Tuesday, December 28, 2010

I love Aslan!

I do not find it amusing or cute when movies have talking animals. Although I am very much an animal lover, I really think that making them talk in movies is a bit too cutesy and, just well over the top of anything necessary. (Too harsh yet?)

Then I go with my coworkers to see the latest Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, in 3D I might add. I have not read any of these fantastic C.S. Lewis books and have only seem two of the movies. I didn't even know what a "Dawn Treader" was! (psst..it was the name of a ship)

So having said all that, why was it every time Aslan appeared I cried? (December must be confession month for me.) I love Aslan! What he represents is so great and wonderful and beautiful. It is the same feeling I get when I allow myself to truly worship my God at church. It's kind of an overwhelming, happy, humble cry.

I don't really care too much for movies where kids are heroes either. It always seemed so corny to me (there is a reason I am not a mom). But I totally understand the meaning behind the children in the movie, that is what God wants us to be like. Jesus says in Mark 10:14-15 "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of God belongs to such as these. Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.”

(I know you are very afraid now, Vicki is quoting scripture! Yikes!)

Another thing I liked about the movie is that the dragon was not a bad guy. Oh yes, he started out as a brat kid, but ended up being a good dragon. Since dragons are special to me, I appreciated this. :-)

Anyway, Aslan has been on my mind since I saw the movie last week. I am sure there is a reason for all this. Maybe I will even blog about it when I discover what it is.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Christmas at VCC

Confession: I get too wrapped up in the technical aspects of our Christmas Celebration every year. I have always been a late bloomer too, which means I catch all jokes after the fact, I catch everything after it is too late...including Christmas.

Today I have some "my" time, and our Christmas Celebration is all that is in my head. Where else will you take a trip through space to the farthest galaxy and see stars you have never seen, see and hear opera and rap sung live together on stage, hear a classical pianist and rock band, watch a candle mysteriously light all by itself, and listen to two extremely smart guys explaining the reason that Jesus was born, all in an hour?

Sounds overwhelming doesn't it? I think that is because it is.

It all kind of hits home now, in my private time, how much I love my church and the message that it brings. I feel so strongly about it, yet I am not an evangelist. I know deep in my heart what has happened to me, I just cannot articulate it as well as most people so I usually don't.

I am so lucky and blessed to be able to take part in something that can actually change lives. I know, it changed mine!

I hope everyone's Christmas was as meaningful as mine.

Friday, December 17, 2010

I don't get it! What's the big deal?

Growing up in Detroit, snow was something to look forward to. Between our house and the 'party store' next door, Cincinnati calls these pony kegs - where did that name come from? Now they are referred to as convenience stores. But I am already off track with my story. (Is that a squirrel?)

Anyway, I remember my parents and the guy who owned the store would drag their garden hoses out and let the water run in the field between us. Remember this is in the city - "field" is a relative term here, it was really just a vacant lot. Because the ground was hard, the water would have no where to go and it would freeze. That made our own personal ice skating pond. No side rails to grab onto, no helmets, no lights at night...just sheer unprotected fun.

Skating, snowball fights, snowman building, angels in the snow, and when we were real lucky we would go snow skiing. There was also this fun thing called "bumper riding." This is where you would grab a car's back bumper as slide down the street like water skiing. This was only if the streets were slippery enough and car was going slow enough, usually down a residential street. Of course, I never did such a thing. :-)

Oh, all the memories of winters in Detroit.

I don't ever recall a 'snow day' when I was young, nor did I ever ride a school bus, we walked to school, and made it as fun as we wanted it to be.

Another memory I have is one time my dad digging a path into the family car from the passenger side (because you couldn't even find the car from the drivers side), and then insisting on "driving" the car out of the snow. It was a big ole car, come to think of it, all cars were big then. Anyway, he managed to do it, and it left a wall of snow that was higher than the top of the car. Funny the things you remember from your childhood, isn't it? It probably wasn't like that at all, but that is what I remember from my young impressionable age, and I'm sticking with it.

One good thing about growing up in Detroit, is I learned at an early age to love the snow as much as the summertime. See Detroit isn't all that bad! So what's the big deal here?

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

How do they do that?

I read a lot of blogs of friends. Most don't know that I read about them and their thoughts on a regular basis. Then I try to blog. For me it is hard. Do I really have that blank of a mind? Is there really no thoughts up there worthy of typing into this space that no one reads anyway?

Some people write extremely long blogs on a very regular basis, and I can't even put together a paragraph or two a couple times a week. Seems like a blog more when I am on vacation than any other time though. Umm...what does that say about my life? Should I be concerned about this? Is it just a sign of old age, or laziness?

Whatever the reason, I love my life and wouldn't change it. Blessings are all over my life and I am so very thankful. Besides, blogging is overrated (hence the byline on my blog title above), but I am still happy for my friends who blog so I can stalk their lives. Keep up the good work, guys!

Monday, December 6, 2010

Time for funny stuff

Here are compilations of the top 10 funny dog and cat videos. I just had to share, they made me laugh. Hopefully you will too.

First the cat videos. Now the dog videos. I just love these little creatures!

Hope you enjoy!

Friday, November 26, 2010

You turned!

You turned, and I missed it! We bought you when you were brand new, you only had 17 miles on you. You actually replaced a Camry, you were all pretty, shinny and new.

Now you have over 100,000 miles, and I didn't get to see it happen. You are the first car I have had long enough to say that about. You are still a great car, and not too much different from the day we brought you home.

Once we got the first scratch over with, you have not been injured since. That is, as long as we don't count a couple of bent rims. (Don't get me started on how I hate front wheel drive cars.) I have logged every tank of gas, and every maintenance and replacement part that you asked for on an Excel spreadsheet. In your whole life, you have only cost me $5,300. That is every oil change....everything except gas. I have a complete history on you, better than any CarFax could ever provide. They will never know what we know and what we have really been through. Take that CarFax!

We have taken lots of trips west to the ocean, east to Iowa, south the Florida, north to Detroit, and many stops and places in between.

