A New Year, A New Hodgepodge…

 

Happy New Year!  What better way to help get the year started than with The Hodgepodge?!  As always, many thanks to our gracious hostess, Joyce, for keeping things going.  Now, here are today’s questions:

1. Share one favorite moment/memory from your Christmas holiday.

My favorite moment/memory from this Christmas was the candlelight church service that Ed and I attended on Christmas Eve.  It was our first time attending a candlelight Christmas Eve service, and our oldest son brought the message. Good moments, good memories.

2. What was the best thing you ate over the holidays? Was it homemade or store-bought? If it was homemade did you make it?

I ate so many good things, it’s hard to choose just one–and my waist is showing it, too!!!  I’ll choose “fruitcake cookies” as my answer, though.  We ate some at a get-together that we attended, and those were some of the best fruitcake cookies I’ve ever eaten.  They were homemade by a friend, and she was kind enough to send some home with us, too.

3. What was one of the most beautiful things you saw over the holidays?

I’ll say the Christmas light displays Ed and I visited, shortly before Christmas.  We noticed there just weren’t many light displays, this year, but we found three families who went “all out” and had filled their yards with all kinds of Christmas decorations.  We thoroughly enjoyed looking at their displays, and really appreciated their efforts.

4. What does fresh start mean to you?

A fresh start means putting the past behind you, and starting all over, like when you move from one place to another, or when you retire.

5. On a scale of 1-10 (with 10 being very positive and 1 being not so great) how would you rate 2016 in terms of personal achievement and well-being? Explain.

If I compare 2016 to our nightmare year of 2015, I’d have to give it a “10”, but since Ed and I did have a couple of issues to deal with during the year, I’m going to give 2016 an “8”.   2016 could’ve been better, but we know it could’ve been a whole lot worse, too!

6. Every January 1st since 1976 Lake Superior University has published a list of words they’d like to see banished from the Queen’s English. Words may be banished due to misuse, overuse, or just general uselessness. Go here to read more about how the words were chosen or, if you’re like me, to find out what in the world the word or phrase even means or the context in which it’s used. There were quite a few on this year’s list I’d never heard before.

Here’s the 2017 list of banished words-

You, Sir-focus-Bete Noire-Town Hall Meeting-Post Truth-guesstimate-831-historic-manicured-echo chamber-on fleek-bigly-ghost-Dadbod-listicle-get your dander up-selfie drone-frankenfruit-disruption

Which word on the list would you most like to see banished in 2017? What word or phrase would you add to the list?

There were quite a few  words and phrases I’m not familiar with either.  I think I’d most like to banish the phrase “Town Hall Meeting” simply because it makes me think of politics–and I’m not ready to think about politics again!  I’d like to see the word “selfie” banished, too, as well as “selfies” themselves!  Will this fad ever die?

 7. Large or small, light or deep, share with us one goal you have for the new year.

My goal for 2017 is to continue my spiritual growth.  I received a new Bible for Christmas and I plan to spend a lot of time with it.

Random:

A few ‘storm clouds’ [of life] have been gathering around Ed and me during the past few weeks.  I’m not at liberty to share details, but I will tell you these ‘clouds’ involve medical issues, procedures, and waiting for results.  Not the way we’d hoped to begin our new year, but we’ll be okay.

Also, our daughter-in-law, Jennifer, lost her granddaddy on January 2, the day after his birthday.  He had been hospitalized the entire month of December, and was finally sent home, under hospice care, on Christmas Eve. As you can imagine, the holidays have been bittersweet for Jennifer and her family.  They have been, and will be, in my thoughts and prayers.

 

Published in: on January 4, 2017 at 8:51 am  Comments (13)  
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Christmas 2016 Is In The Books…

The Christmas of 2016 was Christmas # sixty-two for me.   It was also Christmas # forty-four with Ed and I as a married couple, Christmas # thirty-eight as a married couple with children, and Christmas # ten as a married couple with grandchildren.  That’s a lot of Christmas celebrations!  Bare with me as I attempt to document the most recent of those celebrations, via this blog…

I began Christmas Eve in a nostalgic mood.  It all started on Saturday morning, when one of those “memories” popped up in my Facebook feed, and I watched a video I’d made a few years ago. Watching the slide show, of so many past Christmases, triggered some tears, and they continued to fall, off and on, throughout the day. (It’s also possible I was having a hormonal moment) So many of the people in that video are no longer with us–all of our parents, a favorite uncle, a favorite cousin…  I cooked and  cried, as I thought about the years past.

Because I was feeling nostalgic, I decided to go over to my late mother-in-law’s house to borrow her Christmas china to use for our Christmas dinner, the following day. (We often use paper plates)  Her china was still sitting in the china cabinet, even though she’s been deceased for over three years.  As usual, “Trouble”, the cat who still lives alone at the house, met me at the driveway, so I gave her a bowl of milk.  I returned home, and began washing dinner plates as memories of Christmases past still flooded my mind.

I went ahead and set the table with the china, as I washed and dried the plates.  I also used my mother-in-law’s stainless steel flatware on the holiday table.  Believe it or not, after I’d finished setting the table, our daughter and her family showed up bearing a gift–a set of Christmas china–for me!  There’s an interesting story behind this gift, which was actually from Ed, but I won’t take time to tell it today.   Let’s just say I sure was surprised, and it made me cry some more!  Ed pitched in and helped wash the new plates, while I reset the table with my new china… (if you look at the table, below, you’ll see I left my mother-in-law’s platter on the table, along with her salt and pepper shakers)

The highlight of my Christmas Eve turned out to be the candlelight service we attended that night.  Believe it or not, it was my first time attending a Christmas Eve candlelight service.  Our oldest son had been asked to deliver the evening message, and it was one of his best, yet.  His message was followed by the candle lighting part of the service.  This is where things got a little bit precarious in the church.  Our daughter-in-law was at the service with our two oldest grandsons, and she had two of her young nephews with her, as well.  Picture, if you will, four little boys, all with lit candles, inside of a church!  At one point, the candle table became a little shaky while one of the nephews was trying to light his candle.  Thanks to Christina’s sharp reflexes, she was able to avert a possible crisis by quickly steadying the wobbly table!  We all breathed a sigh of relief.

