Monday, June 30, 2008

Dipped Cones, Taco Salad, and Swimming in the Lake!

Monday again already? I slept in until 8 and again missed my window of opportunity for an early morning walk. I actually cleaned house a little bit while Addie and Sam conquered Sam's disaster area, formerly known as his room. As an incentive for their diligence, I offered a trip to TCBY upon completion of their task. I retreated to the back deck with Book 4 of the Redemption series as soon as possible. I finished Book 4 today, now there's only one more left in the series and I must finish it as soon as possible so I can resume living my life.

When Tom came home from his office, he suggested we give the Tasty-Freeze another shot instead of TCBY, so we took him up on his offer. Check out the menu picture above. Notice anything UNusual about the sign? Here's a hint-It has to do with my previous blog and the prefix un-. :) We all enjoyed a dippED cone before the summer showers came through town again.

The other highlight from today was meeting the kids involved in the Ulster Project at the Slack's lakehouse. There was one kid who looked just like Paddy, our Irish lad from 2006. Drew and Dane went along for the ride (and to check out the Irish chicks), so it was good to spend a few precious minutes with them. By the time we got back home, Chelcie and Becca had made dinner for us. Tom had to leave to show a house, so he missed out on dinner. The girls treated us to a scrumptious taco salad. Chelcie, Becca, Addie, and I enjoyed eating outside on the patio. The boys kinda joined us by eating their dinner on the deck. Close enough to make me happy.

Matt stopped by this afternoon to jump on the trampoline with Sam. He's a nice boy who needs to find a friend. Actually, I believe he has found a friend in Sam.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The Last Weekend in June

Okay, call me a pessimist, but my glass of summer is now half empty! With the end of June comes the last full month of summer vacation and the realization that I have yet to accomplish all the things I have put of until summer-"When I'll have time to do them!" Knowing that the "To-Do List" looms large and long, I chose to play all weekend with my kids.

Friday, we went to Dollywood yet again. To those of you who faithfully read this blog, you must think that we are Dolly-obsessed, but it's honestly not that, it's just that I have this overwhelming desire to get my money's worth out of those season passes! Of course, we made up the purchase price the very first week we had them! This trip was so much fun! We left early (10:00), after my weekly therapy session with my WVMS BFFs at Panera. Erica Pack offered to drive the "book mobile" so we'd have the luxury of free gas! We piled all the kids in the van and off we went! We made a short stop at McDonalds for lunch to save us some cash at the park and the kids scarfed their Happy Meals in the car. The Packs have seen a side to Dollywood that we hadn't discovered yet. We toured Dolly's travel bus, explored her closets in Chasing Rainbows, tried her wigs on our heads (scary), and were serenaded by some wax men that eerily resembled corpses! The Packs also put us onto some awesome rides! Daredevil Falls is a new favorite of the Crawford kids. ThunderRoad kinda freaked Sam out but that was just because he didn't have time to "warm up" to the idea of riding it. Our trip was slightly detoured by a rumble of thunder than caused Sam to shift into meltdown mode. For some strange reason, he has become terrified of thunderstorms. Even a little wind causes him to lose it these days. He'll grab my arm and plead, "Mom! Let's pray to God!" When I ask him what he wants to pray, he'll say for the storm to stop and go away, but I'm trying to help him understand that God is in control, and thunderstorms are good things. We've got a long way to go! In spite of that minor setback, we had a great time and the kids got along wonderfully if you don't count the occasional, "...but I don't want to ride THAT ride!" spoken in fluent "Whine-ese!" All in all the day was good, and I enjoyed spending time with my youngest new friend, Erica. By the time we headed back to Knoxville, we had decided that a "date night" was in order for her and her main squeeze, Noel and that Tom and I would take over Kid Duty. Admittedly, I had to twist her arm a little, but I think the bruises will heal in time and she and Noel made a night of it! Tom and I took the kids to the Pizza Kitchen and were pleasantly surprised to meet up with Dale, Gerda, and Rose Mayo. We spent about two hours catching up with them while the kids ran wild in the grassy lot outside. By the time we finished up and headed for home, Noel and Erica were waiting the driveway to reclaim their young. And that, my friends, sums up Friday!

