Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Operation No Monster

Yesterday morning, after church, Daddy said, "Hey, let's have home group at our house!"  Uh, hello, Daddy... did you forget about a little monster named Dakota that lives at our house?  That's how Operation No Monster was born.  The objective: drive the monster out of the dog.
Jes and Rob came over to go to lunch for Jes's birthday (Happy Birthday, Rosi!), then it was time for Operation No Monster to commence.  Rob agreed to come along, so we packed a very excited Dakota into the backseat and headed for the lake.

The weather was perfect!  Surprisingly, the lake wasn't too crowded.  We found our own little beach and Dakota swam her heart out.  We also found a dead turtle with it's guts hanging out... figured I'd share...

Operation No Monster was a success!  Dakota was very well behaved at home group.  She didn't attack anyone.  North Dakota.

Here's a self-portrait of Rob and Dakota on the way home.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

South Dakota plays lumberjack

When I got home from teaching Body Pump this morning, Mooly said, "Jo, come look out the office window and see what your dog did!"  The phrase "your dog" never translates to anything good.  I nervously walked over to the window, expecting the worst, and this is what I saw...

Mooly said, "You need to go outside and punish her."  What?  Mooly, are you serious?  When I went outside, Dakota got so excited!  She wanted to show off her new conquest.  She started running around the yard as fast as she could.  I looked through the window and Mooly was laughing so hard she could barely stay in her desk chair!  Obviously, Mooly was NOT being serious...

I finally commandeered Dakota's little twig... pretty sure it was almost as tall as I am.  The tree she ripped it from is right behind me.  Poor tree.

Monday, April 19, 2010

North Dakota, volcanic ash, and BOB... Oh, what a glamorous life!

I got home from Ireland on Tuesday.  First thing I did?  Ate Mexican food!!!!  I've decided that our missionary training should have included how to make tortillas from scratch.  Since it didn't, I'm going to have to add that to my Things-I-Absolutely-Must-Do-Before-I-Move-To-Dublin list.  When we got home, Mooly made me go in the backyard for my reunion with Dakota.  She was afraid Dakota would get too excited and run through a wall.  There was a decent amount of frantic joy, but mostly she just rolled around while I pet her.  She stayed right by my side for the next few days... North Dakota!

Missions Resource Network had a benefit dinner on Friday night.  All the teams heading for the field this year were invited.  Craig and Merschon were supposed to come back from Dublin on Thursday so they could make it to the dinner, but a certain volcano in Iceland decided to erupt and blow some ash on their travel plans, which meant they had to stay in Dublin an extra day (bummer).  Shay and Juli drove up from Austin and I framed some pictures of the Karnes and Hutsons to bring along so the whole team would be well represented.  On the way to the dinner, Shay called and said he was going to the airport to pick up the Hutsons!  They had rushed to catch a connecting flight to Dallas and were able to make it to the dinner anyway... just like a scene out from your average romantic comedy.  So the whole team got to be together after all (though some were slightly more two-dimensional than others)!

Today I said something I never thought I'd say, "Daddy, if you want, I'll watch an episode of Band of Brothers with you."  He looked at me like he couldn't believe his ears, then sprung off the couch before I had a chance to change my mind.  I will admit that it wasn't as boring as I was expecting.  I did manage to stay awake for the whole episode (which is saying a lot because it was raining outside and my belly was very full).  And, all though I could only stomach the one episode today, I will most likely watch more BOB... especially considering that'll be the only way to get my Daddy to stop telling me how it's the greatest show on earth and that I really do need to watch it.  I'm not totally convinced yet, I guess we'll see.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Last day in Dublin... for now, anyway...

 Today was a busy day!  The Smiths and Hutsons went with Scott this morning to look at an apartment to let, leaving me and Denise with Davis, Bailey, and baby Ashlyn.  Our assignment: get from the Karnes' house in Baldoyle to to the McGuire's house in Glenageary by 1pm for lunch.  So, with Davis pushing the stroller, we headed to the DART to catch the 11:55am southbound train.

We were greeted at the ticket counter by a very nice lad who commented on our accents and advised us on the cheapest way to get where we going.  Bailey candidly got a photograph of our new friend, who happened to be quite good-looking and could very likely be the elusive Liam McAwesome.  Denise agreed.  

