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Saturday, November 18, 2006

WAA HOO ROME PICS!!!!!!!!!!!

One view of the Colosseum from the inside
The Colosseum from the outside, or at least part of it
Inside St. Peter's Basilica
Outside on top of St Peter's Basilica

Aight, so the first two pictures I'm sure you can guess are of the Colosseum...very cool place. The next two pictures are of St Peter's Basilica (sp). The first one is inside towards the very back of the building. You can't really see it very well but in the middle of the orange glass is a dove...I just love how the sunlight is piercing this picture. I have another one that's similar to this pic only it's further away, still cool though. The other one of St Peter's is from the top of the building, you can go up to the top of the bigger dome and get a great view of the city, it was breath taking, literally, 'cause you gotta climb 300+ stairs! The very last one (the only one I didn't snap, my hubby did) is of the Trevi Fountain at night, it too is a sight to behold. There were always tons of people hanging around there, too many for my taste, and James says that after the World Cup there were tons of people dancing and jumping in the fountain itself 'cause of course Italy won. Anyways, these are just a small taste of the many pictures we took on our trip. I'll put up more later along with a very long post about our adventures around Rome. For now enjoy the pics!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Pictures from Trier

Here are a couple of pictures from our trip to Trier a few months ago...the run down looking structure is Constantine's Roman Bath from the outside, you can actually see it from the road, there is also a picture of James and me in front of it (we have better pictures but we haven't scanned them yet...). The hall way pic and the pic with the grayish, black structure on the left are from the Porta Nigra (The Black Gate). Then there is another random one of James and me, I think we were in front of the palace gardens or something...Like I said we have more pics from Trier (these were taken with our video camera) but we haven't scanned them in, a project for me this week! Anyways, enjoy the pics, YAY!

Tuesday, October 17, 2006


I've decided that we have a spider infestation in our house...and they're not little spiders (well okay, some of them are but still) they're BIG ones. I'm talkin' at least the size of a quarter if not bigger! AAHHH!! I wasn't too upset with the idea of having spiders living in my house so long as they stayed in the basement, where I don't go very often. I've already killed about 5 or so down there and James killed a big one down there a few weeks ago and I haven't seen one since...until last night...

It was a little after midnight, I was in the living room and the lights were dim. I had just finished watching an old episode of Seventh Heaven, a show my mom and I used to watch together all them time, and Saturday Night Live was coming on next. So I got comfy on the couch and curled up under a nice warm blanket and got ready to be entertained. A few minutes into the show I thought I saw something scurry across the floor towards the TV, my first thought was, "AHHH a ROACH!!" but then I remembered that I was in Germany, a land free of roaches (or so I hear). My next thought was, "Well, maybe I didn't see anything, but just in case I'm gonna turn on another light..." So, I got up slowly so as not to scare whatever it was (if anything) that I saw and proceeded to turn on the over head light. Sure enough in all it's glory sitting right by the TV stand was a monstrous spider! I thought it might help the situation to freak out a little, so I did, but once I composed myself I went down into the basement to get the RAID, I had been keeping it down there 'cause that's where all the spiders had been up till this point. I came back upstairs, raid in hand and walked over the to the big guy, said my goodbyes and sprayed him...but he was quick and I didn't get him quite enough for my comfort before he ran underneath my piano. So I waited and eventually he came out and started climbing the wall next to the piano and I drowned him in raid, he didn't last but a few seconds after that, so yes ladies and gentlemen, I am a murderer, but only of spiders and other creepy, crawly things! Because I had used so much raid I had to leave the room and go upstairs to my bedroom so as not to gas myself, that stuff is lethal! So that was my adventure for the evening!

I all have to say is I can't wait for James to come home so he can be my hero and kill the big nasties for me!

Friday, October 13, 2006

Morning Dedication

A Puritan Prayer from the book The Valley of Vision:

As I cross the threshold of this day
I commit myself, soul, body, affairs, friends, to thy care;
Watch over, keep, guide, direct, sanctify, bless me.
Incline my heart to thy ways;
Mould me wholly into the image of Jesus, as a potter forms clay;
May my lips be a well-tuned harp to sound thy praise;
Let those around see me living by thy Spirit,
trampling the world underfoot,
unconformed to lying vanities,
transformed by a renewed mind,
clad in the entire armour of God,
shining as a never-dimmed light,
showing holiness in all my doings.
Let no evil this day soil my thoughts, words, hands.
May I travel miry paths with a life pure from spot or stain.
In needful transactions let me affection be in heaven,
and my love soar upwards in flames of fire,
my gaze fixed on unseen things,
my eyes open to the emptiness, fragility,
mockery of earth and its vanities.
May I view all things in the mirror of eternity,
waiting for the coming of my Lord,
listening for the last trumpet call,
hastening unto the new heaven and earth.
Order this day all my communications according to thy wisdom,
and to the gain of mutual good.
Forbid that I should not be profited or made profitable.
May I speak each word as if my last word,
and walk each step as my final one.
If my life should end today, let this be my best day.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

New Toy

So, I have a new toy and it's name is moogle. Well not really but that's what my background is on my new LAPTOP, yay!! My sweet husband purchased a Dell laptop for me about a month ago 'cause my desktop pc is slowly dieing on me. Thanks to the help of my mom my new pc arrived last Thursday. James laughed at me a lot during the whole setup process because I kept saying stuff like, "Wow, it's so nice to see that I can actually upgrade things on my computer without it telling me that it can't install the new upgrades!" I guess he's never had a computer that couldn't or wouldn't install new downloads for upgrading things, oh well. Anyways, it's a very nice pc and runs so smoothly and plays games pretty smoothly too! We just bought this game called Guild Wars, it's an online adventure type game, but it's pretty fun my character is already at level 8 and I've only been playing for a few days! Fun times!

Other than that, there's not a whole lot of new things going on around here. James was running a range (not really sure what all goes on there but I do know they shoot guns and sometimes people get hurt or die, rarely but it happens) all last week. Things went well for him which was good, nobody died or got hurt which is always a plus! Then that Friday was a mandatory fun day for the battalion (which includes James' unit). They call it an Organizational Day but it wasn't really that was pretty lame, on the upside though I got to spend all day with James, which was nice. Let's see, what else...James is here for most of this week then he's off to the field again for at least 2 weeks and he leaves on Friday. There's a possibility that they will extended their time out there, hopefully not but who knows. Again on the upside, because they are missing a three day weekend (this weekend) they'll be given an extra one at the end of October, so that's cool. Other than that nothing else to report except that sometime in November James and I will be going to Rome! I'm super excited!! Our flight, round trip for the both of us will cost about 4 Euro cents which is about 6 or 8 cents, CRAZY! Okay so that doesn't include taxes or our bag fees but still the actual flight only costs that much. In reality we'll probably be paying something like 20-25 bucks round trip which is pretty friggin' SWEET!! Aight that's it, peace!

Monday, September 18, 2006

Wine Fest

I experienced my first wine fest last Saturday. Now before you think anything else, I only had two glasses of wine over a period of about 6 hours and I didn't drive. Alright, so we were invited by an LT that James works with who ended up not showing up for whatever reason. It was held in a town that's about 30 mins. away from our house and we picked up another couple who the husband used to work with James and went on our merry way to the festival. The festivals in Germany (at least in this part) are kind of like fairs for us stateside only in a smaller area. But they have rides, games, food of all kinds, drinks of all kinds, and of course wine since it was a wine fest.

There were about 36 different tents that most had the same 7 choices of wine but there were a few here and there that were privately owned, I guess. Among the tents were rows and rows of picnic tables for people to basically sit and drink at all day. So we get there at around 2pm and went to try and find the group of people from James' work that were supposedly there. On our wanderings we bumped into some captain chic that is from the same company as James and she told us that tent number 9 was the place to be, so we assumed that meant that was where everyone was. We eventually made our way to tent 9 and got ourselves a glass of wine.

Interestingly enough they weren't serving the wine in typical wine glasses. They had two different size glasses you could pick, one was a half pint, the other was a pint! I couldn't believe it! That's a crap ton of wine! As I said before I only had two glasses, the half pint, both a ways apart with food in between so I was fine. Our friends that we brought with us however...Well the wife (Sarah) was a little drunk. I think she had maybe three glasses, 2 pints and 1 half pint, I could be wrong but I think that's all she had. Her husband (Chewie) on the other hand had at least 5 pints maybe even 6, that's like 2 full bottles of wine to yourself! At least!! We heard he wasn't feeling so hot the next day...Anyways it was a lot of fun, we got to see more of the German culture which was interesting.

OH and one of the food things I/we ate was this crepe that was filled with Nutella, oh it was super yummy, very rich but yummy. But when we were in line to get our crepe, we were clearly in line and this woman walks up and after the guy in front of us left she told the lady her order, I wanted to slap her upside the head 'cause she looked right at us!!! AND THEN, these two little kids, a boy and a girl, got in front of us too! They just walked right up and stood right in front of us, the little jerks. I looked at James and said "This is unbelievable!" And he replied, "Yea, I want to punch this kid in the face!" Not really of course but that's how annoyed we were. So after the lady that "cut" in front of us was done with her order James talked over the kids heads and got our order in before the little jerk kids. And then they had the nerve to look at us like we broke in line in front of them!! I wanted to slap them too!!! GRRRR! Oh well, that's the way it is here...Nonetheless we had a good/interesting time. Apparently the next couple of weekends there's another big festival called Oktober Fest, which happens in October (obviously) and it's the big beer fest that everyone always talks about here. I dunno if James and I are going to check that one out or not, I think it's in Berlin. Anyways, I'll let ya know if we end up going. And for our next big trip we've decided we want to go to Rome, so I'll keep you posted!!

