The lines have fallen to me in pleasant places; Indeed, my heritage is beautiful to me. ~ Psalm 16:6 nasb

Monday, April 22, 2013

The Flood Plus One -- At the Bridge

Thursday, April 18

I had some errands to run, one of which was stopping at the bank.  The route I take has me going north through a major intersection, then turning left into the shopping area where the bank is located.  This particular afternoon, when I went north, I noticed the bridge at the bottom of the hill was still closed, and the river was flowing right over it.  We had crossed this same bridge Wednesday morning during the heaviest part of the rain, and right before they closed the road.

The last time the bridge was closed was September 14, 2008.  The reason I know this date is because September 14 is my birthday.  It was worse then, and the bridge was reconstructed a few years after that.  But rain can be a powerful thing--just ask Noah.  :)

After running my errands, I bundled up and went back out with my camera and my (repaired!) 17-85mm lens (like you wanted to know that detail).  I parked at Hobby Lobby, in the corner of the parking lot--you can see a few cars parked there in the image above all the way on the left.  Oh, you can also see the orange Hobby Lobby sign through the trees!

Access road into a prairie and forest area--none of this usually has water.

In case you were wondering why I bundled up, it was snowing!  Little balls, rather than flakes, swirled around on the wind, even though it was in the upper 30s.  So much for spring.  But I digress.

East side of the road.

Dry land (road) came to a point right in the middle of the road, and these birds--which we think are barn swallows--were hanging out there.

I stood right at the last point of dryness and took a picture looking north.

The car you've been catching sight of in these images has been stuck there since sometime during the rain.  It wasn't there when we drove through on Tuesday when we helped our friends.  And it wasn't there when I drove back to my friends and had to turn around because the road had been blocked off.  Which means--the driver went around the road blocks.  You can see the water streaming off the road to the left--literally, mini waterfalls!

Waterfalls off the road.

There are a couple of homes along the west side of the road, and the driveway to the one below was completely flooded.

Water was still flowing off the road and down his driveway.  You can't see the house from the street, and I wonder if the homeowner fared okay.

I captured one of those barn swallows, with their forked tails, in the image below.

I'm so glad the road is now open, and the water is receding.  It's amazing what not even a full day of rain can do.  God is indeed a mighty God!

Back to life,

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Sunday, April 21, 2013

Flood -- The Rain Came Down

I suspect I felt a bit like Noah last week, the day it rained and rained, and the waters rose, even here in the Prairie State where it's nice and flat.  Actually, I don't think I felt like Noah; I'm guessing I felt like the people left behind, realizing only too late that the warnings were true, and they literally missed the boat.

It rained from Wednesday evening throughout the night and into Thursday.  We awoke to a phone call very early Thursday, and ended up helping friends clear out their basement.  We made two trips to our friends' house, and both were rather scary.  I was able to snap some smartphone pictures along the way, and at our friends' house.  Here they are, and if you think the Flood in Noah's time couldn't have happened, keep in mind this was only a day's worth of rain.

The view from our friends' deck.

Their front yard.

Driving home--passing a footbridge at the golf course.

Along the road home--that's coming from a retention pond!

Crossing the bridge by our house; this was impassable 30 minutes later.

Back at our friends' home; the water had crested and was rising no more--alleluia!!

In the six hundredth year of Noah's life,
in the second month,
on the seventeenth day of the month,
on the same day
all the fountains of the great deep burst open,
and the floodgates of the sky were opened.
Genesis 7:11 NASB

Back to life,

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Saturday, April 20, 2013

Happy Birthday, Dad!

I can't believe my dad is 81 now!!  He had a birthday last weekend, and the family all gathered at our home to celebrate.  We also celebrated Danny's birthday (which occurred four days later), and the fact that Danny got accepted to UIC.

Birthdays usually mean cake made by my mom, and ice cream--or, Andy's when Fernando and I have anything to do with the planning.  :)

The glory of young men is their strength,
And the honor of old men is their gray hair.
Proverbs 20:29

A good man leaves an inheritance to his children's children,
And the wealth of the sinner is stored up for the righteous.
Proverbs 13:22

Grandchildren are the crown of old men...
Proverbs 17:6

But the lovingkindness of the Lord
is from everlasting to everlasting on those who fear Him,
And His righteousness to children's children.
Psalm 103:17

Indeed, may you see your children's children.
Peace be upon Israel!
Psalms 128:6

Happy birthday, Dad.  I love you.

