Sunday, February 26, 2006

Lunch at the G.'s

Sunday started wet and dreary but by mid-morning, though, the sun began to penetrate through the clouds. It was pleasantly cool and windy which made the day all the more delicious!

Fellowshiping and worshiping with believers was good, as usual.

After church we went to Mr. and Mrs. Gianeskis's home for lunch. They're such wonderful hosts; immediately you feel graciously welcomed. Mrs. G, as we call her, has a real gift of hospitality and uses it splendidly - I love to watch her in action! Following a scrumptious meal we went on a walk along a nature trail that lead to Lake Tarpon. As you'll witness in the following pictures (I can't resist bringing the camera along when nature and people are intertwined) our final destination was a dock looking out to the natural lake. We saw a few boats...and some wildlife. :o)

Can you see the alligator? It's that dark log shaped thing floating on a huge styrofoam cube through the grass... Now I wish I'd "zoomed" in more.

There's such a magically captivating feeling that heavily resides in a forest of pine trees dripping with Spanish moss. Some may disagree with me, seeing nothing special in a semi-swamp. Don't ask me to explain why I so fondly embrace the breeding grounds of mosquitoes and alligators; but! it's something that I've come to treasure about Florida. Yet, nothing enhances the ambiance more then an aged and worn board-walk cutting through the trees, pressing you on to explore what's beyond the next eighty degree turn up ahead.

The picture right above is of Jesse, the G's dog. He's older, loves food, and faithfully willing to give a "smile" through a wag of his tail. I rather like how the picture came out, though I wish his ears had been forward... Oh, and yes, Merritt is wearing her "Indian" dress. :o)

My daddy.


Mr. G. had some wonderful stories to tell of growing up here in Florida - a canoe trip down an alligator infested river when the black of night seemed almost impenetrable, "borrowing" watermelon from a farmer, running away to an abandoned shack near the gulf and traveling alone on a bus to visit relatives living across the state.

On Saturday we had a Father/Daughter breakfast for all the girls attending the Bright Lights Bible study. I believe we all had a wonderful time! One father shared from the Word, Daddy shared what he'd prepared and then soon all the fathers were commenting and giving their insights. Many of the girls made the breakfast goodies they'd brought, which provided a wonderful opportunity for the fathers to openly praise the girls about their cooking/baking. I saw more than one beaming face! Here's a picture of our breakfast banquet table (situated in our church kitchen)...

Yesterday, I got Cale to pose for me...kind of looks "L.L. Bean-ish" (or Elvis-like with that hair-do). (LOL!)

Enjoy your day!


Friday, February 24, 2006

Heritage Village

It was a beautiful day yesterday, so Mother and Merritt decided to take a trip over to Heritage Village (similar to Sturbridge Village, but on a much smaller scale). Merritt has a wonderful imagination; she revels in exploring the dramatic side of that by-gone era of simpler and slower lifestyles. She loves to engage whoever is willing to accompany her through the untold deprivations of an orphans life or act out anxious deathbed scenes. Quite the dramatic one. Living like that makes life out to be a great adventure where surprises abound...every day.

So of course, she thoroughly enjoyed the outing! Mom said that as soon as they entered the village she squealed with delight and began rushing here and there to peek into each "time capsule".

Anyway, Mom was able to snap a couple of quick photos before Merritt dashed off to visit the next school house, church or the mercantile.

Merritt mentioned that one of her favorite stops at the Heritage Village was the caboose. Learning can be so much fun!

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Fun with Friends - Installment #2

Hello there!

The house smells like French toast and bacon, yum! Although bacon is a pain to clean up, there's nothing quite so pleasantly cozy as maple leaf bacon; the smell, the taste and the ambiance it creates. Mom cooked it to perfection this morning and we could barely contain ourselves from eating beyond our fill. There was enough bacon grease to top off our jar in the cupboard (strictly saved for "southern" nights at our house when we fry chicken). :o)

On Monday, Delaney and several of her friends took a plunge into our pool. It was only 68 degrees! Yes, I agree, they're crazy. On top of that, they swam late in the afternoon. I certainly won't dive in until it's a comfortable 78 degrees, at least. Thinking back now, Merritt was the first one in (brave little girl, though I'm sure it was just sheer excitement of getting to use our very own pool that drove her to it). Here's a couple of pictures (judging from her expression, Merritt looks a little cold):

Either she's numb or simply trying to make the best of it:

Then on Tuesday Delaney, Cale and Merritt jumped in again. I opted out, volunteering to document the insane event with the camera. So, here's proof that on February 21st they went swimming. :o)

This one is of Cale going down the slide:

Delaney's plunge into frigid waters...