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Pictures update

Just a quick note to let you know I've add a few more pictures. I'm still in the process of adding some of our Scotland pictures but the website is being stupid right now so I'll see if I can get them up later. I also need to put up our Prague, Trier, and Rhein River pictures but we haven't gotten them developed yet and James hasn't put the Prague pictures on my profile on his computer otherwise they'd be in there too. Anyways, keep checking back, I'll get 'em up soon! Laters!

Whoops, I forgot to mention how my evening with the 40 women went...well it wasn't as painful as I thought it was going to be. I took the new LT (Marjorie) with me so I had kind of a buddy there with me and there were maybe 25-30 women that actually showed up so it wasn't quite as overwhelming as it could have been. Mainly we had dinner and made small talk here and there with the couple of pregnant ladies that we sat near. The tables were scattered all over a small room and before we even ordered our food they pushed almost all the tables together and two more ladies came and sat on the other side of Marjorie and me, they ended up being our entertainment for the rest of the evening, which was kinda fun. There was a "guest" speaker of sorts who was a massage therapist/dance instructor and she talked about what different kinds of massages can do for you and all that fun stuff. I found out that if you are in you first trimester during pregnancy that it's really not a good idea to get any kind of massage 'cause one there are places on your back and feet (i think) that if massaged the wrong way can send you into labor and also i guess the toxins released from knots and such aren't good for the baby. So any pregnant ladies out their or for future mom wanna be's, don't get a massage, at least not in the first trimester! Anyways so that was interesting and then they had a couple of door prizes, 10 people "won" a free dance lesson with our guest speaker and one lucky person "won" a free 1 hour massage from her. That lucky person was ME!!!!!!! HAHA!! That rocks my face off, I'm stoked!! So, like I said it wasn't as bad as I thought it was going to be and the two ladies that came and sat down by us were a lot of fun to talk with. We made jokes and laughed a lot at each other, so yeah. I don't remember their names though, oh well. :-/ Thank you for all the prayers and encouragement, it definitely helped!

Oh and I'm letting my dad check out the business thing I'm wanting to start to see what he thinks about it all before I say what it is...Alright that's it, PEACE!! ;-D

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


Okay, so I was wondering if anyone knows a good, fast, creative, and preferably legal way to make between $700-$1000 dollars without having to get a full or part time any ideas? See, I'm wanting to start a business but I'm not about to ask James for that kind of money to do it and I'd prefer to not have to go through the hassle of finding a job then doing interviews and then only working for a month, two at most then quitting. I dunno maybe this is an unrealistic thought but was curious if you guys had any ideas.

In other news, James has been super busy these days with work and probably won't get much of a break until mid-late October. There is a new LT that just arrived here about a week ago and James is her sponsor so he's been driving her around to all her in-processing stuff and getting her settled here. I've helped here and there where I could and she's just about done with all her stuff but she's still got about two more weeks of briefings she's got to sit through before we can completely release her out of our hands. She seems nice enough, which is good. I've enjoyed the little bit of time I've had with her so I can't complain too much except for the fact that she gets to spend more time with my husband than I do, oh well, that's the military for you! James says I'm handling it all pretty well which is encouraging, but I have to wonder sometimes if I really am, ya know?

Anyhow, he's got that going on then the first two weeks of Sept. we'll have a house guest, one of the other LTs, 'cause there's some stuff going on in his life right now that will require him to have a place to sleep. That's really all I can and should say about it.

Then sometime near the end of Sept. and on into Oct. James has some field training stuff going where he'll be gone for like 3-4 weeks with a few days in between where I'll get to see him, so life is definitely busy in the Jardin house. I look forward to when things will settle down again. But for now we just gotta hang in there. That's pretty much all for the moment, oh, except for this "coffee" thing I'll be going to tonight. The commanders wife (James' bosses wife) has invited a whole bunch of women from the battalion to some restaurant as a kind of get to know you thing for everyone. I think there's supposed to be games or prizes or something like that going on so it's supposed to be fun. Normally I wouldn't go to something like this simply because I have a hard enough time "hanging out" with one or two women let alone forty! So I dunno, maybe I'll have a good time or maybe I'll leave early, who knows, but one thing is for sure, this is definitely WAY out of my comfort zone!

Alright that's it, laters!

Monday, August 14, 2006

Trier and the Rhein River

Wow, this past weekend has been a much-needed weekend for me. God is so good.

James and I went to the town of Trier (maybe I should call it a city 'cause it's a good size) this past Friday, it's about an hour away from where we live, and it's also only 30 minutes from France. He had a three-day weekend so we got up early and spent most of the day in Trier. We took our video camera with us so if I can figure out how to get video on here I'll share it with you but for now I gots nothing. Anyways, supposedly Trier is the oldest city in Germany. Although there are a few other cities that claim that as well (not sure which ones they are) so who knows how true that statement is, but it was cool. We parked right outside the Basilica, which I think was a church of some sort. The only thing that was really neat about it though was that it didn't have any columns for support on the inside; it was just a big open space. Oh I forgot to mention that Trier was once a Roman city and that's who built (if I remember correctly) most of the structures that are still standing. Anyways right behind the Basilica is the Palace. We didn't go inside 'cause it was that interesting to us but outside the Palace was this really pretty garden that had a fountain in the very back of it and there were statues all over the place too. In fact there was this one of a lady who appeared to be laying on her stomach, leaning on her elbows with her paws, yes paws, stretched in front of her. Then if you went around to her side view, she had the back end of a lion, why? Well, why not? Yea, it was kinda weird but still cool.

So from there we wandered around and found ourselves in the Pedestrian Zone, which in Europe is basically marked place(s) where people can walk around and shop freely without having to be bothered by cars (most of the time). Right, so we found ourselves in this Pedestrian Zone and wandered some more and finally came across what we had been looking for, The Porta Nigra or The Black Gate. One of the "must see" sights of Trier. It was pretty spectacular and going up inside it was even more exciting. The Porta Nigra is located right next to the Tourist Information place or the other way around I guess would be more accurate. Anyways, before we went up into the Porta Nigra we went on a bus tour of Trier and found out some more information (that I of course don't remember but found interesting at the time) on the city's history. They have an Amphitheater (which we saw only from afar), a Roman bath which is only 30% or something like that uncovered, the rest is covered up by houses. They also have an Imperial Bath (Constantine’s I believe), which was pretty cool. You could actually go down into the underground portion of it. It was so huge you could probably get lost if you weren't careful. It was really neat, we took lots of pictures. That's really about it; we mainly wandered around the whole time and took in whatever we saw that was cool or interesting to us. There is some big festival that is coming to Trier so there was a lot of construction type stuff all around which took away from some of the sights but it was still a good trip. It was great to just be able to spend that time with James.

Saturday was a mellow day until about 8pm. One of James' soldiers asked him to come to his show (he's in a metal band) that evening and so we did. There were two other bands that played before this guy's band and so we hung out listening to the noise while James kept getting greeted by tons soldiers from 5th Maintenance (that's the company James is with) and I just felt out of place the whole time. Then this guy's band started playing, they put on a good show and the little that I ended up actually being able to hear wasn't bad for metal music. We had fun.

Then yesterday was our Rhein River Cruise trip. It was our first USO tour and it was a great time. Our guide was probably about out age or so and was a lot of fun, really nice and informative. The first stop of the tour was to the castle Burg Rheinstein. We had about an hour and a half to explore the castle inside and out. I thought for sure by now I would get tired of seeing and exploring castles, but no, it's still a very exciting time for me. Although I will say, they are always smaller than I imagined them to be, even looking at them from the outside some of them look really big but once you get inside it's a different story. Still very cool though, as was this castle. This one had it's own little chapel that you couldn't go into but was still nice to look at and underneath it was a crypt, an open one that you also couldn't go into (thankfully!). I saw at least 5 coffins and, using James' words, it smelled of death. Interesting but kinda creepy. The rest of the castle was nice. The first floor you go in is the Knights hall. There were all sorts of knights armor and weapons and lots of sculls from animals that I guess the knights killed? Anyways, the hall lead to the kitchen with its stone oven and everything. It was pretty small for a kitchen but pretty neat. There was a winding staircase in the hall that lead to the Princess Floor (I think, I may have the layout all wrong but anyways). Yes, she had her own floor as did the Prince and according to the owners of the castle so did everyone that lived in the castle, aside from the servants I assume. Anyways, the princess had her own bedroom and two other rooms, the Red Room, which was used as a music/sitting room for when she had guests, and the Blue Room, which was used as a drawing room and also as a sitting room for when she had guests. Adjourning the Blue room was another really tiny room, which the princess used for her personal business, reading, writing, or just wanting to be alone. It has a great view of the Rhein River apparently. Sounds like my kinda room! The next floor was the Prince's Floor. He also had his own bedroom, a drawing room and a tower room. Upon reaching the top of the stairs to this floor, immediately on your right is a toilet room or as James and I like to call it, the poopery room. Obviously it's nothing like what we have today but it looked like it was much nicer than going in a pot or designated hole in the ground or what have you. The Princes floor wasn't that exciting for me, it was just okay cool but okay. Continuing up the stairs of the Princes' floor leads you to the Tower Room. I believe the prince used this much like the princess used her tiny room that I spoke of before, it also has a great view of the Rhein and I can confirm that 'cause we were actually able to go into this room. There were a few other rooms inside this castle (a couple dining rooms and such) but I've lingered too long on this part of the tour, so moving on...

