Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Hailstorms, Frost And Gardening By Faith

There is something about gardening that is kind of like therapy for me. It's a moment in time where it's just me, the plants, a whole lot of dirt and time to think. When I garden, I don't bother with shoes and gloves because I like the feel of my feet in the dirt and it's easier to pull the weeds with my bare hands.

Because I don't wear gloves, I have a spot on the palm of my right hand that is constantly blistering from the handle of the trowel I use to dig up the weeds. Eventually it heals, but the tender red scar it has left is a constant reminder of how hard I work to rid my garden of the the 'things' that don't belong.

I hate the weeds. I can spend a hours digging out all of the weeds and a week later, there is a new crop that has sprung up again. No wonder the blister never goes away. What I can't figure out is why the weeds grow so much faster than my vegetables. Growing a garden is a challenge in this neck of the woods anyway, but if the good grew as fast as the bad I probably wouldn't mind the weeds so much.

Not only do I battle the weeds, but the elements as well. I plant my garden in May and pray against the frost. As little sprouts begin to emerge, I become excited and hopeful at the prospect of all the wonderful vegetables that will soon fill my plate. But as was this year, an incredible hail storm beat my little plants down. And then the frost hit.

So I replanted and watched the sprouts emerge again.

Then yesterday as I was pulling weeds, I noticed that the beans, which I had seen poking through the ground the day before, now had the tops eaten off and one bean was lying on the ground. Standing there over the row of beans, and deciding whether my best revenge was a pellet gun or .22 rifle, I realized that the garden is just like my life.

From the outside it may look like a lot of dirt, but there is some good stuff that grows out of it. I battle the weeds, knowing they are always under the surface, tend to the blisters and live with the scars. The hailstorms of life come and beat me down, the frost tries to kill the new growth, but then the weather changes, the son envelopes me in security and warmth and I flourish once again. It's a never ending cycle, but I believe it's all part of learning to trust the master gardener with my life.

I have a lot of weeds, and the hailstorms, well, there are plenty of those. Most of you know I am half of a blended family. If there is one situation where the weeding never ends and the hailstorms deluge, it is in a step family. And right now, who isn't battling the financial storm? The uncertainty that comes with wondering whether I'll be just another statistic in the mortgage failout is at times as overwhelming as staring into an acre of weeds.

It would be easier to give up on the garden, quite worrying about critters and frost and let the weeds do what they will. But I'm too stubborn for that and I enjoy the fruits of my labor. It's kind of like faith. It's easier to give up ones faith in God when things aren't going exactly as planned than it is to continue on in faith even when the hailstorms come.

I know God will take care of me because He loves me that much. I've got His Word to fertilize my soul and I know that I can conquer the weeds and come back after the storms because He has promised to take care of me no matter what.

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If you are facing some storms right now, I can confidently say that there is a pretty awesome group of people who hang around this blog and would offer up some prayer for you should you request it. Or you can go here and leave your request as a comment, or email me at buzzbyannies@gmail.com. Sometimes, it's easier to face the storms with an army, than it is to by yourself.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

I Am Not Responsible For The Things Boz Does

We spent the weekend camping in the forest near a large Obsidian/Lava flow and actually climbed the lava flow with Boz. It was hot. About 3/4 of the way up we came across a patch of snow. I have never seen Boz so happy to see this stuff. Lucky for you, we captured his glee-fest on film.


video

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Annie's Daily Picture



Feel free to stop by Annie's Daily Picture and catch a glimpse of what I see when I get behind the camera. I hope to post a picture a day, unless for some reason I am away from my computer for any length of time (like out in the woods camping, or in a small village in Mexico).

If you have a snapshot that you would like to share, please pass it along with a little description and I'd be happy to post it.

Enjoy!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Looking Up At My Lazy Day

What a great lazy weekend I had. Jon and I have the place to ourselves for an entire week and so we pretty much did a whole lotta nothing. Yesterday, after Jon washed the three cars (ehem) we laid down in the front yard and for a few hours, enjoyed the view, looking up.

Remember doing that as a kid? Looking up at the sky and trying to see what shapes were in the clouds? Life takes on a new perspective from that view, and here's a few pictures I captured.

(Note: There are some birds that have taken up residence in our birdhouse and every time I try to get a picture they hunker down. My patience paid off and I finally snapped their coming and going.)
















