Monday, May 30, 2011


Joplin Tornado

I have a reasonable amount of fear when it comes to tornado's.  I fear them enough to go to a safe place when the sirens go off, but not enough to spend two hours with my head between my knees in the "tornado position" I learned in elementary school. 

Last week Joplin, MO was hit with an EF-5 tornado.  I know that tornado's recently tore through some of the southern states, and while I feel for them, they are still far enough away from me that I could distance myself from all that pain.  I have never been to Joplin, but it is close enough that our local news/radio stations have been able to send people there to keep us all updated on every heartbreaking story as it unfolds.  I know there are good stories, stories of survival and stories of people helping each other out, but for the past week there have been more sad than happy stories.  We have to hear about the devastation first before we can truly appreciate the tales of survival that will follow. 

Some of the damage in Joplin

A father desperately tries to hold onto his teenage son as the tornado sucks him out of the roof of the car.  Pictures posted on the internet of loved ones that no one has seen since the tornado struck.  Bodies found buried in a huge pile of debris.  Homes are gone, not just damaged, they are gone and the contents are being found as far as 300 miles away.  Countless jobs have been taken away.  Pets are wandering through the streets lost and confused. 

I've listened to men cry as they attempt to describe what they found when they arrived in Joplin to assist in search and rescue, clean up, or to drop off donated supplies.  We have seen the pictures and heard the stories, but it seems as though that was not enough preparation for the what they saw when they arrived.

A few days later tornado's went through Oklahoma and parts of Missouri once again.  I spent two hours watching the weather/news reports from my safe place at work as sirens went off in towns through half the state.  More homes were destroyed, jobs were lost, and a few more lives were taken. 

Joplin got pounded with severe storms in the days following the tornado, but that didn't stop the volunteers.

As I was driving through my small town that evening on the way to my home for the night I started to get really angry at the people I passed.  Someone was building a deck onto their house and I got mad at them and said some not nice things about them (under my breath and inside my car, with the windows up).  A man was playing catch in the front yard with his daughter and I gave them the "evil eye" as I drove past (they didn't see me).  All I could think about were the tornado's and all the pain (physical and emotional) that people were going through.  I was hurting for them and I was grieving the loss of people I had never met.  I didn't understand why everyone was not feeling the same pain that I was. 

Yes, I know we all express our emotions in different ways and I was judging them for not expressing their emotions in the same way I was at the exact same time I was.  Stupid.

You can not walk into a gas station, grocery store, or restaurant without seeing a donation jar for tornado victims.  I have not seen an empty jar anywhere.  The Red Cross had so many people show up to donate blood that they had to turn people away.  The city of Joplin has received so many donations that they have asked people to please hold their donations until they have been able to sort through everything that has already been delivered.  People are donating their clothes, their money, their time, even their blood as their way of letting people know that we are here for them.  We don't all react in the same way, but all that matters is that we do something.

A double rainbow in the sky over Joplin after the tornado

I am thankful that I live in a world where people leave work to help strangers in another town; where savings accounts are dipped into so that donations can be made to those less fortunate; where store shelves are emptied and the contents are shipped to those in need.  I am thankful to live in a world where people care.  

Sunday, May 22, 2011

What color are you?

Try not to do any reading (that's always hard for me) and just pick your favorite color from the below chart. 

I was instantly drawn to Fig, and I think it's an ok description of me.  Not the best, but not terrible either.

My second choice was Beet, which may be a better fit for me.  Sympathetic and empathetic....check! 

I think I am somewhere between Black and Bluebell.  Highly emotional, yes.  Aware of why things happen the way they do, half check.  I may not always understand how things work (internet) but I'm constantly thinking about it.  People find me appealing and easy to love?  Not so sure about that.  Quiet, but always thinking about what's going on...yes!

After reading them all I strive to be Cement and Papaya. 

What color did you pick?  Does it describe you? 

