Sunday, December 25, 2011

Wake Up, It's Christmas!

Merry, Merry, Merry, Merry Christmas!

Here's to all our candle light services, to all our gatherings, to all our delightful dishes, to all our decorations, to all our spending and celebrating, to all our traditions, to all our disappointments and to all our exhilaration, to all our needs for Advil or Tylenol or something stronger, 
to all our bells and lights and beautiful bows,
to our humanity - and to His Holiness -
and to His gift of love and life and light.

He became human like us 
so we could become sons of God like Him.

"This is the name by which He will be called:  The LORD our righteousness." Jeremiah 23:6

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Cleaning Is a BIG Part of Christmas

Is it not?
I mean... who wants to decorate on top of dirty?
when we entertain - we have to pick up the clutter
and clean...
and when family comes in..
those clean sheets..
getting the bedrooms ready..
and the bathrooms.

Don't always have it - 'cause I don't always clean.
Today I'm cleaning.
Sarah's coming home tonight.
Mary Ann is coming tomorrow.
Kate came when John and Ada came, and, yes, I cleaned for my grandchildren.

Here's what Ada now says when she comes into my house for the first time after a long time away...
"It's so CWEAN!"
I get it ready for the big mess up that she and John and Ellie and Luke and Andrew will create.
Their creation of playing and imagining and exploring and eating and digging into my home.

So - today as I clean - I have thoughts.  Do you do that?

I've already vacuumed the kitchen and mopped it - before Kate waked up -
She'll be cooking some for Ann who will have Steve's parents for Christmas.
I wanted to get the floor clean for the new layer of drops and spills and tracks.

So - my thoughts -
Know what I ALWAYS think of when I mop?
Once upon a time, while mopping, the phone rang.
It was Mary Bratton - this was a long time ago - and of course she asked, "What are you doing?"
But we continued to talk and I learned how cool it is to have a long phone conversation while mopping.
That's the best my floor was EVER mopped.  Because the conversation lasted longer than the mopping.
So I mopped and mopped and then did a very thorough rinse mop.  
and then did my foot dry.
(I'll explain below)

I have absolutely no idea what we talked about.  But it was probably about our children and some common thing that was going on in our active lives produced by having 2 and 4 children at home.

The Foot Dry.  
I get a towel or two hand towels or 2 large dry wash cloths.
I put my feet on these and slide all over the floor.
It not only dries the floor but picks up some remaining soil.
It gives one a good idea of just how stained the floor can get 
and how good, or not so good, it's been mopped.

Christmas gets us cleaning.
It's a steady task and it makes my thoughts go to other times 
when I made these same beds and dusted these same spots and handled these same possessions.
I remember people and days and events.
I consider the changes in our lives
and how we've evolved.
And before I know it,
I've gotten it done,
and I get to enjoy the completed task.

Sarah will be home around 9:00 p.m.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Christmas Update

Last Weekend on the 10th
I had the unique privilege of traveling to Clarkston, Georgia with Steve, Charlie, Ellie and Luke to handout blankets and other warm things as well as gift bags to immigrants from Burma and some other countries.  Our church family had collected/purchased and put together these things for 40 or 50 families.  The 5 of us had the fun task of handing them to these brave and dear people.  Our connect in Clarkston is my friend, Mary Emily Mulloy, along with her husband, Bob.  Mary Emily and I were friends and housemates in Auburn all the way back in 1973.  Long time ago.  

In this photo I'm keeping Ellie warm underneath my jacket.
It looks like I'm smothering her.
For some reason she had taken her jacket off.

That's Steve handing a gift bag and blankets to a very sweet lady.

Young man on the left is Tha-htoo.  He is a leader amongst his fellow Burmese friends.
He has been in the U.S. 3 1/2 years.  Was in a refugee camp in Thailand before coming to the states.
He is a hard worker and speaks English very well.
He was our director - getting us to those in need of what we brought.

Ellie and Luke on the right.
These other children - aren't they adorable?

My friend, Mary Emily, handing blankets to a very grateful lady.

I love this picture.  Left to Right, Moo from Burma, Ellie from United States,
Moo's friend from Iraq, and Moo's friend from Somalia.
Four beautiful girls from all over the world.

This weekend, beginning on Thursday the 15th....
I met Laura Beth in Adairsville and picked up Ada and John.  Laura Beth and Scott drove to Scottsboro to join them on Saturday and they all left on Sunday after lunch.

And so began 2 nights and 2 days with Ada and John.
The days began very early - which is fine with me.
I get up early anyway.
My grandchildren own my house.
Any drawer is free game - especially the pen and pencil drawer.

