Sunday, December 31, 2006

Year End Random Ramblings (#4)

I am not in the habit of making New Year's resolutions - never have been. But if I did, they would most likely involve weight and exercise every year. If I were to make one this year, it would definitely be to be able to wear my wedding ring without going and having it sized larger!

The sun has come back to Colorado, and it is beautiful on the sparkling snow. Tonight the moon is absolutely gorgeous. I took some pictures in the parking lot of our grocery store yesterday (I wanted to post them, but they are on my brand new, gorgeous digital camera that DC gave me for Christmas, and he doesn't have the cord set up for me yet, so I'll have to do it next time - rats!) I am rather dreading going back to work after all of this time off. I did work Thursday and got the mail processed - snail, E-, and Voice. That's all I accomplished in 8 hours. Yikes!

We celebrated our anniversary a couple of weeks early this year because I grabbed an opportunity at the last moment that I didn't know was available. I read in the paper that Brian Boitano was coming to our new event center here in our town. I have been a figure skating fan for decades, and Brian has been one of my favorites for years. He is just so powerful and so artistic at the same time. I was able to surprise DC with tickets for the next night. I couldn't believe how antsy and nervous he was about where we were going. It was as if I had given him terrible surprises in the past! We were in the top row, which at first I was disappointed to see. But then I realized that the top row in this facility is the same height as the top of the first section in the big arena in Denver, the Pepsi Center. It took us 10 minutes to get there AND they didn't charge for parking! It was being recorded for television and will be shown tomorrow on NBC, 3:00 Mountain Standard Time. Check your local listings. I coincidentally sat next to a beautiful young girl and we were talking before the show started. I told her I'd been watching Brian skate since long before she was born! Turns out she was one of our Sunday school kids a few years ago and I didn't recognize her, nor did I see her mom a few seats down. What a serendipity.

Did you hear about the 67-year-old lady in Barcelona, Spain who had twins? What in the world was she thinking???

Have you been hearing all the accusations against Bill Cosby from women who are saying he did things to them after having drugged them? It absolutely devastates me to think it might be true. How could it be true? But how could so many make up the same story? Why are the stories all coming out at the same time??

Here are a few quotes that I have been hanging on to, and this seems like a good time to share them:

"Traditions are what you do during the bad times while you're waiting for the good times to come back." I don't know who said this, or where I got it, but I can vouch for the truth of it! I can say that we kept our traditions going through the last 10 most difficult years of our lives. We rejoiced this Christmas with our family intact, healthy, delivered, free, whole, together!

"When I was young I was sure of everything; in a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before; at present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me." John Wesley

"Lord, teach me to listen. The times are noisy and my ears are weary with the thousand raucous sounds which continuously assault them." A.W. Tozer

I can't remember the last time I greeted the new year with my eyes open. I don't imagine that will change tonight. Have a wonderful New Year's Eve and Day, and may 2007 be blessed of God.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Thirty Four Years and Counting - and Snow Update

News Update: More snow in Colorado. The University is closed again! Kristen is going stir crazy in the house with 3 kids unable to go anywhere. It's not as bad as last time, but there may be more to come. On top of the already rutted streets, it's not going to be pretty trying to drive around on the side streets of our town.

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December 27, 1972. Rehearsal Dinner. The groom was so nervous that he could not enjoy the meal.

December 28, 1972, early afternoon: The bride drove by the tux shop and saw the groom - gunned her Mustang so that the groom didn't see her - the old legend says that the groom is not to see the bride before the wedding (that certainly has gone the way of the dinosaur since most pictures are now taken before the ceremony).

December 28, 1972, 6:00 p.m. - The florist messed up and didn't send the boutinerres, nor the bouquet intended for the bride to throw. The boutinerres arrived just in time, the extra bouquet never did arrive.

December 28, 1972, 7:00 p.m. - The wedding began. The bride had wanted the two of them to sing to each other. The groom said he didn't think he could do that. It's a good thing he knew himself that well, judging by the rehearsal dinner situation (above). The groom's sister sang, "We've Only Just Begun," by the Carpenters. The groom's parents later sang "Together Forever," from the musical "I Do, I Do." The bride and groom exchanged vows that had been written especially for them by the bride's sister. The prayer song was "Saviour, Like a Shepherd Lead Us," again by the groom's sister. The bride and groom prayed separately - the groom's prayer almost had the bride in tears. The final song was "All Our Lives," also by the groom's sister. Can you tell that music plays a big part in the lives of this couple??

Both pastor fathers performed the ceremony and they presented a copy of "The Living Bible" to the couple.

The church was decorated with white flocked trees, white lights, and blue satin balls (did anyone notice the oversight on the bride's part - some sort of skirt under the trees would have been nice!) The church building had been sold, but the new building had experienced many delays and was not finished. The pews had been sold to a small church in Denver. For some reason the bride's father, the pastor of the church, let the members of the little church come and pick up the pews BEFORE the wedding! As long as the lights were out and the candles glowing, it looked okay. But those folding chairs looked a little less than elegant when the lights came on!

