Here are the welcome messages from
September 2004

9/2/04 September 2, 2004
9/11/04 September 11, 2004
9/22/04 September 22, 2004
9/29/04 September 29, 2004
September 2, 2004

Sorry sorry sorry.  You probably have been wondering where I've been!  We came home from vacation on the 16th.  I spent the next week unpacking, drying, cleaning, and putting away all our river stuff.  When I say all, I mean ALL!  We take a lot of stuff!  We weren't sure how many people would join us there so we took all our tents (one 3-room and a screen tent), all our cots (5), lots of water and drinks, all our water toys (rafts, inner tubes, air mattresses, skis, life jackets), free-standing sun tarps (2), beach chairs and regular folding chairs (12), and lots more.  (When I say lots more, I mean LOTS more!)

We have a good system of putting things in large, sturdy, plastic buckets.  That way everything has a dry place to stay.  In the past I let my guys take care of getting things out and putting things away.  This year, as I helped my husband get ready to go, (this was the first year our sons were grown and had jobs so it was just the two of us for the most part) I found all sorts of things that weren't to my liking.  Buckets labeled with one thing had an assortment of things.  Other things had been put away wet and were ruined.

So, when we came home, I went through everything.  I had to put the tents up and clean them because of the awful storm we had the last weekend we were there.  All the buckets had gotten splattered with mud, too.  So, everything that had been out in the open had to be cleaned, dried, and put away.  I was very busy for the rest of that week.

Then, Friday, I started to feel an uncomfortable tickle in my throat.  By Sunday morning, the 22nd, I was sick.  This Monday was the first day I felt better than the day before!

You know you are sick when you don't feel like even checking your email!

I tried to do a Bible study last week, but my cold had deadened my brain and I didn't get any farther than one sentence into the welcome message.

I was going to update this Monday since it had been so long.  Monday morning I went grocery shopping because we had run out of some important stuff while I was sick.  I rested up a bit and vacuumed the family room.  It was something I had been wanting to do since the day we came home from vacation.  I watched it get worse and worse as each day went by as I sat in my recliner sniffling and coughing.

I sat down to rest a bit before I came in here to work on the Bible study.  Shortly after sitting down I heard a huge crash with the sound of breaking glass!  I jumped up and ran into the living room thinking it was my glass display shelves.  Nope.

I saw my cat, Bug, standing in the hall with a wild-eyed look on his face.  He was going slowly down the hall toward this bedroom where I keep my computer.  He is scared of noises but always goes to investigate.

One of the shelves had ripped off the wall and fell right next to my computer desk.  It was a mess!!  I'm thanking God that nobody was hurt, me included!!  This is our guest room and it would have fallen right where the head of the rollaway bed would have been.  If I had been sitting here at my computer it would have hit my right shoulder.

So, instead of working on this on Monday I spent the rest of the day cleaning up broken glass and stacking the things that had been on that shelf.

Tuesday I spent a good part of the day disassembling the rest of the shelves, repairing the wall, and trying to figure out how to fix it so the shelves wouldn't come down again.  They were the wrong length to be able to anchor them into studs and the supposedly sturdy anchors had just pulled right out of the drywall.

I came up with an idea.  I have a patriotic motif going in this room.  There is a huge American flag on one wall that was given to my husband.  So I've kind of collected some red, white, and blue stuff to go in here.  Soooooooo..... I came up with the idea to buy some 1x6" wood and paint them red.  I will put them up on the wall horizontally and anchor them to the studs.  I will then anchor the shelves to those boards.

Then I will paint some blue stars on the wall as well.  Instead of looking like a fix to a problem it will look like an on-purpose decorating scheme.

So, yesterday I was cutting and painting the wood.  I had the weirdest thing happen.  I wanted the wood to go from wall to wall.  I measured the wall twice.  It was 1/4" shy of 9 feet.  I had purchased three ten foot boards.  I put my tape measure on and cut a board to the measurement of 8 feet 11 3/4 inches.  I brought it in here and couldn't get it up next to the wall.  There was a closet on the right hand wall and the board was going way into the closet opening.  I had the left end in the corner and the other end was way too long! 

So, in my poor foggy brain I figured I had cut it at 9 feet 11 3/4 inches by mistake.  Duh!  The board was only 10 feet long to begin with!  Had I stopped to think I wouldn't have done what I did.  I went back out and cut another foot off of it since it appeared to be about a foot too long.

