Monday, November 7, 2011

Acting goofy

I need to spend more time with my family; they are the only ones I get this lifetime. My ‘seestor’ and I just spent a weekend in Gatlinburg, TN. It was great fun (would have been more fun if I didn’t have to have been fighting a cold). We walked (to quote Angie) “the hardest half mile in my life” (and she was right), didn’t eat dinner all weekend (another story), built a tent in our room, shot a bear (with the camera), went swimming, enjoyed a hot spa, walked and shopped a lot, and more.

Angie knows how to have fun, guess that comes with having kids, you get to “play” with them. One reason I wanted to do this weekend with her was to have an excuse to just act goofy (yea, as if I needed an excuse, uh?). There is something about acting goofy with your family and I just wouldn’t do otherwise. I have been trying hard to figure out exactly why that is. I know that I could do this with any of my siblings, and I also know I would not do it in front of their spouses. Why, oh why is that? It really puzzles me, is “blood really thicker”?

This “hardest half mile” was straight up a mountain side. (Well, ok maybe not straight up, but it sure felt like it.) We walked up to the observation tower of Clingman’s Dome, the highest elevation in the Smokies National Park. My brave and fearless sister continued up the observation tower, where she left her chicken sister (yes, that would be me) behind. But did she belittle me for being said chicken? No…that is the love of a sister.

What the heck is it about heights and age? The older I get the worse I am about heights…I don’t get it. This is from a person who has skied from 10,000 feet! Does everyone get wimpy when they get old, or is it just me?

All weekend the joke was that Angie wanted to see a bear. Now I have been to Gatlinburg at least three times, and have never seen a bear (except in captivity). But Angie’s wish came true. We saw a bear in the National Park. She was so excited she bolted out of the car (see the youth and instinctive “play” she has?) with camera in tow complete with telephoto lens. Even with all that, the bear was pretty far away, and pictures were a bit disappointing.

Back down on earth, in our room, we made a tent of our bed sheets and drank a Bartles and James Pina Colada, just basically acting goofy. I could see me doing that same thing with any of my other siblings, but no one else.

So what have I learned from this experience? I am afraid of heights? Nope, already knew that one. I can help build a tent? Yep, check that one (who knew?). Angie gets her wishes? (ummm)

Vacations with Ed are totally awesome, and I would rather do that than anything, but I am learning that I can love and appreciate my family too. I think that is what God wants me to know for today. Thanks God.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

RIP - my emotions....

I must be a really cold-hearted person. Somehow crying over the death of someone I don’t even know, someone who just happens to be famous, someone who may have touched a ton of people’s lives in the world, even mine, still just does not compute with me. It is almost embarrassing to mention and actually put out there for everyone (actually the one) to read on my blog. But I wanted this to be an honest account of my thoughts.

How can someone have that kind of intense emotional reaction to someone they have never met, or talked to, or even seen in real life? Their works might be great, and their legacy stellar, but to get so emotional? Did you think that death would never happen? Did you think about preparing to accept it, knowing it was close at hand when you had the chance?

I have been exceptionally fortune not to have lost anyone in my immediate family yet, so maybe I just don’t know what I am talking about. But I have lost close friends, people who should still be on this earth continuing to do God’s work, like they were doing when they were here. Those people I could and would cry over, and even be angry that they are gone. But that is because it is personal at that point. And my emotional grieving is personal. What is so personal about a big name celebrity?

I get the sadness, I get the respect part, but this overboard show of emotions and public displays of grief, is it for real? Do I need my heart softened more? Am I in for a major lesson in grief? Am I in denial? What the heck is wrong with me?

Monday, October 3, 2011

Days off Rock!!!

Most people take this for granted, but two days – in a row – off from work and volunteer obligations is a rare thing to happen to me. And I am very excited about it!! The last time I had two days in a row off, not counting vacation time, just two days in a row off, was….well I’m not sure I really remember.

But it is here now yesterday and today, count ‘em two days, back to back!!

My life usually consists of Monday off only. On that Monday any appointments that have to be made are made on this day, then there is laundry, groceries, bill paying, and if time and my energy (remember I am getting pretty old now) permit maybe some cooking and cleaning. But now here I am on day two, laundry done, groceries bought, bills caught up, and sleeping until I wanna get up!

