Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blackberry Blogging

OK, so I've had my Blackberry for a few months now, and my enjoyment of it grows as I learn more about it and all it can do. I've been a dedicated Treo user for several years, and the switch to the Blackberry scared me, but I decided to jump. I've had NO regrets! It makes it so easy to be a mobile technophile, that I'm branching out and trying new things. As you know, this blog is fairly new for me, and I had been wanting to try mobile blogging for a while. And, Wow! If someone had told me even 10 years ago that I'd be holding this cool, palm-sized device in my hand that not only is a great phone and electronic multi-tool, but also let's me post pics and text directly to my blog (which I wouldn't have any idea what a "blog" was), I would have certainly called them crazy! But here I am doing just that! I think I'm in love! I'm very aware of the possibility of becoming addicted to the "Crackberry," and am taking steps to avoid it. ;)

Sent from my BlackBerry® smartphone with SprintSpeed

Thursday, June 26, 2008

In True Roman Tradition

June has traditionally been thought of as the month for weddings. The Romans are mostly to thank for this association as June was the month for honoring their goddess of marriage, Juno. I don't believe this had any real weight on Sarah and Scott's choosing the 7th as their day, but I did think it was an interesting little fact to share. Actually, I believe the date was chosen in honor of order and sequence, as it is 06-07-08. Ok...that wasn't the real reason either, but rather a nice little extra. The truth is, June 7th was the first reasonable date that Sarah and Scott could bind their lives together in holy matrimony. And so is burnt into our memories "06-07-08."

Now, some may have noticed the obvious absence of new posts here in quite some time and thought, "Rebecca just isn't going to be able to keep up with her blog;" and while that may yet prove to be true, in this case my sabbatical was more so due to this wedding and all it entailed for me (leaving home for 5 weeks to live out of a suitcase with 2 kids and no hubby tends to rearrange the schedule somewhat). But, I'm back, and hope to be more vigilant in keeping this spot updated on the ins and outs of our life and my thoughts on it.

I enjoyed our time in Michigan, and loved being a part of Scott and Sarah's day. It was an incredible day, one that (to steal my dad's sentiments) I wish everyone I know and love could have shared! The ceremony was beautiful and touching, and holds a place in my heart second only to Glenn's and my wedding day. I spent a fair amount of time before the wedding (especially at the rehearsal) ribbing Scott for the tears we all knew he would shed. And I paid for that ribbing by crying like a baby myself for much of the day (in part due to Scott and his own waterfall of emotions). It was a VERY touching, emotional ceremony, and she is my little sister, after all! I also particularly enjoyed my husband's presence, as we'd been apart for way too long. (Glenn was able to fly up Thursday before the wedding and then returned home on Monday.) It was a perfect day focused on a beautiful bride and a sweet groom honoring the Lord through their love and their testimonies--a day worthy of all the tears shed.

And let's not forget the dashing mini "groomsman," and beautiful "bride's princess" (a little poetic license on my part....this is my blog, after all!) who captured everyone's hearts with their formal attire and just-plain-adorableness. Wyatt did a great job walking down the aisle with the help of his big sister and his new cousin, Kyle. Of course, it helped that Grammie was waiting at the end of the aisle with his favorite car! Wyatt spent enough time before the actual ceremony dragging his Woody "action figure" around by its string that Woody ended up in a photo or two.

Kathryn truly was a beautiful princess who took full advantage of the high "twirl factor" of her dress. She was a little worried about having to stand up front during the length of the ceremony. I understood her concern when she asked me if it would be longer than one or two hours! Precious little girl! She was appropriately excited when I told her it would probably not even last one hour. And in spite of her worries, she was a perfect princess throughout the ceremony. (Not that I really had any doubts.)

My one disappointment in the day was my not being asked to sing, "Oh promise me that some day you and I...." I'd perfected the piece just for the occasion! I guess there was just too much to fit into the ceremony,...and besides, I would have stolen the show, don'tcha know!

All in all, it was a good trip. It was too long for my taste, but Sarah is my only sister, so it was worth it. I have to say, the length of the time away from home made it somewhat easier to say goodbye to those in Michigan as we left on our journey back to Louisiana.

On the trip home, we stopped by Chicago for a few days and spent some time with Mom and Dad Donnelly. Grandma and Grandpa Donnelly were also down from Minnesota visiting, so we were able to spend time with them too. It was a fun weekend, and we had the rare opportunity to be there for Dad's birthday on the 21st.