I brought it back in and it was a foot shorter than the width of the wall!!!!  What the heck?  Why was it too long in the first place?  It's an evil wood trick.  The wood grew and shrunk.  Had to be!  How can it be a foot too long and then a foot too short??  Huh?  Huh?

There I was with a short piece of wood.  I had to decide whether to drive back to the hardware store and buy another ten foot board or to cut the other ones that same length.  So, I cut them all the same.  I will line them all up to the right and use my star pattern to paint some stars to the left.  You and I will be the only ones that will know it was a mistake.  Don't tell anyone!

Yesterday I was working on this in between coats of paint.  Then my computer froze up and I lost everything I wrote.  I'm going to take that as good news.  The good news is that the enemy has been keeping me from updating this.  He kept me busy the week after I came home from vacation cleaning and putting things away.

Then he gave me a nasty cold that lasted forever.  Then, when I finally was focused on completing the Bible study he erased it.  (I'm saving a back up every few minutes this time.)

So, here I am again.  I painted the wall white this morning and am waiting for it to dry so I can put up the boards and install the shelves.  I just love it when I end up having to do a project that wasn't on my "to do" list! 
 Mad face

I have a HUGE praise report!  God has spared the last of my three sons that was in a bad car accident!  (Yep.  I have three sons and they've all been in serious car accidents where the car they were in was totaled!)  My middle son, Jeremy, was in his Volkswagen Bug stopped at a red light.  Someone rear ended him, pushing him across oncoming traffic and about 100 feet into a field!  God made sure Jeremy didn't smash into the car in front of him (there is no protection in the front end of a VW Bug) and made sure he didn't hit any oncoming cars.

The field that he was pushed into had 5 foot tall weeds.  Jeremy's car ripped up a bunch of weeds as it plowed through them.  I went there that afternoon with my video camera.  Here's a still clip off that video:
Ruts plowed in a field
See the two ruts that his car plowed?  They are about 12 inches deep.  When his car was towed home the tow truck driver had pulled a bunch of weeds off of Jeremy's car.  After it came off the tow truck we got three trash cans full of weeds that were still on it!

Jeremy broke his knuckle and has a cast.  He is a plumber and can't do his job.  The guy's insurance company is taking its sweet time in taking care of getting Jeremy paid off for his Bug so he can buy another car.  BUT Jeremy is alive!!  Praise God!!
{Jeremy ended up having a HORRIBLE time with the insurance company.  I found out other people were, too.  So, here's a site that explains everything.}

I have a confession to make.  While I was sick I didn't spend much quality time with the Lord or in the Word.  I just couldn't focus on much of anything.  That's sad because the longer I went without some serious spiritual immersion the harder it got for me to say the things the things I should and even more importantly, NOT say the things I shouldn't.

I kept getting mad at my family for not being more helpful in doing the things that I couldn't do while I was sick.  However, for the most part, I did well.  So, the time we spend seeking to be in God's will and in filling ourselves with the Word is time that carries on even when we slow down or stop.

If I compare this time of being sick with the last time I was sick for over a week I'd say I did a lot better this time.  That encourages me.  That proves that the Word is alive in us.  It also is an indicator that I've made progress in my quest toward holiness!  Yay!  I hope it encourages you, too.

By the way, this was a bigger confession that it looks.  I had to confess twice because my first one got wiped out when my computer froze up.  So, I get bonus points for this one.  Winking face

Wow!  This was a long welcome message, wasn't it?  I had all sorts of things to catch up on since it has been weeks since the last one.  There's all sorts of stuff I wanted to add, too, but I didn't want you to have to sit here all day reading.  (You're welcome.)

Link to the 9/2/04 Bible study.
September 11, 2004

Today is the anniversary of the terrorist attack on the United States.  I reflect on the disregard those terrorists had for the lives of people.  It horrifies me to think of how they were so self-centered and closed-minded that they were incapable of compassion.  They were working in an atmosphere of such hatred that their minds were consumed by satan, himself.

Day by day I see the beginnings of that same type of attitude.  I see and hear people who are so wrapped up in themselves that they don't care that their horn-honking, racing loud car engines, running non-street-legal vehicles up and down public streets or on private property, or various other activities are waking up sleeping people and disturbing the quiet time to which everyone is entitled. 

In stores people block aisles with their carts, not caring that they are inconveniencing other people.  People are creating email spam, trying to find ways to shock innocent people with pornography, and finding ways to irritate and inconvenience people.