If I could only figure out how to shine you up once again, your paint is getting dull kind of like I am getting gray. I guess it is appropriate.

Thanks for being such a great car. Happy 6th birthday, and happy 100,000. Here is to the next 100,000!

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

3rd time is a charm?

Yes, one more eye surgery under my belt. I sure hope this is it, oh please let this be it.

After repairing the detached retina surgery, then 'now let's scrape off that bad scar tissue that has formed' surgery, I knew this would be a piece of cake. Cataract surgery yesterday, blogging today! Life is good.

I didn't have to worry about 'waking up' this time. Last time i wasn't supposed to and did, this time the plan was to stay awake. That just doesn't sound right, does it? Yea, stay awake so you can keep you eye pointing towards the ceiling. Geez, so glad I could be of service!

All I can say is, take care of your eyes, and thank you God for the technology to fix those who don't take such good care of their eyes.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Kinda makes me sad

Sometimes I think my Shelby isn’t happy with my decision to get her a buddy. I think Bubba was enough buddy for her. I could never part with Gracie now, but I can’t help but wonder if I did the right thing.

Don’t get me wrong, they don’t fight (they are both too laid back for that). And they have their moments of chasing each other in the yard (although sometimes it looks like Shelby is trying to chase Gracie off). The last couple of days Shelby is doing things that she has never done before (like pooping in the house). Is this a form of acting out, like kids do? I just am not sure my little Shelby-girl is happy, and that makes me sad. I know it takes time, but Gracie has been with us for almost six months. How long should this take?

I remember it took me quite a while to really let Shelby into my heart after Jas. Then she became my priority (speaking in pet terms only). Gracie is starting to get in there now too, she is so sweet. I have come to the conclusion that she does not have an aggressive hair on her. Not sure what any of that has to do with this story.

I just wonder/worry about my Shelby-girl.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Happy anniversary VCC

VCC celebrated the silver anniversary this weekend. 25 years ago our church started out in a condo in someone's living room with five people.

I have been on this journey with VCC for 15 of those years. It is amazing when I reflect on what has happened in my life during those years. I was so self centered and self absorbed....and didn't even realize it.

I grew up in a mostly unchurched environment. I had heard about God, but that was about it. I was majorly clueless about Him or what a church really was. My impressions were that it was a very nice social club and the 'good' people went to. Boy was I off base!

The thing that struck me the first time I stepped foot in this church was, and I am not making this up, a full rock band with electric guitars and drums played, and a young stocky built pastor with a full beard, flannel shirt and blue jeans spoke. From that point on I couldn't get enough of it. Whatever it was, I wanted it. It is something that is hard to explain. Eventually I even started hearing what was being said. This was all news to me for sure.

I won't expound on my adventures here, I know I could go on for a long time. Wait, isn't that what blogs are about? Expounding on your thoughts? Even I don't read long blogs.

All I know is that I am a changed person, and I have never been more at peace or happier in all my life. I know I am not perfect, but I love my God and my husband more than I ever knew was possible.

Here are some pictures and videos of our celebration at the Cintas Center. It was a great celebration, and I hope to be a part of many more celebrations. Thank you God!

Friday, October 1, 2010

Gotta love this technology

There I was, looking at the "Pictures of the Week" on a very prominent news web site whose identity shall remain a secret (wasn't that a peacock?), mining my own business, when all of a sudden this pop up appears out of nowhere (isn't that where they all come from?). This pop up had a bright red alert notice plastered across the top (yea, that is a picture of it). Microsoft Security Essentials Alert trojan was telling me that I had a 'severe' virus and I need to download this virus remover to take care of it.

Since "Microsoft" and "Essentials" sounded familiar I almost fell for it. It had totally locked up my computer and would not let me go anywhere. So how do I get help now? Who do I call to bail me out at 10:00 at night?

Then it hit me! I have a browser on my Droid phone! Yep I searched the internet and found help. First I confirmed my suspicion that this was not real, and found a simple solution to fix it.

If you see something that looks like this picture...run, don't walk, away as fast as you can. Yep ya gotta love this technology!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Thanks Shutterfly!

This is not a paid endorsement, but I sure do like the Shutterfly site!

Things I like about Shutterfly (where did that name come from?):

I can create albums and upload my pictures to show them off (creating that last post, here on my blog was not as easy I thought it should be).

I can create tabs across the top to organize them (I love to organize things).

It's like having my own website. (I know, you would think I would be better at this 'website' stuff, wouldn't you?)

You don't have to go and see any of them, and I will never know! (No more being nice because I have shoved my phone on your face and made you look at my pictures.)

You can comment on any of them (if you do look at them), or not.

You don't have to log on or 'create and account' to just look at them.

If you should ever want any of these pictures, you can purchase them from Shutterfly (I have done it, and they really do good work).

And the best part? It's all free! Go ahead, check it out...or not...I'll never know either way!

Hey, if you do go there and look....thanks.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Cosmic Dogs

My brother and family live in Charleston, SC and we decided to tag a few days on to the end of our vacation to visit them. He took us to this great little place called Jack's Cosmic Dogs. Yep all they sell is hot dogs. But not just your run of the mill hot dogs, these are hot dogs with absolutely anything you could ever want on them. Yea, and I just had a plain ole hot dog, without a bun even! [insert yawn here]

All the retro things that were inside and outside really added character to this little dive of a place.

Take, for example, this lovely old phone. When was the last time you saw one of these babies? Yep that is a real rotary dial! How about an authentic hand-made, spoon chandelier?

And then there are these great 'cosmic' signs that say so much. "Sky Dogs" are just "Fun for the whole family", don't you agree? They even served Tang! After all it was made for the 'cosmic' astronauts, right?

Then there were the sights outside. A spatula nailed to the door for a handle, and who knows what some of this stuff is!

And while we were there, a guy drove up in this and came in for a hot dog! No lie! Maybe he thinks it is a chick magnet?

More to come about our vacation, if you can stand it!

