Monday, February 23, 2015

Sunday Excitement

Excitement - not really in the good way though:-/

Sunday morning it was warm. Soooo warm. It went from teen-temps to 50+ degrees overnight. It was craaaazy. The snow was melting so quickly that you could actually see it rising off the ground. I don't remember every witnessing that in my life. There was this like, rapidly rising fog, coming off the ground, and going towards the sky, and the air was foggy, wet and heavy from it. It was pretty cool. The evaporation of 4ish inches of snow takes - about 3 hours I guess? When we got out of church, the snow was gone!

While we in church, Brian got a phone call from a coworker, and he rejected the call with a "I'm in a meeting" text. He got a text back. "There is a massive pipe leak. Call me". He left the service (which was 5 mins from the end) to make the call, and came back to me to get the keys to the van - A 2" pipe apparently froze, and then thawed and burst overnight at their office. A coworker had gone into the office and found 2 inches of water EVERYWHERE. He got the water cut off...but!!

Thankfully our friend Chae has room in her van to bring the rest of us home after Adult Bible Studies! Brian, and other employees began the water removal process. The office side is carpet tiles, and those are being pulled up to dry, the shop side is cement, so that could be swept out. Still no official word on how much damage to furniture and equipment. They have rented fans to dry out etc. But generally, just a really huge mess.

It is so amazing that someone went into the office (which is not typical for a Sun morning) - if he hadn't, it wouldn't have been discovered until Monday morning, and the entire place surely would have been underwater by then!

I think it's very safe to say that Hampton Roads is OVER winter in a big way!!

In other news - and good news, at that - Congratulations to our friend Pastor Paul. He was ordained yesterday, and we are so happy for him! He is the Youth Pastor at our church, and went through a rigorous and un-enviable interview with a council of 8 men. We had a really fun youth event recently, in an effort to help Paul prepare for his interview. We got copies of ALL his doctrinal beliefs and then did Q & A's on the different topics and questions - all the hard stuff, really! He was on the hot seat and had to answer everything (and it was being moderated by a Seminary Prof, just in case he was, you know, wrong. LOL!) It was actually a really fun night, and a great way to engage kids in very serious and sometimes contradictory topics that they likely seldom contemplate. Anyway, congrats to (Reverend!) Paul and Abbey. We are so excited to see where the Lord leads you!
Paul, speaking at the end of his ordination ceremony on Sunday evening

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Karate Moves

With it being an "off week" for us - No Sonny & May since school was cancelled - we still did school, but had more time on our hands than normal for things like - karate. We recently watched The Karate Kid with the kids on Netflix for a family movie night. Thus the inspiration and instruction on some of these moves:-)

All The Snow Stories

Let me tell you. It snowed y'all. Woooooow, right?!

A few observations:

It never ceases to amaze me how warm 24F/-4C feels, when it has been much much colder.

Snow is pretty. You forget how much lighter it makes the night.

Winter is the worstest:-)

So it snowed about 4 inches on Monday night (which was a holiday - no school). It wasn't really so much the 4 inches of snow, but the COLD temps, and the freezing rain that followed the snow. It crunched the snow down under a hard layer of ice.

In our southern-most part of Virginia - there is no salt, sand, or snow plows. People have their hot water heaters and electrical panels on the outside of their homes. Homes are not insulated to any sort of "negative degree temps" standard. People do not have appropriate tires on their vehicles, not to mention, they have no experience driving on ice or snow, so the acceleration, braking and not-over-correcting steering knowledge is no where to be seen. So yes, 4 inches of snow is a pretty big deal around these parts.

A 'normal winter snow' gives us a little bit, and then - it warms up and it's gone. Well, with these cold fronts we've been having - it's staying put. Our area broke a 119 year old record. The last time it got to 1F/-17C here was in 1896. Sooo wow. Sooo cold!

School was out the entire week, and the secondary roads are still iced over, we'll see what Monday holds, but it's been crazy out there!
Kids tried to clear off the van for us...but they can't reach very far:-)

The bare spot is where Brian had been parked. He braved the driving and went to work all week, picking up others who couldn't get out

We had hot water pipes freeze at our Hugo house, which was a first. Our Norfolk homes both have outside electrical panels, and water heaters & washing machines in the garages, which are not heated. Thankfully the Nottaway house, and our Willow house (water heater also in unheated garage here) were ok and pipes never froze, but poor Hugo! The pipes froze, and then on Wednesday morning early, they burst. Booo. Thankfully the water was able to be shut off, and there was no water damage - but the washing machine didn't make it. The hose broke right behind it, and I don't know all of the particulars - only that I was told it was bad and we needed a new washer. Haha:-) I don't ask too many questions! I found another washing machine on Craigslist for a great price, and we got that all hooked up. We ordered some low voltage water pipe heaters just to take the edge off such cold temps in the garages.

We ran out of firewood, and have been trying to buy more, and no one will call us back, lol! Maybe everyone is sold out?! Our poor heater at the Willow house is electric forced hot air - and it's about 30 yrs old. Needless to say it's been struggling to keep the house warm especially at night in such extreme temperatures. I've been cooking, washing, baking, etc all week to help keep us busy --at least the kitchen is warm!