Saturday was a much slower paced day. I fully intended to go for a long, early morning walk, but those dog-gone Karen Kingsbury/Gary Smalley books have consumed my "free" time and my walk just didn't happen, but I DID finish the third book in the series. The highlight of the day was Addie and Taylor's entrepreneurial spirit in setting up the first lemonade stand of the summer. They racked in $17 in about two hours! Those girls have got it going on! Once Taylor had to go home, we took the kids to Grandmom's house and Tom and I went to Aubrey's at Papermill to cash in a gift card from my students. As we were enjoying our meal outside on the deck, a HUGE thunderstorm rolled in behind us, but we managed to finish and pay our check before the big winds hit. Tom wanted to show me a "classic" ice cream stand off of Central Avenue because he knows how much I love Dip Cones, probably more accurately called, "Dipped Cones," but it's one of those things like "Sweet Tea." It should really be called, "Sweetened Tea." The only time that kind of thing really bugs me is when someone says, "Unsweet Tea," 'cause I just have an overwhelming desire to say "UnsweetENED" out loud to fix it. Nonetheless, we drove across town barely ahead of a major severe thunderstorm only to find out that the Tasty-Freeze was closed. "The moose out front shoulda told ya!" went through my mind and made me smile to myself a little. Disappointed, Tom and I headed back across town through the thick of the storm to pick up our children, but first, he wanted to run by the Slacks' to pick up the key to their lakehouse. Once again, Tom drags me into someone home unannounced for an impromptu visit. We stayed for about an hour and chatted about Facebook, our old kids, WestLake, small group, and life in general. I must admit that I enjoyed being with them and miss seeing them every week at church. FINALLY, we made it to Grandmom's house only to find that Addie had gone to Taylor's to spend the night. We decided Sam needed something special too, so we loaded him up and made a 10:30 run to Sonic for ice cream sundaes, and ice, of course! At last, we fell into bed least Sam and I did! Tom stayed up with Drew and waited for Chelcie to come home. He crashed on the couch watching Saturday Night Live, while I wrestled the night away prying Sam's bony little knees out of my back all night!

NorthStar Church is where I head every Sunday morning when I'm in town, and today was no exception! First, I had to go by Taylor's to pick up the girls, then Tom and Chelcie followed behind in the rental car Tom got for his trip to Georgia later this week. Church was good as usual. It was great to see Ed and Delaney back from the beach. Delaney sat with Chelcie and Ed sat with his brother, Michael and niece, Abby. I can't help but wonder what all the visitors thought when over half the church heads down to the altar to pray over each other. I wanted to go down to pray too, but then I figured God could hear me from my seat, so I prayed there. After church, we all went to Chili's. Ed and Delaney joined us! Drew was already there with the WestLake youth. We saw Hailey Brooks there too. I sure do like those quesadilla explosion salads! Dee-lish-us! When we finally finished our lunch, Chelcie, Addie, Sam, and I went home and Tom followed close behind after chatting with the WestLake Crew one more time. I made a bee-line for my bed as I was craving a nap and some more time with my book. Oh those Baxters! What will happen next? Late in the afternoon, Addie and I went for a walk around the block and I had the opportunity to start laying the groundwork for our birds and bees talk. She's eight years old already and I don't want her to be confused by what she's sure to hear at school this year. After a trip around the block, we walked up to Grandmom's house to chat with Papaw and Grandmom on the back porch and admire their new fence. Actually, their neighbors put up a fence to shield them from having to witness all of us and our kids hanging around the driveway all the time. Bless 'em! I hope they enjoy their solitude. Mean people frustrate me! I mean, what happened to them along the road of life that caused them to be so hateful? Kill 'em with Kindness is what Tom always reminds me when I want to vandalize their property and make fun of them. Guess Tom is right, ...this time.

