Monday, April 30, 2007

It's a Keeper

If you track my blog, you are aware of my frustration from not catching a fish in Lake Ray Hubbard (or any lake in Texas, for that matter.) We live near the above named lake, and I often go to the banks at Lakeside Park to cast my line. Typically, I go for catfish, as you can basically cast, relax and wait, and hopefully pull in the big one when you get a bite. However, my experience has previously just ended at "wait".

All that ended this weekend, when Dylan and his dad invited me to do some late night fishing from their boat. Dylan's dad has a small bass boat, and he is a very good angler, typically catching several fish on his outings. Dylan shares stories of their success and I had wanted to try my luck with them for some time.

Some may think that it is weird that I can hang out with my wife's ex-husband - we've gone hunting several times together, as well. I think it is good for Dylan, and the truth is that Dan and I get along fine. As we fished we talked about work, the kids, etc...he even made fun of my lack of success with the rod and reel. It was a good night.

My frustration continued however. As Dan pulled in several catfish, and a very large drum fish, I got nothing - until I reeled in a 8 inch stripe bass. That's way to small to keep, but I finally actually caught a fish. After good natured ribbing about the size of my fish, and about a 3 and a half hour wait, I finally had another bite. I reeled in and had my first keeper - a 14 inch channel catfish. We threw it in the live tank and continued for a couple of more hours.

I only caught the one, but I had a great time, and learned a little more about fishing. Dan instructed me on how to clean it, and we'll eat it someday soon. How did I know which one in the live tank was mine, I asked Dan, and he said "it's the small one!"

At least there was one in there that was mine.


Thursday, April 26, 2007

Another Year Already...

Today Angie and I celebrate our sixth anniversary.

I just finished reading my blog entry from a year ago today, and it is amazing how God has been working in our lives this past year. Angie and I are more in love today than we were when we got married. We've both been reflecting on the people we were and the relationship we had back then, and the incredible healing we've been going through - a healing that, ultimately, has made our relationship that much better. But, truth be told, we both have a way to go. I'll focus on mine, since that is the only one I have control over anyway.

Control - interesting word choice above. I am coming to the conclusion that my desire for control over things is what gets me in trouble. Although it may be a virtue at work, my efforts to control where God should be in control are my problem. I try to control my environment at home (and end up "parenting Angie" or continuing to nag the kids). I try to control my finances, instead of giving freely to those less fortunate and trusting that God will provide. I try to control God, asking Him to bless what I want instead of asking Him how I can fit into what He wants.

As our church begins a capital campaign, I've been undergoing a spiritual journey that has nothing to do with money - it has to do with trust. If I said I trusted in Him for my salvation or for love, no one would question that. If I said I trust Him with my finances, my marriage, my life...I might get some raised eyebrows. It seems like a conceivable idea that the creator of the universe, the knower of ALL things, should be trusted in all worldly things and that ultimately, they all seem somewhat insignificant.

It's hard to give up control, and that's my struggle. It will ultimately be my greatest achievement.

Happy Anniversary, sweetheart. I'm glad I have you to do this walk with me.

"Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us" (Ephesians 3:20)


Monday, April 23, 2007

Rusk SP - 1 Down, 112 To Go

This weekend Angie, Cassie and I went camping for the first time with the camper. We went to Rusk State Park in East Texas (about 130 miles South East of Dallas). Texas has 113 state parks and we're going to try to do as many as we can.

The ride was pleasant, with rolling hills, green pastures and ultimately tall, mature pine trees (the region is called, cleverly enough, Piney Hills).

The park was pleasant, but had we had Marissa and Dylan with us, they would have been bored. The lake is small and difficult to fish from the banks. The boat rental that was listed has since been closed, and the swimming area is a disaster. Had Cassie wanted to swim, I wouldn't have let her in. Other than some friends that she made, and the playground, she wouldn't have been too happy with the weekend.

We went to look at some land available for sale. Since our trip to Goliad, Angie has acquiesced to my desire to purchase land for hunting, camping, and perhaps retirement. We drove around Palestine for the most part, and found a couple of the areas that she had listing for. All of it was pretty, and my understanding is that the deer and hog hunting is excellent, but we probably won't purchase there. We've decided that we are going to look in all regions.

The camper worked well - electrical, water, propane, A/C all checked out - and it was an excellent opportunity to shake down the camper and learn more about the things we need to bring when we camp. We slept reasonably comfortably, but will be crowded when all 5 of us go. Now that we've used it in a real camping environment, we are real pleased with the purchase, and are already looking forward to a larger 5th wheel or rigid camper.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Reason To Be Scared

Here is an update to my last post...apparently I had reason to be scared.

Frightening 30 minutes for Rowlett as Tornado circled above city

The location in the article is about a mile away from the house. Next time those sirens go off, we're headed for the pantry. I don't care who is home.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

"Imminent Rue-age"

The title of this entry is from a very cool movie, "Twister". However, when it's happening to you, or the threat of a tornado is happening to you, it isn't all that cool.

Last night, we have very severe thunderstorms move in to our area. I've blogged about the spring thunderstorms in North Texas before, but last night was a little different. I was watching TV, when the program I was watching was interrupted by a Tornado Warning. I heard the thunder and saw the lightening outside but didn't think to much of it. However, as I went to the front door to look outside, three things happened that raised the hair on my neck.

