Intense Despair and Euphoric Joy

It is so fitting that Easter takes place in the spring.

The weather was absolutely beautiful yesterday and today. It was perfect for getting out in the flower beds and pulling weeds. The sun was shining. There was a nice breeze, and the temperature was in the low seventies. As I was pulling weeds, I delighted in seeing the fresh new blooms on my plants. It is so fitting that Easter takes place in the spring. As the earth comes alive again with leaves budding on the trees, newly greened grass, and fresh colorful blooms, it reminds me of the new life we have in Christ.

I cannot even imagine the despair the disciples must have felt when Jesus was arrested and died upon a cross. They had left their lives and followed Jesus. Now everything that they had hoped for seemed to be destroyed and unattainable. Jesus, their teacher, was dead. I’m sure that they did not have a clue about what to do. They were hiding and fearful. They were in deepest mourning.

When Jesus rose early on the first day of the week, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, out of whom he had driven seven demons. She went and told those who had been with him and who were mourning and weeping. Mark 16:9-10 (NIV)

At first the disciples did not believe. Peter and John ran to the tomb. They saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus’ head. Even though the tomb had no body in it, they still didn’t quite understand what was going on.

That evening, the disciples were gathered together with the doors locked in fear. Suddenly Jesus was standing among them. Their joy knew no bounds. It took a while but they slowly began to understand.

When he had led them out to the vicinity of Bethany, he lifted up his hands and blessed them. While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up into heaven. Then they worshipped him and returned to Jerusalem with great joy. And they stayed continually at the temple, praising God. Luke 24: 50-53 (NIV)

Their mourning had turned to exuberant joy.

I don’t focus on finding happiness in life. Happiness is fleeting and shallow. For example: a piece of chocolate cake makes me happy, but it is soon gone.

The best gift is joy. I yearn for joy, the kind of joy that only God can provide. Joy goes deep and is lasting. I find my greatest joy in my salvation. Easter is a wonderful reminder of how Jesus died for us and provided a way for us to gain salvation. All we have to do is repent of our sins, and accept Jesus’ sacrifice as our atonement.

I have a feeling that many people who think they are going to heaven will be in for a surprise. Their names will not be written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. They think that if they live a good life and/or believe in God that they will go to heaven. The verse found in John 14:6 is very clear.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14: 6 (NIV)

“Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” Matthew 7: 13-14 (NIV)

Confession is not the same as repentance. Repentance is a deep remorse for one’s action that leads to a change. If we are truly saved, I believe that we have repented and become a new person.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 2 Corinthians 5: 17 (NIV)

I have put my trust in Jesus.

My health may fail and my spirit may grow weak, but God remains the strength of my heart; he is mine forever. Psalm 73:26 (NLT)

I love this verse. It doesn’t matter what happens to my earthly body. My soul is safe in the hands of God. I shall never be taken out of His protection.

So I shall go nurse my sore muscles. My wish for you is that your soul, also, is safe in the hands of God. Jesus is alive and the savior of my soul. Praise God! Happy Easter!

Why Racism, Bullying, and Hatred?

We have two options–love or hate. We can’t choose both. Which one will you choose today?

The news is so full of stories about shootings, bombings, and many other crimes. Why would anyone want to be a teacher or police officer in these times? May God bless and protect those who teach and who try to protect us from danger. I think so much of the anarchy we see today comes from a lack of teaching in homes. Hatred is running rampant.

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And He has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother.  1 John 4: 20-21 (NIV)

Have you noticed that many people who profess to be Christians promote racism? For me, these verses are clear. You cannot claim to be a Christian and hate other people. And there is no doubt that racism comes from hatred.

