Isaiah 6:8

8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?”And I said, “Here am I. Send me!”

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Billy Sherman Was a Horse!

This morning, at Waverly church, my sweet Miss Inez had the greatest story for me. It was about a horse named Billy Sherman. During the Civil November 1861, a local regiment was raised in Lockport...Lockport is near Niagra Falls, New York The regiment was Battery M and part of the 1st Regiment New York Light Artillery and was mustered out of Rochester and sent to Washington to defend the Capitol. The key player of this story...was the Chief Bugler, Pvt. Lorenzo Pratt of Wilson. Pratt served in the War three and a half years and was one of the lucky ones...he lived to tell about it. According to the Niagra Historical Society, "he and Battery M saw action in almost every major battle including Bull Run, Antietam, Chancellorsville, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Peach Tree Creek, the March to the Sea, and the campaigns of the Carolinas. During the Battle of Chattanooga in November 1863, Pratt captured a Confederate horse whom he named “Billy Sherman” after the famous general who had marched to the sea. Billy was a dark bay and stood 15 hands high. Pratt rode his new horse for the duration of the war and proudly brought him back to Wilson in June of 1865. Lorenzo Pratt finally returned to his life as a farmer on the Wilson-Burt Road. Billy became his chief workhorse as well as a much-loved friend. Every year on Decoration Day (now Memorial Day) and other patriotic holidays, Billy would be decked out in equestrian military regalia and join in the local parades. He was a favorite attraction with children and with the aging members of the GAR (Grand Army of the Republic). Age caught up with Billy too, but he was still working three days before he died on September 1, 1887. It was estimated that Billy was at least thirty years old when he passed away. An Army blanket was placed over his body and an American flag over his head. A poem about Billy was read aloud and then he was buried on the farm of his beloved master, Lorenzo Pratt. For many years, the Pratt family maintained Billy’s grave and the GAR placed a flag there every Decoration Day. Gradually however, those guardians either moved or passed away. Billy’s grave was almost lost to history, until, on September 1, 1973, 86 years after his death, the Wilson Historical Society placed a boulder with a historic marker on the side of the road not far from his final resting place. The marker is located on north side of Wilson-Burt Road about a mile east of the village of Wilson. It also includes three flags, the American, the Confederate and the Tennessee state flag." I don't know about you, but I thought that was a touching story....a good one for Sunday.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Plans Dashed - Sigh!

Kathryn called me last night, very sad. It broke my heart to hear the anguish in her voice...when I asked her what was wrong she told me she had just caught up on my blog..."Oh!" was all I could think to say. It occurred to me that all week my posts were a bit on the morbid side. so I thought last night I would write a happy one today. I thought I would write a lovely post about how wonderful my weekend was going to be. The key word here is WAS. You see,This week was my anniversary....and since there was not a free night to celebrate we thought we would do something special on Saturday. It was going to have to be early because I have a bowling board meeting at 5....that puts a crimp on Saturday night as a special night. Anyways, we were going to a scrapbooking session on Friday night from 6 - 12 at Rocky Creek Church and become scrapbook fiends....We were both looking forward to the weekend...and were so excited. I keep up with the Whistlestop Cafe blog and fun...something we have never done...this restaurant is the one in the Fannie Flagg book, Fried Green Tomatoes; It is famous! I emailed the specifics...and made the plans. Frank and I were both delighted about spending Saturday in B'ham. The best laid plans of mice and men....I got an email at work on Friday that postponed the scrapbooking session until next Friday biggie...but I should have known....the weekend was doomed. Frank got home about 5 with news that he had to work on Saturday. It seems it is the last day of deer hunting season and the other guy wanted to be off so he could go. Only in the South does deer hunting trump an anniversary. here I sit, with Frank at work, I COULD be cleaning house...but I don't want to. I COULD be scrapbooking...but I don't want to...I thought I would post...and let you in on how my weekend is going so far....LOL...I am not concerned...after all an just a date....we can celebrate it anytime....I am learning that lesson these days...Thanksgiving, Christmas, Anniversary...heck even a birthday is just on a day....a state of can party all year if you want to. So..with that said, rain pouring down outside (wouldn't have been fun in B'ham anyways), a little J.T.(James Taylor) on the stereo...if it were five o'clock...I would have a Margarita...and wish myself a Happy it is...I am in my p.j.'s, with a cold Diet Coke...blogging. Who would have it any other way! Happy Saturday to you all!

Friday, January 29, 2010

Dream a Little Dream...

