As you'll notice quickly, I am doing a tandem post today. I call it multi-tasking.
For I cannot post anything about my Christmas traditions without thanking God for those very traditions that make me even more grateful for this time of year.
Here are a few of the traditions that carry us through each bless-ed Christmas season:
- I got a new Christmas ornament from my family each year that I took from home when I left college. Most of those are long gone now from age and fragility. Yet, I decided when Libbyline was born to start the same sort of tradition with my children. Libbyline adds a new Boyd's bear angel each year to her collection. Sweetcheeks gets a new snowman for hers, and JD Green gets an ornament with some form of transportation represented (which is so perfect as he is ALWAYS on the go). They love discovering these as we decorate our tree each year and will easily identify whose is whose when the time comes to leave home and start out on their own.
- We love baking around our house, and there are a few treats I usually only make at Christmas time: including chocolate covered pretzels, peanut butter fudge, and molasses crinkles(known as ginger cookies to my kids). I love the smell that wafts through the air as our goodies begin to bake. We also made press cookies and several other varieties last year for the first time, but it certainly won't be the last time these yummy items make an appearance. We usually take a plate or tin full of cookies to neighbors and share them with friends and family throughout the season.
- Our children each get to open one present Christmas Eve. I have done everything from getting matching pajamas made by my mother with coordinating bags to choosing sets in each child's favorite color. They now all know what will be inside the package each year, but it is still fun to take a group shot under the tree to commemorate going to bed in their new, cozy jammies. The excitement now lies more in the creative wrapping than in the contents. It is fun to see how imaginative the mama can get . . .
- We do not open presents first here. We read the Christmas story in Luke 2, then we read a chapter from Max Lucado's God Came Near, called The Arrival. Adding Mary's perspective, even fictionally, helps us to focus on all that went on that first Christmas when Jesus arrived as Immanuel.
- The other tradition actually arose out of a year ridden by illness with young children. We found ourselves unable to join any organized Christmas Eve service, so our three created a play of the Nativity story, using robes and towels to costume, stuffed animals for the stable residents, and the treasured baby doll for baby Jesus. Libbyline is our narrator and the other two act out all the other parts of the story. It is a precious time each year as they now thrill to put on their own interpretation of how Jesus came to us.
Have a thanks-filled day and don't forget to let me know if you've posted your own list of thanks. I will come visit when I get the chance!
I promised y'all pictures from our trip, and I haven't forgotten. I'll try to do that later today when I have extricated myself from the garland and Christmas lights that will be surrounding me today.
Having been out of town for Thanksgiving has put me days behind on my decorating. I've still got scarecrows sitting around my house, for goodness' sakes.
Having no real coherent thoughts to share, I figured it was time for a list of random things about me. Here are seven:
1. I cannot go to bed the night I return from a trip unless my entire toiletry bag is unpacked and my vanity is restored to its pre-trip order. I left the rest of the BIG suitcase until yesterday, but all my personal stuff must be in its rightful place before I can rest my head.
2. Once Friday after Thanksgiving hits, it must be Christmas music all the time for me. I adore Christmas music and must be playing it from the moment I wake until my iPod lulls me to sleep at night. I play Christmas music all year long, but non stop throughout the holidays. The soundtrack from Polar Express accompanies me this morning.
3. My heart has been filled almost painfully full with thoughts of adoption again. God has used numerous ways over the past three weeks to assure me that the longing He has put in my heart for another child is not in vain. His timing is perfect, and He will fulfill that longing when He chooses.
4. I adore Lindt chocolate truffles, but I rarely bite into them. I usually put them in my mouth and let them melt there. My favorites are the dark chocolate and the mint.
5. My favorite thing about Thanksgiving is the cranberry orange salad I always had growing up. I must have it at Thanksgiving or Christmas, or my holiday is not complete. I made some Saturday night for a potluck Sunday so I wouldn't miss out on the experience this year.
