderfully talented in so many areas. The only thing we've figured out that he absolutely cannot do is...give birth. He can do pretty much anything else. After years and years, Mr. Fix-It is totally thankful to finally work for someone that appreciates his experience, talent, and integrity. He's like a kid "getting to go" to work every day. He goes to work for fun! At his age, that ain't nothin to sneeze at!!!!

I'm also thankful that "I" have a job where my boss appreciates the job I do. I've only worked for one other person in my life who ever let me know that I was appreciated. I have my dream job: work when I want to, leave when I want to, take the day off when I want to...and I get PAID, very well! How could I ask for anything more? When we decided that I would go back to work, I had hoped to find a job that I could put up with for about 10 months until Bex car was paid off...then I'd quit and be able to go back to being a SAHM. But now, I'm enjoying my job so much, I hope it lasts forever!


I'm thankful to have a vehicle that rides like a dream...even though it's almost 10 years old. No payments is something I'm thankful for too! Until I went without for three months, I didn't realize how blessed I am to have wheels to go when I want without having to deal with someone else's schedule! (Okay, I guess that sounds a bit selfish...but I AM thankful!) I even get to decide which radio station to listen to in my car! Wahoo!


I'm thankful to have an almost 17-yo daughter who knows and loves Jesus, and thinks alcohol, drugs and boys are a waste of time (I added the boys part...thinking positively! LOL!) Yeah, we get into squabbles a bit (unfortunately, she's not perfect like her mother)...but for the most part, she's the child many parents dream about. God has blessed us good.


I'm thankful for the State of Florida who is paying for my sweet Bex to attend college with no tuition through their dual-enrollment program. Adding to that, I'm thankful for Brenda Dickinson, our homeschool lobbyist, who fought for homeschoolers to qualify for this program! She has spent many years protecting our rights to educate our own children. I'm thankful I had all those years with Bex...even though they've come to an end... {sniff, sniff...somebody pass me a Kleenex!}

I'm thankful for dear friends. God has blessed me with friends at church, within the homeschool community, in BloggyWorld and elsewhere that make my life so rich. What would I do without dear friends who crush me in Facebook Scrabble? As I write, my sweet friend, Mrs. Becky is still hanging in there even though she has become bedridden. She's been a Hospice client for nearly 5 years! She has surprised everybody. She has blessed me immensely through the years.

Enough of the mushy stuff...I'm also thankful that my sweet SIL in Chiefland hosts Thanksgiving at her house! I only have to cook a few things, don't have to clean my house, don't have to deal with all the leftovers, and get to enjoy cable tv with TiVo. This is life!

I'm thankful this Thanksgiving, my new favorite holiday. How about you?


Sunday, November 23, 2008

Auntie M is Soooo Proud of her Natalie!

I was honored to be invited to my niece, Natalie's, Senior Recital at the Baptist College of Florida on Thursday afternoon. She will graduate in December with a B.A. in Music. It was a wonderful recital even if I didn't understand many of the words. She sang in French, Spanish, German (I think), English and probably others. I'm not very high-falutin when it comes to music so it was a bit over my head. But even if I didn't understand all the words, I could surely hear the quality of her beautiful voice --and of course, I'm NOT biased!!!

When Natalie was small, she spent many weekends at our home. Her dad used to say he was sending the kids to Aunt Meggy's Boot Camp. Of course, this was way before Bex was born...so I did everything P.E.R.F.E.C.T.L.Y., as any Aunt would! In fact, she was potty-trained at my house -- but then would go home and forget all she learned. Poor mom!


This is what she used to look like before she went and grew up overnight!



When she was small she had a very interesting sense of style...












Her style has improved immensely! Here are two of my beautiful neices. This is Natalie with her sweet, younger sister, Caroline. Sorry its so fuzzy...I didn't take this one.












Here's a better picture...Bex and Caroline.
















Here's Natalie and her "love"...Stephen.

He seems like a great guy...it remains to be seen if he's special enough for our Nat. Time will tell...












Had to throw this one in with Aunt Meggy (and her pearls) with Caroline. These photo-ops are just too few and far between!











Sorry, Natalie...I couldn't resist posting this one. Natalie probably still does this on occasion, but she's MUCH too refined to do it for the camera!















Now, I'll leave you with a couple of video clips I took with my little digital camera. The video isn't very good, but the audio is good enough to hear her beautiful voice! The lighting was such that you can't see the wonderful expressions on her face. Her dress was very black...but with the lighting it looks muddy gray -- sorry. For those of you IBC'ers, you'll recognize Tanya accompanying her on the piano. It was wonderful to have a minute to visit with her there, too! You had to be there....


