Friday, February 12, 2010

Shoveling Snow....There's Nothing Like It!

This winter has been one memorable snow event after another. Thankfully, most have arrived on the weekends so I could actually enjoy them with the worries of driving in it. The other reason I am thankful is for one of my dad’s brightest, most inventive ideas.

Our home is situated on a hill with a pretty steep driveway which can be quite treacherous when covered with snow and ice.

So my dad had an idea one day to cover the concrete portion of our drive with plastic. Then when the snow’s come and go, all we have to do is sweep off the snow, scoot over the plastic…and Voila…a clean driveway!!!

Well, our last snow was some heavy stuff and, of course, dad’s snow blower tore up! That meant some muscle work and a snow shovel was involved! As I was already bundled up and out taking pics anyway, I “assisted” my dad with the snow removal (in between pictures!).

With some good team work, it didn’t take long to get the snow off and the driveway cleared but it will be a long while before I forget the special time together!

Make a memory with someone special in your life! This very day!

Motorcross Championships

One Friday evening, we girls (Jeanette, Makala and I) decided on a girls night out…but what to do? Being it was January, there was not a lot on…but then I saw it: Motorcross Championships at the new Corbin arena. Why not? After a delicious fish dinner at Cracker Barrell, we were off to our adventure. For a Friday night, I was surprised at how few people were out and about – mostly teens and young families. I must confess, having never been to a motorcross event, I was a little nervous about this being a “Family-Friendly” event. I should have had no worries. The evening started with a devotion from the Bible, prayer, and a salute to the flag. Wow! I was totally impressed! (just about as impressed as I was the night we went to the radio and had a similar experience!) Of course, if I were out there doing the stunts these guys (and gals), I would have wanted to start the evening with prayer as well.

From the Peewee Division (who were too cute and determined) to the Juniors (who were quite competitive) then on to the pros. I kept finding myself holding my breath over and over as flips and jumps kept happening, near misses on curves, and, of course, the accidents (you kept hoping the guys on the ground would get out of the way in time and sure enough they did!) The pics make seem like the action was slow but there was was no doubt these riders were moving on. And the need to know sign language!

As the evening progressed, I don’t know who got more excited, Jeanette, me or Makala. (Actually, I am thinking Makala won by a landslide!) With bikes, dirt bikes, four-wheelers, and some strange contraptions, we saw a little bit of everything! I must say the lady riders were just as exciting as the guys! (Almost! but they did really well!) By the time of the finals, we were cheering the guys on with the best of them but #355 totally stole our cheers! He was definitely one talented, awesome rider! Of course, he wasn’t the only one but what can I say! He won!!! Oh Yeah Baby!

So, if you are looking for some good clean fun, family atmosphere, exciting, sit-on-the-edge-of-your-seat-adventure, check out the Victory Sports sponsored motorcross coming to you!

Joy 2 u!

Friday, January 29, 2010

January 20, 2010 ~ A Special Untypical Day in My Life

This day was a day of blessings, surprises and laughter...not that this would atypical for a day in my life but it was more the "whoms" that made it special.

First off, our family was surprised with an unexpected visit from my Uncle Joe and cousin Rex. We had no idea they were on a road trip through Kentucky when we received the knock on our door. Surprise!! We had a good evening of catching up, some serious discussions, good stories, and lots of had to be good as we were up until at least 2 am.
It felt so good to re-connect with family! Who knew there were so many photographers in the Hodge family? You can be sure I am going to be taking advantage of their experiences.

Then early the next morning, Joe and Rex was up making breakfast before I left for work. Although I am not usually an early eater, a gal could get spoiled having gentlemen cooking in the kitchen at 7 am!
Joe did most of the work: making homemade biscuits, bacon and gravy. But Rex did assist - as he made the eggs. Of course, he forewarned everyone that normally the kitchen is off limits for him...even the fire department advises him to stay out of that location! :) A pretty good country breakfast to start the day out right!

I hated to leave while we still had company but off to work I went. Later in the morning, I had another extra special surprise. As you may have noticed from my previous post, January 20th is Dawson's birthday, my oldest nephew. I got to talk to him for quite a while via Instant Messaging (there are days when I really love technology). If I had any doubts that this boy is growing up, they vanished during our conversation. He is a really good typist and excellent speller and quite funny to boot. Later, he told his mom that the best part of His day was chatting with me. How this auntie's heart just melted? This birthday boy gave his aunt a most precious gift on this day!