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The honeymoon was to be in the Grand Canyon and vicinity. Just before the wedding, a storm blew in, which came from that direction. The travel agent encouraged the groom to change plans and not head into that situation. The first two nights were in Estes Park, until the groom developed a sinus infection! The couple headed down the mountain to see the doctor. While he was out getting checked over and medicated, the bride spent the time at the new apartment, opening gifts, hanging pictures, and generally making it habitable. The groom came back with an entirely new plan - stay home until after New Year's Day, then fly to California to Disneyland, Knotts' Berry Farm, and the Japanese Village. The couple had family over on New Year's Day to watch football and "dine" on Tuna Touchdown Casserole, in honor of the theme of the day.
The couple expected to bask in the warmth of California, but it was in the 60s. They froze! But considering that there was a huge storm back home, they felt blessed. Because of the weather, it was as though everyone cleared the streets for this couple to be alone on their honeymoon. It was glorious.

The years have brought many adventures, two beautiful children and now spouses and grandchildren, wonderful relationships with in-laws on both sides, and some heartbreaking challenges. But the marriage is stronger every year -- To God Be the Glory!

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Merry Christmas from Melty Colorado

A chinook wind is blowing, the snow is melting a bit more, the ruts are deep. I want to share one more picture of that overhang above the patio - it fascinates me as it changes each day.

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This morning in church we sang "I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day." This song evokes memories of the Christmas I was in 5th grade. We were learning this song for our school program, I had never heard it before, and I loved it. Just before Christmas, my pastor dad informed us that we were moving back to Minnesota to be closer to his dad, who was not well. I've mentioned in previous posts our move to the northern most point of winterness, International Falls. I was very disappointed to miss singing this song with my class.

Today as we sang it, the words pierced my soul. The words were written in 1864 by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, but they could have been written this morning. Verses 3 and 4 say this:

And in despair I bowed my head.
"There is no peace on earth," I said,
"For hate is strong, and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good-will to men."

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
"God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail,
With peace on earth, good-will to men."

Greetings from Care Bear - this little bear she drew is singing holding a candy cane and singing "Jingle Bells."

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Merry Christmas from our family to yours (Anakin is missing from the picture because it was his day with his mom.)


God Bless Us Every One!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

Aftermath of a Blizzard

We didn't get as much as the Denver area, but we got plenty to satisfy us for awhile! They say it's the fourth largest amount of snowfall in one storm in Denver's history. That's hard for me to grasp. My sister was to leave yesterday to be with all of her kids and grandkids in Idaho, but cannot get out until Tuesday. At least they'll be there for the youngest one's birthday on Thursday (barring another disaster!)

We were in good shape for groceries and only ran out of bread. I can always make bread! But I didn't have to. The university closed for an unprecedented second day - probably because it's closed Monday-Wednesday for Christmas (or the holidays, as they politically correctly term it). It was a blessing for me, since that's a Grandma day and their mommy was home!

But Mommy was getting cabin fever (Kristen, of Mama's So Called Life), so I offered to take all 3 to our regularly-scheduled trip to the library. DC has so kindly backed my van into the garage so I wouldn't get stuck trying to get out of the driveway. We're trying to figure out how everyone's going to park in the circle for Christmas dinner at our house. It's a challenge, even when there's no snow. We may suggest they park at our church a mile away and we'll bus them in!

If you missed the original story, go to the previous post. There was a lot of melting yesterday. I braved the mess, as I mentioned. A combination of three factors - huge amounts of snow, lousy road cleaning resulting in one-lane traffic,
and people panicking with only 2 days until Christmas - caused it to be far less than enjoyable! I did get stuck twice on my sister's street and had to be pushed by 4 helpful Good Samaritans!

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Well, the kiddoes are here now for awhile and are VERY keyed up. They are ready to do some gift wrapping.

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*Note: They finished the wrapping - too bad I don't have shots of that adventure! Now they are riding the sparka with Grandpa. A sparka is a Swedish sled-like device - I don't know how we were fortunate enough to end up with this priceless heirloom from Grandpa, who is in heaven (see September 30-October 3).

I don't think I can get any more accomplished here, so I will sign off and wish you all the most blessed Christmas ever. May His peace dwell in our hearts, even though there is very little in our world. Blessings!

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Carry Me Back to Old Minnesota!

In my mind that's where I have gone in the last 24 hours. But in talking to my blog friend, Diane, in Minnesota, they have NOTHING on the ground. According to the news, our storm is heading that way, but it will turn into slush and rain - yuck, icy roads!

I'm going to post the aftermath in our yard. If you haven't heard any news, we have been in throes of a horrendous blizzard, one like we haven't had for the last 4 years. There are 4700 people stranded at the airport and it won't open again until Friday morning - optimistically, that is. They're going to try to bus the folks to downtown Denver today, at least - where will they stay when they get there? The hotels are full of the ones who were lucky enough to get out yesterday before the airport was totally inaccessible, in or out. It has stopped snowing at our house, but Denver is still getting some. Thankfully the wind has stopped.