We finished off the day with a trip out to Lakeshore Park to attempt to fly a kite. Ummm, let's just say that sounded like a good idea on paper, but it just didn't work out as we'd planned. Addie ran around like an Olympian and Tom and I both realized that she needs to channel her energy into some type of sport. He says soccer, I'm not sure yet. Believe it or not, we were back home for dinner. We had quite a smorgasbord-bagel bites, tomato-basil pasta, cinnamon toast crunch, and wheat thins. Maybe when my kids grow up they'll crave Sunday dinner "like their momma used to make!" Ya' think?

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

My Daughter is a TENNESSEE VOL!

Okay, when exactly did this happen? When did I turn the corner? This morning as Chelcie and I made our way to UT for freshman orientation, it hit me. Chelcie and the students were herded in one direction, while I was absorbed into the mass of "helicopter parents" who all looked more like MY parents than I care to admit. Surely I could stay with my daughter. I mean, I'm a 'cool mom.' I won't interfere or get in the way. I won't ask asinine questions about irrelevant, hypothetical situations! I was slightly taken aback when the authorities made no distinction between me and "them." Why? Because I am now one of them. Me? Deep down I really believed that I could still turn the heads of the "older" college guys. Now I realize that the reason the young men may look my way is to see if I am a friend of their mom! Or maybe, just maybe, I actually taught them back in their elementary school days! I recall back in my early days of teaching, overhearing the "seasoned" teachers swapping stories about their former students who had moved on to college, marriage, children, and lives of their own. Poor dears, I'd think to myself, their best years are in the past. I'll never be one of THEM.

Anyway, "The 'Rents" as they will henceforth be referred, were separated from their young from the beginning and not reunited until the end of the day. Of course I KNEW why they were doing it this way. The 'rents simply get in the way! Much more progress can be made when the mommys and daddys are otherwise occupied. The UT Staff had to be gentle with them though. Afterall, they "pay their salaries!" They support the (nose in the air: sniff, sniff) You-ni-vah-city. Gotta keep the 'rents happy and assured that their progeny are safe and pampered in the way in which they've become accustomed. Further evidence to this is the fact that this year's freshman class is the highest academically performing class in the history of the University of Tennessee. The AVERAGE ACT score is a 26 point something, and their GPA average is better than a 3.7! No wonder the 'rents must be coddled! Their "investment" must be protected, and we, I mean, they expect a substantial return on investment.

As we progressed through the day, I was surprised by the cha-ching, cha-ching sounds that resonated off the walls. Meal plans, textbooks, school supplies, school fees, new wardrobe, housing fees, recreation fees, technology fees, new laptop, maintenance fees, and the list goes on and on and on! Looks like we're dining on rice and cereal for the next six years! Good-bye, Moe's, I'll miss you! From here on out I'll just have to dream of that familiar refrain, "Welcome to Moe's!"

I know that in the end, we'll be able to say it was all worth it. God has blessed us with a beautiful, talented, loving daughter who has already made her mom, dad, brothers and sister very proud of her! Is that "Rocky Top" I hear in the distance? Go VOLS!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

More Nicaragua Pictures

Can you imagine?

Life Returns to Normal(?)

Chelcie and I had the opportunity to spend some quality time together Sunday afternoon. We went to Panera (my west office) to work on her sorority application. Talk about uncharted waters! We have managed to round up several friends and friends of friends who have agreed to write "recs" for Chelcie as she plans to go through Rush at UT this fall. I confess to being more than a little intimidated by the prospect of it all, but her life is in God's hands and He knows the plans He has for her. If His plans involve being in a sorority, so be it. I just don't want to get in His way.

