Sunday, August 26, 2012

Everything Old is New Again

Last week I returned from a much-needed vacation to visit my friends, Chad and Tracy Todd, in their new home in Buford, Georgia.  Words can't express how much I needed to get away, and going to visit sweet friends, and their precious two children - Allison and Logan - were just the ticket.  Last year, they moved from the small town of Adel in south Georgia to the larger metropolis of Buford, home of the largest mall in the state, appropriately named "The Mall of Georgia."  Each trip brings the challenge of a blog post recap which makes Tracy nervous until it's published to confirm I haven't revealed too much.  This year's trip was definitely a time for the new, but a recollection of the old.  Many of things we did were great traditions that carried on to a new city, yet brought new and exciting memories this year and for many trips to come.  The first benefit of this trip was the shaving of 4 hours of travel time, making this jaunt more appealing to do multiple times a year.  So my recap of this trip will include the things that were old, yet new again...

The Church Tour - When the Todds moved to Adel, our first trip included the complete tour of their church prior to Sunday when it would be too hectic to thoroughly make the tour without interruptions.  This first trip to Buford was no different.  We went to the church on Saturday to tour the facilities, but this time complete with Allison and Logan as our guides.  Allison wore Miss Christie out wanting her to run up and down the halls with her, and Logan loved pushing the elevator alarm button. 

The City Tour - Touring the town of Adel didn't take much time.  But we did tour outside the city to see the farmlands, specifically the sod farms (who knew people grew sod?).  Buford was a more exciting tour since the town is bigger.  We got to see where the local eateries, shopping and schools were located and the rental house they lived in when they first moved to town.  We can also attest to the various Kohl's locations throughout the surrounding area.

Memorial Accessories - Speaking of Kohl's, many a trip was made to Kohl's.  All totaled there were 3 trips over the weekend, but I only made 2 of those trips.  During our first visit to Adel, we shopped at Peebles, the only local department store in the town.  For you small towners, you know Peebles is quaint and cute, but small.  While there, I purchased a pair of silver earrings that I still wear to this day.  These earrings are usually my "travel jewelery"  in honor of their purchase location.  I'm not the shopper girl - I go with a mission, get what I need and leave.  Christie and Tracy are much more into the shopping scene.  But, they told me I had to buy something to commemorate our first trip.  I did purchase some PJs that are just glamorously cute, but also invested in a new belt for my jeans (withhold your excitement).  Though a belt isn't as thrilling an accessory as a pair of earrings, it's a necessity...and something to always remember the first trip to Buford.

Games - A trip to the Todds isn't complete without games.  We wait to play our card games and adult board games until after the kids have gone to sleep, but now that Allison is older, she loves to play the Wii.  She would say "Hey Miss Rose, wanna play bowling?"...I'd respond with "Sure!"...and then she'd say, "And tennis too, I'm really good at tennis!"  She is pretty doggone good at bowling (or "bowing" as she calls it), but tennis, eh, not so much.  But, I'd humor her and we'd play tennis.  She also wanted Miss Christie to play Hi-Ho Cheerio, and "Guitar Hero...with the two Purple Girls!"  She is a 3-year old that can sing Barracuda...look out world.

Friends - The best part of the Todds moving to a new town is meeting new people and making new friends.  We got to spend some time with the Gentrys - Ted and Christina - and their six-year-old, Jack, and sweet little Kate.  They are fun folks and Christina even went with us on one of the Kohl's visits.  I fell in love with Jack when he asked, "Are you 17?"  Why, yes, Jack, I am!  Then he came over and gave me an unsolicited hug and said "Now, don't kiss me."  What a charmer. 

Food - Emulating her Mom, Tracy is a great cook.  She had the meals planned out for the week and they were scrumptious.  She was planning for the choir open house she and Chad were hosting this past Friday and we were the test kitchen for some of her dishes.  You never go to their house and ever get hungry.  Between her whipping up brownies on the spot, or pushing her Golden Oreos and ice cream, the diet just had to go on hold.  We did eat at the food court one day at the Mall of Georgia in preparation for Allison's non-ride on the carousel.  (Note:  If you are scared of the horses on the Carousel, Miss Christie will hold your hands while you ride)  After dinner one night we took the kids to one of the local froyo places - Sweet Monkey.  If Allison asked once, she asked a bazillion times "Can we go to Sweet Monkey??"  One day while we were in the kitchen, she said "Remember when we went out to eat a lot before we had children?"  We did, but, honestly, being at home with the children is just as good. 

