Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Yeah, me! Crazy, me?

Merry Christmas! After all the family festivities and food, I'm tired.

Food...my goodness we could have fed the entire state of New Hampshire with all the food that has been laid out if front of us in the past two days.

Food, an excellent segway into what new thing I have introduced or perhaps eliminated into/from my already crazy life.

In the past several months, I'm very proud to say that I have lost almost 20 pounds. It all started with a little weight loss competition at school. I love me a good competition! I started phase 1 of the South Beach Diet and never looked back. In 5 weeks, I lost 15 pounds and won the $75 pot. Yeah, me!! I have since lost another 5 pounds or so.

I must say after today and the pie and the oreo/cream cheese balls dipped in chocolate, and the other Christmas fare I ate those 5 pounds may be my friend once again!

Anyway, the weight loss has given me a whole new level of confidence. It's been said that I have a spring in my step. I'm feeling good!!!

In the past several years, South Beach has been my friend. It works very well for me for many reasons. Mostly, because I can lose weight fairly easily and this time, I have managed to get for myself a fairly flat tummy. Again, yeah me!

I'm happy to say that I don't want to lose anymore weight, except for the 5 pounds I gained today, of course. I just want to maintain. After talking to a good friend or two, I think I have found the answer....exercise. Now, that's a novel idea, don't you think? I've never exercised. I don't like to sweat, remember this.

I've been told it's something I need to do for my heart. Really?

I have some friends who run. One that's very serious, and two others who just run to stay in shape. After talking to them, researching things a little, I decided to challenge myself. I want to be able to run a 10K in April. I think I can do it. It's just a matter of getting started. I got the right kind of shoes, printed out a training schedule and charged the ipod. I could have waited to the new year, but not me, I started Monday. It was about 30 degrees outside, but that didn't stop me because I've committed to something.

Needless to say, my thighs and calves are sore. It's not like I ran the entire time, either. I walked 2 minutes and ran 1 minute. I did that for 12 minutes. I liked it way more than I thought I would. It was relatively easy. I thought I might only make it to the end of the driveway!! Yeah, me! again...

I actually have surprised myself a lot lately. I can't believe I've actually committed to running. Me, Sandy C. running? It's just not something that I ever thought I'd try. I think the willingness to try something new, is because I know I can achieve the 10K goal. I lost the weight and met that goal. I think doing that is harder than running.

I'm trying it again in the morning. I'm looking forward to giving it another try. I'll let you know whether or not I make it past the end of the driveway or not.

Sandy C

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

To elf or not to elf

Just because it's still November and I'm not totally into the Christmas spirit yet doesn't mean Mollie's not. A parent of one of the children in my class sent me this internet link where you can "Elf yourself". All you have to do is upload a picture to this website and instantly you become a dancing elf. It's hilarious! I showed Mollie how to do it and she took care of the rest. She not only "elfed" herself and Wil but she "elfed" herself with her friend Hadley. Go take a look at her handy work. Then, if you have idle time, go elf your family!

Check it out here.

Sandy C

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

We made it home and I'm thankful

We're home....YEAH, we're home!!!

What a trip! We spent a majority of the time in the truck, but the time we spent actually working in the Mexican villages was incredible. This was my 4th trip into Mexico and I don't know if we have ever worked harder. I'll give you a day by day entry of what we did.

We left Athens at 7:30. We drove all day, crossed the border about 6:30 and arrived in Muzquiz, Mexico about 8:30. We stayed there in a church for the night. With the help of two Tylenol PM I was able to sleep all night. That is until the 100 roosters started crowing the next morning about 4am! I never knew there could be so many roosters in such a close proximity. It was crazy!

This is a picture of our hostess for the night. She's the one with the gray hair. She was so happy to have us all there. She was up with the roosters cooking breakfast.

We left Muzquiz and headed out into the desert. Our first stop was San Miquel. We fixed lunch for the villagers, played with the kids and then packed up and headed to our next destination. We drove another 3 hours on unpaved, desert roads and pulled into La Rosita about 5:00. We set up our cooking station, unpacked luggage and got busy cooking dinner for the villagers. My duties this trip were all in the "kitchen". That night we fried fajita meat, and french fries. We probably fed about 200 people and had a church service with them. We had an inside place to sleep and this...

We were livin' it up. No roosters tonight!

Busy, busy, busy!
But first, it was a hair washing day. Hurray!

