Linking Up with 2nd Cup of Coffee

this is my first attempt at linking to someone else's blog post...so here goes...

1. Do you find it gross to share drinks with family? Friends?

all I can say is...yuck

2. What have you learned this year? (You didn't see a question of that weight coming, did you? At least not for #2.)

that my time here is micro-dot on the line of eternity. that worry and fretting are a complete waste of the precious time I have. that a man can touch a thousand lives for Christ by simply being obedient to His calling.

3. When do you dismantle the Christmas decorations?

we start December 26 and finish on the 1st. it's a work in progress...and because I'm kinda bossy, no one is usually speaking to me by the 1st.

4. Something you wish to accomplish before the end of 2009 is:

considering we only have about 48 hours left, I'm guessing dropping that extra 85 pounds I'm carrying is out of the running...so I'll say cleaning out the hall closet...I'm just saying that...not really gonna do it.

5. How do you feel about winter (after Christmas)?

I live in Florida. What's winter?

6. Have you participated in after-Christmas sales?

I went to Walmart yesterday and bought two boxes of battery operated candles for my kitchen windows...and 16 boxes of chocolate covered pecans (turtles).

7. Do you have plans for New Year's Eve?

Watch night service at church, followed by 2 bottles of sparkling grape juice, followed by resolution to stop eating, followed by the eating of 16 boxes of chocolate covered pecans.

8. Is there anything special awaiting you in January?

geez I hope not...(that's me fretting that "special" means bad...I guess I need to reanswer part of #2)

9. If your life this year was a movie, what category or genre would it be? (Romance, Comedy, Drama, Thriller, Suspense, Farcical, etc.)

an Abbott and Costello routine pretty much sums it up

10. How much time per day do you spend blogging? Please do not lie. I will know.

well, I'm not really sure...I've never timed myself typing...I do spend time looking at other blogs (which usually makes me feel both woefully inadequate and kinda weird) and I like Facebook (I have a nosy nature) and I have been noticing that when I talk to other people I sometimes say "happy face" at the end of sentences :) so to answer the question...idk

11. Who runs your household?

Power struggles don't happen to often in our household...He controls it, always has, always will...we try to wake up each morning with thankfulness on our hearts and minds to Him for another day (whatever that day happens to bring) and try to remember that blessings always follow obedience.

12. Share one hope/dream for 2010.

to be a seeker

well, that was fun...I always want to change my answers after posting/emailing one of these kinds of posts but I think I'll stick with what I answered...for now.


Think, Think, Think

As we approach the new year, I've been pondering...it's hard not to ponder when you have so many things to ponder about...

and as I ponder over these things in my mind and heart, an assurance that He is in control of all these things I'm pondering about washes over me...

He puts people in my pathway that give confirmation to a question. He reveals His will in His word, leaving me without doubt. He speaks through His people those words of affirmation and strength.

Pondering can be a good thing...


Loose Ends No. 1 Vol. 19

Confession time...what better way to spend the last Monday of 2009...

1. I miss tv...I feel guilty about saying that, but it's true. Last night Kaitlin and I were sitting on the couch and I looked over at the space where our tv used to sit and said, "sometimes I really miss having television" and her eyes flew open and she exclaimed, "me too!!!" and we both laughed...we laughed and laughed...and then we sighed...

2. For the past three days I've eaten spinach dip for breakfast. With Triscuits.

3. I'll be putting my Christmas tree out of its misery later today. I can't stand it anymore...it looks so sad...it makes Charlie Brown's tree look like the one in Rockefeller Center. The leaning, the burnt out twinkle lights, the one side that didn't get any ornaments...plus it looks like it has...*whispering*..."the mange".

4. I didn't send any Christmas cards out this year cause...ididn'twantoo. That was a hard one to confess. For the last 23 years, I have sent out Christmas cards. I go the day after Christmas and buy up the most beautiful cards I can find that are 50% off (might as well confess it all) and then the following year, around the first week of December, I assemble and mail out about 75 cards. Not this year. I got the boxes of cards out that I bought last December 26th and put them on the kitchen table...and there they have sat all month. Each time I've walked by them, I've heard this annoying little voice, "we're wwaaiitttiiinnnggg!" But I chose to ignore it...and it felt kinda good...

5. Since Christmas Eve, I've only gotten out of my pajamas for the following reasons:
a. to go to church
b. to shower and change into clean pajamas

Whew...that felt good to get those off my chest.


The Day After

Christmas has come to an end for me...I'm doing all the elves laundry.



Go Tell It On The Mountain...That Jesus Christ Is Born!

