Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Boxed up and Bare

Our Christmas tree was only up for about three and a half weeks. So, why does the space look so bare now? It's back to the way it was before but seems so desolate. All the snowmen and candles and baubles and pretties are packed away in their red and green boxes. I think I need to decorate for the new year. I think our new year needs a theme and a motif. I'll get back to you on this. Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Complete

I got the Christmas tree put up a couple of weekends ago but I didn't have a tree topper for it. That's why this shot of my tree cut the pinnacle clean off-there wasn't anything to see.


I tried putting the star from last year's tree on it, but it was too heavy. My new tree is one of the slim variety and wouldn't support the weight. So, what to do.

My tree is done is golds and whites and, in my opinion, is very Christ-centered. There are nativity ornaments....

Cross ornaments......




Words like .......


and .....



and .....



But, I continued to be stumped about what to put on the top. I wanted something that continued the story my tree was telling--the nativity ornaments were telling that He came as a baby; the crosses were reminding us of His sacrificial death...what else could the tree say? One night it came to me out of the blue. I wanted a crown for the top! Yes, a crown. The conclusion of my tree's story was that He is the King of Kings! I looked online everywhere and finally took a leap of faith and ordered one from amazon.com. It arrived today and I couldn't be happier>>>>

I know that it is very untraditional. You are used to seeing stars or angels or pointy things, but I love it. It says what I wanted it to say............


I will let one more ornament speak for my tree:

MERRY CHRISTMAS TO YOU AND YOUR FAMILY!










Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Tomorrow

Tomorrow I start spending time with my favorite people in the whole world-my family. When I get home and go back to work and church people will ask "So, what did you do on your vacation?" I will tell them. And, then I will get that same look I get after my sister retreats every year. That blank look that says, "And you think that was fun?" The reason? Because my answer will go something like this:

"Well, we ate and talked and looked at magazines and watched the babies play and ate and laid on the bed and talked and then we cried and then we cracked up and ate and stayed up late and got up early and ate. No, we didn't go skiing or hunting or on a cruise or do any Black Friday shopping. But, we had the BEST TIME!"

That's all. Just me and my fabulous family enjoying each other. I am thankful!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

My Rant

Seriously? Santa arrived today at Bass Pro Shop? It's only November 8th! Shouldn't he be at the North Pole supervising the elves? I want a chance to enjoy the month of November. I want to give Thanksgiving it's due. Could we please spend a few weeks reflecting on gratitude and blessings instead of skipping right to the gimme, gimme, gimme?

(She steps down from the soapbox)

Friday, October 2, 2009

Blessed

I am blessed. This isn't a NEW revelation. I've known it. I know it. I hope I always know it. I hope that I live my life in a way that makes others know that I am blessed and feel blessed and I am grateful for it. I listen to people around me sometimes who never seem to have a good day or a good thing happen in their life. I am convinced that these people DO have good things in their lives and DO have the opportunity to have good days-they just refuse to see it. I try to start each day with the attitude that it is going to be a good day. I refuse to let the way someone else is feeling or acting decide how my day is going to be. I guess I just want to challenge everyone to start the day with a grateful heart and I am confident you will lie down in peace at the end of the day.

“The moment when you first wake up in the morning is the most wonderful of the twenty-four hours. No matter how weary or dreary you may feel, you possess the certainty that, during the day that lies before you, absolutely anything may happen. And the fact that it practically always doesn't, matters not a jot. The possibility is always there.”
—Monica Baldwin(1893 – 1975); author

Friday, September 25, 2009

Public Speaking

Tomorrow I will be doing a little public speaking at our community "Care Fair". Our town is having an event where different businesses and community groups and such will have booths and there will be free health screenings. I am doing a booth for the bank where I work, along with a co-worker. Oh, but that's not all. I am going to be giving a little presentation on Preventing Identity Theft. It is supposed to last about 30-45 minutes. We'll see if that happens. I am really not nervous because I have some good material and a ten minute video to show. But, you never know what can happen in a room full of people.