Monday morning, Sherry and I walked to Weigles at 7 because Nathan had a doctor's appointment at 10. When we got back to house, Tom was loading the kids in the car for a soccer camp at St. John Newman Catholic School, so I jumped in and went along. Turns out, the kids had a ball, and even learned some new "moves" to use on the field this fall. Addie's friend, Vanessa, and her little brother, Spencer, are participating too, so that took the edge off of trying something new. I picked them up at 12, then drove thru Chick-fil-a before dropping Sam off at home and taking Addie to the dentist at 1:00. NO CAVITIES for Addie! The rest of the afternoon was spent reading those dog-gone Karen Kingsbury/Gary Smalley books that Katie and Lori have recommended. I'm addicted! Late Monday afternoon, Addie, Sam, Tom, and I headed downtown for an Ulster Project meeting. Actually, Tom had the meeting, we were just going to hang out at the Mast General Store for a while. As it turned out, we opted for dinner on Market Square at Oodles (yum!), while the kids played in the fountains and got not-surprisingly drenched! We drove up to the church in which the Ulster Project meeting was already in progress. Addie and Sam immediately proceeded to make much noise and cause a major distraction, so out the door I headed with the two of them in tow. We strolled down Gay Street and enjoyed the beautiful evening while Tom stayed behind at the meeting. We window shopped at the Mast (It closes at 6 on Monday nights!), and I showed the kids the majestic Tennessee Theatre where Reach Them to Teach Them was held last year and will be held again this year. Addie couldn't believe her eyes! I know the feeling... We people-watched and chatted about nothing in particular and I was struck by the simplicity of the moment. Next time I'm looking for something to do, a stroll down Gay Street is a good option.

Before long, we headed back to the church to pick up Tom and head west toward home. Tom needed to drop some real estate papers by someone's house in LakeRidge, so we stopped by the Lindley's to swap howdies and stay true to our "redneck" reputation of dropping in on our friends without so much as a phone call. Meda was in her pajamas and John was shirtless, but both were gracious and invited us in for a short chat. It was good to talk with our WestLake friends again since it's been quite a while since we've caught up with them. Shh! Don't tell anybody, but they've been known to partake of an occasional margarita too, so we hope to enjoy an outside patio and a frozen adult beverage in the near future. For the record, the best margarita mix on the planet is "Fat Mama's Knock Ya Nekkid" margarita mix available from the Sweet Potato Queens website. I believe without it, Sam would not exist today, so be warned, it's powerful stuff.

By the time we got back home, we were all too tired for words, so we just crashed where we landed. The kids made it to their beds, Tom on the couch, and I got to sleep diagonally on my
bed for a change. Drew and Chelcie cruised in from their respective hang-outs prior to my coma, so I know that all the baby birds were accounted for tonight.

Soccer Camp again Tuesday morning for Addie and Sam while I had a meeting with Eddie Speeks at 10:00. Turns out to have been a great meeting with lots of good ideas for maximizing our video message via our website. I missed having our techno-guru, Ed, there with me to bounce ideas off of, but Eddie and I got off to a good start. Funny, met another guy named Ed while I was there who gave me the name of a new assistant principal who might be interested in sharing the message of Reach Them to Teach Them. It amazes me how helpful people want to be when they hear about our mission. Just this afternoon a young man named Ryan Hayes stopped by the house to ask for our support in his race for State Representative. When I shared the mission of Reach Them to Teach Them, he gave me his cell phone number and pledged his support in whatever way he might be helpful.

After my meeting with Eddie, I had about an hour and half to kill before my Mentoring Institute meeting at 1:00, so I stopped by Panera (my office on the strip) to grab a bite to eat and check email. I saw Noelle Harb who is headed to UNC-Chapel Hill. I read a little passage from the book of I Samuel about David and Goliath. I can certainly relate. God looks at the heart.

The Mentoring Institute meeting was long and at times frustrating. Too many ladies, no men. I was caught off guard when they mentioned having a fashion show at the Institute. Ummm, how does that fit into our mission statement? Jewelry? Women drive me crazy sometimes and I can say that 'cause I am one, but I have no interest in a fashion show when I have a family at home. I'd much rather be with them than watching a fashion show! Ugh! Also, I have to write another skit... Call me Stephen Speilberg. This could be the start of something big...not!

After the meeting, I headed home in time for Tom to head out the door to open a house for someone in Gibbs. Sherry and I are walking to Moe's tonight for dinner and our families will meet us there with the cars. Sam got to spend the afternoon playing with Evan at his house, and Addie and Taylor went swimming with Chelcie at Mimi's house. Drew went for a run this afternoon, so all is good here on the home front for now.

UT Orientation with Chelcie tomorrow and Thursday. Oh yeah, Tom and Drew have a new friend in the neighborhood.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Hola! They're Baaaaaack!