Looking at some verses in the Bible I see:

"And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And God looked upon the earth, and, behold, it was corrupt; for all flesh had corrupted his way upon the earth. And God said unto Noah, The end of all flesh is come before me; for the earth is filled with violence through them; and, behold, I will destroy them with the earth."
Genesis 6:5, 12-13

"But the men of Sodom were wicked and sinners before the LORD exceedingly."
Genesis 13:13

"And he said, That which cometh out of the man, that defileth the man.  For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders, thefts, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, foolishness:  all these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Mark 7:20-23

In the end times there is still pride and lack of repentance:

"And the rest of the men which were not killed by these plagues yet repented not of the works of their hands, that they should not worship devils, and idols of gold, and silver, and brass, and stone, and of wood: which neither can see, nor hear, nor walk: neither repented they of their murders, nor of their sorceries, nor of their fornication, nor of their thefts."
Rev 9:20-21

"And men were scorched with great heat, and blasphemed the name of God, which hath power over these plagues: and they repented not to give him glory."
Rev 16:9

"And blasphemed the God of heaven because of their pains and their sores, and repented not of their deeds."
Rev 16:9

So dumb and so sad.

Again!  It happened again this week!  My computer froze up after I had updated most of this welcome message!  All of it was lost!  Another thing to add to my wacky week.

It has been one thing after the other around here!  I thought that this week would be a good one where I would get a lot accomplished.  Monday was Labor Day and my husband had football practice in the morning.  He had meetings at the school during the day Tuesday and Wednesday and school started Thursday.  He had football practice in the evenings.  I figured I would be able to concentrate on catching up from being sick.  Ha!  Fooled me!

Every day brought new and exciting adventures that took me farther and farther away from my list of things I wanted to accomplish.  One day had such a variety of crazy stuff happening that I wanted to go back to bed and pull the covers over my head!

The most stressful thing that happened was when one of my neighbor's chickens came in our back yard.  There is a law that chickens must be contained in an enclosure at all times.  My neighbor lets hers roam around her yard.  They've been getting out lately and she hasn't done anything about it other than set a round table top up against the fence where the chickens were escaping.  (Think about it... the chickens were getting out between the chain link gate fence post and the wall.  She put a ROUND table top against the fence.  The curve of the table is such that it didn't block anything along the wall except for a small section about three feet off the ground.  The only good the table did was prevent the chickens from opening the gate should they learn how to flip the latch!)

So, one found its way into our back yard without my knowing.  I heard Moo Moo, my dog, run toward the side of the house.  I listened for some kind of sound to indicate there was a problem since he normally had a much more relaxed pace.  All I heard was a tiny squeak which I thought was Moo.  I chalked it up as he heard something and that's why he ran to investigate.

I continued doing whatever it was I was doing and looked up in time to see Moo walk out on the grass with his prize in his mouth.  I told him to put it down and he did without giving me any trouble (what a good dog!).  The chicken lay there until I got close and it stood up and began to walk away.  Then it began to stagger and fell over with its eyes closed.  I picked it up and it hung limply in my hand.

So, now what?  I went to get a thick, green lawn bag to put it in.  As I was unrolling a bag the chicken began to move its head only its eyes were still closed.  I knew I had to put it out of any chicken misery it was in.  Nobody else was home.  What good is it to have to live in a house with three men if none are around when you need them?

I am a blood-wienie.  I can't look at things that bleed or I will end up passed out on the ground.  How was I to kill a chicken???  I figured if I killed it while it was in the bag then it would be easier since I couldn't see it.  Hmmmm.... I had to hurry and decide as it was probably still suffering.

I laid the bag down and got a cinder block that was left over from building a retaining wall.  I felt the bag to see where the chicken's head was.  "OK, Kay, drop the block.... I said drop it!  Drop it now!  The chicken is suffering!  Just let go of the block!!"  I felt light-headed just thinking about what I had to do.  So, I did the same thing as when I had to catch the turkey (oh, you didn't hear that story?  It's here.)  one, two, three GO!

I will spare you the rest of the story.  I do know one thing, next time (oh please, don't let there be a next time!) I will double or triple bag it before I drop the block.

My whole week was just was one thing after the other so that I just couldn't spend time concentrating on any one thing.

Hmmm, I'm starting to wonder about my life.  Are the things that happen to me normal things or am I on Candid Camera? 

I did get one thing accomplished, but it took me a lot longer than it should have with all the interruptions I was getting.