I saw a post containing two pictures. One picture showed a white egg and a brown egg. The next picture showed that the eggs had been cracked into a skillet. There was no way to tell which egg in the skillet had come from the white shell and which had come from the brown. Racism is completely ridiculous. What does the amount of pigment in your skin have to do with anything? The person you are is found on the inside–not in how dark or light your skin. You should not have to indicate race on any forms. The only place I can see where it might be helpful is in a doctor’s office where your background may make you more susceptible to certain conditions. Skin color does not determine intelligence or what you can achieve. If it does, then maybe you are allowing racism to control you.

I enjoy researching my ancestry. I took the Ancestry DNA test to determine my roots. I am proud of where my family came from, and I celebrate my roots. However, that doesn’t change the fact that I am and always have been an American. When we categorize ourselves into different subgroups such as African-American or Mexican-American, we continue to foster racism. We are Americans.

Bullying is another form of hatred. It is a hatred of people who are different.

The movie, “Wonder”, really spoke to me. A young boy with facial differences entering school and having to face bullying. More understanding and less bullying can make a big difference. I believe that many people deal with differences on the inside which are not necessarily visible on the outside. So few get the understanding and support they need. We all need to know that bullying is not okay. We all need to love, support, and care about each other.

Jesus said:

A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13: 34-35 (NIV)


I remember a time when I was driving home in a snow storm (which doesn’t happen here very often). A normally 30-minute drive home from the doctor’s office took an hour and a half that day. The traffic was moving very slowly on the highway, and I passed 4 fender benders on the way. I was driving very cautiously. When the car in front of me tapped on its brakes, I tapped on mine. Then a truck pulled out and went around me very fast with the driver giving me the finger. I couldn’t believe it! I have no idea what I did to set that driver off. That poor driver must have been harboring a great deal of hatred.

So let’s love one another and care about one another. Caring for each other should also not be limited to those times when disaster strikes, like floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, bombings, shootings, etc. Caring should be every day–even in the little things.

We have two options–love or hate. We can’t choose both. Which one will you choose today?


God’s Provision

I have seen God provide in so many ways I can not even count them all.

There are times when it seems that the world around me has gone crazy. God seems far away, and difficulties threaten to overwhelm me. There are some verses which give me comfort and peace.

“Though the fig tree does not bud and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior. The Sovereign Lord is my strength, he makes my feet like the feet of a deer, he enables me to go on the heights.”  Habakkuk 3:17-19 (NIV)

I can’t even imagine the disaster described in Habakkuk’s prayer above. Imagine having no way to provide sustenance for yourself, or nothing to sell to meet your needs.

I have seen God provide in so many ways I can not even count them all. When we were young, I was teaching in a very small school district making only the minimum salary mandated by the state, and my husband was working for a brick yard. We lived paycheck-to-paycheck. We never went hungry and our children never went without the necessities. (Grandma provided a lot of extras for the girls.) When I had a week off of school and didn’t have to pay for childcare, the car would break down. It was a blessing to have the money to pay for car repairs. I have also seen unexpected checks come in the mail.

When I retired from teaching, I was concerned because my income would be greatly reduced. I felt God whispering to me that all would be fine. We have done well even with my lesser income. We’ve even had money available for some special things, like going to Walt Disney World with my older daughter, her husband, and her children. We also took a cruise to Alaska which was on my bucket list. We hope to go to Disney World next year with our youngest daughter and her family.

“So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your Heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” Matthew 6: 31-34. (NIV)

God provides for His children, and I’m humbly grateful. There is no peace like the peace you receive when you stop worrying and allow God to provide for you out of His abundance of grace and mercy.

Out of the Mouths of Grandkids–Part 3

He is passionate about three things: chocolate milk, tractors, and TRAINS!

Grandson #2 is just 4 years old. He is the cousin to my other two grandchildren. This sweet boy has had us laughing since the time he could talk. He is also an expert on trains. He is passionate about three things: chocolate milk, tractors, and TRAINS!

Age 1:

As his mom was getting ready for the day, she heard her son jabbering and then say, “Boo!” She decided to watch him. He stood next to a mirror and said in his baby talk, “Where’s _____?” Then he stepped in front of the mirror and said, “Boo!”

