Saturday, December 27, 2008

So much has happened since my last post. My friend, Kathy Sanford, and I are kindred spirits in so many areas. We both have good intentions that we struggle to keep in check--our devotion to our blogs being one of them (and our desire to someday be organized and "in control"). It's hard to believe another year has almost come to a close--how could I have fathomed another year riddled with unexpected surprises and life's unplanned detours?

The fall allowed me time to reflect and regain my balance after leaving the clinic. I was in awe as God provided for us financially through my sabbatical. I was blessed to secure a temporary position in the State of Wyoming's Department of Health's Immunization Section managing a grant funded pilot program. It's been a good place to land while I continue my pursuit of a permanent position. It has allowed some flexibility, including the continuation of my Tuesday morning Bible Study group. I am hopeful a future position will allow me time with the girls each Tuesday. We will begin Beth Moore's "Esther" in January. God knows I need the structure of a regular study and the accountability it includes. Since returning to work, I have struggled to meet God in the Secret Place each day, as a result I have floundered. Why do I find myself in this place over and over again? Is this what the Apostle Paul meant when he failed to do what he should do and did what he was not suppose to do? I KNOW how much better my life is when I am obedient. I KNOW the peace that comes from being within God's will for my life. I KNOW my path is so much clearer when I walk with HIM. Why oh why do I do what I do????? End of another year and another chance to start over........

The holidays have been mostly good. Unfortunately, they started on shaky ground. Thanksgiving was especially difficult. Although I never completely wrapped my brain around it, I concluded that all the losses of the past few years hit me like a ferocious wave--knocking me off my feet. In retrospect, I realized I was grieving for so many losses--The loss of a father, grandparents, a marriage, a life, a career, and other casualties both big and small. I was keenly aware that what I was missing--what I was yearning for--no longer existed. I was thankful my funk was short-lived and the Christmas season ended better than it began. A friend who also lost her father unexpectedly summed it up concisely when she said there is something about losing our Daddys that leaves us very vulnerable--men may come and go, but our Daddy's are always in our corner. Something irreplaceable happens when they are no longer here on earth for us.

Bless Kelly's heart. He stood by me even though he was unable to comprehend the depth and breadth of my turmoil and sadness. Even though I missed going home for Christmas, it was a relief not to join the masses on planes, trains and automobiles in their attempt to be home for Christmas. Ours was mostly quiet and enjoyable. Unlike my previous life, Kelly goes out of his way to make holidays special and he is very creative and considerate with his gift-giving. He could hardly contain his excitement when he presented me with a little gold box containing diamond and emerald (my birthstone) earrings. New memory for my computer (to make make my life easier), speakers for my MP3 player (t0 make my life a little more enjoyable), a special mug (to make my life a little more comfortable), a new charm bracelet (to make my life a little more memorable), a new candle (to make my life a little sweeter smelling), a new book (to make a little more sense of my life), a new jacket (to make me feel better about myself) and other thoughful gestures.

As I am bombarded with news--almost all bad--it is reassuring to know that family and friends supercede what earthly possessions that are so easily be lost. May my eyes be focused on the eternal--on the important things--in the coming year.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Greetings from Billings, MT. I traveled with my Beth Moore groupies to attend the Beth Moore "Living Proof" event in Big Sky Country. How could I have fathomed how much my life would change between my decision to purchase a ticket and the actual event? Initially, I wondered how I would squeeze in the conference while strategically planning the clinic's impending relocation? Then, how could I have anticipated the shock and horror of losing my position at the clinic and wondering if limited finances would interfere with my ability to take the trip?

As I was reminded in the very first session, God ordained every one's attendance. If you have never experienced extreme worship with 4500+ women, I cannot begin to convey it with mere words. To stand shoulder to shoulder, arms raised, eyes closed, lifting songs of praise to our Maker while laying our hearts open before our King transcends earth and takes us into the presence of our risen Savior--right where I needed to be.

