"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Wednesday, September 30, 2015

September Events

1 -- Zach at Disney with his grandparents

4 -- Zach at St. Augustine, Florida

7 -- Sophie enjoying corn

10 -- to Southpoint with Zach for a few hours; he had a great time playing with the children, and we also saw the fountains

11 -- some of us went to Ruby Tuesday to celebrate Daniel's birthday

I was at the kid table

13 -- saw Jen at Aldi (yay!)

18 -- to Burlington City Park with Zach; he played with 3-year-old Ruby and gave her his phone number before she left

Zach and Ruby

we also saw some preliminary work for the sand sculpture made at the Carousel Festival

20 -- to the Carousel Festival with Andrew; Zach was going to go, but he got sick the night before so we decided he may go next year instead

this is what he created with all that sand

22 -- Pope Francis visited the United States; Will flew into D.C. a few hours later for a work trip

I used the Peanutize Me website to make this while Samer watched on Skype.


I did this one of myself later:

and one of Andrew later:

24 -- visited with Zach and Sophie; played outside before the very-much-needed rain came!

24 -- to the final Thursdays @ 7 concert with Michael and Andrew; ended early due to rain

28 -- bought Captain America costume

29 -- wet morning; Captain America at the children's museum

30 -- one year since we sold our old house, and bought a new one

the morning of September 30, 2015

and, hooray, the sun came out today!  Seriously this was the first time we've seen bright blue skies in nearly a week!  

Playing with the children at Tanger

September Books

A year ago today, we moved into our new house and sold our old one.  (Yep, all on the same morning.)  I'm so thankful that we are not moving and unpacking this year.  Also, I'm grateful for the blue skies and sunshine we had today.  It's been a rainy few days, and more are expected due to Hurricane Joaquin.  I like sunshine so, so much.  So much that I'm going back out now to enjoy it before it sets. 

The Story Keeper by Lisa Wingate -- Journalist Jen Gibbs, presently of NYC,  returns to the Blue Ridge Mountains following a story about a "Melungeon girl trapped by dangerous men in Appalachia at the turn of the twentieth century."

Larkspur Cove by Lisa Wingate -- After her divorce, Andrea returns to her parents' lake house in an effort to build a new life for herself and her son.  Interesting tale of her life working in the field as a family counselor.

A Thousand Voices by Lisa Wingate -- the story of an adopted young lady with Choctaw heritage who goes back to where she was born to find out more about her roots

Finding the Lost Images of God by Timothy S. Laniak -- a short, colorful books speaking of God and Biblical themes and teachings within ancient cultural context. Things like "The Divine Architect and His Temple," "The Divine Farmer and His Plantings," "The Divine Shepherd and His Flock" and so forth.

Small Town Girl by LaVyrle Spencer -- I found this in a book exchange; otherwise, I'd probably not read it.  A country star comes back home to care for her mother after her mom has hip-replacement surgery.  She discovers the nerdy neighbor/classmate whom she ridiculed has turned out ...different.

Truth Stained Lies by Terri Blackstock -- I found this in a book exchange, too. I always liked her little bit of mystery/lawyerish-type books.  This one deals with a blogger whose brother is framed for the murder of his ex-wife.  I like the author's note about how she weeps with her characters as she creates and forms them, and her reminder about God being there for us as He writes our stories.  (Moonlighters Series)

Harvest of Blessings by Charlotte Hubbard -- another book exchange read; a former Amish woman comes back home to reconcile with her family and meet the daughter she gave up sixteen years previously

The Accidental Bestseller by Wendy Wax -- four writer friends come together to produce an outstanding book, but, oh, the ramifications of this!

A Wedding Invitation by Alice J. Wisler -- after attending a wedding intended for someone else, Samantha reconnects with some people from her past and remembers part of her time helping Vietnam refugees in the Philippines

Headscarves and Hymens: Why the Middle East Needs a Sexual Revolution by Mona Eltahawy -- I agree with a lot of what she has to say though I'm still conservative enough that everything she proposes is not for me, (i.e., I think it's not right to do.)  This book is part memoir and part her position on what needs to change in certain societies.

