Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year & Change

Normally about this time, people have already decided what their New Years Resolutions will be and I guess I am no exception. However, I am going to be a little different this year and keep my resolutions to myself. Why? Probably because if I don't tell them, no one will know if I kept them or not!! Sneaky of me huh?
The truth is that recently, I have really been more and more disturbed by the fact that people say they are going to do things and then they don't. I am just as guilty of doing exactly that at times. I have had some of the same resolutions every single year for as long as I can remember. I wonder - does it make me a "liar" when I say that I resolve to do something and then never actually follow through on it? Just a thought! Unfortunately as I typed that sentence, I "yelled" at myself for that very thing. So - for the sake of my sanity and my conscience, my resolutions will be kept quiet but I sure hope you all achieve yours!
The year 2008 promises to bring about some interesting changes in my life. First of all, my oldest child is getting home from his "sojourn" to lands unknown. Then he will be getting married in August and the men in my life will be even more out-numbered!!!! YES!!!!! My oldest daughter is moving on with life and gaining more independence. She has this "friend" you see who takes the biggest majority of her time and attention so the parents in her world are sort of taking on a new role! We just haven't figured it out yet!!! My youngest child now has legal permission to drive all by herself so there is the beginning of her "pulling away" from needing parents in the usual ways. I know that a "friend" for her is probably closer than I realize but I try to push it away for as long as possible!!
Change. It's inevitable I suppose but is one ever really ready for change? I read something this morning that just has really gotten to me. A very small portion of a verse in Psalm says, "because they do not change, therefore they do not fear God". I realize that I could be taking this all out of context but this has really stuck with me today! I really am not too sure that I can explain it either. My one thought is that sometimes there are things in our lives that God has brought to our attention again and again - things that we need to change for the betterment of our spiritual life or our lives in general but we sort of push it aside. Does that mean we don't really "fear God"? Another thought is that change happens in our lives but do we trust HIM with those changes or do we fear THEM? Me? It's actually easier to moan and worry and fret and stew over them!! I know - that isn't the right way to handle them at all. Maybe it's not that I don't FEAR God but that I don't wholly TRUST Him! Oh dear - now there is another whole can of worms!!
For me this new year is full of change but then just a few short verses later in the same Psalm, this is what I read - "Cast your burden on the LORD, And He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved". Now THAT is a promise I can live with!! Happy New Year to you all! May Christ be all you need HIM to be in this year for I know HE will be to me!!

Friday, December 28, 2007

Christmas Blog

This could be a little lengthy but here goes! We had a great Christmas but a little different! I must admit that we had an empty spot this year with David being gone and yes, as is usual, I missed his phone call home early Monday morning. I spent Christmas Eve day trying to clean the house, catch up on laundry and do some cooking for Christmas Day so that I wouldn't have so much to do. Christmas morning, Dave and I got up and fixed a big breakfast. Then it was time for the Christmas story and family prayer. Carrie was designated Santa this year and handed out all the presents! We always start from the youngest and go to the oldest so Ashley started us off and then Carrie followed. I had done quite a bit of my shopping for them online so I was somewhat concerned about whether or not stuff would fit. Believe it or not, I didn't have to return ONE SINGLE THING!!! Anyway, it was my turn and Dave told us that when we were done, we had to get the floor cleaned up for he had one more big present for me!!

Finding out what it was was so funny - Dave tried so hard to keep it a secret but as he was opening his presents, we were commenting on how MANY he had and he said, "Well I spent more money on your treadmill!" I was so shocked!!! But thrilled with that gift!!! My next surprise was this....

...a new leather coat! I was very happy about this and will look forward to wearing it next week when it is supposed to be in the 40's here!
As is usual, I always get one or two teddy bear figurines and this year was no exception except that I got three figurines! The two on the outsides are from Dave and the one in the middle is from Carrie. Apparently, Josh helped her pick this one out - she is supposedly the angelic one in the mothers arms!!

Usually when the girls and I go shopping, we always make a stop at Cato. I had been watching this set of watches and Ashley knew that so this is what she got me for Christmas!

We had all received gifts from Christa and so when I opened my box from her, this is what I found!!!!!

She made me this blanket!! As a matter of fact, she made a pink UT (University of Tennessee) one for Carrie and a pink and purple star one for Ashley! They are absolutely adorable!!!
Before Christmas, Dave called me and said that someone had given him some books and they had also given him a "bookshelf". I wondered where I was going to put it but he just mentioned that I needed to wait till I got home to see it and then we would decide where to put it. Well, this is his "bookshelf"....

....a "bookshelf"???? Not hardly!!! I had been wanting to get something different for my china and this just fits in my dining room perfectly!! This was made by a very good friend of ours and he is moving and I was THRILLED to get it!!
So - I think that is it!! We had a good day that ended up with us having compnay over for the evening! We had a great time with the Kline family and played a new game that was a blast!! I am so thankful for the family and friends I have. They are the best!!!!!!