Beth Moore confirmed in one session the answer to a question I had refused to answer, "Is it time for me to move?" Unfortunately, I had been an uncooperative pupil. Rather than acknowledging the need for a "time out" due to being overwhelmed, over-worked, weary, and heavy-laden I chose to continue carrying a cross that God was instructing me to put down. (I had entertained the thought of a sabbatical, but could not envision how that was a viable option.) Why should I put down "MY Cross"? MY calling? MY ministry? MY purpose? How could He ask me to let go of something that means so much to me, especially when there is so much work yet to be done? How could he allow something so injustice to happen to me? Could it be that I had shown him there was not enough of me for both him and the clinic, too? I refused to move, so he moved me. I got my sabbatical and he got me.

My once full days are now new found opportunities to see my Savior and to hear his voice. They are no longer muffled by the noise of life. No need to rush~time is a commodity that has been recovered. Yes. my heart is broken. Real regret. Deep hurt. Old wounds. New Cuts. Saving Grace. Redemption Stories. I will continue to meet him in the Secret Place, my heart will mend, my stamina will return, He is in control, I will trust and obey.....

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Summer 2008 has been memorable--both good and bad. Despite the lack of blog entries, it has been anything but boring! Dylan completed second grade and settled into his daily routine at the Boy's and Girl's Club.

In July, the clinic was notified that the space it had occupied rent-free for 5 years would be demolished in 60 days. We were scrambling to secure low-cost/no-cost space to continue services uninterrupted while struggling to meet the growing needs. I was blindsided by the Board's decision to "restructure" and eliminate my role at the clinic in mid- August. To say it has been difficult would be an understatement. My heart, once again, has been ripped out and stomped upon. I am reeling--trying to pick up the pieces and figure out where I go from here. So much of who I had become was related to the many hats I wore at the clinic.

My days are amazingly open now and it is an unfamiliar place for me. After a month in my black hole, I am beginning to come back among the living. People have very supportive and several have shared their stories of similar injustices. Having learned never to say "Never", I will have to think long and hard before working for another Board of Directors in the near future. For me it would be an invitation to be abused. Knowing God has been faithful in the past, I am trusting he will be faithful in the future. Besides, He holds it all in his very large capable hands. I am looking for my next opportunity and to date have a couple of viable leads. Hoping I can transfer my experiences and passions into another worthwhile cause.

Kelly is getting more home cooked meals and fresh baked treats. I am volunteering in Dylan's classroom and with the United Way Campaign and focusing on Mom-things. Trying to use this unexpected sabbatical to work on my "to-do" list and carve out some me time to heal my wounded spirit. We will sent some pictures and other updates soon.

Friday, May 23, 2008

After a very long winter, Kelly and I escaped Cheyenne last weekend while Dylan was with his Dad. Kelly found us a wonderful suite at the Flatirons near Boulder, CO. Since he had never eaten at a Japanese Steakhouse, we dined at Benihana's nearby. It was a fun time. It was great to sleep in the next morning.

After a scrumptious breakfast we ventured into Boulder where we toured the Celestial Seasonings factory. The Mint Room, where the spearmint and peppermint are stored, cleared our sinuses and brought tears to our eyes! We sampled new flavors and bought a few to bring home.

Next we visited the Shelby American Museum. Kelly was like a kid when he saw the car show in the parking lot. It included Shelby GT 350's, Shelby GT 500's, AC Cobra 427, AC Cobra 289, Sunbeam Tigers, Pantera, and more. He took LOTS of pictures. Here are a few of his favorites. He hopes to have one of these when he grows up!

Shelby GT 350


AC Cobras

Our next adventure was driving up Canyon Road to Boulder Falls. It was a short trek from the road.

Kelly wanted to take me to McGuckins Hardware Store--one of those stores that has everything--including the kitchen sink! We looked at knobs/pulls at their designer center, but decided to go eat when the price to replace ours was nearly $200. After our hike we were ready for food and drink. We ventured to the Pearl Street Mall in Boulder where we found JB's Chicago Style Pizza and Brewery, a restaurant with patio dining. It was a great place to people watch. (If you've ever been to Boulder you would understand why!--lots of eclectic folks.). Everything was green and colorful--it was a welcomed change.

It was a great weekend--Hard to return to Cheyenne to begin another week, but we were reminded how important it is to have "Kelly and Rhonda" time and we promised each other we'd do it again soon.

To Dylan no holiday ranks as high as his birthday--in his mind the whole year revolves around August 4th! Nonetheless, he was relatively excited about Mother's Day. He and Kelly got me a new Palm Treo phone. Now I feel really grown up. Although I am not a "techy", I like having my calendar and contacts within reach at all times. Kelly bought me a bluetooth, too. After church we drove to Ft. Collins to spend the day with Kelly's family.