When I was a teen, I loved the Mama's and the Papa's. I would spend hours in my room crooning out their songs, "Dedicated to the One I Love," "California Dreaming," and "Monday, Monday." You see, I was a beach girl...the only problem was, I was an east coaster and they were talking about the west coast...thus began my fascination with the Pacific Coast. The biggest draw to the west coast was I thought if I could just get close to Mama Cass I would have arrived. I loved the sound of her voice and wanted to sing just like her...especially the sound of Dream a Little Dream. She was the greatest. I was devastated when before I could get to California...Mama Cass died. My world was rocked. So, you listen to my first song on my play box...close your eyes and think of one of the greats....Mama Cass Elliot. I did not know a whole lot about Mama Cass then, but today we have I went searching for Cass facts...and I want to share with my readers some things I found on the Cass Elliot website. I did not even know there was one until I went surfing around on the web. Did you know that she was not always Cass Elliot....she was actually born Ellen Naomi Cohen on September 19, 1941 in Baltimore, Maryland. I guess Mama Cass has a better ring to it than Mama Ellen. Anyways excuse my digression, "she grew up in Washington D.C. and in her senior year of high school, she performed in a summer stock production of "The Boyfriend" at the Owings Mills Playhouse where she played the French nurse who sings "It's Nicer, Much Nicer in Nice." After this experience Cass into the world of performance. "She made a splash in New York and began an acting career, competing with Barbra Streisand for the Miss Marmelstein part in "I Can Get It for You Wholesale" in 1962. She toured in a production of Meredith Wilson's "The Music Man." Elliot also produced a play at Cafe La Mama in New York." (from Cass Elliot website)
"By early 1963 she had met up with Tim Rose and John Brown and formed a folk trio initially dubbed The Triumvirate, yet later known as The Big 3 when Brown was replaced by James Hendricks. The Big 3 were a progressive and innovative folk trio who recorded two albums and made appearances on The Tonight Show, Hootenanny and the Danny Kaye Show. In 1964 the group had begun to fall apart and it metamorphasized into a foursome called "Cass Elliot and The Big 3" which included Canadians, Denny Doherty and Zal Yanovsky (Tim Rose had left at this point). Soon this foursome became The Mugwumps who operated out of The Shadows nightclub in Washington. They released a single for Warner Brothers and stayed together through the end of 1964, until they too began to disintegrate. Cass Elliot began to work as a solo single in Washington, D.C." Ever listen to the lyrics of the Mama's and Papa's song, Creeque Alley? It is very historical....but I am getting ahead of myself...
"At this point Denny Doherty had joined John and Michelle Phillips and the three were performing as The New Journeymen. Soon they left for the Virgin Islands where Cass subsequently joined them and the four began to sing together in mid-1965. Thus the superstar group The Mamas and The Papas was born. From 1965-1968 the Mamas and Papas recorded a series of top ten hits including "Monday, Monday," "California Dreamin'," "I Saw Her Again," and "Dedicated to the One I Love.""
"The group's last hit was a launching number for Cass Elliot. "Dream A Little Dream Of Me" became Cass' theme song and beginning in 1968 she embarked on her own short-lived but solid solo career. Her distinct voice had always emerged from the groups in which she sang." This woman could sing....and in every single group she sang in or with...her's was the voice that stood out. What a singer. So, it was with great sadness when on July 29, 2974...I woke up to find out that Mama Cass Elliot had died. She was only 33 years old. How sad. The newspapers...reported many different causes for her death...some of them were not pretty...I think the one that bothered me the most was that it was reported she choked to death on a ham sandwich. As a larger person...anytime food is attributed to anything bad in our comes out negative. Mama Cass was no exception. I was delighted when I discovered that the cause of her death was NOT a ham sandwich(she had not even eaten one that day), or drugs( you have to remember the times), but it was something very serious...that had probably plagued her for a long time....Mama Cass was dead at 33 from myocardial degeneration due to obesity...and the world lost one of the greatest singers of all times. Everytime I hear her voice...I remember a time....when I was younger...and the world was different...and I close my eyes...and dream a little dream...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

January 28th, 1986 was a Very Sad Day

On January 28th, 1986 I was at home with a sick child. Kat was 5 and had the flu. While she slept peacefully on the couch, I watched late breaking news and cried silently where I sat. Why was I crying? I was crying because right before my eyes I watched the Challenger explode just after liftoff , killing everyone of the seven astronauts aboard. This was the 10th trip for Challenger and included a teacher from New Hampshire...her name was Christa MacAuliffe. I had never met her, but had followed her career...because I too was a teacher. Christa MacAuliffe was among the astronauts as part of a new Teacher in Space project. The Launch was shown live on CNN and many schools set up televisions for children to watch due to the involvement of a teacher in the shuttle. I sat at home, holding my sleeping daughter and crying silently. Christa MacAuliffe was the only name I knew on this particular flight....later I would find out that the other crew members were Michael J. Smith, Dick Scobee, and Ronald McNair, as well as Ellison Onizuka,Gregory Jarvis, and Judith Resnik. A warning was ignored that certain equipment on the ship was vulnerable at new temperatures...a warning was ignored...and right before our eyes...the Challenger ceased to be. I grew up watching take offs from Cape Canaveral/Kennedy. I loved them. I loved watching the rockets drop the boosters, I loved the thought of going to space...the unknown...I wanted to BE a Christa MacAuliffe....but right then...I was glad I was safely tucked in the confines of my own house...and could wake up tomorrow and hold my daughter....again. The lives of the astronauts were over...and now...twenty four years you remember the names of the astronauts that died...reaching for the stars? Christa MacAuliffe is still a recognized name in the world of educators...because just like in life...she is still encouraging us to reach for the stars.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

James - Student Under Fire

I have taught for over 20 years and over those years I have had some interesting characters in my classes. One of my most interesting and troubling students was James*(name changed). When I attended the SunBelt Writers Project at Auburn University we had to write a program about someone who had shaken our belief system. I chose James.

Ode to James
James enters the classroom, surveys all present. Sees his buddy Fred and a playful puppy is ther for the day. This day is a rare one, Fred doesn't come much. James is a child in a man's body this day. He seeks constant attention and stroking from me and leaves me drained at the end of the hour. This was one of the good days.
His Fila shoes and fade are status symbols of his project life that seems a million miles away this day. His clothes, clean but few, are the outward signs that he is stylin' with the best. Oh, James, the outside is only a small part of you. I wish you understood that today.
Then comes the day when Fred does not appear and James enters the room like an angry mastiff tossed into too many gambling arenas for entertainment.
Untouchable, snarling, unfeeling, angry, hurt, with a mouth as big as all outdoors. He pushes into the room. There will be no learning here today.
I pass his desk and he reeks of alcohol. I must deal with this breach, but will I lost him in the process? His large, dark, question eyes haunt me day and night.
I know there is something special beneath this facade of contradictions. At my bleakest moments, feeling like a failure, James looks into my eyes and with his lopsided smile, assures me that we are least for today...and that is enough to hope for. With James it will always be one day at a time.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Anniversary!

Today, January 26th, seven years ago I got married at the end of the Arbor Service at First United Methodist Church. It was a perfect day. My daughter, Kat and our good friend Robert stood up for us. Behind us, was a congregation of wonderful people who came to share in this wonderful event. So, bear with me a bit....I want to let my sweet Frank know how special that day....and every day since has been.
When You Found Each Other
When we found each other,
we gained the finest prize:
companions to share life’s joys,
a friend who lightens burdens,
whose company is always a comfort.
When we found each other,
we embraced the love we had dreamed of,
the source of endless pleasure
and memories to treasure.
May this anniversary remind us
of how precious that day was,
when we found each other.

