Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Loveliest Village on the Plains

After Kate's basketball game on Friday night, we decided (kind of last minute, because some of us are still sick) to travel to Auburn, Alabama so we could attend the 2010 National Championship Celebration. We decided to forgo our usual detour to Roanoke (because of sickness) and we stayed the night in a hotel in Auburn.

For us, this was a once in a lifetime opportunity that we did not want to miss (sick or not). Seriously, the last time Auburn University won a national championship in football was 1957. And since Auburn University is my husband's Alma mater, we decided to go.

At the stadium, we met up with some of my husband's family.

our family (except for Ryan, who had other plans and couldn't go with us)

I have been to many Auburn football games through the years, but I must say the atmosphere at this event was nothing short of electrifying! The commemoration of the 2010 National Championship took place in front of an estimated 78,000 fans at Jordan-Hare Stadium.

The players were recognized individually, and many trophies were presented to the Auburn Tiger Football team. Auburn obviously had a very successful season finishing 14-0 in regular season, being named Southeastern Conference champions, and capturing the national title by beating the Oregon Ducks in the BCS championship game.

Auburn's Nick Fairley was presented the Lombardi Award. This trophy is awarded to the best lineman or linebacker in college football. The quarterback--Cam Newton--a transfer who proved his worth at Auburn this year, took home several awards, not the least of which was the Heisman Trophy. This trophy is awarded to the best player in college football. He also received the Maxwell Award and the Walter Camp Award (both are awarded to the best player), as well as the Davey O'Brien Award and the Manning Award (both are awarded to the best quarterback).

Cam is being presented his trophy by former Auburn quarterbacks Stan White and Randy Campbell.

The Broyles Award, awarded to college football's assistant coach of the year, was presented to Coach Gus Malzahn, the Offensive Coordinator and Quarterbacks coach. The Associated Press National Championship Trophy was also presented to Coach Malzahn.

The MacArthur Bowl National Championship Trophy was presented to Assistant Head Coach and Wide Receivers Coach Trooper Taylor. The Grantland Rice Football Writers Award was presented to Defensive Coordinator and Linebackers Coach Ted Roof.

The SEC Championship Trophy was presented to Head Coach Gene Chizik. Coach Chizik also received the Paul "Bear" Bryant Award, which is awarded to the coach of the year, as well as the Home Depot Award, which is awarded to the national coach of the year.

And finally, the gleaming crystal football that adorns the coveted BCS National Championship Trophy was brought forward by Dr Lloyd Nix, quarterback for the 1957 Auburn Tigers National Championship team, and was presented by BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock to Gene Chizik, head coach of the 2010 Auburn Tigers National Championship football team.

the National Championship flag, unfurled during the ceremony

A tradition at Auburn University is the Tiger Walk. Before each home game, thousands of fans line Donahue Drive to cheer on the team as they walk from the Auburn Athletic Complex to Jordan-Hare Stadium. On this day it was a reverse Tiger Walk, with the team walking from the stadium to the athletic complex.

quarterback, Cam Newton

head coach, Gene Chizik

This is my niece, Amy with one of the players, Joey Caldwell. Amy and Joey are friends who graduated high school together. Amy is a student at the University of Alabama (Auburn's arch-rival), so the only reason she came to this celebration and wore AU colors is to show support for her friend, Joey (who, btw, is #47). Let it be known that as we picked on Amy, she took it all in good nature, never uttering a word in rebuttal, only opening her left hand now and then to display those words she had inscribed on her palm in crimson ink, Roll Tide. (Being a Die-Hard Auburn fan, that was mighty big of me to include those words in this post.)

 Here is Kate with her favorite player, Philip Lutzenkirchen (better known as the touchdown maker)

It has been said that Auburn has some of the greatest fans. It was mentioned in many of the speeches given at this commemoration. The coaches, the players... they have been amazed at the fan support they receive. In the good seasons, as well as the bad. In the triumphs and in the adversities. More like family than fans. So this year, that was the motto adopted by the university -- AU Family, All In.

At home or abroad, across the continent or across the globe, you know you're with family when you hear that familiar greeting of War Eagle!

Mike and I at the Loveliest Village on the Plains, better known as Auburn University

It's great to be an Auburn Tiger.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

A New Way of Seeing Things

Yes, we're still sick. But we are on the mend. None of us have much of an appetite, but there has been no fever among any of us today. Yay! We have all spent most of the day cuddled up in blankets on the couches.

