Friday, November 23, 2007

Grandma Doesn't Like Christmas......Much

Grandma (My mother) has always been Christmas CRAZY. As long as I can remember, she has spent the entire year shopping for presents and decorations. By the time she is done, her place looks like a department store display. And she has more of those larger than life blow up thingys than you can shake a stick at.

Since my Dad passed away three years ago in March, she lost her spirit. Last year she didn't put anything up but a tree. We were all so disappointed. But this year, she is back in full form and when I walked in for Thanksgiving I got a delighted eyeful. Here are some of her displays, but not all, because for some reason, my camera took fuzzy photos without the flash. I wanted to capture the lights and with the flash it took that beauty away. Seems it took the beauty of focus away too. Blah.

This is her mantel. I like it best.

This is her "Blue" collection.
This shelf she framed out herself, in an old doorway after my Dad passed. She taught herself how to use his power tools and began trimming the entire house. What a woman!

Just a little something on a table at the end of the sofa. Everywhere you look there is something.

One more little village for now. This is no where near all her decorations, but they are too numerous to post here.

Today I am trying to get my own home decorated. I lost interest for a while and gave a lot of my stuff away. I wish I hadn't now, but that's ok.... I can buy more!

Thursday, November 22, 2007

History and Heritage

Oh, my daughter has caught the genealogy bug. I'm so proud! For a few years a while back, I lived, breathed, ate and slept genealogy. It faded some after a while, but I still get little jolts frequently. Since LeLe is now interested, my passion has resurfaced and I am anxious to get to it again. I'm really thankful to the Latter Day Saints for compiling so many records that help researchers in their quest.

Some folks don't really understand the drive we gen-bugs have for this. I guess it's a combination of things. I have always been sentimental, I like knowing where I came from, I have always loved history, and it's a puzzle to be solved. The puzzle is really the main thing I think. Where were my gr-gr-great grandparents married? Where did their parents originate? Am I French? English? Scottish???? OH YEAH BABY! Did my ancestors fight in the Jacobite Rebellion of 1745? Or were they driven from Ireland by the potato blight? Did they migrate to France to escape war? It's really fascinating to me.

One of the drawbacks in this type of work, is that you can do so much "legwork" and find out so much, but if you post it online, someone else can use it and never give you credit for it. A lot of people won't share what they have found for that very reason. And a lot of what people put online is just hearsay and speculation. You have to do your own research to prove or disprove their information. Still, it's a great hobby that can quickly become an obsession if you let it.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

American Fast Food, Gotta Love It!

This afternoon I decided I wanted a burrito from Taco Bell. SR and I were driving though White Hall after going into Pine Bluff for a dishwasher part. (Been washing dishes by hand...I'm thankful for my dishwasher) We pulled up at the drive through and first had to wait about 10 minutes for a carload of high school girls to decide what they wanted to order. We pull up at the speaker and tell the young man I want a beef burrito, with nothing on it but cheese. No sauce, just cheese and a Sierra Mist to drink. He asked "Do you want Red or spicy sauce with that?" After we figured out what he said, we told him "no" and pulled up behind the afore mentioned carload of girls. Evidently, they ordered enough for a party, because eventhough this is a fast food place, it took another 10 minutes for their food to be passed through the window. Or maybe they were flirting with the kinky headed kid at the window, who knows?
Anyway, we finally get to the window and my burrito and drink are handed over. No napkins.
"Could I have some napkins?"
"Uh yeah, I'll have to get some, I just ran out." ...... ...... .......
While we are waiting, I open my package to see that there are ONIONS on my burrito. When he comes back to the window with the napkins, he sees the look on my face and asks if something is wrong. We give him the burrito back and tell him I ordered it with nothing but cheese. "Nothing but cheese and meat. No Sauce." ...... ....... .......
Finally it's handed over and we pull out of the lot onto the highway. When I open it up to chow down, it's a BEAN burrito. Turned around, went back and went inside...... ...... .....

"Can I help you?"
"Yes, I got this at the drive through, but I ordered a beef burrito and this is a bean burrito."
"Oh, ok."
The girl walks past another girl who walks over to me and asks, "What?"
"I bought this at the drive through. I ordered a beef burrito with nothing but cheese and meat. But the first burrito had onions on it, and when the guy gave me the second one it was a BEAN burrito." So she tells the workers to make me a beef burrito with nothing but meat and cheese.
The person putting it together looks at me and says.............
"You want Red or Spicy sauce with that?"..................................