Back to life,

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Friday, April 19, 2013

I Love My Guys!

Time to boast about my guys!!  I love having them around.  Especially the dear hubby.  Just love him.

The weather warmed up a smidge, and my guys were hard at work.

First, Fernando did some research on the Internet and saved us around $900 in car repairs by replacing the brakes and rotors on the Suburban.  *my hero*

The next day,  the guys were hard at work again, pulling out the patio chairs and other outdoor stuff for the back yard.

Someday I'll get in front of them so I don't take pictures of their backsides, lol.

Below is the pool, which we're nowhere near ready to uncover!  It's still c-c-cold right now, even in mid-April, so hopefully sometime in May that job will get done.

Then it was back into the garage to get the bikes down from the hanging hooks.  Love those hooks.  The garage looks messy, but it's a man-area of our house.  So I leave it alone unless Fernando goes out of town.  Like one time last year.  That's a long story; you should go read it, though.  It's a funny one.

Woo-hoo for bikes!

I can't wait to bask in the sun in our patio chairs.  I don't care how falling-apart they are (only a little).

And bikes mean spring is on the way!!!

I'm really ready for spring.

Back to life,

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

The Fashion Model -- Not!

I dared to take a few pictures of myself in some recent purchases.  I was brave.

I love bargains!  And when a friend's two daughters took me thrift-store-hopping (yes, hopping) with them, I was game.  I spent about $40 and brought home about $400 worth of stuff!  Good stuff, okay?  I got ride of a few clothing items in my closet to make way for the new items.

Here we go.

Oh, and not all of these items were purchased at thrift stores.  And there are only a few below.  I didn't want to take the time to change clothes that many times.  Plus taking all those pictures of myself...  No, thanks.

Remember, my body shape is short apple, so I'll be describing some of the clothing characteristics that appeal to my body type.

My first purchase was a new coat!   Off-white, which is not my color but it's tinged with enough brown that it works for me, and sparkly, too!  This is a great coat for those in-between winter/spring days--I'm keeping my old, old brown "movie star" coat for the really cold days, and this coat works very well for days that are 30+ degrees.  The original price was $230, and it was on clearance, plus I had a $10 Kohl's coupon (now you know where I bought it), plus my mom had a 30% off coupon.  Final price:  $44.

The next purchase is below.  If you're a regular reader, you've seen the top before ($4 at Goodwill).  This time around, I purchased the skirt, a chocolate microfiber.  Now, I already have a chocolate microfiber skirt, but it's a teensy bit bit in the waist, and this one fits perfectly.  Note the fullness along the bottom--it's an A-line, good for us apples.  Plus, there are no pockets or bulky fabric (gathers, etc.) around the waist, which helps minimize the tummy area.  Goodwill price:  $4.

Oh, and as long as we're talking apple shape, the top above is V-neck (I'm wearing a modesty panel for obvious reasons), and flared at the waist/hip to minimize the tummy.  Plus, you may not be able to see it in the picture but it does have an empire waist, another apple body plus.

I happened upon the boots at the second Goodwill store on our shopping trip.  My old brown boots were very, very old, to the point I colored in one of the decorative buttons along the side because the fabric had completely worn off.  No one ever noticed, but I knew the boots were nearing the end of their life.  These boots below have heels a tad higher than I would have liked, but they're comfortable to walk around in (for short periods of time!), and they were new.  Coupled with a red half-price sticker, and I was sold.  Final price:  $2.50.

The dress below was more expensive, so it was a splurge.  Back at Kohl's and during the coat-purchase, I found this dress.  I bought a red one from Kohl's with the exact same pattern, and you know how I love blue.  I called Fernando and explained, "You know the red floral dress I have?  Well, there's a blue one just like it here, and it's on sale, 65% off."  He responded, "Get it."  Now I have two fancy dresses--not too fancy for church, plus we have a growing list of weddings coming up in the next few months.  Perfect!

Apple body--notice the V-neck, the flared sleeves (not necessarily apple but it de-emphasizes my rather large upper arms), the empire waist, and you can't see it but it flares nicely a smidgen below the knee.  Yay!

Okay, that's enough looking at me.  I was happy and excited to share my purchases with you!

Back to life,

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Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sitting Pretty

I thought for a split second I might title this post Clean Your Seat.  But I thought better.  :)

When we remodeled our kitchen, we had purchased four rather expensive bar stools to be placed around our kitchen counter area.  They were microfiber, which the store sales rep told us was so very easy to clean.  I loved the black metal, and the swirly design, and the "easy to clean" sales pitch sewed it up.  We were sold.

