Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Friday, December 26, 2008

My favorite Christmas gifts

Oprah has her favorite things and I have my favorite things.  Here are my favorite gifts:
Bob bought me the One Year Chronological Bible.  I came across this bible after visiting the Proverbs 31 ministry web site.  I've never read the complete bible and that is my New Year's resolution.  This bible has 365 daily readings arranged in the order the events actually occurred.  I also asked him to get me Jesus Wants to Save the Christians.  Yikes, what a title.  I found this book while browsing through the bookstore on The Cove  website.  This excerpt caught my eye, "There is a church in our area that recently added an addition to the building which cost more that $20 million.  Our local newspaper ran a front-page story not too long ago revealing that one in five people in our city now lives in poverty.  This is a book about those two numbers."  

I can't wait to read this book because that excerpt sums up some of the things I am struggling with right now.  I don't think it was a coincidence that this book and I have crossed paths. 
My favorite gift!  Thank you Brenda.  This sweet picture of my grandparents, Clara Jane and Dewey, is from Labor Day 2004.  Brenda snapped it while on a visit.  Notice my Papa's hand on her leg.  Isn't that the sweetest thing!  I will treasure this FOREVER!  

A few Christmas photos

Here are a few pictures from Christmas "08.  My camera was not cooperating and most of the pictures are blurry and dark.  One of these days, I need to sit down and read the manual.

The Grandkids at my parents house on Christmas day.  Cage was fussy so we were trying to keep the cries at bay by clapping, snapping, and a variety of weird noises produced by four adults. 
My brother and Cage.  Their heads match.

The guys on Christmas morning. 
Lady did not appreciate her Christmas bow.  She refused to look at the camera.
Bob made this bed for my niece.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Now I know why they are called DEVILed Eggs

I've invited my family and a couple of neighbors to spend Christmas Eve at my house.  I thought I would make a variety of finger foods for everyone to munch on while we visit.  Deviled eggs were on my list.  My hens have been laying very nicely and I have an over abundance of eggs right now. I don't eat deviled eggs but I didn't think  it could be too terribly difficult to make a batch.  It would be an easy dish to make ahead.  So I browsed the internet for a recipe and got to work.

After an afternoon of battling the eggs, I know now why they are called DEVILed eggs.

I boiled the eggs and peeled them.  So far, so good.  I mixed up the ingredients and tried a bite.  I've never ate a deviled egg but they seemed OK.  THEN I got the bright (stupid) idea to fancy up my deviled eggs.  I pulled out my cake decorating kit and set out to pipe the filling with a pretty cake decorating tip.  I loaded up my bag, taking care to fold down the bag so I wouldn't make a mess (you'll understand the irony of this futile act in a few seconds), and proceeded to pipe the filling.  Didn't work. I had forgotten about adding relish to the filling and it clogged up the tip.  I wasn't defeated yet.  By golly, I was going to have pretty deviled eggs for my guests.  I grabbed another bag and chose a tip with a larger opening.  I started to pipe. I managed to get two eggs filled when the tip clogged again.  No problem, I just applied more pressure.  Everything was going smoothly until the pastry bag literally ripped apart and filling went everywhere.  

That's when it occurred to me that deviled eggs deserved their name.

Saturday, December 20, 2008 today, gone tomorrow

My husband has a love/hate relationship with the trees in our yard.  In the summer, he loves the trees.  In the winter.....not so much.  The oak trees leave TONS of acorns and don't lose their last leaves until April.  There is a constant war that takes place every winter between him and the leaves.   The leaves ALWAYS win.

All this to say, I got an email last week saying ....."Don't be  shocked if you get home and there are a few trees missing."   A few trees.  In my mind that means 3 or 4.  Not every stinking tree!  That's right, every tree in my front yard is now firewood.  I was mad.  I was upset.  I didn't say anything because I was afraid of what would come out of mouth.

What's the big deal??  Let me provide some background info.

About a month ago, Bob tied orange tape around each tree and called the power company to see if they would cut down the trees.  We kind of forgot about the trees for awhile.  One evening, a truck pulls up in the driveway.  The guy owned a tree removal business and saw the orange tape on the trees.  I had to take Adam to karate so I just waved to them as I pulled out of the driveway.  That night Bob told me the estimate the guy gave him for taking down the trees.  I cringed.  We had the money but it was a lot of money.  Bob explained that the guy was desperate for work and he was thinking about hiring them to cut down the trees. 

