Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Christmas Day

Christmas is officially over for our family. Oh, remember the casserole I told you about? It was-- H O R R I B L E! It was inedible. I didn't start preparing for the holiday until Christmas Eve, and my kitchen is torn apart, so to cut corners I bought a frozen casserole from GFS. It was bad. Very bad!

I enjoyed watching my kids & my husband open their gifts.

We skyped my oldest daughter who was enjoying her Christmas with her hubster at Princeton.

After the gift opening, and throwing our uneaten paper plates full of yuck, we realized I forgot they had stockings. I forget every year! So do my kids! The tradition is always the same. After gifts, after eating, people retire to relaxing activities. Then someone says, Hey! What's in this room! Stockings?! yay. Funny that no matter how old you are, a stocking filled with razors, socks, chewing gum can bring so much cheer.

We took the party over to my mother's condo later in the day to celebrate with my brother and his wife. Usually there are cousins to play with. This year, only one of his kids was home for Christmas. She brought her boyfriend so the more was merrier. I got my niece crazy felt elves I found at a silent auction. I knew she'd love them and she did. She even named them. For my mom I found a pillow in the colors of her guest room, which says "My Cat Walks All Over Me" Her kitty, Oscar, does walk all over her! He runs her household and is somewhat bossy.

The next day both my kids had to work, yet my husband had the day off. So he and I drove 2 1/2 hours north to see his 90-year-old mother, and the BOL. I felt so sad that she didn't see any of her grandchildren for Christmas. At least her daughter and son in law had come to her home on Christmas Day. She is such an understanding lady and she was thrilled with the gift my husband got her. He got her a Learn to Speak German course using cassette tapes and a little book. At 90 years of age she said she was wanting something to do during the harsh winter besides read books! She opened up the package and started her first lesson while we were there.

The drive home was a little somber. I pondered the fact that I'll be a true empty nester next year. Adult children and adult nieces and nephews are all moving to states far away. Our lives are changing and constantly change.

Tuesday it was back to work for Olin and I. The cabinets & sink are at a complete STOP. Olin needs to work 14 hour days every day until Jan. 1st to finish out the fiscal year. Add his driving time in, and he has no time to finish the project. I still need to pick out counter tops and a sink anyway. So hopefully I can get to Home Depot to pick out some counters and a sink tomorrow.

To Da Lou

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Christmas Eve Recap

Christmas Eve was spent at Walmart, locked away in my room wrapping gifts, and Olin tearing apart the kitchen. His frustration and confidence was at an all time high and low, as step one of putting in the remaining kitchen cabinet was not going well. A pipe wouldn't solder. Thankfully we have the internet with it's trusty advise. He stuck some balled up Wonder bread inside the pipe and it worked. By then it was evening, so all the other steps in the construction process came to a halt. Which means I can't use the kitchen sink until well after Christmas holidays.

Late in the day I emerged from my Santa elf workroom to a magical moment. The tree sparkled and glowed with lights, tinsel, shiny ornaments! It had been transformed by Becca. The entire undecorated room suddenly became enchanted. This is probably the most beautiful tree I've even gotten. ( I think I say that every year).

It was just the four of us for a small Christmas Eve dinner around the tiny cafe table in my torn apart kitchen. Now to clean it up without a kitchen sink. It's like camping, only inside the house.
Near midnight, I forced the sleepy family into the car for a drive down town to see a 50 year-old nativity display that I enjoy at State Auto Ins. It's a beautiful life-sized nativity. We weren't the only ones there either. It was freezing! We tried not to rush through the display and jumped up and down to stay warm. In one photo you will see Becca reinacting the role of the angel, and Sam is acting the role of Mary as depicted in the display.

Driving home we passed several churches as the multitudes left their sanctuaries for midnight candlelit services. We drove through a quaint older neighborhood on a hillside that overlooks the skyline. Luminaries lined the sidewalks. After a Christmas cookie I fell into bed.

The sun is up, a breakfast casserole is in the oven. We all await the dad to finish wrapping his gifts (a Christmas tradition-last minute gift preparation by the dad).

Wishing you all a Merry Christmas. I pray that JOY, PEACE, HOPE, FAITH, and LOVE will fill your hearts, minds, and homes today!


Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tellin' on Myself

I was sitting at my desk in my little house in the middle of the afternoon yesterday. The doorbell rang? Huh? I wasn't expecting anyone? The UPS guy? Oh, I hope so! I peeped through my peep hole and it was a neighbor. A neighbor I have never spoken to. For the past 16 years I've seen him every day walk his dog, and we wave. That's all. I opened the door to this stranger-neighbor and he asks me with a very serious tone, "Will that rubbish be picked up tomorrow morning?" I looked out to the street where three of my old cabinets sat in the rain. I hadn't made arrangements for the old cabinets to be hauled away yet. I wasn't sure if bulk pick up would take them or not. I figured I'd just put them out front there until I could arrange for a dumpster. I was a little nervous my neighbors were hating me right now with those ugly things sitting by the street.

"Oh, those old cabinets," I asked. Yes, he answered. Since I was afraid the cabinets bothered him I just smiled & replied, "Yes, tomorrow they'll be gone." I thought to myself I'll just move them to the back yard in the evening and so they'll be gone tomorrow morning.

Instead, the neighbor perked up and said, "oh good! I'm going to put out an old tv with your stuff so they can pick it up" He saw the look on my face and said "trust me, they'll pick it up with your cabinets. I just didn't want to stick it out there if they were going to sit out there for a week."

Ok, I thought. I didn't want to tell him, "hey, I just lied to you cuz I thought you were offended by them. Instead I just smiled and shut the door.

My 17 year old son came into the room and as he was putting on his shoes, he says, "who the heck is outside our house?" I asked, "does he have a TV." He said, "yes, he's putting a huge TV by our sidewalk." I proceeded to tell on myself to my son about my predicament about lying to the neighbor. My son shook his head at me in disbelief. Then he went outside to investigate the TV.

So, we now have a tv in the basement. And, there remain my cabinets in the still down pouring rain. I guess I should get working on a bulk pick up or ordering a dumpster.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Pray for Business Owners

If you're the praying type I have a Christmas prayer request for you. As you drive or walk past a small business, pray for the owner. If you have a friend with a small business whether it's a store, service business, even the person who cuts your hair is a small business owner, please pray for them! Why? You have no idea, unless you've been there, what they're going through emotionally.

It isn't the money that was put out for the business, or the borrowed money from friends and family or investors, or borrowed from the bank or credit cards that was put out into the universe on faith alone. It isn't the loss of that money. It isn't even the feeling of being "underwater" or "failing." The emotional pain comes from the sacrifice of time, sacrifice of family time, sacrifice of vacations, the hard hard work 6 - 7 days a week.

You may think, oh they have business coming in, but looks can be decieving. It would almost be easier if the loss of income coincided with "unemployment." It's one thing to be unemployed and and have no money coming in. It's another to be out of bed by 7 am and running, spending money, schmoozing, keeping positive attutudes for others, putting your best foot forward. Putting out fires. Dealing with other people's anger and entitlement attitudes. Not getting home until well after dark. Eating fast food and doing without daily needs met because you are scrambling to satisfy multiple people's needs, and people are counting on you to make it happen.

And all for . . . nothing. The small revenue coming in goes to . . . past business debts. . . while personal daily living expenses continue to go unmet. Work, for, nothing.

Small Business Owner's need your prayers! Pray first for their hearts and minds to be rooted and grounded in love. To trust that all their needs will be met. To rest. To believe. To have faith. To have joy. To have peace that passes understanding. Then prayer for prosperity of their community, for their business to be "found" by those with money and needs.

Pray that their income would increase to pay off their debts, plus meet their payroll and accounts payable, and for daily needs that are needed just to live on this planet! For extra tips, for appreciation from customers! For a jobs well done! And, money left over to help fulfill those dreams and hopes that were completely lost. The dreams they had when they started the business to make a difference in their community and to help their family, friends, and those in need. Dreams restored. Faith renewed. Prosperity is not a dirty word!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Top Cabinets Up

I left the camera at my office, or I'd give you a peek. Instead I would love some advice. Advice on Junk

The new upper cabinets are up. They are beautiful. It's very exciting to see the transformation in progress.

Now for the hard part. 16 years of "stuff" have been crammed and stored in those old cabinets. I don't want this ugly stuff to go back into my new beautiful cabinets. I get a chance to organize everything and make it all look so pretty.

Yet my brain is keeping me from moving forward. Junk is all over the kitchen floor as I try to sort through what I've kept over the years. What on earth do I do with this kind of stuff:

Example: Vintage glasses from 1971 The Ohio State University Buckeyes commemorating our beloved coach Woody Hayes. I think my mom gave them to me 15 years ago. My husband is certain his sister gave them to us back in 1989. We don't know who's right. Thousands of Buckeye fans had these glasses back in 1971. We don't drink out of them. We never will. Only three are left of the set of 6. I don't entertain. I probably never will. But throwing them away is like throwing away a part of my teenage years. I'd be throwing away the memories of my parents' football Saturday parties with all their friends in our home shouting at the TV and eating fabulous food. Those are such good memories. Memories I thought I'd make with my new family, but it never, ever happened. And, never will. I won't drink out of them as they're delicate and break easily. They're super cool to look at. Yet, ugly. They're a super, big nostalgic blast to hold in your hand. Yet, they're just ugly and useless.

