Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Grandpa Would Be So Proud

Last night I spent a few hours at Rene'e and Lee's farm in Chicora. It was refreshing to say the least. I got to mow the grass in the riding ring with Grandpa's old tractor. He would be so proud! Not to mention that I was very proud to be puttin around on it. Lee got a belly mower for it. Now mowing grass is a snap. LOVE IT!!! These pictures were taken right after Lee and Rene'e finished rebuilding it. That was last summer. I'm so glad that they have the tractor and that it is being used. Thanks guys!

Afterwards, I rode Duke and Rene'e rode Blaze. It is always refreshing to be back in the saddle. I'm going to try to ride at least once a week for the summer and fall. Maybe I can talk Rene'e into taking some pictures sometime with her new fancy digital camera that she got for Christmas. (Oh how I want one of those!)

OK - Better get this day on the road! Have a good one!

Monday, May 29, 2006

To Market To Market

This is a pretty old picture taken at the East Liberty Farmers Market. We worked for the Kennedy family for MANY years. This was one of our most favorite jobs ever. I have no idea how many years ago it was taken, but I'm guessing that this was before we graduated from high school, or at least before Amanda did. I started going to market in August of 1989. A couple years later, Amanda joined me. Wendy also went for a short while. Paul has gone in the past few years too. Funny that we all found ourselves in this one common arena for some time. (The picture was taken by Mary Rawson a.k.a. X-The Owl's Aunt)

Why am I posting this now? Because I went to market on Saturday. Ahhhhh... it was nice to get back to see old friends. Ricky Ricky the greenhouse guy... Mr. & Mrs. Blastos, Mr. Jones, Mr. Thomson.... etc. So many familiar faces. Plus, working with John is like going back in time. That's not necessarily a bad thing. All in all I had a wonderful day...

When it was all over, I got to check out the newest member of the family... Mayson May. She's beautiful! Quiet, content, and without flaw. Congrats Kennedy's! I also enjoyed visiting with Val, Jacob, and Taylor who are very proud of little Mayson. Thank you Jacob and Taylor for the new refrigerater art and decorative coffee stirrer. :)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Unfailing Love by Chris Tomlin

You have my heart
And I am Yours forever
You are my strength
God of grace and power
And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me I cant understand
Praise You God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is
Your unfailing love
Unfailing love
And You never change God
You remain The Holy One
My unfailing love
Unfailing love
You are my rock
The one I hold on to
You are my song
And I sing for You
And everything You hold in Your hand
Still You make time for me
I cant understand
Praise You God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is
Your unfailing love
Unfailing love
And You never change God
You remain The Holy One
My Unfailing love
Unfailing love
And everything You hold in Your hand
Still you make time for me
I cant understand Praise You
God of Earth and sky
How beautiful is
Your unfailing love
Unfailing love
And You never change God
You remain The Holy One
My Unfailing love
Unfailing love
I will praise You
Praise you God of earth and sky
How beautiful is your unfailing love
Unfailing love
And You never change God
You remain The Holy One
My Unfailing love
Unfailing love
Unfailing love
Unfailing love
Unfailing love
Unfailing love

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Drum Roll Please

This is our new car!
2006 Toyota Corolla
It's new and it's used... used for only 827 miles. It's nothing extra fancy, but we think it is pretty and it rides nice.
This car buying process was very draining. We shopped and shopped and know which dealers we DONT like and which one we will settle for. We did a lot of research on a number of models, prices, options, etc. so we knew what we wanted and how much we were willing to spend. We feel as if the deal was very reasonable. Would I buy another car from this guy? Hmmm... maybe, maybe not. Once the sale was made it seemed like he forgot that we were there. We ran around all day waiting for the bank to complete their paperwork for us and then delivered it back out to Cranberry. When we got there, we had to wait at least a half hour for the car. I think they just started detailing it when we arrived, instead of sometime during the 8 hours since we made the deal. UGH! I don't even think they did a very good job at detailing it anyway.
Anyway... we are both beat. What a long drawn out day it has been. We must rest now. Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh...

Happy Birthday Isaac

Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday to you
Happy Birthday Dear Isaac
Happy Birthday to you!

We have a present for you... We'll send it with Grandma...

Have fun!

Monday, May 22, 2006



And The Answer Is... To Buy

We have assessed the amount of monies we will have to put into the truck to have it up and running in good shape... compared to the fact that we are going to buy a new car soon anyway. The consensus is clear... we are going to get a new car.

