Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Painting and Getting It Ready

Last Thursday around noon, Matt signed the papers to rent a condo. Work began pretty much immediately! Matt and Valerie worked all day cleaning up the place. That evening, we picked out paint and started the painting process.

Over the next couple of days, we had a lot of helpers with taking down borders, cleaning off wallpaper glue (Ugh!), spackling, taping, and painting. It really was a lot of fun since we had so much help.

Friday night, we stayed at the condo until almost 4 am finishing up the painting... Thank you so much Valerie and Ginger!
The cleaning/painting helper all-star award is definitely Valerie's. She put in the most hours, and worked her hands to the bone to get those old borders off... AND cleaned the place 'til it shined!

Saturday, the real fun began with moving stuff in. We still had some painting to finish, but we started moving in our stuff that morning. Uncle Gary helped us get the couches from Mom and Dan.

Aunt Pat pretty much did all of the cabinet lining and unpacking of the kitchen single-handedly. Mom came over with groceries, flowers, and helping hands. She took care of the pantry and lining the bathroom cabinets. Steven shuttled everyone around town and helped with errands. Valerie, once again, put in a lot of time painting as well as doing a suburban-load of boxes and kitchen stuff that had been in storage. Laura come in the evening and helped with the last of the painting, sorting and some unpacking. Mark and Stephani came back into town in the evening and helped a lot with sorting things.
Sunday was busy with more moving of actual stuff, including the bedroom suite. Mark, Steph, Steven, Matt and I got all the other stuff moved over, had lunch at Grandma's... and Mom did lots of cleaning and sorting. It was a lot of hard work... with a little fun mixed in! Seriously, I don't think we would have made it without all the help we got from our wonderful family and friends. Thanks everyone!

Friday, June 26, 2009

Found a Place to Live!

... and the moving process begins... TODAY!

More later. :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Father's Day

My Dad,
Photo taken 1997?

My Other Dad,
Photo taken around 1986

Father's Day this year was filled with many mixed emotions. Missing my Dad. Missing both of my grandfathers. But also thankful to have such a wonderful husband, who I know will be a wonderful father someday (in a couple of years!). And thankful for my father-in-law, grandfathers-in-law, and my new step-father.

Whew, lots of men to think about on Father's Day! We had a nice family lunch at the Powers' house, then Matt headed to work, and I headed to hang out with the Tyndall fam. We took Dan out to a new steak restaurant in Mount Pleasant, which we all enjoyed.

Happy Father's Day to all of you special men in my life!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

past and present

I've been thinking a lot about where I am and learning to be content in the present. There are so many things about my past that I want to forget but also so many things that I miss and want to remember. There are also so many things that I look forward to in the future, but I don't want to be so focused on them that I fail to enjoy the present.

It seems to be one of the main things that God is teaching me. There are several Scriptures that speak to the hope of the future--and forgetting the past of our former sinful selves before Christ. Some examples: Philippians 3:12-13, Isaiah 43:18. Then there are those Scriptures that speak to remembering the past and the great things that God has done! Some examples: Isaiah 46:9, Genesis 9:16, I Chronicles 16:12. May God continue to lead me in appreciating both. The picture on the header of this blog is of the old and new Cooper River bridges in the Charleston harbor. The old bridge used to cross the river; both were there for a time, and now only the new bridge crosses the river. This picture reminds me of the 'old/new' concept and how they are interrelated.

I've been coming across some old emails and updates that I sent out from various places in the world. They are stories worth telling, so I think I'm going to be starting a 'Flashback' section of this blog, telling stories from the past.

For now, I'm living in the present. Thankful for a relaxing evening and the quietness of heart that comes after some serious repentance. God is good!

Pretty Intrigued by this Book...

I haven't been reading too much lately, but this turns me slightly green with envy: My friend Zack got a book in the mail for free that he gets to review on his blog. Check it out here. And doesn't the title of the book intrigue you?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Flower Faux-Pas!

Background: A guy in my training class and his wife had a baby yesterday. Today, we got together some money for flowers to send to them at the hospital, to welcome the new baby girl. Around 2:00 this afternoon, the florist had just delivered a big bouquet of flowers with a balloon that said something about welcoming the baby. Matt was thoroughly confused but thinking in the back of his head that this was my way of telling him that we were pregnant. Grandma was here to take Matt to work, and I' sure she was very confused too. She then noticed that the card was addressed to me, so she said, 'Is Tricia pregnant?!?'.

Today at 2:03 p.m., I received a text message from Matt saying 'Do you have something you need to tell me?' I had no idea what he was talking about, so I stepped out to call him. The phone call was pretty hilarious because I knew that the florist had just made a mistake, but he still had no idea. Poor guy. Funny story!

From Campus Crusade's Website

This is an excerpt from an email that I received from Campus Crusade today. Great perspective.