(Please do not call PETA, he only had a little 'lick' for the sake of a photo. And he's over 21.)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day, Dad

This is my dad, with three of his grandchildren (the other 13 were up in the game room). Now, I know every kid thinks they have the best dad in the world, but I really do. Here's a few reason why I love my dad and think he's so awesome:

* Dad has no problem telling me he loves me.
* Dad loves all of his grandchildren, and especially likes giving them big ol' hugs.
* When I'm around dad we have a great time and there is usually a lot of our big hearty laughing going on.
* Dad would do anything for anybody.
* Dad has lent a helping hand to me and my kids more times than I can count.
* Dad is still traveling the world and doing what he loves (I think his wanderlust comes from the Hungarian in his blood. I'm sure there were some gypsies is the family).
* Dad loves having the whole family together and I can see the pride he has for his family all over his face.
* Dad taught me a lot about work ethic.
* Dad has loved and been married to my mom for over 45 years.
* Dad loves the Lord and has spread His love through missions.
* My dad never really liked animals, but for some reason became extremely attached to Boz. Boz loves going to visit grandpa.


This picture was taken as dad was 'walking me down the isle'. I remember this moment because right before, we were joking and laughing and I couldn't stop as I walked out the door. That's the way it is with my dad. We really have a great time together and this picture about sums it up.

Happy Father's Day Dad. I love you!

PS - I hope you'll remember today to say a prayer for all of the military fathers who can't be with their families today because they are serving their country overseas.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Speechless Saturday

It has been pretty quiet at my house today. The kids left yesterday to go visit their dad, who lives about 3+ hours away. It's the first time they have driven themselves over the mountain pass. To be honest, it was kind of strange watching them drive off, knowing they are taking a 'trip' on their own. Seems like only yesterday they were too young to even stay home by themselves.

In lieu of words, I thought I'd share some pictures from today. Besides, I just don't have a lot to say right at the moment. (I said, at the moment.)

Yard art...





Sleepy Boz...



Garden Bounty
Radishes, I think. I'm pretty sure.



My cabbage that took a beating by the hail...



Lettuce...



Baby spinach. Literally.



Veggies for my tortilla soup.



The finished product. (You can get the recipe at my other blog, Paprika is Good, But Not in Coffee)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What You Missed If You Didn't Do HammerTime

If for some reason, while growing up, you were not allowed to dance because of religious views (you know, 'don't dance, don't drink, don't smoke, don't chew, don't go with guys/girls who do') then you totally missed out and I'm really bummed for you. I mean, growing up without HammerTime?

Here's what you missed. No, really, you're welcome. (Ehem)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

It Goes Beyond The Blog

I was recently asked why I started blogging. I guess it was because I had been reading and enjoying some random blogs and thought it would be an interesting way to do some writing and see where it takes me.

Writing has always come easy to me and I had some specific things I intended to write about, namely step-family life. But, because of one reason or another, I abandon that idea after writing only a few posts and after that, I was pretty directionless and decided to write whatever came to mind.

Lately, I've really struggled to write consistently and have avoided doing much in the way of posts that go deep inside the heart of Annie. I think the stress and restlessness that I deal with in my life has contributed somewhat to that and dealing with my own insecurity that the posts on my blog are pretty inadequate compared to some of the awesome bloggers I keep company with.

What I didn't expect when I started my blog was the friendships I would develop with others. I am amazed at the fact that there is an extremely 'eclectic' group of people who without the incredible world of blogging would most likely never have come to know each other. I mean really, who would actually believe that a Hungarian Catholic from Chicago, a crazy-arse Texan church planter, an empty-nester in North Carolina, a laundry-hating Georgian, a twenty-something missionary in Africa, a youth pastor who's as big a kid as the youth he pastors in DC, a mom who rocks the mike in Indiana, a stiletto wearing gal from a small town in Illinois, a Redneck from Virginia, and a little ol' gal from smack dab in the middle of Oregon would have anything in common (and this is just to name a few, because there are several more from New York to India). And who would believe that all these people email, talk on the phone, share hurts, fears and concerns, pray for each other and would really do anything for the other without ever having met face-to-face (with a few exceptions - of meeting face-to-face that is).

So, while my blog has not developed into what I envisioned, the friends I have come to know are something way more awesome and beyond anything I could have expected. I think God has definitely been behind this whole thing and He probably knew that I could use some really cool friends more than a blog that's read by the masses. And I'm OK with that, because every day I get to travel around the world and stop in for a visit with my buds. Oh, and just so you know, I prefer my iced tea without sugar, and extra lemon, if you don't mind.

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PS - If there is something you would like me to write about, throw it out there. I'm always up for a challenge.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

An Answer For Everything

So you asked and I have answers. In fact, I usually have an answer even when you don't ask. Really, you're welcome. Sometimes I have the answer but choose to remain silent, and other times my mouth works faster than my brain and you get an answer in the form of a somewhat smart alec comment.