Our next stop was St. Goar. This is where we got on our boat to cruise down river. Starting from there we saw something like 17 castles along the Rhein. Some of which are in ruins and some of which have been rebuilt a few times and are used as restaurant hotels. The crazy part about seeing all those castles from afar is that what we saw was about half of the castles that line the river! Most of the castles can be toured, I think there may be like two that can't be, and as I said before you can stay in some of them. Also on our cruise we found out that if we wanted to we could purchase a castle, prices ranging from 400,000 Euro to 2 million Euro, and that's just for the castle, no electricity, bathrooms or anything like that included! I figure it's doable. ;-) I'd love to own a castle on the Rhein. Maybe as a birthday present...

Right, so the cruise was about two hours and we got off the boat at Assmannshausen and got back on our bus to head to the town of Rudesheim (the u is supposed to have umlauts but I can't make it work) for lunch. Lunch was typical German food, schnitzel, pommes (French fries), salad and desert. This was my second time having schnitzel, the first one I had was pretty good but generally I don't like schnitzel. I think it's simple 'cause it's made with pork. Anyways, so I kinda picked at my food, filled up on fries, salad and desert mostly.

From there was our wine tasting, yum! And indeed they were yummy! We tasted 4 different wines, all different quality as well and they were all delicious! The guy that gave us the tasting owned the restaurant we had lunch in. He was a goofy guy but very entertaining. He told us about the three steps to tasting wine: First step, tasting with your eyes. You hold the glass up to the light, look at the color, then tilt the glass a little to see how much residue from the wine is left on the side of the glass when you straighten it back up and also to see how fast it slides back down into the glass (this is how you tell how much alcohol is in the wine). Second step, tasting with your nose. You hold the glass up to your nose or even stick your nose inside the glass and take a big whiff! Third step, tasting with your mouth (my favorite step). You take a large sip of wine, swish it all around your mouth, suck in more air while the wine is still in your mouth, and roll it under your tongue then swallow. MMMmmm! The only part I couldn't manage to do was sucking in more air with the wine still in my mouth, I just know I would have dribbled the wine out if I'd tried.

After he showed us how to drink it (by this time we'd all had our sample glasses filled with wine by his helpers) he asked for a "volunteer" to come on the stage and help him show us how to do it. That was pretty entertaining! He called this lady up there and asked her to show him what she'd learned by doing the three steps. Well she got the first two down but the tasting part was a bit tricky for her, she'd take a big swig of it, swish it around and instead of sucking in air through her mouth she'd swallow it, the wine that is, so the guy would fill her glass up again and after her third try he made her sit down. It was funny. Our first wine was a red wine, Rheingau (that's the region it's from) QBA (Qualita tswein b. A. also umlauts over the second a in the first word), 2005er Rotwein (2005 red wine). Now, I don't know much about wines so don't quote me on this, but to me red wines have a fuller taste than white and rose wines and up until yesterday I thought I liked red wine better than white but now I'm not sure. Anyways the red wine had this burst of flavor when it hit your mouth, it was a little dry with a hint of sweetness to it, very yummy! Next came the same type of wine only it was a rose wine. The guy (Hans, I think was his name) again asked for a volunteer and another woman did volunteer, and the same thing happened only this lady got it the second time around. The rose wine was good too, something that I think my mother-in-law would like. I have to say that of the very few wines I tasted stateside I thought I liked rose wines the best, particularly white zinfandel. When I went back for Jared and Heather's wedding a had a glass of white zinfandel and didn't really enjoy it simply because I'd had better wines since being here. Anyways, the rose wine was pretty good though probably my least favorite of the 4 we tried. Here's a bit of interesting information on rose wines, they aren't made from red grapes and they aren't made from white grapes, they are made from blue grapes! Blue grapes have a white juice much like white (or green) grapes and what gives the wine its color is the skin from the blue grapes. I thought that was kinda neat. Next up was the Riesling, Rheingau 2003er Hallgartener Mehrholzchen (umlauts over the o) Riesling Spatlese (umlauts over the a), a very yummy white wine. James and I have had about 4 different types of Riesling (one of James' and my favorite types of wines so far) since we've been here and all have them have been very good but this one, right now, is the best one in my opinion. Hans again called for a volunteer and this time he chose a dude, same thing as before, instead of doing it like he should have he chugged it (I guess he wasn't smart enough to realize he was drinking wine and not beer!) and about the second maybe third time he did what Hans requested/required of his victims before you could leave the stage. Fourth and last up was another white wine, Rheingau 2003er Oestricher Klosterberg Ehrenfelser Auslese. This one was even better than the Riesling and I think my favorite of the day! According to the quality level of wine in Germany, this one was, I think, second highest. The highest is called Eiswein. Eiswein is very expensive, here in the land where wine, good wine at that, is cheap, say $5 bucks a pop, Eiswein is like $20 and higher! And believe it or not it's totally worth it! Unless of course you don't like sweet, I mean really sweet wine, in which case I don't recommend it. Anyways, James and I had never tried Eiswein but always heard lots of good things about it until yesterday when, Hans, our wine host let us all try a very small sip of it. Very yummy! Oh, I forgot the victims of Hans on our last tasting; he pulled up two people, a man and a woman up stage. The guy was a big guy; I don't mean fat, just really tall and broad. The lady was about my size maybe a littler shorter, and she was lit! She had trouble getting up on the stage and she had to hold on to the table that was up there to keep her balance. She was also slurring her words and giggling a lot, it was pretty entertaining. The glasses that our wine was served in were not very big at all; they were about the size of two shot glasses put together, if even that big! She must have had a very low tolerance or maybe I just have a high tolerance in any case it was fun! We ended up buying 3 bottles of wine to take home with us, the red, the Riesling and the Auslese, I look forward to cracking those babies open! Yum yum yum!

Okay so after the wine tasting we hopped back on our bus and went deeper into the town of Rudesheim for shopping. The only thing that sucked about this part of the tour was as soon as we stepped off the bus the bottom fell out of the sky and dumped on us for the whole 1 1/2 of our shopping time. It wasn't that bad though, I didn't mind getting a little wet as we walked around all the tourist trap shops that were there. We ended up buying this little wooden figure thing, it's like this piece of wood that has a little face carved into it, kinda looks like a gnome face, it's neat looking. After shopping it was time to head back to K-town and that was the end of our trip. Fun times! I'll get pictures and stuff posted as soon as I can so you can enjoy our festivities! Peace out for now!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Thinking Again

I've been thinking again and I've come to the conclusion (through conversations with my sister Krissie and the encouraging words of you who commented on my other post) that I've, in a sense, lost myself. I don't know who I am anymore and, at least right now, I don't like who I am becoming. I've also lost my sense of purpose, I mean ultimately I know that my purpose is to glorify God in all I do, but beyond that I have no clue. I know that I need to get my focus back on Christ instead of myself and instead of James. I need Christ as my first thought when I wake and Christ as my last thought before I sleep and recently that has not been the case. Even being constantly in the word, and constantly praying, my focus still isn't where it should be and I know that's big part of my problem right now. When I lived in Valdosta, Ga my relationship with God was like nothing I've ever experienced before, that was the closest I've ever been to Him in my life. Since I left Valdosta, I haven't been the same and neither has my relationship with God, and I miss that tremendously and in many ways want it back. It's not so much as wanting that exact moment in time back or even wanting to be that same person, I know that's not possible, it's more of wanting the closeness I had with Christ back. I'm not sure how to get it back either, I mean as I said I'm constantly in the Word, I pray all the time, and I'm going through at least three devotional/self-help type books every time I have my quiet time, in fact I've just picked up a fourth. I do feel slightly better than I did when I wrote my last post but I'm still having a hard time dealing with myself and how I think about things and just generally how I look at life. As I'm sure you can tell by now, I'm not a very positive person; I have a tendency to see the bad in situations before I see the good, if I see the good at all. It's hard to really say what's going on except that I've lost myself. I dunno, I'm trying to trust that God has some sort of great knowledge or something to teach me through this very painful trial that I feel like I've been in for a long time. I'm tired of being in the dark; I want to see the light. I'm tired of being scared of things I don't need to be scared of, I'm tired of my insecurities bogging me down and in turn I take it all out on James which he doesn't deserve. I'm sure it doesn't seem like I'm a little better by this post, I think I have a tendency to be a bit more dramatic, if you will, when I write than if I was speaking to someone in person. Anyways, thank you for your continued prayers, words of encouragement, and attentive ears, they are always much appreciated. :-)

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

I've been tagged

I got tagged by Jared
Sadly though my list will not be that interesting, thought provoking or moving, in fact it will be quite boring.

