Monday, December 31, 2007

auld lang sine

Can you believe it!? This is the last day of 2007. Where did the year go? It's that time when I reflect on the past year and think about what I would like the new year to look like. One could call that process making resolutions. I don't, mainly because I've made many resolutions throughout my life and I don't usually keep them. So I learned that if I don't call them resolutions, I can't break them ;)

2007 wasn't the best of years and we're looking forward to 2008 being a better one. Don's job situation, and not knowing what his future would look like, made most of the year a stressful time. And I was a little overwhelmed in November when I was diagnosed with Diabetes.

But, for the present time, Don still has his job and I think I have my Diabetes under control. God has been good to see us through these times and we are thankful that our trials weren't any worse. He promises us that He doesn't give us more than we can handle.

There were a lot of good things that happened this past year and, again, I am thankful for each and every blessing and happy event that was a part of our 2007. I do look forward to 2008 because I look forward to seeing how God will use me and what He has in store for me and my family.

Even though I don't make resolutions, there are some things that I will be working hard on to achieve. I plan to read more. There are so many books I have that I haven't read. I love to read. I just need to make it more of a priority.

I also want to get back into scrapbooking. Again, I just need to make it a priority. I plan to spend my new year's eve of 2009 sitting around looking through all my finished photo albums with the satisfaction of having read so many books.

Of course, what I just wrote may come back to haunt me, but I'm going to be working hard at it all. I hesitate to mention this, but I'll also be working on being better at exercising and eating healthier. But again, these ARE NOT resolutions.

link of the day:

Saturday, December 29, 2007

a fond farewell

This morning we had to say good-bye to our company. We had a wonderful time while they were here and I'm going to miss them. My sister and I don't get to see each other very often. It had been a little over two years since the last time. We're hoping it won't be that long this time.

Thanks, Karen, for coming all the way out here and spending your Christmas with us. I love you and your family, and loved having all of you in my home. I will think of you often and keep you in my prayers, thanks to the bracelets (watch for show & tell next Friday).

link of the day:

Friday, December 28, 2007

down time

I love Christmas, but I think I love the week afterwards almost as much. For me and my family, it's down time. There's not much that needs to be done and after the hustle bustle of the last few weeks, it sure feels good to be able to sit down and relax a little.

We had snow on Christmas which made for a picture perfect "white" Christmas. We had snow again today [all day long]. That only encourages me to stay inside, pick up a book, watch a movie, play a computer game or two, change my blog layout [you like?], and visit with family.

As I previously wrote, I've had my sister and her family visiting us from California. It's been so nice having them here. We've gone out and done some things, but we've also just hung out around the house. Her kids are entertainment in themselves [a lot of tiny talk around here :)].

It looks like they'll be going home on Saturday. New Year's Day is Tuesday. After that, things will get back to normal. Until then, I'm going to continue to enjoy this time. I hope you, too, are having some down time and using it in a way that feels good for you.

link of the day:

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

look, my table got cleared off

Well, another Christmas in the books. I hope yours was a great one.

Even though it's Wordless Wednesday, I just have to add a few words. We had a wonderful day yesterday. My sister and her family drove in over the weekend [through a snowstorm] to spend the holidays with us. Two young ones [6 & 9] in the house adds to any Christmas festivities :]

Make sure you visit the other Wordless Wednesday participants.

link of the day:
(thanks Karenkool)

Monday, December 24, 2007

merry Christmas

Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:9-12)

Wishing you and yours a joyous Christmas filled with love and happiness.

If you have the time, I'd encourage you to read the heart-warming story that is found on my link of the day. It's worth the time.

link of the day:
(thanks mom)

Friday, December 21, 2007

no coal in these stockings

Today for Show & Tell, I'd like to share something that is very, very special to me and my family. It's our Christmas stockings.

What makes them so special is that my grandmother knitted each one. And not only did she knit the four here, but one for each and every person in her family. She started with mine [which makes it extra special] as I was her first grandchild.

She then knitted one for my sister and then my brother. When each of her grandchildren married, she knitted a stocking for the spouse. With the birth of each great-grandchild, she'd get out her knitting needles once again. She has six great-grandkids and each one has a hand knitted stocking.

She felt she needed to knit two more stockings to complete the circle; one for her daughter [my mom] and another for my mom's husband, Lee. If my math is correct, that's fourteen stockings she poured her love into. She made her first one nearly 50 years ago and finished her last one just a few years ago.

It is tradition in our family to give stocking stuffers to each other. Each Christmas these stockings are filled with all kinds of goodies. And each stocking is different - no pattern was used twice.

Thank you Grandma for not only my stocking and my family's stockings, but for giving each person in your family a part of yourself. A piece that we cherish deeply and will keep with us forever.

Visit Kelli at There Is No Place Like Home for more Show & Tell.

link of the day:

Thursday, December 20, 2007

girlfriend's favorite christmas

continued from girlfriend reminisces...

The ride home from the grandparent's house was always a trip the girlfriend enjoyed. It took 30-40 minutes but was all on a few bigger streets and side streets - no freeways. It was always late at night, near midnight. Usually there wasn't much conversation in the car. It felt like a reverent silence for all the passengers as they stared out the car windows at all the Christmas lights and decorations. A time for inner reflection.

Of all the Christmases the girlfriend can remember, there is one that will forever remain as one of her favorites. It was a year when the girlfriend had her own apartment and lived by herself. As the car pulled up to boyfriend's house, his mom asked the girlfriend if she wanted to spend the night.

That one question could have been considered the best Christmas gift the girlfriend received that year. Of course, she said yes. She slept on the couch but felt it was more comfortable than her own bed. Maybe it was the gratitude she felt or the love that was extended to her that had her smugly tucked under the blanket and reflecting on the family that she had grown to love as her own.