Anyone wanting to buy a 97 Blazer for cheap? $1000 takes it as is. Otherwise, it will be traded in... probably later this week. For what you may ask?

Hmm... some days I have thought maybe I should get a cart to go with the horse. Everyone's looking for the fuel efficient model these days. However, it is a long trot from Wilmore, Kentucky. Hmmm... let's see... if I drove her 25 miles per day for 17 days... I'd be almost home! Considering the fact that she has never actually been driven, the trip could end in disaster far before I could even get started. Bad idea I guess.

We are looking at a Toyota. We are considering either a Corolla or a Yaris, and we are pretty sure we may get a NEW one. There is little difference between the models. Yaris just came out as a 2007 model. They are just a tiny bit smaller than the Corolla, a little better on mileage, and a smidgen bit sportier. The problem is that there are very few to be found as of yet. Everyone seems to have Corolla's, but we are looking for some particulars. I suppose we should shop around some more. My boss has graciously given me some good pointers on negotiating the price and actually volunteered to go with me if I'd like. What a great boss!

So here we go... into yet another chapter of life... the one where we actually buy a NEW car!!! YIPPIE!!! We are pre-approved and already have a tentative quote on the new rate from the insurance company. Stay tuned... I'll be spilling the beans on our new find... as soon as we find it. Duh.

Saturday, May 20, 2006

To Buy or Not To Buy

We have been talking for MONTHS about getting a new car. We have been so mindful of our debt and have been faithfully chipping away at it. By next year we figured we would be debt free aside from some student loans.

Both of our vehicles are shabby at best. The car will likely make it a while longer. I'll know better once I get it inspected in a couple of weeks. The truck needs some very important repairs that will likely cost several hundred dollars. Once those are accomplished, we consider the fact that it probably needs new shocks, tires soon, the air conditioning doesn't work and neither do the front windows, and the heater is stuck on. Aside from this the wiper motor needs replaced and it needs some body work too. I wonder if by the time we make the necessary repairs and then some, what it will be worth? Anything? Maybe as much as we spend to fix it?

Being that we were going to soon embark upon getting a new vehicle, might we just take the truck and the repair monies and put them down on a new car? We figure we can save at least 50% on gas. The insurance will probably be about the same. The monthly car payment has already been written into the budget.


Should I fix the truck and suck it up as far as comfort while driving in the hot months? Or maybe I should just keep the truck, fix it, park it... and put less down on the new car? Perhaps I might find a sucker willing to give me something for the old beater?

We are constantly in search of wisdom. The Lord says he gives it abundantly to those who seek it. I'm seeking!!!! I wish the answers were more precise though.

Do we buy a new car? Do we buy a used car? How much should we spend? Which is the best model? Yada yada yada. Research research research. We really want a new car, but they depreciate so fast that one generally owes more than it is worth in no time. On the plus side, they generally come with a warranty, which is good. B U T ... for much less money, I could probably get a nice used vehicle with a little less warranty. We aren't really mechanical people, so we don't always know how to pick the best one. (This is where we tap into big brother who knows all there is to know about cars.) Still, that doesn't afford us any guarantee on long-term quality and such. Oh decisions decisions!

Why am I brewing over this? Keith will be quick to snatch up the first nice new squeaky clean car we set our eyes on. Me... well... I'm always the one that doesn't want to rush into it. I want to shop around. (He says it's because I'm too cheap) I have already done considerable research about all the models we are most interested in.

So... I will pray long and hard on this. Any advice is appreciated and of course... prayers are coveted. I simply want to make the choice that is most acceptable in the Lord's eyes.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Thoughts on Spirituality

Read Jonah then reflect:
Sometimes we follow God and all is well, until an unexpected storm arises. We cry out to God as if he has forgotten about us, experiencing a lack of faith. He quiets us and comes to our aid.

Do these "storms" arise as a result of our unwillingness to respond to God's calling? Does a willingness to serve result in God's calling? Why do we lack faith? Is it human nature? Is it Satan's influence? Why is this gift from God so hard to grasp at times? Why does our level of faith seem to fluctuate at times? What "storms" or circumstances have rocked our boats? What action calmed the storm? Have we cried out to God from the depths of despair? How has he poured out his mercy in response, despite the fact that we do not deserve it?

"Believers often settle down in the lower places and miss the exaltation of going with Him to the mountaintops." Falling In Love With Jesus

Where are you now? Have you been to the "lower places?" Have you been to the "mountaintops?" What is holding you back?