Friday - Home at last! After a short delay in Atlanta, Drew, Chelcie, Tom and the rest of the P.I.C. Crew made it safely back to Knoxville. All were tired, but full of stories of the life-changing adventure they had experienced. We collected the luggage, passed around hugs, and made promises of a "reunion" in the near future for the purpose of sharing pictures and stories of time well spent.

Drew actually shared a little bit of what he observed on "the field," and I cherish those precious moments because they don't come around often, but Drew shares his heart, it's definitely worth it to listen. He has more insight and compassion than people realize. On the surface, he's a laid-back, easy-going teenager, but underneath, and for anyone who looks hard enough to find it, he's got a huge heart!

We packed six people into the Camry and headed for home, but not before a brief run to Chick-fil-a to satisfy their craving for "home-cookin'!" The little kids played on the playground while I was briefed on the highlights of the trip. The "Hot Dog" night made an impression on them. Apparently, they had twice the turn-out they had expected for a hot dog dinner, and ended up having to split the hot dogs down the middle to make enough food to feed all the people who came to the church. The stories of extreme poverty broke the hearts of the "spoiled" Americans as they came to terms with the abundance we have here in the States. Tom mentioned that he skipped two meals because he just couldn't bear to eat, knowing that the Nicaraguan people just outside the gate of the PIC House had no food. Tom's heart was broken for the 5 ladies who helped work on the house who were not invited "inside" for lunch. He had only 4 bags of trail mix which he gave to them, but that meant one lady had to do without. The kids talked about the way the Nicaraguan children shared what they had with their sisters and brothers, and how they pocketed their gummy bears for later, then asked for another to give to their siblings. Drew shared a bottle of water with some teenage boys who willingly shared one bottle among five of them. How it must have touched Drew's heart to know that he had only to ask for more and it would be given to him, but the boys he'd befriended were not allowed any at all, except what Drew had chosen to share with them.

Today I am grateful to have my family back home safely. They are a little tired and "hung-over" from their adventure and day of travel yesterday, but all is well. Tom and I took a walk this morning to share breakfast together and talk without interruption. On the way back home, my dad cruised by and stopped to ask if we'd like passes to the Nike Open. We took him up on his offer as the deal included VIP passes to the hospitality venue. Tom mentioned as Dad pulled away that he was going from one extreme to the other! In Nicaragua, there was little food provided for the people while here in America we can eat until we can eat no more. Gluttony, I believe is the term for it. Just the thought of seeing all that food made me lose my appetite!

Tom and I enjoyed our morning walk and our early afternoon at the golf tournament. Funny, we haven't spent this much time together since...well, let's just say it's been a while! I saw a few of my former students at Fox Den- Riley Hunley, David Jester, and Hunter Barnhart. Hunter had his sketch book along with him and he shared his comic book sketches with me. His eyes lit up when I asked him how "his book" was coming along. I tried to explain to Tom that Hunter is one of the kids that is invisible to most people. He's quiet, kinda artsy, and a little bit different from the rest, but he's a child with a lot to offer. He's the kid the other kids tease, pick last for their team, and whisper about behind his back but not out of his earshot. Tom brushed it off, but I have Hunter on my mind even now. I'm already looking forward to purchasing a copy of his first book!

Back at home, I tried to coax Chelcie out of the recliner to work on her sorority resume, but no such luck, she's down for the count and I opted for a blog update while Addie washes my car for a dollar and Sam begs me to watch his "popper" fly into the air for the six hundredth time.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Home Alone? Not For Long!

Whew! What a busy week! I know I've been a little slack on the blogging this week, and for that I apologize. I am going to attempt to recreate the past few days with as few details as possible. Of course, I'll likely add a note of sarcasm here, and a witty wisecrack there, but my goal is to "spare you the details" and report, "just the facts, ma'am!"

