Sunday, March 30, 2008

mom & me

I know these pics aren't exactly the same, but they are so similar that I just had to share. I am probably 20 in this pic, and my mom is maybe 27-ish? {Mom or dad, correct me if I'm wrong...}

Monday, March 17, 2008

tornado damage update

This post probably isn't all that interesting, but since my blog also serves as my personal journal, I'm going to post about the progress of the storm damage. It was a month ago today when the tornado hit Prattville. Although most houses & businesses have a long way to go to get back to normal, they have also come a long way since 4 weeks ago. The sound of hammers on rooftops and the sight of busy contractors swarming our neighborhood are familiar to us. Wal-Mart reopened just a week after the storm, and they are now getting a face lift & new flooring. A large section of the store is still blocked off due to construction, so hopefully soon they'll be back to normal. Regions Bank, Whitney Bank, the car wash, K-Mart, and the shopping center behind Krystal still have a long way to go. K-Mart is apparently unsure of their future; their employees received notice of termination a week or so ago. (This is really sad because I love the Martha Stewart home products that are only offered at K-Mart!)

So...on to the progress at our house. We got a new roof a couple of weeks ago, and we got our mailbox replaced about a week & a half ago. We decided to hire a general contractor because all of the little repairs were getting overwhelming since both of us work during the day & that makes it hard to make so many phone calls. Chris Mitchell is our GC and he is the son of the president of PCA, so we trust him. It's great to have someone we know because we can just hand off our house key to him & not worry about folks stealing stuff. Anyway, we're getting carpet installed today, and hopefully we'll have new flooring in the dining room & kitchen/breakfast room later this week. We have verified with the GC that we do have enough money to upgrade our flooring! We're getting hardwood in the dining room and tile in the kitchen/breakfast/laundry room. Hopefully we'll also have enough money to get a fence built, but we don't know yet if that will happen or not. We also still don't have windows, but we hope to have those within the next week or two. It is rather drafty in the house right now. :-)

Baron's car was totalled. He is shopping for a new vehicle this week while on spring break. He'll be looking at a truck this afternoon, so by the time some of you read this, he might already have something! He has been enjoying driving his rental car - a 2008 Dodge Charger - so he may not be in a huge hurry to replace it. :-) My car is on a waiting list at the shop, and I expect to get a phone call any day now to take it in.

For awhile, things seemed to be moving slowly, but now they're starting to come together. Part of me is anxious to get things back to normal, but the other part of me realizes that there are a lot of folks who have much worse damage than we do. We are blessed to only have annoyances like unusuable furniture & broken windows; we do at least still have a house standing!

{Click Here for article in the Montgomery Advertiser about the storm damage progress}
{Click Here for WSFA's story on the progress}

Friday, March 14, 2008

celeb look-alike

Ashley's comment on my last post inspired this one. Check out these celebrity look-alikes for Jason Castro from American Idol. Which do you think is more accurate?

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

that time of year again...

I know most of my blog readers don't follow American Idol, but I have to post about it because I love the show! We're now in the top 12, and that's when I start to vote. (Yes, I actually vote on American Idol. Don't make fun.) This year has a LOT of talent, and at this point in the competition there are only a couple of contestants that I don't really like. So, for those of you who are fans, here are my favorites. Let me know what you think!

(click on each picture to watch a performance)

Brooke White - influences: James Taylor, Carole King, Fleetwood Mac, Elton John, Stevie Wonder, Eagles, America, Carly Simon, Bee Gees, Hall & Oats, Joni Mitchell, Bonnie Raitt.

Carly Smithson - influences: Heart, Celine, Skynyrd, Ray Charles, Whitney, Rolling Stones, U2, Janis, Johnny Cash, Annie Lennox.

Michael Johns - influences: The Beatles, Neil Finn, Queen, Otis Redding, INXS, David Bowie, ACDC.

David Cook - influences: Our Lady Peace, Big Wreck. (I have no idea who this is.)
And here is the runner up...even though I didn't vote for him...

Jason Castro - influences: Ray Lamontagne, Kirk Baxley (again...???)

Friday, March 07, 2008

before my very eyes!

Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, cats and dogs...the image you are viewing to the left is no ordinary Breathe Right strip wrapper. This is a MAGIC Breathe Right strip wrapper! No, seriously!