Campus Crusade's correspondence centers serving the Middle East, North Africa and surrounding nations have received more than 6.2 million contacts over the past year from people seeking Bibles, books about Christ and answers to specific questions about Him. That's 17,000 requests every day from people who hunger to learn more about Jesus.

To view the whole letter, click here. And there's a video here. (Sorry I couldn't figure out how to put it in here.

Kinda helps put things in perspective for me.

Let's pray and give and go! :) Feel free to ask me if you would like more information.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Frustration turned Funny

So, yeah, we've been looking for a place to live for awhile now. We have two things going against us: the fact that we want a decent place for not-a-lot-of-money, and the fact that we have a Nala.
After we've pre-screened a place that we think we can afford, the phone call goes something like this.

Me: "Hi, my husband and I are interested in renting an apartment/house/duplex/townhouse that we see you have for rent. Can you tell me what the current rent rate is and what the security deposit is?"
Renter: "Sure..."

If the prices seem doable and reasonable, I then take a deep breath and say: "And what kind of pet policy do you have?"
So far, this has gone one of two ways.
Renter: "We don't allow pets" or "We don't allow dogs" or "We allow small, non-aggressive dogs."

Today, after many, many of these calls, my conversation ended kinda differently than it has in the past.

Renter: "We allow small, non-aggressive dogs."
Me: "What do you consider small?"
Renter: "Under 50 pounds"
Me: "Oh, ok, sad."
Renter (seems like she would consider still): "Well, what kind of dog do you have?"
Me: "Well, she's a really sweet, submissive mix."
Renter: "What kind of mix?" (probably realizing that since I didn't say, I know it's one they wouldn't allow)

Me: "Well, she's got great dane and boxer mainly... and ... pitt bull." (I really can't lie!)
Renter: "Well, yeah, sorry, we can't allow that type of dog, since it has pitt."
Me: "That's ridiculous! That's RACIAL PROFILING!"
Renter: "uh, hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha"
Me (after realizing how retarded I just sounded): "hahahahahahahahahahahahaha... sorry, hahahahahah, it's just kinda frustrating. She really is a nice dog. hahahahahahahahahahaha Oh well, have a nice day."

I hadn't laughed that hard in a long time, and it felt so good. Even if it is still frustrating, I can't believe I said something so ridiculous.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Grandma's Obituary

Elizabeth "Libb" B. Jones
SPARTANBURG, SC-- Rosa Elizabeth Bridgeman Jones, 84, of 104 Dillon Drive, formerly of Fernwood-Glendale Road, died Wednesday, June 10, 2009, at the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home. Born May 1, 1925, in Spartanburg, SC, she was the daughter of the late Boyd Harmon and Vera Viola Veal Bridgeman and the wife of the late Charles Andrew Jones. A graduate of Anderson Junior College and Furman University, she was the retired postmaster at Glendale, also served as postmaster at Whitney, and worked at the Spartanburg Post Office, having more than 40 years of service. She was formerly employed at the S.C. Shirt Factory and S.C. Mills. She was a longtime member of Fernwood Baptist Church, and a member of the Pilot Club of Spartanburg, the National League of Postmasters, and the National Association of Postmasters. For many years she was the Editor of the League magazine, "The Sandlapper".
Survivors include a daughter, Elizabeth Jones Tyndall of Mt. Pleasant; two sons, Charles William Jones and his wife Elizabeth, and Mark Rocky Jones, all of Spartanburg; five grandchildren, Charlotte Elizabeth Jones, Erika Caroline Jones, Patricia Tyndall Flagler, Valerie Elaine Tyndall, and Laura Katherine Tyndall; and numerous nieces, nephews, great-nieces, and great-nephews. She was predeceased by a son-in-law, Capt. Clarence Carter Tyndall (USAF); and three brothers, William Boyd Bridgeman, Clyde Earl Bridgeman, and James Lancaster Bridgeman.
Graveside services will be held at 11:30 a.m. Saturday, June 13, 2009, at Greenlawn Memorial Gardens conducted by the Rev. Stuart Jones. The family will receive friends following the service at the graveside.
Memorials may be made to Fernwood Baptist Church, 200 Fernwood Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29307; or to the Spartanburg Regional Hospice Home, 686 Jeff Davis Drive, Spartanburg, SC 29303.
The family extends a special thank you to the staff of Spring Arbor for the love and care given their mother.
An online guest register is available at www.floydmortuary.com.
Floyd's North Church Street Chapel

(Title of blog is link to the original post.)

