Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Ringing in a New Year....

One of my fondest memories of New Year's Eve was watching Holiday Inn... a musical where an entertainer (Bing Crosby) opts to leave show biz and his partner (Fred Astaire) and live the simple life, which nearly drives him crazy. He then decides to taken this old home he has bought and turn it into an Inn, which will only be open 13 times a year for the Holidays. He hires a young singer/dancer (Marjorie Reynolds) to be his partner in the shows, and opens just in time for the New Year. Over the course of the year they host shows at the Inn and he proceeds to fall in love with her (as does his old partner Fred!). They come back around to the New Year once again, and after tons of singing and dancing, Bing wins the girl in the end. My mom and I watched this show every year, and I enjoy it so much I actually own the movie and have continued that tradition. Today, Carly, Michael and I will sit and watch this movie as we do each year. Hope you enjoy this little clip from the movie... and Happy New Year, may God richly bless you in 2009!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Happy Birthday to my Sister Friend!!!!

Yep... today is Rebecca Jo's Birthday!!!! So if you the get the chance, hop on over to her blog and give her a Birthday Blessing!!!!!

Birthday's are funny things... as children we can't wait for them to roll around. We are excited about everything from the cake to the gifts... we dream about making a wish and blowing out the candles... we anticipate the gifts we will receive... we look forward to everyone marking the day of our birth with celebration.

The older we get... the more we just long for the day to go by just as any other day of the week. Oh... we enjoy the cards and well wishes... we all love to be noticed... but the older we get the more regrets we have... the more "what-ifs" and "if onlys" seem to follow us around. And I know this because in a few short days I will celebrate a birthday as well! But something hit me this morning that might just make a difference in how I view birthdays....

.... God has given us the greatest gift... forgiveness.... and not just for our PAST sins, but our PRESENT ones and our FUTURE ones! And because He sent His Son to die in our place, we can live our lives NEW EACH DAY. So this morning it hit me... those "if onlys" from my past... they no longer exist in the mind of God. Oh... he knows they happened... but he chooses to forget them... so if he can, shouldn't I? And those "what ifs" ... it is the same. When I opt to bring those past hurts and failures to the front of my life and hold on to them, setting them before me like a banner flying in the wind, they are only seen by me, and maybe by those who long to see me fail. God has already wiped that portion of my slate clean, through the blood of His Son! If he can do that, then I guess it is time for me to pack those banners away as well!

Oh, don't get me wrong, this doesn't mean that I relish turning 50... nope... not at all... but it does mean that as this day approaches I am going to make a real effort to focus on all the things that God has done for me... and will continue to do for me... and live the next 50 years serving Him and praising Him for the gift of a fresh start EACH AND EVERY DAY!!

So with that thought in mind... doesn't that make each and every day a "birth" day???? Yep... so why worry about ONE day a year?!!!!! Let's get back to viewing each "birth" day with eyes of wonder... and revive that youthful longing so we can receive the Gift that God has given us with the abandon of a child!!!!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Hope you enjoy this!

The secret is out....

Yesterday, Mickey brought in the mail, and telling me that I had a letter he began to laugh... yes... they have found out! And who, you might be asking, are "they".... AARP! They have found out that I am turning 50 and I have received my first bit of mail from them... one of many that will grace our mailbox, I'm sure!

Okay... right now I am sure that I am hearing laughter... but I have to tell you, I thought I would cry! This was it... confirmation through the US Postal Service that I would soon be 50... and it isn't a year away... it is DAYS away!!!! So tell me this... how did it happen so fast!

Oh, I know... fifty isn't that old, you say. Fifty isn't the end of the world. Fifty, after all, isn't even retirement age. But FIFTY!! What a monumental number it appears to be!

It often seems like just yesterday that I gave birth to my oldest (she just turned 29, that should be a clue, huh?!) Wasn't it just a few days ago that my middle child took her first steps? (Yeah, yeah... she just turned 24, I know!!!) And the youngest daughter... wasn't it just yesterday that she rode her first bike? (Okay, okay... 17 and drives her own CAR!!!) Now Michael... at six... he surely will keep me young, right?! (Or make me feel old as others say, is this your Grandma. OUCH!)

