Monday, October 29, 2007

Mardi Gras Parade

Every year around Halloween, Clinton hosts a Mardi Gras Parade. I took Sarah once when she was in preschool and we froze. Decided not to take her until she was older and had to be in the band. We would watch the parade on tv in our nice warm living room. This year was Sarah's last year to march in the Middle School band for the parade, next year she will be in high school. The weather was perfect. We needed a light jacket but that was all. When we got down to the parade route we found a family that we have gotten to know through 4-H. Their daughter is a year ahead of Sarah in school, but the two have so many things in common. Thier son is Kristen's age and also in the second grade. Kristen and Brett just met for the first time last weekend and discovered that they had a great time playing even if it was with a "boy" or "girl". The two younger kids had a blast watching the parade together and cheering on each other's older sister for their respective schools. They even had fun dancing to the old "Batman" theme song. Do you remember it? We were starting to

get a little concerned during the parade as many floats had someone yelling hi to Kristen. The problem is that it was always boys yelling at Kristen. I am being to wonder just how many boy friends this little girl has. Sarah did tell us that many people waved to her as she marched by. It is so hard to believe that the next time I see my little girl march she will be wearing the River Kings uniform. It seems like just yesterday she was an excited little girl when ever she saw the band march and now she is a member of the band.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


Yet another email that I thought was important and to be remembered.

A young wife sat on a sofa on a hot humid day,
drinking iced tea and visiting with her Mother. As
they talked about life, about marriage, about the
responsibilities of life and the obligations of
adulthood, the mother clinked the ice cubes in her
glass thoughtfully and turned a clear, sober glance
upon her daughter.

'Don't forget your Sisters,' she advised, swirling
the tea leaves to the bottom of her glass. 'They'll
be more important as you get older. No matter how
much you love your husband, no matter how much you
love the children you may have, you are still going
to need Sisters. Remember to go places with them now
and then; do things with them.'

'Remember that 'Sisters' means ALL the women...
your girlfriends, your daughters, and all your other
women relatives too. 'You'll need other women. Women
always do.'

What a funny piece of advice!' the young woman
thought. Haven't I just gotten married?
Haven't I just joined the couple-world? I'm now a
married woman, for goodness sake! A grownup! Surely
my husband and the family we may start will be all I
need to make my life worthwhile!'

But she listened to her Mother. She kept contact
with her Sisters and made more women friends each
year. As the years tumbled by, one after another,
she gradually came to understand that her Mom really
knew what she was talking about. As time and nature
work their changes and their mysteries upon a woman,
Sisters are the mainstays of her life.

After more than 50 years of living in this world,
here is what I've learned:


Time passes.
Life happens.
Distance separates.
Children grow up.
Jobs come and go.
Love waxes and wanes.
Men don't do what they're supposed to do.
Hearts break.
Parents die.
Colleagues forget favors.
Careers end.

Sisters are there, no matter how much time and how
many miles are
between you. A girl friend is never farther away
than needing her can reach.
When you have to walk that lonesome valley and you
have to walk it by yourself, the women in your life
will be on the valley's rim, cheering you on,
praying for you, pulling for you, intervening on
your behalf, and waiting with open arms at the
valley's end.

Sometimes, they will even break the rules and walk
beside you...Or come in and carry you out.

Girlfriends, daughters, granddaughters,
daughters-in-law, sisters, sisters-in-law, Mothers,
Grandmothers, aunties, nieces, cousins, and extended
family, all bless our life!

The world wouldn't be the same without women, and
neither would I. When we began this adventure called
womanhood, we had no idea of the incredible joys or
sorrows that lay ahead. Nor did we know how much we
would need each other.

Every day, we need each other still.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

We are still alive

Sarah went out today for her first driving experience. She was extremely nervous at first, but shortly after she got going, she exclaimed, "This is fun". She drove from just outside of Clinton to Elvira and then around and back to our house. For her first time, I think she did a good job. Kristen even survived and didn't need a car seat. Kristen was so thrilled with the experience that she fell asleep shortly after Sarah and I traded spots and didn't wake up until we got home and woke her up. Dad, Sarah wants to know if she can drive to church on Sunday? What do you say?

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Consider yourself warned

I just wanted to let everyone know that a new era is beginning in the Flathers' household. Sarah had her 14th birthday last Friday and today it became official. Yes, I will be getting driven around quite a bit. Today, after a couple of other attempts, Sarah passed the written test for her driver's permit. If the weather is nice tomorrow night, we will be going out and taking her first drive. Don't worry for the first drive, I will keep Sarah confined to some backroads and then home. I am sure that all will be well, but Kristen is concerned and wants to know if we can't possible borrow a car seat from someone so that she will be safe.

