Sunday, July 31, 2011


How do I explain the Neshoba County Fair to someone who has never been?  Like I heard this week, the fair is so many things to so many people.  To kids it's the midway.  To teenagers, it's young love (the old saying is if a relationship can make it through the fair, its made to last).  To young adults, it's party hard.  To the older generation, it's family, family, family. 

So how do you explain the fair?  You can't really.  Its something you have to experience.  Growing up and going to the fair produced alot of great memories for me.  But as happens, life goes on and taking a week out of your life as an adult to go to the fair isn't as easy anymore.  After graduating college, Brad and I moved out of state, and although I do remember leaving Louisiana late one night and arriving at the fairgrounds around midnight, (hey, right on time!) we didn't do that but once.  Then the kiddos started arriving and the fair just wasn't a priority at that time in my life. 

My desire to go back to the fair actually started last year.  I was in Wal-Mart doing a little shopping and my cousin called me on my cell phone.  I went to the dog food aisle (cuz I can't shop and talk at the same time) and stood there and talked to her.  She was at the fair, and the sounds of the fairgrounds were all around her.  I swear I could almost smell the sawdust through that phone!  It was right then and there I knew I had to get back. 

And I did.  This year I loaded up my two kids, one whom had never been to the fair and the other whom was so young the last time he was there didn't remember anything but the smell of sawdust (whats up with the sawdust memories?)  

Driving down Hwy. 21, I felt like a kid again.  My stomach had butterflies just like it used to in the backseat of my aunt's car.  She was my ride to and from the fairgrounds back then, and I never thought she was driving fast enough!  Didn't she know I was in the backseat about to hyperventilate just thinking about all the fun I was about to have?  Step on it lady! 

Now I was that lady in the driver's seat.  My two kids were started to get excited and nervous and to be honest, I was more nervous about finding a parking spot than anything.  It had started to rain, and I wanted to park somewhere I could get out of when it was time.  Luckily I found a good parking spot.  It was on the grass, almost at the top of the hill, and near the gate we were entering.  So far so good.  We put on our rubber boots and off we went. 

We got to the cabin and picked out our beds.  The kids were thrilled to choose bunk beds although Poptart ended up in the bed with me.  She now says I wouldn't let her sleep on the top bunk but that's not exactly true.  After she climbed up and down the ladder about 25 times, I suggested she just get in the bed with me.  She did and was asleep in no time. 

I can't explain the fair to you any more than Brad can truly explain Alaska's beauty to me.  It's just something you have to see. 

This year was a big, no, HUGE political year at the fair.  Politicians in Mississippi have said you cannot miss the Neshoba County Fair and expect to get elected.  I missed all the political speeches, and that's the one thing I really wish I would've gotten to see, but they started early and on days we weren't there. 

The horse races are another thing to see.  The harness races, then running races, and even a few mule races.  The harness races are my favorite to watch, and I have a few memories of my daddy at the fair watching the horse races.  Here's a video I found on YouTube of a harness race: 

  After the horse races are over, something extraordinary happens.  The chair race.   

Lemme just go on record:  I had no intention, and never even dreamed I would be in the chair race this year.  Until my cousin Matthew came to the cabin in somewhat of a hurry grabbing a couple of chairs for him and his wife.  And again, I knew I had to get back.  Back to that adrenaline rush of the chair race.  I started counting out lawn chairs I could find at the cabin, one for me, one for Gogurt, one for Poptart, one for Wendy, and one for the friend Wendy was bringing.  Five chairs, that's alot for one person.  Matthew offered to help, but he is a pro at the chair race and I didn't want to slow him down with my extra chairs.  Hmmm, would Gogurt help? 

I hurriedly explained the chair race, in the most positive light possible, and he agreed to do it.  We threw on our rubber boots and went to the racetrack. 

