Sunday, December 31, 2006

Countdown Time!

End of Year Activities

This morning I'll be heading out early to pick up Walter for church. I have choir practice so I'll have to leave a bit earlier than normal, no problem though - this will be our last Sunday excursion like this since next week he'll have his car back.

Our Sunday school lesson covered Psalms 107 - Dr. See refered to it as covering the Facts and Philosophy of the Travel of Life. Basically this one little Psalm covers all the "universal" things that we all must go through in life, and how to deal with them. The three basic ones we covered (although there are more) were sorrow & suffering; sickness; and seeing God at work. Generaly we must learn that, "I" can't control anything or anybody else only myself and that "I" must rely on the unlimited mercy of God. He also noted that we give away our peace when we allow others to irriate us. It is a giving away of our peace that causes the strife. We must give mercy to get mercy. If we look into all the storms of life, we can see God. His timing and ours are not always the same, but it is his unlimited mercy that will give us peace.

It was interesting that Dr. Fowler's sermon also dealt with Peace. It was interesting to note that the word peace/shalom mean a completeness, wholeness, and wellness of your being. It is an all encompassing word with a much deeper meaning than we usually speak of. It is only through having a relationship with Jesus can we have peace with others; our circumstances (be content); with ourselves; and with God. Some of the points that he gave as hinderances to this peace were: excessive worry; unwillingness to turn over our problems/worries over to God and leave them with him; continued focus on our circumstances; the sin in our life that we are not willing to deal with (refusal to forgive; pray, etc.) The third point on his sermon was on how to experience His peace by: receiving Christ as Savior; be reconciled to others; develop a habit of prayer; Refuse to think negatively [of the past, present and future]; and continuously & confidently putting our trust in God.

Dean is talking about a family outing this afternoon. We may go into town and take a walk on the flood wall or perhaps along the canal walk. A lot will depend upon the weather. If it is bad weather maybe we can take in a museum; the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts is always a good choice.

Walter has ordered himself a repair manual for his car. That will give him plenty of reading material for his out of town trips. Apparently Volvo only made the type of car that he has for two years. I guess that makes it super special.

Since the weather this afternoon is overcast and yucky we really didin't want to get out and find ourselves in a sudden rain storm. After much debate we decided on a alternate plan. It looks like our earlier choices have lost out to the Science Museum of Virginia and a movie at the IMAX theater there. We are going to see Night at the Museum, which promises to be a very good movie. If you click on the poster it will take you to the page movie trailer. The trailer itself is very good.

The movie was great, although the only thing that would have made it better was to see it on a regular movie screen. I remember now what it was about IMAX that I don't like. You can't see everything, unless you are sitting in exactly the top middle row of the theater. The plot was quite interesting - imagine everything in a museum coming to life at sundown. The statutes, wax figures, animal exhibits everything. The night watchman is responsible for keeping everything out of the museum as well as everything inside. It really does keep you guessing as to what will happen next. I can't wait till it comes out on DVD to really watch it again, because there have got to be a hundred subtle things in the movie to find. Most likely a real treasure trove...

Mom sent this great New Year's card - I know that she probably even took the picture of the fireworks herself. Thats a great way for the New Year to come in with real spectacular blast!

Speaking of fireworks if this year is anything like previous ones the fireworks will be going off all over the neighborhood. Someone will get really carried away and keep shooting them off until almost 1 a.m. A typical start of a New Year - perhaps I can at least be in the bed and ready to snooze some before the noise begins.

Come to think of it, it might be a good night to get some audio recordings of the fireworks exploding....hmmm.....

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thoughts for the Day:
  • Worry is like a rocking chair. It will give you something to do but, wont' get you anywhere.
  • "What you get by reaching your destination is not nearly as important as what you will become by reaching your destination." - Zig Ziglar
  • The author of doubt is Satan.

Our 2006 Year In Review

Today being the last day of the year, most time people take time to reflect and evaluate the events of the past year as the new one approaches. I have compiled a list of some of the highlights of our past year.
  • 1/17 - Clara Grace, born to Steve & Robin Owens a new cousin.
  • 1/27 - Faith Marie born - our first grandchild. So small and absolutely adorable.
  • 4/1 - Sean began playing baseball for CLL Junior Yankees & I began work as Team Mom it was a Great Season!
  • 4/3 - Sean began online classes for the final 9-weeks (excellent results)
  • 4/25 - I took a short excursion to Pennington Gap with Mom to bring Mamaw Stapleton up here for a visit.
  • 4/29 - Five generation of girls all together in one place. Mamaw Stapleton, Mom, myself, Danielle and Faith. A very special time.
  • Brian Ajhar Illustrations5/20 - Dean & I got new/old cars. Dean a 2001 Corolla; myself a 1998 Camry.
  • 5/26 - Walter moved out into his own apartment
  • 7/24 - Danielle & Ben's 1st Anniversary
  • 9/5 - Danielle begins her Senior year & Sean starts 7th grade
  • 9/14 - Dean & I celebrated our 15th Anniversary
  • 9/16 - I turned a big 43
  • 11/7 - Dean get a promotion in the Etch Department
  • 11/22 - I took a mini-vacation with Mom to Pennington Gap for the Thanksgiving holiday.
  • 11/29 - We got cell phones again. Now we can all stay connected with one another.
  • 12/9 - John Owens completed his Masters degree program! Way to go John.
  • 12/10 - Walter got into and automobile accident and lost. The Geo is beyond practical repair costs.
  • 12/14 -Dean got a promotion and job change to the IT department. He officially begins on 12/30
  • 12/18 - Walter's traffic ticket came to court and he was able to get just driving school.
  • 12/22 - Carla has 2 or 3 compressed disc and is on crate rest for two weeks.
  • 12/30 - Walter purchased his replacement car, a Volvo.

New Year's Eve

Saturday, December 30, 2006


We are going to be busy this morning. I am heading out to pick up Walter early this morning then we are off to:
  1. The bank to pick up a cashier's check to pay for his new vehicle.
  2. Then off to DMV to have the change the plates over from the GEO to the Volvo.
  3. Then on to drop it off at the service station for a state inspection.
  4. Get Walter's grades to turn into work.
WOW. We are going to be busy.

Walter had the boys out when I was at his place. It was so funny to see Butch & Sundance hanging out on the mirror. They looked like two sets of twins. They finally got back over to their cage and sat on top of their cage while looking out the window at the view. They were so fun to watch - and they get back into their cage ever so nicely.

We were able to get to the bank and down to Chester in no time flat. The car was ready and on the street when we got there. Walter & Jim went over it and checked it out before the transaction was completed. While Walter & I went to get the title, tags and registration all set. Jim put some gas into the tank while we were gone so that we would be able to move right along.

It was an amazing trip to the DMV we were third in line and only had to wait for about 15-20 minutes before they called us. Then it hardly took any time at all to complete the transaction. Walter kept his custom tags so he won't be have to remember any new numbers.

Once we picked up the gased up car we headed back towards the house and the service station to drop off the car for a state inspection. We did make a stop at Mom & Dad's house so that Walter could show off his car to Mom. Then we stopped by the house so that Dean & Sean could see it too.

We dropped off the car at service station to be inspected. It won't be able to be done until Tuesday, but Walt will be out of town again. That job in Staunton is really something. I know that he is enjoying it.

I was able to get this picture of him and his new wheels, when we dropped by Mom & Dad's for him to show the car off. It's a big car for a big guy. I've been calling it a real "beastie" it doesn't quietly purr like the GEO it has a really big voice. He's going to really enjoy driving it once he gets it back from the service station and starts to make it his own. The washing, waxing, cleaning the interior and such...

While Walt & I were out taking care of car stuff. Dean & Sean were on a bicycle mission. Sean was in need of a couple of new inner tubes and paint to fix up his bike.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day: Never explain. Your friends do not need it and your enemies will not believe it anyway. - Elbert Hubbard

Band-Aids: Why do you put band-aids in the fridge? For cold cuts!

