Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Going Away Party

We threw a desert reception for Jacob so that people come by and tell him goodbye and wish him well before he left for college.  I did everything in purple and white (K-State colors) and everything came together beautifully.  The people were so kind to him, gave him cards, gifts, well-wishes, and encouragement and prayers.  I think he left feeling quite loved and appreciated.

House Divided is not only my house but Jacob himself.  It's hard to be a KU fan at K-State!!

Jacob's sister, Amy, made him two cookie cakes (one of his favorite deserts). One we served and this one he was able to take with him to school.

In addition to the cookie cakes, I made sugar cookies with buttercream frosting, yellow cupcakes with buttercream, purple velvet cupcakes with cream cheese frosting, cake balls, and chocolate covered pretzels (another of Jacob's favorites).

Jacob and one of his very good friends from high school. 

Friday, July 20, 2012

Remembering My Grandparents

**Reposting from 2009 in Honor of My Grandparents:

The following is one of my favorite scrapbook pages:

Journaling: (written August 5, 2005)
"July 31, 2004 - A surprise had been planned for my grandparent's at my cousin, Sarah's wedding reception. Almost all of our huge extended family had come not only to celebrate Sarah & Dion's wedding but also to celebrate the 65th wedding anniversary of my grandparents, Donald and Anna Mae Benzing. Little did they know that a cake and time of recognition had been set aside to honor them. They were called up to the dance floor to be seated, surrounded by their 8 living children. As they made their way to the front, "The Anniversary Waltz" began to play. This was their anniversary song. I remember spending two prior anniversaries with them and watching them dance to it. I remember my grandpa, always so strong and my grandma, while strong herself, looking so beautiful and trim and the way they gracefully moved together, celebrating yet another year of their marriage. This anniversary, however, time had taken it's toll. Grandma had suffered several strokes and many illnesses and grandpa also had his share of health problems. Their steps were unsure and slow as they leaned heavily on canes or the arms of loved ones and made their way to the front. As they came together, they dropped their canes and grabbed on to each other and danced as they had danced so many anniversaries before. They held on to each other so tightly...as tight as the love they shared. Everyone present was moved to tears as we all felt what that embrace simply said. "I Love You." Even as I write these thoughts a year later, I am still moved by the sight of my grandparents...holding on to each other...dancing with each other...loving each other.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

One Year Anniversary

This past Thursday, I reached a milestone.  I celebrated the one year anniversary since I started to get healthy.  I not only had to change what I was eating, but how I was eating, I had to start moving, and I had to go deeper and deal with some emotional & spiritual issues as well.  The changes have taken place through my entire being.
Physical changes, frankly, are quite straight-forward.  Eating changes have been drastic as I've cut out all fast-food, sugars, almost all grain products, and high-fat foods.  What I'm left with is a diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables, and lean protien.
Exercise has been primarily walking.  I started doing what I could.  30 minutes 5 days a week. It was HARD.  My back and my calves would hurt so bad!  I have walked through the seasons outside and I now prefer to walk on my treadmill.  I walk at a higher rated of speed and feel like I get a far better workout.  I now do 70 minutes 5-6 days a week and am up to 3.25 miles.  I also just started a water aerobics class on Mondays that is pure fun and 60 minutes of non-stop moving.
Emotional and spiritual issues were a bit harder to deal with.  In fact, they were things I could not heal on my own.  The Lord had to come in and do His healing work in areas of my life that were hidden down deep in my being.  I'm so thankful He turned on the Light of His Truth in those dark places.

Exactly one month before starting

December (a little over 6 months) - 70 pounds lighter

Almost one year - 93 pounds lighter!
I now live life...it isn't passing me by as I watch from the couch.  I'm active and healthy.  My energy levels are through the roof.  Its amazing how that happens when weight comes off and you start to move.  The pain in my back, calves, and knees?  Gone.  My frame was never meant to carry all that weight.  Am I at my goal?  No.  There is still work to be done.  Do I get discouraged?  YES!  So I try to remind myself how amazing this year has been so how much more will next year be!!

My advice to anyone who desire to shed some pounds is: First of all, you CAN do it.  You have to believe that.  It's HARD!  There are NO shortcuts.  Initially the choices are hard but once you cross over the hurdle, it becomes a way of life and it does get easier.  Second, don't neglect the emotional and physical.  There's a reason people eat for comfort or when they're bored or sad.  Plateaus will come.  Discouragement is going to happen but you've got to keep going.  It isn't always easy but it's ALWAYS worth it!!

Friday, July 13, 2012

Heading Home

Our vacation was wonderful.  We saw everything we wanted to do. We spent time with family and friends and just had a good time.  However, nothing beats going back home.  I was so glad to get back to my day-to-day life and with the people who make up my every day life.

