Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sea to shining Sea

Greetings,

Barely a cloud in the sky... today has been a truly remarkable day. As I pack to leave Florida, the cloud cover disappears and only blue skies ahead. This might have upset me if I were not leaving for similar conditions.



Our sand here in North Florida is the best. It's the prettiest, grainiest, whitest sand I have seen through many a city and country. It is stunning to look at (through appropriate eye wear), but a bear to get out of beach bags and gear, car floorboards, and swimsuit crevices.



I will miss this atmosphere... but only for about 30 hours, the length of time it takes to fly back across the pond and land on my own little paradise island in the middle of the Mediterranean.


Blessings to those with their toes in the sand,

Kristie

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Swimming lessons

Greetings,


This weekend while relaxing in the pool (the rain has finally stopped) Kadence began with Kobe Jack's first swimming lesson.


Two things cracked me up about this toddler's perspective:

1. Kobe Jack is a dog and naturally knows how to doggie paddle.

2. She, herself does not know how to swim yet.




video



When she felt he had "the hang of it" she released him and we watched the little guy swim directly for shore... or at least in the opposite direction of her. He was not as excited as she was with his progress.

After a few minutes, the poor bugger was exhausted and we rescued him. Kadence will find anything to do besides listen to her mom as she tries to teach her how to swim.


Blessings to those with a good instructor,

Kristie

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Spatial relations

Greetings,

I have a small problem:

How to pack all this....




...into 2 pieces of luggage with a max weight of 50 pounds each?


And prioritizing what needs to go with me and what is acceptable for the USPS to deliver in two weeks?


Contents to include:

Clothing
Several pairs of new shoes
Prescription refills for the next 6 months
Fancy Feast for Oliver
Science diet for Oliver (he is picky about what he eats)
Peabody’s treats (she is not picky about what she eats)
Glade air fresheners
New linens for our house guests
New curtains
Beach towels
2 new area rugs
Several cans of spray paint for Chapel VBS decorations
New toiletries for Chapel bathroom
Chapel bathroom shelf
Chapel bathroom toilet paper holder
Chapel rug
VBS supplies
Missing parts for a entry table I ordered 1 ½ years ago
Books
DVD’s
Chapel kids worship DVD’s
A few things for Harry
A few things for Kayne

Oh…. and please notice the roll of chef / butcher paper, that bugger is taking up most of my weight. We need the paper for VBS backdrops so it is high on the priority list.

I have already mailed 14 boxes.

Unfortunately, I think the bags will be overweight... so the clothes will need to go USPS.


Blessings to those with enough space,

Kristie

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Messy posts

Greetings,



I have been a little sparse here lately; it has been a busy few weeks. Seems like everything is a week or two behind, me included. My intentions were to be Europe bound just after the middle of the month... and here it is almost the end of the month and I am happily situated at my parents and finally enjoying a little Florida sunshine.



My posting, although more frequent than Harry's two, have been lacking as well. So I apologize. It's just like anything else in life... if you do not stay on it... it piles up (like laundry).



But it has reached the point of my mom's scolding. Not only has the content declined a little, but my grammar has been atrocious. In my haste, I have rarely proofread and more times than I would like to admit... I have not even reread the post. I just typed away... then clicked publish post.



So for the next few days, in between packing and last minute shopping trips, I plan to sit down for a while... probably a long while and correct all the past messy posts.



Correct the misspellings, replace the misplaced modifiers, actually change the red and green squiggly lines under the fragments and make sure all posts are up to parental standards.



Blessings to those with a corrective momma,

Kristie

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Santorini by Quad

Greetings,


Post originally started October 6 of 2008, but as you can see....it's a little late. But today is my friend Mary's birthday and what better way to say Happy Birthday than plastering a picture of her on the web.


Recently home from England and off again to the beautiful island of Santorini, Greece. Highly visited sight for locals, vacationers, and honeymooners. Popularized by the History Channel, as one of the possible sites of The Lost City of Atlantis.




This is one of the most spectacular islands in the world. You arrive in a spectacular harbor that's part of the enormous caldera (crater) formed when a volcano blew out the island's center sometime between 1600 and 1500 B.C.



As you approach by ship, bending back as far as possible to look as far up the cliffs as possible, whitewashed houses look like a dusting of new snow on the mountaintop. Up close, you'll find that both towns' main streets have more shops (lots of jewelery shops), restaurants, and discos than private homes.



