Thursday, July 14, 2011

Vote for Yancey!!

Okay, so I really hope that doesn't offend anyone. I mean, I don't even know what the dude stands for, and politics are just a touchy subject for so many. However, as I've driven around my town the last few months, I've passed by a gazillion political signs. They're everywhere. It's almost like they think it's a competition where the one with the most signs standing will win the election. Good thing it doesn't work that way. I've only really noticed ONE sign, though. His name is Lee Yancey, and he is running for treasurer of Mississippi. I would totally vote for him even though I don't know his political affiliation, his platform, his experience, anything. (Okay, so I really wouldn't toss those things aside because they are of upmost importance, but just go with me here.) What made me notice this man's sign above all the rest is that it is just beautiful! In the eyes of a public relations major (aka me), that sign shows that he really cares about this election and that he wanted a sign that was professional and served its purpose. Instead of going with the mundane and routine red sign with blue block letters revealing only a name and position, or a blue sign with white block letters, or even the against-the-norm green sign with white letters, he has a picture of himself with an unfocused crowd and letters that tell his name and hopeful position. I love this sign! Maybe it's because I'm in Meridian, Mississippi, where candidates don't really look for a stand-out public relations campaign to get them elected, but Yancey's sign just jumps out at me and I appreciate the efforts he has gone to in coming up with an advertisement that looks of professional worth. Now, don't miss what I'm saying here. Ad campaigns can be tricky because they mask the person behind them and attempt to make others see them as flashy or glamorous. The issues matter above all else, bottom line. BUT, it is completely appropriate to say that Lee Yancey is the only name I know of that is running for state Treasurer. His sign served its purpose (a lot better than the sign of the guy with a picture of an Elvis impersonator ~ I'm just sayin'). NOW, in the words of a great Sunday School teacher I know, pack all of that up and take it with you to my major point:

What if, as Christians, we tried to present ourselves to the public as true Christians. Would others see me as having faith in Jesus Christ if I were to just throw my sign out there that looked just like everyone else's, except maybe mine was green and it said I was a member of such-and-such church. Would that make people truly remember me as a servant of God? If I acted just like everyone else in this world, I would ultimately fail at making others see the beauty that Christ shines through me. If my sign was truly representative of my life with Christ, would it shine? What does that look like? Could others see it? Would I be seen as another uppity, judging, Bible-toter who is in all actuality no better than the other common signs? Or a gentle, Spirit-controlled, lover of ALL people that stands out among all the other signs? Hmmm. Man, I sure hope and pray that it would be the latter. My sign would be different than an advertisement because it wouldn't be able to mask my true self.

You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Matthew 5:14

So, if I throw my sign out there for all the world to see, the light will have to shine through. If there is only darkness, than no light will come from my sign and everyone will only see a sign like all the rest. Deep stuff. Also, if all I do is sit back and degrade and belittle every other sign out there, Christian or not, my sign will be the ugliest of all.

Lord, please strengthen my faith in You and help me to give You full control of my life so that Your light might shine through me. I can do nothing and am only darkness without Your supernatural power, so SHINE IN ME, JESUS! Extinguish the dark and bring to light my weaknesses and failures so that I may submit them to You and You might make them disappear. Help me to only focus on You and Your beautiful light. In your precious name, AMEN.

Now, I'm off to do some research on this Yancey guy to make sure I don't need to retract this post. :)

UPDATE: So far, I've found he's the son of a pastor, retired schoolteacher, 100% pro-life, served as assistant pastor, Mississippi born and bred, and he promises to fight tax increases. Deduce what you may...

Friday, July 8, 2011

See Rock City

Let me start this off by saying that I have always had a hard time leaving my kids with anyone for more than a couple of hours. Not that I don't trust anyone else, but I just don't like burdening others and I ultimately don't like leaving my kids for very long. I miss them too much, and I don't like not knowing what they're up to every minute! Sometimes, though, you just gotta get away. So, Chandler and I had a much needed weekend getaway to Chattanooga. Chandler's parents were so kind to stay at our house and watch the kids. We had a great time, the kids had a great time, and Nan Nan, Grandaddy, and Nanny (Chan's grandmother) had a great time (at least they said they did anyway ~ ha). This was our first getaway together without kids since April of 2009 when we went away for one night. Only other time was 16 months before that when Charlee was still in utero. Our weekend was long overdue and it was niiiiiiiiice. We had a great time and enjoyed not having to pack the 42 bags required when taking toddlers places. It was also nice to wait for a table at a restaurant and just be able to sit and wait, no chasing and consoling required. We were also able to do fun things that are not conducive to bringing kids with you.

