Friday, May 22, 2015

Seattle

This is Seattle, one of my Chinese friends from last summer.  We have stayed in some contact on WeChat; she even Face-Timed me one time.  She loves being in contact with an American, and has told me I am "like her mum."  She is a neurologist in the city where our son is working; however, she would like to move to another city that is on the coast.

I was able to include a present for her in a box to Andrew, and she is wearing the scarf that was in it.  I also sent socks made in America.  Also included - a small book on Christian apologetics.  In English.  I pray that it affects her heart.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Be Completely Truthful

Yesterday Mike stumbled across a listing for a beach house at an island we've never been to.  The photos showed a great beach view, and the price was a possibility for us.  Since we've got a big anniversary coming up this summer, and the home is available one of the weeks of his vacation, Mike emailed the man with one specific question:  Is there a clear view of the beach from the porch?  The man emailed back with the answer:  Yes, there is a good view of the beach from the porch.  Slightly different wording.

We were able to use Google maps to find the place and view a satellite view of it, as well as the street view.  (Amazing what you can do with technology these days.)  Bottom line:  It does not have a clear view of the ocean, nor is it at all an oceanfront lot.  Yes, it's a beautiful home, and on a nice beach, but it is back across a street from the beach, and the ocean view is at an angle to the left.  There are houses directly across the street from the home's porch.  The view was obstructed.

I talked with the man when he called, and he danced all around the question.  He kept wanting to describe the other nice features of the place - It was at the end of the island, not much traffic, large lots, great area.  He never would really say right out that the view was obstructed by another house, although he did finally admit that there was a house directly across the street from his house that we were looking at, blocking the view of the ocean.

We decided against it.  I told Mike that if he had just come right out and said "The beach view is at an angle to the left," we might have been more amenable to renting it even without the view we'd like.  But we did not feel like we were dealing with an entirely honest man - just with a man who eagerly wanted to rent his house out.


Friday, May 1, 2015

Not the Greatest of Pictures, but. . . .

. . .at least you can tell that the Rose-Breasted Grosbeak truly was at our feeders!!  Mike saw a female this morning, a male this afternoon, and this one was feeding when I drove up this afternoon.  Couldn't get really close, but it turned enough that I could snap a pic with its rose colored breast showing.

I realize that not everyone likes birds so much, and I promise after this post to quit regaling the readers of this blog with photos and excitement about this bird!

EDIT Saturday morning:  One more picture!

Friday's Fave Five 5/1/15

LINK to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. A fresh haircut and then supper with my dear friend Gretchen last night.  Always a special treat to spend time with her!  We've been friends for 30+ years.  You don't get many sweet relationships like that in life.

2. I put together the information for a field trip and passed it out to my sophomores this morning.  And they were ecstatic!  We're going to the Biltmore House in ten days.  You never know how students are going to receive the information, but they thought it was great.

3. Had a nice 20-minute phone conversation on Tuesday night with a former student from many years ago who is now a school administrator in Guam.  It's so fun to see how these little junior highers I taught so long ago have grown up and are doing so well in their adult years.

4. Made a broccoli cornbread this week.  I had forgotten how good that is!

5. I wrote earlier this week about seeing this beautiful rose-breasted grosbeak at our feeder.  We've now had four sightings of it, and five other people in this part of the state have told me they've seen one also.  They are strictly migrants through the state, but apparently we are having quite an influx this year.  Such a beautiful bird!!

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

A Gift

Sometimes God drops a little present in your lap.

We have been preoccupied with a situation for some months now, the kind that can wear a person down.  No details here.  But yesterday afternoon my heart was heavy about the whole thing.

I had read on Monday of a rose-breasted grosbeak at a friend's feeder in a town 35 miles away.  (They migrate through, but do not nest, in this area.)  Then a local friend posted on Facebook that she had seen one at her sunflower seed feeder on Lake Hartwell yesterday morning.  Another friend, who lives just a few miles from here, had commented - just five minutes before I read it - that he had just seen one also, on the ground below his suet feeder!!  Apparently there is an active migration pattern right now.

Rose-Breasted Grosbeak - Not my picture;
pulled from the thousands on the internet.
I kept an eye on my feeder for two hours.  Mike came home from work; he understood my desire but thought it a bit futile to watch the feeder like that.  I made supper and washed the dishes, all the time glancing out at our little feeder station.

While working at the table half an hour later, I just happened to glance up, and there it was, on the sunflower seed feeder.  Unbelievable.  I called to Mike - he came and was equally taken with it.  It ate sunflower seeds for about five minutes then flew off.  (Another one was at the feeder this morning, when I checked, right before leaving for school.)

