Monday, November 10, 2008

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Legends of the Fall…
I love fall! I love the smells, the sights, the crisp feel in the air, and the memories that come back to me during this time of year.

I remember when I was about 6 or 7 years old, I’d be so excited about the chestnuts falling from the three big chestnut trees in our front yard. I would gather them up in a big basket and I’d eat them as fast as I could put them in the basket! I liked them raw, not roasted, but I don’t recall ever turning down a roasted one either. Also, I remember my teacher’s aid in my 1st grade class, Mrs. Betty Neves and how she loved chestnuts, too. I would get her some in a paper bag and take them to her. She would always act like I’d brought her a bag of gold nuggets. She made me feel so good about my simple gesture. I wonder if she really liked them as much as she acted like she did? Or did she just pretend as a means of assuming a 6 year old? Either way, that woman was such a sweetheart and I loved her.

I remember when the spider lilies bloomed in our yard. They would just pop up out of nowhere and were scattered all over the place. I would go around and pick just about everyone that I saw and I’d have a huge bunch of them in my hands coming through the door. Mom would put them in a big vase and I remember thinking they weren’t near as pretty in the vase as they were popping up out of the ground from the bare grass! To this day, I get a bit nostalgic when I see spider lilies. They remind me of home and Mother and that awesome time of year.

I remember raking the leaves with mom in the yard and burning the piles. Those chestnut burrs would burn forever and we’d have several smoky piles of leaves and chestnut burrs scattered around the yard. It would start getting dark and cool and I’d love the way the burning piles would start casting off a spooky glow. On occasion, we’d roast a marshmallow or two just for the sake of not wasting a good smoldering fire.

I remember coming home from elementary school and getting a report on Mother’s progress on my Halloween costume for the upcoming Halloween escapades. Mother made our costumes from scratch and was a master at taking clothes and items we already had and turning them into the perfect costume. They were always so awesome! One year, I was Glinda the Good Witch and she made me a beautiful tall glittery crown just like the one Glinda wore and the wand to match. And one year, I was a Wicked Witch (do you see my Wizard of Oz obsession surfacing at this time in my life?) and she made me the most amazing hair and attached it to a witch’s hat. It must have been 3 scains of an ugly grey yarn that was wound into hundreds of tight curly curl. And it was a full head of hair! I really have no idea how she made the yarn curl tight like that but it was very cool looking! And the hat had a mouse running up the side. I remember thinking that was the coolest touch! She was so clever and creative with our costumes! I remember thinking I was very lucky to have a mom that would spend time doing stuff like that for me.

I remember trick-or-treating in Fort Gaines, Ga with my brother and cousins. We would go to my grandmother’s house and get our picture made and then we’d leave together and ride in a pick-up truck, usually in the back of it, and head into town. We’d go to all the cool houses, like the White’s, the Crapps, the Neves, and we’d see SO MANY of our friends on the streets as we’d go house to house. It was definitely not like it is now! We actually went to the front door of every house and we walked all through the town and we weren’t scared of anything happening to us or anyone grabbing us. Everyone knew everyone. Every house gave good candy, many of the houses had some surprises around the corner and all the kids rode around in the back of trucks. And when we had our fill of ringing doorbells and our baskets, buckets and bags were loaded down with confections, we would head back to Mama’s house to inspect the loot. We would all sit in the floor, me, my brother Steve and my cousins David, Jamie and Valerie and we would dump all our candy out and go through it piece by piece. Sometimes we’d do some swapping but most times we coveted our own loot and just starting making our mental schedule for when we would eat what. It was truly a magical time and I remember thinking I never wanted to go trick-or-treating ANYWHERE other than Fort Gaines!

Fall is such an awesome time of year! I appreciate the weather, the fall colors, the activities and most importantly, the memories!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things that MADE MY DAY for Monday!