Next Wednesday I will be speaking again. I will be doing the last lesson for this session of Apples of Gold. I have given this talk three times before but am working on changing it up a little. Don't want to get stale!

I don't know why I blogged about this. I guess I just wanted to put something new up here for people to read.

Oh, Happy Birthday Daddy. I so wish you were here for me to wish you Happy 82 years! I miss you.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Out of the Blue

I talked to my sister Rhonda tonight. We have a regularly scheduled talk every Saturday evening at 8:00. We chatted for quite awhile about things that have happened in this week to us, funny stories from work, cute things her grandson said on the phone, the usual. We were just getting ready to say goodbye when she said, through tears, that she had a moment this week where she missed Mother and Daddy so much. She was just brushing her teeth and started crying out of the blue. I was surprised to hear her say that because I had one of those moments this week, too.

So, it has me thinking about the impact that people make on another life. Mother has been gone for 4 and 1/2 years and Daddy has been gone for almost 3 and 1/2. That initial numbing grief is gone. I miss them but I don't cry every day. I can, however, say that I think about one or both of them almost every day. Their voices and faces fade in and out of my mind. I can smell Mother's perfume on another lady and fight the urge to hug her just to take in the scent. I see a man drive down the street, fishing poles in the back of his truck, and see Daddy carrying me on his shoulders as we waded the Arkansas River to get to a good fishin' hole.

What kind of impression am I leaving on my children? Will they feel me when I am gone? Will a scent or sight or sound bring back sweet memories for them of me? I want the lasting impact I have on them to be something worth remembering.

Monday, August 31, 2009

A Peek at our Vacation

The first of August was a wonderful time for Dennis, Katie and me. We loaded up the Expedition and headed south to Kemp, Texas-our favorite vacation spot. You have probably never even heard of Kemp but it is where my sister Nora lives. Her house is just about the most relaxing place I know to visit. Here is a snap of that little abode:




My favorite part of visiting her, besides seeing Nora, is spending time on her wonderful porch. The picture above gives you the outside glimpse. Well, here is part of the inside. I realized, too late, that I didn't get a picture of the gazebo portion on the inside. I will confess, though, that the part in this picture is my favorite spot:



Maybe you noticed the "noodles" under the daybed in that last picture. She lives across the street from the lake so we got to spend one afternoon relaxing there. The water is not too deep for those of us who aren't really swimmers. We lounged around, floating and hanging on to the noodles until the sky began to look like this:




It is always sad to say goodbye to Nora and head home. I could stay there forever. Next, you will get to our short visit to Fin and Feather.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

What a Difference a Day Makes!

We all have memories of the first day at a new school. For some of us it was an exciting time-we were moving up, getting older, all grown up. For others it was a scary time-what would the teachers be like, where's the bathroom, is the food in the lunch room better or worse? I moved around a lot so going to a new school was not usually a big deal to me. Except for one time-when we moved from Arkansas to California. I was starting the 8th grade and I felt like a misfit. It was pretty traumatic for me-not knowing anyone at the school. I went to that school for two weeks and never made one friend. I sat by myself at lunch every day and went home and cried every night. Our kind pastor took pity on me and helped us facilitate a transfer to a different school where most of the kids from our church attended. Life was good again.



August, 2009 brought about the switch for Katie from the LG Upper Elementary to the LG Middle School. Life was about to change. And, she wasn't sure she wanted it to do that. The morning of the first day was not a pleasant one for us. She didn't feel good, she couldn't stop crying, she didn't feel good and she didn't feel good. I told her it was nerves and everything would be fine and took the required "first day of school" photo:





We got to school. I left her there. She was close to tears and so was I. But, she has wonderful teachers and good friends, so I knew she was in good hands.

When I picked her up she was beside herself. In a good way. School was fantastic! Life was wonderful! She loved it! It was the best! All of the things I had tried to convince her of that morning were now known realities. She was happy again. Yeah!