Monday, September 20, 2010

My dogs

What is it about these little creatures? I really love having a dog in my life (I have gone over the top this time, I have two). I can not remember a time when I didn't have one of these faithful companions by my side. (So I can blame my parents for this?) They have been there forever (at least my life's forever), and seen everything (we won't elaborate on this one).

Is this what happens to people who don't have kids? They get all weird about dogs? I have to say I kinda miss my kitty though.

They have even even taught me about my God, too. This is where you should started getting sacred. They love and obey, there is no judgment, they don't worry about where their next meal will come from, they don't worry about anything, they are always happy to see you (even if you have been gone for 14 hours or more) and they don't hold a grudge when you scold them.

They are made up of pure, unconditional love (and they are soft and furry too!) Sounds like my God to me (except I don't know abut the soft and furry part).

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Goodbye Chrome!

I guess I just don't get to get it. Chrome is supposed to be the greatest browser out there these days. Well I say ummff!

One of the big deals is the speed. Sorry, I didn't see any improvement over my beloved FireFox.

Then there is the chrome Google Doodle. Yea, it's chrome! (cute for about a minute, then **yawn*)

Now let's talk about the features that it doesn't have. Did you know that you cannot get an RSS feed on Chrome like FireFox? I use this a lot to keep up with my friends blogs that I like to read. Once I figured out how to use RSS, I think it is a pretty cool feature.

Here is the most surprising thing about Chrome, this actually blew me away. First let's reiterate...Chrome is a product of Google (important information to consider when discovering the next Chrome fact). You know how when you download something on your browser you are asked if you want the "Google Toolbar"? And sometimes you just get it whether you want it or not. Well, Chrome's surprising fact is....it does not support the Google Toolbar! Uh?

One more strike against Chrome is that it doesn't play well with my new Vine at work. Now I realize this may not mean much to you, but you have to understand that the Vine is my adopted baby and it is near and dear to my heart.

I like my toolbar and my RSS feeds (and my Vine) that is three strikes...sorry Chrome, another day maybe.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Coffee, book, beautiful porch, morning, and free wifi outside!

Forgive me for posting about this again, but God is so good to us on vacation. This is my idea of a beautiful morning. I am sitting outside on a porch, surrounded by the cutest puppies, I have a book, coffee, about 66 degree weather, and am listening to birds singing and squirrels playing in the trees.

What else can be said but Thank You God!!

Monday, September 6, 2010

What a great day

Wow, what a great day. Why can't everyday be like this? Logic says because I would get bored with it all, and that is quite possibly the truth.

Upon arrival to our humble abode, a block from the ocean, one of the first things we discovered was that we have internet! Let me explain why this is a big deal.

We are staying at my 100 year old grandma's house (she no longer lives here, she moved in with my dad about 10 miles away a couple of years ago). It is actually about a 40 year old mobile home. If you know anything about mobile homes you know that we are looking at every room being paneled and old single pane storm windows. Four of us sleep on the biggest bed in the house which is a queen sized bed, which has to be at least 20 years old.

Having said all that, it has a big welcoming porch and did I mention that it is a block from the ocean...and it is free!!! I think I have come down here (and it is a 12 hour drive) at least once (usually more than once) every year since she has been here. For obvious reasons, grandma never had internet (I'm not sure if she even understands the concept yet). Every once in a while we could get on the wireless from the business on the other corner, and our oh so accommodating Time Warner offered wifi for for about $30 for the week (per person) which we never did partake in. (But we can tell you all the local coffee shops that offer free wifi.) So you can understand why getting free wifi was a very pleasant surprise!

We are still not sure why, but who is going to ask? Maybe because Hurricane Earl just left and it was a way to get tourists back (although how would they know until they arrived) for the holiday weekend. Maybe they had a change of heart??

Either way it brings me back to...what a great day! And don't even get me started on the food down here!!

Sunday, September 5, 2010

And the Gracie story continues

We’ve all seen them, the old cowboy movies where the brave cowboy is going to “break” the wild horse. He has the horse in his corral (conveniently, we don’t see how he accomplished that part). He walks toward the horse to try to put a rope around its neck, and horse calmly walks in the other direction. The horse doesn’t try to outrun the cowboy he just plays this little annoying game of cat-and-mouse with the cowboy. Now that you have that picture, put Gracie in the role of the horse. This is exactly how she acts when we try to get her to come to us.

In the movies it takes four to six times of this back and forth game until the horse lets the cowboy (key note here is that ‘the horse lets the cowboy’) get near enough to accomplish the task he set out to do. And then, like all the magic in the movies, they are best buds to the end. The horse is forever faithful and loving to the cowboy. So much so that the horse is always saving the cowboy’s life and even makes him coffee in the morning! (Ok, maybe I made up the coffee part.)

All this to paint a picture of Gracie (a.k.a. Gracie the horse) and my relationship. The only problem is that I have not “broken” her yet. She still likes to play this little annoying game of cat-and-mouse with me.

From all this I will reiterate what I have stated in previous blogs….Gracie, you may have won this battle, but the war is still on! It is just sad that you cannot be off your leash until that time, as I know you want to play and run and chase Shelby like you do at home. Ahhh, maybe someday..

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Last post last week?

Wow, what a slacker! I gotta get on the stick here. I was supposed to be using this as a tool to start journaling. Ummmm not doing so well.

So I think I am over the hump at work, now I get to focus on vacation. It is pretty bad when you are so immersed in your work that you don't realize that...hey...you leave on vacation next Friday!!!

I usually blog pretty well on vacation. Guess that is because I have more time to blog. On many levels I am looking forward to getting away to the "big water" (as we affectionately refer to the ocean as). Lots of time to just do nothing and blog. Ahhh, that is the life!

Well, my break is over now, guess I will get back to my painting (as a note, moving a refrigerator away from the wall is not a pretty sight....but you probably already knew that). Our new front door is scheduled for installation this Tuesday. Oh boy, a whole new look! Yes kitchen and dining room, you are going down!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Week Two is Over

The rampant wildfires have subsided, this week consisted of only huge cannonballs falling all around. I am actually looking forward to mere gunshots! (maybe next week?) We are still fighting, but we are winning the battle.

