Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Last Day Of 2008

I stitched this Jane Snead Sampler (A Company that has since vanished) in 1973 when I was a Jr in high school. It is my prayer for this, the last day of 2008.
Bleak. Depressed. These words may describe the outlook of some for 2009 but the only throne of THE ruler of the universe is still occupied by the Holy King. Let's look forward with great hope and anticipation to what He can do with us to build His kingdom and glorify Himself.

Monday, December 29, 2008


Saturday, December 27, 2008

Post Christmas Thoughts...

"Every which way but loose" - My heart could use these words to describe the grip of the holidays. There are so many emotions that sweep in and out, leaving their mark of varying degrees of pleasure or pain. For some, losses suffered throughout the year are magnified during the holidays. Memories of holiday sadness from years past revisit others. Some family members are home for Christmas "only in their minds". Illness or incapacitating old age robs the ability to experience the holidays as some remember and deeply long for. Some of us hurt for our parents or older loved ones because we perceive their sense of loss to their "golden years". I was visiting with my mother, counting the days till my sons would be here for Thanksgiving. She teared up and said, "It is so sad that I can't do all the things I used to do. I'm just not the same person for them." For them... She was thinking of their loss.♡

There are Christmas programs, parades, choral presentations, etc., that demand hours of preparation before hand and punctual participation at the time of presentation. We volunteer our time and energy packing boxes for our church or Good Fellows program or other needed ministries. We shop and some of us "proxy" shop for others who can't. We stand in the kitchen, measuring and mixing for days. We hurriedly write all too brief messages in Christmas cards to folks we'd love to visit over a good meal or with whom we'd like to enjoy a good movie.

And we experience intense joy in giving. I love to decorate our home for my husband who tells me repeatedly how much he loves to come into the house, relax, and just look at the tree or the decorations. In my tubs of decorations are many carefully preserved ornaments made by my children, aunts, friends, Brian and myself. When I remove the tissue paper that protects them throughout the year, I smile. Visions of the faces of their creators come to my mind. In January I wrap and cushion them again, hoping to retrieve them next year. As long as I can I will hang these old ornaments, along with the new, even though some have cracks that have been glued, some are faded, and some dough ornaments are missing limbs.

Our family arrives and we so enjoy our time with them. Our hearts are thrilled when we can give someone a gift they've been hoping for. Our minds retrieve snippets of Christmases past and each retells his version of moments we shared. Eyes glow. It's meal time and we all eat way too much but it's so good.

We can't help but miss those who are absent. Eyes sometimes glow with sad tears.

So many emotions... By this time in December, some years more than others, my emotions are fragile. I may cry for any or no reason. I'm not sad or upset, just easily touched. Even then, there is serene warmth and peace. Throughout the Church or school programs, the beautiful music we hear, opportunities to give, games or a puzzle shared with family, meals with friends, even the moments we feel loss... we are cradled in love by the Saviour whose birth we celebrate. The Word says "He knows our frame". He understands all. He understands when we are absorbed with the activities and are oblivious of the gratitude we should be experiencing. He understands when we try, but soon realize how inadequate our attempts to express praise. He is touched by the feelings of being human because that's what His coming was all about. And there is strength and security in His embrace. There is calm assurance regarding our future because we're enfolded in His strong arms. The holiday and its grip with all the motion and emotion come and go but the sure, cradling, embrace of our Saviour never weakens with the passing of time. "Oh Lord, we praise your Holy name. We pour our hearts out to you. Thank you for coming to earth as a baby. Thank you for living a perfect life, doing only what you saw the Father direct. Thank you for being the lamb that was sacrificed for our sins. For making the way for God to reckon us in perfect standing with Him, for He sees you when He looks at us. It's too much for us to take in. We have no fear of death nor retribution for our sins because you have overcome. We praise your Holy Name Forever!."

If you'd like to see pictures from our hoildays, click on the Picasa Web Albums link to the left, then on the Christmas album, and slideshow.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

December Accessories

I enjoy wearing these in December. The bottle of glitter will last forever. I use a little with my blush or eye shadow on December evenings. These are the things Bree asks to borrow to wear to the "Christmas Sweater" parties. I think they have fun at the expense of their mothers' fashion taste which was, of course, developed in the 60's and 70's, flavored by the Avon lady and her Christmas ear rings. Yea!!


Friday, December 19, 2008

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Happy Birthday Brian

Wasn't Brian cute?

I am so blessed to be living my life with Brian. Here are the words from the card I gave him.

To My Dear Husband
Yours is the smile I look forward to each morning,
and yours if the voice I love to hear throughout the day.
Yours is the touch that can reach my heart and soul,
and it is your understanding that so often calms my doubts and fears...
Yours are the plans and dreams that blend with mine, becoming ours,
and yours is the love that means the world to me.
My life would be so different if you weren't a part of it,
and that is why no one has more to celebrate today
than I do.
Happy Birthday to my husband,
my soul mate,
my very best friend.
I Love You.

