Tuesday, December 25, 2007


Yep, Natalie is engaged! All of this happened last week, and I'm just now taking time to blog about it. Ready for the details???

Nat and Brandon met during band rehearsals before the first week of school at ETBU last year. I remember her calling me to tell me that she had a date with a great guy one of the first weekends she was in school. She was incredibly excited about it...more excited than she had been about anything in a while. They continued to date, and spent time with us and with his family in Baytown through their first year at school. It was pretty obvious from the start that Brandon and Natalie had a special relationship, so we weren't at all surprised when Brandon asked for time to talk to Chris and me a couple of months ago. He was incredibly nervous and very sweet when he asked our permission to marry Natalie. It was obvious that he put a lot of prayer and thought into his decision to marry her. The hardest part was keeping it a secret for two months!

Natalie flew to Houston to spend some time with Brandon the week before Christmas. Brandon's plan was to take her to Galveston to spend some time on the beach and then to dinner at the Rainforest Cafe. Nothing about that was unusual or surprising for Nat. What she didn't know was that he was going to propose on the beach around sunset. How romantic!!! He asked and of course she said yes. I don't think the smile has left her face since Wednesday!

Here's the cool part for us - Not only were Nat and Brandon having dinner at the Rainforest Cafe, but his parents, his sister and her husband, and Chris and I met them at the restaurant. Nat and Brandon got to the restaurant just before we did (our flight was over an hour late), and they were at the door getting ready to go in when we arrived. Nat saw the truck drive up, but she had no idea we were with Brandon's parents. She couldn't believe we were there. It was a great surprise for her, and we were thrilled to be with her on this special night. Dinner was great, and we spent time on the beach taking pictures as Nat and Brandon recreated the whole proposal. It was a wonderful night.

Merry Christmas!

What a great Christmas morning! Chris and I slept late (Nat is STILL in bed!) and I made us a really good breakfast. We're watching the Disney Christmas parade while Chris is reading the paper and I'm updating blogs. Our plans for the day include going to the movies later today and maybe even taking in a double-feature. I'm making taco soup later and that's about it. What a great way to spend the day!

We went to Christmas Eve candlelight service at church last night. It was a very nice service with lots of wonderful music, scripture, and the traditional lighting of the Advent wreath. I always enjoy Christmas Eve services to focus my mind on the true reason for celebrating Christmas. It's not all about the presents...it's all about the ultimate present - the birth of Jesus Christ.

We're looking forward to Thursday when we'll entertain my family for Christmas. We usually try to get together before Christmas Day, but we just couldn't do it this year. We'll probably have 20 people or so including 5 boys under 10 years old. Ethan will be so excited to see his cousins and to run and play with them all afternoon. What fun! We're not planning anything elaborate at all; we're just looking forward to time to spend together.

We were in El Dorado with Chris's mom for his birthday. Nick, Angela, and Ethan got to join us, and we had a great time. Ethan entertained us the whole time, and Boo Boo really enjoyed playing with him. It was lots of fun. Here's a pic of Ethan with Nick and Boo Boo.

Enjoy your day, and I hope you get to spend it with family and friends. Merry Christmas everyone!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Back to Work

My "vacation" officially ends tomorrow morning. I've been resting and taking care of myself since surgery on the 16th, so it's time to go back to work. According to the doctor, everything is healing well, but I'm still to take it easy especially at work. No lifting or moving books or carts for a long time. I still tire very easily and I'm having some discomfort when I'm out and about, so I'll really have to watch it. My brain is SO ready to be out of the house!

So...what did I do for two weeks? I don't remember the first week (Thanksgiving week) very well. My sister brought me home from the hospital on Sunday, and Nat and Brandon stopped by on their way back to Marshall. Mother came over on Monday and took care of things while lots of friends stopped by with food and to visit. I was home alone most of the day on Tuesday with a few friends stopping by. Nat and Brandon came in Tuesday night although he had to leave Wednesday to go to Plano to spend Thanksgiving with his family. Nick, Angela, and Ethan got here in the wee hours of Wednesday morning and stayed until Thursday night. Brandon was back Saturday night before he and Natalie went back to Marshall Sunday evening. WHEW! Busy week! The girls took care of cooking for Thanksgiving, we worked a couple of jigsaw puzzles, and we had a blast watching Ethan perform. I took a nap every day and tried to focus on getting the plumbing working again.