For instance, I make it a point to never talk about work on my blog. It's the most sure fire way to get yourself fired, but this is a darn good example. I was in a meeting the other day and a few co-workers got a little tense with each other. My inner(sarcastic) self told me to push away from the table and state, 'I see we have a pissing contest about to ensue, so I'm going to back away to keep from getting wet.' It would've surly cut right through the tension and since I work with all guys, they may have found it quite amusing. But the professional side of me begged the inner (sarcastic) self to please refrain. So I did. (But rest assured, there are plenty of other times where I share my incredible rays of wisdom with my co-workers.)

Anyway, let's get to the questions.

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My young friend and mom-extraordinaire(who also rocks a mean mike) Beth asked:

Hmmm...questions...questions...other than Mexico, have you traveled outside the country? If so, where and when?

Yes, I have traveled extensively to other countries. I've been to Iowa, Kentucky, Arkansas, Northern Florida...Ok, just kidding and no offense to those who reside in those great states. Actually, the only other country I've traveled to is Canada, eh? The first time when I was 17 and on a youth mission trip with our church (that I still attend) and then when I was a lumber broker, I traveled to Kewlona for a conference/meeting with our suppliers. Both trips to Canada were pretty cool and I saw some really awesome sites. And I kinda dig the accent, eh?

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Tony C (who has an awesome picture on his blog and it's really worth checking out) asked this:

What was your initial thought about your husband the first time you met him (good or bad)?

This is actually a pretty funny story. My kids and I had just moved back from Big Horn, Wyoming(this was in 2003) and I had a 24' U-haul truck with a 12' trailer attached to the back. (I was NOT leaving Wyoming without my snowmobile and BBQ.) I called a friend, who happens to be a pastor, asking if he knew of any 'muscle' that could help me unload my truck o' stuff. He said, 'I know just the guy you need to call.'

So, I call this guy named Jon, we make small talk and decide on a time the next day when he will come over and help unload the truck. The next day while waiting for Jon to show up, I'm standing in the driveway with my brother, next to the U-haul when this guy in a big ol' black (lifted) suburban pulls up. I looked at my brother and said, 'holy mackerel, I'm going to marry that man.'

Ironically, Jon had recently ended a relationship and sworn off women for good(because we're nothing but trouble) and was going to just focus on raising his kids. Jon told me that when he first laid eyes on me what popped into his head was, 'I'm screwed.' because that whole swearing off women thing... well,

Two weeks later we were dating, and the rest as they say, is history.

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My awesome Hungarian sister Helen, who will beat you up if you mess with any of her friends, posed the following question:

What advice would you give to parents out there? What is one thing you wish all parents knew?

I guess I would answer this with 'you will never really figure parenting out.' I mean, we go into parenting with all of these dreams and expectations that we will raise kids 'who arise and call us blessed', we'll spend our afternoons doing finger painting and playing basketball in the driveway, every dinner will be a happy family sitting around the table, the kids will always say 'please' and 'thank you' and those kids that throw themselves into a tantrum on the floor of the Piggly Wiggly will never be yours.

Unfortunately, parenting is messy, disappointing, frustrating, infuriating and down right exasperating. But it's also rewarding, fun, tears of joy and laughter, exciting and the ride of your life. You get the good with the bad. At the end of the day, if you just do the best you can, your insecurities and faults aren't really that big of a deal. If you love your kids and they know it that is what counts.

Oh yeah, and one of the biggest things, always apologize and tell your kids you're sorry if you did something to them you know is wrong. It's a good lesson of forgiveness for kids and it builds a strong relationship. (And be their parent, not their friend.)

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If you don't know Katdish you are really missing out. I can tell you that when we finally meet and get together, it's going to be sarcasticpalooza. I hope someone brings a video camera because there is going to be some good material. So Katdish wants to know:

What is the flip thing?

I did a Q & A, where I asked Jon questions about me and he had to answer, truthfully. In one of the answers, Jon made reference to 'that thing with the flip'. Unfortunately, there is no flip. It is merely an inside joke between Jon and I and I don't even remember how it came about. (Possibly after one-too-many LeBatt's or something.) But if there were a 'flip', I'd be darn good at it.

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If you've never met a true Redneck and want to know one that happens to be pretty cool (yes, he really drinks moonshine and I bet he flies a Confederate flag on his house), I suggest you go visit Billy. He's an awesome writer who has a knack for finding God's little lessons in every day life. And he doesn't hold it against me that I like my tea unsweetened. Anyway, Billy asks:

My question is this: you live in Oregon, but you've lived in Virginia. Which one's better, and why? Not that I'll yell at you if you say Oregon.