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Our Christmas Day began bright and early, at six o’clock.  Thankfully, I woke up in a better mood, and we quickly set about the business of getting the turkey in the oven.  I sent the Christmas ham across the yard to our daughter’s house to bake in her oven, since my oven would be tied up with the turkey.  Ed and I were invited to eat Christmas breakfast with them, and we did.

I planned a late lunch because some were attending Sunday services at ten.  We sat down to eat around one-thirty, and finished in the kitchen just before three.  We were just getting around to dessert when our oldest son joined us, late.  He’d gone to visit the residents of the assisted living facility where he holds Sunday services, each week.

Because we almost forgot to take ‘the crazy hat family photo’ the past couple of years, I told everyone let’s do that first, this year.  This has become a family tradition with our family for the past several years, and it’s always fun to pick out a different hat to wear each year.  I usually add one new hat to the collection, each Christmas.  Of course, there’s always one grandchild who refuses to wear a hat, and this year it was Chase’s turn.  I’ve also noticed our oldest son wears those same reindeer antlers every year…

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I also did something new this year, that I’d like to see turn into another family tradition.  I baked a small cake which I designated as Jesus’ birthday cake.  It was a lemon cake, decorated with colored sprinkles and candles.  Our youngest grandson, Evan, loves singing Happy Birthday and blowing out candles, so he was excited about this.  All of the older grandchildren happily joined in, too.

Sometime after three, we began the gift opening portion of Christmas Day by letting the children open their gifts first, one at a time.  About the time the adults were finally getting ready to play the “Dirty Santa” game, daughter-in-law, Jennifer, got a phone call.  She was needed for a medical emergency at the home of her grandparents.  (Her grandfather had just been released from the hospital, on Christmas Eve, after spending the past month battling pneumonia.)  We put the gift opening on hold while Jennifer went to give her grandfather his breathing treatment.

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The weather here was a sunny and a warm 75 degrees on Christmas Day, so everyone retreated outdoors while Jennifer was gone.  (We all wore shorts and  had two a/c units running all day long)  The older children enjoyed playing with granddaughter, Madison’s, new basketball goal, while Evan, the youngest, enjoyed driving his new Jeep around the yard–right up until the power switch broke 😦  (His ‘crafty’ dad has since been able to replace the broken switch, thank goodness)

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It was almost suppertime by the time Jennifer returned, so we decided to eat (again) before the adults opened their gifts.  By that time, it was after seven o’clock.  Talk about dragging out Christmas all day!  Of course, by then, the children were wishing they had more gifts to open, too.

The adults played our usual two rounds of “Dirty Santa”, but not much stealing went on this year.  I’m not sure if everyone really loved the gifts they received or they were just too tired to steal from anyone, by the time we finally got to open our gifts.  I was so tired, I forgot to take any pictures, except for this one, when we first started the game.

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It was well after ten, Christmas night, when Ed and I finally finished in the kitchen and fell into bed, shortly before eleven.  To say we were exhausted would be an understatement, but it was a most enjoyable and fulfilling day! Nothing compares to being surrounded by your entire family, especially at Christmas.  Ed and I have been very blessed, to have our entire family with us every Christmas, for the past forty-four Christmases, with the exception of the one year Jennifer had to work.  That’s almost unheard of!

Just think, only 362 more days, and Christmas will be here again…  As quickly as time is passing, perhaps I should just leave all of these decorations in place 🙂  It’s a nice thought, anyway.

 

Published in: on December 28, 2016 at 9:08 am  Comments (4)  
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The First Day Of Winter Hodgepodge…

T’was the first day of winter, and all through the house…the gifts were all wrapped…Christmas candy was finished… and the last thing on the list was more cooking and cleaning!  But that will have to wait until another day, because today is Wednesday, and that means it’s time to join in The Hodgepodge!  Thank you to our hostess, Joyce, for providing another great set of questions that didn’t require a lot of deep thinking 🙂  My brain is weary this time of the year.

Here are today’s questions:

1. What’s left to be done on your Christmas to-do list?

We just need to hold our decorations together until Christmas, and begin preparations for the Christmas meal.  By “holding the decorations together”, I’m referring to keeping the outdoor decorations in place and working.  We’ve already had to replace one outdoor timer, plus we’ve been having to help our inflatables up each night, due to the rain we’ve been getting, lately.  Excessive rain and outdoor Christmas decorations usually make a poor combination.

2. The Hodgepodge lands on the first day of winter this year. What’s your favorite thing about winter?

I was tempted to say “Not having to deal with gnats or mosquitoes”, but my real favorite thing about winter is Christmas.  I love all things Christmas!

3. In what area of your life are you immature? Feel free to elaborate or not.

I’m immature in the spiritual area of my life, but I’m working on that.  To borrow a quote from Joyce Meyer, “I’m not where I want to be, but, praise the Lord, I’m not where I used to be!”

4. What was the most (or one of the most) important lessons you learned in 2016?

Sometimes, the search for a new church home can be long and hard, but there can be joy in the journey.

