Monday, November 23, 2009

cake and balloons

We just celebrated our 3rd anniversary as a church... The weekend kicked off with a flag football game in which no one walked away NOT covered in mud! It was such a great time. Flag football in the fall is so fun :) We plan to play football after church on nice days... give me a call if you wanna play with!
Anyway, the video is the MVFF year in review...enjoy!
video

Thursday, November 12, 2009

MVFF 1st Annual Turkey Bowl

We are having a flag football food raising event! Sign up to come play football or just come and cheer on the players while drinking hot apple cider!! Bring a bag of canned food for donation to a local food bank. The game is from 10am-noon (tailgating starts when ever you want!) and then we will go to the church space to have a pot luck lunch and some really fun* activities from noon-4! (fun activities include competitive, meaning head to head, hard core bobbing for apples, pumpkin carving competition, coloring activities for the kids and a possible guest appearance by Conan O'Brien**
T-shirts are $10.00
Let Me or Stephen Norberg know if you want to play and/or if you want a T-shirt!

more info on the church space

and now a message from our organizers...
video


* Fun in this case is defined as:
1. something that provides mirth or amusement: A picnic would be fun.
2. enjoyment or playfulness: She's full of fun.

all terms are not relative...this will be as defined above if not "funner"

** this will never happen

Friday, October 30, 2009

Multiplicity

No...I'm not dead. I just haven't blogged lately...

I am not sure whether to be flattered or offended (the pants are HIDEOUS!!!) by the fact that Ann at work decided to dress as me for Halloween :) OK...I just decided I'd be flattered. I mean come on! Most people choose to dress up as celebrities or something famous. I guess that means I am worth trying to look like (ego inflating as we speak) ;) Hahaha!!



She is so observant...not only do I wear leggings with stirrup bottoms but I also have a pair with zippers on the side. Way to capture 2 great looks all at once. The only thing really missing is another inch or so on the heels...maybe next year.


(here Ann is seen laughing so hard she can's even open her eyes!) I love the fact that she thought to put on a hat... I love my hats :)

I guess now all she needs is a pink Vespa to putz around on!! But otherwise, way to hit the nail on the head!



Happy Halloween!!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

CLARIFICATION...

EXCITEMENT: noun
living in the city and interacting with crack addicts, homeless people and gang members


SERENITY: noun
living in the suburbs at the Tshibaka's ;)

Monday, August 3, 2009

"Steal my kisses from you"...

Brief update on the block...
My good buddy James is looking into the reason why ONE (yes, there is only one) block resident/loiterer does not like me...Haha...James thinks everyone should like me and I concur ;)
I also woke up this morning bright and early at 5am (Thank you Lord for a Gorgeous morning!) to hear a voicemail from one of my block friends...He sang "I always have to steal my kisses from you" into my voicemail. LOL! That was hilarious. This also serves as a prime reason why the corner stores in 501 should ban the sales of 40oz. singles :) hahaha! But it made for a good laugh.

The search for a house is still on going!

In other news:
I have been sponsoring Vinoria Nampemba through World Vision for a little over a year now. I just got a new picture of her and an update on her health status, grades, activities, et al. She looks completely different! She just celebrated her 8th birthday and is a healthy little girl. I will post the pictures once I've had a chance to scan them...In the mean time I am super excited to say that there is a way I can donate more money to World Vision. Every time I mention HotelsCombined on my blog, they will donate 20$ towards the charity of my choice. This is a pretty ingenious idea. Rather than spend thousands of dollars on advertising, they are using word of mouth and charity donations. What that means is, they are donating to a charity of my choice when I advertise for them :)The basis summary of who they are: "Hotelscombined is the world's leading accommodation meta-search engine in terms of inventory and prices. We index the most hotels out of any other hotel price comparison website, and find the best price listed across more than 30 major websites. Using us, you don't need to visit different websites one by one to compare rates. We do it for you"

IF you have a charity you would like for them to donate to as well please check out their facebook page for more information...or their website.

Have a WONDERFUL day my dear bloggies :)

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Granny rap star on the 80 bus...

Helloooo to my loyal blog fan base...all 7 of you ;) I find that living in the suburbs doesn't give me much excitement and thus topics to blog about. However, I recently (meaning yesterday) went back to my neighborhood for a sleep over with some friends (yes, you're never to old for a sleepover) and now I have a few things to share. The bus ride home this morning was by far the most hilarious part of my visit...only on N. Capital people!!...



Ok...I planned a women's night for all the ladies in my church (we do this once a month) and invited a lot of other friends who brought their friends. Normally we do this at someones house or at the church and we have good food, an occasional bottle or two of wine, and a guest speaker. This month we decided to take advantage of the free jazz music in the sculpture garden. Great turnout, good music, good sangria and oops!! I forgot I don't own a car and really don't have a way to get home with Kelly Brooke isn't there to drive me ;) LOL. I was going to take the metro out to Huntington and one of the Kelly's or Niki would come and get me. So instead, at the end of the night Chirine asked me to come stay with her. Chirine, Jacquette and Jaclyn walked back to the hood (picking up falafal wraps at busboys on the way).

I felt like a little kid going to activity day at school. I was soooo excited to see everyone. As we round the corner I can hear kids playing. I got to see my precious God daughter Britney...she's 13 now and is too cool to make a scene in front of all of her Jr. High friends...so I made a scene for her :) after that I saw Simone and Janice. Nice times. I walked around the corner to the B&V market and saw one of my favorite Friends...James. He wheeled over and gave me a huge hug! Brioni and Teddy were also so cute when I walked in. They really do all call me Jenny (which I hate) and they were so funny; talking about what houses in the neighborhood I can buy to get back here. All in all I saw SOOO many old faces and it was so nice that (almost) each persons face lite up and came and gave me a hug!