I love you baby!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Simply Charming

Throughout my lifetime I have gone through series after series of collections. Of course, they all depend on the age I am at the time, and what I where my interests lie. For example, when I was 10 I collected Barbies....of course I really did not COLLECT them...I got them to play with. Yes, even though I was a TomBoy....I was also a closet Barbie Doll player. Later in life it was music prints, glass apples, lighthouses, angels, a matter of fact, I told my mom one year that I was no longer collecting lighthouses any more. She seemed shocked and asked me what I was going to collect? MUST collect I said, "One hundred dollar bills." She did not think that was too funny. I, on the other hand, thought it was a scream. I quit collecting when it becomes not fun anymore. I started collecting lighthouses by getting a small statue every time I went to a lighthouse...BUT, then the world started giving me lighthouses...and it no longer meant the same thing. When I was in high school my mom worked for Yetta Oakes Antiques in Palm Beach....I would go and help uncrate stuff and put it out for display. I loved the smell of the antique store...and I loved the stories I would invent for the different pieces of collectibles we unwrapped. For graduation...Yetta gave me a set of four gold rimmed glasses. I remember the day they came in from an estate sale in upstate New York...I loved them then...I love them now...but that is a different story....One day, in a rag-tag box...came in a plate, salad plate, and was Christmas green....and square! I loved it. I asked Yetta about it and found out it was called Charm. It was not anything pricy...but it was pretty. My paycheck that week brought the square stuff home with me. I am not an avid collector of Forest Green Charm....but I have a solid selection of the stuff. If I find a piece, and it is within my budget, I add it to my collection.

Years later I would discover Forst Green Bupee and Bupee Swirl glasses. They really do make a pretty tablescape and with my 10.00 Family Dollar store Christmas dishes...they make my inexpensive offering...on a table look like something straight out of Martha Stewart Living. I love it! It is especially beautiful...with some green candlesticks, not Forest Green, I found at a Thrift Store, and the green footed punch bowl, complete with 12 cups, my mom found in Tyler, Texas. I do so love to set tables up.

I think the Charm is simply Chah - ming...don't you? I have often thought about adding the Ruby Red dishes to the green....but then...I think....Nope...I am a Forest Green kindagirl and would not have it any other way! Happy Antiquing!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Haviland Blue Garland Tablescape

When I was a teenager...barely 13, Publix was selling china. You bought so much in groceries, got a stamp for so many dollars spent, and you bought pieces of china with the completed stamp booklets. My mom and I were in Publix the day the display went up and I fell in love with Johann Haviland Blue Garland. We shopped regularly at Publix, so I began the collection process. I worked dilligently and even got friends who were not wanting to buy the china to get stamps for me. At the end of the selling period I had a complete service for 12. For years the china sat untouched in boxes and 1976...I got married. I did what every young bride is supposed to do, went to the jewelry store(at the time that was pretty much your only choice...Bed, Bath and Beyond was nonexistant)to pick out my silver, crystal,everyday and special china patterns. All of my friends had chosen Spode, Mikasa, you know...the fine bone china...but when I got to the jewelry store...there was nothing I wanted. I love I wanted my mom's silver (which I now have...complete with wooden case), I wanted Corelle everyday (because I am practical and had an instant family with two children under the age of 5), I wanted Libby glasses from Big K(in case the kids broke them). The jewelry store lady and my friends were frustrated with me because I did not want to pick out expensive china. I tried to make them all understand that I did not need the stuff...packed in boxes I had service for 12 of the prettiest stuff ever...the Blue Garland.

Over the years I have added silver chargers and replaced a sugar dish that was broken in a move...but 40+ years later...the Blue Garland is STILL my most prized possession....all 12 place settings, including the drink coasters.

There is a gravy boat, a soup tureen, salt and pepper shaker, sugar creamer, two serving bowls, 3 platters, coffee server,and a tiered serving piece. I have the old school Blue Garland....mine has the footed cups with the saucers. That is just what I wanted ...for some reason I had it in my head that I would be serving high tea or coffee to my lady friends during the day. Trust me...that was not going to happen in the town I moved to when I married. was not going to happen in my life...period. Yet, as a stay at home mom....every now and then...I would put on a pot of coffee....take out the Blue Garland cup and saucer, sit at the dining room table and dream.

The Blue Garland has been used many times over the years. My kids loved to see the table set with it. To them it meant company was coming, it was one of their birthdays, or they were getting a special treat. Mid-Atlantic Martha blogged about Blue Garland last week...and it made me want to do the I set up a table in my dining room (which we never use, since there is only the two of us)...and photographed my prize. Do you have a prized possession? What makes it your special thing? My story is simple...a young teenager...who loved collecting stamps...bought some grocery store china...and because she worked so hard to get it...placed value on it. I am 55 years old for a few more weeks...and still love the Blue Garland. I could have changed it for something else many times over...but I don't want to. Oh, and by the way...I still have Corelle everyday just can't break the things....and I currently own 6 Waterford goblets I bought in Ireland at the Waterford factory...6 more to go and I will have enough to set a complete table for 12....sigh...dream on! I love setting tables...I should work for Martha Stewart.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Ode to a Blessed Woman

When I first moved to Alabama I lived with Lucy. Lucy was a year older than me...she was the sister of my Aunt Milly...and the sweetest person in the world. Everyone loved her....Lucy and I lived together, married a year apart...I married her brother...making her my sister-in-law...but I felt she was more my sister-by-choice. Our friendship blossomed as we grew older...and we ended up going to college together. Then one day...I was not married to her brother my choice...and things changed. In Sept of 2008 I was told that Lucy had cancer...and it was bad. What is it with this cancer thing? Why does it keep killing my close people? Anyways...I had not seen Lucy in a long time...but felt I needed to let her know that not a day went by that I did not think of there I was...trying to write her a letter....pouring out my soul...or trying to. What was really happening was that I found myself sitting at my computer stumbling over the right words to say…and there just were none. Where had all the time gone. It seemed like just yesterday when Lucy and I were living in the trailer next door to Trollis and Millie and doing things young single girls do. I have some great memories of that time. I am so glad we had that time together. Then we moved on to marriages and children and school and teaching….LOL…I found some pictures of South Hill Virginia(the vacation that wasn't spot) the other day and had to laugh....but that is a story for another will make you laugh out loud I promise. We were so young and stupid then….God truly does take care of the young ones….because he was definitely with us during that trip. We both finished college….got teaching jobs…and life was good…..things happen in life and sometimes people get lost in the aftermath. Lucy married again, had Patrick, moved to Clay County and began a life up there. We both moved on in a sense….we were running parallel to each other….and occasionally our paths crossed….Christmas, Thanksgiving, other family get-togethers…then things changed again and I began a journey down a much different road. I missed the connection with my old family….but it was for my sanity that it had to be. I hated that somewhere during this upheavel I lost my old friend. Lucy had always been my friend first and foremost….before anything else...and had always been a dear, sweet person. Two years ago, I began mirroring our old lives together when Frank accepted God’s call and became the pastor of Waverly United Methodist Church. I used to wonder….when it was Lucy as the pastor’s wife…how on earth she did it. I found myself learning first hand. I have loved every moment of being a preacher's wife. Life has been a struggle for me during the last year...struggling with my dad and the big C...and then I received news that my dear friend was sick. It broke my heart. Not Lucy….I just could not believe it! I bowed my head instantly and began to pray that God would heal her….then I got a feeling ….that God needed to heal me….that we needed to connect again….and hug. I called a couple of times, left a message once, and felt as if she did not want to see me. I found out later...that was not the case...she was just very sick. Lucy is, was, and will forever be my dear friend in my heart, in my prayers, and in my thoughts each day. I saw her again not long ago. She was not hurting anymore...and at peace. Her family and I will miss her dearly....she left a big impact on people. The world is a little more dreary without her in it...but I like knowing she is looking out after us all. I see things that remind me of her....and I smile. She lived a full life...and I am glad that for a brief and shining moment...I was part of that life. I will never be the same.

