Monday, June 29, 2009

New FIRST review up!

You know you wanna go see!! Check it out by clicking the button above!

Friday, June 26, 2009

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Two books!

I'm reviewing two EXCELLENT Bible studies for women today! Click the button above to go check 'em out!

Flashback Friday--Torture

Who else could I honor on the day after Michael Jackson's death than MJ? It is hard to believe, and I am very saddened. I'm sad that he went out as a freak and a cartoon of himself instead of the talented artist he truly was. I had the pleasure of seeing him and his brothers in concert when I was 11 years old. It was the Victory Tour, and he was at the height of his popularity. My sisters actually camped out all night in order to get us tickets to the Neyland Stadium show. It was my first concert ever, but it is, of course, one that I'll always remember!

This song was from that of my faves from the Victory album (yes, I said album! LOL)

Rest in peace, King of Pop! Our prayers are with you and your family.

What are you remembering today? Please share! Don't forget to sign the Mr Linky, too!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

New FIRST Wild Card Tour review up!

The review today is of a book called Wildcard. If you like suspense, this is the book for you! Go check it out by clicking the button above!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--Blast from the Past!

One of my high school classmates posted this pic on Facebook...I'm the blonde! How 'bout those hairstyles?!

Check out another FIRST Wild Card Tour on BlahBlahReviews while you're here!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beach watch...

The events of the day! The Atlantic was SOOO clear today, that even up to 5-6 feet deep, we could see our feet! We saw all sorts of minnows swimming through and see them around our ankles. We even saw 2 dolphins swimming not far at all from us! There were several shrimp boats near us, and I found a clam shell that was still intact! This afternoon we drove over to Southport and went out on the pier. While out there, we saw 2 men catch caught a really ugly fish that Chris thinks was a monk fish, and then another man caught 2 little sharks while we were there! He let the boys touch them, and Adam even held it and threw it back in the water! I got a pic with my cell and I'll see if I can upload it!

I'm feeling considerably better than I did our first day, but still having to take more meds that usual. However, I came to the realization that I'd been running pretty much nonstop since school got out what with VBS and classes, so no wonder I'm worn out! Fatigue definitely contributes to the pain.

Tonight we're heading to a local barbecue joint and I think we're gonna go to a local seafood place on Thursday evening. Chris fixed us mahi mahi and shrimp last night, which was delicious!

Signing off from coastal Carolina!

Sunday, June 21, 2009

We're at the beach!

It is SOOOO nice! We're renting a really nice house that isn't but a few years old. It's funny, the internet view of this house says that it only has 3 bedrooms, so I spent weeks worrying about how in the world we were all going to fit comfortably, and come to find out the owners just say it has 3 bedrooms so they don't get huge crowds in....but the rental company tells families! So all that worrying for nothing--we've got 5 bedrooms, 3.5 baths, and are just over the dunes from the beach! I was extremely tired from going back and forth to class all week and then riding all day yesterday. We got here and I was worn out and grouchy, but thankfully I had read a Bible verse that has already helped me out a lot---one about instead of being disagreeable, blessing those with whom you disagree! So I'm sure I'm gonna do lots of blessing this week! LOL

Given the stress and fatigue level, Friday and Saturday were painful days as related to fibromyalgia. On Friday I was able to get to sleep by meditating (myself! Didn't even use guided meditation!) instead of using medication, which I always like. I'm not opposed to sleeping pills when I need them, but if I can do it naturally I not only sleep better, but feel less 'drugged' the next morning. I was quite drowsy coming down the road yesterday so I dozed on and off. I was having some hip pain so I also took a nap after we got here. This has been one of those times when having an invisible illness is difficult. When I say I don't feel well but can't give people who haven't been with me through this specifics of WHY, I feel like they think I'm either making it up or exaggerating. That is why I haven't come right out and told Chris' family members until now. I don't bring it up unless it is a problem...and yesterday it definitely was. It was affecting my mood, my emotions, and I really wasn't in the mood to be treated in a condescending manner....which sometimes happens in this crowd! I explained, in tears, to Chris why I was so frustrated and then walked by myself down the beach and back to calm down. I made a conscious effort to be more chipper when I got back and soon it was making a difference! That and God's Word resonating in my head both helped me get through the day til I could collapse in bed without being rude!

