Thursday, December 28, 2006

Pieces of our holiday...

Wow! I just scrolled through my Christmas pics...and I want to post about 20!! But I won't.. blogger probably won't let me is a shortened version of our beautiful holiday....:)

Son and girlfriend (Rico, the bird perched on the couch hoping for a goodie)

daughter and new hubby (stockings hung by the chimney with care..:))

decorating the tree(everyone hung their own ornaments as they arrived)


Enjoying the loot...Gigi and Jadabear...and yes, we had matching

Chillin by de fire at the end of a lovely day...full tummies and full hearts...


Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I'm back...

..well for a day or two...then the New Year's weekend is upon us! I won't truly be back til next mind is still in vacation mode. :)
so how was your Christmas? mine was great!
lots of food and sweets and family and laughter...not much singing this year...mountains of gifts...we all went a bit overboard with the Jadabear....we'll know better next year, right?
My son and new SIL got to play santa and put some toys together...funny seeing them on their backs in the garage trying to figure out the bits and pieces of a Barbie hot
BBQ is the meal of the day on Christmas day(no cooking allowed)...and for icing on the cake the Cowboys and Eagles were playing football...Eagles win!! (did I mention we are big Eagles fans)...such a treat to have every one here and not for only a day or two...but long enough to really enjoy each other. I took about 200 pictures and my son turned me on to the movie feature on my camera so I have a couple of those too...I'll be sure to post a few..I promise, only a few...:).....
Now to try and focus enough to get a little work done so I can be off over the weekend again! Yay!...see ya...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Hark the Herald

Hark the herald angels sing” was written by Charles Wesley, brother of John Wesley founder of the Methodist church, in 1739. A sombre man, he requested slow and solemn music for his lyrics and thus “Hark the herald angels sing” was sung to a different tune initially. Over a hundred years later Felix Mendelssohn (1809-1847) composed a cantata in 1840 to commemorate Johann Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. English musician William H. Cummings adapted Mendelssohn’s music to fit the lyrics of “Hark the herald angels sing” already written by Wesley.

most of us know the original verses....

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;

Apparently the churches I fellowship with are not the first to modify exisitng lyrics to songs...take a look at these awesome additions...added by no less than George Whitfield...they really do bring the true meaning of Christmas home don't they? wow! His true purpose for coming...the glorious reality that goes far beyond the manger...

"Words: Hark How All The Welkin Rings, Charles Wesley (1707-1788), Hymns and Sacred Poems, 1739
Amended by
George Whitfield (1714-1770), 1753
Martin Madan (1726-1790), 1760
And Others"

Come, Desire of nations come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Oh, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart!
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new-born king;
Peace on earth and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!"
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the new born King!"

Adam's likeness, Lord, efface,
Stamp Thine image in its place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee, though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man:
O, to all Thyself impart,
Formed in each believing heart.
Hark! the herald angels sing,
"Glory to the newborn King!"

I pray for each of us...that He has and will continue to make His home in our hearts...that He will continually efface Adam's likeness and replace it with that of His own...that He will impart Himself into our inner man til we look just like Him!
May your hearts be filled with the Light that is Christ this season and every season...MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Monday, December 18, 2006

Twas the week before Christmas....

Good Monday, the week before Christmas, morning!!
We're getting excited at our house! I have spent the last few days working and making lists and trying to faithfully carry out my
My son arrived early this morning!! yay!! He drove overnight from Philly and arrived about 7:30 am...much to our surprise and pleasure! He'll be going straight to bed I'm sure...His girlfriend will be joining us later today from FL...the other kids are making plans to head up on Thursday and we're getting set for a fun, fun holiday. The sea of leaves is growing smaller...the groceries are purchased...the house is almost decorated..(said son will be helping with that tree trimming thing :))...everyone has an assigned place to sleep...(big one) :) gifts are almost all bought...not wrapped but I'll have help by Friday...whew! its a lot to cover but we're getting there. It feels like an Andy Williams kind of Christmas...with out snow...its hovering in the 70s right now....

