Friday, July 31, 2009

Missing My Mother-in-Law

Unfortunately, I never knew her as my mother-in-law. I only knew her as Steven and Matt's mom, Mrs. Debbie.
In high school, we knew her as the mom who always brought lunch (something good) to Steven and Matt... and who was always at school early to pick them up.
I wish I had known her so much better. The most interaction I had with her was in the summer of 1999, at the airport right before Steven and I went on a school trip to France. She was really funny, though I don't remember everything she said. I just remember she made us laugh a lot.
It was during that trip that Steven and I finally became friends. He was no longer so "dorky", and I guess I was no longer so "scary".

A couple weeks after we returned from France, Debbie and her sister, Pat, were in a horrible car accident on their way home from visiting with their other sister.
Outside of Orangeburg, SC, a bucket fell off of a construction truck heading up I-26. The Honda behind the truck swerved to miss the bucket and lost control of the vehicle, colliding head-on with the van Debbie was driving. They didn't know it was coming.
In the Honda, the girl in the front seat was killed instantly. Her name was Amanda, and she and I had become friends the previous year during a weekend retreat. Her fiance, the guy driving the car, suffered some minor leg injuries but was able to walk away from the accident.
Aunt Pat's legs were severely injured, and she was eventually flown to MUSC in Charleston, while Mrs. Debbie was flown to Richland Memorial Hospital in Columbia. So, the two sisters were separated by a couple hundred miles, both hospitalized, in serious condition.

Mrs. Debbie's condition was critical. When the family arrived at the Columbia hospital, they were callously told by the surgeon, "I hope this isn't your relative because this person isn't going to live."
The following few days were filled with lots of doctors, lots of surgeries, and lots of hours spent in the waiting room. The family was only briefly allowed to visit Debbie, for short 15 minute periods of time every few hours. The waiting room became a second home and was filled to the brim with friends and family who came to support Debbie in her fight for life.
And, oh, was there PRAYER! Debbie's dad, Jesse Powers, has a lot of church connections in Columbia. One of the things the family remembers most from that time is all the people who visited and prayed with them. Every member of our family gained life-long lessons that week--about God, His will, and about prayer. Some have more understanding of it, and others have more questions. But without a doubt, that week of time was life-altering, in more ways than one.

On July 31st of that year, Mrs. Debbie was released from her earthly body. The effects from the accident would have been debilitating, and everyone who speaks of her knows she would not have wanted to live the life that would have been hers in that condition. And though God did not give her full physical healing, He called her home to be with Him. On that day 10 years ago, our family lost a precious jewel--and Heaven gained one.

I feel very sad that I don't know Mrs. Debbie as my mother-in-law. I feel very sad that Matt lost his mom when he was only 13. And I feel sad that the rest of the world lost such a beautiful person. A woman full of life, laughter and love for her Lord & family. From everything I know about her, she is the epitome of the woman I long to be.

Last week, as I was talking to the Lord about missing my mother-in-law and thinking of the grief and mourning of our family, I prayed aloud," God, 10 years! We miss her so much. That's just such a long time." His whisper to me was very clear,"It hasn't seemed long for us. For Me and Debbie, it has been just a moment."

May I continue to strive to be a woman like my mother-in-law, and may I continue to grow closer to the God who knows and loves us both. In the meantime, I'll continue to long for the day when we can all spend eternity with our Abba Father--where years will pass as moments in His holy presence!

A New Tyndall!

A couple weeks ago, my dad's side of the family was mostly together (a very special treat!) outside of Wilmington, NC, for our cousin James's wedding. He's the only boy on all of his sides of the family, so we're very excited to actually be adding a Tyndall name, instead of trading it in for a Posey or Flagler, or some other name.

Welcome to the family, Bailey!
We are so glad to have you in the family!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

So Excited!

This might not seem like such a huge deal to most of you, but I'm really excited about something!
Today is my last day on an 8-week run of the 7am-4pm shift. No more waking up before 6 am!
AND I'll be able to spend more time with Matt....
And I'll be able to get more than 4-5 hours of sleep every night.
Yay!
Today marked the end of our official training period. Our next step is called 'transition' where we will have classes half the day and take calls the other half. We will be in transition for 12 weeks. Eventually, I will be a certified wireless expert and like Verizon Wireless, never stop working for you! :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy One Year of Blogging!

We've now been at flaglers.blogspot.com for one year! Happy anniversary!

