Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Christmas for a week

It has been a lazy couple of days around the Thomas home this week. And by lazy, I mean sleeping in, cuz yesterday, after I got up, we were gone running errands all day.

But this morning I didn't wake up until almost nine. I feel like a new person. (a very tired new person)

All of the family has come and gone. It was a very busy Christmas. I wanted everyone to come here and see the new place, but it was exhausting.

With all the extended family that I can't have here at the same time, it was spread out over a week. Trying to keep this place visitor-ready is hard!

Mom came over on Tuesday, and we had an awkward couple of hours with her and my sister's families.

Wednesday I spent the day baking and enjoying some real Christmas fun with sister at her place. (she gives the bestest presents!)

Christmas Day the former two-doors-down neighbors dropped in to see what we've done to the place, and later, Step-Dad number two and his wife came over. We had a lovely time laughing and playing a new game with the kids.

Friday I went shopping with big sister while hubby and the kids readied the house for Dad to come visit for the weekend. (thanks guys!) The rest of the weekend was a blur.

By the time he left, I was so tired I wanted to cry, but we had one more visit for which to prepare. Shawn's aunt and uncle, who didn't even know we had moved, (bad form, Shawn!) came over for a couple of hours.

And now I'm waiting for the electrician to come over and hook up my hot tub so I can relax for a couple of days before we get back to school.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

God is good ALL the time

It has been a tough morning, what with waking up with fluid in my inner ear, and feeling dizzy and nauseous, and having a list of stuff to do before my family comes here for cookies and presents. But I got a call from the stove repair guy saying the part to repair my broken oven is no longer available, and the insurance company would have to replace my stove entirely. I gave them a couple of hours to look over the paperwork, and called to see what next. They told me that they were not going to replace it, and that they wanted to buy back the warranty. I was astounded to tears. I actually laughed first, and had the guy clarify that they were going to do nothing at all for me. Then I cried while I wished him a Merry Christmas, and hung up. I think he might have felt bad, but, whatever.

Cut to this afternoon, after the kids and I had spent the day cleaning and getting the house ready. I sat down for a minute at the computer, and read a very encouraging letter from my friend Jenny, then poked through craigslist for a bit.

Okay, I know God is good, and I shouldn't ever be surprised at the way He meets our needs, but this one was HUGE!

I found a stove like ours on craigslist, and went out to see it. I didn't want to spend more that $100 for it, although he had it listed for $150. When I saw it, I knew it would be perfect, but he said he couldn't take $100, and he had someone else coming to look at it later. So I offered him all I had, which was $128. He looked at me and said, but it's only $125! Apparently, he had adjusted the ad today, and I saw the old price. But get this.

While we were loading it up, I asked about the dishwasher I could see sitting near. I wondered how much he wanted for it, and whether it might be there after I got my reimbursement from the warranty company. He asked if I wanted it, and I said I did, but I didn't have any more money. He said I could have it for FREE!!!

I started crying, and praising God right there in the guy's garage. They are a matching pair of white Frigidaires. I needed white appliances!

Can you believe all this?

I'll have a stove AND a dishwasher when my Dad comes for the weekend!

Monday, December 22, 2008


Well, I'm ready to tell you all what I saw when I finished clearing out Hailey's closet.

Kelli and Tina noticed the itty-bitty hangers that we no longer need in our big-kid house. That's what struck me and left me teary.

Hailey isn't my baby girl anymore. She is getting to be quite grown up.

And what I saw hanging in the almost empty closet was a visual reminder that baby hanger days are slipping past, and we are moving on to big-kid/adult hangers.

So I had to take a picture.

Hold your babies a little tighter this Christmas for me, will you?

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Peace on Earth?

Usually I try to keep my blog light-hearted and fun. And sometimes it's downright silly. But this time of year is mostly full of hustle and bustle of running hither and yon looking for just the right such-and-such for the perfect so-and-so. It is hard to sit down, breathe a sigh of relief, and remember what makes this time of year so special.

It isn't the tree, although we have one.

It isn't the presents, although we give and receive them.

It isn't the songs, the food, the cookies, or the candies, although we enjoy all of those.

Two years ago, we departed from the normal family Christmas doings and converged upon Florida with family and went to Disney World. On Christmas night, Shawn and I were able to go to Epcot while the grandparents stayed back at the resort with the kids. In the center of the World Showcase, they did a show every night where this giant globe lights up and portrays other countries, and people doing humanitarian deeds, and how nice, that in the face of such times, people were still trying to find peace on Earth. It was a beautiful spectacle, and everyone around me enjoyed it. But it made me so very sad that I cried for quite a while after it ended. What made me sad was that it was urging everyone to search for peace, but made no offer of how to find it. I wanted to jump up and shout to the people all around me that I knew where it could be found, or rather, in Whom it could be found.