Age 2:

He had just turned two when his mother told him, “I love you.” He answered, “I love me, too.” Mom asked, “You love who?” He said, “Me!”

There were times when he had trouble with phrases such as corn nugget. Grandson #2 said, “Neen nunent.” Mom said, “Say corn.” Her son said, “Corn.” Mom said, “Nugget.” Son said, “Nugget.” Mom said, “Now say it together. Corn nugget.” Son said, “Neen nunent.” He tried.

He was staying with us for a week. He had bacon and an unfinished fruit cup on the table. He ran to the cabinet and opened it, hollering, “Snack. Snack.” I told him he needed to finish the food on the table first. He said he was just looking.

One day his mother said to him, “I love you. Do you know how much I love you?” He answered, “Too much!”

The boy is also very observant of things around him when riding in the car. He is very quick to point out trains and train tracks. One day when riding home with his mom, he was jabbering on about trains. His mother will sometimes tune him out. She tuned him out this day until she heard him say, “There’s a track under the train.” She asked, “Why is there a track under the train?” He answered, “The train move under the track.” That’s really good for a 2 year-old.

He also likes to be a back seat driver. One day he told his mom, “Green means stop!!!” She said, “Green means go. Red means stop.” Then she stopped at a left turn yield on green. Her son hollered at her from the back seat, “Go, Mama! Green means go!”

He also told his preschool teacher one day, “I want two banilla ice cream cones. One for me, and one for you!”

At preschool, each child brings his or her own lunch. One day his teacher was sitting next to him at lunch. She had a chicken sandwich. Grandson #2 looked at the sandwich and then looked up at his teacher. He said, “I like chicken.” I don’t know if he was angling for a bite of her sandwich or just making conversation.

Age 3:

He cried one day because he didn’t find any candy in the Candy Land game box. He cried for over 10 minutes. That was very tragic.

When Grandson #2 brought Curious George home from preschool for a visit for the weekend, his mom asked him if Curious George was going to ride with him on his tractor. He said, “No, because his feet can’t reach the pedals.”

During one of his visits, he asked me for a fruit cup–undrained–so he could drink it. Now, whenever I see the commercial for Dole’s fruit cups, I think of my grandson.

One day his mom heard him gasp from the back seat of the car. He said, “I think I saw something.” She asked, “What did you think you saw?” He answered, “A John Deere tractor, and a John Deere truck!” They had just driven past a dealership, It’s easy to tell he lives on a farm. He loves John Deere.

He also has an amazing imagination! During the first week of his second year of preschool he said he had a catfish in his pocket. He also told everyone he was going to have a sister. (This was a surprise to his mother.) He also tells people he is 16, even though he knows he’s three. He also told everyone that he’s moving to the castle in Walt Disney World.

One of his favorite things to do is hide. One night, his mom got him to hide in his own bed.

When his dad asked him why he was so weird, he said, “God made me that way!” Can’t argue with that.

He also came home from preschool one day and announced that he had a new last name. Turns out it was the last name of one of the girls in his class. It’s a little early for that, I think.

One night he was in the tub and his parents were talking in the living room. Suddenly, the boy comes in the living room saying, “I’m a water monster, and I’m making foot prints.”

His daddy usually puts him to bed. He has been telling his parents that he’s afraid of the dark, so they got him some glow sticks. One night his daddy got him a glow stick and asked, “Are you sure this is the color you want?” The son said, “Yes!” Daddy said, “This is the only one you’re getting.” The son agreed, “Yes, sir!” Daddy asked again, “Are you sure?” The boy said, “Yes, Daddy!” As his daddy cracked it to make it glow, the son said, “I don’t want that one, Get me another one.” I think my son-in-law has finally figured out why his parents are crazy. He now has a couple of flashlights in bed with him. Of course, he also likes to sleep in the recliner in the living room or the beanbag chair.

