Friday, August 29, 2008


This is probably the first presidential election that I've been into. Four years ago, I was in college and more focused on my studies and preparing for student teaching. Eight years ago, I wasn't old enough to vote!

Four years ago, and the midterm elections in between, I have voted republican and conservative for two reasons 1) My parents did and told me how to vote those first few times 2) I am prolife and am conservative in many other ways.

Well, I have approached the pending presidential election with a much more open mind. I wanted to vote for the candidate that really represented my values and beliefs on where this nation should be going. As I have tried to sort out fact from fiction and even come to conclusions of what I believe, I have found this task to be nauseating!

I still believe that my conservative values and beliefs conflict with most in the democratic party. Even after my research. I have watched portions of the Democratic National Convention (hard not to since it is the only thing on tv these days). Last night, "THE GREAT ONE" Barak Obama spoke and formally accepted the nomination (just in case you were in a far off land with no access to tv, internet, radio, or civilization and were unaware of this fact.)

I was impressed with his oratory skills. He has amazing presence and charisma. His daughters are too cute for words. His wife seems strong and confident. They seem to have a great relationship. He does seem to really care for the working people of this country.

While I will not go into all the areas in which I disagree with Obama and his plans if he becomes President, a couple of things concern me.

Does it not concern the public, the media, or anyone in the Democratic party that the terrorist and evil people groups around the world are for one, under the assumption that Obama is the next president, but also excited about it? When my parents were in Israel, the Palestinians commented how excited and eager they are for Obama to become president. Does that not worry anyone else? I'm sorry but if a group known for their prejudice and terroistic tactics is excited about a president, we need a better guy! Terrorists should be afraid of whatever leader we have in power. It urks me that the media has not shone any light on the fact the Middle East and its evil powers are so in favor of Obama as president.

I get really sick and tired of the democrats complaining and blaming the past 8 years of 'terrible suffering and economic turmoil' on President Bush. First of all, in the first few months of President Bush's term, he was faced with a crisis that no other president had faced before him. The terrorist attacks on 9/11 completely crashed our current ecomonic strength. Am I the only one that remembers how the stock market crashed? How gas prices went through the roof? I thought that Bush did an excellent job in bringing our country out of that economic disaster without many permanant effects. It has really only been the last 2 years or so that the nation has been slowing down economically. We have hit record highs on the Dow. There have been a lot of jobs created. There is always going to be an ebb and flow to an economy. When you have greedy oil companies who are sharing record profits, it begins to trickle down. It affects more than our gas prices. It affects our food, cost of living, transportation, etc. However, all of these increase in costs have come so fast that employers cannot keep up with the cost of living and do not have the resources or have had the time to compensate that in employee benefits and wages. The past two years haven't been the greatest, but don't go blaming Bush for it all. He has tried to get us out of this slump- only to encounter camera happy opponents.

I'm still trying to figure out this whole election thing. I'm still trying to figure out who stands best for my beliefs and values. But, I'm just about ready for it all to be over!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I have a confession to make. After Izzy was in bed, my husband and I curled up in bed to watch this:

I wish we could say that we were just watching it to "proof" what our daughter is viewing, but alas we were watching it for our own entertainment. I found this DVD treasure at my favorite store (Goodwill!!!). We had just watched Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Ring this weekend, so I thought watching a "spoof" of it would be fun. Boy are those people at Big Idea creative. This show had us rolling (though you'd have to know some of the Lord of the Rings in order to get it). Besides the play on names (Toto Baggypants; Randolf, etc.), there was also an "Elve-is" impersonator and a Keebler Elf who saves the day with cookies! One of my favorite lines was "You give a gourd a bow and and arrow and suddenly he's an elf!" There were the evil Sporks and Lord Scaryman. Humor aside, this was a very cute story to present the idea of using our God given gifts and talents for His purposes. Jr. Asparagus as Toto Baggypants is given a great gift: a magical bean that gives you anything you ask for. He has seen the ill effects of this great bean and how it was misused. He wants to use the bean the way it is supposed to be used but doesn't know what that means. He heads off to a foreign land with the help of the "fellowship of the bean" to seek his purpose with his gift. I think the concepts were beyond Izzy, but someday, I will use this as a resource for teaching spiritual gifts. For those of you who have older preschoolers or school age children this is a great resource. I can even say I feel as though I learned something from it!