#1 My cousin Valerie found out today she is having a boy! Valerie is my only girl cousin on my mom's side and we are close. Her mom and my mom are sisters and they too are very close. So obviously, Val having a baby at 31 is very exciting for all of us! She and her hubby Rick celebrated their ONE YEAR anniversary today, too!
#2 I got a parking permit for the lot in front of my building again. I've been on the waiting list for over a year and while I have worked in that building for 12 years, I still got kicked out of the lot during the Health Center renovation. I finally got it back.
#3 My boys (all 3) and I carved an amazingly cute pumpkin tonight! I LOVE the look of pumpkins glowing on the front porch! Our's is called Jack Flack and he has a funny little crooked smirk on this face!
#4 I cooked a good meal, with yummy black-eyed peas, creamed corn and BBQ chicken! It was yummy if I say so myself.
#5 I finished pulling together my halloween costume for a party Saturday night! I think it's going to be pretty darn good.
#6 I got hit from behind on the way to work today (No, that's not the good news) and before 9:30, I had already heard from the lady's insurance company, gotten an estimate on the damage to my back bumper, gotten a rental car reserved and gotten an appointment for tomorrow to get my durango fixed. AND I NEVER made a single call! The lady used Progressive and I must say, I was very impressed with their service and how the handled the claim (so far.)
#7 AND LAST BUT NOT LEAST... Tomorrow is mine and Derek's 13th wedding anniversary!
THANK GOD and everyone that has ever supported us and helped us get this far! It's been an amazing journey so far and I can't wait for the next 13 plus!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

As upbeat as I generally try to be...I just have to say, I'VE HAD A DEPRESSING DAY! First, I spent the morning listening to a scientist lecture on the climate changes and basically the human race facing apocolypic consequences. VERY DOOM AND GLOOM stuff with no sign of hope... I mean the list goes ON AND ON about how bad off the earth is, how bad we as a human race has messed up, and how bad the consequences will be that our children and grandchildren will inherit. UGGG...
Then we heard the Dean talk on and on about the budget, how bad it is, how bad it will be, how many layoffs will have to happen, how our raises are basically a complete improbability. Then we got the notice that our insurance was going up, health, car AND HOME... ALL OF IT!
Then to end the work day, I went and had my boobs mashed flat for my yearly mammogram - due in part to my mom having had breast cancer TWICE before the age of
60 and I walk around with a constant higher risk. (Please know I AM NOT blaming her or anyone else, its just the facts of life and one of the ones that SUCKS the MOST!)
Then I read about how many voters have signed up to vote this year and I'm pretty darn sure that 80% of them are probably democrats... in fact a huge number of them are PRISONERS! Great... real smooth move...
Then if that wasn't the worse part, I had to come home to THIS CRAP called a presidential debate!! I am getting a headache as we speak just watching these two try to avoid the questions! I just want to scream, LORD HELP US! HAVE MERCY ON US!!

But, in typical Juli fashion, I have to go to bed on a bright note... SO...

On the bright side, the boys are doing great, healthy and happy. Derek and I are doing great (better than ever!). I am pretty sure my job is one of the safe ones during this awful budget situation. We can pay our bills (even if we have to dip into our savings to do it.) And the bottom line is that God is STILL in control of EVERYTHING. And last but certainly NOT LEAST, because of Jesus Christ's love and forgiveness, I can go to bed knowing that if I die tonight, I'm ready for eternity! How is THAT for security?!

Monday, October 6, 2008

My Favorite Things - New For Mondays

I'm going to start sharing with you a few of my favorite things each Monday. It's easier than trying to come up with something to write about after a long hard Monday back at work... So here we go...

My Favorite Things for the Week of Oct. 6.
#1 My Mantle decorated for Halloween. I particularly like my cute witch lady that is striking a pose. She is dressed in a cute little purple and orange striped dress. She reminds me of me a little bit! Kinda sassy and only slightly 'wicked.'

#2 The cool hats and purses that belonged to Nanny that I brought home from the estate sale. Not only will they make cool potential halloween costume props, but they are special and unique. Nanny was quiet the fashionista!

#3 My new brown flats. They hurt my feet the first day I worn them, but they are cute, nonetheless.

#4 DISNEY WORLD and my personal page. We are planning a trip to Disney World for Thanksgiving and I love going to the site and looking at our intinerary! I've made and ordered customized maps for our trip that includes all the attractions and shows we want to be sure to see and all the restaurants where we plan to eat. I made reservatoins today for dinner on Thanksgiving Day, lunch on Friday at the Magic Kingdom and lunch on Saturday at Hollywood Studios! I am enjoying all the pre-planning and I sure hope it helps us navigate the busy holiday crowds. Regardless, I'm having a blast just thinking about that trip! I can hardly wait!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

The Lord Gives and the Lord Takes Away

I think life is one giant game of give and take, on every single level, from the smallest things to the biggest. We (the entire Fields clan) spent the entire day yard sale-ing. Not buying but selling. We were helping Derek's mom sort through and sell all of her parent's belongings, who both passed away in the spring. The Lord gave the family 90 plus years of wonderful love with Nanny and Papa, and then the Lord took them back to His house.