"NOTHING BUT MEAT AND CHEESE. NOTHING BUT MEAT AND CHEESE." She smiles and I watch her as she puts only meat and cheese on the burrito. She passes it off to one of the other workers who then gives it to me, without an "I'm sorry." "Have a nice day." "Go play in the street."........

Finally I have my beef burrito, but I can only eat half of it because it's so darn greasy I can't stand it. Ahhhhh, the joys of fast food in America. I'm soooo thankful for it. Aren't you?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


I have to admit, I didn't get very enthused about Veterans Day yesterday, but in all fairness, I'm still fighting a terrible sore throat and trying to work too. But, after reading Sooz's post, I felt I must mention my Dad. He fought in the Korean and Vietnam wars. In Korea, he was on the team that recovered the dead. What a memory to have. In Vietnam, he was a First Sergeant and did much more than just the one job. He had slides he took the entire time he was in Vietnam and Okinawa. We would bring them out at least once a year to view and he would tell us the same stories about them over and over again. We loved hearing them EVERY TIME! After he passed away, LeLe's father-in-law very graciously scanned them all and copied them to a CD. Thanks Big MK!!

My Dad was very humble about his military career. He didn't really talk much about things he personally did, but talked about his unit in general and what the enemy was doing. After his death, we found several medals he won. What a man. Thanks to men like him, we are able to live freely and do whatever we want, say whatever we want, and worship however we want without fear. So, here's to you Papa! We love you, we miss you, and we appreciate your sacrifice for all of us.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Weekend...The Good and the Bad

I started out my weekend on Friday staying in bed and on the couch all day. Sore throat and slight cough. (Have I caught what your little ones had Mrs. Louisa Gabrielle?) I took over the counter meds and was able to function, but just felt rotten. Saturday I felt better and was glad because as most of those who read my blog know, it was the first day of deer season. I cooked up a pot of chili and drove to Rison to the family deer camp and ate lunch with my men. I also took some really cool pictures.

I thought those were worth sharing. I also took a photo of SR in front of a really large tree and he returned the favor....

And before we I left, I posed for one with my J.

I only wish my LeLe had been there. The chili was good and the walk through the woods was so nice. After I visited with my Mom and my sisters, I headed back to Sheridan where I began feeling bad again.

I didn't sleep well, which is no surprise to anyone, but my throat was getting worse by the hour. I couldn't go to church, and spent the entire day in bed. When I got to work this morning...(no way I can call in sick this time of year) my nurse practitioner was amazed at how bad my throat was. So, she gave me some medicine and put me on the road to recovery. Some of the medicine makes me feel pretty "happy" if you know what I mean, so I have to take smaller doses than prescribed while trying to work. Still, I'm so glad God saw fit to create medicines for what ails us.

And that was my weekend. The good and the bad, the long and the short of it. Not very impressive, but it's mine.

Friday, November 9, 2007

To Sleep Perchance to Dream Part Deux...

Amazingly, I was able to sleep well enough last night that I had a very vivid dream about my father. I often dream about him and in my dreams, he is always sick, but looks healthy and feels good. (That's the great thing about dreams.) He had come home from the hospital, and was sitting up in my parents' den, in a hospital bed. His shirt was off, and he had his perpetual farmer's tan. Isn't it hilarious that he even had it in the dream? I was able to rub his arm as he smiled at me with his beautiful smile. He not only looked healthy, but I was amazed that he looked so young and vibrant. I asked him how he felt, and he told me he had joy as the dream ended. Most of my dreams of him are like that. It makes me sure that he is in heaven having a wonderful time.

God often spoke to His faithful through dreams. I believe in my heart, that He sends these dreams to me. The first dream I had of Daddy after his passing, he came to comfort me. He told me so in the dream when I asked him why he was here. Then he told me he was very happy and that he would come back to visit from time to time.

I also had a very vivid dream one night of God. It was during a very heartwrenching time in the life of my son. When he was small, he dearly loved a child in his class. This child would alternate between being his best friend, and being his worst nightmare. But J loved him so much, that he always forgave him, and kept right on loving him. To see J's heart broken time and time again was destroying me, and I cried out to God in prayer. One night He came to me in a dream. I was kneeling as He sat on His throne. Of course, I could not look upon Him, but I could feel His light and His awesome power. He spoke, and asked me, "What would you ask of me?" And I told Him, "I want to be remembered as a kind person." He answered, "Very well. But you may well regret it." And then He reached out His hand, and I knew it was ok to touch Him. No words can describe the joy I felt at touching His hand. And then the dream ended. I'm sure it was a lesson to me, that God continues to love us, even when we hurt Him. Just like J continued to love. And that being kind, as J continued to be to the other child, is one of the things God wants from us. It often brings us heartache, but it's the right thing.