Our fabulous hotel's view

Mary found us this amazing hotel just outside of town, but with a breathtaking view.


Town of Oia






The site of Ancient Thira would be the island's must-see destination. Spectacularly situated atop a high promontory, overlooking a black lava beach, the remains of this Greek, Roman, and Byzantine city sprawl over acres of rugged terrain.



Shortly after we arrived... our quads were delivered. Each of us ladies had own very own quad / 4 - wheeler to cruise around the island. With Mary leading the pack, typically me or Lisa in the rear... we had a BLAST. I do not think there is an inch of the island that Mary did not try to squeeze us through. Many excursions took us places I am not so sure were actually accessible to tourist.... but Mary found a way.


Beginning the day



At the start of each day, we saddled ourselves into our gear, rev'ed up the quads, and headed out for the days adventure. Long winding curves, up and down sides of mountains, through the misting rain our fearless leader Mary guided us safely around.

Only once did I run off the road and into the ditch. It was either the ditch or a collision with the 50 passenger tour bus barreling my way.

video

Mary... Happy Birthday... and we need to take another ladies trip!

Blessings,

Kristie

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bathroom blues

Greetings,

I have been in search of the perfect bathroom since landing on this side of the pond. Last year when we were relocated ... the Chapel was in desperate need of remodeling. Slowly, and I mean slowly has progress been made. It is extremely difficult to receive government funding in an economically challenging time such as this.

So we have begged, borrowed, and almost stolen (we returned it shortly after) many items. We have begged, borrowed, and bribed labor from anyone who can swing a hammer, rewire 220 electrical voltage, paint, scrub, and paint some more.

Every time I travel back and forth from the states... I kind of feel like a smuggler. I roll with max capacity. When traveling through Customs with my over sized luggage, I keep my head down and push forward. A few times I have been stopped by officials whose only question was, "Do you have any cigarettes in your bags." Answer: No and that was the truth!

Last fall I lost the two bags containing almost all of our Fall Festival supplies. When reporting a claim with the airline, I was asked the contents of the bags...


Ring pops
Jolly ranchers
Candy corn
5 lbs of Laffy Taffy
10 lbs of Toostie Rolls
15 lbs of Sour Gum

(and even more candy they had never heard of)

then.... for the prizes


Fake bubba teeth
Spider rings
Pirate eye patches
Pumpkin rings
Pumpkin necklaces
Rubber ducks
Play-doh
Creepy crawler kritters
Glow-in-the-dark necklaces
Fake eyeball gum
Face paint

and about 20 other units of junk from Oriental Trading


"What about your clothes?" the agent asked.

"Oh, I mailed them", I matter-of factly told her very confused expression.

Eventually, the Olympic agent realized I had 2 bags totally 70 lbs a piece of Fall Festival things that only crazy Americans use.

This past Christmas, the bags held items for the children's room along with 6 rugs for the Chapel doorways. It's amazing the limitations on merchandise that Target, Home Depot, Crate and Barrel has on shipping. If I can lug it through 3 countries, surely they can ship it over?


Also I brought over 2 light fixtures and 1 faucet for the Chapel bathrooms. My goal is to "transform" these areas into something presentable and appealing to the eye. Military facilities are typically not as aesthetic as I would prefer. So I have taken it as my mission to beautify our bathrooms one ugly sink at a time.


This is the bathroom directly off the Chapel. The lighting has experienced a transformation, but that is about it.... I have weighed ...literally... taken the weight of a marvelous pedestal sink in Lowe's. For the life of me I have no clue how to get it back to Souda. And mirrors.... I have no clue how to carry or mail them to have them arrive in Souda without 7 years bad luck.




Here's the kid's room bathroom... still in desperate need of a mirror and new paint job.




So for this trip, as I am packing my bags with tons of Vacation Bible School supplies while reserving space for the Chapel bathrooms I am sadden with the lack of transportable finds.


So I am stuck.... I have the bathroom blues. How can I make Souda Bay Chapel look like something Ty Pennington created without his resources? I have even tried to contact Ty, but he has not returned my calls. I would love to hear him say, "MOVE THAT BUS" while standing in the Chapel parking lot!


Blessings to those with a lovely toilet area,

Kristie

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Paul was here....

