Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Weekend

What a great Memorial Day weekend! I thought I would be mad that John didn't go (he wasn't feeling well on Friday when we left), but it turns out I was kind of glad. Not because I was away from him, but because it was an extra special weekend with just me, my mom, and my grandparents. I don't know that it's ever been like that before. Visits are usually with them and my aunt, sister, John....it's never just been the four of us. So, it ended up being a really neat, special experience.

My grandparents are both from Arkansas, orginally. My grandmother grew up in Guy, AR and grandfather grew up in Pearson and Quitman, AR. They lived about 10 miles from each other their whole lives, but didn't meet until they were in their late teens. My great-grandparents, the DeBusks, lived in Pearson until they died. In fact, my great-grandpa DeBusk died just 3 years ago at the ripe old age of 101! But our family still has their house and land in Pearson--a tiny 2-bedroom house on 70 acres of beautiful Ozark land. That is where we stayed.

We spent most of the weekend letting my grandpa show us around town. He gets so excited to show people his roots and where he grew up. He has so many stories of crazy things he did as a kid....it was so fun to listen to him. And it's amazing how many cousins and uncles and aunts he and my grandma had....they lived near and hung out with these countless family members every day growing up. I lost track of who was who through all the stories! But it was neat to see how grounded and family-oriented they have ALWAYS been. I think that's where I get it from. Family is so important to me and has always provided my strength and support. Some people wish and hope to leave their family and their hometown--and I've always considered it an honor, privilege and a blessing to be so close to mine. People have encouraged me to "branch out" and move away to find a better life. I can't think of a better life than the one I have here, surrounded by people I love. I guess the important things in life and reaching your goals is all relative--big-time career in the big city isn't as important to me as being near the things that really matter.

I also got to see how important church and God have always been to them. Those of you who have grown up going to church with your parents, know it can be a struggle to find your faith and truly believe in what you've always been taught. And I'm not saying I am without question on a lot of practices in my church. But to see that for generations in my family, God and the church have been the focal point--it helps put things into perspective. I was raised in a loving, Christian home because that's where my family came from. They were just doing what was right--but I see it as they lived a life worthy of the calling, lived a life to inspire generations to love and worship God. Did my great-great grandparents think into the future? Did they wonder about their great great grandchildren and their faith? Probably not...but they lived a life and left a legacy of love and faith that makes me want to do the same. Suddenly, I've begun to think about my great-great grandchildren and how hundreds of years from now, I can only pray they know God and love worship the way my family does, and the way that I hope to.

I am SO blessed to have four wonderful, living grandparents. Four grandparents who are in overall good health, and who have been close to me for 24 years. I know what a blessing this is, and I treasure it. And I encourage any and all of you to call, take a trip, or write to your living relatives and ask them their story. I not only wrote down tons of stories this weekend about my grandparents as children and teenagers, but I heard how they met and fell in love. I heard my grandpa say more than once this weekend how beautiful my grandma was (and still is) and how he just couldn't get her off his mind. I even heard him slip and say how he ended up pretty lucky to have her. :) I also followed him around to his childhood homes and heard about getting caught smoking. About walking home from church in the dark, afraid all the things from the Southern Baptist Fire and Brimstone sermon would somehow come true in that 1/2-mile walk home. I saw the church my grandma was raised in.

Thay love telling their story. They want me to know where they came from, and most of all they don't want their memories and the people they loved when they were younger to be forgotten. I can't wait to type all these things out and put them with the hundreds of pictures I took. I'm going to put it in a book for my grandpa and grandma. But I'm leaving blank pages, too. So I can fill it in with even more stories as I hear them. They lived through so much--the Great Depression, WW2, JFK and more. If you get a chance, do it. You won't regret it.

And I also came back with some cool stuff from my great grandparents home. An old toaster from the 1930s, old pictures of them in a Model A Ford, cool postcards from an old collection. It was fascinating!

Ok--done rambling for now. John missed out, but I think he had a great time playing Uncle of the Year with Mason and Easton. He went to the zoo with them, played baseball, watched movies....spent a lot of time being Uncle John. So, I think we both had great weekends centered around our families!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Well, it's CLOSE to the kitchen...maybe it made it's way by this afternoon... Posted by Hello

Oh the promise of heat and air conditioning... Posted by Hello

Look at the beautiful ceiling fan! Posted by Hello

The kitchen (notice the counters and the light!) Posted by Hello

Our dining room light... Posted by Hello

Let there Be Light!!

Well, I'm at work, so I can't post the pictures from last night's trip to the house. But I can tell you--we have LIGHT! The front porch and living room were lit up when we drove in yesterday. I was so excited--all the light fixtures are in, the ceiling fan, all the smoke detectors, the thermostat--all of them. And, yes, they all work. I flipped them each many times. Oh the excitement...

