Wednesday, December 31, 2008
"The Good, The Bad & The Ugly"- rings profound, doesn't it?
God has taught me some very valuable lessons. He is drawing me closer and teaching me His faithfulness and love for me. I am so thankful for His sustaining presence in my life.
A new grandson is on his way. What a blessing to not only know that a sweet "Grand" is coming in the Spring, but that his Mother & Daddy are so happy. It always does my heart good to be with that sweet couple.
A FABULOUS Birthday Party given by my "Running Buddies". I have never had anything nicer done for me. Crossing that bridge and entering into the 60's, especially as an athlete, is a little frightening, but "The Girls & Larry" managed to make it more fun than a "Barrel of Monkeys". It is truly a great blessing to have friends that love you unconditionally and pray for you without question. They have been there through good times and bad.
A great trip to the Beach with "All My Children & Grands" and our dearest friends, The Tompsons along for the fun in the sun. My children and grandchildren are God's greatest gift-beyond His grace. They are the light in my eye and the reflection from my soul. I love them all dearly and treasure each moment with them. The Thompsons have been our friends since before we were married. We have shared it all with them. God has taken us and grown us up together and matured us into His Children. We are blessed that he drew us together and kept us together all of these years. How many can say they have friends they have vacationed with for more than thirty years. A Rare Blessing!
A "Great Hiking Adventure" which included daily bear sightings, magnificent scenery, and even a up-close and personal Bear encounter. How anyone could ever hike through those glorious mountains and question there being a God is beyond me.
Another Marathon under my belt. Many miles running and working out and remaining healthy. A great thing considering my age.
Growing closer to our small group as we grow spiritually together. Our small group are also our social friends. We love them all and enjoy their friendship. Many lively and productive Biblical discussion and lots of Friday night fellowship-definitely a Good.
Our friend, Dale, has continued to decline. The physical and emotional strain upon his family has been difficult to watch. A Great Man Of God, it saddens my heart to watch this journey.
A special friend that has gone through an extremely difficult season. Days have drug into weeks and weeks into months as the path has been trod. Feeling helpless when your friend is in pain is not easy.
Friends lost and gone on to Eternity, friends struggling with illness, friends in emotional pain, friends in martial crisis, and the list goes on. My expectation of life becoming easier with age has been crushed under the weight of "Living Life".
It does no good to dredge up the ugly. The ugly will always be a hole in my heart and a scar upon my soul. The ugly deserves nothing but Good Riddance 2008!
The list seems to be heavily weighted on the Good Side and for that I am thankful. I would not care to relive 2008, but I came away wiser and surely older. Come on 2009-I am expectant and prepared-give me your best shot!
HAPPY NEW YEAR, FRIENDS!
Tuesday, December 30, 2008
Bert drives the vehicle pictured above (photos courtesy of Sheila-THANKS!). Since these are all shots of the front, I need to tell you about the door that is held closed with a hinge and padlock. Sheila said:"Also a rubber snake with a pacifier on roof of passenger side & small rubber alligator on driver side roof. "
We often see Bert on his way to Super One when we are running VERY early in the morning. Why he goes that early, I am not sure. You also see Bert at the grocery sometimes several other times of the day. Why, I DO NOT KNOW! He obviously enjoys the grocery a great deal more than I do. He rides one of those little motorized carts since he has some leg issues. If you strike up a conversation with him, he will talk to you until you walk off. Quite the interesting character!
He is my SIL's cousin and a childhood friend of Buddy, Sandra. You need to be very careful of what you say about anyone in a small town. They could be related or a good buddy of the person that you are unloading to about them. When he sees Sandra, he HONKS AND HONKS! She told me yesterday that he is very distressed because his horn does not work anymore. IMAGINE-something on Bert's car not working!
Ruston is a beautiful little Southern town with quite a bit of charm and character and also it's fair share of "Characters.!
Monday, December 29, 2008
Back to the subject, as I do this mindless task, I have been thinking about the past year. I am reflecting upon my relationships at all levels-starting with "The Big Guy" and working down the list. I am making my annual pledge to be a better "Child of The Father", wife, mother, mother-in-law, grandmother, sister, daughter-in-law, sister-in-law, and friend.
