Life

Labor Day Wrap-up

I apologize if this entry is boring, but considering I blog to journal my life, and this is what we did over Labor Day weekend … well, it’s a bit tedious. I remember my grandmother used to write in a diary and she would document her days, the weather, what she had to eat, what she wore, the conversations she had and though that sounds boring on the surface, it wasn’t. In fact, it was strangely … comforting to read about her mundane life.

I miss you grandma.

I’m writing this from Cooper Creek Campground in Branson, Missouri. We arrived at the park Friday night at 5:30. We had to rush to get going after the boys got out of school and as a result, we forgot quite a few things.

But we’ve adapted.

The campground is packed – there isn’t an empty site to be found. The weather has been perfect – sunny and mid-80’s. The air coming off the lake is cool and refreshing.

And judging by the weather reports, we took this camping trip just in time – Hurricane Gustav (?) is heading toward the Gulf of Mexico and though that weather won’t affect us for a few days, it will indeed affect us – we have rain in the forecast for most of next week.

The only flies in our perfect ointment are:

We’re surrounded by dogs and children. The dogs howl and bark, the children scream and cry. We actually saw one little guy wipe out on his bike when he zoomed past us on the hill, swerved, lost control, sailed over the handlebars and fall face first on the gravel and concrete.

He wasn’t wearing a helmet. Luckily, the boy was okay and walked away, his lower lip trembling as he tried to absorb his stinging wounds. Why his parents allowed him (this boy couldn’t have been more than six) to ride his bike without safety gear on, in my opinion, is not only foolhardy but a form of child abuse.

All four of us witnessed the little boy fall – the husband and I thanked the Lord that he wasn’t our little boy and our boys walked away learning the importance of protecting themselves in precarious situations.

The bathrooms? Are ½ mile away from our campsite. In fact, we are in the next to last campsite in the park. I made the reservations at the last minute and we were lucky to get a spot at all. I usually request a space near the bathrooms (we use our camper bathroom as a storage closet – though this trip the guys did use it for peeing only. Not me, I’d rather hike the ½ mile to the bathrooms – I’m funny like that) but unfortunately, I forgot this go-around and now we I have had to hike to take a pee and a shower.

But I’m not complaining too loudly, it gives me the opportunity to walk off the excess food that I’ve been eating (there’s just something about camping and pigging out).

The neighbors to our left moved in late last night. In fact, we didn’t even know we HAD neighbors until we woke up this morning. It was really weird because when I woke up, started the coffee maker and opened the shades, it was like looking into a mirror. Our neighbor’s camper? Almost an exact replica as ours. The only difference is that they have a slide out – we do not.

I’m jealous.

They are from Oklahoma. The guy is a big dude – not fat, just big. The woman is thin and attractive and they have one lone boy with them – he’s about GD’s age – and painfully skinny. They have one small, quiet, brown and white Chihuahua that shakes whenever they take it for a walk.

All three people are wearing the same shirt so I’m assuming they are here for some sort of family reunion or some sort of organizational meeting.

The neighbors on our other side are two men. They are both large and overly hairy. I know this because they sit around their campground without shirts on. They are the only ones in the campground that are using a tent. They are driving a brownish-tan Dodge Ram 2500 pulling a very long and well used fishing boat. They left early this morning and are now back (5:00 pm.) and sitting in front of their tent watching various cars and people pass by.

They’re a bit creepy. They don’t talk very much, but they seem comfortable in each other’s presence. I have no idea if they caught any fish but judging by their self-satisfied expressions, I’m assuming they did.

This is the first time we’ve camped here that we haven’t been able to access WiFi. As a result, we’ve had to walk down to the office and use the small platforms they have nailed to the wall and sit on the hard, uncomfortable stools to check our email. The boys have been pretty bored without Internet, but they have adapted by playing around with a laptop the husband saved from a co-worker who was just going to throw it away. The husband simply reformatted it and it works like a charm now. The co-worker didn’t want it back (he had already bought a new laptop), so now the boys have a computer they can goof around with. And they have been the whole camping trip.

Isn’t it amazing what people are willing to throw away? One person’s trash, is another person’s treasure. *smile*

For me? I was disappointed at first whenever I first discovered I couldn’t establish a connection from our camper, but it’s been very nice to be FORCED away from cyber world.