Guess what?? I am expending more energy than I am taking in calories!!! That means I am actually LOSING weight during the holidays!! Is that possible???! and more importantly, will it last? Don't hate me.....:) I promise to eat lots and lots of cookies and chocolate and have big meals every day for a week....then we'll see what
Have a wonderful holiday week! I know I am!

Friday, December 15, 2006

Caroling Memories

Caroling has always been one of my favorite parts of the Christmas season.
As a teen my youth groups visited retirement homes to carol and as a young wife I continued, along with my hubby, the tradition of caroling with our various church groups. Unfortunately caroling seems to have been sadly neglected...people are always surprised and pleased when they open their door to carolers...but for me...its a vital part of Christmas.
After I became the mother of 3 little ones, my holiday activity narrowed to basically just the kids and making their holiday bright...but as the children grew and as we took on more church seemed right to get back out there at Christmas time and share the love with the rest of the world. One year, when the kids were little...maybe 5, 3, and an infant...we decided to take our little church family out caroling during the holiday season...I remember it was very cold for Alabama...we were walking through a neighborhood with a group of adults and my little ones along with a couple of other small each door we stopped, sang one carol, said Merry Christmas and moved on...after a few stops the kids caught on to what we were doing...they started asking if they could sing...well of course they could join us...but no, that wasn’t what they kids, being my kids...they wanted to do one by themselves..just them.
We thought about that for a minute....we remembered that they knew Away in a Manger quite well and had been singing it around the house...after stopping on the corner under a streetlight to practice a couple of times we decided to give it a try. At the first house...the kids, all 4 or 5 of them, ranging in ages from 3-7, stood in a circle with us adults huddling semi-circle around them…(we figured that we, the adults could help them out if they faltered) soon as the door opened, they looked to me for the ok and started singing...

Away in a manger
No crib for His head
The little Lord Jesus
Lay down His sweet head
The stars in the sky
Looked down where He lay
The little Lord Jesus
Asleep on the hay

The cattle are lowing
The baby awakes
But little Lord Jesus
No crying He makes
I love thee, Lord Jesus
look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle
Til morning is nigh. the frosty silence their childish voices rang out clear as bells.
and with the porch lights shining on their little blonde heads...I have to tell you...nothing has ever looked or sounded so much like angels...5 little ones...standing in a circle...singing Away in a Manger on a starry night. was amazing...and in the stillness of a quiet Alabama street I could almost hear the angels softly joining in. The kids made it through about 3 more houses before all our fingers and toes began to go numb and we all voted to retire to warmth and hot chocolate. It was one of the sweetest experiences of Christmas I have ever known...

Be near me, Lord Jesus
I ask thee to stay
close by me forever
and love me I pray
Bless all the dear children
In thy tender care
and take us to heaven
to live with You there....


Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Smile...its Christmas time!

Its a good ole Bama Christmas!!

Monday, December 11, 2006

Jada's visit....

Finally got some pics of Jadabear's visit downloaded....
Shes' a riot!
Isn't she funny in her dress up high heels her Poppy bought her and her biking knee pads?
Maybe a smart idea...those knee pads with high heels, that it to her Poppy to "match" her outfit...LOL

Then there's Gigi's play gound ( as Jada calls it)

And the sand box....currently buried in a sea of matter...we play anyway!

News Flash!!! Jada and her mommy will be moving back to Atlanta and in with Gigi and Poppy as of Jan. 1st! Her mommy will be attending school beginning in Feb. Yeah!!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Christmas Memories and Sisterhood

I'm sure the first memory triggered all this...but I have had a few flash backs this past week and have found that if I take each one out and examine it...I can remeber SO much more than I originally I think I'll do this...sprinkle a memory here and there along the way through the 25th ...who knows...maybe it'll revive some of your long lost ones too....

