Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coming and Going

I don't have long but wanted to say hello...or maybe it's goodbye? I've been home a day from our Thanksgiving travels and I leave in a few hours to fly to Baltimore for a quick visit. As I'm listening to the wind pick up outside and as I watch the massive rain coverage that soaked us today move northeast, I have to confess I'm a little nervous about flying in the morning. I'm fully prepared to be delayed and truthfully expect to be. Oh, well, it will make for a good story, right?

The leaves will be gone and so our little cove that was beside our apartment building won't look quite like this, but I'm excited to go back and see some of the sights and especially the people we left behind.

The good news is that it won't look like this either!

Sometimes it's hard to believe that we ever lived there, because the time went by so fast, but then I think of the friendships we left behind and I'm reminded again that home really is where the heart is. Sometimes quotes can be a little cheesy and we don't stop and think that maybe they've survived the test of time for a reason. Not to keep bringing this up, but that's one of the reasons I've loved creating Pixy Prose. Not only am I learning more about photography, but I really enjoy researching quotes on various topics and finding the perfect fit. I'd love for you to check it out and maybe become a regular follower or reader. It's a challenge sometimes to have it ready each day but I discovered that you can schedule a post to be published when you want it to be and that's helped a lot. Should you want to see if it's something you'd be interested in, click here for a link to the page. Who knows, maybe someday if I really do get a card line created, you can say you saw it here first!

Time to try to sleep for a little while. You'd think I'd have the preparing to leave/packing thing down to an art, but I think of too many things at the last minute and end up staying up too late every time. Maybe one day I'll figure it out......

Think of me as I head out tomorrow. Hopefully flying the friendly skies will be just that!

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Christmas With Mickey

Hopefully this entry finds everyone recovering from gluttony and looking back over the Thanksgiving holiday with.....well, thanksgiving.  I know it's a hard time for a lot of people as memories are stirred because of empty seats at the table.  For others, like us, everything looked totally different than usual as we made adjustments to life as it is for now.  With rumblings of international unrest being heard even as I type this, there are always reasons to be thankful as long as we have breath and I'm hoping that's where you are this afternoon.

Speaking of afternoon, at the risk of alienating pretty much everyone we know, I probably shouldn't tell you that the cold front that dropped temperatures like a brick all across the nation lowered them here in the Sunshine State to the low 70's.  It's a gorgeous day outside - low humidity, mostly sunny skies, and a gentle breeze is blowing.  In a couple of hours, we're heading to Disney World for Mickey's Very Merry Christmas Party which is a must see extravaganza according to Tiffany.  There's a special ticket price and you're allowed in the park from 4:00 to midnight.  They limit the number of people so there's pretty much no waiting in line.  There's free hot chocolate and cookies set up all over the park, the parade and fireworks display are unique to these days, and it even "snows" on Main Street.  We're quite excited and it's the reason we're still here instead of sitting in traffic trying to drive north on I-75.  Hopefully we'll have lots of fun pictures to share once I'm back home and can get them downloaded.

We are jump starting the holiday madness as soon as we hit home tomorrow beginning with me flying to Baltimore on Wednesday for a few days.  I still help out with Gallery Church administratively just a little and it became necessary to gather everyone together for some cyber paperwork.  I'm not complaining, though, because I'm quite excited to see lots of people we've missed since moving back south.  I'll be dusting off the wool coat and scarf, however, because the highs are only supposed to be in the 40's.  Moving back south should be proof that I'm not quite as dumb as I appear sometimes.  :)

I hope re-entry back into the real world goes smoothly tomorrow for everyone and as we head into the official holiday season, my prayer is that we all remember that people are what really matter.  Yes, even those who cheer for UGA every Thanksgiving when they play Georgia Tech.  Sigh.....maybe before I'm too old to care, Tech will have a run that will cause the emotional upheaval we've had to endure for way too long.  One can always hope, right?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Orlando Style

Hamp and I are doing a little bit of work on our respective computers and then heading out to the mall where Tiffany works to say hello and do some pre-Black Friday scouting. For those of you who read this in various places of the country, I just had to share this.