Just as I am feeling overwhelmed with blessings...a friend brings by a special treat: Blueberry Italian Cheesecake...oh my, there aren't any words to describe how delicious it tasted. Not a store bought but Home Made by Italian chefs topped with REAL blueberries. Life is Good!

A quick power nap after work invigorated me for a good service. There is just no better to end the day than with worship and the Word of God which speaks life and truth and hope to our innermost beings!

Overwhelmed with Thanksgiving!

Happy 10th Birthday Dawson Grant

Early one very snowy morning ten years, we received the much anticipated phone call..."It's time!" Heading to Lexington as fast as we could in the horrible weather conditions wanting to be present for the arrival of Dawson Grant Hodge. Joy quickly turned to tears as complications arose and this little guy suffered a stroke in the womb. Fearing we would lose both Donna and Dawson, frantic calls for urgent prayer were made. And those prayers paid off! Although he spent several weeks in the hospital, if you know Dawson today, you would never believe the rough start he had in life! He is amazing proof of a living, miracle-working God!

So to celebrate his 10th birthday (he has lived a decade now!! - it is unbelievable how fast time is progressing), I put together a special slide show. Of course, for you to really appreciate Dawson, would take more than the many pictures I have included (how do you pick and choose from so many pictures?) so I had to choose the highlights of the early years and the latter years. (Thanks Donna for sharing pics with us!)

I've heard it said that you can't love another's children, more than your own. However, with no children of my own, I can't imagine loving any kids more than my three nephews. Each one has a special place in my heart. Dawson has always been the one whose heart is touched by others' hurt and is compassionate. He always loves to make people laugh. He is quite artistic and an imaginative writer. He likes to read, loves puzzles and games. He is a Star Wars Junkie (like his grandma) and a collector of old-fashioned trucks. Brothers will be brothers and he can really irritate his but just let someone else try - and he is all over it. I will never forget the night at the beach, when Grandpa and Kevin were playing but acting like they were going to throw Jaden in the ocean. Although Dawson was afraid of the water then, he was not going to let them hurt Jaden. Pretty soon, everyone needed consoling.

Dawson, I hope you have a very Happy Tenth Birthday! Know that you are loved! May the Lord bless and keep you in all yours ways and may you honor him in all you do!!

~ C ~
Posted 1/20/10 at Clarissa's Crew

Family Is..

A recent quote I came upon says it so well “Family is our link to the past and our bridge to the future”.

When I was very young, my parents felt the call of God upon their lives, moved to Kentucky and established a church there. Starting a Home Missions work, a new ministry and church, from the ground up is never easy. Leaving family and friends, secure jobs and entering a place where you know no one requires dedication and a strong faith and my parents had both attributes. As a family, we have made many sacrifices through the years but no regrets.

In the last few weeks, I have realized that one of our sacrifices including visits with family, especially the Hodge side of our family. The Chasteen side of family, especially my Great Aunts and Great Uncles, lived close enough and were such a part of lives that they were more like additional sets of grandparents rather than aunts and uncles. Growing up, there was not a lot of money for traveling back and forth to Ohio so we only saw the Hodges once in a great while. Then as everyone gets older and busy with school and work and family, it is so easy to let the bonds slip. Now today, my cousins and I are more strangers than cousins.

Should it be that way? Every family has differences. Every family has their own lives. Every family has its problems. Everyone is busy. But should we become so self-involved that we forget who we are and who we are connected to? Probably not but I am sure my family is not the only one facing this reality today. It seems parents/grandparents are the glue that holds a family together and once that glue is gone…the thread is broken.

Last winter, as I tried to work on our family’s history, I was amazed at how much has been forgotten on both side of my family. Maybe even more incredulous is how much we’ve never known…like the name of my dad’s grandparents. What would life be like today if the internet had been around 100 years ago, 50 years ago or even 25 years ago. This picture is one of only three that I have of my grandparents, Maggie and Elmer Hodge, together.

My dad comes from a large (at least in this day) family and they are blessed to still have each other. Last week, as we gathered for my aunt’s homegoing service, someone wanted a picture of those present. It was a picture I had only dreamed of getting but would never have asked this side of the family for…(the rest of my family knows I am a crazy photographer!) but I was playing it cool. Only one brother was missing from this group picture (and with a little photoshopping – I may even be able to remedy that small problem).

Another unexpected picture…first cousins reunited! (At least of the ones who were present at the moment…a few late arrivals were left out – so sorry guys!) Over the weekend, I have been thankful all over again that my sister-in-law introduced me to Facebook. It has been an amazing memory to be reunited with so many cousins. One of my favorite all time songs – “How can we reach a world we never touch?” That is the question resounding in my heart – How can we show forth love to a world in need – if we can’t even send out a friend request to a family member?”

