Saturday, November 29, 2008

Rick Turns 41 Today!

Rick's quote: "The good news is that 40 is the new 30. The bad news is 41 is only the new 40."

Monday, October 06, 2008

Middle-Aged?

I went to the doctor yesterday,
And said, "I'm in a poorly way!
My muscles and joints ache and ache,
I sleep all day; at night I'm awake."

"I think my hair is growing thin,
After a walk, I ice my shins.
My lower back has gotten sore,
I need to rest more and more."

My doctor calmly looked at me,
And said with all sincerity,
"My diagnosis might leave you stunned--
It's all because you're FORTY-ONE!"

Sunday, September 21, 2008

18 Years, and They Still Look the Same!


Rick and I traveled to Nashville, Tennessee for a seminar Rick is leading for Accordance Bible Software. We hooked up with some old college buddies for dinner -- Cordell and Michelle Emery. We hadn't seen them for almost 18 years, but they looked just like they did back then! Well, except that Cordell was missing his trademark mustache. I've re-discovered, through Facebook, quite a few folks from back in our mid-1980s college days at the Louisiana Tech Baptist Student Union. We started plans with Cordell and Michelle to get a semi-reunion together of folks who live near the Nashville area. I can't wait to see all of our "old" friends!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Library Flood!





We had a big, big storm Friday evening in Shelby County. I got a phone call from my principal around 6:00, 30 minutes before I was to leave to go out of town for the Labor Day Weekend. She said she had bad news. Really bad news. I didn't believe that it was as bad as she said. Then I walked into the Library with Rick. The superintendent was right behind us. I broke down. It was awful. Absolutely awful. I in no way shape or form imagined the entire library covered in water. I must say, our new superintendent gives good, supportive hugs to employees who are hysterical.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Ode to NLT*


I love the NLT;
Yes, that's the book for me.
No more saying "Thou" and "Thee,"
It renders speech realistically.

No more language hard to read;
Simple words are what I need.
No more wondering what God said
From ancient phrases long since dead.

When I read this book out loud,
The "a-ha!" moments leave me wowed!
The Psalms and verses that I hear
Are finally the Truth made clear.



*NLT = New Living Translation
(sung to the tune of "The B-i-b-l-e" -- an old VBS tune)

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Back to School!

I just finished my first full week of the new school year. Whew! I'm tired! My Jefferson County teacher buddies started this past Tuesday. What ever happened to school starting after Labor Day? But, I suppose we didn't get Fall Breaks and Spring Breaks back then. August 6 still seems so very early to start the school year, though.

As the Library Media Specialist, I work 4 weeks during the summer to complete inventories and ordering and processing, etc. This summer I ended up with 4 weeks off, and one of those weeks was spent in professional development training. I guess 3 weeks summer vacation isn't all that bad. But when the non-education system public comments on teachers having those "cushy three month breaks every summer" I just want to hit something!

And now that I'm on a roll, those same uninformed folks often make comments like, "It must be nice to leave work everyday at 3:00." Well, the students walk through our doors at 7:15 a.m. Our official workday ends at 3:00 (as does our pay), but when I leave school between 5:30 and 6:00 every evening, I leave behind several other teachers still working away. The school is abuzz most weekends, too, with staff members catching up on paperwork and planning. Teachers work long, long hours -- many work 50-60 hours each week. They get paid for only 190 days a year, for less than 8 hours a day. So, those extra weekend days and summer days and Fall Break days and time after the 3:00 bell rings are all "freebies." Oh, and in Kentucky, teachers do not pay into the social security system, so there's no social security check to help out after retirement.

So, this all begs the question, "Why would anyone do that?" Ask any teacher whose been teaching for the long haul, and he or she is bound to say, "I love kids. I love helping students become lifelong learners. It's what I was meant to do."

And me? I can't imagine doing much else. After 18 years of teaching elementary students (and a brief stint with middle schoolers -- yikes!), I know that I am doing what I was meant to do. Will I always be a teacher? I think in some way, shape, or form, yes. My job might not always be as an elementary library media specialist, but I know that my love of school and my love of learning will keep me tied to the field of education. And I am hard pressed to think of a worthier career choice.

Friday, July 18, 2008

Blueberry Stackers



Last week we were home visiting family for our annual Summer trip to Louisiana. While at my in-laws, I offered to make supper. I fixed a Wild Rice Soup from my new Bisquick Cookbook. I decided we should have a dessert to go with it, and I quickly located a couple that looked good in the cookbook, but we didn't seem to have all the ingredients for any of the desserts I came across. Back home in LA at each of our folks' house, if you want to go to the grocery store, you have to make an extra trip to town, so I needed to use what was on hand. So, I decided to experiment. Now for those who don't know me well, I tend to be a rule follower most of the time, and that includes following recipes exactly as written. But desperate times call for desperate measures! Below is the recipe I ended up creating with what was in the house. I based it partly on one of the desserts in the Bisquick Cookbook. It turned out tasting pretty good!


Blueberry Stackers


1 package Pepperidge Farms Pastry Puff Sheets
1 package of fresh blueberries
8 oz. Cream cheese, softened
1 cup sugar
2 cups whipping cream
vanilla or almond or lemon flavoring
confectioner’s sugar

Cut pastry sheets into 3x3 squares and cook according to package directions. Cool squares then separate into bottom and top halves.

Beat cream cheese with electric mixer on high speed until fluffy. Mix in sugar and a touch of flavoring. Beat whipping cream in chilled small bowl with electric mixer on high speed until stiff. Add confectioners sugar along the way for texture and taste. Fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture.

