Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Dog Days After Christmas

Nope, not depressed.  Just dog-sitting Cisco and Bear for a while.  They are generally well-behaved except when Cisco is biting Bear's tail and getting retaliation.

Our Christmas Day was just as wonderful as expected--presents, fun, good food and church.  Maddie read part of the Luke account and Ella was Mary in the nativity scene.  Brandon and Sheryl led worship.  There was a bigger crowd than I thought there would be. 

The girls got some handsome clothes and hats which they wore to church.  I told them that they looked as if they stepped out of Mademoiselle.  I don't think that magazine exists anymore, but they were so stylish.

They received a Wii and the game Just Dance.  It was  SO  fun to watch Sam perform the dances like a pro.  His daddy would not perform.

Went to see War Horse with Ronnie and Darla.  It is a good movie for the family--except for some scenes of WWI which are realistic.  The horse gets tangled up in wire from the barracades.  Although predictable, I enjoyed the film.  I think it will be nominated for the Oscar.

I hope to see Sherlock Holmes for sheer entertaiment this season.  And, of course, can't miss Tom Cruise.  Looking forward to Meryl Streep's Margaret Thatcher too.
Why do all the good movies come out at once?  The family and I enjoyed We Bought a Zoo.  Recommended except for one word which could have been left out.

All, in all, I think we had a very merry Christmas.

I already miss the Christmas carols on the radio.

The weather is weird; it is supposed to almost reach the 70's this week.  It was very cold on Christmas Day, like winter is supposed to be.  As they say, in Texas one has to wait only a minute until the weather changes.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve

It is actually snowing in Abilene, Texas as I write this--melting as it touches the ground; but it is still snow....what a way to spend Christmas Eve! 

We are having chicken spaghetti tonight as we open presents at my house--all my gifts to them.  Probably will have trouble getting the kids to eat with the gifts under the tree calling to them.  I was cooking Brandon's requested hash-brown casserole while the Christmas carols were playing on the radio, and I couldn't help but remember those days at Potosi when I did the same thing on Christmas Eve.

Tomorrow, I will go to the kids' house for Santa and opening more presents, then to church.  We are having Sharon's brisket for lunch  YUM.  It all sounds like lots of family fun which it always is.  Very often there is a tinge of nostalgia or longing as we remember the days when Sam was here, and we spent the holidays either in Pasadena or Groesbeck and sometimes at Dorothy's house in the Woodlands.  Those days are all gone, but good memories still remain.  Those memories thrust at us to try to create those good feelings for Maddie, Sam and Ella.  I hope that is happening.

Then Monday the carcass of Christmas will remain with the attendant boxes, tissue, wrong sizes, and credit card bills.  HOWEVER,  it is worth it to watch children enjoy the days.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

On, Donder and Blitzen!

I read to Sam's class yesterday at Thomas Elementary.  It was so fun; but even more moving was the thrill in Sam's eyes  as he watched me read.  I gave them a little history about Clement Clark Moore, the author of "Twas the Night Before Christmas" or as he titled it "A Visit from St. Nicholas". 

And we discussed the difficult words like "coursers" ( do you know what they are?) and sugar plums and "threw up the sash".  Bruce Whatley's illustrations of this old classic are beautifully surprising.  And he adds a little side story about the man who saw Santa.  It was such a trip to ask them questions and hear their answers.  Kindergartners are very imaginative.

And to top it all off. Brandon was there after eating lunch with Sam, so he took some good pictures.  They  are on facebook.  Sam has Nyla Rideout Davis for his teacher.  My Sam and I taught her in Sunday School at Minter Lane, um, years ago.  And now she has grandchildren.

Thank you God that children still enjoy good books, and that I got to read to them.
By the way "coursers" are a team that pulls something, like a team of oxen or a team of horses.

Happy Christmas to all and to all a goodnight. (This is the correct way to end the book as Moore wrote it.)

Saturday, December 17, 2011


Are you looking for a place to put tax deductable money  at the end of the year?  Try Reading is Fundamental  This organization provided 4 million children with 15 million new, free books and literacy resources last year.  I know it is hard to believe that there are millions of children in the U. S. who do not own a book of their own--but that is true.

We have today 33% of 4th graders who cannot read at the most basic level.  Less than half of the families in the U. S. read to their kindergarten children on a daily basis.  THIS IS CERTAINLY ONE OF THE FOREMOST INDICATORS OF DOING WELL IN SCHOOL LATER.  Speaking of later, forty million adults in the U. S. can't read well enough to share a simple story with their children.

As a recent communication from RIF says, "these kids aren't just falling behind in school, they are falling behind in life.

RIF is the only organization of its kind; since its founding in 1966, RIF has provided more than 380 million books for children to choose and keep.  RIF works through schools, libraries, child care centers, Head Start programs, Boys and Girls' Clubs, hospitals and homeless shelters.

