Thursday, January 26, 2012

A Very Sad Day

   Our community lost a very sweet, giving, wonderful young man today.  Even though we know he has gone home, there is still a lot of sadness.  He gave so much to everyone around him and that kind spirit will be missed greatly.  I will always remember him as the sweet little boy that lived behind me and my parents years ago and later as a great teacher, coach, and role model to my children.  A lot of young people are sad today, but will move forward better people because of the time spent with Ryan.  He was an angel on earth and Heaven is blessed to have him home.





God Called Me Home Today

I didn't know I would be leaving today.
There was a lot left to do and say.
There is never an easy way to say goodbye.
I know it is hard to understand, but please try.
Even though I wouldn't have chosen to go,
It is beautiful here and I love it so.
I am with others I haven't seen in a while
And they greeted me with open arms and the biggest smile.
As much as I loved being with you all
I had to answer God's sweet call
The warmth of His beauty, love, and grace
Has to show upon my face
I will miss you but will see you again one day
Just remember your faith and always pray
God is always there with you
I now certainly know this to be true
In your heart I will always be near
So don't be sad, God just needs me here.


    

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Ben, "The Bachelor"


abc




     I was really anxious for the new season of  The Bachelor.  I can't help but love these shows and I really liked Ben from The Bachelorette so I have been watching.  He seems a little different than before.  What I mean is he is kind of aggressive, he doesn't hold back kissing the girls at all, and just has a little different demeanor about him.  I guess it is because he is in a different position this time, but I can't help wondering if he has a different attitude this go around.  It is almost like, "I got burned last time so this time I am going to have fun in case it ends the same way." 

     Last night when he sent Samantha home, I was kind of shocked.  She did seem a little emotional and immature, but it was like he was reprimanding her and then totally caved to Courtney's games.  He was almost mean to Samantha, but a total wuss when it came to Courtney.  I get it, he is probably in lust with her, but has he seen all those weird faces she makes with her mouth?  That's what Emily needs to get a video of and show him.  Her talking bad about her when only make Ben upset with her, but let him see those odd faces she makes!  It has to be a turn off!

     This show is strange to begin with.  I mean all these women living together like sorority sisters, but dating the same man.  Some of the girls get along and some don't.  Which, I can understand because some of them have spent a lot more time with the girls than Ben.  However, I don't know how much I would have trusted Blakely hi-lighting my hair.  That seemed funny to me.  They are all in competition and you let one of them color your hair?

     And who is the person that decides all of these dates?????????!!  What in the world is considered romantic about pretty much being dropped into a crater.  You can call it a crater, but it looked more like a well.  Aren't wells considered scary?  Isn't that what happened with the girl in The Ring, and in Silence of the Lambs?  Not to mention how many people have accidentally fell into a well and lost their life.  I couldn't help but laugh when Jennifer said it was so romantic being in the water below.  I bet it smelled romantic too!  I would have been sent home.  I am very claustrophobic and would have never made it down there.  I kept thinking they might swim out to some beautiful open water like caves in the ocean, but, nope, they were pretty much in a well.  They didn't show us them getting out did they?  If so, I missed it.  I bet they looked really attractive being drawn back up out of the hole.




THE BACHELOR - "Episode 1604" - Jennifer is the next fortunate woman to get her first one-on-one date. The adventurous Bachelor reveals that they will be rappelling down into a mysterious crater, where there is actually warm water below. Lowering themselves into the dark abyss, they drop to the water and reunite for a kiss. Later that night, the couple enjoy a romantic rain-soaked outdoor dinner and a then a real treat: a private concert by country music superstar Clay Walker. Jennifer feels she is a perfect match for Ben, but will he feel the same and extend her a rose? The next episode of "The Bachelor" airs MONDAY, JANUARY 23 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/NATALIE CASS)BEN FLAJNIK, JENNIFER (OBSCURED)
abc




THE BACHELOR - "Episode 1604" - Jennifer is the next fortunate woman to get her first one-on-one date. The adventurous Bachelor reveals that they will be rappelling down into a mysterious crater, where there is actually warm water below. Lowering themselves into the dark abyss, they drop to the water and reunite for a kiss. Later that night, the couple enjoy a romantic rain-soaked outdoor dinner and a then a real treat: a private concert by country music superstar Clay Walker. Jennifer feels she is a perfect match for Ben, but will he feel the same and extend her a rose? The next episode of "The Bachelor" airs MONDAY, JANUARY 23 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/NATALIE CASS)BEN FLAJNIK, JENNIFER
abc


     At least they got to enjoy a little bit of dinner before the rain.  Am I just stupid, but who is Clay Walker? 

THE BACHELOR - "Episode 1604" - Jennifer is the next fortunate woman to get her first one-on-one date. The adventurous Bachelor reveals that they will be rappelling down into a mysterious crater, where there is actually warm water below. Lowering themselves into the dark abyss, they drop to the water and reunite for a kiss. Later that night, the couple enjoy a romantic rain-soaked outdoor dinner and a then a real treat: a private concert by country music superstar Clay Walker. Jennifer feels she is a perfect match for Ben, but will he feel the same and extend her a rose? The next episode of "The Bachelor" airs MONDAY, JANUARY 23 (8:00-10:01 p.m., ET), on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/NATALIE CASS)JENNIFER, BEN FLAJNIK
abc

     Jennifer was so excited to have a one on one date.  Good thing the poor girl is a good sport!  That should earn her a lot of points with Ben.