6. Ragg socks make me itch, even if they are made out of cotton. I love how they feel as slippers in the winter, so I put smooth cotton socks on inside of them and scuff away in my cool ragg socks from here.
7. I always sing "egg shell sees" when singing Angels We Have Heard on High. I learned it in second grade and have never been able to change it.
So there you have it. Seven oddities that make me who I am. If you just have nothing better to do, go here for 200 more : )
We had a marvelous day here in the Music City.
We went to Opryland Hotel to wander around this morning with the older and younger generations. We took a boat ride through the Delta, and once my kids figured out no one was going to throw them to the resident catfish . . . they relaxed and had a good time.
I am oh so glad DP and I had gone on a date there last night, because after the boat ride . . . none of the older or younger generations had much patience for the sightseeing.
We headed on out for lunch, which was plan B after we scrapped trying to balance warmed up Thanksgiving dinner on Chinet in adjoining hotel rooms with at least one rambunctious 7-year-old racing through the halls yelling "room service!"
Plan B was delectable in every sense of the word. We went to the Hilton in downtown Nashville, were seated in an "overflow" room, which meant for us more privacy and less commotion, while still being able to hear the dinner music and not walk too far to fill our plates more times than I can count.
The buffets (all nine of them) were stocked full of every imaginable Thanksgiving-related food and so much more. There was a bar for just breakfast food, so JD Green ate a waffle, muffins, a danish, and strawberries galore.
I had all the traditional favorites, including honey roasted turkey, green bean casserole, sweet potato casserole, mashed potatoes and gravy, and cranberry sauce. Add to that, asparagus, crispy bacon, and fresh fruit kabobs, and you'll have my first trip to the buffet just about complete.
In order to keep from compromising your image of me, I will not reveal how many more times I frequented the buffet after that first trip. Let's just say I tried every kind of chocolate covered strawberry represented, and I still had room for a pumpkin dessert as well.
After thoroughly sampling as much as humanly possible without needing assistance from a garden wheel barrow to get back to valet parking, we were on our way to relax and take a rest before the main event tonight.
We had the time of all great times tonight at the Rockettes performance at the Grand Ole Opry. When DP and I made these reservations online about six months ago, we clicked on "best seats" when it gave us seating options at ticketron.
Well, the best seats available were Row DD in section 4. We come to find out while looking at the seating chart, but after we clicked to accept these seats that lo and behold . . . these seats are front and center.
I meet up with my dear MIL in the gift shop after she'd found our seats.
I ask, "Is the view good from our seats?" Is there going to be anything in front of us?"
She replies, "Only the Rockettes!"
She was right. We were about 10 feet from all those kickers! It was fabulous, and we loved the whole show.
So, I am now snuggled in my hotel bed with my cozy jammies and my snoozing DP.
I have a mind whirling with lovely memories and a heart full of gratitude for all the blessings I have been given, both this Thanksgiving holiday and the whole year in general. God has been very, very good to me!
Looking forward to hearing about y'all's holidays and shopping stories soon.
The pace is picking up today as I prepare to leave in the morning for our Thanksgiving getaway. I've got a mental list that has somehow not made it to paper yet. So, I am whirling at a speed beyond my normal, with lots of items to be crossed off.
Now, where is that note pad when I need it?
As the day we set aside to celebrate a heart of gratitude approaches, I am thankful for these things more than any others:
- God's grace
- my precious DP
- my three lovely, healthy children
- family all over the country
- God's continual provision
- my health
- YOU -- if you are reading this today, I am grateful for you and your encouragement to keep on doing this blogging thing that has consumed so many of my hours this year.
I will be back from my little jaunt Saturday with pictures and stories to tell. When the PawPaw and the MawMaw are involved, stories abound!
I very rarely talk to my FIL on the phone. We get along great, but he just doesn't like talking on the phone and conversations have become more and more difficult as his hearing has begun to fail. (the whole hearing aid issue will be saved for another post)
I got to start off my Monday with a call from my FIL. My MIL dials the phone, hands it to him, and it goes something like this:
PawPaw: Pam, (loudly) can you hear me ok up there? (everything is up when you're from South Louisiana)
Pam: Yes, sir. I can hear you just fine. How are y'all doing this morning?