83cents of every dollar given to RIF goes directly to support these literacy programs.

Give a child a big hand up and donate to RIF:

Reading is Fundamental
P. O. Box 96897
Washington, DC 20090-6897

Friday, December 16, 2011

And so the month goes... The Joy of December

Mark Twain once said, "Never put off until tomorrow what you can put off until day after tomorrow."  Hence, the blog suffers from being put off.

This is a month of many wonders:  the decorated houses (some beautiful and some tacky), the bustling mall, the Dollar Tree store where one can buy for $1 what used to cost $3.95, crunchy leaves and softly falling rain (here in Abilene, thank goodness!), the rewards of getting most of the packages wrapped, and knowing that one only has one more thing to buy, radio stations that play continuous Christmas music, receiving picture Christmas cards from friends, the Christmas musical at church and more and more.....

It is also a month to grieve :  for all those lost in Iraq (THANK YOU LORD, OUR TROOPS WILL BE HOME FOR CHRISTMAS, JUST AS PRES. OBAMA PROMISED), for the bad news about Liam Lowe, for the invective still being spewed in debates and in Congress, for those who will have a missing person in their Christmas celebration, and for those who entirely miss the point of Christmas.

It is a month to look forward to:  Santa's visit, the children's musical at church, the day or night when all the presents are open (and one can breathe a sigh of relief that the present is enjoyed and fits), sharing Christmas lunch with family, a quiet night for sitting in front of the fire, drinking hot chocolate and admiring the "kid-decorated" Christmas tree, reading the new books under the tree, hearing Maddie read "The Night Before Christmas", and more and more....

It is a month when one hears the mention of Jesus and his birth everywhere!

Thank you God for this month of wonders!

Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Good and the Ugly

Is  there anything more fun and more maddening than Christmas shopping?  O, for a magic wand to just wave and have it all complete.

In her book 1,000 Gifts, Ann Voscamp suggests that we give God gratitude not only for the good, but also for the ugly--that is, things that make us stop and realize how blessed we and have been.

There are so many good and ugly things happening at Highland these days--sicknesses and death; baptisms and disappointments; beautiful decorations and sad people.  Good news and bad news.

Thank you God for Jimmie Gomez and her life encouraging others.  Thank you for the apparent good news about Liam.  Thank you for the life of Judy Fisher and the beautiful eulogy at her funeral J. New gave.  She is why we have women in the ministry.  Thank you for the promise of a life after this one--it is such a comfort to know we can mess up here and still go to be with You.  Thank you for those good
thoughts that pour out of people as they drop off food for the Food Bank and feed 8,000 people a holiday meal (Thanks HEB).  Forgive  us for forgetting some of the people we serve now  when the holidays are over.  Thank you for the wonder and excitement in the eyes of children as they pour over Christmas catalogs and search the internet for gifts.  Forgive the old curmudgeons who scrooge their way through Christmas--they don't know what they are missing.  Actually they are missing the whole point.  Bless those who are sad these days for various reasons.  Help us to not overwhelm them with our joy.

Monday, December 05, 2011

Here with us

Christmas and Christ were ushered in last night at the Paramount Theater in Abilene.  Brandon, Sheryl and about  40 others presented a wonderful Christmas  performance which not only honored God and Christ, but moved many people in the audience to tears in several places.

The band was great, the soloists terrific and the songs sung (many of them new to me) were heart-stirring.  The next-to-last selection "Jesus Saves" rocked the house--it is one we need to learn acapella.  SO MUCH BETTER than the old "Jesus Saves" in our hymnals.

Betty Hukill, the executive director of the Paramount, came in and took a picture of the stage.  She said it was the most beautiful Christmas set they had ever had.

Thank you, thank you to all those who worked weeks on it--definitely one of my  favorite spiritual experiences!

Thursday, December 01, 2011

Owning a house

Finally after six months, I am now the proud owner of my house at 918 Reeves.  I am amazed that I have owned three different houses in less than ten years.  No wonder I can't find anything!!  I do remember where things were in Nashville--problem is, I'm in Abilene now.  I guess it will all just take a while to feel really grounded in the house. 

It is nice to know that this little piece of brick is mine (as long as I pay the payments), and that we can finally hang all the pictures.  Isn't it strange how much difference that makes in feeling at home...  I am really tired of stumbling over them on the floor.

The gremlins must know that the house is mine now; I just spilled a glass of orange juice on the fireplace and carpet.---thank goodness for Resolve.  The air outside smells of rain, and it has turned cold--we are supposed to get a real "norther" this weekend.  I am really enjoying the gas heat in the house--so much warmer.  This is the first gas heat I have had since living in Potosi. 

The kids came over and decorated the tree on Monday night.  Brandon asked if I minded a "kid decorated tree".  Mind??? I love it!!! So much better than having to do it myself.  The tree also makes the house seem more like my home.

Thank you God for my new-to-me warm house.  May you be honored inside its doors!