Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Quickie Before We Hit The Road!

Thank You, Thank You for all of the prayers and well wishes!

This past week has been Amazing!

Jim's friends were wonderful and I know that we will have "family" down here too! (how crazy to stay in a house for a week with people I've never met before!!! But, Guy and Mel are wonderful, generous hosts and I love them dearly!)

white sands nat monument
(us at white sands national monument)

So...Jim had his huge physical test this that we were seriously worried about....the pneumonia incident really sucked his strength....would he even be able to pass this super hard course?!?....did we waste all of this time and energy coming down here just to be disappointed?!? what? This morning we spent the entire time in prayer, Jim got an awesome word during his Bible Study and I kept getting led back to David and Goliath...the Lord was with us and we were going to be ok!



His interview will be in a couple of weeks :)

I'm extatic!

All right, well, we're off! Nothing like a 24 hr. drive to bring you back down to the normal world! (and I still have so much more to tell you!)

Thanks again my lovelies for praying! God is so Good!

Cheesburger, Cheeseburger, Cheeseburger....

...and farmer/artist markets

our first night in town, Guy and Mel took us to this little burger joint called Guacamole's. If you're in the area, you have to stop!!! It's got it all: beer, great burgers, fresh potato chips and dining al fresca


we sat next to the fire place, which I'm sure comes in handy with these cool desert nights....but it was beautiful the night we were there! (aren't the little pineapple table numbers awesome?!?)

saturday morning, Jim had his big written test so Guy and Mel took me to the local farmer/artist market downtown.

I really need to grab some of these cute hanging peppers before we leave!
farmer/artist market

this couple was so cute....I could have sat and watched them all day long!

musicians at the farmers market

every week, this gentleman draws a different picture on the square....he does amazing work!

street artist

of course there were plenty of veggies (but we know what they look like!)

oh, the artists though! so cool, so diverse!

farmers/artist market

this man makes light shades out of tin cans! if you get a chance, check him out at Cantastiks!cantastick at the farmers market (too cool--google them!)

the new mexico soaps were pretty cool---lots of neat shapes and scents---and they were friends of Guy and Mel and were super nice!
sweetest soap lady at the market

another street musician.

musician at the farmers market

art is everywhere in the city....

tile on the square at the f.m.downtown farmer and artist market

this will be the new home to the market....I love how the metal rebar and studs will rust and change as time goes by...very NM!

soon to be square for the farmers market

these people are cementing the square with colored cement...the skill and patience involved is mind blowing....all this for something people will walk on!

painted cement in the new square

so, are you bored with our trip yet? I have so much more to show's amazing how much variety surrounds this town...we've only been down here a week and yet I feel like I have begun to tell you anything!

Oh....and Jim passed his first test...hence us staying down here for the week....the next one is today at 10:30 (11:30 our time)...prayers appreciated!

Friday, October 22, 2010

Passenger Side Window View

Ok...moving forward....

deserts-these hills cracked me up, they look like Huge excavation piles, but in the middle of no where

desert hills
we took a short cut down rt. 54, turning off the main highway at Tucumcari--that "rock hill" was ginormous!!!

rt. 54 is LONG...and barren...and no cell phone reception....but really pretty cool...

rt 54

lots of ghost towns...

rt 54

and wind turbines on hills...

rt 54 wind turbines

a couple super small towns....

rt 54

lots of pecan groves...

Pecan fields

and of course, sand!

yep, it's a desert

Jim called his friend, Guy when we hit Alamagordo to get directions into town.....

are we there yet? (getting directions from Guy)

and before we knew it, Las Cruces....which we all know is Spanish for The Cruces ;)

entering las cruces

...old snl skit...Chris Farley as a weather man...anybody?!?....

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Life Is A Highway

what a week!

full of emotions, a total roller coaster of excitement, anticipation, nerves...fear...

we left last thursday at the crack of dawn...actually earlier than dawn, but ya know
heading out---5 am!!!
here we are...2 crazy kids heading out on a journey into the unknown!

ironically last sunday was our 12th wedding anniversary (it's been 12 years since we took the plunge into the unknown, fitting that this would be a trip filled with possible new beginnings!)

Jim had worked the day before, so I took the first shift driving. I made it to just past springfield, mo. we ate some lunch at a rest stop and headed on.

no pics of the first day:

1) because I was busy driving (and singing to the satalite radio's hits of the 90's).
2) Jim took over for the last mile of mo, and just past ok city.
3)OK really isn't all that interesting (especially at night!)--you know that saying a chicken in every pot...well there's a cow in every if steers for miles and miles excites you this is your place!

the next morning, again way too early, I noticed these strange soy bean fields that looked like they had frost on some of their leaves. I asked Jim about this, but I was lucky to have gotten him awake enough to get out of the bed and into the he was no help!

once the sun rose more, I was surprised to see the "bean plants" were really cotton! in all of my sheltered-ness, I have never seen a cotton field before---here's my version at 85 mph (lovin the speed limits in ok and tx!)
amarillo cotton field

near amarillo, we saw the worlds largest cross. there's also a restaurant that advertises a free 72 oz steak...could you imagine?!? I don't even buy pot roasts that big!!!
world's biggest cross (texas rt 40)
finally after putting some serious miles on the rental car we saw this:
welcome to NM
(again, going around 85 as we blew into the state...not to bad considering it was with a cruddy camera phone!)

so far, its been a good trip, a strange trip, and a love of this area keeps growing and growing!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Bad Monday

Our Rot died last night... a kennel...