Ok, the cheesy part over....Here's to the bus ride. I was walking north on N. Capital going with the girls to the junk shop on R street when the 80 bus came...so I took off running back down the street to catch it. I am wearing my back brace (yes, I am a XX year old trapped in a 90 year old body) with yesterdays clothes, I have my bag of blankets, the suitcase I call a purse, and my huge umbrella (all from last night). I make the bus and get my seat. Some guy sitting across the isle from me says "nice running to catch the bus lady..." with which I reply "THANKS!! I've been training for months"... he laughs and starts to talk to me...by now we are pulling up at the stop in front of B&V where a large amount of people get on the bus. This old lady who apparently love the color purple gets on and sits in the front....The bus starts to drive.

Next thing I know Granny Purple starts banging her cane against the floor and yelling: "Let's RAP!! C'mon y'all let's rap!!" And rap she did. She was rapping about the PO'leece picking her up and 'resting her for something she didn't do, all the while she's telling the PO'leece to arrest the other girl (as she points to other passengers on the bus). The bus driver starts waving his hands in the air and trying to "beat box", a few people are laughing and most are trying not to stare. I am smiling and watching the show because obviously she loves to entertain. By the time we get to Mass Ave. She is done and the entire bus starts cheering and clapping. Granny Purple proceeded to tell everyone she's 79 years old and she "don't drink no wine...this all natural"...whatever that means ;) So I candidly snapped a picture of her. I really regret that I wasn't fast enough to get out the phone and record the show...Good stuff WMATA...The bus driver announced that if he had a turn table he would've "spun" for her...and he kept yelling out "WORD". Oh...and do you think the girl in the white glasses even cracked a smile or acknowledged that something was going on...nope :)

I LOVE DC!!

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Top 10 things I loved about living in the city...more specifically on "the block"

10. watching raccoons go through trash cans in the ally...

9. This guy (Andrew) talking to me about his job in the CIA and FBI (he works for both) as a special operative...the cops know it and leave him alone ;) wink, wink...8. Saying "HEY-eeee" to my friends /security guards at the ATF building on a daily basis to and from the metro...They always ask about my day :)

7. Being called "jenny from the block" even though I loathe the name jenny (for myself...it seems to innocent for me).

6. The sun setting over houses that are over 100 years old (disclaimer: the rest of #7 is pretty cheesy). I like to make up stories about exciting untold stories these houses would have if they could talk...these houses have such amazing architecture and have had multiple demographics occupy them over the decades! If only walls could talk :D


(I know the ATF building isn't old...but the contrast of blue and orange is so striking...and I bet their walls would have good stories also). Absolutely magnificent sunsets! side story...I was walking home when I saw how beautiful the sunset was...so I RAN home, grabbed my camera and RAN back up the ally to O street to get shot shown first (I missed the best shot). 3 guys and a lady where walking up O street when I came running out of the ally and as I was taking the shot I heard them say "white lady running out of the ally on O street with a camera in her hands! Let's get the #@*% out of here!"...LOL

5. 20 minute commute to work

4. being able to walk anywhere I want to go.

3. Saturday morning pastries at Catina's bakery and vanilla latte's at Big Bear.

2. The sound of the metro bus...my all time favorite sound of the city is the "chon choon choooon" sequence the bus makes as it is changing gears or slowing down! I know, I know...some people would think it's the sound of urine hitting the ground or a house...but alas, it is not that ;)

Drum roll please....

1. Walking down N. Capital and getting asked on a weekly basis: "Scuuuz me ma'am...you lost?...you need some d'rections?"


THE ONLY REASON I LOVE LIVING IN THE SUBURBS...
**I get to see the Tshibaka's every day (except when they are on vacation!)

My life has resorted to top 10 lists.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

July 4th, 2009

Yay for Independence day as a National holiday and yay for taking an extra day off from work...National holiday + vacation day = 4 day weekend!! Kelly Brooke and I drove up to my aunt and uncles lake house (Lake Mohawk, Sussex County New Jersey...The GARDEN state people!) late Thursday night and I rode back with Chris and Becky (and Abby) on Monday afternoon. What a relaxing weekend! The weekend consisted of boating, eating, sleeping (ie. hammock napping) and more eating! Here's a pretty short weekend photo documentary

Friday morning we slept in, ate a big brunch and went for a boat ride. We were stopped/floating talking to this guy from Brooklyn (known Mafia connections) about his 4th party (say this with a Brooklyn accent...a thick Brooklyn accent) "320 sausages, 30 racks of lamb, 30 racks of ribs, 50 pounds of ice cream (he had a name for this special ice cream and it was not gelato). You know, the works. We got four guys working the whole thing" ... we look over and a HUGE black bear is walking through the little yard next door. of course I am surrounded by idiots and everyone ran towards the bear to get a better picture. Everyone on our boat (non-idiots) stayed ON the boat. I tried to get a good pic from my (crappy) camera phone as the bear literally BROKE the fence by barely pushing on it to escape the moron's chasing him. VERY EXCITING :) sorry I didn't actually get the bear standing up pushing the fence...instead you can see the fence broken and the faint outline of the bears rump as he ran away...Beautiful creature!
We took off down to the boardwalk and putzed around for a while on the beach and the little town. Kelly had never been.


Abby, Chris and Becky arrived and Abby spent the rest of the weekend letting us all know who and what was hers (ie. my aunt jj...my mommy, my juice, my boat, etc...) and trying to feed me because I obviously looked emaciated from only eating 3 times a day ;)


Kelly isn't a huge fan of tubing so we zipped across the lake at a speed of about 5...5 miles per hour ;) She was paranoid I would do something devious to throw her out...I wouldn't do that...to her

This guy on the other hand I would totally throw out of the tube if given the chance. My uncle drove much faster on this trip. We were in the Ski Nautique, so he was whipping around corners and stirring up some huge waves. I have a huge bruise on my left hip/back (literally about 6 inches in diameter) from this tube ride. Chris (my older brother) tried numerous times to throw me out...here we are fighting over the middle handle coming up on a wicked turn.

Abby loved the tube. she was a little apprehensive at first and held on tight. When my brother would let go to wave to the camera she would say "hold on daddy"...but she finally loosened up and started waving while the tube was going; and when they hit some waves Abby would laugh and yell "again, again!!". When we stopped the boat she stood up and yelled "yay!!" and clapped!! She is soooo precious!!