Age 4:

Grandpa and I were shopping with our grandson #2 and his parents recently. When Grandpa went to put his grandson in the car seat, the grandson looked up and said, “Grandpa! Someone stole your hair!”

Grandchildren are such blessings and give me so much joy! No one can make me smile like my grandkids.

Out of the Mouths of Grandkids–Part 2

This boy is quick-witted and very intelligent.

My granddaughter has a brother two years younger than her. I will call him grandson #1. This boy is quick-witted and very intelligent. He’s also very sweet and loves to cuddle.

At age 2:

His mother called to him and asked him where he was. He ran around the corner, pointed to himself, and said, “I’m right here!”

When asked about what he was thankful for, he said, “Playing with Woody.” He also knew his sister would take care of him. He told his mom that sissy would put his dinner dishes in the sink for him.

When he argued with his sister over who gets to pick the movie, his sister reminded him that he needed to take turns. His reply, “I take turns by myself.” I thought that would make a great t-shirt slogan.

One morning he was with his mom in the bathroom while she was getting ready for work. He picked up one of her necklaces and asked, “What’s this? What does it do?” His mom replied, “It’s a necklace. It looks pretty.” He said, “But what does it do?” He was very logical even then.

At age 3:

He wanted a dragonsaurus costume for Halloween so he can fly and stomp. His mom told him that Grandma had already ordered a costume for him. He said he would just ask Grandma for a costume with wings. He got it.

Grandson #1 was visiting and playing with his bath toys while taking a bath. When I told him that he needed to get out because his water was getting cold, he said, “I need to give Rex (a toy dinosaur) a bath.” I said, “No. It’s time to get out.” He replied (even at age 3 he was a master negotiator), “Let me give him 10 squirts of water (another toy squirts water).” I agreed and then heard him start counting, “One. Two. Three. Three. Three….” This boy could already count to 20 and beyond. Grandma wasn’t fooled, but I did get a laugh out of that one.

He told his mom, “At Grandma’s we don’t have time outs.” His mother replied, “Oh, well. I’ll talk to her and you can start having them.” He said, “Well, I’ll just let her know if I need one, and I’ll take it then.”

He used to like to sit next to me when we would go out to eat. He would sneak some of my fries thinking I wouldn’t see him.

At age 4:

About four years ago, when my granddaughter and grandson #1 were ages 4 and 6, I stayed with them for several nights while their parents went out of town. I don’t like it when the kids fight, but I must admit that it is a little flattering when they fight over me. This time, they were fighting  over who Grandma was going to sleep with first. The plan was for me to switch every night–sleeping with one of them the first night and then sleeping with the other the next night, and so on. (It was a lucky thing they went to school and day care so I could get a nap in during the day.) That was finally settled, but the good feeling of being fought over didn’t last long. The discussion then turned to who would get to use the iPad first and for how long. During the negotiations I heard one of them say, “I’ll let you have Grandma…”

This boy loves to play video games like his Daddy. One day, his daddy said, “I think video game developers need to add another difficulty level beyond the highest level and call it, ‘Playing with a 4 year old.’ In this level your teammates randomly push you off ledges inflict damage to you, etc. Believe me, it’s much more difficult to play at that level.” My daughter sympathized with him by saying, “So true. You just thought you were playing at a high level before.”

His services are quite valuable. When his sister helped out with the laundry, her parents told her she could start helping every week for some allowance. She said, “Every time I help I could get a dollar!” Little brother piped in from the living room, “I can help, too, but for ten dollars!”

At age 5:

When he was in kindergarten, he and his sister asked if they could take their drinks in the car. Their mom told them no because they already leave enough trash in the car. They were silent so she said, “True or false?” He replied, “Mom, that’s nonfiction.”

He told his parents he wanted to be a “ninja-ear” like his daddy. (His daddy is a civil engineer.)

