Saturday, December 6, 2008

Buying Christmas this year?

In these tough economic times, people are worrying about buying Christmas. What does that mean, exactly? How does one “buy” Christmas? Is there a way to buy the birth of Christ? What is the purpose of all the money that’s being thrown around this time of the year? (I chose the word “thrown” deliberately. In essence, a goodly portion of the money spent at Christmastime is money blown.)

People who are still paying credit cards and Christmas loans from not just last year, but the year before and the year before that, are planning to put more on credit cards. Why?

And there are those who say, “There won’t be any (or much) Christmas at my house this year, I don’t have any money.” Since when did Christ’s birth cost you money?

I have to stop here and say that I have been guilty of saying some of the above in times past. And I have gone into deeper debt when I couldn’t afford what I was already paying out. Just so that I don’t sound all judgmental….

When (and how) did we get it all so twisted? Buying, buying, buying, going deeper in debt, swimming dangerously near the pool of bankruptcy…HOW does this celebrate Christmas? If just half the money spent in the US on Christmas were given to worthy charities…well, my mind will not even compute the possibilities.
When Christmas becomes the burden of buying instead of the celebration of God’s gift of his only Son to us, we have really big problems.

Instead of toys that will be lying all over the house within weeks, why not give your children the ultimate gift? Time. Wrap up a hand-made certificate that gives them one night a week of YOUR TIME for the next year to play games, bake cookies, read stories, have a Bible study, just to listen to them talk, help them write and illustrate stories. One evening with no yelling, no criticizing, just your time. Just you. Can you think of a better gift?

Do you cook? Give the gift of choice. One night each week, the kids get to choose (and help fix) dinner. They get to plan, help shop, and learn to cook, and learn a lot about an important part of life as they go.

Do you smoke? Give it up for your children and loved ones so that they will have you longer. Can’t manage that? Go to the doctor, they have plenty of ways to help you.

Make pretty cards to give to family members and tell them how much they mean to you. Tell them what you don’t normally tell them… bring up things from the past that they did that means a lot to you, and let them know this many years later, you still very much appreciate it.

Give a certificate of labor to your parents….to clean the gutters, rake all those leaves and brush up and haul them away, clean the windows, or whatever else they may have mentioned over the years that needs to be done.

Take the five or ten dollars that you would have spent on 10 different people and make one $50 or $100 donation to a worthy charity. Give each of those people a handmade certificate telling them that in their honor, you donated to St. Jude’s…or where ever.

If you find yourself short on cash this year, consider these types of gifts, which are much more celebratory than your spending money that you don’t have…and for what purpose? Will your family love you any less at Christmas when you don’t have extra money, than they did in June when you didn’t have extra money? If you can’t afford it, those people who love you truly wouldn’t want you to go in debt for them, but they would appreciate your giving of yourself.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Family Stuff and An Award

My Dad turned 75 on November 20. We had a little get-together for him, and I think he really enjoyed himself.
There are 5 of us kids, and when all the kids, spouses, grandkids and grandkids's spouses, and great grandchildren get together, there's a big enough group to have a nice party. Below is my niece, Bethany (center), and my daughter, LesLee (right) with my Dad:
My grandson, Ashton. He has a knot on his noggin. Believe it or not, it looks a whole lot better than when he first got it. His face is also scratched a little, from a difference incident. I'd tell you that his little 2 year old sister pushed him into the wall and put that knot there, but that might embarass him to let you know that his little sister "beat him up." So I won't tell you that.
My lovely mother, who has been quite sick lately (but she's feeling better now) and my oldest brother, Ken. Roll Tide!!!!

That birthday cake sure was good! Just ask Bethany's son, Alex.

Dad carving the Thanksgiving Turkey.

Baby Adam....isn't he just the cutest? He smiles all the time.
He's just such a precious little thing:

Ole Boy relaxing on Thanksgiving at my parents home.

My beloved UNA Lions have advanced to the final four...the semi-finals...for the NCAA Division II Football Championship. Roar, Bay-bee, ROAR!!
And of course, Bama is playing the in the championship game against Florida....and I think we'll win! Rollllll Tide!