As much as she loved falling asleep where she did, waking up where she did was even better. It was Christmas morning. There was the smell of cinnamon rolls baking and the anticipation of the day hanging in the air. Everyone grabbed a mug of hot chocolate and made their way into the family room where the tree displayed the wonderful abundance of gifts.

Besides the kitchen, the family room was the most used room in the house. Dad sat in "his" chair; a well worn recliner. Everyone else seemed to have their "regular" place where they sat. The girlfriend sat on the fireplace hearth, which was a bench in itself. There was a fire blazing and when there was a fire, this was her favorite place in the entire house.

As she participateed in the opening of gifts, she shared in the traditions of the family. Opening one gift at a time while everyone else watched. There was genuine appreciation as each person would get up and hug the person that gave the gift. The warmth the girlfriend felt was not just physical. It was the warmth of love that seeped into her bones and touched her heart in a way that she will never forget.

The girlfriend received the best gift that year and it wasn't anything she unwrapped.

link of the day:

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

i just want to know...

Does anyone's table look like mine?

If so, where do you eat your meals? oohhhhh... the other table. Then your's doesn't look like my other table.

check out more messy table pictures at Wordless Wednesday.

update: sorry, I haven't seen any other messy table pictures. Either no one else has messy tables during the holidays or they're just not showing them :]

But there are a bunch of other nice photos. Go check them out.

link of the day:

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

girlfriend reminisces

It was tradition. Every Christmas Eve was spent the same way for this family. First they would visit Grandma V. Grandma V. was a widow and lived in a small apartment. She would cook the evening's dinner containing the German favorites of the family. The girlfriend didn't really care for the cuisine, but what could she do but politely accept what was put in front of her. She would eat as little as possible without making it look obvious that she didn't like it.

Then it was time to open the exchanged gifts. Of course, that is what the kids were there for in the first place. Grandma worked in a big department store, so most of the gifts she gave to her family were from the store, which was fine and usually very nice. A little more conversation was batted back and forth before it was time to say farewell - until the next day, Christmas, when the family would see her again at their home.

From there, the family and the girlfriend would travel across town to Grandpa and Grandma T's home. There, that whole side of the family would be gathered. The contrasts between the two visits were deep and wide. Quiet, subdued, and somewhat uncomfortable to loud, crowded, and fun.

It was a large family and the girlfriend loved this. Along with grandma and grandpa, there were aunts and uncles, and cousins galore. Girlfriend didn't have any cousins so this was something she had never experienced. She loved watching the interaction and the closeness of everyone. And it was a good thing they all got along because there were so many crammed into grandma and grandpa's living room, they were practically sitting on each other's laps. Once everyone had arrived, the gifts were exchanged - and it got even chaotic in that little room.

As the conversations flowed, so did the love. Even though the girlfriend wasn't a member of this family, she not only felt accepted, but a part of this large, loving family. She felt that way the first time she took part in this Christmas Eve tradition, and it only grew more so with every year after that.

to be continued...

link of the day:

Monday, December 17, 2007

this and that

If you read my last post, I have too much to do and therefor I shouldn't be on my computer when I could - and should - be using my time more wisely. But I can't help it. I have to make my usual rounds to see what's happening in the world of blogs. And there are just some things I have to post about. But I'll make this one short and sweet.

Here's a picture of Danielle taken after the wedding last night. She was a beautiful bride's maid in one of her long time friend's, Trista's, wedding. I've known Trista, and her family, since she was about 8 years old. It was a very nice wedding. Because I'm a youth worker, it made me wonder about all the weddings, of kids I've known since adolescence, that I'll be invited to. It will be an honor to attend each and every one of them. I look forward to it.

I came across this fun site where you can make your own gingerbread house - virtually. It's easy, it's fun, and there's no messy clean-up to worry about. Here's my house.

link of the day:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

i need more time

According to my little Christmas countdown on my sidebar, there are nine - only N.I.N.E - days left until Christmas. Am I ready? NO!! And to be honest, I don't know if I'm going to be ready.

Being diagnosed with Diabetes (type 2) during the holidays has been the pits. This is what my week looked like:

I have to prick my finger four times a day for a reading on my blood sugar count.
-> good news: my count has progressively been going down.
I finished decorating the house.
-> it looks great.
I met with a dietician
-> bad & good news: I'll have to change my diet, but not that drastically.
I met with an opthamolgist.
-> good news: no sign of diabetes in my eyes and will get a prescription after my blood sugar levels even out.
I met with a podiatrist.
-> this was one of my biggest concerns since my foot had been bothering me. good news: circulation looks good (it's improved since being on medication). bad news: I had an infected ingrown toenail. The doctor cut away the skin and drained the infected area. This is what my foot looked like when I came home... [at least it's a festive red]

We had youth group on Wednesday night and it was our Christmas party, which meant food, decorations, and small gift give-aways - not to mention a clean house. I also met with two sets of friends for our annual holiday outings and gift exchanges. That meant I had to have all the presents bought and wrapped. Today we are attending a wedding of a family friend (another gift) and Danielle is one of the bridesmaids. I had to help her make sure she had everything she needed.

On top of all of this... I came down with a cold on Tuesday. The kind where I just wanted to stay in bed all day, but of course, I couldn't. I'm feeling a little better this weekend but not completely over it.

I still have to send my family their gifts. Those should be in the mail by Tuesday and I don't even have all of them bought. But I will hopefully get it all done.

I'm not really complaining about my week because a lot of good things came from it. All good news from doctors - thank you, Lord (and thank you everyone for your prayers). Danielle came home for break. And I spent time with dear friends. And I'm looking forward to next weekend when my sister and her family will be coming to visit. It will be a wonderful Christmas.

link of the day:

Friday, December 14, 2007

christmas decorations

I'd like to share a special Christmas decoration that I have. I look forward to bringing them out each and every year. It's the three little buildings in this picture.