I made a new pond.  The old plastic pond that I bought to set in the ground just wasn't working well.  We get wind every afternoon and very crazy hard winds in the winter.  Leaves, dog hair, trash, grass, and anything else that got blown was ending up in the pond.

I couldn't see my fish I had put in there very well because it was black plastic.  I had bought small goldfish and picked out some that were bright orange so I could see them.  It was hard to see them unless they came up to the surface.

So, my husband and I went and bought a horse watering trough.  It is round and holds around 45 gallons.  I painted it to resemble a wood barrel.  You'd have to squint your eyes real tight and stand about 50 feet away in order to be fooled into thinking it was real wood, but it isn't too terribly bad.

I put a bunch of rocks in the bottom so you can't see the shiny surface and added some water plants.  I retrieved my three big goldfish out of the old pond (they increased in size by at least 400% since I bought them) and found 12 baby fish as well!  Wow!  What a neat surprise!  Half of the babies are gold colored and the other half are kind of grayish brown.

In the mornings I sit next to the pond and sprinkle fish food flakes.  It is fun to watch the fish eating.  I'm starting to name the babies.  In their old pond there was so much moss and junk that I never had to feed them.  They eat any bugs or mosquito larvae that end up in the water.

Now I need to figure out some kind of water fountain or waterfall idea that will fit in with our old west theme we've been developing in the back yard.  We'll see.

I bought a new exercise machine.  I've never really been much on exercise equipment.  How many expensive exercise machines only do what you could do for free?

I do like my exercise bike because I can control my riding workout.  This new thing is called the Ab Scissor.  I got it at http://www.bodybyjake.com/

It just arrived today.  I've had problems with my abdomen muscles.  I've been getting the appearance of being pregnant again.  I've tried a lot of things, but have gotten nowhere.  I'm hoping this will do the trick.  I put it together and gave it about a minute workout.  Wow!  I think it just might be what I've needed!

Beginning Monday I will start a regular regimen.  I'll try to remember to give you an update on my progress.  If not, then remind me in about two months.

I do need to get going.  I need to figure out how to use Power Point.  My husband needs to be able to teach his students so they can do a project for his class.  So, I need to learn so I can teach my husband so he can teach them!

Link to the 9/11/04 Bible study.
September 22, 2004

I actually started working on this on Monday but had to stop because I couldn't access the server.  My web host was having some down time due to electrical problems caused by the hurricane.  They are back up now.

The last two weeks my computer froze up and I had to re-do everything.  This week I was saving as I went, but couldn't get it uploaded.  Encouraging, isn't it?  The enemy is interested in trying to keep the Bible study from going online.  That means it is making a good difference in the spiritual realm!  Yippee!

satan is a quitter.  If we resist just a little he goes on to something else or tries something else.  We must continue to move forward even though it seems like we are encountering problems along the way.  Let's set our eyes on the goal and not get dismayed.  If God gave us the goal then He will help us get there. 

"For the Lord GOD will help me; therefore shall I not be confounded: therefore have I set my face like a flint, and I know that I shall not be ashamed.  He is near that justifieth me; who will contend with me? let us stand together: who is mine adversary? let him come near to me.  Behold, the Lord GOD will help me...."
Isaiah 50:7-9 

Gosh, I didn't have one strange thing happen last week that I can share with you.  I'm doing something fun, though, that is new.  My husband, two sons, and myself have joined a bowling league.  It seems we just don't get to spend time together any more.  We are always off doing our own things.  So, this will put us in the same place at the same time every week.  We had to do it on Sunday nights because that is the only time my husband isn't involved in coaching football or some other sport.

So far we haven't been able to have a normal game with a normal opponent.  The first week one of the members of the other team got sick right after the first game and had to leave.  This week, our second week into the league, the entire other team was a no-show!  We were done before the rest of the teams got to their last game.  Has our deodorant failed??  Should we double up on our breath mints??

The first week I bowled my best game ever.  Most of the time I'm just happy to break 100.  I bowled a 157.  The final two games I was in the 120's.  Crazy!  I was establishing a handicap and, instead of bowling the way I usually bowl, I bowled a lot better!  What's up with that?  So, this week I went back down to my regular type scores.  It was fun while it lasted.  We ended up 8th out of 18 teams for the first week.  Not too bad for not trying to win anything, huh?