The youth painted 12 houses in a matter of about 8 hours. They all worked so hard and the villagers were so thankful for their freshly painted houses. There was the one incident of the youth almost falling through a roof, but besides that, not much drama. The drama was going on back at the cook tent. Because of my fry cook status, (that should be humorous to those of you who know I never eat or cook anything fried!) I was assigned the task of helping to cut up the meat that would be fried for dinner. I thinking great, I'll have beef to slice, but OH NO! It was deer, dove, sandhill crane, and turkey. Just picture me sitting out in the heat, cutting up raw meat in the middle of the Mexico desert. How in the world was I supposed to get the blood off my hands and make sure everything was clean? I don't think I got it all out from underneath my fingernails until about 30 minutes ago when I was in the shower. Talk about out of my comfort zone. I got through it and we cooked about 85 pounds of meat that night along with probably 35 pounds of french fries. Our head cook will deep fry anything, bananas, hamburgers, bratwurst, etc. Needless to say, I don't want to see anything fried for a very long time.
Here are some of the other things that went on that day.

Medical/vision clinics

Food being served-Mollie worked so hard!

All in all-a GREAT day!

We packed up equipment and headed back to San Miquel for fuel and then on to Los Eutamis. We visited this village last year and just stopped long enough to serve a meal, Dr. T did some medical work, and the kids had a short bible lesson. We packed up again and took a "short cut" through the desert back to the main road. The short cut ended up taking us 3 hours on roads that were not travelled often. It got dark and many times we had to stop because the dust was so thick we couldn't see if we were on the road or not. How many people can say they've been through the desert at night on unpaved roads? We felt a little like smugglers!! We drove over 100 miles through the desert on this day. We made it back to Muzquiz around 9:00 pm for a short nights sleep.

We left at 7:20 and headed for the border. It was fairly uneventful until 4 of us in the caravan missed our turn, and one of the trucks cut a Mexican off trying to do a U-turn. The Mexican chased him down and stopped him. It was a little scary at first, but after apologies were made, all was well. We crossed back into Texas about 11:00 am with little trouble and pulled into Athens at 9:00 pm.

Needless to say, we are all happy to be home. Also, no adjectives can describe the bath I just took. There have been no baths since Saturday. I did wash my hair twice, but only to have it covered in dust while it was drying. These trip always make me so thankful for what we have here at home. We are all so lucky! I'm so glad I went.

After having a massive amount of time in the truck to think about it, I compiled a short list of the things I am most thankful for.

10. No roosters at my house to wake me up at 4 am.

9. Running water.

8. Toilets that flush.

7. Ice cold diet coke-After a lengthy conversation with Dr. T about my little addiction, he assured me that I'm not going to die of renal cancer.

6. The Body Shop's Body Butter-All the dust, dry weather, and hand santizer left me skin a bit dry. I basically bathed again in Body Butter.

5. Paved roads

4. Peter Pan Chunky peanut butter, wheat bread, South Beach protein bars and sugar free Life Savers-This was my diet for the past five days. I wasn't eating the fried food or anything cooked out in the desert, for that matter.

3. Those 21 sweet faces who meet me every morning and who will always be "the smartest class at Bel Air."

2. Old friends and new friends who just make me laugh and make me a better person.

1. My family-I'm so glad we spent this adventure together.

I'll have more pictures to post later. Thanks for thinking and praying for us while we were gone.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Sandy C

Monday, November 12, 2007

Off to Mexico

So this Saturday we head off to Mexico for another fun filled mission trip. You can go here and here to read about my previous trips. I'm excited but a little apprehensive.. I'm not someone who flies by the seat of their pants. I like to know what's going to happen and when. These trips are never like that. We are going to some new villages and we don't really know whether or not there will be an inside place to sleep. If the weather is like it was last year, what with the wind blowing 50mph and the temperature being about 40, sleeping outside is not an option. To solve that problem, sort of, TENT!!! Yes, we are taking a family tent. We can only hope it doesn't end up back in the US before we do because of wind. To be honest, I'm also not looking forward to being in the truck with Wil and Mollie fighting in the backseat for 4 days. My prayer is that Wil ends up in someone else's truck or better yet, I'll end up in someone else's truck. That way, Wade can handle the kids. Sounds like a plan.

Recent discussion between Wil and Mollie....
God love them, they are so totally opposite,it's hard to believe they are related.
They were sitting at the kitchen table eating dinner. Mollie's best friend, Hadley, was also there. They were talking about the upcoming mission trip. Wil just mentioned that when he gets out of high school that he wants to spend a couple years doing mission work. (so so proud!) Mollie chimes in with the fact that he then would be poor. Wil says that he would rather do mission work and be poor than live in a million dollar house. Mollie said that she would choose living in the million dollar house over anything. Hadley of course sided with Mollie and poor Wil was outnumbered, but he argued his case very well. He didn't ever win her over, which is not surprising, but she got his point, maybe!
I love those two kids!

See on the other side of Mexico!