5. It’s Fried Shrimp Day…are you a fan? What’s your favorite way to eat shrimp? Will there be shrimp somewhere in your holiday feastings?

Yes, I love fried shrimp…that’s my favorite way to eat them.  There won’t be any shrimp in our holiday feasts, but I sure would like to have some.

6. What sound lulls you to sleep?

The sound of the television turned down very low, so I just can hear the voices, but can’t really understand what’s being said.  I set the timer on the television for about 90 minutes, most nights.  Gaither gospel music videos and Hallmark movies are among my favorite shows to fall asleep to.  Going to sleep [or staying asleep] is a problem for me.

7. What one word best describes your 2016?

“Better”.  Although 2016 presented its fair share of problems for Ed and me, I’ll have to say it was A LOT BETTER than 2015 was.

Random:  

Some special wishes from me to you…

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Dear blog friends,

Over the years, I’ve come to know each you through your blogs, and every one of you has a special place in my heart.  When you’re happy, I rejoice for you.  When you’re going through life’s trials, I pray for you.  I care about you.

I’d like to take this opportunity to say “thank you” for taking the time to visit my blog, leave comments, and thank you, especially, for sending up prayers on my behalf, during hard times.  It means more than you’ll ever know.

I’d also like to take this opportunity to  wish you and yours a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and prosperous New Year!  Take care, and enjoy your holidays.

Love,

Published in: on December 21, 2016 at 8:56 am  Comments (13)  
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Goodbye November, Hello Hodgepodge…

Goodbye November. I will miss you, but the weather doesn’t feel like November, it feels more like September, ’cause it’s hot!  There’s nothing quite like decorating a Christmas tree while sweating profusely!  All  of that being said, it’s time for The Wednesday Hodgepodge!  It’s time to take a break from my holiday decorating and have some fun.  As always, thanks to our gracious hostess, Joyce, for keeping The Hodgepodge alive.

1. Give us three rhyming words that say something about your Thanksgiving holiday (or your most recent holiday gathering if you didn’t celebrate Thanksgiving).

Thrilled (as in I was thrilled to have all of our family around the dinner table, again.)

Filled (as in our stomachs were filled as we consumed the Thanksgiving Day feast.)

Chilled (as in the weather was so warm, so I had to turn the thermostat down to 72 to keep us cool.)

2. When did you last say, ‘the more the merrier’? Did you mean it?

I don’t remember the last time I said “the more the merrier”, but it was probably the last time we had unexpected company.   Ed’s parents said that phrase a lot.  It was quite common for them to have extra folks seated around their dinner table, at any given time, and Ed’s daddy was a genius when it came to stretching food!

3. What’s one piece of advice you’d give someone who is your same age?

Cherish each day you’re given, and don’t take anything for granted.  If you have good health, praise the Lord for it, daily.

4. You’re ordering a veggie plate, what four veggies are on it?

Peas, green beans, corn, and sweet potatoes–preferably out of our garden.

5. Shop til you drop! Did you? Have you ever? Will you between now and Christmas?

I did not shop till I dropped over the Thanksgiving weekend.  In fact, I didn’t go shopping at all, except on-line!  However, in years gone by,  I have  shopped until I dropped, many times, with my late mother-in-law.  She was a champion shopper, back in her day!  I will do a little shopping between now and Christmas, but not much.  I hate the crowds.

6. What’s your favorite chair in your house, and why is it a favorite?

There are only two places in my house where I can sit, comfortably, due to back issues.  One is a small glider rocker, that sits great, but matches nothing in our house because it only came in one color.  The other is my ‘zero gravity’ lawn chair that I unfold at night, when I’m ready to watch television.  It’s all about comfort, ya’ know?

7. Share an early memory of faith, religion, or spirituality.

This memory isn’t necessarily from early in my life, since I was 29, but it’s a profound one.  Back in 1984, Ed and I  had the experience of helping organize a new church, from the ground up, when a guest pastor, who organized new churches as a ministry, visited the church we were members of.  I asked him, after the service, if he’d ever considered starting a ‘new work’ in our town.  He said, “No”, but later changed his mind, and contacted me.  I think there may have been about a dozen or so of us charter members.  We rented an old building, formerly a fast food restaurant, then spent many hours scrubbing all of the grease off the floor and walls.  Yuk!  Brother Gus was able to secure us an old piano, a few old church pews,  a podium, and some song books.  Before long, we were holding services at Trinity Baptist Church.  As fate would have it, after about a year and a half, I had a Divine revelation and realized I actually don’t believe the doctrine the church was teaching.  Having to tell Brother Gus we were leaving the church was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to do.  Trinity Church closed its doors a couple of years after we left. Ed and I ended up at the church of his childhood, and were re-baptized into the faith.  And now, some 29 years later, we’re searching for another new church home…

Random:

Oh, my goodness!  So far, decorating for Christmas has been challenging, this year.  We’ve been dealing with lights that won’t burn,  strong winds blowing outside decorations over, and a missing box of colored lights for the Christmas tree.  On Monday, I felt a bit over-whelmed and asked myself, “Where’s the joy in all of this?”  Thankfully, Ed is a patient and talented man, so he was able to fix most of our light issues.  He also was able to piece back together several broken outside decorations, and anchor them down.  Tuesday went a little smoother, and more progress was made.  Hopefully, by Friday, we’ll be packing away all of these boxes, and enjoying the fruits of our labor.

Published in: on November 30, 2016 at 8:37 am  Comments (12)  
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Goodbye 2015, Hello Hodgepodge…

1. Share a favorite memory/moment from the week of Christmas.

My favorite moments, this Christmas, took place early Christmas morning, when Ed and I visited the houses of each one of our grandchildren to see what they got for Christmas.  It was the first time we’ve ever been able to visit all four of them on Christmas morning, and it was fun sharing their excitement!  It brought back some good memories of our own children when they were little.