Medical Opinions

A patient complained to his doctor, "I've been to three other doctors and none of them agreed with your diagnosis."

The doctor calmly replied, "Just wait until the autopsy, then they'll see that I was right."

Friday, December 29, 2006


Here we are on the last Friday of 2006, it may be a busy weekend finishing up the year end business. Mom is going out on a photo shoot with her photobuddy, Chris. Who knows where they will be off to - but I know that they will be having fun. Walter will be coming back into town tonight from Staunton. Hopefully they will have an uneventful drive into town.

Wow I looked out this morning and the ground was covered with a heavy frost, it gave the appearance of a light dusting of snow. The air also had a nip in - I called and left a cute message on Dean's voice mail about how he must have felt like Frosty the Snowman when he left for work this morning. It was definitely a windshield scraping morning.

I noticed this morning that it was so difficult to hear the birds singing in the nearby trees this morning - it seems that what can be heard with great clarity is the traffic noise from the nearby "main traffic arteries". When the leaves are out you don't hear it much, if, at all. I believe that the level of traffic noise has greatly increased just in the last year. It's a shame too, I so enjoyed the peaceful silence.

Mom checked in, she & Chris are heading down to Brown's Island in Richmond. I hope that they are able to get some nice shots of the river and whatever else that strikes their fancy while they are there. They may even get some architectural shots to boot. UPDATE: Mom called and said that they ended up at Maymont Park. She got lots of pictures. She got photos of the new baby bears. Mom said she got a picture of a hawk in flight and one of a mockingbird sitting on a post. It sure sounds like they had such a wonderful time.

It's noon and Sean is still sleeping. He is truly taking advantage of the Christmas break and sleeping as late as possible. He's had a couple of phone calls, but I'm not about to wake him. He'll just get up when he gets up. Well, Master Sean has arisen and is out and about with a couple of the neighborhood guys. They've headed back to the creek. I hope that they are using their heads and keep out of trouble.

I had a major breakthrough with Lilly this afternoon - I took her out to potty on her leash and she successfully managed to potty under control of the leash. This is going to make things much easier at night with her. No chasing her around or trying to get to come when she's done. It will just be a matter of walking back into the house. Yippee!! The girls & I walked around the yard for "potty clean up" and I applied some lime to several places in the yard to reduce the acid in the yard and help the grass along. Right now the girls are both hanging out in the foyer sleeping in the sunshine spots.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day: "I stopped believing in Santa Claus when I was 6. Mother took me to see him in a department store and he asked for my autograph." - Shirley Temple Black

Prayer Request: My choir buddy Jeanie's daughter Rebekah [aka Miss Twizzle] fell yesterday ice-skating and broke her right arm. She saw an orthopedic doctor on Friday. The doctor said that it will take 8-12 weeks to heal. She has to wear a splint constantly and can’t return to school next week. She has a lot of problems with nausea. She returns to the doctor in two weeks. Pray for her to recover quickly.

I love this Zits cartoon. It reminds me so much of the weirdness that can occur once everyone in the house has a cell phone. Convenient but strange - it also keeps down on the yelling in the house too!
Zits Cartoon
A Novel Approach to Saving Money

Three engineers and three accountants are traveling by train to a conference. At the station, the three accountants each buy tickets and watch as the three engineers buy only a single ticket.

"How are three people going to travel on only one ticket?" asks an accountant.

"Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer.

They all board the train. The accountants take their respective seats but all three engineers cram into a restroom and close the door behind them. Shortly after the train has departed, the conductor comes around collecting tickets. He knocks on the restroom door and says, "Ticket, please."

The door opens just a crack and a single arm emerges with a ticket in hand. The conductor takes it and moves on.

The accountants saw this and agreed it was quite a clever idea. So after the conference, the accountants decide to copy the engineers on the return trip and save some money (being clever with money, and all that). When they get to the station, they buy a single ticket for the return trip. To their astonishment, the engineers don't buy a ticket at all.

"How are you going to travel without a ticket?" says one perplexed accountant.

"Watch and you'll see," answers an engineer.

When they board the train the three accountants cram into a restroom and the three engineers cram into another one nearby. The train departs. Shortly afterward, one of the engineers leaves his restroom and walks over to the restroom where the accountants are hiding.

He knocks on the door and says, Ticket, please."

Ain't it the Truth!!!
Mae West Piggy
A woman goes to the doctor for her yearly physical.
The nurse starts with certain basic items.
"How much do you weigh?" she asks.
"115," she says.
The nurse puts her on the scale.
It turns out her weight is 140.
The nurse asks, "Your height?"
"5 foot 8," she says.
The nurse checks and sees that she only measures 5' 5".
She then takes her blood pressure
And tells the woman it is very high.
"Of course it's high!" she screams,
"When I came in here I was tall and slender!
Now I'm short and fat!"

Flour and Water

How come when you mix water and flour together you get glue?.. and then you add eggs and sugar... and you get cake?

Where did the glue go? NEED AN ANSWER? You know darned well where it went! That's what makes the cake.

Stick to your BUTT!!

Thursday, December 28, 2006


Sean is out running around with his friends this morning. He made it back before 12:30 p.m., and has brought back Jasmine to play video games. They are playing something called "Destroy All Humans", sounds terrible to me. Since they are playing downstairs I'll get a first hand viewing of this thing. It is not really as bad as it sounds, but it could use a better name. It reminds me a lot of some of the other Mario Brother's Games.

It seems in the end I'll have to take time after dinner to get my errand run. That way Dean will be home with Sean even if he's not in the house, otherwise I'll need to take Sean on the trek with me. My errand is to run down to Mr. Walter's today, his boys need to be taken care of and his place needs checking on. We wouldn't want Butch & Sundance running out of food or water. As I head over I'll get to feel a 'wee' bit like Santa Claus. I'll be delivering a Christmas dinner and gifts from family that he was not able to see, since he was sick on Christmas day and at work the day after. I'm even dropping his stocking off so that he can see what's inside.

Mike sent along this "Christmas 2005 Flash Back" photo of Walter with the GEO...well before it's current state. You can even see Ben & Danielle's car parked behind Walter's car. Last year was quite different. Thanks Mike - it is a great addition to the photo 'album' and family memories. If I remember correctly, Walter was having trouble with his car leaking oil, and was almost always checking under the front end to see if he could determine the source of the leak.

Tweat has been extemely vocal this afternoon. She has been quite excited since I moved her millet spray lower in her cage and filled her seed bowl. I think that she also got more vocal as the temperature has increased - I had the gas logs on to warm myself up. So she had the side benefit. If it was quite otherwise in the house I would try taping her some more.

My visit to Walt's didn't take too long, but I did provide him with some minor maid service (vaccuming up the birdseed leftovers and a quick bed making up). I know that when he gets home he will great appreciate it. He had told me to phone him while I was there, but he must be out and about in Staunton with the crew. Hope he has had a great evening. On the way home, I saw a oppossum crossing the main drag into our neighborhood. The nice weather must have them out on the move into nicer accomodations for the winter. There wasn't any chicken ahead of him so, he must have gotten the lesson on how to cross the road earlier today.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

I received some great stuff today, I hope you all smile as much as I have already this morning!!!