At age 6:

When he was 6, we all went to San Antonio for a fun weekend. When we went to go shopping at Market Square, his mother asked him if he had brought his money. He replied, “I brought Grandpa.” That’s better than bringing your own money any day.

At age 7:

When he was on his way to church one morning, he asked his mom, “Is that guy going to talk for a long time again today? I don’t really get anything from that.” I told my daughter that she should suggest to the pastor that he illustrate his sermons with video games. Thankfully, the boy enjoys church much more now.

He also decided that he wanted a Dominos Pizza truck as his first car because it had pizza ovens in it and he can have hot pizza any time.

Then when lice hit the household, he announced, “Well, since I have hair on my arms I took a really hot shower to kill any lice, It felt like I was inside the sun.”

One day while snuggling with his mom, he said, “Don’t tell Hannah, but you’re my favorite girl in the whole entire world.” Mom replied, “Is Hannah your second favorite?” My sweet grandson answered, “Yes. And grandma is my third,” I’m so honored to have made his list. I’m sure I’ll move down the list eventually, but I’ll enjoy it while I can.

At age 8:

He asked if he could keep a bobby pin because it can unlock doors. We’re not sure what doors he wants to unlock.

One day he was sitting with his dad at Whataburger. His dad was walking his fingers across the table like a bug. My grandson smashed the “bug” with his hand and said, “Smash the spider!” His dad replied, “It’s not a spider, it only has 5 legs.” Grandson replied, “Smash the insect missing a leg!” Quick thinking!

This is  just a sampling of the many crazy stories about Grandson #1. He keeps us laughing.

Out of the Mouths of Grandkids–Part 1

I have found that grandkids can be very entertaining.

I have found that grandkids can be very entertaining. I don’t remember my own kids being so funny. Maybe grandkids are more interesting because I don’t have to live with them and raise them.

My granddaughter was joined by a brother when she was almost 2 years old. I was raised with a brother 2 years younger than me so I have an idea about how much of a pest a younger brother can be. However, these 2 kids love each other dearly. Then, when my granddaughter was 6 1/2 and grandson #1 was 4 1/2, they got a cousin, grandson #2. As of right now, it’s just the three grandkids. They are special blessings.

When my granddaughter was only 3, she told her dad, “Not too tight. Just one tight!” when he buckled her into her car seat. I can understand her feelings. My son-in-law would make sure the straps were very tight and snug on the kids in the interest of safety. I’m glad he was so conscientious.

Grandpa liked to have the kids play “the quiet and the loud” game in the car when they were little. Mostly it was the quiet game. Now they stay quiet with technology.

My granddaughter has always liked to take care of and protect her little brother. The kids had just started a new preschool when she was 3 years old and her brother was about 22 months old. She told her mother that a kid ran into her brother on the playground. She said, “I’m going to tell the kid tomorrow not to run into my brother.”

My granddaughter has always liked to sing. Her version of “I’m in the Lord’s Army” included Spiderman, Superman, and Indiana Jones.

As anyone with a younger brother knows, they can be annoying. On one drive home, my daughter heard this simultaneously from the back seat. Her son was saying, “Poop, poop, poop, poop, poop!” Her daughter was yelling, “MOM!!! HE WON’T STOP SAYING POOP! IT’S A BAD WORD!”

When the granddaughter was told she was going to stay 3 nights at my house, she asked how many lunches she would spend here. It’s important to have all the facts.

One year at Christmas, Grandpa and I took the two older grandkids to look at Christmas lights. While we were driving around the grandkids were being silly. The granddaughter got tired of the silliness and asked her brother to stop. He wouldn’t. So, she told him that she was going to tell Santa that he was naughty. The grandson didn’t really cry, but it was obvious he was very upset. He said, “I’m not naughty. I’m _____!” He was really worried that Santa wouldn’t leave him any presents. Leave it to big sisters.

