Monday, December 31, 2007
Saturday, December 29, 2007
Hopefully everyone had a wonderful Christmas.........
I have to think that the single greatest thing about this time of year is the promise and the hope that comes with it. So 2007 wasn't what you had hoped for due to many reasons and not necessarily as an end result of something you did. (Jo note: I find it comforting to know that I am not the direct cause for all of the screw ups in my life. Sometimes they are actually brought on by outside forces.)
New Years is just a few days ahead of us. A New Year that can bring new beginnings. A chance to step back and take a long look at last year to see if we can figure out what went wrong and what went right and the whys of it all. A fresh chance to regroup and start again, one step at a time. Actually these things can be done at any time during the year, but it just seems right to save it for the New Year.
As for the infamous new years resolutions..... I have none. I quit doing those a long time ago. What a way to start a new year. I would set new goals for myself, try to accomplish what I had set out to do for a few days or a few weeks and fall way short of my goals. I finally realized that there probably is no better way to start the new year on a downhill note than with a new years resolution. Why tell myself I am going to loose 30 plus pounds this year and then get depressed and eat my weight in comfort food! Why not just weigh myself and watch what I am eating on a day to day basis instead of starting the year off with pressure. (Jo note: Didn't we just go through the stress and pressure of Christmas and all of that shopping, baking, entertaining and now have 'The Tax Man' to stress over for a few months? Who needs more pressure?)
We still have Britt's birthday coming up on New Years Day. After that, I plan on watching the OSU ~vs~ LSU game on TV. (Jo note: I am a Buckeye and JD is from Louisiana so it should be an exciting game. I will probably end up cheering for both teams.) I have knitting and crocheting to do. And I will gradually get everything gathered up for taxes.
We wish you a good start to the New Year with lots of wonderful surprises in store for you as the year progresses.
Wednesday, December 26, 2007
Sunday, December 23, 2007
From time to time I receive an e-mail that gives me food for thought or brings tears to my eyes. I opened my inbox to find that special e-mail this morning. I know this has probably been making the rounds, but I think it deserves a special place on my blog because it is something we can all learn from...... Enjoy!
When I asked our newlywed Sunday School class to share a favorite Christmas story, Carrie Fuller said, "Our family has one we call the 'brown bag Christmas.'" When she finished, I had to hear more. Two days later, I called a member of her family for more details.
It was the early 1930s during the Dust Bowl days of Kansas, in the heart of the Depression. The Canaday family---Mom, Dad, 7 children---were having a tough time existing, so there would be no luxuries at Christmas that year. Mom told the children to go outside and find a Christmas tree and decorate it. After a lengthy search, they returned with a dead branch, the only thing they had been able to find. They stood it up in a bucket of sand and decorated it with pieces of paper tied with string. Little Judy, almost four, did not know how a Christmas tree was supposed to look, but somehow she knew it was not like that!
As Christmas approached, the Canaday children, like children everywhere, pestered Mom and Dad about what presents they might get under their "tree." Dad pointed out that the pantry was bare, that they did not have enough to live on, and there certainly would be no money for gifts. But Mom was a woman of faith and told her children, "Say your prayers. Ask God to send us what He wants us to have." Dad said, "Now, Mother, don't be getting the children's hopes up. You're just setting them up for a disappointment." Mom said, "Pray, children. Tell Jesus." And pray they did.
On Christmas Eve, the children watched out the window for visitors, but no one came. "Blow out the lamp and go to bed", Dad said. "Nobody is going to come. No one even knows we're out here." The children turned out the lamp and got in bed, but they were too excited to sleep. Was this not Christmas? Had they not asked God to send them the presents He wanted them to have? Did Mom not say God answers prayer?
Late that night, when one of the children spotted headlights coming down the dirt road, everyone jumped out of bed and ran to the window. The commotion woke up Mom and Dad. "Don't get excited, children," Dad said. "They're probably not coming here. It's just someone who got lost." The children kept hoping and the car kept coming. Then, Dad lit a lamp. They all wanted to rush to the door at the same time, but Mr. Canaday said, "Stay back. I'll go."
Someone got out of the car and called, "I was wondering if someone here can help me unload these bags." The children dashed out the door to lend a hand. Mom said to her youngest, "Stay here, Judy, and help Mom open the bags and put up the gifts."A deacon from the church in town had gone to bed that Christmas Eve, and lay there tossing and turning, unable to get the Canaday family off his mind.
