Something That We Do

Love is something that we do!


A Day In The Park

Yesterday we took Belle back to the park.  We were going to try socializing her again.  Thankfully, it went much better.  Here's a conversation I had with my mom.  She called me while I was at the park:

Mom: "Hey, whatcha doin?"
Me: "Just at the park with Belle, you?"
Mom: "You brought her back to that park?!?!?!"
Me: "Yeah, but she's okay now."
Mom: "Is..... that.....chihuahua..... there?"
Me: "Yes, but he's not messing with Belle anymore."
Mom: "He's not???"
Me: "Nope, you know how dogs have ranking order with each other when they're in a pack?  Well the queen of the park is here today and Porkchop knows that he falls below her in rank, and luckily the queen likes Belle a lot so when Porkchop sniffed Belle, the queen put him in her place and now Belle's not afraid of him."
Mom: (trying not to laugh) "And who's the queen of the park, Lindsey?"
Me: "Her name is Gloria."
Mom: long pause.  "Okay." (pause)  "Are you on drugs??"

When mom (jokingly) asked if I was on drugs, I realized how insane my story had sounded.  But, in all seriousness, the queen (Gloria) really did protect Belle!  Gloria was a mix of a australian shepherd and corgie, so she looked like a small sheep herder.  And she was a herding dog, which put her at top rank in the park.  With her one brown and one blue eye, she could direct any dog to go anywhere she wanted him or her to, and he or she would do it without question.  She could even herd the big dogs that were on the other side of the fence.  She was that good.  

So thankfully, Gloria liked Belle and Belle liked Gloria.  And since neither particularly cared for Porkchop, they both outranked him in their minds.  So, Porkchop would get to sniffing Belle and Belle would hit him with her nose and drive him away.  It was really interesting to watch.  It was like having the queen's support gave Belle the confidence to protect herself.  I didn't need to use my squirt bottle!

And then there was Tomo.  Tomo was a poodle mix.  A very very fluffy, 20 pound poodle mix.  In all honesty, he looked like a sheep.  Not a dog, a sheep.Much to his dismay, he looked even more like a sheep when Gloria herded him.  Tomo was a gentleman and he greeted Belle properly, despite being a rescue dog who had been abandoned.  He was a fat and happy little dude, and him and Belle became good friends.  

Belle did absolutely wonderful at the park.  I was (I AM) so happy that she gets along with everyone now.  She was a completely different dog than she was the very first time I brought her to the park.  The first day, she just wanted to be held.  Yesterday, she was brave and bold enough to walk all the way to the other side of the fenced in area by herself or with the other dogs.  She ran with them, she played with them.  It was great.

As we were leaving, we passed by a yorkie who was trying to get picked up by her owner.  Little Layla.  I met Layla's owner, Liz, and asked if it was Layla's first day at the park.  Liz replied, "Is it that obvious?"  I told her only two days ago, it was Belle's first day at the park and she was just like Layla.  She got a big smile on her face and said, "Wow, so there is hope for Layla!"  Yep, now Belle is one of the regulars.  No longer looking like a newbie.  She even fooled a newbie into thinking she'd been there all her life.  That's my girl!

Look how muddy she got at the park! She needed a bath soon as we got home.
Here she is waiting for her water to be drawn.
All clean!


Excuse me!

Hey y'all! 

Please excuse me being away for a bit.  As you probably guessed, we finally made it out of Fort Stockton! We are now getting settled in our new home.  I've been spending every moment of my day working on the house so it can be in more order when my husband gets home in the evenings.  

I will have to take some pictures for y'all once it's all set up.  So far, I'm really enjoying this little town.  It's very easy to get around, the weather is foggy (which I LOVE) and it rains a lot (something else I LOVE!). Green moss grows on the roofs, and while this may be a turn off to some folks, through the fog and the pretty green, I feel like this is a semi-mystical place.  I think it's really pretty, in fact.  