1) Hail was coming down quite strong. The hail was approximately marble size, and it was really slamming down.

2) The TV went out as I went to the door. If you've seen "Twister" then you know in one scene that the TV goes out right before one of the bigger tornado hits.

3) The tornado siren in Rowlett began to go off. As the siren went off, I decided to run for the pantry (it is the only interior "room" in our house. I've only heard a tornado siren once before, and it really makes you feel scared. I thought that the siren meant a tornado was on the ground, but apparently that's not the case.

However, Justin arrived home at the same time. Since he was home, I couldn't very well go scurrying into the pantry. Justin is a old hand at tornadoes, and isn't intimated by them - like I am.

As he played on the computer upstairs, I watched out the window and the weather map on TV. The sirens went off a total of two more times, but no tornado appeared. Some close towns were not spared so well, as a minimum of two tornadoes are believed to have hit last night.

I'm just glad that everyone is safe and I didn't rue the day I didn't hide in the pantry.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

Turkey For Easter?!?!

We've just arrived home from the long 6+ hour trek from Goliad, TX. We've unpacked the car and the camper and are now winding down from a long day and an incredible holiday weekend. Not only did we celebrate the resurrection of our Lord and Savior today with family, but we also enjoyed His wonderful creation all weekend.

People who live in the country in Texas, and I'd imagine everywhere, seem to enjoy the wonderful outdoors and nature that goes along with it. We've experienced that to the hilt this weekend with Angie's cousin's in south Texas. Although one of the main goals of our trip was the turkey hunt, we enjoyed the company of Angie's cousins so much. They are so hospitable and friendly, it felt like we were at home. It was wonderful spending time with the kids outdoors, as well. We hope to do that more now that we have the camper.

Angie's cousins work and live at the South Texas Children's Home* in Goliad. They have access to the immense land that the home owns (700 acres that we hiked on Saturday), and their own 25 acres near by. They are also avid hunters and we went down there with the plan to hunt some wild turkey and hogs.
I'll skip right to the turkey hunt, since that was really the highlight. We walked to Steve's spot and he called using his turkey call. He didn't see any and was a bit pessimistic about our chances in that location. He told us that we were going to go to a different spot, so we all started using our turkey calls. We were just messing around really, as we had given up on that location when Steve's son, Trent, hushed us up pretty quick. Two toms had walked out from the woods into the field in front of us. We were so unprepared, but were unable to move. Dylan didn't even have his face mask on yet. We stood frozen for what felt like an eternity. My gun got heavier and heavier, but we watched as these two turkeys walk from right to left in front of us about 100-150 yards out.

At one point, their field of vision was blocked as a couple of palms were in their way. Steve instructed us to drop to the ground and sit when it was safe. Dylan put his mask on and I flicked off the safety of my shotgun. The turkeys continued to walk to our left, but now that Steve was in a position to do so, he called like a madman, and that man can call a turkey. The second he started scratching, the turkeys turned right for us. Now they are walking right to us from about 75 yards out. He called whenever it looked like they were losing interest and they continued to come in. It was the most beautiful sight I have ever seen. The were shooting their tail feathers in the fan that they do trying to impress the hen that they thought Steve was and kept walking towards us. They came within 10-15 yards or so and Steve whispered to Dylan and I to shoot whenever we were ready. Dylan was to take the one on the left and me the one on the right.

As they moved into range, my heart beat faster and faster. I tried to control my breathing to steady my aim and raised my gun. Dylan shot first and his bird fell straight away. Mine had attempted to fly away at the sound of Dylan's gun, but it was too late - I had it lined up and hit it out of the air (it had gotten to about 5 feet).

We had our turkeys and it was the most incredible experience. Dylan scored a tom with a 10 inch beard and 1.5 inch spurs (probably close to 30 pounds). Mine had a 9 inch beard and 1 inch spurs - another great bird.

We returned home and the ladies couldn't believe we got them so fast. All I know is that as they were walking in that field, time seemed to stop. We skinned and cleaned the birds and placed them in the cooler on ice. We decided to eat mine for dinner the next evening and had chicken fried turkey. It tasted like....well, turkey. It was delicious.
We truly had an amazing weekend with family. Whether hunting or not, we are already planning our next trip with the camper.
* The South Texas Children's Home helps children and families in need. It is staffed by very special individuals and the kids their could use any help that we can provide. To learn more about the home, or to make a donation, please visit the website by clicking here.

Monday, April 02, 2007

Hope Springs Eternal

It's that time of year again. Amid the spring thunderstorms, flower planting, mowing of is back. This time of year is, to me, the most anticipated of all seasons. The Mets play ball and I get to root for them. After getting so close last year, this off season was particularly long.

The Mets opened the 2007 season in St Louis against the Cardinals - which just happens to be the same team that knocked them out of the playoffs and ended up winning the world series. The Cardinals had their trophy ceremony before the game and I think that was a big mistake, because the Mets players had to watch and I would have thought they would want to let that sleeping dog lie.

If the game last night is any indication of things to come, the Mets are going to have an excellent season. The slammed the ball with their bats for a total of 12 hits and 6 runs. What was even more promising, however, is that they played great defense turning several excellent double plays and even threw out a runner at the plate. Lastly, the biggest question mark for the team is pitching, and 41-year old Glavine pitched terrific.

All I know is that it is fun to have a team to root for again.

Play ball!