I love you Lucy,

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Life is an Adventure Worth Enjoying

When I was a child, my parents used to go "rambling"...of course...who was I to know that that same "rambling" would get them in trouble in their later years...but when I was a was exciting. Every weekend...we would get in our car...and go explore Florida. I have seen more of Florida than most people ever dream of seeing it. I loved exploring with my dad. I remember one time when I was young...we were lost. I kept hearing my mom say, "Honey, you need to stop and ask someone..." To which my dad would reply, "Sweetheart, I am not lost...we are just exploring." Jana Stanfield, a singer I heard at the Loft in Columbus...caught my attention with a song she wrote called, "I'm Not Lost, I'm Just Exploring." I felt like she had entered my life and understood. My whole a child, a parent, and a wife...I have never been afraid of being lost...cause I truly was always exploring. I thought today I would share the video of the song with you can start your adventure.

The Explorers Creed according to Jana Stanfield is:
I have more than enough of all that I need
To do all I can do, be all I can be.

As I come to appreciate the importance of living at my own pace,
I am less likely to compare my pace, with anyone else's pace.

I am learning exactly what I need to learn,
even when I don't understand the lesson yet.

What I'm learning today is preparing me
for all the good and all the challenge that lies ahead.

I am getting better every day in every way that matters to me.
I can be excellent without being perfect.

I am letting go of perfectionism, which kept me coming up short.
I now find comfort in constant progress.

I don't need to completely understand the big picture
to know that my role is important.

I don't have to know the destination.
to know I'm headed in the right direction.

Though I may not know where I'm going,
I'm not lost, I'm exploring.

So...with whatever life deals me this year, has dealt me in the past, or will deal me in the future...I don't have to understand the big picture...I just have to know that I am going the right way...and enjoy my adventure. Want to come with me?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Dedicated to My Other Mother

My mom's baby sister, my aunt Shirley has stage 4 lung cancer and at this moment is in the hospital in renal failure. Renal failure is when the kidneys cease working....they are trying to reverse this condition and buy her some more time. I want her to have lots more time. I love this woman with all my heart. I used to wish that she was my mother....because she and I seemed to have an understanding....she told someone once that her daughter, Terri...and I were switched at birth. It made me so happy to know she loved me enough to consider me daughter worthy. I was surfing the internet yesterday and found this wonderful poem by Brittany L. Briscoe....and it fit my life perfectly....and for the times when it is easier to write the words than speak them. I want to share this poem with you....thanks Brittany....for feeling my heart!

A Poem 4 Auntie
Sometimes I know the words to say
Give thanks for all you've done
But then they fly up and away
As quickly as they come

How could I possibly thank you enough
The one who makes me whole
The one to whom I owe my life
The forming of my soul

The one who tucked me in at night
The one who stopped my crying
The one who is an expert
At knowing when I am lying

The one who makes such sacrifices
To always put me first
Who lets me test my broken wings
No matter how much it hurts

Who bought my first phone card
Who endured my boring days
Who always said something funny
That mattered in oh-so-many ways

For accepting me as I changed
Accepting all my flaws
Not loving ‘cause you had to
But loving just because

For never giving up on me
Even when your nerves had reached the end
For always being proud of me
For being my best friend

So thank you Auntie for everything
Thank you for letting me cheat
That's how I always win
Thank you for letting me be spoiled
And most of all thank you for being there
To the very end!

I hope you all have someone in your life....that fits this bill. Someone you could go to when you could not explain it to your mom...or dad. I was fortunate...I had Aunt Shirley...and she made a world of difference in my life. When my brother died...and her husband....she gave me four wonderful sisters/ I would not have to go through my life as an only child. If you have someone like this in your 'em today...let them know how special they are. They may not be there tomorrow. Love and Kisses, K

