Bible Verse of the Day

Monday, March 31, 2008

"...I was in prison and you came to visit me"

The title is from the Bible, Matthew 25:36. My weekend was spent with a group of ladies whose lives have been interrupted by a loved one in prison.

Kairos Outside is a ministry aimed at women who have a relative or friend in prison. Or they may have been in prison themselves. It is sponsored by women and attended by women. The only men serving were in the kitchen cooking and serving meals. I've been involved in the Walk to Emmaus for a number of years and Kairos is an outgrowth of the Cursillo program, of which the Walk to Emmaus is also based on. Kairos is a Greek word meaning "God's time." This was a very special weekend for me because I have not served in this type of ministry before.

Two of my friends from church asked me to join their music team because they wanted a high harmony voice. They're both altos. I've always wanted to be on a music team with Sue, so I said yes. Musically it was everything I expected it to be. As for the weekend itself, I didn't know what to expect. I have to say that I was moved by the women I met. There were some whose husband was in prison and had been for some time. I was impressed by their love for those men and their willingness to wait for them, no matter how painful their lives are. Then there were women with sons in prison. They were the ones who struggle with uncertainty and fear.

I spent most of the weekend in a fog of catching up because I didn't keep the schedule and it wasn't as organized as I'm used to with the Walk to Emmaus, but that didn't keep me from feeling right along with these ladies. It was an emotional roller coaster all weekend, from laughing so hard I almost wet myself to crying so hard I couldn't sing when I needed to. There are so many things that I want to talk about, but can't because the motto for Kairos Outside is "What you hear here, what you share here, when you leave here, let it stay here." So, suffice it to say that this is one of the most powerful ministry retreats I've ever been involved in and learned once again that I am more blessed by serving than those I bless with my service. Praise be to God for all His blessings and goodness.

Oh, yes, if you happen to have a few spare dollars to donate somewhere, please consider Kairos Outside because guests and team members don't pay to attend, but food and supplies must be purchased and the facilities rented. You can find out more by seeking them out at many local churches or clicking on the Kairos Outside link. Thank you and God bless you!

Friday, March 28, 2008

What Color Are You?

Take this test!
You're brown, a credible, stable color that's reminiscent of fine wood, rich leather, and wistful melancholy. Most likely, you're a logical, practical person ruled more by your head than your heart. With your inquisitive mind and insatiable curiosity, you're probably a great problem solver. And you always gather all of the facts before coming to a timely, informed decision. Easily intrigued, you're constantly finding new ways to challenge your mind, whether it's by reading the newspaper, playing a trivia game, or composing a piece of music. Brown is an impartial, neutral color, which means you tend to see the difference between fact and opinion easily and are open to many points of view. Trustworthy and steady, you really are a brown at heart.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

What Kind of Shoe Are You?

You Are Flip Flops

You are laid back and very friendly.

Cheery and sunny in disposition, you usually have something to smile about.

Style is important to you, as long as you can stay casual.

It takes a lot to get you to dress up!

You are a loyal and true person, though you can be a bit of a flake.

You tend to "play hooky" and blow off responsibilities a lot more than most people.

You should live: By the beach

You should work: At a casual up and coming company

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Happy Easter!

Easter is the most important season of the Christian calendar and as such it gets a huge celebration at church. Ours was no different this morning. We had a sunrise service at 6:30 this morning, which was very nice. It was lead by the youth and the message was inspiring. The pastor's daughter did the homily and she pointed out that growing up, when she wanted to learn about Jesus, it was from the Bible in the context of history, but she realized that Jesus is not just in the past, but comes to meet us from the future. How profound is that from a 16 year old?

Our next two services were filled with an amazing amount of music of many different styles. We had a choral and brass call to worship, a brass quartet piece, the praise music with band (including the brass guys, a flute, a clarinet, and myself on sax). We really rocked "Did You Feel The Mountain Tremble." Then we had a choral offeratory, and the final hymn was with brass, woodwind, organ (with a new console), rhythm, and choir and congregation. It was just beautiful and grand.

I don't know how, or even if, you celebrate Easter, but I hope that you were able to enjoy this special day of resurrection and hope for the future.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

I Survived the Band Trip

I finally am updating my blog after returning from the high school band trip. This may be a bit long, so my apologies up front. The photo album can be viewed from the link below.

WHS Band Trip 2008

We left on Friday after school was out for Spring Break. We took three buses, three directors, 104 kids, 13 chaperones, and a van with the banner in it. The trip was scheduled to take about 20 hours, but it was actually a bit longer. We watched about three movies before everyone on my bus crashed for the night. Of course the drivers had to stop periodically by law and most kids got off for those 15 minutes of break. We stopped to eat breakfast near Pensacola, FL on Saturday morning.