We went out to eat this morning for breakfast and then to the beach for several hours. The kids are having a ball! Isaac is LOVING using his body board to ride the waves in, and Adam has already built multiple sand castles. I got a bit too much sun on my arms and chest, but it isn't painful, so I think it will turn to tan tomorrow (I hope!)

Tonight we went to eat at a 'fine dining' restaurant. The food was good, but we were paying for quite a bit of atmosphere as the restaurant is ocean front. One good thing, though: the hostess complimented us as we left for how well-behaved all our children were! That is always nice to hear!

Right now I'm sitting on the covered porch listening to the waves break and looking out over the dunes to the shore....what a life! Chris' brother has gone to the beach to fish, and his wife, their kids, and our kids have gone out there to play and watch him. I'm loving that the boys are finally getting big enough that we don't have to hover over them as much and we can relax and enjoy ourselves more. Even our youngest nephew, though only 3.5, is getting more 'predictable', and as he is the only one we must "run after", we can take turns a bit with that.

What a blessing it is for us to be able to enjoy this time together with our families! I'm so glad to NOT have any homework hanging over my head, but I almost don't know what to do with myself, in a way! I'm sure I'll figure it out!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flashback Friday--1, 2, 3

This song popped in my head this morning while I was getting ready to come to class (yes, if you must know, I'm in class....I'm finished w/my project and am waiting to talk to my professor about it!) and thought about how hilarious it was the night I saw Gloria Estafan and Miami Sound Machine at the Riverbend Festival on the banks of the Tennessee River in Chattanooga, TN. In order to get a decent spot to sit, my dad dropped my mom and I off at the site and went to visit some church members who were hospitalized. He came back later and noted to himself that he had parked in the Provident Insurance parking lot.

The concert went well and we had a nice time...until it started POURING the rain afterward! We had little worries, though, cause we knew exactly where we were parked and could go straight to the car!


Little did we know that not only were there multiple Provident parking lots, but we also didn't consider how common our white Chevrolet Caprice Classic was--seemed like we'd see what we thought was our car in every lot! We were frustrated at first, but soon realized the rediculousness of our futile attempt to find the car and started laughing. It is now a family legend!

I remember hearing this song at that concert, and even bought a t-shirt to commemorate the event! My mom bought the single and played it for her Kindergarten class to help them learn their numbers, and they played it 'til it was completely unplayable!

What about you? Do you have any fantastic memories you'd like to share with us? Any tv show, commercial, song, etc. you'd like to tell us the story of your memory of it? C'mon, join in the fun! You know you wanna! Link yourself up with Mr Linky here so we can all see what you're remembering!

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Worldless Wednesday--Emory & Henry

I found this blog that has absolutely beautiful prints! I wish that these prints were available to buy cause they're gorgeous! Please go check out the other paintings. By the way, this is my home away from home, the college I attended for undergrad and am now attending for grad school as well.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Funny how things hit you...

I've been driving up to my alma mater weekly for almost a year now, and I have thought more about the good 'ol days when I was a full-time student there more times than I can count. Today, however, some rougher memories came to mind.

There were two tragedies that took place while we were students. The first was during my sophomore year, and the second almost a year later. Both are circumstances that I'll never forget. I remember the exact desk where I was sitting in Miller Hall when we heard a horrific sound coming from the direction of the train tracks. Nothing more was said after the sound, but I did notice later on that afternoon when I was driving to a local elementary school to tutor a child that a train was stopped on the tracks on the edge of campus. I didn't think much of it at the time. When I got back about an hour later, there was a note for me from my roommate for me to find her at her boyfriend's dorm. I honestly don't think I've written about that day since then, and my eyes are filling with tears at the memories....

I didn't make it all the way across campus before I saw Robin, her fella, and the guy I was crushing on at the time, and they called out to me. I walked toward them, and soon my 'guy' folded me in his arms, as they explained that a fellow student had been killed by a train earlier....that had been what we had heard during class, was the train trying to stop.

In order to understand this well, you have to know that we were very accustomed to the was just part of our life there. We crossed the tracks on foot daily as we headed to the local post office to get our mail, and some students lived across the tracks in small houses that served as dorms. We honestly got to where we didn't even give the train a second thought, and I'll admit that I've been near the tracks and realized the train was upon us. I truly believe that this was the case with Keith...that he was reading something and simply forgot where he was. Also, a freak of aerodynamics due to the mountains surrounding the school. They are positioned somehow work so that when you were actually right on the tracks, you didn't hear the train whistle as clearly as you do farther away from them.

