Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Blessings All Mine, With 10,000 Beside

I love the hymn Great Is Thy Faithfulness. So many great stanzas, and Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on the faithfulness of God and His many blessings. I enjoyed a great Thanksgiving weekend, and enjoyed the 4 day break from work. So here's a recap of my weekend...

Thursday I awoke early for the 8 mile Turkey Trot. I didn't know what to expect, and I was kinda nervous. I knew I needed to have a quick pace, and I kept telling myself to push on. I walked for a min. every 10-20 minutes, and walked up hills, but other than that, I was jogging at a good pace. I was way ahead of my goal, and was thrilled to see Cat waiting for me near the finish line to cheer me on to the end. After crossing the finish line, I saw Cat and Eddo coming up the hill and the three of us crossed the finish line together, at a full sprint. Although my idea of a full sprint is dramatically different than theirs. I headed home after the race and got ready to go to my in-laws for some eats and fellowship. They didn't let me down, as the cheese tray along with a plethora of pickles awaited me. We feasted for what seemed like hours, and the girls talked while the boys played games and wrestled around.

Friday morning I prepared vittles for the Thanksgiving lunch my parents, sis, Brian, and Eddo. After consuming a vast amount of calories, we broke out Catch Phrase and Wahoo. Catch Phrase brought many laughs, with Brian, Eddo and my mom being on one team, and my dad, Cat, and myself on the other.
Wahoo is equal parts luck and strategy, and here Brian and I contemplate our next move.

Cat prepares to take her opponent out. Somebody's little Indian is about to be SCALPED!

Rule #1: Never pass up a photo op.

Saturday, Brian and I did stuff around the house and I tried to figure out my sewing machine. I've been wanting to sew a rag quilt for months, and finally got the sewing machine out of the box. I read the manual backwards and forwards, but I still don't have the hang of it. I need Sewing 101 in a desperate way.

Sunday, Cat came over and she, Abs and I lazed around in the hammock. It was a beautiful fall day. I had taken some pictures on Saturday of the field behind our house. I LOVE fall.

The sun was starting to set and was accenting the red in the trees. Beautimous.

Sunday evening, we went to church and it was great to be sitting with friends and family. We went to Texas Roadhouse for dinner, and then played a game of Wahoo, which Brian and I unfortunately, lost.

It was a great weekend. SO much to be thankful for.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 6:06 AM | 9 comments

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving! We have so much to be thankful for.

“ Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations. ”- Psalm 100:4-5

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 4:56 AM | 14 comments

Monday, November 21, 2005

My Buddies and Me

Augh, I did it to myself! Now I'm going to have that commercial tune from that I used to hear as a kiddo. My Buddy, My Buddy. My Buddy and Me like to climb up a tree, My Buddy and Meeee. Sorry folks, I hope you don't recognize the tune.

Now, continuing on with my NYC posts, today's blog will feature two fellas that I met through blogging and blogger families. Eddo and Joseph. The other day, I went through Eddo's archives and found my very first blogger comment, on April 4th. Fast forward 7 months later, and I've now met his parents, one of his sisters, traveled to NYC with him, and he's dating my sister! His mom blogs as well, and now we've talked on email, on the phone, and in person. Joseph lives with Eddo's parents, and so he was interested in the trip as well, and was able to go! It was such a blessing to have these guys on the trip, and it's wonderful to think of the lives that were changed because they went. So, here's memories of the trip, in picture form.

Joseph looks scared of Eddie in this picture. That or he's doing a squirrel imitation. He needs to be included in our next Cranium game!

This is about how short I feel next to Eddie. Well, maybe not QUITE that short, but vertically-challenged to say the least.

Eddo was brave enough to defend his faith with the guys on the street that were spreading a message of hate. Go Eddo!

And he whistles while he works. La-ti-da-da-da-da-daaaaa.

Give these guys some dill pickles and they're your best friend.

Here they are on the Brooklyn Bridge with George.

I'm quaking in my boots!

Here's Eddo's reaction to being separated from Joseph.

All he needs is an audience of one, and Eddo will dance, dance, dance!

We're at a diner in Brooklyn. Joseph and I got our food before Eddo did, and so he had to wait on his gyro. So he sang out, "I need a Gy-ro" to the tune of "I need a hero". It was really funny.
I just can't remember the verses.

This is exactly why he sometimes frightens young children.

Eddo and Joseph consumed a vast amount of
Chinese food. And then were tuckered out.

Eddo was "trying to make himself look tall" in this photo. Um, I think he was successful. But only slightly.

