Romans 12:1-2

So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you. Romans 12:1-2

Friday, December 31, 2010

A Day in Santa Fe

The day after Christmas, Aunt, M, Gm (Grandmomma) and I caught the train in Albuquerque to go to Santa Fe for the day. Before then, the only trains I had ridden had been in amusement parks. We enjoyed the experience and the scenery along the way.

Gm, M and I after arriving in Santa Fe

We stopped for a snack while waiting for the rest of our family to join us.

Our official trip photographer, my beautiful sister, Aunt.

The rest of the family arrived by van. I guess Grandpapa didn't want a picture with a llama.
We did some window shopping and shopping (I found a sweater while walking to the plaza.). We enjoyed lunch at La Fonda (the lounge anyway - no table available in the restaurant, for the rest of the day!) More sightseeing, including the Loretto Chapel. We all returned by van and I slept the whole way back to ABQ!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Christmas Eve

The Sandia Mts. after Christmas Eve Service at Hoffmantown

The luminarias at dusk

Celebrating Christmas Eve in Old Town Albuquerque

Me at the Living Nativity

True Confessions

A while back in a Daybook, I confessed that it was Hubby and not I that did simple sewing for the family. Now it's this:

I am not the one with a green thumb in our family. Anything that has to to do with plants inside or out (except the geraniums that I managed to keep alive all summer) is all Hubby's doing. Tonight he left with L. for Home Depot and Lowes and returned with two new pots for the pathos that needed replanting. So, not only did he do the replanting, he found the new containers too! He got these for 75% off!

I'm impressed...with everything.

Our beautiful weather may have inspired him to do this. It was rather inspiring for us all today. We enjoyed the mid-day out: lunch and gift card spending. The boys played basketball (L in his new Redskins hoodie).

All our windows were open all day and when I went out for a few groceries I wore flip flops! Just because I could. We made burgers on the grill and enjoyed them in our newly painted kitchen (thanks Hubby!) The kitchen is another post for another day...

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Christmas With Dad

Last Christmas Dad was kinda "out of sorts" and after opening presents and breakfast he wanted to go home right away. In February 2010 he went into the Veteran's Center and we were so thankful to have full-time care for him. At the end of July he was able to transfer closer to us and again we were thankful for God's provision.
On Sunday, Aunt and I went to get Dad to celebrate Christmas at my house. I'm not sure if he ever realized what we were really doing or even who we were, but I'm sure of one thing. Every time M or L hugged him, he smiled from ear to ear! Again we are thankful to have another Christmas with Dad. We also realize that he is more comfortable someplace "familiar" - the Center, even if it's in someone else's chair! We're thankful for his wonderful caregivers.

Dad posed in front of the tree before we started opening presents.

J's present from Aunt - dog treats!

M made and stained this by himself for his Dad.

I printed this on my previous blog, Butterfly Wings:

Alzheimer’s is Limited…It cannot steal the memories I have of you. It cannot rob the moments we spent laughing together. Or fade the pictures in my wallet. It cannot weaken faith. Deprive me of peace. Steal my joy. Or cripple hope. It cannot shake my confidence that there is a divine plan though I can’t quite see it from here. It cannot shorten eternal life.

Before and After

A few weekends ago the weather was nice in the evening and Hubby was fixing the van in the garage. The boys set up a "basketball court".

I called it "redneck basketball". Our big gift to the boys for Christmas (given early so we didn't have to transport it twelve hours away and then back home) was a portable goal. Whatever gave us that idea? The Homer bucket is now retired...

Do you like M's (on the right) new hair cut? We did that the first day of break. He was so excited to have his hair done at a "salon" instead of home.

More info on the van: Hubby has done lots of work on it and has saved loads of money. He has also taken to a local place and gotten new tires, alignment, some transmission stuff he didn't want to waste his time one, etc. He's taken it there five times. I think today it's all finally done (hope so, we'll be on the road soon). The shop also refunded his money for our trouble.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Holly Wreath Cookies

Of all our Christmas traditions, making holly cookies is the one our boys most want to keep. Last year we didn't manage to do it until after Christmas. This year we did it early and I'm ready for another batch! I have all the ingredients except butter so we shall see....

