Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Jury Duty

So, this week I was called for jury duty. I showed up at the courthouse on Monday morning, before 8:00 a.m. I left my house before I usually wake up for work! :( It was miserable outside - pouring down rain, too windy for an umbrella, and chilly. I had to park in a remote parking lot set up for jurors and take one of the Ft. Worth T-buses to the courthouse. Between the rain, wind, and public transportation, I could have sworn I was back in Aberdeen again. Of course, Aberdeen doesn't have a courthouse that looks like this.

That morning I, along with 59 other individuals, was assigned to District Court 213, with Judge Louis Sturns, and told to report at 1:00 that afternoon. I was potential juror #32 (easy to remember since it was my age). I thought the odds were in my favor - 60 potential jurors, and they pick 12. That means I have an 80% chance of not being chosen. Right? Yeah, not so much. I was the 10th juror picked, which means the next day and a half were spent listening to testimony, going back and forth between the courtroom and the juror's room while the lawyers dealt with various matters of law, and trying not to talk about the case with anyone including my fellow jurors.

Disclaimer: now that the case is over, I am free to discuss it. Names have been changed to protect the "not-so-innocent".

The charge was aggravated robbery. The defendent, "JJ", along with an unnamed friend (who was armed with a concealed shotgun), approached 3 women at an Arlington apartment one night and demanded to know where the drugs were. The women claimed not to know anything about drugs, and the men left. An hour later, JJ drove three friends to that same apartment complex, who chased two of the same three women into an apartment, kicked open the door, and held the women at gunpoint while they ransacked the apartment seaching for drugs and money. Four children in the back bedroom were traumatized by the experience. The men found the money, ran back to the car, and JJ drove them back to his home where they proceeded to evade the police when they came searching for them. The minor, "Chubbyboy", who kicked open the door and held one of the women at gunpoint, made a deal for probation in exchange for ratting out JJ as the "mastermind" of the whole deal. JJ denied any involvement, until late yesterday, when the testimony of all the witness, including Chubbyboy, made him realize he was not going to be acquitted. Then he got on the stand and confessed to everything, shocking even his defense attorney. It was quite an interesting twist.

So we the jury spent all of 20 minutes determining that JJ was indeed guilty of aggravated robbery. (There is no separate category for an accessory in Texas - if you aid someone in committing a crime, you are guilty of the crime. He drove the getaway car and provided the minor with the shotgun, so he participated in the entire act.) We spent nearly 2 hours determining his sentence, which ended up being 15 years in the TX penitentiary. It is a sobering experience to be responsible for sending someone to prison for 15 years, but I truly believe that as a repeat offender who was actually on probation for another crime when this act occurred, he needed a wakeup call. We sent him a message. As I told the other jurors, I was watching him for signs of repentance. Unfortunately, I saw none. I pray that he meets up with a prison chaplain during his time in the Penn who will help him to see the error of his ways, lead him to saving faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and help him to turn his life around. I see no other way for him to break out of his destructive behavior pattern that has consumed the last 10 years of his life, and has now determined at least the location of the next 15.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Amie's Mini-Scrapbook

Back in February, I came across this little (6x6 inch, 10 page) scalloped chipboard book in Michaels, so I bought it on a whim, thinking that at some point I'd come up with a project for it. I finally decided it would be a great birthday present for Amie, my dear friend from my time in Aberdeen. I printed wallet-sized prints of some of my favorite photos of our adventures, and had a great time deciding which photos to use, etc. I posted the parcel to Amie on Monday, and she received it today! (I never got parcels that quickly when I lived there!) She called me and opened it while we were on the phone, which was so fun because I got to hear her reaction when she saw the book. I thoroughly enjoyed creating this book for Amie, and hope she finds enjoyment from it as she remembers our fabulous Scotland adventures. Happy birthday (a bit early), Amie! I miss you, friend!
My favorite page, and possibly my favorite memory of my time in Scotland. Amie, did you notice the font?
The ribbon cluster around the jumpring

Friday, April 24, 2009

Zac Brown Band in Concert at TCU

Last night, Amy, Norman, and I joined the college crowd at TCU to enjoy the Zac Brown Band in concert. It was an outdoor concert on "The Commons", and it was a lot of fun. It was just getting dark when we arrived, and the weather couldn't have been more perfect. There was nice breeze, carrying the aroma from the grill over to where we were. It really took me back to my college days, watching the carefree students playing frisbee on the lawn, dancing, and thoroughly enjoying themselves. As the band said later, they'll never be as free as they are right now.