Sunday, January 17, 2010

De-Stressing for the New Year

In my cupboard at home, I have several cans that says, “Warning: Contents Under Pressure”? Sometimes I feel like I am like those cans and should have a warning label placed on me. The Holmes Stress Scale lists the 100 most stressful events you can have in life – the death of a loved one, a divorce, moving, starting a new job, birth of a child, losing a job, etc. Using that scale, & after much study they have discovered that the single most stressful time of the year is the period between Thanksgiving & New Years. Hello! What kind of brilliant find is that....heck that’s not even news worthy news...I don't think it takes a rocket scientist to figure that one out. That is why more suicides are committed during that time frame. You have worry overload happening....You worry about presents, you worry about having and attending parties, you worry about all the people you know & definitely worry about paying for the presents that you bought for everyone you work with and even the people you just met. You worry about the "fun family visits" you will have to make....some people really dread seeing the relatives they will have to see during this holiday period....if you don't see them at know you will have to see them at Christmas. All of this is enough to make anyones stress level go up significantly. So...tell me where this “Tis’ the season to be jolly?” I am thinking that it is the season to go into hibernation. But during the of the things that we find ourselves wondering is how can we possibly be thankful?....griefus...times are tough. People losing jobs, family members, money, our retirement stakes, college pre paid, I can't remember a year like 2009 when it was so bleak....of course...I did not live during the depression either. But I did find myself wondering...when Frank lost his can we be thankful? It was right there at Thanksgiving...He was so positive...and I wanted to cry. I kept a stiff upper lip...did a lot of knee time...and God came through. But...I did not survive stress alone. I had help and constant reminding...
in Philippians 4:4-8
I learned in reading this scripture that I am supposed to Worry about nothing.
v.6 “Don’t be anxious about anything. Do not fret or have any anxiety.’Believe you me..for me that is definitely easier said than done! But I discovered...all my
worrying was simply stewing without doing. In Matthew 6:34 “Therefore do not worry about tomorrow for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough troubles of its own.” Jesus is telling me to just focus on today...and not sweat the small stuff. We need to also pray about everything. “In everything by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.” (v.6). I used to think, “I don’t have time to pray.” Then I learned you don't always have to close your just have to talk to God...I can do that ANYWHERE! Paul says “in everything…present your requests to God.” So that is not just some things, but pray about everything. God interested in every single aspect of my life. The good and the bad...the happy and my head numbered. If it worries me...then it is a matter how big or small. Prayer is a release valve for pressure. I know this for a fact.
In order to relieve the stress it is important that we thank God in all things
v.6b “Tell God what you need, and thank Him for all He has done.” (NLT)
Paul says that whenever you pray, pray with thanksgiving. There is an song in the Methodist hymnal that I love...I love it for the bass part that is sung actually....but when I think about is so very many times do we “Count Your Blessings, Name Them One By One." So when I get overwhelmed by life...I pull out my little pad of paper...and list them. Simple as that!
When I Think about the right things...I am better off than when I focus on the negative. The scripture goes on to say: “Finally brothers, whatever I true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, if anything is excellent or praiseworthy, think about such things.” It is a simple concept..Whatever you put in your brain is what’s going to come out. My mom used to always tell me, "Garbage in, garbage out." I want to be stress free in in order to do this...I guess it is time for me to take out the trash!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


I am a singer....and to a singer the worst possible nightmare one could have....before an upcoming performance is laryngitis. I woke up this morning with a lovely case of this dreaded I looked it up to see hwat it actually is and found out it is simply an inflammation of the voice box, or larynx, that causes your voice to become raspy or hoarse. The main symptom of laryngitis is hoarseness. Your voice may sound raspy, be deeper than normal, or break now and then. You may lose your voice completely. Other symptoms may include a dry or sore throat, coughing, and trouble swallowing. So here is my plight! I am supposed to sing at the Arbor tomorrow morning at 9:00 and at another church at 11:00. If any of you out there in blogger land have any homemade remedy ideas for me I would love to have them. I am not to proud to try anything once...or no matter how foul tasting...if it MIGHT improve my chances of getting my voice back. So, whatever any of your momma's made you drink, gargle with, rub on your chest....I am up for the challenge.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Wait is On!