I needed the break. Especially since these past few days have been insanely busy for me and I’ve been on the computer and working nearly 12-hour days.

We treated the boys to Bandana BBQ for dinner Friday night. I felt grungy, sweaty and completely underdressed, but Branson is a tourist town and they are used to seeing grungy, sweaty people.

Saturday, the husband I went to the new bookstore called “Books-A-Million” or BAM for short. In short, it’s a Barnes and Noble type of establishment and it was quite busy.

I was quite pleased to see people milling around. You hear how less and less people are actually reading and it was encouraging to see that at least in my area, that’s not entirely true.

I walked away from the bookstore with “Killer Smile” by Lisa Scottoline and “The PMS Murder” by Laura Levine. I like to try and buy at least one book from an author I’m not familiar with whenever I visit the bookstore.

I need to stop buying books and start reading books – my personal library is taking over the house.

Saturday night, we took the boys go-cart racing and it cost us $30.00. It was the best $30.00 we’ve spent in a long time. The cars were fast and the boys beat the pants off of me and the husband. In fact, I was a whole lap down from them. But judging by their flushed cheeks and excited lap recounts, they had a ball and we made another fun childhood memory.

After go-carts, we went putt-putting. We went to a very popular dinosaur-themed course and the place was wall-to-wall people. In fact, the back nine was so backed up we ended up standing around as opposed to actually playing. But the people were friendly and everyone was in good spirits so we had a good time.

The boys beat the pants off us again. Isn’t it amazing how kids adapt to sports/games? I felt awkward and stupid, but it was fun to be teased by the boys so I got over my feelings of inadequacy. *grin*

After we finished golfing, we went for ice cream. The husband and GD had chocolate malts, MK had a vanilla ice cream cup (he won’t eat any other flavor ice cream), I had a raspberry concrete.

Oh. My. Gosh. That raspberry concrete was TO DIE FOR. Very scrumptious and definitely a new favorite. It’s a good thing we’re so far from the bathrooms, I’ll definitely need to walk that those calories off.

We ended up spending $85. (I need to stop keeping a running total in my head. How can you put a dollar sign on family moments?) But we really had a great family night together and I’m so glad the husband and I decided to do this camping thing. You’ve heard me talk about how much work it is. And how uncomfortable it can be, but by golly, we’ve had the best times in our camper and we’ve walked away with some pretty fun stories in the process. I’m quite confident the boys will tell their kids about their camping trips with grandma and grandpa. *grin*

It’s now 7:57 a.m. Sunday morning. I’m the first one up, the guys are all sleeping in. It’s a cool, crisp morning and I wish I had brought some sweats with me. I just got back from the restrooms and I have goosebumps. The park is quiet, but it’s slowly coming to life. I can hear various birds chirping their morning songs and an occasional bump as people move about their RV’s.

I can smell bacon and coffee in the air – there is NOTHING like smelling bacon cooking at your campground early in the morning. It’s very … real and comforting.

I’m drinking my morning coffee and after I finish writing this, I’ll head to the showers. We really have nothing on tap for today’s activities. We’ll most likely spend a lazy day around the camper, though the husband and I will probably head out to some craft booths later today – I have a craving to buy a Christmas ornament (I have no idea why).

We might walk down to the lake and just sit and watch the people fish off the pier or the boats slowly float past. We don’t have anything planned for this evening, either. We’ll most likely pop some popcorn and watch a movie … or not. That’s the beauty of these little camping getaways – anything goes – our plans are wide open.

We’ll head back home tomorrow morning. We’re only about 45 minutes from home, so we’ll get home and unpack well before lunch. I’ll most likely catch up on laundry and clean the camper out, then I’ll catch up on emails and various other duties. We’ll have a relaxing afternoon at home before the kids go back to school and the husband goes back to work on Tuesday.

And life will resume its hectic, but very satisfying, pace.

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Coffee Chat at writefromkaren.com
It’s time for another Coffee Chat session! Need something to blog about? How about telling us a bit more about you? (And there’s prizes!!)

