Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Last Random Dozen for 2009

Today is the last Random Dozen for 2009. I hope that you enjoy Linda's questions and my answers. You need to go over to her blog and read how others are answering.

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?

In my "older" age I don't share as quickly and easily as I used to. Growing up, we always shared - with everybody. When my children were little, we shared, mainly because we couldn't afford to buy everyone a drink and I was too lazy to get up and fix everyone a drink, so we just all drank out of my glass. At meals we all had our own glass.

NOW, I don't care to share.

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)

Of eternal value, I learned (actually had it imprinted again and again) God is good and faithful. He will not let me down. He will not leave me. He will not put me to shame. I am not perfect (not a new lesson, just really exposed AGAIN!). I need God's grace and mercy constantly.

On the daily basis, I learned that I am only as young as my oldest part.

I learned how to cook a rockin good brisket.

I learned a lot of what NOT to do, but I won't share that... you are very welcome!

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?

I typically wait until after New Years to take it all down. This year, I'm in the process now and would have done so earlier if all my bins had not been covered in snow/ice.

4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:

I want to finish my course in Medical Terminology.

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?

I don't like winter ANY time of year!

6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?

Yes, I went to Kohl's to get some clothes for my parents. I also braved Walmart and Ross. Didn't really find anything really "on sale".

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?

No plans yet...

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?

Yes, I have a grandson due January 17. His name is Ethan Asher Hamilton. Can't wait to get to hold him and kiss him.

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)

Comedy of Errors... Drama ... Heartache ... Victory

10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.

Not as much as I used to. I spend time reading them, and comment sometimes. I don't write as much as I used to.

11. Who runs your household?

If you are talking about actually DOING all the "manual" labor, that would me. I do all the cleaning, cooking, laundry, etc. As far as paying the bills and bringing in the money, that would be hugsum. Making the decisions? We do that together. He is the tie breaker and he definitely is the head, priest, provider, protector... yeah - I got a good one! :)

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.

Only one? WOW... I have so many. I hope to finish my degree. I hope for reconciliation in some areas of my life. I dream of a vacation at the beach. I also dream of a live-in maid and cook!

I know that is more than one. But, I have many huge dreams. I only touched the surface.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!

My prayer is that you all have a very blessed and Merry Christmas.

This year, it seems that we are being tested and stretched and nothing is normal.

It is not bad... we are actually loving and enjoying it. It is nice and peaceful and no stress!

Hugsum is out shoveling snow for the first time. Well, actually, now he has the blower out blowing snow... It is very dry and powdery so that he can just blow it off the driveway!

We had our first blizzard last night. What fun! It was great to be all snug in our home with the wind blowing hard and snow falling... it was beautiful and peaceful.

We got up to a quiet house - no children or grandchildren. We already knew that the only one of our kids that would be coming was our daughter and her family. It is the "in-law" Christmas. That means that they spend the holidays with the "other" family. Beka's in-laws came yesterday to spend Christmas eve and be there this morning when the kids got up. They were staying in a motel, so they could not get there this morning. How sad. I was so sorry because I know what fun it is to be there when the kids get up and get to open all the gifts.

The plan was that they were going to come here for dinner. I got up and got the meat going. I'm ready and set - but, they can't get out. Can't get here. I have presents under the tree waiting to be opened and enjoyed.

Oh well... one day... I'm laughing because it seems that our Father has MADE it so that today, my only option is to spend focusing on HIM and not be distracted with activity and company. I can rest and reflect and praise. What an awesome privilege and joy!

Blessings on you today. May this be a wonderful Christmas. I am thankful for the gift that I have been given in the form of a baby - my Savior. What a joy!!!!!

Merry Christmas Blessings to you!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It is Christmas EVE!!!

WOW... we made it! This is the day before Christmas! WOOOO HOOOO!

There were times when it was questionable. Christmas always takes a LONG time to get around. Even though the festivities and preparation and anticipation begin long before "the" day, we wait impatiently for the gathering and celebration.

I want to introduce you to some new loves that I found on the shelves, and thus in my home! It doesn't require turning on the oven or stove. You don't even have to get out a mixing bowl or spoon! Makes it very nice when we are all rushing around with way too much to do!