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Thankful Thursday 5-19-11

  • This past weekend we rented 6 movies from Redbox and had the ultimate lazy weekend
    • enjoying that Troy and I (mostly) agree on movies
  • I'm thankful my parents are not celebrities, because I always feel bad for the children of celebrities, even adult children.  They did not choose a life in the spotlight, but eventually an unflattering photo will be taken of them by some guy hiding in the bushes across the street.  Thanks for being "normal" mom and dad!
  • Sneaking in a pre-work nap.  There is a semi-quiet, semi-hidden area in my building where I can go for a little quiet time before I officially show my face at the office.
  • Appreciating the cold rainy days instead of being annoyed by them
    • Also loving the perfect weather days that tend to follow them
  • Adele :)
  • People who work in customer service and seem to genuinely care about me, the customer, before their bottom line. 
  • Laying in the sunroom listening to the rain fall

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Tuesday, May 17, 2011

24 days to go

It was almost a year ago that Troy and I started talking about wanting to attend family camp.  We had discussed it in the past and knew that it was something we were interested in attending sometime, but last year we (or maybe just me) really felt the need to attend camp in 2011.  We talked about camp like it was a given that we were going to attend; imagining the classes, worship services, and built in nap time that was scheduled every day.  (That's right, I said nap time!)  I told Troy about the things I remember from camp days growing up (scheduled nap time),  and made guesses about things I suspect have changed since then (what I now affectionately call nap time, used to be called swim time when I was a kid).  Troy talked about what he would do for the camp talent show, and I worked on teaching him all of the campfire songs I could remember.

We went back and forth between we can - we can't, we want to - we don't have the money, we're going - we're not going.  Yes, we are officially signed up for family camping this year and it just hit me today.  Camp is less than a month away...and I'm nervous.

What if I don't experience the spiritual renewal I am looking for?  Have I hyped up the whole experience so much that it is nearly impossible for it to live up to the expectations I have created in both of us?  How will we handle being "parents" for the week?  (Did I mention we are taking Levi and Issac with us?  And they don't think naps are cool!)  Will we feel like outsiders searching for a place we fit in?

We spent the past year imagining our family being there with us, yet they will not be able to attend this year.  This has been a harder obstacle to get past than I would have ever imagined.  I still find them appearing in my daydreams about camp, and I suspect part of me will be surprised when they don't show up the first day.

Troy and I have talked about things we want to do with our church.  We told you all about our Thanksgiving goal and have been very public in sharing the details that go along with it.  We have another goal that has only been shared with those closest to us, and yet one more goal that we have kept just between the two of us.  Attending family camp is a step towards the finish line for each one of those goals.  Make progress on three goals with just one activity!

I expect the excitement to build as the date gets closer and the nerves to (hopefully) settle down.  I have complete confidence that this is going to be a good experience for both of us. 

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Checking In

You may remember that back in December I told you about our Thanksgiving resolution to attend more church sponsored activities.

Make time for church!  We will step outside of our previous self imposed boundaries and say yes to church sponsored activities (excluding Sunday morning services, those are a given) at least 10 times in the next year.  When we see our sparkling smiles lighting up the big screen at the end of 2011 we will know that we have been successful in reaching our goal. 

6 months later and we are 1/2 way to our goal...right on track!
  1. We volunteered at Della Lamb with many members of the congregation
  2. A night of bowling and Christmas caroling gave us an opportunity to get to know the Young Adults better
  3. The purse I currently carry came from the white elephant gift exchange with the Adult group right before Christmas.  I also made BBQ chicken cornbread cups!
  4. We celebrated Valentine's day at the annual Sweethearts Dinner.
  5. Troy got to experience his first campfire (preparing ourselves for Family Camp in less than a month).
How are you doing on your resolutions?

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Thankful Thursday 5-12-11

To Recline
Looks like a reading spot to me!

  • Brylly has officially reached the age where his Aunt Misty is cool.  I tend to have the coolness factor for kids ages 2-5ish (sometimes older, depending on the kid)...before they have any clue what it means to be "cool".  It's a short lived time span, and I plan on taking full advantage of it before he realizes I am not the cool one in the family. 
  • I found some really great items for super cheap at the city wide garage sale extravaganza last weekend!  Some DIY projects and a couple of mirrors to brighten up our home.
  • I finally took Troy to his first campfire last night. 
  • The flower seeds I planted are turning into little baby flower sprouts!
  • Instead of nagging, I chose to do something myself, in the way I wanted it done. 
  • My dad fixed our mower, so now my husband is a happy mower (until the first really hot day). 
    • He also waved his magic wand over our carpet shampooer and ta-da! it started working again!
  • Watching, in awe, at how quick it goes from black to light outside. 
  • I did not want to turn on the air conditioning, but temps in the 90's finally forced me to give in.  Once it's done it feels great!  I love walking into a cool house on a hot day.

