Saturday, July 21, 2007

Camp Adventures!

This week, I was at camp... I spent the week with 35 5th & 6th graders at Aldersgate Camp in Ravenna, KY. I was a counselor at one of Aldersgate's Elementary camps this week. All in all a good experience... good kids, good times, and lots of movement by a good God. However, here are some of the less-than-wonderful experiences I had this week at camp:

- There was a skunk in the bathhouse on the first night. He didn't spray, but he was roaming around in there, which of course freaked the kids out. We had to postpone shower time until maintenance could come and chase the skunk away.

- The dean of the elementary camp, John, killed a Copperhead snake on the first night of camp, on the walkway in front of our cabins. It was an agressive snake that chased John down the road and showed its fangs to him. As soon as it did that and John saw venom drip from his teeth, he really had no choice but to kill it. He did the job with a big stick.

- There was a (non-poisonous) snake actually IN one of the other girls' cabins one day. It wasn't in MY cabin, but it made me paranoid that there soon would be a snake in my bed.

- In the other girls cabin, there was a mouse.

- We had a giant spider in our cabin one night. Not a huge deal, but it certainly freaked me out, because it really was big-- and I don't know my spider classifications. How was I to know if it was harmless or not?

- One Wednesday, we saw 5 helicopters flying overhead. Turns out, they were trying to locate a black bear that was on the loose in the area.

- There were 2 skunks that approached our campfire on Thursday night. It pretty much ruined worship, because the mood was totally killed by the screaming kids.

- There was some pretty severe weather on Thursday night. I didn't feel incredibly safe in our little wooden cabin.

One of these days, once I have recovered, I'll have to tell tales of the GOOD times I had at camp. :) Stay tuned.


Wednesday, July 11, 2007

How much is your dog worth?

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Growing up, we were never a "dog family". We had a dog once, when I was a young child. Her name was Snoopy and she was really my brother's dog. One morning when I was about 5, we went outside to feed her, and she had died. I can still see my brother crying and saying, "Snoopy, don't go. Don't leave us." It was pretty sad.

We didn't get another dog until I was about 14, when my little sister, on her 5th birthday, got a dog and named him Max. Now, as anybody knows, a 5 year old isn't going to be the best owner for a dog. Poor Max never got any attention. Max was a sheltie and was quite beautiful, but as beautiful as he was, he was often ignored. Finally, for the good of the dog, we sent Max to live out in the country at the home of some family friends. About 2 years later, in a tragic accident, Max was run over by the Postman and died.

Billy on the other hand, had a dog while he was growing up. His name was Chestnut and was a gift to Billy on his 6th birthday. Chestnut was as much a part of the family as any outside dog could be. About a week after Billy left for college, Chestnut died. Probably of a broken heart.

All through college, while Billy and I were dating, Billy often dreamed about getting another dog. He LOVES dogs, and I remember how sad he was when he had found the perfect dog in college, but realized he couldn't keep her afterall. He had named her Harley because of his fascination with Harley-Davidson motorcycles.

Enter Riley. Billy and I got married in January of 2004, and about 6 months later, we adopted our sweet Riley. It was really Billy's idea and I decided to go along with it. When we adopted our dog from the East Lake Pet Orphanage, a no-kill shelter in Dallas, her name was Athena. We very quickly changed her name to Riley because that name just sort of seemed to fit her and it seemed to fit us. Over the years, I have grown to love Riley more than I ever thought I could love any animal. And to watch the way Billy loves this dog... well, it's quite amazing. Riley has truly become a part of our little family. And so now, I can confidently call ourselves a "dog family". We are "dog people". I never thought I would be, but well... here I am. Riley's mom. I find myself talking about her and bragging about our 'angel dog' all of the time. Call me crazy.

So. Riley. She's a part of the family... but how part of the family should she be? You see, we've just found out that Riley needs surgery. She's got a torn ACL that needs to be repaired. She limps a little, but otherwise seems fine. She doesn't cry about it much, unless she's playing really hard. As you can imagine, surgery to repair a torn ACL isn't an inexpensive ordeal. No, it's quite expensive, and so the question I ask, "How much is this dog worth?" I keep struggling because I often think, "Okay, she's just a dog." But to me, REALLY, she's not "just a dog". She's Riley. She's ours. But isn't it a little crazy to go to the same lengths for Riley that I might go for an actual child? What are your thoughts?