When I found out the next day that he had hired the tree removal crew, I was upset.  I was so sure that now was the NOT the best time to be spending money on trees.  Bob told me that night that he felt good about getting the trees removed and playing a part in giving 5 or 6 guys a paycheck to get them through the month.  I bit my tongue and just kept quiet.  

The guy came by one night this week to get his last check.  He kept telling me over and over how much he appreciated  the job.   He said that he was able to make payroll and his equipment payments and he couldn't thank us enough for helping him out.  I was humbled.

Then this afternoon, a young man stopped by our house.  He knocked on the door and I groaned.  I was still in my pajamas.  It was the first day of Christmas break and I was being lazy.  I started to hide but decided at the last minute to go to the door.  He wanted to know if we were going to do anything with the firewood left over from the trees.  I told him that he needed to talk to my husband.  About that time, Bob walked down the driveway and talked to the guy.  We had planned to take the firewood to my mom and dad.  Bob told him that and the guy got in a van filled with young kids.  Bob came in the house and said that he wished he could have given the guy the firewood.  I told him to call Dad and see if they still needed the firewood.  He called and my dad said he had plenty.  Bob jumped in the truck and went down the road to see if he could find the young man.  

Then it hit me.  I'm blessed and I was acting like a spoiled child guarding all her toys and refusing to share.  I have a job, I have a home that I can afford, I have my health, and I'm not worried about paying the bills.  By allowing the economic fears to penetrate my heart, I was closing off my heart to opportunities that God put in front of me to be a servant.  I'm humbled and I owe my husband an apology.  

How many men would jump in their truck, drive down the road to try and find a young man just to let him know that he can have our firewood?  How many men would feel enough concern to help out a guy trying to keep his business afloat during tough times?  I know of one guy and I'm thankful he's mine.

I pray that God will keep my eyes open to opportunities to serve others.  Who would of thought that the trees in my front yard had the potential of blessing others?  It just goes to show that God uses big and small things to make a difference in peoples lives.  If you allow fear and worry to cloud your vision, (like I did) you'll miss out on opportunities to join Him in His work.  

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas Concert

Adam had his first Christmas concert today.  He plays the trombone.  

Considering the fact that he just started to play  in late August, it is really amazing to hear him play.

Christmas Camping

This weekend, we packed up the camper and headed to our favorite camping spot.  It was COLD!  Friday night the temperature was in the 20's with a steady wind blowing.  

It warmed up on Saturday and we spent the evening at the campfire with lots of good friends.  Our Sunday School class joined us for our annual Christmas Party.  I'm not sure everyone enjoyed sitting out in the cold around the fire, but we had a good time.  

We've camped for several years with the H family.  Our kids have grown up camping together.  As we walked past the creek,  I to commented to Cat that our kids had spent many hours playing in the water.
This creek is the best babysitter in the world!  

Here's a picture of Adam and K  enjoying an early morning camp fire.
I look forward to more camping trips with the H family.  We have many more memories to create, and laughs to share.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Teenage driving

Teenage drivers.  I now have two of 'em.  Zach got his learner's permit on Wed.  The SAME day that Clay was involved in a 5 car pile-up.  No one was hurt ---Thank Goodness!  His Chevy S-10 is looking pretty sad.  The front end is crushed like a tin can.  We are waiting for the insurance adjuster to check it out.  

Since it was raining on the day Zach got his license, I would not let him drive home.  One accident a day was all I could take. 

Yesterday he drove home from school.  I kept telling him to SLOW down.  I knew this day would come and I have been dreading it.  Let's take a trip back in time....

About 12 years ago, Bob bought the boys a battery powered Jeep.  Clay and Zach drove that thing until the tire tread was smooth.  At first, Zach was content to let Clay do all the driving.  They were so cute sitting side by side in the jeep.  However, Zach got a taste of life in the driver's seat and he became the primary driver.  Even at ages 3 and 5, their driving styles mirrored their personalities.  Clay is cautious and  Zach loves speed.  