Favorite Grandma Jones Pictures

Thought these pictures accurately portrayed the silly, fun, fireball of a person that our Grandma was. If you knew Grandma, you know how much she loved taking pictures. I'm pretty sure that Kodak disposable cameras and the Wal-Mart photo lab will definitely notice a marked decrease in their sales. I promised her I would carry on her tradition of capturing memories with pictures and stories. Here's a taste of who she was:

This picture was taken a few weeks ago. Grandma grabbed my hand and started taking my ring off my finger. I took it off and gave it to her, and she immediately put it on her own hand and flaunted it around for the next hour or so. Mom told me that she was going through a stage of really liking shiny things. This is just one small example of her silliness and her talent for being herself. Don't know many other people who would do something like that without thinking twice about it. She felt no shame in being who she was. So cute!

This picture cracks me up. Grandma has lived in an assisted living home for the past 6 or so years. I'm sure she kept everyone entertained. This picture was taken a couple of weekends ago when Mom took Daisy up to visit with Grandma. Grandma put Daisy on her walker and walked all around the assisted living home introducing people to her great-grand-dog, Daisy.

This is by far my favorite. Grandma liked to be 'free' and often didn't wear bras. Well, one Christmas (I think 2006), she came down to Charleston for a week or so but hadn't brought a brazier with her. Valerie and I marched her down to Victoria's Secret (while Laura was working) to get her a bra. This is the one she picked out. A red, satin, push-up bra. She was 80 years old! And not only did she buy the bra and wear it, but she enjoyed showing it to all of our friends and family who were gathered at our house for a Christmas party--the whole thing! No shame, Grandma. I will certainly never forget that Christmas and might just go out and buy a red satin bra in honor of my beautiful, unique, incredible grandmother.

Grandma Jones: May 1, 1925 -- June 10, 2009

Grandma Jones passed away today, which is a very mixed blessing. She had been in a lot of pain and very uncomfortable and anxious for awhile. Last Wednesday, she had a major heart attack which affected the rest of her body's functioning as well. Doctors called the family in last Wednesday expecting her not to make it through that day. This past week, she was in hospice care which kept her comfortable while honoring the stipulations of her living will.

Lots of family and friends were able to visit with her and say goodbye. I had about 30 hours with her which seems so short now that I know it was the last time I'll ever had with her. The time was good though, and I'm so thankful that we were able to say goodbye and love on her during her last days. All three of her children have been in Spartanburg with her during her last days, which I know was very special to her. Also, all five of her granddaughters were together (for the first time in a very long while!) this past Sunday while we spent time loving on her in her hospice room.

The very sad part is that she's really gone now. No more silly Grandma time.
When I stayed with her this past Saturday night, I was journaling my feelings. I felt selfish for wanting to have more time with her and selfish for wanting God to call her home so that she would no longer suffer. His timing is perfect though, and for whatever reason, he took her today, very peacefully.

The reality of losing her hasn't hit completely yet. At this point, I find myself looking forward to hearing lots of good stories about her life and having time with family and friends who will be gathered to celebrate her life. I'm sure I'll write more later.

We'll miss you, Grandma Jones!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Figured out what I'm doing with my Wedding Dress

I love the dress, but I'm not gonna wear it again. I want someone else to love it for their special day too. I haven't put it on ebay because it seemed too impersonal. I thought about consigning it, but that didn't seem to fit either.

Found the perfect solution:

It's an organization that gives bridal gowns to breast cancer patients OR sells the dresses at special events where all the proceeds go towards the Making Memories Foundation. This seems like the perfect fit for me!

Here's some information about the program, taken from this website:
  • "Brides Against Breast CancerTM"
    Giving brides-to-be, an opportunity to find the wedding gown of their dreams (at an incredible savings) while making wishes and dreams come true.
    Donate your wedding gown
If you have your wedding gown hanging around, please consider donating yours too.

First full week of training down!

Photo borrowed from here
Hey guys, Sorry for the long absence. I've been trying to get used to my new schedule.

Here's a condensed version of this past week:
Sunday 11:00 pm--picked up Matt from work, got home, went to bed around 12:30 am

Monday: Up at 5:30 (read--5 hours of sleep), at work by 7:00 am
Hours of 'meet & greet' with our trainers for our New Hire Training and the rest of the class
Left work at 4:00 pm
Got home and took a 30 minute nap.
Got to Financial Peace class at 6:15
left at 8:00 before the discussion because we were starving
Dinner at Wendy's where we discussed what we learned
Home at 9:00, watched some tv, Slept at 11:30

Tuesday: Up at 5:30 (read--6 hours of sleep), at work by 7:00 am
Hours and hours of training for a very cool job that I'm very excited about
Left at 4:00, headed home
Took Nala to the dog park where there was a divine appointment
Picked Matt up from work at 11:00
Home and asleep around midnight