Later, he said, "I didn't know what kind of shape you folks were in, but I knew you had all those kids." He had gotten up and dressed and went around town, rousing people from their sleep to ask for a contribution for the Canaday family. He filled his car with bags of groceries, canned goods, toys, and clothing. Little Judy got a rag doll which remained her favorite for years.With so much food, Dad wanted to have a Christmas feast, to spread it all out and eat as they had never eaten before. Mom, ever the caretaker, said, "No, we need to make this last." And it did last, for weeks.
The next Sunday, Mrs. Canaday stood in church and told what the members---and one deacon in particular---had done for her family. There was not a dry eye in the house.Years later, the oldest sister Eva wrote up this story about her family for a school project. Eva said, "We were so thrilled by all the wonderful things in the bags, for a while we lost sight of the most special gift. The best gift that Christmas was not in brown bags at all. It was Mom's faith, as she taught her children to bring their needs to Jesus and trust Him to meet them. And a Dad's love that wanted only to protect his children from hurt and disappointment."
When Carrie finished telling her story, she added, "Little Judy is my wonderful grandmother."
Today, Judy Canaday Dryden lives in Sanger, Texas. As she relived this event from seventy years ago over the phone, one could hear the tear in her voice and feel her pride in being the recipient of such a precious heritage from her mother and father.
At Christmas, we celebrate praying mothers and caring fathers and believing children. We give thanks for sensitive deacons and generous friends and sleepless nights. And we praise God for the hard times that teach unforgettable lessons, stories of faithfulness that get told and retold through the years inspiring each new generation to place their faith in a loving Savior.
Saturday, December 22, 2007
Thursday, December 20, 2007
Would a motor be running, not even a Wing.
The bikes are all sleeping, they're covered and warm,
While visions of new chrome danced in their heads.
And I in my do-rag, bike jacket and boots
Out shoveling snow, and dreaming of scoots.
Then from the horizon there came such a clatter
Away up the hill, I slogged through the snow
Looked up at the sky; where'd all that noise go?
Then a throb from the heavens, like straight pipes so hearty
Gave Summers' good thoughts, a loud bikers' party.
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear
But a Hog Ultra Classic, Red trailer in rear!
With a little old rider, so lively and quick,
I knew in a moment it must be St. Nick.
More rapid than a V-Rod his Ultra came on,
And he whistled, and shouted, and sang out this song;
"Now, Springer! Now, Dyna! On Ultra and Softail!
Now Vulcan! Now Injun! On Vict'ry and Triumph!
To the top of the porch! to the top of the wall!
Now RIDE away! RIDE away! RIDE away all!"
As small bikes that from the semis do fly,
When they meet with the air blast, mount to the sky,
So up to the house-top that Ultra it flew
With a trailer of goodies, and ole' St. Nick too
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof
The rumble and thunder of pipes that gave proof.
I ran in the house, boots thumping around,
And in came St. Nick all bearded and round
Dressed all in black leather, from do-rag to boot
His chaps were all tarnished with road grime and soot;
A T-bag of goodies he'd flung on his back
And he looked like a peddler just opening his pack
His shades -- how they twinkled! his do-rag how scary!
With chains intertwined, through skulls that were cherry!
His droll little mouth had done many a row,
So the beard of his chin was as white as the snow.
The stump of a pipe he held tight in his teeth,
The smoke had a strange smell; it gave him relief.
He had a broad face and a large fat beer belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly
He was tattooed and plump, a right jolly old rider,
So I offered a cold brew, thought what could be righter?
A wink of his eye as he downed that cold beer,
Gave me to know I had nothing to fear
He spoke not a word, but went straight to my ride
And fixed it with Chrome, Horsepower and Pride
And giving the peace sign with bikers' good cheer
Strode off to his Ultra rumbling near
He sprang on the saddle, his gloves on the bars
A wheelie he threw; then off towards the stars
I heard him exclaim, as my chest swelled with pride
Wednesday, December 19, 2007
Our Christian Academy's Preschool classes presented their 2007 Christmas Program to a packed house last night.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Monday, December 17, 2007
Sunday, December 16, 2007
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Why is it that the trip from the house to the bathroom always seems longer in the winter time?
Thursday, December 13, 2007
I am a true believer that the quickest way to turn a person with a cheerful happy Christmas spirit into some sort of red eyed, snarling, head spinning creature is with a shopping trip this time of year.
I have never in my life ventured out on Black Friday to do any type of shopping what so ever. In fact I even gone so far as to make sure that I was stocked up on enough groceries to last at least until the first of the next week for that very reason. This may have come about from all the years of working retail.
Well, with the prices of everything sky rocketing this year, I decided to bite the bullet and charge out there with the rest of the world trying to catch a bargain and save a few dollars. I even had J.D. convinced that this would be the thing to do.