We don't usually do a "second day of school" photo. But, I think you will agree that this year it was absolutely necessary:




Transition is always hard but is most often worth it.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Giver

Gift #1:

The last few weeks have been fun for me. Dennis, henceforth known as The Giver, bought me two neat-o gifts. Both are things that I have been wanting for a long time.

First up: The Amazon Kindle-a wonder and marvel for a reader like me. I love to read. I would rather read than anything else. Yes, even eat. If you are not familiar with the Kindle, go to amazon.com and type in Kindle and watch the demo about this amazing product.

It looks innocent, doesn't it?


The Kindle stores books, tons of books. So, whatever I am reading is at my fingertips all the time. Have you ever been reading a series and finish one and can't wait to go check out or buy the next one? Well, with the Kindle I finish a book and I can log on to the wireless Kindle store and download the next book in 60 seconds! Prices for books range from free (yes, there are some free ones) to 9.99. Current bestsellers are obviously the higher priced ones. But, considering that with new releases in hardback you are going to pay upwards of 22.00, 9.99 is a great price. I downloaded the complete works of Emily Dickinson for .99!! You read a page and touch the "next page" button to advance. You can highlight passages, bookmark them and there is a dictionary to look up any words you don't know.

Here is a closer look. The screen is very easy on the eyes. I can read for hours. It is great while lying in bed because it weighs almost nothing. When you are through reading, close the cover and it puts itself to sleep. When you wake it up, it is already at the page you were reading.

For an avid reader like me, this is the absolute ultimate gift!
Gift #2:

Here is my other gift. I told people on Facebook about it last week but they didn't get a picture of it. We went to Best Buy last Monday to replace Dennis' big television. After choosing a tv the salesman asked if he could show us anything else. Dennis said that we would like to look at laptops. He asked if it would be for Dennis, me or Katie. Dennis pointed at me. It was news to me but who am I to protest? So, I scored a laptop that day. I love it. Well, when I can keep Katie off of it!

I love the full size keyboard and that it has the number keypad on the right. The picture is so clear. It has some really great features. I love the "create your own radio station" feature on Pandora.



So, there they are-my two gifts from the Giver, Dennis. He really is a sweet guy. Thanks Dennis.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

I Need.....

...to post about our vacation to Texas and Fin and Feather

...to post about the two awesome gifts Dennis has given me lately

...to post about Katie's first day of school at a new school

...to post about the blessings of being home again

...and, I will. Soon.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Well, here it is. The Big Reveal. I just know you have been so anxious to see it all! At least, that's what I tell myself.

The first picture is a shot of the kitchen from the living room.


Now, this one is standing in the kitchen almost in the exact opposite spot, only on the kitchen side looking into the living room. I love the backsplash behind the sink and my fancy tall fixture, don't you?

I did away with my weird little pull out and back pantry area and gained a new desk area that I am crazy about. It just looks cozier to me.

This view is from the new desk area towards the hall and the dining room.


AND NOW.................for those of you who remember the blog about wanting and needing a little nook for me for reading and studying...........................................
............................................... get ready to be................................so............................
envious! Here it is-My Little Reading Nook:



I hope you enjoyed the tour. And, I hope that I get to have each and everyone of you at some time in my kitchen for a meal or a snack or a cup of coffee. I might even let you sit in my reading nook chair!




Coming Soon to a Computer Near You.......

............pictures of my remodeled kitchen. I finally have a camera again and pictures are on their way. You are going to love it. OH, and also, for those of you who remember my post about longing for a little reading nook........pictures of that, too. I know you are excited. Hang in there.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Busy but Good

EDIT: I neglected to mention my wonderful husband who helped with the closets also. We couldn't have done it without him. I mean this. He did not make me say this.

