Monday, December 8, 2008

Warm Fuzzy Sunday

I would have to classify yesterday as one of those warm, fuzzy kind of days.

Scott wasn't scheduled to work, so we had the entire day together! Our Sunday School lesson was from I Thessalonians about "When You Started Out." Several of our SS family shared about their salvation experience. The lesson prompted great discussion as we talked about loving others and about what kind of example we are to those around us. We were reminded that there are actually people imitating us! Our actions and behaviors are so important!

Then, I actually got to sit with hubby in worship, since the choir didn't fill the loft in the morning service. We had a great afternoon together and returned to church in the evening to be part of our choir's annual Christmas program. The choir dressed in 1800's Christmas caroling attire and sang traditional Christmas carols and it was a wonderful time of worship together. The children's choir sang with us in part of the program, and it tendered my heart to hear their sweet voices singing.

The perfect ending to a perfect day happened at Taco Bell of all places! After church, we headed there to grab some tacos to take home. We went through the drive-thru and the line was sooooooo long. We were trapped - people behind us and in front, so we just had to wait. Even though it was irritating to sit in a drive thru for 30 minutes, it gave us opportunity to sit and talk awhile.

As the young lady in front of us was picking up her order, I remember that she looked so bubbly and happy. When we got to the window to pick up our order, the man told us that she had paid for our order. I asked the cashier who she was. He said that he didn't know, and that she didn't know us. She told him that she just wanted to do something nice for someone since it was Christmas! WOW! It made us both feel so warm and fuzzy. It wasn't an extravagant gift, but such a kind expression of love.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love." (I Corinthians 13:13)

It really is contagious. We can't wait for the opportunity to pay it forward!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Thanksgiving/Christmas/Birthday Celebrations

Thought you might enjoy a pic of my family at our Thanksgiving/Christmas/Birthday celebration! I was taking the picture and don't get many photo opps of the whole family together. I think they are absolutely wonderful!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Living Waters 5K and Sacroiliitis

Since many of you have asked when I plan to post again, here goes! As for half-marathon progress, there really isn't any. I took a rest after the shinsplint episode. The first time I tried to run after my resting period, I had a backache for about a week, so more rest! I was getting a little anxious since my daughters-in-law and me were going to run in a 5K on Thanksgiving weekend.

Thanksgiving was wonderful as we celebrated my birthday, one of my daughters-in-law's birthday and my granddaughter's birthday, along with Thanksgiving and Christmas. You see, my son and daughter-in-law from Missouri rotate Thanksgiving and Christmas every other year, so they can share those holidays with her family. So, on the year they come for Thanksgiving, we celebrate Christmas as well, since we don't get to see them again at Christmas. After stuffing ourselves with turkey, ham, and all the fixings, we opened birthday presents and Christmas presents. It was so much fun.

Later that evening, Addie and I decided to take a practice run to get ready for the 5K on Saturday. We took the 3-mile path I use in my neighborhood and I actually ran at least 1 mile of the route. It felt great to push through again, but the back pain started again within an hour. It was so bad on Friday! Addie had to drive her old ma-in-law around and help me in and out of the car. A little shopping humor: my cell phone rang while we had stopped in a thrift store and it was my mother. Apparently I was talking very loud, since Addie had to shush me up. She commented that not only was I incapacitated, but apparently had also lost my hearing. We had a big laugh with everyone around us in the store, and I told my mother I would call her back when we were out of the store. I love the relationship I have with my daughters-in-law. We really laugh alot when we are together - mostly at me, but that's ok.

Saturday morning rolled around and I was determined to do the 5K with my girls in spite of my pain. I planned to get up and wash and curl my hair, since hardly no one ever sees me before I do that. The girls said we were running a race and I wasn't allowed to do that, so here you see it and surely understand why I don't let anyone see me this way. This was at the end of the 5K and we all did just fine. Not one of us took last place and I actually achieved my goal of finishing with better than a 15-minute mile. My time was 41:29:1 even with an injury. Whoo hoo!!

Addie, Mary, and me!