As Christmas Eve comes to a close, my teenage children are in their beds, and my husband is fast asleep. The house is quiet, and there is no other place on the planet I would rather be.

This past year has been one of the hardest I've ever experienced in my life. And with the news I received today from my folks, next year might be even harder. I've been saying for weeks now, that I can't wait for this year to be over...and I know first hand there are others who feel exactly the same.

But the thing is...no matter how hard this year has been or next year might be or even ten years from now may be...I have hope. I have joy. I have peace.

A hope that is eternal. A joy that is endless. A peace that is everlasting.

"How can you have these things in the midst of all this world throws at you? All the pain, hatred, turmoil, depression, trouble, death?"

Because 2000 years ago, my King was born. My Savior. My Lord. Jesus Christ, born in a stable, laid in a manger, worshipped by shepherds and wisemen...this same Jesus is my hope, my joy, my peace. And He can be yours too. What better gift to receive at Christmas is there than the gift of eternal life?

As Shepherds Received The Glorious News...

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field,
keeping watch over their flock by night.

And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them,
and the glory of the Lord shone round them;
and they were sore afraid.

And the angel said unto them,
Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy,
which will be to all people.

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour,
which is Christ the Lord.

And this shall be a sign unto you;
Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel
a multitude of the heavenly
host praising God, and saying,

Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass,
as the angels were gone away from them into heaven,
the shepherds said to one another,
Let us now go even unto Bethlehem,
and see this thing which is come to pass,
which the Lord hath made known to us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph,
and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad
the saying which was told them concerning this child.

And all they that heard it wondered at those things
which were told them by the shepherds.

Luke 2:8-18 KJV

The Christmas Chronicles...Day 27

It's here...Christmas Eve...

And I spent 2 hours last night wondering around the grocery store, trying to figure out what to feed us for the next couple of days...along with every other person in our county of 30,000.

I saw more people last night than I have in a month of Sundays. We (I dragged Mark along) ran into friends from home, friends from church, friends from work, friends from school, friends from the neighborhood, friends from...well, you get the picture.

Although after the first hour in the store, Mark began to lose any Christmas spirit he had left...and the mumbling and grumbling started...but we pushed through, got everything we needed, and made it home.

And then like locust, all the teens and twenties at our house decended upon our grocery bags...

I might have to go back out to the grocery store today...I feel a grumble coming on...


Love This Poem

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along th’ unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head:
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor does He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow 1864


The Christmas Chronicles...Day 23

Having suddenly come down with a cold that has landed me on the couch for three days has put a little bit of a damper on all things Christmas around here...but as the pioneers of old pushed forward so must I...Tally Ho! (it's the fever talking...)

Let's talk about baking...at least what baking looks like around these parts...

this is Taryn baking cookies last Christmas...our baking skills haven't changed much in the last year, so I thought I would use some vintage photos (plus my camera doesn't work now, we haven't baked any cookies yet, and I'm convinced there is a "avoid the sick woman planted on the couch at all cost" theme running throughout our house)

anyway, I want you to notice something, or rather someone in the picture with Taryn...the woman in the purple robe sitting behind her...that would be Grandma...a very smart woman...

see the mess Taryn has made? and where is Grandma? like I said...smart cookie...

so these are pictures of Taryn making sugar cookies...reindeer, snowmen, stars and angels

and of course gingerbread men...

unfortunately around here that means gingerbread men with mortal wounds...

honestly, I don't understand it...and I'm a little afraid to ask...


The Christmas Chronicles...Day 19

Our Christmas tree has taken a turn for the worse...

Twinkle lights out, needles falling everywhere, tree stand as dry as the Sahara, and it's lost its "pine forest scent"...and then there is the leaning...lots of leaning.

In fact it's leaning so much, you have to lay on the couch with your head turned slightly to the right, and then lowered, with two small pillows (one large pillow is too much) underneath your right hip, so you are angled "just so"...then the if you squint your right eye tightly...the tree looks almost straight.

As I looked at the tree tonight, I also noticed alot of the ornaments aren't on it this year. Which is kinda strange because I was in the room when the kids decorated it so I thought I saw them put everything on it...but they apparently only put on about 1/3 of what we usually...

I guess they got tired of hearing me say, "no, don't put it there...put it here...no, don't put Rudolph next to the Grinch, they don't belong together...no, don't put Grandma's star next to Aunt Val's snowman, they don't get along..." (Grandma and Aunt Val...not the ornaments)

So our Christmas tree is looking a little rough right now but there's still time to regroup and make some alterations...speaking of alterations...

our tree skirt needs to be let out...those Thanksgiving pies do it every year.