As with most Moms, one of my favorite gifts did not come from the store. Dylan made me a Mother's Day card with his picture that included the following poem he wrote. It says it all (I think!)

I love you like the beautiful sunset on a summer evening.
I love you like an apple fell off a tree.
I love you like a pen you can write on a piece of paper with.
I love you like a watermelon to eat.
I love you like a bear heart.
I love you like a ladybug in a garden.
I love you like a rose bloom.
I love you like a fireplace.
I love you like a cherry on a tree.
I love you like a spider spinning webs.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

One thing I know for sure....When God is prompting me to do something I get constant "reminders" . This was the case recently when I saw a unique opportunity present itself in several ways. I was intrigued and followed through by submitting an application for the first Women Rule Women's Leadership Summit sponsored by the O Magazine, American Express, and the White House Project--assuming I had nothing to lose! When I heard there were over 3000 applicants, I knew there was stiff competition and my chances of been selected were slim. I figured preparing the application and putting my vision onto paper was beneficial and a lesson learned. I was overwhelmed when I received word that I was one of 80 women chosen nationwide--the only person from WY and one of three from the Rocky Mountain Region. I will attend the Women Rule Summit in New York City in June where I will join other visionaries and participate in training led by exceptional women leaders. They will help me develop my dream for a multi tenant non-profit center for our community. As the demand on the clinic and other non profits in our community continue to increase, I envision a shared space where we can better meet the needs of our clients while being better stewards of the resources entrusted to us. You can check it out at

I am in awe when I reflect on my life in Cheyenne and the journey that has brought me here. I never, ever could have fathomed the challenges I would face, the opportunities I have been given, and how utterly amazing it is when God brings a person out of her brokenness and into her passion. I am so blessed.

Monday, May 19, 2008

After a full life, my 98 year old Papa passed away in April. He had become increasingly frail since before Daddy passed away. We never fathomed he would out-live his son, but it seemed he had his sights set on his 100th birthday. I was thankful I was able to see him at Christmas and prepared myself for the reality that it could be our last visit on this earth. After several falls, he broke his hip and never recovered. Mom and Angie had continued to care for him in Dad's absence. It was difficult being so far away and not being able to return for for his funeral. Our pastor, Jeff, lost his grandfather just a few hours before Papa died. We both share the legacy and influence of Godly parents and grandparents. Mom sent me a large envelope filled with pictures of my Daddy's family. It is hard to believe an era has come to an end. I have lost my last two grandparents since I have been in Wyoming. I have many fond memories of spending time with Mema and Papa in Fitzgerald, GA. Rides from Moultrie to Fitzgerald in the Walker Tire and Battery Company Truck he drove. Long before seat belts, I would play in the massive floorboard, barely tall enough to peak over the dashboard. He would treat me to a Coca-Cola with salted peanuts poured into the dark, fizzy syrup. The same truck would deliver watermelons, sugar cane, and other items he had been given en route. He always carried a brown leather satchel when his work required an over night stay. My first bicycle appeared from the back of his truck. We took many walks to the nearby school yard to play or spent time on the swing strung in an ancient oak tree. We played on their screened in porch. A couple of summers we attended Vacation Bible School at Arbor Baptist Church, where he was a deacon , choir member, and Sunday School teacher. Dinner on the grounds were a feast to behold. Hot summer afternoons were spent at Lake B, the local swimming pool, building towers out of inner tubes and finding relief in the cool waters. He and Mema would watch patiently from an old wooden swing. He was fond of crackers and peanut butter. As I grew, I surpassed his petite frame, but I was never too big for him to sing "I love you a Bushel and a Peck and a hug around the neck". I was always intrigued by his 9.5 fingers--he lost part of a finger in an accident many years before. In my 42 years, there are few people who exemplified a Christian man more than my Papa. I am thankful a part of him will always live in me. Dylan reminds me when I am sad, "Don't cry Mommy. Granddaddy and Papa are in heaven and we will see them again one day."
Below is one of my favorite pictures of Papa with his brand new great-grandchildren. It was taken at a family reunion in Albany, GA. I believe Clara was less than a month old, while Dylan had been with us about 2 months and was about 14 months old. This is how I choose to remember him.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