Hubby takes care of all the mixing

The boys shape the wreaths and I put on the "holly berries".

Here's the basic recipe:

16 oz. large marshmallows, 1/2 cup butter (1 stick), 1 1/2 tsp. vanilla, green food coloring, 4 1/2 cups cornflakes, cinnamon red hot candies.

Combine and melt all the ingredients except food coloring, cereal and red hots. Add the food coloring a drop at a time until it's the color you want (I use a few drops of blue too to make it darker green). Mix in the cornflakes.

Drop by spoonfuls on wax paper and decorate with red hots (before they cool!). (We actually shape ours into wreaths instead of leaving in the spoonful pile.) Let cool before eating if you can resist that long!

Hubby is the lead Holly Wreath Cookie maker and also Chex Mix King. I've done the mix twice this year and we've decided the title should rightfully be his..... I made chex mix last night and that's why I don't have butter for the holly cookies. Store bought mix can't compete with this and one of the things I love about it is you can vary the ingredients and use what you have! Hopefully our stash will make it til we leave on our road trip or better yet, hopefully the box that just arrived from Hubby's grandma has HER chex mix in it!

Counting My Blessings - Dec. 21

78. Beautiful weather yesterday - Hubby came home at lunch yesterday and finished setting up the basketball goal. The weather was nice enough for the boys to enjoy playing outside without jackets.

79. Time - I had time to go to the cell phone store yesterday. Of course after waiting 40 mins. I was frustrated enough to figure out how to set up my own "upgraded" voice mail and decided my other questions weren't that important!

80. A fun Christmas celebration with my Dad over the weekend.

82. God's healing He applies to our hearts.

I have posts still to do to add more about basketball and the Christmas celebration. Stay tuned!

Monday, December 20, 2010

Toys For Tots 2010

M., Aunt, and L.
at home before T4T

Hubby and I have given to various angel tree events at the mall, businesses, & church over the 15 Christmases we've been married. Last year our church hosted its first Toys for Tots event and it has become an important part of our family's Christmas to serve there together.

This year was a little different as M. had to stay home ill. I worked the first part of setting up the 2-4 year old boy room. We moved toys from the stock room, organized them on tables, took off price stickers and marked through upc codes. This took an hour and a half! We had lots of help too. L and Aunt were there. Cousin S. was in charge of a baby room next door. I was also able to greet and help shoppers for about 40 min. before Hubby came and I went to be with M.
At church Sunday, a friend from small group told me about L. showing him all the rooms and explaining being a "Personal Shopper". He told me what a good leader L. is. This mama is so proud of hearing how God is using the qualities of her children. A big thank you to other friend P., for letting L. accompany her as a personal shopper (because he wanted to do that instead of stay inside one room).

Me and Friend P


Waiting for shoppers to arrive

Cousin S., Me, Aunt

Sunday at church we got to hear of the 50 who prayed for Salvation, of marriage reconciliations, many others' lives being touched and the statistics - 1500 children were served and all those who requested bikes (200) were able to receive one! Praise the Lord for Toys for Tots! Thank you to the Marine Corp for adopting the T4T program.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Daybook - Dec. 18

Outside my window…hmmm…..I don’t want to get up and look. I know there’s darkness there and lots of Christmas lights across the street two doors down both ways.

I am thankful for… Toys 4 Tots – that all those who requested a bike received one and being able to help with family.

I am wearing… Toys 4 Tots tshirt, red zip up fleece, jeans, slippers

Some plans for the rest of the week… free breakfast at Chick-fil-a, dropping off some Christmas presents, packing, taxiing pets to their vacation spots.

I am hoping… that my hands stop itching from the hives and dry skin!

On my mind… I’ve been daybooking a year now! I’m looking forward to blogging a few times before we leave for Christmas. Yay! for Christmas break.

Hearing….dogs barking (not mine, thankfully)

I am praying for…….healthy children and that Dad doesn’t get sick from being here.

From the kitchen….. leftover chicken from Wal-mart, lots of homemade goodies.

Around the house… Finally, some wrapped presents under the tree!