Of course I have been a little down-hearted about us being sick for so long. But I know that I have a choice in my reaction. So... I've asked the Lord to show me something positive in all of this. And of course He did. Not just one thing, but lots. And isn't that just like Him?

So here are some things that I am thankful for amidst all this sickness:

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Sickness Continues... Maybe There's an End in Sight?

For the few of you outside of my family that read my blog, these posts about our continuing saga of sickness are probably starting to get a bit boring to you. For that, I apologize. But I have found this blog to be beneficial in helping me keep family members informed and up to date on what's happening in our lives. Plus, it serves as a diary to help me keep track of what my poor memory can't.

Today has been spent taking care of two sick little peeps. Every four hours administering some medicinal concoction to help relieve the congestion, the coughing, the aches.

Last night the doctor called to deliver the results of the different tests that were performed on Kate. The strep test result was negative, but she did test positive for the flu, Influenza B to be exact. I was a little surprised because she had so few symptoms of what I thought would be related to the flu. And since I wasn't sure exactly what flu type b is, I did a little research.

There are three types of flu viruses: A, B, and C. Type A and B cause the annual influenza epidemics that have up to 20% of the population sniffling, aching, coughing, and running high fevers. Type C also causes flu; however, type C flu symptoms are much less severe.

Unlike type A flu viruses, type B flu is found only in humans. Type B flu may cause a less severe reaction than type A flu virus, but occasionally, type B flu can still be extremely harmful. Influenza type B viruses are not classified by subtype and do not cause pandemics.

So I learned that Type B Influenza symptoms can range from mild and annoying to severe and serious. And that different people react differently to this virus. The doctor feels that although she didn't test Will or me, we most likely have had the flu as well. Needless to say I was somewhat surprised. I had the flu a few years ago, and I remember spending a few days in bed, so sick I could hardly move. Apparently I had Type A.

The good news is this type doesn't usually last as long, however some of the symptoms (such as coughing and sneezing/sniffling) can last for about three weeks. And Kate's chest x-rays showed that her lungs were clear, no bronchitis or pneumonia. Yay!

Will has felt somewhat better today, compared to yesterday. His fever has stayed down and he even felt like reading some of his Science today. Kate, on the other hand, is experiencing the worst today. She has been lying around in the recliner for most of the day, sniffling, sneezing and coughing. But surprisingly, no fever since 4:00 am this morning. And me... I'm still sniffling and congested, and tired, but I did make a run to Wal-Mart today for more medicine and some more chicken noodle soup. So guess what we'll be having for supper tonight? :)

Monday, January 17, 2011

Sickness, Sickness, Please Go Away

I must say this past month has certainly been challenging, with the car wreck, and the unusually high volume of sickness running rampant in my home. My Explorer is still in the body shop, *sigh* and I'm still driving Granddaddy's Buick. And let me say how very grateful I am that he has loaned it to us (lest I appear unappreciative)!

Kate woke up this morning still feeling blah, but since she had no fever, she wanted to go to school. She didn't want to miss the basketball game tonight (even though her dad told her she would not be playing anyway because of her cough and chest pains). I suggested she stay home and stay in bed today, but she is my stubborn my hard-headed my strong-willed child :) So, off to school she went, only to call home after 3rd period asking me to pick her up because she couldn't get her coughing under control.

I checked her out of school and of course, made an appointment with the doctor. I did hesitate to make the appointment though, and only decided in favor of seeing the doctor this soon because she is complaining with her chest hurting. She tends to get bronchitis easily. The doctor tested Kate for strep throat and the flu, and ordered x-rays of her lungs.

And Will (poor Will) is sick again, too. He awoke this morning with a fever of 102.5. His complaints are headache, stuffiness and some nausea. He has slept for most of the day. Another school day lost. This child has already missed more than 3 weeks of school due to sickness. I will see how he fares through the night before making a decision about a doctor visit for him. I am concerned about his immune system since his recent brush with mono.

I thought I was all better, but today some of my symptoms have resurfaced. Is it only my imagination because I am surrounded by sickness? No, the cough is real enough, and so is the runny nose, and so is the congestion. To quote Charlie Brown, "Good grief!"

So today I started everyone on something called Immune Support, a combination of vitamin c, zinc and echinacea. Probably should have been taking this stuff all along...

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Sick Again

I've managed to pick up a bug somewhere... again. Not quite as bad as the flu, but close. I could tell Friday night at the basketball games that I was starting to feel like maybe a head cold was coming on. By the time we got home around 10:00 pm, I was feeling pretty rotten. I was aching all over and felt so cold, so I checked my temperature. Sure enough, a fever. It was a little over 99 degrees, so I took some cold medicine, put an extra blanket on my side of the bed, and promptly went to sleep.