Another neat email

GIRLS IN MY CIRCLE When I was little, I used to believe in the concept of one best friend, and then I started to become a woman. And then I found out that if you allow your heart to open up, God would show you the best in many friends. One friend is needed when you're going through things with your man. Another friend is needed when you're going through things with your mom. Another will sit beside you in the bleachers as you delight in your children and their activities. Another when you want to shop, share, heal, hurt, joke, or just be. One friend will say, "Let's cry together," another, "Let's fight together," another, "Let's walk away together." One friend will meet your spiritual need, another your shoe fetish, another your love for movies, another will be with you in your season of confusion, another will be your clarifier, another the wind beneath your wings. But whatever their assignment in your life, on whatever the occasion, on whatever the day, or wherever you need them to meet you with their gym shoes on and hair pulled back, or to hold you back from making a complete fool of yourself ... those are your best friends. It may all be wrapped up in one woman, but for many, it's wrapped up in several.. one from 7th grade, one from high school, several from the college years, a couple from old jobs, on some days your mother, on some days your neighbor, on others, your sisters, and on some days, your daughters. So whether they've been your friend for 20 minutes or 20 years, AND ONLY IF YOU'D LIKE TO, pass this on to the women that God has placed in your life to make a difference.

Sunday, October 14, 2007


I found this very interesting. Many times I have felt like getting a shirt that said; Yes, I am Kurt's wife and Sarah's Mom and in recent years adding Kristen's mom. I think as mom's there are times when we love our own identity. This kind of helps to put everything into perspective.

Perspective: The Invisible Woman
By Nicole Johnson
It started to happen gradually. One day, I was walking my son Jake to school. I was holding his hand, and we were about to cross the street when the crossing guard said to him, "Who is that with you, young fella?""Nobody," he shrugged."Nobody?" said the crossing guard, and I laughed. My son is only 5, but as we crossed the street I thought, "Oh, my goodness, nobody?"I would walk into a room, and no one would notice. I would say something to my family like, "Turn the TV down, please," - and nothing would happen.Nobody would get up, or even make a move for the remote. I would stand there for a minute, and then I would say again, a littlelouder, "Would someone turn the TV down?"Nothing. Just the other night, my husband and I were out at a party. We'd been there for about three hours, and I was ready to leave. I noticed he was talking to a friend from work. So I walked over, and when there was a break in the conversation, I whispered, "I'm ready to go when you are."He just kept right on talking.That's when I started to put all the pieces together. I don't think he can see me. I don't think anyone can see me. I'm invisible.It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response,the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, "Can't you see I'm on the phone?"Obviously not! No one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all.I'm invisible.Some days, I am only a pair of hands, nothing more: Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this? Some days I'm not a pair ofhands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, "What time isit?" I'm a satellite guide to answer, "What number is the DisneyChannel?" I'm a car to order, "Right around 5:30, please."I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and theeyes that studied history and the mind that graduated summa cumlaude -but now they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never tobe seen again.She's going-- she's going-- she's gone!One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the returnof a friend from England. Janice had just gotten back from a fabuloustrip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. Iwas sitting there, looking around at the others all put together sowell. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself as Ilooked down at my out-of-style dress; it was the only thing I couldfind that was clean. My unwashed hair was pulled up in a bananaclip, and I was afraid I could actually smell peanut butter in it. Iwas feeling pretty pathetic, when Janice turned to me with abeautifully wrapped package, and said, "I brought you this."It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactlysure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: "ToCharlotte, with admiration for the greatness of what you are buildingwhen no one sees."In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I woulddiscover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, afterwhich I could pattern my work:* No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no recordof their names.* These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would neversee finished.* They made great sacrifices and expected no credit.* The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that theeyes of God saw everything.A legendary story in the book told of a rich man who came to visitthe cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carvinga tiny bird on the inside of a beam! He was puzzled and asked theman, "Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beamthat will be covered by the roof? No one will ever see it."And the workman replied, "Because God sees."I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It wasalmost as if I heard God whispering to me, "I see you, Charlotte. Isee the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around youdoes. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, nocupcake you've baked, is too small for me to notice and smile over.You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now whatit will become."At times, my invisibility feels like an affliction. But it is not adisease that is erasing my life. It is the cure for the disease of myown self-centeredness. It is the antidote to my strong, stubbornpride.I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. Asone of the people who show up at a job that they will never seefinished, to work on something that their name will never be on. Thewriter of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals couldever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willingto sacrifice to that degree.When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friendhe's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, "My mom gets up at4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes aturkey for three hours and presses all the linens for the table."That would mean I'd built a shrine or a monument to myself. I justwant him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more tosay to his friend, to add, "You're gonna love it there."As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen ifwe're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the worldwill marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty thathas been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible women.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

10-20-30 or I have been tagged.