As I think about what I have done to keep in the best physical shape possible, I have fallen short of the goal. After running a Marathon in January, it all seemed to go downhill. The year coming is the year of the every other year Marathon. Time to get busy again and pick up the slack on my training. I will do better.
Am I the only one that goes over all of this and more at the end of the year? I think not, but you let me know. My friend, Mona, emailed me today her resolve to eat better and exercise more. NOW MONA -everyone knows and we are going to hold your feet to the fire. You can do the same to me.
BIG NEWS-Mona is going to be a Grandmother! We have got to keep these young women running with us or we are going to become known as the "Running Grannys". What a blessing these Grands are!
I had a really funny post, but alas-something is wrong with my email account and I cannot download the picture that "The Chrome Cowgirl" sent me. It is quite the sight and a great reflection of "Small Town Living". Hopefully tomorrow!
We got up early and ran in the sub-freezing cold this AM. We went early because Larry had to go back to work and then he did not show up. OOOOHHHHH-LARRRRYYYY-YOU ARE IN TROUBLE WITH US! One more five mile run and the year is over! They are rolling by too fast!
Sunday, December 28, 2008
"For I am already being poured out like a drink offering, and the time has come for my departure. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day-and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing."
Paul was reflecting back over his 30 years of ministry and examining the life that is, the life that has been, and the life to come. What an inspiration Paul is to us all-truly a great man of God. As a runner, I am especially moved by finishing the race. Len pointed out the importance of keeping the faith as we strive for the goal. He told us of a retreat leader telling a group of 300 men that he hoped 5 of them "Kept the Faith" until the end. A stark reminder of our human weakness and frailty and propensity to sin.
We were given an Exam based upon Paul's Faithfulness:
1. What's going on in your life-right now?
2. Where is your best energy focused?
3. Where is your life going?
4. What captivates your heart?
5. What's your view of the future?
Two notable quotes during this part of the message:
"If you are not careful, you will end up where you are headed."
"What gets us off course- the entangling effects of sin."
Closing the message out, Len told a story of a woman who asked to be buried with her Bible in one hand and a fork in the other. When asked, "Why the fork?", she replied whenever someone whispered to me to keep my fork after a great meal, I always knew something better was coming. After all have passed by my coffin and their curiosity is peaked-tell them this story and "That Something Better IS Coming".
I am counting on it and "Long for his appearing."
Saturday, December 27, 2008
This is a typical evening. # 2 on Mom's shoulders and #1 playing with his Uncle!
Santa delivered about a million of these TEENY TINY Star War's Leggos.
Here is # 2 with a table full of those tiny little men.
Tamales, green chili soup & chili for Christmas Eve supper. DELICIOUS! Please pass the Rolaids.
Grandmother with # 2 helping play with all of the toys.
WORN OUT after all of the hard playing and early morning rising.
Friday, December 26, 2008
Enough about the food-we also got to tell Baby J -"Hi"! Baby is growing-thus Momma is growing. You do not see the growth from the back-it is all out front. We had a good laugh at Camille. She has always had a difficult time keeping her food off her clothes, well as anyone who has ever been PG knows-it is REALLY difficult once that Baby starts hanging out in the front. Camille seems really good and very happy. OH YEAH-Adam was good too! They are getting the lesson in life that once the Grands come along-they take second fiddle.
I will down load pictures tomorrow and post the fun of being with the grands the past couple of days. We were gone a total of 56 hours and drove 900 miles-we both are slightly road weary. More later-hope everyone had a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS!
Thursday, December 25, 2008
It has been a Christmas like many others, with pleas to open gifts all evening Christmas Eve. Every family has their traditions, but we always open gifts Christmas morning. I am sure this started when the kids were small and we were attending Christmas Eve Candlelight and Carol services, visiting with extended family the same evening and then having Christmas lunch with the other side of the family Christmas day. Times are simpler now since we started having Christmas with our children and grands on those two days and visiting with extended family before or after the actual day.
Everyone seems to be happy with all of their gifts and now Mom in her kerchief and Paw in his cap have just settled down in their bed for a nap. Also a Christmas tradition is the afternoon nap on Christmas day. Little feet tend to roam the rooms late into the night and early in the morning at Christmas-not much sleeping goes on Christmas Eve. Christmas afternoon is a time to reflect and to nap.