1. One book that changed your life:
The Bible by God

2. One book that you've read more than once:
Wings of Dawn by Sigmund Brouwer

3. One book you'd want on a desert island:
My Bible also by God

4. One book that made you laugh:
Who's Who of Cats by John R.F. Breen

5. One book that made you cry [or feel really sad]:
Can I use the Bible again? Um if not then I guess the Shadow War series by George Lucas and Chris Claremont (it has sad moments)

6. One book that you wish had been written:
The Complete Condensed Sayings of Jesus by "The Twelve" (stole that one from Jared) or any of the three that I'm currently working on

7. One book that you wish had never been written:
Not well read enough to answer this question

8. One book you're currently reading:
The Power of A Praying Woman by Stormie Omartian

9. One book you've been meaning to read:
Heretics/Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton

10. Now tag five people:
I tag Mary, Krissie, Ben, and two other people that read my blog and haven't been tagged yet (whoever you may be)

Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Something I should never be allowed to do because it never does me any good. Has peace ever escaped you every chance it got? It sees you coming and runs as fast as it can in the opposite direction and knowing that you yearn for it makes it run all the faster? Or is it really that I'm running from it? More than likely that's the case, but why would I do that if it's what I want so badly? I once had a coworker who every time I'd walk up to her she would call me peace. There have been others that have said the same thing about me. Please don't think I'm bragging because I'm not, I'm just incredibly baffled by her observation and I don't understand how she came to that conclusion. I asked her about it once and she said that whenever I walked into the room she just felt peace, I still don't understand. How could that be if I don't have peace myself? Maybe I did back then but it sure eludes me now.

In my devotions, either this morning or yesterday morning, I read something about waiting for hope. You are at a point so distraught that you can't even see hope, yet you still have faith that it will come and so you wait for it. Joy and everything with it is gone, there is no hope, not in your vision at least, but you wait all the while still thinking to yourself, "Maybe my Father can see it, maybe the light still shines in His eyes." And so you trust that and try to move on, but you can't. You've always had hope to rely on but it's been taken from you, it's like a piece of your soul is missing, and yet you still wait.

Waiting, something in my Christian walk that I've never liked doing or receiving as an answer to prayer. I could always manage to get through it though because I had hope which gave me peace. And now I've been told I must endure without either and it sucks. And what's worse is how I'm dealing with it, which is not well and I'm dragging James down with me. This whole marriage thing is hard, before it was just me and God and I could hash things out with Him and myself, no one else to really bother with my issues/problems. But now there's another person in the picture that sees me down, loves me and wants to fix me but doesn't know how and I don't know what to tell him to help him feel better. To help him know that I'll be alright and that God deals with me differently than with other people. I guess it's hard to convince him that I'll be fine when I can't see it myself. All I have to go on is how things have worked in the past with my Father and that it, at least with me, takes time. Apparently I'm a slow learner or maybe I'm just stubborn or both. Don't get me wrong, I love James and I'm glad God brought the two of us together, I would have it no other way. I just have to learn how to help him deal with me when I'm down.

All I do know is I can't give up. I have to trust that hope will come bearing peace on His wings. I have so much to be happy about, I have a wonderful husband who loves me more than anyone I know, I have a roof over my head and food on my plate, I live in frickin' Europe!, I've gotten to see more than I ever thought I would, I have a family that cares deeply about me as well as friends, and my God rejoices over me with singing! And yet it still hurts to smile. I'm sure by now some of you are thinking I should seek professional help, but I can't do that, not yet, and I won't do it until my God says that's what I must do. I think right now that would hurt me more than anything else does. I'm not writing this to scare anyone, don't worry I'm not going to do anything stupid, writing is just very therapeutic for me, no matter how bad I am at it. Please continue to pray for us and thank you for the ones you've lifted up already, they are much needed and appreciated.

On a lighter note, Seth and Amber are getting married this Friday at 9:30am (I think, it may be earlier...) so congrats to them! I'm excited to see Seth found a wonderful and amazing woman to make his bride, I'm proud to call her sister. I love you guys and may God's blessings and grace be abundant in your life.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006


Since James and I are in Vilseck, Germany right now, we decided that we'd go to Prague seeing as how we are a lot closer to it here than we are in K-town (Kaiserslautern, not sure if that's spelled right). So we did just that and this past Saturday we went to Prague. Neither one of us really knew anything about it so we both did a little research (James did WAY more than I did) on it so we'd know what we wanted to see while there. And so our adventures continue...

We started on the road at about 8:30am-9am or so and because the road system in Germany is a bit screwy we got kinda lost but not really. We ended up back in the town that we started from and this was using GoogleMaps mind you, so instead of continuing to try and use those directions we busted out our Tiger On Tour map book and went from there. No more getting lost after that, at least not until we got into Czech Republic and closer to Prague. When we crossed the border of Germany and Czech Republic we were told that we had to buy an autobahn ticket so we could drive on the roads there. It was kinda funny 'cause the guy we talked to, I believe was Czech, and we asked him in German if he spoke English...follow that? Right so before we left to get the highway or autobahn ticket we heard the guy say to someone he was standing with something about us being American. Oh well, what are you gonna do!

Alrighty, we're on our way again and we were fine until we got closer to Prague. We'd read stuff about driving around the city and it was recommended that we not do that but instead take a park and ride thing, whether it be a bus, train, taxi, etc. So we did that and had a hard time trying to find the station we'd tried to map out. Tack on another 45mins of wandering around and we actually arrived in Prague right around 12:30pm. Somewhere along the way James read something in our "Best of Prague" book that most shops close at 1pm on Saturday's, not encouraging...

We found however that most shops were open, we looked around a few for trinkets and souvenirs and didn't really find anything that jumped out at us. We walked around some more and found a HUGE square with all kinds of ornate buildings and lots and lots of people. We also found some people with horse drawn carriages there and decided to take a ride on one, it was most exciting! I love carriages, they're so romantic! Anyways the carriage ride took us around a small part of the city and showed us the way to the palace or castle of Prague.

The way to the castle was quite long and up a very very long set of stairs that were crowded with street vendors and people going both up and down the stairs. James and I stopped at one of the vendors because they had some cool looking leather bracelets that caught our eyes. I ended up getting one that James picked out for me, it's pretty neat. The castle itself was quite spectacular. Think of the most medieval looking structure you can picture, put all kinds of ornate paintings on the front, gargoyles on every corner and more, add beautiful, aged architecture and now amplify that by 100% and that's what it looked like! Amazing! I don't think our pictures will do it justice, though it seems pictures never do!

After that we walked around some of the shops that were near by still looking for some souvenirs, again not really finding anything. Then trekked back down the stairs, I almost fell a couple of times 'cause the stairs were made of small cobble stones that were very smooth and I was only wearing flip flops, no traction what so ever! But it was definitely much nicer going down the stairs than making our way up them! :-P

We found our way to the Charles Bridge which is lined on both sides with great statues of, I believe, saints and people who were famous in Czech Republic. I say I believe that's who they were statues of simply because we couldn't really get close to any of them 'cause there were SO many people! This bridge was also lined with all kinds of street vendors, people painting portraits and musicians playing traditional Czech music. It also provides you with a great view of the Old Town Square as well as the castle. If it hadn't been for the throngs of people I think I would have enjoyed it much more. I have a people phobia sometimes when it comes to large crowds of stupid people...

Anyhow, that was basically our trip. We were both pretty pooped after all the driving and walking around in the heat and people, so we went back to the train station, rode it back to our car, got in our car and went back to our hotel. It was a really nice trip though. Oh and, Heather, Prague says to tell you hello back! ;-D I do miss you girl.

Okay so I just found out that some of my info is wrong. Like the building I thought was the castle was instead the cathedral that's inside the castle walls and the music that I thought was traditionaly Czech music was actually Jazz music...oh well. I only went for the pretty architecture and photo ops, well not really but James definitely knew more about it than I did. You can read more about our trip on his blog. I forgot about our grumpy man at the park and ride too!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

So Far Away

As much fun as it is to be able to travel like we're getting to I would much rather travel around the states to visit family and get to spend time watching nieces and nephews grow up and get to spend time with my brothers and sisters and my parents, both sets. I miss you guys like you wouldn't believe! I hate being so far away from you all, it's a lot harder than I imagined it to be.

Thanks to everyone for the anniversary wishes and cards and all that. James and I had a good day. We celebrated the Saturday before our actual anniversary by going out to eat at a restaurant that we'd never been to in our town before. They only reason we celebrated then was because we didn't know what kinds of restaurants would be out here in Vilseck. We did exchange cards though on our anniversary and ate at the restaurant that's inside the hotel that we are currently staying at, which was pretty good, and we had some wine later that evening. Very mellow. I wish James and I were more creative with planning things than we are, but we're not so, oh well.

Also thanks everyone for praying, it's been much needed and much appreciated and please keep 'em coming 'cause the enemy is not easily discouraged. Thanks again. I love you all so much and miss you more! Hope you are doing well, give yourselves big hugs from me (and James too)!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Travel and Things

So I've been doing some thinking lately and I've come to the conclusion that if James continues to be serious about the whole Youth Minister thing that I really want to be a part of it and help lead it with him. Though I know I wouldn't be paid for my part, which is fine, I think it would be a great ministry opportunity for the both of us. I used to help out with the youth, mainly the middle school kids, at my parents church in Marietta. I loved it and it made me feel like I was actually using the gifts that God has given me to serve Him and I really miss it. I really hope this is the direction God is leading us because I think it would be such a blessing to us to be able to serve God and the church in this way.

On that note, part of what I've been thinking about doing is going through seminary or whatever it is that James will have to go through with him so that I can be up to par and be able to lead were I'm able. Also I've thought about going to school for music, though I might decide to just take lessons from someone, so that I can be better at playing the piano and singing and therefore be more able to help James lead worship for the kids and all that fun stuff. I get more excited the more I think about it and since we have a few years before we can actually make this decision we'll have time to prepare ourselves a little better for the job, which is great!

