Friday, January 10, 2014

Shock, but no Awe

This will come as a shock to many of you, especially those of you whom know me well.  Be prepared to laugh, so don't take a sip of coffee at this very moment:  I am sick of winter.  There, I said it.  It feels very freeing to finally say it in public.  I am sick of taking deep breaths, in order to prepare for the ensuing cold toilet seat.  I am tired of looking out the window, day dreaming of flowers and butterflies and flowers.  Everything looks sad out there.  It's all shriveled up and boring.  Yes, I still do like the break in the hot temperatures, but this last cold front about set me over the edge.  Yes, we are back in the 50's again, and the 60's will be here tomorrow, but the winter dreary is still out there.  The short days hover over me, in such a harsh and uncaring way.  I just about go into convulsions the week prior to "falling back" with the clocks.

Nonetheless, I do keep a positive attitude and dabble in lots of indoor projects.  But the cold leather seats in the van, are unappealing.  The shortened days are like being in a timed torture chamber, that starts just after 5pm.  I know, things could be worse.  I always know that, because I know how blessed I am, but I think a little humorous ranting does a body good.  It's all in fun,  But the real fun won't begin again until March or April.  Blossoms will abound and birds will be singing.  It will paradise once more, at least until July.  Ha ha!

Have a blessed day, ya'll.  Take the time to laugh at it all.  

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Summer Wrap-Up

I know, I haven't posted on my blog in forever.  It has just been the craziest summer ever recorded in the Braud household, and I could never really find the time or the words to write.  Since we have just celebrated a momentous occasion, I feel I can not wait any longer.

We spent much of the summer doing a lot of "lasts" with Andrew.  It will go down in history as the summer before Andrew went to the United States Air Force.  We had a fabulous going away party for him.  Over 50 people were in attendance and I was told more than once it was the best party ever.  I had an absolute blast.  All of it was fun.  The planning, the prep, the cooking, the decorating and best of all, the prizes!  I bought tons of prizes and most of them had a patriotic theme to them.  I smoked chicken and shredded it for BBQ sandwiches, homemade potato salad, baked beans and a wonderful cake with a chocolate mascarpone cheese filling!   Oh, and punch!  The punch was the hit of the party.  How could I forget that? Truly, it was momentous, at least to me.

Flash forward just a bit, surviving boot camp was no easy task.....for me.  I am sure Andrew could say the same, but for different reasons!  Ha ha!  Basically, we were unable to talk to Andrew the whole time he was in boot camp.  He was allowed to call twice, but they were timed calls and it was crazy.  I wrote to him almost every day, and he even wrote a few times, also.  In October, we made the 18 hour drive to San Antonia and had the best time ever.  It was so special and meaningful and emotional and all those other types of emotions.  All good.  I have never felt so proud as when I got to see Andrew marching in his dress blues.    He is now stationed at Beale Air Force Base, in California.  He will be flying back and forth to Korea once his specialized training is complete.  I feel certain he will get to visit my sister whom lives out there, and that would be wonderful!

Our summer was very full, with several house guests.  I love having friends come to visit, and was so thankful that several of our really close friends were able to visit.  I swear, I have no greater pleasure than to cook for friends and then eat with them.  LOVED IT.

Michael and James have been enjoying having less people to share their goodies with, as Chris also moved out in late August.  He made an attempt at living just off campus in a small apartment.  Unfortunately, the job market was lousy and he was unable to become gainfully employed.  He is back home now and we are all adjusting nicely.

We lost Keith's dad in September.  It was very sad and very emotional and we just totally miss him.  When we were in Louisiana for the funeral, the house felt so empty without him.  The guys and I pray for his wife and Keith's sisters often.   He was one of a kind!

Well, I am now realizing this blog post is sort of "meh", but if I don't post something soon, I fear it will just fade into the sunset.  I really do want to keep blogging, if for no other reason than to record important events for the guys.  I feel certain one day they will actually treasure this blog.  One day.