Here is a dark chocolate mint 3 Musketeers... seriously DELICIOUS!

These have been around, but I have not gotten them before. I was on a mission to get some Christmas almond M&Ms. It used to be that the ONLY time you could get them was at Christmas. They were a seasonal special. They became a tradition for me. This year, I could not find them. I could find the regular almonds, and peanut Christmas ones... but not Christmas almonds! THEN, I saw the MINT M&Ms! I grabbed them up and yes, they are SOOOO good!

This is DANGEROUS! Really... watch out! I happened to be at Sam's twice and they were sampling this ... I got hooked! It is FudgieWudgie Pecan Turtle Fudge. I also love their Chocolate/Peanutbutter fudge, their White Chocolate Fudge...their WHATEVER they have is out of this world! It is the BEST! It is so creamy and smooth and addicting and you have just GOT to have it once you taste it.

Those are some things that will add to our Christmas pleasure.

BUT, I must remind myself again not to forget the reason for all this frantic activity and stuffing my face and running around is NOT any of that. It is simply Jesus. It is His love and Sacrifice and mercy. He allows us to enjoy all these other things. We just need to make sure that we keep the Reason for the season as the REASON!

Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Inspired Idea...

Recently I posted on Facebook a need for inexpensive, creative gifts. We love to give to the families in our church at Christmas. Last year I went to great lengths to make lots of wonderful homemade goodies to share bags with our church family and neighbors.

This year, I have been trying to resist doing all the baking. I just didn't have the time or energy to tackle marathon baking, nor did I have the will power to not inhale all that I made. It was causing me lots of stress and anxiety because I LOVE to bake.

I also wanted to give something that was "homemade" and personal. I put out a plea for help on Facebook and so many of my wonderful friends gave me wonderful ideas. I have squirreled them away for future use. THANK YOU!!!!!

I was praying and pondering what to do. Then I remembered ...

Years ago I had the privilege of leading an awesome group of ladies in Bible studies. We became very close through the years and they still mean the world to me and I stay in touch with many of them. When we moved from there, I had an inspired idea of something to give them. I also gave them to some precious ladies I got to be with on Sunday mornings in class. (My "title" was teacher, but THEY taught me!)

The idea was not really a "new" one, except in my application. Years earlier a special friend, Lisa, had given me a "God Envelope". The instructions were to place things in it that only God could do - you know, prayer requests, worries, fears, joys, praises, pictures of loved ones, etc.

So, as I was walking through Dollar Tree one day, I saw this ~ my inspiration.

I decided to make a "GOD BOX". I came up with some special instructions and scriptures and things and put something on the bottom, in the bottom and inside the top. It was very special! I knew it was a divine inspiration. It blessed me and it blessed the ladies. It was a gift from my heart and also pointed them to God to answer their questions, prayers and needs.

So, I decided to do one for each family in our churches. So, I rushed to Dollar Tree to wisk up all their boxes. I was so disappointed because all they had were some harsh red and green tacky ones (NOT pretty!). I went to a couple more Dollar Trees around town and still, none. They are normally out in the spring to be used for wedding things.

Then I found these.... Hand Painted Ornaments in a velvet box.... my imagination began to whirl. I mean, could I use this?

Each one has a glass ornament in it and there were many different designs.

Our daughter Rebekah personalized them for us (she has prettier handwriting than me).

Then, I added my touch... Inside the top I put the instructions on "How to Use Your God Box".
(yes, this one is inside the original white one, but I couldn't get the picture right on the Christmas one."

On the bottom of the box is more information and scripture, encouragment and agreement.

Inside on the bottom is just a little word to encourage people to let go and let God and to remember to turn to God and His Word for answers.

Our prayer is that these will become a special part of their lives and minister to them.

May you have a blessed Christmas. Remember that no matter what you are going through or what your need and desire, Jesus has the answer. He has already made the provision and plan for the answer. He came as a baby for us and He is here with us still.

Merrie Christmas!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Baking, Cooking, Making...

Well, it is the season for it ~ all the baking and cooking and making!

I have resisted the sugar plum making and cookie baking and the storm cooking.