One of my best Georgia friends and I conspired several weeks ago to meet to celebrate our May birthdays. When I invited Debbie to join me for the Beth Moore Living Proof Conference in Colorado Springs the first weekend in May, she couldn't resist. The weatherman fore casted a strong spring snow storm the day she was to arrive. She was shocked when she flew into a snowy Denver. We found a quaint little town, Castle Pines, CO off the interstate and ate a yummy lunch at Tony's, a gourmet grocery, bakery and deli.
Castle Rock, CO and Pike's Peak were barely visible. We were enveloped in a snow-filled cloud. The trip south was slow, but we had plenty of catching up to do, so we did not complain too much.

We stayed at the Cheyenne Mountain Resort. It was wonderful! I hope to take Kelly and Dylan there someday.
The view from our hotel parking lot when we arrived (above). The view from our hotel balcony the next morning (below).
The next morning we visited the Garden of the Gods. I do not know how someone can deny there is a God when you stand in the shadow of such awe-inspiring rock formations and Pike's Peak in the distance.

We decided to check out nearby Manitou Springs. It is at the foot of Pike's Peak and the home of the historic cog railroad. We were especially intrigued by the locally mined stones and jewelry creations. We each chose a piece to take home. We would have enjoyed a closer investigation, but our trip was cut short when my Cheyenne friends called to let us know they had arrived in the Springs.

Afterwards, we met two of my best Wyoming friends---Kathy Cordell and Kathy Sanford at the Focus on the Family headquarters. We were thankful they made it to Colorado Springs safely since the highways out of Cheyenne were closed shortly after they left. Later that morning Cheyenne had a whiteout with the blowing snow. I think our husbands were wishing they were with us instead--rather than stuck in a blizzard with our children!! Yes, it was May. Afterwards, we feasted at PF Changs before we headed to the World Arena for the first session of the Beth Moors Conference. It was quickly evident that God has message for each of us.

The conference ended at noon the next day. After a lunch with the girls, we all headed back to Cheyenne. Kelly and Dylan were glad to see us and treated us to a steak dinner. The next morning we attended church together. Unfortunately, we had to take Debbie to Denver to meet her flight the next morning. We toured downtown Denver including the 16th Street Mall and enjoyed dinner at Maggiano's, where Kelly and I had one of our first dates. We allowed Dylan to swim at Debbie's pool (compliments of the La Quinta Inn) before we said our heartfelt goodbyes and returned to Wyoming to begin another week.

Mom arrived just in time for the Easter Bunny. Although it was a good visit, I think she decided to plan her next trip during a warmer season--which basically means Frontier Days! Dylan thought "Finding Nemo On Ice" was for babies, but he agreed to take Grandma. We all enjoyed it--including Dylan. We ate at the new Bone Fish restaurant in Loveland--a good choice for a sea-themed night. It was delicious, but Dylan was disappointed the fish did not have bones in them like at Grandma's house. (Yes, he is a Southern boy deep down!)

The next evening we saw Cirque Dreams Jungle Dreams in Cheyenne. What can I say , but "WOW! It was mesmerizing. We got home in time to turn in so the Easter Bunny could make his visit. Dylan was delighted with his brand new sporty red bike and a few chocolate goodies.

We attended Easter Services at Element Church. We are happy to have found our new church, but it was very different than the Easter Services of my past. No full choir or Easter Cantata, no Easter lilies, no "Up From the Grave He Arose" or the "Hallelujah Chorus", no Annie Armstrong Easter Offering and no brand new dresses, but it was a tremendous celebration of the Resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Element continues to increase its presence in our community. We now have nearly 500 in worship each week and God has answered our prayers for a permanent location. The church has been meeting at the Frontier Mall Theater since it launched in October.

Oh, yeah---Dylan's front tooth had been loose for weeks. He still believes Granddaddy should come back from heaven to pull his teeth, since he pulled Dylan's first loose tooth in July. We reminded him not to play with his tooth during eKidz (aka Sunday School) Easter Sunday. Well, I am sure it just fell out of his mouth without any coaxing....because he came running out of eKidz with his tooth waded up in a tissue and showed Kelly his toothless grin. Here's the proof:
That afternoon Dylan took his new bike for a spin. He hunted Easter eggs with the girls next door--Shy Anne, Samantha, and Sydney. Do you know how hard it is to hide Easter eggs when you do not have grass, flowers, or trees--just an occasional tumbleweed rolling through the yard???