Well, the stools lost their ability to swivel cleanly (an issue with the ball bearings inside the seat), but they were still very pretty and comfortable to sit in.  And, the years passed by, and the seats got dirty.  Every now and then I'd clean them with a damp dish cloth, but there'd still be stains left behind.  And after a while, I ceased to care.

Gross, huh?  Well, after all the cleaning and re-organizing we recently did, I took one look at those bar stool seats and decided I'd better spend some time cleaning them.  An upcoming church meeting at our house sealed my determination to clean--even if men don't care about the cleanliness of the space they're in if you put coffee and food out on the table.  :)

Yeah, the stains were bad.  Looking at the pictures, I can't believe I let it get that bad.  Embarrassing, huh?  But I'm usually pretty transparent on this blog, and I'm sure you have some of your own spaces and places in your home that you'd be embarrassed to show me.  So let's call it even.

I remember reading--and pinning--a blog post telling you how to clean microfiber, over at 551 East.  This is not my original idea!  But I thought I'd try her method and see if it really worked.  Read on, dear reader!

I utilized a teenager in the cleaning process--but only after I exhausted my own arm muscles.  First, take a spray bottle with rubbing alcohol in it.  My own spray bottle leaked, so I simply removed the sprayer and put it directly into the bottle of rubbing alcohol.  Worked just fine.

Over at 551 East, Julia wrote that I should use a white sponge, to avoid possible color transfer onto my microfiber material.  I didn't have white, but I had a pink one and a couple other colors, and they were new, so I figured I was game and tried it--no problems!  I think I would have been more careful had my microfiber been light colored, as Julia's was.

I sprayed the rubbing alcohol directly onto the fabric, saturating it (not until it was dripping, mind you).  Then I took the sponge--which I had damped and wrung out--and began scrubbing.  I pretty much scrubbed the entire seat, though I missed the sides of the cushions at first.  You'll see that below.

When my arms were dead tired, I engaged Thomas' help.  Please don't rest your hand on top of the seat you have just cleaned, as you see Thomas doing below.  He left little finger-shaped marks on the seat and we had to clean it again.  :/

While Thomas cleaned, I enjoyed a cup of coffee.  Yes, I usually fill it to the brim.

Here below is my first effort with the first chair.  You can see the dirty areas on some of the sides, which I later cleaned.  And another note:  rotate your sponge so that you're using a clean section, and once that gets dirty, rotate it again.  Or simple rinse it out really, really, well, and continue scrubbing.

I was seriously amazed.  I couldn't believe I had new-looking chairs again!  The reason rubbing alcohol is used instead of water is its ability to dry quickly.  And since I decided to clean the bar stools on the same day as the men's meeting, I needed them to dry quickly!  I placed one in the patch of sun coming through the patio door, then rotated the chairs around.  Within just a few hours, they were all dry and ready to be sat in once again.

The smell of the alcohol didn't really bother me, but if that's something you'd rather avoid, put a fan out, or open the windows if the weather is nice.  The smell dissipated quickly, so no worries about it lingering around for guests.

Looks like a new bar stool, doesn't it?  I'm so tickled that this method works.  And I read that I can do this once a month.  I don't know that I'll do it that frequently, but maybe just as needed or at the change of seasons--spring and fall cleaning.

Back to life,

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Dear Danny

Dear Danny,

Today is your 20th birthday.  But you know that, of course.  And last week the Lord gave you a beautiful birthday present.

You have to make some very adult choices now.  I know you've already responded to the wonderful invitation, and you are committed to attending this university for the next two years.  I also know you're committed to working hard to get your bachelor's degree.  Biochemistry?  It's beyond me.  But I know you can do it.

When you were a little boy, you gave me such worry!  Running away from home, climbing the fence, smashing eggs on the kitchen floor...  You got into everything, and I had to keep a constant, vigilant eye on you!

But, boy oh boy, have you grown into a marvelous young man!  Steadfast in faith, diligent in your work, growing in character.  I am immensely grateful to the Lord for all He has done in your life.

Did I mention goofy?  You're also that.  :)

As you look to your future, and the long road you must travel to get there, I pray that you will continue to look to the Lord for guidance and wisdom.  He will surely make your path straight before you.

Happy birthday, Danny.  I love you.

Go get 'em!

With all my love in Christ,

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