Now what? What to do with all this time! Blog, I guess. What do you do with two days off in a row? Whatever you do, cherish it.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Gotta love vacations!!

This year's vacation was very different for us. Every year since we’ve been married we have gone to Emerald Isle once and usually twice, a year. It is hard to beat a free place to stay that is a block from the ocean.

We knew the day would come when that would not be available to us any longer and my time with grandma was unpredictable, which is why we went there as long as we could. Then it happened, grandma passed away in January of this year. It is funny how many things change when a member of the family passes, especially the ‘matriarch’ of the family, as some people referred to her as (but that is a previous blog). Anyway my dad and his brother inherited the property, and now they have renters. I am very happy for them, as it will help pay for the upkeep of the place and provide a little income also.

But I digress, back to today. So we went on one of the very few vacations so far in our lives together that did not involve Emerald Isle. As I sit here and write this, we are in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (aka the UP). I had forgotten how clear and gorgeous water could be. The Great Lakes are just spectacular!

We started our trip with a visit to The Henry Ford (as they call it now). Which consists of Greenfield Village and The Henry Ford Museum. I had been to the museum and was so looking forward to seeing it again, for it had been 100 since I was there. But to my surprise, I actually enjoyed the Village more! I found so much so interesting. You really do feel as if you have stepped back in time there, they do a great job of preserving that atmosphere, along with preserving all the buildings. There are actually people who work the land using the implements of days past. It is all beyond very cool!

Then we drove to St. Ignace, and ended up staying here for four nights (the original plan was two nights!). But we just couldn’t leave! Our hotel room overlooked Mackinac Island, and we watched the sun rise every morning, right outside the balcony. It just poured across the room and across the bed, what a great way to wake up every morning. Mackinac Island, lighthouses, waterfalls, and the most gorgeous cliff formations in the world, it is all there!

I won’t go into a lot of details here I will let my pictures tell the stories. But I have to say that this has been a wonderfully fantastic vacation. Ed fell in love with the UP, and wants to return some day. I fell back in love with the most gorgeous lakes in the world (I put my hand in three of the five Great Lakes while we were here).

Grandma being gone is very sad for me, but looking on one bright side, it opens up a world of possibilities of places to visit while I can still do it. I have so many ideas….where should we go next year?

Monday, July 11, 2011

What to blog about today...

Seems kind of silly to have a blog page and not blog much. I had such great expectations when I started all this. Now I am trying to recount what they were.

Was I trying to keep my family (and friends who read it) up to date on what is going on in my life? Maybe I trying to capture all my deepest thoughts in hopes of inspiring someone (yea, as if!)? Was it just to ramble on about nothing to practice my typing skills? How about just complain to the world and get it off my chest so I could feel better (after all it is all about me, right?). I got it! It is to document my life and thoughts in the cloud forever and ever! Um, I very much doubt that one!

Nope, still haven't figured it out yet. Maybe some day I will figure it out. I do blog better when on vacation, and that is just next week! So who knows, maybe something will happen then. I know you just can't wait, uh?

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Dear Ed

It is our 12th anniversary! You are the best thing that ever came into my life. I know we don't make big deals of our special days (guess that's the way it is with two introverts), but I wanted to tell the world (well, you don't have to worry about the world hearing, not many people really read this) that I think you are the best.

You are the greatest husband, and I am so proud to be married to you. There aren't words to explain how perfect of a fit we are together. I have so much respect and deep love for you. It seems to get better all the time. I love making future plans with you (even if it is only to decide which room to paint next!). We work together and live together so well.

This is not one of those milestone anniversaries, so I don't have to feel bad about not writing something a little more profound. Just know that you are so loved, and I am glad to share my life with the best guy ever for me!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Betty, this one's for you...

May 14, 2011
Summa Cum Laude
Cincinnati Christian University

God answered your prayers. Thank you Betty, for never giving up.

