Tuesday, December 30, 2008

New Year's Eve...


Well I have to say that I'll be happy to see this year go, but also a bit sad. I lost my father this year and it was a terrible thing...something I never realized would hurt as much as it did. If you're new to reading my blog, you can read about my loss and how it totally changed my world here and here. I find it sad because in a way I feel as if I'm saying goodbye to my dad all over again.

I want to share with you how we celebrated New Year's growing up. It was an exciting time for us...we knew we were going to be able to stay up almost all night. We ALWAYS had church on New Year's Eve. The service didn't start until 10:00 PM. It was wonderful to go to church so late at night and know there would be a party following the service.

My father always had a beautiful sermon to preach and he always made sure he ended the sermon at around 11:55 for the entire church to get down on our knees and welcome in the new year praying. It was so exciting to be kneeling there watching the clock, waiting to whisper, "Happy New Year" to my many friends. I don't think too many of us teenagers were praying!

My father would get up and announce at 12:00 midnight, "Happy New Year" and the entire church would sing a final hymn and then it was off to the party! When I was really little the party was held at the Rizzo's house, but as I grew older, the party moved to the Gambino's house. We would spend hours down in their basement playing games, eating and just having fun...sometimes we stayed there till 4:00 in the morning!

Later that afternoon our family from Mt. Kisco, NY would drive into the city to visit with us. We had so much fun with the cousins eating homemade pizza and all the other goodies my mom would prepare.

New Year's Eve just doesn't have the same excitement as it did when I was younger. I'm finding church is different. It's not the same...it's earlier and there are no parties to go to afterwards. We never end the service on our knees waiting for midnight to come. It's just another service; home long before the strike of midnight ever comes.

I find that sad because I think where we all need to be, especially this year, is on our knees as we welcome in 2009. I need to be on my knees seeking God for guidance in my life. I'm missing the things I did as a child, the excitement, and I want to recapture that!

I'm going to try this year not to fall asleep so early and maybe, just maybe I can fall to my knees and think back to a time when all was right in the world...I'm a little girl again in my father's church, on my knees waiting to hear my dad say, "Happy New Year." I know that's where my dad would want me to be. I'll be praying that I never forget the wonderful times I had growing up and can have again, if only in my heart.

Happy New Year Everyone!

Monday, December 29, 2008

Quote...

I saw this quote the other day and I loved it. It was hand-stitched and framed and was so beautiful...BUT was almost $50! So I'm sharing it with you. I may try and do something with it on my computer and frame it myself, but for now here it is...

"I have been driven many times to my knees
by the overwhelming conviction that I had nowhere to go.
My own wisdom, and that of all about me, seemed insufficient for the day."

Abraham Lincoln


Oh how I can relate to that! Sometimes I have no idea what to do but head to my Lord for answers. My own ability to deal with a situation cannot compare to the ability the Lord gives me. I alone cannot make it. I am so thankful that my Lord gives me the strength each day to go on. Lord, please help me to understand how much I need to depend on You for everything in my life.

Enjoy your day! Will be back with a few photos from Christmas SOON!

Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Eating Tips...

From my Blogging Friend Deanie...
1. Avoid carrot sticks. Anyone who puts carrots on a holiday buffet table knows nothing of the Christmas spirit. In fact, if you see carrots, leave immediately. Go next door, where they're serving rum balls.

2. Drink as much eggnog as you can. And quickly. It's rare...you cannot find it any other time of year but now. So drink up! Who cares that it has 10,000 calories in every sip? It's not as if you're going to turn into an eggnog-alcoholic or something. It's a treat. Enjoy it. Have one for me. Have two. It's later than you think. It's Christmas!

3. If something comes with gravy, use it. That's the whole point of gravy. Gravy does not stand alone. Pour it on. Make a volcano out of your mashed potatoes. Fill it with gravy. Eat the volcano. Repeat.

4. As for mashed potatoes, always ask if they're made with skim milk or whole milk. If it's skim, pass. Why bother? It's like buying a sports car with an automatic transmission.

5. Do not have a snack before going to a party in an effort to control your eating. The whole point of going to a Christmas party is to eat other people's food for free. Lots of it. Hello?