  • I must send my thanks to whoever sent me the one about rat shit in the glue on envelopes because I now have to use a wet towel with every envelope that needs sealing. Also, now I have to scrub the top of every can I open for the same reason.
  • I no longer have any savings because I gave it to a sick girl (Penny Brown) who is about to die in the hospital for the 1,387,258th time.
  • I no longer have any money at all, but that will change once I receive the $15,000 that Bill Gates/Microsoft and AOL are sending me for participating in their special e-mail program.
  • I no longer worry about my soul because I have 363,214 angels looking out for me, and St. Theresa's novena has granted my every wish.
  • I no longer eat KFC because their chickens are actually horrible mutant freaks with no eyes or feathers.
  • I no longer use cancer-causing deodorants even though I smell like a water buffalo on a hot day.
  • Thanks to you, I have learned that my prayers only get answered if I forward an email to seven of my friends and make a wish within five minutes.
  • Because of your concern I no longer drink Coca-Cola because it can remove toilet stains.
  • I no longer can buy gasoline without taking a man along to watch the car so a serial killer won't crawl in my back seat when I'm pumping gas.
  • I no longer drink Pepsi or Dr. Pepper since the people who make these products are atheists who refuse to put "Under God" on their cans.
  • I no longer use Saran wrap in the microwave because it causes cancer.
  • And thanks for letting me know I can't boil a cup of water in the microwave anymore because it will blow up in my face...disfiguring me for life.
  • I no longer check the coin return on pay phones because I could be pricked with a needle infected with AIDS.
  • I no longer go to shopping malls because someone will drug me with a perfume sample and rob me.
  • I no longer receive packages from UPS or FedEx since they are actually al Qaeda in disguise.
  • I no longer shop at Target since they are French and don't support our American troops or the Salvation Army.
  • I no longer answer the phone because someone will ask me to dial a number for which I will get a phone bill with calls to Jamaica, Uganda, Singapore, and Uzbekistan.
  • I no longer have any sneakers -- but that will change once I receive my free replacement pair from Nike.
  • I no longer buy expensive cookies from Neiman-Marcus since I now have their recipe.
  • Thanks to you, I can't use anyone's toilet but mine because a big brown African spider is lurking under the seat to cause me instant death when it bites my butt.
  • Thank you too for all the endless advice Andy Rooney has given us. I can live a better life now because he's told us how to fix everything.
  • And thanks to your great advice, I can't ever pick up $5.00 I dropped in the parking lot because it probably was placed there by a sex molester waiting underneath my car to grab my leg.
  • Oh, and don't forget this one either! I can no longer drive my car because I can't buy gas from certain gas companies!
If you don't send this e-mail to at least 144,000 people in the next 70 minutes, a large dove with diarrhea will land on your head at 5:00 PM this afternoon and the fleas of 12 camels will infest your crotch causing you to grow a hairy hump. I know this will occur because it actually happened to a friend of my next door neighbor's ex-mother-in-law's second husband's cousin's beautician...

Have a wonderful day....

P.S. A South American scientist from Argentina, after a lengthy study, has discovered that people with insufficient brain activity read their e-mail with their hand on the mouse. Don't bother taking it off now. It's too late.


Several women were visiting elderly Mrs. Diamond who was very ill.

After a while, they rose to leave and told her, "Esther, we will keep you in our prayers."

"Just wash the dishes in the kitchen," the ailing woman said, "I can do my own praying."

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

Return to Routine

The first day after the Christmas rush, it is time for us all to get back into the normal routine of life. I was all set to take Sean out to have an orthodontist appointment this morning until we had a monkey wrench thrown into the whole works, Sean woke up with a headache. Hopefully that he will recover from it very soon. I've rescheduled his appointment for next week in the afternoon I hope that we don't have anything to throw it off again as he is so close to having his braces removed.

Dean sent me a surprise email this morning it seems that he has been given a 10-year service award. It is nice to see that Quimonda is giving recognition to their employees for years of service. He chose this Philips Micro Hi-Fi System for the award, something to play some soothing music on in the house. It is unclear exactly how large this system is, but looking at the picture it appears to be about the size of three CD's lined up in a row.

Sean is having some company over to spend the night this evening. They will be playing video games to all hours, I'm sure.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Good Singer

In a Brooklyn upscale pet shop, an elderly woman burst into the store. "I want to buy a canary, but it's got to be a real good singer. I've got good, hard U.S. cash, but I'm only paying only for a good singer."

The shop owner began moving a ladder towards a small cage on a shelf about fifteen feet up, near the ceiling of the store. "Ma'am, I'm forty years in this business. In that cage is the best singer I've ever had ."

"Don't think I'm gonna feel obligated to pay for something I don't want just because you're climbing up a ladder like a monkey. I want a canary but it's got to be the best singer."

By this point the shop keeper was coming down from the ladder. "Ma'am, this bird is a veritable feathered Caruso!" Placing the cage on the counter, the bird burst into melody after melody.

Awed, the woman murmured, "This bird is really a good singer."

Suddenly in a shrill scream, "Hey, what's with you? This bird's only got one leg."

The pet store owner was unperturbed, "Lady what do you want a singer ? . . . . . or a dancer?"

Top 10 Signs You Are An Internet Geek
    10. When filling out your driver's license application you give your IP address.
    9. You no longer ask prospective dates what their sign is, instead your line is "Hi, what's your URL?"
    8. Instead of calling you to dinner, your spouse sends e-mail.
    7. You're amazed to find out Spam is a food.
    6. You "ping" people to see if they're awake, "finger" them to find out how they are, and "AYT" them to make sure they're listening to you.
    5. You search the Net endlessly hoping to win every silly free T-shirt contest.
    4. You introduce your wife as "my lady@home.wife" and refer to your children as "client applications."
    3. At social functions you introduce your husband as "my domain server."
    2. After winning the office Super Bowl, pool you blurt out, "I feel so Colon-Right-Parentheses!"
... and the No. 1 sign you are an Internet Geek:
    1. Two words: "Pizza's here."

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Third Day of Christmas

I woke up this morning from a horrible dream - WalMart had decided to put a cue line in the check out and you could only be checked out after the person in front of you. The really weird part was that all the check out stations were in a single line. It was terrible. The woman in front of me was being checked out, then all of a sudden the cashier said that she had to leave to go to the Tangiers to work. Leaving her order have checked out and eggs broken on the conveyor belt. The manager even acted like there was nothing wrong with this situation. Meanwhile, I was getting pretty ticked off because I only had three items and wanted to go home. Plus there were about 20 other cashiers available, but no one could get to them because the woman in front of me order had not been completely checked out. Thank Goodness Mom called and woke me up. I believe I would have popped a gasket if I had to have stayed in that WalMart for a second longer.

Then reality started to come into focus and I found Dean out front checking on the battery to the Camry. It was so sweet of him to check it out first thing this morning. He's off now to AutoZone to have them put in the new battery. Well at least I know we shouldn't get stuck again for a long while and even if we do I'll have jumper cables tucked away in the trunk.

Today is our third day of Christmas celebrations. We will be visiting with Mike and his family from Lynchburg around mid-day. The usual plans are to have lunch out at the Great American Steak & buffet followed by a gift exchange at our house. Walter and Danielle (and family) will be missed, but both are out of town. Walter working and Danielle in Lynchburg celebrating the season with her husband and daughter.

We had a lovely lunch out and a terrific time back at the house catching up on all the family stuff. We did miss Walter, Danielle & family, but they understood since both were out of town. Miss Melissa will be attending Liberty University in the Fall, so she and Danielle may end up having some freshman classes together. It will be interesting to see if that happens.


Go out this evening to Andrew on his successful harvesting of his first deer (a doe)! Watch out all you other hunters out there he's going out to get one of the big ones too. Click on his picture to see the full shot that Mom took and posted on her blog. You can see from his expression that he is truly a Happy Hunter.

I have officially heard from Danielle today - they had a nice quite Christmas. Santa brought Miss Faith a toy piano which for the moment seems to be her favorite toy. How could Santa not bring her something musical when her Mommy can sing so beautifully and her Daddy play piano with such a passion. Hopefully she will have inherited both gifts from them.

Monday, December 25, 2006

Merry Christmas

We awoke this morning to not a white Christmas, a wet one. No matter the weather is not what will make the day. We had a wonderful time this morning around the tree. Sean received a large corner desk for his room to hold his computer and television. Sean gave me a new Braun coffee maker that even has a filtration system in it to filter the water before the coffee brews. I can that it will be busy with all those pots of coffee that it will be brewing in the future.

Lilly joined us in the living room to open presents and see what Santa had left us in our stockings.

Lilly was delighted to help "shred" the wrapping paper and any tissue paper available. She was so funny. She even was taking hold of empty Slim Jim wrappers and licking them until could not possibly be any oils left on the wrapping.