Come Friday morning, I had my list made and woke J.D. up long before the crack of dawn and we were on our way to town. We made Wal-Mart our first stop and had very little problem finding a parking spot. We made it inside fairly easily as well. It wasn't until we reached the back of the building that we came to a complete stop due to a bottleneck. Shopping carts were going no where at all. It was at this point, I left J.D. with the cart while I made my way through the people milling about in the aisles with my list in hand to find some of those bargains. After what seemed years, I found my way back to our cart and my husband, list still in hand, but no bargains in tow. It was at this point that we deserted our cart and made our way back to the front of the store.
Our next stop would be Sears. Maybe this wouldn't be as bad. What planet did I think I was on to have a thought like that. It was just as bad, if not worse because the store isn't as big. Another stroll to the back of a store and back to the front and I threw in the towel. Who needs this kind of stress so early in the morning?
It took me all of two stores to wonder why I had even thought that dragging us out in the cold at a ridiculous hour of the morning was a good idea. When it could all have been done in the comfort of our home, with a cup of coffee in hand. I didn't think about it until right now, but I could blame my temporary insanity on the bad effects of Lyrica (see yesterday's posting) on my system.
We left Sears and headed for Bob Evans for a good country breakfast. Not much can work up an appetite like a failed Black Friday shopping spree.
Kudos to those shoppers that do get out there on Black Friday and manage to save a few dollars and find those bargains to boot. It is a tradition for son, Chris and daughter-in-law, Melody and they find the bargains. I truly believe that if you are going to do this you need to have a game plan, as well as training. It is like a football game in a lot of ways. If you aren't going to train for it, and follow a plan, you might as well forget about any sort of wish list or happy ending at the end of your shopping excursion. All you are going to have is a head ache and nasty temper.
Note to Jo: From now on stay on the mountain and shop online. Just as many bargains there as in the stores. Drink my coffee and say, "Ahhhhhhh, I love shopping like this!"
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
We had a visitor yesterday evening here on the mountain. It was a young man that I had invited to come by and tell us what he had to offer in the way of a cancer insurance policy. We had one that we have been paying on since 2002, but the premiums had jumped from $53 a month to $136 in five years. That price hike didn't reflect any claims from us, because there were none. How ever being a survivor myself of cervical cancer and memories of my mothers death from cancer still pretty fresh in my mind, I truly feel the need for a cancer policy.
Our young insurance representative assured us that he would not sell us anything that we did not need and commented that a person can be insurance poor. If that isn't an understatement, I really don't know what is. That very thought has been rolling around in my mind for quite some time now. It started in October when we received notice from our insurance company in Louisiana that they could no longer write the type of policy that JD had for the house that he co-owns with my ex-wife-in-law. As a result they would have to write a different sort of policy that was going to end up costing us a little over 3 times as much as what we were already paying.
"COME ON PEOPLE...... WE ARE RETIRED HERE AND TRYING TO LIVE ON A FIXED INCOME!"
I went to work on that one right away and found that the wonderful people at The Hartford (through AARP) were more than happy to take care of our insurance woes not only at an acceptable premium, but offering more bang for the buck. It was at this point when I had them run quotes for our little home on the mountain, as well as for our vehicles. Again they were able to offer us more benefits for less money on everything. Right about now, I would be thumbing my nose at Allstate.
Okey Dokey, I need to get back on track with this story. I started thinking about how insurance has taken over our lives, not to mention our incomes. We no longer have just life insurance, stay with me here because I am going to start a list of the many kinds of insurances that I can think of and there will probably be many that I don't think of:
- Heart Attack
- Home Owners
- Valuable processions
- Don't forget those valuable body parts (Hands and Legs)
They even have Pet Health Insurance and Pet Accident Insurance now to take care of Fido and Fluffy's needs!
When did this happen? I remember when I was small, my mother taking me to the Dr. and before we left she would open her purse and take out a few dollars and pay for the office call. We seldom went to the drug store because the Dr. usually dispensed his own medication. At what point in time did it become necessary to have insurance to pay for the Dr. and medications that he or she prescribes? One thing is certain, without the insurance, the days of opening your purse and paying a few dollars for the office call and medication is a thing of the past. Even with the insurance coverage it is getting more and more difficult to afford health care. The cost of the premiums are increasing on an annual basis, while the benefits are decreasing. I for one, see something seriously wrong with this picture.
I ask again when did this happen? As I sit here drinking my morning coffee I will continue to ponder that question and see if I can come up with the answer. For right now though I would just have to say it must have happened while I was sleeping!