It's nice to finally feel like I have some sort of direction or goal in life because ever since I was about 18 or so I had no idea what I wanted to do aside from getting married and having kids one day. I got the married part down surprisingly, I still can't believe I found someone who wanted to put up with me and my many problems! Kids can wait a few more years but I do want some eventually. God willing we won't have any until we are "trying" to have them. Speaking of kids I have to give a shout out of congrats to some friends from Valdosta, Justin (the guy that played and sang Nothing but the Blood of Jesus at our wedding) and his wife Kristen are pregnant with twins! They got married June of '05, I believe she's do in January, we are so excited for them! Anyways, bunny trail...There have been so many things that I've wanted to do that I couldn't decide what I wanted to go to school for, here's my list: Music (composition & vocal & maybe performance), video game design, writing/ journalism (mainly for being able to write books and such), floral design, fashion design, culinary arts, computer programming, web design, etc. I know there's more but I can't think of them at the moment. Out of all of those none of them were higher on my list than another, at least until now. But even so I still want to be able to do all of those things, I think they'd all be really fun so you could see my problem. However now that I have more of a certain goal in mind I have a better idea of what I'd like to study so that's very exciting for me! Yay me! ;-)

In other news, James and I are on the other side of Germany right now, closer to the Czech Republic side as opposed to the France side. Speaking of France, props to Italy for winning the World Cup! James has some sort of Army schooling he's got to do here for two weeks. Since we are close to Prague we are probably going to make a trip out there sometime while we are here, which should be fun! I love being so close to all these different places! If we get nothing else out of this Army experience aside from living in Europe and getting to see this part of the world, that's fine by me! I'm starting to think that's the only reason God allowed us (James) to join the Army, so we could see more of his beautiful creation and of course have this time of preparation, how cool is that!

So that's all for now except for HAPPY ANNIVERSARY TO JAMES AND ME!!!!!!! Two years already, wow! I'm looking forward to growing old and getting all wrinkly with him!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Okay so God's Amazing

Of course I already knew that but it never ceases to amaze me when He speaks to my heart just what I need to hear. For example, today one of the other officer's wives needed someone to drive her around because at the moment they only have one car. Normally I wouldn't be so opposed to doing so but she's always been slightly off to us. What I mean by that is she's always been kind of picky about when she wants to help us out with stuff and sometimes in how she treats us and I know that's no reason for me to feel the way I felt today but it's more than that something is just off. Anyways, so I didn't really feel like helping, didn't answer my phone when it rang, and didn't call her back until I was pushed (literally) to do so by God. In fact I was in the middle of my quiet time but I couldn't concentrate because I knew I needed to do the right thing and help her out. So I called her and went to pick her and her two kids up in my oven of a car (no AC and it's crazy hot!) and ran her to her errands.

When I got home I went back upstairs to finish my quiet time. One of the books I've been reading for my devotions is Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts. It's an excellent book but some of you may find it odd because it's written as if God were speaking to you directly. And believe it or not that's how God speaks to me, not just through books and His Word but through the Holy Spirit I hear His voice. Maybe I'm crazy I dunno. All I can say is He proved Himself to me when He told me James was going to ask me to marry him almost a year before James actually asked me. My point? Read the first paragraph again and then read what I read upon returning to my devotions today.

From Come Away My Beloved by Frances J. Roberts

Behold, I have brought you out of a dark and solitary land. I have given you a drink from My own hand. We have held sweet counsel together; for I have not called you servant, but I have called you friend. Yes, and I delight in your companionship. For I have seen your devotion, and I have observed with pleasure your thoughtfulness to those less fortunate who have crossed your path.
When you have encouraged the weary; prayed with the sick; lent help to the needy, comfort to the sorrowing, and understanding to the distressed, I count it as though you did it for Me, for I know that except for your love for Me, you would not make this kind of sacrifice.
Gifts may be given, prompted by many a selfish motive; but when you give yourself, often in the face of insults, returning good for evil, and yet receive further censure, this I know you have done because and only because you love Me first, and loving Me you find no place to hate any. For if a man loves God, truly he will also love his brother. And he will yet go beyond this, for he will show kindness and feel concern for the needs of even his enemies, and be moved with compassion to minister aid. (now skipping ahead to the last paragraph of this section)
So yield yourself to the moving of the Spirit in your heart, and minister as I arrange your contacts, without looking around to make your own choices. Leave the planning to the Head. This is My work. Let each abide in his place, yielding completely to My Spirit, nourished by My love, and ministering in self-sacrifice.

So I thought that was kinda neat. There is another section that from this book that really hit home for me too today that I'd love to share but if I continue typing now my wrist is going to fall off...

The Sheep

I woke up with James this morning, had a hard time sleeping last night too. Anyways, since I was up I went into our guest bedroom and picked up some knitting stuff that I've been working on for a while and tried to do something different to see if I liked it better. I had the windows open and the fan going 'cause in Germany that's what they call air conditioning...Right so the windows were open and low and behold what do I hear?? The gentle Baaa-ing of the magical sheep! I still haven't seen them a second time yet but it renews my spirit (careful, if you read this you might get struck by lightning!) to know that I heard them this morning and I just had to share my joy with everyone.

In other news I've added a link to a photo page. There's not much there yet but check it out anyways, there's some cool pictures of Ireland and Germany and some of family. I'm going to add more soon so keep checking back for more photos of family and Scotland, Woot!

Before I sign off I have a request. If you think about it in passing, I ask that you lift up my spirit in prayer. I've been in a hard, long spiritual battle for awhile and it's become more difficult as of late and as a result I've become very weak and susceptible to Satan's lies. I can't give specifics but I would appreciate any prayer that can be offered, thank you!

Monday, June 26, 2006

And now some Magic!

So we have a magical horse that lives in our neighborhood...and magical sheep that live just outside our'm not kidding. Let me tell you a story.

One day James and I were leaving our house to run some errands, what those errands were I forget at the moment, but that's not important. Anyways, upon leaving our neighborhood we saw this scraggly looking horse in a small field behind some houses that are connected to our neighborhood. It was a brown horse and really did look kinda sickly. So we noticed it and went on our merry way. When we finished our errands we pulled back into our neighborhood and for fun I looked to see if the horse was still there. Now before I go on, this horse just showed up one day presumably out of nowhere. We'd been living in our home for a couple of months before we saw it. Okay so I looked for the horse and it's gone! Nowhere in sight and I looked, there were trees, there was a ditch, there was a barn and the horse was nowhere! Gone, disappeared into thin air, quite the feat for a horse! Why does that make him magical you ask? Well simply 'cause we never saw him again until a few days ago. Yeah, in the same field almost in the same spot, yet he looked a lot healthier which was good. When we saw him (I say him, it could be a she but for now it's a him) we were leaving our neighborhood to run more errands. And again upon returning home he was gone or so I thought, turns out he was just hiding in the shade of some near by trees, unlike last time. But he is magical because we left again later that day and he was gone! Then a couple of days after that it happened again, we saw him as we left, came home and he was gone, just like that! Definitely magical. :-)

Alright so the sheep. This sighting happened sometime between the first and second sighting of the magical horse. Again James and I were out and about running errands (we do that a lot on weekends) and we were on our way home. To get to our home we went through a neighboring town, Bann. It's about a mile or so away from Queidersbach (our town). And along this mile that you drive between the towns are a lot of green hills, it kinda looks like farm land but not really. Anyways, we've driven this road many time before and I never saw anything but grass and some flowers that's it. Well that day I saw what I believe to be magical sheep. There were a dozen or so minding their own business eating grass (I think that's what makes them magical!) and I haven't seen them since, it's been a couple of months too...ever since I started that medication.....nah I'm just kidding. But I do think they are magical, just like the horse. And that's all for today, figured this might be more fun to read than my last post!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Winston Earley Springfield

I am sorry to those of you who don't want to be reminded of him but part of how I deal with things is by writing, so forgive me. I struggle a lot with thoughts of Winston this time of year, well year round really, but even more so around this time because he died June 23, 2004 and I haven't quite found peace about it. Maybe one day I will but for now this is how I'm dealing with it. Mama, thanks for the encouragement the other day.

From Winston:

Have no doubts about me. I am where God has willed me to be. I know you think I should have lived longer, but I didn't, I couldn't... My salvation however is not in my own hands, it never was, praise be to God, or I would surely be damned. "For it is by grace you are saved, through faith - and this not from yourselves. It is the gift of God - not by works, so that no one can boast." and, "Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death."
To close I want to tell you all that I love you and I know God will continue to lead you by His Spirit. I go now to see my father and his father before him and my true Father...God. When we next meet I don't know if we'll recognize each other, but all that matters is that we'll be with Him who made us all.

