Sunday, May 29, 2011


As you probably heard, Oklahoma City and surrounding areas were hit by massive tornadoes last week. I have to say, our meteorologists are AWESOME!! Channel 4's Mike Morgan and David Payne had been warning us for several days that the weather pattern was setting up to look exactly as it did in May 1999 and May 2010 when Oklahoma saw some of the largest most devastating tornadoes to date. I attribute the fact that Oklahoma had about 5 massive tornadoes that day affecting about 14 different towns but only 10 deaths to the exceptional meteorologists we have. It is obvious by the number of awards these men have won that they are great at their jobs but watching them work together on air, usually with Mike watching the radars and David out chasing the storms, is just amazing. Their love for their field, respect of the storms and concern for the people is evident in every broadcast. The footage that David Payne has captured in his chases is unbelievable. During this storm it almost felt like we were watching the news in 3D because he got so close. We got to see a electric pole snap and fly right over his vehicle as it happened. Actually he got a little too close but thankfully was able to get out of the way.
I have seen lots of the damage over the last few days but the roads have been so crowded with volunteers and clean up crews, I had not been able to get close to much of it. Since the sun was just rising and the streets were empty yesterday morning, after the paper route, I decided to check out some of the damage around town that I had not been able to go by. This is what I found.....

A pile of debris in a front yard after 3 days of clean up. The houses in this neighborhood look fine but the debris is everywhere!

It is kind of hard to tell but this tree is basically cut in half

Insulation and tin scattered throughout the field beside a veterinary clinic.

The front of the Vet clinic.

The side of the clinic. The Vet, his wife and daughter where inside when the storm hit. Thankfully they are all ok. This is the 3rd time this clinic has been hit by a tornado and they took cover in the center kennel-the only spot that withstood the last two hits.

Trees shaved off just above the ground.

The sunrise makes it hard to tell but the glare is actually the roots of this tree ripped right out of the ground and laying on its side.

More trees snapped like twigs.

I am pretty sure this belongs in a field and not a drive way! This house has some roof damage but if you look in the background, the shed or barn is demolished.

The large square in the top of the tree is a piece of some one's roof.

This WAS a 2 story house, now only one remains (sorry about my finger☺).

Tin, boards and trash mangled in some broken trees.

More trees just splint in two.

Another house that looked fine but their yard is littered with debris.

This house looked ok but the garage is caving in. From the other side I saw that a tree is actually on the roof of the garage. Not sure, but since the way the cars were parked in the yard it looks as though the residents may be staying there.

This is what is left of a house of one of our paper customers. We were not able to get down their street for several days because of down electric poles and debris in the road.

Another angle of the same house. I thought I recognized their house on the news and was just able to confirm that this morning now that the road has been re-opened.

Kenyon's scout leader, Geoff, let us know about a command station set up at a church in town so Saturday the kids and I volunteered there for a few hours. They have all the classrooms set up with table and tables of donated clothes. Here is Kenyon sorting them by size.

They are also serving hot meals to victims and clean up crews. Even little one's can help divide girl scout cookies into separate baggies for dessert!

While we were there they served a couple hundred people a meal. Several came in and ordered 10 or 20 meals to go that they were taking to the crews working all over town cutting trees and cleaning up. They also had cases of water and toiletry items for those in need.

Since Monty has the car during the week I don't know that we will be able to help again even though they are continuing with meals for several days but if the opportunity arises we will gladly go!

Once again God has shown us His power and once again we are thankful for His protection!!

You know I have lived my entire life with tornadoes in Oklahoma and the Texas panhandle but the last several years seems to have produced more powerful storms than ever before. Combing that with the fact that we have broken several records on amount snowfall, amount of rain, lack of rain and others it just makes me wonder...Were we warned about that somewhere??? Maybe Matthew 24:7??? I'm just sayin.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Well, it happened :( Good-bye Fred!

