Friday, December 23, 2011

It is more blessed to give......

Why is it so easy to forget that we are always blessed when we bless others? I'm so incredibly blessed by God to have so much more than I need...
I had to mail an overnight package today, and happened to have a $50 bill burning a hole in my wallet. I felt God urging me to give something today; I made myself (and God) a promise that after I mailed the letter, I'd give the remainder to the first needy person I saw. 
I have to admit, I did have a bit of a mental struggle.  'God, this package is only going to cost about $15 to mail; you really want me to give $35 to a complete stranger?'  But the feeling that I should do so was strong and compelling, and I made up my mind that I would follow God's cue, regardless.
When I came out of the post office, standing on the sidewalk outside the door was a young Indian man with his small son (maybe 4 years old), homeless and looking for help. Were they there when I went in?  I don't know.... I was so wrapped up in the Christmas rush, maybe I didn't see them -- or maybe them being there right then, at that moment in time when I left the post office, was MY small Christmas miracle.  I stopped and spoke with them, told the man of my promise, gave him the money, and also put all the loose coins in my wallet in the little boy's pocket. I got huge hugs and excited thank you's, and I walked across the parking lot trying not to cry. 
 My wallet is now empty, but my heart is full and overflowing. God, help me remember to always be grateful for all my blessings .....
Luke 6:38 -- Truly, it is more blessed to give than to receive.


Friday, December 2, 2011

Mixed messages

As I sat at the ATM last evening, I had the opportunity to read the signs posted on either side of the screen. To the left of the ATM's screen was a large green sign that entitled "Safety Information". One of the safety tips (in case you can't read the fuzzy print on my photo): "Prepare your deposit envelope and deposit slip before arriving at the ATM."

The blue sign on the right of the screen?? It said: "For your convenience, ATM Deposit Envelope will be dispensed during transaction"!!!! (Sorry, I can't get this picture to post in the right direction!)

So, M&T Bank, what do you REALLY want me to do in order to be safe???


Friday, November 18, 2011

Thanksgiving funnies!

Haven't had much time to post lately, but I figured I at least needed to add my favorite Thanksgiving cartoons, old and new!  If I don't get to post again before Thanksgiving, I hope you have a wonderful, bountiful day, filled with family, friends, happiness, good food and THANKFULNESS!!


Monday, October 10, 2011

Happy 1st anniversary, Russell and Iris!

One year ago today, Kenzie and I were in Honduras for my nephew's wedding (posts from then, #1, #2, #3, #4). Amazing how quickly time goes by......  Congratulations, Russell and Iris!!

Wishing you many more years of happiness!

Monday, September 12, 2011

The dogs of 9/11: the other heroes‏

These are the dogs that worked the trade center that are still alive but retired; they are heroes too. Their eyes say everything you need to know about them. Just amazing creatures.

True heroes of 9/11 still with us today...

Moxie, 13, from Winthrop, Massachusetts, arrived with her handler, Mark Aliberti, at the World Trade Center on the evening of September 11 and searched the site for eight days.
Tara, 16, from Ipswich, Massachusetts, arrived at the World Trade Center on the night of the 11th. The dog and her handler Lee Prentiss were there for eight days.
Kaiser, 12, pictured at home in Indianapolis, Indiana, was deployed to the World Trade Center on September 11 and searched tirelessly for people in the rubble.
Bretagne and his owner Denise Corliss from Cypress, Texas, arrived at the site in New York on September 17, remaining there for ten days.
Guinness, 15, from Highland, California, started work at the site with Sheila McKee on the morning of September 13 and was deployed at the site for 11 days.
Merlyn and his handler Matt Claussen were deployed to Ground Zero on September 24, working the night shift for five days.
Red, 11, from Annapolis, Maryland, went with Heather Roche to the Pentagon from September 16 until the 27 as part of the Bay Area Recovery Canines.
Tuff -- Abigail, above, was deployed on the evening of September 17, searching for 10 days while Tuff arrived in New York at 11:00 pm on the day of attack to start working early the next day.
Handler Julie Noyes and Hoke were deployed to the World Trade Center from their home in Denver on September 24 and searched for five days.