Goodbye for now,
Winston Earley Springfield

The tears I've shed for you are kept in a bottle in God's storage room. I pray God show them to you one day so you can know how much you were loved and how greatly you are missed. There is so much pain in your memory no matter how sweet the time spent. How could you?
So many things remind me of you, songs, movies, a passage in Scripture, a familiar face or someone who just looks an awful lot like you. Sometimes I'll wake in the night with thoughts of you or in the morning when I rise for whatever reason God will lay you on my heart, and I cry. How could you?
I can't wipe away the memory of all the sad faces at your funeral. So many showed up, I wish you could have seen just how many. Your casket was open during the service, I couldn't make myself look, but then someone moved, I saw the profile of your body, your face and I wept. How could you?
My brother was there sitting at the end of the pew. He was fine at first, as fine as you can be at a funeral of a good friend. But after the service I found him outside the sanctuary standing alone, his face was red and his eyes were puffy, it was evident he had been crying. Then he spotted me, his arms out stretched waving me in and I heard him say in a broken voice as we embraced, "You know I love you, right? I love you." This was the first time I'd ever seen him really cry. How could you?
I can't imagine what your mother must have felt, still feels as well as the rest of your family. I don't want to imagine, I think it would hurt too much, much more than it already does. I'm so sad at the talent the world is missing out on because of your death. Even sadder that God can no longer use that talent, it's just a memory. I pray God will teach us something from this tragedy, I pray also that the pain will one day subside. How could you?
Your wish was that we forget you, forget you ever existed. I'm sorry but I cannot do as you ask, I could never forget. I could never forget our conversations, all the fun times we'd shared, watching movies (Fiddler On The Roof!), playing games, listening and watching in amazement to the music you would make up on the spot, your singing, your friendship, I will never forget.
To those you've left behind, I pray for you every year at this time. A time when a son, a brother, a cousin, a nephew and a close friend took his life and went to be with our great Father in heaven.
"Now I live and breathe for an audience of One."
Don't forget him.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Well I think I've procrastinated long enough and seeing as how I can't sleep at the moment I figured I'd write about our trip to Scotland a few weekends ago, so here goes!

We left for Scotland on the eve of the 26th of May and arrived around 8pm. We flew into Prestwick which is South West, I believe, of Glasgow. We took the train from the airport to the center of Glasgow. Now maybe we didn't see the "good" side of Glasgow from the train but I must say that it's not nearly as well kept as Dublin was/is. From what we/I saw from the train it was kinda shady, not a place I'd care to walk around by myself at any time of day. I'm glad we only spent one night there. The train ride to Glasgow though was pretty entertaining. There was a group of young guys that got on shortly after we did and sat right behind us, their accents were so thick that the only words we could make out the whole time they were talking were, the bad f word, hamburger and genius! It was quite funny and at one point they started quoting the Chapelle Show, good stuff!

So anyways, one night in Glasgow then it was off to Inverness which was another train ride away. However instead of it being a 30 minute ride it was a 3 hour ride. But the scenery was amazing, rolling green hills with a mountainous backdrop. The hills slowly turned into bigger hills and got bigger as the ride went on and eventually the green hills became brown mountains, it was so pretty, more brown than I expected but still beautiful.

We arrived in Inverness about midday or so and checked into our B&B, which was pretty nice. We then went on a self guided tour of the town of Inverness. It is a fairly big town located right on the Loch Ness River. Our B&B was across the river from the main part of town. There is a castle there also, we didn't take a tour of it because it's their courthouse now so the only way we would have been able to take a tour of it would have been to break the law in some fashion which neither of us were interested in doing.

Well that evening we went on a ghost tour of the town. This guy claiming to be a ghost met a small group of us outside the tourist center and took us around town telling us of Inverness and Scotland's horrifying history involving murders, witches, tortures, hangings, beheadings and the like. He did it in such a way that he made fun of everyone there for whatever reason at one point or another it was pretty funny. James and I were made fun of because we were American. In fact we were the only Americans in the group, the others were English and Canadian. The Canadians showed up late for the tour and so the tour guy made fun of them and asked were they were from ('cause he'd asked everyone that) and one guy said they were from Canada. Immediately the tour guy rolled his eyes and said, "Figures, well I guess it could be worse..." And the same guy that said they were from Canada said, "Yeah, we could be American!" James and I just looked at each other and shook our heads and the tour guys says, "Well the Americans are right over there!" and pointed to us. The Canadian guy felt pretty dumb I would imagine and said he was sorry. We just laughed it off and figured he was an idiot! :-) Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against Canadians, how could I, my dad's one! Anyways, it was a fun tour that ended with all of us in a "haunted" bar with a "free" beer.

Oh I almost forgot something that was pretty cool. The first thing we hear and see when we get out of the train station in Inverness was a piping band. There were six or so guys and gals playing the bagpipes and a couple of guys playing on the drums and one guy playing a big bass drum. It was really cool!

Alright so on with the second day in Inverness. We took an all day tour, from 9am till about 7pm, of the Loch Ness area. It was a small group of people from all over, people from Germany, Scotland, Slovakia, Canada, India, Denmark, France, and America (not including James and myself). It was pretty neat though I felt pretty stupid while the tour guide asked what all our names were and where we were from and what languages we spoke. Most people she asked could speak at least 2 languages fluently if not more. Of course when she gets to James and me we told her we were from America she didn't ask us what other languages we spoke she just moved on to the next person. Made me feel kinda dumb but then kinda proud cause everyone of the bus could speak a little English and I thought, yeah that's right you learn our language! Why I thought that I have no idea, I guess I'm just proud to be an American and really miss the ease of living there.

Back to the tour...Our tour guide was really fun. Her name was Alison and she made the tour very interactive, she made fun of us and we made fun of her, it was great fun! She told us all about Scotland's history most of which I don't remember 'cause I don't retain stuff like that very well but it was interesting at the time. We stopped at a bunch of different places most of which were good opportunities to take pictures, which was cool. We made one stop where this older guy was playing the bagpipes, Alison told us that he played the pipes for tourists for a living for the past 20 years or so; and lo and behold what song is he piping when we get off the bus....Highland Cathedral, the song I walked down the isle to get married! Granted I know that's a popular song there but still I thought it was cool!

On the first half of the tour she took us to the oldest crypt type thing that still stands in Scotland. The only way I can describe it is it's a big pile of rocks that has a big hole in the top that looks down into a circular den so to speak that has only one way in or out and that's through a very small opening in one of the sides. Very odd looking structure, I don't remember if we got any pictures of it, I hope so. Surrounding the massive rock pile were five or six really big rocks, I don't know if they were markers of some sort or what but it was really weird. Upon leaving there Alison made us all pick up three sticks for a game to be played later on in the day, James and I missed out on the game, pooh sticks I believe is what it was called. She then made us pair up with someone (I picked James of course) and stand in a line across from our partner. She proceeded to teach us a line dance, one of the easiest and apparently one that is done most anywhere in Scotland where dancing goes on, except for maybe a club but that's a different kind of dance all together. It was cool though and made me think of Jared and Heather's wedding. I wish I could remember the name of the dance, I'll ask James later and post it if he remembers. Anyways, Alison wouldn't let us leave that place until we'd all learned it kinda well. It was really fun to watch the Indians (all males) try the dance, none of them could do it, quite entertaining!

Also on the first half of the tour we got to go out onto Loch Ness not the river but the actual lake part where the Loch Ness monster "Nessie" resides. I'd love to say that we saw her but alas she stayed bottom side the whole 30 minutes we were out there. *Sigh* Oh well, it was fun anyways. On our boat ride we got to see a really run down castle, Urquel Castle, I probably have the spelling wrong but whatever. There wasn't much left to this castle but it was right on the lake, what a great view it must have had once upon a time though! There was a group of four mallard ducks that followed us the whole time we were on the boat ride which was kinda fun. They'd fall behind then come flying in behind us or on the side of us and one time right in front of us! Stupid ducks! After that we went to this exhibition thing that was all about Nessie and if she existed and all that stuff, it was fun.

Moving on one of the stops we made we were able to get out and walk around a couple of trails that were near by, this was on the second half of the tour. One took us by a raging stream/river thing which was really pretty, it set a relaxing tone for me, I don't know about James. Lots of good photo ops. The other trail was across the road from the one by the river and it was mostly up hill, very up hill. Eww and we saw leeches which creeped me out. Anyways once you reached the top of the trail you got a spectacular view of some great mountains some of which still had snow on them! My goodness what a view, breathtaking! Plus the weather was perfect though I know James wouldn't agree with me but it was. It was rainy off and on most of the day and really cold and when we got to the top of that particular trail it started pouring rain, it was great, I loved it! I just hope our pictures come out okay, we'll find out next week sometime.

On our way back to Inverness we stopped at this really big dam that you could walk out on, another good picture op. While we were out there it went from being sunny to rainy and of course our tour lady wanted to teach the group of people that had been picked up for the second half of the tour the line dance she'd taught those of us that were on the first half. So we danced in the rain which, again I thought was cool but I think most everyone else just wanted to get back on the bus!

We made two more stops after the dam. One was to a nice little hotel where we warmed up with some hot chocolate (or tea or coffee, depending on your preference) and a very yummy scone! Now I know why when Europeans go to some place like Starbucks and get a scone they turn their noses up at it because it's just not the same! The scones we had looked something like an English muffin (but that's not what it was) cut in half with some sort of jelly smeared on it with some sort of cream on top of that, oh my, it was so yummy!! So after our snack our last stop was made and you'll never guess what we saw.....cows! Hehehe, but not just any cows these were highland coos! You know, the kind that are really big with big horns and long hair! They were so cute and very smelly! :-P James had wanted to get a picture of one throughout the day and was quite excited when we stopped to see them, so I hope he got his picture that he wanted. And that's it really.

Our last day in Scotland was spent on a train and wandering around Glasgow which was swarming with people! But you remember those mountains I was talking about earlier that had snow on them? Well we saw while on the train that they had more snow on them than the day before! Craziness! It was a great time, we had a lot of fun and it was so different from our trip to Ireland. Scotland was everything and more than I thought it could be, definitely a dream come true! James has made a lot of my dreams come true, marrying me, taking me to Ireland and then to Scotland, two places I've wanted to go since forever. I knew he was the man of my dreams! Anyways, good times and more to come! Yay!

