Empty Nest

These past few days Doug and I have been empty nesters as our son, Darion, is off at Ridgecrest on a church youth retreat.  He left Thursday morning.  Later that day,  Doug and I went to the beach (until it started raining) without a complaining, bored twelve year old, then had dinner at a restaurant where waiters brought us dinner on a real plate!  We were able to actually sit and TALK to each other while enjoying the meal.

We got up for work on Friday morning without having to listen to the “Sponge Bob” marathon on TV and made it out the door without having to yell at anyone to GET OUT OF BED, hurry up, get his stuff together, put on deodorant, or eat his breakfast.  Friday night, we got wild and crazy.  We ate out AGAIN in a real restaurant, played goofy golf all by ourselves, came home and watched an adult movie (NO, NOT THAT KIND OF ADULT MOVIE!),  then – get this – we went out for ice cream at 10:00 PM!  Who knew Dairy Queen and Baskin-Robbins were closed by ten o’clock?  Certainly not the Fannons, who are generally in bed WAY before then.  A little disappointing, but we still managed to get a hot fudge sundae at McDonalds.  And we didn’t even get to bed until eleven!

Saturday, we went to Ponce de Leon Spring State Park.  We hiked two nature trails without a surly preteen proclaiming how stupid and boring it was, complaining about the bugs, whacking things with sticks, and grumping about how much he hated nature.  We could actually hear the birds!  We never knew nature could be so peaceful.

Today we got to church on time without losing any of our religion. I didn’t have to constantly train my maternal “stink eye” upon a youngster who wasn’t being as holy as he should be.  This is especially difficult from the piano, as I tend to lose my place in the music.

All in all, I think this empty nest thing is truly under-rated.  But alas, we only have two days left until the youth come home.  We are thinking of texting the youth leaders to see if they’ll consider staying another week at Ridgecrest.  Unfortunately, I’m afraid that could invoke mutiny and more loss of religion.  So, until Tuesday, we’re going to live it up (as only the Fannons can) until our little birdie flies back to the nest.  Meanwhile, we keep chanting the mantra,  “Only six more years until high school graduation…..only six more…”



3 Questions Wednesday with Ellen Fannon

Check out my interview with Jennifer Hallmark. A huge thanks to Jennifer and the help she has given me!

Inspired Prompt

Good morning! It is my pleasure to welcome author Ellen Fannon to the Inspired Prompt. Ellen has released a new book, Other People’s Children.

Good morning, Ellen.

Can you describe yourself in three words?

Ellen: Compassionate, generous, droll.

I like droll. 🙂 Next question . . .

Someone offers you a fully-paid writing research trip to any place you desire to go. Where would it be and why?

Ellen: That’s easy.  It would most definitely be Israel. There is so much historical, geographical, political, archeological, and scientific information being unearthed daily in Israel, which only confirms the accuracy of our Bible. Having been privileged to visit Israel in 1998 and again two years ago, the Bible literally came alive for me and it gave me a much deeper understanding of the events recorded. Actually being in the same places where Biblical history occurred, along with a realization of the…

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Be Grateful for What You Have

You know the old saying, “You never appreciate what you have until it’s gone?”  Well, I got a little taste this week, when my washing machine broke.  Now I will admit that doing laundry is right up there on my list of the ten most things I hate to do.  So I try to remind myself every time I am faced with an avalanche of dirty clothes to wash that I am blessed to have a washer and dryer instead of a flat rock in the river.

I was proud of myself for piling everything into the washer the evening before and setting the timer for the washer to come on in the middle of the night when the rates drop for electricity use.  Good steward and all that.  The next morning, when I went to transfer items to the dryer, I was dismayed to find everything sopping wet and full of soap.  I did the only reasonable thing I could – I told my husband.  Being a man, he took things apart, which released a flood of dirty water all over the laundry room.  (Not once, but twice!)  Now every towel we owned was pressed into service.  After cleaning out a ton of sand from the drain hose, along with a few Legos and two nails, we were optimistic that we had solved the problem.  Alas, no such luck.

So, off we schlepped to the laundromat with baskets full of wet items.  I was feeling quite annoyed at being so inconvenienced until I reminded myself I was blessed to have a laundromat within a few miles of my house.  An hour and a half  and eleven dollars in quarters later, we returned with clean, dry clothes – then we realized we had forgotten to empty the clothes from the washing machine and had only managed to grab all the soggy towels and a few things out of the hamper.

Meanwhile, my husband called a real repairman, who came out the next day (bless him) and pronounced that our pump (also full of Legos) had gone bad.  Unfortunately, we have to wait for parts until our washer (still sitting full of wet clothes) can be fixed.

I am once again reminded of how much we take things for granted.  Never again will I complain about doing laundry as I stuff clothes into my EC extra large capacity Kenmore washing machine.  (Okay, that’s probably not true.  I’ll most likely still complain.)  But it sure beats the laundromat and the flat rock in the river.  And the good news is that I can’t  do laundry this weekend!