I think that now it is time. It has taken all I can do to hold back. A few posts ago I talked about not being in the Christmas Spirit. I think that part of the reason is that I've not been in the kitchen with flour and sugar all over me and the floor. This is what makes me happy and brings so much satisfaction and pleasure.

I LOVE to bake! I love to make fudge and peanut butter balls (Buckeyes) and all sorts of fun things like haystacks and White Trash and Chex Mix and cookies and pies and breads and and and and ... well - just things in the kitchen.

So, now I need to get busy. I have resisted because I don't want to eat it. I just want to make it. BUT, I know that if I make it, I have to eat it and test and taste to make sure it is good. One bite leads to another. After all, will the next pan of cookies be done or burned? What if the candy cooked too long or didn't get mixed well and one piece is not as good as the next. Or maybe the first was bad and so I need to see if it gets any better.

The pressure is on. You see, our neighbor is leaving on Saturday to be gone for 2 weeks and we want to make sure we get our gift to them before they leave. Plus, it is the third Friday and Sunday. That means that we have a covered dish dinner Friday and Saturday and also a gift exchange.

The double/triple meaning here is that we are leaving Friday to go to Oz and will be gone for the weekend (staying for a parade late Sunday afternoon). This makes for a VERY long weekend. It also makes for a stressful day in preparation for all the clothes, food and gift needs.

I have gifts ready for all the members of the church - adults and children. That was a fun activity and I am excited about them. They have special meaning to me and I pray that they will for them. It is something that I made - but not food. (I'll share later what it is just in case someone reads it and it spoils the surprise.)

I'm sure that Jesus did not come from Heaven to earth for all this frantic busyness. He did come to set the example of love and giving until it hurts. I think that we put the pressure on us in the wrong ways to "give until it hurts"... financially, physically, and emotionally.

I want to remind MYSELF again... it is most important that at this time of the year and life, to keep Jesus right in the middle of my mind and focus and activities. If I don't, I'm not happy and you know the saying... if mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. With a name like "Merrie", I should be the chief of "happy"!

So, in the midst of the hustle and bustle and hurry and scurry... stop, take a minute and look around you. Count your blessings. Be thankful. Say a prayer. Check your attitude and make sure it is one of gratitude!

Blessings on you~ May this be the Merriest Christmas yet for you and your family!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009


I'm so excited! Today, I stepped out and broke the ice (yes, it was that cold out there), and went shopping!

My first stop was at ToysRus. I almost didn't make it after that fiasco. Yeah, it was like a zoo. There was no one who knew where anything was and everything was overpriced. I left quickly. You might say that I escaped. I RAN away from that store vowing never to return! I remembered why the last time I went to one (over 10 years ago) I said I'd never go again. I repented of my lack of judgment!

Next, I went to Sam's ... had a great time there and then met the girls for lunch. Ran into Mardell's for a quick purchase and came out loaded about 2 hours later! LOVE that store! I could have spent days and millions in there!

I got home and unloaded and then headed to Walmart... spent another 2 hours...

Meanwhile... when I returned home, Hugsum was there and very busy. We were blessed. We received something that I have always wanted, but never had access to receiving. Some wonderful people gave us half a cow. Yeah... really... a cow! He normally feeds them for 90 days, but the butcher couldn't take care of him so our cow was blessed to be well fed for 120 days! I've never had "home grown" beef before. I'm excited to have my own.

Fortunately we have a big freezer in our laundry room. I now know that it will hold over 350 pounds of meat! Yep... that's what a half a cow weighs when it is butchered. I don't know what it weighed before.

What a blessing! I feel so blessed by my day today. I got lots done.

My goal today was to "joyfully accomplish". That is my new mindset. It fits the Christmas season, don't you think?

I pray that you are blessed today as well... and that you are able to "joyfully accomplish" what you need to get done.


Monday, December 14, 2009

Christmas Spirit

I seem to be struggling to muster up some Christmas Spirit this year. Normally, I'm ready for Christmas (mentally) in the summer! I LOVE the Christmas season. I love getting my decorations out and have so much fun decorating the ENTIRE house. I love to put wreaths on every door and window and a Nativity Scene in every room (at least ONE and usually many!) I would put a tree up in every room if I could. The colors of Christmas bring excitement and joy to me. The smells of cookies baking and the visions of sugarplums dancing in my hand (yes, hand) on the way to my mouth... ahhhhh... what fun and anticipation!