Friday, May 17, 2013

Introspection on Introverts

I'm going to make an attempt to tell you everything you ever needed to know about introverts, but were too afraid to ask.  It's not like we would answer you anyway, but if we did, we might tell you some of the following tidbits... "Might" being the key word.  And the reason I am making this educational post is because I just think some of you extroverts don't get "us".  Okay, I'm not really going to tell you everything, but it may be just enough to help you understand us a little better.

First of all, we are not rude simply because we choose to remain quiet.  It doesn't mean we are lacking for words, either.  We are just very selective about with whom we share our jewels of information.  Extroverts love anybody, but introverts tend to love only special people.  People who accept them for their quietness, and people who have put forth the effort to give them a safe place to share.  Keith and I are both introverts, which means we kind of created introverted offspring.  It works for us, most of the time.  There are times, though, when a whole family of introverts can have some serious disadvantages.  Trust me, it's not that we choose to be this way, it is just how we are.  Believe it or not, we like being introverts.  We aren't secretly wishing we could be extroverts and we just don't know how to do it.  We LIKE sitting in the background to observe and listen.

As a young girl, I can remember hearing people in the background always referring to me as shy, as if it were some kind of disease.  In my mind, I really didn't care for that label, because to me it has a negative connotation.  I would rather not be singled out, especially when I just wanted to be unnoticed and have no attention drawn to me.   I was content to only have two or three "best" friends growing up.  Even on Facebook, I carefully consider friend requests and "unfriend" when I realize there is no real connection.  In fact, I was so "shy", when Keith and I had our wedding ceremony, there were the required two witnesses, the Justice of the Peace and a photographer.  For me, I just couldn't imagine walking down an aisle with all eyes on me and then have them listen to me tearfully recite my vows...  That was just too personal for me and I didn't know Keith's family well enough to allow them to see me cry.

All four of the guys have a degree of introvert-ism...  some more than others.  I have been told they are rude because they don't talk to others.  Not only is that hurtful, but it is dead wrong.  I am pretty sure the person that said this is an extrovert.  They don't get us at all.  Too bad they can't offer us some grace, because we sure offer it to them.  We will quietly sit back and let them whoop and holler and keep the spotlight on them and we dare not tell them they are wild or obnoxious.  We keep it to ourselves and allow them to be.

In fact, both of my guys have graduated from high school, and both of them did not want a party or to send out announcements or to advertise their milestone at all (not that there is anything wrong with that if you do choose to send out announcements).  No fanfare, and no banner waving, but a private celebration with family was all they wanted.  Sounds great to me.

I could easily write an entire chapter about introverts, because I have first hand knowledge about them.  I am one.  And I make no apologies for it.  When I meet an introvert, I understand if I want to get to know them, I will have to work for it.  I also know that once I gain their trust, I will have the most loyal and sincere friend ever.  Introverts may seem shy or rude, but what you don't know is, they are sizing you up to see if you are worth their time.  They want to be sure you won't capitalize on their weaknesses or share their secrets.  It's not something we do on purpose, it just is.

Have you hugged an introvert lately?  If you did, it must mean you are special!

Here is a little snipit I found on Pinterest that explains it better than I can:

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Time Flies

Another school year coming to a close and another son graduating from home education!  What a journey!  Honestly, if you had asked me ten or so years ago if we had plans of home schooling all the way to graduation, I probably would have said, "I have no idea".  Now that we are about to graduate another son, I can honestly say, "I am so glad we did it for the long haul".  It has never been easy, that is for sure, but it has been worthwhile.  We have had many adventures, much freedom and I wouldn't trade one second of it.