I was home with the kiddoes when they finally closed the university, Anakin's school, my husband's work, my DIL's work, and everyone headed for home. It took Kristen an hour to get here, and my husband also. They usually take about 20 minutes. It got worse after that. Everything's closed today as well, but I'm wishing I was at work - I was going to be there all by myself in the office, be able to concentrate, and catch up on all the stuff that built up last week when I took that much-needed time off! I'm really paying for that nice week. Now I won't be back there until next Thursday because of my work schedule and the holiday closure on top of it. But the mail for that admission deadline will still be heading this way, building up somewhere until someone can deliver it to me! Yikes!!

The neighbor guys were having a blast last night with their snowmobiles with snowboards attached to the back - at least someone was having fun!

Well, Bing's been singing about that White Christmas about 30 times a day on the radio - here it is!

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Picnic Anyone?
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Cook those burgers and brats!
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Watch the cooking - don't let them burn!
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The wind-blown eaves
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The wind kept some of the trees free of snow.
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The eaves from the kitchen - rippled snow.
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Right outside the back door.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

Judas was named by my son, the original owner, because he was "disloyal." Obviously he changed - we inherited him, and the attachment to DC was total and unconditional. DC mourned his death from
kidney disease several months ago.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

Purple Shoes and Petty Prattling

It's been quite an interesting couple of weeks in Blogland. We've visited each other's Christmas memories, traditions, decorations, recipes. It has been fun. It has also been a challenge to fit it all in with all of the other things we're supposed to be doing! I find myself spending far too much time in front of this screen, but it has become an extension of myself to visit with all of you.

I took the week off from work last week, somewhat in response to all of the wonderful advice I got from you when I was so panic-stricken a couple of weeks ago. I have so much time built up that it is ridiculous, but there is never a good time to take it. This time, good or bad, I did it. I didn't get a babysitter on my Grandma Dawn days, but had the other half of the week totally to myself. It was refreshing, and exhausting at the same time. I baked, which I haven't done much since I began working full time. We realized we have been very remiss in having friends over just to fellowship. I realized I decorate my house and never share it with anyone but family. So we've been having company after church on Sunday nights and just visiting, as we used to do when life wasn't so complicated. It's been fun.

I also shopped. I am not a shopper. I detest Christmas shopping on Saturday, after work, or with kids in tow. So that left me - taking vacation days to shop. It was wonderful - people at Wal-Mart and Sam's were begging me to come to their stands to check out. What a difference from the horror stories I've been hearing.

I did get a bit of wrapping done the other night. I love to wrap when I have time, and this year it was fun. But it wasn't fun yesterday morning when Care Bear came for the day and immediately wanted to start opening presents. I had a really rough time explaining to her that we have to wait 9 more days! She's very, very bright, but this concept just escapes her very logical brain. I think I should have kept the packages in the basement for another week!

Thursday evening at 5:00, after a very productive day, I began to feel a soreness in my throat. There's lots of junk going around here, but I've escaped. All of a sudden, and I mean just in an instant with no warning, I had trouble swallowing. Oh, no. The dreaded cold - or more likely sinus infection. Yesterday was tough with the kiddoes, because I really didn't feel well at all. I have had two really awful nights. There's a good news/bad news scenario here. I have a huge deductible on my insurance. I rarely go to the doctor, so I chose this less costly plan. The bone scan was covered because it was preventive. The colonoscopy would have been covered if no polyps were found - you know the outcome of that if you read me regularly. Yesterday I got the EOB and found out that , yup, my deductible has now been met (our year is June - May), so the good news is, now I COULD go to the doctor for this thing if I decide to without it costing the full price. The bad news is I have to come up with that unbelievable amount of money. Oh, the woes of insurance - don't EVEN get me started on that subject! I'd better quit now.

Oh, - also, I discovered a ganglion cyst (self diagnosed, but pretty much confirmed by Google), on my left wrist. Doesn't hurt, aches a little bit, really ugly! Yuck!

On to a happier subject! You've probably been wondering where "Purple Shoes" fits into today's topic. I am going to enlighten you.

It goes a ways back, as most of my stories do. There's a woman, to be named RS for purposes of this episode. We actually were in college together, but did not become well acquainted. Years later, she and her husband moved here and became part of our church, as did most of her other family members. We became close friends, raising children the same ages. She had numerous back surgeries over the years, and we young moms attempted to help her as much as we could. Stuff happened and she and her family went to a different church. We parted on less than good terms. It was very sad. She had more surgeries in the interim.

We were together at ladies' retreats and mission retreats, but never really connected - very surface "hellos" but no conversation. But one year, at laymen's retreat, God came and mended our relationship. We cried and hugged and it was so good!