Wednesday: Up at 5:45 (read--less than 6 hours of sleep), at work by 7:00 am
Hours and hours of training... information overload
Lunch date at Chick-fil-A with Cindy and baby Lilly
Got news that Grandma Jones was not expected to live during the day
Left work at 4
Met Laura and Keto at the dog park near her house. A girl from my training class was there.
Went to dinner with Laura and her roommate.
Said goodbye to my grandma over the phone.
Drove around because I didn't have time to go home before I picked up Matt.
Picked up Matt at 11
Home and in Bed around 12:30
Thursday: Up at 5:45 (read--a little over 5 hours of sleep)
Matt dropped me off at 7:00 so he could have the car for the day.
Hours and Hours of training and watching my phone for news about Grandma.
Matt picked me up at 4, and we went to the doctor for a checkup. Change of meds.
Got doctor's approval to join the gym. (I have mixed feelings about this for obvious reasons.)
Dropped by Dad and Gail's for family dinner.
Drove around with Steven looking for cars.
Hung out with Ginger at her place for a couple of hours.
Worked on more of the budget (we'd REALLY like another car and a place to live)
Went to bed around 12:30.

Friday: Up at 4:08 am because Nala freaked out in her kennel, back to sleep around 5
Up at 6:06 (read--4.5 hours of interrupted sleep)
Ran out the door in order to make it to work by 7:00
Lots of training
Lunch date with Ginger
Phone calls about money and budget issues during breaks
Left work at 4:00 but a wreck meant not getting home until after 5

This really isn't too much at all as far as busy-ness, but all of these new things and lots of new people on 4-6 hours of sleep every night has me worn down. Lots of my down time is spent thinking on things like Grandma, other family stuff, bills, and all the things that I wish I could be doing differently. Plus, trying to absorb everything that I'm learning in training--which includes getting used to working for Corporate America. And hardly ever seeing my husband, who is very much my rock.

Some of my favorite moments of the week have been first thing in the morning when I'm driving to work as the sun is coming up over all the marshes that I pass. It's truly breathtaking, and God has been good to remind me of His steadfastness. It's then that there is joy in my heart and a reminder that this is just a season.

Lord willing: One day we'll be more on our feet financially. One day we'll have more of a similar schedule and be able to spend more time together. One day we'll have more than one car and a place of our own to live and make our 'home'. One day Grandma will no longer be suffering. One day Valerie will catch a break. One day I will be more in shape. One day we'll have children of our own... and on and on. Lord willing. Until then, we'll keep walking with Him, trying to make wise decisions, and trusting that He knows the beginning and the end and exactly how we fit into His plan of it all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Financial Peace

Have I mentioned that Matt and I are doing Financial Peace University by Dave Ramsey?

Well, it 'just so happened' that Brent and Jenny Walsh, some friends of Matt's from CIU, moved to Mount Pleasant while we were in Thailand. They invited us to join them for FPU which 'just so happened' to start right when we got back. Here's the outline of what we're learning:

Super Saving
In this lesson, Dave explains the Seven Baby Steps that will guide you throughout FPU. You will also learn the three key reasons why you should save money—and why you must start now!

Relating With Money
This lesson will teach spouses how to communicate and work together toward success. Also, singles will learn the importance of teamwork and parents will find out how to teach their kids about money.

Cash Flow Planning
Unlock the secret of developing a monthly spending plan that really works.
Dumping Debt
It’s time to debunk the myths that most people believe about debt! In this lesson, Dave Ramsey reveals the truth about the credit lies and gives you a plan for walking out of debt with confidence.
Credit Sharks in Suits
What is a credit score, anyway? Join Dave as he unpacks your credit rating and shows you how to handle collectors when they call.
Buyer Beware
Dave Ramsey draws on decades of experience to reveal the power and influence that marketing has on your everyday buying decisions. Let the buyer beware!
Clause and Effect
In this lesson, Dave walks you through the world of insurance, carefully explaining what you need—and what you need to avoid.
That's Not Good Enough!
Discover the seldom-used secrets of buying only big, big bargains—every time! Before you know it, you’ll be saying “That’s not good enough!”
Of Mice and Mutual Funds
Dave breaks through the jargon surrounding long-term investing and empowers you to make your own decisions about your investments!
From Fruition to Tuition
Dave walks you through the maze of retirement options and helps you figure out the right path for you. You will also learn how to plan for college so your kids can graduate debt free!
Working in Your Strengths
This lesson will show you how to avoid dead-end or mind-numbing jobs and provide tips for job hunting, writing a résumé, and acing an interview. Plus, you’ll learn tips for finding extra jobs if you need cash to attack your debt snowball.

Real Estate and Mortgages
Dave draws on over 20 years of real estate experience to teach you how to win when buying or selling your home. Plus, he’ll dissect all of the common mortgage options available today, showing you what to choose—and what to avoid.

The Great Misunderstanding
Warning! This lesson will challenge the way you think about money. Dave will show you how generous giving can completely revolutionize your attitude and improve your finances, business and relationships.

So far, we are REALLY struggling to be able to apply this program, but we're committed to being serious about this. Pray for us, as we surely have lots to learn and lots of new things to put into practice.