My heart was pounding - I couldn't believe I was doing this!  Plus, I was having to worry about Gogurt too.  I didn't want him to be hurt or scared, and as an old college buddy of mine who we ran into told him, "You don't have to outrun the person ahead of you, just all these people behind you."  When that gate opens, you can't back out.  You gotta go.  Right then.  It's craziness, I tell you.  Neal McCoy, who watched the chair race from backstage, called us a bunch of "crazy*** rednecks" in his concert that night.  Of course, he meant that as a compliment, and everyone in the crowd took it as such. But don't take his word for it - watch this video.  Remember, this is not the actual chair race we were in.  In fact, I think this is from last year, but this will give you an idea of what the chair race is.  Matthew's wife did video the chair race we were in Thursday but for some reason when she emailed it to me, it didn't come through.  So for now you will just have to watch this one:

The chair races were probably my favorite part of my fair experience this year.  Its like nothing you will ever do anywhere else. 

The question was posed to me this week if I thought I could stay at the fair for the entire week like I used to.  Honestly, no, I don't think I could.  I might could stay more than the 2 nights we did this year, but I don't think I could hang in there for all 8.  I would want to go home for at least a night or two to get a good night's sleep and a good shower in my own bathroom. 

Speaking of a good night's sleep, one morning I awoke around 7:30 a.m.  which is extremely early for the fair.  The only people up that early are old people or people with young children.  I guess I fall into the latter category, but since my young children were still asleep, I just laid in bed enjoying the fact I had woke up at the fair and didn't have to get out of bed until I was good and ready.  At 7:50 a.m. (I know cuz I looked at my phone) someone, yes, someone much, much younger than me, came to bed.  For the night.  Or should I say for the day.  I couldn't help but grin and think, "only at the fair." 

Overall, my 2011 fair experience was a good one.  Got to see lots of family I don't normally see except at Thanksgiving, Christmas, a wedding, or a funeral.  We ate lots of good food as well.  But most importantly, I felt I was handing down a tradition to my kids, who are already asking to go back next year.  

As I said in an earlier post, the fair is kind of a "farewell-to-summer celebration."  Neshoba County schools start Thursday.  However, my kids have all this week to rest up.  They start school on Monday the 8th. 

Thanks for reading and who knows, one of these days, I just might run into you at the fair.....

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Another Painful Goodbye

I posted a good while ago about losing our Blockbuster.  Say goodbye to strolling the aisles and renting a movie.

Today there is another painful goodbye.  To our Borders. 

We have a Borders bookstore very close to our house.  Not that long ago I had signed up for their e-mails and enjoyed their online coupons.  Whenever my kids were invited to a birthday party, I watched for a half-off coupon from Borders, printed it, and bought the birthday kid a book.  My own children, especially Gogurt, loved to go into Borders and shop around.  He loves, loves, loves books so to walk into a bookstore was a kind of heaven to him. 

I received an e-mail from Borders CEO the other day about fighting a good fight but having to close up shop anyway.  That very same day, I started seeing the announcements on the news programs, "Borders to Close Their Doors."   

Life as we know it is ending.  No, I'm not just being dramatic about Borders, or Blockbuster either for that matter.  I'm afraid there will come a time where no business is safe from the online competition.  Blockbuster went belly-up because of their Netflix competition.  Borders went the same way.  Kindles, Amazon, etc., is the way of the future. 

Well, I for one, think this STINKS.  


We are headed to Borders later today to cash in on their 40% Closing Sale and to say goodbye yet again to one of our beloved stores. 

I predict that many years down the road, when people are so stuck in their computers, relying on online stores for every single thing, that someone on the other side of the screen will have this wacky, radical idea.  "What if? What if we took our business to the people, you know face-to-face, set up a storefront, and actually interacted with the customers?"  To which he might get this response, "You know, that's the craziest idea I've ever heard, but it just might work." 

Monday, July 25, 2011

Back At Home

Brad is home from Alaska safe and sound!  He was really tired but managed to stay up a couple of hours to talk with me and the kids and give us some souvenirs he had bought.  Then he said a sweet hello to his CPAP and went deep into dreamland.  I felt bad that he had to get up at 6 a.m. to go back to work, but you can't put off reality forever I guess. 

I'm not sure if Brad was going to post again about his trip after he got home, but if he doesn't, I want to say thank you to everyone who followed along and read about his trip.  To all of you who prayed for their safety and to all of you who offered to be here in a jiffy if I needed anything while my hubby was gone,  Thank You.  It really means alot to know I've got so many people looking out for me! 

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Parting Kotz Shots!