2.  If someone wrote a book about your life based on the past year, what genre would it fall under? What would the title be?

Because so many unbelievable things happened to us in 2015, a book based on my life  would have to fall under “fiction”. Ha!  A good title might be You’re Not Going To Believe This, But…

3. What made you feel patriotic this year?

I feel proud and patriotic every time I look at this:

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The hat belonged to my late father-in-law, who was a WWII veteran, and the flag draped his coffin, after his death, and was presented to his wife at the end of his funeral, in 2002.  I still remember his war stories, and I know the great sacrifice he made for our country. Ed’s mom was a veteran, too, and we have a similar display, for her, as well.  Both flags/hats sit on top of our entertainment center.

4. What experience from this past year would you like to do all over again?

I think I’d like to go back to October 14, and relive the day we bought our new Trans Connect.  It was the first brand new vehicle we’ve bought in quite a few years, so the anticipation was high!  Ed and I had to drive 100 miles to an unfamiliar dealership to buy it, but the scenery along the way was beautiful, and we thoroughly enjoyed the trip.  Add to that, the fact that “the price was right” on the van we wanted, and the folks at the dealership were super friendly and helpful.  To me, it was the easiest and best car deal we’ve ever made, and the happiest day of the entire year!  We love our new ride!

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5. What song lyric sums up or is a reflection of your 2015?

The old Hee Haw song, entitled Gloom, Despair, and Agony is the first song that comes to mind, because I’ve felt that way many times throughout 2015.  See clip for lyrics.

6. On a scale of 1-10 how would you rate 2015?  (10=stellar) Why?

My husband, Ed, says he’d rate the year 2015 a 5/6, because he says “We had some hard times,  but we lived through them.”  I’m going to rate the year a 2/3 because it’s been the most difficult year of my life, so far, but Ed’s right, praise the Lord, we lived through it!  I’m keenly aware, as bad as it was, it could always have been worse.

A brief recap of our 2015: (1) January-Ed lost his job, (2) February & March-we dealt with all kinds of government officials and paperwork related to unemployment, health insurance, social security, plus we had to get used to living on 1/2 of the income we had been accustomed to.  (3) April-we discovered we had termites and mold under our house and had to spend $4,000 to treat the problem. (4) April thru August my back “went out”, I discovered I have two bad discs in it, and I suffered through 5 1/2 months of very painful sciatica. (5) September-I had back surgery. (6) October-Ed suffered a heart attack. (7) November-I found out I had basal cell carcinoma. (8) December-I had Moh’s surgery to remove the cancer from my face, followed by plastic surgery to repair the hole.  It’s been a year to remember, for sure!

7. What part of the upcoming year are you most excited about?

I’m most excited about getting a ‘fresh start’, and putting 2015 in the past!

Random:

Here’s the picture of our grandson, Evan, with Santa, taken on Christmas Eve.  Poor Evan! I think it’s safe to say, he didn’t care much for Santa!  Meanwhile, jolly old Santa didn’t seem to mind at all.  (This ‘mall Santa’ is one of the best I’ve ever encountered, by the way.)  I’m sure this picture will be a family conversation piece for many years to come, and I’m going to display it proudly each Christmas:).

12-29-2015 8;24;29 PM Evan and Santa

Published in: on December 30, 2015 at 7:39 am  Comments (11)  
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2015 Christmas Recap…

Christmas 2015 is now history, but it was a very good day!  It was also a very long and busy day, which left me totally void of any energy for two days!  I’m somewhat recharged, at the moment, so I’ll attempt to “recap” the day in 750 words or less!  Here goes…

Christmas Day began early, about 6:30 a.m., I think.  Ed and I quickly got busy with the morning chores.  He took care of feeding the animals, while I took care of putting the Christmas ham in the oven.  I was happy that I’d finally gotten to remove those pesky steri-strips from the surgical site on my face, but, now I was having trouble wearing my glasses so I could see how to cook!

100_5523Christmas stop #1 – Madison’s house

About 8:00 a.m. our granddaughter, Madison, called us to tell us Santa had been to her house. We quickly walked next-door to see what Santa had left her.  This has been our early morning Christmas ritual for the past seven years, and we feel very blessed to live close enough to just walk next door.  (We also feel a bit sad, because our granddaughter is now nine, and we wonder how many more of these excited Christmas phone calls she’ll be making to us.)

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 Interesting note: Madison leaves Santa’s cookies on the same plate her mother used to leave Santa’s cookies on when she was little, back in the eighties.  I passed the cookie plate down to my daughter.

After leaving our granddaughter’s house, we ate a quick breakfast, then drove 1/4 of a mile down the road to see what our two oldest grandsons had gotten for Christmas.  We feel very blessed to have them living close to us, too.

Our oldest grandsons don’t believe in Santa, so Christmas morning is a bit different at their house, as there is no talk of “Santa”.  We watched as they opened their gifts from their mom and dad.

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Christmas stop #2 – Caden and Chase’s house

For the first time, ever, we were able to drive across town to see what our youngest grandson, Evan, had gotten for Christmas, too.  What an extra-special blessing it is, having Evan’s family living in the same town with us, again!

Evan is only two, and still a bit too young to grasp the concept of “Santa”, but he was very excited over his new toys.  Excited about having his picture made with Santa on Christmas Eve?  Not so much! (I’ll share that photo on Wednesday)

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Christmas stop #3 – Evan’s house

When all was said and done, Ed and I were able to visit all three houses in just over an hour, then come back home and finish cooking Christmas lunch.