Notice what the top looks like? Rough and uneven. That's because each building is actually a partial brick that has been painted to look like a building from Santa's village.

My mom used to live in a [very] small rural farming town in Oklahoma. I used to love going and visit her and her small, quaint town. I just love the look and feel of a small rural town. Big trees, old homes, walking everywhere, and the old brick buildings.

My little Christmas buildings were made from bricks taken from an abandoned building from my mom's hometown. My mom bought them from a lady who collected the bricks that had fallen away from the building and then painted and decorated them. I love them. Thanks mom. I think of you, Lee, and Carmen every time I look at them.

Kelli hosts Show & Tell Friday and anyone is welcome to join in.

link of the day:

Thursday, December 13, 2007

a Christmas meme

Sarah, of Short Stop, tagged me for this meme. Thanks Sarah. I had fun.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? I enjoy watching people open a wrapped box but I'm not opposed to sticking a gift in a bag for the sake of convenience or wrapping challenges.

2. Real tree or artificial? I love a real tree but don't like them drying out and having the needles fall all over the floor. So, about four years ago, we purchased a fake one. I miss the real ones but it is more convenient.

3. When do you put up the tree? Usually a week or two after Thanksgiving, depending on when Thanksgiving is. Every once in a while, I even get it done the weekend after Thanksgiving.

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually the weekend after New Year's.

5. Do you like eggnog? Eeewwwwww. Gross!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I don't know about favorite, but the first one that came to mind was a doll called Crissy - and her hair grew.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes, we do. I've had this one (scroll to bottom of post) for nearly 10 years. We had a couple of others when my kids were young - so they could play with the figures.

8. Hardest person to buy for? This usually changes from year to year. Usually one of the guys in my family.

9. Easiest person to buy for? Any female in my family. I'm a good shopper and gift-giver. There's an endless amount of things I could buy for any one of them.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? hmmm, I really don't know.

11. Mail or e-mail Christmas cards? This to changes from year to year. One year I may not do either, the next year I will mail them. Actually, as I'm typing this, I realize that I've never e-mailed cards. What I was thinking was sometimes I send cards and other times a newsletter, and sometimes nothing at all (like maybe this year).

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Elf.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I shop all year round. We do stocking stuffers in my extended family, so if I see something that would make a good one, I buy it.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes, I have.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Cookies, cheese potatoes, cherry jello (not just regular cherry jello).

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? On the real trees, we always had colored lights. Our fake tree came with clear ones. I think I like the colored ones better.

17. Favorite Christmas song? O Holy Night and Grown-up Christmas List.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? I'd prefer to stay home but unless family comes visit me (like this year!), it makes for a lonely Christmas. So every other year or so, we travel back to California.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? You know Dasher and Dancer and Prancer and Vixen. Comet and Cupid and Donner and Blitzen. But do you recall...the most famous reindeer of all? That would be Rudolf the red-nosed reindeer.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I've done both. Believe it or not, last year and this year, I haven't put anything on the top. I've been looking for something I like.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? We open one gift - of our choice - on Christmas Eve. The rest on Christmas morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? The work it takes to put all the decorations out and then having to put them away. I'm never very motivated to do either. And then the crowds in the stores.

23. What I love most about Christmas? There's a lot I love about Christmas. The biggest is that it's a time that is focused on Christ and what He means in my life. I love the spirit of the holidays. People are usually friendlier and good will is more prevalent. I love being with family. And I love giving gifts.

If you haven't already done this, consider yourself tagged. I'd love to read your answers.

link of the day:
(thanks Dad)

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the stockings were hung

You can see more of my home holiday pictures by scrolling down to the next post. And don't forget to check out more of Wordless Wednesday.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

welcome... c'mon in

Heidi Jo is hosting the Holiday Home Tour Extrvaganza. Join in the fun by grabbing your camera, snapping some pictures of your decorated home, and posting them for all of blogland to see. But do it quick. The tour ends tomorrow (Wednesday).

Welcome to my home (cue in sound of front door opening and me gesturing you in).

I hope you enjoyed looking around. Come back again any time.

link of the day:

Monday, December 10, 2007

what is going on?

First, a shooting rampage in a mall in Omaha. Whenever I hear the ongoing news stories about this event, I think about it on a personal level. I've been to our local mall a few times in the past couple of weeks. That tragedy could have happened in any mall in the country. How unnerving it is to think you could be shot down by some lunatic who picked your favorite mall to use as a firing range. My heart goes out to those families who lost loved ones to such a senseless crime.

Now there's been two more senseless shootings, and these hit closer to home. And where is the one place you would feel safe - besides your home? A church, right? Well, that's where the gunman hit. At least the police feel it's the same gunman. They're still investigating.

Shortly after midnight, four people were shot at a YWAM (Youth with a Mission) dormitory located on the campus of a fairly large church in a city in the north part of Denver. Two of them died and the other two are in the hospital. They were shot because they would not allow this young man to stay the night in their facility.

About twelve hours later, a gunman opened fire in the lobby of a mega church in Colorado Springs, right after a service concluded. Reports said that at the time there were hundreds of people milling around and parents were picking up children from the nursery. There were about 7,000 people in total on the campus of the church. The gunman shot four people, killing one, before he was shot and killed by a security guard from the church. (The church had beefed up security because of the earlier shooting.)

I thought of my daughter immediately. She attends that church in Colorado Springs but on Friday nights, when they have a service/youth group for college aged kids. When I talked to her, she knew about the shootings and shared that a lot of her friends also go on Sunday mornings. In fact, her roommate and her roommate's boyfriend had left the church grounds about five minutes before the shootings.

