Friday, June 29, 2012

Feeling Hot

Generally southern summers aren't horrendous in regards to heat; some years are hotter than others, but generally the humidity is what irritates most people.

Not this time. I don't ever recall (though I could be wrong) Georgia getting into the triple digits temperature-wise. According to, it's already 95 degrees F, and it's not even to the heat of the day yet, which usually happens sometime between 3 and 5 PM. Thankfully we have AC (though two of our cars don't), but our unfortunate garden doesn't. To keep the garden alive in this heat, we're having to water it twice: a good dousing in the morning and then again in the afternoon. Though it makes me worry that I'll water it too late and end up killing the plants instead.

I'm really craving a thunderstorm right now. With sheets of rain lasting for preferably most of the day, both to cool down everything and to water the plants. I pray we'll get rain soon. And not only us but the other heated states, especially Colorado as it battles wildfires.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Last Homeschooler

Yes, it has happened. Mandy has officially finished high school. Unofficially, however, she still has some work to finish over the summer, but she is technically graduated. The big event took place last Saturday.

On Thursday and Friday, the realization that the party was upon us finally hit us. We began to mad scramble to get the food prepared. I spent two days making the bacon-wrapped smokies and also made the chips for the mango salsa (it took an incredible amount of willpower to stop myself from tasting the fruits of my labors, but I was satisfied with both of them on Saturday), and Mom worked to decorate her cheesecakes, make the salsa, and work on the meatballs (a joint endeavor between her, Dad, and myself), and Mandy went shopping for shoes and a necklace to wear for the party. Saturday was a mad scramble to complete the final preparations, make sure the house was clean, and make sure nothing had been forgotten.

The party was held at church, and the decorating committee did an amazing job at arranging the purple and green on the tables and also at doing the flowers. Because the party was for Mandy and her friend Leila, we had quite a bit of friends and family from both sides come out for the occasion. We had probably close to 150 people, though unfortunately I did not get any pictures of the crowd; so the few pictures I did take make it look like the church was empty, but I assure you that was far from the case. Once everyone was seated, Leila's father got up and welcomed everyone. Then Pastor Strevel got up and gave a charge to Mandy and Leila about being godly women and serving God's kingdom; it was an amazing and well-spoken charge. Then it was time for the first performance. Mandy did not want to give a speech, but Leila did, so they worked out a compromise: Mandy would accompany the singer Joseph while Leila would give a speech. So, Mandy and a few of her friends did a beautiful performance of "Take My Life and Let It Be." I'm going to try to upload it to facebook soon. Then Leila gave her thank-you speech. Then the dads got up, said a little something, and presented Mandy and Leila their diplomas. Then it was time for the highlight of the show: the slideshow of the girls' lives. The slideshow was done by Leila's brother Steven, who did an amazing job on it. Check out the following link to see it on youtube:

After the slideshow, it was time for the reception. There was plenty of food to go around: hummus, stuffed grape leaves (I don't remember if that is the exact name, but I know it is a Lebanese dish), fruit (strawberries, pineapple, watermelon, cantaloupe, grapes), bacon-wrapped smokies, mango salsa, meatballs, and then a cheese-cracker dish. There was also delicious punch and plenty of dessert: a small cake from Costco and then Mom made four cheesecakes (including one that was gluten and dairy free, which went over very well and apparently tasted amazing). Mandy was running around, getting pictures with her friends and some family members, and she got several of them. I did not get many pictures because I was either eating or because I was taking pictures with her camera; she has uploaded 27 of them to facebook, so check them out.

Another nice touch was the pictures on the gift table. The girls showed off some of their senior pictures, and each of them had a picture with large white borders that could be signed on. Both of them got plenty of signatures from friends and family, and they each had plenty of gifts and cards.

After the crowds began to thin out, we started cleaning up. Some of the guests, who had arrived late and did not see the slideshow, watched it with us again, and this time we were all laughing and making comments about each other. Then the clean-up resumed. Because we had so many people, the main part of the cleanup took maybe about an hour and a half. Once everyone was gone, Mom did a bit of sweeping and mopping. Seth and Mandy went to a friend's house to relax and have fun, and Mom and Dad went out for an hour or so. I was tired and stayed home, happy to have my feet up and to be relaxed.

Originally, we had had plans to go to Florida this week. However, those plans eventually had to change due to several reasons, including a broken car with no A/C and a broken dryer, so we had to postpone the trip. Dad and Seth still took the week off from work, and they are both relaxing from jobs that are becoming very stressful due to the integration at work. It has been a relaxing week, very nice not to be running around preparing for parties or the like. Mandy and I still are thinking of going to Virginia for the annual family conference later this month, but circumstances have also changed and so neither of us may be going this year.

It has been emotional watching Mandy graduate. On Saturday after the slideshow, her best friend was in tears, and there were several emotional hugs from friends and peers afterwards. Mom has spent twenty years homeschooling the three of us, and now those days are over. We three kids are now graduated from and finished with high school.

Before I close up the post, I wish to express my gratitude to the ladies who helped out with the party. As Mom pointed out, it was amazing to see everyone's specific gifts come out in the preparations. We had her beautiful cheesecakes, the pastor's wife doing a beautiful fruit arrangement, the young women doing the decorations, and even those who did not have a specific gift but worked hard to keep the food stocked and to help out here and there. I offer a big thank you to each of those ladies for their hard work and for the love they put into it on Saturday; without them, the party could not have happened.

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Memorial Day Fun

So, we've got a few hours to go before Mandy's graduation party starts, and the last few days have been very hectic. But, before I forget, I'll mention a hilarious event that happened on Memorial Day.

At the farm where the church holds their annual Memorial Day picnic, there is a small lake that most people use it for boating and such. For years, no one dared swim in the lake because it doesn't look very clean and because of giant snapping turtles living in its depths. Last year, because it was so hot, several of the teenagers and young adults jumped in to cool off, and this year was no exception either, even though its temps were reasonable. Last year, someone decided to organize boat races, and they were held again this year. I teamed up with a friend, and we were the first to go up for the women's team. The green boat we were in was a bit tipsy, and it actually tipped half-way over while we were trying to get it into the lake. The race itself was largely neck and neck, and we did better than I expected. We were on our last leg when the other boat got too close and knocked into us, making the boat tip. I grabbed my glasses and bandana just as our boat flipped over. One of the young men jumped in and helped us push the boat back to the shore. It was difficult treading water with me fully dressed (and wearing denim, which is heavy to begin with), but I finally reached shallow ground. Apparently, according to my partner's oldest brother, we were the most entertaining ones to watch. So, needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon soaked, but it was fun.

And thus is the tale of my first time being in the water on Memorial Day.