On why there are more Aishas than Khadijahs: 
"Why has the notion of the child bride persisted, but not the older spouse modeled by Khadijah?  ... The simple answer is because Khadijah represents the power and autonomy that some clerics despise in women.  The child bride is helpless, malleable, without experience of any kind, and lacking any ability to challenge a man's authority. So those clerics who insist on the 'Islamic right' to marry little girls should just be honest about it: they want malleable and powerless girls who will never challenge them."  Protect girls from pedophilia.  (pg. 172)

Intervention by Terri Blackstock  -- the story of a drug interventionist who ends up murdered, and the 18 year old girl she was helping being suspect in her murder

Vicious Cycle by Terri Blackstock -- the second book in the trilogy which started with the book just above.  In this book Lance tries to help a fifteen year old addict, and ends up arrested for kidnapping.

A Comedy & A Tragedy by Travis Hugh Culley -- "a memoir of learning how to read and write"  -- I read much of this while watching Zach at the children's museum; it was OK, kind of interesting to try to understand how some people learn

Downfall by Terri Blackstock -- the last in the intervention trilogy -- Emily and her family are once again in the middle of some drama involving drug addicts. Whew...I am tired for them! 

Distortion by Terri Blackstock -- book two in the Moonlighters Series; figured I'd read book one so why not find the others. Juliet's surgeon husband is gunned down. Was he involved in a secret life of drugs?  Find out when you read this book!

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Captain America at the Children's Museum

Yesterday Zach and I went by Walmart to pick up some Ovaltine, and we decided to look at the Halloween decorations and costumes.  Last year he had a dog costume his Nana bought which he refused to wear because he hated having anything placed over his head.  He ended up as a cute Bob the Builder instead.

That's a tool in the bucket

The year before that, he went as Thomas.

 He really doesn't mind something on his head. He's just not fond of stuff on his face.  Until...yesterday. So, we were looking at costumes, and I was wondering if there was anything Zach would actually wear this year. Previously when I asked him, he mentioned being Bob the Builder again.  But then he saw a Captain America costume which he wanted to see. I held it up for him, and he put it in the buggy for me to buy.

I figured I'd get it, and try it on at home. If he refused to wear it or it didn't fit, I'd return it.  I teased him by saying, "Zach, that costume costs fifteen dollars.  I'm not sure you are worth it."

He exclaimed, "I'm worf it!"  (He says a lot of "th" sounds as "fffff.")

We kept teasing throughout our trip about his being worth/worf it.

We were going by Stephanie's house so he could visit with them for awhile. He wanted to show them so I took it in, and ended up leaving for him to try on.  If Steph could persuade him to wear it.  I still wasn't sure he'd follow through with that.

But, hey, somehow he did.  And once he was convinced that the mask wouldn't make it too dark (i.e., he could still see), he had a great time playing with that costume.

I heard he made a red shield out of construction paper, made fierce faces in the mirror as he checked out how he looked, admired the poofy muscles and fake boots.  He even slept in the costume declaring it to me as "so comfortable."

I met him at the children's museum this morning, and he was wearing the mask.  He was persuaded to wear other clothes even though he wanted to wear the whole costume.

He looked like this when I saw him.  Well, he had a smile on his face especially when I pretended that I didn't see Zach and where was he, and, oh, there you are! Wow, it's Captain America!

This is his tough-guy face.

and pose...

 Intimidating, right?

He walked into the museum, and immediately pulled off the mask exclaiming to the ladies at the desk that it was him, Zach!  The ladies at the desk played along saying, "Oh, wow, we thought you were a superhero!"

He went to the craft area, stood silently with hands on his hips, staring at a worker we know as she worked at a nearby counter. When she finally turned and saw him, he took off his hat again so she'd recognize him. 

To the moms in the building area, I heard him say, "I'm just a little boy. My usual name is Zach, but I am wearing this Captain America mask."

Yanking off the mask to prove he's really just a little boy

working at the fruit stand

For some reason Zach wanted me to pretend I received a package. He was hiding inside the box, and, of course, I exclaimed over the fact that Captain America arrived.