Click here and you can hear a beautiful duet with Natalie and her voice teacher, Dr. Moon.

Here's an interesting song in Spanish (for my SIL)
*************


This one is absolutely beautiful. I wish I had been able to get more of it.
**************
The Blessing
**************


**************

There are a few more English and non-English clips at You-Tube, if you're interested. You can search Natalie's Recital and MegnTally to find them.

Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Last Look at the 2008 Volleyball Team

Alas, volleyball season is over for the year. We're still getting used to life without practice or a game nearly every day. So, here are the last pictures of the 2008 team. We had two seniors on the team this year, so this team will never play together again. {sniff, sniff} Here's a few more pictures from our Tennessee trip to the National tournament.


More pictures from Pocket Wilderness. At first the girls were a bit cold...but they warmed up really fast.










We were so glad to have such strong girls this year. Here they hold up this huge bluff. Thank goodness they were there to help!










Here a few are standing in the entrance to an old coal mine.













Doesn't this look like fun? Take a bunch of goofy teenagers, throw in a couple of crazy coaches, and stir together with three wonderful, fun-loving moms and you've got a very interesting week spent in a 15-passenger van...

HEY COW!!!




Here our middle-hitter, Emily (in navy), prepares to serve the ball (it's really up there somewhere). We attended a college volleyball game at Bryan College one evening. Emily won a serving contest and earned a Pizza Hut pizza party for the WHOLE team! Go Emily!!!













Here's a picture of the girls singing at the nursing home in Dayton. My video was terrible so I'm waiting for one of the girls to send me one and I'll post it. To me this was one of the best memories from the entire week!

If you don't go back and read comments...here is one of Bex's favorite memories. In her own words:

The nursing home was awesome! Just something I might add though...

After we left the nursing home, we went to pick up MamaWeso at her house--ON THE MOUNTAIN. My wonderful mother was adamant that she would NOT drive down the driveway to the house and that we would all walk. We all (even me) wanted her to go ahead and drive down...maybe cause we just wanted an adventure or something (still no clue why I wanted to, considering that I've been down that terrible thing before). But after we all walked back up to the van (Mom parked the van at the top), MamaWeso said SHE would drive us down and back up it. We were all quite excited until we got to the bottom and the tires started skidding...THEN, when we got turned around about to go up...OH MY GOODNESS! That was one of the scariest things I've ever experienced. I was SURE the van was going to flip over at the speed we were going around the sharp corner! But that's ok. We all lived!...except MamaWeso's ears...they were probably pretty damaged.



Sunrise at Ft. Bluff. Look close and you can see the clouds hanging over the valley.













It still takes my breath away just thinking about how pretty it was.























The last (sweet) team picture....

MCS Varsity Volleyball 2008









Now a picture of them acting NORMAL!!!!

Go Patriots!










Stay tuned.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Beautiful Tennessee

Hi All! Time sure flies when you're having fun! Another week gone by? I can't believe it.

I thought that life after volleyball would slow down a bit...and it has, just not enough to sit down and post. I must confess I also have a new obsession...Facebook Scrabble. It's hugely addicting. I've never played Scrabble in my life! Well, let me clarify that...I HAVE played Scrabble Jr. with Bex when she was small --but that doesn't count because the words are already on the board. So, I'm still in learning mode.

Also, last week Mr. Fix-It completed work on my new van. Friday I took it to Bless My Car to have it detailed. They did such a good job. So, I've been riding around in luxury--in my OWN wheels! I am such a blessed woman. Today, with Bex going to school and Mr. Fix-It headed out of town to work, I can make my very own schedule without counting on anyone to drive me! Wahoo!

Now, I'll show you a few pictures from our wonderful Tennessee trip...

We left Tallahassee in the school's 15-passenger van. Did I mention its almost 100 years old? Nevertheless, we were loaded up and on the road...for about 25 miles...when the engine STOPPED. So...me, two female coaches, and two moms who were following us get out to assess the problem. Are you laughing yet? At first we couldn't get the hood up--it does NOT open like the one on my car or van. Then, we get on the phone with the Athletic Director (who has driven the van a lot) he asks "Did you hit a bump?" No, we did not hit a bump. When you hit a bump, the door flies open. Then he says "bang on the fuse box"...oh yeah, right. So I bang. He says, "Well, if you just wait for about 10 minutes it will start again." When I relayed this to the other women...I'll just say "if looks could kill"...LOL!!! Since we ALL were moms, we set about devising a solution involving 2-3 other vehicles to haul all these girls to Tennessee. Too much work had gone into this trip to have it ruined by us breaking down between Florida and Tennessee. After a few minutes of planning, the AD called back and said to come on back to the school and they would "rent" a van for us to take. THANK YOU, LORD!!! We were so blessed to have this happen at the beginning of the trip --every day something would come up where we acknowledged how blessed we were to be in a rented van--rather than the old, school van!

