Saturday, October 31, 2009

Don't Forget the Give-Away!

Be sure to go back to this post to enter my little give-away, if you're interested, and if you haven't had a chance yet. Wednesday morning I'll draw the winner, then let you know of the excitement I am looking forward to.

You probably are aware by now that this is one crazy place for weather. The 21- inch snowfall we had last Wednesday here in our town is almost entirely gone. It got up to 60 degrees F today, and tonight was a gorgeous moonlit night for the kiddoes who were out trick or treating.

Do you want to know one of the most annoying things about these drastic weather changes? Constantly having to change the straps on the twins' car seats to accommodate coats or not!

Before - Wednesday, October 28

After - Saturday, October 31

So tonight was our big function at church called Light in the Night. We have lots of games and booths, candy galore, a chili contest, prizes. People come from all over the neighborhood and have a great safe place for their families to spend the evening.

DC won a prize, and I picked it out for him as he manned the popcorn machine. I had spotted something I REALLY wanted, so when his name was called, he asked me to go pick out something for him. I brought the envelope over - it was a half hour therapeutic massage - which I talked him into giving me! It wasn't too hard! The massage artist is a friend from our church - I have been privileged to enjoy her services one time before, and it is something I could stand to have at least once a month - she is fabulous. And she comes to my house! Who ever heard of house calls these days?? So I'm looking forward to taking advantage of that gift.

I wish I could have a chance to take pictures of all 4 girls, but only got the littles - and they weren't too excited about it. But they looked adorable anyway.

See you Wednesday!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Winter, Books, and a Giveaway

Another crazy week around my town. I guess experiencing unusually bad weather is kind of like child birth - you forget the pain after awhile. I learned after this storm hit that we experienced one in October of 1997 that was even worse - more snow, wind, ice, stranded people at the airport and out on the eastern plains. But this was enough for me -- I love how you can detect the flakes if you look closely.

In the middle of the snow falling yesterday, I went to get the mail on my way home from some errand - the roads were really not treacherous at all yesterday. A little while later the doorbell rang - it was a neighbor that I don't really know. He had a package in his hands, along with his own mail. We have cluster boxes and each requires a key. There are also boxes for packages, and the mail carrier leaves a key in your box if you have a package. It seems that I must have brushed the key to the package box into the deep snow when I got my mail. This kind neighbor trudged all the way down to my house at the end of the cul de sac to deliver my package.
And what a fun package it was! My dear friend, Robin of Robinznest, sent me a surprise. She knits beautifully and I have told her more than once how adorable I think her little granddaughter looks in the hats she has made. So - she sent me FOUR of them - one for each of my grandgirls.

Care Bear chose to pose without her glasses

Feisty posed with her typical big grin

Katie allowed me to put the hat on her long enough for a picture. Emma wouldn't keep hers on - it's the same, except a darker pink. Adorable!!

Robin also included a book - you know me and books! This one is called
The Sound of Sleigh Bells by Cindy Woodsmall. I have not heard of this author before, but it looks like a good story about an Amish girl. I'll look forward to reading it.

I finished
The Perfect Christmas this morning - Debbie Macomber's annual Christmas story. It's cute.

When I went to Women of Faith, I bought this wonderful bag full of books -- I am a sucker for a nice bag - I love bags so much that I have nickname "Bag Lady" by a lot of people.

And you KNOW my love affair with books -- never ending. I got 5 books in this bag, written by the speakers. One is missing because I loaned the one by Sheila Walsh to my daughter-in-law Sema to read first. It's not like I don't have anything to read! You see a book by Lisa Whelchel (remember Facts of Life? If you are in your thirties or have girls that age, you will). She was the rich snob in the girls' school. She has a great testimony. One is by Patsy Clairmont. She's a tiny little bundle of energy who has you laughing one minute and crying the next. The third one is by Marilyn Meberg - she's the psychologist of the group and the book is called What to Do When the Roof Caves In. I am anxious to read them all. And the one by Sheila.

The little book on the right is by Steven Curtis Chapman - yes, there were actually men on the program this year. This little book was written by Steven and his wife in honor of their daughters. It goes along with the song he wrote, Cinderella. This was before their little Maria was killed in that horrendous accident last year. So it is even more poignant now.