..we're miles and miles away..

..the boys aren't with us...

...I feel like crap.

Had tons of beautiful pics, good stories...but I'm not really feeling it right now....

Friday, October 15, 2010

Fatty Boombalatty Fridays

*this is an extended Fatty Friday!!!

So I weighed on Wed. and am posting for Friday


so far for wednesday, I've lost 3lbs....I'm a lb away from kissin' 40lbs good bye!!!

Nana nana, nana nana, hey hey hey good bye!

Hopefully this weekend wont hurt, but will bring good news next week!

Have a fantabulous weekend!

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Last Hurrah With The Boat

Sunday was 85 degrees...YES in October! What do you do with an 80 degree day? BOAT!
We've had the boat for sale in preperation for our move to New Mexico...sat forever. Craigslist brought us only goof balls that wanted to trade it for a snowmobile and an xbox...ummmm...No. So, we headed out to the Rock River near Oregon for one last spin before winterizing the boat.
I can't ever remember boating with fall colors out!
Everybody got their turn driving....hey wait...I didn't! Too busy taking photos.
(Corey cracked me up---when Jim told him it was his turn, he hopped up, cracked his knuckles and said "Hang On!")

Boating in fall is kind of tubing...water's freezing!
Here's the Blackhawk Statue...I've never been up there, but hoped to take the boys during the summer...maybe we'll get around to it sometime this fall.
See the line where the leaves are gone on the picture below? This was from the flood earlier this was crazy because the branches below that line are just bare odd!
It was probably the best day out in a long time! Perfect weather, beautiful scenery. And....we sold the boat! We were heading back to the dock when this pontoon flagged us down....Jim thought for sure that something was wrong with our boat. Nope! They wanted to know about our boat :) I thought for sure we'd never hear from them...seriously, who would?!? They came over last night and away the boat went.....Jim was a bit verklempt, but he'll get over it!

Birthdays and Frosted Dragons :)

Saturday was Riley's big birthday party---he requested "Toothless" from How To Train Your Dragon. Any idea how hard it is to find dark blue food coloring?!? So I took a royal blue and mixed in a bit of black and said good enough!
I used a kind of football shaped casserole dish as the cake pan for the body, a regular 9x13 for the legs and tail and a little rounded finger bowl for the head...add in some fruit roll ups, gummy life savers and chocolate covered graham crackers and viola! Dragon! (not exactly "toothless" but it worked)
Aunt Crys found a Tails hat we have 2 boys playing sonic the hedgehog..ALL The Time!

And of course, Grandpa couldn't resist trying it on too!

I'm sure he had a spectacular birthday...and was totally spoiled by all of his loving family!

Friday, October 8, 2010

Super Seven

Today my baby...I mean big boy....turns 7.

He is all things active, daring, Dangerous!

He's stronger than any little boys ever should be...I swear he was born with a 6 pack stomach!

He is and always will be a daddy's boy.

Firemen..Paramedic...Construction....he's all there (notice the flag fire tatts?)

I love this picture....cracks me up how he's trying to push up his little arm muscles! As usual, just like his dad....I have a very similar basketball pic of Jim in high school doing the same thing! Oh Dear!

Riley you are my heart and my headache all in one....I love you more than words can say! One day you will do great things, especially if you keep your determined attitude and don't back down when people say you can't do something!

Grandma, Crystal and us went to Chili's for a birthday lunch...daddy's on shift today, but will make it home in time to make the birthday pizzas!IMG01449.jpg

The waitress asked if he'd like a free brownie sunday. Can you guess what he answered?!?

Fatty Boombalatty Fridays

So the fatty total for the week (tuesday's included) was.........

5.2 lbs!

Walked with the boys this week a ton--it's too nice out not to! Lots of time spent at the park. Yesterday, Jim was able to go with...the boys usually run the blocks and then wait for Corey and I before they can cross. I figured this would be a perfect way for Jim to dip his toe back into running...except he did a Forrest Gump and KEPT ON RUNNING! Riley stopped, looked back and yelled - Dad didn't stop and look! After that it was a free for all trying to catch up with him ;) We ended up meeting him at the park because he kept right on going for his mile running, then walked with us back after the park....not bad considering a few weeks ago he could barely make it down the stairs!

We've also had about a million different things go wrong with our vehicles the past 2 much so, that we were really questioning if we were even supposed to be trying for NM. It was pretty frustrating for me, everything I read and prayed about led me back to God telling me to trust in him, to knock and ask and receive....but it seemed that I was missing something because things kept right on crumbling. Last night was my breaking point. We had one vehicle limping along and it just went...not dead on the side of the road, but not something I'm willing to drive around either! Jim's truck was parked because of engine issues....His friend Jeremy helped him change a coil (? mechanical terms way over my head to follow!) but then when they got done the coil next to the replaced one was throwing an error. After my car's fiasco, Jim set out on working on the truck...changing spark plugs and switching the coil with another to see what happened.