Layer pastry sheet squares with cream sauce and blueberries. Make layers with at least 3 pastry squares, and top with cream cheese mixture and 5 or 6 blueberries. Makes lots of servings.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Home Study Update Completed!


Our Adoption Home Study was scheduled for an update this summer in order to renew our Immigration paperwork. Ashley, our Home Study social worker, stopped by for our interview and house walk-through last week. We also had to update all of our criminal background checks. Now we just continue to wait some more. This Home Study and Immigration paperwork will be good for another 18 months. Pictured here is Ashley with Rick and me on the day of our Home Study update in the room that will be Elianna's one day. Right now it's our Library.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Cooking in Cast Iron




Rick and I started a new venture with some friends -- a website called "Cooking in Cast Iron." Cast Iron collecting and cooking has become somewhat of a hobby for Rick and me, so we decided to share our interest with other like-minded folks. Pictured here are some recent dishes we've made using some of our cast iron cookware. Click the title of this blog entry or go to http://www.cookingincastiron.com to read about how to season, care for, and use cast iron products. You will find links and discussions to other sites, too, as well as a photo gallery of cast iron items. Video podcasts will be available sometime in the next couple of weeks, so be sure to visit again later to learn more.

Friday, June 20, 2008

China Hope Chest


It occurred to me back at Christmas when we were home with my Mom for the holidays that my hope chest from when I was in high school has an Asian motif. How appropriate that the hope we have for our daughter in China is represented in this family heirloom!

On My Nightstand This Month


Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Old Friends






Getting together with old friends is always relaxing and refreshing. This past weekend we reminisced with old friends from out of state, old friends with new babies, and old friends with new babies on the way. Rick patiently grilled in the rain (with Rob's umbrella saving the day). The kids entertained themselves playing X-Box while the adults oohed and ahhed over babies and caught up with the latest family news. See more pictures by clicking the title of this entry.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Camping Adventure #2


Rick and I spent the weekend with friends camping on the hottest weekend so far this summer. Are we crazy? Bessie was glad to get back to her air-conditioned comforts of home, as were we. We had lots of fun, though, sitting around and visiting with our friends, grilling, make s'mores around the campfire, and sleeping with the cool breeze blowing through the tent at night.



Somehow Rick managed to escape all 80 of the pictures we took.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Another Mother's Day Spent Waiting

Just over a year ago we were logged into the China database for adoption. At that time referral wait times were approximately 17 months from log in date. That would have meant traveling to pick up our Elianna in Fall, 2008. Since our log in date, wait times have increased dramatically. The earliest possible date right now to get a referral for Elianna is Summer, 2010, and traveling to China to pick her up in Fall, 2010. That's being on the generous side. Many believe the wait times will keep increasing. I pray everyday that those folks are wrong.

I turned 41 years old last month. Rick and I were married 18 years ago. We've battled infertility for 14 years. We started our process of adoption in 2006, when wait times were just over a year for a baby. I never dreamed that our new route to a baby would end up as another frustrating, long process.

So, once again, I skipped the Mother's Day service at church. Once again, I packed away some of Elianna's baby items so we can use the storage space for more immediate needs. Once again I updated my blog with news of longer wait times.

I'm tired of "once agains."

Monday, April 28, 2008

National Cornbread Festival





Rick and I attended the National Cornbread Festival this past weekend in South Pittsburgh, Tennessee. 'Betcha didn't even know there was such a thing! The weather was perfect, and the crowds were manageable. Approximately 44,000 folks attended last year's festival. I don't know about this year's count. Ironically, I didn't even have any cornbread the whole time I was there! Rick had pinto beans and cornbread for lunch and bought a bag of cracklin' corn bread to take home. I feasted on real kettle corn made in a huge vat and stirred with a big wooden paddle. Mmm, mmm, good! Sure beats microwave popcorn.

There was lots of Bluegrass music to be had, including some impromptu jam sessions. Rick and I toured the Lodge Cast Iron factory and brought home 19 items. Yes, we do like our cast iron!

Click the title of this entry to see more pictures from the exciting festival!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

One Year Mark of LID


Today is the anniversary of our Log In Date (LID) with China. LID is the date when a waiting family's dossier is logged into the Chinese Database to wait for an adoption referral. At the time of our LID (April 10, 2007), the wait time for a referral was approximately 17 months from LID, which would have had us traveling to get Elianna in late Fall, 2008 (just 8 months from now!) The wait time now is close to three years, which would mean a travel date of approximately Summer, 2010, more than 2 years from now. Those wait times could increase even more, but our hope and prayer is that wait times will decrease, and we will travel to get our little girl sooner than later. She already has a Christmas stocking waiting for her!

This summer we will renew our home study, immigration paperwork, criminal background checks, etc. By the looks of things, we will have to renew everything at least one more time after that before we travel.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Hope


Bessie is the most hopeful dog I know. Surprisingly, she only does this when Rick cooks, not when I do. Hmmm.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Bunny Cake


Rick's Mom is famous for her "bunny cake" at Easter time. The last time we actually had any of the cake was Easter, 1991, back when we lived in Louisiana. This year, we were invited to have Easter dinner with some friends. When we were discussing meal plans, Rick announced, "Kathy can make a bunny cake!" Well, as most of my friends know, I'm not much of a baker. So, I was quite intimidated about the whole bunny cake idea, not to mention that the day before Easter was crazy with activity. I ended up baking the cakes (it takes 2 round cakes) at midnight for the next day. I must say, I was quite proud of the results. I've included a picture of the 1991 bunny cake that Rick's Mom made, along with a picture from Easter, 2008.

Countdown to Elianna!