Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Man's Best Friend

Meet Jigs. He is my mutt. Part blue healer, part terrier (Jack Russell we think). He was the cutest little puppy I have ever seen and by far the sweetest. I use to take him with me everywhere I went! He was my co-pilot and just a bit attached to me.

Then enters Colin. (And yes, he is that handsome in person.)
Hang on a sec, I need a moment to stare at my man......Ok, snap back to reality.
Colin had, up until meeting me, never really been a pet owning kind of guy. Goats, cattle and sheep where the closest things to having a pet in his world. Animals that could pretty much fend for themselves. Then he meant me and my "needed" little dog.

The above picture is the first picture that I ever took of Colin and Jigs. Notice how Jigs is really working it in. He is sitting right up next to Colin, but not touching him. He has his best attire on, and is staring him DOWN. Colin, well, he is love struck with the one behind the camera and doesn't even know Jigs is sitting next to him.

But I have faith. I know that in time, Jigs will start to rub off on Colin and the prospect for a friendship would be sure to find its way through their differences. Well...it didn't take long.

A wiggle of Dog boy's (as we all lovingly call him) tail, and a paw on Colin's knee a time or two and Colin rolled belly up for my little pup.
Now compare this picture to the one above and I think the comparison speaks for itself. Jigs has this handsome fella just wrapped around his little paw. Might I add that I think it is the cutest thing ever. They even spend the entire days/weeks together working and driving around in the ranger.

Its a good thing to see man and his best friend out and about together. Now I just have one more of my pets that needs to find a warm spot in my husband tender heart...
This is Crissy, or The Big Ball of Cat Hair. I took this picture way back in May, as you can see by the date on the bottom of the picture, and I kid you not she is laying like this now on our floor! She is going to have to work a lot harder to win Colin over...But I think that working is just not her thing. Her goal in life is strictly just to lose enough hair in one day that it blows across the floor at night, and to eat. Does the biggest looser have a show for over weight felines???

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Jury duty

Ronnie was called for jury selection on Tuesday. It was her first time to be summoned since she moved down here to live with me. Several months ago, I advised her not to register to vote so she wouldn’t be summoned. It was after the presidential election so I figured she had at least 2 years before anything big was on the ballot again. Seemed like a good idea to me at the time. That worked for a little while until the peach of a lady down at the DMV took it upon herself to register Ronnie while she was renewing her driver’s license. Prior to the 2008 presidential election I bit the bullet and changed my voter’s registration to Edwards County so I wouldn’t have to drive to San Angelo to vote. It has been about a year now since I did this. Since then I have been summoned 3 times for Edwards County and once for Tom Green. You might be thinking that I have extraordinarily bad luck, but where most people see jury duty as a horrible waste of time or at the very least a disruption to normal life, I have begun to embrace the frequent letters from the wonderful folks at Edwards County. However, haven’t always felt this way...

The first time I was summoned I had the same sense of dread that everyone gets when they receive their summons in the mail. So on the selected day I made the 30 mile drive to Rocksprings and sat in a tiny little un-air conditioned courthouse all day in one of those old wooden fold-down seats that were probably all the rave around the turn of last century when the average grown man was somewhere around 5’4” and weighed all of 130 lbs. and had narrow seat, but these days very few of the potential jurors fit comfortably or at all. The whole air conditioning thing I not sure about. They may have air conditioning, but for the sake of this story please picture me sweating profusely. I must admit that things are maybe a little slower and more relaxed at our courthouse than most. No one got in a hurry, the mood was very relaxed, most carried on conversations with one another throughout the ordeal, we all whispered comments to each other about the “big city lawyer”, and the best part of all I got to spend the day with two of my neighbors who I rarely get to see.