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Friday, May 6, 2011

Coping with difficult people

Several months ago I made a decision that has had a huge impact on the way I live my life.  Instead of getting upset when someone says or does something to hurt my feelings, I will stop and pray for them.  It doesn't mean that my feelings don't get hurt, but it helps me to feel less pain and put things into perspective.

Be kind to everyone you meet for we are all fighting some kind of battle.

I believe that no matter how much of a tough guy act someone may put on, all they really want in life is to be happy, and hurting others is not a recommended detour on the path to happiness.  Unfortunately, when we feel pain we want others to feel pain with us so that we are not alone.  I have chosen to look at these experiences with a whole new perspective, and now see them as a sign that they are struggling in the search for happiness in their life.  A sign that I need to pray for them, and be a little kinder because they don't need any more pain in their lives. 

So when someone hurts my feelings I pray for them and for whatever battle they are currently facing.  I ask that God will help them find joy and ease their pain so that they will not go on to cause pain in others.  In my prayer I remind (tell?) myself that they are deflecting their inner pain onto me and that's ok.  I am simply sending up a prayer, acknowledging that this person aches inside, and asking God to please keep an eye on them until they are able to work through whatever is causing them to lash out at others.

There are many ways people react when their feelings are hurt.  I'm not going to argue about what is the correct or incorrect way to respond when your feelings are hurt.  Only you really know what is best for you.  This is what works for me.

I feel better when I do this. This takes a painful situation and turns it into a moment of healing for me.  I take the anger and pain they caused me to feel and I put all that emotion into a prayer - a prayer just for them.  There are times that the pain is so great that I have to force the prayer out, but always - always - by the end my heart has softened.

I have a whole new outlook on coping with difficult people and it has made a world of difference in my life.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thankful Thursday 5-5-11

One of the many paths we explored during our vacation

Here is the first of what I hope will be a long standing tradition of Thankful Thursday posts.  Here are the some of the things I am thankful for from this past week
  • Successfully completing the A-Z Challenge
    • Word Nerd has such a way with word's that she is doing the challenge backwards during May!  Nerdy, or not, she is good with words and I enjoy reading her blog, so I'm happy (thankful?) that she will once again be blogging every day during May
  • Vacation time spent with the man I love
  • Successfully geocaching!  Even though there were a couple we didn't find, overall we had a high success rate
  • Doing a lot of walking and then realizing that my legs are (somewhat) used to being used all day long.  I constantly surprise myself with the ease in which I can walk long-to-me distances.  Now my arms are a whole other (weak) story!
  • Discovering two new blogs that instantly drew me in and touched my heart.  Both are written by the parents of special needs children, and boy-oh-boy do they have cute kids!!
  • Letting what could have been a hurtful comment roll off my back and making the decision to not let it weigh me down.
  • Watching the Royal Wedding and realizing that I felt genuine happiness for them, and not the jealousy I expected.
  • Planting a tree (and discovering that it was not too late to qualify for a free necklace from Figs & Ginger)
  • Spending time with Levi
  • The kind man who took my pizza order at Caseys.  His kindness put me in a good mood for the rest of the night.
  • An exciting baseball game where the Royal's came back and won right at the end!
  • Our baby birds are growing and everytime I check in on them they are cuddling.  Cuddling baby birds are adorable!

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Monday, May 2, 2011

Figs & Ginger

Figs and Ginger is giving away the cute love bunnies necklace, pictured above, to everyone who plants a tree for Earth Day.  You still have time to send your picture in and get your choice of this cute necklace or a $15 gift certificate to use on something else. 

I chose the necklace for myself. 

We've got our fingers (and toes) crossed that the tree lives a long and happy life.  We've already told ourselves that we will not get too upset if it doesn't make it.  We will do our very best with the tree while keeping in mind that this is our first time planting a tree anything and we are learning as we go.

Have you planted anything this year?