An update on everyone: 
Carl is enjoying his work.  Everything is going very smoothly for him.  Thankfully the job is right down the street from our house, only taking about 4 minutes to get there.
Austin is not yet enrolled in school.  Darn paperwork!  They need all sorts of info from his old school (who is apparently slowing us down.)  There's a small chance he'll be starting school tomorrow, or (hopefully) Friday at the latest.  The upside of him not being in school is he gets to help me unpack.  
As for me, I've been getting the house in order and learning my way around town.  I've been to a few grocery stores and I've been shocked to find how different the foods are here!  I don't have my brands that I love, and I don't even have the same types of foods.  Sure, the basics are the same, but this stuff is gonna get some getting used to.  So far, we've had a bad experience with american cheese slices.  The package is called, "Pasteurized processed imitation cheese food."  UGH!  We figured we'd give it a shot because it was less expensive,  but oh goodness.  We're switching to the brand name!  Don't they say California is known for cheese?  (I know it's also Wisconsin) but the commercials say "Good cheese comes from happy cows.  And happy cows come from California."  Then again, that was "cheese food"...not "cheese."

So, there you have it.  Not too much going on.  We're all settling in.  Belle is adjusting pretty well.  She's not used to having two stories in our house, so she really likes to lay in our bed during the day and stare out the second story window.  It's pretty cute.  

I'll try to keep updating as much as possible, but right now, my priority lies with getting this house in order!  I appreciate all of you keeping me in your prayers.  Some of you have emailed me encouraging thoughts, and some have even snail-mailed them my way.  How sweet you all are!  It makes my day seeing cards in the mail simply saying that you care.  

Anyway, my husband is home with me now, so it is time for me to log off and spend some quality time with him.  We fall asleep very early here because we're trying to stay on East coast time.  (It makes you feel like a super human when you wake up at 6am fully refreshed (because it's 9am eastern!)  

It's 11:30 Eastern now, so it's almost our bed time.  Goodnight yall, and thanks again for all your encouraging thoughts!



Here's another post that was neglected.  
A big oopsie on my part, seeing as how it was one of my highlights of 2010!  You ready?  
The day finally came where I could walk across the stage in the O'Connell center and say "See ya later Alligator" to the University of Florida.  
As previously mentioned, Georgia came to my graduation.  Here she is in front of my parents Christmas tree the morning of my graduation.  Isn't she a cutie?

And here's a wonderful photo of my dear parents, with little Miss G.

It felt so good to walk across that stage. Two years of hard work paid off in that moment. Told y'all I would graduate, even though I got married in school!  
Don't know why some of y'all didn't believe me!

Once we all met up after my graduation, Georgia ran up to me so I picked her 
up and she gave me an unsolicited kiss. The best kind!

I love this little munchkin.

Then, the pictures commenced. Here's Carl, Austin, me and Georgia.

Here's me with Uncle Scott and Aunt Donna. Thank you both for coming to my graduation. It meant so much to me to look up in the stadium and see you 
there for me!

Here's the family!

Thank you to these two gals for coming, too!

Here's me with my wonderful husband. I saw him jumping up and down in the stands when I walked across the stage... it sure meant a lot to me.  
I love you, honey.
I appreciate all your support.

Here's me with my Daddio!

And here's me with my Momma!

I also appreciate your support. I couldn't have done it without you two.

Here's Austin and I...

Thank you ALL for coming! I GRADUATED!!!!!

After graduation, my Uncle Jimmy and Aunt Janet threw me a party!  
They completely decked out their house with everything orange and blue... 
beads, streamers, balloons, utensils, plates, napkins, and even the television had old Gator football games playing. Oh, and did I mention the cake??

Thank you Uncle Jim and Aunt Janet. I love you both!
I am now Lindsey (Omitting-my-last-name-for-internet-privacy), 
Bachelor of Health Science in Communicative Disorders


How Belle passes the time.

When a family is stuck in a hotel room for a week, with no place to go, and one pup has energy to spare, she finds way to make due.

She's been bed hopping.  I think the pictures speak for themselves.


Day 5

Good news.  Nothing too big happened today!  It was definitely full of little mishaps, or happenings, but what would National Lampoon's Family Vacation our trip be without all the little mishaps that can be converted to fun anecdotes for sharing with y'all!  I've gotta have something to write about, right??

Now would also be a good time for me to say thank you to you guys!  You are such an encouragement to me.  It means so much to me when I get emails from y'all saying you're praying for us, or calls from you saying that you've enjoyed hearing about our trip.  So, thank you!  I definitely feel cared for when so many people are interested in hearing what lil ole me has to say.  Now, moving on from the mushy mushy stuff, here's our uneventful happenings of the day.