I didn't even wake up till after 11:00 am Saturday morning. Then I just crawled out of bed to take some more medicine and pile up on the couch with my pillows, blankets, tissues, and the tv remote control :). My Saturday went something like this: sleep, watch a little TLC, sleep, watch a little Discovery Channel, sleep, watch a movie, sleep... You get the idea. Oh yeah, and somewhere in the midst of all that sleeping and tv watching, my sweet husband made me a bowl of Campbell's Chicken Noodle soup.

I did feel a little better today. Although my fever is gone, I stayed home from church today. My head still hurts and I'm still very congested. I've just been resting. The couch and I have gotten to know each other pretty well over these last two days.

And now Kate is starting to feel bad, too. Her head hurts, she has a cough and is stuffy. I hope she's not getting whatever I've had.

We don't usually have this much sickness at our house. Not sure what's going on here. I'm beginning to wonder if it has anything to do with this unusually long cold spell we've had down here in the south. We are not used to it being this cold for this long! (ha/ha) As a matter of fact, I think we can dispel that myth about global warming :) !

Thursday, January 13, 2011

My Word for the New Year

As I have pondered my goals for this new year, it seems that God has been impressing upon my heart this one thing: Love. Love for Him. Love for my family. Love for my neighbor, my fellowman.

He has engulfed me in His love, and I want to love Him back with all my heart, with all my strength, and with all my soul. I want to spend this year reveling in His love for me, reaching out to others with His love. "We love Him because He first loved us." 1 John 4:19

He has been speaking to me about showing His love to others, for I have been slack in this area. I think back to days gone by, when my life really revolved around serving Him, loving Him above all else. Giving of myself, loving others because He commands me to. I asked myself what happened. How could I grow cold over the years? How could I lose my first love?

It makes me sad. To think of me drifting away from my Lord, the One who loves me even when I am so unworthy, so unlovely. To think of me somehow drifting back into the old habits, the old ways, the selfishness that consumed me before He found me, saved me. My heart is breaking thinking about it.

But that is a good thing. A breaking heart means there is still feeling in it. There is still life in it. That it is not so cold, so lifeless, that He cannot revive it. He is drawing me back to Himself. Back to my first love. He is thawing this heart of mine, releasing me from the sin of selfishness that would have me spend my days thinking of me. He is giving me a heart of love. A heart that thinks of others. A heart that thinks of Him. A heart that loves Him.

And in loving Him, he enables me to love others. To love my husband (Titus 2:4), to submit to his leadership
(Ephesians 5:22). To love my children (Titus 2:4), to bring them up in the training and admonition of the Lord (Ephesians 6:4), to train them up to serve Him (Proverbs 22:6). To love my neighbor as myself (Matthew 22:39).

"Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." 1 John 4:7-10

So, thanks to my bloggy friend, Debbie, who prompted us to ask God for a word (and a bible verse) to focus on for the year. And thank God who answered my plea and gave me a word for this year: love. And the scripture passage I will focus on: 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter).

Though I speak with tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become as sounding brass or a clanging cymbal.
And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.
And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;
does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil;
does not rejoice in iniquity,but rejoices in the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.
For we know in part and we prophesy in part.
But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.
For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13

Monday, January 10, 2011

Winter Storm in the South

We certainly don't get much in the way of winter storms down here in the deep south, but when we do, we tend to get a little excited. We didn't get any snow (of course). It rained during the night, but the temperature here at my house hovered just above the freezing point. So when we awoke this morning, there was nothing to be excited about.

Until about an hour later. Around 7:30 am, the temperature began to drop and it was still raining a little, and the wet trees began to freeze. But that was all. Apparently the ground was too warm to freeze and the rain stopped. I thought at one point there appeared to be some tiny little snowflakes fluttering around. But if so, that didn't last long at all.

The tops of pine trees don't handle frozen water very well. Some of them were bent over from the weight of the ice. I wonder if some of those tree tops popped off and fell on some power lines near my house because our power went out around 9:30 this morning, and stayed out until around 2:00 pm. I have a heat pump, so needless to say, it became a little chilly in my house.

We did school all bundled up in our fuzzy pajamas! We closed the bedroom doors and lit lots of candles in the living room, kitchen and bathrooms. The candles did put off a little heat and helped a little, but it was still cold. I put Lizzie's little coat on her and she took turns snuggling with us as we read and did our lessons.