Stress...such a good thing to learn about. Most people think they can multitask, and that may be so, but how about managing everyone else's 'priority 1' problems? There were times this week when I felt I was inside an video game trying not to get killed and lose one of my lives while having things hurled at me from all directions.

Verifying problems, documenting them, prioritizing the list, assigning problems to the appropriate people to fix, finding work-a-rounds, calming frightened people all while the phone is ringing and the emails are flooding my in box in a non-stop fashion, this was what my job looked has like for the past two weeks. And any 'regular' work I had on my plate was definitely drowning/dying off in the process. (Ummm....could I be using this all as an excuse not to work on my performance review process?)

I feel that I am living, eating, sleeping, waking, talking, and breathing the Vine. I love that everyone I work with has the same desire as me to make this product the best ever, and I truly appreciate their passion. This is the best place to work, everyone has tons of grace for me as I negotiate my minefield.

The funny thing is when I can sit and reflect on the past two weeks I somehow feel exhilarated (how the heck does that happen? Is that what a day off will do for you?) It feels like I am really doing something worth while, and I really believe this will help further the Kingdom, and I am proud and honored to be a part of it. I can say that because I am writing this on my home computer, and not my work computer. I can, and do, leave my work at work (for the most part).

My prayer for next week is for just mere gunfire. I love my job and all the wonderful people I work with, and Ed for listening to all my ranting. God is sooooo good to me!

Friday, August 13, 2010

Week One is Over

It started, well I don’t know exactly when it started, I guess when I took this job about five and a half years ago. But it culminated last Sunday/Monday (note those are my two days off) when we did the final database migration. We moved our entire church database (about 80,000 records or so) from an Oracle platform to a MySQL database platform, and that is as techie as I will get about that.

We took down the old system Sunday after everyone had left church and we were up and running on the new database platform by Monday morning. That’s when it all started. All the phone calls and emails and questions. I think I got more calls and emails this week from staff then I have in all the time I have been there. We birthed a new era for VCC, and the birthing pains have been going on for over a year.

The major I-am-dead-in-the-water-and-can’t-work, this-is-totally-unacceptable, fires have been put out, but there are still many bugs that are as big as my house yet to taken down.

True confession...I did have a couple of meltdowns (two, I think). Luckily no one actually saw them, but I am wondering how I came across to everyone. (This is a public apology to you if you were one of those who came close to my meltdown office at the wrong time, I am sorry.) It was a very interesting lesson in how I handle stress. I admit I learned something about myself through it all.

I am so fortunate that I work in a place that extends a lot of grace. (Lord knows I needed it, and I got it.) There were lots of frustrations, but it is over now. In the end I received a thank you (probably for not totally blowing up at anyone) that was far more than I deserved.

Everyone has their ‘seasons’ of work overload and stress at this place. I was just waddling through my ‘season’; it was my turn in the hot seat. The thanks, praise, (and yes) gifts I received humbled me more than they know.

When it was brought to me, I immediately realized that it was my peeps (my VUG) loving on me, and I was really kind of embarrassed about the whole thing. So embarrassed that I didn't even open the card for a long time. I kind of wanted to cry. I hate attention, and this was attention to the max. For the record I didn’t do anything more than anyone else at VCC would have done. Everyone works hard.

Tomorrow I am taking the day off (I get to spend it with my 100 year old grandma), but Sunday it may be back to testing again. All I can say at this point is, God thank you for this wonderful job, and the wonderful peeps I work with and for, you are so good to me.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Oh Droid, how I love thee…

Yep, we are a Droid family now. Not just any Droid, we had to be a Droid X. Thank you Verizon.

We moved up from the Blackberry Storm and I have to admit it is much, much better. I still haven’t learned all there is to learn. That is half the fun, discovering the new things it can do and weeding through the hundreds of apps there are out there for it.

Now don’t think we took this decision lightly. Ed did lots and lots of research before this decision was made. For me, I had to see the cost. Here is an example of how we both think differently.

Ed researched its capabilities, reading all the reviews and reports he could find. Even Consumer Reports recommended it over the new iPhone. Then, of course, there is the ‘cool’ factor you know. Yes, we were the first at work to have this magnificent piece of workmanship, that has many points attached to it right there.

As for me, what is this going to cost? Two years ago when we went to the Storm we justified the ‘data plan’ that you have to purchase. One way was to drop our land line, and we still never miss it! But that was so years ago. Now, how is this expense going to work? Well let’s think about this. The cost for the phone itself was $259. Yikes you say! How can you justify that? Here’s how, first there is $100 rebate (so far so good), second there is eBay! So far I have sold one of the phone for over $100 (minus shipping). So see…$59 for the coolest phone on the planet (at least this week!) isn’t so bad. The ‘cool’ factor is worth that, right?

But wait…there’s more!! I loaded I don’t know how many versions of the bible on my phone for free, one version cost $35 on my recently owned Palm. To beat that Bejeweled game was free too! Oh, and one more thing, isn’t that little Droid guy so cute? Kinda looks like C3PO’s cousin.

Is life good or what? (Was that too nerdy to say?) God is so good to us!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Bubba 2007 - 2010

It was a dark and wintery night, and there, outside, sitting on a ledge of our solarium window was a tiny unknown furry object. We brought him in and gave him a good forever home. He weighed all of three pounds, was all white with beautiful golden eyes. I asked Ed to name him and he was christened Bubba. Sounds like a big name for such a cute little ball of snow white fur that could fit in Ed's hand. As time passed, he grew into his name topping out at a very healthy 14 pounds. (Could Ed be prophetic?)

Bubba took no crap from the dog that outweighed him by four times. He and Shelby would chase each other around the house (Bubba was like a lightening streak, so fast and agile), and Bubba would ambush and pounce on Shelby whenever he had a chance. They were the best of friends. We often called him Bubba-Tut, implying that he was the King Tut of the house, which of course, he knew he was.