It has been 20 years since I graduated from high school and I really did not keep in contact with anyone from high school. I still have family that live in the town I grew up in so I have "heard things" through the years. Except for the occasional Christmas card from the girl that was my closest friend, I had no contact with high school classmates until I joined facebook. There I have enjoyed seeing every one's kids and just exactly what everyone grew up to be.

Last weekend our family got to spend some time with another (very sweet!☺) family that go to our church. As a matter of fact, said friend and Monty have known each other since they were about 3 years old and it has been sooo wonderful that the Lord led them to our church so that we could know her husband and daughter and she and I could become friends as well!! As they reminisced about people from their childhood they mentioned several people they both know that have passed away. I made the comment that if anyone I went to school with has passed I sure never heard about it.

Well, it happened! Wednesday I checked my facebook page just to see posts from several high school classmates expressing their shock and sadness that we lost one of our our.

Fred Solis

Fred was 40 years old, a husband, a father, a Spanish teacher, a coach, and a friend. Several news clips are out about his tragic death like this one and this one.

Just a day after seeing first hand devastation from the tornadoes that ripped through and around my town(thankfully my family and our properties were not affected except for a few hours with no electricity!). Emotions were running high already so the news of the death of a classmate, especially this one, has really hit me hard. It just solidifies the truth that tomorrow is never promised. It immediately brought me back to Perryton Texas as a young teen.

(Fred, Shane, William, and Jorge dressed up in speech class 8th grade 1985)

Eighth grade was the time I got to know Fred the best. You see I was a typical Junior High girl with typical Jr. High crushes. At that time I was totally in love with William and had been since he moved to town in 6th grade. Of course he had NO idea!! That is until 8th grade. I don't even know how but everybody found out that I had a major crush on William. I was teased in the hall and totally embarrassed in the lunch room. As typical Jr. High boys, many of William's friends were extremely mean! Many were but Fred never was!

(Senior picture from the Sr. edition newspaper)

Yes, Fred did some teasing but it was never backed by malice. He was never mean or hateful but always friendly. He never tried to publicly humiliate me but seemed more to sympathize. We became friends.

(after graduation 1990)

Not best friends that hung out together often, but friends. Two people that respected each other as individuals with feelings. Friends that could laugh or talk together in class or at a school function or could have an occasional phone conversation. A friend that showed me exactly what kind of person he was during our eighth grade year and never changed throughout our entire high school years. From listening to the students he taught and the people he worked with as a grown man 20 years later-He was still exactly the same. He obviously made an impact on people throughout his entire life and his absence will be apparent.

Good-bye Fred!

Friday, May 20, 2011

A little less excitement this weekend Please!!

I have a good friend that is due to have a baby girl in the middle of June. I have never gotten to witness a birth (other than my own and they were c-section so that doesn't count) so Mamie and her husband have invited me to join them in the delivery room when the baby comes. I will be there to catch Greg in case he hits the floor since he does not normally do very good when any amount of blood is involved. Hehehe! As you know (if you have been reading here) I have been trying very hard to change my schedule and go to bed earlier. Last Saturday it seemed that all the stars had aligned and I was actually going to be able to go to bed around 10pm. That would be nothing short of a miracle around here and would have been so wonderful since I have to get up around 2:30am to throw Sunday papers. As I lay enjoying the comfort my pillow, slowly drifting off to an extra early sleep I was interrupted by the phone. Greg was calling and Mamie thought she was in labor. We headed to the hospital a little later, after making sure the contractions were not stopping. Mamie was very dehydrated. They gave her two bags of fluid through an IV and a shot to stop the labor. After she was fully hydrated and the contractions stopped we headed back home, around 3:30am.

