Since I ended with the post about our mystery snake it seems fitting that I start this long over due post about our snake. Basically I ended up killing him at the urging of our neighbor prior to learning his true identity. It turns out that my original instinct was correct in that he was not a harmful snake. I emailed two snake gurus with pictures of our backyard dweller and found this
"This is an essentially harmless, non-venomous, broad-banded water snake (Nerodia fasciata confluens). It's one of our prettier snakes, and can be distinguished from the copperhead by the lack of regularity in its markings."
So my FIL and perhaps a few others were correct about the species of snake. I hate that I killed the poor thing (I'll spare the pictures) for several reasons. Not the least of which being that his presence would have prevented other, harmful, snakes from moving in.
Changing subjects abruptly:
VISIT TO CT
David and I were able to snag last minute-ish tickets for the both of us to get to visit my parents and extended family in early August. Originally I had intended to travel alone as the price of airfare was a bit steep. My grandfather was having a blow out party for his 80th Birthday and David and I decided it'd been too long since I'd seen them (three years in December). Thankfully when we were ready to purchase tickets, we found some for 1/2 the originally expected fare!! Yea us. =) Our visit consisted of sleeping in, eating, visiting and pretty much just being down right lazy. It was wonderful. My sister was also able to visit over the same dates (we didn't even plan it - it just happened) so David, myself and my sister were able to cook, bum around and eat way too much with my parents and family. We made the circuit enjoying great meals in our Grandparents home, my Aunts home and others. Everyone was really considerate about David's food allergies and he ate really well and didn't suffer a bit!! We were really thankful that my family was so thorough in their label reading and food preparation. Not even a stray miscellaneous "dextrose" or unknown "vinegar" was offered to David. HOW NICE!! We are adjusting here at home - it's becoming second nature, but it was a lot to ask of other people. We offered to bring food for David but everyone was great. (THANKS!!!! It really helped make our trip relaxing and "full-filling" for both of us.) David and I really enjoyed the opportunity to have no responsibilities or chores or anything. Our great neighbor provided doggie care in our home adding another layer of care free relaxation to our trip.
I started two weeks ago. I have 5 classes. Lots of reading, homework and studying. Thankfully my schedule is a full Tuesday/Thursday rather than a few early morning classes and a few late night classes. It's been nice to be able to get on a sleeping schedule and STAY on it. I am continuing to work for now, three days a week (MWF) but the family I have been working for is actively looking for volunteers so I'm not certain if I will continue working through out the semester. I'm content either way I think. While I enjoy my time with the family, I realize that having more time in my own home wouldn't be a bad idea either. Right now we are all just waiting to see what happens.
I have to make a quick note of a book I ran into at the Library Book Sale. Our library has a "Friends of the Library" book store. Books are basically between $.25 and $2 each and I typically browse their selection whenever I go to the library. I spotted "What's So Amazing About Grace?" by Philip Yancey and grabbed it up. I have hardly any time for pleasure reading, mostly I am reading textbooks but I sneak a page in here and there. I've read only about 70 pages or so but it's been thought provoking and influential already. The entire book is about Grace. I think a lot of churches have forgotten this aspect of Jesus' character. Yet, when one reads through the Bible the resounding message through Jesus' walk is grace and love. Forgiveness. Acceptance. The price of all sins having been COVERED, PAID IN FULL. Everyone last sin. Every grievance committed by us and against us. Punishment was delivered by Him who gives Grace. Definitely recommend reading this book. Slowly. This isn't a potato chip book by any means.