See when you live in a rural county with almost no people, the chances of serving on a jury selection with at least a couple of your friends or neighbors is pretty likely. In my everyday life when I do run across a neighbor we visit for a minute and then go our separate ways, and we always say “tell your wife/husband hi for me,” and then we usually say “we need to get together more often” or “we need to have ya’ll over some night” or “stop in if your ever around.” It usually goes something like that anyway, but then we get all caught up in everyday life and never get around to having them over for supper. So for us anyway, jury duty provides us with the opportunity to catch up. I mean what else are you going to do while sitting in a cramped seat all day long next to a buddy. So when you get a jury summons in the mail and are expecting the worst just to find out you get to spend the entire day catching up with friends you haven’t seen in awhile its a pleasant surprise.

Like I said before, Ronnie got the opportunity to make the drive to Rocksprings this past Tuesday. She lucked out in that the courthouse proceedings have moved across the street from the old courthouse to the new annex building with air conditioning. She went in, sat down, and guess what..? A wonderful friend of ours, who we haven’t seen in awhile, also had jury duty that same day! All in all Ronnie’s first experience with a jury summons went fairly well. Of course, things at the court moved painfully slow, they traded in the small old wooden seats for some painful church pews, she only made a whopping $6 for her troubles, but on the bright side, she was able to spend the day with a friend she hasn’t seen in awhile and she even made some new friends.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Say What You Mean, Mean What You Say

Any one that knows me knows that I have no foot to stand when it comes to the topic of politics/government. I’ve gone through the first 24 years of my life not really caring about what goes on in our world or country. I had blinders on and as far as I could tell, life was just peachy. Now I had some idea what was going on, but I only heard what I wanted to and tried to ignore the rest. I have my beliefs and I kept them on the back burner. I HATED it when people would start talking about the up and coming election, or what was going on at the capital. (It was the same kind of feeling that I would get when I was little, I would go over to my grandparent’s house, and Pop would have CNN or Fox News on.) Even if I disagreed 100% with everything that was being said I kept my mouth shut. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I am horrible when it comes to being confrontational or arguing with someone. Not that disagreeing with someone has to be confrontational or lead to an argument, but in the past, I have at times been a bit too sensitive and taken a disagreement as a personal attack. Another reason for never speaking up is that I like to get all the facts that I can before I say anything (This has only come with growing older). It is an awkward feeling when someone questions the way I choose to believe and I always felt like any answer that I would give would never be good enough. I had to take a government class in college, and didn’t think I was going to make it out alive. It was draining all the life out of me. (I still have one left to take! Go figure.)

When I met Colin and found out that he was BIG into the politics and current events I thought, “Great...All of his conversations are going to revolve around what is going on in the news today and they will be way over my head.” Well, I was way off base. We rarely talked current affairs. He knew my feelings on the issue and respected that. Only when I would ask him a question about something I read or heard would he get to tell me what was really going on. Over time, my interest began to grow. I found myself reading up on what was going on in our nation and world and calling him to talk about it. This was around the time that the candidates for the 2008 election were parading around the country trying to gain support. I can remember being asked by Colin what I thought about the two nominees. My response, which I still feel the same way, was that it was really hard for me to pick one over the other, because to me (and please keep in mind that these are just my thoughts) it doesn’t matter what they preach they are going to, it is what actually happens when they get elected. My thought again is that the president only has so much say and then the rest is up to congress. There seems to be bunches of great promises that are made during the campaigning months, but they never seem to amount to much more than words to fill a time slot or to get votes. When a candidate actually comes out and takes a firm stand on some issue, they run the risk of losing the votes of the people that feel differently on said issue. So they never take a stand and they sit on the fence.

Now on to the main point of this whole thing.

