Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tubes and Sunshine

We got to sleep in today!  Yay! (Praise the LORD - I woke up migraining and needed extra sleep...)(BTW - this post will not be as clever, nor proper grammer due to the pain destroying brain cells and neural pathways at an alarming rate..) We're still stuck on California time - no sense in adjusting for just a week.
  Borrowed some river inner-tubes from one of Laura's friends here in the village and headed for the Saluda River again.   The way the river curves and flows, you can park here at the zoo and walk a ways up the river-bank and launch your tubes and float for over 2 hours before disembarking at nearly the same spot that you park your car.  It's so much fun!  I'd do it all the time if I lived here.  Just the right price too : FREE  :)
  So we parked behind a warehouse, inflated the tubes and hiked through the parking lots.  We only hiked about 20 minutes up the bank and our tubes weren't heavy.  A nice guy showed us the little beachy spot where we could safely launch.  In we went (not without difficulty flopping into the tubes properly), passed out the Mello Yellos (East Coast Mountain Dew) and trail mix, then paddled out into the current.
  We floated for over 2 hours in the gentle and wide river, chatting and giggling and screaming and splashing; acting like little girly sisters in general.  There were some little tiny white water rapids that we rode down (well, Laura got beached on a huge rock in the center and yanked me to a stop, then Kat scraped her rear end all the way down cuz her tube didn't have a bottom like ours), but that was the only fast part. It was so smooth and serene.  We changed positions and got pretty much evenly tanned.  Scared ourselves when we saw snapping turtles skimming the water and thought that maybe they were Saluda Crocodiles... Lol.  None of us capsizes or fell in at the wrong time or got eaten by snapping turtles.  Got some great photos with the waterproof camera and got some great sun, tan and exercise!  Loved it.
  The hike back was nice too - had to climb through the fence and over the railroad tracks (we felt like we were doing something wrong... Lol...).  Exhausted, slightly sunburnt (Laura is FRIED - as usual), but feeling fabulous.  Spent our last day here very very well.  Kat is being loud (as usual) in the kitchen making us Cinnamon Rolls, I'm on the couch migraining, and Laura is supervising.
  Like I said yesterday, what a great week it has been.  I love my sisters and my brother-in-law.  I have enjoyed the East Coast, but not enough to ever move here.
  And I am ready to go home to my desert and my Tehachapi mountains and see my husband and children.  This has been an exciting and enriching experience and adventure.  We fly back early tomorrow morning, and we are excited for another flying experience.  We're going to walk through security expertly this time though - and I won't put my hands in the air like a criminal.  :)

Sunday and Monday

  My sister and her husband, James, attend a Calvary Chapel here in Columbia, SC.  James is a worship leader at this church, but he wasn't leading this morning. The preacher at this church has 8 children, and 2 of them made up the worship team on this particular Sunday.  In the interest of 'Leading Worship', this is the makeup of their worship team:  Acoustic guitar/lead vocalist, bass guitar, drummer, electric guitar and a violinist.  It sounded amazing.  One voice, small band and some great Calvary Chapel songs.
  Sometimes less is better.  No extras vocals causing confusion, no extra practice time to get all the people exactly on the same words and timing.  So simple. And less distracting.  It was the kind of worship that pulls my heart right up to the throne of The King.  Learned a great new song by Charlie Hall:

  The preaching was amazing as well as the music.  The good quiet pastor spoke about how we as Christians, forget to ask for Holy Spirit to enter and lead us while we are worshiping. One of those sermons that opens your eyes and really makes you think.  One of those, 'Oh Yeah!' moments.  You know those.
  We attended at baptism by the same church that afternoon down at the Saluda River then played and splashed away the day.  So much fun.  The little kids navigated the river like pros and taught us how to get across.  My waterproof camera took shots without drowning - which we were very happy about.
Finished the day with a visit to Marble Slab (like Cold Stone - someone copied someone).  And of course, a nice warm shower....Ahhhhhhhh