My granddaughter is also very creative. She invented chocolate salad in her kitchen when she was little. My daughter has taken chocolate salad to work for a food day.

My sweet granddaughter is also very thoughtful. One year for Valentine’s Day she wanted to get two sets of Valentines for school. She didn’t think the boys would like to get princess Valentines.

She told her mother that she wanted to be a teacher when she grows up. Her mother said, “Did you know Grandma was a teacher for a long time?” She replied, “Yes, but she’s tired now so she’s not any more.” That’s true. I did retire because I was tired.

My granddaughter will also tell it like it is. One day at the mall, she told her mom in a really loud voice, “Mom, you’ve been drinking all day!” It was only iced tea, but not sure the others at the mall knew that.

One day my son-in-law told his kids right after breakfast that they wouldn’t get a snack or lunch until the playroom and their bedrooms were clean. His daughter’s response, “But we’ll starve without any food!” A little later the kids were reminded that they had to clean their rooms before eating. The daughter’s reply, “But we will die if we don’t eat.” My son-in-law said, “Actually you can go 21 days without food.” The daughter said, “Then we’ll die!” I assure you that both kids are alive and well, and have not missed any meals.

I also love the different perspectives each child can have about something like fireworks. The granddaughter said, “You know, it’s just a chemical reaction!” Grandson #1 exclaimed, “WOW! That looks just like a cheeseburger!” (He told someone when he was little that his name was cheeseburger.)

It was a clear sign that the granddaughter is growing up when you listen to her trying to get the dog to come back in the house. “We are not staying out here all night. You have to come in. Get here now! Why aren’t you listening to me? I’m talking to you!” Sounds like something she might have heard her parents say.

Next time, I’ll have more from grandson #1.


It’s a Girl!

There is something special about the first grandchild who introduces you to the magical world of being a grandparent.

I have three wonderful grandchildren. I love all of them dearly. However, there is something special about the first grandchild who introduces you to the magical world of being a grandparent. My first grandchild is a beautiful girl, the daughter of my oldest daughter. I will call her H.

H was born in June of 2007 in a city about a five hour drive from us. The day before she was born, we were in contact with our daughter and anxiously awaiting the cue to jump in the car and head to the hospital. Our daughter had gone to her doctor earlier in the day, but had been sent home. Grandpa and I finally decided at around 7:00 pm to pack our bags and head out. On the way, we got a call that our daughter had gone to the hospital so we were glad we had made the decision to go ahead and start the trip. We arrived at the hospital at around midnight in plenty of time to sit around and wait.

After asking the nurse to let our daughter know we were at the hospital, we went to the waiting room. This waiting room was not comfortable. I was exhausted and could not find a comfortable seat. The seats were not arranged so that you could lay down, and I am not a fan of laying on the floor of a public area. I kept walking around, changing chairs, etc.

After several hours, we finally got a text from our son-in-law. “It’s a girl!” We had known she was going to be a girl, but it was nice to know that H had finally arrived. We were so impatient to see our first grandchild.

After about 45 more minutes, the nurse came to fetch the new grandparents and ushered us into the delivery room. I was floating on air. I gazed at the sweet little face peeking out from the blanket and cap, and she smiled. My daughter offered to let me hold her. I couldn’t speak or do anything at all except stare down at that beautiful little face.

It has been over 10 years. She has brought us so much joy! She is a sweet, loving, thoughtful, little lady. She has a style all her own. We have had so much fun together. She loves to have tea parties at my house and also go to a tea room for lunch. She loves to cook and bake. She loves to read just about anything. She loves to learn.

She’s talking about being an elementary teacher like her grandma (her mother teaches high schoolers). She is the perfect oldest grandchild.

New Year’s Resolutions

I think the problem is that we aren’t very resolute in keeping our resolutions.