We will eat sandwiches for a light Christmas supper tonight and play with all the toys. The adults have all selected their favorite toy and we take turns playing with it. The kids share most of the time, since the loot is so lavish.
There still may be time for an afternoon stroll or maybe a game of ball or two. The day is winding down into a pleasant Christmas lull.
Last evening as I was gazing at the heavens, I spotted a star-a bright-bright star. I remembered all of those Christmases ago when a star shown in Bethlehem and our Savior was born. I once again reflected upon the most wonderful gift I have ever been given and the amazing love that bestowed that gift. The blessing of a love so beyond reason and without merit is indeed the greatest gift I have ever received.
Merry Christmas To You All, Dear Friends!
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
Perhaps I am the only one that finds herself in a flurry of last minute activity as "The Day" draws close. I am not sure what could be done about some of the last minute activity. The Christmas Eve chili was made yesterday. There was also last minute grocery shopping and other cooking. What would you do to expedite that?
I always seem to have a few last minute unanticipated gifts to buy. OH BOY-is that fun to get out in the crowds and search through what is left. What could I do to deter that?
There are always gifts that I have not wrapped. A husband that does all his shopping at the last minute and therefore his gifts to wrap. A daughter that lives at the other end of the World and needs her gifts wrapped by her sweet Mom.
Those last minute cards to mail and this year Thank You Notes to write. The list goes on and on. Since I was still wrapping a few gifts at midnight last night, I missed my annual Christmas run. Oh well, there is always tomorrow!
So Merry Christmas, Friends! May the star shine brightly as you search for The King and may your holiday be blessed!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
You could feel Christmas in the air. Short cool days with long nights of star filled skies and the smell of wood fires in the air. The days up to the last day of school before the Christmas break were torture. Who could listen or pay attention to the teacher as she droned on and on about the history of the Roman empire or short cut techniques for solving long division problems? The only good thing about the school day was the Christmas color sheets, making decorations for the school room Christmas tree, and practicing for the school Christmas program.
We drew names in our room at school to exchange gifts at the party on the last day of class. This meant a trip to the local five and dime store to pick out a gift-but you couldn’t spend more than a dollar. How exciting to pour over the toys, games, and books lined down the aisle of the store. The trick was to pick out something that everyone really wanted and hope that every other gift was not the same thing. This became a difficult chore when you stop to realize that there is only one five and dime store in town and all the other kids in school shopped in the same store. You could always pick out candy since we all loved and appreciated candy. It could take forever to select just the right gift and then you had to wrap it. The name exchange was a big secret, so you had to be very careful at recess to not divulge your name. Since the girls and boys drew names within their groups exclusively, this left a small number of possibilities to have your name. Usually by the time the party rolled around, the secret was out and we all knew who had our name. What is it about secrets and girls that we don’t think we can bear to not know?
Every morning I plodded down the long shell covered rutted dirt drive to wait for the school bus. My breathe left a cloud of vapor as I strolled to the narrow paved road in front of the house. There I stood dreaming of Santa and treasures to come as the yellow ferry crept up the road. The early days of December dragged by and the long anticipated last day of school finally arrived. We spent the day exchanging gifts, eating party food and presenting our songs to the school assembly. Finally the day was over and we were off to the buses. The day was capped off with Mr. Bill, the bus driver, giving each rider an orange when they got off the bus. The real magic of Christmas was finally closing in.
I had spent hours of many days going through “The Christmas Wish book”. I made a list and remade a list, carefully picking just what every girl would want. I really liked a lot of the boys’ games including rockets that really lifted off, chemistry sets, and erector sets. The girls in comparison had boring things like dolls, tea sets, and batons. I knew Santa expected me to order the standard girl type toys, but oh how I wanted some of those boys’ toys. After I made the list a couple of dozen times, I handed it over to Momma to mail to Santa for me. Now all that remained was the wait.
Once school was over and there was about a week until Christmas, the anticipation became unbearable. We were wild and Momma was working overtime trying to keep us calm and acting like ladies and gentlemen. We often would go by Daddy’s office during this final week. The secretary would mysteriously tell us we could not go to the back vault. Daddy’s office was the old town bank and had a walk in vault in the back of it. We loved playing there when we were at the office, but all of a sudden it was off limits.