We got back to town just as mom was getting started on the paper route. She had rolled all the papers by herself and I met up with her and got my half. Our paper route is a rural route so we have lots of country dirt roads. I had just finished one small neighborhood off the highway and immediately turned onto a little dirt road. This road a one lane dirt road and is covered with trees on both sides. It has 1 house on it about 1/2 mile from the highway. Just a minute after I had turned onto the dirt road a car turned in behind me. Now I have NEVER seen another car on this road at night and it was going fast enough to catch up to me pretty quick. I had my mom and my brother on the phone and let them know I all of a sudden had a car following me on this out of the way dark road. It stayed pretty close behind me as I neared the house that we throw the paper to. Normally we pull into the drive way and turn around, put their paper in the paper tube and go back to the highway. Since I have a mystery stalker, I decide to pass the house because their driveway has a locked gate preventing anyone from driving the 1/2 mile up to their house. At this point all I could picture was pulling into that drive and having a crazy murdering stalker stop behind me blocking me from going anywhere! I sped past the drive with my stalker right on my tail. Another 1/2 mile and the road curves around and passes by 2 more farms. Since the cows in the field did not seem to be coming to my rescue I continued on at about 45 mph with the stranger right on my tail. Another mile and I got to a stop sign. I made a sufficient stop and turned right. Sure enough so did my stalker! By this time my heart is beating pretty fast and my hands are shaking. I let mom know I was still being followed and she headed my direction. It wasn't long before mom could see both of our tail lights and was following us. I quickly formulated a plan. We have several police officers on our route so I let mom know I was heading to one of their houses and was gonna pull in the drive and lay on the horn. Another mile and I came to another stop sign. I made a quick stop and headed in the direction of the cops house. Sure enough-I was still followed but this time, after a few hundred feet, I saw red and blue lights. IT HAD BEEN A COP THE WHOLE TIME!!! I was furious!!! I pulled over with my heart racing and my hands shaking so bad I could barely hold the steering wheel. As he approached my window all prepared to investigate me I leaned out my window and LET-HIM-HAVE-IT!!! As I started yelling things like "YOU TOTALLY JUST SCARED THE CRAP OUT OF ME!! WHY WERE YOU FOLLOWING ME LIKE THAT!! NOBODY EVER GOES DOWN THOSE ROADS!! I WAS CONVINCED I WAS ABOUT TO BE MURDERED!! HOW DARE YOU!!....." mister policeman just kinda took a step back. I guess he was under the impression that HE would be conducting this interview and I was the one under suspicion. As my son would say-"HE JUST GOT TOLD!!!" Of course he was a little taken back by this but after I finished my tirade I calmed down enough to let him know I was just the paper girl. By this time mom had caught up to us and he was explaining that he had just been discussing with another deputy that the area I was driving through would be the ideal place for a wave of burglaries since they NEVER see anyone out there at night. When he saw me going in and out of neighborhoods and then turn onto the lonely dark dirt road he assumed the worst. I told him my plan to pull into the policeman's house down the road and he agreed that was a good plan. After a few minutes we were both laughing about the situation and he let me go about my business without even asking to see my license and with the knowledge that Yes people do go down these roads every night but it is normally just us paper people.

Here's to hoping tonight is not near as exciting!!!

Amazing Oils

I have not had a lot of experience with natural remedies but I am convinced that the Lord has provided us with all that we need. Over the past year or so I have been learning more and more. I must say that I am totally and completely amazed with peppermint oil. Did you know that it is a natural pain reliever?? A few years back I bought a small bottle of pain relief spray called super ouch spray. A member of our family was selling it at a family reunion. I have never found it anywhere else but the main ingredient was peppermint oil. At that time I had a horribly painful heel spur. Some mornings my heel would hurt so bad that I could not even step on that foot. I started spraying my heel every time it hurt and within a few months the pain stopped completely. Do you know that it has NEVER come back?!?! I have also used it on a tooth ache and I believe prevented myself from needing a root canal. Recently I have discovered another use for peppermint oil. I have menstrual cramps about once every 3 months or so. They are not nearly as bad as they were when I was a teenager but they are definitely not pleasant either. Just one or two drops of peppermint oil on the tip of the finger and rubbed on the belly button and POOF! the pain is gone!! I mean it is seriously that quick. No waiting 30 minutes for the medicine to kick in. It is mere seconds. It sounds completely crazy. It makes absolutely no sense. It is just a tiny drop on the skin and the internal pain is gone!!! I have a friend that has tried the peppermint oil for cramps(months ago) and was as amazed at the results as I was. Within about a month she is due to have a baby girl and is planning on a natural birth. She is gonna take her peppermint oil with her to the hospital. I'll have to let ya know if it helps the labor pain.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