A lot of people every year make new year’s resolutions. “This is going to be the year,” they say. The year to lose weight, eat healthier, exercise more, quit smoking, quit drinking, volunteer, spend less money, spend more time with family, and so many more. Then those resolutions fall by the wayside. I think the problem is that we aren’t very resolute in keeping our resolutions. But every year, we decide that this year will be different.

I used to do it every year. I would make resolutions, and then quit before even a week would go by. I always ended up feeling like a failure. No one likes to feel like a failure so I quit making promises to myself. However, I might have been going about the business all wrong.

Maybe it would help to just focus on one important thing I would like to change instead of trying to change everything all at once. It’s hard to focus on too many things at one time. For me, I would like to focus on writing more.

Next I need to plan out how I’m going to carry out my resolve. In order to write more, I need to set aside a specific time each day to write. For example: set aside 1:00-3:00 PM on Monday through Friday, and then set an alarm if I have to. When it’s writing time, turn off the phone, TV, and any other distractions. If something gets scheduled during my writing time, carve out a different two hour block during my day. Then I need to remind myself to not get discouraged. It’s okay if I don’t write anything. If I stay consistent with my writing time, then I believe the words will come. Even if I just stare at the computer screen and my fingers are still, my mind is still working.

After I’ve tackled the problem of writing more, I can focus on other areas. The great thing is I don’t have to wait until January 1, 2019 to add another resolution.

As you look back on 2017, keep in mind that the past is gone. Focus on 2018. I wish you the best year ever. You can do it! It’s all up to you!

Christmas Memories

Christmas has always been about family.

Christmas has always been a special time of year. I have a lot of wonderful memories.

The Christmas tree is always the focal point of our holiday decorations. Decorating the tree is a cherished activity. My ornaments remind me of those who gave them to me. Many of the ornaments were crafted by family members, my daughters, or the moms of my students. As I hang the ornaments on the tree, I can relive many memories.

I remember a variety of trees as a child. My family had real trees shedding needles everywhere. However, there were times when fake trees were helpful because with my dad in the military, we sometimes had to wait for him to get home before we had our Christmas celebration. We had the iconic aluminum tree with the color changing light wheel. I still remember the crinkling sound when sliding each silver branch into its protective sleeve each year after Christmas. We also had realistic looking fake trees. All were decorated with very special ornaments, and all had a nativity scene placed underneath. The nativity scene was purchased by my parents for their first Christmas together. When we lived in Germany we visited the Nurnberg Christmas Market, and my parents bought an angel for the top of the tree. The angel adorned the tree every year after that to remind us of the angel’s message to the shepherds–tidings of great joy.

The presents were always exciting. I was so curious to find out what was in each package. The anticipation was thrilling. One year, I accidentally found out the presents I was getting. I was happy with the presents, but knowing what I was getting killed the thrill of anticipation. I also remember the year when I asked my parents for a play vanity set. I had seen it advertised on TV and really wanted it. My parents, instead, bought me a whole bedroom set of furniture which included a vanity. They hid it in an extra bedroom that I thought was full of boxes. However, my younger brother was at home when the furniture was delivered. He told me what I was getting and even took me to the room and opened the door a crack so I could peek.  When I got older, I found it much more fun to give gifts than to receive them. I especially got excited about gifts when I found something really special for someone. I loved to make gifts, also.

Making candy and cookies became family traditions. My dad’s contribution to Christmas was to make peanut brittle. I can still picture him standing at the stove stirring the brittle. He knew just how to make it turn out perfectly. We also made candy balls dipped in chocolate, and fudge. I loved to make pressed cookies and decorate them with sprinkles. My daughters and I would make sugar cookies every year. My daughters loved to decorate. My kitchen may have been small, but there was always room to make cookies. Now I love to bake and decorate gingerbread houses with my grandchildren. I love the smell of cinnamon and cloves.

What would Christmas be without music? I loved the Christmas programs in which my children and grandchildren have participated. I love to have Christmas music playing while working in the kitchen, around the house, or riding in the car.