Last week was much quieter. I got up when I wanted to, I read two books, I tried to work on School Law stuff, I went to lunch with Frances, and I went to class in Mt. Pleasant on Wednesday. I ventured out on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday to do a little Christmas shopping, get my hair done, and to go to church. I didn't do anything for very long...I get tired and uncomfortable really quickly.

But all that changes tomorrow. I'll be back in the library taking care of all the library business that awaits me. There are reports to do, bills to pay, websites to update, and books to process. I'm planning to take my time and find the most comfortable chair in the library. I'll have my pillow which I hope will help. I'll probably take a long lunch and come home to rest for a little while. We'll see. I just know that I'm ready to get back into the swing of things for a couple of weeks until Christmas break when I can rest some more.

Be sure to check my reading blog to see what I've been reading. I hope to get it updated tonight.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

I'm Thankful for

Chris's love and patience

And for our Thanksgiving meal today, I'm thankful for...

Mark's Cornbread Dressing and Gravy
Angela's Sweet Potato Casserole, Green Bean Casserole, and Cranberry "fluff"
Natalie's Mac and Cheese, Corn, and pink Jello "fluff"
Evelyn's pies
(notice that Denise wasn't responsible for anything!!)

God is good, and we're thankful for all of His blessings. Happy Thanksgiving to you!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Surgery is no fun

Last Friday morning, I spent quality time with two of Paris's finest doctors. I don't remember a second of it. That's the good news. The bad news is that I know that they were doing their jobs, and I can still feel it.

I went into this thinking...no big deal. Get some things fixed, spend a couple of days in the hospital and a couple of weeks recovering. It has been 14 years since my last surgery, so I must have suppressed all the pain and yuck involved with surgery. I know that I'll feel better once I recover completely, but I'm not there yet.

My friends have been amazing. I have three beautiful floral arrangements and plenty of really good food. I've had cards and emails and phone calls and visits from many friends as well. My mom was quite impressed with the love that has been shown. I'm not surprised because the people I work with and attend church with are the best people in town. There's no contest.

We're looking forward to a quiet Thanksgiving here. Natalie and Brandon came in tonight, although Brandon will leave for Plano tomorrow. Nick, Angela, and Ethan will be here after midnight, and they'll go back Thursday evening. Nick has to work at 5 AM Friday morning. Nat will be here until Sunday. My brother-in-law is making dressing with chicken and gravy, so Chris will meet him in De Kalb tomorrow to pick it up. Natalie and Angela get to make all of the side dishes, and I get to play with Ethan on the couch. Sounds great, doesn't it?

I'll be a new woman once I recover from surgery in a few weeks, and I'll have the pleasure of watching my daughter and daughter-in-law take care of Thanksgiving dinner. Life is good.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mom to the rescue

Frances has a great post about being connected to her young adult kids even when she was half-way around the world from them. Lucky me...I had some mom moments myself today.

First, I got an email from Angela. She's applying for a teaching position for the spring, and she needed my advice on some questions on her application. It's pretty cool when my daughter-in-law is asking for help.

Next, Natalie called. She and Brandon were on their way to Marshall from Longview when she ran over something and had a flat tire. (I didn't ask why they were in Longview in the middle of the afternoon...but I will!) Thank the Lord that Brandon was with her and helped her change the tire. She wasn't sure what to do about the tire, so she called dear old Mom for me to tell her to go to Wally World and use the credit card to get a new tire.

Then, Nick called. He was frustrated about not being cleared to take the next portion of the TeXes test for certification. I checked online to verify the registration deadlines and assured him that he'd have plenty of time to get everything worked out. Also, he told me about his good experience directing the high school bands today as part of his student teaching. He said it went well.