It was a very sad day. I even remember what I was wearing that day. I remember walking up to Stuart Hall, a boys dorm, with friends where we all gathered and called our parents to make sure that they knew we were okay. I remember saying to Nut, "I don't deal well with death...." and him answering,"None of us do...". Little did we know that he and I would have a tragedy hit us even closer to home a year later, when we both lost a close friend.

I was sitting in my Teaching of Reading class when our professor came in and told us that what he had to tell us was never easy to do, but as educators we would have to deal with such things...and that our classmate Scott had killed himself the night before. I reacted immediately and pretty dramatically by bursting into tears. Looking back, I realize that I had an immediate panic attack then and there. Dr. Thompson gave us permission to leave class, and 3 of us did: Robin, Paige, and I. Paige went home to grieve with her parents, and Robin and I found friends with which to mourn. I'll never forget the bear hug in which David, our scholarship coordinator and friend, squeezed me as he, too, wondered why.

He was my friend. I sat in front of him in a class only the week before. He was in a scholarship program with me, and had been one of the first people I met on campus. He was one of my buddies...I remember him buying me a Mountain Dew at a party once when I didn't want to drink that night. We went together with other friends to see The Bodyguard. He rode in my car...he'd been to my room....he was my friend, and I would have done anything to keep him from taking his own life.

Though the details are not important in this context, we do know them, and know how deeply they affected those who loved him most. It was a heartbreaking moment that didn't have to happen. It reaffirmed to me that mental illness was VERY real, and that it needs to be addressed--and this thought came to mind later when I realized that given my history with mental illness, I would probably need to be on medication for the rest of my life in order to not follow Scott's path. It hurts even today, 16 years later. I again remember what I was wearing, and have the sweater still. I remember where we went to eat. I remember my roommate feeling as though she needed to be with her former boyfriend comforting him, and the probably pivotal decision she made NOT to go to him. I remember friends who called our room to tell us that they were thinking of us, as they knew he was our friend.

Today as I was driving on campus, I thought about Scott...and thought about how much he missed. Though Keith's accident affected me to the point that I still have a very healthy respect for trains, it was just that--an accident. Scott's death was not. He made a deliberate decision to end his life entirely too soon. What would he be like today? Would he have gained weight like we all have? Would his thick blonde hair be receding? Would he be a daddy now? And who would he have married? Would he be teaching, or even in school administration? He will never know how much he missed out on! I weep today for the life that could have been, if only he had tried to stick it out.

I cried today. I had to wipe tears away before entering my class. And when I got a chance, I went and shared my thoughts with one of his roommates...because I knew he would understand. Though I didn't cry then, I know that if I had needed to, that I had a welcome shoulder to lean upon as I wept...because I know he has wept as well. We agreed that we think of him often. His death was such a waste! He doesn't know the pain that he left behind. This, too, showed me why I always needed to resist any temptation I ever have to take my own life, because it would mean a way out of pain for me, but would leave such a path of destruction and despair for those left behind.

I'll never know if I could have said anything to Scott to change his mind--probably not, but I will always, ALWAYS wonder what might have been different if I had reached out. What if I had just spoken to him more in class when I last saw him? I know that I'm not the only one who has wondered such things.

Keith, Scott--your memories linger on. Your presence is still at Emory, and today your presence visited me. I hate you're not here with us anymore. You will always be in my heart.

Monday, June 15, 2009

FIRST Tour and some random thoughts

I've got a review posted over at Blah Blah Reviews! Usually I'd put up my button and link that way, but I'm using my sister's computer, so I don't have it saved! So just go on over there and check it out! While you're there, enter my giveaway for a pair of so cute Energizer Bunny slippers!

Now, some random thoughts! We are at Lake Junaluska, a United Methodist retreat center in western North Carolina where the Annual Conference of our church is being held. We rent a house with my parents and sister's family. Unfortunately, this year we're not getting to stay for as long since I am actually missing class today to be here, and have class the rest of the week.