I had to speak at Waverly a few weeks back...Frank had to work at Madix and I filled the pulpit for him. I wracked my brains trying to come up with a topic to talk about. Sometimes they come easy...other times I struggle...this was a struggling time. I wanted to talk about something changing....but you know sometimes...the profoundness is directed at you....and the life that is changed is your own. This was the case of what happened to me. I was reminded that
Christmas is often associated with waiting. I can remember one Christmas when I was growing up that I really wanted a Barbie doll and clothes. All my friends had them and I wanted some just like in the 5 & dime store. I dropped hints everywhere. I wrote letters to Santa and cut out pictures in magazines and put them on my mom’s pillow. I even tried extra hard to be nice to everyone….especially my brother during the countdown to Christmas ¬ which wasn’t easy to do! When Christmas morning finally came, I jumped out of bed and ran to the tree. I looked for a box with my name on it. I looked everywhere but couldn’t find it...and there it was in the back of the tree….. Do you know what I got that year? I’ll never forget it. My mom, who loves to sew, made Barbie clothes….tons of them….and inside the box was a Barbie doll. She was gorgeous….but….the clothes were homemade. There was no cool boxes to open….and no cool Barbie shoes and purses…but there was a beautiful black velvet/lined in red satin cape…a skating outfit, a formal, an everyday dress, and several other lovely pieces…but they were not like everyone elses. My mom and aunt Mae Belle had spent countless nights after my brother and I went to sleep making these tiny treasures…and I had a most ungrateful feeling about Santa and these outfits. Later…the outfits became items of desire when my friends and I gathered to play Barbie…because I had one of a kind outfits…while they had outfits just like everyone elses….only then did I realize how special my gift was. I have had many years of late realization of the specialness of a gift given to me. For that…I am ashamed. What were you waiting for this Christmas? Were you longing for anything? What were you expecting to receive? Were you looking forward to anything special this Christmas? In the Book of Luke, we come across two characters who make their appearance in the final acts of the Christmas drama. One is a man named Simeon; the other is a woman named Anna. They don’t appear in any nativity scenes or in many Christmas cards, but they are significant players in the first Christmas pageant. Both of these individuals were waiting for something -- actually, they were waiting for someone. Luke uses a Greek word of anticipation that identifies them as waiting with expectation for the coming of the Messiah, or Savior. It literally means that they were “alert to His appearance, and ready to welcome Him.” We see this word in Luke 2:25 in reference to Simeon where we read that “He was waiting...” and in 2:38 to describe a woman named Anna who was, “...looking forward to...” Simeon – What was he waiting for? He was waiting For Comfort. We’re introduced to Simeon in Luke 2:25. “Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon Him.” Simeon was righteous before people, and he was devout in His relationship with God. Things weren’t going real well for the nation of Israel. They hadn’t heard from God for many years and were under Roman rule. They had lost their political independence and were living in fear of the capable, crafty, and cruel King Herod, and many were wondering if the Messiah would ever come. Verse 26 shows us that Simeon had good reason for his hope and anticipation: “It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. Simeon’s expectation focused on the comfort that Christ would bring. Among Jews of Simeon’s day one of the popular titles of Messiah was Comforter. Like some of the Christmas songs we sing, they were longing for the Messiah to come and bring His comfort to them. It strikes me that the desire to be comforted is a universal human need. We all struggle with loneliness, emptiness, insecurity, even desperation. In fact, the Christmas season is one of the major crisis times of the year for depression and suicide. I should know…because once again at Christmas I was dealing with sadness and loss. The Holy Spirit prompted Simeon to go to the temple courts at just the right time on just the right day that Joseph and Mary were bringing their infant to the Temple. When Simeon looked at the baby Jesus, now about 6 weeks old, he knew that God’s promise had been kept. Here was Immanuel, “God With Us,” to make everything right, to provide significance by His presence, and to eliminate rejection, fear, and loneliness. Verse 28 of Luke 2 says that Simeon reached down and took Jesus out of Mary’s arms and began to praise God. Let me pause here to make a comment. Parents, how would you feel if some old man came up to you, took your infant in his arms and started singing out loud? I’m sure this was a bit unsettling for Joseph and Mary. But Simeon didn’t look all that dangerous. As he broke out into praise, he acknowledged that God had not only fulfilled the individual promise to him, but also the promises of the prophets to send the Anointed One to comfort both Jews and Gentiles. Anna – What was she waiting for? She was waiting for Forgiveness
The other Christmas Character waiting with anticipation was Anna. After her husband had died, she had dedicated herself to fasting and praying in the temple. In fact, the Bible says that she never left the temple ¬ but worshipped day and night. She could have filled all 360 slots of the Bible Reading Marathon herself because she was always at church! She was a Prayer Warrior! She was looking forward to the same person as Simeon was, but with a different orientation. Instead of looking for comfort, Anna was looking for forgiveness. Take a look at verse 38: “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.” The word redemption is related to the idea of captivity. The Old Testament Passover and the release of Israel from Egyptian slavery stood in Anna’s day as the ultimate redemption and the symbol of God’s power to release captives. Ultimately, Passover pointed ahead to that day when God would provide deliverance from the slavery of sin. When Anna saw Jesus, she gave thanks to God and spoke of Him to all who were waiting for redemption. Here, at last, was the One who would save His people from their sins. What a wonderful gift we have…..Jesus Provides What We Need
Friends, when Jesus came, He provided the very things that Simeon and Anna were waiting for -- God’s comfort and His forgiveness. Let me ask you a question. What are you waiting for this Christmas? Whatever it is, Jesus can give it to you. Can any of you identify with Simeon? Some of you are really hurting right now. You feel lonely, empty, afraid, and maxed out. Do you need some comfort? Some consoling? Do you need a fresh sense of God’s presence? If so, you can find what you’re looking for in Jesus. He came to console us right where we are. Or, do you identify more with Anna? Are you plagued with guilt this Christmas because of something you’ve done or the way you’ve been living? Do you feel like you’re trapped in a pattern of sin that you can’t break out of? If you need forgiveness, Jesus can give it to you tonight. I can think of no better time than Christmas to do just that. Ok…so what can be done to remedy this? Well there are three action steps from this passage that will help you experience God’s comfort and forgiveness this Christmas.#1: Become a marveler. When Joseph and Mary tried to process everything that was happening, verse 33 says that they marveled at what was said about Jesus. According to the dictionary, to become a marveler is to be filled with wonder, astonishment, and surprise. Were you a marveler at Christmas? Or, were you too caught up in the busyness and stress of the season? Did you run around because of the Holidays, or were you taking the time to make Christmas a “holy” day? Had Christmas become too predictable, too familiar? Had you heard the Christmas story so much that it no longer astonished you? Actually, this is a dangerous time of the year for us. Our annual celebration of Christmas can immunize us to its reality. We hear just enough of the story each year to inoculate us against the real thing, so that we never really catch true Christmas fever. Action Step #2 is to become a mover. Take a look at verse 27: “Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts.” Now drop down to verse 38: “Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God...”
Both Simeon and Anna were movers. When the Holy Spirit prompted them to move, they didn’t sit still. I wonder what would have happened if they had not responded? Actually, every one of the Christmas characters responded to the Spirit’s leading ¬ with the exception of Herod: Mary was ready to move when she said to the angel, “May it be to me as you have said.” (Luke 2:38) Joseph demonstrated that he was a mover when he woke up from his dream and “...did what the angel of the Lord had commanded and took Mary home as his wife.” (Matthew 1:24) The Shepherds were movers as well when they said, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened...” (Luke 2:15) And, as we have learned over the years, the wise men saw the star and moved out of their comfort zone to find the King of Christmas. When God prompts you to do something, then you need to do it. It might mean salvation for some of you. It might mean full surrender for others of you. Or, maybe the Spirit wants you to be more involved in serving people. Do you sense Him asking you to do something special this Christmas season? Are you a mover? Are you willing to move? Don’t procrastinate when God prompts you to do something -- you may miss out on a miracle this Christmas.
I’m struck by what Simeon told Mary in verse 34. It must have taken her breath away. “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel and to be a sign that will spoken against…”That’s not really a joyful Christmas greeting, is it? Simeon is not saying, “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year.” Rather, he pauses, clears his throat and tells her that Christmas will never be merry and the New Year will never be happy until people get moving and surrender their lives to Christ. Here’s the truth. Christmas splits people into 2 camps. Since Jesus has entered the world, He has divided the human race. Jesus will cause the falling and rising of many. Because of who Jesus is and what He came to do, He forces people to make a decision about Him. The Bible uses powerful imagery ¬ Jesus is either a rock that you build your life upon (that’s the sense of rising) or he’s the rock that you stumble over (that’s the meaning of falling). On the cusp of the last Christmas of the millennium, Jesus is calling each of us to a moral decision ¬ based upon our willingness to move and respond, we will either rise or fall. You can’t stay neutral about Jesus. You are either for Him or against Him. You’re moving closer to Him, or further away. You either have the Son or you don’t. Action number three is to become a Messenger. Interestingly, as we work at becoming marvelers, we can’t help but become movers. That leads us to the final action step from this passage -- become a messenger. Notice verse 38 again: “...she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.”
Do you have family and friends who’ve been caught up in preparations for Christmas? Look at it this way -- maybe their anticipation and longings really represent an inner search for comfort and forgiveness -- those things that only the Messiah can provide. God wants each one of us to become messengers of the Christmas story.
As you and I become marvelers, the wonder of Christmas will astonish us. Then, as we become movers, our needs for comfort and forgiveness will be met. And, as we take our role as messengers seriously, we’ll be in position to introduce others to the Christ of Christmas -- so that they in turn can find what they have been waiting for.
In a nutshell, Christmas is a marvelous, moving, message! How can we not find what we’ve been looking for? And, how can we keep quiet about it? Once you have the Son, you have everything. "Many years ago, there was a very wealthy man who shared a passion for art collecting with his son. They had priceless works by Picasso and Van Gogh adorning the walls of their family estate.As winter approached, war engulfed the nation, and the young man left to serve his country. After only a few short weeks, his father received a telegram. His son had died.Distraught and lonely, the old man faced the upcoming Christmas holidays with anguish and sadness. The joy of the season had vanished with the death of his son. On Christmas morning, a knock on the door awakened the depressed old man. As he walked to the door, the masterpieces of art on the walls only reminded him that his son was not coming home. As he opened the door he was greeted by a soldier with a large package in his hands who said, “I was a friend of your son. I was the one he was rescuing when he died. May I come in for a few moments? I have something to show you.”The soldier mentioned that he was an artist and then gave the old man the package. The paper gave way to reveal a portrait of the man’s son. Though the world would never consider it the work of a genius, the painting featured the young man’s face in striking detail. Overcome with emotion, the man hung the portrait over the fireplace, pushing aside millions of dollars worth of art. His task completed, the old man sat in his chair and spent Christmas gazing at the gift he had been given.The painting of his son soon became his most prized possession, far eclipsing any interest in the pieces of art for which museums around the world clamored. The following spring, the old man died. The art world waited with anticipation for the upcoming auction. According to the will of the old man, all the art works would be auctioned on Christmas Day, the day he had received the greatest gift.The day soon arrived and art collectors from around the world gathered to bid on some of the world’s most spectacular paintings. Dreams would be fulfilled that day.The auction began with a painting that was not on anyone’s museum list. It was the painting of the man’s son. The auctioneer asked for an opening bid, but the room was silent. “Who will open the bidding with $100?” No one spoke. Finally someone said, “Who cares about that painting. It’s just a picture of his son. Let’s move on to the good stuff.”The auctioneer responded, “No, we have to sell this one first. Now, who will take the son?” Finally, a neighbor of the old man offered $10 dollars. “That’s all I have. I knew the boy, so I’d like to have it.”
The auctioneer said, “Going once, going twice…gone.” The gavel fell. Cheers filled the room and someone exclaimed, “Now we can bid on the real treasures!”
The auctioneer looked at the room filled with people and announced that the auction was over. Everyone was stunned. Someone spoke up and said, “What do you mean, it’s over? We didn’t come here for a painting of someone’s son. There are millions of dollars worth of art here! What’s going on?” The auctioneer replied, “It’s very simple. According to the will of the Father, whoever takes the son…gets it all.”
Puts things in perspective, doesn’t it? The message is the same this Christmas. Because of the Father’s love…whoever takes the Son gets it all." Wow! I don't know about you, but that really put Christmas in perspective for me. I began thinking about the real gift I would be unwrapping on Christmas Day....It was His birthday...His party...and yet...I was the one getting the gift. All I had to do....was reach out and take it!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Football According to the Book of Job