She wanted to lay like Jj on the back of the boat...the life jacket was hilarious. She looked like a sumo wrestler trying to maneuver her way around!

Abby loved going on the boat. She wanted me to take her in the canoe for supper on Sunday night..we opted to just take the deck boat instead ;) She absolutely hated her life jacket and said "jj, take off! peas take off" We talked her into keeping it on anytime she go on a boat, moving or not.

This was taken with my crappy camera phone on the way home from supper Sunday night and it cracks me up...it's so elongated for some reason and it looks like the end of an old 70's Western!


The long ride home (6 hours...it's a 4.5 hour trip! LOL)! Thanks Debbie and Will for an awesome weekend!!

In other news: I must have turned 90 this year and someone forgot to tell me. I managed to pull my lower back muscle somehow over the course of the last 48 hours (lifting the canoe, planks, tubing, or stretching before my run...take your pick) and it somehow caught up with me yesterday mid morning... I am now in a back brace (a very discreet one though...you can't tell. It's more like a girdle!! LOL) I'm on steroids and muscle relaxers and I'm in 4 weeks of PT... I'm going to go ahead and register for my AARP card so I can start getting better discounts ;)

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

MY half BIRTHDAY!!!!!!!


Dear loyal blog readers!! Please mark your calendars!! My half birthday is tomorrow, July 2nd. All to often I suffer from the 2-in-1 gifting since my birthday is so close to Christmas and that just sucks!! So about 4 years ago I started celebrating my half birthday. Do I get a party this year...? Kinda! I'll be at the lake so that will be party in itself. I do love attention :D
Gifts are not necessary, but I will take note if you do not give me one ;) (just kidding...or am I?!)

I've come a long way from the little trouble maker I used to be :)

Monday, June 29, 2009

Jenn E. from the...suburbs?!?!?!

Well my loyal fan base...the season of change has started to bud and Lord knows when the bloom will come, but it will come! I have officially moved off the block I have called home for the past 2 years. All my stuff is packed nicely in a 10x10 climate and bug controlled unit up on Bladensburg road and I am officially a transient!...only I don't pee on the streets

How am I surviving you ask?? Well that's a good question. With no real sense of placement or routine it is making me a little bit anxious, but still VERY excited about what lies ahead! I plan to stay with Chris and Becky (my brother and sis-in law...this allows some quality time with the most precious niece EVER!! see picture where she's holding "baby Shelley"!! haha, she named her baby after my mom...she's a ball if energy!) for a week or two and then move on to the Tshibaka resisdence (where my clothes already reside in a nice big closet in the guest bedroom) down off of rt. 1 in Alexandria. Kelly Brooke is living with the Tsibaka's also (as of Saturday) while we look for a house, so she will be driving me to the metro on the way to work every morning since I don't own a car. My dog is at summer camp (aka: Gammy's house) and my lil'kitty (who thinks she is part dog/ part human) is resting comfortably in the guest bedroom window at my brother & sis in laws house. Comfortable that is until Abby runs in innocently screaming "KITTY CAT!! HERE KITTY CAT!!" and freaks poor Chloe out since she is not used to kids. (Shameless plug: I need someone to foster my cat for the next couple of weeks...until I find a place to live...just look at those big beautiful eyes asking for a loving home in the meantime...and to my loyal Tunisian fan base -> that is a Tunisian television station playing in the background!)

The search for a house continues! Kelly Brooke and I have prayed specifically for certain features and conveniences and so far have not found a rent house that provides a peace about making the decision. Therefor we have now broadened our scope to purchasing a house. One of our prayers is for a 3rd roommate and we are quite certain that we've been provided one! Yay! we found her!! Double Yay!

So things are up in the air for an undetermined amount of time, but strangely enough Kelly Brooke and I are both COMPLETELY ok with that..."And I will provide a place for my people (that refers to me!)... and will plant them so that they can have a home of their own and no longer be disturbed (ie: without a house)..." 2 Samuel 7:10

So, with all of this said...I am SO EXCITED to see what happens next and where I'll end up! In the meantime, I am going to enjoy living in the suburbs for a change and try to enjoy the "peace and quiet" while I have it...Maybe my life will slow down a little bit or at least allow me to catch up with people I haven't talked to in a while.

Special thanks to: My mom/Gammy for watching Montana for me; Chris and Becky for letting me stay and keep my cat there for a little bit; Kelly and Niki Tshibaka for offering up their home and being so excited about having me stay(!); Dawn & Ray for offering up their guest bedroom also; Kelly Brooke for driving me around in her pimp volvo; Chirine and Monaem for allowing me to stay in their guest room the past month and everyone who is helping us look for a house!!



Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"I'm not white!?..."



I was cussed out again last night by one of the "leaners". A leaner is a term that I coined for the persons in my neighborhood that take a multitude of pills and/or other controlled or illegal substances; get so high that they essentially fall asleep standing up. The "sleep" mode that they go into is trance like and causes them to "lean" in all directions but never quite fall over...thus comes my term "leaner". So this woman came in to the B&V market (which now has a nice new space mid-block rather than on the corner) for who knows what. Chirine and I were "in the store" (meaning we were behind the bullet proof acrylic wall...it was Chirine first time in!) talking to Brionni and Teddy about houses and the new store. The woman was unsuccessfully trying to put a pen on the turnstile and pretty much ended up with her butt to the glass, and her nose almost to the floor.

Side note: The Leaners are similar to zombies. They are essentially tranced out and unaware of their surroundings. However, a loud noise and they are wide "awake" and most of the time mean.

So Brionni leans over and slaps the glass right where the woman's butt is (after I pretended to pinch her butt through the glass). The woman immediately started yelling about "why would he think it's funny to scare her" as she struggles to stand up. She comes over to where Brionni and I were standing and proceeds to yell at "us" through the glass. I say "us" since we really don't know what she was yelling and more specifically to whom she was really yelling. She looks at me looking at her and asked what the (expletive) was I looking at. I let her know that since we had no idea who she was talking to we were all listening and I apologized if she wasn't directing her conversation towards me.