6. Under no circumstances should you exercise between now and New Year's. You can do that in January when you have nothing else to do. This is the time for long naps, which you'll need after circling the buffet table while carrying a 10-pound plate of food and that vat of eggnog.

7. If you come across something really good at a buffet table, like frosted Christmas cookies in the shape and size of Santa, position yourself near them and don't budge. Have as many as you can before becoming the center of attention. They're like a beautiful pair of shoes. If you leave them behind, you're never going to see them again.

8. Same for pies. Apple, Pumpkin, Mincemeat. Have a slice of each. Or if you don't like mincemeat, have two apples and one pumpkin. Always have three. When else do you get to have more than one dessert? Labor Day?

9. Did someone mention fruitcake? Granted, it's loaded with the mandatory celebratory calories, but avoid it at all cost. I mean, have some standards.

10. One final tip: If you don't feel terrible when you leave the party or get up from the table, you haven't been paying attention. Re-read tips; start over, but hurry, January is just around the corner. Remember this motto to live by:

"Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!"

Last but not least, my addition, the following is the proper way to weigh yourself during this time of year...Enjoy!

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Luke 2:10-14
But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."


I hope you all have a wonderful day with family and friends remembering that without the manager we wouldn't have the saving grace of the cross!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve...

The above is a picture of my family a LONG time ago. I'm the one holding the doll. Don't worry, my sister is only upset because she couldn't get her doll for the picture! Growing up we always opened our gifts Christmas Eve. It was always a fun time in our household. Most of our "work" was done. My mom directed the Youth Chorale in which my sister and I sang. My mom sang in the Adult Choir and by Christmas Eve both musicals were over and the only thing for my father to worry about was Christmas Day service.

My father would begin delivering the Christmas presents to the various people who worked in the church in the morning. A few times he would take me with him. I never really enjoyed going with him. I wanted to be home to smell the wonderful cooking...my mom would be working away in the kitchen getting ready for our big Christmas Eve dinner that night...it was always just the 5 of us, which made it special.

During the afternoon she would have cookies and eggnog set up for people who would drop by to wish us "Merry Christmas." And there was always someone dropping by! If you read my sister's blog, she wrote about all the wonderful cookies we would make and the special dish my mom would always use and how wonderful my mom made Christmas Eve dinner for us.

After dinner we would get to open our presents. But first we had to put the Yule Log on TV. Watching the fireplace from Gracie Mansion, the home of the New York City mayor, was a tradition in our house! It seemed it would take us hours to open our presents, no rushing, no ripping through the packages; everything was done slowly and we all had to "watch" each other open their gifts.

When we were first married and started our own family, the Colonel and I always opened presents on Christmas Morning. However, we found we were rushing through it too often. I was always trying to either get a dinner together for company or get us in the car to make the long drive to someone's house. We decided last year enough was enough...we were opening presents on Christmas Eve.

And it was so nice. We went to Christmas Eve service and then came home and spent as much time as we needed to open our gifts. Then, the next morning, the kids slept in and I didn't worry about having to get a house cleaned up before our company came! The only difference between now and when I was growing up is that the fireplace we watch is now in our house...not on TV!

This year will be quite sad because my dad won't be with us. We are going to my mom's house for dinner and then to Christmas Eve service and finally home to open gifts, but not until my husband reads the Christmas Story from Luke 2. I'm planning on having a plate of cheese and crackers, fried ravioli and a few other yummy treats to snack on. I actually did some baking. Below are pictures of banana bread all wrapped and ready to hand out tonight after church.

Banana Bread Cooling...

Aren't Those Dishes Cute?

All Ready to Give as Gifts...

Whether you open gifts Christmas Eve or Christmas morning, I pray that you will take time to remember the greatest gift given to us...the gift of Jesus, our Savior...I know I will! Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Quote Of The Day...

Me to hubby, "What is that on your desktop?" Hubby to me, "Why it's Caesar's Commentaries in the original Latin." I must point out that he says this to me as if I SHOULD KNOW!

So this is what my hubby had on his computer Sunday night...

And this is a picture of what was on mine...