Greetings,


The apostle Paul founded the church in Corinth. A few years after leaving the church, he heard some disturbing reports about the Corinthian church. They were full of pride and were excusing sexual immorality. Spiritual gifts were being used improperly, and there was rampant misunderstanding of key Christian doctrines.

The apostle Paul wrote his first letter to the Corinthians in an attempt to restore the Corinthian church to its foundation—Jesus.


And this is why we headed to Ancient Corinth for a mini Biblical vacation. Harry and I, along with the Barker's, took a few days off from the hustle and bustle of Souda and headed to Athens and from there did a little loop-t-loop around Peloponnese Greece.


First stop Ancient Corinth.



Ancient Corinth, the original City of Corinth, was founded in the 10th Century BC and was the largest city in ancient Greece and the area's richest port. The Corinth Paul knew had been re-founded by Julius Caesar as a Roman colony in 44 BC. Its strategic location also brought thousands of settlers from all over the Mediterranean.


Corinth was known as an especially “wild” city and had a reputation for licentiousness. Paul was faced with a city that was used to coin one of the Greek words for “fornicate”, which was korinthiazomai. There were 1,000 sacred prostitutes in the temple of Aphrodite on the Acrocorinth, which was an 1,886-foot hill that rises above the City of Corinth to the south.


The wealth of Corinth rested largely on control of trade in western Mediterranean. In the late 6th century Corinth sought to maintain this commercial hegemony by mediating conflicts arising between its neighbors, specifically Athens, Thebes and Sparta, and by contributing to the Pan Hellenistic efforts against Persian attempts to subdue Greece.





A road twists from the ancient site to the summit of Acrocorinth, the rugged limestone sugar loaf mountain that looms 1,885 ft. above the plain.

On the Acrocorinth itself are ruins of the Temple of Aphrodite, of which little remains. The Temple of Aphrodite had more than 1,000 sacred prostitutes at one time, exemplifying the ancient city's reputation for luxury and vice. Also on Acrocorinth are the ruins of a stone minaret and ancient defensive walls.




Acrocorinth's fortress was used as the last defending line in southern Greece repelling foes from entering the Peloponnesian peninsula.Three walls formed the man-made defense of the hill. The site was home to a temple to Aphrodite, a church, and a mosque.




On a clear day, the views from the summit are splendid, although it's been a long time since the atmosphere was clear enough to spot the glistening columns of the Parthenon on the Athenian Acropolis.


Temple of Aphrodite on this summit in antiquity, staffed by an estimated 1,000 temple prostitutes -- some of whom worked the streets in town but others who worked here, awaiting those hardy customers who walked up from Corinth. It is no wonder why Paul wrote all he did to the Corinthians.



The Apostle Paul visited Corinth in the 50s AD and later wrote two letters to the Christian community at Corinth (the books of 1 and 2 Corinthians in the New Testament). When Paul first visited the city (51 or 52 AD), Gallio, the brother of Seneca, was proconsul of Corinth.

Paul lived in Corinth for 18 months (Acts 18:1-18), working as a tent maker and converting as many Jews and pagans as he could. Here he first became acquainted with Aquila and Priscilla, who became his fellow-workers.

Although Paul intended to pass through Corinth a second time before he visited Macedonia, circumstances were such that he first went from Troas to Macedonia before stopping at Corinth for a "second benefit" (2 Corinthians 1:15). This time he stayed in Corinth for three months (Acts 20:3).

It was probably during this second visit in the spring of 58 that Paul wrote the Epistle to the Romans. Paul's First Epistle to the Corinthians, written from Ephesus, reflects the difficulties of maintaining a Christian community in such a cosmopolitan city.


Poor Harry.... he was extremely disappointed. I think he was looking for an identifiable marker stating "Paul was here". Maybe if there were bathroom stalls back then.... we would have found one.


Blessings to those with a "have been here" sign,

Kristie

Sunday, May 17, 2009

FDR's Little White House

Greetings from the sticks,


Kadence and I joined Grammie and Poppie for a little RV ing at FDR's state park. And when I say little... that's what I mean. The Taylor family RV accommodations required Kadence and I to share a twin bed. And the next RV outing will require me to stay at the nearest Holiday Inn.


Our campgrounds, however scenic the view.... was hard to enjoy with a krink in your entire body.