So here's the deal: I grew up on military bases in Europe where my classes consisted of every race, mixed and not mixed. I did not understand the reasoning behind racism growing up and I do not understand it now. Skin color describes the exterior appearance of a person; it does not define who a person is (despite cultural stereotypes), where they should live or how they should act... So when this woman informed me that I did not belong in this neighborhood and I was trying to be a "negro" I decided to not respond...she continued to cuss me out through the glass, cuss out Teddy and Brionni more, then back to me. Then she started in on me because I was white. I found that the "brain/mouth" sensor was indeed turned off at that point because I replied "I'm not white!?". "what color are you then (expletive) cause you ain't pink...you ain't blue... (expletive, expletive)...
I let her know I was tan. I've worked very hard to get this light golden brown tone... apparently that wasn't funny.

She eventually left and went back outside to loiter with the other leaners. Chirine was a little bit scared as this was her first encounter with a leaner. We waited a little bit to let the lady simmer down and to let Chirine relax a little before leaving. This was not my first encounter with a leaner and I learned that the best thing to do is just ignore them. No matter how nice you are (even if just to say "hi, how are you today" you will most likely be perceived to have a condemning attitude and you will be yelled at)...I need to work on taking my own advice.

All joking about my skin color aside...racism sucks. My first day to step foot on this block I was called a "white B*@#&^"... I had to make a decision right then and there. Live in fear of my surroundings because my skin is lighter... or love the people around me no matter what color, what background, what they've done (or not done), what they say or how they view me. I chose the latter. The Lord has changed me exponentially over the past year...I am filled with joy even in challenging situations ("The Lord has done great things for us, and we are filled with joy! Psalm 126:3...exclamation mark added). I find I have been more blessed by the people, friends and children in this neighborhood than anywhere else I have ever lived and I cannot let the ignorance of others (or my own for that matter) prevent me from receiving those blessings.

The realization I admitted (I say admitted because I always pretend like it doesn't bother me and I turn it into a joke) this morning is that it truly, truly hurts. Racism hurts. It has cut right to the core of me and made me second guess who I am. Are the things that have been said to me over the past 2+ years true? Do I really not belong here? Did I do anything to warrant that comment? Ok, ok...did I somewhat instigate this woman yesterday?...yes. She is not mentally there, I should have ignored her from the beginning. However, saying "good morning" and getting a verbal rocket attack or standing on the sidewalk looking in an opposite direction and being snobbishly called names due to my lack of melanin is not anything I can prevent. I also refuse to change who I am to avoid potential berating. If someone is offended that I say good morning or that I live in certain place, that is their problem to deal with not mine and I must remember that. Love others consistently (this is a tough one) and treat people with respect (remembering that everyone has a different definition of respect). But despite the overwhelming joy that I have for life...at the end of the day, it hurts...no matter whose "problem" it is to deal with.

"Love God, Love others...nothing else matters" Matthew 22:37-40

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The Juror


I have had the honor of being selected to report for jury duty (oooh, ohhhhh!! PICK ME! PICK ME!!). I have been obsessing about this opportunity for at least 4 years now! I am ECSTATIC to serve the District of Columbia Superior Court!!

I have always wanted to be on a high profile trial...I want to be the bleeding heart conservative that can't make up her mind and in turn is the "swing vote" that will determine the outcome. With all this in mind... the plan: after the trial get an amazing book deal (that of course turns into a movie & Katherine Heigl will play me), make some serious bank thus allowing me to travel the world on a really BIG catamaran (of course working remotely because I don't want to quit my job!)...

July 15th is the big day...what to wear?...what to wear??!

seriously...if I don't get selected I'll probably cry right there in front of the judge and scream "WHY NOT?!"! Then sue the city for discrimination ;)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Vinoria Nampemba


I sponsored this little girl last year through World Vision at the Women of Faith conference. I must say, it has been such a rewarding experience. She is one of 9 children; her family lives in a community severely affected by HIV/AIDS. Her letters are such a sweet reminder that there is joy in life even when surrounded by poverty and illness! She turns 8 this July, and she writes the cutest letters wishing me the 'love of Jesus' and 'blessings for me and my family'... so wonderful to read.

Anyway...one of her letters she said her dad needed a new cow and 2 goats. So I called up world vision and asked how much something like that would cost. a goat is $75 and a cow is $150... "Ok, sign me up to send the Nampemba's a goat please". I just got this letter (about 2 months later) with the photo's below... I cannot say how incredibly rewarding it was to see this little girl smiling from ear to ear with all of the items she was able to buy spread out in front of her and to have a picture with her mom!
Thanks to a poor economy worldwide, Vinoria's World Vision representative who brought them the money was able to negotiate well enough to get TWO goats, a new dress for Vinoria, new shoes, a new shirt and shorts, a blanket and a water bottle! PLUS, they also had enough money to transport themselves there and back(with the goats) rather than walk.

"Whatever you did for the least of these, you did for me" Matthew 25.40

I recommend sponsoring a child to anyone, regardless of your faith...it's a beautiful thing :)



Sorry, the pictures are a little dark...they weren't digital ;)

Friday, June 12, 2009

Only one house left. It will be gone by the time I make it home tonight...The only reason I love this video is that you can hear the GC talking to a man about why that man CANNOT use his port-a-john. Amazing enough that the GC has to justify the reason that the street man cannot use the "potty"...the street man proceeded to argue and put the GC on the defensive as if he is entitled to a "baffroom" since he doesn't have one of his own....so he went in the ally by my house :(
Come on Man!! SERIOUSLY?! video
I would be so bored if I didn't live here :)

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bringin' down the house(s)!! Literally

Right behind our good buddy Officer Wright (yay John! Your first cameo...that and I didn't have any other pictures with the houses in them!) are the homes on Hanover Place that have remained vacant for over a year. Thoron Development bought the houses and let them sit while they worked on Permitting. During the permitting phase the houses became a breeding ground for drugs, sex, more drugs, and a shelter/bathroom for vermin and homeless people that broke in.
So Thoron Finally decided to do something about their embarrassing property. (side note: myself and many other neighbors had been requesting a fence be put up to keep out the "rif raff" for months...they kept say "oh, next week we'll do that". apparently their concept of a week is much different than a standard calendar! But at least now it is being done).
can you see the door hanging off of the side of the wall?! LOL. It is a shame that the developers couldn't leave the facade's of these beautiful old houses and build the condo's behind it to historically preserve the integrity of the building and the original architectural style. I personally do not like the new condo design...But that's just my opinion :)


the renderers for this image forgot to remove the two houses at the left side of the photo (the peach and brown brick house that Offc. Wright was in front of). Those are the houses (& lack there of) in the photo's above.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Memorable cab ride: follow up to my thank you