So I was pretty much down in my back the rest of the weekend, but we did it! I went to the doc on Monday and the diagnosis - "sacroiliitis". That's a funny diagnosis for a funny lady, right?! The verdict is that I can't run for awhile. I have to take steroids, anti-inflammatory and do some exercises to strengthen my back.

The half-marathon in February is off, but that doesn't mean we can't do another half-marathon when I am well and able to train again.
OK - that reminds me of a song. Are you surprised?
"I'm trading my sickness, I'm trading my pain
I'm laying them down for the joy of the Lord.
I am pressed, but not crushed; persecuted, not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
I am blessed beyond the curse for His promise will endure and His joy's gonna be my strength."
Everybody sing along with me now.
That's it for now! Stay tuned for more in the continuing maladies of Gramster.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Setback Saddens Sheila

I have had a small setback in my half-marathon training. For the past week, I have really had a hard time running. I have only been able to run about 2 1/2 minutes tops, then walk, then maybe a minute running, then walk, etc. with a fair amount of pain near my shins. It almost felt like my legs were cement, and it even hurt when I was walking. Diagnosis from my marathon running daughter-in-law: shin splints! She recently experienced the same condition; therefore, advised me to take a rest for 2 weeks to heal my shin splints and do some cross training on my eliptical trainer and exercise bike. No pounding the pavement for a few weeks. That, in addition to the arthritis in my toes! Agony . . . delayed training . . . sad Sheila!

Sheila is my chihuahua and running partner, and it makes her so happy when I put on my running shoes. By the time I grab my iPod and her leash, she is jumping with joy all over the place. Sheila just didn't understand when I went out to Scott's workshop tonight and got on the eliptical trainer. She knew I had on the shoes and the iPod, but where was the leash??? Sadness, confusion, depression!!! I tried to explain to her what was going on, but she just doesn't get it!

Hopefully, these 2 weeks will pass quickly for her and we can hit the running trail once again. I sure hate to disappoint my trusty running companion. After all, my daughter-in-law and I are signed up to do a 5K in Decatur on Thanksgiving weekend and Sheila knows I need the training badly.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Rails to Trails 10K

OK - this is the moment you have all been waiting for. On Saturday, October 4, I did my very first running (walking) event. It was the Rails to Trails 10K in Elkmont, Alabama. Did you hear that? 10K - that means 6.2 miles!!! I entered with my boss, and since I didn't feel prepared to run just yet, we agreed to mostly walk and just run a little as we were able. We were very pleased that we averaged around a 12-13 minute mile and I finished in 1:27:30 and she finished in 1:26:?? I hung around for the door prizes and then headed back home with great certainty that I did not win any awards.

Imagine my surprise this morning when, at the end of a staff meeting, my boss called me to the front and placed a medallion around my neck, announcing that I had won 3rd place in my age division. She didn't say how many were in my age division and I'm sure I don't want to know that!! How exciting to win a 3rd place in my first event. And my boss won a medal as well. We felt pretty good about our accomplishment.

Of course, we got no respect! Comments ranged from lots of "Congratulations," to "There must have been only 1 or 2 people in your age group so they had to give you 3rd place to be nice!" to "So which special olympics did you run in?"

The following e-mail was sent out concerning our accomplishment:

"Congratulations to Dianne and Melanie! Both were medal winners at this past weekend's 10K run in Elkmont.We have no documented evidence for Melanie's participation, but we do have a reliable witness who verified Melanie also won a medal.

It is reported Dianne has not taken off the medal since Saturday.

This nation needs more role models! Congratulations!"

Then they took the following picture of me running in place and showing off my very first medallion!! Whoo hoo whoo hoo hoo!!!! We had such fun with this at work today!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I did it!!!

I just love to hear those words . . . "I did it" . . .from my grandson when he is pursuing something and finally accomplishes it. Well, this morning . . . I did it! After 2 weeks of falling away from my half-marathon training, I got up very early and did it and it felt great. I repeated the run plan in Week 4 of my Couch to 5K training plan since that is where I fell away. I decided if I was able to complete it, I would move on to Week 5 training on Thursday. So that is my goal! Week 5, here I come!!!