We have a CHOICE to give God the glory and thankfulness he deserves. We can choose to honer him or allow our wickedness to ignore his truth. What choice will you make? How many times today did you pass up the opportunity to make the right choice?

Why so often do we find our hearts filled with OUR desires? Why doesn't God just override those and fill our hearts with HIS desires? Doesn't it sometimes seem like we spend years chasing after something WE want, just to finally conclude that we aren't supposed to have that.

Read 1 Kings 3:9+
Solomon asked for wisdom and in turn was given so much more. Many blessings were bestowed upon him as a result of his desire to be wise.

Note to self: What good is it to ask for wisdom, but not actively seek it? DUH!

Thoughts about money
Wealth is not meant to be hoarded, but to be spent for the glory of God. Saving is good. Being financially responsible is good. Offering a tithe is a must. But think about it... if you've got it to give... let it be for the glory of God, one way or another.

Why is the generosity in my heart sometimes greater than what is in my pocket? I'm figuring that being faithful in giving my tithe and other offerings that God will bless me more and more. I suppose though that as my ability to give increases, so will my heart's desire. What a wonderful thing!

Read James 2: 18 -26
Having faith without deeds is useless.

Do you know what "Faith" is? There is a definition - See Hebrews 11. Isn't it interesting that demons know the truth? Are we acting in accordance with our faith? What deeds have we pursued recently?

Who Am I by Casting Crowns

Who am I?
That the Lord of all the earth,
Would care to know my name,
Would care to feel my hurt.
Who am I?
That the bright and morning star,
Would choose to light the way,
For my ever wondering heart.
Not because of who I am.
But because of what you've done.
Not because of what I've done.
But because of who you are.

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord you catch me when I'm falling,
And you told me who I am.
I am yours.
I am yours.

Who am I?
That the eyes that see our sin
Would look on me with love
And watch me rise again
Who am I?
That the voice that calmed the sea,
Would call out through the rain,
And calm the storm in me.
Not because of who I am.
But because what of youve done.
Not because of what I've done.
But because of who you are.

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord you catch me when I'm falling,
And you told me who I am.
I am yours.
Not because of who I am.
But because of what you've done.
Not because of what I've done.
But because of who you are.

I am a flower quickly fading,
Here today and gone tomorrow.
A wave tossed in the ocean,
A vapor in the wind.
Still you hear me when I'm calling,
Lord you catch me when I'm falling,
You told me who I am.
I am yours.
I am yours.
I am yours.

Whom shall I fear?
Whom shall I fear?
'Cuz I am yours.
I am yours.

Sorry bloggers

I'm too tired to blog! Monday I had a late meeting at work. Tuesday the movers came and moved everything to my new space at work. Today I unpacked some things so I can function at work again. Tomorrow I'm off. I plan to sleep in until 8am then do something with Keith. Friday I'm back to the grind at work... hoping to catch up!

Sorry... no fancy blogging for me today! Too much housework to do and my feet ache!

This Weeks Special Beverage

"A lively blend of sweet citrus, herbs and orange essences, Tazo® Wild Sweet Orange combines European blackberry leaves with lemongrass from Guatemala, spearmint from the Pacific Northwest and the spicy taste of ginger. Natural orange essence imparts the taste of a fresh-picked orange.Ingredients: Lemongrass, blackberry leaves, citric acid, rose hips, spearmint, natural flavors, orange peel, safflower, hibiscus flowers, rose petals, natural orange essence, ginger and licorice."

This tea has a sweetness of its own... no need for sugar or honey. It has a slight tart taste as well. It is refreshing.

Last Week's Coffee

The coffee of choice last week was...


"Our mildest blend features smooth and straightforward Latin American coffees and a crisp, clean finish."

Saturday, May 13, 2006

Clutter Control

I spent a couple of hours working in one of the rooms upstairs today. I'm not actually sure that I make much progress. I think sometimes I'm just moving things from here to there. I did put some things in boxes, but then I'm overwhelmed with boxes of stuff. We really have to get this place cleaned up. We are not actually going to buy the house for a while now (long story), but the landlord is gracious enough to keep the rent very reasonable to allow us to make some much needed updates and repairs. I desperately need an office. I have no idea if any of the phone jacks in the upstairs are operable. I must find out soon. I need to clear a place for the desk, telephone, computer, and printer. Enough of this dining room table in the living room stuff. That's what the dining room is for!!!! Additionally, we are expecting company in June so we want to have a bedroom for them to settle into for a few days.

What Else?

I also washed dishes. Again... not all of them, but most. It's always nice to have clean coffee cups in the morning.