I love my husband so much. He continually amazes me. He is currently waiting for final approval to start the research on the thesis for his Master's Degree, all while working too many hours to count for the Army and getting straight A's. His professor told him 2 months ago that she thought his work was worthy of a doctorate degree.

I think back to two years ago Christmas and he was so far away from us...in Iraq. I'm so happy he's home this year. Two years ago was a miserable Christmas at the Christensen Household, this year it's starting off really good.

Something to Think About...

Santa lives at the North Pole.
JESUS is everywhere.
Santa rides in a sleigh
JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water.
Santa comes but once a year.
JESUS is an ever present help.
Santa fills your stockings with goodies
JESUS supplies all your needs.
Santa comes down your chimney uninvited.
JESUS stands at your door and knocks.. and then enters your heart.
You have to stand in line to see Santa.
JESUS is as close as the mention of His name.
Santa lets you sit on his lap.
JESUS lets you rest in His arms.
Santa doesn't know your name, all he can say is "Hi little boy or girl, What's your name?"
JESUS knew our name before we did.
Not only does He know our name, He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and He even knows how many hairs are on our heads.
Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly.
JESUS has a heart full of love.
All Santa can offer is HO HO HO
JESUS offers health, help and hope.
Santa says "You better not cry.
" JESUS says "Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.
Santa's little helpers make toys.
JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes and builds mansions. Santa may make you chuckle but JESUS gives you joy that is your strength.
While Santa puts gifts under your tree JESUS became our gift and died on the tree.

It's obvious there is really no comparison. We need to remember WHO Christmas is all about. We need to put Christ back in Christmas.
Jesus is still the reason for the season.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Oh Little Town of Bethlehem...

On Saturday the Colonel, myself and my mom headed to the town of Bethlehem, PA...about 30 minutes from where we live. The kids had to be at church for the final rehearsal of the Christmas production and we decided instead of staying home or hanging around church, we were going to do something different.

I heard about the Christmas Buffet at The Hotel Bethlehem advertised on the radio and immediately knew it would be something fun to do. Bethlehem is a beautiful, quaint little town established in 1741 by 13 Moravian Missionaries.

The Hotel Bethlehem is on the site of the first house they built, which was only a little log cabin and it housed both humans and animals! As they celebrated Christmas Eve that year, they decided to name the area, Bethlehem.

The Lobby All Decorated...

The Buffet...

The Three of Us...

Mom and the Colonel Enjoying Their Food and The View...
A View of Main Street, Bethlehem...

We decided that we started a new tradition in the Behr/Christensen Family. It was a beautiful wintry day and we had a wonderful time.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Worship Song Sunday...

A little known secret about me is how much I enjoy Tom Jones! My husband and I both do, so imagine my surprise when looking for today's video I see Tom Jones singing this song!

All you from Bethlehem Youth Chorale get ready to hear "Mary's Boy Child." Of course, I think we did it so much better! I can close my eyes and see Mike Rodolico singing the verses and better yet, can see us all standing up there in that balcony at Kennedy Airport singing this song with all the other Christmas songs every Christmas! Enjoy your Sunday, hope it's a great one!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Scripture Saturday...

Here are two great ones that I need to concentrate on more...

Psalms 4:8 I will lie down and sleep in peace, for you alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalms 5:3 In the morning, O LORD, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait in expectation.

Enjoy your day. We are heading to The Hotel Bethlehem in Bethlehem, PA for a special Christmas Buffet luncheon. Will hope to take some pictures and post them on Monday...yes, Mom is coming as well!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Christmas Playlist...


Jo-Lynne over at Musings of a Housewife did a song list on her blog yesterday and asked us to list our 10 favorite Christmas songs. So here goes:

Mary Did You Know
Breath of Heaven

The Messiah - all of it!
Silent Night - I especially love it in German
Emanuel, God With Us - Point of Grace
Oh Come All Ye Faithful - Josh Groban, actually the entire album is great
Ava Maria
It's Beginning To Look A Lot Like Christmas - Andy Williams, the entire album.
Oh Holy Night
Mary's Little Boy Child - The one we did as teens in Youth Chorale

You may be wondering why in the world I have Andy Williams as one of my favorites. Well when we were first married, I asked the Colonel(of course he wasn't a Colonel then!) to please pick up some Christmas music during the week so when we put our tree up we would have something to listen to. He came home with the entire collection of the Messiah.