The Christmas Chronicles...Day 16

On Friday, I had a moment where I became Buddy the elf, trying to get on the escalator at Gimbel's Department store...I hate the mall.

(Ok, ok...we don't say "hate" around here..."dislike immensely")

I went to the mall (by myself...I gotta get some friends) to get a little bit of Christmas shopping done on Friday. It was the first time in about two months I'd been to the mall (which is about average for me...that's also the reason I'm sometimes mistaken for a bag lady) and things got a little overwhelming.

I looked like I had never been out of the house...mouth agape, walking around in tight circles, like a dog looking for a place to lay down, mumbling to myself...and that happened just on the first escalator.

I went into a major department store looking for something specific (I had a list...I wanted to get in and get out) so I went up the escalator. And as I reached the top, I realized I was headed in the wrong direction...so I stopped dead in my tracks, right at the top of the escalator, turned around to go back down the very same escalator (that of course only went "up"), realized that the escalator only went "up", turned around in place three times, all the while mumbling to myself..."umm, umm, umm...where should I go?"

Outloud. People could hear me. And probably wishing I'd go back to Walmart.

I finally got where I needed to go, with the help of a mall cop on a Segway (I thought that was only in movies), got my one specific item, and high-tailed it back home...

Maybe I'll go back around Valentine's Day.


The Christmas Chronicles...Day 14

Confession time...sometimes I listen to Christmas music in July. 

It's a sickness...but one that usually only lasts a day or two...listening to Karen Carpenter sing about a winter wonderland in 103 degree weather with 99% humidity gets a little depressing after a couple of days.

But once the Thanksgiving dishes are done, out come the Christmas cd's. I can't seem to wait to hear Bing, Nat and Alvin (as in the chipmunk...gee, I feel kinda bad lumping Bing and Nat in with one of the most annoying cartoon characters ever created...) 

And since I'm in a confessing mood, here's another revelation...one of my most favorite Christmas cd's is...John Denver and the Muppets Christmas Television Special.

Yes, I'll admit it...I'm in love with a Christmas carol-singing piece of green fabric, shaped like a frog...and the folk-singing dude with the long hippie hair (who as my grandmother liked to say..."sings outta his nose")

Love it so much that I started out with a cassette tape, worn it out, bought another cassette tape, moved up to a cd, scratched it, bought another cd that is now currently in the minivan. 

There is just something about hearing Rolf the dog sing "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" that gets to me. Or Miss Piggy, Scooter and Gonzo singing "Christmas is coming, the goose is getting fat..." How about the entire gang singing "Silent Night"? (in German, no less) And my favorite..."When the River Meets the Sea" (although I don't think it's really a Christmas song)

So here's a little snip of what my children have had to endure each time they have gotten into our minivan each December...every single December of their lives...Enjoy!


Psalm 8

O Lord, our Lord

The Holy One of Heaven
is mine...and I am His

how majestic is your name in all the earth!

the giant, towering redwoods,
the vast, endless oceans,
the massive, snowcapped mountains...
none compare to the majesty of His name

You have set your glory above the heavens.

imagine what the angels must see.

Out of the mouth of babies and infants,
you have established strength because of your foes,
to still the enemy and the avenger.

He uses
the small,
the weak,
the unlikely...

to silence
the haughty,
the proud,
the arrogant...

When I look at your heavens,
the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
which you have set in place,

With the simple words, "Let there be..."
the night sky became filled with brilliance.

what is man that you are mindful of him,
and the son of man that you care for him?

and yet He is not blinded by that brilliance...
He sees man, the creature made for His pleasure,
and His thoughts rest upon us.

Yet you have made him a little lower
that the heavenly beings
and crowned him with glory and honor.

We who have received abundant kindness
and undeserved favor from the King,

You have given dominion over the works of your hands;
you have put all things under his feet,

must turn always to Him for wisdom...

all sheep and oxen,
and also the beasts of the field,
the birds of the heavens;
and the fish of the sea,
whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

in the entrustment of His creatures, great and small.

O Lord, our Lord,
how majestic is your name in all the earth!

Grand and Lofty
Royal and Splendid
Regal and Noble
...is His Name.

Love This Song!


And We Have A Winner...

You won the $25 AMC Enterainment Card!
I'll get it to you ASAP!

The Christmas Chronicles...Day 9

Well, we're home from our town's annual Christmas parade and it was freezing outside...as freezing as it gets in Florida...probably in the mid 40's...Mark even wore long johns...we're pathetic, we wouldn't last through a 3 day weekend in Montana.

So to kick of this post, I'll preface it with...