Monday, May 9, 2011

A Tale of Two Dogs, and God's Lesson

Meet Shelby, great dog, the ultimate in obedience. Tell her to “come” and she does…everytime. She does anything I tell her to do. I can go for a walk with her without a leash, and I feel confident that she would “come” when I called her. I have the utmost confidence in her and can depend on her to do as I say.

Now, meet Gracie, great dog, but the word “come”? Not in her vocabulary…..totally clueless about it. If I had her out without a leash she would just wander away. If I called her, she might look at me, but certainly not obey. I can’t even bribe her to come, cheese, peanut butter, nothing works.

We are about the head out on vacation, and it makes me sad to think that Gracie (since there is no fenced in yard where we stay) will never be off a leash outside of the house.

Picture this we are walking along the ocean. There are these little birds there with little feet that are just too funny to watch. As you get closer to them their feet move quicker and quicker until they just take flight and leave anyone or anything chasing them totally abandoned.

Chasing these little birds is great fun for a dog, especially herder dog. Shelby will stalk them and try to herd them. Then in a flash they are gone, gliding effortlessly over the ocean and landing back on the beach about 100 feet away. It appears that they are taunting her, but she loves it. And she will give chase again and again. By the end of the day, she is totally exhausted but so happy. At times like this, she is living life to the fullest.

Then there is Gracie, she may try to chase once or twice and quickly realize she is on a leash. No such freedom or fun for her. I can’t trust her to come back when I call. You can take that scenario and find the potential consequences. (Not to mention a dog off a leash is technically illegal.)

If she would only understand that if she obeyed, she would be granted more freedom...if she had more freedom she would have much more fun...if she had more fun she could experience so many new wonders that are out there for her. But no, she will do things her way until….well who knows how long.

But I love them both, and would never give up on either of them.

I know is sounds like an oxymoron, but it is true. The same thing can be said for our walk with God. The more we seek His heart and His will and obey, the more free we are to experience all of the wonders that are out there, just waiting for us.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In His Name!

Our executive pastor spoke today, and something finally hit home with me. Thanks, Garry.

When you are an executor of someone's will, you are expected to do things according to their wishes. That means it is your responsibility to find out what that person has in their will, and then carry it out to the best of your ability. You will be honoring and obeying their request by doing so.

They gave you that authority over their will. They did so, not because you attained any kind of status, they just chose you...over everyone else they knew. They trust that you will abide by their desires on their their name. (Maybe they just liked you!)

I never related that to the ending of a prayer when someone says "in the name of Jesus...."

Jesus is giving me authority to execute His will. Me! Not because I work at a church, not because I volunteer a lot of hours, but because He loves me, no other reason. I have been given the authority to execute His will.

Wow, all that finally sinks in! (I always said I was a slow learner!)

Now comes the hard I have to be still, ask, and listen to what His will really is. No one said this would be easy! The question is, am I up to the challenge?

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Those Google Tricksters!

Wow, every try to change your email address on Blogger? Geez, it was easier to change it at my bank! Let me back up a bit.

We are moving into the age of fiber here in Fairfield (stepping right into the 21st century - no more RoadRunner here!) and I need to change my email address. In other words, we are moving from Tim Warner' coax cable to Cincinnati Bell's fiber optics. My choice for a new email address was a Gmail email address in hopes that I will not have to change it again.

It is a strange thing changing your email, especially if you have had the same one for 16 years! Yea, when I think about that it makes me shutter. 16 years!! Who does that?

So I come here to Blogger and try to change my email address. And I got the absolute strangest message on my attempt, "You cannot use a gmail address on Blogger" (or something along those line). Ok, let me be sure I understand this, I have Gmail now, and that is part of Google (so far so good). I want to use that Gmail address on my Blogger account - also a part of Google. And I am told that I can't do that. Things that make you go ummmmm.

So what do I do about that? I search Google for the answer!! Obvious, right? Sure enough, there I found my answer. So do ya love Google or hate it?

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy Birthday Ed

Your mama would be so proud of you! I am so glad she had you, she did good! I know she prayed a lot for you, and I am reaping the rewards of those prayers today.

She was a very special lady I wish I could have known her longer. But I bet she is watching over you and then turning to Jesus and thanking him for all He has done in your life.