He noticed the look on my face and asked, "What's wrong with the Messiah?" Well, I told him that I thought he would purchase something a little more "Christmasy." That's the word I used. He looked at me and said, "You asked for Christmas music and this is the best there is."

He then really noticed the look on my face and said, "Okay, let's go pick something out that's a bit more Christmasy." We then went and picked out the Andy Williams CD that we play every year when putting up the Christmas tree and we have a laugh over our definition of Christmas music, although I have come to love The Messiah as much as he does!

Please join in on the list and leave a comment so I can come and check out your favorite songs!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Very Cute...

Dear Santa:
I've been a good mom all year. I've fed, cleaned and cuddled my children on demand, visited the doctor's office more than my doctor and sold sixty-two cases of candy bars to raise money to plant a shade tree on the school playground. I was hoping you could spread my list out over several Christmases, since I had to write this letter with my son's red crayon, on the back of a receipt in the laundry room between cycles, and who knows when I'll find anymore free time in the next 18 years.

Here are my Christmas wishes: I'd like a pair of legs that don't ache (in any color, except purple, which I already have) and arms that don't hurt or flap in the breeze, but are strong enough to pull my screaming child out of the candy aisle in the grocery store.

I'd also like a waist, since I lost mine somewhere in the seventh month of my last pregnancy. If you're hauling big ticket items this year I'd like fingerprint resistant windows and a radio that only plays adult music, a television that
doesn't broadcast any programs containing talking animals, and a refrigerator
with a secret compartment behind the crisper where I can hide to talk on the
phone.

On the practical side, I could use a talking doll that says, "Yes, Mommy" to boost my parental confidence, along with two kids who don't fight and three pairs of jeans that will zip all the way up without the use of power tools.

I could also use a recording of Tibetan monks chanting "Don't eat in the living room" and "Take your hands off your brother," because my voice seems to be just out of my children's hearing range and can only be heard by the dog.

If it's too late to find any of these products, I'd settle for enough time to brush my teeth and comb my hair in the same morning, or the luxury of eating food warmer than room temperature without it being served in a Styrofoam container.

If you don't mind, I could also use a few Christmas miracles to brighten the holiday season. Would it be too much trouble to declare ketchup a vegetable? It will clear my conscience immensely. It would be helpful if you could coerce my children to help around the house without demanding payment as if they were the bosses of an organized crime family.

Well, Santa, the buzzer on the dryer is calling and my son saw my feet under the laundry room door. I think he wants his crayon back. Have a safe trip and remember to leave your wet boots by the door and come in and dry off so you don't catch cold.

Help yourself to 20 cookies on the table but don't eat too many or leave
crumbs on the carpet.

Yours Always,
MOM...

P.S. One more thing...you can cancel all my requests if you can keep my
children young enough to believe in Santa. Santa has asked that this gets passed on to all the mommies you know, feel free to copy and paste onto your own blog!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What???

It can't be...next week is Christmas? It just seems that I was pulling this out of the oven YESTERDAY...

I just can't seem to get into the fun of Christmas yet. The house is decorated, most of the presents have been purchased; but the fun isn't there for me. Maybe if I was cooking or having company...maybe if I was doing some baking...maybe if I was in the Christmas cantata...maybe if my dad was here, a bunch of maybes that all lead back to the fact that I can't get into Christmas this year.

I have been spending too much time reading other blogs...I really love doing that, but it's been a bit depressing lately to see how well other people have decorated! I feel like I just threw everything up and in my eye, it looks pretty, but then I do some surfing on different blogs and realize how inadequate I feel about EVERYTHING, and not just Christmas!

I need to spend less time comparing myself to other people and other blogs and spend more time concentrating on the true meaning of Christmas. Not the decorations, not how someone's house looks, or the lack of homemade goodies, but the fact that this is the birthday of my Savior and without the manager I wouldn't have the saving grace that the Cross provides for me.