One, I got a new phone.  It's one of those prepaid phones that you have to put money on.  It's all fine and well, but this is how activation went.  Every other button I pressed on the phone during the activation process (those darn automated things!) resulted with the friendly voice on the other end saying, "We're sorry you're having trouble.  Goodbye."  

Not, "Allow us to connect you to a customer service representative."
Not, "Please select another option."

It was just, "Sorry, see ya!  Peace out.  Later!  Stinks to be you!"  

I became more and more frustrated trying to fix the phone and get it set up, but eventually it was done.   Unfortunately, I can temporarily only speak and text with Verizon customers because I chose the lowest number of minutes in hopes of getting my phone replaced via insurance when we eventually arrive in California.

Back to the annoying fake apology from the cell service.  You should also know that stores around here use the exact same tactics on their machines.  If you call and you press a button that they don't want you to press (even if it IS presented as an option...), it tells you, "We're sorry you're having trouble.  Goodbye."

I don't feel that was a sincere apology.  Especially when you hang up on me, darn automated voice machine.  Anyway.  We'll move on from this topic.

We had to go to Walmart today because were running out of clean clothes, and eating out is getting too expensive.  Not to mention that the only places that deliver around here are Pizza Hut and another local pizza place.  There's a Chinese buffet across the street, too, so that's another option.  Not having a car really limits you.  I never realized how much we relied on our car.  So, we began our trek to Walmart in the early afternoon. 

As we got just down the road, a pick up truck drove past us and turned around.  There was an older man with leathery skin sitting in the driver's seat.  "Is he stopping for us?" I asked Carl.

"I'm not sure...."

Just then, the older man raised his finger to us and motioned for us to come to him.  It almost felt as though we were young children who disobeyed and we were getting motioned to come to the principal in school.  We started heading his way and he greeted us with a huge, mostly toothless smile.  "Why are y'all walking out here?  Where ya headed?"

"We're making our way to Walmart...."

"Well cheewiz..... this might be a small town but it ain't a walkin town!  Get in, I'm goin to Walmart too."

Carl offered me the front seat and I stepped aside, letting him know that he should take the front with this man.  I scooted in the back with Austin, and Belle in my purse.  The old man, who we never ended up catching the name of, told us all about his family.  His wife divorced him last year, and his step daughter "ran off to Africa with one of them... whadya call 'em..... well, I call em holy rollers....."

"Missionaries?"  Carl helped the man find the right word.

"Yeah...... them...... well she ran off and ya see when she was fifteen she got hit and was told she'd never have kids.  Well she had three.  No kids my....ahem.  Anyway, they stole everything from her.  She came to me in nothing but a robe to her ankles.  Not even underwear on..... the only good thing they didn't get was her laptop...the man in Africa has that!  Well she said she's married to the Lord and so she's gonna be with him in Africa but she has to come back because they're not with a group...."

His story was scattered all over the place and I was having trouble following.  I was just sitting in the backseat asking myself, "Am I really in the backseat of a stranger's truck in the middle of nowhere?  Does this count as hitch hiking?  I need to warn my family about this before they see it on my blog or they might kill me."... (just kidding, kinda).....Back to the man.  He never asked our name or why we were here.... he simply told us his life story in brief.  He spoke of his family all the way until we got to Walmart, where he walked inside with us.  He kept telling us about his life, right up until the point we politely thanked him for the ride.  Still on his tangent about his family, he squeezed in one more sentence as we parted, and it's been ringing in my ears all day.  "And that's why I'm an atheist."  

Because I don't wish to end this post on a sad note, I'm going to tell you about our dinner last night.  Bare with me, it was yet another thing that we found humorous.  We ordered pizza from the Hut itself, via the internet.  Why'd we order from the internet?  They wouldn't answer their phones.  We figured their phones were down or something.  So, we placed our order, and the pizza was going to be arriving soon.  After two and a half hours of rumbling bellies, we ordered pizza from the other pizza place in town, a local one.  We sat back waiting on it to arrive (remember, no car) when we finally heard a knock at the door.  Hello Pizza Hut.  I realize this doesn't mean a whole lot to y'all, but this is yet another illustration of how everything about this trip is a little bit off.  Apparently they were swamped on a Thursday night.  And when they get swamped, they stop answering their phones.  Nothing is going as planned, and nothing is going as expected.  But, that's okay.  Ya know why?  "I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future."  Jeremiah 29:11. He's got plans for us.  The Maker of the universe has plans for us.  And that's why everything is fine.  