We decided to take a tour of Warm Springs and FDR's (Franklin D. Roosevelt) Little White House.

Franklin D. Roosevelt came to Warm Springs in 1924 in hopes of recovering from the effects of polio. His love for the area and hopes for the Georgia Warm Springs Foundation led him to build a small white clapboard cottage on these pine scented slopes. The house was completed in 1932 while F.D.R. was serving as Governor of New York. During F.D.R.'s four elected terms as the 32nd President the cottage became known as "The Little White House."



The cost was $8,738 including landscaping. The cottage, garage, servant’s quarters and guest house are preserved much like they were on April 12, 1945 when F.D.R. died of a massive stroke as he was sitting for a portrait. The "Unfinished Portrait" and many of F.D.R.'s personal belongings can be seen in the cottage and in an adjacent museum.



During the busy years between 1932 and 1945 F.D.R. visited his beloved Little White House on several occasions while he and the nation struggled through the Great Depression of 1929 and then World War II. Many of the solutions to the "people problems" that beset the nation during his presidency came to F.D.R. as the result of his association with the people of this area.


We enjoyed seeing a snippet of history. Kadence kept asking Grammie,"Why are we here?" I guess she preferred the safari adventure... but Grammie replied, "to see history". The answer still left her with a questionable look.


Blessings to those with a little history,

Kristie

Saturday, May 16, 2009

A Wild ride

Greetings,

After leaving Atlanta, Kadence and I met Grammie and Poppie for a wild ride.

The 500-acre Pine Mountain Wild Animal Safari in South Georgia, offers a unique, hands-on safari experience. Visitors can see, touch and feed hundreds of exotic animals from every continent—a true worldwide safari.





The experience is probably different from any you have encountered at other parks and zoos. It is not hard to imagine yourself in Africa or South America while driving through the vehicle touring section, because it is most of the animals who roam freely, not the humans. You can see any number of wildebeests, camels, giraffes, rhinos, water buffaloes, antelopes, and zebras grazing nearby.






While you can tour the park in your own vehicle... it is highly recommended you take a guided tour on one of the Zebra Buses or Vans where you will no doubt be joined by black Hawaiian sheep, who hop on board to greet visitors. Those who choose to drive their own vehicle... well have lost windshield wipers, been rammed by a water buffalo, and oh the slobber.

Here is the zebra mobile we choose. Notice in the back we have no windows.... only bars.




Once in the safari this was our first encounter... a Texas long horned steer. A very large Texas longhorn.



And he was hungry.





And then came the zebras. The zebras were gorgeous and friendly and surprisingly not smelly.




We were following the big Zebra bus.... and were afraid the animals would not need anymore food.... we were wrong.



Kadence called any birdlike creature a Pecker. And she feared the Peckers. She would say, "Oh no Poppie.. here come the Peckers... drive Poppie drive."




This view is from my mother's side of the zebra van... please notice her window is only cracked. She refused to lower it any further keeping a safe barrier between her and the animals.

When we arrived we were instructed on the rules of the park... one of them:

Anyone caught abusing, mistreating,or injuring an animal will be prosecuted.

My question is... does closing the window on an animal's head count? If so... Grammie is in trouble.



Or was it self defense from the slobber!



And then came the giraffes.



As tall as they were... I was skeptical as to whether we were going to hand feed them...



And I was wrong.





Giraffes have a seriously long slimy tongue. Yet, surprisingly they do not smell.






This guy..... smells.



And slobbers.



Fortunately, the camels did not spit on us.



Here's Kadence enjoying the view... that is until an animal came within 10 feet of the zebra van. Then she yelled and ran to the center console, where she would throw the food directly at them.



And the horse.


A rhino.



Another Pecker. And no one... wanted to stick their hand out to feed these guys. Collectively we tossed the feed out for them to collect off the ground.

Another rule states:

Please be aware of the Ostriches, Emus, and Rheas as they have been known to nip and peak. Extra caution should be exercised around these animals.

And that's all the warning we needed.



When we entered the safari there was a guy selling "I've been slobbered on at Wild Animal Safari" clean up towels. It was the best $3.15 I spent all weekend.






As we were leaving, we encouraged the others to buy the towel.




Here are two of the scariest animals we saw all day...




Blessings to those on a wild ride,

Kristie

 

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