Mike's words:  "God just wanted you to see that bird."  It's been on my "to-see" list for over 20 years now.  Non-birding people probably think this is crazy, but I am still floating about it.  It was a wonderful little gift, much appreciated.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Recital

This morning I went to the music recital at our school, and went away blessed. Seeing the job that the music teachers have done with those children absolutely touches my heart. One young autistic girl, who is doing so well, sang "Here am I, Lord."  There were damp eyes all over the cafetorium. 

Such a successful recital took a lot of hard work on their part as well as the students'. And they think outside the box - for example, teaching a couple of young men to lead congregational singing, and teaching the students to accompany each other's vocal pieces. Great training!!  It is a privilege to be associated with our school!

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Spring

Everybody loves spring.  Everybody talks about how it's so nice to be done with winter, and see the flowers, and get outside again.

I don't like spring.   Spring means we are heading into the hot summer.

Pastels are not my colors AT ALL.  Fall and winter colors are great.  The oranges of fall, and the bright Christmas colors - Even stark January and February landscapes (especially when red cardinals are present) are beautiful.  

The thin smells of wisteria and other spring flowers announce the pollen season, which means yellow powder is everywhere.  But the smells of autumn, Christmas, and winter are invigorating.

I feel better in cold weather.  In the spring, though the pollen doesn't cause congestion problems, I truly believe that it affects my autoimmune system.

Most people seem to disagree.  That's fine.  But fall and winter are better!  


Friday, April 3, 2015

Friday's Fave Five 4/3/15

Link to Friday's Fave Five host blog

1. Family and dear friends from Alabama came last weekend to celebrate my mom's birthday. It was a big couple of days and very nice.  Here is a family picture with my folks and their four children.

2. During the visits last weekend, we got to reminiscing about the days when we were all growing up together in Alabama.  We laughed and laughed, remembering old times and some of the funny things that went on.  Good for the soul.

3. SPRING BREAK this week!  The week of spring break always flies.  All of a sudden - it's Friday.  But I got a lot done, especially yesterday.  Closet cleaning, project completing, selling on eBay, and much more--as well as this episode of mailing a box to my son in China.  It's very nice to be out from under the weight of school responsibilities for a few days.

4. I finished sewing a fleece blanket yesterday.  The fabric has been on my closet floor for probably five months.  I'm staying warm under it right now.  :-)  However, it's made with grey, garnet, and black fleece to celebrate my husband's beloved USC Gamecocks.  And they got trounced last night in their baseball game, so badly that he turned off the TV in the fourth inning and went to bed.  So maybe I should turn it over and just look at the plain gray side this morning!!

5. It's been so nice to have time to rest and sleep in this week.  I needed it badly.  Next week - back to the salt mines!

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Mailing To China

Well, son, it's a good thing I love you, after spending almost two hours of precious spring vacation time and an outrageous amount of money to mail a package to you in China.  :-)

It is unbelievable how much time it took to fill out the customs forms.  The first lady said - Oh, this won't do - you've got to list each clothing item individually, and each bottle of nonprescription meds individually, etc., etc.  For this box, that meant the meds for him and for another person, knit hats, a man's suit, scarves, socks, and little girls' outfits.

The socks were the ONLY thing I could find that was made in America, to send to three ladies that I met last summer.  The other items for their gifts were made elsewhere, but you can only do as much as you can do.  The hats were knitted by the sewing group who made them especially for Chinese believers.

It took me three forms to complete the required listing (you can only list four items on each form), and each form had to have the complete addresses of both sender and recipient written out.  In triplicate.  Those Chinese addresses, even when transliterated into English words, are long.  And involved.  I have no idea if the forms were correct at the end, but figure that once the box gets to China, they'll use the Chinese characters that are also on the label I printed out.

Then, after getting it all done, a different lady helped me.  She took one look at all I had written out and said "Oh, you didn't have to do all that.  All you had to do was write "New clothing items."  Aargh!!!

Anyway, the forms are filled out, the box is gone, and my debit account is lighter.  I love you, son!!

Friday, March 27, 2015

"The Tale of Samuel Whiskers"



My kiddos did a good job last Friday at our Fine Arts Competition.  I was really proud of them.  We did a Reader's Theater adaptation of "The Tale of Samuel Whiskers, or, The Roly-Poly Pudding" by Beatrix Potter.  The boy in the back played Samuel Whiskers, and he was especially good playing the part of a stuffy old rat - and the other boy did a good job playing a scared little kitten all tied up in knots.  The girls did well too.  We took second place - and the other junior high speech group from our school took first!  It's not too bad to take second to another group from your school.

For several of these students, this was their first opportunity to participate in a speech project.  I saw once again how good it is for young people to learn to develop confidence from being on a stage.

We had a long but good day.  Overall our school did well.