So, there is my confession. My husband and I cuddled in bed watching none other than VeggieTales. I think we'll watch the next Lord of the Rings tonight to help us feel more grownup :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Corn on the Cob

What do you think? Does she like it?

Friday, August 22, 2008

November 18-December 1

We have our flights booked! We (wonderful parent in laws and hubby) will leave GR on November 18th and arrive back home on December 1st. The first 6 days are in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Then we spend 4 nights in Kunming, China. The other 3-4 days are spent in transit. Here are the maps for the geographically challenged.

Map of Asia: Bangladesh is in the south central part of Asia (the drain of the entire continent). And, well if you can't find China, um, thats pretty sad.
Here is a map of Bangladesh. The capital is Dhaka which is right in the center.

Here is a map of China. Kunming is in the very south, central part of China in the Yunnan providence.
All in all it will be over 17,000 miles of travel! Whoa. Better find some good reading material or start saving for an ipod or something!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Fear Conquered

About a week and a half ago, we had the honor of having Bishop Hannington from Uganda visit us. We are involved in his ministry and he was Stateside for a conference. He will be partnering with me as I develop and publish my curriculum for teaching stewardship to children. Anyways, Bishop does not know how to swim (pretty usual in Africa since there aren't many safe areas for recreational swimming). We conviced him to go on the boat with us, and we even got him to go tubing! He had me take lots of pictures so he could prove to his wife he was in the water. He said she would never believe him. Talk about conquering fear!!!

A week has gone

What a crazy week it has been. I've been slacking on my olympic coverage. To condense the past week:

- Michael Phelps is a freak of nature (in a good way)
- Women's gymnastics- freaky scoring at times, awesome competition at times
-Beach Volleyball still has awful uniforms but amazing talent
-Track and Field has started and is mainly a US vs Jamaica program (Does anyone else start singing Jamaican Bobsled Team song from Cool Running whenever Jamaica is talked about?)

Anyways, its been a good week of olympics. I've missed some nights due to sickness (Yes, I've completed week 2 and have begun week 3 of this never ending cold/flu cough crap.) We also had a bible study overnight event in Spring Lake which was a blast.

Life is crazy busy, but good. Summer is in full swing, but signs of fall are upon us. Business is picking up again. Izzy spent her first night alone at Grandpa and Grandma Lillie's house. She was a "perfect peach". Which is encouraging since she will be there for 12 days in November!

56 Days until I go on vacation!!!!

Yes, this was a random post- sue me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Day 3

Whew! What a night last night! These olympics are going to be the end of me with these live events going into the 1am hour! I just can bring myself to record it and watch it the next day!

Michael Phelps ties the record for the most olympic medals with his win in the 200 Free. Hardly a race he dominated so much! It was almost embarassing! Natalie Coughlin did USA proud with a great win in the 100 back! I was so proud of her! Swimming is HOT this year!!!

Another great game by Walsh/May-Treaner. Cuba looked strong, but they managed to pull it out in straight sets. They seem like such nice gals.

Then came Men's Team Gymnastic Final. Of course, China was going to win. Unless they failed to show up (slight exaggeration, but not by much), they are so above and beyond the rest of the world in difficulty, that it would have taken an act of God for them not to pull this one out. And they did, winning their redemptive gold after losing it to Japan four years ago. They rocked it.

Japan went through the whole competition like they didn't really care. Not that I blame them too much, I mean, when your nearest competition is far above you, and you are so far above everyone else, why try too hard? Japan is like China, so above the rest of the world that no one could really catch them. However, I think they tested that water too much, because had the American's hit all of their routines, it would have been a much closer race for silver than they would have anticipated.