Fast forward to a few years ago when she and her husband returned, children all grown and gone. Ours, too, and we had been through many struggles. We began to share organ duties, which was wonderful for me, and we sing in choir together. We even have a mixed quartet - my husband, her husband, RS, and me. It's fun.

I'm getting to the shoes, don't worry. I've always admired RS's taste in shoes, and the quality that is obvious in her choices. I have lots of trouble with my feet and I would think to myself as I sat next to her in choir, "I think I could probably wear those shoes without pain." I would ask her where she got them. She'd bring me the catalogs. But I never could quite afford to order them.

Recently RS has been experiencing really severe pain and numbness in her right foot (the organ volume pedal foot), and up her leg. I didn't realize how much pain, because she is very quiet about her agony. But we began talking one night and I learned that she could not wear her beautiful shoes any more, because her foot tipped too easily. She now has to wear very supportive, orthopedic type shoes - far from the beautiful ones she has always worn. Sad. Since we both have large, Jackie Kennedy sized feet (well, not quite her size 11 - really, she did wear size 11), I offered to buy some of her shoes from her.

One Sunday morning soon after that conversation, she told me to come to her car after church - she blessed me with NINE new pairs of shoes - or new enough to count, and totally new to me! Believe it or not, every one of them is wearable to my troubled toes.

I know this is getting far too long, but it is such a great story to me, and I hope you agree if you make it this far. Two of these pairs of shoes had been worn to her children's weddings - one silver and one a beautiful purple. It really hurt her heart to part with those shoes, I could tell.

As I mentioned above, I hate shopping. I love to peruse catalogs, dog-ear pages, come back and look again, and finally decide what I will order. I had been looking at a particular outfit for quite a while. Believe it or not (coincidence or God's providence?) one of the choices was purple. I know, I know, it's taking a chance that the color in the catalog is true. But I have this natural color memory, and I just knew it was going to match.

When I wore the outfit to church last Sunday, I thought RS was going to hug the stuffing right out of me. She was so excited! It blessed her as much as it did me - to know that someone she loved and cared about was going to be able to use the shoes that had so much sentiment attached to them. I don't think that's materialistic - I think it awesome! God cares about us in such amazing little ways. He is so good!

Now - believe it or not, yesterday I found a good sale at Kohl's on something I can wear with the silver ones for Christmas Eve Sunday services. She's going to be so excited! I can hardly wait.

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Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Music Mends

I have mentioned it several times since I've begun this adventure - music is a source of energy for me. I am particular about the kind I listen to - rock, rap, country (with a few exceptions), really give me a headache. I guess I'm not a music lover in the full sense of the word. Or maybe I just have a narrow definition of music.

Regardless of all of that, I am energized by good music that we sing in choir. We practice on Wednesday nights. Wednesday is one of my Grandma days, and I am exhausted by 5:00. But the habit is so ingrained in me, that I rarely miss Wednesday night practices - it used to be Wednesday night prayer meeting with choir practice afterward. Now choir is one of the "small groups" and we meet while many other small groups are meeting around the building. I always go home feeling better than I did when I got there.

Which brings me to the subject of last Sunday night - the annual Christmas cantata. I can't think of a single one that we've done over the past 35 years that I didn't enjoy doing. Usually there's at least one song that isn't my favorite, but overall, it is a great experience. This year there was not one song that I didn't look forward to singing with great anticipation. And they are stuck in my head and I'm singing them inside, such as when I'm trying to get to sleep. But not a bad thing to have stuck in your head!

The song that I've been singing this morning is "In the Fullness of Time" by Kirk Kirkland:

In the fullness of time God reached out His hand,
In the fullness of time He carved out a plan,
With one sacrifice He would rescue all men.
In the fullness of time He came.

In the fullness of time the Word became flesh,
In the fullness of time all nations were blessed,
For Jesus had come bearing our righteousness.
In the fullness of time He came.

In the fullness of time, in the chill of the night,
In the fullness of time God sent out a light
To shatter the darkness and open our eyes.
In the fullness of time He came.
In the fullness of time He came as a Son of God
He came as the One to rescue us all.
He came here to die for our sin.
And one day He's coming again.

And the whole world cried, "Hosanna, God save us!"
And heaven replied, and called His name Jesus,
King of kings, and Lord of lords,
Emmanuel, our Savior is born;
When the moment arrived to give hope a name
In the fullness of time He came.

He came to give us hope,
To give us life,
In the fullness of time He came, He came!

I love that phrase, "to give hope a name." What do we need more in this troubled time than HOPE.

Another one that I just loved, which had wonderful harmony, talked about God's gift of holy love, as though God is singing to us. One phrase says, "I washed Him with my tears and wrapped Him in my grace; Now he belongs to you - rejoice!" What a word picture.

The duet with Mary and Joseph was spine-tingling. They sang "Who would have ever thought, who would have ever dreamed, that I would be the one . . . to change the world."