What made it even more scarier is that Danielle had almost gone to this church today. She usually works at another church on Sunday mornings, but she didn't work this morning. She had decided not to go because she didn't want to drive the snow-packed streets. I am so happy and thankful that God was looking over her - protecting her.

So I'm back to my original question: What - is - going - on? How did we get to a place where we can't feel safe in our schools, in the malls, or at a place of worship? What makes a person want to go out and start shooting at people? I just don't understand it. It's enough to make me want to become a hermit and live out the rest of my days inside my comfortable - and safe - home.

link of the day:

Friday, December 7, 2007

YOU can make a difference

I had a Show & Tell post all ready to go when I came upon a blog that I just felt I needed to share. I'll save the S&T for next Friday.

My blogging friend, Melissa, pointed me in the direction of the 25 Days to Make a Difference site. It's about making a difference, in big and small ways, through the Christmas season. It was started by a young lady named Laura who decided to do this in remembrance of her Grandfather who passed away. Be sure to read the 'About this Project' section. She is one amazing kid.

You can sign up to be part of this worthwhile project or just read Laura's posts or how other people are getting involved. I think it's pretty amazing. One of the things I like is that it doesn't have to be something big to qualify for making a difference. We can all make a difference by doing the smallest of things for other people, or the environment, or even ourselves.

And this isn't just for adults. In fact, since she is a teenager, she's encouraging kids of all ages to get involved. You also have a chance to win part of the money she's collecting to donate to a charity of your choice. If you wish to participate in this, you must sign up by tomorrow, Saturday, December 8th.

Please... please..... PLEASE, go and check out this site. I think it would be a great thing to get involved in, but even if you don't, I think you will find the project, and what's being done, very inspirational.

link of the day:

Thursday, December 6, 2007

decorating the tree

My Christmas tree is up and decorated. I love it. My tree is one of my most favorite parts of Christmas. I love ornaments - always have. I've made it a practice to purchase one new ornament each year. That's on top of ones that are given to me. So if you do the math, I have quite the collection, and it's very eclectic. But each one is special to me and as I place it on the tree, I remember where it came from and if it was a gift, I reflect on who gave it to me.

One regret I have when it comes to decorating my tree is that I pretty well do it by myself. It's not that I mind doing it myself. In fact, I enjoy my time alone with the tree. What I regret is my family feeling like they can't help. And it's my fault they feel this way. It's a mistake I wish I could go back and do differently.

Since decorating my tree has always been a passion [and a little bit of an obsession], I didn't let my kids do too much ornament hanging when they were younger. GASP! I know... I'm a terrible mother. I didn't realize what I was doing until it was too late. It wasn't until they were older that they started making comments like, "we don't put ornaments on because mom will just move them anyways," or "the tree has to be perfect."

Believe me, I feel very guilty and wish I hadn't been so obsessive about it. I wish I could have let go of the control and just let the kids have a good time - not worrying what the tree ended up looking like. I just didn't realize what I was doing and what kind of legacy I was leaving for my kids.

I did end up relinquishing control but it was too late. Even though I invite Dani and Jake to help me decorate, they don't really have any desire to do so. That makes me sad, but it is what it is, and there's not much I can do about it now.

So let this be a lesson to any of you who are reading this and have young kids at home. Let them join in the enjoyment of decorating the family tree. Don't worry about what it looks like. It's more important that they participate than to have that perfect tree.

And Dani and Jake - if you're reading this - I'm sorry I robbed you of the joy of the tradition of decorating the family Christmas tree. I wish I could go back and change that for the both of you.

link of the day:

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

i love my ornaments

Here's a photo of one of my ornaments. I'm hoping to take some more pictures and post them either in a post about my tree or in the 'pic of the day.'

For more Wordless Wednesday photos, check out W.W. headquarters.

link of the day:

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

10 favorite games

Ten for Tuesday has given the prompt of listing the 10 Best Games (video games, board games, card games, etc). I am a game player and our family plays games, so I thought I'd play along this week. This is my list of my 10 favorite games, in no particular order.

First I will list the games my family often plays:

1. Blokus. We just starting playing the latest version of Blokus which is in a trigon shape (versus the original square shape). Many people have never seen or heard of this game. I encourage you to check it out.

2. Phase 10. We actually play a lot of card games, but Phase 10 seems to be played more than anything else. Hearts, Speed, Peanuts, 500, and Up and Down the River are also played often.

3. Sequence. Long time favorite.

4. Catch Phrase. Another long time favorite and one we bring out when company comes over.

5. Apples to Apples. Another one that not a lot of people have heard of but is a great one for larger groups. Our youth group loves it and would rather play that than do any kind of lesson :]

6. Balderdash. Danielle started playing this with her roommates and thought we needed one. We just bought it for the Thanksgiving break and played it a few times. It's fun and challenges your creativity.

Now I will give you five that I personally play either on the computer or on a video game console.

7. UNO through MSN games. I play this with other internet players.

8. Mario Brothers from Nintendo. I don't play this anymore because I'm not very skilled in playing 3D video games. But before the new technology, I used to play a lot of Mario Brother games. I miss it at times.

9. I subscribe to Comcast Real Arcade games and have a few favorites through them. A few are Mahjong Towers, Shape Shifter, Ultra Ball, and Zuma. I enjoy strategy/puzzle games.

10. I saved my all-time favorite for last. Please don't judge me... I can't help it. I love playing a virtual game called Roller Coaster Tycoon. You get to build and manage an amusement park, building your own roller coasters, and working to achieve specific goals. For me, it's an addicting game. I usually only play it on Sunday afternoons because I know I'll spend too much time playing it and I feel like that's my time to play.