When I got married and had a family of my own, we began celebrating at my parents’ house on Christmas Eve. Then we would go either to my mother’s parents’ house on Christmas Day or my in-laws’ house. My grandmother and mother-in-law always fixed turkey and/or ham for Christmas dinner. So my husband and I started making an oven baked brisket for Christmas Eve dinner. That tradition still continues today, and every year the house smells like brisket and onions.

Something I always liked to do as a teenager was to bundle up next to the fire and watch “White Christmas” on Christmas Eve. Sometimes the movie would come on late, and I would be the only one awake to watch it. I still remember my mother yelling at me to turn the volume down. Soon the volume would be barely above a whisper.

Santa was always the magical part of Christmas for me even after I was grown. There is something magical about going to sleep on Christmas Eve and then Santa would have been there by the time we got up on Christmas Day. One of my favorite Christmas memories was the time when my husband and I got up on Christmas morning and found our younger daughter asleep on the living room floor. I still smile when I remember the kids jumping up and down when they got something they were really wanting.

Christmas has always been about family. Spending time with my family is better than any gift that can be wrapped and placed under the tree. However, I have received some special gifts. My younger daughter and her husband one year made a Texas with a heart in the middle with nails and thread. I’m sure it took a lot of time to hammer all those tiny nails and wrap the thread just right. My older daughter made me a beautiful quilt for the master bed. One year I got a book made with scanned art work by my older two grandchildren. My daughters have told me that it’s difficult to buy something for me. Little do they know, I cherish the time we have together.

Merry Christmas to you and your family. My the holiday bring you peace, love, and joy.

Getting Older

Getting older is not for the weak.

I have decided that getting older is not for the weak or fainthearted. It seems that each year I see a few more new wrinkles and experience a few more aches and pains.

I went for an eye exam a few days ago. The eye doctor told me that I’m getting cataracts, but they aren’t “ripe,” or ready to remove. The idea of having surgery on my eyes scares me to death. I don’t even like to put eye drops in my eyes. They will have to sedate me when it comes to cataract surgery.

I have also noticed the last few years my increasing use of the “shuffle.” When I first get up in the morning or when I have ridden a while in the car (anything over half an hour), I shuffle until I can get rid of my stiffness. I used to laugh at Tim Conway when he would imitate an elderly person by shuffling his feet. I guess the last laugh is on me.

Osteoporosis runs in my family, so I’m trying to not add that to my list. Osteoarthritis is also stalking me. And when did my skin start looking so crepey? The Poise commercial with Brooke Burke-Charvet would make me laugh except it wouldn’t be a little leak, more like a gush, and believe me, that is no laughing matter. For me to go see a comedian, like Jeanne Robertson, takes preparation–if you know what I mean!

I’m also seeing doctors more often than when I was younger. I now have an ophthalmologist, dentist, gynecologist, surgeon, oncologist, and physical therapist in addition to my primary care doctor. Hopefully the physical therapist is only for a few weeks. No wonder you need to retire when you reach a certain age. You have to spend your time going to doctors.

I have also found that my brain is aging, too. It is much harder for me to remember things than it used to be. I will get in the car and start driving. Then I panic for a few minutes when I can’t remember where I’m going. So I have to think hard about where I am going and how I’m going to get there.  If an appointment is not in my calendar on my phone, then it doesn’t exist. I figure I’m doing pretty well, though. I can still remember the names of my children, their spouses, and my grandchildren. I can also remember the names of their pets.

Getting older also has some bright spots, too. You are much too wise to fret over the insignificant stuff, and most stuff in life is hardly worth noticing much less stewing over. You don’t worry about what people think because you finally realize that they are not really thinking about you as much as they are thinking about themselves. You learn that friends and family are more important than anything else. People can lose their homes and everything in it, but as long as they have their family and friends, the rest is just “stuff.”

So all you young whipper-snappers out there should never laugh about old people. Don’t forget that your day will come.