Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Wednesday's Update

Nothing good happened today. Still, we rejoice here in Fayetteville at the NCFCA Regional Competition. Although Kali did an incredible job with her speech, she did not qualify for Nationals. She is OK with that though. Kali is just thrilled to have made it this far in her first year, and thrilled to have this opportunity.

Also, I just got word about an hour ago that my father-in-law had just passed away. We are just devastated with this news. Both children were able to be present with him and to help ease him into an eternity with Jesus. Papa was saved and he loved the Lord. Funeral arrangements are being made at this time. Mark has asked me to keep Kali and stay here in Fayetteville until the end of the tournament, which is tomorrow. We will be heading home as soon as the awards program is over. By staying until then I will be able to bring one of the granddaughters home with me (she lives here near Fayetteville) so she can attend the funeral. It's been a rough, roller-coaster couple of weeks with Papa's wife dying, making new living arrangements for him, and now his passing as well.

Please pray for safe travels for Kali, myself, and my niece. I don't drive well at night, so I could really use the prayers for alertness and safety. Also, please pray for Mark and Sandy as they learn how to continue without their father. Thank you for all your prayers up till now. Thanks for the wonderful comments you leave for me. I love each of you and thank God for such marvelous friends as you.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday's Update From Regionals

Still no photos, sorry. It's been a rough day here. I could feel your prayers and thank you for them. Kali did an awesome job today with her speeches. Now we are waiting to see if she advances to semi-finals. She felt really positive about her delivery and thought the judges received her speech well. I judged a couple rounds of speech, which I enjoyed immensely.

This afternoon I received a call from my son that the hospital was trying to find an immediate family member for my father-in-law, someone who could make a decision on emergency surgery. Some of you know Papa has been in bad health, his wife died and was buried last week. Long story short - Papa's heart stopped this afternoon. The doctors put him on two medications that have his heart beating and his blood pressure at an acceptable level until Mark and Sandy can get there to tell Papa good-bye. It took us almost 4 hours to find Mark to tell him. Mark, Jason, Sandy and her husband Dale, and Nicole should all be converging on the hospital at this time to check on Papa. And here Kali and I sit just outside of Atlanta. I have made arrangements for Kali to be able to remain here at regionals and then to make her way home. I don't know yet when I will be leaving to head home. I have responsibilities here as well. Please pray for our family.

One of our debate moms got a phone call at the same time (we were both in my car) telling her that her grandmother had just had a stroke. She is 93 years old. Then one of our debaters got hurt this afternoon. He tripped over a rock and banged his head into a tree. He got a deep laceration on his forehead - about 2" wide. Don't you just know he got all cleaned up then went right on in to his next speech round! That's a true speech and debater for you!

Continue to pray for us! We need it at this time. Thank you for all your prayers so far and for the loving comments. You are so appreciated!

Regionals Update

Thanks for the prayers and well wishes from everyone. We arrived in Fayetteville a little ahead of schedule and were able to spend some fun time with my sister-in-law Sandy and her family, including their 3 day old grandson :O). Pictures coming soon! Regionals started yesterday and Kali has given her persuasive speech in the first round. She will start this morning off by giving her speech in round 2, then round 3 is after lunch. Lots of prayers today would be awesome. Kali felt very good about her speech yesterday - about her delivery - but thought one of the judges didn't seem to like it. Keep in mind her speech basically lays out the plan of salvation and a challenge to spread the news. (She does this in the form of a newscast during the last days when the earth is taken captive.) One would have to wonder if that particular judge might have been under conviction. Very powerful speech. While Kali is giving her speech, I am judging various types of speeches. I am slated to judge in semi-finals and finals for speeches, so I am being selective in what I judge now. I am also slated to judge Team Policy Debate in their final round. What an honor to even be considered for that. TP Finals are the big event of the last day. There will also be criminal level judges, senators, and local businessmen judging - a panel of seven total. Thanks again for all the wonderful comments and emails. We love you guys and are so honored that you would pray for Kali and the message she has to deliver. And, of course, we want to go to Nationals as well. It's Kali's first year so we are thrilled with her progress so far. Blessings today! I'll try to update tonight or tomorrow morning. From Fayetteville...