My cousin's wife Jessica, just tagged me. I have to tell what I was doing 10, 20, and 30 years ago. Lets see how good my memory is.

10 years ago: 1997 My oldest daughter would have been 4 at the time, so I was teaching preschool, at Wee School for Little People. I had just discovered scrapbooking about 6 months earlier, so I was also trying to make a go of being a Creative Memories consultant. I also was working part time for Northwest Fabric and Crafts. Boy do I miss that store. At this point in time there were no pets in our life.

20 years ago. 1987 Believe it or not, I hadn't met Kurt yet. This was my 5th year in college. I was the head student trainer for the Women's Volleyball team. What a fun experience. As the volleyball student trainer, I was located in a gym across campus from the main gym, so was basically on my own. We traveled to Duke for a volleyball tournament. Some of the other girls wanted to go to a different place to eat about an hour from where we were staying. The coach would only let them go if I drove. It was fun being given so much responsibility. This was the first time that the volleyball team made it to the NCAA post season tournament. I was able to travel with the team and was as surprised as all to find a single rose waiting for me in the hotel room from the University president. The school also hosted the USA women's olympic team and the Japan women's team. I was privilaged to watch both teams practice. Man could player's jump. There must have been at least 3-4 feet between the floor and their feet. The football team at UNI was also having it's best season, so I was expected to assist with that when the volleyball team was not busy. We missed the championship game by 1 point. I can still remember the play that ended the game. I lived off campus during that school year, and met Kurt several months later while student teaching.

30 years ago: 1977 I was in 7th grade. Boy that seems like a long time ago. I had just started junior high. I played the clarinet in band. I don't remembe exactly when during this time, but sometime during my 7th grade year, we switched churches from Assembly of God in LeClaire to Pleasant View Baptist in Pleasant Valley. It was a good move. At the church in LeClaire I was the only one in the junior/senior high youth group. At Pleasant View there were many kids involved who were active in the youth group. I was able to join and made many friend. During this time I was also active in 4-H, LeClaire Boosters Sr. Of course 4-H took up a lot of my time as I carried many different projects. I believe that during this time I also began to babysit. What a grown up feeling to be able to earn my own spending money.

I guess that this is some kind of experiment to see how far blogging travels, so I need to link back to the original post
I also need to tag a few others, however most of the blogs I read are businesses, so if you happen to read my blog and see this, please consider yourself tagged. And hey, if you are reading my blog and I don't know about it, feel free to let me know.

A beautiful fall day

Today had all of the promise of being a wonderful relaxing day. We were able to sleep in a little bit for the first time in many weeks. After getting up and ready, we took Sarah for her driver's test. Don't worry, the roads will be safe for a couple more days. She didn't pass, but understands what she did wrong on the written test and is eager to go back Tuesday after school for another try. To take her mind off of failing the test, the girls and I ran over to Fulton's Heritage Canyon for their fall festival. What a fun time. We were able to tour several older buildings including a log cabin, small church, one room school house, doctor's office, blacksmith shop and a general store. We also were able to walk across a swinging bridge, walk through a covered bridge and see a mill. Kristen has never been there, but I have taken Sarah before. She claims that she doesn't remember going. The weather was just perfect, we were able to try some different apple deserts and of course I was able to take a ton of pictures. Fall is my favorite season and I love the colors but have never had anything to scrap using the fall theme before. Afterwards we met Dad at Pizza Ranch for lunch. That was what Sarah requested for her birthday. The rest of the day the girls and I spent at home. Sarah watched a new movie that she had gotten for her birthday and I was able to work on my layout for a swap that I am in. I am almost finished but have a little way to go. Late afternoon, Kurt and Sarah were surprised by the appearance of Kurt's manager for football. He stopped by with a huge bag of munchies for Kurt, with go Rams written on it, and for Sarah a wonderful snack basket full of popcorn, pop, and movie candy. She was thrilled. If only we could manage to schedule at least one Saturday a month like this. No running, no deadlines, just able to spend some time enjoying each other's company.

I have tried 5 times to get the pictures the way I want them, so this will have to do for now. Will try again another time.