Friday, March 30, 2007

I'm a Wuss

I am definitely not cut out for manual labor! I started early this morning trying to remove the linoleum from the floor of the game room. Our hopes are that the concrete is in decent shape and we can stain it rather than carpet or tile. I had rented a "hot gun" (looks like an industrial hair dryer) and was positive that was all I needed to make the job easy. Wrong. By noon I had managed to remove about 2 sq. feet of the ugly vinyl. Time for Plan B. A trip to Home Depot to purchase the "right" tool for scraping, and solvent to loosen the glue. Two hours later and another 2 sq. ft. gone! In this 400 sq. ft. room, this may take awhile. The painters began packing up their tools around 2:30 (it is Friday, for Pete's sake) and decided to try their hand at scraping. They removed more in 10 minutes than I had all day!!! Okay, so maybe I've been slacking a little on the weight lifting. Plan C: wait until next weekend and put Neal on that job. This weekend I'll concentrate on getting up the rest of the tack strips off the wood floor in the house. No tears today, just blood and sweat. (I scraped my hand on the brick in the dining room, pulling up a tack strip.) My back hurts, my shoulders hurt, and my hands hurt...I can barely type this blog!

Thursday, March 29, 2007

The Nightmare Begins

We officially closed on our new property on Monday. Nineteen acres of pasture, trees, pond, creek and pool, along with barn, garage, shop, game room and 1950's house that underwent some updating in the early 70's. Yes, we are a part of the Green Acres Trend, giving up the city life and moving to the country. Did I mention the house was built in the 50's? We are completely renovating the house and game room. The central heat and air installation began on Tuesday...there are just some conveniences I'm not willing to give up. The painters showed up on Wednesday, tore down the carport and were gone before 3:00. Today they managed to replace a few pieces of siding, remove the storm windows, sand down the ceiling in the game room, and again, left around 3:00. At this pace, it will be August before move-in. I have now obtained a general contractor, Marvin, to do all the dirty work, since I can't seem to get any of the workers to take me seriously. I am so overwhelmed by all that needs to be done, and every project seems to uncover a new problem to be dealt with. This is only Day 3 and I have been near tears all day. It sure looks like a lot more fun on HGTV!!! Our old friends (and new neighbors) Alan and Susan have been invaluable. Alan knows all the right people and is adept at wheeling and dealing. Susan has shopped, cleaned, pulled nails, ripped up flooring and cheered me on in my feeble efforts. They have been through this process before and assure me it will all be worthwhile. Here are some "Before" pictures. I hope to have some "After" pictures by June!

Monday, March 26, 2007

Tulsa Workshop

Every year I look forward to the annual International Soul Winning Workshop (aka Tulsa Workshop). It is my proverbial "shot in the arm" that re-energizes me for at least a few months. There's nothing quite like a Pavilion full of Christians raising their voices in song and praising God. Many have described it as a foretaste of heaven. The preaching/teaching is always just what I need to hear and spurs me on to live a better life. For those of you who do not live in the Tulsa area, the Workshop is the same time every year, about the 3rd week in March, Thursday through Saturday. It usually coincides with Spring Break in the Tulsa Public Schools. You owe it to yourselves to plan to be here next year. For those of you who DO live in the Tulsa area, and choose not to attend...shame on you. This year, there were three lessons/speakers that truly impacted me in a way that I didn't expect. One was Bruce Marchiano, an actor who portrayed Christ in the video series of Matthew. I can't begin to describe like he did the effect it had on him as he struggled to get "in character"...something we are called to do each day. (Get the tape.) Next is a combination of two lessons that have caused me to do some intense soul searching. Jeff Walling's lesson on "Meeting Jesus in Baggage Claim" and Randy Harris' lesson on "Evil". If you didn't hear these two lessons, this probably won't make much sense to you. I saw a good friend at the workshop who told me, "you're wonderful." Obviously, I'm really good at hiding my baggage. I'm not wonderful. I don't "have it all together." I carry guilt for things in my past like it's carry-on luggage. But nobody sees it. I'm good at this. Randy Harris told about an experiment performed by Stanley Milgram in the early 70's to see how far a person would go (in harming another person) simply because he was told to do it. It was appalling. But I had to take a hard look at myself. See, I'm a "people-pleaser." That doesn't mean I'm selfless, it means I'm spineless. I have found myself in sinful situations because it made someone else happy. I have not stood up for what is right and moral. I yearned to please people instead of yearning to please God. In some ways, I came away from the Workshop this year uplifted and energized, but I also came away with a clearer picture of who I am, and my desperate need for a merciful God.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Nana & Lauren's First Walk

Today is the most GORGEOUS day. I smeared Lauren with sunscreen (Arbonne Baby Care, of course) which she wasn't too thrilled about, then set out on our walk. When Jacob was her age, he would be asleep by the time we made it back home, but not Lauren. She was talking and squealing the entire time. After a short play time in the exersaucer (she can already twist it around to explore all the toys), she let me know it was naptime. Unlike Jacob, I can lay her down in her bed and she simply drifts off to sleep. no crying! Much easier on Nana!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

10 Things I Learned

Last weekend was spent in Keystone, Colorado with Neal's cousin Carl, wife Cindy and daughters Lauren (18) and Renee (14). This was a bit of a new experience for me, since I've always skiid in New Mexico. Here are 10 things I learned on this trip.

1. The summit elevation of Keystone is 12,400 ft. as opposed to 10,400 at Angel Fire, NM.

2. At 12,400 ft., you can become dehydrated very quickly if you don't drink at least a gallon of water a day.

3. The higher the mountain, the longer the ski run (stopping to rest allowed) and the longer the ski lift ride (Brrrrr!).

4. The definition of "walking distance to slopes" in the Condo's brochure is different from MY defininition of "walking distance to slopes."

5. As hard as it is to walk in ski boots, it's easier than carrying them the "walking distance" to the slopes.

6. When you stop for lunch on the mountain, and Moon Doggie (Renee) says she's found a table on the very top level, she may not realize that there are 2 more levels ABOVE that "top level." After balancing your lunch tray while trying to climb stairs in ski boots at 12,400 ft. and finally reaching the TOP level, huffing and puffing, only to find none of your group there, the wise thing to do is sit down and eat alone.

7. You can eat anything and everything your heart desires when you are burning it off on the ski slopes.

8. It takes twice as long to cook a meal at 12,400 ft. (Neal tried to explaing the physics of this phenomenon, but I still don't get it.)

9. Just because you've all agreed NOT to ski blacks this year doesn't mean you won't read the trail map wrong and end up on a black anyway.

10. Teenage girls can trash a room as quickly as teenage boys.
We had a great time and enjoyed spending the weekend with Carl and his family. Lauren's trip was made worthwhile when she skated on the lake in the basin. Apparently skating outdoors was very invigorating for her. She is a very talented figure skater and had all the onlookers gasping in awe. The girls ski boarded while we skiid, staying with us the whole time. Carl and Neal cooked breakfast, Cindy and I cooked dinner and we ate lunch on the mountain. We also took advantage of the hot tub after a long day of skiing.

Neal at the fire pit by the frozen lake.
Carl after the first day of skiing.