Santa even left us an interesting article in our stockings - COAL! I didn't think that he ever did that. Oh well, I guess that there are times that we've all been naughty and deserved a lump or two. Santa even left stuff in stockings here for Walter and Danielle, so I guess that I will have to let them know that they need to drop by to find out what he left.

Louise sent us home a special package for the house and it turned out that we now have a new kitty. Her note read, "This is a family gift but mostly to even things up for Rascal. There are 2 dogs & only 1 cat so this gift will help Rascal not to be outnumbered. No litter box required! Be kind to her - she's just a baby."

Now our new kitty, Cuddles, and Lilly had a very interesting moment. In fact, Cuddles frightens Lilly and causes her to get very worried. Such a big dog frightened by such a tiny kitty.

I've checked on Walter this morning, he isn't feeling much better, so he will be staying home today. Since he will be going out of town tomorrow for work he needs all the rest and recuperation that he can.

Danielle & her family won't be joining us as they are out of town - We all wish them a wonderfully Merry Christmas. May their time together be joyous.

Dinner is coming along nicely. Things will all fall together just as they always do. We did receive a call that Steve & Robin will not be joining us as Clara has been running a temperature during the night. - Miss Clara get well soon. We will miss all of ya'll today.

Everyone arrived not too wet for the trip. Tim & his family came from across the river, as well as the Owens'; Mom & Dad had the shortest trip here this year. There was plenty of food and plenty of leftovers as well as copious amounts of sweet treats. We had a delicious dinner - everyone brought their best dish. Following dinner we moved into the living room for presents.

Now this year I was handing out gifts with some help from Samuel so I really didn't get a large number of photos, however, there were four cameras present Samuel's, Tim's, Mom's and mine. So hopefully someone got some nice pictures. I did get one of the two photographer's hanging out in the hallway. As most everyone knows Tim really doesn't like getting his picture taken so I think I did really well to get this on the sly.

Sean received a telescope from Aunt Barbara & Uncle Jimmy - it is going to be really nice once the weather clears up. Mom & Dad gave Barbara a super Scottish Santa wearing his kilt (I forgot to find out if he was a "regimental" Santa or not). I may have to check with Barbara later about that one. Mom & Dad gave me one of the neatest candles it is battery operated and looks just like a "real" one. So neat without the fire hazard. Abbie & Samuel were so good and well behaved we hardly knew that they were about. I know that they were really anxious to get back home to their gifts from Santa.

I did manage to get on picture of Tim, so reminencent of Walter Stapleton, by slipping out to get new batteries for the camera. I told him that this one was going out on the blog - I don't know whether he believed me or not but here it is for all the world to see.

We finished out the get together by adjourning to the kitchen for coffee and dessert. Barbara, Mom & Elda each out did themselves with the delicious baked goods.

Dean & I let the girls out of their crates to spend some time downstairs since they had been upstairs for so long. Lilly is crashed out on the sofa sleeping with Dean and Carla is asleep in her usual place under the end table. Even though she is suppose to be on crate rest, sleeping downstairs is the same thing as long as she and Lilly aren't playing around.

Tomorrow is our third day of Christmas, we will be spending the middle of the day with Dean's brother's family. Then all the Christmas festivities will be over with the exception of getting gifts to those who weren't here: Alice & her family; Walter's gifts from everyone and passing along the contents of stockings to both he and Danielle. Alice and her family are going to attempt a drive by gifting this evening on their way home from her in-laws home. The gift that we got for them will give the kids a little extra something to do tomorrow.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thoughts for the Day:
  • "While theoretically, television may be feasible, commercially and financially I consider it an impossibility, a development of which we need waste little time dreaming." Lee DeForest (around 1946)
  • STRESSED is just DESSERTS spelled backward.
At Home

While I was dining out with my children, a man came over to our table, and we started talking. He asked where my kids go to school. I told him we home-schooled them. With a raised eyebrow, he asked if my husband is the sole breadwinner for our family. I said, "No, I also work ... out of our home."

Then, noticing our two-month-old son, he mentioned that his daughter had just had a baby, and he wondered what hospital our son was born in. "He was born at home," I answered. The man looked at me, then said, "Wow, you don't get out much, do you?"

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Christmas Eve 2006

Our morning church service was conducted by Pastor Abe, he did a wonderful job and the sermon was so personalized. We have two new members join this morning. It seems like every Sunday someone new is added to the congregation.

This evening we were off to Ronnie & Nydia's home for our annual Christmas Eve celebration. On the way we stopped to pick up something to relieve Walter's cold and ended up in a vehicle that would not start. I began looking for jumper cables, but they were not in the car. Walter, literally ran over to the AutoZone, we thought that he was going for jumper cables. While he was gone I kept surveying the parking lot for anyone that may have had a set of jumper cables. It was amazing at the number of people who kept saying, "Oh they are in my truck and I've got the car." A few looked but to no avail. Walter returned shortly not with jumper cables but instead he had borrowed their portable battery jumper. It was amazing It worked like a dream. Before resuming our trek we returned the portable jumper and Walter also purchased a set of jumper cables. Not to be stranded again. Once under way again we arrived at our destination only 7 minutes late. Not too bad for a drained battery and some fast jogging (all that outside work sure has put some speed on him).

We had a lovely evening at the Ronnie & Nydia's house everyone was in a great mood. Walter the poor baby was having difficulty with the smells of the house, perfumes, candles and such. He was miserable. We did manage to make it through the evening without him becoming too physically distressed. Everyone was pleased with their gifts and this year it seemed that Maxine & Louise were "Santa's favorites" they made out like bandits.

Walter & Louise were cutting up in the kitchen. She had remarked on how tall he had gotten and then he "shrank-down" to her size. It was a really sweet moment.

I believe that Sean had a great time also. He was such a helper in the kitchen to Nydia. He even bussed the dining room table before dessert. I know he surely did enjoy the food. He told us that he had eaten 6 helpings. No wonder his tummy was looking so rounded. He took opportunity to try on his new winter jacket that he received from Granny. It looks like he will be getting lots of wear out of it, if the weather actually turns really cold.

As we left the car needed another jump, but that was just a quickie. We returned Walter home posthaste so that he could try to recover for Christmas Day. I do hope that he will be up to coming. We delivered Louise home and had her set for the evening before returning home ourselves. We even drove by a few Christmas light displays along the way. All in all it was a successful Christmas Eve outing.


"“In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn." —Luke 2:1-7 (ESV)

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought of the Day: "The world is conspiring in your favor." - Anonymous

Saturday, December 23, 2006


We made it through the first night of crate bound and Lilly trying to do Carla's job while she is confined. Lilly is going around trying to check on everyone.

Sean is trying to come down with something he was running a low fever last night (99.5), so hopefully he will be bounding back today.

I met up with Walter & Tim down towards Chester this morning, in order to look at the Volvo that Walter was thinking about purchasing. Well, around & around we went there we were right in front of the train tracks. The car is terrific. Walter decided that it was going to fit him just right. The price is terrific and it has plenty of room. He won't be able to pick it up until the end of next week since he will be working out of town. The car is a very nice dignified gray with black leather interior and a huge trunk. It appears that the "he is going to have plenty of leg room" and as an added bonus there are no air bags!!! We all know how much he dislikes those pesky things.

Sean had Tweat out of her cage for a bit this morning. It seems that a good portion of her flight feathers have grown back in. She was in all kinds of places. She even was sitting on top of the curtain in the family room for a short while.

Sean showed her the Christmas tree and she took to the tree quite well. We had a very animated ornament on the tree for a while. She looked so cute.

Then she decided to go into the inner portion of the tree to investigate it further. Ooops! If she had been given time she probably would have found her a nice place to set up housekeeping there. On the way to getting her back into her cage she took off in flight and landed safely on top. No problem getting her back into her "house".