I love you and could not imagine my life without you. Thanks Betty, and thank you Jesus for giving me the best blessing I could ever imagine.

Happy birthday, honey!

Ok, I Confess...I had App Envy!

A friend I used to work with at VCC stopped in a week or so ago and we got caught up on all our happenings. She was a tech in our IT department, so having cool toys just goes with the (her) territory. Everything was going along great, then she did it to me! She showed me an app that made me drool (pun intended, you'll see why when I explain the app).

I didn't forget about it. And not to be outdone by an iPhone, I set out to find an app to do the same thing for my Droid X. Anything and iPhone can do a Droid can do better, right? And it had to be free (so cheap I am!)

Well, I found it! Allow me to explain what this really cool app does, because I know the suspense is about killing you now. You download this piece of software on your laptop, set it up anywhere and execute it. It launches the webcam, and I can fire up my app on my phone, and see what is going!

Sorry, to me it was just the coolest thing! I don't use my laptop during the day and my girls just NEED to be checked on, right? Oh it was so fun (I know it is the geek coming out in me).

I no longer have app envy. Technology can be so fun! - Thanks Kim!

(P.S. Let that also be a warning if you had planned on breaking in my house....I will see you!!!)

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Good things and bad things going on

Why do we have to get sick and have things go wrong? Seems I have recently been surrounded by sad news of people's health issues. It sometimes scares me. If I had my way I would just die and skip all the doctors and hospitals and cures. And hey, who knows, maybe I will.

I have been extremely lucky in my life and been pretty healthy. My mom fell recently and cracked a hip bone, her husband has started getting visits from Hospice in their home, my dad had a pacemaker put in his heart, my brother is about to undergo a major surgery to fix an old accident, and a very dear friend of mine is being checked into Hospice after years of battling cancer. There is other sadness around in my small group too. I love them all and hate to see all this weariness.

But my faith is not wavering. For I know that there is a reason for all this, and I am ok with it, even knowing I may never completely understand it all in this lifetime.

However, I have to see the other side too. My boss is going to a grandma for the first time, two girls on staff are having babies within a month of each other (in the same department too), one of the directors that reports to Ed is pregnant, another on staff may be having twins.

There is good as well as bad in our world. It is something that needs to be accepted and something that continues to build my faith, for I know that whatever happens to me, I am loved by the ultimate! I love my God!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Photography class

Finally, I am taking a real live photography class. My friend, Joyce, and I are in week five of this ten week commitment together. I have a great camera although a few years old now. I am always amazed how fast the technology moves. My phone has more mega pixels than my Nikon SLR! But my phone camera has no control at all, no lenses, nothing, nada. So my Nikon is still much, much better on many levels.

My goal was to learn how to use my camera. I am always embarrassed to admit that everything I take is with an automatic setting. My reasoning was that I was trying to capture the 'unusual' shot, and the specific settings were irrelevant, and would take care of themselves in auto mode....Wrong!

This class is teaching me that my thinking is not so brilliant after all. And if I want to take really good photographs, and not just pictures, as one of the teachers calls it, I need to learn a whole lot more! Our first class was on composition, and now all those pictures I thought were so cool?? Well, not so much anymore. (If you got one of my calendars, I am really embarrased now!)

Our class went on a field trip (kinda), across the rives to learn how to take some night shots, and that was fun. The photo ops are great there, and we were lucky to have a very clear night. If I weren't such a chicken walking across that bridge I am sure I would have enjoyed it a lot more.

Our next field trip is an all day affair, and we will end up in Rabbit Hash, Kentucky, where yes, it is true...they have a dog for a mayor. That will be fun. I am looking forward to it....if I don't have to walk across a bridge!

Monday, February 21, 2011

We are now HD!

I can’t believe that is really happened! After our last celebration service on Sunday, around 1:15, we started the infamous “HD Upgrade.”

The entire video booth’s equipment and racks and wires had to be torn out. Four screens and projectors in the balcony came down. Cameras in the front row were dis-assembled and removed, screens in the front of the room were also taken down.