Who needs a lighter when you have an iphone? LOL

The Zac Brown Band is a relatively new country band, just starting to get recognition. They sing the popular song, "Chicken Fried", which is so much fun! It has such a catchy tune, and the words just make me smile. Here's a video from last night of the band singing part of "Chicken Fried". I've copied the lyrics in case you don't know the song.

You know I like my chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I`ve seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman`s eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother`s love

Well I was raised up beneath the shade of a Georgia pine
And that`s home you know
Sweet tea, pecan pie, and homemade wine
Where the peaches grow
And my house it`s not much to talk about
But it`s filled with love that`s grown in southern ground

You know I like my chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I`ve seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman`s eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother`s love

And its funny how it`s the simple things in life that mean the most
Not where you live or what you drive or the price tag on your clothes
There`s no dollar sign on a piece of mind this I`ve come to know
So if you agree have a drink with me
Raise you glasses for a toast

To a little bit of chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I`ve seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman`s eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother`s love

I thank God for my life
And for the stars and stripes
May freedom forever fly, let it ring.
Salute the ones who died
The ones that give their lives so we don`t have to sacrifice
All the things we love

Like our chicken fried
Cold beer on a Friday night
A pair of jeans that fit just right
And the radio up
Well I`ve seen the sunrise
See the love in my woman`s eyes
Feel the touch of a precious child
And know a mother`s love

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

A Very Green Post (in honor of Earth Day?)

It's simply coincidental that I'm posting these very green photos on Earth Day, believe me.

Yesterday was such a gorgeous day (brilliantly sunny, not a cloud in the sky, mid-80's, low humidity) that I couldn't stand to be indoors after work. So I decided to visit the Japanese Garden at the Fort Worth Botanical Gardens. I'd only been in the Japanese Garden once, and had forgotten how lush and beautiful it is. I got there around 6, so I only had an hour before they closed, but I thoroughly enjoyed wandering the paths, crossing the ponds on the stepping stones, listening to the birds sing, sitting and reading beside the waterfall, and of course... taking photos.

By the way, I have not enhanced these photos. It was just THAT green in there! At times the vividness of the greenery is almost overwhelming.



Is it just me, or does this next pic look like an impressionist painting?

This next one doesn't seem to fit, but I liked it anyway. It makes me think of Christmas.
This was my favorite spot. I sat on a rock overlooking this pond, listening to the sound of the waterfall as I read for a little while. So serene, so peaceful... I didn't really want to leave.

Friday, April 17, 2009

The Crawfords - Pregnancy Pics

Last night I had the opportunity to take some pregnancy photos for my coworker, Stacy, and her husband, Joel. Stacy is expecting her first child, Noah, in about 5 weeks, and wanted some pics before he arrives. Isn't Stacy pretty? She definitely has that pregnancy glow.

This was my first experience taking pregnancy pics, but it was fun. I did a little looking at some professional photos to get an idea of poses, but Stacy was really good with suggesting poses as well. Here are a few of my favorites. I have obviously edited some, which was another first for me - using Photoshop in this way (thanks, Michele, for your tutorial!). The editing is certainly rough and not perfect, but I had fun and I think the pics turned out pretty well.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Playing with Bubbles

After dyeing Easter eggs, we decided to go out in the back yard and play with Bubbles - Bubbles the rabbit, that is. He wasn't too crazy about being held at first, so we let him down to hop around the yard without being penned in for a few minutes. Abigail followed him carefully, not wanting him to escape. But he did oblige and allow us to take a few pics with the "Easter bunny." He is so soft and sweet, even if he did try to climb up me in his efforts to get away.