Sunday, May 25, 2008

Car Shopping - Task Completed

Yesterday Norman and I spent a few exhausting hours car shopping. The lease on my Jeep is up in July, so I was trying to get an idea of what I could afford and what I want before that happens. Turns out, I can't afford much in the way of a new vehicle, even a small car like a Civic. I was really frustrated because I really didn't want to downgrade from my Liberty to a small car, but it seemed like that was going to be my best bet. Plus, the lease incentives being offered by most dealerships seemed to be false advertisement, with so much fine print. I left the third dealership discouraged and no more enlightened as to the future than I was before the day started.

Well, Dad took the initiative to start looking at used vehicles on the Atlanta newspaper website. He found a 2006 red Mazda Tribute (which is exactly what I wanted) for a really good deal at a dealer in Georgia. He and Mom drove to the dealer today to check it out, and now I'm the proud owner of a Mazda Tribute! Yippee! Thanks to my parents for putting down the downpayment, it is right in my price range. Now I just have to turn in the Jeep and fly to Georgia and pick up the Tribute in July. I'm so excited! God definitely provided beyond my expectations, especially after yesterday's shopping experience.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Panama City Beach - first annual beach party

This past week I spent three days at Panama City Beach with six friends from seminary - Tina, Doug, James, Richard, Carol, and Marshall. It was sort of a celebration, since all of them have graduated from SWBTS in the last year and a half (except me and Tina, but her husband graduated and she deserves at least half the credit for that!). We rented a cabin at Laguna Beach Christian Retreat - they give GREAT discounts to ministers - so the girls had a room, the guys had a room, and Tina and Doug had a room. We had a nice living area, and they brought a Wii to connect to the tv, so that was a big hit when we were indoors. There was a grill outside and a full kitchen, so we cooked dinner most nights and didn't have to eat out. It really was a lot of fun.
The best part was that the beach was just across the street. Panama City has a gorgeous beach with really white sand and clear turquoisy green water. That's where we spent most of our time - playing beach volleyball, walking on the shore, throwing the football, building sandcastles, swimming to the sandbar (well that was the guys only), and of course laying out and relaxing. Let me tell you, it was the life...
Tina, Doug, and Marshall had to leave early on Tuesday, so the rest of us spent the remainder of the afternoon at the beach and then cleaned up and went for dinner at Pineapple Willy's, a landmark restaurant on a pier at the beach. We ate outside, which was great for viewing the fabulous sunset, but it was WINDY! Carol and I were freezing. But it was worth it. We had a great time, and are already making plans for next year's beach party.

Time with good friends

Last Thursday I headed out of town on vacation. A group of friends from seminary, most of whom no longer live here, were getting together to spend a few days of rest and relaxation at Panama City Beach, Florida. So James (the only other person from the group who still lives in TX) and I headed out Thursday morning on a 14-hour drive to FL. Man, it was long! But we made it. I spent Friday and Saturday with Tina and her kiddos at her mom's house in Dothan, AL, before we finally left for Panama City on Saturday late afternoon (I'll write about the beach in another post).
It was nice just to relax and hang out with Tina in a low-stress environment, and her mom was so sweet to allow me to stay with them. I babysat Cale and Caiden while the whole family went to a rehearsal dinner for a wedding on Friday night, and then the wedding on Saturday. Of course, I took several pictures of the kids. I tell you, Cale (2-years) is a spitfire! She knows what she wants, when she wants it, and won't take no for an answer! Tina's going to have her hands full with that girl. One thing cracked me up though - Cale is a girl after my own heart. She wants "tickles" (pickles) for breakfast on Saturday. She ate about 3 of them, couldn't get enough. Oh, and Genny, check out her t-shirt. Can you believe little Cale is actually fitting in her Wild Worship shirt that Tina designed while she was pregnant with her? She's so big!

(strike a pose, baby girl!)

This was the first time I met Caiden, who was born in September. He's a big, bouncy boy, and loves to be on the move, but he's also a cuddler. One of my favorite moments was sitting on the outside swing at Tina's grandparents' house, swinging with Caiden while he sat in my lap contentedly. I could get used to that.
Anyway, I loved getting to spend time with Tina and love on her kiddos. It was definitely a sweet time for me. And the beach... well that was just great too. More about that in the next post.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens

I realize this post is a bit late, but I wanted to share the pics anyway. This past Saturday was absolutely gorgeous outside, and I couldn't resist getting out and, in Amie's words, "playing Barb" (in other words, taking lots of pictures). So I set off for the Ft. Worth Botanic Gardens with picnic lunch, camera, and NT Theology book in hand (just in case I decided to hang out and actually do something academic for a little while). Turns out it was too humid,hot, and crowded to stay for too long (so alas, I did no reading) but I did take some pictures of the flowers and grounds.