Well, Billy, I have to say that the part of Oregon I live in is better than the part of Virginia I lived in. I was in the DC area, which is unfortunate, because I have traveled all through Virginia and I really like the Virginia countryside. Big city is not for me and I don't think one can judge the true Virginia by the DC area. I love the history of Virginia and that wins hands down compared to Oregon. Let's just say that I am sure I could be happy in either place and I have enough hick in me that I could probably fit in. Plus, I'm not a fan of Jeff Gordon. Dale Earnhardt is where it's at.

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If you want to visit another country and find it's true colors, I suggest you visit Amrita. Amrita lives in India and I am continually amazed by her. She has a huge heart for others and shows us her life, literally in living color. You really need to check out her blog. You will be blessed. Amrita wants to know:

What is your fave dessert?

Well, honestly, I'm not much of a dessert person because I'm so addicted to carbs (like chips and salsa, bread, that sort of thing). But, if I'm going to indulge, I either want some of my mom's Strawberry-Rhubarb crisp or homemade ice cream (with fresh strawberries or peaches). And while it's not necessarily dessert, I dig Peanut M&M's. A lot.

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As a bonus, I'm just going to throw out some random stuff you probably didn't know:

* I've traveled to almost every state except Alaska, Hawaii and the ones way up in the northeast.
* I have a temper(like so mad I could spit). It's the extremely large part of my genetic makeup that is Hungarian/Romanian. Eastern Europeans are kind of known for that. Sigh.
* I am extremely protective of my family and friends. (See, that Hungarian thing again.)
* When I was 5 I ended up in the hospital with a nasty concussion from falling off my bike.
* I remember precisely the moment when I accepted Jesus into my heart, as a kid.
* I grew up in the Nazarene church and went all Foursquare when I was 16.
* Ethan Allen (yes, Revolutionary War Patriot Ethan Allen) is an ancestor of mine.
* I hate watching sad movies with Jon because I always cry and I don't like him to see me do that. In fact, I cry at pretty much anything. Tough on the outside, soft on the inside...
* My favorite movies as a kid were, The Russians Are Coming, It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World and The Sound of Music. Oh, and anything Hitchcock.
* I love suspense novels.
* I watch all things FoxNews and I dig Hannity and O'Reilly. Probably because they rock the sarcasm.
* I love waking up in the middle of the night and hearing the rain on the roof.
* I secretly hope Laura from Pete Wilson's blog shows up here. How fun would that be?

Ok, it's late and I gotta get the coffee ready for tomorrow. 4:45 am shows up way to quickly, and I am darn tired, so it's definitely time to hit the fluffies. See ya when the coffee's ready.

They Say It's Your Birthday, Kenz!



It was 17 years ago today that Kenzi made her grand entrance into this big old world at Evans Army Hospital in Colorado Springs, Colorado. I was barely 21 years old and the thought of being a mom was exciting, scary and overwhelming at the same time.

Kenzi was stubborn, strong-willed and determined from the get-go and I should have known there would be some challenges along the way when at the tender age of two, she stuck out her tongue and gave her great-grandpa a big old 'ptttthhhhhhhht!' when he got snappy with me. I guess it was a sign of just how loyal Kenz would be to others.

While Kenz and I have had some challenges and differences and spent plenty of moments in stare-down mode, there is no doubt just how much we love each other. Here's what I love about Kenz:
*She has a huge heart for others.
*She's independent.
*She can't be pushed around and sticks to her guns.
*She loves with her whole heart.
*She has an awesome laugh.
*She is tons of fun to be around.
*She likes the simple things in life.
*She'll take country over city.
*Kenz will beat you up if you mess with her brother (speaking from experience).
*She isn't afraid to hang out with her mom when she's around her friends.
*She wants to live in a small town, on a ranch with horses, dogs and cats.
*Kenz could be dropped off in the middle of the desert and find her way home with no problem (I told you she was determined).

My dad affectionately calls her 'Annie intensified' and my old teachers call her by my name because she's a spitting image of me in high school.

Kenz has told me more than once, 'mom, I can't wait to be grown up so we can just be best friends.' You know what Kenz? I don't want you to grow up too fast, but I can't wait for that either. But let's not rush it.

Happy birthday Kenz. I love you!



Oh, and here's how Kenz feels about bugs. Good times.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Junk Epiphany

We endured the mother of all storms today and it was madness I tell you. Over two inches of hail fell where I worked and then there was the deluge of rain. I'd play the video I took from my phone, but I sound like a dork (because something struck me funny and I'm laughing so hard) so I'll spare you all the agony.