Sandy C

Friday, November 02, 2007

The football player and the floor of a movie theater

Halloween has come and gone for another year. My kids have always been known for their costumes. My mother in law is a great seamstress, so we have always had an array of costumes. Wil has been a cowboy, a knight, a scarecrow and my favorite, a bumble bee when he was 3 months old. Sugary cuteness! Mollie has been a flower(inside a flower pot) a 20's flapper, a cowgirl and my favorite for her was a little 50's girl with a poodle skirt and her daddy's class ring around neck. Precious, precious, precious.

This year, much to my surprise, Mollie announced she wanted to be an Aggie football player. She already had a 12th man jersey and cleats. A friend, who is a football coach, got her some football pants. We painted under her eyes and she was ready. Take a look...

Wil came in several weeks ago and said he wanted to go as the floor of a movie theater. After a few WHAT?s He had a plan. He got a black t-shirt and glued all kinds of items that one could find on the floor of any local cinema. He had cups, greasy napkins, chewed gum, popcorn, movie tickets, candy wrappers and boxes, and crumpled pickle holders. It was the funniest thing to see him so excited. I ask him where he got the idea and he said he saw it on a TV show. He gets the award of originality, don't you think? Take a look at him.

Funny kids, funny ideas. I love them both to pieces!

Sandy C

Saturday, October 27, 2007

She's willing to sacrifice her dad

Like most cities in Texas on Friday night, Athens becomes a exciting place when the Hornets are home playing football. Last night was no different. The lights at Bruce Field where lit brightly and the metal bleachers left you with a frozen cushion. If you know what I mean? However, Mollie didn't let all the excitement from the night leaving her with the opportunity to sacrifice her dad for her own safety.

Let me explain.

Earlier in the day, every kid in the entire district was either bused or walked to Bruce Field for a district wide pep rally. The kids had a great time but I ended up so tense over the fear of losing a student that I really couldn't enjoy the fun. It's always comforting to have a little duck row behind you with 20 kids and there are people everywhere and you have to walk down out of the bleachers and into waiting buses. My biggest fear is that one of my 1st graders is going to take a flying leap over the rails or something. Fortunately, that didn't happen and we made it back to the school with everyone accounted for. Anyway, on their way back to the high school, evidently some high school kids got in quite a scuffle and the police had to come and 6 kids were arrested. We've heard that there was a switchblade involved. Because of all the problems related to possible retaliation and such, every administrator in the district had to be at the game to monitor and run interference. Kids were not allowed to congregate under the bleachers, by the concession stand or at the restrooms.

Back to the sacrificial heart of Mollie. We were walking up to the stadium and Mollie said that her principal had told them that they could not go to the concession stand or restroom without a parent. She looks up at Wade and said, "Daddy you can just go with me and if someone comes after us with a knife, then I'll just push you in their way and I'll be fine." Not that Wade wouldn't willingly sacrifice himself for her, but she just said it with such a calm voice that it was like no big deal, daddy will get stabbed, but I won't drop my coke and sour straws!

Happily, no sacrificial stabbing occurred. But if it ever does, I'll be sure to stand with Mollie, because she has a plan.

And the Hornets won!!

Sandy C

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Time to prune

"I am the vine, you are the branches."

How many times have I heard that scripture? 100's! The meaning hit me directly in the chest last night as I sat watching Beth Moore's Bible study "A Woman's Heart: God's Dwelling Place."

Let me explain. In the past several weeks, I've been struggling with all my responsibilities. From school, home, church, Mollie's sports, laundry, a clean house...... Anyway, I usually don't have too much trouble juggling all the goings on this time of year. This year has been such a hardship. I'm doing so many things and none of them very well. I'm just getting by. Spinning my wheels, so to speak. I've been praying for some kind of solution.

My house is a wreck. I don't feel like I'm pushing my kids at school like I should. It doesn't seem like I've had a decent conversation with Wade in weeks. To top it all off, I spent all last week sick with bronchitis. After feeling like I'd been run over by a truck for over a week, I knew something was going to have to give, but what?

The Lord used Beth to answer that very question, imagine that! Love her!! She was using the analogy of the design of the lampstand God directed the Israelites to make for the tabernacle. The lampstand had seven branches. She made the connection to the branches and bearing fruit. God expects us to bear fruit, good fruit. She said that, like most women, our tree is usually too full of branches to bear quality fruit. As she said, "it's time to do some pruning". That hit me like a ton of bricks. That's what I have to do, prune my branches. Like I said in this post, quality is what I want, not quantity. I spent some time in prayer last night and this morning. God opened my eyes and cleared my head. This morning,I let something at church go and before I left school, I worked on changing my schedule to better utilize my time. Hopefully, I'm on the right track. I still have my snips open and ready!

I am the vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, so that it will be even more fruitful. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him,he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15: 1-2,5

Sandy C