I took the boys down to the playground for a little while. I can't believe in 8 years of Isaac's life I haven't taken him down there...what a bad mommy I am! We played, swung on the swings, and the boys built a pyramid sand castle! While we were there, Isaac asked me if he could bring his Bible with him when we go to the beach next week with Chris' family. "Of course!" was my response. We will plan on going to church on Sunday while we're down there, though the rest of the family may not. In my family, we have always gone to church, no matter where we are...if we're vacationing or driving down the road, we find the nearest church and go. I appreciate this as a mom, and thankfully Chris agrees! Silly me--my gratefulness to the Lord for dying for my sins doesn't stop while I'm away from home!

ANYWAY--back to the point, that Isaac asked about bringing his Bible. He said that when we were taking a break in the house (otherwise known as naptime for Adam and a 3 year old cousin) he could spend some time reading his Bible. What Mama wouldn't love hearing her 8 year old suggest this?

Random thought #2: yesterday the kids sang some songs that they learned at Vacation Bible School last week. They sang and did some sign language to "Friend of God" and it was SOOO sweet, it brought tears to my eyes! I'm so thankful that my children have a welcoming environment where they can learn about the Lord and express this love freely!

Random thought #3, though semi-related: The couple that had been leading our children's choir are no longer going to be at our church. He is a local pastor and has been given an appointment at a local church. This is an issue for one reason: he and his wife kind of 'took over' leadership of the Children's Choir years ago, and all the other volunteers quit except for Chris, me, and one other man. NOT a good scene. So we didn't get any warning about this move....who is going to lead the children's choir? I'll be willing to bet it will either me be or one sister. He also is the 'technology guru' of the church, but we agreed (my sister, Chris, brother-in-law, and I) that between the tech-savvy teenagers and us, we could continue to get such things as slide presentations done! We will need to purchase a projector, however.

Random thought #4: we were talking earlier about different 'obsessions' Isaac has had over the years. One such obsession was naming all makes of cars as we passed by. The first time Isaac watched Spiderman, when watching the scene where Spiderman threw a bad guy out the window onto a car below, Isaac didn't notice Spiderman's strength or the bad guy being defeated, he said, "Was that a Buick?!" We all cracked up! Isaac was also fascinated by intercoms (which he called 'hello's) and smoke detectors (which he called 'smokes'). It is fun to remember the silly things he's said over the years!

So there is your random thoughts of Christi update! Ta-ta for now!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

An age old question....

that just has to be asked.......

do you call those bugs that light up and fly around at twilight this time of year lightning bugs or fireflies? Inquiring minds want to know!!!

photo courtesy jamelah

Friday, June 12, 2009

Flashback Friday--I Want Your Sex

OH, but this song was sooooo bad in the late 80s! I still think George Michael is incredibly sexy...what a shame that he wouldn't think the same about me because I'm a girl!

This song was big the summer that we moved from Big Stone Gap to Rossville. I watched a LOT of MTV that summer for a couple of reasons: #1--we hadn't had it on our cable previously, so I was enamored as any teenager would be and #2--that was the summer of the Ollie North trial, so all other tv, including my fave soap, were preempted with the televised trial that summer! Funny what things you remember, huh?

I think it was that summer that I found an awesome poster of George (we're on a first name basis, ya know...) that I had on my wall for YEARS on a trip to Gatlinburg!

So what about you....what do you remember today? I'm trying something new with Mr Linky...hope it works! C'mon, you know you wanna share your memories with the whole world....or at least with my readers and yours! LOL

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Want to encourage service in your children??

Service,Giving,Mom It Forward

I want my boys to realize that there are things bigger out there than just their personal needs and wants, and to put others before themselves. In order to do that, I am going to have to teach it to them! So when I read about Mom It Foward's Summer of Service Challenge, I knew it would be a GREAT thing in which we could participate!

Service has been part of my life for all my life. As a daughter of a United Methodist minister, it was a way of life....going to see people in the hospital or nursing homes, giving to those who were less was just what we did. In college, service through the Bonner Scholars Program helped pay for my education as I committed to doing service both during the academic year and in the summer. Before I got married, I volunteered a week of time for a camp with Middle school age kids for a few summers, and have volunteered in various roles at our church regularly since then.

I want my boys to start feeling how good it feels to help others. They enjoy our yearly Christmas Caroling venture to the local nursing home and shut-ins from our church and community. I know that they have Giving Spirits, and I want to cultivate that. This challenge is PERFECT to work toward this! To learn more, please visit Mom it Forward's website and tell my friends Carissa and Jyl that Christi sent ya! Also stop by twitter on Tuesday evenings starting at 9 EST for Girls Night Out (just use the hashtag #gno)!