I keep telling my sons that our score is not the issue.  The issue is that we have some quality family time together and enjoy each other's company.  I'm bowling with three competitive males, though.  They can't help but grumble when they don't do as well as they think they should.  Sigh.  I'll have to take a stick and whack them with it when they frown.

They are loosening up a little.  My husband and I, instead of doing a thumbs-up or high-five when we get a strike, cross our arms like an 'x' and bump crossed arms.  For a spare we hold up one arm at an angle and bump those (in case you don't know the symbol for a strike is an 'x' and a spare is one line of an 'x').  If we leave one pin standing we "high-five" with our index fingers.  If we leave a split we hold up two arms like goal posts, or put two fingers next to our mouth like fangs.  If we do really bad we "high-five with our little fingers and, if it is really bad, we do little fingers behind our backs.

Anyway, as you can see, we have silly fun.  It helps my husband to put things in perspective and not get too up tight when he doesn't do well.  My youngest son kept rolling his eyes and walking away from us when we would try to get him to participate.  Now he is starting to join in.  Hey, I believe in having fun no matter where I am!  So, shoot me!  Well, no, don't shoot me.  That would definitely NOT be fun!

I have been using my new Ab Scissor exercise machine.  That thing seems to be doing just what it advertised.  When I put on one of my skirts Sunday it wasn't tight in the waistline like it was the last time I wore it.  So, I am starting to see a difference and I had only worked out on it five times.  (Please tell me that it was my waist that shrank and it wasn't my skirt stretching!)

It isn't even really hard.  As I was doing it I kept thinking it wasn't going to work because I wasn't getting very sore muscles and I wasn't straining very much.  The workout itself is only two minutes long, with 30 second rests in between each 30 second portion.

I do ride the exercise bike for three miles and row for three minutes first, but the Ab Scissor is going straight to my waist.  Gosh, maybe by next summer I will actually be able to fit into all my clothes again!

I'm still not caught up from vacation and from being sick.  I have a few piles of things that need to go back into the camper.  Some of the camping stuff got stacked up and not put away after I cleaned it.  It just seems that more and more things are popping up that need to be done NOW and that puts the other things on hold.

Does anyone have an idea on how we can add a few more hours to each day?  Maybe we can find a way to stick some in the freezer and thaw them out when we need them.  Or maybe we can clone them and make our own.  Or or or....

Yesterday morning I got to go to my prayer partner's house.  She and I hadn't been able to get together since before the end of July because of vacations and illness.  I've been starving for spiritual companionship.  My Internet prayer partner's computer died so she and I have only been able to email each other when she can access her daughter's computer.

The enemy has been trying to keep me isolated from those people that encourage and edify me.  Yet, God is my source of strength.  I know that, no matter what else is happening, He is ALWAYS right by my side.  He encourages me and urges me to stay on track.  I don't have to have spiritual companionship from people, I just enjoy it a lot!  God has blessed me by bringing these women into my life.

Interesting.  In today's Smith Wigglesworth daily devotional I read something that applies to this.

"In the measure that we look to one another for our help, we lose faith in God.  If you rely upon any man or woman, upon any human assistance, to help you, you fall out of the greater purpose God has for you."

Link to the 9/22/04 Bible study.
September 29, 2004

I was preparing to ask for prayer for some car-accident related things.  I called the lawyer that is representing us in the lawsuits filed against us for the automobile accident my son Casey was in in over two years ago.  I told you before about it.  If you don't know, the insurance company, our lawyer, and an accident reconstructionist have found that my son did nothing wrong.  We have an independent witness that also verifies that fact.  The other driver ran a stop sign, didn't have a drivers license, didn't have insurance, was driving an unregistered car, and had open containers in the car.  The driver died when his car was broadsided by our Toyota Pickup, driven by my son, Casey.

The widow is suing us and the passenger is suing us.  Our insurance has even offered them money to make them go away even though my son did nothing wrong.  Anyway, court was supposed to be next Monday.  I called the lawyer to see if it looked like there was any possibility that they would settle out of court and to see if he checked on a few things that I noticed in the depositions that might become an issue.  Looks like it is going all the way and NOPE he didn't check on those things because it didn't occur to him.  Good grief!!  I'm not getting paid to do this, HE IS!