Chris is finishing up his second year of college.  He is one of those students that gets A's with little effort and B's when he is distracted.  He has always been gifted with a photographic memory and I am thankful I can rely on him at any time to recall a past event or conversation.  It seems he is going to continue majoring in accounting and has his sites set on becoming a CPA.   I appreciate him in so many ways, especially as he has been maturing over the last year.  He often gives sound advice and I can always count on him to do a job well.  I am proud of you, son, for all that you have tackled this year at school and on the job!  I pray the Lord's blessing of abundance and holiness upon you.

Our graduating senior, Andrew, will be headed to San Antonio on August 6th to begin his basic training in the United State Air Force.  Since he was a toddler, he has always talked about becoming a soldier.  As he learned and progressed through Civil Air Patrol, earning the rank of 2nd Lieutenant, he realized the Air Force was the better branch in which to enlist.   In fact, since achieving 2nd Lieutenant, he will be able to enlist as an E-3, which is the equivalent of serving about two years.  He has been assigned the job of tactical aircraft crewchief.  Although at first he had hoped to land the broadcasting position he auditioned for, he has become very excited about the idea of working with the fighter jets.   He has been teaching himself some computer programming in his spare time, and has even built a couple of computers from scratch.  It is amazing what someone will do when they want to do it.   I still say he has a fabulous radio voice, but that can wait for later.  I am proud to have a son willing to serve our country and I pray the Lord will place a shield of protection around him and his comrades.  Job well done, Andrew!

Michael has been an excellent student this year.  He seems to earn A's almost as easily as Chris.  He has always had a gift of drawing, like his father, and has often told me that he finds math to be fun.  With those two talents put together, we enrolled him in a drafting class this past fall.  His teacher says he is very good at it, and from what I know about Michael, I am certain it comes to him naturally.  Out of the four guys, Michael has always had the more beautiful hand writing.  Even when he was first learning to write, his penmanship was always very neat an uniform.  It seems this auto-cad class has fueled his desire to continue on and he will most likely enroll in college to be a draftsman.    I am very proud of you, Michael.  I pray the Lord will surround you with Godly friends and instill wisdom into all of your decisions.

James is finishing up his seventh year of school.  He does very well in his subjects and always gets smiley faces on his papers.  I am thankful for his easy-going nature and his positive attitude.  There is no pressure on him yet to make any lasting decisions about the future.  For now, he just likes to have fun with his friends and play games.  He is eager to gain some height and for his voice to change, but in due time, that will all happen.  I have survived three teenage guys and on May 19th, I will be getting the final teen in the home.   It has been a pleasure having you as my student, James, and I pray that you will increase in wisdom and Godly character over the coming years.

We have made a short trip to Louisiana a couple of months back.  Keith's dad has been having some issues with his health and we wanted to travel as a family of six, since it may be our last time with Andrew's departure.  The weather was perfect and we were able to visit with Dad some, but his condition kept it limited.  Aunt Tootie spent the day with us and it was wonderful.   Aunt Len made her fabulous coconut cake.  It had been over six years since we last ate at TJ Ribs and we met several friends there for an evening of good food.  We were not disappointed and it was worth the wait.

Last month we accompanied Keith on a business trip to Atlanta.  I love Atlanta.  It is so clean and full of rich history.  I was amazed at how incredibly friendly the people were!  Living in the Bible belt has its rewards.  One can always depend on getting their heart blessed at any given moment, by any stranger on the street, even in Atlanta!   I am looking forward to a return trip to Atlanta for some more sight seeing and good food.

Tax season is over and the flower beds have been begging for attention.  Each day, I tackle another project, trying to get things tidied up from the winter.   I love watching things come into bloom, with each blossom taking its turn in the spotlight, and then stepping aside to allow another show to begin.  The irises are showing off right now.  We have tons of them and I can seem some blooming out of almost every window.  Yes, I am blessed and I never take one minute of it for granted.

Keith has transitioned quite well to a multi-product plant.  The new product is a hit and it seems they are selling it as fast as they are making it.  He continues to beautify the plant and the grounds as funds allow.  We often go out there and clean his offices and work the landscaping for him.  I am so thankful for his job that he loves.  He is very good at what he does and I am very proud of him!!!