I have really loved blogging and having it as an outlet to process things, but I REALLY love it because it keeps me connected to people. I feel like there's a sense of community at times when I can read about what's going on in your lives... and when we give feedback on each others' blogs.

Though I love coffee dates and walks and phone dates much more, I'm thankful for this outlet to keep in touch with you, friend!

Here's to another year...

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Yard Sales: Love 'Em or Hate 'Em?

Last weekend, most of the Tyndall girls plus some friends did a multi-family yard sale at Mom's house. We missed the deadline for advertising in the paper, but we posted it on Craigslist and put up some major signage. We had a great amount of people come through, and the yard sale brought in a total of $750. Totally worth it.

But I did find myself wondering if it was worth it during the preparation time. You know, hours of sorting through things and figuring out whtat would sell. Hours and hours of labeling and pricing the individual items. Since it was multi-family, we had everything color-coded and priced so that we could keep track of everyone's individual profits.


And while we were at it, we went ahead and sorted all the clothes by sizes, then had the rest of the yard divided up into departments: linens, household, sporting goods, photo albums, wall decor, knick-knacks, furniture, etc.

It did my heart very good to hear so many remarks on how organized our yard sale was. We even had one person say that it was the most organized yard sale they'd ever been to. They might as well have given me a giant hug!

So, the hours and hours of prep, the very late night and very early morning, and the sorting and packing up afterwards: is it all worth it?

For me--yes! It is very good for my soul to get rid of stuff. Though I don't do it often enough, it's a very cleansing process. It might be awhile, but I'm already looking forward to the next one.

What do you think? Yard sales: love 'e or hate 'em?
That means comment, people! :)

Friday, July 10, 2009

Special Anniversary Date

We had planned to go downtown for a nice dinner for our anniversary, but the 'donation' to the SPCA and a surprise vet trip for Nala curtailed those plans. (Another good example of how we are trying to make wise decisions.) When I was stressing about the cost of a nice dinner out, Matt kept saying, "trust me...don't worry about it", but I wouldn't leave it alone. Finally, I figured out that someone was cooking dinner for us instead of going to a restaurant. I was more excited about this than going to a fancy restaurant anyway.

So, at the appointed time, we arrived at my Mom's house and went through the back gate to the back deck. It was beautifully decorated with white lights, candles, and flowers. The small table was set for two with nice linens, silver and my mom's fine china. It literally took my breath away.

Valerie put a lot of effort into making it a beautiful evening. She had made personalized menus, prepared a wonderful 6-course meal, and treated us like royalty. Though it started raining around Course 2, we were able to stay outside and enjoy it still because the outside umbrella kept most of the rain off us. Eventually it got too cold to stay out there, but we definitely enjoyed it while it lasted!

Thank you, Valerie, for all of your work to make our 2nd anniversary a very special celebration. We love you and are so thankful for you!Oh, and for those of you who are wondering, we did not do cards/gifts for each other this year, so there were no matching anniversary cards this year. :)

How Do We Know We Are Not Ready for Another Dog?

On Monday, Matt went to the SPCA to apply for a 2nd job. While there, he found this great dog that he fell for instantly. And the feeling was mutual. He sent me pictures with comments that said things like, "I love this dog." "Can we please get him?" Somehow, he left the SPCA without that dog. We talked at one point and I said that I was surprised he didn't bring the dog home and call it an anniversary present. He asked if I would be mad if he did, and I replied that I would not be mad because I would like to have another dog. And if he did it all on his own, I wouldn't feel responsible for the decision and could just enjoy the dog ...

He took that--and the fact that grandma gave him some money to get me an anniverary present--as a blessing and went to adopt the dog.
Nala and "Gaston" (like from beauty and the Beast) got along beautifully, and Matt had no problems bringing him home and settling him in. Matt then met me in Mount Pleasant for some internet time at a cafe and then for our Financial Peace class. A couple of times he mentioned how much he would like the dog, but he didn't elaborate... and he definitely did not give away that he had already adopted him!

After Financial Peace, as we drove home separately, I spent almost the entire drive thinking about whether or not we should get another dog. As much as we both want one and know that Nala would enjoy having a buddy, we are trying to make significant changes in our spending habits so that we can get out of debt. I decided that we should postpone getting another dog.

