Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

May your new year be filled with smiles and fun and zaniness.

May your troubles be few, and if they come, may you cope with them easily and cheerfully, because there is nothing...nothing!...that we cannot handle with Christ to guide us.

May you be surrounded by people you love and people who love you.

And if one of them wears a crab hat, gaming tee shirts, and gets banned from all the casinos in New Vegas because he was winning, you are truly blessed. :o)

Happy 2011!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Life and Death

This is Gina. She was born weighing 4.6 lbs., and now weighs around 7 lbs. She's finally as big as a normal sized newborn. :o) She eats well and is a strong, healthy little girl.

I look around at all our grandchildren during this Christmas time, and I'm amazed at how the family keeps growing. We are so blessed by God's love.

We have new babies, not just in our immediate family, but also in the extended family. My niece's little boy Finn, who was ill before Christmas with RSV, came home from the hospital in time for Christmas.

My nephew and his wife are expecting a baby in April. What joy! And yet, along with the joy there is heartache. The baby's great-grandfather won't be here to see him.

My sister called yesterday to let us know that her father-in-law, Jim, died. Some of you have prayed for him and his family, and for that I thank you. Jim was a wonderful man, a coach who was always so vital and healthy. His family has watched his health deteriorate over the past few years after a long battle with cancer.

Even when we've had time to prepare ourselves for their deaths, it is hard to lose a parent. I pray that Mike and his family will be comforted, knowing God's mercy. As in life, we are blessed by God's love when we die.

Eternal rest grant unto Jim E, O Lord,
And let perpetual Light shine upon him.
May his soul
and the souls of all the faithful departed
Through the mercy of God
Rest in peace.

Monday, December 27, 2010

December Feast Days

Do you know about the feast days that come in December after Christmas? They were listed in our Christmas bulletin with some information about each one. (Take the info with a grain of salt; I won't vouch for the accuracy of our bulletin). :o)

The Feast of the Holy Family is first Sunday after Christmas.
In England, this Sunday was an occasion for godparents and godchildren to celebrate with "god cakes" (pastries filled with sweetened fruit, nuts, and spices). Roll ready-to-bake piecrust in squares, fill, fold diagonally into a triangle, crimp the edges and bake till crisp and bubbly.

December 26: The Feast of St Stephen (35 AD), deacon, martyr.
Stephen was stoned to death for teaching about Jesus. As a deacon, it was his task to organize meals to feed the poor. In remembrance of Stephen's work for the needy, the British people used to collect money throughout the year in little clay boxes. On the feast of St. Stephen or "Boxing Day" these boxes were broken and the money distributed to the poor. (This is the origin of the "piggy bank.")

December 27: The Feast of St. John (1st century), apostle, evangelist.
On this day, children with names derived from John were invited to light the Christmas candles in the house. Because this beloved disciple was believed to have drunk poisoned wine and remained unharmed, people blessed and drank wine on his feast. A supply was kept throughout the year for brides and grooms to sip after their wedding, and for travelers to drink for protection.

December 28: The Feast of the Holy Innocents (1st century).
This memorial honors Bethlehem's baby boys who were killed by Herod in his effort to eliminate any future threat from a rival. In some places this day has been kept as a day of prayer and abstinence from meat. It was once considered the day when children who died unbaptized would be welcomed into heaven if the faithful prayed for them and called them by a Christian name.

December 29: The Feast of St. Thomas Becket (1170 AD), bishop, martyr.
This hunting companion of England's Henry II became Bishop of Canterbury reluctantly but sincerely. When he refused to support the king's injustices, the friendship ended. After a six-year exile, Thomas was martyred by the king's henchmen. Bishop's bread (a kind of fruitcake) and bishop's wine (sweetened, spiced and flavored with orange zest) are customary refreshments today.

December 31: The Feast of St. Sylvester (335 AD), pope.
Sylvester was the first Bishop of Rome to lead Christians freely and openly in worship. Two chocolate cakes have been named for this Pope: one with whipped cream, rum and candied chestnuts, and a triple chocolate (dark, milk, and white) cake with tart dried cherries. For a beverage, Pabst (pope's punch) is nearly identical to bishop's wine.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Happy Boxing Day!

Our eight granchildren on Christmas day.