So maybe I need to be less like Martha this year and more like Mary, the mother of Jesus. I think she fully understood what was about to happen to her and to the rest of us with the birth of her baby. She understood that a baby wasn't just going to be born, but a Savior, the promised Messiah. I think I need to slow down a bit and just concentrate on the fact that this tiny baby has changed my life forever.

"My soul doth magnify the Lord and my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Savior." Luke 1:46-47

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Worship Song Sunday...

I absolutely love this song, Mary Did You Know. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do. Have a great Sunday!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Scripture Saturday...

A special verse the Lord gave me when the reality of my back situation began to sink in. I don't remember ever reading this verse before last year.

Luke 13:11-13
And, behold, there was a woman which had a spirit of infirmity eighteen years, and was bowed together, and could in no wise lift up herself.

And when Jesus saw her, he called her to him, and said unto her, Woman, thou art loosed from thine infirmity.

And he laid his hands on her: and immediately she was made straight, and glorified God.


The Colonel was able to make it home for the day, so we're out to hopefully finish up some Christmas shopping. Come back tomorrow for a beautiful Christmas video for Worship Song Sunday! Enjoy your day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Show and Tell Friday...

Show and TellToday I'm showing my Christmas Department 56 Village Collection. I have seven lighted houses...I love each house, but especially the "Apple Valley Schoolhouse."

When Olivia was just 5 years old, the Colonel took her shopping and had her pick out the house to purchase that year. And since she was in kindergarten, she picked the schoolhouse. They had it wrapped at the store and she placed it under the tree when they got home, I could tell how excited she was!

On Christmas Eve when my family was over and we were about to exchange gifts she ran and brought me "her" present to me. I told her, "No, we're going to open those presents in the morning." Well, the look on her face could have broken any one's heart. My husband said, "Oh, please open it tonight, she's so excited." I opened it and, of course, she helped and was so happy for me to have the house she picked out all by herself.




Olivia's choice...Apple Valley School House

I hope you enjoyed my little tour. We have such fun bringing them out year after year. I keep them up on the mantel till the end of January, after all, they're not just for Christmas! Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Surprise for Me!

Okay, I'm chatting with my friend Vanessa on Facebook the other day and she asks for my address. I gladly give it to her then realize, wait a minute...I really don't KNOW Vanessa. I mean, she use to work for the same company that I currently work for and we've chatted on the phone for about 3 years. We both had a good laugh over the fact that she's not a serial killer and that she's not going to show up on my doorstep with her luggage one day.

On Monday the package arrives:
When we reconnected on Facebook, I found out that she now works for Fox News and she saw that I joined the Sean Hannity fan group, so she sent me an autographed picture of him. It says, "To Lois, A Great American." And he spelled my name right!

I laughed so hard when I opened the picture. It was one of the nicest things some one's done for me, who really only knows me through the computer, in a long time. Thanks Vanessa! Hope your day is a good one...you sure brought a smile to mine!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Tag!

Okay, a friend of mine sent me this cute little quiz. So today I'm answering the questions and tagging a few of my blogging friends at the bottom! Enjoy!

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Well, the Colonel usually wraps the gifts, but if I have to its gift bags, sorry, don't have the patience anymore!

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial...again, patience...I want the tree up the day after Thanksgiving and if we used a real one, it would be dead by Christmas.

3. When do you put up the tree? Day after Thanksgiving!

4. When do you take the tree down? Usually New Year's Day...ever since I was pregnant with Olivia, I have that tree down as soon as I can after Christmas. I must have been in that nesting phase that first Christmas when the tree was down and a few days later I went into labor with her, 6 weeks early!

5. Do you like eggnog? Oh my word...do I love eggnog...YES! But I only just discovered it about 6 years ago. I grew up with eggnog at Christmas time, served it for my guests but never tried it until 6 years ago...what I was missing all those years!

6. Favorite gift received as a child? This is hard, but I love that designing set my brother gave me when I was in 6th grade. You can read about it here.