My weekend was incredibly busy but had some great results. I left work on Friday at three o'clock and for the next two and half hours moved at the speed of light. I left Locust Grove and travelled to Catoosa to pick out backsplash tile and accents for my kitchen, went to Claremore to Lowes to purchase all of my Closetmaid units to re-do the master closet, continued on to Pryor Wal-Mart to buy groceries, big breath because I know this is a run-on sentence, then to Hibbetts for a gift certificate for a birthday party, Emerald City to pick up dinner for Blair and myself, home to unload the car and eat dinner, and, finally, to the church to make slushie punch and cook chicken for my food for a party on Saturday night! And how was Saturday? I know you are dying to know! Up and off to work at 8:00, then to Tahlequah to purchase bedside tables and some adorable cannisters at Means Furniture, Chilis for lunch served by a horrible waitress, and then back to LG t0 fix my food for the birthday party and set things up, fun party, clean up, and home again. Around 9:30 I took off for Tahlequah again only this time to take Blair to the ER at TCH. We were there until 4:30 this morning. They poked, prodded, ultrasounded, cat scanned, and more we shall not divulge and sent us home shaking their heads. I really think it is going to turn out to be her gallbladder. Hopefully we can get her in to see the doctor tomorrow. I slept for a couple of hours and then got up and we went to Sunday School. Met Aaron, Jami and the boys at Mazzios for lunch and then Aaron helped me install aforementioned closet components. I actually took a short nap this afternoon. I ended the day with a great time at Women's Fellowship. It was one of the best ones we have had in a long time. I am sorry that any of you missed it.

See, I told you it was busy. However, every thing is bringing us one step closer to getting the house back together. Our countertops will be installed Tuesday and the backsplash on Wednesday. I cannot wait. I will cook to my heart's content.

Time for the work week now. Have a great Monday.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Waiting

When you are involved in a remodeling project, whether you choose to do it or it is forced upon you by a flood, there are lessons to be learned:

1. To a contractor/construction worker type guy "tomorrow" does not necessarily mean the next day. It means "some tomorrow".

2. "You're next on my list" means just that. You will never be at the top of the list; you are always "next".

3. "No later than" does not mean that it will definitely be done by then. It's just their way of telling you what you want to hear.

4. Never make plans based on their promises. They don't keep them.

5. Always be grateful for the home you have and the comfort you derive from it.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

HOME

Home.
My home.
Our home.
We're there.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Been There, Done That, Got the wet T-shirt to prove it!

On April 10, 2008 our house flooded. We moved everything out, dried it out, cleaned it up, did the repairs and moved back in two months later. Recently at our church I gave a testimony about the way God's grace came to us through our church family during that time. It was good to look back and trace His hand.
On May 1, 2009, our house flooded, again! The same God is channeling grace to us and, even though it is hard to trace His hand right now, we choose to trust His heart. Jeremiah 29:11-I'm claiming it.
Front yard about three hours after rain stopped:
Standing in my driveway looking to the east:


Our back yard. That little blue house is on 5ft posts!


Standing in the foyer, looking onto the front porch.

Trusting in Jehovah-jireh now. And coveting the prayers of friends and family.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Too short

It always is too short and you would think I would just get used to it. But, I don't. I need MORE time with my sisters. I cannot begin to tell you what it does for me to get with them and talk and laugh and pray and cry together. I realize more and more every day how precious our relationships are with one another. So many people don't have this privilege.

Rhonda and I arrived in Eureka Springs just a little ahead of Debe and Nora. This was after we spent an hour in Siloam Springs at the Dayspring Outlet Store. What a great place to shop! It was so fun to be on our own schedule and do whatever we wanted to do. Debe and Nora weren't expected in Eureka Springs until 1:30 so we weren't holding the show up in any way.

We decided to wait for them in the parking lot of the Lovin'Oven Bakeria, a little cafe with pizza and soups and sandwiches. We thought "when they call and ask where we are, we will just tell them to meat us here and we can eat a late lunch". We sat there awhile and Rhonda said, "I know how to make them get here faster-I will get out and start going through my suitcase looking for something and they will arrive." We laughed and got out, opened the back of my Expedition and I turned around and guess who was pulling in to the parking lot? Yes, Nora and Debe! Debe decided to turn into a parking lot to call us and let us know they were in ES and picked the one we were in! What a fun way to start the weekend.