Christmas lunch came together without a hitch, with the exception of a turkey breast that refused to get done.  Our son-in-law baked that sucker for five hours!  No worries, though, we continued baking it, throughout lunch, and enjoyed it, that night, for supper!  It was delicious.

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the grandchildren eating lunch first

Due to the slow-cooking turkey breast and a lunch-time visitor, we ran a bit later than usual eating Christmas lunch.  By the time we finished eating and cleaning up the kitchen it was after 3 p.m. before we were able to get on with the rest of the Christmas festivities.  Note to self:  I really need a bigger kitchen table.  We had 13 gathered around it, this year!

This year, we decided to take our annual “crazy hat Christmas picture” before we opened any gifts.  Our youngest grandson, Evan, fell asleep while everyone was deciding which hat they were going to wear.  No worries, we photographed him while he slept in his daddy’s arms!  At least we could keep the hat on him since he was asleep 🙂

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The next order of business was listening to our oldest son speak to us for a few minutes about the real meaning of Christmas, basically reminding us where all [good and perfect] gifts come from. Then we let the grandchildren take turns opening their gifts, with the exception of Evan, who was still sleeping.  He woke up near the end of the adults’ game of “Dirty Santa”, and opened his gifts then.

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three older “grands” opening gifts while Ed watches

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older “grands” watch while Evan opens his gifts

The adults game of “Dirty Santa” was somewhat tamer than it’s been in past years.  I attribute this to the “mini sermon” we heard from our son, just prior to playing.  Something doesn’t seem quite right about “stealing” your neighbor’s gift, after listening to Bible scripture!  However, we did still manage to have a couple of “thieves” among us :).  I probably would have stolen a gift, too, if I’d had an opportunity.  Unfortunately, I was one of the first to open a gift, during both rounds of play, so I was one of the victims of theft!

Last, but not least, was the opening of “the Christmas panties”!  I was the recipient of the panties, last year, and I passed them on to my daughter, this year.  She wasn’t expecting them, as you can tell by the look on her face when she recognized the box!

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Surprise!

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It’s the Christmas panties…

Everyone stayed all day, ate supper, and helped clean up the kitchen, afterward.  By this time, I was exhausted, so my daughter ran me out of the kitchen, to go take a bubble bath, while she and some others put away the food and cleaned up the kitchen.  I felt a bit guilty, but I gladly went and enjoyed my bubble bath!

Ed and I finally opened our gifts to each other after everyone had gone home.  By then, it was 8:30, or so.  One of Ed’s gifts to me was another piece [that I’d seen and loved] to go with my Christmas Village.  It’s a “tacky” little camper, all decorated for Christmas, complete with a picnic table out front, and Santa and a Christmas tree on the roof.  We laughed and said this would go on the “poor side of town”–for the folks on a “fixed income” [which we are].

I love that Ed usually gives me an addition to my Christmas collection, each year!  He’s given me everything from village pieces, to animated Christmas dolls, to a set of porcelain Santas from around the world!  Of course, the gift I loved best of all, this year, was simply being able to share another Christmas with Ed.

Published in: on December 27, 2015 at 9:15 pm  Comments (6)  
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Four Days Before Christmas And All Through The House…

It’s just four more days until Christmas, and I thought I’d post what’s been going on around our house…

First of all, the weather turned cold, so it finally felt like Christmas around here!  On Friday and Saturday nights, our overnight temperatures fell below freezing.  The bird bath was frozen, on Saturday morning, and the top of our daughter’s house, was white with frost.  Unfortunately, the arctic blast was short-lived, and our temperatures will be back into the 70’s by tomorrow.  It’s predicted to be 84 on Christmas Day!  So much for wearing long-sleeved Christmas p.j.’s.

Ed and I finally finished wrapping the last of our Christmas gifts.  We didn’t have many gifts to wrap, so I put it off as the next-to-the-last thing on my “to do” list.  It looks nice to finally have a few gifts under our Christmas tree.

The last thing on my “to do” list is to cook for Christmas, something I’m not really looking forward to.  It’s not much fun to cook when you’re not supposed to eat most of what you cook. Ah, the joys of growing older–not!

I don’t think I’ve mentioned that Ed went back to the doctor, last week, for a checkup, and discovered his “bad cholesterol” is up from almost two months ago, right after he had his heart attack.  We were shocked to hear this, since we’ve both been on the low fat/low cholesterol diet since his heart attack.  If his numbers haven’t improved by the next visit, they’ll change his cholesterol medication. (he’s already on a double dose!)

When I last blogged, I’d taken the tape off my face, and was about to have the stitches removed [from where I’d had the plastic surgery performed on my face].  On Thursday, the doctor removed the stitches, but replaced them with some type of “skin adhesive”, then  re-taped my face with steri strips.  I was a bit sad, but also a bit glad.  The steri strips make the scars not so visible, as well as making it easier to wear my glasses, since the “nose piece” of my glasses hits the affected area.  The bad part is the constant itching from the tape!  I have to leave it on until Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.  I’m praying the wounds will look better than they did when this picture was taken, last Wednesday.

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We were supposed to attend our two oldest grandson’s birthday parties, this past Saturday night.  For the second year in a row, their party was postponed due to illness.  The little fellows can’t seem to catch a break around their birthdays!  We’ll be celebrating their birthdays on Christmas Eve, instead.  Hopefully, everyone will be feeling “fit as a fiddle”, by then.

‘Tis the season for Christmas plays, and three of our “grands” were in plays, last night, at two different churches.  Ed and I didn’t attend either play, but enjoyed seeing the pictures of them shared on Facebook, this morning.  Social media has perks!