(and I hate my camera)...
that being said, here we go...

that's me eagerly awaiting the start of the parade...yes, I appear to be sleeping but that wasn't the case...I was just resting...yeah, resting

One of the things I love about living in a small town is Main Street...
here is small glimpse of ours...

Although one of my closest friends (who shall remain nameless) says everytime she and her husband drive down our Main Street during December, they start to sing "Viva Las Vegas".

Our Christmas parade always starts off with fireworks...beautifully framed over the Family Dollar store...another glowing testimony to my photography skills...

the fireworks lasted about 15 minutes and this was the only shot I got...the other 28 I took of the fireworks looked like this...

Anyway, our parade always gets started with our local Sheriff's Department's Honor Guard and lots of police cars...

and fire engines, old and new...

then comes the politicians and cartoon characters...

fast cars, hot rods, and golf carts...

marching bands and twirlers...

church floats...

...and business floats

Bar-be-que and Beauty Queens...

....Bikers and Babes

The Grinch and Santa Claus...

...and best of all...nice people who hand you free candy


The Christmas Chronicles...Day 8 + A Surprise! (It's a Giveaway...but don't tell anyone!)

We like watching Christmas movies around our place...

Movies like "It's A Wonderful Life", "The Santa Clause" and "Elf"...Hayden even gets up in the middle of the night on Christmas Eve to watch "A Christmas Story" fifteen times before the rest of us get up...

And we started a new tradition a few years ago, watching "The Nativity Story" together every Christmas Eve.

Those times we can sit together and laugh, saying lines along with the movie, ("Buddy the elf, what's your favorite color?") eating popcorn and the like are alot of fun...

Just having a treat during the hussle and bussle of the season is fun too...so I'm having a Giveaway!

Here's the Giveaway...

(1) $25 AMC Theatres Entertainment Gift Card

Go to a movie (I hear "The Blind Side" is really good), get some popcorn or Jujubees...or maybe my favorite...Sno-caps and a blue Icee!

Here's what you need to do...leave a comment to the question below, just one comment per person please (and if you leave a potty mouth comment a.k.a. a comment that is inappropriate, it'll get deleted). And when time is up, I'll count how many times Clarence's bell rings and that's the number that wins...no, wait...he's still busy with George Bailey...I'll just pick a number out of the hat...

and the question?
"What's your favorite holiday movie?"

The giveaway ends at 9:00 p.m. Eastern
on Saturday, December 5th, 2009.

So get those comments in and remember what Santa says...
"You'll shoot your eye out!"


The Christmas Chronicles...Day 7

As the first few days of December have come upon us, I've noticed a few wrapped gifts suddenly appearing under our tree...

The kids love to get their shopping done early for each other and for us. Even at 15, 17 and 19 they still make out a list of what they would like for Christmas. And since their mother has swiss cheese for a brain and can't remember anything, the lists usually stay in my purse for most of December...and then in January, when I finally find their lists, I have to ask one of the kids, "are these the lists for last year or next year?"

When the kids were little, Mark and I would get a babysitter on a Friday night in December and hit the big blue box or Tar-shay to get the kids presents bought in one shot. We would spent about 3 or 4 hours going up and down each aisle in the toy section...Mark putting the toys that he wanted to play with on Christmas morning into the shopping cart and then I would take all the toys Mark wanted to play with on Christmas morning out of the shopping cart. It was like a little cat and mouse game we played each year...

Then after all the shopping finally got done, we would go to Outback and have our yearly dinner out without 3 pairs of hands grabbing, spilling, or hitting...it was glorious...so glorious in fact, occasionally Mark would have to bribe me with ice cream to get me into the car to go home.

When it comes to gifts for each other, Mark and I don't exchange Christmas gifts anymore...not since the pizza pan incident.

Yes, there was an incident...

We had been married a few years and the first of three kids in four years had begun to arrive so we weren't exactly concerned with getting each other something "lovey dovey". But we still planned on getting each other "something". So when Mark asked me what I wanted for Christmas, I said the following 9 little innocent words...

"whatever you pick out will be just fine, honey!"

Big mistake. This is now my patented answer to any new bride who asks me for advice...don't ever say those 9 little innocent words...ever. EVER.

Because the first time you do utter those 9 little innocent words, you'll find yourself unwrapping a 24 inch aluminum pizza pan (with the $8.99 price sticker still on the back) in front of your parents, children, in-laws and friends.

The ride home from his parents house that afternoon was very, very quiet.

A simple shopping story...

Her cart was dripping. The grocery cart she was pushing around the produce section of the big box store I had just entered was drippin...