This year is different. I am missing the excitement and planning and anticipation. I know I have talked about it being the "in-law" Christmas this year. That could explain my lack of enthusiasm. But, I think it goes deeper than that.

I am finding that I'm stifled in my giving this year. It isn't that I don't WANT to give. I just am more limited this year than ever before. I want to give BIG things. I want to give LOTS of things. I want to bless exceedingly abundantly.

Different times and situations and circumstances are prohibiting my normal behavior.

BUT... it does not have to dampen my spirits. I can stop the depression and gloom and doom. I can remove the barriers emotionally.

I can make a choice. I can make a decision. I can look at things in a new way.


This day, I choose to be thankful! I choose to be grateful! I choose to remove all expectations. I choose to enjoy what I have. I choose to see the wonder and excitement in the season. I choose to appreciate the simple things. I choose to look at what I HAVE and bask in the love that is showered on me daily by precious grandchildren.

The main thing I plan to do is to make sure that I keep Christ in Christmas this year. I will look at HIM and all that He has done for me. I will maintain an attitude of gratitude... The things of this world will grow strangely dim. They will rust and rot and ruin... but the things of eternal value will make it through the fire. They will be treasures not found in earthly vessels. I want to store up riches in heaven. That does not mean that I don't enjoy riches and treasures on earth and I am not crazy enough not to want them, too. But, it means that I place a higher value on eternal things.

As we all look at a different time in our lives and we resist the CHANGE that is being forced upon us through outside circumstances... may we embrace the One who never changes. May we realize that what we have is far more valuable than anything this ole earth can provide.


Friday, December 11, 2009

Love is ....

First Corinthians 13, The Christmas Version

If I decorate my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shining balls, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another decorator.

If I slave away in the kitchen, baking dozens of Christmas cookies, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table at mealtime, but do not show love to my family, I'm just another cook.

If I work at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.

If I trim the spruce with shimmering angels and crystal snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir's cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.

Love stops the cooking to hug the child.

Love sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.

Love is kind, though harried and tired.

Love doesn't envy another's home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.

Love doesn't yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.

Love doesn't give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can't.

Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.

But giving the gift of love will endure.

Note: My friend Beverly at Dancing With Daffodils posted this yesterday and I got permission to repost it here because it is so good.

My Note: This is so true and such a blessing to learn and live. Thank you, Beverly, for sharing this inspiration.
My prayer is that we keep Jesus in the middle of our Christmas celebrations and preparations. Otherwise, we miss the point and the blessing and the joy!

Merry Christmas! May this be the merriest and brightest and best!

Thursday, December 10, 2009


Last month on Facebook there was a challenge to post everyday something for which I was thankful. Since it was November and Thanksgiving, it was easy to be very thankful. Then this month it just seemed important to count my blessings. I started thinking about posting a blessing every day.

You know, when you start thinking about blessings - you automatically are THANKFUL! It is amazing! It is impossible to "count your blessings and name them one by one" without being EXTREMELY thankful!

You know, when you give that you are blessed? I mean, Jesus told us that "it is more blessed to give than to receive". That does not make sense to the natural mind. I mean, what could possibly be better than receiving?????

That is simple... GIVING!
That is the answer to everything... giving.
Give and it will be given to you, so that you can turn around and give more.

I love that I can give. I love that God so loved that He gave. Because He gave, we can give.

Sometimes, we get stuck in the "holding" pattern. We think we don't have enough so we become Scrooge and hold on to what we have because we are afraid we won't get any more. (That is the world's way of thinking, by the way!)

We stop the flow when we do that. We prevent blessings from coming to us and finding us and overtaking us. It is our selfishness that causes lack... not our generosity.

When we give, it will be given to us.... good measure, pressed down and running over will be given to us.

Then, we have the opportunity and pleasure of turning around and giving to others.
That truly is a blessed life!

So, may your Christmas be Merrie and your blessings be BIG!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Random Dozen

Today I'm doing the Random Dozen with Linda at 2nd Cup of Coffee.
I appreciate Linda coming up with all these questions. It gives me something to think about and talk about (do you think that's the idea?) Sometimes, I don't want to answer what she asks... I get rebellious. Then, I go ahead and answer anyway.