Monday, December 17, 2007

Apologies and Funnies

First of all, I think I need to clear something up!!!!! You know how the "written" word can be taken one way when it is truly meant another - well, after reading over my last blog, I think I need to just make sure that the readers (all 2 of them!) are clear on my meanings!!
I LOVE Christa to death and was in no way implying that she was being obstinate or ornery regarding the way we have Christmas. Does that make sense?? She was being a nut and I was being one in posting about her thoughts and wishes but I certainly don't want to leave the impression that she wasn't being "nice" to her future in-laws!!! So I hope that clears things up!!!
Now for the funnies - since you weren't there, you probably won't understand or think that this was remotely funny but we sure did have fun with it. I have read several other blogs that lead me to believe that several "attended" Hobe Sound Bible Church by way of the Internet yesterday so if that is the case, (or if you were actually there in the AM), you know that one of the things that Pastor preached about was being a servant. Seriously, it was a great message but it led to some humor in our house. We got home and we were fixing Sunday dinner (such as it was) and Dave did something for one of the girls and someone - I don't remember who - yelled out that Dad was being a servant. He immediately acted quite dejected and responded that you don't get servant points when it is blatantly pointed out like that. The rest of the afternoon was spent off and on in quite a bit of jest along this train of thought. Someone did something nice and it was immediately pointed out quite loudly to the rest of the family in hopes of keeping everyone else's "servant points" to an all-time low!!!!! As I was getting ready for bed last night, I couldn't help but think that if the Pastor knew what we had done to his message, he would probably throw up his hands in despair!! This was one family that seemingly missed his point!!!! I am sure that when his better half "dishes" out the latest "news" from blogland to her husband this week, I think my family will have just made his week unbelievable!!!!!!!!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Jibber-Jabber

It seems there has been much discussion recently in blogland and real life about the traditions that people have at Christmas time. I must admit to sitting back and chuckling at some, out-right laughing at others and thinking some sound pretty cool. I have to admit that there really aren't many "traditions" in my house as to maybe what you view as "normal" traditions.
First of all, we rarely ever go anywhere for Christmas. If we do, it is only later in the day. We usually get up and let everyone get "presentable" for pictures. Then there is the reading of the Christmas story which has turned into quite the event. When the kids were little, we read it and they would help us quote it but the funny thing is that kids grow up!!! Now - we have two males in our house who are deep thinkers and so we get started reading the story but we just can't READ it, we have to DISSECT it a word at a time. Finally, I will sigh loud enough to break into the discussion and we move on to presents!! Usually we go from the youngest to the oldest and that person unwraps all the gifts and we do the appropriate "oohing" and "aahhing" over them. Then they get to dump the stockings!! Then it's a big breakfast, cleaning up the disastrous living room and "playing" with the new toys that hopefully someone received!! Mom begins the preparations for Christmas dinner which usually consists of ham, mashed potatoes, noodles, corn casserole, green beans, rolls, stuffing, and dessert. Hmmmmm..... sounds like the Thanksgiving menu I just had!!! Then the rest of the day is just doing whatever.
This year, things are different in some ways. First of all, this will be the first year that one of my children will not be home. Okay - for the record that is just plain weird!!!! I think I will let it go at that. I have decided that I will NOT be leaving my house that day AT ALL so that a phone call will not be missed. I am almost positive that everyone in the house will be in agreement with that!!!! We may have some company come over later in the day but I "AIN'T going nowhere"!!!!! So this year may be just different in lots of ways!
That brings me to the thoughts of our Christmas traditions changing to include "new" members of the family. The truth is that my son is just too good looking and my daughters are just too beautiful to prevent "additional" members being added at some point!! Next year I have been informed that David and Christa will be spending Christmas at our house. Along with that has come the "instruction" that under no circumstances can Christa sit through long "discussions" about the story nor will she tolerate every one needing a shower and be in spic and span shape before she gets to dive into presents!!!!! It is just too funny!!!!!!! Anyway, knowing that David is getting married and the girls are only growing older has caused me to think of the future Christmas traditions that will happen in our house. One thing that I am simply DETERMINED to do is to make it a time that my family will always look forward to and enjoy whatever new traditions we come up with!!!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