I have decided to offer this little book and the accompanying CD as a giveaway. Just comment and indicate your interest and I will draw a winner next Wednesday, November 4.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Kudos. . . and Other Things

Remember when I bragged on Fed-Ex awhile back, when they went out of their way to give me good service? I have two more companies to brag on.

DC has had a jacket he ordered from Lands End approximately 15 years ago. Recently the zipper broke. Not long ago I discovered that Lands End now has a retail outlet inside the Sears store in a mall near us. We headed up there the other day to see if they perhaps had this jacket in stock. There was a good sale going on, but this jacket was not there. He picked out two others, only to find when we went to pay for them, that only one of them was on sale. He asked the clerk about the other jacket he had really wanted. I mentioned that the only problem with the jacket was the zipper. She told us something amazing - their clothes are guaranteed - and no matter that the jacket was 15 years old, had served him well for all those years, was a bit frayed around the cuffs, and the zipper was broken, it was totally covered. All he had to do was go to the catalog desk, put in an order, and a brand new coat of the same style would be sent to our house. It arrived today. That is what a call a good company!

I've shared recently about DC's employer, Walker Manufacturing. They've been in business for over 25 years. They take their employees' welfare very seriously. When sales went down 35% over the last few months, it was impossible to continue producing at the normal rate. They have had two lay-offs and two furloughs in the last few months. It has been very hard on them, as well as those who work for them. We feel very blessed that DC wasn't laid off, but was allowed to go to part-time and continue working.

Today the company made the news. A crew was out there last Friday covering a very heart warming story. Rather than have a third layoff, they are sending some of the guys out into the community for volunteer work, while they are being paid by the company. There is a tremendous amount of good will being created, as well as keeping the guys busy and making them feel good about themselves on top of it all. Our friend, the CEO, says it has been such a positive experience for everyone that they'll seriously consider continuing the program once things pick up again (which hopefully they will!)

Today I read a Christmas book - it must be the combination of colder weather and practicing all of that awesome Christmas music for the community chorale. I put this book by Richard Paul Evans on hold at the library awhile ago, and it already came in. I also have Debbie Macomber's annual Christmas book, The Perfect Christmas, and will read it soon.

The Christmas List was a very moving book. James Kier, the main character, had the unusual opportunity to read a premature obituary about himself - and also comments that were made about him after the obituary appeared on line. That's all I'm going to tell you, except that it changed his life. It took only a couple of hours to read, and it is well worth your time. Here is one of my favorite paragraphs:

"The true meaning of Christmas? God's grace. And the understanding that we cannot earn grace any more than we can bargain for love. By its very nature, grace must be unearned and freely given, without cost, constraint, or commandment. The best we can do is to open our hearts to receive it wholly, with all our strength, desire, and intent, that we might become children of the Gift."

I have only one very good memory of Halloween, and that was way back in the 5th grade in Heber Springs, Arkansas. It was a big deal in this little school. Every year, the week of Halloween, everyone brought home made goodies to school to sell at recess and lunch time. I don't know what the money was used for, or how much sugar we all consumed that week, but it was a contest between the grades and it was lots of fun.

Each class elected a king and queen candidate for the big celebration at the end of the week. I don't remember much about it, but I think each class had performances of some sort. The class which sold the most goodies and made the most money had their candidates crowned king and queen. At least, I think that's the way it went.

I guess I must have been pretty popular in those days, because I was the 5th grade queen candidate. My brother was the third grade's king candidate. My sister, who was in 4th grade, wasn't elected in her class and was a very unhappy witch at the celebration. We have a picture of her, but I think it's on a slide, so I can't share that one.

Mom made me a beautiful red satin dress - I was so very proud of that dress. Dad made our crowns. It became a real family affair.

Two months after this event, Dad took a church in northern Minnesota and we left Arkansas. I have very fond memories of those days in that little school in Heber Springs, Arkansas.

Have a fabulous week!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Awards, Music, and Other Things

Neno’s Award — Rules and Regulations

1. As a dedication for those who love blogging and love to encourage friendships through blogging.

2. To seek the reasons why we all love blogging.

3. Put the award in one post as soon as you receive it.

4. Don’t forget to mention the person who gives you the award.

5. Answer the award’s question by writing the reason why you love blogging.

6. Tag and distribute the award to as many people as you like.

7. Don’t forget to notify the award receivers and put their links in your post.

It's been quite awhile since an award came my way, and I am pleasantly surprised by this one, passed on to me by my good friend and loyal reader, Hootin' Anni. Thanks, Anni!