Also, currently our kitchen range lives in the living room. Not exactly where it belongs, but I'm happy to see it out and about! I'm sure that's being moved into place today. I also caught a glorious glimpse of a boxed dishwasher in the garage. We use the dishwasher more than the range any day!

So, alas, I will post tonight when I get home. I know how excited ALL of you must be to see the light of our new house! :)

John and I are headed to Arkansas for the Memorial Day weekend. My mom and I want to clean out some of my great-grandpa's old house, and see if there are any treasures we can find. Of course, treasures is a relative term. Last time I was there I found an airplane ticket from a trip my great grandma made in the 1950s! I thought that was pretty interesting...so, those are the kind of treasures I'm looking for. John will get to see the entire town of Pearson, Arkansas and it's surrounding areas once he meets up with Grandpa. I'm sure he will see everything from the local church, to the old high school, to the five and dime shop and more. Grandpa is pretty excited to show it off to him.

That's where we'll be, so pray for a safe trip! Have a wonderful Memorial Day weekend! (Pictures to come, I promise Dad!)

Monday, May 23, 2005

Long Time, No See

I know, I know....it's been a whole week since I posted. But, there's been little excitement to follow-up on John's graduation! Last week was rather slow, so I didn't want to bore anybody!

We had a great weekend. John and I discovered a great secret. The best time to hit Wal-Mart for grocery shopping? Friday night at about 6:30. There is no one there! So, consider sacraficing your wild Friday night parties for a little grocery shopping and you'll avoid stress, anger, confusion....but you might feel a little pathetic like we did. Oh well. It was easy.

Saturday was pretty busy for me. John relaxed a little, and went out to the house. Oh yeah! When I get home, I'll post pictures of the house...we now have countertops. Every little milestone gets us closer to move-in.

I made a long-delayed trip to Norman to the wedding of the year: yes, ladies and gentlemen (that know him) Jeremy Looper is now a married man! And for those of you who don't know him, Jeremy is a very good friend of mine from those crazy college years. He dated just about every girl he came in contact with, and finally found exactly what he was looking for in Mandy Sutherlin. So, it was wonderful to see him so happy and settled. Not to mention I got to catch up with dozens of friends from OU. I am the worst at keeping up with people, and it takes an event like a wedding reunion to make me realize I need to be so much better about it. I felt like I'd come home....it was like I never left. So, my Norman friends, I'm going to try to make the 30-minute trip down South more often. I miss you all so much, and I'm going to be better about it! I might even drag John down there every once in a while! Seems like everyone I saw said two things: "How are you? Where's John?" I think they miss him too!

Saturday night it was yet another social hour. One of the things John and I really threw ourselves into when we placed membership at Edmond CofC was Children's Bible Hour. Probably because we'd been so involved at Westwood a few years back, and because Alan and Delores Jackson were leading it and they are just awesome. So, the Jackson's had a pool party for all the people who had helped with Bible Hour the past year. What a blast! There was food, family (the Gayle's), friends (old and made some new), and lots of water for children to splash in. It was a great night, and we got to know so many people better. And I think Brenda Gordon maybe got to know John a little too well....she heard lots of stories!

Had a baby shower on Sunday for Stefani and soon-to-be-born Ian Cain....the first of 6 I will be attending for the very fertile girls in our Sunday school class. In Norman, I broke the bank on wedding gifts. I guess I've crossed that bridge....I'm into baby season now! No worries, though. Since so many people are having babies, there is no reason to add another. I will get my fix of children through church!

John and I cooked out at Matt and Robin's last night. Then John found out I've never seen "Waiting for Guffman". So we rented it last night. I made it about half way through. Guess I'll finish it tonight (after I watch the season finale of Desperate Housewives that I taped--don't tell me anything).

See....the update really wasn't worth waiting for, was it?!!

Saturday, May 14, 2005

Finally....Word! Posted by Hello

Us....doesn't he look so good with the square hat and tassle?! Posted by Hello

Graduation Day!!

What a Great day! John FINALLY Graduated! He officially finished his courses for a Bachelor of Science in Business, emphasis on Organizational Leadership from Southern Nazarene University. I've posted a lot of pictures, because I'm so proud! Scroll down to see....

John started his day at 5:45 a.m. this morning, when he got up to go golfing with long-time friend, Rob Carpenter. They left about 6 a.m. for Guthrie, and spent the morning on the course. And what a perfect day for golf--sunny and cool, little breeze. Considering it poured buckets last night and even dropped a little hail, it was amazing that the entire Saturday there was not a cloud in the sky.

Once he got home, he had just enough time to shower and head to SNU. I headed over in a carpool of the fam--my mom, her friend and his daughter, my sister, John's parents, his two sisters, brother-in-law and two nephews. We ended up meeting my dad at SNU, so John had quite a cheering section!

