Monday, August 27, 2007

A Bad Dream

I was in Nashville this past weekend for my TN Council meeting on Friday. Just as I was leaving Jennifer and some friends at Cracker Barrel on Saturday to come home, Steve sent me a message saying that Brad and two of his friends were "jumped" on Friday night around midnight by a gang of four Asian guys. (Brad is our son at Virginia Tech.) Brad had called Steve on Saturday morning around 4:45 a.m. from the ER. I got more details when I got home. Apparently they were outnumbered and tried to fight them off. Brad was beat up, thrown on the ground, kicked in the face, and his head was stomped on. The next thing Brad remembers was waking up with people all around him and he was being lifted in the ambulance. His injuries were serious enough that the hospital did an MRI and CAT scan. The doctors were worried about his neck. He did have a concussion and has staples in his head and it hurts. Brad's friend, Eric, has a broken cheekbone (and will probably need surgery). The third friend was not hurt because he got away so it was four guys beating up two. . . God truly was watching over Brad and his friends that night. There were no wallets or items of any value taken. This gang apparently picked Brad and his friends at random and just wanted to hurt someone. The four guys ran from the scene on foot and left their car behind. They will at least find the driver (that is, if it isn't a stolen car). Steve did talk with the police officer in charge of the case late Saturday night and was told that the attackers' car was impounded. They do have some leads and we were given the impression that there will be arrests soon. This random and senseless attack on Brad and his friends happened near their apartment complex as they were walking home from another friend's house. I will be there in a heartbeat. . . all Brad has to do is say the word but he says he is okay for now. His girlfriend and roommates are taking care of him.

I did hear from Brad this morning. He has a headache and a black eye and his teeth hurt. He dreads going to classes this week because everyone will be asking him the same questions. His staples will come out at the end of the week. His girlfriend has made mashed potatoes for him and is bringing him applesauce and pudding so he can eat.

To make matters worse, Chris' puppy, Brutus, was hit by a truck Saturday morning in front of our house. He was only outside for 30 seconds and was run over by a woman who does not even live back here. (We live on a dead end circle and there is very little traffic.) Brutus was Chris' buddy and he is just absolutely devastated. He says he loses everything he loves. I received a text message on my phone from Chris when I was halfway home telling me he had just buried Brutus behind the shed. The tears started rolling down my cheeks as I was driving and I couldn't make them stop. I pulled over to the side of the road several times on the way home. . .when my children hurt, I hurt, too. . . . But, I did make it home. Brutus was such a good puppy and had bonded so well with Chris. He knew Chris was his master. He would wait by the door for Chris to come home from work and they would lay on the kitchen floor together, playing and snuggling every day. Chris is hurting over the loss of Brutus.

Brutus was my buddy, too. My walk these last two mornings have not been the same without Brutus carrying the leash in his mouth, leading the way. He had greatness in him and would have been a wonderful dog.

Steve left on Sunday for Poland. . .I did have a good time in Nashville with family and friends and was warmly welcomed to the TN Council for the Deaf & Hard of Hearing. I am still processing all the information from the meeting. . . there is much to do! But, I know I am in the right place and hopefully will be able to make a difference.

Thank you to all of you for your comments, thoughts, & prayers. Every day won't be a good day but every day can be a "God" day.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Roller Coaster Ride

This weekend has been one roller coaster ride. I'm too exhausted and emotionally drained to post but go here (and scroll down) for details. I will change this entry later when I am able. . .

This was my Bible verse this morning. . .

"Peace I leave with you. My peace I give to you. I do not give you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. . ." (John 14:27)

Monday, August 20, 2007

News Flash!

Our local newspaper published an article today about my appointment to the Governor's Council. I expected them to write a small sentence or two but they felt that it warranted a story. Go here and enjoy!

I received an email earlier today about my article in the paper posted on another CI forum. And I hadn't even read it yet or told anyone! But, we were pleased with the article and the writer did a good job. By the time we were done with the interview last week, I felt I had gained a new friend. And will keep in touch with her.

There was also a small notice in the Knoxville News Sentinel today about all the recent appointments made statewide by the Governor. (You'll have to scroll down to the bottom for this one.)

I have my first Council meeting later this week . . .and I'm looking forward to it. I'm anxious to meet the other council members. I already have some ideas and information to share with them. Will also spend some time with Jennifer (who was recently approved for a second cochlear implant) and some quilting friends from another list that I belong to. (There is a huge quilt show at the Opryland Hotel this weekend and I plan to stop by to see all the quilts and vendors. Should be a fun but busy weekend!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Marissa Moves To UTC

We moved Marissa to her dorm on Friday at the University of Tennessee - Chattanooga. We left early in the morning to get there before the rush. Her room is on the 3rd floor and it took three of us in 100 degree weather to carry her boxes to her floor! This picture was taken in her dorm room after we got her unpacked and settled in. Then, we met her best friend, Wesley, and her parents and had lunch in the Univeristy Center. Got textbooks at the bookstore and stopped at Walmart to get a few items. Steve and I got home around 6:30 p.m. that evening. Classes start tomorrow for both her and Brad. We'll have two kids in college this year. And a quiet house!
P.S. I put a new recipe on my Kitchen site. . .go here

Monday, August 13, 2007

We Will Prevail!