Abundant Life

Teaching: Tools for Basic Bible Study, Part One

Every Sunday I provide videos and valuable links to the Truth or Tradition teachings. We’ve been following the Truth or Tradition teachings for many years now and they have truly blessed our family. We have found peace and happiness through our beliefs and we walk confidently for God. My hope, by passing on this information to you, is that what you find here, or on the Truth or Tradition website, will guide you to a better, more blessed and abundant life.

If you would like to read my views on religion and how we got started with the ministry, you can read this.

Let’s get started:

From the Bible Study Guide

Where should we begin to read the Bible?

The Bible is a large book, and it may take years of reading it for a person to feel he has a grasp on it. The student of the Bible should be not be defeated by this, but rather make sure that he regularly takes time to read it. A large amount of the Bible is easy to read and understand, and anyone who reads it faithfully will know a lot in a short amount of time.

Furthermore, if the Bible is read in the same way as any other large book, perhaps an hour a day or a few days a week, which is a lot less than the TV most people watch, it should only take a few months at most to get all the way through it. By the time a person has read the Bible several times many things that were confusing at first will be much easier to understand. Most people do not dedicate much time to reading it, however, and many become discouraged by things they do not understand.

Reading a good Study Bible can make reading easier because some of the questions that beginning readers always seem to have are answered right in the notes on the page, and any accompanying maps and illustrations make it much easier to keep up with biblical record.

Some key points from the video:

Loving God with all your mind. God gave us a mind, we’re supposed to understand the Bible. The Bible says that we are supposed to meditate on it and get to know it.

We should take time out of our daily schedules to study the Bible. The Bible requires study just as any subject does.

If people do not learn the keys to the Bible, they are relegated to going to someone and asking them what they think it means.

One Key: natural curiosity or desire to learn. We want to read and develop a natural curiosity about it.

Vodpod videos no longer available.


(If this video will not play for you, you can find the original file on this page).

If you have any questions, or would like to learn more about God’s wonderful message, please visit the Truth or Tradition website. You can also keep track of the ministry through their Facebook page.

Next week, part two. Thank you for visiting and God bless.

Giveaway/Contests

Coffee Chat Writing Project – September 2008

Coffee Chat at writefromkaren.com

Are you ready to submit your blog links?

If you know what to do, please feel free to skip this introduction and put your links into the Mr. Linky script below. If you subscribed to my feed, don’t forget to leave me a comment so I can add another ticket for you to the pot!

If you’re scratching your head, wondering what in the world I’m talking about …

Coffee Chat is a group writing project. A group writing project is when a specified writing prompt is provided and writers/bloggers from around the ‘sphere write a post based on that prompt, post it to their blogs and then provide a link back in a common entry so that others can read their interpretation of said prompt.

It’s also a chance to write a fresh blog post, or posts (perhaps you have blogger’s block?), share the link love, and of course, discover new voices and make new friends. Coffee Chat is also a chance for us to get to know YOU a little better. So, most of the writing prompts will be generic questions about your past, present and (possibly?) future life events. Coffee Chat is a venue you can stop, drink some coffee (or your favorite beverage) and take a moment to appreciate, reflect, and SHARE, your life with the blogging community.

To read the full rules and guidelines, visit this page.

The writing prompts for this Coffee Chat are:

1. What do you remember MOST about being a kid?

2. Long before you met your significant other, what did you picture your future mate would be like?

Write about one, or both prompts (separate posts, please), if you wish.

Your posts can be fiction, or nonfiction – interpret these prompts any way you wish – whatever inspires you.

You have two weeks to write a blog entry based on one, or both, writing prompts. When you’re finished, leave the PERMALINK to your blog entry in the Mr. Linky script. I will update readers periodically with who has submitted their links so far. I will draw two winners September 15th – the first winner receives a $25 Amazon.com gift certificate, the second winner receives a $10 Starbucks gift certificate (I’ll need the address of the second winner as I’ll be actually buying these myself).

Good luck and HAVE FUN!!!

Saturday Photo Hunt

Saturday Photo Hunt – Beautiful

This week’s theme: Beautiful

Believe it or not, this is not a stock photo. I took this photo at our hotel when we vactioned in Sanibel Island some years back. I love this picture – a lot. Look a the ripples in the water and the droplets on the petals. This was actually just a dumb-luck picture – I’m not this good, ever.