We spent the day downtown visiting the botanical wonderland of the Garfield Park Conservatory in the morning, followed by a picnic lunch on the beautiful grounds of the University of Chicago.

Then we spent some time touring The Oriental Institute, which is actually not the "oriental" I was thinking of. It was a wonderful museum covering the history and a great collection of artifacts from the ancient Near East (Egypt, Israel, Syria, Turkey, Iraq, Iran, etc). There were dozens of cool links between what we believe from the Bible and the Institute's research and finds. Kathryn even really enjoyed it, and it was a good teaching experience. It was a very pleasant way to spend a Saturday.

And now, we're back home, settling back in to our own little routine. There's nothing better to make you appreciate what you have than leaving it behind for a while. I love and appreciate my husband and all he does for us, but not being with him for most of 5 weeks makes me SO aware of that love and of his devotion to us and our life together. Even this house, which has been pretty much nothing but a pain and annoyance, suddenly seems a little more homey and comfortable. I can honestly say, "It's GOOD to be home!!"

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I Am A Colon!!

So, I get one of those forwarded emails from an acquaintance titled,

"I Am A Colon!! What are you??"

I immediately think, "OK, I know that I'm often described as ' a little anal retentive,' but I've never heard of someone so extreme that they're described as 'a colon!!'" And up on the little projection screen of my mind pops a diagram of the intestinal tract with appropriate (or in this case, inappropriate) labeling Uhg!
Now I'm not real big on the whole forwarded-emails thing, but I decided for sanity's sake, I needed to check out this one. Well come to find out, (insert big sigh of relief) this was one of those personality tests, "What Punctuation Mark Are You?" My interest already piqued, I decided to find out what punctuation mark I am. The test is just 5 questions long, but there were a few for which I had a hard time picking just one answer. The first time I took it, I discovered that I too was ironically "A Colon." Here are my results.

You Are a Colon

You are very orderly and fact driven.
You aren't concerned much with theories or dreams... only what's true or untrue.

You are brilliant and incredibly learned. Anything you know is well researched.
You like to make lists and sort through things step by step. You aren't subject to whim or emotions.

Your friends see you as a constant source of knowledge and advice.
(But they are a little sick of you being right all of the time!)

You excel in: Leadership positions

You get along best with: The Semi-Colon

Now some of this description was accurate, but some of it was also pretty off-base. For instance, I LOVE lists, and organizing, and sorting things. I love to research "stuff," and try to be knowledgeable about all things pertaining to my life or of any other interest. I am considered the" go-to gal" for many of my family and friends when they need to know what items are best for them to buy in various areas of current technology (i.e. photography equipment, computers and peripherals, multimedia systems, PDAs, MP3 players, etc). I really do love the research involved in all that. But I also love to dream, plan ahead, and develop theories. I am often subject to whims and emotions. And I don't believe that I'm overbearing to my friends,...I don't think.... So anyway, the test was half right, I guess. I showed my results to Glenn, and he agreed with my assessment of them. Then Glenn took the test, and he is a Question Mark....I coulda told you that. ;)
Glenn then helped me retake the test for fun, with his answers based on how he sees me. This time I was a Comma. Here are those results.

You Are a Comma

You are open minded and extremely optimistic.
You enjoy almost all facets of life. You can find the good in almost anything.

You keep yourself busy with tons of friends, activities, and interests.
You find it hard to turn down an opportunity, even if you are pressed for time.

Your friends find you fascinating, charming, and easy to talk to.
(But with so many competing interests, you friends do feel like you hardly have time for them.)

You excel in: Inspiring people

You get along best with: The Question Mark

You'll notice that a Comma gets along best with a Question Mark. I'm a Comma. Glenn is a Question Mark. Awwwwwwww!
Now I'm a very social person who thrives on my friendships, and on spending time with those I love. I have dozens of interests, and do spend much of my personal free time pursuing them. But while I manage to keep busy, it's not usually with tons of engagements, and activities, but with my family, and a smaller number of really close friends. I like it that way. I do enjoy being able to be involved in church programs and functions, and love the scrapping and stamping groups of which I've been a part. But fundamentally, my kiddos and Glenn are my world, and the more I get to know them, the more time I want to spend with them. I don't generally need much "alone time," but now and then find it the perfect way to reestablish any dwindling sanity, and remind me of how much I enjoy my family and my life.
I try to be open-minded, but only as guided by My Lord and my conscience. And as far as optimism goes, well it depends on when you catch me. So once again, the test was about half right. I guess I could be a combination of the two results. Let's see...what would that make me? A Commatose Colon?! (yikes) Or a Colonic Comma?! (even worse) It doesn't really matter....These tests are just meant for entertainment purposes. Obviously, I took that to heart.