The week after Mom left and Dylan returned to school we were reminded that is was not spring yet--instead we were blanketed with a fresh layer of snow from a spring storm.

Okay, so I really am the "Queen of Good Intentions". I had planned to resume regular blogging after my last post. I never imagined I would not return to it for 2.5 months! My how time flies!!! First, let me continue where I left off....

Kelly and I enjoyed a wonderful trip to Albuquerque, NM in March. It was great connecting with the other members of the Free Clinics of the Western Region. All the free clinics are unique, but share the common goal of caring for the uninsured, low-income citizens with limited staff and resources. We visited several clinics in Albuquerque and Santa Fe. Kelly loved the architecture. We did find a margarita or two to enjoy. (See picture below) Next year's conference is in the San Francisco Bay area. I better start saving my pennies! It was great to get away before Kelly began his new job with Pouppirt Architects. He is loving his position. They got a two-fer in Kelly since he is an accomplished CAD Tech and a computer geek. He is enjoying the diversity. They are working on several exciting projects in Wyoming and Northern Colorado. His office is closer to the house and he is working with a great group of people. We are so thankful. Everybody is happy when Kelly is happy, too.

He has finally returned to his "honey do" list. We finally settled on a paint color for the living room and kitchen after months of searching. Kelly quickly started painting and we are thrilled with the results. Kelly had been wanting to add color to my very white house since before we were married. I have tempered him a bit though, since the bathroom in his condo was school bus yellow!

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Well, February ended on a "sweet" note with record breaking temperatures and a warm, sunny day. On it's heels was March entering like a lion with cold, snow, and howling winds. And how many days until Easter??? Dylan's new yellow parka may be his Easter accessory.

Speaking of Dylan, he has had a rough week fighting the flu bug. In typical Dylan fashion, he takes everything very literally. He believes a flu "bug" really bit him and made him sick. He informed Kelly and I that flu bugs are bigger and meaner than fleas, which are bugs, too. Sometimes, you just can't think of anything to say in response. He was out of school for an entire week. We had the Tamaflu "family plan", but Kelly and I avoided the dreaded flu bug. Thankfully I was able to work from home most of the week.

It was a week of change for Kelly. He was offered a new job with another architect in Cheyenne. He has been dissatisfied with his current job for several weeks. We were thankful for answered prayers. We were disappointed when his current boss chose not to honor his two week notice and released him the next day. Now he has an unexpected (and possibly unpaid) two week vacation. His new boss is in Italy for ten days, so it will be at least a week before he can begin his new job. We are trying to see the silver lining. After his recent shoulder surgery, Kelly is anxious to return to his home improvement projects--yes, I believe that even includes a honey-do list. He has decided to join me on my trip to the Free Clinics of the Western Region Conference in Albuquerque, NM later this week. There is a side trip to Santa Fe, NM on Saturday. Kelly entered this world in New Mexico while his dad was stationed there. It will be my first trip to that part of the world. Maybe a margarita????

Last night we enjoyed the "10 Tenors" concert at the Civic Center. Awesome Aussies! It was a great time. We have tickets to take Dylan to see "Blast" in April. While Mom is visiting we are going to Cirque Dreams "Jungle Fever" and "Finding Nemo" on Ice. Who says Cheyenne doesn't have culture???

God continues to move in mighty way at Element Church with 361 in worship today. In two weeks a third service will be added. This week we received the okay from the city to host a community-wide "Egg Drop" where 15,000+ filled eggs will be dropped from a helicopter for the children to retrieve. God is working out the details and we are counting on him to tame the Wyoming weather for that moment in time.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Here is my little Eskimo. Cousins Jo and Mike always send him a great new jacket for Christmas. Thanks to them he has been warm and toasty during the Wyoming winters. In the bright yellow, I want lose him in a snowstorm. He has worn it almost every day since Christmas.
Don't you think all the little girls would want this cutie as their Valentine?? Thankful, he still only has eyes for his Mom. V-Day arrived with an Artic blast and a new blanket of snow. Well, red and white do go together.....