There is so much fear in the world today - fear of war, fear of terrorism, fear of violence in schools and churches and shopping centers and post offices. The answer to that fear is in this song by John Waller. This is the section that resonates with me:

Tell me what kind of love would leave it all behind?
What kind of love would lay down and die?
What kind of man, what kind of God?
What kind of love would come so far for me?
A perfect love has come to take the fear away.
Deep within your heart you can still hear Him say,
Be Not Afraid!

The final song was "Christmas of Hope" by Buddy Mullins and Rebecca Peck.

Wide-eyed wondering what will there be,
Just what's waiting there under the tree?
How do we capture the magic we find
There in the face of a child?
Once more turning our hearts to believe,
Looking past what we've chosen to see,
Bethlehem's miracle forever new,
The hope of this season come true.
It's a Christmas of joy, a Christmas of peace,
A Christmas of prayer that our world will see.
A Christmas of love, God help us to show
This is a Christmas of hope.

All of the trimmings of holiday cheer
Can't mend the broken hearts burdened with fear.
What we need most is the light Jesus brings
To help us see what Christmas means.
Heaven's promise of mercy and love
Heals us when we have childlike trust.
Giving and caring our hope is renewed.
This Christmas our dreams can come true.
It's a Christmas of joy, a Christmas of peace,
A Christmas of prayer that our world will see.
A Christmas of love, God help us to show
This is a Christmas of HOPE.

There is nothing more I can say that would add to the message of these songs. May the peace of this wonderful Lord and Savior penetrate your heart today and may be hope of the future take your fear away. And mine.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

Memories, Ornaments, and Other Decorations

NOTE: I haven't had time this week to create a new tour of my home, but I am re-running the one I did for the ornament parade last week. I hope you don't mind and enjoy it. I apologize if you've come and have already been here! Merry Christmas!

Many have been sharing their favorite Christmas memory. I mentioned the "year of mononucleosis" in a prior post. I have not been able to join in all the festivities, so am planning on combining several in this one spot.

New memories are being formed every day as I care for the kiddoes. Care Bear is really aware of what Christmas is about, thanks to Sunday school, Christian preschool, and reinforcement at home and at Grandma's. She was excited about seeing Santa today at the mall, but yesterday it was all about Jesus. She and Feisty were playing Mary and Joseph yesterday. Feisty wanted to be Baby Jesus, but Care Bear informed her that she couldn't be Baby Jesus, because he had not been born yet - she had to be the donkey that Mary rode on to Bethlehem. Pretty good for a 4-year-old! Care Bear has also been very concerned this week about King Herod's ordering all of the baby boys to be killed. It was a great learning moment for us.

Last year I bought the Fisher Price Little People (known as Things That Go Guys to Care Bear - another story I'll let Kristen tell) nativity set, because my traditional set was showing the wear and tear of being rearranged by little hands - several animal ears have fallen victim. When you push on the angel on top of the stable, it plays "Away in a Manger." They arrange, rearrange, lose, find, the characters many times a day.

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I have decided a safer place for the set I made (with the help of a really crafty friend) many years ago is the top shelf of the entertainment center. On the shelves below is my growing collection of angels.

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A few days ago I mentioned that I have two trees. It happened because I always wanted to put a tree in the living room window and the kids always wanted the tree down in the family room. I compromised - the tree full of memories continues to be in the family room, and I bought myself a tree which I have added to every year since. It has been a labor of love, but lots of work!

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I made this crewel embroidery picture years ago and love to hang it every year. Now it serves as a reminder of how ambitious and creative I used to be - and patient.

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I love this wooden Christmas Windmill. It is very special because my son bought it for me for my birthday a few years ago. It has 3 levels of the nativity scene, and of course twirls when the candles are lit. The grandkids love it as well.

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I had a hard time narrowing down my favorite ornaments. Our first tree was full of blue satin balls from our flocked wedding trees the December before. That's all we had on our first tree. I wish I had a picture of it. Every year after that I would give away a box (we had 6 dozen of them) and replace it with a new set. We also decided to acquire a special ball each year. Most of them are dated. The very first one we picked out was crushed, along with many others, when one of those real trees with a lousy trunk tipped over while we were gone for the evening. That was sad.

When I was a young mom, we had a great time at Bible study. Sometimes we had a craft time. One year we went through this phase. The balls were styrofoam made to look quilted - lots of fun to make, but I haven't done one since I made so many that year. But this one has stayed on my tree ever since - I wonder how many of the gifts I gave are still "hanging around."

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This was our 1979 ball, bought to commemorate the first year in our new house - we are in the same house 28 years later. I posted about that on July 1.

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I made this for our 10th Christmas together - the only needlepoint project I ever did - I did lots of crewel embroidery, regular embroidery, and counted cross stitch, but only this one needlepoint. That makes it VERY special, as well as very sentimental.