Our patient is behaving nicely. She has had some nice low playing Christmas music going in her room. She has also decided that sleeping on her bed is the ideal thing to do. No trouble getting her out to go potty, except that she wants to bolt down the stairs instead of letting me carry her down.

Our birthday boy opened his presents before we headed out to lunch this afternoon. We went out to Red Lobster with Louise to celebrate Dean's birthday. Lunch was very nice. However, I do believe that everyone is now in the mood for a nice long nap. I've delivered Walter back home and taken care of the girls so I think I'm heading up to watch a movie in my room with Carla, and Lilly who will follow me.

After an afternoon of resting up from lunch the boys and I headed out to do some final Christmas shopping. I want to tell you WalMart was a mess as was the Target store. People every where. Long lines and short on cashiers. We hit the Office Max store also, now that's where to shop short lines and lots of folks to help you out with anything you need.

Having secured the last item on the list we finally made it back home to settle in for the evening. I've been working on the days' photos, and keeping Carla comfortable. Now, all I need to do is find out for sure what time church is in the morning and I will be all set to go for Christmas Eve.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day: "A good dinner and feasting reconciles everybody" - Samuel Pepys

Christmas Sign

A church was preparing for Christmas services. The pastor decided he wanted a banner made for the entryway and had a parishioner call the banner company

The parishioner told the man on the phone the message he wanted and the dimensions needed for the entryway.

The sign came back a few days later: . . "Unto Mary Jesus was born, six feet long and two feet wide."

Top Ten Gift Comments

What do you say when you get a gift you *Really Don't Like*.
    10. "Well, well, well, now, there's a gift!"
    9. "No, with all the hostile takeovers this year, I missed the big Ronco/K-Tel/Ginsu merger. Would you just look at that! What will they think of next?!"
    8. "Hey, as long as I don't have to feed it, or clean up after it, or put batteries in it, I'm happy!"
    7. "No, really, I didn't know that there was a Chia Pet tie! Oh, wow! It's a clip-on too!"
    6. "You know, I always wanted one of these! Jog my memory -- what's it called again?"
    5. "You know what? -- I'm going to find a special place to put this!"
    4. "Boy, you don't see craftsmanship like that every day!"
    3. "And it's such an interesting color too!!
    2. "You say that was the last one? Am I ever glad that you snapped that baby up!"
And the number one thing to say about the Christmas gifts you didn't like is:
    "You shouldn't have! I mean it -- you really shouldn't have!"
Bear Bryant Story

At a TD Club meeting many years before his death, Coach Bryant told the following story...typical of the way he operated.

I had just been named the new head coach at Alabama and was off in my old car down in South Alabama recruiting a prospect who was supposed to have been a pretty good player and I was havin' trouble finding the place. Getting hungry I spied an old cinder block building with a small sign out front that simply said "Restaurant." I pull up, go in and every head in the place turns to stare at me. Seems I'm the only white fella in the place. But the food smelled good so I skip a table and go up to a cement bar and sit.

A big ole man in a tee shirt and cap comes over and says, "What do you need?" I told him I needed lunch and what did they have today? He says, "You probably won't like it here, today we're having chitlins, collared greens and black eyed peas with cornbread. I'll bet you don't even know what chitlins are, do you?" I looked him square in the eye and said, "I'm from Arkansas, I've probly eaten a mile of them. Sounds like I'm in the right place." They all smiled as he left to serve me up a big plate.

When he comes back he says, "You ain't from around here then?" And I explain I'm the new football coach up in Tuscaloosa at the University and I'm here to find whatever that boy's name was and he says, yeah I've heard of him, he's supposed to be pretty good. And he gives me directions to the school so I can meet him and his coach.

As I'm paying up to leave, I remember my manners and leave a tip,not too big to be flashy, but a good one and he told me lunch was on him, but I told him for a lunch that good, I felt I should pay. The big man asked me if I had a photograph or something he could hang up to show I'd been there. I was so new that I didn't have any yet. It really wasn't that big a thing back then to be asked for, but I took a napkin and wrote his name and address on it and told him I'd get him one. I met the kid I was lookin' for later that afternoon and I don't remember his name, but do remember I didn't think much of him when I met him. I had wasted a day, or so I thought.

When I got back to Tuscaloosa late that night, I took that napkin from my shirt pocket and put it under my keys so I wouldn't forget it. Hell, back then I was excited that anybody would want a picture of me. And the next day we found a picture and I wrote on it, Thanks for the best lunch I've ever had, Paul Bear Bryant.

Now let's go a whole buncha years down the road. Now we have black players at Alabama and I'm back down in that part of the country scouting an offensive lineman we sure needed. Y'all remember, (and I forget the name, but it's not important to the story), well anyway, he's got two friends going to Auburn and he tells me he's got his heart set on Auburn too, so I leave empty handed and go on see some others while I'm down there.

Two days later, I'm in my office in Tuscaloosa and the phone rings and it's this kid who just turned me down, and he says, "Coach, do you still want me at Alabama?" And I said, "Yes I sure do." And he says OK, he'll come. And I say, "Well son, what changed your mind?" And he said, "When my grandpa found out that I had a chance to play for you and said no, he pitched a fit and told me I wasn't going nowhere but Alabama, and wasn't playing for nobody but you. He thinks a lot of you and has ever since y'all met."

Well, I didn't know his granddad from Adam's housecat so I asked him who his granddaddy was and he said, "You probly don't remember him, but you ate in his restaurant your first year at Alabama and you sent him a picture that he's had hung in that place ever since. That picture's his pride and joy and he still tells everybody about the day that Bear Bryant came in and had chitlins with him. My grandpa said that when you left there, he never expected you to remember him or to send him that picture, but you kept your word to him and to Grandpa, that's everything. He said you could teach me more than football and I had to play for a man like you, so I guess I'm going to."

I was floored. But I learned that the lessons my mama taught me were always right. It don't cost nuthin' to be nice. It don't cost nuthin' to do the right thing most of the time, and it costs a lot to lose your good name by breakin' your word to someone. When I went back to sign that boy, I looked up his Grandpa and he's still running that place, but it looks a lot better now; and he didn't have chitlins that day, but he had some ribs that woulda made Dreamland proud and I made sure I posed for a lot of pictures; and don't think I didn't leave some new ones for him, too, along with a signed football. I made it clear to all my assistants to keep this story and these lessons in mind when they're out on the road. And if you remember anything else from me, remember this. +++ It really doesn't cost anything to be nice, and the rewards can be unimaginable. "Have A Blessed Day"


Friday, December 22, 2006


Here we are on the last Friday shopping day before Christmas's my grocery day. I'm going to dread this, however, at least I've completed the gift shopping.

Miss Carla was not feeling well at all yesterday. She was stiff and could hardly move. I don't know whether it is arthritis or it is something new. She even refused to eat canned dog food, which is the highlight of the evening for both of the girls. She did something similiar to this for about a week or two last winter so I am hoping that it is just arthrititis and all we will need to do is give her 1/2 strength asprins. So one of the first things on the agenda this morning to to phone the vet. We've got an appointment with the vet this afternoon at 2:00 p.m.

Walter is contemplating the purchase of a Volvo, with VIN in hand I will also be giving the insurance company a call to get a rate quote for that particular vehicle. Given it's age, cost, and make we are crossing our fingers that the coverage cost will be less than the GEO. As for the GEO - he has someone that may want to purchase it and another that is willing to sell it for him. Great News on the insurance he can get the exact same coverage for only an additional $68 and that is because of the the comprehension portion - since it is a foreign vehicle the parts would cost more. But over all that would only change his bill a little less that $7 per month. Not too bad at all.

I spoke with Alice this morning and she is headed off to the doctor this afternoon. She is still feeling poorly and wants to get looked out before the Christmas weekend. I surely don't blame her, no one likes to be sick on Christmas. Turns out that Alice has strep-throat, now that she has some antibiotics she'll be feeling much better soon.