The first time Bubba saw Shelby he arched his back and looked just like a Halloween cat, except he was white. I was fortunate enough to even capture it in a picture. It is one of the best. He was very photogenic and simply beautiful to look at. I have a lot of beautiful pictures of him. This is Ed’s favorite picture of him. Now I ask you, is that a beautiful Bubba-Tut or what? I have posted an album of Bubba pictures here.

Ed spoiled that kitty big time. Every morning before he left for work there had to be some treats on the floor for him. If they weren’t there by 8:00am, we heard about it as Bubba could become quite verbal. He would walk in between Ed's legs and make him almost trip to be sure he had Ed's attention to remind him not forget about the kitty treats. And he was always at the door when we came home to greet us.

Bubba loved to curl up in the bathroom sink to sleep, which posed some problems for getting ready for work in the mornings (mostly for Ed though, I would leave him there). Sitting in a window watching birds was his favorite pastime, and he loved when we had open windows and could hear them too. It all helps when your stalking ya know.

Last Thursday-Friday he stopped eating and became very lethargic. Things just weren’t right all weekend. Monday it was off to the vet, who could not really find anything wrong during an exam except for his dehydration. They took blood and would call the next day with results. We went home pumped with fluids and some high calorie, sweet and yummy cat food that he was sure to love. Wrong.

The next day came to call he had renal failure (a fancy pants word for kidney failure). His bad blood count (or whatever the proper medical term is) was almost off the charts. Nope, he had not eaten anything poisonous that we could find, he never went outside. Kidney failure is very rare in a cat only 3 years old it is more common in older cats, not mine. He went back in to the vet’s immediately and was put on an IV and closely monitored.

Sparing the gory details, after two nights at the vet hospital he was not getting better, and was in a lot of pain as the toxins were backing up in his body. I had to make the call today to let him go. If you are still reading this I am sure it is because you are a pet lover too, and you know how hard this is right now. I know all will be well soon and it only hurts when I think about him.

I will post this and go now to clean out his litter box, put his food away, throw away the uneaten cat grass, and pick up all the little fuzzy mice that are hiding all over the house. Ed said it well when he said that God gave us a beautiful gift. We loved him and he loved us. He had a great home, and we will miss seeing him in the window as we pull into the drive. Now, if you were a little fuzzy mouse where would you be?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Wii and me

We started out bowling. Yea, that's how everyone starts. Then we had to get a Fit Plus with the balance board. It's Wii and me now!

For those who don’t know what this is, it is a program that takes you through exercises while you stand on their board where every movement is captured and calculated. I ride a bike, ski through slalom gates, take a ski jump, do a ‘super’ hula hoop, do some dancing, karate moves, and even do some yoga. Lately, I have even been trying to walk a tightrope and juggle with balancing in a huge ball. Somehow, someway I even run for 3 minutes. It is actually kinda fun. If you knew anything about me you would know this is a major miracle! The other miracle is that I have been doing all this consistently!

But have I lost weight? Nooooooo! Do you know how depressing and disappointing that is? Ed has a good attitude about it all he says as long as he is getting fit he doesn’t care about the weight. I want to lose it.

“Ok Vicki, stop whining about working out. It is good for you.” That is what I need to keep telling myself. So, Wii, it’s just you and me!! Let’s rock and roll (before I get depressed)!!!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Seems like I can never think of what to write about, but once I get started it just flows. Taking the time is the big thing....just take the time.

My favorite scripture is on Psalms 46:10 "Be still and know I am God...." Yep that about says it. Now if only I would!

The LOL Cat Bible version says it like this "Make quietz, and seez I am Ceiling Cat..."

If you want to read something totally hysterical, read about the Ceiling Cat. People have actually taken the bible and translated it into the LOLSpeak version, and the Ceiling Cat reigns. "In teh beginnin Ceiling Cat maded teh Skiez an da Erfs n stuffs."

If you haven't seen this, you have to check out the LOL Cat Bible web site. You can actually buy this book on Amazon now!

Oh my gosh!! Did I just blog about something in the bible!! Is this really me? Yikes!!!!

(Pssst, God is really and truly good!!)

Kitchen/Dining room...you're going down!

We are finally tackling the kitchen/dining room project, if only I knew how long this is going to take! Seems like our home projects take such a long time to complete (some are still not totally complete). But that won’t stop me from starting another.

I have agonized over this kitchen/dining room for years. How many people do you know have six, yes six, entrances into a dining room? Do you know how hard that is to work with? It is agonizing…oh, I already said that.

Can I just say, whoever came up with the idea of z-brick should be shot? That is some nasty stuff. You cannot take it off without taking the wall with it. At this point, all I want to do is paint these rooms, put in a new floor and be done.

But no…you have to take out the drop ceiling with these horrible fluorescent lights first, do patch work on the ceiling (but we gained two more feet in the room, this is good), take down the wallpaper, now paint (oh dear what color to choose) rip up the flooring yourself (the installers are afraid of asbestos), and take a look at replacing the entrance door and possible door to solarium. Oh, what to do about the cabinets? All this with one day off a week together to work on this project.

But wait!!! There’s more!! After all that, you can’t keep using a dining room set that is 25 years old now can you? And what about the rest of the furniture in the room? Oh, if you only know the agony of it all!!

Thank God we have the option to even think about doing this work. Some people live with much uglier dining rooms than mine (or so I’ve been told, I’ve not seen this for myself!). But now is the time, I have other plans for my life!

Is this what it is like to “grow old together”?

This is my first time, so I did not know what to expect. But here are my thoughts about it. About what? About my life with Ed.

Lately we have gotten into some great and (at least to me) meaningful discussion about some deep subjects. I have explored some topics that maybe being a Christian I shouldn’t be exploring. And there is Ed, right there with me, my friend, my companion, my confidant. Being able to talk about these things gives me more confidence in me and in my relationship with my loving God, and Ed.

