Sunday, February 22, 2009

Amgen Stage 5

A few months back I heard the Amgen Tour of California would come to Visalia. Conner of course is a big Lance Armstrong fan and loves to watch The Tour. So to hear a pro cycling event was coming to our town, were in. Then the news came that Lance Armstrong would return to cycling and come to the race. We were thrilled to give Conner the opportunity to see his hero.
On race day we got up at 6am to ensure we would find a place to stand. The paper had stated the cyclist check in at 8:30 and sign autographs after until race time. We went looking for the designated spot that was nowhere to be found. Marty ended up going up to one of the tour organizers who told him "Stand by that red carpet and you will meet them all." so we walked right up to the barrier and just stood. As we walked up we met some people from Minnesota who flew out here to follow the race. They said that was the ONLY place to meet the cyclists. They said the paper had erroniously reported the facts and we were in good.
So we waited and the waiting paid off. We got to meet all the big names in cycling including Lance Armstrong himself. He signed the most autographs and took the most time with the fans. We saw Levi Leiphiemer who today took home the overall race. We also saw Floyd Landis on his return to cycling, he was the nicest of the bunch and even talked to me for a second. Overall it was a wonderful experience and Conner was thrilled to have met his hero. It was a big deal for our whole little town and we are all curious to see if the tour comes through again.

Imagine seeing this while you drive

Mooney blvd.
Originally uploaded by jmtimms
I love winter in Visalia, the best part is the air is clear and you can see the mountains. Imagine driving and seeing these looming before you, it truly is a sight to see. The other day five cars in front of me on the freeway all slammed on their brakes. You could tell that everyone was looking at the majesty of the mountains. If you ever want to come see us, come February or March, it's the best time for viewing. Those mountains are the Sierra Nevada's.

Thursday, February 19, 2009


I am so blessed to have many wonderful friends in life. I have realized the past year how many friends I have and even blessed with a few new friendships. I am usually the friend who keeps up with everyone and the last year has really challenged that.

When Marty got sick, I knew he needed me to be there for him. I have let a lot slide the past year and one thing has been keeping up with people. It has been a interesting test of friendship, seeing who goes by the wayside when you aren't taking the time. Then there have been the people who have gone the extra mile and walked the other side of the street with me.

I am so thankful for my friends who have listened unfailingly to everything I have to say. I am so thankful for those friends who provide a much needed distraction from hard things. Friends who make me smile and laugh on many days when I don't feel like it. Friends who have dragged me out of the house and made me take a break.

Old friends, new friends, in between friends, I am thankful for them all.

Monday, February 9, 2009

1 year later

Tami on the beach in Haiti
Today marks the one year anniversary of the last time I saw my friend Tami. I have felt this week looming ahead and tried to pray harder for her family. Everytime I feel sad about her death, I pray for her family who feel thousands time more pain and sadness.

It was a Sunday morning during Sunday school, just any other Sunday. I walked in and sat right behind Tami and her mom Val. Tami was talking about Tara's 20th birthday and we started talking about how big her kids were and how fast the time went. She talked about her Son Eddy and when he got married and how it seemed like just yesterday. During class her and Val started eating mints and I stuck my hand between their chairs to get one. I will never forget Tam looking back and laughing, then whispering "Mom, she wants one too." and we all laughed.

I had to leave class early that day and remember smiling and waving a silent goodbye. Who knew it would be "Goodbye for now." As a few short days later, she would leave this earth for good. It is still hard to believe she is gone. We met 10 yrs ago when we moved here, she went to our church. Her daughter Tori was just a few months younger than Conner. Then two short years later, Elizabeth was born on Tori's birthday. Tami was working in Labor and Delivery at the time and wanted to be in the room for delivery. She missed it by just a few minutes but was the first person to meet Elizabeth besides us.

 She was a good friend to our family the whole time we knew her.  I was really young when I met her and had a lot of growing up to do. But later when she came to our new church she got to know the grown up version of me. She went on a mission trip to Haiti with Marty, she sang on the worship team with him for several years. We lived a lot of life together and she is sorely missed.