  Monday, We went to the RiverBank Zoo here in Columbia, like 15 minutes up the road.  What a beautiful place.  We saw every animal there - even the elusive Lions and Howler monkeys were out.  Very cool.  Our favorite was the reptile house!  Loved all the cool snakes!  The giraffes were pretty cute too.  Scratchy little chins and long blue tongues!
  Met up at D's Wings with some church friends and dined on 40cent wings.  Yum!  There were like 15 different flavors.  Mostly hot and spicy - but me being old and broken down - had to eat some Tums before I started and I stuck with safe garlic and butter wings.  :)
  A surprise storm fell upon us like a sheet of water on the way home (I never did see any clouds..) and wowee it sure does rain hard here in the east! 
Oh what a wonderful week it has been!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Always Learning

  I have some fascinating tales to tell of my Sunday here in Columbia, SC, but I am EXHAUSTED right now.  There is a surprise storm pounding the roof outside and we're settling into the couches to digest our chicken wings.
  So I'll tell you about something I am struggling with and trying to learn from.
  There is this plane that you reach in your walk with Jesus when you get close enough to FEEL His blessings.  It's tough to explain; I just attempted but had to delete all that I had written.
  This point in life is maybe different for everyone, but for me, this is the basics:  I am STARVING for any and all words from the Lord (written, spoken, preached, etc), I am anxious to approach him with everything I encounter, and I can see the evidence of His blessings in my life (physically and spiritually).
  I am finding that all these new and awe-inspiring revelations are making me so excited that I want to share it with others.  But, for some reason, I can't seem to figure out how to share without sounding condescending or 'holier-than-thou'.  I have hurt several people in my life, people I love and wouldn't ever want to hurt, by acting this way.  And when i try to explain myself, it just gets worse.
  For now, I have given up.  I pray desperately that God would seal my mouth shut unless He can prompt me with the perfect words.  I think of that Aaron Shust song, 'Give Me Words To Speak'.
  It speaks volumes for me at a time when I can hardly say anything.
  I am praying for wisdom and guidance.  Though God seems silent, He is here, helping me to hold my tongue and to just love others in silence.

Sunday, June 12, 2011


 Went to the town of Charleston today.  What a beautiful city.  Despite it's highrise buildings, lights, freeways and traffic, it's surrounded on all sides by God's nature.  Marshlands from the ocean seeping in, heavy tree-lines along the freeways and wide-open blue skies.  
Saw the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge, as pictured above.  What a beautiful masterpiece of architecture!  Wow!   Headed down to Folly Beach to see the Atlantic Ocean (can't come all these miles without seeing it).  It was high tide, so the waves were rough, but we braved the waters anyways.  Kat lost her sunglasses and left us immediately.  The warm waves pummeled us and threatened to take more than sunglasses, so we were satisfied with experiencing the Atlantic.  Sun bathed for a few in the hot sand and got tired of the hundreds of people living the beach life very quickly.  Walked the pier and enjoyed the fresh ocean breeze before we headed home.
  Enjoyed CiCi's Pizza and Dunkin Donuts for dinner and dessert before settling in for the evening.  Kat and I couldn't sleep so we giggled over the EpicFail app for Android and YouTube videos until 4am.  Good times.  Here's one of the favorites for the night for you to enjoy for your Sunday afternoon:

Lake Pirhana

  We visited Lake Monticello Reservoir here in South Carolina on Thursday.  It has a little beachy-like area where you can swim out into the lake.  There are lots of little greenish fish in the shallows in this area, known as Threadfin Shad.  My sister told me how 'cute it is that they nibble on your toes'....
  We played and swam and hung out by the roped area, generally acted like little girls fighting with each other - giggling, splashing and screaming.  Then a fish bit my back - just a 'nibble', but it wasn't CUTE.  Not in the least.  Nobody else had been bit and they recommended I just move around more.  Tried that - wriggled until I had created a whirlpool in our area - but I still got bit again.  Stupid fish.
  "I'm done," was my announcement as I swam quickly back to shore.  Stupid fish.
  Tried again later - got bit again - headed back to shore and was OFFICIALLY DONE.  But it was still nice outside the water.  Got a tan, threw rocks at each other and giggled and shouted until the other families moved on down the beach.  I love my family.
  Got to eat Chick Fil A for dinner.  I've been hearing about it since my sister moved over here to the East Coast.  They are really into chicken restaurants over here.  Well, it was yummo!
  I am enjoying my trip to the East Coast & South Carolina.  You can feel there is a lot of history just SOAKED into all the buildings and the earth around here.  So different than the West Coast.  A different feel.  I can't explain it really. 
  The weather here is hot and muggy.  Something else that can't be explained unless you've been over here.  100 degrees Fahrenheit over here is SOOOOOOO different than the same temperature on the West Coast.  So heavy.  And the 13 year Cicadas are out this year!  They are so noisy up the tall trees around the village - but I have yet to even see one.  I have seen what the locals call Palmetto Bugs.  They are large cockroaches - just different because they are here by natural occurrence and are not an infestation.  But icky just the same... pretty good size too - bleh!
  Getting eaten up by mosquitoes that I can't even see (guess I taste good), and the Pine Nuts are constantly plunking loudly on the roof of the house.  East Coast living - not for me but so interesting. And green.  And wet.  And muggy.....