Everything is okay.  

And if He wants to strand us in the middle of nowhere, break our truck and car, and bring our pizza 3 hours late, that's okay with me.  Cuz He's got plans.


Young Families Surprise

We're still stuck in the Motel 8 in Texas, so I figured I'd catch up on some older posts that have been neglected.  We'll start with this one.

A week before we left town, the young families at our church all got together to make fruit baskets for the widows and widowers.  The children were playing in the gym, listening to music and throwing basketballs with each other.  Little Miss Georgia came along with us, because the very next day was my graduation and she was in town to watch.  Ah, the life of a two year old.  :)

Here's Georgia and Carl, who she sometimes mistakenly refers to as "Marshall."  Not sure where she got that name, but she sometimes calls him Marshall and then laughs when we remind her that his name is Carl.

After making fruit baskets, the young families surprised us with a going away cake, and a bible for each of us with our names inscribed on the cover. How thoughtful! We will truly miss these people.

Here's some of our wonderful church family...

The next 5 pictures just about sums everyone up! :)
Kameron is taking the photos, so he is not pictured. Thank you, Kameron!

We gotta have a few goofy shots with this group, too!


Day 4: Texas

Phillippians 4:19 tells us that “And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.”

And let me tell you what: He has.  He has met our needs.  We are safe, warm, and without hunger in a hotel.  We are being taken care of.  Friends and family have warned us about what could happen, but we have someone bigger on our side than anyone or anything could interfere with.  "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.  If God is for us, who can be against us?"  Romans 8:28 and 31.

Before leaving, we were warned about many many things.  Roads to take, roads to avoid.  Towns to visit, places to steer clear from.  The list goes on.  

Another thing everyone warned us about, along this drive, was Texas.

"Texas is so long, it's going to take you days to get through it."
"Don't count your trip down by states or Texas will make you go insane."
"Texas is nothing but sand..."
And alas,
"Everything's bigger in Texas."

Let me say, most of those are true.
Texas IS extremely long, and it IS taking us days to get through it.
I'm NOT counting my trip down by states, because I was forwarned.
Texas IS very very sandy, there's a sandstorm outside right now, actually.  BUT, it's not all sand.  It's mountainy (is that a word?  It is now..), too.  It surprised me, also.... don't feel bad.
And it is true.
Everything IS bigger in Texas.
Even the unexpected delays.

Allow me to elaborate.  In the middle of NOWHERE, we heard a squeaking noise coming from the truck.  Something was happening.  It was eight o'clock, and pitch black outside.  We were on a lonely highway, bending and curving every which way.  Occasionally, a car would pass us.  We all sat silently, listening intently to hear the squeaking again.  Then, the "ABS" light came on.  The antilock brakes went out.  Not good when you're on a mountainy road.  We all prayed and kept our eyes peeled for a sign that told us where the nearest town was.

Meanwhile, Carl's phone ran out of it's service area.  We had no cell phones (recall yesterday when mine was thrown out the window?), and we were in the middle of nowhere, about to break down.

Finally, a sign was seen in the distance.  60 miles to Sheffield, Texas.  60 miles.  We looked at our fuel gauge and noticed it was now down to a quarter of a tank.  Without antilock brakes, we had to go extremely slow.  We travelled about 40 mph and finally made it to Sheffield in one piece.  We pulled off the road, and guess what.  There was not a town there.  This area might've been called Sheffield, but as far as we could tell at night, it was not a town, and there was not a soul around.  Not even a gas station.  We hopped back on the interstate, not feeling safe to stop.  We continued to pray and hoped we would make it to the next town.

After another 10 miles of slowly inching our way down the highway, we spotted a gas station.  At least we could refuel.  That took a lot of our nervousness away, so we refueled and kept going until we could get to a stop with a hotel.

Late that night, we arrived.  We were exhausted, our patience was thin, and we were all needing a tad bit more space from our adrenaline rush.  Once we got inside, Carl and I began the Budget phone calls.  I'm shamelessly using their name in these posts so that you know what you may or may not get into if you use their services in the future.  Anyway, after getting no where, we called it a night and pursued them the next morning.