PawPaw: Oh, good, good. We're doing good. Now, are you bringing your camera to our Thanksgiving trip?
Pam: Yes, sir.
PawPaw: Good, good. Now, I was wantin' to help you out with some film for that camera. Do ya' need some film?
Pam: No, sir. I have a digital camera. It doesn't take any film.
PawPaw: Hunh?!? What . . . how does it do? How will you get the pictures out of it so we can have some?
Pam: I can take the camera to Walgreen's while we are gone and get you some pictures made before you fly home on Saturday. Does that sound good?
PawPaw: (as he's still scratchin' his head over the whole film thing) Well, you go to wherever you need to go and get about $50.00 of pictures made for us and for you and DP, is that good? Can you get a few pictures made for that?
Pam: Oh, yes sir. I think we can get you some pictures made for that. Thank you SO much for even thinking about it. We'd be happy to have some pictures done for you. We are really looking forward to our trip later this week to see you.
PawPaw: (still reeling from the idea of all this technology existing totally beyond his scope of reference) Well, Pam, it was good, real good talkin' to you this morning. Here is your mother-in law.
I could almost hear his sigh of relief as he handed her the phone.
***Now, I just have to let y'all know this man is so precious to me. I hope I've not communicated any sarcasm or poking fun in a hurtful way by posting this conversation. I just got so tickled at his amazement with the changes out here in the everyday world that I take for granted.
Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love
and his wonderful deeds for men.
Let them sacrifice thank offerings
and tell of his works with songs of joy."
I've had comments that the video isn't working. I think I've got it fixed now. Try it again if you'd like to view it : )
Update -- I tried to write this post yesterday, but found internet connection problems with Bellsouth . . . again . . . keeping me from posting what I wanted to post when I wanted to post it.
Methinks we'll be looking for a new provider soon . . . just a hunch.
So, a little slow on the uptake today, but nonetheless grateful ; )
Yes, though I didn't make a huge deal about it on my blog this year, I did have a birthday Tuesday. Thanks so much to all of you who acknowledged, prayed, and celebrated with me.
Here is how God is filling my "older" tank this week:
1. Birthday Breakfast: My three darlings made my entire meal without my knowledge Tuesday morning. I had a heart-shaped omelette created by my Sweetcheeks, orange juice poured by JD Green, green tea made by Libbyline, and the customary rice cake with pb & j instead of toast for the gluten-sensitive mama thoughtfully added by all three. I was touched and humbled by the care of these precious children.
2. Serving: It is totally true that when you are helping others your own problems seem to shrink. We had a blast packing cartons for Operation Christmas Child at our local drop off center this week. I love being able to remind my children that it truly is more blessed to give than to receive. They are such willing and cheerful helpers. I am so proud of them.
3. Example: My oldest is going to a birthday sleepover for a friend tonight (Friday) and it was such a joy to watch her carefully choose gifts for her friend that would please her and communicate my daughter's care for this friend. I saw a maturity in her choices that set a great example for me as I make choices for others.
The rest of my tank was filled with the following. I don't think I need to say anything else but "Thank You":
Thank you, too, to all of you who have begun posting your own Thanks Tanks. As always, feel free to take the button to your site and let me know in the comments, so I can come visit you. Welcome to all of you who have joined us in recent weeks!!
Beth has called for an update to our 30 Days of Thanksgiving. I have had a blast sending out notes of thanks to folks I contact regularly, as well as to those I rarely see or reach out to throughout the year.
I have heard back from a couple of people, but the joy of sending the greetings is not dimmed by any lack of response. I prayed over each before sending and know God led me to the people I needed to reach.
What a blessing this activity has been, and I will definitely be incorporating it into my yearly tradition of celebrating this season. Go here to read about it for next year, if you like.