From left to right: Camryn (1), Lily (8), Reece (5), Aubrey (2), Ahlyssa (11), Jacob (6), Caelen (14) and Gina (2 months).

Not the best picture--someone is always blurry--but I like it. :o)

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

And it came to pass, that in those days there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that the whole world should be enrolled. [2] This enrolling was first made by Cyrinus, the governor of Syria. [3] And all went to be enrolled, every one into his own city. [4] And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: because he was of the house and family of David, [5] To be enrolled with Mary his espoused wife, who was with child.

[6] And it came to pass, that when they were there, her days were accomplished, that she should be delivered. [7] And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. [8] And there were in the same country shepherds watching, and keeping the night watches over their flock. [9] And behold an angel of the Lord stood by them, and the brightness of God shone round about them; and they feared with a great fear. [10] And the angel said to them: Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, that shall be to all the people:

[7] "Her firstborn"... The meaning is, not that she had afterward any other child; but it is a way of speech among the Hebrews, to call them also the firstborn, who are the only children. See annotation Matt. 1. 25.

[11] For, this day, is born to you a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord, in the city of David. [12] And this shall be a sign unto you. You shall find the infant wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger. [13] And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly army, praising God, and saying: [14] Glory to God in the highest; and on earth peace to men of good will. [15] And it came to pass, after the angels departed from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another: Let us go over to Bethlehem, and let us see this word that is come to pass, which the Lord hath shewed to us.

[16] And they came with haste; and they found Mary and Joseph, and the infant lying in the manger. [17] And seeing, they understood of the word that had been spoken to them concerning this child. [18] And all that heard, wondered; and at those things that were told them by the shepherds. [19] But Mary kept all these words, pondering them in her heart. [20] And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God, for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Gingerbread and Grandkids

We've been having fun with the grandkids.

Last night we decorated a gingerbread house. It's smaller than the one we had last year, but they didn't mind.

They took turns putting the candies on the house.

Here is Reece, having his turn.

Jacob, decorating the windows.

Lily, working on the roof.

And Ahlyssa, putting on the finishing touches.

The four of them with their gingerbread house.

Today Lys, Lily and I stopped at Hobby Lobby and got tulle to make tutus for Aubrey and Camryn. They were super easy to make, and the girls loved doing it. Pics and instructions later.

Next projects: fudge and Christmas mice. :o)I know the pictures are awfully dark. My camera just does not take good pictures at night.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Tuesday Chatter

I talked with my sister Sandi yesterday, to get an update on baby Finn. He is doing better. They tried to take him off the ventilator, but had to put him back on. They were going to try again later in the day. If he can stay off it for 24 hours, he will be able to go home. Thank you for your continued prayers for this little guy.

We're expecting our son Jason and his family later today, or tonight. I'm so looking forward to having all our kids and grandkids here for Christmas.

Reece was here last night. He interrupted the gift wrapping marathon. I got most of them wrapped, but still have some to do. When he is here it's hard to get interested in other things. He steals all my attention. :o)

I have lots I want to do before the kids get here, so I'd best get off this computer and get busy.

That little Santa ornament above is a painted dried okra--yeah, okra, the vegetable. I think I have 3 or 4 or them. I thought they might mold or spoil, but I've had them for years and years, and they're still fine. Weird, but fine. :o)

BTW, our high temp today is supposed to be 81. It's 75 right now, so I expect it will get there. Feels like early summer. I love Texas!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Fourth Sunday of Advent

It's been a quiet Sunday. We went to Mass, then had lunch at Mom's (beans and rice with cornbread--carb overload)! :o)

I didn't use all of the lights and garland on the stairs that I usually use, so decided to put the leftover garland and lights on the patio. I asked Ron to get the ladder from the garage for me, and of course he took over the task of hanging them. (I didn't plan it that way. No, really). ;o) They look so cute. Now it will be Christmasy when the guys sit out on the patio smoking cigars and drinking their Jamison. Josh says we need a new chiminea. The bottom fell out of the old one, so I guess he's right.

We don't have any lights in the front, just a wreath on the front porch, but I like to put electric candles in the upstairs windows. I need another extension cord.