One of my favorite things… pictures of family, my homemade angel from a student.

From my picture journal…

Since M didn't feel well today, the picture I have of him is with a pillow in front of his face. This is from Intro. to Scuba with Scouts earlier in the week.

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Friday, December 17, 2010

An Enjoyable Week

Today was the last day of school before Christmas break. I really enjoyed my class this week. (Not that I don't other times, mind you.) I just enjoyed spelling being a special list and our reading story being a cute Christmas book. I enjoyed the fun out of the ordinary activities like carolling at the administration building and seeing the 1st grade program.

A side note about the carolling, I finally figured out why when we wrote a journal entry in November that almost my entire class named their turkey "Bert" (the name of the turnkey in one of their songs). Also at carolling I was able to introduce my class to my 4th grade teacher, who works in Admin. now. She was one of my favorite teachers and one of the reasons was Christmas time. We made so many projects that year, we must not have have done any work at all the whole last two weeks before break.

Rest assured, my class did work this week. I even took about five grades. One of the things I really enjoyed about my class today was looking at with them. They danced with Santa and it was very fun. I'm sure it was also monumental in their learning experience!

This week before break was a first for M. - his first semester tests. And for L. today - I feel so badly for him that he missed his class party (although he doesn't seem bothered by it at all) - he threw up at school and had to come home. But now, all of us schoolgoers are home and in 6 days Hubby will be off work for a whole week!

The only picture I have from today was with my sister and I wanted to post it, but it's too identifying. I was looking to find a good Christmas one to use and this is one of my favs. To me it says "home". I love to have only the Christmas lights and fireplace on.

Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 13, 2010

Counting My Blessings

71. A new advancement for M - M. achieved "Tenderfoot" in Scouts. The best photo I got was a posed one by the treee. I'm thankful for his opportunity to try new things. He and Hubby are going to an intro. to Scuba class Thurs. night.

72. My Christmas cards are almost done!

73. Antihistamine - it turns out I'm allergic to "cold". I break out in hives when the temperature drops. I'm thankful for not one, but three different kinds of antihistamines.

74. Yummy monster cookies!

75. Pecans (I was blessed with two different kinds of yummy treats at school today).

76. Understanding. That was my prayer in my "Daybook" yesterday and God answered my prayer.

77. Telephones - I got to talk to a friend on the phone last night. I thought it said "42 minutes" when I got off, but I think I misread it and it was an hour and 42 mins.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Our Christmas Letter 2010

Dear Family, Friends, and those reading in the blog-o-sphere,

When I sent Christmas cards out this year, I included my blog address for friends to find our Christmas letter online. So, if you’re here because of that, thank you for actually doing it! If you’re here because you “follow” or just “found” me, feel free to keep reading our family update.

Those who know me will understand who I’m referring to – when I blog I don’t use real names. My husband is “Hubby”, sons are “M” and “L”, my sister is “Aunt”, the dog is “J” and I am just “I” or “me”. So without further adieu……

2010 was an enjoyable year. We traveled some, worked on the house some, worked at our jobs a lot, and enjoyed many happy moments together as a family.

Hubby continues his Director of Online Learning job and is always receiving kudos. He also started becoming more involved at church regularly giving announcements and offering support and leadership to all the Adult Bible Fellowship classes. At the end of October he spent some time in Virginia. He and his brother helped their grandmother get ready for winter and then they helped their cousin at his farm. It’s the original homestead their great-grandparents settled years ago.

M. is in 6th grade now. He’s in all honors classes. Also new this school year were tackle football and band. M. just mailed his music teacher from 1st – 4th grade a Christmas card/thank you note thanking her for teaching him to read music. M. is in first chair in band and recently made the highest score on a music test. In Feb. he received his “Arrow of Light” award and bridged to Boy Scouts.

L. is in 4th grade. He goes to a 5th grade class for math and loves all the independence and responsibility his school schedule brings. He played a season of soccer and is playing indoor soccer right now. I hope he continues because he’s really a great player, but his hope and love right now is to wrestle. We’ll see… At church, L. joined the Bible sword drill team. He practices on Sunday nights while Hubby and I are at small group (and of course almost every night at home!). Both boys said the best part of 2010 was “Going to Washington, D.C.”.