I loved what Beth said today about 400 + notes out there blessing people if you include everyone who is participating this year. How fun to be part of something bigger than myself.
Just the act of taking part in this simple exercise has made this statement true for me this season:
For well over a year now I have gone to visit Heather George's site. First I prayed for sweet Emma and for Heather as the mama of a child with health issues. I still pray for this precious child who is a testimony to God's infinite grace and power.
Back in the spring when Heather was diagnosed with a brain tumor, I was shocked, stunned, and speechless -- until again God prompted me to pray. I continue daily to lift up this dear sister in Christ as she walks the path God has for her.
Consistently over the past months God has used Heather and her circumstances to humble me, to inspire me, to encourage me, and to make me cry on more than one occasion.
Yesterday I went to visit just like I do every single day she posts something new. Once again, God had a message for me there. I won't go into details here, because you must go read it for yourself. I'll just leave you with one sentence that has been ringing in my ears since I first read it yesterday:
Am I not allowed to do what I choose to do with what belongs to me?God is asking me this question today.
I pray I respond with a resounding, "Yes, Lord! Have Your way with me, whatever that means."
Anything less is denying Him His Almighty purpose in my life, and where would I be then?
Now, go see Heather!
I'm joining Melanie today in her carnival to get us all on track to make the best use of the next 42 days.
Yes, we only have 42 days to shop for that "perfect" gift for all the special someones in our lives!
I thought I'd put a little different twist on mine today.
I have fibromyalgia, and though I think I've maybe mentioned it twice in the two plus years that I've been blogging . . . I thought it might be interesting to see what kind of special gifts you can find for those who suffer from constant pain that won't kill them : )
Just try mentioning the word fibromyalgia in a group of women you spend time with on a regular basis. I guarantee you'll find at least one who either has it or knows someone close to them who does.
So many people consider this a "condition" that is all in your head or a "catch-all" for all the symptoms no one can explain.
I am here to tell you it is real. It is painful. It is robbing tons of women . . . and some men of a fully mobile and fully functional life.
Take a look at some of the links below and see if someone in your life who deals with daily pain can find encouragement and support in one of these gifts. Just the fact that you acknowledge what they have is real and want to help is huge. Go take a look!
- A Fun Tote Bag here.
- Fibromyalgia Aware -- a great magazine chock full of information and encouragement.
- Awareness Items -- to get the word out about fibromyalgia.
- Jewelry -- a pretty bracelet that brings HOPE
- An Abundance of Apparel with a message here.
- Great Holiday Tips . . . whether you have fibromyalgia or not.
- Items to ease the pain
Happy Shopping!! Now, go as quickly as you can over to Melanie's place at Don't Try This at Home to find tons of other gift ideas to stun and delight the ones you love (or those you just have to buy for at the holidays).
Sign up with her Mr. Linky and join in with a list of your own!
May We always be grateful for the sacrifice of all our veterans.
photo credit: namguardianangels.org
For other Sunday Scripture entries, please go visit Amy.
Have a blessed day!
Psalm 65:11 (NLT)
No, I'm not actually moving again . . .
at least not any time in the near future . . .
I'm back in the study Overcoming Fear this week,
and the topic of discussion is how we react to moves or transitions in our lives.
The author addresses this concept as follows:
"Even little 'moves' in life, like the move to a new career or promotion at work, the move to a new, deeper level of friendship, or the move to a new responsibility at church can raise the question What's going to happen?So, what happens next? How can we overcome the "what ifs," the unknowns, the transitions in our lives that leave us unnerved and paralyzed at times?
"Any transition -- no matter how big or small -- is usually accompanied by a fear of uncertainty. If left unchecked, that fear can take root in your life and eventually make you want to avoid change. You can become resistant to new things, and worse resistant to the change God wants to do in your life, family, or community."
First, remember that you are not the first person to have ever been called to something new without being given all the details ahead of time.