Several years ago, I made a movie for Brian's birthday. View a video of a famous singer incognito singing for that movie by clicking on the picture of skinny , long Brian in the left column.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Christmas Parade '08

About 25 years ago, Haskell began having a nighttime Christmas parade under the leadership of Wanda Dulaney, Chamber Director. At the time, it was the only nighttime parade in Texas. It was quite an event. Businesses spent significant $ and LOTS of hours building floats. The parade continues but not as grandly. It is kind of sad but the short duration of the parade must not warrant the effort for some folks. I love parades. I love to watch them and to participate. Brian spent several afternoons building a small church building. He and Bree painted 12 small stained glass windows with glass paints. The theme for the '08 parade was announced as "Christmas Through the Eyes of a Child" so we needed to add this aspect. I began to sew costumes. Leading our entry were two boys holding a sign announcing the theme of the parade. And above our pickup cab was written the name of our entry, "A Part in the Christmas Play." The pickup pulled the church building with light shining through the pretty windows. Our accompaniment was a cd of carols played by hand bells. Following the church building were 15 costumed children in 5 ranks. First was the angel. Next was Mary and Joseph with baby Jesus, then the choir, next the shepherds, and last the wise men. We had beautiful weather and a nice crowd. The kids enjoyed marching. I hope I have rid our house of the millions of threads from all the robes and head pieces.


I recently wanted to try a new recipe for brisket which included a marinade using red wine. I had never purchased a bottle of wine nor any other alcoholic beverage. Brian is also a teetotaler and I didn't know what he would say when I asked about stopping at the country liquor store which we pass twice weekly on our way to Peacock for Sunday services and Wednesday night prayer meeting. But he agreed. I wrote down the kind of wine I needed and we left a few minutes early for prayer meeting. As we approached the store, Brian stopped far short, actually still on the shoulder of the highway-not even in the parking lot. He didn't want any of our parishioners to see their preacher's vehicle at the beer joint and felt that if he was seen, he could just drive off and get me later. I protested but slowly got out of the pickup and walked (hiked) to the store. I went inside and began to look for the wine, trying to appear a likely shopper. The owner saw me and probably noticed I was a little awkward and he kindly pointed me in the right direction. I was looking at the wines and from behind me came, "You've got to get to church." I nervously continued to read the labels. Shortly it came again, "You've got to get to church." I cut my eyes toward the voice to see who had caught me in the beer joint. I wasn't really worried about one of our fellow Baptists spying me because I understand that Baptists can't recognize one another in beer joints. And sure enough, it wasn't. It was Pheonix, the parrot. And she was talking to me. I smiled at her, grabbed my bottle of wine, and went to the counter. I told the owner what she said to me and he told me about Phoenix, who has a pretty good vocabulary. I think he said he has owned her about 6 years and she was several years old when she came to him. I strolled back to the pickup and we continued on to prayer meeting. The next weekend, we enjoyed the brisket marinaded in the red wine. On a subsequent Wednesday night, I asked Brian to stop again and let me take pictures of Phoenix. Judge, the owner, kindly allowed us to take pictures of his bird.
We enjoyed the visit. "Be careful," Phoenix called as we were leaving. Below you can see this very pretty and smart parrot.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving 2008

I was thankful to have my family in their old "spots" for Thanksgiving. I love to hear the floor upstairs creek beneath those 4 size 14 feet, the shower on in the boys' bathroom, and especially to hear all three of them laughing about some story one of them has remembered about the other. They live in your house such a short time...
Casey and Ryan were able to spend a few days with us. My folks and my sister's family spent Thanksgiving Day at our house. And we visited Brian's sister and brother and their families on Saturday. It has been a time to remind ourselves how very blessed we are.
Donkey, on the Shrek movie, said something like, "My mother says that it ain't Christmas till somebody cries." Unfortunately, I
know just what she meant. The days before they all get here are very busy. They are days of hard work. And in your mind, you are foreseeing a perfect meal, perfect decorations, perfect lighting, perfect music in the background and perfect hair. When your company arrives, you may be hanging on by a thread and your emotions fragile. I've had my share of crying due to the exposure of that last, raw nerve. Looking back on it, whether it was a public event or a private cry in the tub, I usually make myself a promise that things will be different next time. I'll get more rest. My menu will be shorter and simpler. But by the time the next holiday arrives, I forget and pile all that extra work on top of the already busy routine. Sometimes our worst enemy is the person we share this skin with. Our families would rather we feel well, healthy enough enjoy time together rather than spend all our energy before they even get home, attempting to create the prefect anything. I really am going to remember that next time.

Updates on our family: Casey has been in Houston working for State Farm on the hurricane claims and will finish some time in December. He has enjoyed the change. Ryan, who celebrated his birthday this weekend, is responsible for the inspections of the foreign commercial vessels entering the Port of Charleston and has found it interesting. He showed us online pictures of some of the huge ships he has inspected. The ship captains he deals with tell him about listening to the communications of the Pirates that are causing so much trouble. Bree has been going to school two days a week but will be a full time student in January, finishing sciences she hadn't taken at A&M. She will decide if she wants her masters in physical therapy or physicians assistant. My folks are in Haskell, dealing with old age. My sister is Haskell County Constable and her husband is a trainee agent for State Farm and will be the Haskell Agent in April, after 15 years as the Police Chief. Aubrey is a Jr., Crissy a 6th grader, and Cash is in kindergarten. (I plan to post some "information" about this child and his activities soon.) Brian's sister and her husband are in London, missionaries for the Southern Baptist International Missions Board. Their oldest son is a computer person for Southwest Airlines in Dallas and their younger son, a member of the National Guard, just began tour of 9 months in Iraq. He is an engineer in Dallas and was married last fall. Brian's brother teaches in Ballinger and his wife is the Runnels County Tax Accessor Collector. Their daughter is finishing a degree in education at McMurry and their son works for UPS in Lubbock.
I have included below a slideshow of our Thanksgiving. (Meal and games at home, lunch at Rod's, visit in Dallas)