Pretty Flower
Find out the next Photo Hunt Theme.

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Coffee Chat at writefromkaren.com
Coffee Chat is coming up next!

General

Ask and Answer Game

We’re leaving to go camping as soon as the boys get out of school today so I won’t really have a chance to write anything important (as if I do anyway, but whatever).

So, let’s do something fun and trivial. I LIKE trivial!! 😀

Please play! It amuses me to read your questions/answers!

Let’s play an ask and answer game.

Here’s how it works:

The person before you has asked a question, please answer that question and then ask a question for the next person to answer. That’s it!

Please, keep it impersonal and ask fun questions.

Got it? Good. Now let’s play:

Question for the first person:

What’s a typical Friday evening for you?

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Coffee Chat at writefromkaren.com
Another session of Coffee Chat starts tomorrow!

Parenting, Prompt Fiction

Fiction: Severing the Friendship Ties

Thursday Thread
Thursday is the day I post a bit o’ fiction.

I will just tell you, right off the bat, that this story is based on real life. Stick around, I need your input at the end.

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Severing the Friendship Ties

Matt clutched his paper lunch bag tighter between his fingers. He hated lunch, mainly because he never knew where to sit.

And it was the only time period in the day when he had to endure Lance.

Matt stepped behind a group of teenage girls and kept a few paces back from them as they entered the lunchroom. Maybe Lance wouldn’t find him today. Maybe he wouldn’t have to listen to Lance’s loud voice or put up with this immature attitude.

He lifted his head a bit to look over the girl’s shoulder in front of him. So far, so good. The girl, sensing him behind him, glanced back and gave him a disinterested once over.

Matt flashed a lop-sided grin and moved past the girls and toward a table at the edge of the lunchroom.

The noise was deafening. But even though it was loud in the lunchroom, it was nothing compared to Lance’s boisterous antics.

He gingerly sat down and opened his bag. He smiled. He loved the lunches his mom packed for him. They were always full of good stuff. He pulled out a crust-less peanut butter and jelly sandwich, Cheez-Its, a can of root beer and a baggie stuffed with mult-colored Twizzlers.

His favorite candy.

He popped the tab on his can and looked around. He didn’t really mind eating lunch by himself. It was a welcome relief from his day – it gave him a chance to unwind and de-stress a bit before he tackled his afternoon classes.

He released a long, soft sigh and ripped open his sandwich. His fingers dug into the spongy bread and his smile grew. He loved the frozen peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, especially when they were soft and gooey. He lifted the circular sandwich to his lips when he heard it.

Lance’s voice, calling out his name.

In the middle of the lunchroom.

People began to twitter in amusement and turned their heads trying to locate him.

Many found him. And to Matt’s utter horror, so did Sarah. The girl he had been in love with since 4th grade.

He sighed and slowly lowered his sandwich, his appetite dissipating into wispy smoke.

“Matt! Dude! I’ve been looking all over for you.”

Matt didn’t answer.

“So, what’s up?”

Matt very calmly, and with precise movements, pulled out his book with one hand, and lifted his sandwich with the other.

He took a generous bite and was chewing quietly when it happened.

The temper tantrum.

“What the heck? Why are you ignoring me? What, I’m not GOOD enough for you?”

Matt tried to ignore the stares from his peers, but he knew they were looking – and laughing.

At him, most likely.

“I DON’T LIKE BEING IGNORED, MATT.” Lance crossed his arms and openly pouted.

Matt took a breath. He kept his eyes trained on his book and though he appeared outwardly calm, his heart was hammering so hard in his chest he felt light headed.

“You’re embarrassing me, Lance. I’ve already told you. I don’t want to hang out with you if you don’t learn to control yourself. I’m right here,” he glanced quickly at the boy, “you don’t have to yell.”

“WHO SAYS I’M YELLING?”

Matt just looked at him with raised eyebrows. He shook his head and went back to reading. The words wavered before his eyes and he had no idea what he was reading.

He never thought he would ever think this, let alone mean it, but he was actually looking forward to going back to class.

And away from Lance.

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Matt? Is MK. Lance? Is MK’s “friend.” We’ll continue to call him Lance.