I am looking forward to seeing some good friends this summer and of course, I so enjoy riding bikes with Keith and sipping coffee at Rembrandt's.  I am thankful for the coming break and pray the Lord will bless our time of transition with Andrew and any other things that are thrown our way.  Thanks for stopping by - come and visit any time!

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

The Big Reveal

We finally got our new bathroom.  When we first looked at this house over six years ago, we knew the master bathroom was horrid.  We figured we would redo it one day, but it just never rose to the top of the list since we knew it would be costly and inconvenient.  Thankfully, we now get to enjoy a nice, new bathroom in which Keith and I can be in at the same time.  Keith and I were talking and we realized neither of us had ever had a nice bathroom our whole life.  Oh, sure, we had better than an outhouse and all of our bathrooms were functional, but none of them were nice.

In Louisiana, our first house was a shack home, built off the ground and very primitive.  We were newlyweds and didn't really notice.  Our next two homes in Louisiana had very old, small and outdated bathrooms.  But upon moving here, we went into an ever smaller bathroom (5' x 8') and constructed with junk fixtures.  Keith wanted to just change out the fixtures and flooring, but, well, I am too much of a visionary for that.  I kept telling him we needed to wait until we could afford to do it right and make it bigger!

We demolished the wall that separated the bathroom and our closet.  Now we had  8' x 11' of space!  Keith has a good relationship with a contractor and in less than two weeks, we had a finished bathroom.   It was loud and messy and cramped for those two weeks, but so worth it!   I still would like to get some wall art and a few other items, but I can wait for those things.  It feels so great to have my own sink!!

I wasn't going to post the before pictures because I am so embarrassed of it, but I guess it does have more meaning if you can see the whole story.  I praise God for a job done ON BUDGET!!!

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Tiny sink for two....
A roomy shower!
My very own sink with no whiskers in it!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Product Reviews

Like you, I hate to spend money on products that don't do what they say will do, or products that just aren't that great.  I value the opinions of others, and well, I am very picky.  Occasionally, I see fit to review a few products or services or whatever, so here goes:

Deluvia Miracle Aloe Cream - Sam's Club had a demonstrator slapping this cream on your arm and claiming a whole host of benefits of this cream.  First of all, she claimed it absorbed into all seven layers of your skin.  Yeah, right.  And then she went on to boast how healing it was.  I must admit, after the first use, my arm felt like silk, at least to me it did.  Upon getting home and using it regularly, I can attest it is my favorite moisturizing cream, ever.  When you apply it, it feels as if you skin is literally drinking it.  I have applied it to some problems areas and they are healed.  It has reduced inflammation on my foot.  I love it.  I have tried many different miracle creams, but this one is the real deal.  There is NO GREASY residue whatsoever.  None.  I have used it on every inch of my skin from my face down to my toes.  They have other products in their line, and I plan on giving them a try one day.  Oh, and this cream is a little pricy, but it lasts a long time.  With daily use for the last six months+, I have about 1/3 of the jar left.   Very little is needed, even for a problem area.  It is fragrance free as well, which I like.

Kirkland's Weight Maintenance Dog Food - We love this stuff!  Well, not really, but we love what it does for Levi, our elder golden retriever.  Within a month of him eating it daily, his seizures stopped and have never returned.  That was over two years ago.  His coat is lustrous and soft.  He still has much spunk and vitality.  It is very affordable at about $20+ for a 40 pound bag.

Costco Chocolate Chips -  WOW!  These are the best chocolate chips, ever.  Yes, they are!  When compared side-by-side to Nestle' chips, the Nestle' chips tasted very waxy and not as rich.  Costco states they are 51% cocao and harvested using fair trade methods.  They use real sugar , not corn syrup.  Win, win, win!