Brooks seems to be my only cold weather lover, and has gone out to play in the slippery ice all by himself for long periods of time, in my snow boots (he has none that fit him - Kenna does, but they have a small pink flower on them, heaven forbid). Kenna and Grey get cold too quickly and come right back in. They were initially excited to build a snowman and make snow angels, until they realized it was all solid blocks of ice and couldn't really do anything with it. Brooks has been working away at shoveling the driveway and walkway. He is surprised to report that, while it looks super easy, it's actually really hard:-)

Here's an ice angel for you!

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Friday, February 13, 2015

Greatest Love Letter Of All Time

This letter is voted the greatest love letter of all time. Written by Johnny Cash, to his wife June in 1994 on her 65th birthday

Happy Birthday Princess,

We got old and got used to each other. We think alike. We read each others minds. We know what the other wants without asking. Sometimes we irritate each other a little bit. Maybe sometimes take each other for granted.

But once in awhile, like today, I meditate on it and realize how lucky I am to share my life with the greatest woman I ever met. You still fascinate and inspire me. You influence me for the better. You're the object of my desire, the #1 earthly reason for my existence.

I love you very much. Happy Birthday Princess.



1. Johnny Cash wishes June Carter Cash a happy 65th birthday (1994)

2. Winston Churchill tells wife Clementine Churchill of his undying love (1935)

3. John Keats tells next door neighbour Fanny Brawne he cannot live without her (1819)

4. Ernerst Hemmingway professes his love to Marlene Deitrich (1951)

5. Napoleon Bonaparte sends his love to Josephine de Beauharnais (1796)

6. Richard Burton tells Elizabeth Taylor of her beauty (1964)

7. King Henry VIII expresses his love for Anne Boleyn (1527)

8. Beethovan pens his love for his "Immortal Beloved" whose true identity remain a mystery (1812)

9. Gerald Ford reminds wife Betty Ford of his and their family's love for her shortly after she was diagnosed with breast cancer (1974)

10. Jimi Hendrix tells his 'little girl' to spread her wings (date unknown)

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thatcher & Random Pictures

Our little Thatcher is still a garage-dweller. The only one she seems to like is Kenna. This could be because Kenna spends a LOT of time finding her and trying to get close to her and giving her treats. She runs from the rest of us, but doesn't run from Kenna.
She's all black, like Huck, only she has short hair, and Huck has long hair. She looks like a Panther.

She seems to be getting more curious, and playful with the other cats too. All of them like to sleep out in the garage together in a pile.

Still happy about that WIN! I bought these plates (& napkins) years ago on clearance - right after they lost the Superbowl in 2012, and have been saving them in case we had another chance to use them:-)

Drink station. When you have a party, you need a drink station:-)

A cream puff. Because they are so good, even when leftover.

Oregano and Frankincense

Well, I posted awhile back that I bought some essential oils from Young Living and have been loving them! Thieves seems like a miracle worker to me!

Make no mistake about it, I am not saying we don't need conventional medication, or doctors. We are able to help our health and comfort so much by medications. But there are many many things that medicines can't cure. Even a doctor will tell you, it's just a virus, and nothing they can do. And there are many (many!) medications that are just synthetic versions of the components found in an essential oil - why bother to recreate something that nature makes perfectly? Because you can't patent a plant. It all comes down to money.

So for run of the mill, daily health, I have been really encouraged by using the oils. I ordered a "starter kit" because it was a good deal - but the only oil I really "wanted" was Thieves. Since I now had 10 other oils also, I did some research. What can I do with them?

I read that Frankincense was great for removing skin tags and reducing the appearance of moles. I mentioned this to Brian, who is basically a walking mole-y freckle. He had what I would consider a mole, but he says was a skin tag. The biggest one I've ever seen. Well, by applying Frankincense (in my case, Sacred Frankincense, which is all I had - Frank is from Somalia/Yemen and from the Boswellia carterii, and Sacred Frank from Oman and the Boswellia sacra). Anyway, by applying Sacred Frank, neat (undiluted), just a drop at bedtime, after about a week he said it was hurting (kinda behind his arm where he couldn't really see it), so I checked it out, and the area where it was attached to his skin was quite red, and the mole itself was darker and incredibly smaller. Over the next day or two, it continued to shrink, and fell off, and the skin healed over smoothly and clearly. We were in total amazement!! He's had similar removed before at the dr's, which was also effective (they cut them off), however - those visits cost about $150. As a side note, Frankincense smells soooo amazing. I had always been curious about what it was like, as it was a gift to Jesus from the Wise Men. The smell is almost addicting, and I can't compare to anything else I've ever smelled. It also tastes great in water!

Brian, again, the guinea pig in this "experiment" got a wart on his foot, presumably from the first Spartan Race he ran in March 2014. It grew, and we did all the typical treatments. Compound W, freezing, cutting etc. It wasn't going away, at least not quickly, and they spread. He now had many warts on the bottom of the same foot. We kept plugging away at traditional methods, with no or extremely slow success, as he kept getting more warts. Then Kenna got a wart. Then within a few days I noticed a second wart on the same foot. I was not interested in having her go through all the same methods we'd been battling with Brian, so I enlisted some oily help. Oregano. It didn't come in my original kit, but I ordered it for this experiment.