Saturday, April 25, 2009

NCFCA Regional Competition is Finally Here!

It is finally time for the NCFCA Regional Competition! Kali qualified in both the Florida and the North Carolina tournaments and will be presenting her persuasive speech "At World's End" at least three times over the next week. We hope she gives the speech more times than that, because that would mean she made it to semi-finals and hopefully finals. This tournament determines who will be going forward to Nationals from our region. This is what Kali and so many others have been working towards all school year. So, in the midst of drinking plenty of water, hanging with friends, praying, and working on her speech and presentation, I expect Kali to have an awesome week. This is her first year and she really wants to go all the way to Nationals. Please lift her up in prayer anytime you think about it this week. Her speech is a serious call to faith and a challenge to go out and tell others. Please pray that God will use this speech to bring hearts closer to Him. I'll try to post from Fayetteville, Georgia, in the next couple days.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

You Capture Thursday - Letters

Over at You Capture, the photo challenge this week was "Letters." I thought about it all week and just couldn't come up with any ideas I really liked. I have alphabet blocks to use in a newborn baby shoot this coming Sunday, but that will be days late. Last summer in 4-H scrapbook camp, I taught this project. So, I pulled out a letter this afternoon and made a new project for my capture this week. Not exactly following the "letter of the law", but I did take pictures step-by-step, so I hope that counts - lol!

Step One: gather all your supplies. You need the wooden letter, a sheet of scrapbook paper, some embellishments to add, some matching paint, and I forgot to show a small inkpad. Sorry.
Step Two: Lay your scrapbook paper face down, then lay your letter on top - also face down. Take a pencil and trace around the letter.
Step Three: paint the back of the letter and all sides in a color that goes well with your scrapbook paper. Sit it aside to dry.
Step Four: cut out the letter you traced on the scrapbook paper. Adhere it to the front of the wooden letter. I use a Tombo mono permanent tape runner. Then I inked the edges of the paper. You could actually do this before you attach it - if you remember. I never remember :O) until it's too late.
Step Five: add any embellishments you want to. I added K & Company 3-D stickers. In the next photo you will notice I also added some flower jewels.
Step Six: the last thing I did was take some fibers I really like and tied them onto the side of the letter. There is already a hanger on the back, so this beautiful letter B is all ready to hang on someone's wall. Any takers? To check out everyone else's take on the challenge of letters, head on over to You Capture and join in the fun. It is not too late!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Jason's Ferret Sketch

A couple days ago I posted the above picture of my son and his new ferret Avery. Did you know that my son also sketches? He paints, draws, computer designs cool people and various figures - he's extremely talented. Yesterday, he posted the top picture on his blog. It is a sketch he did of a ferret. I am guessing it is a sketch of Avery because it sure looks like him. There are a total of eight ferrets where he is living now, so he has plenty to pick from. They are so cute! I want to post more of Jason's drawings here, so I will probably try to work on that in the next week or two. You can check his blog out at The Rain Falls Gently.

Earth Day is Tomorrow

April 22nd, tomorrow, is Earth Day. As Christians we are charged to take care of all the God of the universe has created and so lovingly given to us. Earth Day reinforces this for me. The above doodle is a Copy and Share, if you Dare from my friend Rick over at Organized Doodles. You can check out his blog here. You can even copy this doodle and post it on your page :O). (He takes requests for Doodles, too. Great gifts!) Most of Rick's doodles have a little egg-man in the drawing. Click this one full screen and search for him. A little egg-shape with stick arms and legs. It's the first thing I do whenever Rick posts a new doodle, then I read his post - lol!