- Read Genesis 6: 11-22; 8:14-22 for Noah's story
- Read Genesis 12:1-4; Hebrews 11:8-12 for Abraham's story
- Read Luke 1:26-38 and Luke 2:6-7 for Mary's story
The author wraps up this lesson by referring to the key verse for the week:
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:2 (NIV)
She says this, and I so agree, "When fear about the 'what ifs' grips our hearts, God wants to move our focus from what could happen to what He can do.
"What 'move' is God nudging you toward right now in your own life? In your faith? In your family? In your work?" In your home? (italics mine)
I'll be sharing in the next week or so what nudging I've been feeling, but until then -- have a weekend filled by walking Without Fear.
On His Adventure~Pam
Somehow I feel like the speed has been turned up, and I am being dragged along with it.
Now that the preparations for the upcoming holidays are in full swing all over every place my eye rests, I feel some inner need to join in the frantic pressing on to do more, have more, make more, be more.
"Halt!" I must scream to myself.
I must remember that the first season's focus is thanksgiving. The second is actually more of thanksgiving mixed with a large dollop of celebration. I can hardly begin to focus on the thanksgiving if I am carrying on willy-nilly with a frazzled and wild-eyed gaze at all the lists and "to do's" I have set for myself.
So, on that note, I set aside time today and every day to intentionally be grateful and filled up to the top with thanks to my Heavenly Father for all He has done and continues to do in my life.
Here's how He's been filling my tank these past days. I am thankful for:
1. Wisdom: I am slowly learning I cannot do it all. I can only do what God has given me strength and energy to do. The rest either needs to be left undone or finished by someone other than me. That is NOT a bad thing.
2. Phone Calls from Far Away: I got a call this morning from my best friend in the whole world, and though it was not all sunshine and rainbows -- just sharing the needs we both have lightened our loads for the day. Thanks, sweetie!
3. Catalogs: I just love sitting and gazing at all the shiny pretties in the magazines full of holiday bounty that drop in my mailbox every day at this time of year.
4. Freedom: Can't tell you how freeing it is to just sign my name to everything I write now.
5. Epossomundas: This little guy has brought lots of laughter to our home the past couple days. I love these books and would highly recommend them for your young children and early readers.
6. Shopping: Especially shopping on someone else's dollar. My precious MIL called Monday and told me I needed to go get everyone a couple outfits for our Thanksgiving trip with her money. What a precious blessing -- just when I needed it.
7. Cold: I guess for the next few days we are past "free" weather, but what a joy it has been to need a sweater, put extra blankets on the bed, and wear winter slippers.
8. Early Nights: The time change has helped me to rise a little earlier, but it has also encouraged me to get in the bed a good bit sooner. I was in bed and ready to turn out the lights last night before 10pm. For those of you who know the regular night owl I am, this is amazing.
9. Fall Foliage: Finally, we are seeing some turning of the leaves here in our little area. I think I am more grateful for it this year, because it is not so widespread, and I am seeking it out more than in years past.
10. My DP: My darling prince (DP) of a husband is a true joy to my heart. He knows me so well, and I am incredibly grateful to the Lord for hand-picking him just for me. What a treasure.
So, you all know how this works, and if you're new here's the scoop. Several of us have Thursday Thanks Tank posts you can visit here, or here, or possibly even here.
If you'd like to do your own, please feel free to take the button and post it on your site. If you'd just like to share your own list of thanks in my comments, by all means, do that! I'd love to share in the joys of how God is choosing to fill your tank.
Have a great "thanks-filled" day!!
My DP has been getting a flower for each of my daughters
for their birthdays since Libbyline was three.
This year is the first year we have needed an entire dozen
to commemorate the occasion.
Libbyline was 12 on November 1!
How time flies . . .
For other more Wordless Wednesday posts,
go here or here.
"He will be like a tree planted by the water
that sends out its roots by the stream.
It does not fear when heat comes;
its leaves are always green.
It has no worries in a year of drought
and never fails to bear fruit."
Jeremiah 17:8 (NIV)
Time for the winners of the most difficult game in giveaway history!!
I DID make y'all work for this one, which is why I am going to let you buy your own prize.