Just so you know, we're having the surgery. To us, she's worth it. Yes, she could live the rest of her life without the surgery and probably be fine. She'd be fine, but not great. She'd limp, and she'd hurt, but she'd live. However, Riley is only 3 years old. And she's a herding dog. Running and agility is sort of her "thing". If she were older, then we might consider doing without the surgery, but at this point in her life, it seems unfair not to do it.

I don't know. What is a dog really worth to you? Some people laugh when I tell them she's having surgery and say, "It's just a dog." Others say, "Oh, we would do it, too." And others say, "Well, we sort of have a price limit of what we would spend on any one procedure."

Thoughts? I'll leave you with a picture of Riley eating her Frosty Paws ice cream. That might help you formulate your thoughts. Ha!!

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Saturday, July 7, 2007

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... The "magical fruit"? Or FANTASTIC game?? Oh, I think you know the answer to that. Tonight, we learned how to play the game, Beans. There are stinky beans (he's even eating a polka-dotted sausage and is covered in slime), garden beans, chili beans, blue beans, red beans, green beans (he's green because he's about to hurl), and my personal favorite, the soy bean-- complete with a peace-sign and hippie attire. Beans is perhaps my new favorite game, compliments of Scott & Carissa. The game is a little to complex to explain in a blog, but trust me. It's fun. Any other Bean lovers out there?

The past few days have been nothing but high-quality, as our friend Jason would say. Oh, speaking of Jason, he and his fabulous wife Dana are large in part the reason that these past few days have been so high-quality. Here are the highlights:

- Wednesday, the Wilmore KY 4th of July Celebration. The festivities began with a parade, complete with the famous lawnmower brigade and super-soaker brigade. If you don't know Jason & Dana (and boy, is your life incomplete without knowing them!), they are our friends who just recently moved a couple of hours away to Bowling Green, KY. Jason is the former youth pastor at our church, and that's how we all met. Jason and Dana made it to the last 2 minutes of the parade, which is hilarious because they haven't seen an entire Wilmore Parade... and they used to live on the parade route!!

- Wednesday night cookout with the high-quality Browns and Marshes... with homemade peach ice cream and some fireworks that were smuggled in from Tennessee. My personal favorite? The Texas Cyclone, of course.

- Thursday was a day to relax. And relaxing with friends is always a good thing.

- Friday consisted of a Man vs. Wild Marathon, at which point we all decided that we would be DOOMED, should we find ourselves stranded in the desert, forest, artic, OR the Australian Outback. Wow. That guy is amazing. However, we found ourselves to be a bit skeptical of the show's authenticity, based on the sheer fact that the credits start rolling before we actually get to see him bum a ride on the ship that has miraculously appeared, or hitchhiked on the highway he has discovered, or knocked on the door of the farmhouse he has stumbled upon. Don't get me wrong-- I could NEVER do the things he does-- wrestle alligators, capture rattlesnakes, or jump off cliffs. But, I'd be a little more jazzed about the rescue if I got to see the follow-through.

- As if the Man vs. Wild Marathon wasn't enough, Friday also brought an afternoon of fun shopping with Dana, dinner at Moes, and Jason & Dana's first-ever visit to High Bridge. On the shopping adventure, I bought some fabulous red pants. I'm not sure I'll be brave enough to actually wear them, but we'll see.

- Saturday morning brought breakfast tacos here at Casa de Lawson, Sudoku, a quick round of Guitar Hero, and a sad farewell to our friends. Thanks, Browns, for blessing us with your presence.

Here's some more exciting information for you:

The Office Season 3 is released on September 4th. I can hardly wait!!! Prison Mike is on the COVER!!!