Monday, April 20, 2009

Click This Stained Beauty to Show in Full Screen

You know I am always on the lookout for great crosses and stained glass. Well, here's my latest find. This window is located in Christian Family Chapel (I believe that's the right name) in Jacksonville. Our speech and debate chapter meets there. We had our awards program last week in the sanctuary. That's where I found this beautiful window that I wanted to share with you. No sage words to share, just a beautiful window that looks its best when you click on it and look at it in full screen. Well, actually it does remind me of these verses:

I am the true vine, and my Father is the husbandman. Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. I am the vine, ye are the branches: He that abideth in me, and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without me ye can do nothing.

~ John 15:1-2,5 ~

Sunday, April 19, 2009

"Beauty and Personality"

"Beauty that captures your attention; personality that captures your heart." This anonymous quote perfectly fits my niece. It could have been written for her. Not only is she beautiful on the outside, but she is also beautiful on the inside. She's sparkly and bubbly, funny and witty, intelligent and sensitive, athletic and feminine, caring and loving. She's the total package. She is true beauty and I love her!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Introducing Avery!

Just go ahead.
You know you want to say it.
Say, "awwwwww!"
Meet Avery. He's a baby ferret. And that's my son Jason holding him. Jason has a new baby to take care of. His fur is really soft and I understand he is currently teething. Watch out for those teeth, son! Wow! I wonder what ferrets eat?

Friday, April 17, 2009

Swimmin' With the Fishes

Aren't these colors beautiful? This is what you see as soon as you step inside the Georgia Aquarium in downtown Atlanta. Kali and I were able to visit the aquarium with my sister-in-law and her family.

The Georgia Aquarium is currently the world's largest aquarium with over 8 million gallons of water. It was a pretty amazing place. The first thing I noticed in the above tank was the orange striped fish, but the fish was not the focal point of this tank. Check out the Garden Eels. I'm told they are afraid of people in the wild. If challenged, they will flip over and shoot back down inside their holes to hide. They almost looked like rubber pencils.
Welcome to the jellies room. I didn't make note of specific names of the different types. I was trying to figure out how to get some decent photos in a room lit with black lights, whoa! My nieces shown above are not normally this color :O), thank you Mr. Black Light.
In this picture of Kali, you can get a general idea of the size of the tanks at this aquarium. This one was easily 15' high and spanned the entire length of the room, probably 40'. They were huge and filled with various types of fish.
They also had smaller specialty tanks. This pokey fellow is a zebra turkeyfish. Who knew that was a real fish?
Beautiful pink starfish. It was kind of sparkly.
These anemone were in a touch-tank. You could touch them to see what they felt like. Yeah, I was good without that part.
This was one of the river otters. They were small, like little puppies. Very playful and fast! I took about 20 photos and this was the best one!
The beluga whale has always been my favorite ocean critter. These two were really beautiful to watch! Such graceful swimmers!
I think it might be approaching naptime :O).
Living in Florida, I don't always get excited about seeing an alligator. But, how could I not take his picture when he swam right to me? And, he has such awesome teeth - lol!
This is an Elephant Nose Fish, named for the obvious reason.
Kali took this shot of the piranhas. Pretty cool looking fish.
Then we stepped into the "big fish" rooms. Here you were surrounded by water and fish. You walked, or rode, through a tunnel with fish literally swimming overhead and on both sides. Above is a shot of a huge stingray and a goliath grouper.
Same grouper. He seemed somewhat interested in the people watching him and would swim right up to the cameras. He was probably the fish I enjoyed the most at the Aquarium. Those are yellow-tailed snappers with the yellow tails :O) (duh.)
A 6' sawfish. Just beautiful!
Maybe I missed the connection to "aquarium". This little guy is a gecko, one of four in their new Gecko Display. Not sure what that has to do with the ocean, but it must have some relationship.
One tired little angel. She has a wonderful grammy who got her a stuffed beluga. Grammy likes belugas, too :O).
Yeah, I know this isn't a fish, not even close. But you know I like taking photos of cute little statues and she certainly qualifies for that! I found her in the gift shop. Don't you just love her wreath made of seashells?
* * * * * * * * *
I hope you enjoyed your stroll through the Georgia Aquarium. It was definitely worth the trip.

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