We had a great day Tuesday! I actually had a little time to myself today as my golf-addicted mother took a day off from the links and agreed to watch Sam and Addie so I could have lunch with my former colleague, but forever friend, Jane Manning. Jane and I met at Qdoba on Martha Riordan's recommendation and it did not disappoint. The taco salad was scrumptious and the restaurant was clean and inviting, but not as inviting as the tables outside the sunshine! I ran into my former assistant principal, Jason Andersen and found out that his new assignment is teaching fifth grade at Hardin Valley Elementary. He expressed much relief at the prospect of being out of administration and West Valley Middle School. It seems he had a rough couple of years there..."and stuff!" :) (My personal inside joke intended for my enjoyment). Once he went on his merry way, Jane and I enjoyed catching up with each other and reminiscing on the good times we used to have way back when. Whenever she gets around to writing a book, y'all need to buy it because her stories make me laugh so hard, tears run down my cheeks and and my face hurts! After our lunch, I picked the kids up at Mom's. Would you believe she was working in the yard and didn't even notice me pull up the driveway and load the kids in the car?! It's hard to find good help these days. Katie was there too and was quite concerned about the lack of attention the children were receiving at Grandmom's Drop-off Day Care. Aw well, no harm done. The kids were all there and they were unscathed. Grandmom accomplished her mission-She kept 'em alive until my return.

Much to Sam's delight, we headed straight over to Evan's house to pick him up for a play date! Sam and Evan are like Mutt and Jeff - good friends who love each other SOOO much! I cherish this small window of time when my little boy will hold hands with his friend and bear hug him good-bye. The day will come when some obnoxious third grader will call him a name and the days of unhindered, genuine love will be gone forever. The boys spent the afternoon playing outside with waterguns, Pokemon cards, and, occasionally, the girls- Taylor and Addie. Of course, a playdate with Evan would not be complete without a trip down the railroad tracks for some penny smashin'! The kids have also discovered that Roger's side yard is an ideal spot for playing "Indiana Jones!" Translation: Getting covered in black dirt, yelling, and pushing on each other. Of course Roger came out to see what the commotion was and he shared his version of the WestLake Church drama. Olivia Knowling called to tell us the Icee bear was a Weigles, but we opted to stay put and she came by and joined us later. Judy and Alan Fethe stopped by and we enjoyed a little neighborly chit-chat while the kids tore up Roger's manicured yard and raided his garage refrigerator. I was struck by how genuinely good it feels to be in a neighborhood and have good friends. I wish Tom could have been home to enjoy it with me.

Once Evan's dad came by to pick him up, Olivia invited Addie, Sam, and Taylor over to her house to play the Wii for a while, but we opted to head to the Cove for a late afternoon swim. We drove thru McDonalds for our Dinner in a Sack, and headed west into the sunset. The evening was beautiful, and the park was not crowded at all. Lori and Katie have gotten me addicted to this book called Redemption that is part of a five book series and I literally cannot put the thing down! I read and watched the kids swim for about 45 minutes, then Ed brought Taylor and Olivia out to play too. Taylor and Olivia did not have their swimsuits but they didn't let that stop them. All four kids were in the lake with no reservations whatsoever. Pretty soon though, it was time to head back home. As I drove my happy, wet, exhausted kids back to the house, I was overcome with gratitude for the good things in my life. Today was an A+ summer day!

Being at the pool with Katie and Lori the other day was probably the best day we've had since Tom, Drew, and Chelcie have been gone, but definitely the second best day was Wednesday. Katie, Lauren, Ben, Ed, Olivia, Addie, Sam, and I headed up to Dollywood at about ten. The park was very crowded, but the day was gorgeous! The kids all had a ball riding rides, laughing, playing, and enjoying being together. The sno-cones that Lauren and Ben got turned Ben's little bottom blue and stained Katie's hands. The whole incident brought back memories of her blue prom dress that bled on her arm back in high school. Unfortunately, I did not bring my camera, so I have no proof of the fun we had, you'll just have to take my word for it! Another incident that brought a smile to my face today was receiving a check from Chick-fil-a Corporate for $500 signed by Mr. S. Truett Cathy himself! We didn't even have to ask for it!