So we made memories today. I love it when out-of-the-ordinary days happen along and we have a chance to learn to make the most of whatever comes our way.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Final Decision = Learning Process

I received the news Friday afternoon. It's final now. The other insurance company has denied the claim. The lady who ran the red light, damaging my vehicle and injuring my daughter and me, has walked away free and clear. Her insurance does not have to pay for the damage that has been done. Because of an inaccurate police report. 

I have been angry. For a little over three weeks now my car has been sitting in the body repair shop, just waiting. I have been in physical pain from the injuries I sustained in the accident. For three weeks now I have just been waiting.

And in the waiting, God has used this time to teach me much. If God is God, then He is sovereign. It is within His will to work as He pleases in my life. I have to assure myself that God has my best interests at heart, that He (and not I) knows what is best for me, in all things. The question I must ask myself is this: Do I trust Him?

Do I trust that He knows what is best? Do I believe that this whole incident has turned out so wrongly because He has allowed it to be so? For reasons that may be known only to Him.

In these three weeks of waiting, I have been learning to wait on Him, to wait in His presence. Have I been asking Him to help the insurance company to make a decision in my favor? Yes, I have. Have I been so focused on me? On my perceived needs and wants? Yes, I have.

Have I, even once, asked Him to bring glory to His name through this? Have I asked how I could honor Him in this? No, sadly, I have not.

Until now.

As I have pondered all this, I have been reminded of something that I have forgotten along the way: God never promised that everything would be easy in my life, that everything would always work out just like I think it should. Simply put, God never promised that life would be fair. He never said that I wouldn't have to be uncomfortable sometimes, that I wouldn't have to suffer sometimes.

He also said that He would never leave me nor forsake me. When it seems as if nothing is going right, and everything has gone all wrong, I can take comfort in knowing that God is for me. That He is on my side. That He is working all things together for my good, and His glory.

As you can imagine, we've had lots of advice from well-meaning friends and family. The most popular advice being to hire an attorney and take the insurance company to court. Don't think we haven't thought about it, discussed it, considered it. It seems like the most probable solution to cover the debt we have incurred because of this accident.

But as we have been praying, my husband and I don't feel like this is the path the Lord would have us take. My ways are not your ways; My thoughts are not your thoughts.

In the end, I have to put it all in God's hands. And I have to leave it there. I can't keep taking it back, thinking there is anything I can do to fix it. I have done all I can. I have talked to the police officer, asking him to make the report right. I have talked to the insurance agent, asking her to consider the statements from the eyewitnesses. I have prayed, asking God to let this insurance company assume liability. I have done all I can.

So, no it didn't work out at all like I expected it to. Am I concerned about how much this will cost, and what my insurance won't cover? Yes, of course. But I have to let go and trust God. He is sovereign. He knew this would happen. And He knew how it would turn out. As I am still learning, He sees the beginning from the end. This is just another piece of the puzzle, and He sees the completed project when I can't.
And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of His glory in Christ Jesus.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year's Eve 2010

 This year our church didn't host its annual New Year's Eve Block Party. Not sure why not, but I am saddened that we didn't. So this year our family just stayed home and celebrated here. We watched football (of course, cause there's bowl games right now). And we did some fireworks. Of course we burned the Christmas tree! Does anyone else do this (or are we just crazy?)? I know I have one friend whose family does. And of course we tuned in to Dick Clark's Rockin' New Year's Eve around 11:30 so we could watch the ball drop in New York. And we reflected on what God did through and for us in 2010, as well as contemplated what He will do in 2011 (I'll share more on that in another post).

Mike lighting some bottle rockets

Will and his friend Bennie

setting the dried out Christmas tree on fire

When looking at the pictures later that night, we were all totally amazed at the shapes we saw in the fire. We all agreed this looks like a dragon. If you look closely to the top left, you'll even see the little mustache-thingy like Mushu the dragon has in the Disney movie, Mulan.

Ok, this one was just plain freaky! It looks like someone is on fire!

Amazing how fast the tree burns up! Talk about a fire hazard in your house!

the Fire Brigade... Kate pointing out some sparks in the tops of the pine trees, and Ryan making sure we don't have a runaway fire (all because we enjoy watching our dead Christmas tree burn!)

Now the boys have decided it would be fun to throw firecrackers into the fire pit, and are hiding behind the shed to watch! I suppose boys will be boys...

father and daughter

dh and me

How did you spend New Year's Eve? What traditions does your family have concerning this holiday?