It's amazing what folks buy and what they don't. Some things that you would think would sell so fast, don't even get a second look, while other stuff that you'd think is absolutly useless, gets snatched up fast. And then there is the whole concept of taking the lives of two people now reduced to 'things', pawning them off to the highest bidder (or the lowest bidder or the only bidder depending on the thing.) It feels weird but its just part of life. All the things that one collects in their lifetime will end up somewhere else or someone elses in the end. There is nothing like spending the day going through the 'things' of two deceased people to help drive home the fact that in the end, I mean the VERY end, the things that mattered most to those left behind were not 'things at all. There were so many items that held a different memory from each grandchild, child and friend. And while those objects are now on someone else's knick-knack self, the memories still remain in tact 'back at home.' The Lord gives us our memories, while the customer takes away the things.

And then there were the items Derek and I sold or tried to sell. I made a few hundred bucks for stuff I'd boxed up and carried to the yard sale. Meanwhile, I lost my sunglasses ($10), Derek's favorite sunglasses got broke ($10), and the big kicker, the boys spilled BBQ sauce on our white carpet during supper time. So, we made some money and its basically already spent, and if not, needs to be spent getting a carpet cleaner! While it's nice to get a few bucks of some things that were clogging up the basement, I can't help but wonder if it was worth the effort. I think in the end, I mean the VERY end, if it keeps my kids from having to go through one less bin of 'things' that belonged to me, it is definitly worth it!

Tonight I thank God for everything that He has given me and I'll thank Him more for everything he has taken away. In the end, I mean the VERY end, with God on my side, I know I'll do a whole lot better than 'break even.'

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

What color Play-doh would I be?

Today was one of those 'mold me and make me' days! I felt like God was really working on me like a big 'ole wad of play-doh. I won't go into details, but let's just say tonight I feel like that long string of play-doh that's been mushed through a tiny little hole... stretched out way beyond that comfortable ball form!

Some days its easier for me to feel the Master working and go, 'Okay God, I hear ya. Thanks for working with me.' and other days, like today, I want to scream, 'ENOUGH! I got the point! I'm flawed. I need more molding. But work on someone else for a change!' I'm sure I'm not the only one out there that doesn't always understand how and when God chooses to mold. I hope its because I'm eventually going to be some cool retro ashtray or circus animal on God's knickknack shelf...

And speaking of molding, Dustin has some seriously screwed up homework for the 3rd grade! This stuff is so far out that most nights there are questions I can't help him with. Usually it's math, but tonight it was a reading question. His story was about a family that goes camping and the kids want to climb this big waterfall and the dad won't let them. But the next day when they go back to the waterfall, the Dad lets them climb it. The question Dustin had to answer was, "Why do you think the dad changed his mind and let the kids climb the waterfall?" Good grief! What kind of question is that?! I mean, why do we as parents do a lot of things?!? Why does any parent change their mind about things?! Who the heck really knows why the Dad changed his mind about the dang waterfall?!! Maybe he decided to quit being a stick in the mud! Maybe he decided it wasn't worth arguing about! Maybe he popped a few happy pills at breakfast and the waterfall didn't stress him out anymore. Maybe he just didn't want to have to climb up after them that first day because he was tired as hell from packing the camping gear, driving 400 miles, unloading the truck, and well, you get the picture! I mean COME ON curriculum folks! Get real! I'm 37 and a parent twice over and I can't answer that question. How the heck is my 9 year old suppose to figure it out? We answered it by saying, 'he felt more comfortable about it the second day.' It's probably the wrong answer, but I don't plan to lose any sleep over it.

Doh!!! There's that attitude again! Oh well... time for some more molding! Tonight's perfume of choice - O'de'Playdoh. Ahhh...smells just heavenly...

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My theme today, in the words of my crooning buddy, country music artist,
Don Williams...

Lord, I hope this day is good
I'm feelin' empty and misunderstood
I should be thankful Lord, I know I should
But Lord, I hope this day is good
Lord, have you forgotten me
I've been prayin' to you faithfully
I'm not sayin' I'm a righteous man
But Lord, I hope you understand
I don't need fortune and I don't need fame
Send down the thunder Lord, send down the rain
But when you're planning just how it will be
Plan a good day for me...
Yep, its been that kind of week, Don.
But, I know He is listening and I'm so blessed that He has planned more good days than bad for me. I'm gonna hang in there, put a smile on and crank up some Tulsa Times!