So my point, besides lamenting the fact that I will be 50 in a few days, is simple. TIME WILL FLY BY! My friends, take lots of pictures, build lots of memories, and savor each and every one. One day soon, you too will open your mail box and discover that "they" have found you, as well. And as your life passes before your eyes, make sure it is a good one!

Monday, December 22, 2008

And there were in the same country.....

Okay, so what was the first thing that came to mind when you read the title? The Bible... or a Charlie Brown Christmas? Yesterday in our sermon at church this clip from Charlie Brown was played:

Now... how many programs have you seen lately that have full verses of scripture in them? And as our guest speaker said yesterday... Thanks Charles M. Schultz for keeping the true meaning of Christmas alive for many generations.

Recently, as Mickey and I sat with Michael watching this movie, we began to discuss the fact that so many people have forgotten the real reason for Christmas... it isn't the gifts... it isn't the food... it isn't the family gatherings... it is the birth of Christ... the gift that God gave to each of us, and his ultimate sacrifice for our sins. So, while our children have heard the Christmas story numerous time, we will begin a new tradition this year... we will read the Christmas story to our children and grandchildren before we open gifts, as a reminder that while all the other stuff is fun, it is nothing when you compare it to the gift of Christ.

God loves us... He loves us so much that he sent us his ONLY child... Christ... who lived his life in human form... far removed from all that he had ever known, knowing full well that He was to die for our sins. His death was horrific, his agony great, his heart broken, so that you and I might be able to enter God's presence one day, cleansed by His grace. No greater gift has ever been given... no greater gift can ever be received. And I pray, if you haven't opened that gift yet... you will do so... it is waiting for you... no strings attached!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Favorite Traditions....

This morning... in the midst of our "snow day"... Mickey and I began talking about our Christmas memories... the things that we remembered from our childhoods. Do any of you remember getting bags with oranges and peanuts? Mine came from our school each year. Our bus driver gave each child a box of chocolate covered cherries... I LOVE THOSE to this day!!! My parents had an angel that was placed on the tree each year... they STILL have her. She graced their first tree in 1954! Each year I loved to watch my dad place her atop the tree... and then he would declare the tree "the best we've ever had".

With our children, I always watched White Christmas each year. We would make it a special time, and they all grew up loving the movie. We would also take a day to bake and decorate Christmas cookies for Santa. The recipe book we used is the same one we used when I was a child.

As a small child, I remember going to my grandparents on Christmas eve to open gifts. The TV was left on so that we could watch the progress of Santa as he headed toward our home from Louisville. My grandparents had a silver tree with a colored disc that would spin... changing the tree from red, to green to blue to yellow, over and over. And my grandmother would always make rice crispy treats, sitting them outside on the porch to cool.

As our oldest daughters have started families of their own, we have had to "adjust" a few traditions... but we still have some... and they are beginning their own.

This weekend we will travel to celebrate the holiday with Mickey's family, where we will observe their traditions, and the week Christmas will officially begin for us. So, I was wondering... what traditions do you observe? What memories are dear to you? I'd love to hear all about them!!!

Merry Christmas... and I hope that your memories spark a warm and fuzzy Christmas feeling for you all!!!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Looking for Opportunities to Shine!

I have the privilege of being a substitute teacher in our local elementary. I have, on occasion, worked in the middle school as well, but I LOVE to work at the elementary. I enjoy the children there, and our elementary is top notch.

Subbing can be a challenge... for the most part, students of all ages have one universal rule... if there is a sub, it must be a free day. What a shock they get when I enter the classroom. You see, I worked at the elementary for three years, the last of which was as the "full-time sub". Kind of strange, I know, but I spent every day in a different classroom, and was always there and available. Often times, I might have a class for up to a week at a time. I loved that job, and only left in order to take care of my granddaughter and great-nephew after their births. And while I loved being able to do that, I truly missed my job at the school. After the paper closed, I decided to go back to subbing as much as I could.

Days are pretty plentiful around the holidays as teachers take personal days in order to complete their shopping. I have worked pretty steady over the past three weeks (with the exception of my time off with the flu, received from a student in 1st grade!) I do my best to complete assignments for the teachers, grading what I can, and making sure that the students have a day that is as close to normal as possible. Because I try to do that, I am often requested by teachers, who are always happy to stay as close to their lesson plans as possible throughout the year.