After three x-rays and a good checking over by the vet, Carla it turns out has several compressed disc in her back. She is on complete crate rest for the next two weeks. She only gets to go out to potty, other than that she is in her "room" resting. She also has a muscle relaxant and a pain medication to take twice each day. On the third week she will have the opportunity to come out of the crate a little more each day. Hopefully all of this will relieve her back problem, help her drop a few pounds and get some much needed rest and relief.

I was able to pick up the large crate from Mom & Dad's house as soon after we got back as possible. It was the one that they had used when Brittany had stayed in the house. It is great that they had it available to use.

Meanwhile Lilly got received her rabies shot today and has had a real fit trying to catch the rabies tag that is hanging on her collar. She has rolled around the floor and flipped everywhich way to try to get. There is no way that she's going to ever get hold of that thing. The vet said that she is a terrier/dalmation mix and will probably get to be about 40 pounds.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day: "What weighs nothing and yet is powerful enough to start a war? A belief." - Unknown

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Well today is the first official day of Christmas Break - the kids go back on January 2. I know that there is going to lots of excitement in the air for the next few days and probably a few more after that. We have a long list of exciting events beginning on Friday:
  • 12/22 - Grocery Shopping (Super Yucky-especially near any holiday)
  • 12/23 - Dean's Birthday
  • 12/24 - Christmas Eve Dinner with Dean's Family
  • 12/25 - Christmas Day Lunch with My side of the Family
  • 12/26 - The Day after get-together with Dean's Brother's Family
Ornament of the Day:
This little angel goes all the way back to my days at John Tyler (coincidentally Dean was there at the same time, yet our paths never crossed). So I most likely got her in 1982. There was a craft fair of sorts that year being held in the student lounge. There were all sorts of different things that people had made. This gal has really held up through many a move and hung on a load of trees, and she has still retained her 'girlish' good looks.

I think I going to get on the ball this morning and start and finish wrapping Christmas presents. I've got the paper, gift bags, scotch tape and the gifts; I just need to get them all together. Procastination has been my mantra this season. I'm ashamed of myself they should have been done at minimum at week ago.

The presents are all wrapped and under the tree; greenery has been hung along the front porch rails; I found out that Lilly really likes to play with tape and the cardboard that comes with wrapping paper; I've rehung portraits that had frames that needed replacing; and even pulled a few other things out from storage and hung them too. Laundry is almost an everyday event as well as dishes. The biggest job that I tackled was the hanging of the lights along the deck - we use them for Christmas and during the summer to keep from turning on the lights by the backdoors. I even repaired a thing or two. Now it is time for my break - another cup of coffee and a little something to eat and I'll be right as rain.

WalterThis evening my "little" guy phone and wanted me to come over to visit, how could I refuse. Once I arrived he presented me with his church directory portrait. It is really a great picture of him.

We spent the rest of the time talking, watching CSI, and putting up his Christmas tree. We repaired one of his ornaments which had completely fallen apart from the glue drying out - it fixed up in a jiffy. Once the tree was up and ready to plug in, guess what? No extension cord.

So off on a quick trip to Wal-Mart for the necessary extension cord, and a skirt for the tree which was an expensive proposition. Not to worry we scurried back to the fabric department found a wonder piece of red & black flannel looking fleece. After we had the fabric cut, I sat to work right there in the store and created a 30x30 tree skirt. We went back to his place and put the finishing touches on the tree and plugged it up it looks excellent. Very nice for a small tree. I do believe that his birds would have a most exciting time if they got out. They may wreck havoc on the ornaments, something shiny for them to play with.

I received choir photos in email today. I haven't looked at them yet but will post them around the same time as the tree photos.

Tomorrow is grocery day and Sean and I will be off and about for awhile....I'm tired of shopping. But it is a necessary evil, all those goodies to get for our holiday meals.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day: "I have wondered at times what the Ten Commandments would have looked like if Moses had run them through the US congress." - Ronald Reagan

Christmas Shopping

It was Christmas and the judge was in a merry mood as he asked the prisoner, "What are you charged with?"

"Doing my Christmas shopping early," replied the defendant.

"That's no offense," said the judge. "How early were you doing this shopping?"

"Before the store opened," countered the prisoner.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Whirling Wednesday

It appears that today may be a flurry of activity. Among all the 'normal' activities that we have to do the extras include:
  • A trip to Walters - time to feed Butch & Sundance - I finally made it after Dean came home to hold down the fort while I was gone. I did take time to vacuum the apartment and hang up the clothes that I had washed while he was gone. Sort of a nice surprise to come home to.
  • A stop by to drop off his keys at work (so he can get back inside once he gets home). Mom took care of this one for me - she's passing them off to Tim who will be able to get them to the appropriate place for him to pick them up late on Friday.
  • A trip to Wal-Mart for those last minute gift items (if I have the time/energy) - Well, I had the time but not the ideas. Dean has been my real problem gift idea for the year. I just don't know what to get him. He has given me one idea, but ended up getting that from his Mom for Christmas or Birthday. I did manage to get some stocking stuffers, some of which can be considered gifts within themselves, but I'm just not happy about being out there shopping for gifts at this late date. Next year I'll be done by December 1st.
I caught wind of some really neat news from Dean, he had received an "On-The-Spot Award" at work towards the end of last week. He had apparently been able to coordinate a bunch out of a messy situation and issued the award for his fast thinking/assistance. GREAT JOB!

The morning is progressing forward. I've caught up the remaining laundry and am heading up to get myself ready for the day and check on Miss Lilly & Sean.

Well, I got a bit off track and have been recovering the kitchen chairs with a really nice upholstery material ($1 per yard from WalMart's clearance bin) that matches several of the paint colors in the table top. Since I'm at it I am going to cover my old high chair to match and the computer desk chair as well. I believe I'll still have fabric leftover after that as well.

Looks like some good news/bad news for the holidays; first the bad - Danielle & Family will not be joining us at all as they will be in Lynchburg celebrating there; and Walter will not be joining us on the day after Christmas he will be back in Staunton working. Now for the good news - Walter will be working on the 26th (double time $$$$) which will be especially helpful since he will be getting another vehicle. He may have a line on a Volvo for $600. Which would really be great, but he is still also trying to talk with Alice about the T-bird. It looks like he will have something to drive by the first of the year; and a buyer may have been found for the GEO.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thoughts for the Day:
  • “Blessed by the Christmas sunshine, our natures, perhaps long leafless, bring forth new love, new kindness, new mercy, new compassion.” —Helen Keller
  • “Christmas is the day when any gift, however small, should be gratefully received provided it is given with love.” —Clare Booth Luce

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Time to start working toward the Christmas finale, so much to do on top of what already has to be done. I'll get there although I don't know if I have the heart to. I'm just not in the Christmas spirit. Now Sunday was a different story with our performance of the A Christmas Prayer, it was there. But now that the "chores" of Christmas begin in full swing I just really just don't care about the events, presents, food or other "family celebrations". Oh so much has changed in the past year to year and a half, it really gives me so much not to look forward to that there are times that I would like to feel like the Grinch and sleep through all the festivities. Thank you so much for your patience as I have had my little rant and will attempt to bring myself back into the proper mindset for the Christmas season.

WOW!! This has been a full morning and I don't feel that I have recovered yet. I began by setting up to spot clean some portions of the carpet when what to my wonder eyes did appear, but Danielle here to share some Christmas cheer. She was playing Santa's elf and delivering Christmas gifts since they were going to be unable to spend anytime with us during this Christmas season. The second surprise came when Louise/Granny arrived and was able to spend some time with her celebrating Christmas, just a wee bit early.

We had her open up what gifts that we had here for she and her family. She was thrilled with the ornaments that we had for them for their tree. She told me that they were truly in need of them and that they would be special. She also had time to visit with Granny and get lots of hugs from her. It is a tremendous disappointment that she and her family will be unable to spend any time with us during this Christmas season. I had so hoped to be able to visit with them all. But this is not to be. I hope that they find joy in the Christmas season. Before she left I gave her an hug and I almost thought that I wouldn't be able to let her go, my heartaches so that she and her family are not a "part" of us. Perhaps with maturity ..... I do love them so.