It took us about 45 minutes and 21 stops, but we made it to Glenageary all in one piece!

Esther made us a delicious lunch and then we headed out their backyard and up Killiney Hill.  From the top you can see all of Dublin, including Enya's castle and Bono lives nearby!  We looked for him on the way.  We didn't see him.  We spent a couple hours on the hill, taking pictures, watching the ocean, and enjoying the sunshine.

Late afternoon we headed back up to Dundrum, a big mall close to the Coffey's house.  We ate some fish and chips, drank some IrnBru (yuck!), and then made our way to Tony and Leslie's to spend some time in fellowship with members of the Ranelagh Church.  We had lots of tea and lots of chatting, followed by some praying, more chatting, and a group photo.  The church is so supportive of our team and vision.  I am so excited about our partnership with them!

I leave Dublin in the morning.  I can't wait to be with my family... and Dakota!  I will be eating one last piece of peanut butter pie for breakfast in the morning.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

I heart peanut butter pie!

It all started yesterday... my love affair with the peanut butter pie, though some would go as far as calling it an obsession.  Denise made the pie yesterday because it had to freeze for at least 8 hours.  She let me lick the beaters.  That was the first mistake!  After one tiny taste my heart and tongue were bound together forever.  I knew at once that no other pie on earth would ever make me as happy as this pie before me.  But the taste was just a tease.  The pie must be frozen.  I kept stealing wayward glances at the freezer.  Then Denise would scold me for lusting and remind me of the painful truth...we're not eating that pie until tomorrow!  So I was forced to wait.

I hardly slept.  I tossed and turned.  I was tortured by nightmares about the demise of my precious pie.  Finally, morning came!  Today was going to be a glorious day!  Today was the Day We Eat the Pie!  I rushed down stairs.  I even managed to peek into the freezer before Denise, with her ever watchful eye, quickly sent me away to get ready for church.

 After service, the church had a little potluck for us.  Nothing big, just sandwiches and cake and some mingling with the members.  I tried to eat a piece of the cake, but every bite just made me yearn for my peanut butter pie even more.  I finally resigned myself to the fact that no other dessert would every satisfy desire for decadence.  I did not eat my cake.

This afternoon we just enjoyed our time together as a team.  We played cards.  We ate dinner.  And then...

The best thing happened!  Denise opened the freezer!  She reached for the pie!  She brought plates and forks!  Of course, we had to follow the proper protocol.  We lit candles.  We sang.  And then there was cutting, and passing of plates.  My mouth was salivating in anticipation, IT WAS TIME TO EAT THE PIE!  At last!  I took a small bite of my pie and slowly brought it to my mouth.  This second taste was even more powerful than my first!  Sweet, creamy, peanut butterey goodness that melted in my mouth.  My eyes closed, all thoughts vanished, I was swimming in culinary ecstasy.  Before I could stop it, I heard a low "mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm" escape my throat.

That was the best pie I've EVER had!

Thank you Scott for being born on this day 43 years ago!  Afterall, it was the celebration of that glorious event that introduced me to the most McAwesome pie in the world!  Happy Birthday!!!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

"Reunited and it feels so good!"

Two great things happened this morning:  Number first, Craig and Merschon got here!  Now our whole entire team is together in Dublin for the first time EVER!  We get to spend the next three days together dreaming and scheming about what life will be like when we all get here for good.  Number second, I got baby Ashlyn to fall asleep all by myself!  I've been trying all week to bounce her to sleep and today I finally won!  I guess I should mention that when I tried to lay her down in her bed she woke up and started screaming her head off.  
I quickly handed her back.

 Then Denise and I walked to LIDL (pronounced little or lye-dl or lee-dl) to get some groceries.  LIDL is really just ALDI with a different name.  Of course we took our own bags, but I wouldn't let Denise take her little trolley because then we would look too dorky.  We decided the two of us could manage the bags on our own.  Sure enough, we made it there and back with no trouble at all.

I can't believe the first week of my trip is already over!  Only three more day until I head back to the States...

Hopefully I will get to skype home later today.  It's Saturday, which means hamburgers for dinner.  We're having a potluck after church tomorrow.  And peanut butter pie for Scott's birthday tomorrow night.  Happy Birthday Eve, Scott!

Friday, April 9, 2010

Just don't burn the house down...