Walking into a classroom can be a very eye opening experience. I can usually tell within the first few minutes which children have good home lives, and which ones are craving attention of any kind, even if it means they are acting out to get it. As I look at many of these children I wonder what their home lives must be like. Do they have enough to eat each day? Do their parents spend any quality time with them? (Or any time AT ALL, quality or not?) How many of these little ones go home to an empty house, unsupervised? How many have a warm bed? How many receive a hug? Or just a kind word? It can actually be very heart-wrenching at times.

Every day as we begin our day, the classes stand to recite the Pledge (and yes, we still say ONE NATION UNDER GOD! in our little town!) This is followed by a moment of silence... and I have found myself saying a little prayer for the day, and for these children. I have been asking God to let Jesus shine through me to these little ones. And you know, even with the flu running rampant through our school, I still find myself handing out hugs... followed by liberal amounts of hand sanitizer... but I am still handing them out. I am firm, and I demand their respect, but I am also ready and eager to praise a job well done. I love working with these children, and I truly believe that they can sense that. Even the classes who are considered by other subs to be "the worst" go well for me... and I know that the prayers that begin each day are the reason.

I know that I might not always have the opportunity to do this type of work, you never know when I might find a job elsewhere that is more permanent, but while I have the opportunity, I plan to make the most of it... and show these kids that not only do I care about them, but Jesus does as well! Does it get any better than that???

Monday, December 8, 2008

Too sick to knit!

Saturday evening I began to feel a little off... and by 9:30 I found myself with a full blown case of the flu! Here it is, Monday, and I am still suffering from the effects... hopefully seeing a light at the end of the tunnel. I have finally managed to get down around 5 crackers since 8:00 AM... but my strength is at zero.

Now, what does this have to do with knitting... with the holidays right around the corner each day is crucial... there are projects to finish, and days have been wasted. I spent most of the day yesterday sleeping... (or in the bathroom!) Today, I am just really weak... I have picked up my knitting a couple of times... but I just can't seem to get it together. So... if your gift is late... my apologies!!!

As I have sat here drifting in and out of sleep over the past couple of days, I have realized how thankful I am for a few things....

... a nice warm home, with a comfy chair....
... a couple of fleece blankets, oh so warm....
... ginger ale!....
... a husband who has taken such good care of everything while I am down....
... kids who understand that mom is sick (or as Michael says, has germs!)....
... e-mails and e-card that make me laugh....
... naps....

... and I realize that there are those in this world who are sick who don't have these comforts that many of us take for granted. I have been blessed, and for God's provision I am truly thankful.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008


This week Mickey and I are doing our SS lesson on angels... you know... the "heavenly host" who said "glory to God in the highest, and on Earth, peace good will toward men". Now I have always loved angels. I have a small collection of them, and have read numerous accounts of angels amongst us even today.

Did you realize that there are only two angels whose names are mentioned in the bible? Gabriel being one, and Michael being the other. The rest who are mentioned are never called by name. So, you have to figure that these two angels HAVE to be important as angels go. I know one thing... I wouldn't want to run into either one of them without being prepared... I am sure that they are very impressive!

But just imagine what it must be like to be an angel and be in the presence of God ALL THE TIME!!!! How cool would that be! Oh, I know... we will eventually make it to that point... being in God's presence forever... but the angels have been with him since the beginning... doing his bidding... and helping mankind. What a cool way to spend eternity!

I am really excited to teach our 1st - 5th graders about these mighty beings... and their place in God's kingdom and how they have interacted with man on God's behalf.

So, as you place that angel on your tree (come on... we ALL have at least one!)... just remember... these very beings announced the birth of our Lord and Savior!!!! Glory to God in the highest!!!!!!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Merry SITSmas To You!

Okay... here is my card and a very MERRY SITSmas TO YOU ALL!!!!

Words of Wisdom on Trees from Charlie Brown:
Charlie: This litte green one here seems to need a home.
Linus: I don't know Charlie Brown. Remember what Lucy said?
This one doesn't seem to fit the modern spirit.
Charlie: I don't care. We will decorate it and it will be just
right for our Christmas play. Besides... I think it needs me!
May you all feel as needed as Charlie Brown's special little tree.
Remember... it turned out beautiful in the end... as do all of God's creations!
Merry SITSmas to you all!!!
Visit The Secret is in the Sauce to join in the holiday fun!!!