I jumped in the cab this morning to head over to a client space (a 10 minute cab ride at most). My driver was an older gentleman wearing a black hat. I could see what I thought were two W’s on his hat, so I asked “is that a WWII hat?” and it was indeed. I thanked him for his service and sacrifice. He downplayed the war and told me “it’s been such a long time since the war, there is really no need for ‘Thank you’ now a days”. That made me feel stupid for a split second and then I thought to myself “Whatever old man!! It’s never too late!” I told him that it was never to late to thank someone for defending our freedom or coming to the aid of those under the oppression of a dictator.

He told me he was in the 4th Infantry under Patton. He came in through Italy and they eventually made there way up to Bastogne. He talked about how he was drafted into the war; otherwise he doesn’t know if he would ever have volunteered to go. He also said the most memorable advice he got was from his 1st Lt. right during training…the Lt. told him to NEVER volunteer for anything in the Army…Interesting (insert scratching forehead emoticon here).

The more he talked, the more I realized that he was indeed moved by my asking him questions. I (briefly…I wanted to hear his stories) told him about the Honor flight and how it had impacted me and “moved” me. Mr. Wilson started to tell me about the most memorable event (and “moving”) for him…he stopped talking for a few seconds and that is when I realized he was getting choked up…so of course I start crying in the back (good thing I’m not wearing make-up these days!)…He said upon docking the ship in NY harbor, there was a massive American flag, the size of an entire building, and a huge sign that said (and it took him a lot of effort to get these words out) “WELCOME HOME! JOB WELL DONE”… He said he still has a vivid image of that scene as if he were there. I find it absolutely amazing! Such a simple phrase can still penetrate straight to the soul of this (84 year old; yes, I asked) man and result in such an emotional moment for both of us.

We continued to talk. He said that there are very few WWII veterans still alive, and a large portion of those men have never seen the memorial. At the end of the ride he said he didn’t understand why it took America over 60 years to build a memorial to the soldiers of WWII…he named off many of the memorials that were built before the WWII (thus why he tried to minimalism my ‘Thank you’ in the beginning of the cab ride) In his words “for a while many veterans felt as if what we did was of no importance to America…or that everyone forgot”. I told him his sacrifices are not forgotten! “Your sacrifices give us the freedom today to be as ignorant and flippant with the freedom we do enjoy”…I know! I'm so cheesy these days!

So as I got out of the cab, he told me Thank you for talking to him and then pointed out that he did not reciprocate the “age question”…then he winked and smiled as he drove off! What a cute old man(sorry I didn't take a picture!)

Monday, June 8, 2009

Simple acts of gratitude


For the past week I've been reading Band of Brothers (by Stephen Ambrose) of which the HBO series was based. PLUG: This is an AWESOME documentary of the 101st Airborne 506th PIR's E Company for those who haven't seen it or don't read ;)

Forgive me for saying so, but I find this book disturbing in the sense that it is a reminder to me of how often I forget what the men and women of our military have done and continue to do to ensure our freedom as a great nation. This book gives fabulous account of specific instances where these men were prepared to die for each other and our country. Their physical, mental and emotion trials, exhaustion and perseverance. The book alone has brought me to tears just thinking about the sacrifice.

It has also completely convicted me (in a good way) just thinking of the numerous times I've been on the mall by the memorials of DC (or anywhere for that matter...) and not even thought about their significance. We, as Americans, go to great length to build these memorials and make awesome movies...but in the end I feel I (and a large portion of our nation) has been "de-sensitized" (if you will) to the structures and the reality of the movies. I overlook what I am surrounded by on a daily basis (literally). I challenge anyone who reads this to never overlook our memorials to our freedom fighters ever again. I know I am using absolutes in that sentence...but seriously! (even if you just take 5 seconds) say a thank you prayer for those who commit/committed to make our nation one of freedom!

OK...on to the point of this blog topic. I was flying to Kansas City, Mo this weekend for Mary Ann Williams wedding (most fun wedding ever!). Brooke and I got to BWI for our 9:30 flight on Saturday morning and saw a group of about 50 men and women in BDU's (so of course Brooke made a really funny joke about this being "my kind of flight" haha! good one Brooke, sheesh!). There were also a lot of civilians standing around in bright yellow t-shirts. Since we were flying Southwest (plug: the coolest airline), the gate attendant let the leader of the t-shirts make an announcement. They were volunteers from a non-profit organization (http://www.honorflight.org/) that raises funds to bring Vets to see the National Memorials dedicated to their sacrifice. The plane was almost full of WWII veterans. These men (and a few women from the Navy nurse corps) had no idea that the Army had sent out a small detail to welcome them. Further, they had NO IDEA that the non-profit had past out flags AND that most of the airport terminal had gathered to welcome them. The crowds lined the mezzanine and terminal to clap, cheer, wave, and shake the hands of these men and women!

video
It was so moving!! Even now I am welling up thinking about just how emotional this was. When the Army detail were called at ease many of them wiped tears from their eyes! It really was so amazing to see these veterans brought to tears by the gratitude and sincere appreciation from the crowd. Lastly, the woman who checked us in on Southwest made a comment to Brooke and I (just after the non-profit guy made his announcement) in a flippant voice that "we're non that free"... At first I didn't think I heard her right and I smiled and we walked off. Brooke and I came to the conclusion that we did indeed hear her correctly and we could NOT believe she said that. The more I think about it, the more annoyed I get! It kills me to think that men and women are fighting for the freedom and way of life this ignorant woman is accustomed to despite her attitude (which she would not be able to express openly if it had not been for these men she was insulting)...but I guess that shows the difference in the character between our Military/Veterans and people like this woman! Good thing too :)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Anita and the money from God...