Scott and Denise went out with a couple from church tonight.  Around 5 pm I heard Denise yell down the stairs, "Hey Jo, come help me pick out what to wear!"  Luckily, growing up with Jes constantly asking, "does this look ok?" and years of experience playing "dress Jael" in college prepared me for this very occasion.  I was surprised to find out that Denise had a pair of skinny jeans (who knew she was so hip?) which tucked nicely into my super-swanky new Puma boots.  I must admit that I was a bit jealous when she was able to zip them up so easily with room to spare.  Then Bailey reminded me that I can't be sad because I have awesome calves.  Thanks, Bailey!

The Smiths went out to look at a house in a different part of town and spend some time exploring, which left me, Davis, and Bailey alone to do WHATEVER WE WANTED!  The first thing we wanted... ICE CREAM!  We walked to the store and got some Ben and Jerry's.  Vanilla for Davis, Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough for Bailey, and Chocolate Fudge Brownie for myself.  When we were leaving the Centra, we saw this dog just chilling outside, waiting patiently on his owner to finish shopping.  Wonder how long it will take me to teach Dakota that trick?

We came home and ate our ice cream in front of the computer watching Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire.  Of course, we had to take a few breaks... a couple to use the toilet (that's how you say bathroom in Irish) and one to make popcorn from kernels.  I had never done this before.  All I'll say is that we were lucky it wasn't a HUGE disaster!  Only a few pieces managed to pop out from under the lid before Davis said, "Quick!  You have to pour it in this bowl!"  It was delicious!

Craig and Merschon get in tomorrow morning!  Only a few more days left in Dublin...

How many thousands could Flat Jesus feed with 2 fish and an order of chips?

Yesterday was "Big Adventure Thursday"!  After breakfast, the Karnes, Smith, and I, along with Flat Jesus and Flat Stanley, headed to the DART station for a day of exploring.  We headed north to Howth.  As far as I know, Howth is all about 2 things... fish and tourists... and believe me,  we saw a lot of both (Well, we didn't as much see the fish as smell them, but they were definitely there!)

We walked down to the pier to see the seals.  They don't do much except float and stare, but they still draw quite a crowd.  We went to a chippy for lunch and ate our fish and chips(aka french fries) by the sea.

When we'd had our fill of Howth, we returned to the DART and waited for the next train.

This time we headed south to City Center.  Our first stop was at Ha'Penny Woolen Mills to get Denise some quilting thread.  We crossed the Ha'Penny Bridge (aka the "you-used-to-have-to-pay-half-a-penny-to-cross-here bridge") and found ourselves in Temple Bar, which is probably the most urban-trendy place in Dublin.


We headed from Temple Bar to Grafton Street, full of shop and street performers, and then on to St. Stephen's Green.  I decided to break off from the rest of the group here and do some exploring on my own.

My plan was to walk around the area I'm interested in living.  Long story short, I did NOT go the way I should have and after an hour of walking I was STILL walking.  At one point along my journey, "your man" on his delivery bike stopped to ask directions.
Our conversation went like this...

Your man: Hiya.  Do you know how to get to...?
Me: No.  Do you know how to get to a DART?
Your man: No

Thanks for nothing, dude... I kept walking.  Finally I got into an area of town that was slightly familiar and soon enough I made my way to a DART station.

I got back to the Karnes' just in time to leave again.  We all went and ate some good Irish food at Pat and Rose McGlynn's house.  It was delicious.

This morning, I googled my journey... you know, for kicks and giggles.  If I had gone the right way, I would've walked 1.9 km (about 20 mins).  Instead, I walked 6.2 km and about an hour and 15 min!  Oops.

And here's a quick "holla" for my best friend Jael Beamon Hastings because yesterday was her birthday and birthdays are my favorite!

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A prayer from the deep of my soul...

Rock of Ages.  Ancient of Days.  Adonia.  El Shaddai.  Jehovah.  Great I am.  God of Israel.  Father of Abraham, Issac and Jacob.  Sovereign Lord who led the Israelites through the desert, who defeated nations, who raised up the prophets.  Creator.  Redeemer.  Most High God.  Alpha.  Omega. 

You are All in All.  You are time and space.  You are Love.  You are Peace.  You are Light.  You are Truth.  You are faithful.  You heal.  You comfort.