People, the very reason why I celebrate Christmas is because God sent Peace to the Earth when He sent His Son.
Will there ever be peace on Earth among men? No. But there is peace on Earth between men and God. Before that, there was no direct relationship with our creator. Jesus is the bridge that crosses the gap between sinful man and a Holy God.

You see, when God created the Earth, and everything in it, He knew that we would sin and reject Him. He knew He would need to sacrifice His own Son to restore fellowship between Himself and His creation. That was His plan. Here's how it works.

The Bible says the wages of that sin is death. Not the physical kind, although we do have that. He was speaking of the eternal kind. The kind of death that separates us from God and spending an eternity with Him. But thankfully, we don't have to pay the death penalty for our own sin. God sent His own Son to pay that price. Our souls were redeemed by the blood of Jesus. But we are not automatically children of God. That happens when we realize that we are sinners, and believe that Jesus' sacrifice of His own life to redeem us to God is all it takes to save us from our sin and an eternity apart from God.
So, this Christmas, if you believe that you are a sinner, and that God gave His own Son to pay for your sins, receive the gift of eternal life that He offers you freely, and thank Him.
It'll be the Merriest Christmas ever.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Said The Little Lamb... Do You See What I See?

While finishing up some of the cleanup that invariably follows a move, I saw something I thought blog-worthy.
I took a picture.

My sister didn't see it at first.

Do you?

Tell me what you see, and next week I'll tell you what I saw.


Friday, December 19, 2008

Grilling Goodness # 9

1. What pain reliever do you swear by?
I usually head for the Advil or Motrin, but lately I've been eyeing the bottle of Crown Royal that I keep in the spice cabinet.

2. Have you gotten up-to-date with a flat screen HDTV?
We have a big screen HDTV monitor, but have not gotten an HDTV receiver yet. I wouldn't mind getting a flat screen for the bedroom, and dispensing with the bulky one that's in there.

3. Have you honked at anyone lately?
Yesterday I honked at some idiot waiting for some pedestrians to get out of the way. If people are going to cross a major intersection where cars have been waiting to turn out of the mall parking lot, at Christmastime, they should expect to get hit. Duh!

4. What is your favorite household product?
Love the Magic Eraser by Mr. Clean. Cleans up most 'oops', and who doesn't like to see a man who cleans?

5. What is the earliest you've gotten up this week and why?
This morning I was awakened by a screaming bladder at 7:13.

6. Do you travel out of town for Christmas?
I hate being out of town on Christmas. I don't like being away from home Christmas or Thanksgiving. Unless I am at Disney World. Then I can make an exception. If I had my sister with me, I suppose I wouldn't mind being gone, but I hate not spending the holidays with her.

7. Have you been listening to Christmas music? (Favorite?)
I listen to Christmas music off and on during the whole year. I love Selah's Christmas CD, and this year's favorite is Go Fish's Snow.

8. When do you exchange gifts with family?
We have many branches of family, so it is all over the place. My mom is coming on the 23rd, and we will do the gift thing with dad the weekend after Christmas.


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Guess I'll have to go nekkid

So I am a huge fan of The Biggest Loser. Technically, I am a fan, and some would say I'm huge, but that wasn't what I meant.

But I was flipping through the website, and realized you can buy stuff at the online store. Naturally, I had to see what I might want to buy. I wouldn't mind having a T-shirt, so I clicked on the sizes available. Would you believe they don't go above extra large?

Who do they think watches this show, anyway???

Set free the Zephyr

I saw my first real wildlife (besides squirrels) this morning as I was walking the dogs. While I was waiting patiently for Zacchie to do... well, what Zacchie does, two slender deer lept silently out of the woods and crossed the street to the lake. How graceful they were! I could almost hear what one was saying to the other as they sailed through the trees,
"Just let your heart lead and your feet will follow, and we'll bound and leap like a gentle breeze. Bound and leap like a zephyr set free. Bound, and, of course, leap." (Milo and Otis)


Conversations with Santa

Yesterday at the mall, we came to the Santa booth where you can sit on a strange man's knee and tell him what you want for Christmas and get your picture taken. Preferring to focus on the birth of Christ at Christmas, we have never 'done' the Santa thing. So imagine my surprise when Hailey said she wanted to go see him and have her picture made. Sometimes you have to listen to what is on their little minds and not jump to the 'no' that wants to burst out. A very interesting conversation followed.

Me: Do you think that is really Santa Claus?