We got back around 10:30 at night.  As we passed the front of the house, I noticed a flag flying off our front porch.  I thought, "How nice, mom put up a flag."

The next day, I asked Jacob where the flag came from and he said, "Grandma did some stuff out there."  To my surprise, my mom painted and decorated my front porch for my birthday since I love sitting out there.  It is so pretty and looks like the all-American front porch. 

Thanks, mom.  I LOVE it!!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

NASCAR Day - Part 2

There is no way I could ever fit the essence of the Hall of Fame here. Nor could I post the several hundred pictures I took. If you are even slightly interested in NASCAR, the Hall of Fame is something you would definately enjoy.  It's not very pricey and we spent 3 1/2 hrs there and still didn't see and do everything.

The Grand Hall.  In the background you can see "Glory Road."  It shows the evolution of the race car and also features cars that have won significant races.  They are displayed from 0 - 36 degree banking. 

Dale Earhardt Sr. & Jeff Gordon's cars on Glory Road

Me, trying to stand on the 33 degree banking.  It doesn't look that steep on TV!

Cliff & Hank getting in the 48 simulator car.  Cliff almost won the race (he got hit on the last 1/2 lap)


Those who know me, know that I am a NASCAR fan.  And those who know me also know that I am a Jeff Gordon fan.  So while we were planning our trip to Charlotte, NC to see the NASCAR Hall of Fame, I discovered that Hendrick Motorsports (the team that Jeff Gordon drives for) was just a hop and a skip away.  Since we were that close, I HAD to go! 
It was SO COOL!!!!!  I mean you are there, in their shop and garage.  We also just happened to be in the right place at the right time to see Kasey Kahne's pit crew practice.
Alan Gustafson (Jeff Gordon's crew chief in the garage)

Rick Hendrick's office

Cliff and I and our dear friends, Hank & Lynette who we had not seen for 20 years

Jeff & Kasey

The 48 and 88 cars

Jimmie Johnson's 5 championship trophies

Their beautiful facilities

Barely fitting in the cockpit of a race car.  I got in but I was a bit concerned about getting back out

5 team pit practice.

The ENORMOUS jumbo tron @ Lowe's Motor Speedway

Monday, July 9, 2012

Atlanta, GA

We spent a day in Downtown Atlanta with Cliff's family.  Emily and our 2 nephews had never been to the World of Coke so we spent an afternoon touring the museum. 

Emily and her cousin, Charlie

Cliff, his brother, Bill and Bill's neice, Scarlett

From the top of the parking garage, this is the view of the 1996 Olympic Flame. 
Cliff absolutely CANNOT go downtown Atlanta and not have lunch at the Varsity.  He looked forward to the chili-slaw dogs, onion-rings, and orange drink for weeks!

Me......deep in thought about something......

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Mobile, AL

We planned on walking around Battleship Park in Mobile after the beach.  We didn't go on the ship (neither Emily or I were into it) but we did walk the grounds and there was plenty to look at.  The U.S.S. Alabama was impressive and you can't grasp how big it is until you see it in person.  There were several planes and tanks, and a helicopter on the grounds along with several war memorials. 

Cliff & Emily next to one of the ship's propellers

This was an awesome statue.

I LOVED the dog tag and flag in his hands

Gulf Shores, AL

One of the things we knew we wanted to do on our vacation was spend a day at the beach.  We knew we were going to be in Mobile, AL so we chose to spend a day at Gulf Shores.  What we didn't count on was tropical storm Debbie.  On the drive to the beach, it wasn't looking good.  However, there wasn't any rain so we were still optimistic.  As soon as we got out of the car, we could see the spray off the waves.  These waves were strong and powerful.  Nope, it was not the "classic" beach day I'd hoped for. 

Friday, July 6, 2012

Vacation 2012 - New Orleans

Emily and I loaded up the car, drove to Cliff's work and picked him up and hit the road on Saturday morning, June 23.  We then drove all day and spent the night in Metairie, Louisiana. (Right outside of New Orleans.) On Sunday morning, we drove through the town.  I loved the old architecture and the French attributes but to be honest, I really wouldn't want to vacation here.  It was interesting to see it all though as we drove down Bourbon Street. 

Some of the famous little tomb "houses" in a very, very old graveyard.  I'm not sure if the damage was from age or Katrina or both.
 Our next stop was Mobile, AL.  On the way, Cliff wanted some deep southern BBQ. We stopped at "The Shed" which, unbeknown to us, was featured on Diners, Drive-in, and Dives.  It was an outdoor restaurant right on the Bayou. I don't know if you can get more Louisiana than that!

The "Dining Room"