Let me explain …

We are now into the fourth day of the school year and MK is miserable. Not because of his teachers, his classes, or even his peers, but rather because of one lone boy – a boy he’s known since second grade.

This boy has always been loud (and in my opinion, obnoxious). And MK has always rolled with that loudness and seemed to like this boy and liked to hang out with him.

Until this year. Apparently, MK has done a bit of maturing over the summer and he no longer finds this boy quite so amusing. In fact, this boy is still stuck in grade school, apparently, because MK tells me that a lot of kids are now making fun of this boy and his loud voice and overly-dramatic gestures and attitude.

In fact, MK sort of thinks the boy acts feminine – if you catch my drift.

But that’s not even the real issue (though that makes him uncomfortable). The real issue is he’s not sure how to handle this. He’s tried talking to the boy, “Dude, you’re embarrassing me. Cut it out.” And the boy gets all bent out of shape, raises his voice and just causes a scene so that it’s just better to endure his behavior than try and confront him about it. (And yes, MK has tried to talk to him privately, but it still escalates into a problem, from what MK tells me).

MK’s other friends are too freaked out to be around Lance, so they avoid him, leaving MK holding the embarrassment. MK doesn’t know what to do. He doesn’t want to hurt this boy’s feelings, he’s tried talking to him but Lance doesn’t seem to get the message.

MK is now thinking about emailing the boy – maybe Lance will actually LISTEN to what he has to say instead of making a scene and getting all defensive.

What would you advise your son to do if you were in my shoes?

EDIT: MK and his friend talked on the phone last night. He told the friend that he’s under a lot of stress this year with all of his music activities and he doesn’t have time to stress about his freinds’ behaviors. I was very impressed with how he handled himself – he was very mature and understanding, “I know you’re like that … I understand … but this is how I feel.”

I don’t know if anything was resolved but it was a very proud momma moment – we are really raising this kid right. It’ll be interesting to see how this kid handles the “truth.” Hey, if you don’t have honesty, then what do you have.

Thursday Thirteen

Thursday Thirteen – Question and Answers #1

I thought I would take this opportunity to answer some questions from my Monday Morning Meme. Don’t forget to check back Sunday afternoon for fresh questions!

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1. Have you ever played hooky (from school or work)? If so, what excuse did you use to get out of school/work? What did you do instead of going to school/work? How often do you play hooky? If you’ve never played hooky, why not? What one thing HAS to happen before you would consider playing hooky (again)? Has your significant other every played hooky? If so, tell us about it. If not, why not? Has anyone you known ever gotten caught playing hooky?

When I had jobs outside of the home, I showed up everyday I was supposed to. I think there might have been ONE time (possibly two) when I was a manager at Wendy’s that I called in sick and really wasn’t. However, when I found out how much of an inconvenience it had turned out to be for my replacment, I felt so guilty that I never did it again.

When I worked at Wal-Mart, I was trapped inside the cash office – which was a windowless office with video cameras for eight hours. And when I was working by myself, there wasn’t anyone to take my place – I was it, baby. I remember one time being so sick that I threw up in a Wal-Mart bag, walked the bag to the restroom, threw it away and worked the rest of my shift. I felt better after throwing up but … well, I couldn’t help but be mortified by the fact that my being sick was most likely caught on camera.

I can’t decide which is worse – throwing up in a Wal-Mart bag or doing it on tape.

Now the husband? Will most likely be one of those people who drop dead at work because he goes to work REGARDLESS of how he feels – always. I admire his determination and loyalty but geez, sometimes you just have to give yourself a break and stay home and rest, you know?

2. If you could be guaranteed an honest answer to three questions, what questions would you ask, and who would you ask them of?

A. I’d ask a presidential candidate – Do you REALLY think you can change our country for the better? (And of course, I’d have someone taping the encounter so we could all over-analyze his/her answer).

B. I’d ask God – Will I ever win the lottery? (Mainly because if I was ever talking to God, I would be so flustered because it’s GOD we’re talking about here, that I would totally screw it up and ask something lame like this. *grin*)

C. I’d ask my husband – Why do you love me? (Because I seriously want to know why he puts up with me).

3. If you could give a single piece of advice to the film industry in Hollywood, what would you say? If you were a powerful film producer, what sorts of films would you produce? Why?