After lunch we went to check in at our place:



It was beautiful and just right for us. We loved every minute we were there. We sat in the hot tub one night after dark just enjoying a chance to relax. We ate at Ermilios the first night. It was a little Italian place in a beautiful old home:

During the day we rode the trolleys. Our little cottage was only about a block from the transit station so we walked over there and caught the red, blue, purple or yellow trolley. What a great way to travel the streets of ES. Try it.



One day we ate lunch at the Balcony Bar and Restaurant in the Basin Park Hotel in the historic district. What a view.


We always bring gifts for each other to NG. Rhonda brought us a wonderful book to feed us spiritually. I am starting it tonight. Debe brought gorgeous crosses that she made by hand out of wire and barbed wire and beads-hmmmm, I should have taken a picture, I guess. (My camera is broken right now or I would) Each of us has one bead on our cross that came from one of my mother's necklaces. I made prayer journals for each of them. Nora brought us some great and fun t-shirts: What happens with the Sisters, stays with the Sisters!

I can't express to you how much fun we have together and how precious this time is to all of us. We have our little traditions: giving our gifts to one another as soon as we are checked into our lodging; constantly planning where we are going to eat next; waiting for Debe and Rhonda to decide what entree they are going to share at EVERY meal; deciding what our special project will be this year, such as buying something special for someone in need or helping someone with medicine costs, and putting our money together to do that; spending part of Friday night sharing what random act of kindness we did for someone in Mom's memory during the month of March/April (we started this three years ago as a way to remember Mom instead of dwelling on the sadness on the anniversary of her death each year); our Saturday evening "church" service-each year one of us in charge of bringing a devotion or challenge or talk that will set the theme and tone for us for the next year. In past years it has included encouraging others, mentoring someone younger and this year we are focusing on prayer. It is wonderful to share about spiritual things with one another. We may have even started a new tradition: seeing how many old men try to start a conversation with Nora. She is a senior citizen magnet, evidently!
We always start making plans for the next year and divide up the duties-someone to find the place, someone to check out the eateries (we are not allowed to eat at chain restaurants), someone in charge of reminders and mailings to hype it up (as if!) and someone to be in charge of the spiritual challenge, or as we like to say, the one who is going to preach!
Now it's time to countdown to Thanksgiving when we see each other again. It will be with all of our families then so it is different but it is still great. This year we are doing something totally different and meeting at Fin and Feather by Lake Tenkiller. I can't wait!

Monday, April 13, 2009

ALMOST HERE!

It is Monday. I cannot wait for Thursday. That is the day I jump in the car with my sister Rhonda (who will arrive at my house Wednesday afternoon) and we head to NG6. It will be time for the 6th annual getaway for Nettie's Girls. I don't know how I will keep myself on track until then. There is housework to do, lots of things to do at my job, lists to make for the trip, so many things to be done. By Thursday morning I will be absolutely giddy and good for nothing. God has been so good to bless me with women who are my best friends for my sisters. Whatever your situation in life with your family, please take the time to enjoy your siblings and parents. Life is too short to let bitterness or anything else keep you apart.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Keepin' it real

I've been tagged by Keely

Here are the rules: Take a picture of yourself right now. No primping or preparing. Just snap a picture. Load the picture onto your blog. Tag some people to play.

So, I read that I was tagged while I was at work. Of course, no camera so I had to wait until I got home. And, that didn't happen until after I went to Pryor to the Hallmark store, Hibbets Sports and Walmart. All of this was while we were under a severe thunderstorm warning and it was lightening and thundering and raining like crazy. I was in Walmart while the worst was happening. When I got home around 6:45 and started making dinner I remembered that I had been tagged. So, I told Katie to get the camera and snap a picture. Here are the results:



Let the record show that I am the oldest person tagged so far and youth has its' own advantages! Oh, and the kitchen looks scary because I was still unloading Walmart sacks. And yes, I DO feel as worn out as I look in this picture.

Okay, I am going to tag Lori, Melinda and Becky C. Get to it girls!

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Don't be jealous!