A few months ago, my church did something pretty cool. They sent around the offering basket. ...huhhh?!! I know, right?! "how is that cool?" you ask... Well, typically I get all weird about the offering basket because that means someone wants you give money and I automatically tend to hold my wallet a little closer to my gut when someone is asking me for money( I don't really get that bad; but other people tend to). Well not this time! My pastors at Mount Vernon Foursquare Fellowship (Plug: http://www.mountvernonfoursquare.org/ ) sent around the offering and told us to each TAKE an envelope. Each envelope had a different denomination of money. This was when the economy was really starting to tank and everyone (including myself) was anxious about getting laid off, getting pay cuts, "money stuff" and so on...

My objective: Pray about who God wants us to give the money to.
My denomination: $20
My time frame: whenever I feel like it

So, to be quite honest...I put the money in my back pocket and it must have fallen o
ut over the course of my day; probably at the Safeway. (just so you all know; I did pray that whoever found it needed it and it would serve as a blessing for their day). Anyway, I just happened to have cash that week...yes friends! a whopping $7 bucks...or at lease I would soon be getting the cash.

I had (up to this point) never given money to anyone in my neighborhood. I strongly believe that the majority of the homeless people that are asking for money will spend it on crack, some other drug or alcohol. So with this new challenge from my pastor to pray about whom to give this money to I was somewhat anxious and not necessarily excited about it. I get asked for money on a daily basis, how am I supposed to know who to give it to! Jess had said that she was praying that someone would ask specifically for the amount that she had…ie “hey, do you have $20 I can have?”. What are the odds right?! Since I had lost the $20 I originally took out of the offering plate, I decided to use the $7 that my neighbor owed me for girls scout cookies as the “give away ‘Jesus loves you’ money”.



This type of thing is completely awkward for me to do so I decided to just say “Ok Lord, If I’m supposed to give this to someone, they need to ask me pretty specifically for $7”. A few days later it had snowed. I was driving Becky’s (my SIL) car since she was in OK for a while. The car was parked on the street covered in snow which had somewhat turned to ice (this is an important detail for later). As I was rushing home (to change, get Tana, and drive out to Woodbridge to see the Houks for supper) a woman (whom I had never seen before) asked me if I had $8 so she could fill her prescription. I instinctively said “no” and kept walking…wait! She asked for $8…I’m about to have $7… Lord, what do you think?? Ehhh, close enough! I went to Kris’s house, got the $7 bucks and walked back up to the corner where the woman had been. She was still there. I asked the woman her name. Her name is Anita. She again told me that she needed to fill her prescription. I told her that I had been given money from my church to give to someone who needed it. I also told her that the money was not from me, that it was a testament that the Lord loves her and will provide for her in her time of need. Anita thanked me repeatedly despite my protest to not thank me, to thank the Lord for providing it to her.


Ok, that was awesome! right? I run home, change and run outside to scrape the ice and snow off of the car. As I am laboring away scraping ice off the windshield I look up and see two people walking out of the ally. Hmmm, that lady looks an awful lot like Anita. It was!!! Of course any normal person would just let it go… not me. I started walking down the street towards the two people coming out of the ally (zipping up their pants).

“Anita…did you get your prescription?” I asked

“um, no…I am on my way to get it right now” she replied

“Oh, really?? What were you doing in the ally?”

“um, I was just talking to my friend”

“with your pants down?”

By now the man that had been with her told me to mind my own business so I told him to shut his mouth I wasn’t talking to him…Anita was walking off by now; quickly. So I yelled down the street that she deserved better than this…”clean yourself up Anita; life has more to offer you than this”

I was fuming by now! I can’t believe I just gave this crack whore (I am not being derogatory...that is what she does) 7$!! To top it off I can’t find the keys to the car anywhere! I need to leave asap to get to Woodbridge. I look for the keys everywhere. I must have locked them in the car…I get a flash light and look in. The keys are no where to be seen. I must have dropped them on the street. They are buried in the snow that I just cleared off the car. Now my neighbor James is out there helping me look for them (He is in a wheel chair and has no legs, but he’s digging through the snow with me! I love this block!!). I can’t find them. I go back inside and retrace my steps…I feel a break down coming on!


I call Dawn to tell her that I am running late and sure enough the flood gates of my disappointment and stress came blubbering out all over my dear friend. Looking back I must have sounded like a child. I was talking (complaining rather) a million miles a minute while crying about never having given money before; wasting the money that was supposed to be from the Lord; losing my keys…the key to the house is on them. I can’t come down for supper (that was probably the most disappointing part! I had been looking forward to a family meal for quite some time…). I must say, Dawn did a really good job (of course she did) of calming me down. She also assured me that my obedience in giving the money was all I could do. Its not my job to make people use the money in a "Godly" way…my only commitment was to give it from the Lord and not myself; what happens after it leaves my hands is not in my control. Further, how am I to know what kind of impact giving my $7 "from the Lord" had on Anita?


So months have gone by and I still see Anita from time to time. I always say hello using her name. She has a very timid and unsure voice, but she always replies back with at least a “hi”. She still asks for money to get a "prescription". HELLO!!! Are you SERIOUS!!?? We’ve had many conversations about the fact that she lied to me and I will not give her money ever again. I’ve made it very clear that I will give to her anything she needs accept money and will help her in any way that I can. She came down to see me last weekend while I was sitting on my front step. She had asked me for money for her “prescription” earlier that day while I was with my neighbor Dee. Of course I told her then that she lied to me about the prescription and I would not be giving her money (I should record my response and just hit play every time she asks, right?!). Now she wanted to come and tell me that she really does have a prescription. I took this opportunity to talk to her like normal person would take a serious conversation. I asked her what I was supposed to think when I see her & her “friend” coming out of the ally with BOTH of their pants down and unzipped? She replied “I do have a prescription though” completely ignoring my attempt at a question putting her in my position. So I gave her my left over Luciana CafĂ© chicken I had intended to eat for supper and a Sunkist (thanks mom for bringing those down).