Three of my Bloggin' friends honored me with an Award recently....I've been so busy with the last leg of the semester that I am just now saying a heartfelt "Thank You" to Hollie, Julie, and Linda for thinking enough of what I ramble on about to give me a "Real People" award.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Another Thankful Thursday

I can't believe it's Thursday again! Last week crawled, this one has flown.

I started to write an entry about the things I'm thankful that I don't know about...I had only named two on my list: Hunger and Homelessness. I was depressing myself thinking about hungry mothers holding hungry infants with no home, so I'm backing up and rewriting.

I'm thankful for God's....
His own Son, Jesus

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If you haven't checked out Robin's Yellow Brick Road, and the video she posted, please go do so....something definitely worth thinking about.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Thankful Thursday

Eighty some-odd years ago, my grandparents lost their firstborn daughter, Lucia Marie. I understand she died from a hemorrhage. A few years later their second child, my sweet aunt Maggie, was very sick, my grandfather promised God one hour of prayer every day if He wouldn’t take her, too. He didn’t, and to my knowledge, Grandpa always kept his promise. He was a gentle man who died when I was 15 years old at the ripe age of 85. I’m so thankful for the time he invested in prayer. I’m certain that I still, all these years later, reap the benefits of his prayers.

I’m thankful to be living in Alabama, surrounded by family who love me, a roof over my head, plenty to eat, and a job at a place I enjoy very much.
I’m thankful for Ole Boy. Over the years, I’ve realized how well we fit together.
I’m thankful for my family. I’m thankful for my praying mother and my faithful father; my sisters and brothers, and my daughter and grandchildren, and for my stepchildren. I’m thankful for my cousins, aunts, uncles, and friends. I am so blessed.

I’m thankful for the memories of the trips to Cherokee to see my grandmother, “Mama Franks,” and the picnics at the river with when she would sometimes tag along.”

I’m thankful for Peppy, even if he’s not the most loveable dog my family has ever seen. They just don’t know him!

I’m thankful for the people and events in my life that have shaped me into the person I am today.

Most of all, I’m thankful to God for His kindness and patience to me, and for loving me when I couldn’t manage to love myself…and for His placing me here, right here, where I am.

The Seven Year Annual Exam

I was reading Donna, The Dust Bunny Protector, and I was reminded of an incident last year:

During my first “yearly” medical exam in about seven years, I was told that I had reached that magical age. I needed a mammogram! I thought I could make an appointment and put that off a while, but NO. I was led immediately into a little room and the deed was done. It really wasn’t that bad. Not that I’d want to do it every day, know…doable.

That started a whole series of events I’m not likely to forget, that ended with me undergoing a test at the hospital, sent there by the surgeon who saw me after the attack of the killer mammogram. All was well, but what a month that was last summer. Read on:

Within a week of the initial test, I was called and told to come back for another one. They’d found a “dense area” and needed to take a closer look. The mammogram, at that point, turned into something far more sinister than just a mere medical test. My friends, they took my poor defenseless boob, slammed it onto a vise grip and smashed it beyond reason until I was sure it would pop like the proverbial zit. (Yes, I am aware that zits are not proverbial.) But had it popped, I would have been the one that all mammograms, from that point on, was used for comparison purposes…and I was sure that was going to happen. Can’t you hear the techs talking:

“Don’t put any more pressure on that one, Bertha, you remember the Meg-Phenomenon!"
"Yes, Gertie, I heard! Hers popped like a zit."
“...and I heard she wouldn’t even clean it up.”

Ahh, the wonders of modern medicine and my imagination.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Foggy Color

Ole Boy and I went to The Great Smoky Mountains a few weeks ago. We stayed right on the strip in Gatlinburg a few days, and spent a the week just having a nice, relaxing vacation. We had dinner with family who live in nearby Morristown, and it was just extraordinarily nice to see them! I realized how much I’d missed them when I got to see them.