This is what little boys look like when their mother is hosting an open house and entertaining the guests. (He was partial to the watermelon on the fruit tray!)
This picture was taken on Wednesday, February 13th at the Laramie County Centralized Pharmacy Grand Opening/Ribbon cutting. It was the culmination of over two years worth of hard work . It all began with the passing of the Surplus Medication Bill by our state legislature that would allow unused, unopened prescription medications to be collected and redispensed to those in need. The Cheyenne Community Clininc was chosen as the pilot site for the state early last year. With limited staff and the reliance on volunteers, the clinic was overwhelmed with donations. Through a collaborative effort with the Wyoming State Pharmacy, United Way, and the locala hospitall--along with many other human service agencies--we were able to secure funding, staff, and a location to house the community wide Laramie County Centralized Pharmacy Project. To date we havem already received in excess of $180,000 (at cost) of free meds and dispensed nearly $80,000 to those struggling to get the medications they need. I was honored to emcee the event It is a wonderful success story for our comunity. One that we hope to replicate in other Wyoming communities. Other states are keeping a close eye on what we are doing here in the Cowboy State. Our next push will be improving dental and vision services to the low-income, uninsured residents of our community. My guys were there to share this special night with me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Okay, so much for good intentions....seems I constantly struggle with knowing what I should do and actually doing it! In this case I have fallen short on my promise to "blog" more often in 2008. Hard to believe nearly a month has past since I re-capped our Wyoming adventures. Honestly, after days filled with an in-box full of correspondance I do not yearn to spend my down time in front of the computer. Kelly, on the other hand, seems to be energized by what the computer offers--he his always discovering new gadgets and sites. That is why he is my very own Computer Geek. Just tonight, a co-worker called for his help in un-doing a computer problem. They know not to call me!--I just call Kelly!

The snow that fell prior to Thanksgiving finally melted away this past week only to reappear on Valentine's Day. More snow fell last night. Mom is planning to fly out for Easter. She noted she has never hunted Easter eggs in the snow. This may be her year......

For our first anniversary in October I bought us season ticket's to the Cheyenne Civic Center's Cultural Arts program. (It's a guaranteed date!) Last weekend we saw "Gypsy". It was fabulous. We will see the Ten Tenors ina couple of weeks. We are also planning to see Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy in March during Mom's visit. I think Dylan will be mesmerized.

Dylan is spending the long weekend with his Dad. Kelly and I took a roadtrip to Denver on Saturday to attend the Colorado Home a Garden Show at the Denver Convention Center. Check out these stats:

  • The show occupies 400,000 square feet of show space
  • Over 45,000 square feet dedicated specifically to flowering garden displays (Quite a site in the midst of a Coloradoo winter!)
  • 600 Companies from 25 states and Canada showcasing there products and services.
  • 70,000+ attend the week-long show.
  • and more.....
It was a fun day as Kelly and I fanatsized about the home and yard we would like to one day have. We actually took pictures of our back yard and from the remarks and the expressions on people's facing, it will be a long time before we have our dream backyard. We'll keep you posted.
Afterwards we enjoyed southern cuisine at the new "Bubba Gump's" restaurant. Very, very good. Can you belive a local Cheyenne club was having a "soul food" tasting this weekend as a fundraiser?? Yep, they were marketing the food I grew up on. Sometimes I still feel like I have landing on another planet. Sometimes Kelly thinks I must be from another planet--especially when he looks at me after I have responded in my southern drawl and he says, "I have no idea what you just said!". Thankfully, love transcends language and culture.

Speaking of love, Kelly surprised me with an MP3 player with video, pictures, music, and FM radio features. He loaded our wedding video along with our favorire Joy Williams song, over 100 pictures, and over 500 songs. It was apretty special gift. He gave Dylan my old MP3 player. When he asked D what kind of music he preferred, he responded "Pokemon". So, Kelly found over 1G of Pokemon music and loaded it onto the MP3 player and gave it to Dyaln. He was thrilled. Kelly's a good guy.

Well, K and I have a date in front of the tv to watch the new KnightRider movie. Its an odd feeling when you know you have reached middle age because there are remakes being made of movies and tv shows we grew up with. Not to mention--the reapperance of fashions and home decor. Its like Deja Vu all over again.......