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our oldest grandsons

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 our granddaughter

I have fond memories of working with our own children for Christmas plays of the past.  Ed helped create some elaborate sets, back in the day.  The one I remember most was a giant replica of a box of “Alpha-Bits” cereal.

Speaking of social media, after all this time, Ed finally signed up for a Facebook account! Wonders never cease.  He says he wanted to look at “on-line yard sales”, but, actually, I think he just got curious about all of the things the rest of us were talking about.  Anyway, my husband, of 43 years, is now my friend on Facebook 🙂

That’s about it for what’s been going on around our house, just four days before Christmas.  I’m going to try to post one more time, before Christmas, but in case I don’t, I’ll take this opportunity to wish everyone…

Merry Christmas Wallpapers

 

 

Published in: on December 21, 2015 at 11:14 am  Comments (4)  
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T’was The Week Before Christmas Hodgepodge…

Are you ready for Christmas?  Me either!  Ready or not, Christmas is right around the corner, but there’s still time to enjoy one last Hodgepodge before Christmas gets here, so let’s take a few moments and relax.  As always, thanks to Joyce, for being such a great hostess, to us.

1. What’s your biggest ‘first world’ problem?

Perhaps, mine should be “Due to recent facial surgery, my Christmas pictures are going to be really horrible, this year.”  See what I mean?

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Instead I’ll say, “It’s having to drive our old car 1/4 of a mile [to Ed’s parents’ house] in order to retrieve our new car whenever we want to drive it.”  (We’re keeping it there so our cats won’t scratch it.)  This sounds pretty ‘first world’ to me.

2. Each year Time Magazine names a ‘Person of the Year’, someone who has ‘for better or worse…done the most to influence the events of the year.’ It was recently announced they’ve named Angela Merkel Person of the Year for 2015. You can read more about this year’s selection here. Your thoughts? If you were in charge, who would you declare Person of the Year?

I hate to, but I’m going to opt out of this question.  It simply requires more energy and thought than I am able to muster today.

3. Do you have a nativity set in your home? If so share its history and how you display the pieces.

Yes, I have a nativity set–or three.  The one I’m displaying, this year, is a nativity set I found, last year, at a vintage store called “The Red Wagon”.  I fell in love with it when I saw it!  As mentioned, I also have two others.  One was purchased many years ago, when our children were still young, and has a wooden stable that plays “Silent Night”. The other nativity set used to belong to Ed’s mama.  Now that I have three, I take turns displaying one of them on our book shelves, each Christmas.  I’d show you a picture, but, apparently, my camera broke after taking that last picture of my face.  I’m serious.

4. Do you make an extra effort to give back in some way during the holiday season? How do you encourage those who need encouragement this time of year?

In years past, I’ve been involved in many efforts to “give back” , through school or church, not just at holiday time, but other times throughout the year. This year, not so much.  It’s been a difficult year for us, and, as a result, Ed and I have been more on the receiving end of encouragement and prayers.

I think the best way to encourage people is to simply let them know we care about them.  It can be as simple as a kind word, a note, a phone call, or a visit.  Thoughtfulness goes a long, long way to make someone feel loved and appreciated.

5. Who is your favorite person to shop for? Why?

My favorite people to shop for are my grandchildren.  Why?  Because it’s more fun to buy toys than anything else!  However, this year, I didn’t have a clue (or the energy) to know where to start shopping, so their parents helped me out.

6. What’s the last delicious thing you ate?

On Monday, I baked some gingerbread cake.  I enjoyed a warm piece of it, fresh from the oven, with a dollop of Cool Whip on top of it!  It was delicious.

7. The best way to spread Christmas cheer is… to be kind, courteous, thoughtful, respectful, helpful, and any other nice thing you can think of!

Random:

I’m almost one week out from the plastic surgery [on my face] to close the hole left by the cancer surgery.  I’ve given birth to a 10 lb 9 oz child [with no drugs], had a total abdominal hysterectomy, and experienced both neck and back surgery, and, believe me, this facial surgery ranks right in there with all of that!!!

As of yesterday, I still required [at least] Tylenol for pain.  The stitches won’t be removed until tomorrow, but Ed and I had to remove the tape from over the incisions, last night, because it was irritating my face so much.   At the moment, I look a bit like Frankenstein, and I cried when I looked at my reflection in the mirror.  I’m hoping [and praying] my face will improve, with time [and makeup].

 

Published in: on December 16, 2015 at 8:57 am  Comments (12)  
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Wednesday Hodgepodge #247…

Here we go again, with another little edition of the Wednesday Hodgepodge!  It’s good to take a little break from our Christmas preparations, don’t you think?  Only sixteen more days until Christmas, though.  As always, thanks to our gracious hostess, Joyce, for another great set of questions!  Now, let’s get started with “The Hodgepodge”!

1. Many families have a story they love to tell every year around a holiday. Does your family have one? Are you the star of that story, or does another family member take center stage? Share your story if you want.

Yes, our family has a funny story involving ” Christmas panties”, but I am not the star of the story.  My late father-in-law is!  Here’s an excerpt from a previous post I wrote about the whole Christmas panties thing:

My favorite Christmas memory has now turned into a family holiday tradition.  Ed’s daddy was quite a character in his time.  He had a sense of humor and always wore a smile. 

One day he went to the dumpster to take off the trash.  It wasn’t unusual for him to return with a “treasure” that he’d find, at the dumpster, but on this one particular day he found a VERY LARGE pair of ladies underwear.  I mean, they must have been the largest size available!  Now I know some of you may thinking “gross”, but the panties were clean, and we all laughed and marveled at how HUGE those panties actually were! 