Mental note to Jo: Sleep with one eye open in the future.
Monday, December 10, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
As I was writing my post yesterday my mind kept drifting back to my days as a child and the time I spent with my grandmother. I loved spending time with her because she always made me feel as if I was special. Believe me that was a big deal to a little girl that was one of the youngest of many grandchildren. One of my favorite aunts used to tell me that so many of the grown ups didn't know what they were missing out on by not spending time with me, but that was just the way it was. She said that by the time I came along there had already been so many babies born into the family that any new ones were nothing to take notice of.
When I was growing up, Grandma lived in a little cottage on a hillside in Southern Ohio just down the path from one of her son's and his family. She raised chickens, gardened, canned, quilted and watched TV. She cooked with a wood burning cook stove and heated with a wood burning stove as well. Any time we came to visit was reason enough to dress a couple of chickens and fry them up for supper. To this day, I have yet to taste fried chicken that could even compare to Grandma's.
I jumped at any opportunity I had to stay with her. Once while I was there visiting for a week she decided that she would teach me how to quilt. How important did I feel when she told me what we were going to do! We started with a pattern template and some fabric. I sat for what seemed like hours tracing that template onto the fabric while Grandma cut the pieces and stacked them into a basket. Of course she wasn't just going to turn me loose on the sewing machine with these pieces of fabric. She brought out paper and drew lines on them, then she drew circles on some and some were decorated with triangles and squares. She opened up her treadle sewing machine (that is peddle power for the younger generation) and took the thread out of the needle. After showing me the basics of operation she turned me loose sewing those pieces of paper with the empty needle. I was in heaven! It was when I mastered stitching on the lines that she threaded the needle and let me actually stitch the real deal together.
I was recently thinking about when we went to visit her at Christmas time as I was growing up and couldn't remember ever getting an individual Christmas gift from her. Her income was very limited and she did have ten children and as I mentioned before many grandchildren. Still Christmas did not pass without giving something of herself to each of her children and their families. It was the same gift every year and I looked forward to it just as much as anything Santa might leave under the tree. Every year at Christmas time, Grandma would bake an apple stack cake. One of those traditions that I have come to dearly miss over the years since her death. Grandma was the only person I have ever known of that made that cake. Several years ago, I was talking with a coworker during our lunch break and we were discussing grandmas and cooking, etc. She mentioned a cake that her grandma had made at Christmas time. As Cheryl described it, I knew it could be none other than that same cake recipe because I had watched Grandma make it many times. She told me that when her grandma had died after her belongings had been pretty well picked over, the grandchildren were allowed to go in and take one thing of hers. She took a kitchen calendar that had hung on the wall for years as she was growing up. On that calendar she found the apple stack cake recipe jotted down on the back of the last page. Cheryl shared that recipe with me and I still have it tucked away in my recipe box. I think perhaps this will be the year that I bring that recipe out and bake it for my family.
I loved my Grandma so very much and still recall what a bright spot she put into my years as a child. She was everything a Grandma should be. My mother was that kind of Grandma to her grandchildren and great grandchildren. I only hope that I can be the sort of grandmother that my grandchildren will remember years after I am gone and be thankful for memories that I have left behind.
Merry Christmas Grandma and thank you for the warm memories!
Saturday, December 8, 2007
From time to time I like to sit quietly and take stock of my life. Thoughts about like where I have been and where I am going. The joys and sorrows that have made up this life of mine, as well as the people that have traveled this journey with me. Some are still by my side, new ones have joined me, while others have wandered off along the way to pursue their own journeys separate from mine.
I use to hold on to everything that I remembered when I did my inventory. I found by doing that, I was also holding on to things from the past that had hurt me emotionally. As a result, I was preventing those hurts from healing and not allowing forgiveness to enter my heart. My plan is to work on that.
Have you ever really given much thought to quilts? Each one is unique to their own creator, therefore no two will be alike. Many people may use the same pattern, but there will always be variations in the colors, the fabric, and even the skill level of the creator. I see our lives as being very much like quilts. How wonderful that we each are given the tools and opportunities to create our very own quilt, just by the life we lead and the choices we make. Some of us will be very precise and careful about where each square is placed and the colors and fabric that is used. While others will whip through their quilts like a whirl wind and those squares will be placed randomly here and there. While still others will be masters at creating a crazy quilt. I can honestly tell you that I have created my share of those.
The bottom line is to create a quilt that you will be proud to leave behind when your days are through. A quilt that you can pass along to your loved ones. Something that they can wrap up in when the cold winds of loneliness blow and the memories of you, as the quilts creator will keep them warm long after you journey has ended.