Yes its definantely middle age---how did that happen?????

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Grandmama & Dylan

Rhonda and Dylan with Papa

Dylan with Nanny and Aunt Ya

Kelly, Rhonda and Dylan

Rhonda and her Mom

Dylan with his cousin Clara
Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and MLK Day! I cannot believe it has been a month since I "blogged". My dear friend Kathy Cordell recently prayed that I would just be "whelmed"(rather than "OVER-whelmed"). That has been my soul's whisper in recent days. Where do I begin.......

We enjoyed a quiet Wyoming Christmas. We attended the Children's Christmas Program at the Methodist Church where Dylan earned his angel wings, certificate, and halo. He once again heard the blessed Nativity Story while attending angel training. He learned that angels land gently and speak softly--good lessons for a very active 8 year old boy to learn!

He anxiously anticipated Santa's arrival. Only Oreos and milk would do. He was confidant Santa would deliver a Wii, because the elves had already made one just for him. Thankfully Santa came through like a champ. We were afraid the winter weather and snow showers would hinder our trip to Ft. Collins to spend the afternoon with Kelly's family. My very first white Christmas.

It was a short work week. On the Thursday after Christmas, we left Cheyenne early due to another winter storm---we still have snow on the ground from Thanksgiving! We needed to be in Denver for an early morning flight on Friday. It was in the teens when we boarded our plane in Denver and balmy and in the mid-seventies when we arrived in Tallahassee. Fortunately, we made it but our luggage did not arrive until the following afternoon. We barely made our connection in Memphis. It was good to be home.

We had a short week with family and friends. Christmas with Mom, Angie, Kelly M., and Clara. Visits with Papa. Time with Nedra and Lora. New Year's Eve with Debbie and Jimmy (including a bumpy ride through the pasture and an encounter with a blank angus bull who decided to over take the golf cart!) Brunch with Kim Culpepper. During our visit they experienced their coldest weather this season. Kelly helped Mom shop for a new car. We saw National Treasure. We had a couple of days to re-coup before we returned to work/school.

Kelly is still recovering from his second shoulder surgery in mid-December. His boss did not allow him to work even though he had sufficient work releases from his doctor, which has not been good for his psyche or the bank account. He has started physical therapy again and continues to regain strength in his left arm. He is back at work now.

The Nurse Manager at the clinic resigned my first week back. Initially it sent me reeling--as the only full-time staff person, I am not trained to handle all the clinical responsibilities. We are actively recruiting for her position.

We are continuing to be blessed and challenged at Element Church. They have agreed to help launch the "Can-Man" drive for Need's, Inc. We have committed to be the "spaghetti church" by continually supplying spaghetti and noodles to help stock the shelves at the local food pantry. This month's sermon series is "Deal or No Deal" and focuses on Biblical teachings about our money and finances. Last Sunday, at the end of the service, everyone was instructed to open the envelope that was given to them when they arrived. In obedience to God's prompting, the staff had returned the entire offering from the week before in increments of $10, $20, $50, and $100. They knew the amount God had directed them to use, but were short a few hundred dollars from the week's offering. Not by coincidence, the amount they were "short" arrived in the mail that week. The congregation was instructed to use the money to bless someone else. The only stipulations was it could not be spent on yourself or returned to the offering plate. A separate web-site has been set up to share stories of how the money was used. Check it out at One of the recipients of an Element Blessing sent a letter to the editor this week. How awesome is that?? You can listen to Jeff's sermons and check out his blog and

It has been a quiet weekend. We are hunkering down for a winter storm fore casted to bring several inches of snow and below zero temps. (That does not even include the wind-chill!!! Brrrrr!!!!) Dylan is out of school tomorrow, but has an early morning dental appointment. He enjoys dental visits more than I ever did! Of course, we did not have video games, movies, and other great entertainment to distract us.

It has been fun to hangout in our pj's, drink coffee, watch movies, read, and play Wii. I'll try to do a better job "blogging" as we continue our adventures in 2008.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Check out Dylan (aka puppy) on the back row in the red/black Christmas sweater and the ear-to-ear grin. All the children were dressed in their holiday best. It seemed odd to see little girls in their pretty dresses and snow boots! Definitely not a sight we would see in Georgia.