We used to live in Pennslyvania...I was a young hubby was a young pastor...and we were trying to do something completley different as far as "church" was concerned....we had begun having "sisters" meetings as well as "brothers" meetings....this was apparently a foreign concept to the congregation but everyone took to it like ducks take to appears to be natural for the sexes to congregate...humans love to hang out with those of like gender...
We had what I suppose could be called a core group...made up of what most churches would see as their front row people...the die hards who were very serious and very committed to Christ and the church...this Christian life was their life....these became the leaders of the sisters and brothers meetings...
There were 4 sisters in this core that I mean spiritual sisters not biological of which was myself...(of course, being the pastor's wife I would be included...the Church was obviously my life...:)) Hey, not that I didn't deserve the spot...I did...LOL
It became the norm for the 4 of us to get together often...for planning, for prayer, for dinner :)...and being like minded in Christ, we became friends as well....
One of these girls was very much an artsy adventurer...she went to strange foreign films and out of the way art shows...she wore dangly earrings and flowing skirts ( i know, what's the point of that you can picture her...:))...any say the least she was always seeking out interesting and low cost entertainment for her family....that talent naturally extended to us as a foursome....
When the holidays were nearing, she suggested that we, the four of us, do something together...besides the annual cookie swap or gift exchange...
She had heard of a Holiday Tour of Homes... if you know Philly you know that the place is full of historic homes that deck out at Christmastime, so we agreed, bought our tickets and made our plans....
We dressed the part, wearing our holiday garb and went out to dinner first, then we boarded the bus that would drive us around to the homes....
The tour was lovely...each home dressed in its finest....lights all around, music playing on the bus....bone chilling temperatures and hot cider or cocoa at every door....we rode from house to house laughing, singing and acting the silly way only girls can act when they get together without men...:) It was fabulous!

Though I didn't realize it at the time, something special, even spiritual was happening...the outing contained an element I had never experienced before and my spirit was being opened to something we laughed, ate, sang, and shared life together I was catching a glimpse of something more... the realization came to me of a depth of kinship I had never even imagined existed...a peek, if you will, into the fellowship within the Godhead between the Father and the Son, or like that between Christ and His Church.

Here we were...4 women of varying backgrounds and varying ages...all deeply in love with our Lord ...and falling head over heels in love with one another...laughing together, eating together, sharing the Lord together in such a free way....all with the backdrop of Christmas was a beautiful incredible thing...

This was my very first taste of "sisterhood"....I had experienced many relationships in the context of church in my life, but the bonding together of women with other women around the Lord Jesus...that I had never known to this was glorious....through those women, I saw Him in a whole new light....He suddenly became touchable, findable...full of expression and joy and variety, a diamond with many facets... I saw Him, I mean really saw Him, in their faces....
and perhaps, if I squinted my eyes...He might even be wearing dangly earrings and a flowing skirt....
A light came on in my spirit that has never gone out.

We have long since gone our seperate ways.... walking different paths...I am happy to report that each of these sisters still holds to that same Lord.
I will always treasure the time we had together...It was the opening of a door in my experience with the Lord that I have since explored to a much greater extent...I have found that the Church of Jesus Christ is strong and powerful...She is radiant and encompassing, full of light and joy and endless variety....and much of Her strength lies with in the sisterhood....I am blessed beyond measure to have sisters in the Lord...

as s song from one of our churches reflects...

How pleasant and how good it is
When sisters in the Lord
In one another's joy delight
And dwell in one accord

Such fragrance like anointing oil
From head to body poured
Such oneness like the morning dew
With sweet refreshment stored