Anyway, the clean up crews are out in full force around the city trying to pump water from the streets and overpasses, and tow the cars whose drivers thought they could drive through 'puddles' of water up to their windows. Bet that was a bummer in someones day.

This afternoon as I was watching the rain come down in sheets I thought to myself how glad I was that we got all of the garage sale stuff put into the trailer yesterday. I'd hate to have all that stuff get wet and ruined. There are people out there that want to pay me money to have it. That alone amazes me and it would you if you saw what was in the trailer.

I'm sure you're wondering how we got to have some much 'stuff'. Well, when you combine two households with kids, there is a lot of stuff. His. Hers. His kids'. Her kids'. There may be some ex's leftovers too(unless they take it all in the divorce, and then you don't have to worry about having a garage sale).

When Jon and I were about done yesterday, I looked in the trailer, and said to Jon, 'that is a lot of junk'.

His reply was, 'that is a lot of junk that someone will want'.

And he's right.

And then I thought about that junk in the trailer all evening and when I woke up this morning I was still going through the contents of the trailer in my mind.

It was precisely during the blow drying of my hair this morning when the stark realization hit me as to why I couldn't stop thinking about that trailer full of garage sale stuff. It's because that trailer is like a lot peoples lives. Full of junk. Junk that we really need to get rid of but we just hold on to it even when it has no value or purpose in our lives. Junk that takes up valuable space.

And then the second realization hit: God is like a professional garage saler and he's coming to our house and really wants our junk. All of it. He even paid in advance for it and all we have to do is hook up the trailer to His Chevy pickup and He'll take it all away. And you know what? Whenever the junk starts accumulating in the trailer, He'll take it away again. And again. And again.

I know it sounds crazy, but that is how God seems to point things out in my life that I need to evaluate. I usually get these epiphanys somewhere between the make-up and hair process in the morning. I think God knows He's got about a 20 minute window and He has to work fast.

So, all day I've been pondering the junk I need to get rid of and just how I need to go about it. Yes, sometimes it's time to clean out the trailer and have a good old fashioned garage sale.

What junk are you carrying around that needs to go? Bitterness? Unforgiveness? Pity? Addictions? Lack of faith? Broken relationships? Disappointment? Greed? Pride?

God has already paid for your junk, so why are you storing it in the trailer? I dare you to get rid of it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

I'm Just a Copy Cat But Ask Away

For the past few days I've been kicking around doing a post like Billy did, (because he is full of great ideas, has a really smart grandma and just happens to be our favorite Redneck blogger) but then Katdish beat me to the punch. Que' sera, I guess.

But then I decided, what the hey, might as well join in the fun of it all and let my faithful readers, all 4 of them, ask me anything they'd like to know about me (unless it will make your grandmother blush - then please refrain). I know I've shared quite a bit about myself, but there is always something that someone wants to know that may have not been covered yet. Like 'are you really growing out your roots to make a fashion statement or are you just too lazy to go get your hair done?' or 'are you really that annoying?' (maybe and yes)

So, ask away.

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And as a bonus, I'm going to throw in a little something that I will be posting on next. Yes, that is my front yard and if you can, please, please tell me what is wrong with this picture (besides the fact that there are cars on it.)

Friday, June 5, 2009

Really, There's Nothing Here

It's Friday and I'm glad for that because I really have nothing to write about. Seriously, the most exciting thing around here has been the weather and the fact that those silly little cukes in my garden are coming up (sorry, Matt but you will never live that one down because that is the best comment I've ever gotten.) Looks like we'll be in for another humdinger of a thunder/lightning storm tonight and which we've been seeing quite a bit of the past few days. From the sounds of it, a lot of the country is experiencing the same thing.

We had the craziest little wind/rain/hail storm yesterday and if I lived anywhere remotely close to Kansas I'd call it a tornado, or maybe a hurricane if I lived on the sunny beaches of Florida. But I don't, so I'll just say it was a freakishly high gust of wind that blew our neighbors trees down and some miscellaneous fences here and there. Luckily my tender little garden sprouts survived the 5.2 inches of rain (or so it seemed) that we received in as many seconds. Now, if we can just avoid the frost.

It's late and I've got to get my son over the hill(and by hill I mean drive him over the mountain so he can visit his dad) so this is as good as it gets today. I hope you have a fabulous Friday and thanks Helen the Hungarian, you sassy little pants you for the totally awesome cat. No, really, thank YOU!