I went to bed last night, and as I laid down to sleep, my nasal cavities immediately rebelled. This is an ordinary occurrence, so I keep a box of Breathe Right strips on my night stand for such emergencies. I took a strip out of the box and proceeded to unwrap it in the dark. (Yes, not only am I too lazy to get up to apply it, but I don't even turn the light on.) As I unwrapped it, I noticed a glimmer of light on the inside of the wrapper. It looked kind of like when there is a tiny speck of light coming through the curtains in a dark room. Well, I noticed that I did not see the speck of light on my hand, arm, or bedding. So I closed the wrapper and opened it again. Once more I saw the glimmer of light. 'Is this thing glowing?' I thought. 'Surely it is just some light coming in the window that I can't see except on the wrapper.' So, I took the wrapper under the covers and opened it again. Another glimmer of light! The inside of this Breathe Right strip wrapper GLOWS IN THE DARK!!! I'm not kidding. I did it over & over again. But it only does it while it's being opened, and it is just a tiny glimmer that goes away after a split second. No lie.

I'm keeping the wrapper for proof. Better yet - I should sell it on eBay! Right next to the pretzel shaped like the virgin Mary!

Saturday, March 01, 2008

the waiting is the hardest part

I came across this devotional from The Purpose-Driven Life site, and it was really good so I thought I'd share!

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part by Jon Walker

But Sarai, Abram's wife, had no children. So Sarai took her servant, an Egyptian woman named Hagar, and gave her to Abram so she could bear his children. “The LORD has kept me from having any children,” Sarai said to Abram. “Go and sleep with my servant. Perhaps I can have children through her.” And Abram agreed. (Genesis 16:1-2 NLT)

*** *** *** ***

And so Sarai took it upon herself to solve God’s problem. After all, God told Sarai’s husband, Abram, that he’d have a huge family, more descendants than there are stars in the sky. (Genesis 15)

Sarai waited and waited for God to provide their first descendant, but the baby didn’t come. She waited week after week, hopeful that God would answer her prayers, that God would make good on his promise. Every day, the tension and the frustration mounted. As the musician, Tom Petty, sings: “The waiting is the hardest part.”

Like me – perhaps like you – Sarai began to wonder if God would ever answer her prayers. She wondered if God had forgotten about her, as if God’s promise had been mis-filed or improperly prioritized in the perceived bureaucracy of heaven. Perhaps – like you, like me – Sarai questioned whether God really knew what he was doing.

It appears Sarai’s thoughts walked as far as her faith would carry her, and then she stood looking at the mountains of her fear. Did God understand how important this was to her? How could God deny her the greatest desire of her heart? Was God even on her side?

Even as Sarai acknowledged God’s ability to fulfill the promise – “The LORD has kept me from having any children …” – yet she denied God’s sovereignty to decide when the promise would be fulfilled.

And so Sarai took it upon herself to fulfill the promise, no longer trusting God to do his job. The waiting is the hardest part, and Sarai was tired of the wait.

Sitting in a humid tent, she hears the support poles creak; she hears, through the open flaps, a camel snort; and she hears … was that a voice, like the hiss of a serpent, saying, "Really? Did God really say your husband would be the father of a family so vast it would surpass the number of stars in the sky?" (Consider Genesis 3.)

Sarai said, “God can, but he won’t." Or maybe she said, "God can’t figure this out.” Looking through the tent’s door, she saw her servant Hagar, and in that moment she saw the solution, though she didn’t see the Pandora’s Box she would soon open. Perhaps she even though, "Of course! This is probably the answer God meant for me to see all along."

Her faith was collapsing, but so was Abram’s, for when Sarai suggested the solution was through Hagar, Abram agreed.

So what does this mean?

Waiting for God is hard – God is not surprised when we’re honest about our frustrations and fears. Often God requires us to wait because he’s trying to show us the end of our faith, stretching our faith, not condemning us for the lack of it. In these moments, seek God and not the answer.

Whose side are you on? – Sarai believed her assumptions more than God’s promise. She wonders why God was no longer on her side – "Why is the LORD keeping this from me?" – instead of confessing that she was no longer on God’s side. Ask God to help you identify the places in your life where you’re saying, "The LORD is keeping this from me!" What will you do with what he reveals to you?

God opens and closes doors – Even as Sarai took matters into her own hands, she acknowledged God had the power to provide more heirs than there were stars in the sky. If we could ask Sarai, "Can God?" she probably would answer yes. If we then asked Sarai, "Will God?" her honest answer would appear to have been no. When faced with a delayed answer, do you break with God? What does manipulating an answer to your prayer say about your belief in the character of God? What does "giving up on God" say about the depth of your faith?

Restoring your faith – Like mastery-based education, God’s interest is that you master the lessons of faith. He wants you to succeed in your lessons, able to walk further in faith each day. So failure is not defeat; he will continue to teach you – and stretch you – until walking by faith and not by sight is as natural as breathing. Tell God, "I believe; help my unbelief!”