Don't let their apparent pensiveness fool you. These are wild and crazy guys.

See what I mean?

All in all, these guys make great friends.

posted by Amstaff Mom | 8:01 AM | 8 comments

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Have a Little Help From My Friends

I love seeing the sights of NYC, and I love seeing the people there. But the main thing that makes NYC special is getting to spend quality time with great friends from Texas. I always loved camp as a kid and retreats as a jr. high/high schooler because it allowed friendships to bond. Spending days at a time with someone will make ya or break ya. There's a lot of different personalities on this type of trip and alot of different gifts. It's fun to watch it all come together.

On this particular night, one of the members of our group met the guy in the black jacket, to my right. He had had a really rough night and began to break down as they spoke to him about Christ, but even more so when they made the effort to reach out. We walked quite a bit to find him a good shelter to go to, and then he promised to find his way to the church to see us the next day. True to his word, there he was, waiting for us, and then he also came to church on Sunday. His first time. He kept saying how we had changed his life, how nobody had ever helped him like that and reached out to him. What a blessing!

Here's a group photo. Almost everybody is in the picture, but it looks like we're missing a few people. This is on the steps of the guesthouse where we stay.

Believe it or not, this is really a hard working bunch. But offer us Frankfurters and Frankfurter Rolls and we're so there. Oh look, there's Luke, and he's eating! And wearing clothes!

I really like this picture!

Here's the Gap Ad picture.

It's always best to be the engine on the massage train. I can so hear Eddo singing his Love Train song right now. Oh, and we've decided the Eddo is the iPod Jumbo. He's got a song for everything!

We were waiting in line for the ferry to take us to Ellis Island. Kodak moment!

I have this photo as my wallpaper. I like it alot.
We referred to the couple on the right as Hansel & Gretel since they were um, a bit lighter than the three of us. So they started trying to adopt the accent. Guess you had to be there, but it was pretty fun.

Here's George, with the "girls". Notice the sheepish grin on his face.

This was at the airport, minutes before Brian and Cat surprised us. YEA!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 9:12 AM | 14 comments

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

New York, New Yooooooork

Wow. Did I really just spend the weekend in NYC? Did I spend it with 23 fellow Texans, 2 of which I met through blogging? It already seems so surreal. But, I have photos to prove it. 273 to be exact. Oh how I love my digital camera. I've even got a few short videos that might make it later in the week. :)

On my last post, I had asked for prayer that I would be able to sleep well in preparation for the big day. No worries there, I was supposed to wake up at 4 am, and woke up at 4:38 in a mad frenzy. And Joseph and Eddo were depending on me to wake them up! But we made it before quite a few people, which was both good and bad. Good, because the whole group wasn't waiting on us. Bad, because by the time we waited for everyone, we were 10 minutes too late at the airport for us to check in. So 14 members of the group had to wait about 3 hours for another flight. But we made it to NYC and hopped in taxis for the trip over to Manhattan.

Eddo already knew some of the people on the trip, and others he met for the first time, but he seemed to quickly get to know everyone, and even decided to swap shoes with one of the other guys. It didn't work out to well, as there was a slight difference in shoe size, but details, schmetails.

After arriving at the guesthouse, and dropping our luggage off, we headed to Lenny's, the fabulous deli were all things good are served. Oh what I would do for a sandwich from there right now. Sigh. We even saw Keri Russell eating her lunch there. Celebrity sighting! I decided not to be all paparazzi on her though and so no picture to show. But here's the deli! "I'll have the Chicavo please!"

We have worked at this church the last few times that our group traveled to NYC. It was great to be able to see the people that work at the the church once again. This is Ralphie. He used to be a "Break Your Legs" guy, but he's turned his life around and is a great guy. I had mailed him a picture that was taken the last time of him, George, and myself and he proudly showed me where he had it hung. So sweet. Eddo was helping him with the internet and also answered the church phone.

This is George, I met him on the last trip, and he celebrated being 6 months clean from drugs on Sunday. He serves as our NYC tour guide and takes us all over the place. Really neat guy that needs our prayers.

We did ALOT of subway riding and a whole lotta walking. A train, C train, 4 train, 1 train, everywhere a train, train.

Riding on the subway with my buddies!

Hold on with BOTH hands Eddo! He learned his lesson the hard way later. As did I, when together, we almost caused Death by Texans to be incurred on a poor, unsuspecting New Yorker. I would pay money for that video. And watch it in slow motion, much like we did on Thursday night when we watched Rafe fall in the water head first. Did anybody else see that? Oh my goodness, Brian, Cat, Eddo and I were laughing SO hard at it and kept replaying it. TOO FUNNY!