     I feel sorry for Kacie B.  I think the editing is making her look a little stalkish, but I think she is a good match for Ben.  I am just not sure I like the way he talks to the girls when he doesn't like what they have to say to him.  Emily shouldn't have said anything about Courtney, but he can be a little scolding.

  Right now, my picks are Kacie B., Rachel, and Jennifer.    BUT..........  my favorite is Lindzi!  I think she is the prettiest (her big smile and dimples reminds me of a really good friend from high school, Rhonda), and seems to have a good personality, sweet, and I don't think she would take his scolding.  She would be nice about it, but I don't think she would take it!

  
     It's easy to sit back and criticize when you only see what is edited and meant for you to see, but it sure is fun!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Stratton's Birthday

     Well, I am sorry it has taken me so long, Stratton, but here is your birthday post.  I think subconsciously I may have put if off in denial of the fact that I now have 3 teenagers!  In their defense, they are great kids and don't fit in the stereotype of teenagers.

     I always feel like Stratton gets a little bit of a bum deal having his birthday so near Christmas.  For starters, it is really hard to plan any kind of party at that time of year.  And, then he gets gifts so close together.  Although, for me, I loved it when he was born so close to Christmas.  There is absolutely nothing sweeter than having a new baby at Christmas.  We had just lost my grandmother, Betty, and my great-grandfather, Poppy (Harlan), so it was special timing for our family to welcome a birth after such heartbreak.

     Stratton is such a special kid.  Sorry, I guess now I should call him a young man.  He has a very quick sense of humor that reminds me of my brother, Ty, and he is very smart.  I call him my McGyver, although he has no idea what I am talking about, because he can make anything out of anything.  No kidding.  This boy has made a gun out of paper.  He did try to make a boat out of water bottles a couple of years ago.  He saw something on You tube about a boat being built out of water bottles, there is an article about it at National Geographic, and he was inspired.  So, we saved up all of our waterbottles for his project.  He worked really hard on it and made a floating raft. I was impressed!

     I joke with Stratton all the time because he is JUST like my dad.  It is funny how he has so many of his ways.  That's a good thing though, my dad is a very smart businessman and is so much fun to be around.  Stratton has had to grow up a little faster than I would have chosen for him, but he is very mature for his age.  It wasn't his or my fault that he has had to deal with things he shouldn't have, but the way he looks at things amazes me.  He is extremely spiritual and has a way of seeing things others don't always see.  It's funny how he is the youngest, but me, Sydney, and Shane, often rely on his way of thinking and opinion in some situations.  That is how he is like my brother.  Ty is younger than me, but he is always the voice of reason and when I really need an honest, helpful opinion and advice, my brother is who I turn to.

     I am so proud of all three of my kids.  They are such good people and so much fun to be around.  They, along with my sister and brother's kids all have such unique and strong personalities.  It is always fun when we are together.  It is always LOUD, but it is always fun!

    With so many kids, someone is always having a birthday ....AND.....someone is always sick.  We had to split up the family birthday parties because of sick little ones.  We went to my brother's and then my sister's.  But, it kind worked out in Stratton's favor.  He got two parties, got to blow out the candles twice, and was sung to twice.










He even looks a little like my brother.















                                    My sister and her kids made him this banner.  He loved it!











Look under the "Happy".  I cried when I saw Macalister wrote "you're my best friend".  So sweet!





We went out to dinner with my parents.  He ended up with 3 celebrations!





Showing off his new jacket from Grandmother and Pop!



Sunday, January 8, 2012

The Voyage of Life

     I am so blessed with the family God has given me.  I have had the honor of being raised and surrounded by fine and sweet people.  I have a relative, Donald, that means very much to me, my brother, and sister, and all of our kids.  He is older, but very much so wiser.  I have talked about him a lot in posts because he is a huge part of our family and is with us for birthdays, Christenings, holidays, and even when the kids need advice or encouragement.  I hope he knows what he means to us.  He has so givingly and unselfishly stepped in and is so important to us.

     A lot of people kind of "forget" people when they get older.  They think they don't know what they are talking about because they aren't up on the latest technology and vocabulary.  I just don't think that is so at all.  There is no substitute for experience sometimes.  We go through different stages, if we are fortunate enough to live to an old age, and there is so much to be learned through all of them.  I think we do an injustice to ourselves when we don't take the time to listen or try to understand sometimes very important lessons they are trying to teach us.

     Donald is not only a very smart man, he is a very spiritual man.  He will quote and say things from the Bible and you can tell he has a strong faith just from his words.  He has a series of pictures he is really proud of.  I may be living under a rock, but I didn't know about them until he showed them to my youngest and he wanted me to see them.  They are "The Voyage of Life" series by Thomas Cole from 1840.  Donald bought the prints years ago and they weren't easy to purchase at the time he got them.  They mean a lot to him and after seeing them and him explaining them I definitely see why.  If you haven't seen these before, I hope you enjoy them too.  If you have, I don't think it is possible to get tired of looking at them.  I have copied and pasted information from wikipedia, (click to go straight to the page where I got the info from) but you can google and find a lot more information.