Scout and another unknown dog lie among the rubble at Ground Zero, just two of nearly 100 search and rescue animals who helped to search for survivors.
During the chaos of the 9/11 attacks, where almost 3,000 people died, nearly 100 loyal search and rescue dogs and their brave owners scoured Ground Zero for survivors. Now, ten years on, just 12 of these heroic canines survive, and they have been commemorated in a touching series of portraits entitled 'Retrieved'.
The dogs worked tirelessly to search for anyone trapped alive in the rubble, along with countless emergency service workers and members of the public.
Traveling across nine states in the U.S. from Texas to Maryland, Dutch photographer Charlotte Dumas, 34, captured the remaining dogs in their twilight years in their homes where they still live with their handlers, a full decade on from 9/11. Their stories have now been compiled in a book, called Retrieved, which is published on Friday, the tenth anniversary of the attacks. Noted for her touching portraits of animals, especially dogs, Charlotte wanted 'Retrieved' to mark not only the anniversary of the September 2001 attacks, but also as recognition for some of the first responders and their dogs.

"I felt this was a turning point, especially for the dogs, who although are not forgotten, are not as prominent as the human stories involved," explained Charlotte, who splits her time between New York and Amsterdam. "They speak to us as a different species and animals are greatly important for our sense of empathy and to put things into perspective."

Charles Mayfield

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Proud to be an American

In remembrance of 9/11/2001 and looking forward to our future.....

"Home of the Brave", performed by Eric Dodge

"In God We Still Trust", performed by Diamond Rio

Friday, September 9, 2011

So glad I have a sump pump!!

The rain around here has been relentless this week.  It started mid-day on Monday and has continued to pour ever since.  This morning, it's gray and very overcast, but NOT raining.  However, that appears as if it will be short-lived, because is showing more storms here starting in about an hour and going through the night, light showers tomorrow morning, and MORE storms tomorrow afternoon.

Here is an amazing video of flooding in Ellicott City, MD.  This water is running DOWN the hill from the tremendous amount of water that was dumping on the area.

So much flooding caused a retaining wall in Ellicott City to collapse, smashing several cars parked nearby.

(photo from the Ellicott City Patch)

More pictures of Ellicott City, from the Baltimore Sun:

Check out the flooding on Rt. 29, which is a major road (3 lanes in each direction) connecting Baltimore, MD and Washington, DC.  This flooding is right outside the entrance to Columbia, MD.

Kenzie and I decided to drive around Laurel and Savage yesterday and take photos of flooding.  Here's some of what we saw:

Flood waters receding on Contee Road behind Laurel Hospital

Water into the woods (and over the bridge the night before) on Brock Bridge Road, Laurel, MD

Further down Brock Bridge Road, near Annapolis Junction, MD -- bridge at the river completely covered by flooding

Another view of the same area -- see the large tree that floated downstream and is across the road?

Water and mud left as river starts to recede.

Laurel Lake, extremely full!

Another view across Laurel Lake

Spillway/overflow creek for Laurel Lake

You can see in this photo how much higher the water was the day before!

Little Patuxent River, Savage, MD (taken from the Bollman bridge next to Savage Mill)

View of river from opposite side of bridge
And lastly, a video I took of the Little Patuxent River:

It's lightly raining right now; I guess the next round of storms is gearing up.  I'd better get off the computer and keep working on my Ark!


Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Cruise to the Bahamas -- Day 3 at Port Canaveral

Port Canaveral wasn't one of the locations where our ship was originally supposed to stop; however, Hurricane Irene changed those plans.  At first, I wasn't too thrilled about this stop.  I've been to Florida SOOO many times before; why would I want to stop there on a cruise??  But it was what it was, and we were determined to make the best of it. 

We were supposed to go on a special trip at Grand Turks to visit an uninhabited island and see/touch stingrays in the wild.  Since we were no longer going to Grand Turk, we decided to use our refund for a different side trip.  We eventually settled on an airboat ride into the Florida swamps to look for alligators.  Mackenzie was a bit ..... dubious??.... at first, but as you'll see from the pictures, she had a GREAT time!

A view of Port Canaveral from the ship
Kenzie's ready for another adventure!
Looking at one of the other airboats and the dock
Ready to GOOOOOO!!!

Look closely -- it's our first alligator sighting of the afternoon!
And here it comes.....

Captain Kenzie, ready to to go hunt down those varmints!
After the airboat ride, we were given a demonstration by a local animal rescue group that specializes in wildlife/exotic creatures.  Here are the "critters" they brought for show and tell......

So guess which one Mackenzie had to hold afterwords?????


Back at the ship, leaving Port Canaveral, and enjoying the warm breezes.
A view of Cocoa Beach from the balcony of the ship.
Another look back at the beach
And last, but not least, our towel critter for the night?  Is it a bulldog?  Not quite sure......    

Tomorrow...... arriving in Nassau, the Bahamas!!