You may think this was just something my brain manufactured out of the stress of the time. Some scientist might explain it away with big words about brain function or some such rot. But you can never make me believe God did not visit me in my dream. And I will always have my proof that God does exist.

I haven't felt well today, and I decided to rest most of the day. The dream last night and past dreams kept coming to my mind as I laid around and tried to gather a little strength, so I thought I would share them.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

The Lord's Handiwork

I just had to share these photos of the beautiful tree in our yard, and the wonderful butterfly I happened upon while I had my camera in my hand.

Livin' the Life

I think most of you who read my blog are much younger than I. But I wonder, at this stage in your life, are you where you thought you'd be? What did you dream about doing or being when you grew up? When you graduated high school, did you think you would be living where you are, and doing what you are doing?

I've been reflecting lately on what I thought my life would be, and what it actually turned out to be. When I was very young, I wanted to be a teacher. I remember playing school all the time. I absolutely loved creating assignments for my pretend students. Even as I was in high school, I really thought I wanted to teach. I was in the Future Teachers of American club at school and everything. Problem was, no one in my family ever attended college and I wasn't encouraged to go. Now, I'm not blaming my parents AT ALL. They had all they could handle raising five kids on a low income. They would have been thrilled if I had gone on to college. But, they had no clue how to help me do that, and unfortunately, my high school counselor did not excel in that area either. So, I never even took any of the college entrance exams. Along came SR and it didn't really seem to matter anymore.

While I was wishing to be a teacher, I was also wishing to be a mother and homemaker. I wanted desperately to grow up, get married, and have kids. I wanted to devote myself to my kids and live the life I remember my mom living when I was a small child. She was a stay-at-home mom, and she had close neighbors who were all great friends. It was almost like a t.v. show in my mind. One where kids were around to play with, and adults who enjoyed sharing their lives and a cup of coffee. When my Dad retired from the Marines, we moved back to my parents' home town and lived out in the "boonies" where there were no neighbors, and my Mom was forced to go to work. She made it possible for me to be involved in EVERYTHING I wanted.

So, now after turning 49 in September, and being married for 30 years, I take stock and see where I am. I was able to have my precious children and I was able to stay at home with them while they were small. They were and are a blessing to me. I was never awakened in the night by a phone call that they were in trouble and needed bailing out. They were never involved in drugs, and I've never really had to worry about their behavior. I wasn't able to be formally educated to teach, but I believe I was a good teacher to them while we were at home. Like my mother, I had to go to work when they were a little older but I haven't been trapped in any job that made me terribly unhappy. My husband has been as supportive as any husband could possibly be and plans for a time when we can both retire and enjoy being together doing nothing or anything we feel like.

So, if I was asked, "Are you living the life you thought you would live, when you were younger?" I would have to say I pretty much am. And for that, I am very grateful. Are things perfect? No, of course not. But I have to focus on what is good, and let go of what cannot be changed. I never thought I would be living in a different town than where I raised my children, so that's a nice surprise. I never thought I'd be a medical secretary, but it's not a bad job most days. I never thought my son would be living two hours away, but that's ok. We can live with it. At least it's not 2 states away or something that harsh. As in everything in life, there are things I would change if I could, but the truth is, my life is pretty darn good. It could be soooo much worse.

God has truly blessed me. I just hope I can remember that more and thank Him for it more than I do. What do I wish for the future? I would like to be able to stay home, study God's word, read, paint, do more church work and play with any grandchildren I might have. Oh, and let's not forget my dream of going to Scotland one day. I just hope if it ever happens, I'm not too old to enjoy it. ;)

Morning Devotions

My morning devotional today was based on the Beattitudes. The question posed was, am I living like a citizen of God's kingdom, or a citizen of the world? I have to admit, I believe I really live of the world. To live in God's kingdom I have to be humble, merciful, have a pure heart, be a peacemaker, submit to HIS will, rejoice even when I don't feel like it and hunger for more of God. I am sooo not doing that.

No matter how many times I pray for the desire to live for God, I continue to live for myself. One thing I have been fairly successful at lately, is to not worship my free time. With God's help, I've been able to keep busy doing constructive things, and necessary things, without feeling resentful that I'm giving up "relaxation" time. I hope and pray that I can implement the Beattitude Attitudes more in the coming days.