1. Which physical trait do you now accept--maybe not love, but accept--and no longer feel extremely self-conscious about?

Am I limited to only ONE? My nose ... I have the "Freeman nose"... meaning big and a hook nose. I used to think that if I could ever afford it, I would have it fixed... like Marlo Thomas did with her "Thomas nose" many years ago before she became "That Girl". ( I think it was in the 60's for those who are too young to remember.)

Another thing I have learned to live with is my belly. For as
long as I can remember, I've had a belly. It has been much larger and much smaller, but it has always been there. Even when a size 3 was a little on the large side and I weighed about 110 lbs at 5'7" - I had a belly! That is another thing that I have thought about having "fixed"... like with liposuction or a tummy tuck. Now, I figure that it is just part of who I am, along with my hook nose. I've just learned to live with it and think there is no reason to bother with it now - not at this age.

2. This week Meredith Baxter Birney, best known as the mom on the favorite 80s sitcom "Family Ties" came out of the closet, which led me to formulate this question: Who do you think is/was the best TV mom?

This was NEWS to me! I have really got to get a life and watch the news sometime! She was always one of my favorite people on tv! I think that June Cleaver was a good mom... hard to say who was the BEST. My memory of good ones is limited.

3. Do you speak any foreign languages? Are there any you'd like to learn?

Where we live now, they sometimes think that I'm speaking the foreign language of "Southern English". When I use certain phrases they look at me like I've gone crazy! I think that I'd like to learn Hebrew and Greek... just so I could read and understand the Bible a little better.

4. Who is your personal hero?

Right now, I have two.
My daddy. He was in the ministry for over 50 years before he retired at age 70. (He had to because that was the required age at the time.) He overcame many obstacles to get an education and to become a leader in the Methodist Church. He was on the staff at Emory University Candler School of Theology for 15 years, editor of the Methodist Newspaper, and on and on and on were his list of accomplishments and accolades. He touched lives all over the world and made a difference. He was known,loved and sought
after as a speaker, preacher, teacher, mentor, author, and friend. Then he started a foundation to support and encourage Pastors.
When mama got so bad, he began to stay at home more and more to take care of her. He eventually gave up everything he was doing to take care of her full time. He stopped speaking and traveling. He stopped writing. He became her 24/7 strength and sec
Today, they are living in a personal care home. He moved into the memory care unit with her. He won't leave her side. He still is giving up his life to serve her. He is my hero. Greater love has no man....

My other hero is my hugsum. He overcame impossible odds just to grow up. He had a horrible, extremely dysfunctional childhood. He could have very easily become one of the bad statistics. But, God intervened. God had His hand on him and called him. Even though he never had an example of what a good husband and daddy should be - he became a wonderful husband and daddy! He is not perfect, but he is selfless and generous (to a fault at times). He is forgiving and loving. He has excelled in his education. He is thorough and exact. He can quote the Bible like no one else I know. He is a passionate p
reacher and loving pastor. He puts family and church members above himself. He has overcome all odds - with the help of Jesus.

These 2 men have influenced my life and loved me and blessed me. If it had not been for God on their side (and mine) there is no telling where I would be!

5. What is one holiday food that you find extremely difficult to resist over- indulging in?

Christmas cookies and candy.

6. Tell me about a Christmas decoration that has special meaning or sentimental value.

On the top of my tree is a little angel ornament. It is really broken, but I hang it up every year anyway. It was on the tree when I was growing up. I remember being thrilled when I was old enough to hang it myself. By this time, it is not very pretty to anyone but me. It is at least 50 years old and may be older than that.

7. How do you feel about snow?

I feel about snow like I do watermelon. I enjoy some watermelon about one time a year. A nice pretty snow once a year will do me. I get thrilled watching it fall and seeing it cover everything. Then, I'm done. I'm ready for it to be gone and the sun to shine and warm up the earth and let me go swimming!

8. On average, how many hours of sleep do you get each night? Not that I'm jealous of any number over three or anything.

I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep. I'd like to get 8, but that is rare. If I get less than 7 I can be grumpy, irritable and hard to deal with. Also, I tend to fluff up (as in gain weight) if I don't get much sleep. I might can handle less one night, but then I have to catch up the next night.