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For our 25th anniversary, 9 years ago, we went to the Big Island of Hawaii. We stayed outside of Kona at a Bed and Breakfast called The Dragonfly Ranch (Kim would love it!). It was so wonderful - no windows on our cabin so the birds and even roosters woke us up in the morning. We drove around the hills one of the first days and came upon a beautiful old very small Catholic church. They were having a craft sale that day and we bought this hand-made ornament as a memento. We also attended their Christmas program later that week. That was a blessed experience - seeing the Christmas story portrayed with hula was unbelievably moving and beautiful - I never would have believed it if I hadn't seen it.

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This is our 1995 ornament in honor of our little dachshund, Fritzie - I wrote about him a few weeks ago. This was one of the last pictures we took of him before he died.

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Last, but not least, our 3 grandkids are gracing the tree with these adorable pictures.

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This has been fun - I hope it's not too long for your to enjoy it as well. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Food for Thought

First of all, I am in a quandary. I have two major things I need to post tomorrow. I want to join in the fun of Morning Glory's ornament parade, but there is another major event going on Friday that I want to honor. I think I may do the ornaments on Friday and post the other on Saturday - please visit me on Saturday, if you can. Thank you!

A former co-worker sent me this today. I was amazed at the source, but thrilled with the content. I don't know who wrote it, so if anyone does, please pass on the credit. I just think we all need to read it and act on it. Have a blessed day!

My Dear Children, it has come to my attention that many of you are upset that folks are taking My name out of the season. Maybe you've forgotten that I wasn't actually born during this time of the year and that it was some of your predecessors who decided to celebrate My birthday on what was actually a time of pagan festival, although I do appreciate being remembered any time. How I personally feel about this celebration can probably be most easily understood by those of you who have been blessed with children of your own. I don't care what you call the day. If you want to celebrate My birth just, GET ALONG AND LOVE ONE ANOTHER. Now, having said that let Me continue. If it bothers you that the city/town in which you reside doesn't allow a scene depicting My birth, then just get rid of a couple of Santas and snowmen and put in a small Nativity scene on your own front lawn. If all My followers did this there wouldn't be any need for such a scene on the town square because there would be many of them all around town. Stop worrying about the fact that people are calling the tree a holiday tree, instead of a Christmas tree. It was I who made all trees. You can and may remember Me anytime you see any tree. Decorate a grape vine if you wish; I actually spoke of that one in a teaching explaining who I am in relation to you and what each of our tasks were. If you have forgotten that one, look up John 15: 1-8. If you want to give Me a present in remembrance of My birth here is my wish list. Choose something from it.

1. Instead of writing protest letters objecting to the way My birthday is being celebrated, write letters of love and hope to soldiers away from home. They are terribly afraid and lonely this time of year. I know, they tell Me all the time.

2. Visit someone in a nursing home. You don't have to know them personally. They just need to know that someone cares about them.

3. Instead of writing George complaining about the wording on the cards his staff sent out this year, why don't you write and tell him that you'll be praying for him and his family this year. Then follow up. It will be nice hearing from you again.

4. Instead of giving your children a lot of gifts you can't afford and they don't need, spend time with them. Tell them the story of My birth, and why I came to live with you. Hold them in your arms and remind them that I love them.

5. Pick someone that has hurt you in the past and forgive him/her.

6. Did you know that someone in your town will attempt to take their own life this season because they feel so alone and hopeless? Since you don't know who that person is, try giving everyone you meet a warm smile it could make the difference. Also, you might consider supporting the local Hot-Line; they talk with people who feel hopeless every day.

7. Instead of nit-picking about what the retailer in your town calls "the holiday," be patient with the people who work there. Give them a warm smile and a kind word. Even if they aren't allowed to wish you a Very Merry Christmas, that doesn't keep you from wishing them one. Then stop shopping there on Sunday. If the store didn't make so much money on that day they'd close and let their employees spend the day at home with their families and Me.

8. If you really want to make a difference, support a missionary, especially one who takes My love & Good News to those who have never heard My name. You may already know someone like that.

9. Here's a good one. There are individuals & whole families in your town who not only will have no "Christmas" tree, but neither will they have any presents to give or receive. If you don't know them (and I suspect you don't) buy some food and a few gifts and give them to the Marines, the Salvation Army or some other charity which believes in Me & they will make the delivery for you.

10. Finally if you want to make a statement about your belief in and loyalty to Me, then BEHAVE like a Christian. Don't do things in secret that you wouldn't do in My presence, let people know by your actions that you love Me and are one of mine.

P.S ~ Don't forget: I am God and can take care of Myself. Just love Me & do what I have asked and told you to do, I'll take care of all the rest. Check out the list above and get to work; time is short. I'll help you. It's your ball game to win or...

And by the way, do have a most blessed Christmas with all those whom you love.

And remember...