Anderson Elementary School's second grade classes performing their Christmas Program

Last Saturday Kelly and I went to the Open House at the Wyoming Governor's home. Their chef provided delicious refreshments, we toured the home, listened to holiday music played by a string ensemble and chatted with the First Lady. They open their home for holiday events, including trick-or-treating. Next year we would like to attned the candlelight tour of the historic Governor's mansion in downtown Cheyenne. Afterwards Kelly and I had a dinner date at Cheyenne's brand new Olive Garden restaurant.
Dylan was enjoying a weekend with his Dad in Nebraska.
As I reviewed the pictures from the previous posts, I realized the snow is still on the ground. It has warmed up just enough this week to melt the snow during the day and re-freeze into sheets of ice at night. One of the many reasons I have not let Kelly drive since his shoulder surgery two weeks ago!

He is doing better each day. We had hoped the surgery in September would be successful, but his bicep tendon continued to pop out of its groove creating a great deal of discomfort. Since his earlier surgery, he has regained a lot of mobility. He's arm will be in a sling until mid-January. We are hoping 2008 will be surgery free and we can continue with our home improvement projects. He has assured me it will not hinder unwrapping presents on Christmas Day!

Dylan is excited about Christmas and is counting down each day. Wednesday was his all-day party at school which included crafts, movies, and refreshments. Thursday Kelly and I attended his Christmas program. He was a puppy dog when they sang the song "All Critters have a Place in the Choir". He has really enjoyed singing Christmas carols this season. I laugh every time he sings "We wish you a Merry Christmas!" when he says, "Now bring us some fishy pudding". Friday they had a pajama party and movie before they were released for the holiday. Dylan is equally excited about keeping secrets this year. When asked if he has been good this year, he responds, "A little bit good and a little bit bad." At least he is honest (some of the time!)

Personally, the holidays have been a bit difficult. I have been more homesick than usual, which I guess is to be expected. Twice I have heard the song "Christmas Makes Me Cry" on KLOVE and felt the tears roll down my cheeks. I have found myself reminiscing more than usual this year. Oddly enough, I even wondered "What ever happened to kumquats?" As a child I remember the many gift baskets and boxes my family would receive during the holiday season including fruit baskets. I recall the tart lttle fruits that would make your insides pucker. I also recall the ribbon candy that only Grandmothers had. As I type this I remember the Georgia-made fruitcakes in the red and white striped boxes. I do not remember eating them--just their attendance at every holiday season. (My Mom makes the best fruit cake--minimal fruit with LOTS of nuts!) My mind has been wandering in places that have until now been a distant memory.

It looks like we may really have a white Christmas this year, which has only happened I believe 14 times in the last 100+. --We are more apt to have snow on Easter than Christmas! We are enjoying our time off together and are still in our pajamas at mid-day. It is a cold 20 degrees with a wind-chill near zero. We received a wonderful gift basket from family in North Carolina that included English muffins, crumpets, a cinnamon toffee torte, and apple spice conserve. We enjoyed the tasty delight with coffee in front on the fire.

We are looking forward to sharing soup and chili with our friends Kathy and Terry and their girls tonight and playing games at their house. We are avoiding the last minute Christmas rush and choosing to spend it with family and friends. Weather permitting, we will travel "over the river and through the woods" (or in this area of the country "over the prairie and through the snow") to Grandma and Pappa Priests' home in Ft. Collins to celebrate Christmas with Kelly's parents, three siblings and spouses, and nieces and nephews. Sounds like fun! We will return to work for two days before we travel home for the remainder of the holidays. Please keep us in your prayers as we travel south on December 28th. At this time snow is predicted for Thursday, December 27th. Since our flight leaves at a too-early 5:30 am, we have reservations near the airport on Thursday night. Kelly is looking forward to the balmy temperatures. I am looking forward to Christmas lunch at my Mom's house the following Saturday. Mostly, we are looking forward to being home for Christmas.

Saturday, December 08, 2007

This is what a Georgia Peach and her little Georgia Peanut look like in the Wyoming Snow.
These pictures were taken at Holliday Park, next to the YMCA, after Dylan's basketball game.

Glad we have a kid who is a great photographer. When I was his age, the results would have been less than desirable--with blurred images, chopped off heads, or fingers on the photo.