Mindless Tasks

In keeping with tradition, today was once again "Laundry Day." Need I say more?

Dan-Dan The Man

My long lost friend Dan called today. Funny thing, I was thinking about him earlier in the week. It sounds like things with him and Cindy and his family are well. It was definitely nice to connect and catch up. I hope that we get to visit each other soon and hopefully more often now that we are back home. By the way, Dan, if you are reading this... Keith wants to go golfing. When can you go?!

What A Way To Start The Day

This morning Keith and I had brunch with my friend Milly at TGI Fridays.
Milly and I are in the same line of work, just in different locations. We both ordered Electric Lemonade. Every Saturday should start out that good! Milly delivered the basket of goodies that I won in the Chinese Auction during last weeks PAMSS conference. I had to leave early so I left my tickets with her. It was nice of her to bring it back for me. It's an Easter Longaberger basket filled with all sorts of Mary Kay stuff. I'm not much of a basket person, but it is very nice. I'm also not much of a Mary Kay fan anymore. I use Beauti Control. But hey - I cannot complain. It's a really nice freebie!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It's A Boy!!!




May 11, 2006 AT 3:20 PM

Proud parents: Randy & Denise Watkins


Keith is a VERY proud Uncle.
(sorry no pictures yet)

Taco Soup

If you haven't tried this yet, we recommend it. We can all thank Mom Hudson for this recipe. We have made this rather regularly since she gave it to us. I'm not exactly sure if I've followed it precisely and I'm not even sure what I'm telling you is 100% correct because the original recipe is packed away in a box somewhere. Anyway... it's one of those "dump" type recipes. You can modify its contents every time and it will likely always turn out tasty.

  • 1 Pound or so of lean ground meat
  • 1 chopped onion (if you want)
  • 1 chopped pepper (if you want)
  • 1 package of taco seasoning (we like SPICY)
  • 1 package of ranch seasoning
  • 1 can of cream corn
  • 1 can of regular corn
  • 1 can of hominy (I get the white to add color)
  • 1 can of pinto beans
  • 1 can of kidney beans
  • 1 or 2 cans of rotel tomatoes (w/ green chilies)
  • 1 or 2 cans of stewed tomatoes
  • Shredded Cheddar Cheese - as much as you like
  • Sour cream - optional
  • Tortilla chips
In a big pot, brown the ground meat, add onion and pepper. Then add the taco seasoning. Start dumping a can of this and a can of that until you've dumped them all in. DO NOT DRAIN them, dump the juices in too. Then add the ranch dressing. Stir it up good and bring to a boil. Turn it down and let it simmer for a few minutes.

Serve on or beside tortilla chips. Top with shredded cheese and sour cream.

I'm thinking you could do something similar and substitute shredded chicken for the ground meat. Green onions make a nice garnish. It's even better the second and third day.


Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Entertainment At Its Best

I have GOT to get pictures of the kitties developed. If only I had caught this on film... it might have been worth something.

Wizzy... the brave... the proud... stalks Crystal from afar. Ready... Aim... POUNCE!!!! He leaps on top of Crystal, knocks her over, rolls her onto her back, and proudly straddles the poor gal. In a fit of utter rage and with jack-rabbit like power she lets out one huge push with her hind legs and sends Wizzy soaring into mid-air. NO JOKE - he was EYE LEVEL with Keith!!!!

He spent the next few minutes dazed and confused. He wandered around the living room sniffing here and there wondering "what the heck just happened?!"

This was a real side-splitter!

Some Thoughts On Prayer

Learning to pray is like learning to play a musical instrument. A beginning student spends countless hours with an instructor in a tiny closet playing scales and rudimentary musical scores. What begins as arduous disciplined practice issues forth in melodious artistry. Private practice gives way to symphonic excellence.

Lord, teach us to pray. Go into a back room. Close the door. Learn the instrument and music. Become intimately attuned to the conductor. Find a praying rhythm and routine. Take prayer walks. Schedule regular twenty-four-hour prayer retreats. Visit a monastery. Seek out a prayer mentor. Keep a prayer journal. Get involved with a small prayer group. Allow the rigid demarcations of a narrowly defined prayer life to give way to a spacious life of prayer. Transform the obligatory quiet time into a daily springboard for unceasing prayer.

Taken from: To Pray Or Not To Pray
By John David Walt, Jr.

Monday, May 08, 2006

Check Out Today's Buzz

I saw this article in the newspaper... WOW

Buzzing Article

Ever since Rene'e got her bees, I have been fascinated with them.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Summing It Up

This last week came and went in a whirl wind it seems.