Hailey: No, he doesn't really exist.

Me: So, who do you think that man up there is?

Hailey: Just a man in a costume.

Me: What would you say to him?

Hailey: I'd tell him what I want for Christmas.

Me: And what do you think he's going to do about it?

Hailey: (hesitates)

Me: Do you just want to be able to say it out loud?

Hailey nods.

{Picture lady tells her that since Santa isn't busy right now, she can go talk to him for no charge}

Hailey: Please, Mom? This is just one of those once-in-a-lifetime things. I've never done it before, and I'm getting too big.

So I let her do it. And you know what? While she was talking to him, I had the woman snap a picture. It wasn't one of those cheesy grin ones, just her having a conversation with a complete stranger about the desires of her little heart. And it was so precious, I bought it.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008


So much has happened since last we spoke. We are currently residing in our new home, with a brand new heater, thanks to the swift action of USAA bank and Lemmon Heating and Air. And I didn’t have to be in the state for it to happen. Turns out that with nothing more than a phone call, and the correct answer to some very personal questions, you too can be the recipient of a loan, whose disbursement check is being sent to a neighbor near you! Thankfully, the whole transaction was on the up and up. The check was FedEx-ed to the wonderful neighbors two doors down, properly deposited in the appropriate account, and the heating and air guy accepted PayPal payments. Couldn’t get more convenient, if it tried.
But, alas, Paypal was looking out for the interest of its valued customer, and thought that my account had been accessed by a third party, and held the payment for a few days, until I got savvy and checked on the payment. It seems that after spending less than a hundred bucks per transaction over the course of the years, and suddenly making a payment of thousands of dollars from another state and a different ISP address sends up red flags. Who knew? But I was able to convince the nice lady that although I had made a transaction that big from another state, and I wasn’t the actual person on the account, and, by the way, you can’t call the confirmed telephone number on the account, because it’s changed, and, while I’m at it, let’s change the address on the account, too, that it was a legitimate payment, and please release the funds so the nice man who did me a huge favor can get paid, thankyouverymuch! She actually believed me, so I didn’t have to tell poor Mr. Lemmon that the mean, mean people at PayPal were withholding payment, not me. [Sigh of relief]

After spending the past two weeks moving the rest of our belongings to our new place, the kids and I finally got around to putting up the tree. I have a method of doing it that works for me. I put on rows of branches, winding white lights as we go, (no pre-lit tree for me) and then we decorate, leaving the angel for Shawn to put on when he gets home from work. Before I put on a string of lights, I test it, and periodically throughout the building of the tree, I test them all again. This way I don’t get finished and find that I have to do the lights again. I did the same thing this time, but after we came back from eating dinner, the whole top strand was out. At this point, I’m not sure if I’ll get around to re-stringing it. Okay, my Dad’s coming down the weekend after Christmas, so I probably will, but not today.

**Update** Shawn reached into the tree and jiggled the cord where the top string of lights connected to the one below it, found it loose, and secured it, turning them on, and saving me a hassle.
My hero!

I spent some quality time today at the mall with my niece, which was nice. We had a ball. She is crazy, and one of the only two teen-agers I enjoy spending time with. She’s a lot like her mother, which means I get her. Other kids, like my own, notsomuch. We did some shopping, some cracking jokes, she’s kick-butt at narrating for people in situations. Of course, it’s all for our entertainment. Nothing mean or ugly, and they can’t hear her. Like when I graciously let someone have my parking spot, and the lady left in a snit after she thought I was trying to steal her my space, B. thanked me kindly that I was so thoughtful and generous. Or in a store when someone’s shopping basket filled the entire aisle, and I had to ask her to excuse me, so I could pass, B. said, ‘I’ll be happy to move out of the way and let you by’ when the lady rolled her eyes at me and snatched her cart out of the way so fast the kid in the seat got whiplash.

Roxy had to go to a new home last week. Ever since she helped foster Zaccheus, she has been vying for the alpha female position, which belongs to Cricket. This resulted in several 'to the death' type fights. Fearing for her safety, or Cricket's, and worrying that one of the kids would be hurt, we did the painful, but best thing in the situation. She went to an older couple who have been family friends since I was very young. They have no small children, and their own dog passed away last year. They were ready to open up their home to another pet, so it worked out for all involved. Hailey was very grown up about losing 'her' dog. There were some tears, but she understood.

It is so good to be back online. I missed everyone, and it'll take me a few days to catch up with you all, but I will, I promise.


Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Catch you on the flip side!

I will be offline for a few days moving and setting up my internet access at the new house.
I'll catch up with you all when I get back.
Meanwhile, I'll be missing you!