Only a few work calls this trip :)

Rather than have a relaxed, laid-back vacation where we just laid around all day, we decided to jam-pack as much into each day as we could. I couldn't have been happier with it! We didn't get to Chattanooga until late Friday night, and decided to come home Sunday afternoon instead of stay through Monday, July 4th. We fit so much stuff in on Saturday, and the day seemed to go by so much slower than vacation days normally do. It was perfect! We saw Rock City. It was very cool ~ a lot better than I thought it would be. We didn't have plans to go when we did, but we happened upon it while driving up the mountain and looking at all of the cliff-edge houses (WHAT a view!). It was the perfect balance of heat and coolness. The caves are naturally air-conditioned. It felt awesome!

That's me out there. All the way to the left in the light shirt. Chandler didn't know how to zoom on my phone's camera. :)

Saturday night, we went to the largest drive-in theater and saw Transformers 3. There was a fireworks show right before the movie, and they had a double feature on each of the two screens that started at 10. Maybe in our younger days we would have made it to the second movie, but we could barely keep our eyes open at 12:45, so we headed on back to the hotel. Sunday, we did a zipline course. SO much fun! I thought I'd chicken out and get scared up there, but I surprised myself. The ziplines were the easiest part. We had to go through lots of obstacle courses high up in the trees, and some of them were pretty difficult. We went with a great group of people, and the guides were entertaining.

We ate at several yummy places, too. Taco Casa on the way in Tuscaloosa ~ Mmmmmmmmmm! We had breakfast at a downtown Chattanooga favorite, The Bluegrass Grill, and met a nice man and his college-age daughter while waiting for a table. They were Tennessee fans, but they had no problem associating with us Mississippi State folks. Either it's because we're so friendly, or it's because we're not viewed as a threat, I don't know, but our only real arch-enemies are Ole Miss fans. Ha! That afternoon, we had hamburgers at an Earth Fare store for $1 a piece. Can't beat that! That night, we had dinner at Big River Grille and Brewing Co. Our dinner was delicious! The manager came over and apologized to us for how long we were having to wait on our food. It was funny because neither of us had realized that it was taking a long time. We were just enjoying waiting in peace and not having to entertain little ones! We ate at Jimmy John's Sunday for lunch, then headed home. I was lucky enough to be able to stop by Fresh Market and get my all-time favorite watermelon salt water taffy, or as Charlee calls it, "laffy tandy". I could live on that stuff alone.

Best part of the trip: coming home to a clean house! Thanks Nan Nan and Nannie!! :)

Over the River and Through the Woods

We had a great trip to Grandma Jo Jo's a couple of weeks ago! I mean, if you would have asked me last Saturday, I would have told you I was exhausted and couldn't handle one more minute in the car alone with two toddlers. Looking back now, though, the fun times shine over the frustrating ones. :) Ha! The kids actually did good on the way back ~ probably because they were woe out! On the way there is a different story entirely. We were in the car for 5 1/2 hours, and Barrett slept all of 10 minutes. Charlee slept zilch. She did, however, continually ask me when we would be out of the trees. The road from Meridian to Memphis is surrounded by trees for the majority of the ride. After Memphis, there are fields and fields. Charlee apparantly wanted a little more scenery. Everytime we get in the car now, she still asks me if we have to ride through the trees again. "Mommy, I don't want to go in the trees!" "Don't worry, Sweetie. I don't want to go through the trees any more than you do." :) I won't even broach the subject of the dreaded restroom stops. Let's just say that 20 minutes in a stall with two toddlers, one of which refuses to even try to use the bathroom, is entirely too long, and Cracker Barrell bathrooms are NOT as nice as one might think. Travels aside, our trip was wonderful. We got to see my brother and his sweet family, my mom, my grandma, my aunt "Net", and the nice servers at the Dixie Pig. My favorite part of visiting family was always play time with my cousins. I'm so glad that Charlee and Barrett got to put in some hours with their sweet cousins who live entirely too far away.

I got to introduce Charlee and Barrett to my Grandaddy Freeman. I just wish it could have been in person instead of on a store-front window. :( They sure would love to have him around. So would I.

We got to lavish Grandma Jo with an early birthday celebration! We were there the week before her birthday, so we cooked her supper and made her a yummy cake.

This is my favorite part. This first picture is from two years ago when Charlee was 18 months and Reagan was 2 1/2. The second is from our trip this year. Charlee at 3 1/2 and Reagan at 4 1/2.