Again, early Friday morning, still dark out.
Coffee tastes so very good that time of morning.

Around 10:00 on Friday Ada was anxiously awaiting the arrival of her cousins.
Ann had called to say they were en route.
She's dancing and twirling with excitement.

a brief stand still...

Finally here.

It all creates so much silliness - all that excitement.

And Ta Daaaaaaaahhhhh.
She worked her puzzle which I had for her to open.
They were so anxious to open just one gift.
I got them each a small puzzle for them to open and work.

I wanted more pictures.

But that would mean actually remembering to pick up the camera and clicking.

Kate drove home from North Carolina on Friday.
Laura Beth and Scott arrived on Saturday.
We had a modified Christmas meal on Saturday night, 
because that was our Christmas with Laura Beth and Scott - 


On Sunday the 18th Abigail was dedicated to God by her parents.
Because Steve is our pastor and Abigail's daddy, Steve has to get someone else to do baby dedication for his children.  This time he asked Charlie to do it.  Unique, since Charlie is her granddaddy.

Charlie, Kate and I concluded Sunday evening with a trip to Birmingham
to see Briarwood Presbyterian's Christmas Program.
It involved Choir/Orchestra/and Ballet celebrating the Gospel.
The joy of God's gift - God coming to us - to bring us to Him.

That's my Christmas so far.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

More Christmas

With 96.9 on my radio, playing that "cool" and "nostalgic" Christmas Music, I drove up/down 72 to get my dear friend, Mary, for lunch - this holiday season.  Cold, rainy holiday weather calls for friends to hunker down and get some soup.  We got it at The Veranda in Scottsboro.  Delish!  Chicken Noodle Soup was featured today and it hit the spot - that and their coffee.

After lunch she and I meandered through two local shops and mostly looked at all the pretties.  So much Christmas.  We reflected about all those past years when we were younger - and so wanted to gather as many gorgeous ornaments and trims as we could.  They're still gorgeous to look at, but we both agreed we're maxed out.  Can't buy another ornament, the way our tummies get full and we can't hold another bite.  This year I just made my ornaments and didn't even get my old ones out.  The trouble with that is, NOW I HAVE MORE ORNAMENTS TO STORE!  What was I thinking?  Oh well, I'm having fun.  I had fun.

And with all that said - and written on Wednesday -

It is now Thursday -

Our Christmas Dinner at church is a memory.  It was last night.  I took my camera and came home without a single photo.  But we had a delightful time.  Fellowship - Food, catered by The Veranda, (2nd time The Veranda is in this post) and beautiful table settings.  We, the ladies, signed up for decorating one table each.

As Laura Beth said in this post,   "And, because I hate a post without pictures, I'll end with a few..."

What follows are the "outtakes", the ones that couldn't show up in Ann's Christmas Card.
This is the reality of taking 114 photos for one perfect Christmas Card Photo.

1.  That's me trying to hide behind the four so that they are lined up and it will appear that Abigail is sitting alone.  Do you see my back and hair and hand on her arm?

2.  Better solution as long as I don't choke Abigail.
I was so very very low down and had a death grip on the back of her dress.
See how it's pulled around her neck?

3.  She gets smothered with kisses.  If one starts kissing her, they all do.
They are a very competitive, keep up with each other, set of siblings.

4.  Andrew apparently wasn't enjoying the photo shoot.
This is in the beginning.  Ann was trying to get some individual shots of him and of Luke.
Andrew needed a nap and it was tough getting his cooperation.

5.  He was more interested in ladybugs crawling on his fingers.

6.  I think here, Andrew had just put his finger in Abigail's mouth.
Notice the funny face she's wearing, my fingers on Andrew's shoulder, and the look on his face.
It's, "I know I wasn't supposed to do that, but I just had to".

7.  And here are the brothers - 
Ann wanting them together in a shot, but again, 
Andrew not in the mood for Luke's arm to be around him.

8.  Okay - so we've moved to Ann's screened porch.  The kids' smiles aren't natural nor are they smiling all at the same time so I had to think of something funny - I remembered Andrew and Luke's favorite version of Jingle Bells.  I'm singing it and acting it out with Ann as the victim - as she takes the picture.
Lyrics, here, so you'll understand:

Jingle bells, Shotgun shells
Granny had a gun
Shot me in my underpants
and boy I had to run!

Notice that Abigail doesn't seem to understand the humor.

9.  So I had to single her out and talk all 
ooshy goosh to her - the voice she recognizes as "Near" (that's me)  speaking directly to her.

That's all.

How are you doing Christmas ?