There are only 16 more days until NG6-my annual retreat with my sisters aka best friends in the world! I am more excited this year than ever before. I don't really know why. Well, maybe because it is the best part of my year every year. I am so blessed to have these ladies in my life.




Let me introduce you to these girls:

There is Nora Mae, who is now the matriarch of our family. She's the one on the left in the picture and the one who made the other two laugh . There is no one I admire as much as her. She is a true picture of grace and perseverance and strength. She has definitely been tried and come forth as gold. When I visit her at her home by the lake in Texas I feel at peace. In fact, Dennis and I tell her all the time that she is our favorite vacation destination. We already have our rooms booked for early August with her. She is home to me. And, more so since Mother and Daddy are gone.
Next is Rhonda Jo, the one in the middle above. She was my little mommie for the first years of my life; well, actually, I tend to think of her that way even now. She was only five or six when I was born yet she took on a role of caregiver to that fat little baby. Stories have been told about her climbing up the side of my crib and getting me out and carrying me to the bed to change my diaper. And, we're not talking disposable diapers. I have always felt safe and cared for with Rhonda. She has a gift for nurturing and I have been blessed to be the beneficiary all my life.
Deborah Jean. Such a fancy name; we just call her Debe. Yes, she's the one with the big mouth laugh above. I think only Mom and Nanny called her Deborah Jean and that usually wasn't a good thing! If anyone got Daddy's gift of speaking and communication it is her. She can deliver a speech or devotion and bring you to tears or laughter alternately in mere seconds. I don't know anyone who can accomplish so much for so many so often. She is a true servant and her heart is sometimes to large for her five foot one frame to handle. If you need it done; need it done now; and need enough for 150-Debe's your gal. Sometimes our sweet Mother would say, "Just listening to everything Debe has to do this week made ME tired!" True. But, if you need her, she's never too busy.
So, now you understand why I said not to be jealous. I would be jealous of me. There is nothing like our times together at NG (Nettie's Girls). It is indescribably, undeniably the best four days of my year every year. I hope God allows us many more together. He has already been so gracious to make us sisters and best friends.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

"Christmas won't be Christmas without any presents"

Some of you will not even need to see the first picture below to know what book opens with that line. It is one of my all time favorite childhood reads. I have read it more than once but it has been several years since the last time I read it.

I decided to write about books that mattered to me when I was growing up. I could never remember or write about them all but I wanted to mention a few. Typically every young girl has read this one:






I loved the next one - Strawberry Girl.

Blue Willow was one of the first books that made me really feel emotions for the people in the story. I wanted Janey to find a place to call home. I was only in about the third grade when I read it.



The next one was not the kind of book I usually read as a child but I was fascinated by it.




Who doesn't love Nancy Drew? My sisters and I surely read them all. I loved her.


I cannot remember a funnier book in my childhood than No Children, No Pets. A few years ago I searched for this book on the internet and found it. I was so excited when I got it in the mail. I read it again immediately. It was still as good as I remembered. Sadly, it was damaged severely in our flood last year.




Tell the truth, you read the Donna Parker books, didn't you? They were so...cool and hip and modern. Yeah, right. But, I thought they were in my little world.



Ah, The Bobbsey Twins. Granted, to read them now they seem very outdated but I read them all as a child. I think I liked books about big families since we were a big family.

As a child I loved two things dearly-my baby dolls and my books. I was practically a grown woman before I could put away my dolls. Fortunately I get to take books with me all the way to old age. Tell me about your favorite books as a child.




Sunday, March 8, 2009

Baby Shower

I hosted a baby shower for my friend Emily today. It was a Mother Goose theme with a few Little Golden books thrown in just because I love them.




The cake-made by Penny Walsh, master of baking:
Emily:

The table with all the fun books:


A chair for the guest of honor:



A little notebook to write down gifts and givers. Easy project: a $1 notebook, scrapbook paper cut to fit the front, stickers and little ribbons tied to spirals. Katie tied some ribbons on a pen just for fun, too.

We had such fun visiting, eating cake, drinking punch and showering Emily and little Harper (?) with love and gifts.