Living in Louisiana, we were always able to go outside and play and that is just what we did to pass the time away. The great outdoors were our playground and Momma’s salvation from our noise and fighting. We spent hours running, chasing, fighting, and idling the time away.
The day before Christmas Uncle Joe & Aunt Lora were coming to spend Christmas with us. It was a long drive, but they always brought us a gift and treated us as if we were their grandchildren. It was always fun and times were good when they visited. Momma would be in her best mood and Daddy was charming as always. Tomorrow would be Christmas and Santa would arrive. I could feel the flush of excitement and the aura of nervous anticipation as the night finally arrived.
We had our Christmas Eve dinner and the adults were trying to visit. Momma sent us out of the room to keep the noise and confusion down. For some reason we decided to play chase around the house. Circling and circling, running as fast as our feet could take us. I ran around the corner of the house and toward the carport. Daddy’s car was parked just out of the carport and I ran behind the back of it trying to avoid being caught. As I slipped around the back of the station wagon, something caught my eye. I looked back and I saw the distinct handle bars of a bicycle. WHAT DID THIS MEAN? I quickly ran into the house in fear of being in trouble for being where I was not supposed to be. We were sent to bed after putting out Christmas candy and milk for Santa. I could not get the sight of what I had seen out of my mind, but I went to bed knowing there had to be an explanation.
The next morning we woke up bright and early to see what Santa had brought. To my surprise, there was a bicycle under the tree. What had I discovered? What did this mean? The sad thing is that I realized the magic of my childhood had slipped away. What had I done? Why had I gone outdoors? Everything was fitting together, but I didn’t like what I had learned. The magic of Santa had vanished with a simple game of chase.
Monday, December 22, 2008
CHRISTMAS ON PEACHTREE AVENUE
The air was brisk and the sky was clear and it was time for my annual Christmas Eve stroll through my neighborhood. For the 25 years that I had lived on Peachtree Avenue, this had been my tradition-to walk the sidewalks of my familiar home ground and reflect upon the wonder of Christmas and the neighbors that surrounded our home. Through the years, no matter what the weather, I had come to look forward to the end of the whirl of the season and relish the stillness that the late evening brought with it.
As I turned out of my drive and headed down the block, the first house I came to was the Walker’s home. The Walker’s were a new family to the block and had a house full of children of all sizes from babies to young teens. The yard was strewn with bicycles and toys and there was a constant state of disarray as you passed by from day to day. Christmas though was a magical time for the Walkers and their offspring. Every window was bright with lights. There were inflatable Christmas decorations in the yard and icicle lights hanging from every eave of the house. The cypress tree growing in the front yard was full of colored lights. The house was so decorated that you felt like the ground might collapse from the weight of it all. I had come to love it! When they first moved in and began decorating in this extravagant style-I was overwhelmed and thought it way over the top. The one year that they missed decorating, when Mrs. Walker was sick, had left a hole in Christmas. The hustle and bustle from the house next door was a sweet reminder of Christmases past and I loved passing by and soaking in the energy that literally haloed the house. The Walkers and all of their children were a sweet page in the story of life and Christmases past.
A couple of houses past the Walker’s I passed the Taylors. The Taylors had grown children that had moved from their home town and started lives of their own, following their graduation from college. Mrs. Taylor loved Christmas and all of the warmth of the season. Known from being the Martha of the neighborhood, Mrs. Taylor’s decorations and parties were renowned. Everyone loved getting an invitation to their annual Christmas Open House. The children came home every year for Christmas and the sense of family permeated from the house. The Taylors had begun preparing for Christmas and actually gotten all of the traditional decorations in their place and then Christmas seemed to have ceased at their home. Mrs. Taylor had become sick and surgery was required. The diagnosis was overwhelming and a daunting fight was in the future. The Taylors only wish for Christmas this year was for restored health and freedom from pain. Christmas was still looked forward to by the Taylors, but the things that once seemed so important had now taken a back seat to other pressing needs. The Christmas prayers that flowed from their home this year had taken on a new importance and family had now become the focus of each Taylor. This season of celebration would be subdued, but the family was rallying around Mrs. Taylor and their love and support would be her best Christmas gift.