I talked to Nat early this evening to make sure everything went as expected. I told her about talking to both Nick and Angela today and helping them with their problems. She told me that she's thankful that she can call me and ask for advice or help whenever she needs to.

She has no idea how much a comment like that means. Only the parent of young adult children can really appreciate it. When they're in high school they can hardly wait to get out of the house and on their own. But, when the chips (or the application or the tire or the test) are down, I'm thrilled that they call dear old Mom to talk it over. I guess that old adage is right: A mother's work is never done. I hope mine never is.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

My how time flies!

I can't believe it's been almost two months since my last post. Yes, we did indeed survive the first week of school and now we've made it through the first six weeks. Let's see if I can get caught up.

The library has been busy. We've had classes almost every day of every week since school started. Not that it's a bad thing, but we haven't had time to get our library work done. Does that make sense to anyone who isn't a librarian? Our main focus, of course, is helping kids and teachers with research assignments and projects. But, we still have to order and process materials as well as perform maintenance on the collection. I'm behind on budget stuff and just about everything else I can think of. This week is TAKS retesting for juniors and seniors, and unfortunately there are enough students retesting that we need to use the library. The good news is that Mary and I should be able to get some of our work caught up during the down time. Don't get me wrong...we won't be twiddling our thumbs looking for something to do. It should be a productive week that will help us feel much more in control of our environment.

My other school work has been challenging. We've had a busy semester in Data Analysis and School Law and Internship. I've finished my major project for School Law, but I still have two group projects to do for Data Analysis. Also, the Internship has been pretty time-consuming as well. I have to log 150 hours this semester in a variety of principal-type activities. I've been working a lot on School Safety training and other stuff to get ready for our safety audit next week. I'm not going to have any trouble getting in the hours.

Chris is busy with school and band and quintet and South Arkansas Symphony. He's in Arkansas this weekend for SAS and two quintet jobs. They're playing in Hot Springs today...I think. All I know is that he had three things going on this weekend in El Dorado, Arkadelphia, and Hot Springs. The Paris band didn't advance to Area competition for this weekend, so he's not happy about that.

We've seen Nick, Angela, and Ethan a couple of times recently. We babysat for a while one Saturday while Nick was busy with a marching contest and Angela was working. We saw them again when we went to Nick's orchestra concert at UTA. Ethan and Angela didn't go to the concert, but we spent some time with them afterwards. Ethan will be 2 in December, so he's at that age when grandparents think the kids are adorable and fun but when parents think they're a handful. I do know that I don't think I have the energy to keep up with him full time, but we certainly enjoy the time we get with him.

Nick and Angela are working hard on getting certified to teach. Angela graduated from UTA in May, but she decided that she wanted to try teaching. She's finishing an alternative certification program this fall and should be certified and ready to teach by January. Nick is finishing his last semester at UTA and doing his internship for his certification. He'll graduate in May. WOOHOO!!! I'm really proud of him for working as hard as he has to get finished. Hopefully, they'll both land good teaching jobs in the Bedford/Ft. Worth area next year.

Natalie and Brandon were home this weekend for part of their fall break. They got in Friday night in time for the Paris-NL football game (not our best game of the year). We also went to a friend's wedding last night which was a lot of fun. They're on their way to Baytown to spend the rest of the break with Brandon's family. It was fun having them here, although I'm sorry that Chris didn't get to see them.

I'm going to take a nap and enjoy my afternoon home alone. Have a great week, and I hope to catch up sooner next time.

Saturday, September 1, 2007


We made it through the first week of school. There is very lttle that compares to the kind of tired teachers feel at the end of the first week of school. I was in bed by 9 or 9:30 at least two nights this week - way unusual for me. We're grateful for a three-day weekend.

Chris had to be at school by 7 most mornings for band rehearsal and then he had to go to Gainesville for our first football game which we won. He didn't get home until 1:30 this morning. Poor guy...he had a very long week.