Tuesday, May 23, 2006


I simply come. Drawn into Your presence by the power of Your name, I simply come. You call me Your friend and reveal Yourself to me. How could I ever resist You? You have given me all I've ever dreamed of and so much more. You bring things into my life at just the right time when I am in need. I'll never fully understand why You care so much but I am thankful that You do. I can't help but dream of the day we'll be together for eternity. I live my life in expectation of that day, but until then I will continually lift up my imperfect praise to You and patiently wait for the time when we will worship together. Keep me in Your perfect peace until then and never remove Your hand from me for without it I will always fall. You are my stronghold, it is You I run to for comfort and no one else.

I tried to let go, You tightened Your grip. I pushed You away but You came back. I turned away from You to separate me from truth. Only You never left my side, You assured me of You love, with You arms still open wide, You came down from above. In this place of quiet rest I listen for Your voice to whisper words of love You know I need to hear. Your devotion is like no other I've known. Cast out the doubt in me, Oh God, make me a child of belief. Let me trace Your footsteps in the sand, as we dance remove this grief.

These were a couple of things I wrote a few years ago and came across the other day and thought I'd share them 'cause I like them. Enjoy my musings!

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

The Wedding

Well now that my internet is up and running again (for now, it was down for about a week, as well as our phones) I figured I'd write about Jared and Heather's wedding. Before I do though, I just have to say that Germany seems to be the land where electronics never work! In my mother's own words "It's like it's a third world country or something!" Hehe I love my mom! :-)

Alright so the long awaited wedding! It took place on Saturday April 22nd. I flew into Atlanta on the 17th. I found out a few days before I left that the other bridesmaids had planned a trip to Savannah, Ga as Heather's bachelorette party. It was to be an over night stay. They would leave on the morning of the 17th and come home the evening of the 18th and I was going to miss it 'cause my flight didn't get in until 2pm on the 17th. They were very sweet and upon finding that out said they'd see if they could push it back a day so I could go along with them but they then found out that a couple of the other girls wouldn't have been able to take more time off work to do that so I told them not to worry and just have a great time! It did make me kind of sad though that I didn't get to spend that time with Heather in the last days of her single life, on the up side however I'll have all the time in the world to spend with her since she's married to my bro! :-D

So on with the story! The Wednesday before the wedding my mom and I went over to Heather's parents house to help with decorating stuff. My mom helped with cookies and I helped Heather by holding a wreathe and embossing some little flags. I didn't feel like I was very helpful but at least I got to spend a little time with Heather which was nice. :-) Btw embossing is quite fun as long as you're not burning things, like the paper or your fingers!

The next event was the rehearsal dinner. It was so much fun to watch Jared and Heather together during the rehearsal, they were so cute! When it came time to practice "the kiss" out of respect for Heather (she was kinda shy about kissing him in front of her family, too cute!) Jared would only kiss her forehead! It was darling and of course we all teased them which I'm sure didn't help the situation. Sorry guys! We got through the rehearsal without any major problems, though we all seemed to walk in and out too fast but I think we got it down in time for the actual wedding.

The rehearsal dinner then of course followed, which was pretty yummy. We had BBQ chicken and pork (I think). The chicken was great and I heard the pork wasn't to shabby either, I wouldn't know I don't eat much pork these days. Anyways, during the dinner Jared and Heather gave out their gifts to the bridal party. It was a lot of fun for me to watch Jared give the groomsmen their presents 'cause James and I had a hand in getting them. Jared gave them all authentic (and limited addition) beer steins from Germany. It suited the guys well 'cause they all like to drink! Jared gave a little speech about each person before handing off the gift which I thought was nice. They all seemed pretty jazzed about what they got. Then it was Heather's turn and like a good soon to be wife she had her soon to be husband hand out the gifts! Classic! The gifts came in a small Whitman's Chocolate sampler but it wasn't chocolate they were pearl necklaces that matched our bridesmaid dresses, very sneaky. Heather, from what I understand, made them herself and they were/are very beautiful and a great keepsake! Jared also gave a little speech about each girl and was at a loss for words when he got to me, which I thought was funny and sweet in a weird kind of way! It was a great time of fun and fellowship as two family's were about to be joined as one!

And then the wedding. Heather was probably the most beautiful bride I've ever seen. And no I'm not just saying that to get in her good graces, I truly mean it! Of course that's not to say that the other brides I've seen were ugly, by no means they were beautiful also, but Heather, wow! Words can't describe! Anyways, on with the festivities. That morning I was picked up by one of the other bridesmaids, also a good friend of mine, to go with her and another bridesmaid and mutual friend as well, to get their toes and nails done. It was fun getting to spend some time with them 'cause it had been awhile since I'd seen either of them. Afterwards we went to the church where everyone started getting ready. Heather's gown was stunning as was she in it. I can't believe she got it off of ebay for like a hundred and fifty bucks, or there about! Gorgeous! After we got ready lunch was provided for us and then it was picture time, woot! Pictures can be a painful thing sometimes, I mean with all the smiling and such but I think we all had fun with it. Jared and Heather didn't take pictures together until after the ceremony.

The ceremony started around 2pm that afternoon. The church was pretty much packed. The decorations were absolutely beautiful. She had candles with bows every where, greenery and flowers to match, and two gorgeous banners that she and her mother made to hang on the walls in the front of the sanctuary. It made me sad that I wasn't more creative with my wedding and also made me wish we'd been married in my parents church, oh well! It was beautiful! They picked out some great music for the whole ceremony. We sang two hymns, Be Thou My Vision and I wasn't familiar with the other one we sang but it was beautiful too. There was a prayer said over them which I thought was great. I think every wedding ceremony should have a prayer said over the couple. Heather, like myself, for the longest time had wanted bagpipes played at her wedding and it just so happens that her brother is like a master player of the bagpipes! I don't remember the name of the song she walked down the isle to but it was awesome 'cause it was played on the pipes! They walked out of the ceremony to one of my favorite songs to hear played on the pipes, Clumsy Lover! If you've not heard this song before google it and listen to it, it's so awesome! Again I wish I had known about this song for my own wedding, it's very powerful. All in all it was a wonderful celebration to be a part of, I was very blessed by it. Though I will say it's much more nerve racking to be a bridesmaid (or matron, I'm not sure what I'd be classified as) than it is to be the bride. Weird, I know. Maybe it's just me but when I got married I wasn't near as nervous as I was standing up there watching them get married.

There were more pictures of course after the ceremony of the two newly weds and then the other festivities. Their cake was the most unusual cake, it was French and not really a cake at all. It was a bunch of puff pastries filled with custard, I believe, all stacked in the shape of a cake topped with caramel and some sort of brittle. Very different and not bad. They actually had to cut the cake with scissors instead of a knife because of the way it was designed, very cool! And then there was the flower and garter tossing. It was weird to stand by and not participate, but still fun to watch the scrambling! After all that there was still more fun to come...

That evening, at Heather's parent's house a select few were invited over for dinner and dancing. It was great fun! It kind of made me sad too though when the dancing started 'cause most everyone was paired up with their husband or wife and James wasn't able to be there for any of it which made me miss him all the more. I still had fun dancing with Heahter's sister Greta, even though I ending up being the boy of the pair! Hehehe. We did traditional folk dancing, it probably has another name but the closest thing I could compare it to is if you've ever seen Pride & Prejudice (the new one, 'cause I don't remember much about the old one) it's like the dancing they do in that movie. It was really fun and made for good memories! After a while, as most couples do, they decided it was time for the honeymoon to start and they whisked themselves away with lots of hugs and goodbyes to start their new life together!

And what a life it will be. Marriage is a wonderful journey especially if you're on it with your best friend! It will be the most disappointing and the most rewarding relationship you'll encounter. As long as you keep Christ at the head your sorrows will never out way your joys! I love you guys and wish you nothing but the best!

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Ireland is my favorite! Well actually America is my favorite but Ireland is a close second. As I'm sure you can tell we were able to pull the Ireland trip off, YAY!! I've always wanted to go there, I'd seen so many pictures and had people tell me who've actually been there that the pictures don't do it justice and well I have to agree with them. I've decided that I'm going to stop trying to figure out how to put pictures up on this blog and post them on another site so you guys can finally see all the ones I've been wanting to show you. It'll be easier for me to do it that way and now that we've started our traveling adventures I'll have more to post, Woo Hoo!!

Anyways, back to Ireland. It was so great! We took a plane there, the flight was super cheap and only 2 hours long but it was very painful. You know how in movies when a character gets on a plane and they're sitting right in front of a baby that screams and cries for the duration of the flight? Well that's kinda how it was though it wasn't just babies (and with babies it's understandable) but it was little kids also, like 6 and under! And they weren't just behind us but all around us, it was crazy! I was thankful the flight was only 2 hours.

Alright so we get there at roughly 10:30am and go to check into our hotel, The Abbot Lodge, which is in (I would say) the heart of Dublin. We checked in and asked where we could find this particular bus station that we'd bought passes for at the airport. We were told were a bus station was that we could probably get info at and that we should also check out the tour office first 'cause they'd have information on that bus line too. By this time (it was around 1pm) James and I were starving and we remembered passing a pub on our walk to our Bed & Breakfast. O'Shea's Pub, that's where we had lunch, a very good lunch. James had a traditional Irish Stew, which was made with lamb instead of beef and had potatoes and carrots and was in a yummy stew sauce. I tried it and it was good for the most part. I'd never had lamb before and I'm not really sure what I think about it...jury's still out on that one. I had roast chicken with a sage and onion stuffing that was just delicious with some mixed veggies! Oh it was sooooo good!! Makes my mouth water just thinking of it!