On the following Christmas morning(many years ago), I can’t remember who, but one of us received those HUGE panties wrapped up as a Christmas gift!

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my sister-in-law with the Christmas panties (cir. 1980)

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still clowning around with the Christmas panties (cir. 2013)

Every since that year we’ve passed those panties to someone different in the family every Christmas.  Whoever keeps the panties for the year writes a note to the new recipient before Christmas, and attaches it to the box, on top of the previous year’s message.  The box is now very old and has LOTS of notes attached to the top of it. Some of the messages are pretty funny!

It always brings a laugh when someone opens up the gift of the Christmas panties and reads the message on top of the box!  Ed’s daddy passed away many years ago, but he still makes us laugh every year, as we continue to pass around those Christmas panties.

Below is one of my all-time favorite notes attached to the box.  It was written by our [then] new daughter-in-law to our youngest son, back in 2007:

Brad, (2007)

Wow, the year has flown by!  It’s sad for me because now I have to pass these lovely panties on to someone new…but it’s worth it to see the look on your face when you realize that you now get the privilege of caring for them an entire year.

I got a lot of uses out of them; they’re very versatile.  Here are some examples:

1.  a tablecloth at a picnic with my family; as you can imagine, they were quite envious.

2.  an area rug for the living room.

3.  a tent when I kept my nephew and nieces, and they wanted to pretend to camp out.

4.  a blanket for Brett and me before we got the new heater

Probably, the most beneficial use was the one I’ve never told anyone.  I took them to Atlanta in October to the [Naascar] race-and thus began the tradition of holding them near to me during each race.  We all know the success the Lowes team had this year!  Maybe the # 9 team will have some luck in 2008.

Christina (and the #48 team)

2. Are you afraid to speak your own opinion?

These days, yes, I am afraid to speak my opinions. I hesitate to offer an opinion, most of the time, unless I am talking with a close family member or friend.  It seems the art of “agreeing to disagree” is fading fast, so I usually just try to keep most of my opinions to myself.

3. Pantone has announced the color of the year for 2016, and for the first time have chosen two shades-rose quartz and serenity. Hmmm…did you know serenity was a color? You can read the thought behind their selection here, but essentially it’s blending the warmth of rose quartz with the tranquility of a very soft shade of blue. So what do you think? Are these colors I’d find in your home or wardrobe? Will you add something in these shades to either place in the new year?

No, I didn’t know serenity is a color.  Although, I think the colors are pretty, neither of them would match any of the current decor in our home, so I wouldn’t be using them there.  However, I wouldn’t be opposed to adding something in either of those colors to my spring wardrobe!

4. If you could be in a Christmas carol, which one would you choose? Why?

I’ve always loved the Christmas carol, “Winter Wonderland”, so I’d choose that one.  We live in the south, where it rarely snows, so having a “Winter Wonderland” would be a rare and wonderful treat for us.  In all of my 61 years, it’s only snowed once during Christmas!  It was wonderful, and the snow lasted for a couple of days.

photos from an old scrapbook~our children playing in the snow

photos from an old scrapbook~our children playing in the snow

5. December 9th is National Pastry Day. Will you celebrate? When did you last purchase something from a bakery? What’s your favorite treat that falls under the heading of pastry? Do you make it yourself or buy from the professionals?

Pastry!  Oh, be still my beating heart!!!  I will not celebrate, because such things are not on my current diet, but I’d certainly love to!

I don’t know if this counts as pastry, but I purchased 1/2 dozen doughnuts from Krispy Kreme several months ago, when I had a doctor’s appointment in Savannah.  Until then, I hadn’t had a doughnut in a long, long time, but my back was hurting, and I needed some “comfort food”, so I gave in. (It was worth it!)  My favorite “pastry” is a raspberry danish that I used to purchase from Sam’s.  I don’t know that I’ve ever had danish from an actual bakery.

6. When it comes to holiday decorating, I tend to go a bit overboard!  Just ask anyone who’s been to our house at Christmas!  

7. When did you last laugh so much it hurt? Explain.  

I remember it like it was yesterday, even though it was 15 years ago.  Ed, our youngest son, Brad, and I were on vacation at Panama City, Florida.

One night, we found a “like new” 3 gallon bucket, that had been discarded, beside the dumpster in the Walmart parking lot.  Ed and I use buckets a lot at our house, so we put the bucket in the back of our mini van, and headed back to our motel room.

The “strip” was crowed with cars, and traffic moved slowly.  About five or ten minutes into the trip, we discovered why the bucket had been discarded–it reeked of the smell of dead shrimp!  Apparently, someone had used the bucket for bait, then threw it away after fishing.

However, we weren’t about give up our “precious find”, so we placed the “smelly bucket” on the top of our mini van, and continued on the journey back to our motel.  Traffic was moving slow, so the bucket sat on the top of the van with no problems.

People began giving us strange looks and yelling to us, “There’s a bucket on your roof!”  We even got stopped by some cops.  The whole situation got so bizarre, we all got tickled.  I laughed so hard, and so long, I totally wet my pants, so I’m sure I was sore the next day, too.

Ed washed out the bucket, at the motel, and we brought it back to Georgia with us.  We laughed about that night on “the strip”, for many years–every time we used that bucket!

Random:

I have some good news and some bad news.  First of all the good news–

I’m “officially” finished with my Christmas decorating!!!  Yay!

The bad news is, I had a terrible time decorating that last tree!  Most of the lights stopped working, and what should have taken two hours to complete, ended up taking an entire afternoon!  We ended up throwing three strings of lights in the trash!