A Favorite Christmas Memory

Saturday would have been my Dad's 71st birthday and I always find myself thinking of him at this time of year for one reason or another. My Dad absolutely loved Christmas and he usually had lights pretty much anywhere he could find to put them!! He loved having his family home for Christmas but after a few hours of his 12grandchildren packed in the living room, we teased him about being just as excited about seeing us leave!!!!
Our first Christmas living in TN, (LaDonna, you may remember this!) we were what I refer to as "dirt" poor. Dave was working construction and it was winter so the work was a little scarce making money even more scarce!! We didn't have a Christmas tree and there was no money to buy one either. Our kids were 2, 4 and 6 and we were pretty sure that they would survive without one somehow but my momma's heart was pretty unhappy. I couldn't keep secrets too well from either one of my parents but especially not my dad. He called one day which was EXTREMELY unusual. I almost always got a call from my mom about every day but hardly EVER got a call from my dad. He wanted to "just chat" or so he said but he managed to wheedle it out of me that we weren't going to have a tree. Oh what a mistake on my part!!!
In the little town of Friendsville at that time, the lady who delivered our mail would usually just pull in the driveway and honk when she had mail for us that wouldn't fit in the box. One day, I was busy about the house when I heard a horn and looked out to see the mail lady in my driveway. I walked down and watched her climb out of her car and open her trunk and pull out a HUGE box. With the help of my kids, I managed to get the box in the house. I opened up a Christmas tree, lights, garland and bulbs and was completely blown away. According to my mom, Dad went shopping and drug her along for no kid of his was going to go without a tree PERIOD END OF DISCUSSION!!!!!!
We kept that tree for the longest time and it was known as "Grandpa's Tree". A few years back when Frances and Jeanne came through, that was one thing I lost. My heart hurt but the poor thing was so anemic looking. Branches just weren't surviving the years of use!!! I have since bought a new tree and new decorations but I am pretty sure that nothing in the world can ever replace "Grandpa's Tree" in our house.

Finally - The Outside

It may have taken me awhile but here are the outside pictures. I had a few other things that I wanted to do but time and money ran far, far away!!!!
This is what it looks like in the dark right over the entrance of our house.

Hey - what's a home of a Marine without the flag?!?!

The rest of the front of the house.

I took this one mainly to show you the yellow ribbon around my wreaths. I wanted a couple of big bows and even went so far as to buy the ribbon but making a bow is so far out of my talent arena, it isn't funny!!!!

So - there ya have it!! That's it for the Christmas decorations this year!!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

Inside Christmas Decorations

I hesitate to post pictures of my Christmas Decorations since I seem to have no real "rhyme or reason" to what I do but here ya go anyway. Just a few pictures of the inside and a little explanation. The outside will get finished tonight so I will try to post those tomorrow!
This is my built in shelves that I have in the living room! I am picky about this village and don't have all I want yet but will add to it when "whatever" strikes me. I added some little yellow ribbons to the garland and I am sure you can figure out why!

This is the church of my village that I absolutely adore and wish I could actually find one just like it somewhere to have some family pictures taken there!

This is the dream house that Dave and I have - specifically because of the porch. When I saw this house, I knew I just had to have it as part of my village.

So if you know much about me, you will know that I am a teddy bear freak and Christmas is no exception. This is my teddy bear Nativity Set that I dearly love and I have not seen another one like it anywhere (although I haven't looked much)!!

This is a small step ladder that usually just holds Bibles but I put it to use holding some of my bears that are specifically for Christmas.

This is my tree and all the rest. Like I said, I am not the worlds greatest decorator but I must admit that I LOVE my tree this year.

A friend of mine, Mary, stopped by my house late one evening to give our family an early Christmas present. She had this ornament made for us and we ALL really love it and I was more than happy to add it to the tree this year!!

Finally, under my tree sits the Marine Bear that I was given for Christmas last year and my Angel Bear that is more adorable than words can describe. Stop by sometime and I will play it for you!!!

That's it for the inside of the house. If I can get it all done the way I want, I will post a picture of the outside of the house tomorrow.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Our Weekend

Friday night was the High School Christmas play. Do you think this picture is a foretelling of things to come??????

Well, the end result was a "girl" and a really good play!!!

Ashley played a "Hispanic" 9 month pregnant mall worker whose husband (otherwise known as Gideon Stence) worked at the Little Caesars in the mall! She did such a great job with her acting and her Spanish. She did the entire play in Spanish and I was very proud of her!! They all did a great job but ESPECIALLY Ashley.
Then Saturday was the Christmas parade. This is where you would have found me at the parade!!

Then Dave and I went shopping for a few more Christmas decorations and some groceries. We also made an unplanned stop at the Chilis in Jupiter but I will have to let Ashley explain that one!!!!!
Sunday was a full day as is usual. Church in the morning, the girls had to go to the Island to sing with the choir and then church in the evening. "Hot" church, by the way!! We are now in the tabernacle and it was rather "warmish"!!!
We were surprised on Friday night with a call from David. It was 6 am for him and about 15 degrees!! "Too cold for this Florida boy" was his exact words!! Anyway, a brief call to let us know he was fine and would probably call the next time on Christmas Day. Then Sunday morning sitting in SS, Dave got a text from Christa asking us to call her right away. David had called her and had experienced some "trouble". I won't go into details but please, please pray for him and the ones he is with. You can always say a prayer for this family including Christa. I won't even begin to explain the emotions we go through but just ask for your prayers!
I am hoping to finish the Christmas decorating tonight and then the Singing Tree is this week along with College Finals for Carrie!! Another crazy week but hey, it's Christmas - what do you expect?!?!?!?!