So after lunch we went a walking and found the main bus station which we thought for sure would have some info on what we were trying to find out, but nope, we had to find the actual Dublin City Bus station to get what we wanted. They told us where it was so we walked back across town to find that our bus station was closed because it was Good Friday. So we thought the tour place would surely be open so we retraced our steps to the other side of town and found the tour office......closed at 2pm, it was 2:45pm when we got there. They closed early 'cause of Good Friday. It was a little discouraging but we made the best of it and walked on to try and find St Patrick's Cathedral.

We were stopped at a bus stop hoping we could take it to St Patrick's Cathedral because it looked really far away from where we were on the map when on old lady noticed we were looking pretty hard at the bus stop sign trying to figure out if we could take the next bus or not. She asked us where we were trying to go and we told her and she said we were better off walking, so we chit chatted for a minute or two figuring out how to get there and went on our merry way towards the cathedral. On our way there we passed by another old church Christ Church, a very big and beautiful church half of which was turned into this thing called Dublinia. Dublinia basically gives you a run down of Dublin's history from something like the 400's B.C. to roughly present day times. It was one of the places we'd wanted to check out while we were in Dublin so we decided to go ahead and go through it. It was very informative (though I couldn't tell you a thing about it) and kinda fun. They had 3 floors to explore and the 3rd floor was all about the Vikings, very interesting. Anyways at the end of this self tour Dublinia thing you usually were able to go right into the "church" part of the tour but it was closed for the evening because, yup you guessed it, it was Good Friday and they were having a service. So we moved right a long to St Patrick's Cathedral.

St. Patrick's was just down the road from Christ Church/Dublinia so we thought maybe we'd get a chance to see it since it was only 4:30 in the afternoon. Well, we get there and we see people coming out of the doors followed by someone who looked official and thought maybe they only take a certain number of people at a time. We watched a little longer and a bus pulled up and a group of people got out and went through the gate, stop, turned around and got back on the bus because, yes, they also were closed for Good Friday. But the official looking guy said they'd be open again from 9am til 6pm the next day. So instead of getting to see the inside of St Patrick's we took tons of pictures of the outside which to me was more grand anyways. Not that the inside was bad when we actually got to see it but I think the outside is prettier.

By this time James and I were pretty frustrated that nothing seemed to be open and all we'd heard all day was that there would be no pubs or any alcohol sold at any restaurants that were open because it's forbidden for you to drink in Ireland on Good Friday. That kinda bummed be out because you can't go to Ireland and have a dry visit and by dry I mean no alcohol! Don't get me wrong, I didn't want to get drunk or anything I just wanted to have a Guinness or two 'cause I've heard it's much better in Ireland than it is in the states which is the only other place I've had it. And it is. ;-)

We decided to go shopping to see if we could find any gifts for other people or even for ourselves. We didn't buy anything. Instead we found as we kept walking that more and more shops were closing and it was only 5:30pm or so. We were tired any how so we went back to our B&B (bed & breakfast) to rest and wait till we got hungry. Before we left to go find food we asked the guy working the front desk seeing as how he was a local where a good place to eat might be. Since we were Americans he suggested to us the McDonald's up the street one way or the Burger King up the street the other way. It was said in jest of course so we all laughed and he then suggested a few other places to eat and I think we ended up eating at some Italian place that really wasn't very good but oh well.

Saturday the 15th we started fresh and got to the tour office and the right bus station shortly after they opened and booked ourselves a bus tour for about half the day. On the bus tour we stop at one of the oldest Churches in Dublin (or in one of the out skirting towns) that is still in use. I want to say that the church dated back to the 1300 or 1400's. It was really small but had a cool wall around it and beautiful architecture. Our next stop was Malihide Castle. Man I love castles!! We were able to take a tour of the castle which is always fun and it was kind of a self tour but kind of not. They basically hit the play but on a tape that played in each of the rooms telling about the castle and what the room was used for and about some of the furniture in the room and when you were supposed to move to the next room it would direct you to which door/doors you were to take. It was pretty neat but again I think the outside of the castle was more exciting for me to see than the inside. It was still cool though. One of the paintings they had hanging on the wall was of a brother and sister sitting with their mother in one of the castles rooms. They or the tape rather told us that the kids in the picture actually lived in the castle (or something to that effect) until they both passed away in the 1970's I believe. I thought that was kinda cool 'cause it looked like an older picture than what it must have been. The castle grounds were absolutely beautiful! It has something like 240 acres and some of it was turned into a park for the locals. There was a really cool tree around one side of the castle too, it looked kinda like a really big huge Bonzai tree. Good stuff. After the castle we made a couple other stops, mainly for picture taking, along the coast line of the Celtic Sea. I can't even begin to describe to you how beautiful the scenery was and we weren't even on the "pretty" side of Ireland or so we were told! The color of the grass in Ireland is like nothing I've ever seen before, it's the brightest, yellowiest, green you can think of with just hints of darker greens here and there and whatever color you just pictured in your head doesn't do it justice! It's so amazingly beautiful! *sigh*

We got back to Dublin around 1pm or so and went back to St Patrick's Cathedral to see the inside this time. They let us in and we got our pictures and read some of the plaques they had describing who the statues were and all that fun stuff. It was pretty and the architecture was gorgeous but I still think the outside was better. After St Patrick's we moved on to Christ Church again to see the inside of that one as well. It was pretty also but not nearly as beautiful as St Patrick's. Although this church had something Patrick's didn't, a crypt. And, yes, you can go down into the crypt. That was pretty exciting, I've never (to my knowledge anyway) been inside of a crypt before. It was a lot bigger than I thought it'd be and it didn't smell funny like I thought it would. They had all kinds of display stuff down there and there were a few stone graves that had been opened and the body had been removed and at least one of them I remember being really short and super tiny almost like it was for an anorexic kid only it was actually for an adult woman. Craziness! So the crypt was cool.

After that we went shopping again and ended up buying a shirt for James and one for me and also a zip up sweat shirt for me 'cause I really liked it. There wasn't really much in the way of gifts for other people, I mean they had tons of stuff just not much we thought any of our family would really like. Oh well. After shopping and all the sight seeing of the day we went back to our room and napped for a little while then went back out later for dinner at a different just as bad Italian restaurant and went back to the room again. Still no Guinness for Leah. :-( That night however, Saturday night was probably the coolest and most fun part of our trip.

You remember O'Shea's Pub that we ate at the day before? Well we went there at around 10pm or so on Saturday in hopes that it'd still be open seeing as how the next day was Easter Sunday we thought things may have closed down early. Well it was still open and as we were walking past the windows of it we saw and heard live Irish music being played. We then got really excited because that was something that we both really wanted to experience while we were there. So we get inside and make our way through the packed standing room only crowd to the bar and I order a Guinness and James orders a Murphy's (Guinness Light ;-D). That's when we began to revel in our beer and the wonderful Irish music that we were being serenaded with! It was soooo awesome. There were two guys playing the music. One on the guitar, he also played a bass drum and one on the fiddle who also played a small drum thingie, the flute and the Irish bagpipes which sound slightly higher than the Scottish ones if I remember correctly. It was soo awesome!! We stayed there and listened to them play until about 12:30am or 1am when they finally finished. We told them they made our trip for us! They were really amazing!

Okay so, last day. We take a train ride along the coast of the Celtic Sea, the same as what we took on the bus only much closer to the water (which was also a kind of bright green) and the rocks and we went further on the train than we did on the bus. An acquaintance, Colum, one of my dad's Irish buddies he met through his job, recommended that we take this train trip and have a quiet lunch or dinner in Dalkey in Queens Pub. So we did just that and on the train ride we went through a few big mountains and again the scenery was just so beautiful! The pub/bar was really nice too. We weren't really hungry when we got there so we order dessert instead of a real meal and then promptly lost our appetite shortly after our goodies came because a family with a kid came in and the kid threw up all over the floor! James saw it happen and I just heard it so we were both really grossed out and couldn't really eat our goodies. We waited until they cleaned the mess up and left to explore the castle that the bar was conveniently located next to. It was a very small castle, not much to explore but it was a nice day so we took some pictures from the top of it and headed back to the train station and back to Dublin. Then we caught a bus back to the airport and hung out at the airport until our flight left.

The flight home was the same as the flight to there, I think it was probably all the same kids too! Our flight got back to Germany at like 9:30pm or so and it took us forever to find our way back from the airport because it's out in the middle of nowhere! We didn't get home until after 11pm and as soon as we did get home I finished unpacking what I wanted from our Ireland bag and put it into my Atlanta bag so I could get to bed and get some sleep for my 10:45am flight to Atlanta the next day that I had to get up for at 6am! Boy that was fun! Anyways, we had a great time in Ireland and want to go back to see the other side and maybe some of the north side too! I'll tell you about Jared and Heather's wedding that was on the 22nd of April in my next post but for now I think this one is long enough! I'm so excited for the both of them, I love them so much and wish them nothing but the best of God's blessings for their new life together! Now one last thing before I sign off.....James and I are gong to Scotland on the 26th-29th of May!!! We'll be in the highlands for most of the trip too!!! I'm stoked!!! YAY!!!!!!! ;-D