You are holy.  You reign over your creation.  Nothing can be that You have not made. 

You are all knowing.  You are all powerful.  You are everywhere.  Nowhere cannot escape You.  You are the Consuming Fire.  You are the Wind.  You are a Whisper.  You are the Thunder.  You are the air I breathe.  You fill my soul.  You give life to my body.  You give knowledge to my mind.  You sustain me.  You fulfill me. 

You calm the storm.  You make quiet rivers rage.  You move mountains and You part seas.
You have plans for me.  You prosper me.  You are my Hope. 

You are the Mighty Conqueror.  You are the Great Warrior.  You fight.  You win. 

You are the Giver.  You are the Sustainer.  You are the Bread of Life.  You are the Way.  You are the Judge.  You were first.  Nothing was before you.  You will be last.  Nothing can be without You.

You are the High Priest.  You are the Great Teacher.   You are the Lion.  You are the Lamb.

You quench.  You satisfy.  You clothe.  You bless.

You are Father.  You are King.  You are Lord.  You are Ruler of Heaven and Earth.  Nothing is above You.  Your kingdom is forever.

You are my Fortress.  You are my Rock.  You are my Strong Tower.  You are a shield about me.  You are the Stream in the Desert.  You are the Lifter of my head.

My soul cries out for You.  My heart longs for You.  I seek.  I stumble.  You are there.  You guide me.  You catch me.  You are patient.  You wait for me.  You are persistent.  You do not give up on me.  I lose my way.  You find me.  You are my Deliverer.

You are eternal.  You are merciful.  You are full of grace.  Your love is unconditional.  You extend.  I accept.  You are steadfast.  Your love never ceases.

You are Three and You are One.  You are Master.  You are servant.  You command angels.  You drive out demons.  You wash feet.   You touch lepers.

You are in control.  It is Your Kingdom.  It is Your Vision.  It is Your Mission.  You are Lord of the Harvest.  You will prepare my way.  You will light my path.  I am eager.  I am consumed.  I am excited.  I am overwhelmed.  I am disheartened.  I am weary.  I am afraid.  I am reminded of Your Promise.  The battle belongs to You, Lord.  The battle is already won.  Nothing to lose.  Everything to gain.  Your Kingdom holds the victory!

Monday, April 5, 2010

If I fall off this thing and break my leg, run and get your mom as fast as you can!

No rain in Dublin today... just sun and lots of wind. To take advantage of the good weather, Davis and Bailey agreed to show me the park behind their house. Dublin has the COOLEST parks... very posh playground equipment! I mean, the slides and swings I grew up on don't even compare to what Dublin has to offer.

We climbed. 
We slid. 
We spun.  
We laughed A LOT!

The one thing I learned: it's a whole lot scarier when you're big. I do have one thing going for me... at least I'm taller than my favorite color!

Shay, Juli, and baby Ashlyn come tomorrow. It's about to get very crowded in the Karnes' house!!!

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sudoku, Tea, and Birthday Parties

After several hours of playing Sudoku and attempting to read The Shack, I finally made it to Dublin! The lack of sleep must've made me look a bit suspicious because "your man" at the airport eyed my passport for a long time and asked me lots of questions before letting me into the country. Apparently being too vague on your entrance form is not the best approach. After verifying that I did indeed have a place to stay and a ticket home, I got a stamp in my passport and a nod to continue on!

Normally, I would bypass baggage claim and straight through to customs. Not this trip. Out of my deep love for the Karnes, I was hauling 47.5 pounds of peanut butter, chocolate icing, vanilla extract, maple flavoring, loofahs, craisins, and birthday presents! Once I squeezed my way out of all the baggage claim chaos, I breezed through customs and into the lobby. It wasn't hard to spot the Karnes in the crowd. Scott was flashing a giant smile and waving the big sign Davis made for me. There was lots of screaming and hugging and more hugging.

The Irish drink tea. I think I'm gonna be a big fan, I drank 2 pots after I got up from my nap! But I will say that drinking lots of tea is not a good idea if you want to sleep through the night...

Today is Bailey's birthday! We opened some presents this morning and are expecting lots of guests for the party this afternoon... she made a list, Davis is checking people in at the door, it's kind of a big deal...

Church tomorrow. The Smiths and Hutsons arrive in a few days. We've got a big week ahead!