New cable had to be run from the video booth, down a level, and the complete length of the auditorium under the floor to the back of the stage, with connections along the way for cameras. Platforms were built to accommodate the new cameras that needed to be set up. New 10 foot by 18 foot screens installed in the front of the room and the projectors for them relocated. The entire video room had to be completely built up from the floor, literally. Going as far as drilling through the concrete floor, installing new racks, countertops, and all brand new equipment. Our very own network switch even had to be installed.
And that isn’t event the amazing part!! The amazing part is it was up and operational by the next Saturday night’s celebration service!! Six days, all that (and more I probably don't even know about) in just six days!

We were all under the direction of CSG, who were the most phenomenal guys to work with, and were helped by the best volunteers in the world. It was one of the most unbelievable things I have been privileged to watch and take part in ever! This was another fantastic God moment in the life of Vineyard Cincinnati!

Look out world we have now entered into the world of HD!! I can't wait to see what God has in store for us next!!

Monday, February 7, 2011

HD upgrade

We are finally taking a leap into the 21st century with our video equipment at church. We started stripping the video booth completely, taking everything out of the room in preparation for the new equipment to be installed. The picture you see is just some of the wiring that what was behind the existing equipment. Needless to say this is a super huge project, and it all has to be up and running by Saturday!

To reminisce about some of our fun, and so we don't forget how lucky we are....our robotic cameras have recently taken on a life of their own and would decide to just not work when they wanted to. Whether they were live on the screens or not didn't seem to matter to them. We have had to change the inputs for cameras 1&2 to input 3&4, then to input2&3, and have had to reboot them in the middle of a celebration. There have been a lot of stories about these little gems, more than you probably want to read about here. Yes robos, we will miss all that fun together.

For months now we have had to have a fan running constantly on the floor to keep the switcher cool so it wouldn't decide to shut down. Most of us have had to endure frozen toes just to keep the switcher switching. Ah the sacrifices! ;-)

We have lived with wavy monitors that made people look contorted and folded over at the top. One camera that would show a red shirt, another that would say it was pink, and yet another that might decide was purple instead. We would record in three different medias (yes all three were different formats too) to ensure we had a 'keeper' for the archives, and the web.

It has been fun doing a weekly juggling act wondering what surprise was in store for us this weekend. Needless to say we were in desperate need of a change. I mean how many people are using camera that were purchased 12 years ago, and some of ours were already used!

So this week we officially say good-bye to analog and hello high definition! We will miss all all the old stuff. We had even started giving them names, that is how close we were to them. As luck would have it this is my weekend to direct, so my team and I get to officially break in the new equipment.

So out with 1999 (and prior) and in with 2011!!

Monday, January 31, 2011


It took over a year, but we are here now. When you are working full time, in school, limited budget resources, and neither one of being considered even close to a 'handyman', these things take time. But it is so worth it, we just love the result. The kitchen and dining room are unrecognizable rooms from their former selves. I only with I had taken 'before' videos to capture the extent of the transformation.

It is amazing what a little paint, new floors, new doors, new lights, new furniture, new stove, taking out a drop celing and rearranging a cabinet can do for a kitchen! Just look at the two videos I have posted, and if you ever saw these rooms before, you will be I still am!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Last weekend I traveled and spent 24/4 with family, this weekend I traveled and spent 24/4 with friends that I have known for many years (aka our small group). The differences were phenomenal between the two experiences. This is not to say everyone was this way every moment of the time, and this was just MY take on the situations, others in each party may have their own interruption.

Some of the things I noticed were: family was on edge and snippy; friends were respectful, and accommodating.

Filters that could enter into this equation include: family was too close to each other (we were sharing a huge house), and it was an emotionally charged (we were going to my grandma’s funeral); in the friends scenario each had own space/room (a retreat to without interruption), and there were no kids in the mix.

Another scenario that was proposed is the one about you can’t lose your family, so you are more honest and open about feelings (is that a possible cause behind snippiness? - which isn't even a real word!). I am sure that in both cases if push came to shove, we would be there and fully support each other without hesitation for whatever the situation called for.