Nokia 920 Phone - I really like this phone.  I was using an iphone 4 and thought it was the bomb.  I began getting bored and realized there may be something better out there in the techie world.  Andrew convinced me to consider either this phone or the Samsung Galaxy S3.  I fondled the S3 several times, but just couldn't get over how cheaply it felt.  It felt like a toy phone.  The Nokia 920 resembles a brick, but I like that about it.  I am Mrs. Clutz, and well, I drop my phone a lot.  I need a brick-like phone, otherwise I would have to house it in a bulky case.  It uses Windows 8 for its operating system, and it is very fun, functional and interfaces well with some of the apps I use.  I especially enjoy the "People" function.  It is just head and shoulders beyond the iphone in that area.  I admit, the apps are lacking.  However, I am assured this will be corrected soon, as the market demands.  I like that it has the full version of Microsoft Office, although I may not have a huge need for this, it is nice to know the feature is right there.

Sketcher's LIV shoes - I am extremely picky about my shoes, and when I say picky, I am not talking about how they look.  It is all about how they feel.  I have worn many an ugly shoe all in the name of comfort.  I have worn Z-Coils, Keen, MBT and Sketcher's Shape-ups.  None of these shoes are stylish.  They are clunky and bulky and unattractive.  True.  However, when one suffers from a myriad of foot ailments, one will forgo style for ease of pain.  My dear friend, Marj, suggested the LIV version of Sketcher's and I only wish I had gotten them sooner.  They are amazing!  Not only do they offer excellent support, but they are keeping my plantar fasciitis at bay.  Extremely light weight, they make my workouts go so much better.  I feel like I am wearing slippers, yet the support if awesome.  On a side note, I tried them alongside several other very pricy shoes, including a $200 pair of Asics Gel, and the LIV won on all accounts.

Okay, I always feel better once I have shared such good news with ya'll.   What products do you like???

Ya'll have a blessed day!

Monday, November 12, 2012

I Want to Become President of the United States

Now that I see how easily one can become elected to the highest office of the land, I think I will run for president.  All I will have to do is give away a lots free goodies, give free loans to my donors, and smile while doing it.  I can paint my opponent as anti-woman since he doesn't give out free birth control.  Behind closed doors, I can sign in the dream act, even though congress and the senate voted it down multiple times.  I can load the borders up with illegal guns and look the other way when patrol agents and American citizens are killed with these guns.  I can lie about an attack on an American ambassador and his security team until everybody just gets so sick of it, they don't care when the truth finally comes out.  I can control the mainstream media and even supply them with my notes and cue them when needed.  I can act like a two year old in a national debate, have my vice-presidential candidate act like bozo and still the people love me.  This will be a piece of cake.  Heck, I think I will even publicly decide to not honor constitutional laws like The Defense of Marriage Act and Don't Ask, Don't Tell.  Those constitutional things just get in the way.

I will ram through a massive 2,500 page health care law that will surely put our country over the cliff.  I will spend like 6 trillion drunken sailors, bow to our foreign enemies and blame my predecessor for all of our ills.  I will tell massive lies about my opponent over and over and over and over....until you believe it.  I will golf twice a month, go on wildly expensive vacations, clothe my spouse in designer apparel and laugh at your gull.  I will drastically cut funding to our military and force them to pay for their own war injuries, bullet proof vests and give them inferior ammunition.  I will deny that we are a Christian nation, offer support to the Muslim world and snub my nose at Israel.  I will offer to help Russia so they can scare the pants off of Poland, the Czech Republic and other western European nations.  I will appoint the CEO of a major US corporation to my cabinet, give him tax-free advantages and then support him when he moves all of his manufacturing to China (GE CEO, Immelt).  I will suppress the coal, gas and petroleum industry.  I will bankrupt them if I can.  I will take control over the American auto industry and its unions.  I will control the government school system and push my leftist agenda down the throats of vulnerable little children.  These are just a few things I will do for now, the best is yet to come.

Will you vote for me?