Tuesday, January 26, 2010

You meet a homeless person on the street. Do you give them money? Why?

I was looking for a journal prompt and this was one that jumped out at me.  I am curious to know all of your thoughts on the subject.  Me, personally, I usually don't give money to the person on the street.  However, I do donate to homeless shelters, battered women shelters and food banks.  I believe that by donating to these organizations that have the tools to provide help for the homeless that I am doing more good than simply giving the homeless person money.  I have heard of people walking the homeless person with them to get something to eat, but I am just too shy and I have never done this.
Those are my thoughts. . . . what are yours?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Running in the Dark

So, because I don't have enough to do, I have registered for my first race.  This is just going to be a little 6K one at the end of March.  I needed a reason to start running again, and well. . . . now I have no excuse if I don't want to embarass myself!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Life Changing Moments

Have you ever thought about those moments that change your life?  You know the big ones like turning 16, your graduation from High School. moving out, getting married, having kids, but I think that there are a bunch of small decisions that are also life changing.  This week has been a fabulous one because I got to witness one of those moments for my Mother in Law and I made one for myself.
My Mother in Law is generally quite a pleasant person.  She seems to just bob around life and make the best of her situation.  I rarely hear her complain, and she is always wanting to give people stuff.  This year, I made it a goal to help her clean out her house and in the process I have been able to get to know her better.  She is very social and she loves people and she especially loves her son!  One of the things that I have always wished for my Mother in Law is for her to be able to create some fabulous memories.  She doesn't get to travel very much and she lives in a small town where a lot doesn't happen, so I sometimes think that she misses out on things.
Then everything changed. . .
My mother in law got to run the Olympic Torch.  She wasn't planning on entering the draw, but she got invited and so she did so.  She was chosen to run the torch on Monday morning and that changed everything.  All of a sudden there was a sparkle in her eyes as she talked about things to get ready to run the torch.  She loved talking to the organizers of the run and she would give us every detail about what she had to do and where she had to go and what she had to wear.  My Mother in Law even saved up to buy the torch so that she could have it once the run was over.
So, the morning of the torch run was upon us and all of her children and their families came down to watch her receive the olympic flame.  Because she ran it in a small town, there weren't that many people parked out along the route.  However, she just happened to receive the flame in an intersection that was in between two elementary schools, so there were TONS of children and their teachers on the street.  They had all made some awesome signs and carried flags and were dressed in Red.  When my Mother-in-Law stepped off of the bus, she was so excited and seeing all of those people got her even more excited!  It has been a long time since I have seen a smile like that on her face.  I just couldn't stop taking pictures of her.  Because the streets weren't very crowded, I was able to run ahead of her and get TONS of pictures for her.  I hope that she will have enough pictures to really be able to remember this moment that changed her life.  I know that running the torch was one of the major highlights of her life and that she will be talking about it for years to come.  I am so glad that I got to be part of that moment.
The life changing decision that I had for myself happened the last day in Mexico.  I went there with my mom because she won the trip as a reward for her sales for a company called Heritage Makers.  The trip was so much fun and so relaxing.  I LOVED being there with just my mom because we like to do the same kinds of things.  We were in no rush to cater to anyone else and we spent most of our time just reading books on the beach. . . . .that's a REAL vacation!!!  Because of some conversations with some people that I had at the convention, I decided that becoming a Heritage Makers consultant would be the right thing for me to do.  Heritage Makers is an internet based company that helps you to create books, calendars, home decor, decks of cards, etc to preserve your memories.  One of the things that I love about it is that you don't have to buy software and download it to your computer in order to use it. . . . you just have to have access to the internet so it doesn't take up any space on your hard drive.  I also love how easy it is to use, and I love the projects that I can create with the program. I have created tons of projects with the company over the 20 months that I have had a membership, and I always talk to people about the program, so I truly believe that this is the next logical step for me.  I talked it over with the Big Guy and he encouraged me to do this.  I am really excited to begin and I can't wait for things to get rolling.  My biggest struggle will be to set up appointments for workshops.   I am going to have to start off asking for my friends' help with this, but after a while I know that things will take off on their own.  I have actually been selling Heritage Makers for my mom's store for almost 18 months and I always love watching people get excited about the program and seeing the beautiful books and projects that they can create using this fabulous software.  I always leave my classes excited for my students and inspired to create more projects using this program.  Soooo. . . . . to all of my friends. . . . . if you want to see what this program is about, let me know!  If you host a workshop you can get a bunch of free things to get you introduced to the program, and who knows. . . . you may just fall in love with the program too. 

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

What May or May NOT Happen When You Fly on an Airplane

I want to start off by saying that my trip to Jamaica was AMAZING!!!  I loved every minute of it from the 30 degree weather, to the waterpark, to the horseback riding on the beach and into the ocean with my girlies, to the hiking up Dunns River Falls and going Tubing down the river, to the family dinners and the playing on the beach.  It was the best vacation I could hope for.  I only wished that I could have gotten there a bit sooner.  But, alas, it was not meant to be. 
Because of my facebook statuses while I was going through the nightmare of trying to get to Jamaica, I have had a lot of requests to expand on my journey and give out more details.  Be careful what you wish for. . . you are in for quite a ride. . . as we were!!!