I also told him that someone in his office is typing Casey's name as K.C.  For some dumb reason they changed Casey's name on the last few pieces of correspondence I got from them.  Sad, isn't it?  I'm having to rely on them to take care of every small detail and they can't even keep their client's name straight!  I thanked him and said, "See you Monday."  "Uhhhh... I was going to tell you, it has been postponed."  Oh, my goodness!  He forgot to tell us!  Casey already notified his work he wouldn't be there and we were getting mentally and emotionally prepared.  Today I am going to review everything and not assume that he is taking care of things.  I never realized that it was necessary for me to send him a letter telling him that I want to know right away if the court date gets changed!

I get really tired of having to deal with people who get paid to be professionals and don't do what they are supposed to do, leaving me to do work I am NOT paid to do.  It happens to me all the time.  I kid you not!  ALL THE TIME!  God keeps reminding me, "Gotta love 'em!"

The other thing has to do with a car accident my son, Jeremy, was in recently.  He was stopped at a red light and was rear-ended.  His car was totaled.  The insurance company for the guy that rear-ended him is not being nice.  They are really being unethical and are trying to save themselves money.  It is very frustrating.

The appraiser is apparently lying to the claims adjuster about the condition of the car and the insurance company won't listen to us when we tell them that the facts are wrong.  They are also trying to give comparable values on his '69 VW Bug using cars that are 1,300 and over 2,000 miles from our home saying those are the closest they can find!  They refuse to consider when we submit proof of the same make and model on sale out here.  The worst thing is they are adding 100,000 miles to my son's odometer reading because his car was over 30 years old, but are not doing the same for the same year comp vehicles!  Are 30 year old cars in California OLDER than 30 year old cars in Missouri and Florida??

Anyway, if you feel God laying this on your heart I appreciate your prayers.  Oh, yes, and that I stay calm and totally relying on God throughout it all.  Oops, almost forgot, and that my three sons never ever have another car accident!  I don't think I have the strength left to help negotiate with any more insurance companies or to deal with any more lawyers!

Thank you!

In case you are wondering:  the insurance company that is not being nice is Coast National Insurance Company, a member of the Bristol West Insurance Group.

(In April 2005 I put together a page about that insurance company to warn people.  I found out lots more information about them and they treat a lot of people horribly.  If you want the full story it is here.)

It's just simply amazing how each one of my days gets tied up when something unexpected comes along.  Now that it is football season my husband, the teacher/coach has no time to do anything around the house.  Everything he was working on has been put on hold.

He and I had worked on organizing the workshop area in the barn.  All the tools and things got moved out there, but the project came to a screeching halt when football started.  I was unable to find some things when I was out there and was unable to easily reach some other things I needed.  So, I spent two whole days out there.  I put up hooks to hang things and moved other hooks that were in bad spots.  I moved the rest of the nails and tools into the barn and moved all the car fixing stuff into the garage.

I moved my paint and painting tools into the shed so I don't have to go up and down steep stairs in the barn to retrieve things.  The only things I have left to do are go through the buckets of miscellaneous junk (my husband hates it when I call his junk junk!  LOL!) and see if I can put it away.  My husband will leave it all in the buckets thinking that is a good storage system and never be able to find anything.  There will be no more buying things that we already have somewhere!  I am putting my foot down!!  (Uh, oh, put my foot down on more things that need to be put away!  Will it ever end??  LOL!)

I need to finish putting away the camping stuff and get it covered with a tarp.  That should have gotten done a long time ago but it has been one thing after the other around here.

I've been wanting to go to the grocery store for days.  If I don't go today then everyone will be mad at me, including the cats.  They are on their last can of food.  I have had to start a list of things I need to do.  I have phone calls to make, errands to run, things to get repaired, and more.  Maybe I better schedule myself a time of getting away from it all before my head spins right off my neck and goes into orbit!

I do have one relaxing thing that I try to take the time to do every day.  I like to go sit by our new fish pond and feed the fish.  They are getting more comfortable about coming out from under the plants to eat.

I think I told you I went from a below ground pond to a round horse trough.  The three goldfish that had survived in the murkiness of the below ground pond had babies and I didn't even know it.  The pond had been growing algae and collecting leaves, dog hair, grass, and anything else that rolled or blew in there.  It was too hard to keep it clean.  I knew a few fish were in there to eat mosquito larvae so I just ignored it for a long time.  When I went to scoop out the big fish I came up with a bunch of little ones!

Anyway, there are 14 baby fish.  Three weeks ago there were 8 that were predominantly gold and 5 dark gray/brown ones.  A week ago I noticed that two of the brown ones were turning orange.  Now they have just tiny bits of black markings on them.  Yesterday I noticed that two of the larger dark colored ones are beginning to turn orange, too.  Amazing!