Speaking for me, I have grown into a deeper feeling of peace and contentment with my life and with our relationship. I can see why people who have been married 30, 40, or 50 years or more seem so happy. Sometimes it looks like a glow is about them. How sad it must be to lose that when it happens. I can’t, won’t go there now.

Friday, July 2, 2010

From Jas to Shelby to Gracie

Jas was the best dog in the world. She was my ‘perfect’ dog. When she died and we got Shelby, it took a long time to love her even half as much. But time marched on and now she is my ‘perfect’ dog.

Now I love her so much I didn’t want her to grow old before her time and thought she needed a buddy to keep her company during the day and to keep her more active than I had been doing (as confessed in previous blogs about her).

Enter Gracie. We have only had her for about two months, and I am sure I am in the same spot I was with Shelby at this time. I feel so protective of Shelby. Gracie just wants to play when they are outside, and there are times when Shelby just wants to poop in peace. Gracie will run up and nip at her leg or neck to get her to play. Sometimes I think Gracie to too rough for my mild mannered ‘perfect’ Shelby, who turns the other cheek every time to Gracie. I still see so much ‘puppy’ in Gracie, as I should, she is still young. I think she probably never really got to play much as a puppy and now she is feeling freer to do so than she probably ever has.

I am sure I will grow to love Gracie as much, but now isn’t that time. She is awful cute and she can look at you a certain way that would melt any heart, especially a dog lover’s heart. We just need more time together.

There seems to be a pattern here. Is this how it is done? How is it that these creatures of God's can get so deep into your heart? I could expound on their differences and their similarities, but suffice to say that they, for the most part, get along great. I think Gracie and I are just in for a time of adjustment. Once that time has passed, will I be able to handle two ‘perfect’ dogs, at the same time?

Sunday, June 27, 2010

My SOS recap

Recuperating is probably the best word. This is following an entire week of SOS. This year we had 1,000 middle and high school kids in for a week of Summer of Service. We do this every year, and every year it tends to get bigger and bigger.

There are certain ministry areas that work on this all year, and absolutely kill themselves the month prior and are literally working from the dead the week of. (You guys know who you are.) The passion that they have is totally beyond my comprehension.

Yes, I work a few 15 hour days (when will I learn that I am too old for this stuff!), but I fear my motives are selfish. I just want to do is to be a team player, hide in the background of everything. I never want recognition for myself, but I do for the team. And if I am totally honest (and this is what I pledged to be on this blog), I am not so sure I am doing it for the kids either. [insert heart pang..ouch]

Every year I go into this week thinking that these self centered kids do not have the slightest clue as to the magnitude and the sacrifice that VCC puts out for them. Then every year God shows up and melts my heart and instills new hope in this generation. I truly believe these kids leave different people then when they came. The things that happen during this week could fill a book and not nothing short of miraculous!

This year the IT and tech team (if I my boast about them for a minute) made history. We actually streamed a night’s celebration live on the web on Wednesday. (We did it again on Friday when kids were getting baptized.) And as if that wasn’t enough, God saw to it that I was directing that night. I can’t explain the feeling of the adrenaline that was flowing through me that night. Even with some people who were new on the crew, everyone was firing on all cylinders and it was the most awesome night. I was on a high for at least 24 hours after the fact.

Then God shows up again….I hear the stories about how parents from many surrounding states watched it, and were excited to be able to experience what their child was experiencing….live! We had some kids here from Ireland, and their parents were able to share what their kids were experiencing. Could it get much better than that?

My gifting is certainly not in direct personal relationship with these kids, I am no prayer warrior, not a good outreach leader or group leader, but to have a behind-the-scenes impact on their lives is a feeling that carries me through all the chaos of the week.

I thank God for allowing me to be a part of the biggest thing we do during the year, and yanking my heart back on track. He still has a lot of work to do on me, but here is to next year’s yank!

Friday, June 18, 2010

Today = 11!!

It is hard to believe that I have been married 11 years today!

When I was younger (in my “BC” days – before Christ) I held on to the dream that there was the ‘perfect’ guy out there for me. I was not disillusioned that he would be perfect, I always contended that he would be ‘perfect for me.’ It was a belief I held on to through my 20’s and 30’s.

Little did I know how true that would be. Little did I know that it was really God in charge all the time. Little did I know that God already had it all already orchestrated to happen. Little did I know that He was still going to make it happen even as I entered my 40’s!

Obviously I knew (and still know) very little about all His wonders. I confess I did give up hope and ‘settled’ for less during that time. As I look back it just proved how little my faith was at that time. I had actually given up that it would happen, and even told Ed this when we were dating.
Not even knowing though, I was about to hear a different story from my Father. How did I know that I was confessing to the very man that I would be spending the rest of my life with?

I have never been happier than I have in the past 11 years. Thank you Ed, but most of all thank you God for not giving up on me and loving me enough to give me the greatest gift in the world!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Ahh…its Monday. It is 67 degrees, the sun is out, the birds are singing, I am sitting outside with a cup of coffee, my computer, and the interweb. Life is good. Is this what it is like when one is retired? If so, I can’t wait.

Fondly, I remember being off work for about 3 months (after Clinique closed the office I was working at and before I started working at VCC) and taking a walk every day with Jas. I was off from November through January and we walked no matter the weather. I remember walking while it was snowing one day, and she was accumulating snow on her back. Oh those were the days.

Ed and I got up early and did some exercises this morning. We are hoping to do this 3-4 times a week at least. And now that I have publicly said this on my blog (even though no one will really see it) I still somehow feel a commitment to do it.

Ed always was my motivator, so I expect that he will continue to be that. All he has to do is to get up in the morning. If he does, than I will. I feel he will, as he is much better about exercising that I have ever been.

All my life I have never had to worry about what I ate, or when I ate it. At the age of 18 I was a size 5, at 40 I was a size 8, and at 50 I was a size 10 (I sure could have lived with that for the rest of my life!). Even though the trend was going in the wrong direction, I was still ok. After all it was just a number, right? Of course I was a lot more active in those days. I loved to go dancing in my 20’s and 30’s, and was still snow skiing into my 40’s.