Then I got home and was standing in the kitchen. Matt went to let Nala out of the kennel... only two dogs came running into the kitchen intead of just one. Little Gaston was so sweet and fun, and I could tell instantly how much Nala loved having him. And oh, he is so cute! I was shocked, though, and when Matt said, "Happy Anniversary!", I was still trying to absorb that we now had two dogs.

We took them both for a walk around the new neighborhood. Talking and getting to know the new guy. We decided a better name for him would be "Pumba", in keeping with the Disney theme, of course--but it seemed to fit his lumbering gate better than "Gaston". We joked about how people would think we had an unhealthy obsession with The Lion King. We talked about everything we knew about him. He had all his shots. He was neutered. He did not bark. He was very friendly. (A friend of mine from Verizon volunteers at the SPCA and told me all about his personality when I showed her the pic that Matt had texted me earlier.) We can do this!, we thought. The extra expense won't really be that much. Our new place is big enough.

After getting them home, the two dogs were non-stop energy. The condo seemed to get smaller by the minute, and the 'dog aroma' that I don't mind usually, got stronger and stronger. His cuteness and energetic personality seemed a little 'too much' compared to Nala who can be very chill. And he wouldn't stop humping her. And he peed (which sounded something akin to a fire hydrant) in the house twice--and also pooed--in the space of about an hour. He's not quite trained, so when he leaps toward you, he lunges at your face... and it's slightly frightening.


But his face is so cute. And this was his first night. He would calm down. They wouldn't constantly be play-wrestling. They would calm down eventually. We could afford him.

After a good couple of hours of trying to convince ourselves, we finally got honest with each other about our concerns. We had a grown-up conversation and realized we probably did not need another dog. And after struggling with my feelings that our 'rejection' of him would ruin him forever, and lots and lots of tears, we decided he would go back to SPCA. He's so cute, and his personality is so wonderful that we know he will find another home. One that will be much better for him than we are.

So, how is it that we know we aren't ready for another dog?

We had one for about 24 hours. We're not ready yet.


And now that we know that, we will leave you with some pictures of cute Gaston/Pumba and Nala from their 'sleepover' night together.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Need some suggestions...

So, here at my new job (which I still love!), there are internet blocks in place that prevent me from checking email, getting on facebook, and other fun activities. Sad but understandable.

Since we are mostly in a classroom environment right now, I find myself in need of some online reading material. I CAN access my blog and other blogs on blogger and wordpress. And I've spent a lot of time on blogs of friends...and their friends. I even have some other friends from work sharing in my fun.

Here's my request: Blog often! AND leave commets when you do read posts...AND (most important right now), please leave me a comment with suggestions of other sites/blogs that I can visit. (thought I may not be able to get to it, I will try!)

Thanks!!!

P.S. I have some posts written but I'm waiting to be able to go somewhere with internet so that I can add pictures. There are a couple of fun recent updates to come!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

2 Years of Marriage!

Happy 2nd Anniversary to my wonderful husband!
I am so, so thankful that God has blessed us with marriage to each other. Every day is an opportunity to grow more in love with each other and with the God who created us for each other. I understand God's love much more as a result of being married to such an incredible man!

...And I could get a lot more mushy, but I'll spare y'all!

Here's hoping that the next 100 years will be as great as the first 2 ... !

Monday, July 6, 2009

Our Elephant Friends

Look what I found on the CNN homepage about our elephant friends in Bangkok...

We were warned about feeding the ones in the street and never did. I hope that the cruelty stuff is not all true, but I wouldn't be surprised.
From our understanding, several of the elephants that we saw at Maesa Elephant Camp (in this post) were formerly 'street' elephants but now lve more elephant-ish lifestyles at the camp.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

More Pictures from Condo Prep

The living room. Semi-complete. I LOVE the fireplace (not that we really need one in Charleston-- but hey!). And the couches are awesome... they came from the Diamond Blvd house, and we are very excited to have them! Eventually, we'll replace those ugly blinds with curtains.

I really had issues with these glass doors in the bathroom, so we removed them. The fixture was replaced with the chrome curved shower rod and a flowy curtain. Much more cozy to me.

The finished bathroom. (It's pretty small).

Proof that Steven helped. :)

Nala and Daisy tried to stay involved, but they got too tired eventually.

Nala thinks she was working really hard, so she rested when we did.
She loves the green couches too.

Ginger and Miss Daisy had an instant love for each other!

We are still unpacking and finding places for all our stuff. Hopefully I'll be able to share the 'after' pictures with you soon. :)