I started to name them but am having trouble on some of them now because they are starting to all look alike.  I still recognize a few, though.  There is one that is blotched with orange and white patches:  Koi.  There is one that is almost all white:  Casper.  There is one that has a white jaw:  Jaws.  There is a tiny one:  Midget.  The two that changed from dark to orange still have dark spots on them and I can pick them out from the rest.  They are the Morph Brothers #1 and #2.  The other two that are beginning to change are Morph 3 and 4. 

Of the three big fish there is one with a bit of white on its tail:  50/50 (as in a vanilla and sherbet 50/50 bar).  One is all orange:  Sherbet.  The last big one is all orange with white lips:  Kisser.

Until they get bigger and I can see if they have any differences, the rest of the small gold ones are named Goldie and the other dark ones are named Shadow.

I recently bought a polarizing filter for my camera.  Yesterday I used it and tried to take a bunch of pictures of the fish so you can see them.  Hopefully I got a few good ones.  Stay tuned.  (Don't hold your breath.  I don't have a digital camera and mail my film off to get developed.)

Speaking of cameras, I have a Canon A-1 SLR camera that I've had for a long time.  Before that I had a Canon AT-1.  My AT-1 disappeared one year when we were at the river on vacation.  We were transporting all our ice chests, chairs, and other stuff from the boat to the campground.  One of my sons grabbed my camera bag.  Being young and curious at the time, he saw something he wanted to investigate and put my camera bag down.  I guess it sat there a long time according to the people I asked later on when I realized it was missing.  The temptation must have been too great and someone decided they wanted it.  They weren't selling AT-1's any more so I bought an A-1.

I was surprised recently to read some articles saying the A-1 was one of the best cameras ever made!  I really like it.  It is sturdy and I have choices on how I want my pictures to look as far as blurry backgrounds or sharper backgrounds.  The problem with a lot of my pictures is that I forget to put my brain in gear before I start taking pictures.  The good news is that I always remember to focus first.  That doesn't mean I do it right.  Sometimes I am not wearing my glasses.  If you can't see in the first place how can you focus?  LOL!

Anyway, I'd been wanting to get a new camera strap but hadn't seen the kind I wanted.  I also needed a few other accessories.  I found some great prices at www.ritzcamera.com.  They had some things on sale.  The only bad thing was I wanted to get a smaller camera bag for when I just take just my video camera or my regular camera instead of both.  The bags they advertise (and there are a ton of them!) didn't all show the dimensions.  With my zoom lens a lot of bags would be too short.  So, I couldn't get a bag.  If you need any camera accessories for any kind of camera, check out their site for the prices.

My oldest son is coming to visit next month.  I think I found a good photographer that can take a nice family portrait for us while he's here.  The last one we had made was when my youngest was around eight.  Now everyone is grown.  In order to make a nice photo I might have to go buy everyone some new shirts.  We all need something long sleeved in the same general color tone.  I decided to go with blue.

They have a lot of pictures with black backgrounds and the people wearing black.  Did you know that most people skin tones don't look good in and around black?  Once, a long time ago, my mom took me to have my colors done.  A woman had swatches of different colors of fabrics.  She held them up, one by one, under my face as I looked in a mirror.  I could see where my skin looked sickly and/or pale next to certain colors.

She categorized me as spring because I looked best in brighter colors that you might see in spring flowers.  People who are classified as winter are the only ones who may look good in black.

I really enjoyed finding out what colors look best on me.  I discovered that the clothes I liked the best fell into those colors in the spring selection.  I didn't know why I liked them, but found out I probably liked the way it made my face look when I wore them.

The woman also went through a list of styles of collars, sleeves, shapes of clothing, belts, etc. that would flatter my body shape.  She also told me about how to determine how many accessories were too many.  It was a ten point system with each piece of jewelry being a point, open toe or open heel shoes being a point for each, contrasting belts are a point, large print clothing is a point, each color of clothing you wear is a point, and anything else that draws the eye is a point with the exception of things you wear all the time like glasses or a wedding ring.  If you wear more than ten points then people are looking all over you to see what is standing out rather than looking at your face.  Interesting, huh?  Less is better.

Anyway, after I get the family portrait done I'll put it online so you can see what a cute family we are.  (Don't tell my husband and three grown sons that I called them "cute"!)

Link to the 9/29/04 Bible study.

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