When the visit was ending, I didn't want to leave.  I had a rough week ahead of me at work, and had daydreams of just moving to Buford on the spot.  Just when I finally had learned how to unhook Logan's car seat quickly, the trip was over.  The night before we left, Allison said a prayer over her dinner.  It was the sweetest prayer a 3-year old could utter.  When she finished I was a weepy mess.  To see that little one tell Jesus how much she loved her Momma and Daddy and for all the things she prayed for just melted me.  The night I got home, I was having major post-vacation depression. I got weepy again missing Allison especially and waiting to hear "Miss Rose!" ..playing googly eyes with her across the table....watching Disney Jr. with her.  I found an episode of Doc McStuffins on my OnDemand channel and watched it to help me not miss her too much.  I'm looking forward to the next trip to Buford...that place of refuge, sweet friends, and sweet little souls that love so unconditionally.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Three Signs It's Time for A Vacation

I'm counting down the hours before my vacation and I have to confess I'm a bit giddy.  This is the first "real" vacation I've had for quite some time and I am sorely overdue.  My friend, Christie, and I are heading to visit Chad and Tracy, and the precious Allison and Logan in the great state of Georgia.  This has been an annual trek until last year when they were moving to a new city, so I'm really excited to resume our annual tradition.  Tracy will be anxiously awaiting my blog post upon our return.  The pressure gets greater for hilarious content after every trip.

Although I'll be checking in on work daily, the break is beyond needed.  How do I know?  Let me share three signs of why I know it's time for a vacation...

1.  It's been over a year since my last one. - Our offices shut down between Christmas and New Year's, so that was somewhat of a vacation, but not officially.  Our company was acquired the end of last August and this year has been a complete whirlwind.  Even more reason that a vacation is sorely needed.

2.  Things are going from hilarious to plain sad. - I normally find hilarity in most all situations and that helps me cope with the chaos of most days.  Yesterday, I had a moment that went from hilarious to just plain redonculous.  I got an email forwarded from a co-worker, entitled "Notes from the "Too-Much-Time-On-Hands" Department".  It read....

"The masthead on the your newsletter has a coffee cup that has the handle pointing the wrong way. Even if you're left-handed (only a very small percentage of the population is), the cup is on the right side, and it would be natural to pick it up with the right hand, therefore the handle should be on the right side, not the left. As depicted, it isn't my coffee cup but someone else's."

Cue the crickets.

Folks, there are days I don't know whether to laugh or weep for the future.

3.  I'm having dementia moments. - Anyone who knows me, knows that I have a verbatim brain and never lose things or misplace items.  I take pride in that.  But evidently when I left work last night, I left my wallet  Even sadder, I didn't realize this until I was driving to work today and was pulling out my wallet to pay for some oatmeal in the drive-thru.  Thankfully I had enough in my purse to pay, but a panic set in about where my wallet was and why I hadn't missed it until now.  I'd driven around last night and this morning without a driver's license.  My guardian angels clearly works overtime.  I prayed on the way in that it would be safely sitting on my desk, still intact with all the contents....and it was.  Thank you, Jesus.  But clearly, I need a break.

I'm hoping this vacation will restore my sanity...well, part of it. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Five Minutes: Connect

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Connect.

Ready.  Set.  Write.

I find myself way too connected.  I never go very far without my smartphone as an additional appendage.  That device allows me to make calls (ahh, the days when that's all it could do), check email, text, browse the Internet, get directions, play music, Pin things, find movie times, play games (YES!)...and the list goes on and on.  This tecnology keeps me extremely connected to my worklife as well since my work email populates via my smartphone.  And, even today, I have a conference call after hours (way after hours for a Friday, my friends) that I'll have the flexibility to attend thanks to my smartphone and my connected headset as I'm on the go.

Most days I love this because as a single gal, I don't feel like I'd ever be lost as long as I had my charged-up smartphone.  But other days, it's wearing.  Disconnecting is tough, yet, oh so refreshing. 

I find that all this technology is great, but I need time to connect with my Savior.  I've come to realize of late how easily we can be distracted (SQUIRREL!) and take our eyes off Christ.  I want to be content and satisfied in Him, and for that to happen, I must stay connected to the true Power Source.

Each night before I go to bed, I now use that technological device to read Scripture, devotions and help me close my eyes with my view on the Lord.  Even that which can be a distracting deterrant can be leveraged for good. 

Friday, August 03, 2012

Five Minutes: Here

Each week Gypsy Mama chooses a word to write about for five minutes. No editing, stream of consciousness. Today's word is: Here.

Ready.  Set.  Write.

You are Here.  Those are three sweet words when you are lost in the maze of a local mall, or hospital and have no sense of direction.  Or, like me, have gotten impatient trying to find where the Starbucks is in the mall when having java withdrawals. 

We live in the here, but I seem to focus more on the before or what's to come.  I seem to never be content in the here.  I reflect on my past and relish the great memories and how I miss some of those good times that are long gone.  I think of my Mom and how I'd love to spend time with her again doing those everyday things we used to do.  When I went thru the Wendy's drive-thru today to get my oatmeal, I saw an ad for a Strawberry Shortcake parfait and immediately thought of my friend, Jan, and her love for Strawberry Shortcake and how I wish she was here to enjoy one with me. 

I look to the future.  I focus on things I don't have, the things I haven't accomplished. That ever-changing bucket list of what I want to do before I die.  Yet, I struggle with not being content with the here.  How do I longingly hope for the blessings of the future, yet be fully content in the here?  This is today's puzzling question.  But, I know that with the hope of eternal life, my yesterday's are forgiven, my future is secure, and my here should be abundant.