The reasons I love blogging are many, which is why I continue to plug away at coming up with posts, and faithfully visiting my friends. Since I had to go private, I have lost many of my readers, but do so value those that still come around and comment. The world of blogging has made my world so much smaller - I love visiting Canada, England, every imaginable state each day and keeping DC up to date on the weather and news from everywhere!

Blog friends have prayed for me and my family with such passion and caring, and God has answered so many of those prayers.

My blog has become somewhat of a journal rather than informative, inspiring, or brilliant writing. But I know it will be great to have this diary of my life as I grow older - I do need to save it somewhere, though, so I don't lose it.

I have met 5 of my blog friends, and will be meeting 4 more in the next month. I can hardly wait to return with pictures and stories about these fun times. You, my friends, are as "real" to me as those I see face to face here at home.

I want to give this award to everyone who is loyal and comes by in spite of the difficulty of keeping up with me, since I have recently discovered that Blogger Follower does not notify you when I have a new post. Thank you all - you are important to me!

My new schedule is to pick up the twins on Tuesday morning so that Kristen can get to school and be a Mother Helper in Care Bear's class (she does Thursdays in Feisty's room, but I have the twins overnight on Wednesday). This last Tuesday on the way to her house, I was able to catch this beautiful sunrise. Since I don't get out and drive to work in the early morning any more, I have missed many beautiful sunrises, so I enjoyed this one tremendously. I especially loved it in retrospect, since we didn't see the sun for the rest of that day, or all day yesterday.

If you've been with me very long, you know that music is of huge importance in my life. I have written numerous posts with music as part of the theme, at least. I am privileged to attend a church where we still sing the wonderful hymns, which are timeless. We also still have organ and piano (I play the organ every other Sunday), and a choir, which DC and I enjoy greatly.

Recently I saw a small notice in our local newspaper about the choral society - they were inviting new members for the Christmas presentation. It is called "The Glory of Christmas" this year, which gave me an indication that it perhaps would be about the real reason for Christmas. I decided to show up for the first rehearsal and see what I thought. I got there at 6, because new folks had to be "evaluated" - not exactly an audition, but a check on part placement. We then went over all of the music, which includes approximately 20 pieces. I didn't get home until 9:45, tired, but so exhilirated that I could not get to sleep.

The next 8-10 Tuesday evenings (and some Mondays) will be spent preparing for 4 performances. I am enjoying it so much so far, after two rehearsals. We are doing several pieces from Vivaldi's "Gloria," which is classical. We are doing around 10 wonderful sacred pieces, and about 5 really fun secular songs. All are challenging, which makes it more fun.

To top it off, I have met a kindred spirit and we are so enjoying singing next to each other, though we don't have much time to visit, since talking during rehearsal is extremely bad manners (and not allowed)!

I heard this song on the radio the other day and it took me back to last year's cantata at church. It speaks to me of the need for prayer for our world situation.

Lord, hear our cry
Come heal our land
Breathe life into these dry and thirsty souls
Lord, hear our prayer
Forgive our sin
And as we call on Your name
Would You make this a place
For Your glory to dwell

Open the blind eyes
Unlock the deaf ears
Come to Your people
As we draw near
Hear us from heaven
Touch our generation
We are Your people
Crying out in desperation

Lord hear our song
Your children worship
As we sing out Your praise
Would You make this a place for Your glory to dwell

Changing subjects drastically, I just have to share this picture with you before I close. I am thankful that these little darlings don't know that their grandma used to bake cookies "from scratch" and now buys cookie dough! It looks and smells as good and is just as much fun to watch!

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Autumn Has Returned . . .

. . . but the lovely leaves are gone, and the trees with leaves remaining are dressed in drabness. But the weather is glorious, and we hope it continues on for many more days.

Remember this picture from a week ago today?

Four days later, on Wednesday, the girls were playing in the deep layer of leaves in the back yard -- in shorts!

After the leaves dried out, the twins had a great time playing - just like their big sisters have done at this time every year. Katie liked the yard next door really well - I love this shot of her peeking over the hedge - book in hand.

They had a great time beheading the mums, giving them to me, and me showering the petals on their heads.

Grandpa invited them over to play in the leaves one last time before he spent two days mulching and mowing them up, and taking them to the recycle center.