We are in shorts and capris respectively, we are wearing flip-flops, the AC is on in the car and the homes we go in and out of, and the thermometer won't stop moving upward until it reaches 80+ degrees today. The forecast for tomorrow is 85. We might not be going over the river and through the woods in a horse-driven sleigh, but we will be together (well, most of us) and for that we are thankful.

Along that line, Tiffany updated her blog last night with a reflection on where she finds herself as the holidays approach. It made me realize yet again what amazing beauty comes out of the ashes of life and I thought you might enjoy reading it for yourself. If so, click on this link and it will take you to it.

Ellis has just wandered back into where we are, so I'm going to go play with her. She's quite lonely with Tiffany working as much as she is right now, so we're trying to be extra sensitive to our grandkitty. Yes, we have issues....and that's OK!

Monday, November 22, 2010

Disney Daze

Happy Thanksgiving week! We will be heading to Orlando tomorrow to spend the week with Tiffany and Matthew for part of it. In keeping with a Disney theme, I am beginning the week as one of his more beloved characters.

Yes, I am sleepy. That tends to happen when one sleeps for two hours, is awake for the next three, then sleeps for a couple more before being awakened for the busy day ahead. My hope is that I resemble only this endearing dwarf for the rest of the day and don't morph into another one that's just as recognizable. I'm not holding my breath, though.....

I'm already planning my newest addiction for later in the day to keep me awake. Have any of you tried the Starbuck's Peppermint Hot Chocolate? It is yummy!!

We're quite excited about heading to Orlando for several reasons. Of course, getting to spend time with Tiffany and Nikki and Jenn and her family are at the top of the list. After much enthusiasm on Tiffany's part, she's convinced us that going to Disney's Christmas Party is worth the effort, so on Sunday we'll be doing that. Between now and then, she has to endure preparing for, working, and surviving Black Friday at one of the busiest malls in Orlando. Hamp and I will be entertaining ourselves a couple of days while Tiffany will probably not be wishing that people would "eat mor chikin". The reward will be snow on Main Street as Christmas music plays and the whole park is decorated for the holidays. Lots of fun pictures will be forthcoming, I'm sure.

I'll let Walt Disney himself close us out today along with a recent picture of Tiffany from a trip to Disney. Part of the fun I'm having with Pixy Prose is all the quotes I'm discovering, even if they never make it to the new blog.

"All your dreams can come true if you have the courage to pursue them."

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Giving Thanks

With Thanksgiving travel ahead of us and since I had the time this morning, I decided to decorate my blog to greet what I consider the onset of the holiday season. We won't get to see Michael and Bekah until December, but the rest of the family is heading to Florida this week to share turkey day with Tiffany. Her Chick-Fil-A schedule at one of the busiest malls in Orlando prevents her from going anywhere. Such is the life of a grad student.

The following sentence might not seem like a connected thought, but hang with me and you'll see that it is. Chris Tomlin had a new CD released this week and I've been listening to it. As usual, all of the songs are worshipful reminders of who God is, but there's one in particular that has captured my heart. It's titled "I Lift My Hands" and the words to the chorus are what have impacted me the most. (For a link to the song, click here)

"I lift my hands to believe again
You are my refuge, You are my strength
As I pour out my heart, these things I remember
You are faithful, God, forever"
Quite simply, this is what thanksgiving is all about. Recognizing that God has been and will always be faithful. Does life look like we thought it would? No. Will there be loved ones missing at family tables this holiday season for various reasons? Yes. But while both of these are true, it doesn't preclude the fact that God is and that God loves. Even if there is no other reason, we can be thankful for that life-sustaining truth.

That being said, be alert for those around you that might be hurting as the holidays approach. For every instance of peace on earth and good will to men there's a broken heart to be comforted, a hungry mouth to feed, or a lonely soul that simply needs to be seen. We are God's hands and feet here on earth for now and it's a sacred privilege we've been given. Sadly, we usually don't have to look any further than our own family and friends to find the greatest need. Wherever we find ourselves this week, may God grant us the ability to see with His eyes and to love with His heart. And may God bless us, every one.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sunday Afternoon

Greetings on this waning stretch of perfect fall weather we've been experiencing. Rain and cooler temps are heading our way for a couple of days, but we need the rain, so no complaints. I've had a couple of outings this week where I took some pictures of the gorgeous color around us, so I thought I'd share a few with you.