It was a long ceremony (2 hours--I guess that's about standard though), but it was very nice. Their keynote speaker of the commencement address was wonderful and kept everyone's interest.

Afterwards, it was off to Arni and Nina's (John's parents) where we had John's favorite homecooked meal, Meatballs and Rice. And, of course, cake and ice cream. Those of you who know John well will laugh at his cake..."Word"!

So, the 9-year journey is over. I know his hard work will pay off, and he'll never regret a second. He's taken a lot of different paths, hit a lot of dead ends and had to start over at the beginning. But now, he's finished this journey and can finally focus on something new! Who knows where we'll be headed next....one thing is for sure. With John, it's will be a journey full of laughs and surprises. I can't wait!

This is John's class, and a lot of new friends....he really enjoyed them all (he's second from left). Posted by Hello

Getting his "diploma" (really just a diploma holder)! Posted by Hello

Getting ready to cross the stage... Posted by Hello

Here he is, part of the waiting crowd as they file in...he's the one looking straight at the camera! Posted by Hello

Friday, May 13, 2005

Here we are again...look at how great John looks lately! Must be all those pounds he's dropping. A new house, a new degree--and a whole new look! Posted by Hello

The best part--the kitchen is coming together! Look at our new cabinets! Posted by Hello

Now that the house is locked up, we had to find alternate routes in to check on things. The back door was unlocked, but it's been raining A LOT. So, John sacraficed his new shoes to walk around back and let me in! It was worth it to see ALL they had done in two days! Posted by Hello

We have doors and trim work! Posted by Hello

Baseboards in and painted... Posted by Hello

Thursday, May 12, 2005

We have a garage door, which means doors, cabinets and tile come next! The house is now locked, so it will be harder to get inside pictures....but it will be no time at all until we move in! Posted by Hello

Monday, May 09, 2005

Here we are at the house...you can see our neighbor's house is going up fast as well! John said we have a Garage Door now! I'll post as soon as I can get out there. Posted by Hello

Friday, May 06, 2005

John had a class party tonight, to celebrate graduation a little early after picking up their caps and gowns. This is us at the party--it was A LOT of fun! I'm so proud of him I can hardly stand it! Posted by Hello

Live, Local, Latebreaking...

I have had two fantastic days at work so I decided to relax the rest of today. Yesterday I held a press event in Tulsa, and a similar one today in OKC. For those of you in the media and public relations field, to have one station come out to an event is like having chocolate cake. To have more than one, it's like adding icing on top. And to have 2 come to your event, and the others do a mention of the event during a newscast is like having sparklers on the cake!

I had two stations in Tulsa come out (one even sent a REPORTER with the cameraman--amazing) and two stations come out to my event in OKC. I also had mentions on an additional station in Tulsa, and hopefully (day's not over) on two others in OKC. This excites me a lot. My boss was so excited she said "Kick @$$". It's weird when your boss says that!

My job reveolves a lot around begging and pleading with egotistical assignment managers to please send a camera to my events. Because if you can't get free publicity with local news, public relations doesn't exist. Begging media is the least favorite part of my job--I hate it. But when it pays off, it becomes the most fulfilling part of my job. Few things provide me with such satisfaction as a successful media event, in front of my client, that allows my boss to say "kick @$$". That, and when the client claps for me during monthly presentations....it's an ego boost!

Make sure and visit my client this weekend to buy an apple pie and a pink paper ribbon. All proceeds benefit the Komen Foundation in OKC and Tulsa. How do 50-cent Apple Pies and Dollar paper ribbons help? Well, since this same fundraiser raised over $35,000 last year in one weekend, you can see it helps a lot. 171 stores can add up fast. And tune into the great local stations of KOCO and KWTV in OKC or KTUL and KOTV in Tulsa--they covered my wonderful story, and will hopefully help the fundraiser to drive traffic!

House has textured walls...will post pictures when I can get out there!

Monday, May 02, 2005

Movin' on up!

We had such a nice suprise for us on Friday--the siding was up and the sheetrock was starting to be installed! By Sunday, we had complete walls all across the house. No more walking from one bedroom into another in one step! Things are looking GREAT to move in in mid-June!

John and I went to Missouri this weekend to visit my grandparents and aunt. It was a nice, relaxing weekend. John even made it to a show in Branson (and boy did he have fun!). We're so lucky to have such a wonderful family to enjoy being with.

There really is not much more excitement going on. We're biding our time until it's time to move. I have packed up the guest room already--it's all in boxes! But I can't even wrap my brain around trying to fit the rest of this house into boxes!

I promise I'll update with any other excitement or fun stories....we're just kind of boring right now!!

We have siding....it's looking more and more like home each day.  Posted by Hello

Living room with fresh sheetrock... Posted by Hello

Yes...we have walls! Here is the kitchen/dining/master bedroom hallway area! Posted by Hello