GOD's my island hideaway, keeps danger far from the shore,
throws garlands of hosannas around my neck.
(Psa 32:7 MSG)


a day of grace

yesterday we had a WONDERFUL women's conference here. we are blessed to live in a community that has an annual, area-wide, non-denominational women's conferenence. this was the 7th year and due to some wonderful women who were given a vision that was blessed by God, this conference was extra-special. instead of the usual (a Friday night and Saturday morning with local speakers and yummy desserts), this year's event was basically all-day saturday, but with a very special guest speaker: Liz Curtis Higgs! what a gift from God to our little town!

if you don't know who Liz is, you can read this. or just check out her website here.

liz ministered to approximately 1000 women yesterday. that's a pretty big number considering our little town's population is only about 3000! some women came quite a ways, driving 3 or more hours and arriving the night before just to be at this conference! liz spoke about grace--God's Grace. she is blessed to have (and we are blessed that she uses!) the gifts of speaking, teaching, and encouragement. the insights she shared with us about certain scriptures and Bible "stories" yesterday were like choice morsels of meat to me. i'm still digesting it!

our theme (and the title of one of her books)

a down-to-earth, out-going, and loving person, liz took time to make each person she met feel special. it was a day i'll remember for a long time with many fond memories and lessons to live by.

me and liz! tada!


flood waters...

i'm supposed to be doing schoolwork with bubba right now. i know i haven't posted in FOREVER! life has been so crazy busy lately. i just haven't had time. ah well. will get to it. or not.

but i had to quick post a link to this article. even though we don't live in Fargo, ND, we are also dealing with similar flood issues right here in our own backyard--literally. the local river also runs north into canada and although the city is probably going to be just fine, we happen to live north of town and all that water has nowhere to go. it gets pushed out into the fields (overland flooding) and even though we're over a mile from the river, the water is creeping ever closer to my home. of course, a big part of the problem is that the ground is still frozen. i'm hoping since it got really cold overnight and all that water froze, that it will slow the water and maybe even keep it from getting really bad for us, but we won't know until everything has melted and the water has receded. oh yeah, and the foot of snow we just got (after all our snow was basically melted away) isn't helping much either.


happy st. patrick's day!

did you remember to wear a little green today?

well, in honor of st. patrick's day, my boys have been watching VeggieTales' Sumo of the Opera for the past week or so. on this particular dvd there is a short story about the history of this holiday and the person it's named for. if you aren't already a veggietales fanatic like we are, you don't know what you're missing!

i get promotional emails from Big Idea (the makers of VeggieTales) and the following quote is from an email i received today.
"Maewyn Succat ... or more commonly known as “St. Patrick.” Would you or your kids like to learn how Maewyn became St. Patrick? Watch our (mostly) educational and (somewhat) historical video here!"
so, if you want to learn more about who st. patrick was and why we celebrate st. patrick's day in a humorous and witty manner, check out the above link! we like it! hope you do too!



of cats and kids

"meeeow! meeeooow! meow, meow, meow!"

that's the lovely sound i woke up to this morning. actually, it wasn't very lovely. it sounded like a cat was dying in my sons' bedroom. it definitely did not have the sound of a contented kitty. no, we don't have any pets except our alaskan husky who lives outside and loves the winters up here. T has allergies, so we aren't able to have any animals in our house. except for the children. we have to let them stay inside--at least until the weather warms up a bit and we can put them out during the daytime. *wink* of course, if i could have an indoor pet, it would definitely be a kitty. either that or a rat. but i digress. these awful cat-like noises were coming from my youngest son. cj had found a little plastic cat toy in one of the toy boxes and was playing with it. and of course, the kitty had to talk in kitty language. so, cj meowed for about 20 minutes. yikes! (or yike! as cj says.)


= the kitty noise culprits


it came today!

T and i are both struggling with our weight these days. bad food, little to no exercise and the pounds just keep increasing. go figure. but now we're ready to get our butts (and arms, legs, tummies, etc.) back in proper shape. and here's the machine that's gonna help us do just that! introducing our new total gym!

gotta love that ugly green carpet!

this used to be our schoolroom. but it's the only place the total gym fits decently (along with our old treadmill). so the school stuff got moved out and the exercise equipment moved in.

now to use it and *hopefully* lose it! yay!

new orleans trip (days 6, 7, & 8)

monday, feb. 16.

started the day out with the NRECA's annual meeting. it was somewhat boring for me until the guest speakers took the stage. we got to hear from cal thomas and bob beckel who, although they have differing political views, have found "common ground" and have been even written a book together. it was humorous, intelligent and thought-provoking that a liberal and conservative could not only agree to disagree agreeably, but actually be good friends to boot!

bob beckel and cal thomas selling books and autographing 'em. they ran out of time, but T was able to purchase one and they will sign it and send it to him. :-)

it was a windy, cool, but sunny day so that afternoon we decided to take a cruise down the mississippi on the steamboat Natchez. bought tickets, then went looking for food. we lunched at Hard Rock Cafe which was surprisingly not busy. T was so hungry for a burger. and we enjoyed some of the best burgers there. if you know me well, you probably know that i don't like onions. however, i do like onion rings. i guess all it takes is some breading/batter and deep-frying to make even onions taste good to me! anyways, i had some of the best onion rings with my burger. they were so yummy!

they had a Louis Armstrong trumpet on the wall too. T plays trumpet so this was kind of special for him.

pictures of Hard Rock Cafe taken that night...i really liked the neon.

our river cruise was a two hour long trip. we enjoyed seeing some more of the area and learning more historical info about new orleans. they started off the tour with calliope music played up on top of the boat.

the boat...calliope being played on top.

a happy couple enjoying the river cruise. oh wait! that's me and T!

a carnival cruise ship getting ready to leave. not sure where its destination was, but i'm sure it was someplace warm...

dinner that night was at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. yet another fine meal. the desserts were particularly nice.