You should be able to click on the pictures and get a bigger image, if not, go to wikipedia above and you can enlarge them to see the details better.

   File:Cole Thomas The Voyage of Life Childhood 1842.jpg

CHILDHOOD

In the first painting, Childhood, all the important story elements of the series are introduced: the voyager, the angel, the river, and the expressive landscape. An infant is safely ensconced in a boat guided by an angel. The landscape is lush; everything is calm and basking in warm sunshine, reflecting the innocence and joy of childhood. The boat glides out of a dark, craggy cave which Cole himself described as "emblematic of our earthly origin, and the mysterious Past."[1] The river is smooth and narrow, symbolizing the sheltered experience of childhood. The figurehead on the prow holds an hourglass representing time.


File:Cole Thomas The Voyage of Life Youth 1842.jpg

YOUTH


The second painting, Youth, shows the same rich, green landscape, but here the view widens as does the voyager's experience. Now the youth grabs the tillerfirmly as the angel watches and waves from the shore, allowing him to take control. The boy's enthusiasm and energy is evident in his forward-thrusting pose and billowing clothes. In the distance, a ghostly castle hovers in the sky, a white and shimmering beacon that represents the ambitions and dreams of man.

To the youth, the calm river seems to lead straight to the castle, but at the far right of the painting one can just glimpse the river as it becomes rough, choppy, and full of rocks. Cole comments on the landscape and the youth's ambitions: "The scenery of the picture--its clear stream, its lofty trees, its towering mountains, its unbounded distance, and transparent atmosphere--figure forth the romantic beauty of youthful imaginings, when the mind elevates the Mean and Common into the Magnificent, before experience teaches what is the Real."




MANHOOD

In the next painting, Manhood, the youth has grown into an adult and now faces the trials of life. The boat is damaged and the tiller is gone. The river has become a terrible rush of white water with menacing rocks, dangerous whirlpools, and surging currents. The warm sunlight of youth has been clouded over with dark and stormy skies and torrential rains. The trees have become wind-beaten, gnarled, leafless trunks. The fresh grass is gone, replaced by hard and unforgiving rock.
In the boat, the man no longer displays confidence or even control. The angel appears high in the sky, still watching over the man, who does not see the angel. Man must rely on his faith that the angel is there to help him. Cole states, "Trouble is characteristic of the period of Manhood. In childhood, there is no carking care: in youth, no despairing thought. It is only when experience has taught us the realities of the world, that we lift from our eyes the golden veil of early life; that we feel deep and abiding sorrow: and in the Picture, the gloomy, eclipse-like tone, the conflicting elements, the trees riven by tempest, are the allegory; and the Ocean, dimly seen, figures the end of life, which the Voyager is now approaching."[3]
Within the painting Manhood there is a strong emphasis on the diagonal: in the rocks which jut up, steep and forbidding, and the river which sweeps downward, threatening to carry anything in or on it over the precipitous drop to the twisting and foaming rapids in the mid-ground. The extreme narrowness of the passage between the two rock face heightens the tension as the viewer tries to determine whether or not a small craft could navigate these tumultuous waters. In addition, evil spirits stare down from the dark clouds above.

It is only in the distant background that the viewer captures a glimpse of the horizon. This line, where the distant ocean meets the sunset colored sky, is the only horizontal line in the painting. Amidst the chaos and confusion of the wild scene in the foreground, one catches a glimpse of possible serenity. Cole has positioned this focal point just below and to the right of center. The combination of the lone horizontal and warm color in an otherwise dark and forbidding scene, beckons the viewer’s eye back again and again.
The silhouette of a gnarled tree trunk opposes the diagonals of the rocks and river, forcing the eye back into the scene. Here the twisted and rotting trunk is used, as it often is in Cole’s work, as a symbol for the savage (untamed) wilderness and all its dangers. The funnel-shaped cloud that appears above the tree leads the eye up into the forbidding clouds of the sky, over the top and to the left, where the downward arc of the clouds forces it back down again into the river.


File:Cole Thomas The Voyage of Life Old Age 1842.jpg


OLD AGE

The final painting, Old Age, is an image of death. The man has grown old; he has survived the trials of life. The waters have calmed; the river flows into the waters of eternity. The figurehead and hourglass are missing from the battered boat; the withered old voyager has reached the end of earthly time. In the distance, angels are descending from heaven, while the guardian angel hovers close, gesturing toward the others. The man is once again joyous with the knowledge that faith has sustained him through life. The landscape is practically gone, just a few rough rocks represent the edge of the earthly world, and dark water stretches onward. Cole describes the scene: "The chains of corporeal existence are falling away; and already the mind has glimpses of Immortal Life."



I just thought these were amazing and wanted to share them with anyone who hasn't seen them.  I am sure we can all see different things in each of them through our own experiences.  That is what makes for great art!