I got boxes at the Dollar Tree. I'm going to wrap presents tonight. The grands from Houston will be here this week, and I don't dare leave unwrapped gifts around, even hidden in my closet. I also got a box of Christmas cards for Mom. Her neighbors have given her several, and she wants to reciprocate. We'll probably give them a little gift, too. One year we gave loaves of orange cranberry bread, last year small tins of fudge. This year we're thinking little bags of cookies tied up with pretty ribbon.

See that little handcrafted ornament in the picture? I guess it's some kind of Santa Claus. I got it years ago. It's made from a small pine cone, some gesso, a bit of paint and a sprig of garland. It used to scare the heck out of our oldest grandson when he was little. If it was on the tree, I'd have to take it off and put it away when he was here.

I hope you're enjoying your Christmas preparations. Less than a week now! Veni, Emmanuel!

Friday, December 17, 2010


Friday was a busy day. I was at BAMC all morning. I had an 8:30 appointment with my ophthalmologist for my annual diabetes eye exam. Of course I had to wait awhile. No problems caused by the diabetes, but he prescribed an ointment and some drops for dry eyes. We finished about 10 and I went to the pharmacy. The waiting room was jam packed, but I also needed to pick up a refill for my Synthroid, so I decided to wait. I waited for over an hour.

I was supposed to pick up Ron at work (we are down to one vehicle because Josh is using the truck) so that he could go to a Christmas party that started at 11:30. But first I had to go to Mom's. On the way over there I realized I had forgotten to fill her pill box. There was not a single pill in it. :o\ She was so sweet about it. I rushed in, did a couple of chores, gave her a hug and rushed out.

Ron drove me home and went on to the party. My eyes were dilated, so I had to wear my sunglasses and everything was kind of blurry. They stayed that way until the end of the day!

Ron got home around 2 PM. We went over to the shopping center near our house and got quite a bit of Christmas shopping finished. It was fun because we didn't try to do too much, and we knew what we wanted.

I called Josh this evening to see if Reece was coming to spend the night. Josh brought him over a little while ago. He came in holding peppermint candies, calling them candy canes. :o) I was putting lights and garland on the stairs, and he enjoyed that. He loves the colored lights.

Please Pray For Finn

If you would be so kind, would you please please pray for my sister Sandi's little grandson, Finn? He is in the hospital with RSV (respiratory syncytial virus), which can be quite serious in young infants.

Sandi was going to Dallas for Christmas, and had time off from work. I'm so glad she is able to be there with them. I know she will do everything she can to help, especially with Jonah (Finn's big brother--2 years old).

Thank you for your prayers!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Elf Child

Reece spent the night last night and brought along an elf child. :o)

They have played so sweetly together. You can tell that Reece loves his little sister. Yesterday he put his hand gently on her cheek and said, "Pink." She had been playing and her cheeks were a little pink. And of course she is crazy about him. She calls him "Ree" and wants to do whatever he is doing. If he asks for a cookie or a glass of chocolate milk, Aubrey says, "What about meee?"

They got up so early this morning. We are going to see Great Gran a little later, and I hope they won't have a meltdown over there because they're sleepy.

They love the Christmas tree and will just stand or sit in front of it looking at all the ornaments. I told them not to take off the ornaments, but sometimes I'll find one in some strange place in the house. Some of them are nearly irresistible to little kids because they are like little toys.

It's been fun having both of them here. I love them so much!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rejoice, Rejoice!

It's been such a beautiful Gaudete Sunday. Father wore a gorgeous rose chasuble at Mass. He explained how it was called a "casula" in Latin, which means "little house." His homily tied the eight beatitudes from Matthew chapter 5 to the rejoicing we do as Christians. Gaudete Sunday is a day of rejoicing that the Lord is coming soon. We are indeed blessed to be Christians. (Don't forget to light the rose colored candle on your advent wreath).

After Mass we stopped and got Mom a hamburger and fries, then came on home because Kelly was coming for the afternoon. When she got here, we chatted for a bit, then finished putting the last of the ornaments on the tree. Ron topped it off with the vintage star that belonged to my parents back in the day. Then Kelly and I went over to Bath and Body Works where she bought some things, and then to Lowes to look for poinsettias. She found some pretty white ones she liked and got two of them. They will look beautiful on her table.

After shopping, we came back to the house and had dinner. I put a roast in the crock pot this morning before leaving for Mass, and we had that with boiled red potatoes and some french-cut green beans.