That brings us up to Thursday. I am somewhat embarrassed to admit this, but I spent most of the day reading that book! I have my chair all set up on the back deck complete with a stool on which to prop my feet. I have my giant syrofoam Sonic cup full of Sonic ice, so I've pretty much got the ideal reading situation! The kids enjoyed being at home today. They would join me on the porch with their books, or jump on the trampoline, or just sit beside me while I read. I've done quite a bit of soul-searching lately, so having this "down time" to evaluate and consider my blessings has been good for me. About noon, I started feeling a little guilty for having spent so much time reading, that I took the kids for an Icee walk! Again, I was overcome with gratitude for Sam and Addie! This week has been precious time with them, and I've enjoyed it. Sam spotted a green snake by the side of the road. Addie and I walked right past it and never even noticed it! We chatted about life and birds, and dead animals on the road as we made our way down Ebenezer. One of the things I love about walking to Weigles is that every so often a teenager would stick his head out of his car window and yell, "Hey Mrs. Crawford!" or a carload of teenage girls would wave and honk their horn like crazy. A couple of times, adults even beeped at me and waved. Most of the time I have no clue who is in the cars, but it still makes me happy and grateful to be "known" in my hometown.

Once we finally managed to make it to Weigles, we were delighted to find that all Icees were on sale for .69! We left with two large ones! On the way back, we talked about setting goals and reaching them then setting more goals. As we walked, we would pick a landmark up ahead of us then walk until we reached it, then we'd pick another target farther up the road. Sam liked picking goals that were close and easy to reach, but Addie tended to push herself farther and set fewer goals. Interesting insight into the minds of my children and how they think.

When we finally made it back home, it was time for me to prepare for my Reach Them meeting. I had made plans to meet with Summer Tucker at 4:30 before our big meeting at 5:30, so I needed to get my act together. Anderson emailed me to say she had car issues and wouldn't make the meeting, so I offered to pick her up. Somehow I managed to put an agenda together, shower, and read a few more pages of my book! Lori agreed to watch Addie and Sam while I was at the meeting, so I headed her way about 4:00. From there I headed to pick up Anderson. On my way, I got a call from Bill Gentry letting me know that he would like to help out with bringing teachers from MOH schools to our event in October. (God's provision) After I spoke with Mr. Gentry, I called Emmette Thompson and he said that Bill Williams has been out of town, but that he would be sure to get back in touch with us in the coming week. (God's provision some more) My meeting with Summer was incredibly productive as she is a highly-motivated, gifted woman who is passionate about bringing in outlying counties and other groups that serve the needs of children in our area (God's provision). Dean called for directions to Citadel and said he would be at the meeting (Another one). Today's meeting was exceptionally well attended. We had Candice McQueen, Dan Lavely, Martha Riordan, Phil Burnette, Tom King, Ed Knowling, Anderson Little, Tom Vandenburg, Mike Bailey, Anthony Ingram, Laurie Macnair and Summer Tucker at the table! Noticeably absent was Dave Gorden who is out of town. We were also missing Kathy Seagrist and Jo Bruce as well as Hillary Hudson and a few other key players on our team. but overall we had a good group there.

I am constantly amazed at what God is doing through us and how he brings the right folks, at the right time to accomplish His vision. I am overwhelmed at times in the way He uses people like us to accomplish great and wonderful things.

After the meeting, I went by Lori's to reclaim my young 'uns and Addie opted to spend the night, so I grabbed Sam before he could protest and stopped by my parents house to de-brief with my dad. We chatted for about 30 minutes then Sam and I headed home for the night. Unfortunately though, I accidentally put the broken window down and couldn't get it back up! I wrestled with it in the driveway for about an hour before I resigned myself to parking in the garage and dealing with it later. Ugh! That'll teach me to talk on my cell phone and mess with the windows! Okay, probably not, but it's a pain having a broken car.

Today was Panera day, so I met Sherry, Lisa and Phil at 8:00. I brought Sam along today and he was not too happy about it. Then I picked Addie and Natalie up at Lori's and stopped by the mall to pick up a surprise for Tom. We've been at home waiting for the phone call from Atlanta since about 11:00. Hopefully, we'll see the rest of our family very soon.