So as of when I saw her last Thursday (yes, I meant to write this last week...I KNOW! My blog activity is borderline lame)… she had very nice braids in her hair during the winter months and now she has a tangled mess on top of her head. She wears a mini skirt and a shirt that is not long enough to cover her stomach nor does it button up all the way. The possibility that it’s supposed to be like that is pretty strong. I see her calling after some of the men walking around aimlessly and loitering on the stoops. She seems to disappear and reappear every few days. I wish there were something I could do to help her get herself together or "make" her realize that as a creation in the image of God she is worth more than this. Unfortunately, I am afraid this poor woman is so used to this life that she does not "want" something better because she can’t wrap her mind around what that “better” would be.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Short Update

I have managed to start feeling better. I am not involuntarily shaking 24 hours a day which a really good thing (that was a little scary). I want to thank everyone for praying for me, calling/texting and sending e-mails. I am going back to the doctor tomorrow to assess the status of the infection. I can still feel it behind my cheek bone and in the joint of my jaw. I am exhausted with a very weird sense of disconnect or "balancelessness"...if that makes sense. I am still not sleeping well, but that is from all of the meds, and the headache from teh pressure still in my face is still there. My boss said they were going to send flowers but no one would deliver to my neighborhood. HAHAHaaaa, funny.

Speaking of my neighborhood. The move has so far been successful. I was completely stressed last week laying around with a fever when I should have been packing. BUT!! 3 Chevy short-wide bed truck loads later we (over the course of a few days we=Kelly Brooke, Chirine, and Bill) had every box out of my house except 1 (let's also not forget 2 closets of clothes and cleaning stuff...and my fridge stuff)! The movers came yesterday at 2pm (just after my precious momma left...side note: got a great video of her "dancing" in my kitchen to my neighbors new rap album. PLUG: http://tripleteamentertainment.ning.com/ yes, they really are my neighbors). Three guys (and a little help from me) took 2.5 hours to wrap my furniture in pads, load it on a truck, drive it to the unit and unload. Almost everything I own fits into a 10'x10'x9' storage unit...climate controlled, sprayed for bugs and nicely equipped with mouse poison.

The really cool part is that two of the movers were big strapping dark men who spoke French to each other...as it turns out they are from Congo! I told them that my incredibly cool pastor is from the Congo (Well, his father rather). We started talking about cool Congo last names (ie. Tshibaka = man of many women)...haha and now they will be coming to hang out with me at church. They were pretty funny. When I told them that I once carried my 9'x12' rug up 3 flights of stairs alone, they both dropped it and acted like they were going to walk off. Then they decided to take it as a personal challenge to see which of them could pick it up alone. Of course they couldn't (I am super woman).

So, the search for a new home is on!! I need a 3 bedrom, (preferably) 2 .5 bath historic home with exposed brick, nice sized closets, a nice kitchen, a dinning room, and hopefully some storage and a yard :)

Best snack ever made...Hands down.

Cranberry & Almond is a delightful mix of tangy cranberries and crunchy almonds, creating a delectable snack whether morning, afternoon, or even a late-night treat! This KIND bar is enhanced with antioxidants such as Vitamins A, C, & E which fight free radicals, helping to maintain the immune system and healthy skin...
(PLUG)
But don't be discouraged if you don't like cranberries or almonds...there are many to choose from and so far I have not been disappointed :)

kindsnacks.com

Thursday, May 21, 2009

"I love Wrocky...wwwwwroad"

I'm getting some "complaining" about my lack of a blog routine (apparently my activity is reaching "lame" status)...so either my blog is sooo awesome or some people just don't have enough to do...Either way my fan base is crying for more...so here's more. If you get bored of all the sick details, I would scroll down for the pictures...and if you can't read, I would just scroll down for the pictures. 
Maybe I'm naive (probably), but when I go to a professional I typically think they know what they are talking about and they are probably trustworthy. I tend to give their opinions  a little more weight when making a decision. with that said...let's begin our journey. 
I went in to the dentist for my 6 month cleaning in March. She said my teeth (which are VERY porous and sensitive) looked good. However; an old filling looked like it could possibly be leaking and she wanted to replace it. OK, that's cool. I came back 2 weeks later and she did so.I told her my bite didn't feel right. She took a look, said it seemed fine and that I was numb and probably wasn't biting right. She also told me that it had been leaking and she had to drill a little deeper so my tooth might be sensitive to heat and cold for up to 2 weeks. OK, fine. My tooth was fine...a little cold sensitive, but not much. Come the beginning of May I started to complain that my tooth was sensitive. It had been about 2 weeks since the "replacement". The pain seemed to spread to my lower jaw by the end of the weekend. so naturally I thought I had cancer in my jaw. (what hypochondriac wouldn't think so?!). Of course I stressed about this rather than going back to the dentist also hoping that it would go away on it's own...I just don't have time for dentists. 

FINALLY, on the 14th  I went to the dentist. She said the bite was off ("well no crap lady" was my first thought...I told her that a long time ago). She said that it was the same as punching yourself in the same place on your arm for a few weeks..."eventually your whole arm and shoulder would also feel the after effects; which also explains why your lower jaw hurts". Dr. L fixed the bite by grinding down my tooth and sent me on my merry way with the good news of full recovery in a week. By the next day my tooth still hurt, but it was a different kind of pain. I decided to give it until Monday. Sunday after I got home from church and the spa I started to walk up to Big Bear Cafe (plug) and read. I didn't get far. I WAS SOOO COLD. I decided to go home and lay down. I took my temp. and it said 97 so I figured I really was just cold. I laid in my big comfy chair reading and eventually fell asleep. 

I woke up off and on with sever pain in my mouth and shaking from the cold (despite how many blankets I had on.) I automatically assumed I had the swine flu and I once again was going to die...or that the cancer had spread...either way I was going to die (How's that for dramatic Mindi...if you even read this). I finally got up (shaking) and took my temp again. 101.3. So now I have a fever and chills and my mouth is in so much pain. What does any grown woman do at this point? I start to cry :) and of course I called my momma. 