I demonstrated my mandolin playing for Kel (ha!), and then it was time for her to go as it was dark and she was taking Mike a plate of food for dinner. It's always so much fun to spend time with her. We may go to the farmer's market tomorrow afternoon. Yay!

I hope your Sunday has been lovely, too. Rejoice!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Crazy Week

Just a quick note to let you know that all is well here. My doctor called earlier this week to tell me that the PET scan results show no cancer in any of my lymph nodes. Woo Hoo! It did show a tiny spot on my lungs, about 1 centimeter, which is probably a little bit of infection. Dr. B said to continue taking my antibiotics. We'll do another scan in a few weeks to make sure that the spot is gone. I'm feeling good. Hair, eyebrows and eyelashes are coming back--slowly.

Ron was in Colorado all week. The modem went out on our computers, so I've been off-line since Tuesday. He went and got a new modem as soon as he got home, and got it installed and working last night.

Reece spent the night with me Tuesday and again last night. We had Great Gran over yesterday to help decorate the Christmas tree. Reece had a great time looking through all the boxes of ornaments. We also made gingerbread boy cookies. It was fun!

Hope you're having a wonderful weekend.

Monday, December 6, 2010

I Love This!

I've been playing with my mandolin tonight. It's so much fun, but I'll never be a pro. :o) Anyway, I came across the tabs for this song and plucked it out, but wanted to hear how it is really supposed to sound. I found this beautiful video. Oh my goodness, if I could only play my violin like this. (Turn off my playlist in the left hand column to hear the music).

St. Elizabeth, Mother of St. John the Baptist

Each year Angela, at Where Angels Blog, has a patron saints drawing. She prayerfully draws the name of a saint for anyone who requests one. This is the fourth year that I have received the name of my patron saint from Angela.

My patron saint for 2011 is St. Elizabeth, mother of John the Baptist.

The story of Elizabeth is beautiful. Here's my condensed version of the story from Luke.

Descended from the line of Aaron, Elizabeth was a cousin of Mary, Mother of Jesus. She and her husband Zachary were righteous and just before God, “walking in all the commandments and justifications of the Lord without blame.” But they had not been granted the desire of their hearts, to have a son, “and they were both well advanced in years.” Barrenness in those days was looked upon as a sign of reproach from God.

Zachary was fulfilling his priestly duties in the temple one day when the angel Gabriel appeared to him. Gabriel told Zachary that he and Elizabeth would have a son, to be named John, who would be great before God, converting many to the Lord and going before Him with the spirit and power of Elias. Zachary told the angel that he and his wife were too old to have a child, and because he did not believe he was struck dumb, unable to speak until after John was born.

After Zachary's time in the temple, Elizabeth did conceive and hid herself away for five months. At the sixth month, Gabriel announced to Mary in Nazareth that she would be the mother of Jesus, and he told her that Elizabeth was also with child. Mary hurried to the hill country of Juda to be with Elizabeth and share the wonderful news.

When Mary arrived at Elizabeth's house and greeted her, the baby John jumped in Elizabeth's womb and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. She exclaimed in a loud voice, “Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my lord should come to me? For behold, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the lord.”

Mary responded with the beautiful words that we know today as the Magnificat. She stayed with Elizabeth for about three months before returning to Nazareth.

When John was born, all the friends and relatives congratulated Zachary and Elizabeth. On the eighth day when they came to circumcise John, they called him by his father's name, Zachary. And Elizabeth told them no, that his name would be John. They said that no one in the family had ever been called John before, and they went to Zachary and asked him what he wanted the baby boy to be called. Zachary took a tablet and wrote on it, “John is his name.” And immediately he was able to speak again, blessing God. The people wondered about the future of this baby, whose birth was so obviously the work of God. And Zachary was filled with the Holy Spirit and prophesied, speaking the words that we pray each morning in the Divine Office, the Canticle of Zechariah.

And Elizabeth's baby boy, John “... grew, and was strengthened in spirit, and was in the deserts until the day of his manifestation to Israel.”

I am delighted to have St. Elizabeth as my patron saint for next year. I have a very special intention that I will ask her to pray for every day. Thank you, Angela!