In other good news– my dermatologist’s office called me on the day I was decorating that last tree (on Monday) and asked if I’d like to come in the following day (yesterday) for my Moe’s surgery, instead of waiting until January 19. (Someone cancelled.)  I jumped at the chance to get the surgery over with because, frankly, I’ve been dreading it!  More good news– she was able to get all of the skin cancer on her first try!

The bad news is–although my skin cancer was only about the size of a tiny pimple, I’m left with a deep, gaping hole right beside my nose that’s about the size of a dime!  Whoa!  For best-looking results, my dermatologist recommended having a plastic surgeon close the hole, which I will do tomorrow morning (Thursday).  After watching my daughter suffer for three days, following her own plastic surgery [to close a gaping hole of about the same size as mine], I am not looking forward to Thursday.  Hopefully, all of this will soon be a distant memory.

Published in: on December 9, 2015 at 8:29 am  Comments (13)  
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The “It’s Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas” Hodgepodge…

My house is in total disarray, with boxes of decorations scattered all around, but, I’m sitting in my chair participating in The Wednesday Hodgepodge, like I have nothing else to do.  “First things first”, I always say.  Another thing I always say is “Thank you” to our Hodgepodge hostess, Joyce, because I always look forward to our Wednesday Hodgepodge!

Here are today’s questions:

1. Did you watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special Monday night? Who’s your favorite Peanuts character and why?

No, I didn’t watch The Charlie Brown Christmas special on Monday night because I was playing Christmas music while decorating the kitchen tree– a tree I had much trouble with.  I decorated it, un-decorated it, then discovered it had a broken limb, and had to start all over with a brand new tree, but, I digress…

I’m not a big fan of Charlie Brown, but my favorite Peanuts character is Snoopy.

“Most psychiatrists agree that sitting in a pumpkin patch is excellent therapy for a troubled mind.”~Linus

Would you agree?  No, I can’t say that I agree with that one.  Sometimes my mind gets “troubled”, like it is this week, but I don’t think sitting in a pumpkin patch would help 🙂

2. Describe a sound from your childhood. What does this sound bring to mind?

The tinkling sound of music playing, sort of like that of a music box, reminds me of the ice cream truck that occasionally traveled through our neighborhood during the summer months when I was a child.  A neighborhood visit from the ice cream truck was a special treat!

3. You’ve won a trip to a winter wonderland…would that excite you? Which one of the following would you most want to experience (or which one would you dislike the least)-see the Aurora Borealis in Norway, stay in Sweden’s Ice Hotel, go dogsledding in Lapland Finland, take a winter wildlife safari in Yellowstone or celebrate Winter Carnival in Quebec?

Well, I’m from the south, so I’m not sure how excited I’d be to win a trip to a winter wonderland.  I probably freeze to death since I’m not really used to temperatures below 40 degrees!

Of the things listed, I think the Winter Carnival in Quebec sounds like the most fun, to me, while staying in the Ice Hotel sounds like a nightmare. (I shivered while looking at the pictures!)

4. Who or what keeps you humble?

The Bible teaches humility, so God keeps me humble.

5. What part of preparing for Christmas do you like the most? Explain.

I love decorating the house for Christmas.  I have many storage containers of decorations that I’ve collected over the years, and I love sifting through all of it each year while trying to decide what to use.  Many of my decorations (animated dolls, villages, cookie jars, etc.) were gifts, and each one has a special memory attached.  For instance, this week, I set out my “nutcracker” cookie jar on a shelf, and thought of our daughter’s old boyfriend, Richard, who gave it to me.  I fondly refer to the cookie jar as “Richard” 🙂

6. Gingerbread-yay or nay? Is making a gingerbread house part of your family holiday tradition?

Yes, I do like gingerbread, but I prefer the “cake-like” gingerbread, with whipped topping, over cookies.  Our family has decorated one or two gingerbread houses, over the years, but it’s never been a family tradition at our house.  I think our daughter-in-law, Christina, decorates gingerbread every year with her boys, though.

7. What’s one thing you want to start, do, or complete before the calendar rolls into a new year?

I’d like to get our mailbox moved!  We’ve been trying to get approval [from the post office] to do this for several months.  You may recall, a while back, when a truck lost control and destroyed all three of our family’s mailboxes which are located on the main highway, 1/4 mile from our house.  Well, all of our paperwork is now in order, our little dirt road has been re-deeded to the county (because they lost the original deed), and the it has been named since it’s now a public road.  We even have an official road sign at the end of it, AND a new address, but the post office is still dragging its feet!  Will we ever get our mailboxes moved???

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Random:

Our daughter had surgery to remove her skin cancer from her nose, followed by plastic surgery  yesterday.  She was actually finished with both surgeries by lunch.  She said the Moh’s surgery wasn’t too bad, but the plastic surgery was a bit rough.  Her nose is very swollen and sore, and she has a bit of a black eye, but she survived and has the ordeal behind her.  Praise the Lord!

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Jo Jo (gray) and Baby (white), playing together

In other news, we lost another beloved member of our “cat family”, yesterday.  “Jo Jo”, who was born feral [at Ed’s mom’s house] a couple of years ago, but later followed Ed home and became our pet, has died. We have no idea why, but “Jo Jo” suddenly became ill and died, with very little warning.

We enjoyed having “Jo Jo” as a member of our family, and watching  him grow up.  “Jo Jo” had established himself as “quite a tom cat”, and was an awesome mouse catcher. “Jo Jo”  quickly became quite attached to our youngest cat, “Baby”, when we got her as a kitten, and could often be seen playing with and grooming her.  R.I.P. “Jo Jo”, we’ll miss you.

 

Published in: on December 2, 2015 at 8:49 am  Comments (7)  
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