Last week, due to the prospect of inclement weather we let school out at 1:30 and we reported back to school on Friday at 10. Fortunately...the weather did not behave exactly as the weather forcasters predicted....good for us. I would rather have been proactive here....than reactive....and because we came to school we do not have to make up any far. Anyways...the day we were dismissed early was the day of the National Championship Football game. Now, those of you who know me...know that I am not a big football fan. I love my Wildcats....Benjamin Russell ones that is....and pull for ALL teams in Alabama. I don't watch football....I don't attend any games...except high school ones....but my boss made me laugh last week. He is a HUGE Alabama fan....and when he came on the squawk box to tell us we were getting out early....he phrased it that...."in order to get ready for the big game we were dismissing school early....and we would come back late...because the game was going to be over so late....then he, all kidding aside the weather is the reason." Later in the day...he came up to a group of us....and told us that it was foretold in the bible that Alabama would win on Thursday night. Ok, I bit and said, "where?" He proceeded to tell me that in Job 1:15 (New International Version) plainly states: "and the Sabeans attacked and carried them off. They put the servants to the sword,..." I had to laugh and knew my preacher husband would get a kick out of this. It was expecially funny when Alabama won the National Championship. I watched every minute of the was a nail biter there for a while. I must say...I also watched Auburn in the Outback Bowl...and pulled for them...and Troy in the Bowl game they were in in Mobile against the Chippewa's. When Alabama teams win it is good for the state. Football in the south is a strange bird. I have never quite understood the complexity of the beast...but I will say gets ugly around here when the season begins...especially if one team has a better year than the other. I don't care which side of the fence you are on....there are always ugly supporters. It saddens me that even now...with Alabama the National Champions...some people just won't let it go. Whether you cry..."Roll Tide Roll", "War Eagle"...or "Go Trojans"...enjoy the moment...Alabama is in the a positive light and lookin' good!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Dealing with Dementia

Today's post is kind of sad. We saw my mom last night and although it was a good visit, there was an element of sadness in it. She called me three times yesterday to come and see her. Frank and I went after he got home...why did she want us to come? She remember that some time ago...I told her when she quit working at Adams she could come and live with I guess she was through working....because she had her stuff packed and was ready to go home with us last night. I did what I always do...dropped back and punted. I told her it was too cold and I was too sick. She bought it...but, added that I could come get her tomorrow. We have come full circle. We have come from trying to escape, to trying to get out to go on errands, to trying to quit work and move in with me. She told me she could not live alone...her house was too big. Elements of reality were evident in this conversation....then she asked if I knew where my father was...and reality vaporized before me. Ah the lot of a child with parent who suffers from dementia. Dementia rules my life now. I dream about it, research it, spend most waking moments thinking about it. I have never had to deal with it....until my mother. I have discovered in my searching for answers that dementia is the loss of mental functions -- such as thinking, memory, and reasoning -- that it can be severe enough to interfere with a person's daily functioning (like taking a bath). Dementia is not a disease itself, but rather a group of symptoms that are caused by various diseases or conditions. Symptoms can also include changes in personality, mood, and behavior. Dementia develops when the parts of the brain that are involved with learning, memory, decision-making, and language are affected by one or more of a variety of infections or diseases. So, with all this researching....I am finding....that dementia does not make any more sense than it did in the beginning. It is such a portrait of confusion. There should be tons of support groups out there...but there isn't. Our town has meets for lunch...I teach school and have a lunch 22 minutes. That is not long enough to go out there and ask questions...I have discovered there are several of us on campus in various stages of dealing with parents who are aging....we talk at the water fountain, the copy room, the teacher mail room...anywhere we can hang out a shingle that says..."The Doctor is In." Yet, these are just people stuggling with the same disease I am struggling with...none of us have answers....but we do have hugs. Today will be one of those days...sigh,...Hello my name is Karen, and my mom has dementia.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Sunday Visit with Momma

