Thursday, December 30, 2010

Family Times and Traditions

It was a good holiday of spending time with family and friends. Pictures? Not sure if I have any downloaded to the computer, but I'll check.

We had a Christmas Eve dinner with 3 of our boys, one daughter-in-law, and one significant other, who we love as much as a daughter-in-law. After exchanging gifts we all headed to Shaffer's house for our traditional Christmas eve gathering, culminating as usual with singing Christmas carols. Our tradition began about 35 years ago. Tom and I would pack up our two little boys, then three, then four little boys and head over to Gary and Nadine's house. Sometimes we'd take a detour through Pleasant Hills and look at all the pretty Christmas lights. At Shaffer's, in the early years, our kids played with their kids, we exchanged gifts, snacked, and sang Christmas carols before heading home, sometimes in blizzard conditions. Through the years our small group grew adding the Thayer family, Fergusons, Parsons, Thumms, and more. Kids grew up, families came and went. A few years ago we moved the gathering to our house. This year though the Shaffer's grown children hosted the Christmas eve party, and it was splendid. What a joy to have Shaffer's little ones running around -- a treat that the Parsons' grandchildren and the Thayer's grandchildren offered in years past. I fantasize about a day when my own grandchildren might be among the little ones who cheerfully chant "Rudolf the Red Nosed Reindeer" and sweetly sing "Away in a Manger". Someday -- maybe. On the other hand, my children may be busy creating their own family traditions -- and perhaps we'll be drawn into theirs. Traditions are lovely, but they aren't sacred. Only love is sacred and it can be lived out in so many wonderful evolving ways.

Christmas Day was relaxing...waking up late and enjoying a quiet morning with just Nathan here. We had coffee, and opened presents, and then made a light brunch before heading off to Erie to have a delicious Christmas dinner with David's in-law family. What a treat. I can't remember when I didn't spend Christmas morning fixing Christmas dinner. We had a happy, blessed time with the Blais family.

The day after Christmas, after church, we were off to State College with half of our kiddos for the Bruce family gathering. Good times, grand confusion, great amounts of food, exchanging of gifts, playing games, catching up with sisters, brothers, and their super-duper spouses (who are like sisters and brothers), nieces, nephews and their friends. Even Pop-Pop made the trip from Florida, although without Oma -- because that's just the way it worked out due to a business meeting. We missed Kathy's fam from France and of course missed our brother Rob who has gone on, but is with us in spirit... always.

Days after Christmas we took Nathan, David and Melanie last night to Adam and Alicia's house. The seven of us enjoyed a long s-l-o-w dinner at Chili's. We spent the time laughing about lots of stuff including our favorite sitcoms :-) Then Tom and I headed home, leaving the early morning airport run (which I trust happened at about 6 a.m.) to Adam and Alicia. That allowed Tom and me to stay snug in bed at 5:00 a.m. rather than finding ourselves cruising down the highway to get all 3 out-of-state kids to the airport for morning flights.

Enough. I've got to get ready for company. Apparently we just can't get enough of spending time with people! Tomorrow is New Year's Eve. Enjoy, be safe, review your old year, and no matter how good or bad it was, make good resolutions for the one coming up. My resolve will be to know and love God more clearly and His people, all those He puts in my path, more dearly. Happy New Year to you and yours.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Counting Down, Looking Up

Ready or not, December 25th comes. I'm ready enough. My trip to Philly last weekend was so inspiring that I came home and got the tree decorated and the stockings up. Then I rearranged the living room. My friend says that's the sign of an insecure woman...always rearranging furniture. Maybe. But I really like the furniture this way...for now.

 I was inspired by my sister's newly arranged den, which is much classier. I have to rely on the old farmhouse charm...such as it is.

But all the trappings of a happy Christmas aside, this is the focus, this is the reason to look up: God sent his son, to save us from our sins. That's my reason to rejoice... all year long, all life long.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Catching Some Holiday Spirit

The Sister's Christmas Party...Aunt's Party...Cousins Get Together...with friends too.
Everyone but the gals in the kitchen

It was a wonderful fun time at Aunt Ro's house...

Mom and Aunt Lou came from Florida, I drove clear across the state and back again. A sister-in-law of one cousin came all the way from Wisconsin, or one of those mid-west states engulfed in blizzard conditions. By the by, there is no snow in Philly and it was warm. The temp was falling when I left this morning and there were reports of snowflakes in the air, but I couldn't see any. Another pic...

My momma and her life-long friend. Look, you can still see the little girl in them...

You're looking at 160 years between them!

Mom is going to hate reading that. She's not willingly owning her 80 years yet. 
She and Sara are giggling over being two 40's each.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

A Break in the Precipitation

Pink snow babies ready to play...

         Two kids, one sled...

                             Happy to share...

                                                                                                                                      It was a good day.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Shoveling the Roof

Thirty inches of snow, I wonder how much that weighs? I don't know, but we had to get it off the roof. 
Don't worry, honey, help is on the way...

The fence is 6 feet high, snow 3-4 feet

That's the diving board
We only got about 1/3 of the job done. More snow falling, but tomorrow it should stop.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Snow Day

Twenty two inches and counting. This beautiful fluffy white stuff is falling at about 1" per hour. The local school district called for a two hour delay this morning, but then went ahead and had school. Crazy. The surrounding districts played it safe and took a snow day. No one likes to make them up, but no one likes to have buses full of little kids stuck on bad roads or in a ditch either.

I went to work at the church only because I had an appointment to get snow tires put on my car. Yeah, like a day late -- that's the price you pay for being a practicing procrastinator. But it worked out for me because I could leave my car at the garage and walk to work. Assessing the church parking lot, my PT Cruiser never could have mustered through. I used Hoover's Tire as my parking garage and trudged the few blocks in knee deep snow. No kidding. In a few places the drifts were thigh high. I wore snow pants and boots and swooshed onward like a champ. So about the time I was done updating the website, answering mail and phone calls, sorting out other business, my car was ready to be picked up. Oh, I also shoveled a path for Mr. Mailman from the main sidewalk to the church mail slot. I'm sure he appreciated it. I know I appreciated it when I left work to go get my car.

With all this beautiful snow I should be happily decorating the house for Christmas. But no, haven't found the spirit yet. Perhaps I can cajole Tom into helping when he comes in from the great outdoors.  He's out hunting for Bambi's father. I'm not hoping he finds him, but then again, I am hoping for venison in the freezer. Can't have it both ways.
This little car wants a garage for Christmas.


Thursday, December 2, 2010

My Inspiration to embrace today...

I want to call her my friend, but we've only met through cyberspace and Christmas cards. She is my husband's third cousin, I think. (I would have to get the chart out and see if that's correct, or if it's second cousin once removed.) I know her mother and father. I pray for this young woman, her husband, her children and her parents. She has been fighting IBC (Inflammatory Breast Cancer) for 3 1/2 years. As a scientist, wife, mommy, blogger, and all around amazing woman she has touched countless lives -- including mine. I've been following her story, eavesdropping on her life for more than 3 years. At turns I've rejoiced, cried, laughed, sighed, and even gotten angry (not at her, at the cancer and the unfairness of life). Her most recent blog post Unexpected Strength moved me to tears this morning. Her words are profoundly touching, inspiring, heartbreaking, uplifting, sad... and somehow... full of hope.