In order to get those votes, people will say whatever they think will win the masses. However, they do so and they let slide what they truly believe so as not to dare I say it offend anyone. I did it earlier in this when I said to keep in mind that these were just my thoughts. I don’t want to offend anyone with the way I think or believe. WHY? Why should one person be able to stand firmly on grounds they believe to be true and push the other aside? Why should one person take offense to another’s beliefs if they are counter to their own? Isn’t America a place where people can have that freedom? A freedom to state one’s beliefs without a fear of backlash? Ok an example, I am sure that most have seen or heard something about the Carrie Prejean (former Miss California) controversy. Now I know that she is not perfect, but I am just using her as an example. She took a stand for what she felt to be right and true. What she believed in. Her response exploded all over the media and stirred up advocates on both sides. Again, I ask why? If she had responded differently to the question, would the nation wide response have been different as well? Would there have been any response at all? Chances are we would not have even been aware of her answer because it never would have made the news.

I think that this happens on a daily basis on all kinds of different levels. People say they are open-minded, but get incredibly close-minded if you disagree with what they have to say or how they think. Doesn’t that make them a hypocrite???? For that reason I think many people have developed a fear of offending, and we have become a wishy-washy society where rather than taking a stand we sit quietly in the back row almost asleep, or we just can’t seem to get out of the middle of the road. We’d rather walk down the middle rather than take a side. It seems that there is an increasing amount of talk about tolerance and open-mindedness these days. That’s all well and good until your point of view is contrary, and then there is absolutely no tolerance of an opposing view point and you are close-minded if your stance on an issue goes against whatever the other side of that argument believes. How do we as a society get to a place where we can be proud of what we believe and not scrutinize others for theirs. I don’t really offer any sort of answers for this question other than we all need to be less sensitive. If someone has a different opinion, rather than get upset because they believe differently than you, just let’em be. Why should it bother me if someone doesn’t like everything I like? And another thing, please believe in something, anything! When you do take that stand for something stick with it. For real, if you say something then mean it. Chances are someone will not feel the same way as you, but what’s the worst that might happen?

I do sincerely hope today’s rant has not stepped on any toes or offended anyone. :-)


Saturday, June 13, 2009

Our Feathered Friends

A few weeks ago I sat outside and watched at least six humming birds battle over our two little feeders. I even got it on film. But it was really neat. I sat only feet away from them as they came to visit our porch. It only took a few days for all the birds to find our sweet spot, and this meant that I was filling our two little feeders three, sometimes four times a day! I told Gwynie and Pops about it and they said that they had a feeder that was bigger and we could have it. So the next time we were in Mereta, I picked it up. I have it set right outside our window where we eat and we get to watch the show! Now this feeder is WAY bigger then my two little ones. It can seat six birds at once, and it has a nice little "foot rail" for 'em. I think that we have had five on it at once, but that was only for a brief moment. They usually "play" a game or two of chase around the front yard, or the porch, before they can settle down for a sip. Below are just a few pictures that I managed to snap before they flew off. Enjoy!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