DECEMBER 26, 2009
- new security measures
- every passenger can only bring 1 carry-on piece of luggage
- each passenger (even Lee) is completely body searched and patted down by a guard
- each person's one carry-on is opened and completely searched
- takes 3 1/2 hours to board the plane
-arrive in Houston 20 minutes after connecting flight leaves
- miss connecting flight from Houston to Miami (where we are supposed to connect through a different airline to Jamaica)
- are told that my brother can get a flight out of there on Sunday, my parents on Monday morning and my family on Monday morning
- are told we can also try to go on stand-by
- decide to try stand-by
- arrange with other airline to rebook our connecting tickets to Jamaica in case we miss our flight
- stand-by flight comes and only 5 people can go
- my brother and his wife and baby and my sister and her husband and baby get on the flight
- Mom, Dad, Jenna, Kristin and my family are all stuck in Houston
- make arrangements to go on Sunday morning on Standby, my parents and sisters are on standby to go through Miami and my family is on Standby to go directly to Jamaica
- baggage is all sent to Miami
- get overnight kits from airport as we now have no luggage as our second carry-on bag which held all of our spare clothes in case anything like this happened is now in Miami
- stay at the beautiful Marriott hotel in Houston
- put kids to bed in underwear and wash all of their clothes in the sink so they will be clean for the next day

- wake up and realize that Lee is gone
- frantically search hotel room, hallways, pool area and etc looking for him
- call front desk to alert security
- informed that front desk has Lee and that he had wandered out at about 3:30 in the morning in just a diaper and a bottle
- Otto convinces police he is not negligent and we get Lee back
- Parents and sisters get on early standby flight (later we find out that we could have gotten on that one too)
- not enough room on our standby flight for us
- try two more standby flights before giving up and sending Otto and kids back to the hotel
- I get boarding passes for direct flight to Jamaica from Houston
- talk to other airline and find out that my ticket has been cancelled because I didn't make the original flight
- convince them to reinstate the ticket so that I can get home from Jamaica when my vacation is over
- get another overnight kit from the airline because bags are still in Miami and they won't send them back to Houston because I am leaving the next day
- get back to hotel and am told there is another situation involving Lee
- Dustin has completely locked Lee inside the room while Lee is napping and there is no way to get to him.
- Engineering department from the hotel come and take off one of the doors so we can get to Lee
- Lee sleeps through the whole thing
- take kids to the mall for something to do and buy them another set of clothing
- go to sleep, excited to finally be on our way

- get up, feed kids, go to airport
- go through security
- check in at gate
- get called up and told there is a problem with the tickets
- find out that the second airline wouldn't release their portion of the ticket to the first airline and unless they do this, we can't board the plane
- wait anxiously while an angel named Nicole works her magic
- finds out that the other airline cancelled my ticket again even though I had already talked to them about it
- this causes major problems and the second airline won't release the ticket
- finally get the airline to release the ticket just as they close the door to the airplane
- we are denied access to the airplane even though they just barely closed the door and the jetway is still connected
- all 7 of us cry as we realize we will be in Houston another day
- try to cheer up all 5 of the kids while we make arrangements to stay in Houston for yet another day with the airline paying for our accomodations
- my angel Nicole takes me around the airport to make sure that everything is in order for the next day
- get stopped by at least 6 employees of the airline amazed that we are still stuck in the airport
- all arrangements are made to get on the plane the next morning
- talk to baggage department and they will not send baggage on to Jamaica ahead of us and they will not send the baggage directly to Jamaica at all
- arrange to have baggage sent back to Houston and then onto Jamaica on Wednesday
- pick up some more overnight kits
- take kids to see a movie to raise their spirits
- find a laundry facility in the hotel and am able to wash clothes while my family sits in their underwear in the hotel room
- talk to other employees of the airline while doing laundry and they are shocked that we weren't allowed to get on the plane.  They inform me that they reopen the doors all the time in situations like this.
- this makes me mad agan!
- have sleepless night

- get up, go to airport, go through security
- go to gate check-in extremely early to double and triple check that there are no problems with tickets
- everything is good
- we fly to Jamaica
- lots more boring things happen but we don't care. . . we are there
- no bags, so we make arrangements to have them sent to us when they arrive
- my family greets the bus as we pull into the resort
- I have never been so glad to see them
- have an amazing night and the kids are ecstatic to be there
- glad that my 4 days in the Houston airport are over

So now you know.  This was our airplane ride from H-E-double hockey sticks.  I was so relieved to see my family at the resort and I had such an amazing time in Jamaica once we got there.  My next post will have pictures.
Even though my family and I were going through this airplane nightmare, I know that God was watching us.  He seemed to send me some angels every time I felt completely overwhelmed.  I will forever be grateful for Nicole and all of the help that she gave me.
I didn't think that the incident at the airport affected me very much, but ever since I have gotten home, I have not been able to sleep because I have been having nightmares about it.  Hopefully the next time I travel I will have a better experience and that will calm me down a bit.
So there you have it.  Our adventure on the way to Jamaica.  I really hope that this doesn't happen to anyone else.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Flying Sucks. . .

. . . but hot, tropical vacations are amazing!!!  Note to self. . . . don't fly Contenantal and don't connect through Houston. . . . they are TERRIBLE there. . . . except for an angel name Nicole!
I hope you all have had a wonderful vacation!
I may post more about my vacation later. . . . I am just still too mad to write about the airplane trip down there. . . hopefully time will help!