Friday, August 8, 2008

One Knotch Up the Coconut Tree...

We survived day 1 of kindergarten and 3rd grade with very little tears or drama. According to Cody's teacher, he had a good day and his clothes pin got moved one knotch up the coconut tree. When he moves six steps and reaches the top, he gets to go to the goodie basket. Day 2 started with the 'I don't want to go to school' talk, but hopefully that will subside after a few weeks. (fingers crossed!)
Thank God today is Friday! It's been a busy week at work for me and with the back to school blahs, its been stressful, too. I had to run an errands after work today and since I was going to be driving by one, Derek requested a Pizza Hut pan pizza. Well, as luck with have it, this place was an absolute ZOO! I was there about 15 minutes before the lady behind the corner could even take my order. Orders were getting messed up, lost completely, rang up wrong, the whole nine yards. The lady behind the counter even tired to give me someone else's change, and I hadn't even ordered yet! It was a mess. When she finally was able to help me, she apologized and said they were really busy and that it had been like that since 10:00 that morning and she had been working since 9:00. She looked beat up and exhausted, but she was trying to keep a smile on her face. When it came time to pay, I asked her if she could take tips, she said yes, and I gave her a tip. Nothing life changing, just $5, but she just beamed and looked like she might cry and said 'thank you maam so much.' Then I said a prayer for her while I waited for my pizza. I knew the prayer would help her much more than the money, and it kept me from getting angry at the whole situation. I was tired and ready to go home, but this gal was busting her butt at Pizza Hut, getting chewed out by folks left and right (one lady was actually YELLING at her when I left with my pizza) for probably minimum wage and probably had a whole lot more problems than I do. I knew I had no right to be feeling sorry for myself for waiting on a pizza for 30 minutes!

I can't say for sure, but I hope that somewhere God moved my clothes pin one knotch up the coconut tree, and her's too...

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Back to School Blahs...

Tomorrow morning, my sweet baby Cody Cooper starts kindergarten! I can hardly believe it. "Time flies" and "They grow up so fast" are such cliches, but boy oh boy are they accurate. I remember the day that Dustin started kindergarten, I felt like I was going to throw up all morning long and I cried all the way to work once I dropped him off. Now, it's my baby!! My youngest son! And I'm having a hard time adjusting to the fact that I don't have a baby anymore, but a young boy.

Cody will probably adjust pretty quickly, but then again, he has a way of surprising me and keeping me on my toes. Just when I think he is a tough little booger with no fears, he gets clingy and emotional and gives me that sad puppy dog look that melts my heart! Then I get clingy and emotional! I can't help but want to hold on that last little bit of 'baby' that he still has in him. I never thought it'd be this hard to watch my kids grow up.
And Dustin will be in the 3rd grade. I'm nervous about that too. Everyone keeps saying that 3rd grade is rough because of the tons of homework and projects and the pressure to pass the 'tests', those dreaded tests... I think he'll be fine and he sure has come a long way since that first day of kindergarten. He had a rough time with the school thing for a few years, but last year, he seemed to settle in and he doesn't seem the least bit nervous about tomorrow.

But even though neither of them are freaking out about school starting, neither of them are looking forward to it. And I can't blame them one bit. My kids will never be the type that 'looks forward' to school starting back. I saw a kid in our neighborhood yesterday and he said, "I can't wait for school to start on Wednesday! I'm so ready to go back." And I thought to myself, 'now those are words I'll never hear one of my kids say!" And I never said that either. I liked summer time and would gladly have skipped the whole school thing, if the law would allow!

I mean let's face it... our lives are about to get complicated. After a nice SHORT summer of no homework, no schedules, no bedtime, sleeping late, etc... we can now look forward to evenings of homeword battles, rushed baths, bedtime with daylight still coming through the windows, grumpy morning children, quick waffle breakfast, quick dress, find the shoes, gather the homework, brush the teeth, brush the hair, argue over the sink, argue over the clothes, argue over who goes out the door first, insanity! I've heard many folks say they are ready to get back to school and back to a routine, but not me... I am not ready. I dread it. And I dread it for my boys. And while I know and understand how important it is... back to school time IS NOT my favorite time of the year!
But, like any other part of life, we will see it through. We'll work it out. We'll make it happen. And we'll probably laugh alot and cry alot while we're doing it! That's what makes us a family!
Let the homework begin and May the Force Be With You...