While I can’t explain why, I am just observing the differences between MY experiences on these back to back weekends, and it leaves me somewhat puzzled. Is it Christianity in the works, or family ties, or what?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Remember the Alamo and grandma

Kinda makes you sad to hear about all the bloodshed that happened at the Alamo. Yea, what is left of the whole compound is not much to see, but wow, the stories of the things that went on there. I guess it didn’t help that we had a dreary, part mist and rainy day while we were there. I think that added to the sadness I felt. Maybe some sadness is just because there has not been any time yet to grieve for my grandma too.

Yea, grandma was old (over 100 years old!), and these things are to be expected, and I know she is in a much better place now. It just seems like I haven’t taken the time to properly think about her and be alone with these thoughts.

Last weekend was a whirlwind with driving 13 hours one way to attend her funeral, and coming back and working a couple of days and preparing for this trip with our friends that has been planned for three months. Sometimes life just comes at you!

So even though I have great sadness, there is great joy. I am with some of my dearest friends, and we are doing life together. That is what the bible tells us to do and gosh darn, I’m doing it!! Man, my life is good~~~~ I love these guys!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Grandma is gone

This is how I will remember my grandma, going for a walk with her little dog. At her memorial last Saturday I got really brave and decided I wanted to tell some stories. My three siblngs also decided they wanted to speak and we were all there for each other. This was I had written.

My name is Vicki. I am the oldest grandchild. I am sure if grandma had her way she would tell me that I really should get up here and say something. Grandma was big on ceremony and recognition, and would be proud of the turnout here to honor her today.
I can’t speak for anyone except myself, so here is my side of the story.

Let me start by saying she had a major influence on my life. One thing I remember as a very young child, was going to her house on every Christmas Eve, it was our family tradition. There was always a big turkey dinner with all the trimmings, and of course, presents. It was the biggest occasion of the year for us.

I remember one time, on the way home one time dad telling us kids not to look in the sky for fear we would see Santa. And everyone knows if you see Santa he won’t visit you. Of course I looked and looked for him. I never did see him and he did visit us that night. So it must be true, right?

Another memory is that one of us four kids always spent the weekend at her house. We rotated turns. One big draw for me was that she would give me coffee in the morning, our parents never would do that. Bobby, Mark and Angie, did she do that for you too? Never mind that is was half coffee and half milk, probably loaded with sugar. I was drinking coffee!

As I got older, about 15 years old or so, I would spend Friday night at her place, sleep with the orange juice cans in my hair, and I would go to work with her Saturday morning. That was my first job, I worked from 8:00am to 1:00pm, and I got a check for $7.50. You can see how impressed I was with my new position in life. She taught me how to use an adding machine, balance the cash register, count the money in nice, neat stacks, fill out the bank deposit slip and then we would take the money to the bank. She was very instrumental in helping me securing my first full time job after graduation from high school. Life was much simpler then. I learned professionalism and work ethics under her tutelage.

As more years passed and she moved to Tennessee our family tradition changed from the big Christmas dinner to the big Thanksgiving dinner. My whole family, and I would drive down to Paris on Thanksgiving day then we would have that big dinner that Friday. The turkey was still there and the homemade pies. We slept on the floor in sleeping bags and where ever there was space. And there wasn’t much space because she had a very tiny two bedroom house. I truly believe those were the happiest days of her life.

When she moved to Emerald Isle that was also a big treat for the family. Heck yea, we could visit the ocean whenever we wanted! I never missed a year coming down to see her, sometimes more than once. There are a lot of memories here also. But I feel you are probably done hearing about my memories of her.

Needless to say, she has had a profound effect on many lives, not just mine. Everyone in this room has been touched by her, or you wouldn’t be here. She is leaving behind so many people who love her. My dad who watched over her until the end, and Terry who faithfully kept in touch calling her every Sunday, even when he couldn’t visit. She has left her best friend, Bernice, who knows what stories she could tell! Will, who truly loved her. Also grandkids, great, great-great, grandkids who all loved her. There were also lots of in-laws, steps, ex’s and friends. The list goes on. Yes, grandma let our family experience five generations with a centurion! Not many families can claim that one!

So I end, yes finally, just saying that she will not be forgotten and her wonderful love and legacy will live on. Thanks for listening.