Please pray for her family this Valentines day as they mourn her passing and everyday. Pray for her parent's, siblings, husband and children.

I just needed to get this out and put it down. I didn't want to let the day pass without marking it somehow. You never know when the simplest of days will become important days.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

10 yrs ago

This past month we celebrated our 10th anniversary of moving to Visalia. It is hard to believe that we have been here that long. In October of 1998  I came to visit my sister here in Visalia. We had always come to visit since our dear aunt Pat lived here. Kim had moved here a few years before me and made a life for herself.  I longed to be a stay at home mom and be able to afford to live, since So. Cal is quite expensive. On that trip I fell in love with her church and decided I wanted to make the move. I brought Marty back in December to test the waters and we decided to move within the next month.

 I am telling you, we were nuts! I know it was God moving us because no rational person would have done what we did. We left our jobs, drained our savings and packed everything in my brother in law's tractor trailer and made the move. Conner was 14 months old, just a little guy and we bid a teary farewell to our family and friends. Marty had been struggling to come to terms with his dad's death and needed to move on,  so we did.

 I cried the first year straight and called my grandma's and mom everyday. I hated my new job at the department store and Marty worked temporary work. It was really a mess at first but slowly we started to re-build our lives. I can tell you it took years but finally we got to the place we wanted to be in life.

Now this is home and we miss it when we are away. We are so thankful to have built our own lives, all by ourselves. We are blessed to have many wonderful families that we are friends with and support us like family. Marty has a great job and I am home where I always wanted to be. It's nice to look back and see where we came from and how far that journey has brought us.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Wear red Day

I want to ask you all to wear red this Friday in support of Women's heart health. In 2006 two days after my grandma fell ill, my dear friend Robin had a heart attack. She had flu like symptoms and had been sick a few days before. It was the day before her birthday and she just ignored the symptoms. Finally when the pain in her arm became intolerable she went to the ER. She was told she had a heart attack and probably suffered the brunt of it in the waiting room.

She was 43 years old and no family history of heart disease. She was not overweight and very active, there was no warning signs. I never knew how many women suffered heart attacks and how commonplace this is becoming. It really opened all our eyes to this disease and was a huge wake up call.

I really hope you will take the time to go to this website and take a look.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Don't shop at Walmart, especially Walmart Visalia.

Dear Di, don't say I told you so!

So for years I have ignored the don't shop at Walmart claims. I have been a loyal customer shopping there several times a week. The savings simply were too good to pass up and I always had no problems returning items. Until this year or actually the end of last year when the problems began. I bought Conner a pair of pants and they were too small. So I tried to return them but for some reason the number on the receipt rang up different than the number on the inside of the pants. Even though I had my receipt they would not return the item but only exchange the item on a store gift card. Even though I had the receipt!

 So my microwave went out this past week and I got out the owners manual. It said I needed to return it to the store within 1yr of purchase. I had the receipt and called the store before lugging it down there and was told that I needed to contact GE. I called GE and was informed it was a return to vendor model, then I explained the situation to them. When they heard it was Walmart they said "It figures as much." and decided to issue me a Good Faith certificate. I got the certificate in the mail and it was valid for 75.00 instead of the 89.99 I paid for the microwave. So I made one last ditch effort to try WalMart before going that route.

I spoke to another person claiming to be the asst. manager and she basically ignored my request and told me it was a GE issue. I informed her that I spoke with GE and had the receipt and owners manual to back up my claim. She really didn't care and I told her they would lose my business completely to the new Target built near my house. She said "That's fine and she understood." so I hung up and gave up.

I went to Best Buy and bought the new microwave, I ended up paying 10.00 more for the same item. So now I will be out 24.00 all in the name of saving 10.00.  Really not worth the hassle and I have learned a hard lesson. You get what you pay for and Walmart really is evil. I did however get the last laugh because I wrote to Walmart corporate and complained about the imaginary store manager in Visalia. I also wrote him a scathing letter detailing the inept staff at his store.

So people, take my hard lesson and don't shop at WalMart. or if you do make sure it is for nothing of value.