Try it yourself... What Punctuation Mark Are You?

Saturday, April 19, 2008

"Sweet, Sweeeeet Shade!"

I NEVER imagined I'd live in Louisiana....EVER. But here we are, 10 months into our 3 years here. (Not that I'm counting.) I can't say that I've grown to love it here like I did in Texas, but am learning "in whatever state I am, to be content." (Pun totally intended.) Being a girl who prefers, even loves, warm weather over cold weather, I do enjoy the mild winter and early spring here. The last several weeks have been absolutely gorgeous, and the kiddos and I enjoy making our daily "recess" a nice, invigorating walk around the neighborhood. As things are getting warmer, the walks are getting a little sweatier, if ya know what I mean. Yesterday was the warmest day yet, with late morning temperatures in the upper 80's and humidity at 80%. The sun was beating down especially hard, making the shaded areas on our route so much more enjoyable. One of the streets around the corner from us has HUGE, umbrella-shaped trees that canopy the street. I was moving especially fast toward the refreshing shade, when Kathryn broke out in a dead run ahead of me. As she reached the edge of the trees' shadow, she threw back her arms and head, and yelled, "Sweet, sweeeeet shade!" That is exactly how Wyatt (for whom I do feel comfortable speaking) and I felt, and we ran to meet Kathryn. Had we been able to figure out a way to stay in that shade the rest of the day without missing all the other important parts of our day, we would have done so. But alas, we needed to head back out into the sun again if we were to make it back home. As we plodded back to the house, I thought about "sweet, sweeeeet shade," and of how my life in Christ can be like constantly living in the sweet shade. All through the book of Psalm, David talks about the refuge he found in the shadow of the Lord. I especially love Psalm 91:1, as David reminds us that, "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." Planting myself daily in God's Word and in His lessons for me ensures that I will be safely tucked into His shadow, sheltered from the heat of life. I seem to spend more time running frantically toward the shade when the sun becomes too much for me, instead of abiding there. I think the Lord probably gets a sad smile on His face as He watches me blunder my way through the journey to which He's given me the map. I'm working harder now at spending my days in the Sweet, Sweeeeet Shade.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Spring Break in "The Armpit of America"

Being a military family, we're used to leaving behind family and friends. But that doesn't mean it gets any easier. I don't cry as much as I used to, simply because I'm so ugly after I've cried. (You know, the fat lip and the puffy, bloodshot eyes do nothing for my features!) But seriously, it is hard. I find myself thinking as I meet people, "I'm not gonna' push for a friendship with this really cool person because I'm just gonna' have to leave them in a few years anyway." Ok, so maybe that's a slight exaggeration, but I do find that I'm able to be happy while being more solitary than I used to be. I can thrive for most of the time with just my little family and me. I have my close friends that I talk to and enjoy spending time with, but it's more about the quality than the quantity. (Factor in the fact that I'm REALLY bad about staying in touch with people, and you can guess that it's often just me and mine.) I do love spending time with loved ones though, and look forward to every get-together.
We are blessed to have spent a lot of time with my family over the years. When my parents aren't off "gallivanting" around the world as missionaries, we are trying to figure out the next time we can get them to visit us, or we when we can make the 8-hour drive to Alabama to see them. (Although Alabama is not the most desirable vacation spot, it's the only place family lives that I can drive to in one day, so it's the easiest trip to make.) My brother and sister have even made the long drive to be with us at Christmas when Glenn's schedule wouldn't let him get away, and Mom and Dad were out-of-country. (They were both single at the time, so it was a little easier for them to pick up and go.) (BTW, my sister, Sarah, is no longer single, and will happily be Mrs. Scott Hose on June 7th of this year. Woo Hoo!)
We don't actually get to spend much time with Glenn's family, but those times we do are very fun and entertaining. Michigan/Chicago is a LONG ways from Texas, and now Louisiana, and those miles of separation have made that trip difficult for everyone. When we lived in Dayton, OH, Tim and Mary and the kids came for a visit after Kathryn was born. Since that time, and our subsequent move to Texas, none of the other five (Yes, he actually is the oldest of SIX boys!) brothers and sister-in-laws have been able to visit. (If you add to the actual drive time the burgeoning under-8-years-old population of the Donnelly clan, you can see the recipe for insanity.)
You can imagine our delight when one of Glenn's brothers, Ben, and his wife, Tiffany told us they were planning a Spring Break trip to visit us! (Since they're still newlyweds without kids yet, it's easier for them to get here with sanity intact...hehe) Now remember, we live in Louisiana, the vacation capital of the south! (uh huh) Anywhooo....we couldn't wait until they got here! They were with us for almost a week, and we had a great time! We worked, and played, and did a little fishing, and enjoyed Sonic drinks at every opportunity. Ben installed our surround sound speakers, fixed our gates, and was the "Handyman of the Week." Tiffany helped me use up some of the mountains of scrapping stuff I so love to collect. (My addiction to creative supplies is a blog topic all in itself.) The kids, especially Kathryn, loved having them around, and we were sad when their visit came to an end. We felt blessed that they would use their vacation time to come to the "armpit of the south" to visit us. So Ben and Tiffany, you guys earned bigtime brownie points with us! And a wonderful scrapbook layout entitled, "Spring Break in 'The Armpit of America'."