My folks and I have each had one of these portable chairs to hang on a table ever since my kids were little. They've really come in handy for picnics and for our Wednesday night dinners at church with the twins. Emma had a great time playing with them on the patio on the beautiful day yesterday. They kept her occupied for at least a half hour.

It's fun to be able to see the two squirrel nests in the now empty tree, against the gorgeous blue sky.

Today DC finished the massive job of cleaning the yard - it looks perfect again. At least until the rest of the leaves begin to drop --

A few weeks ago I won a little contest over at Tammy's place, Lattes and Lollipops. She gave away a gift card for Starbucks - since I don't drink coffee, I had a lovely time with my sister as she did drink coffee and I had delicious hot chocolate. I also got this book --

I finished it today and highly recommend it. I love a good suspense novel, and this one didn't disappoint. It includes the message of God's love and mercy - an unusual and great combination. I was really excited when I checked my library's web site and discovered that this is only #1 in a series of 5 of 6. I love having a great series to look forward to. Dee Henderson has written many others besides this series as well - should keep me going for a good long time to come.

On an entirely different subject - I know everyone followed the "balloon launch" fiasco. I was glued to the screen when I found out it was going on - the "launch" began about 15 miles north of my house. I have no doubt in my mind that it was planned as a publicity stunt, and I think they have bitten off more than they ever expected - not the kind of publicity they really wanted. The sheriff seems to have finally caught up with the rest of us in his thought processes.

And last but not least --

The big girls got their school pictures already - I absolutely could not believe how good they were. I don't think I've ever seen such good school pictures.

Have a great Sunday and a good week!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Just Some Fun Stuff

Another week has flown by. Week-ends go even faster. And it has been a weird one for sure.

Remember the wonderful, mild summer we had in Colorado? It was so great, but the whole time I kept thinking that it might be the precursor to a tough winter. According to the last few days, that may be the case. Normally, at this time in October, we're enjoying Indian summer (is that still okay to say?), with wonderful colors, cool mornings, crisp nights, warm days.

I'm not sure where it came from, but a storm blew in with a vengeance, along with totally record breaking temperatures. Yesterday's 16 degree morning temp broke a record made in 1905 - and we're talking a REALLY broken record - the previous record low was 25. We woke up to an inch or two of snow as well. The girlies had spent the night and they were pretty excited when they looked out the windows.

It was so cold that they didn't stay out too long, but they enjoyed a short time of very crisp air and making a few snow angels. The strangest thing, though, was that when DC shoveled off the little bit of snow from the driveway, it was primarily leaves that had fallen during the night.

When I went to the gym, I got a kick out of these two guys advertising 50% off day at the ARC thrift store - with great costumes keeping them warm -

When I got back from the gym (and a shopping spree at the above mentioned ARC store, picking up some great bargains), the leaves were pouring off our three Marshall seedless ash trees like rain - I am so sorry I didn't think to snap a picture. I've never seen anything like it. They are now barren and there is at least a two inch covering of leaves on the lawn and patio.

So much for enjoying the beauty of the colors in our back yard - they didn't even have a chance to change. So strange. The good news is that we're supposed to be back into the 60s by the end of the week.

While I was gone to the gym and the unplanned shopping spree, DC was home with the four girls. They had a great time systematically destroying any semblance of order in my house. One of the favorite things the twins enjoy -- totally dismantling a box of Kleenex. Only one of the culprits stayed around long enough for a picture. Does that look say guilty or what??

What could be better than Sponge Bob and a snack??

Feisty has spent a lot of time drawing and cutting lately. Kindergarten has changed her dramatically. She was drawing a picture of herself the other day. When she finished it she said, "Look Grandma, here's a picture of me with my nipples." I did a double take until I realized she meant "dimples." Whew!!

Then Care Bear also caught me off guard. We must have been talking about babies when she hit me with THE QUESTION - "How do babies get in the mommy's tummy?" I choked as I told her that wasn't something I was prepared to discuss with her at this time, nor was it my place to do so. She said, "My friend, Hailey, knows and she told me, 'You don't want to know!'" Oh, my word. I couldn't believe it. So cute. But scary, too. Her friend Hailey is only 9.

She hit me with another zinger that tickled me. "Grandma, if you get a brain freeze from ice cream, do you get a brain roast from hot food?"

Finally, I thought you might enjoy these great shots DC took on a summer Sunday afternoon hike around Sprague Lake.

Have a wonderful week!