The color was not spectacular in Gatlinburg like it was two years ago when we went in October. We got up very early one morning and headed off to Cades Cove. It was very foggy, and again, the color wasn’t in full bloom, but I did get a few interesting shots….

This old mill was actually being used:

This is the only buck I think I’ve ever shot (taken a picture of, mind you!)…and he let me get pretty close. The deer in Cades Cove must be pretty used to people gawking at them. He hardly looked our way.

Some other "wild"life:

We went to the aquarium in G’burg. Unlike my very talented sister, Gina, I can’t always get good pictures, and I found that to be especially true with water shots.

We ate at Tony Roma’s with my cousins. We tried Bubba Gump’s for the first time, and the food is very good there. I’m sure we’ll go back some day. We also ate at one of my favorite places, The Old Mill Square, in Pigeon Forge. It was raining pretty hard (the only day it rained on us), so I didn’t get any pictures…but it’s very pretty. We didn’t go to Dollywood, because I am hoping to go back again in December to take in the Christmas shows.

The color was much prettier in Cherokee, but as you can see, it was also much foggier.

On the way home, we stopped at the Ocoee River and Dam, and it was just beautiful.

Monday, November 10, 2008 can't get this in tin...

I've noticed that Spam is hitting my (junk) email a lot more since I came to Blogger. Now, I'm getting spam from my own email address! Is this happening to anyone else? I can't too well report myself as Spam, can I?

I wonder how it's working...have I been hijacked and they are using my name to send to a lot of people, or are they just using my name to send to me because I would more than likely open it? I don't think my password has been compromised, but I feel kinda....compromised, you know?

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Six Things and Graphics

I am the Queen of the last minute! I've waited until the last minute to get all my online classwork done, and the system went down for "updates" about two hours ago. They don't expect it to be up until tomorrow. My "A" is now in peril, and I'm....not happy.

We have approximately 17,894,882 walnuts in my back yard. I was picking some of them up and more were falling all around me. One of them sucker-punched me on the back of the neck, and I'm now back in the house and don't plan to pick up the remaining 1,7894,779 walnuts left out there.

So, I got tagged on the "Six Things" going around B-Land and I was trying to be crafty (as in artsy, not sly), so I made a little dooey. I think you can yave to click on it to make it readable. I can't bring myself to tag six others.... oh, and Gina...I owe ya.

If clicking doesn't work, trust me, it's not that exciting! I have yet to figure out 1) how to make graphics, and 2) how to post them.

We went to Gatlingburg a few weeks ago, and the color was no where near peak. I didn't get many good pictures at all. On the way home, we stopped at the Ocoee Dam, and it was really pretty there. I just may post some pictures later tonight, as I can't be studying...grrrrr!

Laters Taters!

Thursday, November 6, 2008

My Last Political Entry…for a while!

A young black girl wore a T-shirt into my office yesterday with “Obama” on the front, and “My President is Black” on the back. I was going to vent my frustration and comment about how foolish it was to vote for the shade of skin. But then, I saw a clip of Sherri Shepherd of “The View,” (a show I have NEVER watched) sharing a story, in a broken voice, of telling her son that Barak Obama had been elected president. She talked about when she told her family she wanted to be a comedian and an actress, and was told to find a job at the post office, because “they won’t let people like us do that." Her opinion was that “people of color” always had limitations placed on them, and now she could tell her son that he had “no limitations.” From this view point, I suppose I could understand the pride a little better…even though I know it’s just wrong to vote a person into the highest office of our land because of the way he or she looks, or their color, or their gender.

The stakes were high, and I believe Christian America failed to do the Godly thing. Was it deception or ignorance? I just don't know. However, I’ve said several times that America would be a different country today if all the people who were belly-achin’ about President Bush had been praying for him. Christians have a responsibility to pray for their leaders. Therefore, I will start NOW to be careful to not voice complaints about the U.S. presidential selection, but to pray for my president. God is not surprised, nor is He caught off guard by America’s choice. It is He Who has allowed Barak Obama to be put in this position, and I will endeavor to show the respect that the title deserves.

I’m just sayin’ and that’s enuff said...

It’s time to get back to happy, funny entries.

Monday, November 3, 2008

An Unhealthy Comparison

I hadn't known him long, and I saw the warning signs before I married him.

I heard, but I wouldn’t listen; I saw, but I ignored. My dad told me several times, “I want to talk to you before you marry him.” But I never gave him a chance to give me his words of wisdom.

My friends didn’t like him. My best friend tried to tell me to get rid of him. I just thought she didn’t “get it.”

I married him on a Tuesday. He beat me up the following Friday. By then, though, it wasn’t so easy to just walk away. No, now I was legally bound to him. I did leave, but I went back. And he beat me up again. And again. He pushed me, choked me, slapped me, kept me up all night yelling at me…I then knew I really should have listened to the voices of reason and wisdom.

Yes, the red flags were waving, but I walked right past them into the courthouse and married the man. It was a legal process and several years of recovery before I was able to put that behind me.

Somehow, it all just reminds me of Obama’s relationship with America. The red flags are boldly waving and folks are looking right past them and walking into the voting booths.

Christians, you are children of the most high God. Heed the warning signs. Stop the path to certain destruction. Do I think that Obama will be in office come January, and America destroyed by February? Certainly not. He’ll just be another hammer continually driving the nails in America's proverbial coffin. And just who do you think will be the nails he’ll be driving down?

Friday, October 31, 2008

Politics and Halloween

I don’t stand amazed, I stand dumbfounded that the citizens of this great free country are seriously considering voting for Barak Obama.

Then I’m reminded of a Bible passage (Matt. 24), and I shiver as I realize that we are currently watching the proverbial scroll unfold. It’s the final countdown before the second coming of Christ. (Whether or not you or I believe it, doesn’t make it any less the Truth.)

I believe in my heart that McCain and Palin will win the White House, because there are many, many Christians who are praying, “Thy Kingdom come, THY WILL BE DONE” in this election. I hope and pray I am not wrong. (But I remind myself that God is in control, no matter who is in office, and He is NOT watching us here below, wringing His hands in dismay.) While America, who has largely turned her back on God and embraced the very things that are an abomination to Him, deserves judgment, I keep in mind that mercy has always triumphed over judgment. Now, America is trying to embrace Obama. It is a dark, dry time in our land.

If Obama manages to deceive the population into electing him, I expect that the people who voted for him who consider themselves Christians will get a nasty wake up call. It just may be the wake up call that America must have to be the nation (called by His name), who humbles herself to pray and seek His face (2 Chronicles 7:14). Christians need to quit looking at the distractions, i.e. the economy, the war, political correctness, (distractions of the “little foxes” variety, Sol 2) and look at the real issues. We are electing the leader of the free world, do we want a Godless administration? Taking God out of our schools hasn’t been a good idea; taking God out of our government is just as bad an idea.

Even for the people who don’t believe in God, the choice is vast experience and patriotic service over no experience and questionable patriotism. The deception is obvious, not even candy-coated: ACORN. Jeremiah Wright. Muslim ties. William Ayers. Al Sharpton. Socialism.

It’s most fitting that I choose the day of Halloween to talk about this election. It’s a “holiday” for which I have lost understanding…why is it, again, that we celebrate witches and ghosts and goblins with candy? People have tombstones and fake murder victims on their front lawns. Yes…the day is fitting indeed.

Christians, pray. Pray for the Holy Spirit to hover over every voting booth, and pray often: THY KINGDOM COME, THY WILL BE DONE. This election is just that important. It’s. Just. That. Important.

I'm just sayin'

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Rainy Days in Bama

I'm just sayin'

My little corner of the deep south has been in a drought for two years...and it's been raining for two days!

At work, I have a pretty nice view of the outside from my window. Unfortunately, some spiders have taken up residence directly in my view and built a home. I am not talking about small little wispy webs. No, I mean webs so thick it would make carpet for a doghouse! One of the spiders died, and it's just there. Dead. Another much larger one walks around on the web-carpet and acts like she owns my window. A grasshopper was messing with them a few days ago. (I'm three stories up, mind you! Don't know how the grasshopper made it up here.) I was sure the grasshopper would lose the fight, but he got away. They aren't going to wash the windows until spring. I have to look at this for 6 more months.

The HR director's little son was taking about Chinicans. Wasn't sure what that was. Well, not until he talked about Americans and Mexicans, too.

Ever notice how you can talk big about what you would do, until it happens to you? Yeah, me too.

Sometimes Southerners do things that enhance the rest of the world's view of us. Happens to blondes, too. Did you catch the story about the blonde (Charlotte Fenney in Stratford, CT) who dyed her hair brown and sued L'Oreal because not having blonde hair ruined her social life? She no longer gets the attention she got as a blonde, and has to stay at home and wear hats. She could not prove that she didn't purchase brunette...and for some reason thinks she can never go back to her natural blonde. Just my observation, but if you are putting color on your hair, it's not natural, is it? The judge tossed the case out.

I went sailing Sunday afternoon. It was a beautiful day. I snapped this picture before we left. You can see some color already in the trees.

This is a fox squirrel. Normally, fox squirrels are just the reddish color. But this one is old. They get a white muzzle when they are old, and they make an interesting sight.

I got this little fella at the Natchez Trace Parkway, on the nature trail. I got several pictures of hummers out there, but 99% of them are blurry....they are fast little boogers.

These were in my back yard (a whole line of them), so I grabbed my camera before the dogs could tear them all up.

If you happen to like Devotionals, I've started a Devotional Journal. It won't be daily, but I'll probably update it more than I do this one.

All for now...Later, Sweet Taters.

Friday, October 3, 2008

Summer...where did it go?

Vote in poll>>>>>>

Autumn! I really do love Fall, and until Spring comes around, it's my favorite season.

Autumn Breeze

God made colors, and then applied them
Greens and golds, amber and maroon
Cascading leaves create empty limbs
Unlike the greens of June
Lawns are gardens of crimson and gold
Evergreens laden with needles and cones
Colors are brilliant and equally bold
Holly bushes become berry thrones.

An orange sun sets in purple skies,
Casting shadows over trees
The immense Harvest Moon begins to rise
As Summer yields to the Autumn breeze.

Gatlinburg, 2006

Ole Boy and I didn't go anywhere this summer, but we are planning a Gatlinburg trip in a few weeks. We are having issues getting Peppy squared away, but that's mostly because Ole Boy doesn't think anyone can take care of a diabetic dog, even the vet. I have to agree that the Pepster was really, REALLY thirsty the last time we picked him up from the kennel....but I suggested we get a water bottle so that it can't get tipped over. We don't have much time left to get it all worked out.

Les and the kids:
Can you tell the boys gave Samara a haircut?

Devon, Ashton, Samara (Les in back)

Botanical Garden, Huntsville, AL

I'm Just Saying....

* Did you know the Bible says much study is wearisome to the flesh? (Ecclesiastes 12:12) After last weekend, I personally know that to be fact.

* The VP debate wasn’t spectacular on either side, but McPalin will win the White House. (Did I coin that name, or has someone beat me to it?)

* I was going to do a section with “Discombobulate” as the Word of the Day, but I got confused.

* Ole Boy just called me back to the bedroom where he is busy taking out a window unit air conditioner. There must have been 20 wasp nests (and a few dirt dauber nests besides) in the frame. Then he said I should help him get the unit out. I think not.

* At work the other day, KK said the thought the shirt she was wearing made her look pregnant. I assured her it didn’t, but asked her if my butt made my pants look big.

* Barely-five-year-old Ashton is in kindergarten, and is having trouble learning his numbers. I was using some cards to help him, holding up a 2 and a 5, asking him repeatedly “What is this one?” “What number is this?” rotating the cards. He just wasn’t getting it. Finally, 6 year old Devon walked by and said, “You have the 5 upside down.” I was really helpful that day

From McGee Farms Pumpkin Patch today:

Ashton on a hayride

Samara picking out a pumpkin

Devon's Pumpkin

Later, my Sweet Taters!