I had a big change this year. Jan. – May, I worked part time in the library at an elementary school. Early August, I found out that my position had been eliminated. As I was making plans to substitute some and mainly relax the whole school year, a 2nd grade position opened, I interviewed and got the job! Many of you already know this. It’s the same school I was at last year and the same school where my sister and cousin teach. It was just before Thanksgiving when I got settled into a routine and finally feel comfortable with what I’m doing. I’m not going in super early, staying late and working most of the evening at home. Whew! I didn’t ever think that time would come – it was such a steep learning curve at first. All so totally worth it – I love my class and I love teaching!

Please click on all the highlighted areas to see posts from my blog over the year. I blogged Dec. 09 - July 10 at “Butterfly Wings” and in July started “Our Ordinary Life”. Check back regularly too, I try to blog at least twice a week or more to post pictures when we do something noteworthy.

We're looking forward to celebrating Christmas in Albuquerque soon. We hope this season brings you wonderful memories and meaning as you celebrate Christ’s birth.

Merry Christmas!

Daybook - December 11

Outside my window…neighbors riding by on bikes. They’re brave – it’s cold out!

I am thankful for… the boys participating with Scouts in handing out cards and gifts at the VA this afternoon. I’m thankful that Dad is well taken care of and will have something to do there on Christmas Day even though we won’t be there.

I am wearing… sweater-brown with peach and blue flecks, a v-neck with buttons up the front and jeans

Some plans for the rest of the week… M’s Court of Honor where he gets his next Scout advancement, surviving the last week before Christmas at school, a soccer & basketball game, Toys for Tots.

I am hoping… to enjoy down time during Christmas Break

On my mind… I still need to send out Christmas cards!

Hearing….neighbors are now playing basketball

I am praying for……. understanding

From the kitchen….. Taco Soup & no bake cookies for the auction at church tomorrow night.

Around the house… I love the glow that the Christmas lights make.

One of my favorite things… gingerbread

From my picture journal…

Aunt, M, L, and me

Taken before The Best Christmas Pageant Ever at the Community Playhouse

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Monday, December 6, 2010

Counting My Blessings

65. Fun - Our small group had an ugly sweater Christmas party last night and it was fun! I'm so blessed to have a group to enjoy during the Christmas season.

66. Cancellations - I was feeling a tad overwhelmed, but two big activities were cancelled (and one postponed)!

67. My sons are such hard workers - when we got home from the party all the laundry was folded (Aunt probably helped!) and M. is diligently working on Christmas presents right now.

68. Warmth - a heater at school (that I cranked up today!), a nice coat, a fireplace, an electric blanket. I'm so blessed to have a way to get warm whenever I need it.

70. God still speaks - our boys are sensitive to what He has to say and I just love when they share something they know He's shared.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Daybook - Dec. 4

Outside my window…my car that I didn’t pull in the garage last night.

I am thankful for… the boys each feeling better (each felt not so well at some point during the past week), going out with friends, and Christmas shopping.

I am wearing… blue flannel pajamas, it’s Saturday!

Some plans for the rest of the week… a couple Christmas parties, a couple Scout things, and dinner & a play with the boys and Aunt

I am hoping… to have a productive day of house cleaning and grocery shopping

On my mind… shipping some presents. I absolutely can not stand the process or going to the post office.

Hearing…. the heater, J. making doggy noises, quiet – everyone just left for soccer.

I am praying for……. several ordinary things as God brings them to remembrance and several friends.

From the kitchen….. Right now, I believe the counter is completely full with things that need to be put away; food wise – there is a desperate need to go to the grocery store.

Around the house… a collection of shoes that need to be put away as usual, Christmas decorations went up Monday and a few brown boxes are sitting under the tree and in the closet (from out of town family). I must open and wrap what’s inside soon.

One of my favorite things… our Christmas tree and mantle garland lights. I love to have them as the only light on in the room. I could sit and stare for hours.

From my picture journal…

To view more daybooks visit Simple Woman's Daybook.