Steve and I spent some time at Virginia Tech this past weekend to visit Brad and see his new townhouse that he just moved into. This sign is an example of the Hokie spirit around the Virginia Tech campus. We love this campus and the beautiful town of Blacksburg, Virginia. If I had to live my life over again, I'd go to school here.

Brad has one of Riga's puppies and named him Leon. Leon was the runt of the litter and has "bonded" well with Brad. And follows him everywhere! The picture below is Steve, Brad, and Leon walking on the campus.
This next picture is Brad and Leon in one of the engineering labs.
Brad is demonstrating one of the projects in the RoMeLa lab.
This is Leon watching some balls fall in a glass case!
Brad is doing well and is ready to start a new year. We took him out to eat, went shopping for new shoes and clothes, and had a nice visit.

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Total Relaxation

I spent the last half of my trip at my brother's house. And spent some time in his pool every day. The first morning I was relaxing by the pool, I heard a noise that was unfamiliar to me. Doug has a small lake behind his house and I figured out that I was hearing geese and ducks behind me.

I slowly "recharged my batteries" and this getaway was just what I needed. A change of scenery and pace. I shopped, got a manicure & pedicure & massage. I also enjoyed time with my brothers and relatives at another family reunion on Saturday. Visited with my best friend, Missy, from high school. Also went to my class reunion, which was really a "50th Birthday Bash" for our class because we all turned 50 this year. That was interesting and fun.

One of the gals in my high school class went to church with me and we were in the same youth group together. I had not seen her for 30 years and she remembered going to church camp with me when we were growing up. She said that she has never forgotten how I used to tie an alarm clock around my wrist to wake me up in the mornings! I was surprised she remembered that. We had a delightful time catching up on our families and where we had been all these years.

I had a good trip home and met Steve, Chris, and Marissa in Knoxville for dinner at the Olive Garden. That was a nice way to end a vacation. Steve drove me the rest of the way home because I was so tired after driving for six hours straight. But it was good to be home again.

P.S. I still haven't heard an owl yet. The crickets are too noisy!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

A Simple Life - Part Two

While Trudy and I were taking in the sights and sounds of Amish country, we came upon a farm that had a greehouse and was selling produce. There were three greenhouses lining the drive (but no parking spaces) so we just parked alongside of them. They were filled with tomato plants with beautiful, red, round, perfect tomatoes ready for picking. A young girl sweeping the back porch acknowledged our presence and then her mother peeked out of the barn. We inquired about the produce for sale so she invited us in the barn and showed us her produce that she was getting ready for the market. This Amish mother was probably my age but you could tell by her hands and face that she had seen many years of hard work and labor. But, she was very soft spoken and had a kind voice and was not shy at all. Trudy and I both purchased some produce (tomatoes, squash, green beans, & cucumbers). As we chatted with the woman, she found out we were quilters. Her eyes and voice lit up and she told us that she had a quilt on a quilting frame that she was working on. She invited us INSIDE her home to see it. Needless to say, we were thrilled! This quilt was beautifully done in creams, greens, and blues. Center of quiltQuilting detail in the corner This black and turquoise quilt was made by her children as an anniversary gift. All the squares had family names and was beautifully done. She said she had no idea that her children were working on this. And was really proud of it.

Black and turquoise quilting detailThis quilt was for sale and was going to be taken to the auction. It had cross-stiched flowers in the center. I loved the colors. She showed us some more quilts and as we talked, I observed the simplicity of this clean and organized Amish home. (I also noticed that the young girl that we had seen earlier sweeping the back porch had disappeared and stayed out of sight until we left.) Then we went outside to see her flowers and gardens. The picture below is her front porch. That is Trudy in the bottom right corner.
This was a grape arbor with a barrel of flowers in the center. Salvia in the front flower bed. All of her gardens were just beautiful!Trudy and I thoroughly enjoyed this unique opportunity to see an Amish home close up. This woman seemed like she was glad for some adult female conversation. And invited us to come back anytime.

Sometimes I wish life was simple like the Amish. But, they do have a hard life and it probably isn't as easy as it seems.

Trudy and I went back to her house and spent the next two days sewing and quilting. I had brought my sewing machine with me and started on a denim quilt for Marissa. I promised I'd make her a quilt before she left for college. Nothing fancy but I made denim quilts for the boys when they left home. Here's a picture of the denim quilt (with Trudy's cat, Slick!)