Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Simplest Things

"When we recall Christmas past,

we usually find that the simplest things,

not the great occasions,

give off the greatest glow of happiness.
~Bob Hope

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

3/5 of the Girls & Their Elves

Some moments in life are,
hands down,
better than others.
And this past weekend
fell into the
"Ok, this is a special time!"

For instance, on the first day of our extended weekend,
Christmas baking!
This year was a bit more enjoyable
as Christa and Rachel were part of the baking crew.

And if you remember from Christa/Robert's
wedding weekend post,
Rachel sure loves to have the supervisory role...
(the apron above was just a prop :)

But, remember,
 there was a little elf involved...

and she was more than willing
to have elf-duty...

which she excelled at, I'll have you know.

We did have a larger elf,
who came in once in awhile to give his two cents worth,
 to help with the star cookies,
 and to claim his own perfect star.
(You're one of our 'r'ock 's'tars, Robert!)

And at one point during the day,
as I was in the living room playing on the floor with a little elf,
I get a very excited call from the kitchen from my youngest,
"Mom, hurry up, come look!!!"
I jump up to see what all of the excitement is about,
to rush into the kitchen to see this...

Christa's proud accomplishment of scooping multiple cookies
from the cookie sheet!
I got the call when she had four on the spatula at a time.
Imagine her excitement when she managed the five!!
Picture a big smile,
 and if she were able to jump up and click her heels
while simultaneously balancing the cookies,
she would have!

As you can imagine,
 baking all day made us ravenous

and the eldest of the elves
stepped in to do his part.

So with carols in the background and
loved ones around the table,

we basked in the specialness of the day,
knowing that these moments are sometimes
too few and far in between.

(to be continued)

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Gift

Years ago,
during the girls' elementary school years,
a local church had a meals delivery program
to the elderly shut-ins in our community.

was our day to deliver
delicious meals prepared by Miss Edna.

So I would load up any of the kids
around the lake who were available
into the mega-wagon

and off we would go
the bumpy clay back roads of West Putnam.

Now there was one woman,
well into her eighties,
who was on our route.

She was always glad to see
a carload of kids show up at her door,
and her face would visually brighten.

And every year,
when I decorate my tree,
I think of her.

You see,
one day we showed up with her meal
during the beginning of Christmas season,
and there was a bare tree in the
corner of her living room.

Since she was quite frail,
we offered our help
to decorate.

"Oh no," she said.
"I just take my time.  It will take me
about two weeks to finish,
but decorating the tree is my
gift to Jesus."

The memory of her intention
helps me remember
what this season
is all about. 

Celebrating the One
who is the ultimate

Happy Birthday, Jesus!

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Giving Thanks

Thanksgiving weekend started with my waking moments on Wednesday. 
 That was the day I was starting my prep cooking, my table setting,
my getting the house in order for guests. 
 I woke up thankful that morning,
 with my thoughts wandering over all in my life for which I am grateful.
And also wondering "why not wake up this way every day?!"
Gonna work on that one!  It certainly set the pace for the rest of the day.

I like to decorate my pies with hearts.  And this year I was short on crust and almost didn't make any.  So when I had to run to the store again for some things forgotten, I picked up premade crusts to make the cut-outs.  Baked them a little bit with a touch of egg-wash and sugar, then placed them on the pumpkin and apple pies.
Later that day, I overheard Christa telling Jess
"These hearts are my favorite thing about mom's pies."
So glad I didn't leave them off!

My favorite...

Now for the obvious:
I'm thankful for my 4 girls.
They have grown into wonderful women who, if I were to handpick my friends,
I would pick them in a heart-beat.
(I think I might see how many times I can work the word heart into this post)

And they have brought young men and grandchildren into my life whom I love,
and who have stolen my heart.
I am so very thankful for each of them.

(Hope and Charlie serving his soldiers Thanksgiving dinner at Ft. Leonard Wood)

(Lucas and Robert having some bonding time)
(A dad and his boy)

And if the balloon gives you a hint, around Thanksgiving
there is always a celebration of Christa's birthday.
And this year Robert threw a surprise party, which he pulled off quite well.
There were friends, young and old

who celebrated her life

with gifts,

but more importantly,
with their presence

and love.
(Check out that face!)

And for an added bonus, while in G-ville we got to watch a UF/FSU lacrosse game being
officiated by our very own Peter...

under the lights on our beloved UF campus.
 (Steven & Nolan)

(Julie with the b-day girl)

Where two of the youngest generation got a chance
to get acquainted

which made the littlest guy quite happy.

And the circle of friendship continues!
I'm thankful.
  Does my heart good!

While driving past the stadium, where so many memories in the past have been made,
we couldn't pass up the chance to make some more,
and introduce the Little Guy to some of UF best.
(Yes, Lucas is being used as a football!)

A sidenote:  Speaking of football, thank you, Rachel, for carrying on the
Thanksgiving morning football tradition!

She organized a pick-up game in my imaginary hometown of Asheville
and happened to be the only girl playing (hmmm),
and her team won, thank you very much.
Rach, I need the play-by-play!

Another sidenote:  I did get to watch my first NFL game of the season
 with my little Lexi friend keeping my lap warm.

  Sorry, Jets, but I was rooting for that Tebow.

But I keep digressing,
 but since this is my blog,
 I guess that's my prerogative.

It's just that this Thanksgiving week was so busy.
And so many moments snapped with my handy DSLR.
"Busy", though, is not really the accurate word.

The time was filled. 
With wonderful moments.
Wonderful interactions.
With life.

Such as,
checking out the cedars outside a city apartment window

Being the recipient of an intentional kiss for the first time.

Cozily chillin' on the couch

After protecting the Little Guy from the slight chill outside

Or pursuing the uncatchable, just for the fun of it!

Yes, life is filled with "busy-ness".
Those moments that are captured by the Canon,
and others that are captured by my heart
to be held always with fondness and thankfulness.

And in that Wednesday morning musings,
know that my thoughts encircled
each of you, my family and friends.
I thanked God for you then,
and continue to do so.

You make me rich!
It does my heart good!