The Final Day in Kotzebue

Well, this is it.  The final day in the Kotz.  It has been possibly the busiest yet.  We woke this morning and started back on our wall repair work.  We took out a rotten piece of wood and replaced it with new, replaced "studs" that we had removed, and started cleaning up a little.  While we waited for John to pick up the insulation for the wall, I did something I hate and never dreamed I'd do in Kotzebue.  Weedeat!

After the weedeating was done, Ronnie and I got down to installing the insulation.

After finishing the insulation, we added strips of ripped plywood to the studs to make the surface level for the sheet rock and then added a layer of plastic.

After the plastic, we placed the new cabinets and countertop.  Although we didn't officially finish the project, I feel like we got alot accomplished for two amateurs. 

After the work was completed, we had dinner and got to ride ATV's on the beach.  Probably the highlight of the trip for me.  I'll post some of those pics later.  For now, I'm going to bed, because I'm headed home in the morning. 

Friday, July 22, 2011

Can you spot what doesn't belong?

Do you remember the old kids magazine Highlights?  Each issue would contain a section that had a picture featuring items that did not belong, and you had to circle the items.  I personally enjoyed those games and activities, so I thought I might offer up one for you to enjoy too. 

In the picture below, can you spot the item that doesn't belong?

The Bridge To Nowhere

The first night we were here in Kotzebue, John and Terri took us around the town showing us the sights and giving us a little background into the area.  During our tour, we came to a bridge.  John began to tell us that this is the bridge where most of the towns suicides occur, usually by hanging from the underside.  As we crossed the bridge, Terri told us that they had claimed the bridge for Christ and she began to pray over the bridge.  She prayed for safety and freedom from the enemy in Kotzebue, especially on the bridge. 

This has been the most somber moment of this trip.  The reality of the darkness that grips this world once again came flooding in.  While we have not really been here for evangelistic purposes, this one moment of trip reminded me, and hopefully you too, that we should go and tell.  Just like Christ commanded us to.  We are all on a "bridge to nowhere" without His touch, His grace, His salvation.  If you don't know the power of Jesus salvation, I pray you'll contact us.  Contact someone that is a Christian, a Pastor, someone that can lead you to Him.  You won't be sorry, I promise. 

By the way, there have been no suicides on that bridge this year.  Lets pray that it stays that way.

Misc. Kotz Shots 2

Just for you Nana

Wednesday and Thursday in Kotzebue

Yesterday, we went back to Ruth's house and installed a faucet and a few electrical outlets.  This was actually probably the easiest tasks we had tackled so far.  But after a little bit, we had her all wired and water flowing in the faucet.

We also finished the demolition of the wall and pulled out the old screws and staples in preparation for the sealer.
Today (Thursday) we started putting together the new cabinets for the area we are repairing.  Ronnie was the master craftsman, while I applied the sealer to the wall.

And the sealer, well lets just say it was nasty!
After this, we went back to Ruth's and finished the clothes line.  After dinner at the local Bayside (the best Kung Pao Chicken ever), Ronnie and I road the ATV around town and did a little sightseeing.  More of those pics later.  But the past two days have been hard work, but very fulfilling.  All in all as we near the end, a great experience. One I won't soon forget.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Price Check Aisle 3

Lay's Stax
Coffee Maker
Gallon of milk
Washing Powder


Tuesday in the Kotz

Today, we went back to Aggie's house to finish painting.  We finished the small porch, the trim got two coats of white, and we finished up with a coat of black on a few miscellaneous spots. 
After finishing up there, we headed to Ruth's house to shore up her clothes line.

This is Ruth and Olivia:

This turned out to be a bigger task than expected. We had to remove the top of the clothes line and then remove the new(old) poles that were leaning. After removing the old poles, we proceeded to make the holes deeper with everyone's favorite tool, the post hole digger!

Things were going great until we hit water, then gravel and water, and then no more digging with the post hole diggers. So Ruth went inside and pulled out a small boiler and we proceeded to dig out the remainder of the rock, mud, water combo that is soil here.

After much water and rock, we got to our desired depth, set our poles and called it a day.

All in all another beautiful day and quite productive too. Hopefully, the trend will continue. Until next time.....

