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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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.


Coffee Chat Writing Project – September 2008

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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 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 is coming up next!


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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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.


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.”


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.


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.