T's bread pudding and my chocolate raspberry mini at Bubba Gump's. the berries were soooo juicy!

tuesday, feb. 17th.

another lunch at Hard Rock Cafe. guess we both enjoyed the food there, or we wouldn't have gone back! then we took time to tour the audubon aquarium where we took lots more pics.

oh look! a tunnel!

a crabby crab. i bought a little stuffed crab from the giftshop for cj (he adores it!)

a michievous macaw. in the amazon forest section.

mr. alligator is white? yep.

an interesting photo by T.

after the aquarium, we went for one last walk in the french quarter (to find dinner, of course!)

dinner? nope just an iron horse head.
and on the way, we went by a YARN SHOP! T was being a meanie. he wouldn't let me go in or even hardly peek in the windows. so i pouted. but i knew T was really hungry, so although i really really really wanted to stay and check out the pretty yarns, i didn't pout very much and we had an enjoyable dinner and went back to begin packing.

wednesday, feb. 18.

our last day in new orleans. in the morning, i got all our bags packed up while T went to the last NRECA meeting. it was interesting trying to fit everything back into our suitcases, but we had allowed for one more carry-on for the return trip so it worked out rather nicely. since we didn't have to leave for the airport until 2:30pm, and we had some time to spare, T agreed to take me back to the little yarn shop we had seen the night before. we checked our luggage in at the bell desk, checked out of our room and headed back to the shop. this was the first real yarn shop i've ever been in. it was really nice. small, but nice. i walked around touching and looking and touching more yarn.

after about a minute and a half, T decided to go check out the cathedral again since it was less than a block away. he did that, then sat on a bench in the park there for a bit, and enjoyed listening to a jazz band playing in the square there. i spent about an hour in the yarn shop. it's hard to decide what to buy. do i buy the one skein of noro silk garden sock yarn? or two skeins of the koigu painter's palette premium merino? either choice gets me one pair of yummy socks. the noro was a tad less expensive, but i wasn't sure about the texture...it felt stiff in places. the koigu on the other hand was blessedly soft, albeit a tad more spendy. i decide to get the koigu. only one problem remained--which color to get?

so here's my new yarn.

the nice lady even wound the skeins into balls for me.
(i hand-wind my yarns when needed, but that ball-winder made it so neat and fast!
i've gotta get myself one someday!)

i thought the packaging was a nice touch of special too.

so that (finally) is the end of my story of my trip to new orleans. it was interesting, fun, and i even bought yarn! yay!


"silly pants"

last night, after being put to bed, cj was up outta his bed and taking out toys/playing around for a bit. T and i took turns going up to the boys' room to get him tucked back in his little "big" bed. well, after one such trip, T came down to laughingly tell me that somehow cj had taken off his pj pants (they're a tad big on him, so it's not too hard to figure out what happened). also, bubba had told T that cj had gotten into bed with him for a little bit, and then, bubba had also helped him back into his own little bed and tucked his baby bro in. he can be a really sweet sweet big brother sometimes. anyways, T had picked up the pj pants. he then asked cj if they should get 'em back on him. cj's response? "silly pants!"

new orleans trip (days 4 & 5)

saturday, feb. 14...valentines' day.

spent a little more time at the TechAdvantage floor show in the morning. bought a ton of chocolate at the Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory shop and some beignets (square pieces of dough, fried and covered with powdered sugar) at the Cafe Du Monde shop in the riverwalk mall. indulged in our yummy, and somewhat messy, sweet treats back in our room and just relaxedand watched tv in the afternoon (i knitted, of course)! then we went looking for something for dinner after trying to order pizza and learning that they couldn't deliver due to the many Mardi Gras parades that were in the way.

so we walked around the french quarter again and finally decided to eat at Landry's seafood house. the wait was supposed to be an hour or more so we put our name in and went for a walk since there wasn't any good place to sit and wait. when we came back to the restaurant after only 45 minutes, we discovered our name had already been passed by, but thankfully, they bumped us up to the head of the list and we got seated shortly. and we had yet another delicious meal including some of the best calamari i've had for an appetizer. yum.

on the way back to our hotel after dinner, we spotted a small Mardi Gras parade on canal street...turning onto another street which i can't recall. we took the opportunity to watch and take a few pics. and although a few items like beads were being tossed to the onlookers, we didn't snag anything, but it was fun to see anyways.

the Mardi Gras "king"

a couple of other Mardi Gras floats. we noticed the floats all tended to have a similar shape, size and feel but with different themes.

sunday, feb. 15.

we mostly just stayed in our hotel room and rested our sore feet. T watched the Nascar race and i knitted. we did go into the mall to purchase some pop and took a couple more pics of the river side.

daytime view of the bridge

the tatoosh, paul allen's personal yacht.

we later learned that this is a personal yacht belonging to paul allen, microsoft's co-founder. just to give you an idea of how big it is, there is a helicopter at the back of the yacht (you can see it in the picture), a sailboat on one side & a couple of motorboats on the other side. oh yeah, there's a 40 person crew too.

i like to think that if i had that kind of money, i'd just use it to help people in need and not waste it on luxuries like a personal yacht. but if i ever actually had millions or billions of dollars, i know i'd surely spend some of it on personal luxuries too...for example, i'd really like living someplace warm for at least part of the year so i'd probably have to buy a place on maui since i loved it over there. and that, my blog-reading friends, would be pretty spendy indeed! *grin*