They didn't win Gold or Silver, but I would be this was the winningest team in the building. The team everyone had counted out after the Hamms' injuries. No one really believed in team USA. Coming into finals in 8th place, they were the underdogs. But they performed like veterans. NBC didn't show all the events (grrr..little less footage of china chalking up and a few more perfmances please!!!) but I happened to turn it on as team USA started high bar. Man did they HIT IT!!! Oh it was so excited. I had to cheer very quietly as my husband was asleep next to me, and any cheering would bring on a coughing spell, but man I was geeked! Floor was a little rough- not impressed with Joe Haggerty, but they held it together. Then, with the luck of the draw, they had to end on their worst event- the pommel horse. Kevin Tan basically falls (No!!! There goes the silver!!!) and Raj struggles (there goes a medal???) which left us with the last minute alternate of Sasha Artemev who was called up on Thursday to fill in for Morgan Hamm. He fell 3 out of 4 times on the pommel at nationals and trials, but when he is on- he is world class. I crossed my fingers hoping he would be "on" and he was!!!! Sasha salvaged an otherwise dismal event, locking the team's bronze medal. Truly exciting. Great night. Good job Team USA!!!

Well, thats all. Nap time for me. I can't wait until this cough goes away and I feel like myself again.

Day 2 a day late

Well, this cold/flu crap I have had for a week or so has totally been kicking my butt, so I'm behind on my commentary. Luckily, I've still be able to enjoy the magic of the games!

Day two included some more swimming- great events I'm sure, I just can't remember for sure what they were!

Synchro diving was on- pretty cool.

Main event on the docket was Women's gymnastics' team qualification. What a mess that was. Sam P. sprained her ankle in warm ups, which totally flustered the team. Plus, it put them at a disadvantage. In qualifying, you have 6 athletes, 5 perform on each event, and 4 scores count- so you can drop the lowest one. Well, with Sam P. and Chellsie Memmel out of all events except for uneven bars, there were only 4 girls left, meaning no scores could be dropped- they all had to count. The girls looked tired and overtrained. Marta Karolyi was obnoxious as usual- she has done some good for USA gymnastics, but how she managed to weasel her way onto the floor is beyond me. I think it was stressing the girls out. Shawn Johnson was pretty solid, with a few hiccups. Nastia did ok too, minus a fall on her dismount on bars- I'm so glad she still made the event final! Luckily, China had their own problems too, with strange falls on bars. China leads with USA followed by Russia and Romania and Australia, but all scores are wiped out before the Team Finals where it is a 6-3-3 format (6 girls on the team, 3 perform, 3 scores count). China has the edge with higher A panel scores, so I expect them to pull it out for a win. However, if China falters under the tremendous pressure (which is somewhat typical for this team) it could be USA's golden moment. Bronze could really go to three or four teams out there. Romania was a mess. Russia looked pretty good (didn't get to see a lot of routines though) I would peg them for the bronze if I had a say. If Dasha Joura can pull it together, Australia could sneek in there as well. We'll see what happens!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Day 1- I think

The crazy thing about this olympics is that China is 12 hours ahead of us. Therefore, things that are on in "primetime" actually can be live from the next morning in China. Last night (Saturday Michigan time) I watched Michael Phelps win his first gold medal of the games in world record time, however, this was live and it was 10 am on Sunday in China. So, as I report on my favorite events and happenings of the day, they may have happened yesterday, or tomorrow, who knows! Anywho....

Michael Phelps totally rocked the competition in the 4x100 medley. WR time!!! He seems like such a nice guy who loves his momma. I loved the "fluff" piece on him where his Mom was describing him after his first Gold in Athens holding a peanut butter sandwhich, a big grin, and a gold medal- priceless!

The U.S. Men had some success and some failures in the team qualifier in gymnastics. I'm glad the two alternates who came in to replace the Hamm twins who both had to leave due to injury stepped up and did their jobs well! Artemev especially rocked- that pommel horse routine gave me goose bumps. Raj's rings were sweet too. They may or may not have a chance at a medal- but at least they showed they can put together some clean routines without the "almighty Hamm's" I need a refresher course on the new scoring though- its hard to get excited or upset over scoring when you don't know if it is a good score or not (for those who are not in the know- they got rid of the "perfect 10" system. Now its like a 14-17 is a great score depending on the event).

Loved the Women's Sabre Sweep!!!

May and Walsh put up a good show in beach volleyball last night- amazing athletes. The clip of president bush playing with them was hilarious. His shirt was soaked with sweat and he had this goofy grin on his face! Priceless! I think its awesome that we have a president that is such a huge supporter of the olympics.