As I continued down the street with the street lights twinkling in the evening, I came to a house that seemed to rock and vibrate with the spirit of Christmas. The Blacks had lived in the neighborhood since before we had moved here. A particularly close family the Blacks had raised their four children in this house and now the Black children and all of their children were home for this Christmas. Mr. Black had been ill since late in the spring and seemed to be losing ground in his fight for restored health. Mrs. Black had determined that she would have each and every inch of their home decorated for the holidays and it was an absolute wonderland when you entered the door. I am not sure where they had put all of those children and grandchildren, but they were determined to be together this holiday. A little discomfort was a small price to pay for the feeling of being united and celebrating this wonderful time of the year. Both of the Blacks had been elated when the entire clan was able to gather from far ends of the world and all over the country. The house was noisy and seemed full of bodies in every nook and cranny, but what a delight. The Blacks and their offspring knew how to celebrate and the fun and merriment filled the air. This was indeed a wonderful Christmas for all of the Blacks, even in the midst of illness. The telling of the Christmas story would take on new meaning this year as they all clung to the comfort that only family can give.
The last house on the block, before I made my turn to go home, was dark. Mrs. Conner was alone now since her beloved husband had passed away a few years back. The time had passed for much decorating at Christmas and the only real sign of Christmas was the Christmas cards on the mantle of her fireplace. The Conner children and their children were spread out all over the nation. They all lead busy lives and had important jobs with pressing needs. The years had brought a distance, not only in miles, but also in connection. Mrs. Conner loved to tell you of the years when her children were home and the memories of wonderful Christmases served as her solace during the holidays. Christmas had become a time of reminiscing of years gone and the sweetness of memories of family and friends in days of yore. The house was dark, but Mrs. Conner was warm with the memory of a life full of love and laughter and special Christmases well spent.
As I headed back to the warmth of my chair by the fire, I reflected on this special time of the year. The years had brought many Christmases and many stages of living life. There had been years of babies, toys, bicycles, and special Christmas Eve Communion Services. There had been teenage children with new cars, electronic gadgets, and plans of their own. There have been new family members including children’s spouses and the best of all-grandchildren. The neighborhood had grown into a reflection of life and all of the stages we pass through as we travel down the road. Once again, as I turned into the drive, I said a prayer in gratitude for each and every season of life and the neighbors that surrounded us. God is indeed good and Christmas is a most special and blessed time of the year. As I opened the door and entered our home, my mind shot back to that magical phrase from a story oft told, “Merry Christmas to All and to all a Good Night.”
Sunday, December 21, 2008
So tonight we had our date and just for fun we invited Wesley's good friend, Mr. James to go along with us. We went for Mexican food first (it is Sunday night) with Wesley's family and then we were off for our holiday tour.
Wesley and His Sweet Mom, Rachel & Mr. Bobby
After our ride and back home, one final picture of our group.
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Elisha & John (A fellow runner)
Brother Noel & Carol enjoying his Christmas Gift to Robbie & Me
Ashley & Madeline
Three Sweet Girl Monkeys
YUM-Chocolate Cake Says Abby-Madeline looks skeptical.
Friday, December 19, 2008
This is closer to the truth than I would care to discuss!
The choreography was really something!
Poodle Skirts, BOLD make-up-Really the ENTIRE 60's Get Up!
The linen tablecloth and candle treatment-WOW!
Thursday, December 18, 2008
NOW-I tag DRUM ROLL-------Debbie Adrian Jessica & Cynthia (Random Order)
IT IS NOT POLITE TO IGNORE OLD LADIES-SOOOOOOO!
We ran our five miles this morning in the THICK fog. It was 46 degrees and I ended up very hot and had to strip off some clothes. I was 25 seconds off my desired total time, BUT the last mile was a 9:12. That is what happens when two old girls like Babs & I start chasing Young Sam as she takes off that last mile.
The "Runners" are throwing a "Birthday Party" tonight. Pics tomorrow. I am truly blessed with wonderful friends!
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
The shelves are covered with Santa Clauses collected over the years.
Rudolph that we have had for years and a couple of the books the kids had when they were little.
OOPS-Sorry no way to take the duplicate off once it is on, without starting over.
The woods scene-slightly out of focus.