Monday I went back to the dentist. By now my face is swelling (actually Chirine said it looked swollen on Saturday night...someone else just said my face looked fat Saturday night...hmmm). The dentist got me in for an emergency appointment. Of course she doesn't come into the office until 1:30 on Monday's so I sat at home with fever all day Monday waiting to go find out what the excruciating pain was stemming from. 
Right off...she says those two dreaded words "Root Canal"...NOOOOO!!! First of all, I thought they were only for "old" people since my parents both recently got one. secondly i heard they were expensive, but third and most importantly...I heard they were painful. She wants to get in the tooth and clean it up for the "pre-treatment". She tells me that the swollen area is an abscess and that the Novocain will hurt 10 times more than usual because of the infection. LIAR!! It was more like 20 times worse. My mouth did not fully go numb because the abscess was blocking the Novocaine...but since my root was already dead I lost the argument and let her drill as it was. I did not feel a thing, so evidently she does know what she is talking about sometimes. When I left her office, she had put me on vicoden (I told her i was allergic to codeine and percocet) and an antibiotic for the infection in my gum. I still had fever off and on t
he rest of the day. The vicoden made me a little nauseous and I felt like the 
swelling was getting worse by the end of the day. Tuesday morning I woke up sick to my stomach, dizzy, nauseous and vomiting. When I finally had the strength to get up I glanced in the mirror and started to cry. My face has swollen up worse. I stopped taking the vicoden. Called 
my Dr. for a new prescription and to update her. She said the antibiotics would take some time to get into the infection and make a difference...the infection may get worse before it gets better. If the swelling gets worse she wanted me to call her and she would send me to a oral surgeon. Becky, my super awesome sister in law (Krystal, you're totally awesome too) came over and made me food which was perfect since I couldn't stand up for more than 3 seconds without getting dizzy. Stefanie brought my new (non-vomit inducing) pain meds over after work and Chirine came down and cleaned up my kitchen and did my laundry for me! Thanks!! By now I am trying to make the most of this bad situation...like sending my own pictures to friends asking if I looked ok...haha. I look like Chunk from "The Goonies", but it was still funny. I fell asleep thinking everything was going to be better Wednesday. 

2:30am Wednesday morning: I am in so much pain (my cheek/ mouth) that I cannot sleep. I have fever again and now I'm truly scared. I had sent Mindi my pic as a joke and saw that she text and called while I was asleep saying she was worried about me. (She's an ENT in Tulsa..
.and normally tells me to suck it up; so now I am worried). I don't want to wake up Mindi, so I send Dr. LoLo (she's working nights at Johns' Hopkins) a picture text of my face asking her if I should go to the ER. She replies that it looks bad and I should indeed go to the ER...now I'm freaking out as to how to get there. I don't want to go walking around my neighborhood at 3am (but then again, I look so monstrous that I really don't think anyone would want to rob me...definitely not rape me!), but my face had swollen even more. So I resort to what any grown woman would do...I call my mom crying (LOL, my poor mom). She has a way to calm me down. I hang up and call Heather for a ride. (Praise the Lord for Heather and Jenny Sigler!! thanks for getting up Heather; Thanks for letting her take your car Jenny!!). 

In the ER they took pretty good care of me. They injected an 1 1/4" needle to the hub into my upper cheek just below my eye to numb the main nerve. That didn't even hurt...what REALLY hurt was when they injected the needle only 1/4" of the way in to the roof of my mouth where it is essentially all bone. THAT WAS PAINFUL!! They sliced open the abscess on my gums...if you can call it that. My gums no longer existed. the cheek met my "gums" right at the tooth line, everything else was so swollen it had protruded all open space in my mouth. and suctioned out the infection that they could get to. They changed my antibiotics, said what I was on "wasn't the best choice for this type of infection" and wrote me a prescription for a different painkiller that shouldn't make me sick (that's what they all say). 
They also refer me to an oral surgeon who does root canals for the hospital and can probably get me in TODAY!! What a blessing that would be. I double check that this Dr. does root canals...YES!! So I cab home from the ER in the only DC cab that had NO SHOCKS. my mouth felt every pebble we drove over (does that make me a princess? oh wait that was a pea...never mind).

I fall asleep for about an hour and a half, wake up, call the ER Dr. and they want me to come in right away!! I get there via the 80 bus...thanks crazy bus driver for hitting every pot hole and jumping the curb at 3rd and H ;) I fill out all kind of paperwork, wait an hour with confirmation that the Dr. CAN get the "procedure" done today!! It's almost too good to be true...He gets me back to the room, pokes around in my mouth (ouch!!) and tells me "yep, I can get 'er out"...WHAT?! I don't want you to pull my tooth out!! I need a root canal..."we don't do those here, young lady. We remove teeth". So apparently the ER Dr. at GW didn't have all his facts either. 

 So once again...I went outside sorely disappointed that he could not do my procedure and started to cry. I am in so much pain. I haven't had a good nights sleep in 5 days now, I still have a low grade fever, my face hurts and I look more like "Sloth" the ugly guy the Fratelli's had chained up in the basement in Goonies rather than Chunk. My sister in law came and picked me up. We filled my new prescriptions and she took me off to the adorable suburbs to rest in peace and quiet. Her neighbor's husband is a dentist, so we called him and got a recommendation for a specialist...Dr. Meza got me in this morning at 11am!! Timing was perfect. I was able to wake up nauseous, at 4am, lay in bed dizzy all morning, eat, shower, throw up in the bushes in front of Becky's house and get to my appointment. The root canal went well. The infection is alarming to Dr. Meza so he did open up my cheek and try to scrap out more infection. That is the painful part I am dealing with now. The tooth itself seems to be fine and isn't very painful. I am still dealing with a some dizziness from the medication I was on last night...but slowly flushing it from my system.

So with all that said, thank you do much to everyone who has been praying for me! I also am so blessed by all my friends who have cooked, cleaned and carted me around. I am also very thankful for all the encouraging texts and e-mails and all of the offers to come and take care of me!! Thank you all so much! I am feeling better, but still off on my balance and still REALLY tired. I'm going to go lay down now...

and PS...I didn't proof read this...I'm too lazy right now.