So what happened after the big 5-0? I guess I could come up with a list if I wanted to, but I also know that the real reason lies in me and only me. The first lesson is that I can no longer eat whatever, whenever. Someone needs to tell my body that though!

My question to ponder today is: will posting this blog give me incentive to do something more? I have no excuses for anything less. All the exercise equipment I could possibly need is right here in my home (thank you Wii Fit Plus). So I will close this asking for God’s help because we both know if it was left up to me it wouldn’t get done. I’ll go inside now and cook some good healthy oatmeal for breakfast. Thank you God, in advance.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

She may have won a battle….

…but not the war! It’s not over yet, Gracie. Maybe it was because I have not been sleeping well (4 of us in a queen sized bed presents its problems) and it made me too exhausted and sensitive…but Gracie made me cry today. She keeps peeing in the house before I can get her outside. It is at times like this it makes me want to give up on her. I was so angry at her yesterday morning. And when I get angry I just cry.

On the other hand, logic says things like: she is out of any routine here, she has not had two days that have looked the same; she is a smart dog, she can learn; she just needs more patience.

Ed reminds me that Shelby wasn’t the “perfect dog” two years ago, that she is now. Somehow I have forgotten anything she did that was not right. She is so good now, I couldn’t ask for a better dog. Well, maybe one that doesn’t jump on people who come to visit, but other than that, she is the best dog on the planet.

So yesterday, Gracie won a battle, but she will not win the war. That will ultimately be my victory.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Gracie's first day at the ocean

I'm going out on a limb here, but I am going to bet that she has never see the ocean (especially from a cage in Indiana). She was not too sure about it either. I am sure it would have been more fun for her if she didn't have to be on her leash for the whole time (but she called that shot the other day). I thought the noise of the ocean would scare her, but she just did not like the water.

What followed was Shelby's favorite part. If you anything about our Shelby, you know she is totally obsessed with a few things, but one of them is water. Trying to rinse her off is very difficult because she thinks it is playtime! She absolutely loves the water, where Gracie is just the opposite.

Well, we are over these experiences now, and not doing super well with the housebreaking either. We have a lot of work ahead of us with this little girl, but (except for the housebreaking part) we had to work with Shelby a couple of years ago too. We have confidence in her, she is a smart girl and we know she needs us as much as we need her. God doesn't make mistakes, and this girl is not going back, she has her forever home.

As a side note Ed found the original article on this hoarding story. We think our little Gracie is in one of the pictures too! Here is the link to the original story: http://www.wlwt.com/news/22989339/detail.html

Monday, May 24, 2010

We made it to the coast!

We made the 12 hour drive to Emerald Isle with, not one this time, but two dogs. Shelby always was a great traveler, and we found out that Gracie is too. They both take up the whole backseat, but sleep most of the time.

However, there was once incident at a gas stop. Gracie is still very shy and afraid of anything new. She will lay low in the back seat even with a door open and usually needs to be coaxed out. Well something happened at a particular stop…door opened…and out jumped Gracie…before I could get her leash on. What made that scary was the fact that we were at an intersection, and she was not coming to any calls. The two of us could not round her up and time kept passing. She would let us get close and then dart away. My whole being was filled with fear that I rescued this dog exactly one week ago, and now I was going to see her get hit by a car and killed in front of me.

My heart was racing, but my head kept trying to keep cool. I knew if I projected any anger in my voice (which was definitely the most present emotion at that moment), that I would surly lose any chance of getting close to her. I was growing more angry, and more scared, by the minute. But I had to maintain that high-pitched, fun-loving voice as I kept calling her (you know the voice I am talking about). She wondered back into the gas station lot where a car coming into the station had to stop to avoid her, and by now everyone was watching us try to corral her. At this point I can include the feeling of embarrassment, although that was very low on the list of feelings racing through me.

Finally, as luck (and God) would have it, she ran past a teenager who was outside of his car and was watching these events unfold too. She trotted close enough, and he was quick enough to grab her. I was so thankful. I scolded her and put her back in the car.

My conclusion to all of this is; first, I guess God wants us to have her, second, she will not have the best introduction to the beach this trip, as she will not come off her leash all week, and third, when we get back home we need to work on the “sit” and “come” commands, where I have a fenced in yard that she cannot escape from.

On the upside of all this, we seem to have found the secret to the uncontrollable peeing in her cage when we are not home problem. And it all involved a “cave” for her. I am happy to say she was good in her cage for 9 hours on Saturday…that is a record for us!!

We sure have our work cut out for us! God please grant us patience and persistence with her.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Yep, a second dog

Friends of ours have a friend who fosters dogs. The agency is called Recycled Doggies. They don't even have a shelter, they just foster. That has to take a lot of coordination and love.

As it turns out, this person has been fostering a border collie mix that was rescued from a hoarding situation in Adams County a few months ago. Here is a link to the story if you can stand to read it: Adams County dog hoarding case. They think she is a year to year and half old. She had not had any human interaction, and lived her life in a cage and was just thrown food and even had to live in her own excrement.

As a result of malnutrition, she is small for the type of dog she is (currently about 20 pounds and she is full grown) and very shy. She has been fostered very well and was even living with a couple of other dogs. We were fortunate enough to even meet the foster mom, and it sounds like she was treating her much the same way we will.

It makes me so sad, and mad, to see animal abuse of any kind. I can't even explain what happens inside of me when I see or hear of it. (That is a topic for another blog.) All I do is cry (in fact I cry as I write this just thinking about it again).

Anyway, she now has a "forever home" now, as they like to call it when you adopt an animal. I am sure Shelby and her will become the best of buddies.

About 3 weeks ago she was named Kiki. We are not super fond of that name, and was trying to think of a new one for her. Currently the name at the top of the list is Gracie. We are very open to suggesions.