Wordless Wednesday--The Awesome Foursome plus!

We were buddies back in the day...middle school days, that is! We had a picnic at the park on the last day of 8th grade, and even took pics to prove it! Twenty two (could that be right?!) years later, we got together with our kids once again.

Thanks to Julie's hubby's great photog skillz for the pic!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Got my hair cut and colored!

Whaddaya think?

I think I like it, but I haven't had a chance to work with it myself yet! I think it will be an easy to deal with summer cut.

I've tried to be productive for the first few days of summer break....yesterday I cleaned out from under one side of the bathroom sinks, and threw away a whole bag of trash. I did several loads of laundry, too. Then we have Bible School this week, so that kind of takes up the evenings! Today I went and got my hair done, then reorganized Isaac's dresser, including boxing up clothes that he won't need for the time being. The boys actually helped me with the boxing part (write that down!). Then I straightened up Isaac's bookshelves and brought in some books that Chris had just basically thrown in a tote earlier. I looked up the Grade Level Equivalents for some of them using Scholastic's Teacher Book Wizard, and I'll try to continue to do that for other books....that way I have an actual listing of what I have here (and I probably ought to do it with books for school since I have easy access to them this summer, huh?).

I have moments of melancholy over changing schools still (Thank you Lisa for your sweet words....I love you!!) but I'm sure that will come and go for a while. Next on the project list is to finish the bathroom cabinet, continue work on laundry (which is eternal...) and clean the upholstery on the couch cause apparently I need to flip at least one couch cushion...not sure what happened, but there's a hole in the fabric. OOOOOPS!

I've got class later, so I'm off to enjoy some 'down time' before I have to hit the road!

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

It's done

The school year, that is! I have such mixed emotions since I'm leaving the school where I have taught for 12 years. All my things have been packed up and the stuff I wanted to keep has been brought home. The rest is either being used by my coworkers or thrown out.

I've done better than I thought I would with this....many moves from church to church with my family have certainly helped. But the feelings are the same....a tad empty, lonely, uncertain, apprehensive, mixed with anticipation, excitement, and hopefulness. Since plans for the specific school(s) where I will be teaching changed over the past week, this had added to the mixed emotions. I'm now projected to be teaching at one school on Mondays and Tuesdays and another the rest of the week. I know people at both schools, but there are still uncertainties. I am not sure where my 'space' will be at one school, and will be sharing space at the other. Of course, since I am halfway through my graduate program, I'm a little unsure of myself as far as what I need to be doing! I have some great people behind me to support me and cheer me on, though, so in that, I'm blessed.

It is not goodbye forever to my coworkers since my sons will be attending school there. But it does mean that I am leaving the place I've called 'home' for 12 years for 200 days a year, at least 6 hours a day. It is the place where I was teaching when I met my fiance, when I got married, through two pregnancies and births, and two bouts with Post-Partum Depression. It is the school that supported me as my grandmother died, and through 2 surgeries for each parent. The faculty are the people with whom I I wanted to share my joys, sorrows, frustrations, and heartaches with, and into which I put much blood, sweat, and tears.

There are still tears unshed, I know. As a teacher, I go through a 'blue' time each summer as I hand off one group of students to the next grade. This year I'm not only handing off my students, I'm also handing off my coworkers, my classroom, my place of comfort and handiwork. I know I'll be just fine and that God has ordained this process and will continue to. Even so, I would appreciate your prayers as I embark on this new journey.

And if any of my Shoemaker gals read this, I will ALWAYS consider myself one of you, and hold a special place for you in my heart!! I love you!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Flashback Friday--It Takes Two

Ahh, this song brings back good high school memories! It reminds me of cheering for basketball games, bus rides back and forth for away games, being super skinny....those were the days!

It was a rough time in my life, and lots of the memories are foggy because of the emotional difficulties I was experiencing, but there WERE some good times. Not saying I'd go back and do it all over again, but there are good memories!

So whaddaya remembering right now? Mr Linky still isn't available unfortunately, but I do want to read your posts! Please leave me a comment to let me know that you have it up!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Wordless Wednesday--He graduates today

I can't believe it. I was there when he was born...and have watched him grow, and it has gone by so quickly! I'm so proud of him, and so pleased with this young man he's become. I'm praying that he continues to excell and finds happiness in his every endeavor!

I love you, Ked! Congrats!