Now it's your turn... what are some of your favorite games?

link of the day:

Monday, December 3, 2007

monday potpourri

I know some of you have come here looking for More of Him Monday. I have decided that More of Him will be taking the month of December off. I am sorry if this is an inconvenience to anyone, but I'm guessing that this month will be busy for all of us. Whether it's the hustle-bustle or the special meaning of the season, I think we all want to be writing about other things and/or not spending as much time here in blogland. I will post it again in January. If you did post something today, please leave a comment in order for me [and others] to stop by and read it.

SharonB of Quiet Reflections is having a holiday give-away. All you need to do is answer the question in her post and your name will be entered in the drawing for your choice of one of the books she's giving away. Good luck.

Speaking of SharonB, she honored me with this The Colors of Friendship award right before Thanksgiving. This is the spirit in which this award is given: I want to nominate my following blog friends for the Colors of Friendship Award. They color my life with the beautiful hues of friendship. Although we come from different backgrounds and cultures we share the same spirit of friendship. Thanks again Sharon.

And speaking of awards, Tee of Spilt Milk passed on this fabulous award to me some time ago. Thank you, Tee. It's always nice to feel fabulous, and you made me feel that way by honoring me with this award. Sorry it's taken so long to acknowledge it.

link of the day:

Saturday, December 1, 2007

christmas is...

Okay, I think I'm starting to get into the Christmas spirit. I visited a couple of Christmas specialty stores this afternoon. How can you not feel it while walking in and amongst beautifully decorated tress? Then Don and I did a little shopping tonight. Well, we actually did more looking but at least we started. Tomorrow the tree goes up!

We stepped into a Christian Bookstore tonight and I bought myself a small Christmas book full of meditations, stories, and quotes. I think I'm going to enjoy reading it each day. I think it will help me keep the focus on the reason for the season.

Here's a couple of things that was said in the introduction. I thought I would share them as they are great things to reflect on as we enter this special time of year.

"Christmas is your best time of the year because it is a celebration of God's moving into your town, your neighborhood, your home, and into you.

Christmas is God in the flesh, making tangible God's feelings about you. You acknowledge such love when you put up your tree, decorate it with colors and shapes, and light it in joyful anticipation. You honor such a gift when you choose particular presents for special people and give them in love and appreciation. You affirm the coming of God in Christ when you read the story, sing the songs, listen to the Word, accept the truth, and feel the touch.

Christmas is knowing God loves you and comes to be with you. Christmas is God in your heart."

(taken from Christmas Is... published by Blue Sky Ink)

If you hadn't noticed, today is December 1st. May the next 25 days be filled with Christ's love and all the joys that the holidays can bring.

link of the day:

Friday, November 30, 2007

sorry, another serious one

Okay... I have sat here staring at my empty blogger post screen for the past hour trying to figure out what to say and how to say it. Actually, I've been trying to decide if I want to share something that I'm dealing with at the moment. I would really like to post something fun, funny, or light-hearted. But I also need to be real and honest as I write my posts. So......

Since you're reading this, I've decided to share it. One reason I hesitated was that I don't want to write from a place where I'm down. Closer to the truth is that I'm not down - I'm more concerned. One reason I've decided to write about it is to ask you prayer warriors out there to be praying for me and my new condition.

Wednesday I had a doctor's appointment. I made the appointment because I've been experiencing certain symptoms and was pretty sure I knew what was going on. Yesterday morning, my doctor called me to tell me that, yes indeed, I have Diabetes.

I have to go back in this morning for more blood tests and a glucose test. They'll know more after getting the results from these tests. Please pray that it's Type 2 (as opposed to the more severe type - Type 1) and that it be mild and treatable with little or no medication. Some people can control this type with just diet and exercise.

Another reason I'm writing about this is because it's all that's on my mind since I found out. But I don't want to be constantly thinking (and, yes, worrying) about it. We're entering into my favorite time of the year and I'm struggling to find the desire to shop, decorate, write my Christmas letter, or anything that is connected to Christmas. So I could also use prayer for motivation. I want to have the holiday spirit and have all the necessary stuff done so I can really enjoy the season.

By the way, I want to thank all of the sweet comments that were left on my i'm no hero post. I wrote that post in hopes that I could work through my personal feelings on what happened. You ladies really helped me accomplish that. I can't thank you enough.

link of the day:

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

our vacation in pictures

Visit Wordless Wednesday to check out all the participants.

link of the day:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

i'm no hero

In my post yesterday, I briefly stated that something happened on vacation that has continued to bother me. I'll be honest, I'm a little hesitant to write about it here because I'm not very proud of how I acted - or is it reacted? But I see life as a giant classroom where there are lessons to be learned, and I would hope if something like this happened again, I would act in a different manner.

A week or so ago, I wrote about a scary night where we were woken to the sounds of alarms and a voice over a loud speaker making an evacuation announcement (read post here). There had been an electrical fire in the the kitchen directly below us and the entire hotel was evacuated. As Don and I entered the stairwell, the smell of the smoke was thick and pungent. We were on the eighth floor and followed others in descending the stairs while trying not to panic.

You could tell the smoke was getting thicker the lower we went. As we came to the fourth floor, those ahead of us stopped. People were yelling down to the ones lower than us asking why we had stopped and could we get through. The thought that crossed every one's minds was that the fire was near this stairwell and could we get through. The unsaid fear was that we would become trapped in this stairwell.

Don and I decided to try to get to another stairwell. As we stepped out and into the hallway on the fourth floor, we came upon a woman standing there with another woman in a wheel chair. The one pushing the other was very panicked. She frantically told us that she had no way of getting the other lady down because the elevators weren't working. At some point, a third lady appeared who seemed to be with them.