7. Hardest person to buy for? Well, it use to be my dad...would give anything to buy him a tie this year!

8. Easiest person to buy for? Probably my husband...he prints out pictures of what he wants.

9. Do You have a nativity scene? Yes...I love it...purchased it the year I was pregnant with Olivia and it cost around $50 and I remember thinking that was so much money...money we didn't have, but I wanted to have one now that we were ready to have children.

10.Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail...but not this year, sorry.

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? A basket full of Easter soap at a WM Christmas party gift exchange...don't even ask.

12. Favorite Christmas Movie? Its A Wonderful Life...watched it for the first time last year with Olivia...she loved it!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? December 26th, does that surprise ANYONE??

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Well...see #11, just kidding...NOT.

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mother's rouladen...hadn't had it in years.

16. Lights on the tree? What a silly question...of course!

17. Favorite Christmas song? Silent Night, Mary Did You Know and Breath of Heaven.

18.Travel at Christmas or stay home? I love to do Christmas but we take turns, so this year we're traveling!

19. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Christmas Eve...we started doing this last year because I hated rushing through opening them on Christmas morning, packing up and leaving the house to get somewhere or having to hurry up and clean up because company was coming. Much better Christmas Eve.

20. Person you think will not do this? My sister...she's way too busy to be tagged!

Tag...Liz, Sue, Beth, Sara, Becky, Deanie Vanessa and a new friend, Armchair Housewife
Just copy and paste the questions into your post and change the answers, of course!

My Weekend...

How was your weekend? Here at the Christensen household it was pretty good...even if the Colonel couldn't get away. I spent a good part of Saturday running errands, finishing up some decorating at church...the nice part was that Michael came with me! Maybe it was because we had to get his hair cut and then I bribed him with a lunch at Burger King, but still it was nice to have some company.

Sunday was church, of course, and Olivia had her Youth Group Christmas Party so she was staying at church all day, so that left just Michael and I again so...yup, we went through the Burger King drive thru AGAIN!

I then proceeded to spend the entire afternoon on the couch watching the most funniest show called Parking Wars. They were doing a marathon of it on A&E. If you've never seen this show, I highly recommend it. I spent most of the afternoon laughing my head off, at the expense of other people I might add.

It was just quite funny to see how some people truly live their lives...getting parking ticket after parking ticket and then getting "mad" at the city of Philadelphia for towing their car for not paying all these parking tickets and how unfair it was that they were being singled out...hello...you received 6 tickets in 6 months and still haven't paid for them! It really opened my eyes!

I promise to pay any parking ticket I receive in the future...really...hey, wait a minute the last time I had a parking ticket was about 20 years ago, thank God! But, really I promise to pay any future ones because I definitely do not want to be on camera complaining to the world about how the "system" is treating me!

Enjoy your day!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Worship Song Sunday...

A beautiful song.

Cry Out to Jesus

There is hope for the helpless
Rest for the weary
Love for the broken heart
There is grace and forgiveness
Mercy and healing
He'll meet you wherever you are
Cry out to Jesus, Cry out to Jesus


Saturday, December 6, 2008

Scripture Saturday...

My Olivia's favorite verse...

Isaiah 40:31
But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

Enjoy your weekend!

Friday, December 5, 2008

Show and Tell Friday...

Show and Tell Today I am showing something my son Michael made for me last year at the boy's program at our church. It's a log with room for three candles surrounded by garland, Michael drilled the holes, the candles are a bit crooked, but that's okay...I just love it. Last year I had it as the centerpiece on our kitchen table but this year I'm trying it on the hutch in our kitchen.

When all the boys were bringing their logs into the church to give to their mom's (Royal Rangers meets in a building across the parking lot from church), I noticed all the other boy's logs had Christmas balls hot glued on to the garland and candy canes, etc. I was thinking to myself, "I'm so glad Michael just did the garland."

Well, the guy in charge of the program came and told me that he kept telling Michael to add more stuff to his log, "Your mom will like it." He told me that Michael was very adamant about just doing the garland. I asked Michael about this later and he said, "I knew you would only like the garland and not all the glitzy stuff." Does this boy know me?