All in the day of a Little Mama

Keslee has always been our little mama. She became a big sister when she was just 9 months old. I am pretty sure when we brought her baby sister home Keslee truly believed we had brought her a special play toy. She loved that baby girl and she still does. Since Kalysa is getting a little too big for Kes to carry around (although she still trys sometimes) Keslee has had to look elsewhere. Of course she has tons of baby dolls and plays with them daily but for a true little momma there is a desire for a living breathing baby. That is where Cash comes in...

See that look in his eye? He was begging and pleading for me to rescue him from the diaper change but was disappointed that all I did was snap the photo.

Of course all babies need a little bonnet. ☺

Ain't he cute?!?

I did not get a picture of it but Keslee had a blanket tied around her shoulder to make a baby sling and carried him around in that. Cash allowed Keslee about one hour of baby play time before he had enough. He had been hiding from her ever since but as soon as he forgets and she gets ahold of him again you can bet he will be dressed up again.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Yummy Breakfast!!

I had been browsing looking for new ideas for breakfast. After seeing several pictures of french toast I decided they looked really good. It has been awhile since I have made french toast and I wanted something a little different so I looked through several different recipes and then, through mixing and matching, came up with a hit.
I had a loaf of french bread so I cut it into about 1 inch slices. I then cut 3/4 of the way down the middle of each slice and smeared on some smashed bananas between the two sides.

In a bowl, I put about 1/4 cup of flour and whisked in milk until all the flour was mixed in and smooth. I ended up with about 1 1/2-2 cups of milk. Add 2 eggs some cinnamon and vanilla and mix it all together. I then dipped each slice in the milk/egg mixture and cooked on a hot griddle.

The smell while they were cooking was heavenly, like banana bread was in the oven. We topped each slice with a drizzle of syrup and it was a BIG hit. This was the first time I had used french bread instead of regular sliced bread. I had also never used flour in the mixture before. Those two changes made a HUGE difference. Of course the banana was key! I don't think my old way of making french toast will ever be acceptable again.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Time for a change

As you may know, I do a paper route everyday which means I get up around 4:30 am (except Sunday mornings when it is more like 2:30am). That in itself is really no big deal. Lots of people start their days around that time every morning. The problem for me is that our lives have never been morning kinda lives. Monty and I used to both work the late-late shift getting home around 4am. Our "normal" bedtime has always been about the time others are just getting up. As we have had kids and jobs have changed that has slowly moved up to a more respectable bedtime. Still not what most people would consider normal but it has always worked for us. On a typical day I get to bed between 12am and 2 am which gets me 2-4 hours of sleep before the paper route. Normally I take a nap after the route and we start school around lunch time. I have been able to pull that schedule off for about 3 years but for some reason it is no longer working. I have slowly gotten behind on keeping my house and, all you moms know, once you get behind a little it only takes the blink of an eye and you are drowning with no end in sight. Well, that is where I have found myself so something had to change! My first choice was to stop doing the paper route and devote all my time to my home. Since financial burdens prohibit that from happening at the moment I had to find another solution. For about the last month I have been slowly changing our household schedule. I have been making myself stay up in the mornings instead of taking my nap. Even on the days I only get 2 hours of sleep-I do everything I can to stay up. That has given me a few hours every morning to get things done before my kids are up. When they get up we have breakfast and start school in the morning. We can normally be finished with school between 1 and 3pm. After chores have been done and school is finished for the day I try to get in a nap. It has been really tough. I still don't always get to bed much earlier but my internal clock is slowly changing. I am happy to say I can now see the light at the end of the tunnel.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Just what I needed