What to do? Pitch them? Give them away? Store them in the basement? And if I store them, why? & if I give them away, why? Honestly, the paint on them is probably leaded and dangerous to drink from. Oh, my dear Buckeyes, I will still love you even if I toss the evidence of your multiple championships in the 60's and 70's--I will still love you, won't I?

Any advise out there?

Friday, December 9, 2011

I'm playing along at 5Q Friday

I've only played along with a "linky" blog once, so I hope I'm doing this right. i can't get the "button to work on my blog, but I got this 5 Question Friday over at: Five Crooked Halos

1. W
hat is your favorite Christmas cookie?
The Ginger Snap is my favorite Christmas cookie. I have a recipe for these and I love to eat them with a fresh cup o' joe whenever I'm feeling gloomy. They perk me right up into happy mode.
2. What's your favorite holiday movie & why?
My new favorite holiday movie is "The Holiday" with Cameron Diaz because it's my daughters all time favorite go-to movie to cheer her up. I've seen it so many times now I can quote some of the dialogue. "'Why do I always fall for the bad girls?'-- 'You didn't know she was bad.' -- 'I knew she wasn't good!'"

3. Is there a gift that you bought for your kids that you wish you hadn't after they opened it?
yes, there is. It's the xbox 360 that I bought for my son. I didn't know he would become addicted to gaming and not want to go outside and play. It's one of the biggest regrets of my life.
4. What is the messiest room in your house right at this moment?
My entire house floor to ceiling. Except for my daughters room is very together and peaceful. You can see my previous posts as to why it's chaos in my house.
5. What is the furthest you've driven for the holidays?
If we count Thanksgiving, we've driven over 1000 miles to visit our daughters in college in Florida for Thanksgiving. For Christmas, it has only been about 150 miles to Elyria, Ohio for the MIL.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Why Christmas Will Be Late-Or Did it Come Early?

See why I'm not getting ready for Christmas? The whole little house is like this.

In our "spare time" we're putting these cabinets up and we don't even know what we're doing. There's hardly any room to walk, and all the dishes and junk in the cupboards are in boxes on the floor too.
No worries. I'm thankful I'm getting new cabinets.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Darn It's Christmas Time

It's not that I'm disappointed. In fact, for the first time, I don't feel like a humbug. I'm actually excited about the lights, decorations, music. I do like Christmas. The problem is I am once again not ready with preparations in any way. I like celebrating. I like preparing. It just didn't happen (again). Each year I say I'll start in July. I don't. Each year I say I'm going to decorate starting Thanksgiving Day. It's never happened.

Now, my perpetually messy house is really torn apart because we finally bought some cabinets and are installing them in our "free time." I feel like laughing hysterically at that statement: "our free time."

Last night, Becca and I spent the evening an hour north of here at a special worship service where we also received personal ministry. We didn't get home until 12:30 am. I hadn't been in church for a month because of either pain or my travels. So, I felt very happy to be in the "house" again even if it was with such a diverse bunch of crazies. I love these crazy people so I say that with a warmth in my heart.

We arrived home at 12:30 am to my messy house and I found that my husband had taken down two cupboards, cleaned the cat pan, did two loads of laundry, and emptied out the last upper cupboard to be torn down.

Today while I was working real estate for six hours, he took the rest of the upper cabinets down, brought the rest of the new cabinets into the house from the harsh weather. He did more laundry. Plus, amazingly, he made our son pick out his Senior Portrait clothes.

Wow. I argued with a stubborn son for two weeks about senior portraits. You will wear a suit, no I won't, yes you will, no I wont, yes you will.... sigh. who cares if you wear a suit. Thanks to a stubborn father there will be a photo shoot with a suit jacket. (no pants though) -- nice compromise. The photo shoot is tomorrow morning and it is absolutely the last possible day to have his photo taken and still get in the yearbook. Fingers crossed they turn out ok, because there is no time to get them redone.

Back to Christmas. I don't know how I'm going to celebrate the holiday actually. I always have these expectations that Christmas will be special, very "holy", very intentional in my celebrating. Yet, this has only happened maybe twice my entire life.