Your Savior Jesus Christ

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Wordless Wednesday

Christmas 06 006
Colorado Sunrise
sunmoon rises 002
Colorado Moonrise
sunmoon rises
Colorado Sunset

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Christmas Meme (finally) and Other Stuff

Update on this morning's post. Jesus heard my prayer, and those of you wonderful people. I was able to calm down, prioritize, and get a lot done. I got the package off to New Guinea ($112.55 - the church's money, not mine, but a lot!), I got to choir practice by 9:30 (it was a great time and the music seeped into my soul), the tea was at 11:00 and we had a wonderful time of fellowship with a great message about how we are like different cups - flawed, old, still useful - very clever. Here are a couple of pictures of the tables (there were 14-15 altogether, and each one different). I am amazed every year at the beauty that women create for this occasion. I was approached to do one and calmly told them that this is not one of my gifts!

tea party (2)
Above is my SIL and the table she decorated and hosted
tea party (1)
tea party
This is the table where I was assigned

Now - on to the meme:
  1. Egg nog or hot chocolate?

    Hot chocolate hands down. I love it with whipped cream instead of marshmallows. I like egg nog flavored taffy, but that's about it.

  2. Does Santa wrap presents or just set them under the tree?

    Everything has to be wrapped. When the kids were little, they would count packages every day and compare. One year I numbered the packages and kept a list, so they didn't know which was whose. It was so much fun to watch them discover what I had done. One year we had a scavenger hunt all over the house.

  3. Colored lights or white?

    Colored. I like the white ones on others' trees, but I like color myself.

  4. Do you hang mistletoe?

    Ever since I discovered the mistletoe growing at the tops of the trees in Oklahoma and that it was a parasite, it lost any romantic appeal it might have had.

  5. When do you decorate for Christmas?

    I used to do it the day after Thanksgiving, but am not as structured any more - or I don't have kids around keeping me going. I do it in bits and pieces the last few years. I have a real mess in my family room right now. DC says he's never seen it this bad in all these years! I hope to have it done soon.

  6. What is your favorite holiday dish, excluding dessert?

    That is a tough one. We don't have set in stone traditions on food, as we do for Thanksgiving. We often have had Swedish potato sausage, which the kids didn't like, but Grandpa made it, so we had to have it. I still like turkey and the trimmings, or ham. But there are so many yummy things.

  7. Favorite holiday memory as a child?

    How in the world do I narrow this down? We had cousins in Africa as missionaries, so seeing them every four years at Grandma's house was so special. We traveled long distances to be in Minnesota through horrid storms, and those memories are unforgettable. I have many wonderful memories, but probably my most memorable Christmas was 9th grade, when I was in bed for a month with mono. I was down flat two weeks before Christmas and two weeks after. I was so sick that I still can't eat some of the things my mom baked that year. I was supposed to play the piano for the 9th grade choir concert at school that year and didn't get to. That was a huge disappointment. It took me a year to get my strength back. Another definite memory - my sis and I are less than a year apart in age. We always go the same things for birthdays and Christmas, maybe a different color. We got to where we'd sit with our backs to each other and open them at the same time so we wouldn't know what we were getting if the other one opened first.

  8. When and how, did you learn the truth about Santa?

    Santa was never a part of our lives as kids, and we passed that along to our kids. I am going through this with Kristen's kids right now - I think Anakin is at the point of realizing that it's a huge myth, but he doesn't want to give it up yet. He keeps asking me why I don't believe in Santa. I decided I don't want to get into it with him!

  9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?

    Both DC and I were raised with Christmas Eve gift opening. That made it easy to mesh our customs. But some years we have several different gift opening occasions, so the fun goes on and on.

  10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree?

    I actually have two trees. I sometimes wanted to put the tree in the window in the living room. The kids always wanted it in the family room so they could snuggle on the couch and watch the lights. It was always a real tree. So when they left, I bought an artificial tree and it became my designer project. It has blue and white lights, blue and gold balls and bows, and gold poinsettias. It's a lot of work, but I love the end result. The one in the family room is full of memories. Our first Christmas was 3 days before our first anniversary. We had 6 dozen blue satin balls on our white flocked Christmas trees (instead of flowers) for our wedding. That was all we had on our first tree together. I began giving away a box each year to friends and loved ones, and replacing it with a new box of balls. We also had one really special ball each year, usually dated. One year we came home from a band concert and found our tree had tipped over, shattering many of our balls, including our very first "special" ball. That was sad.

  11. Snow. Love it or hate it?

    Growing up in Minnesota, it was always a part of winter that we didn't even think about. I love it to look at, especially at Christmas time. I don't like driving in a storm, or the ice mess it leaves on the streets. But I love a beautiful, soft, falling snow. I don't like it when it is blowing parallel to the ground!

  12. Can you ice skate?

    When we lived in International Falls, Minnesota, it was something every kid did after supper at night. Everyone threw their skates over their shoulders and headed for the neighborhood rink. I hate cold feet, but to be in the crowd, I had to play the game. I spent most of my time in the warming house. I wouldn't call what I do skating, but I did manage to stay on my feet most of the time. But I LOVE watching good ice skating.

  13. Do you remember your favorite gift?

    The year I had mono was probably the most difficult Christmas my folks had experienced in years, financially. The next year was so much better that my sister and I each got large blue suitcases filled with clothes. That was a really special gift.