One day I was stepping out into the garage as Zach drove around the driveway.  I called for him to come in for lunch.  He came into the garage at top speed ( speed for a battery powered Jeep) and put the brakes on seconds before hitting the garage wall.  He literally stopped the Jeep a mere 1/2 inch from the wall.  He was going so fast that when he finally stopped, it threw him forward in his seat.  He looked up at me with the biggest grin on his face. After I started breathing again, I realized that I was never going to let him get his driver's license.  

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Homemade Christmas

Ask my boys and they will tell you that their mom LOVES the homemade ornaments they made in school.  
On the last school day before Christmas holidays, they would proudly dig their ornaments out of their backpacks and show them to me.  
They couldn't wait to get home and show me what they had made at school. 
I have so many sweet memories attached to each and every ornament.  My tree is a varied assortment of cardboard cut-outs, popsicle sticks, and pipe cleaners.  Some of them are falling apart and I can't hang them on the tree.  A googly-eye is missing from a reindeer, or an angel has lost her wing.  I keep the broken ornaments stored in a box because I can't bring myself to part with them.  
The number of new ornaments  has dwindled.  For the last couple of years, Adam is the only one who has brought home an ornament. Since he is in middle school this year, I'm not sure if his teachers will be planning any Christmas crafts.  
There probably won't be any new ornaments to hang on the tree this year...... sigh.....

PS - Adam read this post and said his teachers are planning a craft day.  I can't wait to add more treasures to my tree.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Christmas Open house

Come on in.  

This is the best type of open house.  The camera doesn't show the dust and clutter.  I can just shove the mess out of the way, take the picture, and fool everyone into thinking that my house always looks this nice.  

I decided to perk up the mantle this year.  I hit the backyard and brought in pine boughs, rosemary, holly, and mountain laurel.  I tucked them into the fake garland, added some berries, and a few dried hydrangea blooms.  I made the stockings several years ago.

I haven't set up the Christmas village in years.  I dug out the box and went to work.  It needs a few more trees.  I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for some good bargains.  

Saturday, November 29, 2008


This time last year I barely had the energy to decorate the Christmas tree.  The THOUGHT of dragging out everything literally wore me out.  Not to mention the fact that at some point it would  all have to be packed back up.  I was exhausted.  All I could think about was sleeping.  I finally went to the doctor in January and tested positive for the Epstein-Barr virus.  I had a rip-roaring case of mono.  I suspect I picked it up on a mission trip to New Orleans.  

I would come home and crash on the couch for two or more hours.  I remember thinking one day that even my bones were exhausted.  I'm not sure how I managed to go to work everyday, cook, run errands, and keep the house running.  When I came home, all I could think about was somehow making it to 9 PM so I could go to bed.  

I feel better.  Somedays I am actually surprised by that.  I'd almost forgotten what it felt like to not be sick and tired.  I'll catch myself looking at the clock and realize that it is after 9 PM and I still feel human.  When I get tired (normal tired),  I find myself fighting  a sense of panic that the mono has returned.  It hasn't, and I'm thankful.  

Friday, November 28, 2008


Adam and Colton
The twins came over for Zach's birthday.  I can't get enough of them.  

What I'm Thankful for

Everyone gathered at my aunt's house (Granny/Papa's house) for Thanksgiving.  My sister drove down with her family and my brother and his family joined us later on that evening. 

We feasted on turkey, dressing, several casseroles, and the most wonderful (but lethal) pecan pie.  I almost slipped into a diabetic coma, it was that good.

The holidays aren't quite the same because Granny and Papa aren't there to enjoy them with us.  I have spent almost every single Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter, 4th of July, and a varied assortments of birthdays gathered around their kitchen table.  Time stands still in that house.  The assortment of tiny roosters are still sitting on the shelves by the kitchen windows.  The same kitchen table, the same harvest gold oven, the same dishes in the china cabinet that have been there as long as I can remember.  My guys have grown up spending holidays in a kitchen that is almost the same as the one where I spent my childhood holidays. 

 I'm thankful for a family that enjoys spending time with each other.  I'm thankful for children that LIKE hanging out with their family. We are blessed.

We gathered up all the grandkids for a picture.  Any idea how hard it is to get 8 people looking at the camera at the same time?  

Clay and Cage 

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Birthday Zach

Zach turned 15 over the weekend. He was at a youth retreat so we celebrated his birthday a day late. 

The weekend before his birthday, a friend of ours had 2 Atlanta Falcons' tickets for sale.  Bob and Zach headed to Atlanta to watch the Atlanta Falcons/Denver Bronco game.  Zach had a great time. 