Vacation Bible School

We just finished up with another week of Vacation Bible School (VBS) at Rosemont Baptist Church.  VBS is one of our biggest outreach ministries and in bringing in both  children and adults from the surrounding areas, we hope to plant the seeds of the Gospel that will someday bear fruit for God’s Kingdom in the form of their decision to accept Jesus as their Savior.  VBS is a vitally important church activity and I wholeheartedly support it.

That being said, however, I must admit that where VBS is concerned, I am a big toe in the body of Christ attempting to function as a nose.  I just don’t “smell” right.  (Square peg in round hole.)  Being a preschool teacher has never been in the top 5 of my spiritual gifts (or in the top fifty, for that matter).  Nor has coming up with decorating ideas to fit the “theme” of  every year’s VBS.  And while I’m off the subject, I want to point out that I managed to make it through VBS in the dark ages without “themes,” decorations, music videos, and with cheap, store-bought cookies and kool-aid for snacks. Never-the-less, I want to be a team player, so I dutifully study the lessons, arrange activities to attempt to occupy preschoolers for more than five minutes (which inevitably involve thirty minutes of planning for each and $20.00 to prepare for), and reconcile myself to the fact that every night from 6:00-8:30, I will be surrounded by little people picking their noses, spilling their drinks, squabbling over which chair to sit in, and having to go “potty.”  This is after finishing a full day at work, praying I will get out of there by five,  rushing to get from Fort Walton to home, letting my poor dogs out who don’t understand why I am leaving them again when I just got home, scarfing down something to eat in the hopefully five minutes I have left, and making it to church before six.  But even though I’m old, I can do anything for one week, knowing there is an end in sight.  “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.”  (Phillipians 4:13).

So, it was with a sense of relief when Saturday finally rolled around, and I sat down to leisurely peruse the newspaper with my breakfast.  And there, in the “faith” section was a column written by a pastor advocating that churches should do TWO WEEK LONG VBS!  I almost choked on my cheerios!  Now I highly doubt that said pastor has ever spent two and a half hours every night with preschoolers after a long grueling day at work.  Nor, I’ll bet, has he struggled to come up with decorations to fit the “theme” of VBS.  I wanted to censor his column before he put ideas into the heads of avid VBS enthusiasts all over town (such as the parents of the children who get a break every night while other people watch their kids.)   But it was too late.  The damage was already done.   I was thinking of sending him hate mail or even threatening to turn preschoolers loose in his study after consuming huge amounts of sugar, but decided that probably wasn’t very Christian-like.  So I will just leave matters at this – if his suggestion catches on, he had better be willing to step into all the places of VBS workers everywhere during the second week of VBS next year, or risk the consequences of hundreds of crazed VBS workers self medicating with massive quantities of chocolate!

Penguin bites

Sometimes I think to myself what a unique career I have.  In what other job can a person ask you what happened at work today and you can say, “I got bit by a penguin?”  I love going to work every day not knowing what will cross my path that day.  I may have to do pediatrics, internal medicine, anesthesiology, dentistry, radiography, obstetrics, surgery, cardiology, dermatology, gastroenterology, respiratory, oncology, and neurology all in one day,  in a variety of patients ranging from 20 ounce canaries to 200 pound Great Danes.  As I’ve always said, REAL doctors treat more than one species.  And what challenge is it to examine and treat patients who aren’t trying to bite, scratch, kick, run (or fly) away, squirm, knock you down, release anal sacs, pee or poop on you, or otherwise kill you, all while trying to keep the patient and the owner from getting hurt?  Where’s the fun in that?  Not to mention fleas in the surgery field, but I won’t go there.

I know there’s a common misconception among people outside the veterinary field who believe all we do is play with puppies and kittens all day.  And yes, the joy of getting a wet kiss from a patient with “puppy breath” is a huge perk in this profession.  Plus, I can enjoy playing with the puppy for a few minutes and then send it home with the owner to housebreak and deal with chewing.  Alas, however, this is usually only a small part of my day.

In spite of the sometimes trying situations at work, I still say I have the best job in the world, penguin bites and all.







Physically Fit

It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the gym and lately I’ve had a little voice in my head telling me I really need to start exercising again and get in better shape.  I can usually shut that little voice up with chocolate and lie down until the urge to exercise goes away.  However, my twelve year old son, Darion, has been bugging me to take him to the gym so he can build up his muscles for football.  So, I finally gave in and succumbed this week.  We started out on the ellipticals.  After about five minutes, Darion said he was done.  He’d done his twenty  miles.  I looked over at his machine and informed him the distance read 0.2 miles.  After doing my mile in a record time of 18 minutes, I was rather proud of myself and decided to try the stair stepper.  Everything was going great until I tripped on my own feet and fell down the moving steps, banging both my shins.  So now I have big black and blue lumps on both legs.  But you know what they say, “No pain, no gain.”