All of these were taken near our apartment building and aside from a little editing, this is what we see right now when we go outside. Very soon, however, the limbs will be bare and our little corner of the world will pull in for a necessary time of rest before it blooms again. I don't think it's an accident that our lives reflect the cycles of nature. We have seasons of growth, periods of letting go that usually involves decay, and times of being dormant. Then one day there's a bud of hope and new life appears.

I feel like our lives right now are mirroring the world outside our window and I'm actually looking forward to a time of forced stillness as we wait for what God has next. Is our time back in GA temporary or will we put deeper roots down again in the next year? As Passion City Church continues to move toward a permanent building, will new friendships begin and grow? Most of the time, I'm OK to just wait and see, but I confess to occasional impatience too.

For those who might be visiting for the first time in a while, here's a link to a new adventure I've begun titled, "Pixy Prose". Right now, it's just a blog with a daily photograph that either I or someone I know has taken along with what is hopefully a thought provoking quote. I've had fun creating it and have enjoyed the research and editing required to keep adding entries. Who knows what it might lead to, but for now, I hope you'll stop by and check it out.

I have to get ready to head out for church soon, so for now I must depart. If any of you might ever be interested in checking out Passion City Church, click on this link and you'll be able to keep up with what's happening. Enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Condensed Life

Wow - it's been a while, hasn't it? It's been busy, but not so busy that I couldn't have stopped to write. So why haven't I? I actually have an answer and I'll give it to you at the end of this post. (Don't you hate it when people do that??)

Before I share that, however, I'll catch you up on the happenings of the GA Joneses. Most of the month of October was filled with perfect fall weather. I love the change of seasons because each one brings something special with it. The cooler days (finally!), crisper air, bright sunshine, and changing leaves have always been invigorating to me. One of the things our family used to do was make an annual visit to Burt's Pumpkin Farm in the north Georgia mountains but that wasn't possible for several reasons this year. One, half of us don't live here anymore. Two, if you don't go on a weekday in the fall, you have to sit in traffic and fight large crowds. Three, Hamp had already taken a day off so we could go to Savannah and he couldn't miss work again. So, I did what any enterprising pumpkin seeker would do - I went by myself. As I've mentioned before, the last couple of years have taught me that being alone is not a bad thing and there's lots to learn in times of solitude. I knew that if I took my camera that I would enjoy the day....and I was right!

I remembered that Amicalola Falls State Park was right down the street, so I decided to go there also and hike up to the waterfall where I got some more great pictures.

It was a good day, but not without emotional consequences. There can be a price to pay for sharing places you love with those you love on the off chance that they'll leave you one day, but after time to consider the alternative, to me it's worth the cost.

So, what else have I been doing with my time? Well, after looking at my pictures from my day in the mountains, I decided to try and do some editing using the very limited resources I have at hand along with my very limited knowledge. I ended up being pleasantly surprised with the results and in the process discovered that I had tapped a creative vein I've been neglecting for too long. Accepting the limitations at hand, I realized that my ultimate dream of creating a greeting card line would still have to wait. However, using what I did have available, I created the next best thing - a blog that has one entry a day complete with a picture and thought provoking (hopefully!) quote. I started it on November 1st but didn't want to make it public until I was sure everything was working okay. I won't have anything personal on it, but you can still leave comments if you want to or become a follower. I think if you do that, then you're updated for each new entry. For those of you that use Google Reader, you can add the blog site as a new subscription and get the update from there.

The name of the new blog is Pixy Prose. The word "pix" is plural for "pic", which is an abbreviation for "picture" and the word "prose" just means an ordinary form of the spoken or written word. It's not world peace, but it's a way I can pull together several creative ways to express myself and it's free. :)

So welcome to those who want to check it out and you can do so by clicking on this link. It will take you to the latest entry, so to see all of them you'll have to scroll down. When you get to November 1st, you'll know you've reached the last (first?) one.

I plan to keep up with this blog too and hopefully more often for those few of you that seem to want to keep up with our little family. And if you get a chance, you'll have to let me know what you think of Pixy Prose.