All the while, I'm sitting in the house stewing...God, are you really there...don't you see?....will you pull us out of this deep deep water? I begged for Him to just show me...something...anything! Jim came in later and said-- You're never going to believe what I found in the (thing) for the spark plug! A SCREW---one that we were missing when we put the engine back together the other day!

They have no idea how that silly screw got into the spark plug holder wasn't one they took apart and Jim couldn't get the new one in and that's when he found the screw. I seriously believe this whole deal has been an attack to try and bring us down, doubt God and stop pushing forward....But God came through! He showed me that yes, HE is in this...and He does hear my cries! What a loving Father, Ultimate Provider, who cares for us :)

This weekend is Riley's birthday party....I'm trying to be really good because I'd be so ecstatic if I could loose another 10 lbs by the time we go to NM! Pray for that...still no news yet on the week would be wonderful...time off already scheduled...sigh....But, what did I learn this week?!? God is in control and He does a far better job of it than I do!

Thursday, October 7, 2010


..This won't be a depressing post I promise..just stick with me as I get this out ;)

We all know and loath "Overwhelming"

Overwhelmed by problems




Food (Thanksgiving is near--we All know what that's like!)

Even Snow (shudder)

But...what does it look like to be overwhelmed by grace? And not the ballerina type grace...

In our Bible Study this week we learned about grace so here's a little overview:

Justice is getting what we deserve. Mercy is not getting what we deserve. Grace is this above and beyond, over the top gift that we so do not deserve!

This story was used to describe it even further...

A murder on trial gets convicted (justice).

The father of the victim forgives the young man and goes before the court and asks that the death sentence not be served (Mercy).

Instead, the father wants all charges dropped and takes this young man into his home, adopts him and raises him as a son (Grace)

That really hit me...sure its noble to plead mercy, but in human terms, how many of us would welcome into our homes someone who committed such a vial act against us? But here we are, sin's death sentenced revoked..sin's forgiven...heirs adopted into God's family through Jesus. Hmmmm...makes you think huh?

So, now that we know what Grace is, what does it look like?

2 Corinthians 9:8

And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work.

Abounding: to have more than enough, to overflow, to go over the bounds

God doesn't give us juuuuust enough grace to squeak through. He gives us abounding grace--overwhelming, overflowing, more than enough.

What would it be like to be carried away by grace...

To be completely swept up in a flood of grace...covering all things at all times so that We may abound...

I'm keeping my eyes and heart open to grace today...and hope that this inspires you to do the same :)

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Midweek Fatty and Other Shtuff

I'm sure you're all anxiously awaiting for this midweek fatty update...right? this thing on? ;)

Here we go: so far this week I've almost lost 2 lbs

Oh yeah, back in the saddle!

On Sunday, my mom invited us to head out to Oregon and tour Stronghold Castle....what you say---A Castle in the middle of Illinois?!? Ehhhh...yeah, kind of sort of sure. Stronghold was a family summer home built in the early 1900's. Origionally it was to be shaped like a barn, but the architect/brother in law thought a castle would be much more amusing.

The Castle is only open to the public once a year, during Oregon's Autumn on Parade. Basically it's a small renaissance fair, people dressed in medieval garb, pirates and lots and lots of vendors (my mom thought the boys would love a giant turkey leg...not so much!)

We walked the castle trail while dad got a shuttle ride to the front of the castle (having one leg has its perks sometimes)

The would be barn castle...

This is the "long" room. A lot of the fixtures in the house were handmade be the Stronghold family. This chandelier was crafted by Mr. Stronghold out of a log chain and muffin cups for the candle holders! Pretty crafty!

This is the library, the metal piece on the front of the fire place was too new looking for Mr. Stronghold so he is said to have beat it with a logging chain...the home is in the woods, so I'm assuming that logging chains were pretty standard. Jamie was quite pleased with himself because he found the hidden doorway to a secret chapel.

The boys loved the knight, but we had to hurry up with the picture because the group was trying to get up the stairs.

There's also a pretty neat tower with a winding staircase...very steep...small steps...not cool for someone afraid of heights

After the tour, we went out and watched a pirate show....these fellows were making "stew" and it was pretty funny...the boys loved their silly humor.

Of course no event is complete without a funnel cake or 3 (yeah, my mom goes a bit overboard....and Corey and I had eaten through half of one before I was like--Crap! Not on the Diet!!!) But, we did enjoy them watching another pirate/magic show so maybe the laughter burned off some of those calories?!?

My sister and her hubby spoiled the boys with these hats..soon to be followed by baloon swords...and of course sword fighting in a wooded trail!

Not a bad weekend...and so thankful for the loss on the scale---I don't want to stay in a rut!

So far, no news on a definite date for the fire test, but it looks like Jim and I might be taking a road trip in the near future. On the bright side, airplane tickets were sky high, but Jim found a great deal on a rental car...I've never been to the southwestern states (MO is as far as this country bumpkin has gone!) Hopefully we'll have more news by Friday!