Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Gradual Leaving

I just had a wonderful time with my family at Christmas. We never have to do anything special at all - just be together. We talk and laugh and sing - and I listen to the exchange of inside jokes and quotes from movies and I just never get tired of hearing my children's voices.

But then comes the hard part - the leaving.

It comes in stages - and it is gradual - but it is never, ever easy.

First comes the hugs and the goodbyes. I almost always cry, even if they don't see it.

Then comes driving out of town. That is the most awful part to me. Actually leaving the city limits. I cry and Jay just drives along and lets me.

Then we get on the interstate and eventually leave the state of Kansas and cross into Missouri. I don't like that part.

When the plane leaves the ground, the spot that gets empty in my heart is pretty evident. We are up in the air and the memories of the time spent is heavy.

By the time we land in DC, I sigh and realize that I'm once again many, many miles away.

Even with all that said, and as hard as it is, I wouldn't forego the trip just so that I wouldn't have to feel that difficulty of leaving. I am so thankful for Jay, for my children and for that sweet little boy who knows just who to ask for a book at IGA. I am so blessed for the relationships we all share and for Papa and Marmie who indeed are an extra blessing to me. We all share four wonderful children and a grandson - and God is good. He is so very good. All the time.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Dreaming of a White Christmas

I think that it goes without saying that the Christmas season brings with it so many memories and for me, it doesn't necessarily bring childhood memories as much as it does memories of when my children were little.

One of the things I think that I'll always remember is those two girls having to sleep in the same bed on Christmas Eve. Never mind that their twin beds were about a foot apart to begin with. That wasn't enough. No. They had to sleep in the same bed.

And when I say sleep, I use that word loosely. There really wasn't much sleep. They whispered and giggled and I'm sure tried with all their might to fall asleep - but it was in vain - because truly "visions of sugarplums" danced in their heads.

It would always be late when we finally got to bed on Christmas Eve. For a good part of the time, we attended midnight Christmas Eve services in Idana. We would be at a family gathering that evening, attend the Christmas Eve service and then head home. There was always the routine of putting out milk and cookies for Santa - and then off to bed.

I remember sitting on the sofa listening for them to fall asleep so that "Santa" could come. As paper rustled and stockings were stuffed, I'm sure they heard every single thing. But as they were little, they never seemed to associate those noises with the arrival of Santa.

Soon, and I do mean soon, those little girls and eventually little brother in tow, were upstairs standing beside the bed - staring at me.......waiting for our eyes to be open. And being just loud enough so that we'd wake up. To say that our Christmas mornings started early would be an understatement!

To this day, those girls would sleep in the same bed on Christmas Eve given the chance. I know that both of them still have trouble falling asleep - and if I were truthful, so do I. The "magic" of Christmas morning is very special. The sight of the tree all lit up - the hope of snow on the ground - the smells and the anticipation.

Today, on Christmas Eve, I remember that manger and the baby Jesus laying there - and the anticipation that was all around that Christmas morning. Nothing can compare to that event - and today, as I remember the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, I wish everyone a very Blessed and Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

A Weekend of Friendship

This was just a warm-fuzzy weekend. We had a lot of things planned to do - and almost every single thing involved friends and doing friendship things.

I was invited to brunch with my friends Erica and Pria. They are relatively new friends, really within the last 6 months. We just have laughed so hard together and this brunch was no different. It was fun to connect with them again and share a lovely afternoon.

Then in the evening, our small group at church gathered for pie and prayer. Everyone brought a pie and I'm here to tell you - oh my goodness - these women can bake a pie. I made a blueberry pie. We cut them all in small pieces so that we could have a nice "tasting" of a variety of pies. I was STUFFED!

Here is a picture of one of my dearest friends Miss Edna (beside me) and my friend Helen.

Here is a picture of Carol and myself - another good friend who I shared the evening with!

What a fun weekend before Christmas we had. This afternoon I went to my friend Laura's house and she started teaching me how to spin. It was so pleasant and very comforting. She loaned me one of her wheels so now it's sitting in my dining room where I intend to spend several hours over the holiday learning a new skill.