A mechanic, who Budget is in contract with, was supposed to come help us.  It took hours upon hours for him to come, and several phone calls along the lines of, "I'm right around the corner."  He finally showed up and gave us news we were not at all expecting.  

You ready?   We knew the antilock brakes were no longer working, so it was no surprise when he confirmed it for us.  What was a surprise, however, was when he said these words: 
"The driver wheel is moments away from falling off.  You're lucky to be alive."
Ricky (the Budget mechanic) pointed out to Carl how the driver side wheel was just hanging there.  We were amazed.  We made it on a wheel that was about to fall off.  Wow, God is so good.  All of our family and friends have been praying for us to have a safe journey; my family and I thank each and every one of you for doing so.   

While Carl was with Ricky (the Budget mechanic), he walked around the car and noticed something looked odd on the towing mechanism tying our car to the truck.  Carl noticed it looked strange, but with being a computer guy and not a car guy, he confirmed his suspicions with Ricky.  Ricky said, "Wow, it's a good thing you didn't leave this parking lot.  You would've lost your car while driving down the road."  The ball had broken!  

Seriously, y'all.  I couldn't make this up if I tried.  

Keep in mind, in preparing for this trip, we decided to sell Carl's car.  The next morning, Carl was going to drive mine to work and it wouldn't start.  I remember when Carl came into the bedroom, and he told me in my sleepy state that my car was dead.  All I could do was laugh.  

This is straight out of a movie.  And if there's not a movie about it yet, there needs to be.  Any takers?

One thing after another has been going wrong.  It feels as though we're being tested on many days.  But you know what?  We're being taken care of.  God is taking care of us; He is looking out for us.  

"He lifted the needy out of their affliction and increased their families like flocks." Psalm 107:41


Day 3

We had just pulled out of the gas station in a small town in Texas, when I did something completely out of character.  I'm extremely careful and intent when I do things.  Not this time, of course.  

You ready for this?

I threw my phone out the window.  

Now, let me explain.  We were, as I mentioned, at a gas station.  While sitting in the truck, I cracked open the window.  It was the kind that you unlock and push open, like in an older van.  It opened just about 2 inches, but it was enough for Belle to stick her nose out and get some fresh air.  We had already walked, and I was just talking to my dad on the phone, so we sat there enjoying the slight breeze coming through the window.  As Carl climbed back into the truck, I said bye to my dad and prepared myself for the trip again.

I situated Belle's pillow so she's comfortable, then I buckled up.  As I leaned back in the seat, we were going about 40 miles per hour, and I set my phone on the same familiar ledge that I had been using for the past two days.  Except, this time, the ledge opened up to the pavement.  I watched my phone fly out of the window, and I shouted, "My phone flew out the window!"  It was a set of words I never thought I'd hear myself say.  I even laughed, as I said them.  Carl pulled the truck over, and since U-turns are no fun when hauling so much, I offered to hike down the road to where my phone flew out the window.

As I walked down the hill, with Belle in my arms, I just couldn't help but laugh.  I threw my phone out the window.  Seriously?  This trip was becoming humorous.  I kept hiking down the hill, noticing all sorts of plastic that had been run over by cars.  I kept questioning, "Is this my phone?"  And I stopped to carefully analyze a couple of run over electronics.  I kept going, and found my phone further down the road than expected.  

Truck drivers were honking and waving at me, and I just laughed.  Here I am in a nice sweater and suede jacket, carrying a white fluffy dog, examining trash on the side of the road.  

I found my phone, and although the screen was shattered and the battery door was missing, it still rang.  My husband was calling to help me find it.  I managed to answer it, and we talked briefly.  He was watching me from the top of the hill.  Back up the hill I began.  

On the side of the road, I found a deer skull.  I thought it was really interesting so I actually picked it up. I've been fascinated by bones since my last semester in college (woot woot) when I took a forensics course.  I was studying the skull while still carrying Belle, hiking up the hill.  Then I pictured what I must look like.

Now I was not only nicely dressed, walking on the side of the road carrying a white fluffy dog, but a dead animal's skull as well.  I threw it down and laughed at myself and how silly I must've looked.  Once I reached the top of the hill, I climbed back in the truck and washed my hands in the closest rest stop.  

On through Texas, we must go.  Wait till you see what Day 4 has in store.