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Misc. Kotz Shots

A painting inside FBC Kotzebue

Genuine Dog sled

Dragonfly.....mosquitos just a bit smaller, but not much!
Another reason why people drive ATV's everywhere up here!

Price Check Aisle 2

20 oz. diet coke

I love this sign! Low Price Leader, yeah right!

Monday in Kotz

Ronnie and I had a great day.  We worked hard, but we also got alot accomplished.  We started the morning with breakfast and then we were off with John to visit two ladies in the area.  The first house needed some plumbing work and a clothes line repair. The other lady had some painting, wood to be replaced on her house, a planter to be reattached to the house and her clothes line also needed some attention.

So after consulting with the two ladies, we returned to the church and gathered our supplies and returned to the second house to start the painting.  The weather was perfect: 50 degrees with a slight breeze and full sunshine!  So Ronnie and I set to our work.

We started with the painting. A previous missions team started the project so we only had to finish it. We scraped the old paint off, applied a coat of Kilz, and painted these windows, some trim, and a few miscellaneous spot around the house. Next we turned our "amazing construction skills" :) to reattaching the planter! During the winter, the snowfall was so great that the planter was politely removed from its place. Man was this thing heavy....thus the number of supports underneath it.

We followed this up with the clothes line repair. We took out an old brace, loosened the cords and we tilted it over. Once it was over we braced it down and shimmed it up to keep in place. We added a couple of braces and we were done.

After good lunch of hamburgers, we went back to the house and added some boards to the edge of the house which had just arrived from Anchorage. We also scraped a few more spots on her shed next to the house while the Kilz coat dried on the boards.

All in all alot was accomplished there. We will be back today, weather permitting, to finish the painting.

We also started the work on the wall at the church. We began the demo phase and got alot accomplished there as well. We will be doing alot more here as we continue throughout the week.

Well since pics are so slow to load here I'll end there and do more later....

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sunday in Alaska

Yesterday was of course Sunday.  And Ronnie and I had the chance to see how FBC Kotzebue does their worship services.  Sunday school started at 10 am.  Three classes in all.  Kids, youth, and adults.  We probably had close to 20 in our class and it was a really good class.  A lot less energetic and loud as our class- I mean that in a loving way :)- but good nonetheless.  A young man named Jake taught the class and we were talking about freedom in Christ (Jake is the local wrestling coach, apparently wrestling is as big as football at home).

After Sunday School, we started the service at 11:15 local time.  We sang several praise and worship songs being led by Tammy, the associate/youth pastor's wife.  This is where the difference in our two churches begins.  Apparently they have no pianist.  So the praise and worship songs were done via projector and a special DVD they purchased with the music and words running like a power point slide presentation.  Great songs, beautiful videos in background.....and very worshipful.  After those three songs, we had a fellowship time.  This lasted quite sometime.  It reminded me a lot of the church Amy and I were married in during fellowship time.  Everyone moved and everyone was greeted.  Everyone.  So it was nice and got to meet some nice people.  We even met a man from Columbus, MS who is up here building a seawall and road.  Mississippi is everywhere!

After the fellowship, John Forrester got up and we did praise and prayer request time.  It was really nice to hear people talk about what good things were happening in their lives and even the not so good things they needed help with.  For instance, a native woman named Minnie had just returned from Anchorage where she had been hospitalized for several weeks.  She got up and praised Him for His goodness, thanked the people for praying and then she sang a hymn....not sure the name but it was really nice.  And then she sang a verse in her native tongue.  That was simply amazing to me.  I have no idea what she said or even what language that was, but it was obviously worshipful and pretty.

After this time of prayer and praise, we sang a couple more songs out of the Baptist Hymnal a capella.  Yeah no music.  It was nice though (sorry Amy).  Different but good.  Then John gave his message.  It was a very evangelistic message out of Romans.  Very good sermon followed by the traditional invitation, again a capella.  We ended around 12:30ish. 

All in all a good service. I always enjoy seeing how others "do church".  Well, getting hungry so I'll leave off here.  More soon.....