And I also felt encouragement to push through since my daughter-in-law ran in the Lewis and Clark Half-Marathon in St. Louis in the pelting, stinging rain from the aftermath of Hurricane Ike. I thought that if she could do what she did, I should move forward. Thanks for the encouragement, my sweet daughter-in-law! I'm so proud of her! You can read the details of her run by clicking on her blog under my favorite blog sites. It is called Twisi's Xanga.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Take the Shackles Off My Feet

I just felt like breaking into that song as I clocked out and left work today. I know you can picture me doing that! The last, most final day of open enrollment . . . ending with no disappointment late into the afternoon as I worked with 1 person in my office, 2 waiting in the hall and several phone calls in between as we resolved that open enrollment deadline issue.

Even though it totally tires me out, it is so rewarding to be able to get people in under the wire. They are happy and grateful and I can smile through it all since I know that it is the last day of that particular pressure. The adrenaline was really flowing as I drove home.

Hopefully now I can muster up the energy to get back into that half-marathon training. The last few weeks have been a real struggle and I've been doing that nasty food-grazing thing again.

I feel another new beginning in the air! The race is on!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

San Antonio Adventures

WOW – that’s all I can say. Traveling with my 2 very special siesta friends to meet up with many, many more siesta friends in San Antonio – what a treat!

We left Huntsville airport bright and early on Thursday morning, August 21 and arrived right on time in San Antonio. We hailed a taxi to Oak Hills Church for some Women’s Ministry Leadership Training and the taxi meter went up, up, up! Finally resting on $41.00, we arrived at Oak Hills and had wonderful training sessions followed by great praise and worship that evening. Since our taxi adventure was so expensive, we sought a ride back to our hotel. The sweet ladies who gave us a ride had a GPS in their car and the funniest thing was when the calm, gentle female voice on the GPS told us to “turn right on Al-aaaaaa-mo.” We continued to refer to the Alamo as the Al-aaaaa-mo all weekend.

We got up early on Friday morning to exercise in the hotel’s workout room. I couldn’t get behind on my half-marathon training. After 30 minutes on the treadmill alternating my jog/walk routine, Karen asked what we wanted to do next – meaning in the line of exercise. Well, usually that is all I do, but Sharron and I did not want to appear wimpy, so we headed to the exercise bikes for more workout. We really thought we wouldn’t be able to walk after an hour of intense exercise, but we all faired very well. The machines even told us how many calories we had burned off, so we made sure to eat all of those extra calories throughout the day.

After some sight-seeing at the River Walk, the Al-aaaaa-mo, and the downtown area, we caught a taxi to meet our siestas who were arriving from all over the US. We met at a local Mexican restaurant to have our first taste of Tex-Mex and it was delicious. But even more delicious was getting to see all the bloggy friends we had never met in person. Melana and Miesta Moose were the first ones that we recognized and I’ve included a picture of the first few siestas to gather at Pico de Gallo.

After a delicious lunch, we walked back to our hotel (more calorie burning) along with our new Siesta friend, Cindy, to get ready for the big Siesta Fiesta Living Proof Live conference at the Al-aaaaaa-mo Dome. We got all registered and found our seats to get ready for some great praise and worship with Travis and the Praise Team and excellent teaching by Beth and we were not disappointed by either.

Karen, Dianne, Sharron, Cindy

Beth's topic was Inheritance based on Psalm 16:5-6. We learned the following truths about our inheritance - that I am an heir of God and my life is not left to chance, I am inheriting a kingdom, God is my portion and I am His, the down-payment has been made, my boundary lines form a pleasing place, the will has been activated, I can be secure and I have a beautiful inheritance.

As I posted earlier, we got to apply a good bit of this right away while stranded an extra night in Dallas. We added some life experiences to our boundary lines and they were indeed a pleasing place. We laughed and sang with other sweet siestas who were in the same boat - I mean plane - and had a blast!

I have a reputation for breaking out in song and on the diverted flight, I sat next to a very "interesting" passenger who actually took pictures of clouds and showed them all to me and read and discussed snippets from the book he was reading. He even wanted me to summarize what I learned from the conference to him and although I don't think he actually got it, I was able to share! Then, he told me that he was a "whatever will be" kind of person . . . so, you guessed it . . . I did my best Doris Day rendition of "que sera sera" with my friend Sharron joining in and this guy actually sang with us. Everyone around us laughed their heads off. My friend, Karen, was talking to her husband who is our praise team worship leader and he said, "Tell me they aren't singing on the plane!" He had the nerve to say that I was no Doris Day!! Of course she told him that we were indeed singing.