Sunday after church the family gathered to wish him a Happy Birthday.  Zach requested his favorite cake - Applesauce Cake.  Nothing fancy, just a simple butter cake recipe with homemade applesauce on top.  He wanted me to make 2 cakes.  1 for him and 1 for everyone else.  I didn't have time but I've promised him another cake for the Thanksgiving holidays.

He is growing up.  We are starting to get glimpses of the man he will be someday.  God has blessed him with a strong body and a strong will.  Many times he and I have had a battle of the wills and I've walked away on the brink of wringing his neck.   I've always felt that God gave him that strong will because He has something amazing in store for Zach (sometimes I have to remind myself of this to keep from wringing his neck).  One day, that determination will come in handy.  He is a quiet young man that often hides a softer side.  I've watched him tenderly help his great-grandmother who had Alzheimer's walk down the porch steps.  Quietly assuring her that he would take care of her and not let her fall.  No one asked him to help her.  He just noticed her and went over to help.  Of course, this same kid will terrorize his younger brother for the simple pleasure of hearing him squeal...."MOM!"  

We'll go sometime next week and get his learner's permit.  I'm not sure I'm ready to sit on the passenger side while he drives.....

Friday, November 7, 2008

Happy Birthday Adam

Adam's birthday was this week and he celebrated it with a sleepover this weekend.  Six middle school boys came over for a sleepover.  Most of them stayed up all night.  Adam was the first one asleep (he gets that from me).  They rewarded him by pegging him in the back with an aerosoft pellet the next morning. No harm done and one of the boys recorded the moment on his cell phone.  Adam is proudly wearing a small bruise on his back.  As the only female in this house, I don't always understand why they do some of the things they do.  I've learned that in the whole scheme of things this isn't something to stress over.

The best part of the sleepover was getting to watch Adam's friends.  They are great kids.  It was good to see that he has friends who are positive and fun to be around.   

Here's the group.  They were outside this morning playing at the... 

Happy Birthday Adam.  We love you.

PS. Could you please stop growing up so fast??? 

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I love fall

This is why I'll never move away from the mountains.

Saturday, November 1, 2008


Zach loves football.  He loves to run (fast), and he loves to tackle (hard).  He's had a great season.  He played offense and defense for the last three games.   Last week, he had an 80 yard run.  I wish I had his energy....

2nd Place...

We got up early this morning to drive to a karate tournament.  Adam has been competing since 3rd grade.  At his first tournament, he won 3rd place in forms but was quickly eliminated in the sparring.  For several years, he never won a match.  I vividly remember a tournament where he tried so hard to win but couldn't.  As he was packing up his gear, he kept wiping tears of frustration from his eyes.  My heart broke.  

Fast forward to today.  He competed in forms but didn't place.  It didn't look like it was going to be his day.  Then came the sparring.  Wow!  He won his first match 7 -1.  Afterwards, he could not stop grinning.  His second match was a nail-bitter.  He was up against a tough opponent but he held his own.  The final score was 4-7.  He didn't win but he walked away with a 2nd place trophy.  He finally stopped smiling long enough to eat a pecan pancake at IHOP. 

Winning isn't everything but it sure is nice....especially when you've worked long and hard for it.  

Sunday, October 26, 2008


I spent Saturday afternoon at the Fox Theater watching Wicked.  I can't tell you how much I enjoyed the show.  My only regret....the guys weren't with me to enjoy the show.  

Saturday, October 18, 2008

More pictures 

Grandma Sandy's visit

My mother-in-law and sister-in-law came for a visit this week.  The weather could not have been better.  We had a great time.  I took them to a few shops but we basically spent the week just visiting.  Grandma Sandy played cards with the boys in the evenings.  We also had our fair share of cookies and pies.  She also made her cheesy potatoes for Bob.  

Before they went home, we took a trip to the local park for family pictures.  The boys hate having their pictures made.  Getting them to smile is like pulling a tooth.  You'd think that if someone had spent a chunk of change on your teeth, you'd at least make an effort to show them off.

In-laws went home this morning.  I hope they don't wait too long to visit again.  

Drum roll please......

Here it is, my first post!  Why am I doing this?  Well, I want to stay in touch with friends and family.  Really