  14. What is the most important thing about the holidays to you?

    Celebrating Jesus' birthday; celebrating with family and friends; remembering the Reason for the Season.

  15. What is your favorite holiday dessert?

    Aanything chocolate, I suppose.

  16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?

    I have thought about this a lot today and I think I have to say it is singing in the cantata every year. I absolutely love singing with a group of people and putting together a series of music - starting from scratch and having it turn out beautifully.

  17. What tops your tree?

    My family room tree doesn't have anything on top - it's too tall. I've never had a traditional tree topper for some reason. The one upstairs has a big gold bow, which tops it off perfectly.

  18. Which do you prefer, giving or receiving?

    I really enjoy getting something special for someone and watching their reaction. I love getting gifts, of course, but I have a hard time telling people what I want. I wish I were more creative and patient to make special things for people as I used to.

  19. What is your favorite Christmas song?

    That is a hard one. I love so many - Carol of the Bells, Little Drummer Boy, Do You Hear What I Hear, all the traditional carols, but I think Josh Groban's and Sandy Patti's versions of O Holy Night top them all. I wish I could hear them do it as a duet! We could do a whole discussion of horrible songs that pass as Christmas songs.

  20. Candy canes. Yuck or yum?

    I'm not fond of candy canes. I love the legend of how they came to be, though.

Jesus, please calm my soul today

Jesus, I am feeling like Diane did yesterday - paralyzed. I awoke early this morning with a headache, with so much to do today it is absolutely ridiculous. The load of celebrating your birthday is heavy today. Is it right? Why do we do this? We want to do so much to celebrate you that we forget why we are doing it sometimes. Yesterday I had so much going on and I was trying to decorate my house in the midst. I was trying to get the package off to New Guinea for the missionaries who are serving you out in that primitive land and who have no Wal Mart to go to, or even a grocery store nearby. I want them to have cake mixes, pecans, Rolo candy bars, toys, CDs, fabric for making quilts. It's all for a good purpose. I just didn't want to go to the post office with 3 little kids! I tried to get to King Soopers to get copies of my Christmas picture made, and to Office Depot to get envelopes for the letter I composed and printed off this week. I couldn't get there! By the time, I could, I had the 3 kids with me - getting them in and out of the car that many times on the icy and slushy parking lots was just too much. Then to try to keep them corralled in the stores - just overwhelming for this grandma yesterday. I also needed to get stuff for tonight's SS Christmas party - I signed up to bring rolls and dessert. I wanted to impress them with my yummy crescent rolls and maybe a pie. I couldn't get to the store! Thank you for reminding me of that soda bread recipe I'd been wanting to try - I had everything I needed right here in my house. Little Feisty was so eager to help. Sometimes it's more trouble than help, but her little 2-year-old help was just what I needed yesterday. She was so much fun. I had a brownie mix in the cupboard - I realized that was good enough. I even had some of that already-made frosting in the freezer with colored chips of candy in it. I added some green food coloring, made the brownies in the Christmas tree pans I'd bought last year and forgotten about, and put on the green frosting - perfect! Thank you for helping me figure out a way to save money and a trip to the store.
I didn't really feel like even going to the party, but I am so glad I did. This group of people is another part of our family. We sat around, ate too much, didn't even play any games. We just enjoyed celebrating your birthday with a great bunch of people and reminisced about our most memorable Christmases, sang a few carols a cappella, and got home early. Thank you for that relaxation.

But I left such a mess here when we rushed out the door to get there on time. It was still here this morning when I woke up early with a headache. So why am I blogging instead of doing all that needs to be done? I felt the need to talk to you in this way this morning. And my blogging friends have become an extension of my support system - they will pray with me today that I can calm down and remember why -

I want to get to the gym and work off some of those calories I consumed last night. I want to do the Christmas meme - I haven't been able to do it yet, and the ones I've read have evoked such great memories. I want to do the decoration blog that Morning Glory is sponsoring on Friday, but I have another post I need to do that day. I want to put something pretty on the top of my blogs like Pea and others do, but I don't know how! I don't even have time to put in that code to give credit to the people I'm mentioning today!

I have to do laundry, get to choir practice at 9:30, and to the Victorian Tea at 11:00. We're doing all of this in your honor. Why does it feel like too much? I know once I get to choir and sing the wondrous music, I will calm down and feel your presence. I know when Pat speaks to us at the tea and we fellowship with our lady friends at the beautiful tables that our friends have decorated (how did they have time to do that??), I will calm down and feel your presence.

But I need to feel your presence now. Thank you for the tears that are flowing as I remember that You are the Reason for the Season. Please soak my soul with this today. I need You. Thank You for being here with me as I write these words. Thank you for coming to this wicked world to save us when you could have stayed up there in paradise with your Father and the angels. Thank you for the music that is playing. Help me to be able to decide what I really need to do and how much I can leave undone. Help me to focus on you. Thank you.