So many adventures . . . so little time. Here is a picture of the remaining 5 "distressed passengers" on Sunday morning waiting for our rescheduled flight home.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Distressed Travelers ? ? ?

Distressed Travelers . . . that’s the name that we were given by American Airlines, but we weren’t really distressed at all. Mainly because we had just been given fuel concerning our inheritance and we just looked at our plight knowing that our boundary lines had fallen for us in pleasing “sweet” places.

Me and my two traveling companions, Sharron and Karen, left San Antonio at the appropriate time; however, as we were approaching Dallas airport, things began to change. There had been some stormy weather there so our plane was behind several others in a holding pattern. After “holding” awhile, our pilot decided we needed some more fuel and diverted us to Austin to “fill her up.” We were all very thankful that he decided to do that, but did wonder if the pump clicked off at $50.00 on his last fueling attempt. The diversion threw us behind and when we arrived back at Dallas, our connecting flight had left. We met up with 5 other siestas who were in the same boat and were all put up at a “distressed traveler” rate at a nearby Baymont Inn. It gave us opportunity to get to know 5 more of our siestas – 2 from Nebraska, 2 from Huntsville and 1 from Nashville.

I have so many interesting stories concerning our trip, but I’ll save it for when I am a little more refreshed so you will enjoy it completely! It was so wonderful to be with all our siestas this weekend! Was that a little glimpse of what heaven will be like – Presence, People and Property! I think so! What a great privilege it was to worship and fellowship with all of you.

I’m enjoying so much looking at all of your pictures. I’ll send pictures and more posts in the days to come.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Week Three Day One

Keeping right along with my "Couch to 5K" training, I have to tell you that today I finished well! I started with some stretches, then Sheila the wonder dog and I set out to start a new training week. We walked briskly for 5 minutes, then jogged for 90 seconds, walked for 90 seconds, ran for 3 minutes, walked for 3 minutes and then repeated that one more time. I reduced my time by 8 minutes and I'm totally excited. I've been walking 2 miles off and on for several years and generally do it in a little over 30 minutes, but today I finished that same distance in 22 minutes. Whoo hoo!!!!!
I will admit that I was wringing wet when I got home, but I finished well!
On a humorous note, the hubby of my best friend called me last night to see if I was watching the women running the marathon in the Olympics. He and my friend were curious if I would wear the same running attire that those ladies do and the answer is no, no, no!!! The world just isn't ready for that yet.

Friday, August 15, 2008

The Insurance Lady

Part of my job includes enrolling new employees to our school system in their insurance benefits. I also assist existing employees with open enrollment questions. Therefore, my identity for the most part in the school system is "The Insurance Lady." When they call the switchboard or come into the office, they simply ask for "The Insurance Lady" and the call comes right to me.

Isn't is interesting to hear all the ways that we are identified throughout our lives. When we are children, we are known as "so and so's" daughter. Then we we get married, we are "so and so's" wife or he becomes "so and so's husband." As our children get older, we are "so and so's" mom. As we have grandchildren, we become whatever name that first precious grandchild begins to call us. My husband and I often now refer to each other as "Grammy" and "Papa" since we are grandparents. Then, in our workplace, we get all sorts of creative names pertaining to our job - like "The Insurance Lady!"

Those identities are all fun and great, but I keep getting drawn back to One that I want to be identified with more than any of the rest. Our identity in Christ is what sets us apart as believers. The song, "In Christ Alone", pretty well sums up how I feel about my relationship with Christ. And in just a few days, I'll be singing it together with many of my Siestas from bloggyland in San Antonio!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

A New Plan

Completed Day 2 of Week 2 of training this morning. I decided for now that running in the morning will be much easier - before the hotter temps later in the day.

So . . . this morning I got up a little before 5, had my quiet time, then set out around 5:50 with my trusty companion dog, Sheila. She just loves to exercise with me. When I put my tennis shoes on, she starts getting excited and by the time I reach for her leash, she is dancing all over the place.