I was drugged up and missed the rest of last night's action. This afternoon as I rest and try not to cough up my lungs, I've enjoyed heats of rowing (skulls), water polo, cycling, and USA vs China Basketball. Tonight is Women's Team Gymnastic Qualifying (though I peeked and know how we did) and I'm sure more swimming and such.

Brownie points to the hubby who is watching olympics with me- and I think he is actually enjoying more than he thought he would (it helps nothing else is on tv).

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Opening Ceremonies

Overall, I thought the opening ceremonies were awesome last night. Really cool techie stuff. Awesome pyro stuff. It was really neat. I'm sicker than a dog and was hyped up on cold medicine, but I was still able to enjoy it.

This ball thing was one of my favorites. It was cool how they could show video on it and on the screens above the stadium. It was sweet.

How sweet and cute is this little guy! Did you hear his stoy- be still my heart! Little 2nd grader, Lin Hao or something like that was in the terrible earthquake that killed 70,000 chinese in May. He was a little hero, pulling out 2 of his classmates beneath the buried rubble of their school. Out of his class of 30, only 10 survived. He got to help lead the chinese delegation sweet.

Tonight's menu of events include swimming (Phelp's first medal attempt), men's team gymnastic qualification, and I'm sure other events sprinkled in. First USA medals already handed out to a US sweep of the Women's Sabre event! GO USA!!!

Friday, August 8, 2008


I am an Olympic Nut! I don't know what it is- but I just LOVE the Olympics. I'm not a huge sports fan in between time- I can watch a game of football and such, but its not precursed by anxiousness and checking to make sure I have enough DVD-R's in the house!

I think it all started back in 1992 when I remember seeing gymnastics for the first time. I loved it! I wanted to be an olympic gymnast so bad! Of course by that time I was 9 years old and well past training prime!!! I remember seeing Kim Zmeskel fall off the beam and seeing Shannon Miller step up and win medals. I remember the young Dominique Dawes with her back to back floor passes and whips.

Then in 1994 the infamous Nancy vs. Tonya scandal and then an obscure Oksana Baiul coming into the picture. That year in Norway was when I started liking other events like ski jumping.

In 1996- the year the addiction began. I was 13. You couldn't pull me away from the T.V. I watched Michael Johnson win gold- twice. I watched the sychronized swimming girls from the USA win Gold. I loved the diving event. Nothing beat the gymnastics that year. The team event was amazing- USA TEAM GOLD!!! Lilia Pokyapayeva won all around in an event where both Shannon and Dominique fell (I cried). Shannon won gold on beam. The gala was awesome. I even enjoyed the opening and closing ceremonies and Dad would quiz me on the countries' flags. I wanted to hightail it to Atlanta!

1998- Michelle Kwan WINS silver. Tara happens to jump into the Gold. Don't get me started on this event!

2000- Sydney. I missed so much of this since it was the summer time and I was working. I loved the Cathy Freeman storyline. Gymnastics was mainly a flop- a vault fiasco in the All Around.

2002- Oh, how I wished to be in Salt Lake. I remember sitting on my dorm room bed watching the ladies final free skate. My roommates were mocking my Michelle addiction and laughed and said she would fall and lose again- then when it happened, they avoided me like the plague! Oh, so many tears were cried over the ups and downs of that games. New favorite events were the snowboarding and ski ariels.

2004- Athens. Another college days olympics, again, not able to be glued to my television. But enjoyed it nonetheless.

2006- Torino. Michelle get's injured. I cried. Weirdest women's free skate ever. Lots of cool, new hip events that made it interesting. I was pregnant with Izzy- so Paul let me watch as much olympics as I wanted!

Now to 2008- I hope this will be an olympics to remember. I'm excited for the diving, swimming, gymnastics, and well everything else in between. I love beach volleyball (but only watch it when the hubby isn't around- how do they move and play in such tiny bikinis?). I enjoy synchro swimming. Track and field is fun- as long it isn't like the half marathon runs or prelims.

So, over the next 10 days or so, you know where to find me. Either by my computer ready to find the latest winners and video feed and photos, or watching the thousands of hours of NBC coverage- too bad we don't get cable....

What are your favorite olympic events?

Friday, August 1, 2008

Picture Slacking

I haven't downloaded pictures in awhile- here is a brief update in pictures.