Dude, seriously, choose your scripts more carefully. Most movies nowadays are so LAME. I’d produce movies that actually had PLOTS and decent CHARACTERS and then I’d make sure that the actors chosen for the job could, you know, actually DO the job.

4. What is your blog about? How long have you been blogging? Why did you begin blogging? Is it the same reason that you continue to blog today? How has your blog changed over the time you’ve had it? In six words, sum up your blog.

My blog is about my life. Wow, what a boring answer. But it’s true. I blog to journal my life, my thoughts and what I had for breakfast every day – oh wait, I don’t eat breakfast. I blog mainly because I have a terrible memory and it helps me to recall my past (that’s such a sad excuse, but its true). I can honestly say that my blogging has changed in that I no longer blog to try and gain readers/hits. I mean readers and hits are great, wonderful in fact, but I think when you start blogging largely to gain readers, you lose a bit of yourself in the process. And I don’t want to do that. So now, I’m only trying to post substantial and interesting (though that’s debatable) things about me and my thoughts.

I’ve been blogging since January 1st, 2005. I started on Blogger, discovered WordPress, moved to my own self-hosted site in the summer of 2005 and only recently (May of this year), moved my blog to wordpress.com because I was tired of dealing with all of the bugs and CPU drainage on my web host.

I do not plan on moving again – ever. I LOVE wordpress.com. Booyah!

5. When you go for a haircut, do you do something drastic? Or are you more of a ‘just a trim’ sort of person? Do you color your hair? If so, how often? Tell us about your best, and worst, hairstyle. What sort of hairstyle do you think looks good on you now?

A trim, mainly. My hair is pretty long now, just past my shoulder blades and though I like it long, and I think I look better with long hair, it drives me crazy because I keep finding long hairs stuck to my shirt and I HATE that. I plan on going in the day after Labor Day and having it colored, when I do, I think I’m going to have about two inches cut off simply because it’s driving me nuts.

I color my hair about every three months. I go in for a bang trim about every six weeks. I’m pretty low maintenance. 😉

6. If you only had enough time each day to read one section of the newspaper, which section would you read? Why this particular section?

I don’t read the paper – I mean why? When the same information PLUS some is on the Internet. But if I did, then it would definitely be the funnies. Why? Because life’s too short not to laugh, that’s why. Laugh every day. That’s an order.

7. What does the hand-soap in your bathroom smell of? What color are your bathroom walls? What color are your guest towels? What sort of decor, or theme, do you have in your bathroom? (Post a picture if you dare!)

We don’t have hand soap in our bathroom (unless we have guests over). I know, that sounds gross, doesn’t it. We usually walk to the kitchen and wash our hands. Our bathroom walls are a mushroom color. My mom HATES it, my mother-in-law loves it (they have very different tastes). Me? Eh, I’m not too crazy about it but I can live with it until we paint again. Our overall theme is tropical. We have palm tree pictures, a huge basket with palm fronds and other crap (can you tell I’m not big into home decor?) and our towels are a tannish/brown and tan colors. Oh, we also have a bamboo vase with bamboo in one corner of the bathroom. Here’s a picture if you’re interested.

8. What is the last thing you bought from a vending machine? Where were you? How much did you spend? Do you use vending machines very often?

Oh wow, I have no idea. It was probably at Wal-Mart to buy GD some soda. There’s this new “hot” thing going around with the kids here where they think they have some magic code they can punch into a soda machine and it supposedly by-passes the whole put your coins here thing and they can get free soda. Though the code definitely does something (judging by the weird message that comes up), he’s yet to get a free soda.

When I worked at Wal-Mart, the break room had several vending machines and I would stuff my face with chips and pastries. Hence the reason I was about twenty pounds heavier when I worked at Wal-Mart – it was too tempting NOT to.

9. What are your children doing right now? If you don’t have children, what is your significant other/roommate/friend, etc. doing right now?

Well, right now it’s 7:02 a.m. and the boys are dressed and ready for school and are killing time – MK is on his computer, GD is playing Mario Kart Racing. The husband just stepped into the shower and I’m thinking I need to stop this meme and make the boys lunch or we’re going to be late.