Don told them something to the effect that we could carry her down if we had to. But I think he was unsure of how to do that. We were still thinking we needed to find another way down. I stepped back into the stairwell to see what was happening and noticed no one there on that landing. I yelled back to Don that evidently the stairs were clear because all the people were gone.

You have to imagine what this all looked and felt like. It was surreal. We were awaken from a sound sleep so I'm sure our thought processes weren't working to full capacity. We were surrounded by an invisible, foul smelling smoke and trying not to go into full panic mode. Somehow we turned away from those three ladies and went back into the stairwell and continued our descent to the lobby.

When we got to the bottom, there was a security guard there holding the door open for us. We told him about the ladies on the fourth floor and he immediately took off to find them. So that made us feel better about the situation. But what didn't feel good is that we left them there in the first place.

It all happened so fast. In replaying it in my mind, I don't remember what the ladies were doing as we returned to the stairs. Did they feel abandoned by us? It seemed like the other lady was working at a way to get them all down - or is that just what my mind tells me so I feel better about turning my back on them? I really don't know. It's human to rationalize it all and come up with some scenario that allows me to find comfort in the decisions I made.

I'll tell you, I have a new respect for heroes. A person that can act in a way that puts someone else above themselves in the face of danger. I was put in that situation and I couldn't do it. I was so concerned with my and Don's safety, I couldn't stop to think and help out someone who obviously needed our help.

If something like this would happen again to me, I think I would try harder to help the other person. Not because I wouldn't be frightened or that I would want to be a hero, but because I wouldn't want to feel like I do now. Like a coward and a selfish one at that, or to be haunted by these words:

"Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others." Phillipians 2:3-4

link of the day:

Monday, November 26, 2007

more of Him

Welcome to MORE OF HIM Monday

You can encourage others or you may be encouraged by sharing part of your spiritual journey. If you post today under one of the following themes, please leave a link to your post on the Mr. Linky below.

Share a specific piece of scripture that has spoken to your this last week. Share what you feel God is telling you through that passage and how you plan to apply it to your life.
- or -

Share how God is working in your life right now. Is He telling you something or helping you through something? Do you hear His small, quiet voice? Or is He hitting you over the head with a two by four? Are you on a spiritual high? Or low? Share as you are led.


Scripture speaks to me...

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.
Phillipians 2:3-4

I read this passage at the beginning of my vacation and the words stuck with me in several situations. I would be watching a family (I'm a people watcher), trying to figure out the dynamics and found myself thinking thoughts that made me and my parenting skills feel superior. And then these words would come back to me.

Or there were times when I found myself in a situation where I maneuvered myself to be closer to the front of the line, or in a better position to see something, or something along those lines. Again, the words would come back like Jesus was whispering them directly to me. There were many times when I felt like I could feel His gentle breath in my ear.

I've come to the conclusion that it is not easy to consider others better than myself. And in trying to follow God's words, where do I draw the line in preventing myself from becoming a door mat? I know I will be working on the first, and reflecting and asking God's guidance on the second. I really feel like He has spoken to me through this passage and wants me to be more aware of how I treat certain people.

I did have a very specific event happen during vacation that continues to haunt my thoughts. I did not do a good job of putting someone before myself. I will write about it in length in an upcoming post.


Friday, November 23, 2007

i've been tagged

I've been tagged by Karen's Scribbles. Here are the rules:

Link to the person that tagged you and post the rules on your blog. Share 7 random and/or weird facts about yourself. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs. Let each person know that they’ve been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. I am a very inconsistent bowler. Last night we went bowling in which I bowled two games. My scores: first game-88 and second game-140. I always bowl this way. If I had bowled a third game, my score could have been up towards 200 or down around 50. The really important thing here, though, is that I beat Jake in that last game and that was my only goal ;)

2. I do not like pumpkin pie. I used to as a kid, but I got sick on it and never was able to stomach it again. And since I don't like it and don't make an effort to have it during the holidays, my kids don't care for it either. Poor Don - he never gets pumpkin pie... and he loves it.

3. Here's a random one for you... if you're at the foot of a bed looking towards the pillows - I sleep on the left hand side.

4. I get car-sick pretty easily. It was worse when I was a kid. I used to throw up every year going up to camp. Summer camp was always located in the mountains and that meant a long winding road. Sometimes we would take family drives into the mountains. I would always throw up. (aren't you glad you know that about me :])

5. I am a people-watcher. I love to watch people and try to figure out what's going on with them at that moment. I can gather a lot of information by just by observing someone for a short period of time. Most people wouldn't care, but for some reason, I do.

6. I used to design and publish newsletters and flyers for friends, companies, and churches. Newsletters used to be a bigger deal before the internet came along. Now you can get information out through a website. Before, it was an art form in itself. I remember doing them before there was clip art on the computer. I used to buy clip art books, snip out a picture, and then glue it onto the paper amongst the written words. Boy, computers sure have made it much easier to produce media of this sort.

7. I learned to body surf when I was in the third grade while living in southern California. We went to the beach often and one of our (my family's) favorite beaches was Huntington Beach. This beach is known for it's big waves and that's where I learned to ride the waves. I remember getting munched by some of those waves but I also remember loving it and spending hours in the water.

And here's who I'm tagging, but would invite anyone who is interested to play along, too.

Lynne @ Mi Casa es Su Casa
Dana @ Sunshine's Blog
Sharon B @ Quiet Reflections
Leigh Ann @ Living to Learn and Learning to Live
Liza @ Liza's Eyeview
Melissa @ Mejojac's Memos
Karenkool @ Kool Daze

link of the day:

Thursday, November 22, 2007

gobble gobble

Wishing you a day filled with love and happiness.
A day spent with family in the spirit of being a family.
A day that you can reflect on your many blessings
and share your good fortune with others.