If you’ve been a follower of my other blog, you may know that back in June when I couldn’t located any pictures of my immediate family for my Father’s Day tribute, I became an advocate for “Family Pictures!” I am here to say – Take Pictures! Capture the moments you are together – you never know what will happen tomorrow! It doesn’t have to be some fancy DSLR – use what you have – whether it is a disposable camera, a phone – whatever!

I have enjoyed becoming reacquainted with my cousins and their families and look forward to the memories still to be made! Welcome to my world! To share joys and sorrows, rejoice at accomplishments and cry together at loss! We maybe strangers today with a shared past but I pray it doesn’t stay that way – We are the bridge to the future!

Joy 2 u! ~ C ~

P.S. Thanks for indulging me on this post…I promise this blog…won’t be too serious too often! That’s why I have “From the Heart of Clarissa’s Corner!

Previouly posted 1/17/10 at Clarissa's Crew

How Old Are We?

There is just something about some fresh white powder lying untouched on the ground that brings out the kids in all of us! Jeanette and I were no exception this weekend!

I had been watching the birds and taking pictures when Jeanette decided to join me for a walk in the snow! A short walk as I was trying to find the right angle to capture the snow covered creek across the road. Trying not to fall over the hill as no one had been out and about even in boots was quite a challenge. According to Jeanette’s calculations, we had about six inches of snow by Saturday afternoon (I'm not really sure how accurate this was - as she was measuring on the side of the hill!).
While I am taking pictures of snow covered pine trees, Jeanette and the cats (yes, the cats are always nearby when someone is outside) are posing for pics as they are the prime suspects in why I don’t have more “Great” Bird Watching Pictures! However, I did talk Jeanette into making a snow angel…which was way funny (check out the video) and totally offended the cats’ dignity (so they were off…back to the house in a flash)!!~

By the time, we got ourselves back to the house, we were ready for a warm fire, some hot tea and lunch! All this exercise and fresh outdoor air sure stirs up a girl’s appetite! We weren’t the only ones enjoying the snow…dad has been out several times each day with the leaf blower turned snow blower “playing” (a.k.a. blowing the snow off the drive, making paths through the yard..why do we need paths in the yard? - it's not like we are going anywhere!) So if you are wondering what to purchase for that hard to please guy on your list...I highly recommend a really cheap leaf/snow blower (you might not get very much work done but they will have lots of fun doing nothing!) Get out and Enjoy the winter wonderland! ~ C

Previously posted 1/10/10 on Clarissa's Crew

The Lost Get Found

A few weeks ago, Jeanette found her niece. After Makala's family moved to Knox County a few years ago, phone numbers changed, and we lost touch with her not knowing they moved back last year. Through Facebook (you gotta love it!), Jeanette found Makala's mom and got permission for us to take her Christmas Shopping.

So early Saturday morning (the day after Christmas), Jeanette, Polly and I picked up Makala. Our first stop, remember - this is a Girls' Day Out and where do the Girls go on any excuse? Yes, you guessed it...Chick-Fil-A! Since Makala had never been, we had a fun time introducing her to the Eat-More-Chicken Cows!!

Then on to the serious business of shopping. Polly just had to check out all the after Christmas sales and there were a few. After several hours of going from here to yonder, we girls were plumb tuckered out (none of us are what you call "Shoppers till you drop"; we are more the "Git N and Get R Done!) and getting hungry again. So the vote was made: pick up pizzas and eat them at Pollys. After filling our bellies, it was time for a photoshoot! So we took all kinds of pictures, especially of Polly, Jeanette and Makala trying to make up for lost time.

We had a good day filled with laughter, giggles, silly antics, stories and twenty questions getting to know Makala and reacquainting her with the rest of her family! I am so used to shopping for boys from my own nephews to the skaters at the youth center, that it was quite a new experience shopping for girls: Makala and her sisters! Makala's only request for our next outing: not quite so many pictures! What? We really didn't take that many pictures on this excursion but next such promises could we make!

I couldn't help but be reminded of Britt Nicole's song "The Lost Get Found" as I thought about this reunion. In fact, I bought myself a copy that very day!

Is there someone you thought was lost but now is found? Can you share a little hope? Give someone a reason to believe. Take time to get reunited... the rewards are worth all the efforts!!

Joy 2 u! ~ C ~

Originally posted 1/1/10 on Clarissa's Crew