Friday, April 11, 2008

My Blue Lotus

My "fascination" with the blue lotus is multi-faceted, and I've often found my life reflected in and inspired by its simple beauty. Much of the current awareness of the blue lotus is steeped in Eastern ideologies and religions, none of which I practice. It's in Egyptian history that I first noticed this beautiful flower, and found myself enamored with its graceful tenacity. I love the fact that while we see a lovely flower rising up out the waters, there is yet much of the plant that's hidden under the water and rooted in mud. How much our lives are like this!...our foundations hidden away from the world around us, but so vital to our perceptible beauty. In its quiet strength, this flower reminds me of the gentle, quiet spirit I long to have as I walk through my life and all it holds.
The blue lotus was incredibly important to the Egyptians, and is very often found in their literature and art. It was a symbol of new life and healing. Its bloom opens with the rising of the sun, and closes with the dusk. We all go through times of darkness and tribulation, and how often the Lord blesses us with healing and rebirth, so it's not hard to see ourselves in the lotus.
The flower was also used medicinally as a sedative and relaxant. It was said to provide a "tranquil euphoria" when ingested. It was this detail that struck me most. I want that "tranquil euphoria!" We all have in our hearts and minds states of being we wish to experience during our time on earth. Too many to begin listing here, the goals that drive my life make me who I am. Underlying all those aspirations, I (like most of humanity) long for peace. Christ has granted me that wish with "a peace that the world cannot understand," "a peace that passes all understanding." And I believe He gives us gifts in life which serve as reminders of His love for us...."Tranquil euphoria"...As I sat thinking about those words, I found my favorite reason for loving the blue lotus. An image of the flower vivid in my head, the blue of its petals became the blue in my children's eyes, and its yellow center became the sunshine in their smiles. My family is my tranquil euphoria, my quiet happiness in an often cold, chaotic world. My blue lotus is found blooming in the simple joys of loving and being loved, in the little gestures, and looks, and touches. It's tranquility stems from the overwhelming gift of being totally, completely bonded to another human being, of knowing where you belong, and why you take each breath. My blue lotus is my family, and the brilliance and beauty I find in them forever steals my breath away.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

To Blog or Not To Blog

I remember the first time I heard someone talk about "blogging." I, of course, had no idea what they meant. After being schooled in the newest craze, I believe my reaction was something like, "Hmmm....I bet I'd really get hooked on that!" Then I promptly decided that there was absolutely no time in my life for another hobby, and neatly filed it away under "Cool Things That Other People Do." And over the past few years, I've been happy to leave it there. I did have a family website for a while and did some blogging there, but it died down, and I closed it a while ago. But now, as a once-avid "journaler," I've been lamenting a fast, accessible outlet for the plethora of thoughts, emotions, and etceteras that I once penned onto the pages of my journals. I find there's no better way for me to grasp onto my life, and learn, and grow into a better me, than by facing it in written form. So, motivated totally by bettering myself and mine, I start this blogging adventure, and hope that it might also speak to anyone who wanders in. I do not claim to be an expert in grammar, and am guilty of using punctuation (especially commas) as a form of pause, but I'm asking in advance that you forgive my blunders, and see my heart.