When we arrived at the hotel, it was about 4:30, an hour and half late. We had about an hour to get checked in and ready to leave for the Pirate Dinner Show. The show was a lot of fun with the whole restaurant divided into color groups represented by a pirate wearing the group color. Our group spread across red and yellow. The story was fun and there were some interesting games and stunts performed. The food distribution was interesting to watch. The servers had huge carts of food that they pretty much just slopped onto the plates in front of people. It was very much like cafeteria food and there was a lot of it. I'll let you draw your own conclusions.

The next day was the Magic Kingdom at Disney World. I was in charge of a group of eight freshman boys and one sophomore girl, who is dating one of the boys. The band director instructed us to keep the students' passes so that they wouldn't lose them. So as soon as we were inside the gates, I collected them up and asked them what they wanted to do. Most groups ditched their chaperones and went off in groups of three or four. My group wanted to hang together and they didn't mind if I hung out with them. The first place we went was to Space Mountain. I think I really impressed the kids with my willingness to ride the rides. And let me tell you, we rode a lot!

The next day we added a person so our group because she wasn't having too much fun with her group of girls. We spent day two at Hollywood Studios and the first thing we did was ride the Tower of Terror. Everyone wanted to do it again after dark, so we made plans to come back. Before the ride we got Fast Passes for the Aerosmith roller coaster. So then we went looking for rides to ride and things to do until time to ride with Aerosmith. That was a lot of fun. If you like roller coasters, the Rockin' Roller Coaster is one to do.

Right around dark we met up with several other groups of kids to ride the Tower of Terror again. There is something to be said for cell phones because all the kids had them and were able to hook up just about any time. So we all got into line as a huge group. There were 17 of us. Turns out that a car can hold 21 people. One of the other chaperones, who came as our photographer and was hanging out with us, had the two of us bookend the kids in the ride. On the way up the hill we had a bit of drama with the kids. One of the girls from another group lit into the girl who joined our group that day for something that had nothing to do with anything. It's one of those teenagers in love things and there was a spat taking place. I had to call down the attacker and told her that wasn't the time or place for that kind of behavior. The one being attacked wanted to leave, but I wouldn't let her. As a chaperone I couldn't have a single girl wandering around on her own in a park full of strangers. Anyway, we got on the ride and had a blast, even in the dark.

We got through the day and onto the next, my birthday. You know what was bizarre that day? The two girls that were fighting, who were from the same group, were buddies again. That day we went to Island of Adventure at Universal Studios. My group grew again. I guess word was getting around that Mrs. B. was cool.

The started out with breakfast at Denny's where one of the other chaperones bought my breakfast. As I was getting ready to leave, some of the boys from my group were coming in and sitting at a large table. The student leader of my group got up and wished me a happy birthday and gave me a huge hug. I think that made my day. Later, at the park, the group chose to go to Island of Adventure since that's where all the thrill rides are. Our first ride was the Hulk. What a wild ride! We stood in line for more than an hour, but it was worth it.

After that we worked our way around the park riding rides and getting wet. The next to the last ride we rode was the wild river ride, the one in the big round raft. We loaded our 19 kids into two of them and we got soaked! When we got back to the get-off point, there was no one waiting to get on the ride so they let us go around again. The boat turned 180 degrees from the first time around and everyone who escaped the soaking the first time got it good the second time around. We got off the ride with teeth chattering and bodies shivering. The other boatload of kids went around third time. While we were waiting for them, we were wringing out our socks and clothing as best we could. It was cold, but it was so much fun! And we had just enough time to ride the Hulk again. What a thrill that was!

I got back to my room and immediately took a shower to get warm. The next day was packing up and loading up to leave from Epcot. By the time we got to Epcot everyone was exhausted. I think a lot of people were ready to just go home, but we had one more day of "fun." My group kind of went their own way. There aren't many thrill rides at Epcot, so we went to the first one that didn't have a two-hour wait time, Test Track. We showed up there with eight people, but most of them decided to not ride or go in the single-rider line. I ended up with our group's student leader riding with me. We had been riding everything together anyway, so I don't think he minded waiting with me. We didn't have a lot of time at Epcot because we had to leave. We even left an hour earlier than planned because of some expected bad weather. I think the whole crowd was happy to be heading for the buses to go home.

One thing that I discovered was that my tennis shoes weren't the best for walking and standing in line for all day. After the second park day my feet were screaming. I almost couldn't walk to the bus and I stil had to do chaperone duties after we got back to the hotel rooms. The third day I wore my Crocs. I was concerned about how my feet were going to hold up in them, but I did even better on days three and four in the Crocs.

I'm still sufferning from swelling in my feet and ankles from the bus ride home and no matter how long I keep my feet up, I still can't feel everything with them. My sleep schedule is just now starting to get back to normal, and I have to go back to work on Monday. But despite all that I had a great time and will remember this for many years.