Here are a few pictures from a beautiful park called "Pocket Wilderness" in Dayton. We took the girls here to shake out the stiffness from the trip. It turned out great!
















Our first morning in Tennessee, it snowed! Quite a big deal for Florida girls. The only problem was that most of the girls slept through it! By the time they got up that morning, the snow had pretty much melted...







While we were at Pocket, the coach had the girls do a little team building exercise. They had to get lined up on the log by age. The only problem was they couldn't step or fall off the log or they had to start all over again.






It was VERY entertaining to say the least!

Not a great video, but you can see just a bit of God's splendor. What's even more of a miracle...ME watching the sunrise!!!!


video

Stay tuned for more to come!


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

A Side Trip to Ft. Matanzas

On our last day at the beach, we visited Ft. Matanzas--so named because matanzas is the Spanish word for slaughters. Seems when the Spanish decided to take over, the French didn't particularly like the idea and they tried to sail in to fight the Spanish. Unfortunately, they ran into a hurricane and their ships were sunk. Many survived the hurricane only to run into General Pedro Menéndez de Aviles.

For your historical reading pleasure, here is an excerpt from the Ft. Matanzas website.

"With a captured Frenchman as translator, Menéndez described how Fort Caroline had been captured and urged the French to surrender. Rumors to the contrary, he made no promises as to sparing them. Having lost most of their food and weapons in the shipwreck, they did surrender. However, when Menéndez then demanded that they give up their Protestant faith and accept Catholicism, they refused. 111 Frenchmen were killed. Only sixteen were spared - a few who professed being Catholic, some impressed Breton sailors, and four artisans needed at St. Augustine.

Two weeks later the sequence of events was repeated. More French survivors appeared at the inlet, including Jean Ribault. On October 12 Ribault and his men surrendered and met their fate, again refusing to give up their faith. This time 134 were killed. From that time, the inlet was called Matanzas -- meaning "slaughters" in Spanish."


Ft. Matanzas, just south of Crescent Beach, is a really cool National Park that is one of Florida's best kept secrets. This little park (which has NO entrance fee) has great climbing trees right out in the parking lot.










You have to watch out for the monkeys in the trees.










Every 30 minutes, a boat comes and picks up visitors to take them across the river to the fort. Just over Kimbosha's left shoulder.











You get to ride on a cool pontoon boat.












It docks at this brand new dock--right next to the brand new $800,000 sea wall -- that you (taxpayer) just paid for!








Here's the little fort. It's almost like a Barbie house without the elevator. Ugh! More steps!!!











The walls are made up of some stuff --it has a name I can't remember -- but its a bunch of tiny shells meshed together. It really looks cool...I wish you could tell from this picture.









But before you sit down and relax on the steps going up to the 2nd story...you might want to look under the top step for umm....natives.










This fort housed a group of six soldiers. They had very interesting sleeping arrangements. I imagine it was quite cozy. Seems the ground outside would be more comfortable.







After climbing a ladder protruding through a teeny, tiny square hole -- you get to visit the roof. My dear SIL took a picture from the other end of the ladder. I won't show it here...I'm not sure I've forgiven her yet...I'm working on it.




Considering this was our FIRST day of sunshine, the girls were trying to harness every ray they could! Sad, ain't it?





After our visit, we went back to the condo to let the girls soak up as many rays as they could before we had to pack up and leave...



A good time was had by all! Can't wait for next year.

Stay tuned.


Monday, November 10, 2008

G-Girls Beach Weekend 2008

Wow!

7 Comments in one day!!! I'm so glad to hear that somebody missed me! Here's another installment of "Where In the World Is Meggy?" More pictures from the beach...