Back in a few …

10. Have you ever counted up all the pills and/or vitamin capsules that you take every day? How many are there? What do you take on a daily basis? Do you give your children vitamins? If so, what kind?

I do not take any prescription pills, nor do I ever intend to take prescription pills (unless it’s temporary, like antibiotics) ever. EVER. I will remain healthy throughout my old age and I will retain my mental capabilities – period. I believe it to be so and I trust God to help me make it so.

Now over the counter drugs? I take Aleve once in a while for sinuses. Excedrin migraine once in a while for, well, migraines. I also use nose spray (those pesky sinuses again). But other than that? I rarely even take Tylenol.

I do give the kids vitamins once in a while – especially when I see they are feeling run down and need a boost. I still give MK a children’s vitamin because he’s just so freaking skinny and underweight for regular vitamins. But GD, he gets a “man” vitamin – one of those daily vitamins designed for men.

The husband doesn’t pop pills, either. He does have to take Tylenol PM sometimes though to help him sleep.

11. Do you think that gift cards are suitable gifts to give? Do you find them to be impersonal? Do you like receiving gift cards? If so, from where and do you cash them in right away, or do you wait for the right item/price to come along?

I love, love, LOVE gift cards (hint hint!). ESPECIALLY to Barnes & Noble. In fact, I still have the gift card to B&N my parents gave me for my last birthday. It’s not that I haven’t found anything I want to spend it on, but rather, I prefer to hoard it, take it out and gaze upon its plastic goodness once in a while and think “I have a backup plan for that book I really, really want.” I love that.

I think they can be impersonal if the giver hasn’t given it much thought. For example, if I ever got a Lowe’s gift card I would be hard pressed not to look the giver in the eye and say, “Why?” But to get a gift certificate to your favorite store? Ahh, heaven.

12. Who have you needed to say thank you to lately? Who is this person and what did he/she do to prompt a thank you?

This is going to sound cliché but I can’t help it – my husband. I hate to brag on the man, but I quite possibly have the best husband in the world. He’s thoughtful, he pulls (more than!) his weight around the house, he is incredibly smart and is an amazing problem solver. And he puts up with me.

That, my dear husband, deserves a HUGE, HUGE thank you in and of itself. I’ve been really busy these past two weeks and he’s been fantastic – understanding and patient. Thank you honey, I love you more than I tell you.

13. How many candles will be on your birthday cake this next birthday? What do you think about the age you are now? Are you comfortable with what you’ve accomplished in life so far? Or do you wish you could have achieved more? You’re being granted one birthday wish – what is it?

Gads, I can’t believe I’m telling you guys this, but I’ll be 38 in November.

…………..

Oh alright! 39.

………….

Fine, 43. Happy now? 😦

Have I accomplished everything I’ve set out to? Not quite. I have just three major life goals:

1. To see my kids grow up and be responsible and successful adults.
2. To graduate from college.
3. To be published.

One, I’m still working on but I think we have a pretty good start.

Two, I graduated from college in 2003 and it was an AMAZING experience (I miss college!!).

Three, well, that’s the one I need to work on. I have a feeling 2009 might be the year it happens. (Of course, I said that last year too, but … whatever).

My birthday wish? To continue living a happy and fulfilling life. God has blessed me, he truly has.

Have a great Thursday, everyone!
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It’s fun!

Work Stuff

Catching My Breath

Karen is very tired. She has been working, nonstop, for the past five days on her newest project. It was a large project. A whopper, in fact.

(Karen hopes that her readers do not think she means the edible kind of whopper).

Karen has spent a lot of time and effort tweaking and perfecting this high school website.

Kickapoo High School

And it’s still not done. But actually, she wonders, are websites EVER really done?

She thinks not.

But it’s a good tired. It’s a she-built-something-really-attractive-and-it’s-helping-people-out-sort of tired – and she is satisfied.

And she has received many thanks from many different people. And even though the gratitude embarrasses Karen, she would be lying if she didn’t admit – she sort of likes people gushing all over her.

Verbally, that is.

And she has had lots of fun. Lots and lots of fun building the high school website.