Oh yeah, DS#2 was on the trip, but I gave him his space, so I didn't see too much of him for most of the trip. I think he had fun. LOL!

Friday, March 14, 2008

Happy 4th Birthday, 123-Scrap!!!

I'm preparing to take my son and about 100 of his closest friends to Disneyworld tomorrow, so I'll be missing out on one of the coolest things to do for a weekend (outside of visiting the Mouse). 123-Scrap is having their 4th Birthday Cyber Crop and everyone is invited. There are games, chats, lots of challenges, lots of prizes and lots of fun. I'll be thinking about the girls while I'm gone, but you can certainly join them for the festivities. If you do, be sure and leave a comment here so I can vicariously enjoy the fun!

Monday, March 10, 2008

Weekend Photos

Warning: This post has a lot of photos and is a bit long. Thx.

Over at we're doing a Picture A Week thread. It's not really a challenge, just something to do. Since December, I've not taken my camera everywhere with me and when the call for this week's favorite picture shows up, I remember that I haven't taken any, yet. Saturday I saw the posting about an hour before sunset. So I grabbed my camera and went outside to see what there was to see.

The sun was still bright, but not immediately visible from the back yard. As I walked around the back I spotted the mountain laurel tree that has never bloomed. I planted it nearly 20 years ago from a seed I got from my parents' place near Austin. It wasn't so impressive in the pictures. I went to the front to see what might be there. I was actually stalking the cat because I had seen her walk by on the fence from my scrap room, but the camera batteries were both dead and I missed the shot. TWICE! So, while in the front yard I spotted a flower pot that I inherited from my mother. This flower pot is significant because I just finished scrapping a bunch of photos of Mom with her donkey, goats, and cows. My mother loved livestock and she got this goat planter in Mexico sometime during my lifetime. It's now in my front yard, so I snagged a picture of it.

I was also thinking about Suzanne's word for the week "garden." I'm thinking about putting a photo on my card this week. I thought that with the sun shining through the leaves, my iris bed would be kind of cool. But it's kind of weedy right now. It still made a pretty cool shot. Just ignore the dead grass!

Right above the iris bed is the neighbor's loquat tree. He planted it there about 12 years ago and it's kind of neat there. Although it can leave messy fruit droppings in the summer. Loquats have large glossy leaves that are very pretty to look at. One thing I remember about it was during the winter of 2006-07 we had a very severe frost and my son had parked his truck facing the tree. The next morning we came out and some of the leaves had frozen to the truck. When I backed the truck up to go to the store, there was a perfect loquat leaf ice sculpture on the hood! Well, that tree is putting on the first of its fruit now. And the sun was just perfect for this photo.

Then I started looking at other blooming things. The peach tree outside my scrap room window is blooming.

The pyrocanthus bush in the neighbor's yard had beautiful bright berries on it. And he just replaced the old fence with new boards. It took a cool shot, too.

His crabapple tree is blooming.

But my favorite picture of all is of a single peach blossom.

Happy Spring, everyone!

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Singing the National Anthem

Singing the National Anthem is very important to me. I don't know why, it's probably just because I love my country so much and want to honor it. Maybe it's because I'm able to sing it. I always sing the National Anthem and I sing it out loud and proudly. I've sung it standing next to the marching band in the stadium stands while the home band plays and have had the kids near me turn to stare. Anyway, when this link was sent to me, I just had to share it.

Online Friends

When I first told my husband that I was going to meet a lady that I knew from online, he freaked a bit. This lady is a scrapbooking buddy from Chris lives in California and when I went out to Anaheim for a class, I made arrangements to meet her. We had a lovely time eating dinner and getting to know one another. We had wine on the deck of a restaurant that sat high above the breakers of the Pacific Ocean. The plan was to capture the sunset with our cameras. That was in 2006.

This past weekend, I got to meet three other ladies from Pam came from the east coast, Tammy came with her family from North Texas, and Amy and her family live close to me. We met at a restaurant for supper and my husband got to meet a bunch of my online buddies and their families. I guess he's okay with me meeting scrapping friends, now!

I took this photo of the right side of the table with my three visitors.

Anyway, after we ate, we sent the families on their way and we went to a Friday night crop at a local scrapbook store (LSS for those who follow scrapping). It was a lot of fun to get to know these ladies and form closer bonds.

Amy took this photo in front of the Tim Holtz display.

I already know that whenever I travel for training I'm going to be looking for places that have scrappers nearby so that I can meet them. Sometimes we drive to Pittsburgh to visit relatives and I'm going to make it a point to swing through Alabama to visit SUZANNE. Consider yourself warned, my friend! I'll let you know when we decide to go to PA again. Probably next year or so, so you have time. :-)