I could hardly wait for this morning to get here so I could do my post. It is funny after the last few months when I did not have any desire to I can't wait. Yesterday, we visited my mom at Adam's Nursing Home. We never know what to expect...somedays I am who I am....somedays...I am not sure who I am....and on many days...she talks to Frank and I....about Frank and I. Those days are the weird ones. I am not terribly comfortable...talking about myself in third person. Yesterday was a regular day. She carried on a good conversation, only asked once to be taken on errands, and when we left she continued to read the newspaper. There is another resident there whose name is Wilma. I think that is funny because Wilma is not a very common name...and yesterday we met the other Wilma's family. The four of us stood outside in the cold and discussed our Wilma' was kind of amusing to listen to their stories and tell ours. When we left I felt a strange sense of "all is well." No, it really isn't well...but, I am not alone in this stage of my life. True, I am an only child...but there are however many every single nursing home in the United States....families experiencing the same thing I some level. It was comforting to know that yesterday. In the Bible, Paul tells us: "God is faithful, and he will not let you be tested beyond your strength but with your testing he will also provide the way out so that you may be able to endure it" (1 Corinthians 10:13). In layman's terms....that means "God will never give you more than you can handle." Knowing that...I put on my big girl panties and deal with it. I am Never alone...and when I think I can't handle God...picks up my load and carries it for me. Happy Monday out there in Blogger Land!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Taking Down the Tree

I had a hard time putting up a tree this year. I usually am so excited….and it goes up either Thanksgiving weekend or the next weekend. I get such a warm fuzzy feeling when I unwrap each ornament and the manger scene. But this year my tree did not go up until the Tuesday of Christmas week. I almost did not put one up at all. Even when I put it up I did not have that warm fuzzy feeling. I did not put on Christmas C.D.’s. I did not drink hot chocolate. It was a chore. I did, however, sit in front of it and was amazed at the beauty of the lights and the ornaments….but only briefly. We were leaving the next day to go to Ft. Walton Beach to see Frank’s nephew Alan because his wife died and we could not go down for the funeral. Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were going to be spent on the road and dealing with death one more time this year. I was going to miss the Communion Service at my church for the first time in forever. I felt my icy heart just get icier and I found myself wondering if 2009 was ever going to end? It did….and I found myself facing another chore. It is the one ritual I absolutely despise about the holidays: can you guess what it is? Yep…I knew you could. I hate taking down the tree. Even in a good year I hate taking it down…and this year was not going to make it any better. I decided to wait until after the Epiphany….so I stalled for some time thinking it would make it less painful… matter how much I stalled and procrastinated….I have to say…. Taking down the tree is one sad job, because for me it marks an end. And it's messy—back in the day when I had real trees, before I discovered I was allergic to pine and cedar, pine needles would be discovered in April! So I did the self-preservation thing….and got an artificial tree….that looks lifelike….so lifelike in fact that ….guess what….I STILL find pine needles in April. But…the saddest part of taking down my tree is that it leaves the house with this big empty hole along the front wall of the living room. I run to the spare bedroom and find the chair and ottoman that claimed that space prior to Christmas….but they just look out of place. So, On Epiphany…I took down my tree, felt sad because there was a bald spot in my living room….and I had stepped on a needle….yet again. Some rituals never change. January is a new beginning….and for me it was going to be. I had planned to shake off the sadness and reach out into the light….and then….when I thought I had it under control….I got a phone call telling me an old friend had lost her battle to cancer. Was 2010 going to be just like 2009? Letting go is tough I have found out this year. Even when it is something old and bad, like junk and weight….we feel loss. The concept is…what is known (good or bad) is gone. And any loss brings sadness. Cleaning up can be messy, as it shakes loose a load of emotional Christmas tree needles in our lives; usually they are ones that can show up later in strange places we didn't expect. My emotional needles were sticking me. I had a lot of unfinished things that in 2009 I let slide….I found a hole and here I sat not sure how to fill it. If I let go of anger, for example, what was I going to put in its place? At least angry….I know who I am….I am MAD. Cleaning up my parents house has been an emotional rollercoaster for me. I have found things that opened up new wounds and healed old ones. I have really dealt with my brothers death (from back in 1963), and discovered many things about my parents I never knew. I have been angry because my mom was a Hoarder….and yes, if you watch the show on TV…that was my mom. I have pictures to prove it…but that will be a chapter in my book. Anyways…If I let go of my hurt feelings, my sadness and all the other needles….who could I become. Who could I help? I had a tough year. I hope no one ever goes through a year like that…I learned all I ever want to know about cancer, bolo’s, Silver alerts, what it is like to having missing parents, and death! Good grief…some of those I had a crash course in. 2010 brings dealing with dementia and believe you me….loss to cancer….I understand that. Loss to dementia, well it.baffles me completely. I found out this year…that I truly do have a story to tell you….I realized that there are people….who need to read my blog But….back to my original thought…hard as it was, I am very glad I put up the tree…and took down the tree. Sure I have been finding loads of needles to sweep and I will have to reinstate furniture to its old domain. But if I had not taken down the tree, then where would I find room for the 2010 tree?...and the next year’s? Yeppers, I truly believe….that for every heartache I experience in 2010….there will be some joy thrown in for good measure. So, let the blogging begin….and Happy New Year. I am back!