I can't pass up the opportunity to share this picture with you. A proper caption for this photo could be "conquering captain courageous". Any other suggestions, though? :o)

Other bits and pieces from our lives: Daddy went on a business trip to Miami for the annual boat show, we got another computer (from our deceased grandfather), and then we had Dad's laptop repaired as well.

Lately, I've been studying Ezekiel with a local Bible study. Its been excellent! This is the first time I've sat down and really read through and pondered the words written in this book. The Lord had Ezekiel do some pretty unusual activities to capture the exiled Israelites attention. For example: cooking meager rations over cow dung (it would've been human excrement, but Ezekiel implored the Lord to change that part). Building a wall to represent Jerusalem and besieging it (rather like a little boy playing "soldiers"?). Ezekiel, the prophet, is made out to be insane, and yet he willingly is "misunderstood" to glorify God. This book is full of wonderful examples of God's mercy, indefatigable faithfulness and love toward the Israelites. In one particular chapter the reader gets a real glimpse at the heart-wrenching anguish God has for the wayward Israelite nation. Right now, a good word to sum up Ezekiel is: powerful.

I took a picture of Jack Russell Stadium for memory's sake. So, I thought I'd share them with you since you frequently hear it mentioned. The photo to the right is of the stadium:

We're grateful for your interest in our lives - thank you for praying for us!

Enjoy your day!

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Fun with Friends - Installment #1

Yes, that's the theme for the last couple of weeks. Our "special memories bank" has had an abundance of deposits lately, of which, we're very grateful to those who've contributed so generously. Now I'd like to share with you the happenings through the eyes of a digital camera. Get ready for a lot of pictures!

Okay, to get started, my memory has to travel back a few weeks since I've been rather lazy about posting and keeping this site updated. Time has gone by like a blur -- a happy blur that is.

During the second week in February Nathan, Sarah, Moriah (what a cute little one!), and Josh Hebert and Rebecca Hall spent the night with us. As you'll see in the following pictures, we had a blast together. Naturally, we stayed up late talking and laughing (a few games of CatchPhrase too!). The following morning we ate brunch - due to our late night - and then took a refreshingly brisk walk. It was so nice to chat with Rebecca, getting to know her more. But I would definitely have to say that the highlight of their visit was getting to hold darling Moriah (what wonderful parents Nathan and Sarah are!) Here's a group picture:

Merritt holding Moriah:

Here's another one, except it's just of us girls.

That huge tree right behind us is causing us plumbing problems, but that's a whole other matter...

Want to see a couple photos of our rowdy CatchPhrase games?? :o)

The day the Heberts and Rebecca left, I (Chelsea) flew over to West Palm Beach to see a close friend. Not only did it turn out to be an educational weekend (learning about show jumping equines) but a fun one at that! In between watching my friend ride, walking the show grounds (I spotted a pair of $43 flip-flops. Outrageous! and no, I didn't indulge), catching some rays, following the Olympics, Starbucks trips (nothing like a peppermint mocha to get you going in the morning) we slipped in an hour or two of shopping -- we simply can not do without a girlie outing whenever we get together.

This last week is categorized as a "wind down" one for all of us. We slowed our schedules down and took it easy -- something we all need to do once in a while. Bright Lights was on Friday and that went really well. There were seventeen girls there, and we studied the subject of humility. When preparing the lesson I came across a neat story with unselfishness and humility as central themes. It goes something like this: "There was a kind young man in grade school, he was known as a leader in both academics and sports. One day a friend of his was over at his home and notice a plaque on his wall with these simple words inscribed on it, "I am third". In turn, his friend inquired as to their meaning and the young man replied, "It stands as a reminder to me that God is first, others second and myself third."" Mom liked the statement so well that she wrote on a piece of paper and stuck it to a pillar in our kitchen for all to see.

Over the weekend I watched two girls so that their parents could hideaway for their anniversary. Samantha and Olivia were such fun! We went to breakfast Saturday morning and then took Cowboy to a local park to explore and get dirty (that turned out to be a very successful venture as I found out in full detail yesterday as I cleaned out my car!). The girls, myself and Cowboy thoroughly enjoyed our outing. The day was magnificently beautiful as we marched along the sandy, palmetto lined trails keeping watch for "banana" spiders, snakes and streams. At one point we had the pleasure of meeting a rather large tortoise. Unfortunately, I forgot my camera so there's no visual of that fabulous day. :o( We were famished afterwards, so on the way home we stopped by a fast food place and grabbed a burger, fries and a drink. It would be totally unfair to leave Cowboy out -- so he got his own Jr. cheeseburger. I found out that he really likes ketchup too. :o)

On Sunday afternoon we headed over to a local bowling alley to try and knock down a pen or two. We got a little rambunctious with the bowling while taunting "gutter ball". We, the Owen family, haven't bowled in ages so we were pretty pathetic -- but that made it all the more fun! Here's a couple of pictures from that hilarious afternoon (I have two or three short video clips, but I don't know how, or even if I can, upload them onto blogger).