Hope you all have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

paper vs. electronic

I've just heard about something, and I'm not sure how I feel about it. I encourage you to follow the link(s) to read more about it for yourself. And I would love to hear your thoughts on this new gadget.

It's called the Amazon Kindle. It is a wireless reading device and is being touted as "revolutionary!" By following the link, you can read about it, watch a video describing it and giving it's features, see photos taken from several angles, read reviews from authors and users, see some of the books that are available for download, etc.

When I first saw it on Good Morning America this morning, I was skeptical. And part of me still is. I'm thinking I don't want to read a book through an electronic device. I love the look, feel and the smell of a book. I like turning the pages and knowing how far along in the story I am. I can't imagine reading a book in any form other than flipping through paper pages. But then I think about all the trees we would be saving if we didn't print as many books.

That leads me to some of the other benefits. There are some features that make me wonder if I might actually enjoy this reading device. Again, I encourage you to follow the link to read for yourself the product overview.

One feature that really appeals to me is being able to change the size of the font. My eyesight isn't what it used to be. They tout a new display technology that gives the reader a screen that is sharp and natural as reading ink on paper. I'd like to at least see this - sounds good.

You can "try out" a book before buying it. Read the beginning and decide if it's something you'd be interested in. It holds 200 books - or magazines, newspapers, and even blogs. Go read for yourself, because there's more.

So, let me know what you think. Would you read a book (or other printed media) through this device? Could you give up a book made of paper? I would really love to hear your opinion.

link of the day:
(thanks Susan)

Monday, November 19, 2007

more of Him

Welcome to MORE OF HIM Monday

You can encourage others or you may be encouraged by sharing part of your spiritual journey. If you post today under one of the following themes, please leave a link to your post on the Mr. Linky below.

Share a specific piece of scripture that has spoken to your this last week. Share what you feel God is telling you through that passage and how you plan to apply it to your life.
- or -

Share how God is working in your life right now. Is He telling you something or helping you through something? Do you hear His small, quiet voice? Or is He hitting you over the head with a two by four? Are you on a spiritual high? Or low? Share as you are led.


Scripture speaks to me...

And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others. As the Scriptures say,
“They share freely and give generously to the poor. Their good deeds will be remembered forever.” [Psalm 112:9]
For God is the one who provides seed for the farmer and then bread to eat. In the same way, he will provide and increase your resources and then produce a great harvest of generosity in you. Yes, you will be enriched in every way so that you can always be generous. And when we take your gifts to those who need them, they will thank God.
2 Corinthians 9:8-11 New Living Translation

Isn't God's wisdom and His plans amazing? I read and reread this piece of scripture in amazement. Not only does He pour His blessings on us, but He gives us even more so that we can in turn give to others. And then they will thank God for their blessings.

I know I don't need to remind anyone of this. We all know that we have so much to be thankful for. I've enjoyed coming home from vacation and reading so many posts on what bloggers are thankful for. When we have an attitude of gratitude, it changes our perspective on any given situation - and we then realize we have an attitude of sharing with others. And it's all part of God's plan. I'm sure He is smiling down on us all.

"More of Him" Monday Participants
1. Heather - Not a DIY Life
2. Mary@notbefore7
3. Liza\'s Eyeview
4. barb

Learn more about "More of Him" Monday here.
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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

the view from here

Guess what? It's Thursday where many of you are. But, it's still Wednesday here. So, I'm posting a Wordless Wednesday. Even though it's supposed to be wordless, I have to say a few things; this was taken from our balcony this morning, if you look closely, you'll see that it's a double rainbow and... they don't call Hawaii the rainbow state for no reason.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

a scary night in paradise

Vacations are times when memories are made. Well, I now have a memory I wish I didn't have.

It happened Sunday night, around 11:40. I was awoken by a loud voice, but projected from somewhere. At first, I thought it was someones music being played very loud. It stopped, and then played again. I got up, went to the door, and looked out the peep hole. I didn't see anything, but could tell it was coming from within the hotel, echoing off the walls of the atrium where our room is situated. It was some kind of announcement. It again, stopped.

When it started again, I stepped outside to try to figure out what it was saying. Once I stepped outside, I could see people looking just as confused as I was, until... we smelled the smoke. Then it wasn't confusion anymore. It was a sense of urgency and a little bit of panic.

I ran back into the room and woke up Don. He checked outside as I scrambled to get dressed and scoop up any valuables I could think of [my cameras :)]. We left the room and headed for the stairwell, along with other guests and amid a constant siren, the evacuation announcement, and the smell of smoke.

I should mention here that the smoke smell was a different kind of smell. It was definitely smoke but it smelled like it came from an electrical fire or some kind of rubber burning. As we entered the stairwell, the smell of smoke was stronger. In fact, as we descended the stairs (our room is on the 8th floor), the strength of the smell grew even stronger. We even got to the 4th floor and the descent suddenly stopped.

I'm telling you, at this point it got pretty scary. Everyone was trying to remain calm but no one was sure where the fire was and we couldn't be sure that it wasn't somewhere near the very stairwell we were following down. Don and I even left the stairwell thinking we should move to another one, but when we looked back, the flow of people had once again started moving and we decided to continue to follow it.

We made it out of he hotel and joined everyone outside. It was surreal. People everywhere. Some in their pajamas. Some wrapped in blankets or towels. Parents holding and comforting their young children. Elderly people huddled together. Don and I sat there, with everyone else, watching the building. We could smell the smoke, hear the alarms, see the strobe lights flashing from the smoke alarms in many rooms - but no evidence of a fire.