Oh yeah! It really was just what I needed!! I know I am a slacker when it comes to blogging so this actually happened about 2 weeks ago. It still feels like it was just yesterday but at the same time it seems so long ago that I could wonder if it really happened at all or was it all a dream. Luckily I have a few pictures to prove to myself that it was not a dream. Yes, it really did happen......

Amy (my bestest friend on earth) REALLY was here and we spent 2 days in a motel in OKC. Just the 2 of us-no kids-no husbands-just 2 old friends (not old as in old but old as in being friends a long time!!). It is hard to believe that it had been a year since we had actually seen each other. She came last year for the homeschool convention and we got to spend a day together. This year we both did lots of pre-planning. Our husbands both agreed to keeping the kiddos and we were able to stay in a motel and hang out for 2 and 1/2 days. I love my kids and I love my husband but 2 nights away with my best friend and lots of (grown-up) girl talk really was the refresher that I needed!!

So how did we spend our time away??? Well, just like the old days! We stayed up talking ALL night long the first night! Amy and I can (and do) talk about anything and everything under the sun. Even though we stayed up until about 6 am, we still got up around 9am to prepare for the homeschool convention. Of course it was great! We got to talk with John Erickson, author of the Hank the Cowdog series and listen to him read. That brought back some memories. John is from Perryton Texas which is where I grew up and Amy grew up just 15 minutes from there. It is just a little farm town in the Texas panhandle miles away from anything where everyone pretty much knows everyone else. It was kinda funny to see a line full of people waiting for his autograph. I mean, it was just John Erickson. I knew his son growing up (his other kids are a lot younger than me). He read Hank books to us at school assemblies before they were ever even published. Ha! I guess I know a celebrity.
On our walk back to the car we saw a momma bird in a nest on a very low tree branch. When we got close she flew away and Amy said it looked like she may have been feeding babies. The branch was just low enough for me stretch and hold my camera right over the edge of the nest and snap this...

They don't even have feathers yet-so cool!
After we spent the day shopping for curriculum we did some shopping at Madel's Christian book store. Amy had never been there and was like a kid in a candy store. It is almost like a whole other homeschool convention without all the separate vendors. I had mentioned to Amy that me mom had recently told me that she has never had a Bible with her name on it and she has only had a new Bible once when she was young. All the other Bibles she has have been handed down from someone.
Since mom was doing the paper route without my help so I could have 2 free days, Amy bought her a Bible to say thanks. It is blue (her favorite color) and brown leather WITH her name embossed on the cover. Mom and Jacinta got to go to the convention with us the second day so Amy gave her the gift that morning. She cried. I knew she would. ☺We spent another day shopping and listened to a few speakers. Todd Wilson gave an awesome talk about what you can do to make sure your kids hate you, homeschool, and everything you stand for (or not if you do the opposite!). He referred to what happened with King David and his son Absalom in the book of 2nd Samuel. It was very convicting and I tell ya what, I have been doing a lot more smiling and waving at my kids lately!!!
After the 2 convention days, Amy's kids are all set for a new school year. I know what all we need for next year and was able to solidify some curriculum decisions but was only able to purchase about 1/2 that day. I am praying God will provide a way for us to order the rest throughout the summer since the money I had set back had to be used for an earlier emergency. I have faith God will provide what we need even if it doesn't happen to be everything I think we need.
Although the friend time was great, we got a lot done and had a blast, it had to come to an end. Amy loaded up her truck and headed back to Texas. We are both back in our own homes, surrounded by kids and books and school projects and settling for the occasional phone call with each other ..until next year!
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