My (Colin’s) side of the story

So Ronnie told her side of how we met and so now it’s my turn to tell my side of our story. My story starts out in southwest Texas. I had been living and working at the Texas Agricultural Experiment Station in Sonora since 2005. I lived about 30 miles from the nearest towns and both of those towns are pretty small. I was pretty much just living my life kind of be-bopping along. I’d usually go up to my parents home in Mereta on the weekends and see friends. Between my daily travels with work and visiting my parents I didn’t run into too many eligible ladies, but dating was pretty far down on my priorities list. And I’m too shy to talk to anyone if I had met someone during this time anyway. However, one day my Mom (Gwynie Pie) mentioned to me that my aunt Joellen worked with a girl that she thought I would get along well with. I wasn’t too keen on the idea of meeting some girl my aunt wanted to hook me up with. To Joellen’s credit, she had never tried to play matchmaker before, a trait I’m fond of in people. I was picturing a super-lame and way awkward blind date, plus “the girl” (her name was and is Ronnie) lived in Whiteface, TX which is a long ways from where I lived so I’d have to drive like 5 hours to go on this train wreck of a blind date. Truth be known I wasn’t all that repulsed by the idea of meeting this girl, but the shyness/comfort zone factor made it easier to just tell my mom I wasn’t interested and be done with it. But rather than make a decision either way I just left the subject alone for a couple of weeks and then next time I saw my mom she had a few pictures of Ronnie (the girl) that Joellen had emailed her. Of course I looked at them and was very impressed with the pictures Ronnie had selected. Not glamour shots, but pictures of her at work and doing normal people things and she was smiling real big in all of them. I liked that a lot! So maybe another week went by and I didn’t say anything one way or the other to my mom about meeting Ronnie, but I was praying about whether or not I should pursue this. Mind you praying about meeting a girl was not something I normally do, but looking back it made all the difference. I have no idea why I didn’t let God have control of my love life sooner. He is waaaayyyy better at picking out my mate than I ever was at it. In fact every relationship I had prior to meeting Ronnie ended. That ought to say something for my track record of picking my own mates. So anyway, the next time I saw Gwynie Pie I told her I would like to get Ronnie’s email address. Eventually I emailed Ronnie, she replied (which I took as a good sign), and then we emailed a few times back and forth. Then she gave me phone number and I had to muster the guts to call her, which I did thank you. Keep in mind all of this is very much not like me at all. One of the reasons why I know God brought us together is because I never would have agreed to getting Ronnie’s email address or meeting her on my own.

Ronnie and I continued to talk on the phone and get to know one another for a few weeks before we planned to meet in person. We planned to meet in San Angelo and then stay at my parents for the weekend. My thinking was that if the meeting went terribly wrong at least my parents would be there the run interference, they could fill in the gaps of awkward silence if there were any, and if things went bad I wouldn’t be in a strange new place like she would be, and it was kind of the halfway point for both of us. All totally reasonable points I thought. I’m pretty sure I’d have never been as brave as Ronnie was on that first meeting. She had to come to an unfamiliar town, spend a whole weekend with a family of strangers who happen to be the parents of the dude who shes only spoken to on the phone, granted his phone voice is super-sexy, but nonetheless that takes a lot of guts. Way more than I think I have. She says she was nervous but it never showed. We even went out to eat for lunch on Sunday and we ran into a group from church and they unknowingly asked if we were “together.” So this prompted to me to say we indeed were “together” and then we had to tell them all about how this was actually the first time we had ever met which prompted the ladies at the table to tell Ronnie how much of a courageous woman she was, and I couldn’t agree more. And I am so stinking glad I said we were together because I could’ve made a real jackass outta myself if I’d of studdered and stammered around and said “not really” or some other stupid answer. But I didn’t thanks goodness and the whole weekend was perfect. We spent most of that first weekend driving around and talking, or sitting on the back porch drinking coffee and talking, or watching the Olympics with the t.v. muted and talking, or sitting on the couch talking, etc. We talked a lot. Over the next few weeks and months we talked a lot more. I racked up a staggeringly large cell phone bill several months in a row. It was worth every penny! We met face-to-face in August, I went up to meet her mom that following weekend, and then I went back up to Levelland two weekends later and it was on that weekend that we discussed marriage. On my way back home after that weekend, I called my parents and told them they almost gained a daughter-in-law over the weekend because we almost eloped. My dad (Pops) asked why we hadn’t already. I took that as their approval, and Gwynie Pie told me she had already known for some time that we were going to get married (some kind of Mom sixth sense thing I guess). The next time we were together I officially proposed to Veronica on the side of the road at the entrance to some industrial park next to Loop 306 in San Angelo. Not romantic at all, but it was the spot in the road where we happened to pull over to say our goodbyes before Ronnie headed north to Levelland and I could go south to Sonora. The next time you pass the entrance to the San Angelo industrial park you can think of me asking my beautiful bride to marry me there on the side of the road. So I guess now it is romantic!