For you see, high schools are challenging. There is SO much information that needs to be shared that sorting all of that information into cohesive, digestible chunks is quite challenging to display in an organized electronic manner. Karen’s websites are simple. She does not, nor has any interest, in building fancy-smancy websites that require crazy graphics or flash movies. She prefers her websites to be functional, yet attractive. She would rather build a website that informs it’s visitors as opposed to burning the retinas of it’s visitors.

She knows that people’s time? Is valuable. And most people do not have time to wait for cutesy, sophisticated graphics to load before they get to the meat of their search – the information the website contains.

And so, Karen’s websites are straight forward, yet elegant. Informative, yet entertaining – on a more subtle level, you see.

*pause*

*another long pause*

Alright, enough with the third-person talk. Is that not annoying or what?! I have a blog in my Google reader that reads like the above. It’s all in third person and I have to tell you, I’m on the verge of deleting the blog from my reader because it annoys the ever-loving shit out of me. (Sorry, but I’m quite cranky).

I mean, what is up with the third-person journal? Not only is it EXTREMELY annoying to read, but it automatically distances your readers from you. It’s like your living your life, on the outskirts – not really participating but rather an observer.

How lame is that? If you write your blog this way, I’m sorry, but I don’t get it. Why? Can anyone tell me how writing in third person, in a journal, about YOUR LIFE, is a good thing? Because I’m seriously curious to hear your answers.

But anyway…

Getting back to the website design thing. Yes. I’ve been really busy these past days. Things are settling down now and I can breathe for the first time … in a while. I’m seriously excited about this website because I truly think it’s going to help the school, overall, improve it’s public image. I also think it may stir up some school spirit with the students and teachers, too. After all, the more information that is made available, the more people know about it and the more people want to get involved.

Right?

I also gave my Write From Karen blog a face lift. (Did you notice?) This is my fall template. I plan on changing it to a Christmas template at the end of November and then I’m going to try and put a template together that I can live with all year long so I can concentrate my energies on designing things for other people and my writing.

I’m seriously thinking about hiring a cartoonist to make me a customized header. I have one in mind, thanks to my good pal Dale (thanks Dale!). He’s very reasonable (the cartoonist that is, though I’m sure Dale is reasonable, too) and I like his work. I’ll link to him soon – I don’t want to jinx anything at this point.

My brother-in-law is also an artist. And I’ve thought about asking him to do a caricature of me, but I haven’t worked up the nerve to ask him yet. AND, I’m sort of afraid of what he might come up with. My big nose? Pretty much a given, but I can only imagine what other characteristics he might exaggerate. 🙂

I’m splitting my websites in half. I plan on having one website devoted strictly to school and small business websites and one strictly for blog templates and blog components (buttons, banners, etc). I think it will be easier for me to keep track of project requests that way.

Of course, I’ve been talking about doing something like this for like, forever, so who knows when it’ll actually happen.

In the meantime, I’m accepting more website clients if you’re looking for a designer. I’m REALLY easy to get along with and I’m pretty cheap – much cheaper then you probably think. So, if your parent/teacher organization needs a website, I’ve got four years experience in designing, AND maintaining school websites. Again, I like to keep things simple, so if you’re looking for a lot of flashy stuff, then I’m probably not the designer for you.

In case you’re curious, here are some other websites I’ve done:

Disney Elementary
Cherokee Middle School
Pershing Middle School
Wilder Elementary
Wanda Gray Elementary School
Glendale High School
Kickapoo High School (most recent)
Ozarks Regional YMCA (the YMCA people did the flash stuff)
Freedom Financial Inc.
Midnite Thunder (rock band)

If you’re interested in a website, contact me! I don’t bite (normally – *grin* – I’m kidding! I’m actually very nice!)

Argh, I need a nap. It’s HARD WORK being creative.

Wordless Wednesday

Wordless Wednesday – Praying Mantis

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Want to play?

Praying Mantis

Look closely. See that huge praying mantis perched on the edge of our rain gauge? Yeah. That thing was in our backyard. Near our bedroom window.

EEK!

The guys discovered him while they were mowing the grass. You can see GD back there (on the left) looking curious, in a horrified way. And MK looking like he’s about to bolt if the thing moves one inch.

The husband took an 11 second video of the thing moving it’s head in a robotic fashion if you’re interested.

Creepy bug. *shudder*

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