My week was pretty good. Due to our new schedule, the library will open at 7:30 every morning. I made it on time most mornings, but we didn't have many students. I'm hoping that things will pick up in the next few weeks. I stuck around after school pretty late most days, so I'm finally feeling a bit more ready to go.

We started classes in MP this week also. We're taking School Law and Data Analysis. I'm really glad that the two teachers decided to alternate weeks. We'll meet one class each week for 4-5 hours instead of meeting both classes every week. We were home by 10 which wasn't too bad.

We're off to Marshall this afternoon for Nat's first home football game. It'll be nice to see her and Brandon. Brandon's parents are planning to be there as well. I hope the team does better this year!

Life is busy and good.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Happy Birthday, Papaw!

My, what a family I have! We met in Texarkana last weekend for Daddy's 70th birthday party. It was just a small gathering - only 20 of us this time. Daddy has 5 great-grandsons under the age of 10 who enjoyed playing with each other all night. Jamie's boys are 9, 8, and 6; Ethan is 19 months; and Gavin is 13 months. What a houseful! Ethan had a great time. He was running and playing as soon as he got out of the car, and he didn't let up even to eat supper. Gavin has only been walking for a couple of months, so he was a little intimidated by the bigger boys. By Christmastime, though, he'll be in the thick of things with the others.

There's nothing like a little family time to set the world in order.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Batter Up!

We met Nick, Angela, and Ethan at The Ballpark for the Rangers-Devil Rays game on Saturday night. We had a great time. Ethan was cute as ever and was all decked out in his Rangers outfit. He didn't have a clue about the game, but he enjoyed dancing with the music and clapping and yelling "Go!" I don't know if he got more nacho cheese in his mouth or on his face, but ne enjoyed them. Chris did his best to engage him in the game, but we were too far away for him to follow anything. We stayed for the fireworks after the game which he seemed to enjoy as well. It was HOT - near 100 when the game started but only cooled to 90 by 10:00 - but Ethan didn't seem to be too bothered by the heat. We're planning to pick him up this weekend to go to his great-grandfather's 70th birthday party in Texarkana.

Chris has band again this week, and I have several school things this week as well. You'd think I would be on contract with all the stuff I have to do. On Monday, I'm meeting with all of the new teachers in the district to introduce them to our library resources and to train them in setting up their Web Presence. On Tuesday I'm going to a district technology meeting, and Wednesday I'm going to a videoconference. Sometime this week Crystal and I have to get together to work on our Technology Integration Day presentation. Like I said, I might as well be on contract! I'm still hoping to get a few more projects done around the house before school starts, but we'll see.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

All is well

Just so you don't think I've totally gone off the deep end, life is good. Nat has called at least three times since I left Marshall, so we're communicating just fine. She's working hard and staying busy...and so am I. I had a nice, lazy morning, got a little housework done, and went to a meeting at school. So, you see, all is well in Kornegayland.

I think part of the problem last night was that Chris wasn't with me, and he wasn't home when I got in from Marshall. That's the toughest part...coming home alone. But, I watched some TV, played around on the computer, and kept myself busy until he got home.

We did a trial run with connecting the laptop to the TV for tomorrow night's DCI Semi-Finals Webcast. We're still drum corps geeks, but we only attended one competition this year. I've followed Phantom Regiment and the other corps on the DCI website and on a drum corps forum. I think that once your kid marches with a drum corps, parents become drum corps supporters for life. Actually, Chris took me to my first drum corps competition in Little Rock back in our college days, and we went to the World Championships in Dallas way back in 1991. I guess we've had the bug for a while!

Here's a pic of Nick and the Contra (Tuba) section after finals in 2004. We'll be glued to the TV/computer tomorrow night to see how Phantom Regiment does during the semi-finals. No webcast for finals, so we'll just have to check scores on the DCI website. Good luck Phantom Regiment!!