Thursday, June 9, 2011

A whirlwind of thoughts...

  I begin my blog post with an apology:  I am still groggy from the flight, sore from an accident, and thoroughly jumbled in my mind from too much stimulation.  It is 7:34am Eastern Time (that would be 10:34am Pacific Time), I've been up for about an hour, after a rough night of sleep, and I'm still processing, recovering, healing and sipping coffee.
  Wednesday morning was my first flight in an airliner.  I've been in a Cessna 170 three times in the past, and I was sick for 50% of my flights so far (got sick after one of the flights - that's half right?).  We rode in a McDonnel Douglas MD-80 with American Airlines.  Cramped yes - but also cheap. 
  We started at Ontario Airport in California and wow- you should have seen us.  We were 3 hours early because we were afraid of being late or missing the flight (seen too many movies where the people RUN through the airport and we didn't want to be those people).  We wandered in with HUGE eyes - and began the process.  We were so excited (Kat was nervous) and confused - and EVERYONE knew it.  Total newbies. 
 Went through security in a flash -thank God for a nice man who could tell we didn't know what we were doing and gave us some direction (not everyone in the world is a jerk; we were surprised (yes, we assumed he was a pervert at first...)).  I walked through security with my hands in the air like I was getting arrested - yes I made the lady suspicious... LAUGH OUT LOUD!  I didn't mean to be such a weirdo, I just can't help myself and I was so flustered.
  Finally made it to the gate with all our stuff intact and our shoes back on our feet.  3 hours...we settled into the disable persons area where there was an outlet for our electronics and kicked back.
  When it was time to board finally, we were all 'oohs' and 'ahhs' as we walked through the chute and into the plane.  The folks behind us were not patient with our giggling and stopping to inspect everything.
  Had a nice flight and by the time we were boarding the 2nd plane in Dallas/Fort Worth, TX - we felt like pros.  Acted more like it too.  I'm sure all the other passengers were grateful too.
  Landed safely in Charlotte, NC at about 9pm EST.  We walked and walked and walked and walked through the prettiest airport in the US, but never saw it.  We were tired and trying not to trip on and off the moving walkways.  Our only priority was finding a bathroom.
  So here we are, in Columbia, SC, enjoying the company of my sisters and my brother-in-law.  It's hot and sticky here - I'm definitely not used to it.  Got up late - not used to the time change either.  We've got a full week planned and can't wait to get started, but we're a little short on energy.
  I said at the beginning of my blog that I have had a lot on my mind;  well, here it is in short:
  Scott got a new job offer (we've been praying for a year) and it will require a move (IN JULY!),  I am trying to learn how to be a better example to my sister and not be so judgmental, and ...um....Ok...there was something else, but it's gotten lost....somewhere.....
  I have these little trolls that work in the office in my brain, and they are total slackers.  They sit around, tossing wads of paper (important papers) into the trash can and betting on how many they can miss.  Then, I ask them to pull up a simple memory and they scramble to help me out.  They mean well, but they still can't get it together.  They pull up the wrong thing (wrong memory), they grab the wads out of the trash and try to decipher them (diluted and convoluted memories), or, when all else fails - they simply make up a load of poo to hand to me as the legitimate memory - and I believe them.  I really need some new workers, but can't seem to get rid of these guys.  They'll be the death of me I suppose...
  Well, we are touring CIU, Columbia International University today.  It's where my big sister and her husband are earning their Master's degrees in ESL and Divinity, respectively.
  I'm not even dressed yet.  Ok, troll guys, here we go.  Help me out a little bit today....