Mom dropped by to visit a little later on after Danielle & Louise had left. It has been a mad house here today. We chatted a little and were able to listen to the Manchester Choir CD that Danielle had left for me. The choirs had all gotten together and cut a CD of a portion of their Christmas program. It is a terrific CD and all of the groups sound fantastic. Mom & I looked over the Coat-of-Arms that I was designing for them. It's finished now. The final touches went on while she was here. So for your viewing pleasure.

Parsons Coat-of-Arms
Larry & Dorothy Parsons
Chesterfield, Virginia

The background of the shield is the color of a crisp morning in Lee County, Virginia. On the shield there are the weapons of choice: Dad's Remington and Mom's Canon Rebel.

Since they both are avid "shooters" the mantle is camouflage to hide them both from their prey. Of course the turkey tail spread is particularly for Dad, "the Turkey Man" but the leaf inlay marks the fall hunting season.

The Motto: Captus Intentio is Latin for Taking Aim

Which is quite apt for both of them. Dad takes aim to bring home some sort of game for the freezer; while Mom brings home the images that are a beauty to look upon and to grace the walls of our homes. Both of them bring a blessing to all of the family by using their gift of 'taking aim'.

I received an extremely nice phone call from Sterling this afternoon regarding a piece of music I had converted for him. He was excited to let me know that he was inaugurating as we were speaking. It is such a pleasure to do something so little when it is appreciated. Now, I'm just waiting for Yahoo to forward on pictures of the choir from Sterling so that I can put those together for all of us.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Redneck Nativity Scene

An Outsider in a small Texas town around Christmas time, saw a "Nativity Scene" that showed great skill and talent had gone into creating it. But one small feature was all wrong: the three wise men were wearing firemen's helmets.

Redneck Nativity SceneTotally unable to come up with a reason or explanation, he left.

At a "Quik Stop" on the edge of town, he asked the lady behind the counter about the helmets.

She exploded into a rage, yelling, "You darn Yankees never read your Bibles!"

The Outsider assured her that he did, but simply couldn't recall anything about firemen in the Bible.

She jerked her Bible from behind the counter and riffled through some pages, and finally jabbed her finger at a passage. Sticking it in the guys face she said, "See, it says right here, 'The three wise men came from afar.'"

This little "How To" came from a newsletter that I subscribe to via email:

Find Joy in the Holidays
  1. Create the space for spontaneous joy over the next couple of weeks. Don't schedule every hour of your day.
  2. May you become an expert at receiving help. When you find yourself just about to say 'no' or 'I'll do it myself', take a deep breath and say 'Yes, thank you.'
  3. May you become masterful at being lazy. After all the hustle and bustle of the holidays, you've earned the right to let a few things go and rest.
  4. May you have the courage to be a risk-taker for love. Worry less about what others might think and more about how they feel.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A Christmas Letter

Dear Loved Ones:

As you well know, we are getting closer to My birthday. Every year there is a celebration in My honor and I think that this year the celebration will be repeated. During this time there are many people shopping for gifts, there are many radio announcements, TV commercials, and in every part of the world everyone is talking that My birthday is getting closer and closer.

It is really very nice to know that at least once a year, some people think of Me. As you know, the celebration of My birthday began many years ago. At first people seemed to understand and be thankful of all that I did for them, but in these times, no one seems to know the reason for the celebration. Family and friends get together and have a lot of fun, but they don't know the meaning of the celebration.

I remember that last year there was a great feast in My honor. The dinner table was full of delicious foods, pastries, fruits, assorted nuts and chocolates. The decorations were exquisite and there were many, many beautifully wrapped gifts. But, do you want to know something? I wasn't invited. I was the guest of honor and they didn't remember to send Me an invitation. The party was for Me, but when that great day came, I was left outside, they closed the door in My face...and I wanted to be with them and share their table.

In truth, that didn't surprise Me because in the last few years many close their doors to Me. Since I wasn't invited, I decided to enter the party without making any noise. I went in and stood in a corner. They were all drinking; there were some who were drunk and telling jokes and laughing at everything. Then this large man dressed in red, wearing a long white beard, entered the room with a loud Ho-Ho-Ho! All the children ran to him, saying: "Santa Claus, Santa Claus"as if the party were in his honor! Why did they all know this man, but had no idea who I was?

At 12 Midnight all the people began to hug each other; I extended My arms waiting for someone to hug me and, do you know, no one hugged me. Suddenly they all began to share lavish gifts. They opened them one by one with great expectation. When all had been opened, I looked to see if, maybe, there was one for Me. How would you feel if on your birthday everybody shared gifts and you did not get one? I then understood that I was unwanted at that party and quietly left.

Every year it gets worse. People only remember the food and drinks, the gifts, the parties, and nobody remembers Me. I would like this Christmas that you allow Me to enter into your life. I would like that you recognize the fact that more than two thousand years ago I came to this world to give My life for you, on the cross, to save you. Today, I only want that you believe this with all your heart.

I want to share something with you. Though many didn't invite Me to their party, I am planning My own celebration, a grandiose party that no one has ever imagined, a spectacular party. I'm still making the final arrangements. Today I am sending out many invitations and there is an invitation for you. I want to know if you wish to attend, and if you do, I will make a reservation for you and write your name with golden letters in My great guest book. Only those who respond will be admitted to the party. Those who don't answer the invitation, or who answer no, will be left outside. Be prepared, because when all is ready, you will be part of My great party. It will be ready before you know it.

I Love you,


PS: Please share this message with your loved ones before Christmas.

Monday on the Move

The day has been a very, very busy one. I began my morning by taking Sean into school.

Then off with Dean & Walter to shop for a vehicle. We began our shopping at a little used car lot near the house - there Walter found a great 99 Buick LeSabre. We took a quick side trip and pick up Sean and continued on down the way. Our next stop found a 96 Chevrolet Impala SS [this one had been a police cruiser in a neighboring county]. We ended up shopping the entire "Used Car" Motor Miles between our house and Turner Road. It was an amazing adventure. Dean and Walter were looking under hoods and evaluating engines, examining interiors and even the trunk space. All very efficient.

There is still shopping to do and then the insurance shopping on top of that. There are a couple of leads on some possibly very inexpensive vehicles that could pan out, but you never know how those elusive deals can fall through just as quickly as they appear.

Our afternoon was filled with the Adventure in Traffic Court. The judge was in quite a jovial mood. He seemed almost like Santa Claus as he was passing out judgments. He was extremely generous with everyone. Except the man who caused a car to fly off Rt. 288 and land on the street below - that guy didn't even show up for court - so he's is in BIG trouble. They are out to get him now. As for Walter he will be spending a day in driving school and that will be all.

The late afternoon and remaining evening were spent on a road trip to Staunton! Walter & I picked up Mom and set out for Staunton. The goal was to deliver Walter to his out of town job site to work for the rest of the week. We didn't have a bit of trouble on the road and had an enjoyable visit up. We even arrived at the hotel that the crew was staying at the same time that they arrived to check-in. Perfect timing! Having delivered Walter, Mom & I set out back for home.

Mom & I stopped at a little Chinese restaurant in Stuarts Draft and ate some dinner on the way back. We even saw one road called Tinkling Creek Road. What a name!

I received a phone call from Walter about half-way home, telling me that we should have stayed around as they planning on taking us out to dinner for bring Walter up. Which was a very sweet thought. THEN the real surprise, one of his coworkers thought that I was Walter's sister and Mom was his Mom. They were SHOCKED to find out that his traveling companions were actually his Mom & Grandma. It was a lovely compliment. We made it back to Mom's by 8:15 and I got in before 8:45 p.m.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thoughts for the Day:
  • One of the secrets of a happy life is continuous small treats. - Iris Murdoch
  • God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there. There is no such thing. - C.S. Lewis
The following was written by Ben Stein and recited by him on CBS Sunday Morning Commentary:

I am a Jew, and every single one of my ancestors was Jewish. And it does not bother me even a little bit when people call those beautiful lit up, bejeweled trees Christmas trees. I don't feel threatened. I don't feel discriminated against. That's what they are: Christmas trees. It doesn't bother me a bit when people say, "Merry Christmas" to me. I don't think they are slighting me or getting ready to put me in a ghetto.

