Monday, December 15, 2008

teaching squirrels a lesson

our backyard is a haven for birds thanks to all the bird feeders we have. my mom loves all the little birdies who've found their home here. unfortunately the squirrels have taken up residency here, too and they love trying to steal the bird's food from the feeders. we've tried everything to keep them away from the feeders but nothing seems to work.

this morning i was looking out back at the very fat squirrel perched on the feeder and an idea came to me. if i put crisco all over the feeder stands then the squirrel wouldn't be able to make his jump from the tree to the feeder. mom gave me a paper towel full of crisco and i went outside and greased it all up.

then i stationed myself by the back door to see if my brilliant plan worked. within a half hour that squirrel was back and my brother and i watched in anticipation to see what would happen. he climbed the tree and made his leap and BAM he fell to the ground! SUCCESS!!! the squirrel wasn't about to give up that easily so he tried again and once again due to no grip he fell straight to the ground. he tried one more time and now i think he has given up. he's just been on the ground below the feeder eating all the leftovers.

and that's exactly how it should be!

Thursday, December 11, 2008


how is it possible that i reached the age of 26 without taking a "real" train ride? by "real" i mean not a 2 mile ride on the strasburg railroad which i've done plenty of times. i'm talking about riding to philly or new york or dc instead of fighting traffic lights and crazy drivers. needless to say, yesterday provided the opportunity for me to take this long overdue train ride. my brother stephen had his last final at drexel yesterday and wanted some help transporting his things home for winter break. my sister katie agreed to go with me and so at 4:22 i found myself on the platform in downingtown waiting for amtrak to take me to philly. i snapped a picture while waiting for the train to arrive.

the ride was actually really nice and i enjoyed seeing all the christmas lights on houses and shops as we passed by. it was a much more relaxing way to travel to philly and probably much faster considering the time of day we travelled. 

now that i've done it i realize how easy it is and want to do it more. i told my brother that we should take a day trip to new york city via the train. it'd probably be a lot of fun! i'll let you know if it happens.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

beauty from ashes

i find myself reflecting on the events of this day 1 year ago today. this day really is filled with lots of good memories that i haven't allowed myself to reflect on because they became clouded by sadness. thanks to a good chat with a friend tonight i allowed myself to go back to that night and to the beautiful memories that i have...

... memories of decorating ywam denver for christmas. i got to decorate the tree in the lobby with some friends and it was so much fun transforming our home into something festive and fun... then rushing to get all dressed up with way too many girls in our little bathroom all squeezing in for some mirror space. as we headed downstairs we found the boys all dressed up like we hadn't seen them before... many of them shaved after a horrific month of putting up with mustaches... yuck! we were treated to a fantastic dinner with perfectly cooked meat and yummy vegetables and then finished it off with a fancy chocolate fountain. there were all kinds of treats for dipping... strawberries... marshmallows... mmmm!

after dinner we all crammed into the worship center for some talent show fun. we watched little kids try to sing "away in a manger" without peeing their pants in front of an eager audience... we heard beautiful renditions of christmas songs... and then we heard the 'school of worship' boys since a very different version of the 12 days of christmas. it was entertaining and so much fun.

i'm glad those memories came back to me tonight. i needed to remember the laughs and the smiles and the amazing friends God gave to me. while tiff and phil might not be here any longer i'm grateful for the time i had with them. i'm so glad i had a moment with tiff that night where i got one of her incredible hugs and a word of encouragement that she was always so faithful to give. those are the moments that i'm holding onto tonight.

i'm doing my best to live out the life of love that they left behind. it's a way to honor their life and the sacrifice they made.

i'm a different person because of what happened a year ago, but i can see how God has been making beauty out of ashes and that leaves me with a smile today instead of tears.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

rest? what's that?

this past week has been a whirlwind. it's hard to believe that a week ago i was stepping off a plane into a new season of my life. with 3 months in zambia behind me i've been processing how i move on from this and i think i've realized that i don't move "on." the worst thing i could do would be to move on and put it all behind me. those people and those experiences are part of me now and part of who i am. it's hard to really put it all into words right now. i'm still processing and probably will be for a while to come. since i'm still trying to wrap my head around all of it, i'll move on to a 'safer' subject: my nieces.

yesterday kate and i went over to kesh's to help her get some pictures of the girls in their christmas dresses. originally we were going to fight the masses at the mall, but decided against it and instead grabbed dad's canon rebel and figured we could do it ourselves. i'm glad we did it that way because we got so many more laughs out of it. kesh figured out that she could get kyra to smile if she bribed her with candy and pretended to hurt herself. kyra just found it hilarious as her mom flung herself all over the living room trying to inflict pain on herself... or at least make it look that way. kyra was laughing so hard that i started laughing so hard i couldn't even take pictures. i kept telling her, "you're not supposed to make the photographer laugh!" 

here's one of my favorite photos that we took. this one didn't end up on the christmas card so i hope it's ok that i'm posting it kesh! kyra's face is priceless. you can totally tell that she's laughing and you can even see the sweet tart in her mouth that her mom bribed her with. her eyes are all squinty from laughing so hard and her face is red. then you have kylie with her big blue eyes just looking at you as if everything is totally normal and her mom isn't hitting herself on the head. love it

i just love those little girls and i'm happy i get to be their aunt susie!

last night kesh and i got to be sneaky little elves as we went to thefirestore and decorated the offices for christmas. we hung up snowflakes and garland and even left a cup of candy on everyone's desk complete with a pencil and candy cane inside! we had a good time and i know it was nice for kesh to get out of the house and do something different for a change.  ;)

my dad even got in on the action... filling the cups with candy and sneaking some to eat as well! i'm sure that would surprise many people to know that... haha. they just don't get to see that side of him very often, but i'm glad i do!

now it's off to lunch with my good friend faith and hopefully an afternoon to rest since i haven't been doing any of that lately!