The weekend went so fast - but we had a wonderful time making memories!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

A Candlelight Tour of Mt Vernon

I decided to have a surprise for Jay this time. Sunday late afternoon we headed out but Jay didn't know where we were going..... that is until we found out that there was some bridge construction and I didn't know another way to get to our destination - so I had to tell him. That was ok though - he had patiently waited all week to find out we were going on a candlelight tour of Mt Vernon, George and Martha Washington's home. It was so pretty and not nearly as cold as the night we toured the zoo. They had a lot of lanterns to light the paths plus there was a nearly full moon. The mansion was beautiful but we couldn't take inside pictures there - so you'll have to use your imagination!

This is a picture of one of the slaves quarters - there were many beds in this one little room. And....hay for a mattress.

This was a small room outside of the mansion that belonged to their land manager. Doesn't look very cozy - and nothing at all compared to the mansion.

There was a lot of nice music to listen to outside around the gardens and walkways.

Inside the museum, there were many beautiful Christmas trees. It was a nice evening and we enjoyed seeing the historical place!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A Chilly Surprise

Last Sunday was my Christmas surprise. Last year, Jay surprised me by taking me to the Bull Run parade of lights. This year, he told me that I needed to dress warm and as we were getting ready to walk out the door, he told me I had to bring my Metro card. As I opened up the door to the outside, I realized I hadn't dressed warm enough. The wind was blowing and it was really, really cold outside. So - I added layers. Good thing.

We got on the Metro until we reached Metro Center where we changed to the red line and rode until the Woodland Park stop. All this really meant nothing to me because when we get that far away, I have no idea where anything is. We walked out into the cold and he told me that we needed to walk about three blocks. Translated - three VERY LONG BLOCKS INTO THE WIND. I'm telling you - it was freezing. Really, I wasn't bad except for my face. My face was frozen. So we walked. And walked. And then finally around the corner.........

The zoo was decorated everywhere with beautiful lights! The buildings were decorated along with the trees - but also there were wire lights in shapes everywhere!

Even though it was very cold, it was so pretty. They had music playing, plus at one stop there was a brass ensemble playing (bless their blue lips stuck to their mouthpieces)

Somewhere in the middle of the zoo was a giant snow globe with a panda in it. Not a real one you understand - but some poor soul dressed up in one - inside the snow globe. You'd certainly not want to be claustrophobic would you!

It was a fun surprise - we even got to have hot chocolate at the zoo! By the time we arrived safely back home, we had finally warmed up. Another Christmas surprise! Thanks Jay!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

A Wintery Day

Today was a nice wintry day. We started the day out by going to an "All Church Breakfast". The men cooked breakfast and it was delicious! We had scrambled eggs, hash browns, sausage links, biscuits, cereal, bagels and blueberry pancakes. mmmmm After we all ate and chatted, we sang Christmas Carols. It was just a nice way to spend a Saturday morning.

After breakfast, I had choir practice. Our presentations will be three times next weekend - so we were of course using every opportunity to practice.

After I got home from choir, we had a small snack and then headed downtown on the metro. My friend Erica was celebrating her 32nd birthday at a Mediterranean restaurant that we had never even heard of. The food was delicious and it was fun to meet new people.

When we left the restaurant, it was snowing! Just a beautiful, soft snow. After the ride home, we decorated the apartment for Christmas. Jay had already put the lights out on the deck last Friday - so we decorated the tree and put the nativity scene up along with all the other decorations.

It was just a wonderful Saturday - and now the house feels a little bit more like Christmas!

Monday, December 1, 2008

And the word is....

Well - the problem is that there must be TWO words that start with sc and have 9 letters - because scratched certainly fits that category. The word they told us was screeched. Interesting - and good job to Amy! She is the grand winner! Sorry - no prize - except that you did come up with a 9 letter word and without any help!

So - I looked it up... and there are a few other words.

scratched, scrounged, scrunched, stretched, and the plural nouns straights and strengths (all with nine letters).

So there you go. Apparently First Watch didn't have all their information together when they asked the question. The place I googled said that screeched was the most common answer. :)

Sorry it took me so long to get back to you! Thanks for playing!