Our G-Girls Weekends started out 4 years ago as a birthday bash for our former foster-child. It included me, my girls, two of my sister-in-laws and some nieces. Our first year we stayed in one hotel suite with 3 women and 6 girls and ONE bathroom! Ugh! Sounds terrible, but we had such a great time we vowed to do it every year. Since then, we've moved from Daytona Beach a little farther north to Crescent Beach--to a luxurious 3 bedroom/2 bath condo for less than 1/2 the price! Crescent Beach is very close to St. Augustine. Each year we see a little bit more of the local historical landmarks of the country's oldest city.

We arrived late on Thursday night, hoping to do some sightseeing Friday in St. Augustine (you know, touring without all the weekend tourists!). Unfortunately, Friday was overcast and rainy --not conducive to touring. But the girls had a great time anyway --playing on the beach, in the pool and inside our condo. Me and SIL enjoyed just relaxing, eating, visiting, eating, watching television, eating...etc.

Friday night we made a big pot of chili that helped ward off the dreary day!









You can see they didn't have much competition for the pool! The older girls played volleyball across the pool -- their skillful volleys would have made their coach cringe. The video is just too painful to share! LOL!!









Did I mention...they entertained themselves? Not sure where the 'gansta' came from...













It's pretty bad when an 8 year old can beat the socks off of two teenagers in the game of Life!











This was a funny sign outside our condo. I guess they REALLY want to keep folks off the dunes!












Another overcast day on Saturday. The girls slept in and enjoyed the sandy beach and all three pools. The sun finally appeared in the late afternoon. We headed into St. Augustine for a bit of sightseeing. Our first stop was the Lighthouse.















Inside the lighthouse. After walking up every single one of those 219 steps, I couldn't believe I actually PAID to be tortured like that! I really should have purchased one of the "I survived the 219 steps" t-shirts!









After a wonderful seafood dinner at O'Steens, we headed into downtown St. Augustine. We had a great time shopping and perusing the many art galleries. That's where we got our culture for the weekend. There were some amazingly beautiful paintings and we were really amazed at what people will pay for ugly pictures!

Here the girls hooked up with one of the better dressed guys in downtown.

Stay tuned. I'll finish up our beach trip tomorrow with a trip to the fort named for the slaughter of French soldiers. (Guess that was before they learned to run!)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Life Worth Blogging?

It's hard to believe -- 10 days without blogging? Recently, my friend Princess Deb suggested that in order to have a life worth blogging about --one might not find any time to blog. I'm not sure that has been my problem lately. Actually, my problem seems to be more along the lines of having so much to blog about, I can't decide where to start! Yes, life has been extremely busy in the last few weeks AND since I can't figure out where to start, I keep putting off even attempting a post. Sorry!

This morning at church, I had at least 3 people asking me, "Are you okay? I've been worried about you!" That Nagger-Lady even asked my husband if I was okay! (I love that lady!) Then I get home and find Kelley has commented on my last post wondering if I'm okay. SO! For those four people who missed me -- I'm ready to get back into the swing of things and hope all my 4-5 readers haven't abandoned me.

Sometimes my priorities really need tweaking. How about yours? It has been a bit freeing figuring out that I CAN exist without blogging. However, I'm trying to remember that my whole purpose in blogging is to have a record of memories for Bex. So I'd better get busy recording all the wonderful adventures we've had in the past few weeks.

Where do I start? If my purpose is to write about the great family memories, I surely can't ignore the last two weeks! Let's see...since I posted anything of significance -- we've been to the beach, the mountains, played in a huge tournament with lots of smiles and tears, come home to work (and Bex to school) and made it through one of the biggest elections I've ever worked. My van has been almost ready -- then not ready--still not ready. Bex's car has been fine --then was running hot--now is fine again. We've even had friends over for dinner --which is extremely rare these days. (A friend who comes to see ME and not my house!) And we're basically settling in to real life without volleyball. Bex thinks life without volleyball isn't much worth living...I'm thinking it's nice to settle in to a quiet routine for a change!

I'll leave you today with a few pictures from Crescent Beach and St. Augustine -- we had a blast!

Take one crazy 8 year old who LOVES to be the center of attention.
















Add two teenagers who love to laugh and take pictures of EVERYTHING!











Finish the group off with two crazy sister-in-laws who are crazy enough to put together a 1000 piece puzzle in two days




















Mix it up with lots of fun and a huge suite for the girls to hang out in...















Sprinkle with a beautiful view from the bedroom balcony.
















Throwing in a liberal dose of beautiful sunset out the front window....


What have you got?










The G-Girls Beach Weekend 2008!

A fabulous weekend at the beach full of laughter and relaxation with friends and family.












Stay tuned! I'll be posting pictures from all our adventures in the coming days...