So I put the earphones on with iPod playing some great praise and worship music and it was so wonderful. I just love the peacefulness of early morning.

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Week Two of Training

OK - so I finished Training Week One successfully on Thursday. Saturday, it was time to tackle week two. If you are an accomplished runner, this will sound so wimpy, but I have to start somewhere. Three times during this week, I am to start my brisk walk for 5 minutes, then alternate jogging for 90 seconds and walking for 2 minutes for 20 minutes. I actually decreased my total time by 2 1/2 minutes over the prior week, so I say that is progress.

I've been walking 2 miles for awhile now and can't believe how much more of a workout it is just jogging a few seconds intermittently. At one point yesterday, I thought that maybe I had bitten off more than I could chew and then thought about The Little Engine That Could. I pushed right through saying to myself, "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can!"

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Training Day Two

OK, so yesterday I completed the second day of my couch-to-5K training and made it once again. I'm walking on the in-between days of my training, but the training days are difficult with the sweltering heat. I'm guessing that by the time I complete the 8 weeks leading to 5K status, it will be a breeze in cooler temps.

I'm hoping that I will be at that point in late September and can begin the push for half marathon training in October. I just have to be ready by February. My husband has always said that you need the right tools when building something, so I have taken that advice and picked up some new equipment for my running. A watch to help me time my alternate jogging/walking and some nifty new running shoes. I look so professional already. Hopefully people watching will see the determination and not hear the moans and groans that are happening internally.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Official Training Begins

Today is Day One of my official half-marathon training. I walk 2 miles almost everyday, but today I started a training program called Couch to 5K and am happy to say I completed my first day without cardiac arrest! Basically after starting with about a 5 minute brisk warm up walk, you alternate jogging for 60 seconds and walking 90 seconds and I did it!!! Whoo hoo! I know that my daughter-in-law is going to be so proud of me, especially when we cross the finish line together at the half in February! If the plan works, I should be trained for a 5K in just 2 months and then begin the training in October for the half-marathon. I'm really very excited and motivated about this.

For anyone interested in this training plan, you can go to and select the Couch-to-5K Running Plan. Have a wonderful weekend! I'm off to attend the Saturday morning session of the LPL Simulcast. Beth Moore really brought a word last night and I can't wait to get back this morning for more great worship and teaching.

Monday, July 28, 2008

My Gardening Experience

The first of my tomato crop was harvested several weeks ago and it was sooooo exciting! I remember so well when my grandmother lived with us when I was a child and she loved her flower garden so much. My mom worked full-time and didn't seem to have an interest, but as Momma got older, she developed that green thumb and still grows some of the most beautiful flowers ever.

Now it is my turn. I had no interest in growing things until the last few years, mainly because whenever I brought a plant home, it didn't live very long. Now I have a great interest, not only in my flowers, but my vegetable garden. I started a few years ago with a lone tomato plant in a large pot on my patio. I continued the tomato plant in a pot concept for a few years, but did add a garden plot last year with cucumbers, bell peppers, squash and green beans.

Over the winter, I saved compost materials to enrich the soil and my husband tilled it all under and we added some other good organic materials and I have had greater success, but still have a long way to go. I'm trying desperately to keep my garden organic - even subscribing to an organic gardening magazine. This year, I planted two tomato plants in my garden plot, along with green beans, cucumbers, field peas, squash, bell peppers (red, green and yellow). My husband wanted to add some fruit, so we had strawberries, cantaloupe, and watermelon.

It is my nature to get very excited over things, so my co-workers have to hear whenever I harvest something - in fact, they sometimes hear it over and over as different people come in our office and I tell it again and again.

I can see where preparing the soil and keeping the weeds out is so important to the whole process - kind of like in our spiritual development. Won't it be interesting to see how my garden and my life develop with the right care over the years?!.

Monday, July 21, 2008


My daughter-in-law is a marathon runner and has put a challenge before me. She and my son live in Missouri, but she has signed up for a half marathon in a city near me in February and has challenged me to run with her. Gramster running a half marathon - how cool is that!!