We were married in December a couple days after Christmas, and then headed to New Mexico for our romantic honeymoon in he mountains. We didn’t get to Ruidoso, NM till close to midnight and then we had to head up the mountain to our cabin. This is the part of the honeymoon where I proceeded to get us stuck in snow/ice at the base of a mountain at 12 midnight in freezing weather. Our cabin was at the top of the mountain! We gathered up our luggage and decided to hike to the top. So we spent the first part of our honeymoon climbing a icy mountain in the wee hours of the morning. Climbing that stupid mountain I thought I was going to be one of those tragic news stories where the groom dies a horrific death on his honeymoon. Luckily, I survived and we had a wonderful time and then headed back to Sonora where we spent the first several weeks of our marriage painting our home. I realize now that painting so early on in the relationship easily could have turned out badly but we worked so well together and never once had the slightest unhappy moment painting and painting and repainting and re-repainting. So now, here we are in our little happy freshly painted home way out in the country away from noise and distractions and we wake up everyday committed to loving each other more than we did the day before.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

A girls point of view

Our love story, or so I like to call it, is something I only dreamed about.
I, Ronnie, grew up in the Adirondack Mountains of upstate New York. It is a gorgeous place and I miss the beauty of it. The town where I lived was mostly a tourist attraction. There was Gore Mountain for skiing in the winter, hiking/mountain biking in the summer, along with the famous Hudson river that ran right through the middle of town. Rafters galore in the late spring and summer months. My childhood was pretty normal. I am the oldest of two. My sister, Cassie, is two years younger then me. I graduated from a small school with a class size of less then 30 in 2002. I went to a community college for two years then moved to North Carolina to be with my family. My dad took a job that was too good to pass up, so they sold our old farm house in New York and moved to Raleigh, North Carolina. I followed a year later. (North Carolina is beautiful country as well.) I lived and worked in North Carolina for a year then moved to Texas to work for Cal Farley’s Girlstown USA as an activities coordinator. It was a job that only God could have given to me. It was a wonderful place to work and it instilled in me a love for the youth and serving them in some fashion. If you are not familiar with the Cal Farley’s organizations, they are non-profit, Christ-centered, and work to reunite children and their parents or to help rebuild relationships with the child and parent. Lots of great people work with these kids and it is truly a job that you need to be called into. One set of house parents that were called into this line of work play a VERY important role in this story. They came to work at Girlstown in early 2008, maybe even late 2007. Anyway, the Rosser’s and I hit it off. Joellen Rosser (Colin’s aunt) and I became immediate friends. She has a daughter that is my age and they had all just returned from North Carolina for their wedding. Small world. So we always had something to talk about. Right before the summer really went into full swing last year, we took all the girls that were on campus to the Bottomless Lakes in New Mexico. The Rosser’s went with their girls. Joellen and I sat on the beach, working hard of course, and just talked. Soon the conversation made its way to her asking me if I was “seeing” anyone. I wasn’t, so she then told me about her great nephew that I needed to meet. Now at this point in my life I really wasn’t looking to get into a relationship with anyone. I had come to the decision that I was going to let God bring me the man he wanted me to be with. I had done things my way in all my relationships, and they always turned out the same way and I was tired of it. For a change I was going to do what God wanted me to. So as I sat on the beach with Joellen, the only real question that I could think to ask was if “he” was a Christian, and she attested that he was. AND in fact, his dad was an ordained minister. Next thought, “Great, a preacher’s kid.” J So in the end I told her that it would be neat if we could meet some day. The “God wheel” began to turn that day, I am sure of it. Over the next few weeks I prayed. I prayed that God’s will be done in whatever relationship might develop between Colin and me. At the same time, Joellen and Gwyn (Colin’s mom) were working on the sidelines. Joellen had emailed some pictures of me to Gwyn, and they got the “mom approval”, or so I was told later on. If had been a few weeks since the beach talk, and I still continued to pray that God would do His thing, whatever that might be. Then I got an email from Jo and she told me that he wanted my email. And that is where it all began! I got back from being at church camp for a week with close to 40 girls and I had received my first email from Colin. Due to the lack of sleep and everything else that comes with chasing girls around for five days, I was exhausted! It took me close to two hours to reply. That was the start. Then the phone calls started, with that came a $700.00 cell phone bill, sorry about that Colin. We decided to meet in August. So I met him at his parents house for a weeknd trip. It was three hour drive and a two hour one for him. So we just kind of met in the middle. I can honestly say that up to that point it was the best weekend of my life. I was so nervous when I met him for the first time, but was excited at how easy it was to be around him. We drove around San Angelo and just talked. I can still remember sitting at a stop light and telling him that I had prayed about our relationship for a long time, and was floored when he responded with “Me too.” We talked openly about our faith and beliefs and our thoughts on children and childrearing. I think it was right there that I fell in love with him. I was so impressed that the entire weekend Colin never once crossed any sort of boundaries. He hugged me when I left and that was it. To be honest, I was scared that it meant that he didn’t really like me, but an hour later I found that not to be true. On my way home he call several times just to check on me and to make sure I was doing ok driving. We both admitted that it was a great and wonderful weekend and planned another one. The third time we were together we confessed our love, then by the fourth “get together” we were engaged! This was the end of September and we were married on December 27th, 2008. It has been nothing short of the greatest adventure I have ever set forth on. I grow more and more in love with Colin everyday. People are right when they say that everything changes when you get married. It is sooo much better! Being married is truly a gift from God. I believe it is just another way for Him to show us just how much he loves us. Loving Colin is the easiest choice that I get to make every day.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