Even superheroes need a cartoon-and-cheese-toast break.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Day Trip to the Boone Area

Last Saturday, September 19, was beautiful, and Andrew and I took advantage of the clear, sunny day to visit the Boone area.

As Andrew rode his bicycle down the parkway, I stopped at a few overlooks.

someone left these

found a couple apple trees at Thunder Hill Overlook

The leaves were still mostly green, but starting to change.

Beacon Heights Overlook

Found this on Green Knob Trail

there were many fields of these flowers

 Price Lake on the Parkway

Valle Crucis Community Park

This Saturday is wet, wet, wet. We need the rain (it's been super-dry, and, frankly, one reason we were able to travel last Saturday since Andrew didn't have any work), but I sure do appreciate sunshine and being able to go to parks and the mountains!   I've enjoyed reading today, though. I'm so glad I like to read! 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Peaks of Otter to Roanoke

On Sunday, September 6, we hiked at Sharp Top Mountain at Peaks of Otter, Virginia.  The trail wasn't terribly long, but it was quite a climb.

Part of the trail

The clouds had not burned off since we did the walk earlier in the day, but this was part of the view from the top.

We drove to Montvale overlook to eat lunch, and then Andrew started riding his bike south on the Blue Ridge Parkway towards Roanoke.

I met him at the Roanoke River Overlook, and then we walked around downtown for about an hour before heading home.

Thursday, September 24, 2015

McAfee Knob, Bears, the AT, and POO

Saturday morning, September 5, we headed for McAfee Knob, which is just off the Appalachian Trail.  We both read about it in a book about a thru-hiker, and actually planned the trip to Roanoke so we could hike there.  Andrew uses a hiking/biking/walking app on his phone which he uses often when we hike, bike (him), or walk together.

We hiked the Appalachian Trail (AT) to get to McAfee Knob, but we took the fire road route back. I don't know that the fire road was any shorter, but it didn't have as many ups and downs as the AT. It wasn't quite as pretty, either, but it had some views beyond the green tunnel (the trees) that we could see occasionally.  We imagined those views would be really nice once the leaves were off the trees.

Anyway, the round-trip hike was 8.2 miles, and including the time we stopped to eat a snack and photograph ourselves on the knob, we spent about 4 hours or so doing this.

we brought food to eat up there

After that hike, we found a convenience store where gas was $1.89/gallon, and I got a pint of chocolate ice cream.  We soon went to the Blue Ridge Parkway where Andrew rode his bike, and I drove the car.

I was driving along the parkway as I usually do when something darted out in front of me. It was round and dark; not the typical look of a deer!  Two smaller round and dark creatures ran across the street as well.  That's about the time it registered to me that I'd just seen BEARS cross the road as if they were running from something!

Although we are definitely in bear country when we visit the mountains - and we regularly see signs reminding us of this - we have never, in fact, come across bears in the wild except about fifteen years ago in Cades Cove, Tennessee.  Never had we seen them on the Blue Ridge Parkway.

I was a little freaked out because I like to stop at the overlooks by myself when Andrew's biking, and, oh hey, Andrew was riding his bike somewhere behind me. Wouldn't that have been weird if they'd darted out in front of the man on the bicycle? 

I rolled up my car windows because I think one of the bear cubs ran with the momma bear while the other darted back across the road. Which meant they were separated.  And you know they say never to get between a momma and her baby bear!  I suppose I thought the momma would be right there at the road ready to tear through my car as I drove by...and I didn't want her swiping at me through my lowered car windows!  (Such crazy thoughts, I know, but it's not like I usually see bears!)

This is about the area where I saw the bears:

somewhere in Virginia

Later I came to the Montvale overlook and saw this sign for the Appalachian Trail.  The AT runs along the Blue Ridge Parkway for many miles through Virginia.

Montvale Overlook

I drove up to Peaks of Otter to wait for Andrew.  I took a picture of Sharp Top Mountain (which we came back to climb the next day), and stepped into the country store.  I saw one of those stickers that people buy for the backs of their vehicles.  Like it might say OBX for Outer Banks or SML for Smith Mountain Lake.  Well, Peaks of Otter's is POO. 

Sharp Top Mountain