9. Tell me about your first crush.

He was an "older man" by all of 2 months. We were in the 2nd grade. We were in the same class. He came to my house one day - walked all the way. It was maybe a mile. He gave me my dog, Freckles. (As a side note, Freckles saved my life that summer while I was swimming in the creek behind my house. Freckles swam between me and a water moccasin. He got the bite and I didn't. Freckles was never the same after that - me either.) Anyway I still have a picture of my first crush. He was hit by a car the next year and killed. But, Freckles lived on and so did David - in my memory.

10. You're stuck in a room for 2 hours with only a chalkboard and chalk. What will you write/draw?

I would probably write absolutely NOTHING! I might think of things to write, but I hate to write with anything. I hate my handwriting and so avoid writing as much as possible. Now, if there were a typewriter or computer, I'd blog. But, write , especially on a chalk board - NEVER!

11. Do you dress for the current temp or for the day's forecast?

I am guilty of checking the forecast daily before I dress. I hate being cold, so I want to make sure I have enough clothes on.

12. Favorite Christmas movie is?

I love the Hallmark movies where the couple are able to meet and fall in love in a period of a week. They make life changing decisions and completely alter their future and marry someone they just met. I know, they are corny and not very true to life. But, they are feel good movies. I like some of the old Christmas movies like "White Christmas"... but don't really care for Miracle on 34th St or It's A Wonderful Life. I know, I'm strange.

This year, I'm enjoying the animated movies with the grandkids... Have you gotten the impression that I can't narrow it down? Yeah, you are right - got me pegged!

Now, go over to Linda's and read everyone else's answers. You might even want to answer these yourself and link up!

Monday, December 7, 2009

Oh, Christmas Tree, Oh, Christmas Tree....

I love my tree. Every year it seems to take longer and longer to put my tree up. I'm not sure if I'm getting older and slower or have accumulated more and more ornaments, or I am just reminiscing too much as I decorate. (Okay, so all that is true!)

I have some very nice, expensive ornaments. I have some not so nice ones. I have OLD ones and new ones. I have some that go on the tree each year and some that never make it to the tree. Each one has a special place in my heart whether it is on the tree or left in the bin. I still take it out and think about when I got it.... who gave it to me, where we lived, what we were doing. The memories flood my mind. At times, I giggle and smile. Other times, I am filled with love and gratitude. Some bring a sadness because the person who gave it to me is gone.

Here are a very few of my special memories...

This is a wooden moon with a little angel. It was given to me almost 40 years ago and goes on my tree every year.

This one of Baby Jesus is also a hand painted wooden ornament given to me the same time as the moon. It also goes up every year. A very special person gave them to me. She is a pastor's wife and was a friend of my mama.

These are a few of my special ones.... an olive wood Jerusalem Cross I got in Bethlehem and some an old green ornament from mama's tree and some Shiny Brites... a few "newer" ones that reflect different places we have lived.

One of my favorite ones of Baby Jesus...

Some other favorites (which really is ALL the ornaments on the tree). On the left is my newest one. It is a Santa snowball that I got just this morning from my gkids. The snowman was a gift from Hugsum a few years ago. The red bell was one of mama's.

This is a favorite of our grandson. It's a fish we got in Destin one year. I also have some shells.

I have several of these handmade ornaments. This one was made by a friend. It is like we put on the Chrismon tree because it is a Christian symbol and is gold and white.

A sock monkey, a quilted block made for me after our 4th child was born and a star. It was very inexpensive, but is one of my favorite things.

A tatted snowflake given to us the first year we were in the ministry when our oldest son was not quite a year old.

This is a paper star. (I'd love to know how to make them.) It was on my mama's tree, too. It has lots of special memories.

Our tree....

Lots more stories and special ornaments and stories - maybe to be shared at another time.
Blessings on your Christmas celebration. May it bring joy and peace and happiness!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Posting from Oz!

This is the weekend. That means that we are now in Oz - where our weekend parsonage is found. It isn't really Kansas - but close enough to spit... not that I WOULD spit on Kansas... nor that I would really consider it or think it appropriate or nice or anything. Just saying that I COULD if I were so inclined - which I'm not. Maybe I should say that I can SEE Kansas very clearly from here.