Well, I have accepted her challenge with great determination because my son just doesn't see that I can do it. Mind you, he has good reason to feel that way. I am fairly physically fit and walk 2 miles as many days a week as my schedule permits, but running has never been my great strength.

I can do this thing!!!! If for no other reason than to prove to him and everyone that I can do this thing!!! All the references Paul made to running the race set before me are just screaming in my mind. I know those references are spiritual, but I can still do this as I press forward spiritually as well.

OK - I'm interested in the support of my friends in this thing. My daughter-in-law said we could wear matching shirts and I might just have "Gramster" printed on the back of mine as well. What do you think?

Saturday, July 19, 2008

New Beginnings

I made a commitment that I would not wait an entire month before blogging again and I'm already knocking on the door of an entire month passing. What happens to time?!

This has been an incredible 30 days just full of new beginnings in the life of my family. My husband started a new job about 3 weeks ago which is definitely an answer to prayer. He worked as manager of a retail furniture company for about 5 years and they closed all of their locations in North Alabama in a downsizing attempt about 2 years ago. The past few years have been quite a struggle as we prayed about what direction to take and although he had some interim jobs, these were times of great struggle. We have been believers who have been in the practice of praying for many years; however, from the beginning of this most recent journey, we committed to begin praying together on a regular basis for the first time in our marriage. I can tell you that it has been a time of great growth in our marriage and in our relationship with the Lord. Although we do not wish to continue the struggles, we both realize just how faithful God is and have seen His provision in too many ways to write about. We celebrate this new job venture for him and praise the Lord for yet another blessing in our lives.

Our oldest son and his family moved to the same county where we live in October to take a ministry (youth) position in a church. His church had a pastorium where he and his family lived as they tried to sell their previous home which has been a huge blessing. Well, their previous home finally sold after seven months and they are preparing to close and move into their new home within a few weeks.

Our youngest son and his wife live in Missouri where he is a teacher/coach and he accepted a position in a new school district and begins work there in August. His wife just secured a position which she absolutely LOVES in the new community just completing her second week on the job. They are making plans to move as well - in fact I think both sons and families are moving the same weekend!!! We are still praying for the sale of their home, but know that God will provide and that they will have a great adventure in their new community.

As I think of the concept of new beginnings, I realize more and more that every day is a new beginning. Morning by morning, new mercies I see. My desire is just to grow closer to Jesus every day and to fall more deeply in love with Him. There is an older contemporary song which I think was written by Wayne Watson and some of the lyrics are, "I want to get so close to Him that it's no big change on the day that Jesus calls my name." That is so what I want to do. Life is just so much better with Him - can't even imagine it nor do I want to imagine it without Him!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Maiden Voyage

I thought I would begin this voyage on Gramster Blog sharing a little amusing story that happened a few days ago. My brother is a missionary in Africa, so we do not get to communicate by an actual phone call very often. One afternoon at work, my cell phone vibrated and since I was in a conference, I did not answer. When I completed my conference, I checked my messages and - you guessed it - I missed my first call from Africa since November! I was so bummed out and agonized over it with my co-workers - over and over and over.

We have to rewind just a little to explain my relationship with my co-workers. They find me a little "out there" because of a lot of things I do. I break out in song quite often when a situation or comment reminds me of a song (which is pretty often since there is a song for everything, you know?!). The tone on my old cell phone was a chicken clucking and I often did the chicken dance as it played. Also, my best friend and I talk to each other every day on the phone and we always begin our conversation with the greeting, "whoo hoo whoo hoo hoo" (the Vonage commercial tune). Those kinds of things - just love to have fun in lots of different situations.

After I missed the Africa call and had sufficiently whined to my co-workers, I had to call a representative at a company to follow up resolving an employee's problem. The rep's name is Sheila . . . my dog is also named Sheila. When I greeted Sheila on the phone, I overheard one of my co-workers comment, "I think she is so upset that she is calling Sheila" - meaning she thought I was calling my dog. We had a good laugh over it and I explained to them that Sheila (my dog) would very much have understood how upset I was over missing the call from my brother.

Several days passed with no call from Africa, but all is well that ends well. He finally called back on a Saturday morning when I had uninterrupted time to catch up with him and his precious family and it was absolutely wonderful. God is good!