Friday, December 3, 2010

Friday Chatter

Yesterday we had to have our water heater replaced. Just how we wanted to spend our money a few weeks before Christmas, right? :o\ One of the young plumbers commented to Ron that ours was the oldest hot water heater he had ever seen. It was installed in 1984, probably when this house was built. Oh well, the new one makes the water nice and hot.

This morning I had my PET/CT scan done. It was a weird experience. They are installing a new scanner at BAMC, so I went to a trailer on Ft. Sam for the scan. Very weird. Anyway, they said my doctor should have the results within two working days, so probably Tuesday or Wednesday next week. Dr. B said that he would call me when he got them. I'm praying they show no cancer.

This evening Josh brought us some grilled salmon he made for dinner. It was yummy. I made some rice and broccoli to go with it. Easy and delicious.

I've been trying to come up with ideas for Christmas gifts for my family, but my mind is blank on that subject. I have a few clothing items for some of the grands, but we like to give them something besides clothes. Oh well, I'll think about it tomorrow.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Gramma Time

It was so nice to have Reece with us last night and this morning. He just gets sweeter and funnier all the time.

I got out some Advent items before he came, and he was so delighted with them--a simple little Advent calendar (pictured with the first two windows opened), the Advent wreath, and the nativity sets. He played with the little Fisher Price nativity all evening.

There were some strings of lights in the closet and I took them out to see if they worked. Reece saw them and immediately wanted to plug them in. Only one string worked, but he loved playing with them. They have a little button you can push to change the way the lights come on. Sometimes they would come on slowly, then change colors. Then he would push the button to make them flash like crazy, or to make just the green ones come on, or just the blue ones.

He's still fascinated with the furnace and likes to open the door and look at the fire whenever he hears it getting ready to come on. It is pretty interesting to have fire in a closet, I guess. :o)

He and Papa made their usual trip to HEB. This time he came home with a little set of 3 airplanes and a helicopter, but he really didn't play with them much. He was more interested in the nativity set and the lights.

Oh, and he has discovered the old fashioned cartoons called Silly Symphonies and loves to watch them on YouTube. We watched The Three Little Pigs, The Wise Little Hen, Father Noah and the Ark, and one about a little elephant. Some of them we watched several times. :o) These are cartoons I remember from when I was a little girl. They are so much better than the ones they show now--the artwork, the music, the classic stories.

The little nativity set plays Away In A Manger, and I was singing the song to him. He kept pushing the button to play the music, wanting me to sing. After awhile, he began to sing it too. I love to hear him sing. It just melts my heart.

He wanted chocolate chip pancakes for breakfast. I threw away my little griddle because it was worn out, but I remembered that I had a big flat griddle that never worked very well on my electric cooktop. I hadn't tried it on the gas one, so I got it out and used it. It works great! Now when our other grands come, I'll be able to cook lots of pancakes at once for them. :o)

Reece and Papa bought some Campbells Cars soup (the noodles were shaped like the characters from the Cars movie) and some Christmas tree cookies frosted with green frosting at HEB. We took those to Gran's this morning because Reece wanted to have lunch with her. She liked the Cars soup and the cookies. :o)

Reece was enchanted with Gran's Christmas decorations. He walked in and said to her, "How did you do all this?" It was so cute. He played with her nativity set and touched all the ornaments on her little tree. He loved the lights outside on her patio (she turned the lights on for him). He was all smiles the whole time we were there.

When I took him home, he was excited to show me his Christmas tree. His daddy has also put up lights on the house. Cyrise said the little girls have already been taking the ornaments off the tree. She very wisely used only the plastic ornaments on the tree this year.

It was fun to see the girls, and hold baby Gina. She is growing, but still such a little peanut. She felt heavier, and her hair seems to have grown longer. She's very alert, and was looking all around. She is absolutely beautiful.

Life is sweet.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Lamb by William Blake

Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?
Gave thee life, and bid thee feed,
By the stream and o'er the mead;
Gave thee clothing of delight,
Softest clothing, woolly, bright;
Gave thee such a tender voice,
Making all the vales rejoice?
Little Lamb, who made thee?
Dost thou know who made thee?

Little Lamb, I'll tell thee,
Little Lamb, I'll tell thee.
He is called by thy name,
For He calls Himself a Lamb.
He is meek, and He is mild;
He became a little child.
I a child, and thou a lamb,
We are called by His name.
Little Lamb, God bless thee!
Little Lamb, God bless thee!