Whew, I almost got myself into trouble with that one.

Having gotten out and cleared myself - the reason that I'm so excited about being in Oz is that I am on line! For some wonderful reason, I 'm able to connect up here lately. I love that. Except that, it means that I'm not studying. It doesn't take much for me to not study lately. I'm so close to finishing, but have not wanted to open the books lately. I have just a couple more classes and my dissertation left to finish. Then, I'll be done! I can say I completed it! Not that anyone really cares (especially Hugsum, who thinks I'm crazy to be doing it in the first place - but he has been kind and supportive for the most part).

It is COLD. I enjoy the warm weather much more. I think it is cruel that in the time of year that it is necessary to get out and shop, the weather doesn't want to cooperate and make it fun and easy. I guess that is why some people do their shopping early in the year - like the summer! I never considered doing that until this year. Of course, I waited until December to decide. Don't think it will work. There is no such thing as retroactive shopping.

Part of the reason for procrastinating is that children grow. Adults lose and gain weight. New toys are invented and marketed. Things go on sale. Stores close and sell their stuff at 1/2 off. I am not inspired. The Christmas money hasn't been saved/alotted yet. On and on, the reasons for not getting it done early just keep coming.

We really don't know what we are doing this Christmas. It is the "in-law" Christmas. That means that all our children will be doing things with their other families. That is fair. I got them all last year. Some of the other families live close enough that we can share. That is a very nice thing to be able to do. Other families live 18 hours away. I don't have that many gifts to buy this year. We usually just do cash for the in-law years. It seems to be appreciated and is the right color and useful for the trips.

When we lived in Georgia, we always felt the need to come out here to visit. Now that we live here, we have the need to visit Georgia. Are we never satisfied? In fact, I feel more of a need to go back and visit aging parents. The kids would often (well not THAT often) make trips home to visit us and would be home during summer and other vacations... until they got married, then they didn't come for long visits.

We are considering going to Georgia early his year. Normally it is between Christmas and New Years that we make the trip. We have a grandbaby due the first part of January... then school starts back and I'll be keeping grandchildren. So, the timing is important. Grandchildren are important. They are blessings and fun and keep me on my toes and active!

My main struggle is in finding something fitting to give to all the members of our church. I normally bake and bake and bake LOTS of different cookies and candies and package them up for everyone - including neighbors and friends. This year, I'm not doing that. I have determined that I don't want all that sugar in my house or body this year. I am actually having withdrawals. I love to bake. I love the smell and taste and fun of all the goodies. But, then later, I feel horrible from all the smell and taste and eating and EATING! So, this year, I'm doing a non-baking gift. Maybe I'll share it later...

Well, I guess that I've "chatted" enough. I just am so excited to be online and wanted to communicate with the world while I could. I have nothing profound to share or say. Just wanted to blog.

Thanks for reading!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Random Dozen

Welcome to my answers for Linda's Random Dozen... enjoy!

1. Which Wizard of Oz character are you most like?

Oddly enough, I don't think I have ever watched the entire movie. Even though I say every weekend that I'm going to "Oz"... meaning that I'm going to Kansas. I probably would chose to be Toto - the dog. I am along for the trip/ride. I'm loyal, cute and loving - okay... so maybe not so "cute"... but I am loyal and loving.

2. When you're deciding what you're going to wear each morning, which item do you select first? Why?

I usually decide on a top. Mainly because my selection for bottoms is much more limited... as in "black", "brown", "khaki", or "jeans"...

3. What kind of animal do you think the world could live without?

So many to chose from! The gators or the hippos or the rhinos. I'm sure they have a purpose, but I can't think of one... they are ugly and scary and take up lots of room and make the water scary.

4. How many Christmas trees are in your home?

This year I just have one up and decorated. I have lots of little "mini" trees all over and ceramic ones. I have been known to put up several decorated trees. I just don't have the room, time, energy, desire to do that this year.