After a few minutes, Don and I decided to walk to the other side of the hotel. We realized that if there were no fire trucks where we were, they had to be on the other side. Sure enough, that's where they were. And the smell of the smoke was even stronger. All the commotion was located directly under our room. As it happens, that's where the kitchen is. We didn't find out until morning that it was a dishwasher that had caught on fire.

An hour after we had first heard the alarms, they gave us the okay to return to our rooms. Don and I waited awhile. We sat on pool lounge chairs for a little bit, and then headed closer to the hotel, waiting for a time when we felt safe to go back up. One of the problems was that the elevators were still not working. After a while, we decided to walk back up through the stair well. There was still the smell of smoke but not as bad, and thankfully, it didn't carry into our room. From our balcony, we watched the fire trucks leave the premises. The crisis was over.

I tried to take pictures but my flash wouldn't travel far enough to catch anything. You'll just have to take my word for it - it was surreal, chaotic, and scary. It took me a long time to get back to sleep and I didn't sleep well the rest of the night. But, it goes without saying, I am very thankful that the situation wasn't more serious. No one was hurt and we didn't lose anything... except for a few hours of sleep.

Monday, November 12, 2007


My apologies to anyone looking for More of HIM. I am on vacation and am minimally writing and reading this week. Come back next week and we'll be up and running.

But while I'm here, I'll write a little bit about my trip thus far. Don and I arrived in Maui Saturday afternoon and have done very little except to soak up the sun and play in the water, but that's just what the doctor ordered. It's been very relaxing and we are enjoying ourselves.

I was thinking I would post a few pictures, but at the moment, this is all I have. I brought three cameras with me; my little cheapo [Hewlett Packard Photosmart] that I always carry in my purse, my first digital camera - a nice Fuji (small, but too big to carry in my purse), and then my good Canon along with a zoom lens. I only have taken a few photos with my little HP Photosmart when I used it coming onto the island and into the resort. I used my Fuji most of today.

But guess what? I didn't bring my cable for the Fuji camera. Actually, I thought the cable I brought was universal to all cameras. I was wrong. Sooooo, I obviously can't share any of the photos I took today. Now I have to make the decision whether to stop using that camera completely, continue to use it but not share any of those photos until I return home, or buy a universal card reader here. Not sure what I'm going to do yet.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

photo contest

Slurping Life is having a hippie photo contest. No, not that kind of hippie. It's where you have to shoot a picture from the hip - without looking in your view finder or the LCD display. I had a great time with this. I took so many pictures. Most of them didn't turn out but a few did. We can only have two entries, so here are my two favorites.

link of the day:

Friday, November 9, 2007

i heart snowmen

It's Show & Tell Friday. If you would like to participate or check out all the participants, head on over to Kelli's place.

I purchased this little snowman and snowwoman at a craft show a week or so ago. I thought they were so cute. I might as well come clean here. I'm a sucker for snowmen (and women). I only started collecting them about four years ago, and I have quite a collection.

I usually start bringing them out the day after Thanksgiving and some stay around until Spring. I'll have to share a few of my favorites in future Show & Tells. These two sit on a little bench, are beautifully made, and really have character.


I hope everyone has wonderful weekend. If you read my previous post, you know I'm on my way to Hawaii tomorrow. Even though some of you thought I should take the week off from blogging, I am planning to check in occasionally. My kids want me to report on what I'm doing each day. I don't think I'll get on-line every day, but I do want to post some pictures and keep family updated. So, we'll see.

link of the day:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

is this week over yet?

Well, once again, my heart is heavy. I'm sorry my past few posts have been more on the negative side. It's been a hard week. Next week will be so much better, and I'll get to that here in a minute.

Right now it's late Wednesday night and I am not looking forward to tomorrow morning. By the time most of you read this, I will have had to take our family cat, Snickers, into the vet's office to be put down. I'll spare you all the details. The bottom line is that he has cancer and it's got to the point where he is not living comfortably. We've known for a year or so that his time was limited. We are thankful that we've had him for as long as we have.

But it is still a hard thing to do and a sad time, especially for Danielle and I. It's Danielle's cat and the two of us were the ones that loved him and took care of him. We will truly miss him.

Here's the really hard part; Dani can't come home from school, but she wants someone to be in the room with him when he's injected and takes his last breath. We've had to have dogs put down before and it's always Don who takes on this responsibility. I've never felt strong enough to do it. But now I have to, and I'm not looking forward to it. I know it's going to stay with me the rest of the day, if not longer. But I know how much this means to Dani, so that's why I'm doing it.

It's been a tough week. We need a vacation. Good thing we have one planned for next week. Oh yes, we do! This vacation has been planned for months and it's perfect timing. You can't even know how much Don needs to get away from his job, even if it is only for a week.

Where are we going, you ask? The same place the photo I posted yesterday was taken. My favorite place in the whole world. Okay, I haven't been to too many places in this world, but it's still my favorite. The photo was taken in... and Don and I are going to... the beautiful island of Maui. Oh yes, we are!

We leave early Saturday and will be gone for a week. We [just the two of us] will be in a tropical paradise in the middle of November with no responsibilities except to decide what kind of drinks we want to sip by the pool or what fresh fish we will order for dinner.

I hesitated telling anyone about this trip. I'm not even sure all of my family knows we're going. It seems like a pretty extravagant vacation to be taking in light of Don's job situation. But it was actually paid for long ago and we had to take it before January 1st or we would lose all the money we put into it. The resort is going to want us to buy a time-share, but that won't be happening due to Don's job situation.

So, we're going to go spend a week in paradise, enjoying time spent with each other, with very little to do, and hopefully leaving the stress thousands of miles away.

note: I am still planning to blog, but we'll see how that goes.

link of the day: