Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Home after the Holidays

Yes, I used the "politically correct" word in the title. It's a song I'm now singing but ad libbing the words, "Oh, there's no place like home after the holidays. Cuz no matter how far away you roam, if you want to be happy in a million ways, after the holidays you can't be home sweet home."

We had a wonderful time at Grandma's (Phil's mom's), but stayed 2 days longer than expected. First, Phil had to work on her computer but couldn't get the part until we went into Austin on Monday (for his great aunt's funeral). That took into the night to fix. He did not want to leave on the bike when it was dark and blustery cold. Tuesday we woke up to VERY cold drizzle (for Texas, at least, in the 30's). Again, not good riding conditions. We had the car so we could have gone home IF we didn't need to carry his "gear" home (cpap machine for sleeping, etc.). I'm going to make sure he takes his saddle bags next time we do this so HE can carry things home if necessary! As it turned out, today was gorgeous with highs probably in the upper 50's and in the sun it felt even warmer.

We told the girls we'd go look at the lights on the San Antonio Riverwalk tonight. Natalie was very excited to do that. Phil wasn't looking forward to it but I told him I would take them even if he wasn't up to going because we'd promised them we'd do it several days earlier (and had he had his brain attached and not rode a motorcycle in 30 something weather with 50 mph winds we would have been home sooner!). We got in the car and Natalie said, "I'm fine with not going to see the lights." sigh. I thought about saying, "You made a big fuss over it so we ARE GOING TO DO IT WHETHER YOU LIKE IT OR NOT!" I only said the first part because truthfully I was ready to be HOME! When Phil gets here he said he'd go with us to look at lights downtown from the car.

In years past going back to our home meant leaving an immaculate house (Grandma's) with lots of space to arrive at a barely bigger than a bungalow house with junk EVERYWHERE. While this house isn't neat right now, just walking in and having places to put things made us so happy. Just being at OUR HOUSE made us happy. There's a funny smell (hmmm, I must have forgotten to take out the garbage), clothes to wash, and much to put away, but it's HOME!!! As wonderful as it is to be away and be spoiled with Grandma cooking most meals (I helped some, but mostly chose clean up duty as she was so busy cooking before I knew what was going on), being home is so nice. Knowing that if I want something gluten free, I can grab it is so nice. Having our own bed is so nice. Not having to share a computer with everyone else is so nice. Though I have a certain child waiting to use mine!

So, as my title indicates, "There's no place like Home after the Holidays!"

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The "True Meaning of Christmas"

How many times have you heard that phrase this year? Or maybe in years past? The funny thing is that people might give you different answers for that. Some might say, "The true meaning is to remember that Jesus was born," or "The true meaning is to remember that Jesus came to show us love, so we need to love others." I HAVE to interject here that one of my "Dork Sisters" gave us all a good laugh this week when she wrote, "I like making a birthday cake for Jesus. It helps us remember the true meaning of school." That's a typo that she will not live down for some time and has given us all time to ponder the true meaning of school.

I could get all theological here. Well, maybe I couldn't, since I'm not a theologian, just a mom who loves the Lord. There are so many songs and so many powerful words which have been spoken on the subject of the true meaning of Christmas. I really believe that Christmas is only the tip of the iceberg. If there had never been Christmas, there would never have been a little boy sitting in the temple teaching the rabbis. There would never have been a man teaching that we can reach out to others even if they are different. There would never have been 5,000 people fed with 5 loaves & 2 fish. There would never have been the healings we read about. There would never have been a persecution and death of a man claiming to be God. And there would never have been Easter. There would be no eternal hope for any of us.

But there was a first Christmas (though it was not called that, just a young couple having a baby in what must have been the worst of locations), there were all those other things, and there is eternal hope. Last week, my husband's uncle passed away. Today we learned that my mother-in-law's last living aunt passed away last night. Her son's mother-in-law also passed away yesterday. A friend learned that her unborn baby had died inside of her yesterday. We ache & we mourn for those who have suffered such losses. Yet, for those whose earthly life ended, those who knew Jesus, and a sweet baby who had never had a chance to live on this earth, are celebrating Jesus in a bigger way than we can even imagine. I think that is what Christmas is about. It's about worshiping Him here while we can because, if we believe in our hearts and confess with our mouths that He is Lord and Savior, then one day we will worship Him face to face.

This song by Steven Curtis Chapman has always brought tears to my eyes, but they are mixed tears of sadness for those we miss and joy for them knowing they are having the best Christmas ever. If you've not heard of Steven Curtis Chapman, he lost a 5 year old daughter last year in May, so he fully knows the pain of missing his loved ones at Christmas as well as the joy of knowing he will see them again.

Going Home for Christmas
Her house was where the family gathered every Christmas eve;
A feast was set on the table and gifts were placed beneath the tree.
Everything was picture perfect, Grandpa would laugh and say,
That woman spends the whole year getting ready for this day.

One year the leaves began to fall and her health began to fade;
We moved her to a place where they could watch her night and day.
But she kept making plans for Christmas from her little room;
She told everyone, I'll miss you but I'll be leaving soon.

I'm going home for Christmas and I'm going home to stay;
I'm going home for Christmas and nothing's gonna keep me away.
I'll be with the ones I love to celebrate the Savior's birth;
This gift will be worth more to me than anything on earth.
I'm going home, home for Christmas.

All the leaves outside have fallen to be covered by the snow;
The family comes with food and gifts and Grandpa comes alone.
There's a sadness in our silence as the Christmas story's read,
And with tears, Grandpa reminds us of the words that Grandma said.

I'm going home for Christmas and I'm going home to stay;
I'm going home for Christmas and nothing's gonna keep me away.
She'll be face to face with Jesus as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth,
‘Cause she'll be home.

And as we sing ‘Joy to the World' I can't help thinking
Of the joy that's in her eyes right now.
And though our hearts still ache, we know that as we celebrate,
She's singing with the herald angels and heaven's glowing on her face.

And now she's home for Christmas and now she's home to stay;
She's home for Christmas, and nothin' could've kept her away.
She'll be face to face with Jesus, as we celebrate His birth,
And this gift will be worth more to her than anything on earth.
She's home, she's home for Christmas.
She is home, she's home for Christmas.

Here is a beautiful version.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Christmas & Croup

By now most of you have your Christmas tree up and decorated, you are in the swing of baking for Christmas, and have sent all your cards, right? For several years we've put our Christmas tree up on Thanksgiving weekend or the next week, depending on when we had Natalie's birthday party. This year things haven't worked that way.

The girls have officially decorated 2 Christmas trees (with their grandmothers) and had one party. We have strung one strand of outside lights & put 1 set of net lights on our jasmine ground cover. We put up a sign that's supposed to be lit at night, but we've lost the spotlight that came with it. 2 of the posts won't stand up. Is anyone hearing Linus giving his speech about how the tree needs a little love? Our decorations need a little love!

I have been busy with craft fair things through last Saturday, then this week was:
  • Monday--Christmas party at Girl Scouts, which involved Sunday making ornaments that should have been done weeks ago, shopping for cookies to take and cookie dough to bake, and making cookies for said party.
  • Tuesday---co-op day----always busy
  • Wednesday---went to wrap gifts for Elf Louise, a local program that provides gifts for children who might otherwise have none on Christmas.
  • Thursday---actually stayed home & spent the day trying to gain some sense of beginning to organize the house. Amazing how when mom is busy things don't get done. And mom isn't organized naturally, so things just really go awry.
  • Friday----blood draw for me (routine), dr. appt. for Natalie (read below), Wal-Mart (which isn't nearly as crowded at 1 pm as it is at 4:30 or so when we typically end up going), then home to try to work on this pig sty to create space for the Christmas tree.
  • Saturday---STAYED HOME!!! My folks came by & picked up some things I'd been working on for mom and left a computer and camera for Phil to try to install a program to make the 2 work together. More cleaning and finally cutting fabric for MY family.
Natalie has croup. She's had a horrible cough this week. It started as a dry cough & progressed into the barking seal cough. I think she is coughing in her sleep now. I may have to wake her & prop her head so she can sleep better. She has no fever & feels just fine. She's out of ADHD meds & we are going round with insurance about doctor issues for that. Needless to say she's been quite animated (ahem).

I am trying to remind myself that the decorations don't matter (though I do still want them up), the Charlie Brown house surrounded by House Beautiful displays doesn't matter, even the baking for Christmas doesn't matter (granted, knowing I can't eat all the yummy cookies makes this part easier). What matters is celebrating our Lord & Savior coming to earth as a baby and growing up to die for our sins. That's something I can do even in a messy house with no decorations and no special cookies!

***This blog post was interrupted by a mom running to her child's room when the barking cough seemed out of control. She's been re-medicated & had a puff of the inhaler. Poor thing! Please pray this goes away with no infection added to it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Pampered Chef Clearance BARGAINS!!!! with pictures

These are the items I still have left that I would love to sell. They make VERY nice gifts for Christmas. For someone who knows the quality of PC, the seasoned stones would be welcome. Prices do not include shipping, but if you live locally, I'll be glad to have you stop by or meet me for the larger items. Please feel free to share this sale with everyone. I'd really like to sell these items to a new home! I will be putting them on Craig's List tomorrow, so let me know ASAP if you want any of these. Thanks!
I have the following Season's Best Recipe Collections ($1 each):
Fall/Winter 2007, Fall/Winter 2004, Spring/Summer 2001, Spring/Summer 2007, Spring/summer 2006

Mini Baker with Mini-Baking Bowl, $15 . You can use these together or separate. They are microwave safe, oven-safe, refrigerator and freezer safe. Used together they make a covered baker for keeping meats extra moist & tender.
3 stones: Large Round (15"), Small Round (10") and Small Oval Baker in Vanilla Glaze. As a set: $25
Kitchen Drawer Tools (Set: $20): Brand new Small Scoop, 3-way tongs, avocado peeler, spreader with mustard color handle, large scoop, coffee clip/scoop, small scoop, large bamboo tongs, nylon (heat resistant) pasta server

Windowpane and Tiles linens ($10): 2 windowpane placemats, 2 Tiles napkins and a Tiles Table runner.

Simple Additions Collection: $40 for ALL of the following: 2 Square Mugs, Tiles small bowl, Long Rectangle Platter in Artichoke, long skinny trays (one long, 2 short---fit in long platter), 3 color bowls: Eggplant, Cranberry, Mustard. This can be broken into smaller sets if desired.
Knife/Cutting Collection: $25: V-shaped Cutter, Cheese knife, FORGED paring knife, Chef's knife with holder/sharpener (this has a piece broken off, but the sharpener still works great), Crinkle cutter

BBQ Fish Basket, $10: holds fish, veggies, or anything that could fall into the grill. This has never been used, just shown for display.