The man and the moon

Just a really cool picture of Colin and the man in the moon.

The first of many

After careful consideration, Colin and I have decided to join the blogging world. It could be a bit over due, but better late than never. We have talked about it a few times but never jumped on the train. Then yesterday Colin said that he was going to start up our blog, and we did. I think that was the easy part. We sat here at our little table for about thirty minutes staring at each other, trying to come up with a catchy name for our blog. (It is a lot harder than some may think!) We even walked around the yard and pulled weeds bouncing ideas off each other. We hit a few high notes, but in the end we had nothing! So we thought to phone a friend. First we called William and Gwyn then we called Devin and between them the name for our blog was found. Thanks guys!

We don't really know what the purpose of this blog will be, but it will for sure be about our lives (no matter how boring that may be at times) and the wonders of being a child of God. We are truly blessed.

Colin works at the Texas Agircultural Experiment Station, or it's new name, AgriLife Research Station in Sonora. Well, it is about 30 miles south of Sonora in the middle of nowhere. He is in charge of the livestock but does just about everything out here. That comes with being a part of a small crew. You must be able to be more than your "job title". So some days he is out in the pasture rounding up sheep, goats or cows, and others he mights be tearing off the roof of the building
across the street or working in the office. Regular handy man if you ask me, but I am very biased on this issue! When he is not working for A&M (the station), he is lighting things on fire. He is a certified prescribed burn manager through the state and burns for ranchers. He has been doing this for over three years, and has close to 60 prescribed burns under his belt. He has his own business and burns three months out of the year. It is great and exciting and it allows us to work side by side, which is really perfect for both of us.

I moved to Sonora right after we got married and went from working full time, to house wife. I wouldn't go back for anything. I love love love being able to spend time home and being here when Colin comes home for lunch, not that there wasn't an adjustment period. I did put my name in at the school, just as a sub, and that was fun but I ended up missing being home. This summer I am going to work as summer help with Colin at the station and that job just started. It is good and will be the extra money that we can use towards getting out of debt. That is our number one goal for the year. Pay off student loans and the pickup. We have decided to tell our money where to go so we don't have to ask where did it all go. So with God's help and a little bit of hard work, we will be out of debt by December if not sooner!

Our life is pretty simple, but we have a blast and are excited about all the adventures that are heading our way. Life is good and God is way better!