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It doesn't get any easier

For all of my big talk about easy transition with Nat moving back to school, leaving her in Marshall was no piece of cake today. We had a disagreement before we left home, and neither of us was very happy with the other, so it was probably a good thing that we were in separate cars. Anyway, we had lunch in Marshall and then went to the dorm. The only people in the dorm were the RAs, so we're talking about 3 or 4 people who will be spending the night in the dorm until sometime next week. She'll be busy during the day with training and cleaning and all kinds of RA duties and getting to know the other RAs better. She didn't seem to be too nervous about being there almost alone, so I put on a smile and said a prayer.

Saying goodbye in the Wal-Mart parking lot was tough. I had already teared up when Chris left us to go to Texarkana for quintet rehearsal, so I was certain I'd probably be a mess when I left. I don't remember being so emotional when we took Nick to UTA the second year. I guess there's something about leaving the youngest child and coming home to an empty house.

I'm reminded of a poem I taught in freshman English years ago - "Empty House" by Stephen Spender:

Then, when the child was gone,
I was alone
In the house, suddenly grown huge.
Each noise
Explained itself away
As bird, or creaking board, or mouse,
Element or animal.
But mostly there was quiet as after battle
Where round the room still lay
The soldiers and the paintbox and the toys.
But when I went to tidy these away,
I felt my mind swerve:
My body was the house,
And everything he’d touched, an exposed nerve.

The New Yorker Book of Poems, p.192
The Viking Press, The New Yorker Magazine, Inc. 1969

That's really how it feels. I'll close her bedroom door for a week or so before I venture in to clean and set things in order. It's weird...and sad...but only for Chris and me and only for a while. No, things are not the same and will never be the same again.

Natalie is happy and she's doing exactly what she should be doing. She's in the center of God's will for her life, and I can't wait to see how He leads her. We'll continue to love her, trust her, and always pray for her. She'll always be our Nattie Poo-Poo wherever she is.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Back to school...for Natalie

Natalie moves back to Marshall tomorrow, so I guess that's officially the end of summer. We've enjoyed having her home, and I think she has had a pretty good summer. She worked at the church as our Children's Intern, so she participated in and helped organize all children's activities. She started with VBS and ended with SMAK and did quite a bit in between. She was even named Counselor of the Year at Pre-Teen Camp last month. She'll be an RA this year, so she'll have lots of new responsibilities. She's ready to get back to school and with all of her friends. She had a great freshman year, and I'm sure that this year will be just as good. She's still in band and she's involved in as much as she can on campus. Of course, Brandon is still very much in the picture, so we'll see where that goes. He's a great guy, and they're totally smitten with each other.

I remember my college days and how much I loved it. Being home for the summers was a little difficult because what I was used to was not how it was at home. And, I missed my friends and the things we did together. I was always ready to get back to school, and I know that Natalie is too.

So, Chris and I will be back to empty nesters soon. We survived the transition last fall, so this transition shouldn't be too hard. I'm sure we'll be busy as usual. Chris is already hard at work with band rehearsals, and I'll report for work on the 20th. Between now and then, I have some meetings to attend and training to conduct. The kids start school on the 27th, and I start classes on the 29th. Ready or not...summer's over!

Sunday, August 5, 2007

New blog...new purpose

Our district technology director has set us up with Word Press blogs, so I'm using that one for my reading blog and things that are school related. I'm changing this blog to a more personal blog. So...if you're linking to this blog to see what I'm reading, you'll want to change your link to the other blog - A book is good company.

I finally have some time off, so I plan to catch up on all kinds of things in the next few days. We report to work on Aug. 20, so I have almost three weeks to clean house and get things organized and ready for school to start. Nat leaves on the 8th for ETBU, so I'll have plenty to do to help her get ready to go.

My final project for Summer 2 was submitted Friday afternoon. YAY!!! It's been quite a while since I've had to write an 8-10 page paper, but I was pretty pleased with how it turned out. We're taking School Law and Data Analysis this fall starting on Aug. 29. I'm weird, I know, but I'm looking forward to those classes. They'll be interesting and probably pretty challenging as well.

More to come later...