I'll probably stop here for now. I'm not even through the first day, but I've got to pace myself. The memories are flooding and I wish I could still be there!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 8:17 AM | 9 comments

Thursday, November 10, 2005

Have Suitcase and Backpack, Will Travel

Well, tomorrow is the day! I figured I need to stop for a moment and fill you in on the goings on of the Amstaff Mom. And more specifically, to ask for prayer. I am leaving in the wee hours of the morning to go on my 3rd mission trip to NYC. I am having feelings of overwhelming excitement, nervousness, responsibility, and awe. All mixed up into one 5'3" body. I so covet your prayers, and ask specifically for prayers for the following things...

1. Travel. Alot can happen when 24 people travel together, and even though I shouldn't, I am feeling the pressure of having the responsibility of making it all happen. I love to travel, I really do, and I love the planning of it, but it's been a learning experience doing group travel instead of travel for 2 or 4. But here we go! Ready or not NYC, here we all come!

2. Health, and Sleep. The trip is an exciting time, and a bonding time, which of course always involves late nights of chatting and getting to know each other and the streets of NYC. But normally I'm completely exhausted when we come back, and last time I got pretty sick. Pray for health for the team for the entire trip, and that I will be able to sleep well tonight, which I normally don't before a trip. (too excited to sleep!)

3. The people we will minister to at the church, on the subways, and the streets of NYC. We will be fixing up a church that provides shelter, meals, and love to those that don't normally receive it. These are amazing people and we are truly blessed to be able to serve them. Many of the members of the group will be sharing the Gospel with the people of NYC. Others will be providing coats to children in the Bronx. Please pray for opportunities and open hearts.

4. The group as a whole. Lives are always changed on a trip like this. Either ours or the people we are privileged to help, or both. Please pray that the Holy Spirit will work in the lives of the people willing to give 4 days of their time to serve.

I thank you so much for your prayers. Y'all are truly my friends, and I'm so excited that I get to travel with fellow bloggers Eddo and Bianca. What an amazing time it will be. I'll be back in the blog world on Tuesday!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 7:26 AM | 15 comments

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

The Great Outdoors

On Sunday, Brian, Cat and I went for a bike ride. It was a beautiful fall day, a nice breeze in the air, and the leaves falling on the trail. As is normally the case, they were ahead of me the entire trail.

The sun was peaking through the trees, and was just warm enough. BEAUTIFUL day.

There were even some timid little forest creatures along the way.

Hi Cat!

Look at him run! This field had three armadillos grazing (?) in it, and so I was all excited and wanted to take their picture. All I got was a picture of them fleeing because my husband rode out in the field on his bike hollering like he was in an Armadillo Roundup or something. Grrrr. So all I got was a picture of a terrified armadillo.

This one wasn't scared of Cat though, and it was just a little baby. too cute!

Ah, Fall. Greens, Yellows, Reds, and 75 degrees.

How I love Texas!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 6:19 AM | 13 comments

Monday, November 07, 2005

A Wild and Crazy Bunch

Friday night was a game night at Eddo's. The last time we had a game night over there was the first time I had met Eddo in person. So much has changed in less than 3 months! We've had several blogger game nights since then and have all become fast friends. So much so that we are extremely comfortable with each other in showing our true personas. As exhibited in the following photographs....

Notice the cat ears on Brian? What about K-T showing off her chip-eating skillZ?

Brian and Cat have become so close, they're almost like family.

K-T's true personality shines through.

We got to meet Eddo's friend Joe and he showed us his mad pizza making skillZ. These are the REAL Three Stooges. You can guess which one is Curly. And yes, Joe is 6'5" and Brian is 5'6".

Doesn't Cat's pizza look delish? yummmm.

After the pizza was consumed, we began playing Catch Phrase and Cat took her place on the purple couch between two 6 foot 5 inch tall crazy giants. Risking life and limb in the process.

Thankfully, these were nice giants that appreciated a nice looking pair of pants.

Roger gets his turn at Catch Phrase, much to his team-members delight.

Based on the response of these three, the clue was downright hilarious.

Ladies, Ladies! There are no sore losers here!

(note the ridiculously shiny hair)

After playing Cranium, the guys treated us to a dance show.

Lots of good times. GOOD TIMES!

posted by Amstaff Mom | 8:22 AM | 14 comments