Cale had a game last Friday night -- boy! was it an exciting one. I only showed up for the last two innings, but I watched the guys beat the best team in the southern part of the county 2-1.

Anway, this is going to have to be installment #1 since it's getting rather late. I'll have some more news and pictures tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by!

Sunday, February 05, 2006

Super Bowl & Catchphrase

What do those two things have in common?...they're both games. One you watch, and the other one you play while waiting for all the commercials to finish. :o)

Unfortunately, since it was "big-sis-sick" day we stayed home from church. We ended-up having a brunch at a local cafe and then came back a did some studying on humility (how God views it, etc.). It was neat to get a closer glimpse at how much our Lord values humility, how precious this quality is to God. With many of the verses we looked at there was fear for the Lord tagging right along with humility -- it's hard to have one without the other.

Here's a couple of pictures of us sitting in Bell-air Cafe:

The sun was shining today (yeah!!), so Delaney and Merritt took every opportunity they could to enjoy it. Here's a photo of Merritt trying to use a scooter.

Some of us worked on various "house" projects, like sorting through odd stacks of things or unpacking items (yes, we still have boxes here and there). We listened to music, played "Catchphrase" with some neighbor kids, and just simply enjoyed having the windows open with the day streaming in. Nothing like a gentle Sunday afternoon to revive you for the week ahead! (Craig Morgan's "What I Love about Sundays" says it all!)

Our carpet in the sun room is slowly drying out. I woke up this morning and smelled a strong scent of mildew, so I knew it needed some prompt attention. So far my "prescription" has worked, the mildew smell has vanished...just about.

Well, I better head off to bed. We had a splendid day and hope you did to! (I think we had too much fun while Mom and Dad were gone!) :o)

Friday, February 03, 2006


When it rains it pours! The street was flooding, our pool overflowed and part of our sun room carpet is soaking wet. A man on the radio just mentioned that Pinellas Park (which is not too far from us) had gotten a foot of rain since the deluge commenced this morning.

*Update*: fourteen inches of rain in our county thus far... (Someone call the Coast Guard!)

Not only has it been cloudy outside lately, but inside things have been rather dreary. Our paternal grandfather passed away last Wednesday, just as my parents were flying out to see him. We had gotten a call Tuesday evening and learned that Grandad had taken a turn for the worse. We heard Wednesday morning that Grandad was taken to the hospital and placed in ICU, and was administered blood transfusions and his body was going into "septic". Without wasting another minute Mom and Dad purchased tickets and set out for Denver that very day, looking to arrive close to 8:30 pm. Grandad had courageously fought cancer for the last several years. He never complained or wanted to talk about his problems, but instead he'd rather find out how you were doing and what was going on in your life. As his physical mobility decreased he found pleasure in giving his young grandchildren "whizzing" rides down the nursing home corridors on his scooter. We teased him that he better not be offering rides to nurses! I have fond memories of a generous grandfather, a grandfather who loved to laugh and someone who enjoyed a good discussion on opinions. Phillip Owen: brother, uncle, father, husband and grandfather -- we'll miss you.

Right now, we (kids) are waiting out the thunderstorm, playing ping pong, keeping tabs on the slow leaks into the sun room (coming from the ceiling and floor) and talking about what we want to do next. Watch a movie, clean out the fireplace or play another game? That's the question of the day. Can you tell we're slightly bored? :o) I (Chelsea) am trying, rather unsuccessfully, to get over a cold. I even had to cancel Bright Lights this evening because of it. The Lord always works these things out for the best, though. It's allowed me to slow down a bit more.

Merritt had a friend over this week and, from the picture to the left, it looks like they played "pretend". I'm not quite sure why their so serious...perhaps the kingdom is experiencing some difficulties? Oh dear!

I love collecting quotes. Though, I have to make sure not to get gluttonous about it. :o)

Here is a quote from Spurgeon:
"Let your first care be to glorify God to the utmost of your power where you are. Fill your present sphere to His praise, and if He needs you in another He will show it to you."
Life can be so simple when we focus on glorifying God in our "sphere".
Before I go, here's a picture of our sun room that Cale took. We like it for it's unusual qualities.