Oregano is an extremely spicy oil, and has many of the properties of the Thieves blend, it is anti-viral, anti-bacterial etc...and it kills the Human Papilloma Virus, which is what causes most warts, I read online. Applying this neat (undiluated) to the warts, and they were gone from Kenna in a couple days. Success! So then we started with Brian. His would be the true test, as this was now November, and he'd been battling the warts for 8 months now, and they were much larger and "deep rooted". He applied Oregano, neat, to his heel/all the areas with warts. It took about 2 weeks, and he noticed no more pain (he was having pain walking on them), and they were shrinking...and gone! In less than a month, we got rid of about 11 warts from his foot!

So cool, right?! We were really blown away at their effectiveness. There are many uses! I've used Lavender to cure pink eye (put surrounding the eye, not in the eye), and to heal skin burns from baking. A blend called DiGize has really helped Brian when his tummy is feeling "sick", it has quite a few oils in it, fennel being one of them, and that is the one that carries the smell, I think - so it's sorta black licorice/stinky smelling, but effective!!

*Note - I use and recommend Young Living Therapeutic Grade Essential Oils. They are tested and guaranteed pure. A label from the healthfood store saying "pure" does not mean the same thing, and chances are you will not see good results (if any), from using a "store brand" of oil, which is unfortunate, and sad - but true. I read of so many "complaints" using a supposedly "pure" essential oil, and when they switch to a therapeutic oil (young living) they can see the difference! The FDA does not regulate essential oils, and there is no standard - anyone can put anything on a label. The product may contain a pure therapeutic grade oil, while also containing (or "cut with") other things, which may or may not be pure, but in any case are not what you are in the market for, if you are looking for something pure. Young Living using outside testing for more than 30 years to guarantee the purity and effectiveness of the oils.

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Happy Birthday to Me!

It was a fun weekend!! Since my birthday was a "regular ol Monday" full of piano lessons, and Y Change meetings in the evening, we took full advantage of the weekend to celebrate. I was quite spoiled!

Friday night - starting the weekend off with a "bang" we put the kids to bed, rented Fury (with Brad Pitt) and ordered in Vietnamese food. It was really our first time to eat Vietnamese food, and it was different, fresh, and good! The movie was great too, I totally enjoyed it, and it reminded me a little of Saving Private Ryan in certain ways - while being it's own story line for sure.

Saturday - Bible Quiz! This warrants a post all its own, it was great:-) Kenna's team (of 3 people) got 4th place. She was pretty nervous, but said she felt ok about it all and had fun.

Saturday night - Dinner & a Movie! We coerced 4 other couples to out to eat with us (Olive Garden), and then to see American Sniper, and then out for dessert! It was a great night of fun, food, and fellowship. The movie comes highly recommended - we loved it. Because of people we happen to know, who are in "the know", we can tell you that there are certain aspects that were embellished for the sake of making a good movie, but that on the whole it was an accurate portrayal of the people and the lifestyle. (as a side note, if you see the movie - his friend with the "eye" injury is the first Seal death to happen in war after 9-11 happened, and remember things are different in the Teams now than they were back then. The support for Team Wives was non-existent back then, as was all things pertaining to PTSD for the men themselves. Things work much differently now with required decompression times and psych evals etc. 14 years of sending men to war and having them "broken" has required the military to change a lot of protocols), So remember when you watch, it's not still "like that" in all the ways pertaining to family integration and PTSD, while, make no mistake about it, they lead a grueling life that is not to be envied. They give of themselves more than you will ever comprehend or even ever hear about, and are truly heroes worthy of respect. Annnd at Baker's Crust for dessert, I was serenaded loudly with an off-key happy birthday. Perfectly embarrassing, thanks guys.

Sunday - Church, and then after church, a Mexican place for lunch with friends. Then the superbowl! More party-ing! Thankfully the Pats pulled out a win, (whew!) and we had lots of fun watching with friends...about 20 friends, so a full house! The food was amazing, and the kids even made me a surprise birthday cake (made with the help of Auntie Lauren who was babysitting them Sat night). There were 6 candles put on the cake for me to blow out. To which I commented, "oh, so many candles" to the kids...and Brian replies "yup. one for every decade". HAH.

Monday - A normal day, really. I opted not to pick out a birthday cereal this year, since I'm trying to eat well:-) The biggest surprise of my day was when I got home from the gym at 7:30. Brian gave me his gift...and it ipod "wrapped" in a new sweater!!!! I was so excited!! We use our ipod A LOT. Like, a lot, a lot. Some one gave it to us years ago, and it's like, the original ipod, lol. But we love it. He thought we could make some good use of a more modern one. YAY! Oh, and I really like the new sweater, too:-)
My new Nano next to the Oldie:-)
Being 36 ain't so bad;-)