The question to ponder is: will living with two herding dogs be a challenge or fun?

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

A second dog?

The question to ponder today is…should we get a second dog? Shelby is the best dog ever! So why another?

Let me explain some reasoning behind this question. We are not the most active people, and Shelby is only about 3 years old. Although she is a mix, she has a lot of Australian Shepherd in her. I have heard that Aussie’s need a job, Shelby doesn’t have much of a job. She needs to run and play and be a whole lot more active than what we are providing.

One big thing I fear is that we may be making her too old too early. Although we are content to be working on a computer, or reading a book, I fear Shelby is not. She never complains, mind you. She will just lie down next to one of us and be the best dog ever.

I had hoped that Bubba would be a playmate, since they are about the same age, and they do play. Actually, it is extremely fun to watch the interaction between them.
Our next door neighbor has two dogs, they have had two dogs all the time I’ve known them. They play together so nice and expend so much energy and are fun to watch. Some friends of ours just got a second dog, and they said it has been great for the older first dog.

Now the CONS…more money in dog food, harder time to find someone to watch two of them if we go on a vacation and can’t bring them, or going in vacation with them and being welcomed.

We are thinking of another dog that would be her age, and size, you know a true “buddy” for her. I did want a lover dog when we got her, and she is very much that (in fact, she is borderline jealous of any attention paid to Bubba). She is beautiful and I love her, but she deserves better. So should I or shouldn’t I, that is the question…

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Birthday party is over

Well it's over. The big 100th birthday party is over. I have to say I have never attended a 100th birthday party before. It was a grand event certainly befitting a woman of her age. There was lots of food, huge cake, tons of pictures, family came in from out of town lots of miles away, and then there were all the things that come with family gatherings.

I am not sure she really knew what all was happening. It reminded me having a birthday party for a one year old. The person of honor doesn't really understand what is going on, but the family insists on making it happen anyway. Makes you wonder who the party was really for. But what else do you do to honor such an occasion?

The big question to ponder is...what kind of a gift do you buy for someone who is turning 100? She doesn't need anything, she doesn't want anything, she is trying to downsize and is giving everything away, you can't buy frivolous for her, ummmmm.

It all makes me sad on multiple levels though.

Level 1 was grandma - I am sure she is embarrassed because she does not know what is going on, she is not sure what is expected of her, even if she could do it. And probably feeling very alone among all the people who were there. All this from a woman who was a social butterfly in her day. She always knew what to do in any situation (even what utensil to use when). I learned so much about how to handle myself from her, especially in a business environment. But that is another story.

Today, she had to endure, what I am sure she would have considered, an almost humiliation. There were a million of pictures to be taken. She sat in one spot, and someone sat next to her, everyone starts yelling at her to look at the camera and smile, and, what must have seemed like a hundred, pictures were taken of her. Then they got up and someone else sat down, and it started all over again. She seemed so confused, and I felt kind of sorry for her.

Level 2 - I like seeing my family and didn't get to spend the amount or kind of time I would like to with them. Obviously that means especially grandma too.

Level 3 - I am here at the beach, but can't spend time enjoying it. The weather was perfect. Spent an hour here, and it was just not enough.

Level 4 - I feel like I might be seeing my future. Lord, I pray you bring me home long before I get that age. I think one of the hardest things in life is the feeling of aloneness (yea, I made that word up. it's mine)

Happy birthday grandma, you are remarkable and beautiful, and I love you very much.

Happy 100th birthday, grandma! And to 5 living generations!

We made the more than 12 hour drive to North Carolina to spend a day celebrating grandma's 100th birthday. It will be a great event. Then the 12+ hour drive home on Monday.

After all, how many times does someone turn 100 years old? As if that isn't amazing enough, we have 5, count 'em, 5 generations living today! That is a most amazing feat, don't ya think.

It is a grueling trip, but grandma is so worth it. We the same thing when she turned 90.

So how does it feel to be 100? Obviously I don't know, and I am not sure I want to know. Grandma seems so lonely. It is hard to hear and see. She feels as though she is just existing in life. She has no friends or siblings her age to relate to. God talks so much about community, how does that happen without people your age to talk to? I hope my small group is still around 40 years from now

I am not sure of her relationship with our creator, but I am confident that when she is extended that last invitation that she will accept.

I do wonder if it is different for someone who truly loves Jesus and desperately wants to please him. I do know that I am not afraid to die, in some ways I am actually looking forward to it. Maybe I am curious as to what things really look like at that point, what will it be like to be totally pain free, care free, (and maybe be rid of this body??) and mostly just be in the awesome presence of the one who created me. It is something I can't even imagine at this point in my life. (although I like the part of not having this body!!)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Got through my pictures...finally

I did it! I finally got through and posted all my pictures tonight. Then I sent an email out to all my friends and family inviting them to see my pictures (actually it comes with the territory on Shutterfly).

Sometimes I feel funny letting everyone know I have posted pictures. Do they feel obligated to look at them because they are my friends? Do they enjoy looking at them? Do I post too many and it gets boring looking at them?

Don't know if I'll ever really know the answer to these questions, because they are my friends and will say nice things about them (regardless of what they are really thinking or feeling). Guess I need to thank the Lord I have friends that will do that, right?

No, my friends wouldn't lie to me, they are my friends! And maybe some of them really do like them. I like looking at other people's pictures. I really do. But I am always looking for inspiration for my pictures. Now really, is that selfish?

It doesn't really matter, I still love my friends. Whether they look at them or not, I am grateful I have friends to send the link to. God has truly blessed me.

Speaking of blessed, how about Ed? He had to endure me wanting to pull over and jump out and take a shot over and over again. There we are walking down the street and all of a sudden he realizes that he alone because I have stopped to take some pictures. He really is a great guy!

Just in case you are one of my friends, and I missed you on the email, here is the link to my pictures: http://edvickipics.shutterfly.com/ Here is the cool part; you don't have to ever admit that you didn't look at them. I will never know! Isn't technology wonderful?