I do treasure all the things Olivia and Michael have made me for Christmas and our tree is mostly filled with them! To me this is what Christmas is all about, making something for someone you love. Enjoy your day!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

A Bouquet of Thorns?

I read a quote today that just jumped out at me...

My God, I have never thanked Thee for my thorn! I have thanked Thee a thousand times for my roses, but never once for my thorn. Teach me the glory of the cross I bear. Teach me the value of my thorns. Show me that I have climbed to Thee by the path of pain. Show me that my tears have made my rainbow.
—George Matheson (1842–1906)


How ironic that I read this today when I had my 6 month visit with my spine doctor. Today, the doctor told me that surgery will unlikely take away my pain, wow, what a thought...I was a little sad about dealing with this pain, but then I read the above quote.

Thorns protect the rose. They protect if from things like wild animals who want to devour the rose. Thorns enable a rose to grasp on and climb higher than other flowers to get needed sunshine. Thorns protect and also perfect the rose.

I'm sure there are many out there who have thorns in their lives...things they don't really want to deal with...maybe bearing them in silence. Shouldn't we begin to thank God for the strength He gives us when we have thorns in our lives?

It's so easy to be thankful when there are no problems weighing us down. But we need to enjoy not only the "roses" in our lives but also the thorns that help to protect the roses. It is when we are going through hard times that we truly begin to experience the comfort that only our Lord can give us. In our weakness, pain, or circumstance we come to depend on God even more; often falling to our knees.

How can I thank God for this "thorn?" I'm not sure I can yet. But I do know that I have thanked Him for all the many blessings He has given me and that I need to embrace this thorn and be thankful for the knowledge that maybe this thorn will make me realize how much more I need to lean on Him.

So let's take a little time today to be thankful for the thorns in our lives...without them we wouldn't have the beautiful roses.

2 Corinthians 12:8-10...Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ's sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

A Day Off From School...

Since moving to Pennsylvania there have been a few changes I needed to adjust to, like Friday night football games. I was born and raised in Queens, NY...we didn't have a football team at our high school. I had no idea how important Friday night football was until moving here...the whole town turns out for a game. I've been to a few and to be honest with you, it's just sometimes too cold to sit on a hard metal bench for hours on end waiting for your team to win.

The other thing is the Monday after Thanksgiving...the schools are closed for...(get ready)...the first day of hunting. Can you believe that? It's like a religion out here. The schools are not closed for Veteran's Day because they have off for the first day of hunting.

When I first found out about this day off instead of Veteran's Day, I was quite confused. There is something not quite right about forgoing remembering all the men and women who sacrificed their lives for this country in order for fathers to take their sons hunting on opening day.

I've had to explain this "day off" quite a few times in the past years and know I'm not alone in thinking, "WHAT?" Have we come this far in our society that we ignore a day to reflect on the sacrifices so many people have made for our country just so school age children can go hunting? I mean, if it's that important, just keep your kids out of school on the first day of hunting and let's go back to remembering Veteran's Day!

And to all you hunters out there reading my blog, I have nothing against hunting...just think our priorities are little messed up here.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Thanksgiving...

What a wonderful day we had! I was so worried that it would be filled with sadness, but it wasn't. I thought maybe I would be a nervous wreck, but I wasn't. I thought maybe it's going to be rushed like in years past, but again, it wasn't. Everything tasted delicious. We had a relaxing, enjoyable time together.

Pictures of my table...I love setting a pretty table!



Can you see the place card?


Scripture verse inside...

We each take a turn reading our scripture verse ending this year with my husband who then prays for the meal. After cleaning up from the main meal, we all gathered in the kitchen to make gingerbread houses! What a surprise! The Colonel and I spent some time Wednesday evening putting them together so they would be hard and not fall apart while little fingers were decorating them. Even the grownups got involved. I think this is the beginning of a new tradition here.


I had such a great time, I hope I can do Thanksgiving next year!

A Quick Update...

Yes, I'm alive! Thanksgiving was great...food was great...everything was great. I'm heading today to the cemetery...FINALLY...to visit with my dad a bit. I plan on writing more about our holiday and the decorations later in the day...and try and post some pictures, the camera is still not downloading properly.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! See you later in the day!