I left on Wednesday with my boss for Altoona, PA. Home of the Horseshoe Curve. Basically there isn't much more there. The conference had some good speakers and some not-so-good speakers. All in all, we gained some added knowledge and ideas about the profession. We were also afforded some time to meet up with old friends and meet some new ones. George won a door prize, a pot of flowers, but he insisted that I take it. Then we motored home in a jiffy on Friday just in time for the Blair/Zombeck wedding.

Yes, that's right... everyone knows... I think. Amanda and John have now officially been joined in holy matrimony. He is a delightful new brother. After the short sweet ceremony, Mom took some pictures back at the house and then we were off to "The Runway" restaurant for an early dinner. It was wonderful... the place was nearly empty. The only distractions were incoming and outgoing planes, which the Blair kids sighted with ease and ran the length of the place to catch a glimpse of the aeronautical activities. The meal was delicious as usual... and then we returned home. John packed his tiny car with a few million items that Amanda had carefully packed. "Just one more thing." She'd say... and then they were off... to start their new life together...

They were headed northeast where Wendy had made arrangements for the use of Cory's parent's cottage on a lake. It's a sweet little spot to stay. It's comfortable and the fishing is good. Amanda had mentioned that she was looking forward to visiting with Wendy's munchkins. It's sure to be a grand time.

Activities today at the Vulhop homestead included some yard work. Not a lot of it, but enough. There were still some branches from last weeks trimmings that needed bound for pick up. Keith trimmed them to the appropriate size and I wrapped them in bundles and placed at the curb. We finished all the trimmings from the big tree, but we still have 2 bush stumps to remove and one large pile of evergreen type limbs to cut to size and bind for pick up. This work is never ending.

Keith finally got his FRENCH PRESS. It's an interesting contraption. It only makes 8 cups of coffee, which in real cup sizes is only like 3 cup fulls. He is delighted with it, and of course, he used it immediately when we returned home. It's good I guess. I didn't notice a ton of difference, but if it makes him happy... so be it.

I did get some bad news today. This is a heart breaker. Renee's beloved little Moe (lhasa apsa) was attacked by the horses this morning. Moe is nearly blind to begin with. He only has one eye and the other isn't so good. The poor little guy was absolutely defenseless. He is in the veterinary hospital and in pretty bad condition. I'm not quite sure what I can do to help this situation, so I will pray... for strength and recovery for the little guy and for my dear friend whose heart that is broken over this.

Just Married

Mr. & Mrs. John S. Zombeck, III
May 5, 2006

Best wishes to the happy couple! More photos to follow... or see Mom's blog. (Link on the right)

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

P.S. No House Yet

We didn't close today... not everyone was available! Ugh! Another wait.

Happy Birthday Old Man

Today would be Keith's birthday... Happy Birthday Keith!

Things he wanted for his birthday:
  • An Ugly Stick: Not hard to acquire. There are lots of them in the back yard! (Oh he meant a fishing pole... silly me. Hmmm... I suppose that calls for a trip to Walmart?) I figure that I will let him pick it out.
  • A French Press: I gave him a big kiss today and said "Does that count as a "french press?" (Oh he meant that thingy that coffee snobs use instead of a coffee pot... silly me.) He has some birthday money from loved ones afar that he has set aside for such a contraption. Again... something he will pick out for himself.

Other things he actually got:

  • A birthday kiss. It still counts even though he was still sleeping. He was actually too groggy to respond regarding the "French Press" question. I was proud to have thought of it though!
  • Basket of Goodies: Thanks Dad & Rachel! He was very surprised and called me immediately to report his delight. It has fruit and cookies, and chocolate covered pretzels (a favorite of his) and some other chocolates, and pretzels with dip. I might also add that Wizard has proudly claimed the large piece of celophane that the basket was wrapped in. I like that... a dual purpose gift! Good thinking!
  • A yummy chocolate birthday cake from Roberts Bakery. Amanda and I picked it up. (We were doing some girly things together because she's getting married on Friday.) We delivered the cake to his work to share with his friends there. I think he appreciated this. Amanda and I got a fuffy drink and chatted with him during his break. He also got another french press... geez how many does he need?!
  • Some cards, some phone calls, and some money... as stated above... he's got plans to pick out his real french press in the near future.

Happy Birthday Keith... Don't worry, you've got a long ways to go before you catch up to my Mom's forrest fire style birthday!