I am headed out this weekend to get two $10 gift cards from Bath and Body Works for you to use on whatever your little heart desires there. That actually saves me some postage in mailing a bottle of lotion, and you get to choose your own favorite fragrance.
Drumroll please . . . The winners, picked from the 11 correct guesses of my first name and 3 whole correct guesses for my middle name are as follows:
trina at Living in Jophie's Jungle won for correctly guessing my first name, which is:
susanne at Living to tell the Story won for correctly guessing my middle name, which is:
On His Adventure~ Pam (in purple, which is my real signature color)
I am closing the polls on my giveaway now, so that I can tally the correct guesses and post the winners by 12 Noon EST. I have a got another wildly crazy/busy day, so I need to have this wrapped up neatly by then : )
Thanks SO much for playing along . . . all 156 of you.
By 12 Noon y'all will know for sure who is hiding behind the Peach.
Last night we went to Festival 31, an alternative to trick or treating and festival sponsored by our church. I decided this to be the appropriate occasion for me to don something silly and dress up like the kids. Clowning has always held fascination for me, so being a clown comes naturally. Here I am after the festivities last night, in which I could barely stand after pacing the asphalt for 3 + hours:
My favorite comment of the evening came from JD Green,
"Mama, can we make our costumes again next year? It was much more fun than just going out and buyin' something at the store."
How that warmed this frugal wannabe's heart right to my little tightwad core!
Libbyline's color-coded cream of the crop goodies.
Sweetcheeks' like-minded and completely segregated stash.
Unfortunately for them, the entire mass of it headed to a community box this morning in which they will each be able to take two pieces of candy only when the mama deems it worthy. "Hahahaha," she cackles.
Maybe I wasn't such a clown after all. : ) So glad that's all over.
Now we can head onto my favorite time of year. Thanksgiving!
I became a mama for the first time.
At Baylor University Hospital in Dallas, Texas, I was handed a beautiful bundle with a pink bow on her head. I thought, as I looked into her face for the first time -- "I don't really know you yet. I thought I would, but I don't."
I've made it my mission over the past decade plus a couple to get to know this child God has brought into my life to bless me more than I could ever hope to bless her. I have tried to be a student of what she likes and dislikes. I watch her facial expressions. I read her body language.
As we spend time together, I can know her favorite part will be the hugs she receives and the actual time with me and her family. She loves gifts as much as anyone enjoys getting a present, but her love language is quality time sprinkled liberally with a strong dose of physical touch.
Libbyline is a precious blessing in my life. She has gone from being a stranger to being the child who I can count on to do just about anything. She is dependable, ever so capable, and a blossoming young lady. In her world, it is all about presentation, and I love that!
She is a tweenager in ever sense of the word -- ready to blast out into the wide world of being a young woman.
Part of me is scared as I wait in hushed anticipation of what comes next. Libbyline is changing at lightning speed, and I don't want to miss a single moment of her transition to womanhood.
Libbyline, I know this is not an exciting or lavish birthday in any sense of those words, but I pray you will know deep in your precious heart that your daddy, your sister, your ornery brother, and I all love you from the bottom of our hearts, and there is no one more deserving of a celebration than you. We will make the best of what we have and enjoy our day with you to the fullest of our abilities.
Here's to a little Asian food to continue the tradition you started six years ago!
I love you, my precious Libbyline. Thank you for giving me a reason to be called "Mama" in the first place!
Psalm 100 (NIV)(Libbyline's Life Passage)
A psalm. For giving thanks.1 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth.
2 Worship the LORD with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.
3 Know that the LORD is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.
4 Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.
5 For the LORD is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.
This passage so reflects the character and personality of my oldest, and I am so encouraged each time I recite with her. I celebrate and give thanks to the LORD for His love does endure forever, and His faithfulness is already extending to the next generation of my family. Praise be to His name!
This is my Thanks Tank today, because I couldn't think of a better way to show my thanks than to honor the day my dear Libbyline was born.