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Harry Potter & The Deathly Hallows comes out on July 21. This one, I have pre-ordered from Amazon. I'm excited, nervous, worried, and scared. I'm also sad, because this is the final book in this incredible series. We spent part of our weekend talking "theories" about just how this adventure will end. Yes, we know this makes us major nerds, but we just can't help it. Read the books and you'll understand.

And finally, the movie version of Harry Potter & The Order of the Phoenix comes out on July 11. I have received very strict instruction from our friend James not to see it before we meet him in West Virginia at the end of the month, so that we can all see it together. I'm not quite sure I can wait that long.

Okay, thanks for sharing in my excitement. Sorry this post wasn't really about much of anything, but thanks for reading.

P.S. My herb garden is off to a great start! The basil, oregano, thyme, and tarragon are already sprouting!!

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

I'm a Guru!

2 posts in one day? What? Okay, it's 12:28 a.m, so it's technically a different day. I hope everyone enjoyed the pictures of our new garden.

The reason for post #2 is to tell you about the most amazing discovery of today-- the Guru Library. It's an online library program (free!), that allows you to catalogue your books, movies, and music. And it's linked to, so it gives you a "purchased new" price and a "purchased used" price.

Cool features:

- The aforementioned price factor. For example, I'm nowhere near cataloguing all of my books. I've only input the books from my small bookshelf-- a total of 77 books. If something were to happen to (!!) my books, to replace them NEW, it would cost me $2,027. To buy used copies of the books, it would cost $1,296. Disgusting, right? It's incredible to think about how much money I have invested in books. But hey, at 17 books or so a semester, it really adds up! Good news-- I can print this handy-dandy list of books & their prices for my renter's insurance policy. Very nice.

- I can create sub-categories of my books and assign labels such as Christian Living, Bibles, Biblical Language Helps, Fiction, Multicultural Studies, etc. This allows for easier browsing of my library. I mean, maybe even quicker than going to the actual shelf!

- If I loan out any of my books, all I have to do is find that book in my GuruLib library, and click "Lent out" and type in the name and information of the person I've lent the book to. This could be quite helpful, as I do often loan out books.

- The program itself is sort of a network. I can search through the libraries of other people in my area, and if they have a book I'd like to borrow, I can send them a message and ask to borrow it. I'm not sure I'll grant anyone else those borrowing privileges with my books, but we'll see. I mean, I loan books to friends. I'm just not too sure about strangers.

- I can "review" each book in my library, which can be seen by other users. If someone is curious about a book, they can type in a search for reviews of that particular title, and my review will show up. They can read my review and reviews by other users of this program, and decide whether or not they want to read or purchase the book.

- I can create a "wish list" of books I'd like to read/buy. I can also set a target price for those books of what I'm willing to spend on it. GuruLib will send me an email once that book falls below that target price.

This extends beyond books. You can do all of these same things with movies, music, games, and software.

I'm just getting started, so I'm sure I'll have more exciting discoveries (or complaints) about this program. So far I'm totally excited. If you'd like to check it out for yourself (Which I recommend!), click here .

Monday, July 2, 2007

Hello! My name is Herb!

Well, we had a fun Sunday of "gardening". Let me explain. We live in an apartment, so there's really not a lot of space for us to garden. But about 2 weeks ago, we inherited 12 tomato plants and a whole bunch of seeds of various types-- flowers, vegetables, herbs, etc. We had initially planted our tomato plants in a big rubbermaid tub filled with potting soil, but we quickly had a forest of tomatoes in the tub, so we knew they wouldn't last much longer that way. We gave away half of the plants, and then wondered what to do about the remaining 6 plants.

Here's what we came up with. A tomato garden outside our back door. We realize the plants might not make it, but hey-- if they don't, they were free. No big loss. And we can always try again another time. We dug up dirt, mixed in organic potting soil, and planted our little tomato plants. We've still got to get cages for them, and the soil still needs a little bit of attention, but here it is:

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So. Tomatoes were planted, and in a few weeks, we will hopefully enjoy their delicious goodness. But my FAVORITE part of our gardening extravaganza yesterday was the planting of my herb "garden". It's not really a garden, but I think it will work just fine. Here it is:

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I'll let you know how everything turns out. It could be a disaster. We'll see.