5. Would you prefer to be emotionless if it means you didn't have to feel a heartbreak?

To a certain extent when I feel heartbreak, I tend to go "emotionless" for a short time just as a means of coping. I would not want to be emotionless, though. I'm thankful for the emotions that God gave us. It would be so sad not to be able to experience the highs and joys and love and happiness. They far outweigh the pain of heartbreak. What is the cliche'? "It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all. " That is true. A heartbreak can only be healed by the replacing of the emotions of love and healing and joy.

6. Do you ever experience holiday let-down or depression?

Daily... I think that goes with the emotions... I am an emotional person. On the outside, you will see a very stable, steady person - however, on the inside my emotions may be going berserk and wildly flailing up and down. Thanks to my upbringing of never letting my emotions show, I learned to keep the "poker face" in the midst of inner turmoil.

7. Do you like Michael Jackson's music?


8. Why is it that we never judge people who have their teeth fixed for cosmetic reasons, but every other cosmetic procedure has a stigma?

Because we are foolish! If I had the means, I would certainly have something done. I probably wouldn't let it be known because of the stigma... so PLEASE, don't judge me! LOL

9. Enjoy horseback riding?

What little bit that I've done, I loved! I always wanted a horse. I always thought it would be fun and romantic to ride a horse. However, I know that it is hard, and sweaty and stinky. But, they make it look like so much fun!

10. Shoes--practical or stylish?

They HAVE to be stylish... but unless they are also practical, I won't buy them or wear them. I'd rather go barefoot than wear ugly shoes!

11. What was the name of your first pet? Feel free to post a pic.

My first very own pet that I didn't have to share was a solid black cat named, Lucky. I got him in October and didn't want him to bring bad luck, so I carefully named him. I don't believe in "Luck" now and am horrified with the name. I believe in blessings and God's goodness and mercy and grace. Luck has nothing to do with anything except superstition and I'm not superstitious.

12. What percentage of your Christmas shopping is done?

NONE... 0%! guess I'd better get busy!

Now, hop over to Linda's and see who else is having fun with these Random Dozen questions.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

December Ramblings

I love Christmas!
I love the decorations, the tree, the smells, the foods, the activity, the generosity, the joy, the anticipation and excitement! The love that just seems to be in the air is wonderful!

Over the weekend I was able to get most of my decorating done. I strategically placed my FisherPrice nativity set on the coffee table. I was not disappointed. As soon as the kids came in yesterday they ran straight for it and played and played and played with it. I overheard Kendall playing with the figure on top of the stable... it has a new name, "the grandmama with a butterfly on her back". Yeah, I loved it. No, I did not correct it.

We have been going through some transitions with my parents. I had been very concerned when we were in Georgia in October. It seemed that daddy was weak and tired and worn out. Mama is healthy, but just not "with us" much.

A few weeks ago daddy was experiencing some problems. He began to pass large amounts of blood. He was not able to get it stopped and fortunately, my nephew was there. He monitored the situation and determined (about 2 am) that daddy HAD to go to the hospital. Another blessing is that my brother and his wife live only about 20 minutes away and they came.

Daddy was admitted to the hospital in ICU. Many tests were run. He received blood. He had almost bled to death. If it had not been for the care of Greg, he probably would have. It was determined that he had diverticulitis.

Meanwhile, my sister and her husband had found a wonderful personal care home very close. They had actually found it on Saturday before this happened with daddy on Monday night.

A very trying and stressful week ensued. Someone had to be there with daddy. Someone had to be there with mama. My sister was very sick and ended up in the hospital herself. I was out here - 1/2 a nation away!

The good news is that we were able to get daddy and mama into the personal care home. It has a wonderful "memory care" unit where they are now living. Daddy is adjusting to giving up the complete care of mama. He is releasing the reigns a little so that he is regaining his strength and able to enjoy the other residents in the home (not all are in memory care).

Mama, has blossomed. She has come to life and is once again entertaining everyone. She puts a smile on everyone's face as she jokes and laughs.

We are hoping that daddy will once again begin his writing and ministering. He has so much wisdom and love to share but has not done it for a long time since he has been taking care of mama. Hopefully, this will bring more freedom in other areas for daddy as well.

It was not an easy transition. It is not easy giving up privacy and freedoms and home and familiarity and allow others to take care of you. He will not leave her side. He insists on staying right there with her - loving her.

I have so much more to share... life is full!

Blessings on your Christmas!