Price Check on Aisle 1

Ronnie and I were eating dinner last night (grilled cheese and chips) when he noticed something quite interesting......please note the price tag on this family size bag of doritos.  And no that is not a type-o!
And oh yeah, the only gas pump we saw yesterday the price was $6.65 a gallon for regular.  Now let me all hear you say it.......WOW! Yep shocking I know.  More to come....see ya soon.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

We are FINALLY here!

Hello from the Arctic.  Ronnie and I have finally arrived and actually got to sleep a little last night.  And as Ronnie said, "I just couldn't find my spot."  Ditto that. But at least we did sleep even without my CPAP.

Just a quick recount of the day or should I say eternity?!  We left Jacktown around 6 am Central Time.  Next stop Atlanta.  And despite my fears we had absolutly no problems (or so I thought).  Now the long leg on to Seattle was next, and wow what a demolisher.  I haven't felt like that in a while.  It was like I was a boxing match with George Forman, and he was winning!  Anyway, we survived and made it to Seattle.  Now the previous two trips to Seattle Airport were stop at one terminal let people off, add a few more and the off to Anchorage.  However, this year we had to change carriers and wow what a trek across Washington state.  As John Forrester would later tell us, Delta's terminal is in Tacoma and Alaska's terminal is in Seattle.  Quite a trip down stairs, up and down escalators and two trams and voila our new terminal.  I promise if you'd had to walk that it would have been at least 2 to 3 miles.  But we made it.  And on to Anchorage (John had joined us in the airport for the last leg) and on to Kotzebue.  Quite a long day I must say....lots of headaches and bodyaches but we arrived safely.

At the Kotzebue airport, we got off and met Teri and John Mark Forrester and stood and waited for our luggage. And we waited. And we waited and we waited. And oh there's my bad, whew!  And we waited some more, but no sign of Ronnie's bag!!!! NOOOOOOO! 3000 miles away and no clothes?! Yuck.  Luckily, John was friends with the Alaska rep in the airport and she quickly got on the job. Come to find out Ronnie's bag never got on the plane in Atlanta?! And was currently in route via another set of planes up to Kotzebue.  And at 8am local time we have finally been reunited with the long lost bag.  I guess it liked probably wanted to eat at the Varsity!

Anyway....we had a nice dinner at a local restaurant and off to bed we went.  And so now I leave you with the latest pics and off to church we will go.  See ya soon.

The Wayward Bag has returned.

Russia is about 250 Miles that way.

Snow Mobiles.

FBC Kotzebue


Thursday, July 14, 2011

The Next Few Weeks

I'm still here - and if any of my readers are, bless you for sticking with me during this "posting drought" of mine.  I don't really have an excuse, but I can say that I just haven't had that much to say.  I'm sure you don't want to read about our day in - day out life experiences when they consist of sleeping, eating, watching TV, sibling rifts, typing, etc.  Exciting stuff. 

We are in VBS this week so that has kept us busy enough.  And Brad leaves Saturday morning bright and early for Alaska.  Please check back in every day next week for updates as I'm assuming my hubby will post from Kotzebue, AK, like he has in the past from Kodiak.  I know he is taking his laptop, but I haven't specifically asked him if he plans on blogging.  But maybe this will suffice as my asking? 

I hate to even say this but school is just around the bend.  However, there's still some fun left to be had - I  have decided to take my kids to the Neshoba County Fair this year.  No, Brad is not going.  Too hot and too crowded and too socially active for him.  That's alright, it's his choice.  I, on the other hand, am soooo looking forward to it - it's been a few years since I've been.  I guess you can call it a reunion of sorts - my cousin Wendy will be there also.  We grew up going to the fair together.  For a week we were inseparable, and made lots and lots of good memories together.  I have a  feeling we will be doing a lot of reminiscing!  Of course, I realize it will not quite be the same.  I'm bringing 2 kids in tow and she will have her 2-year-old son with her.  So other than both being mothers now I'm sure we haven't changed a bit!  But FYI Wendy if you are reading this - you will not, and I repeat, will not get me on the Zipper this year.....

After the fair it will be time to start buying school supplies.  I've noticed Wal-Mart already has them out.  For those over-achiever moms.  Hehe. 

Well that's our next few weeks in a nutshell. 

Hope you guys have had a great summer.  Enjoy what's left!!!