In fact, I kind of like it. It shows that we are all brothers and sisters celebrating this happy time of year. It doesn't bother me at all that there is a manger scene on display at a key intersection near my beach house in Malibu . If people want a crèche, it's just as fine with me as is the Menorah a few hundred yards away. I don't like getting pushed around for being a Jew, and I don't think Christians like getting pushed around for being Christians. I think people who believe in God are sick and tired of getting pushed around, period. I have no idea where the concept came from that America is an explicitly atheist country. I can't find it in the Constitution, and I don't like it being shoved down my throat.

Or maybe I can put it another way: where did the idea come from that we should worship Nick and Jessica and we aren't allowed to worship God as we understand Him? I guess that's a sign that I'm getting old, too. But there are a lot of us who are wondering where Nick and Jessica came from and where the America we knew went to. In light of the many jokes we send to one another for a laugh, this is a little different: This is not intended to be a joke; it's not funny, it's intended to get you thinking.

Billy Graham's daughter was interviewed on the Early Show and Jane Clayson asked her "How could God let something like this Happen?" (regarding Katrina) Anne Graham gave an extremely profound and insightful response. She said, "I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we've been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman He is, I believe He has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us His blessing and His protection if we demand He
leave us alone?"

In light of recent events...terrorists attack, school shootings, etc. I think it started when Madeleine Murray O'Hare (she was murdered, her body found recently) complained she didn't want prayer in our schools, and we said OK. Then someone said you better not read the Bible in school. The Bible says thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, and love your neighbor as yourself. And we said OK. Then Dr. Benjamin Spock said we shouldn't spank our children when they misbehave because their little personalities would be warped and we might damage their self-esteem (Dr. Spock's son committed suicide). We said an expert should know what he's talking about and we said OK.

Now we're asking ourselves why our children have no conscience, why they don't know right from wrong, and why it doesn't bother them to kill strangers, their classmates, and themselves. Probably, if we think about it long and hard enough, we can figure it out. I think it has a great deal to do with "WE REAP WHAT WE SOW." Funny how simple it is for people to trash God and then wonder why the world's going to hell. Funny how we believe what the newspapers say, but question what the Bible says. Funny how you can send 'jokes' through e-mail and they spread like wildfire but when you start sending messages regarding the Lord, people think twice about sharing. Funny how lewd, crude, vulgar and obscene articles pass freely through cyberspace, but public discussion of God is suppressed in the school and workplace.

Mental Hospital Phone Menu:

State Mental Hospital. Please select from the following options menu:
  • If you are obsessive-compulsive, press 1 repeatedly.
  • If you are menopausal, put the gun down, hang up, turn on the fan, lie down and cry. You won't be crazy forever.
  • If you have low self-esteem, please hang up. Our operators are too busy to talk with you.
  • If you have short-term memory loss , press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9. If you have short-term memory loss, press 9.
  • If you are bipolar, please leave a message after the beep or before the beep or after the beep. Please wait for the beep.
  • If you are dyslexic, press 9696969696969696.
  • If you are manic-depressive, it doesn't matter which number you press, nothing will make you happy anyway.
  • If you are schizophrenic, listen carefully and a little voice will tell you which number to press.
  • If you are delusional, press 7 and your call will be forwarded to the Mother Ship.
  • If you are paranoid, we know who you are and what you want. Stay on the line so we can trace your call.
  • If you have multiple personalities, press 3, 4, 5 and 6.
  • If you are co-dependent, please ask someone to press 2 for you.
  • If you are blonde , don't press any buttons, you'll just mess it up.
Why God made Moms
BRILLIANT Answers given by 2nd grade school children to the following questions!!

Why did God make mothers?
  1. She's the only one who knows where the scotch tape is.
  2. Mostly to clean the house.
  3. To help us out of there when we were getting born.
How did God make mothers?
  1. He used dirt, just like for the rest of us.
  2. Magic plus super powers and a lot of stirring
  3. God made my Mom just the same like he made me. He Just used bigger parts.
What ingredients are mothers made of?
  1. God makes mothers out of clouds and angel hair and everything nice in the world and one dab of mean.
  2. They had to get their start from men's bones. Then they mostly use string, I think.
Why did God give you Your mother & not some other mom?
  1. We're related
  2. God knew she likes me a lot more than other people's moms like me.
What kind of little girl was your mom?
  1. My mom has always been my mom and none of that other stuff.
  2. I don't know because I wasn't there, but my guess would be pretty bossy.
  3. They say she used to be nice.
What did mom need to know about dad before she married him?
  1. His last name.
  2. She had to know his background. Like is he a crook? Does he get drunk on beer?
  3. Does he make at least $800 a year? Did he say NO to drugs and YES to chores?
Why did your mom marry your dad?
  1. My dad makes the best spaghetti in the world. And my Mom eats a lot.
  2. She got too old to do anything else with him.
  3. My grandma says that Mom didn't have her thinking cap on.
Who's the boss at your house?
  1. Mom doesn't want to be boss, but she has to because dad's such a goof ball.
  2. Mom. You can tell by room inspection. She se es the stuff under the bed.
  3. I guess Mom is, but only because she has a lot more to do than dad.
What's the difference between moms & dads?
  1. Moms work at work and work at home & dads just go to work at work.
  2. Moms know how to talk to teachers without scaring them.
  3. Dads are taller & stronger, but moms have all the real power 'cause that's who you got to ask if you want to sleep over at your friend's.
  4. Moms have magic, they make you feel better without medicine.
What does your mom do in her spare time?
  1. Mothers don't do spare time.
  2. To hear her tell it, she pays bills all day long.
What would it take to make your mom perfect?
  1. On the inside she's already perfect. Outside, I think some kind of plastic surgery.
  2. Diet. You know, her hair. I'd diet, maybe blue.
If you could change one thing about your Mom, what would it be?
  1. She has this weird thing about me keeping my room clean. I'd get rid of that.
  2. I'd make my Mom smarter. Then she would know it was my sister who did it and not me.
  3. I would like for her to get rid of those invisible eyes on the back of her head.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


The morning has started off normally. I'm just about ready to make a move toward getting ready for church. We'll have it easy this morning in choir, just carols from the hymnals - nice and easy, but it will still be a warm up for tonight's performance. I can't wait. We have been practicing since August for tonight.

Sunday school class also promises to be quite educational as well, we are covering Hinduism. The whole purpose of these studies has been to give us an overview of their beliefs in order to use them as witnessing tools. Find the common thread no matter how small and build upon that - it all let us know what is off limits or would completely turn them away before having a witnessing opportunity. Come January, we will be re-embarking on a study of Revelation (Paul did a fabulous job) and now we'll get to go through it once again with visuals [from what I understand-a really great Power Point Presentation.]

Miss Tweat has awaken this morning all chirppy; and the girls are even getting along laying on the couch together. Lilly has picked up Carla's habit of flapping her ears, it is so funny to see both of them doing it.

Sean & Dean are heading out to do some Christmas shopping this morning. I hope that they are able to get what they are looking for and in record time. It could be a long day otherwise.

Walter & I went out after church to have lunch and then we dropped by Hayley Toyota to see if they had any thing that would tickle his fancy. We did see one that Walter would like to have Dean go back out with him to check out. It is a 2001 Buick LeSabre - It is very nice, if I hadn't already gotten a new one myself I would have been looking at this one.

Email & Newsletter Gleanings:

Thought for the Day: "This season is all about gifts. Gifts that nurture the souls of both the giver and given. Perfect gifts. Authentic gifts. The gifts of Spirit." - Sarah Ban Breathnach

I received this family photo from Aunt Barbara Jean this morning. They all look so perky, which can be especially hard with two little ones.