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Somebody brought in goodies today to work..and yesterday....AND the day before....yum!... but at this rate I'm gonna gain 10 lbs before Christmas! Who can resist pecan squares or baklava, lemon cookies or mint fudge brownies?!?! Its just awful really....I'm finishing off the baklava even as we speak...apparently I am the only one who truly loves it... :) everyone else has deferred to
Busy I suppose they all will be til after the New Year...
Worked Sat and son was in town with his band on Monday which required a "mom cooked meal" and a trip to see the band perform...lots of new songs etc so it was fun...but I'm not really used to the smokey bar type atmosphere and staying out til all hours...what a way to start the week after finishing a week that didn't ever actually end....but I got to see my baby...:) my 26 year old baby boy..:) He's wonderful and I love him to bits! He'll be home for almost 2 weeks at Christmas time...yeah!! (blogger won't let me post pics...drat!! he's so cute!)
Working a lot...a lot!... didn't get home til midnight last nite...gotta be there again tonight...this 2nd job thing is rough during holidays when so much other is happening..
Hoping to be
here on Sunday night for their Living Christmas presentation....
trying to get my lists in order so I get everything done over the next few weeks...
planning on a
Thrasher Christmas for the kiddos, maybe a little ice skating here...and a Country Christmas here.....
Of course there are special meals to be planned and a family goodie making event when the girls all arrive....
so I have my work cut out for me.... working, shopping, cleaning and cooking...then
I will finally be "off" on Sat so perhaps I can make a dent in the "other" jobs on my list....I think leaf blowing is first on the list(our yard is a sea of leaves)...then perhaps that Christmas tree will actually get put up and decorated(the decorations are currently strewn about the floor)...some shopping...the gift and grocery kind....hmmm wonder if I can squeeze in some house cleaning?...
whew...think I'll get to sleep any time soon? I keep reminding myself that I ran on 6 or less hrs of sleep nightly the entire time I was raising my kids...I can do this! (any words of encouragement will be greatly appreciated...:)) Work now and play later...that's my motto!
and who knows..maybe I'll actually burn more calories that I take in....

Monday, December 04, 2006

I had a memory...

I had a memory...not sure what evoked it, probably a song.....really just a flicker of a memory...til I took it out and examined it.....then suddenly it grew into a full fledged remembrance complete with pictures and a sound track....
I was in the 4th grade, I think...really too old for my mind anyway...still, I wanted one...just one more before I got too big...(because I always got one for Christmas...)...everything else on my list was grown up...clothes, a stereo, a tennis racket...or a badmitton set....but still I wanted just one more doll...a token wave to my carefree pre-school days before spelling tests and math assignments...
Christmas Eve arrived and my little sister and I scampered off to bed to await the arrival of Santa...Yes, we knew there was no Santa Claus but it was fun to pretend...presents still magically appeared in the night...and nothing was ever so exciting! Too exciting I suppose for we could never sleep...but this night...this Christmas Eve was different...we fell asleep easily, knowing the morning would bring fun like never before...(every year is like never before or so it seems)
Sometime in the night we awoke..I don't know who woke or my sis, but wide awake we were....and all was dark and quiet in the house...just like in the poem...not a creature was stirring....
after lying there for what seemed like hours we made the daring decision to tiptoe to the living room to see if "santa" had arrived....
and sure enough...all the stocking were filled and there was a multitude of gifts stacked under the tree....being the very young girls that we were, we just couldn't go back to way! This was far too exciting! And then I saw her!....she was unwrapped and sitting on top of the substantial pile of packages.....yes, there was a doll...she was just the right kind of doll for a semi-grown up little girl...she had a cloth body with those soft rubber type arms, legs and head, just perfect for playing house. She had eyes that opened and shut and blonde curls... and what I remember the most...she smelled SO good...just the way a new doll should smell. I inhaled deeply and was intoxicated right away.
We jumped in head first and opened absolutely everything... our parents slept exhaustedly in the next room(they had probably just gotten to bed :))........Around 2am they were awakened by our squeals of delight over our new toys and I can still hear the disappointment in my mother's voice..."we can't even get any pictures...they've opened everything!"
By then we were winding down from our adrenaline highs and getting very sleepy so we were persuaded to go back to bed, taking our new dolls with us (I'm sure my sis got one too). We slept in til 10 am the next morning...the only time that has happened in the history of our family Christmases. We had forgotten one thing..the stockings, hung by the chimney with mom did get pictures of something at least..and we had a bit more fun opening those on Christmas the daylight..:)
As I recall, that was the only Christmas I actually have memories of my daddy being present for gifts and breakfast, it was our last as a family unit,... my parents seperated the following spring. So I suppose it stands out in my memory as our only family Christmas, as a whole.

I kept and loved that doll for a very long time...far past the age for little girls playing house....and to this very day whenever I smell that smell, that new dolly smell...that old intoxication returns...I see her in my minds eye....and I remember 2 little girls surrounded by Christmas bliss in the middle of the night, the darlings and frustrations of their mommy and daddy... and I smile....