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This is a Christmas repost from 2007. I thought about updating and dusting it off, but decided to let it stand, as is.

She was somewhere between thirteen and fifteen years old, and she never used a computer, talked on the phone, or rode in a car. TV would have seemed like witchcraft to her, and an airplane would have inspired sheer terror. She was a sweet, simple, country girl, from a poor working family, who probably never owned more than two dresses or one pair of shoes at a time.

For her, a formal education would have been impractical and out of reach. She learned from her mother how to cook, clean, care for children, and run a home. That was her lot in life and she was content with it. She had won the love of a good man, with a tender heart, and was looking forward to becoming his wife.

She lived during a time when speaking with angels wasn’t unheard of, and wasn’t as likely to get one locked away as it is today. And an angel told this simple, virgin, country girl she was going to have a child, not just any child, but the only begotten Son of God.

No one believed her, at first, but two thousand years later people, who don’t believe any part of the old story, know her name. She is honored in song, and remembered in films. Many of us wonder if we could have borne such a heavy responsibility.

Never think that God can’t use you, because of your lack of education or speaking skills.

1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”

Never think your past life will hinder His use of you.

2 Corinthians 12:9 ”… for my strength is made perfect in weakness. Most gladly therefore will I rather glory in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

Never be afraid to step out on faith.

Galatians 3:26 ”For ye are all the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus.”

God can and will use you, if your heart is willing.

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Our household has taken a number of hits the past few months:

 

1) June 1st Doug got laid off, and hasn’t been able to find work.

2) Before that we’d both had our hours cut.

3) In July Doug tried a job that didn’t work out, but delayed his unemployment by several weeks.

4) I had to call the mortgage company and make a new arrangement to pay our late payments.

5) The 14th of this month I fell off the porch and broke my ankle.

6) For some reason it took 15 days for our mailed payment to reach the mortgage company, causing us to default on our payment arrangement.

7) On the 21st, Doug started to hemorrhage and had to be taken, by ambulance, to the hospital.

8 ) The 23rd he had surgery to remove 2 polyps and a couple of hemorrhoids.

9) I spent 4 hours in surgery yesterday. It seems my ankle was actually shattered.

 

Yes, the storms have hit pretty danged hard around here, especially the last couple of weeks, but…

 

since Doug’s lay-off, we’ve been able to get a lot done around the house.

his unemployment cleared just in time to make a larger than normal mortgage payment.

he was here when I fell, and was able to stay home to care for me.

the default on our payment arrangement, worked out to a better arrangement for us.

Doug has had problems before, and now we know that it isn’t cancer, and he shouldn’t have anymore problems.

he was home the night of the 23rd, and is doing very well.

the doctor was able to put “Humpty Dumpty” back together again, and my ankle should be fine. I will, however set off the metal detector at the airport from now on.

 

There have been other blessings as well:

 

a) Thanks to a bonus and sick pay, I was saving, our bills are caught up until the 11th of November.

b) Both our cars are paid off.

c) My insurance will cover most of the bill for my ankle, because it was an emergency.

d) We’ve discovered we enjoy each others company, even in trying circumstances.

 

So, I will choose to praise Him in this storm, and thank Him for the blessings our hard times have brought to our home and relationship.

 

2 Corinthians 12:10 “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”

 

Psalm 56:4 “In God (I will praise His word),In God I have put my trust; I will not fear…”

 

I’ve been playing with my new digital camera lately. It sucks, but some of the pictures are still worth sharing.

never leave an empty bag on the table

never leave an empty bag on the table

safe from the dog mud

safe from the dog mud

just before he kicked the food dish off

just before he kicked the food dish off

My vacation officially started at 10pm, and brother am I ready!

I won’t be around a lot from Tuesday to Friday, because I’m going to go spend some time with my mom and dad. Keep a good thought for me; I haven’t flown since before my middle son was born, and he’s 23.

I’m working on a rather long post and hope to have it up before I leave. TTFN

Now that my Tony has turned into a large, loud, smelly tom cat it’s time to visit the vet. In a major way it’s for his own personal safety, as I can’t be responsible for my actions should he decide to “mark” me again, while I’m sleeping. Let me tell you, that’s one heck of a way to wake up!

His appointment is this morning, and he will stay overnight. The Ponder Animal Hospital is tops, and the people are loving, caring, and very good at what they do. So why, after running the cat carrier through the dishwasher in preparation for the trip, did I find myself in tears?

Maybe it’s because that carrier was last used to bring home the body of my best friend for burial, and because that was the last time I visited the animal hospital. Yeah, it’s a lot that, but it’s also that I don’t want Tony to be scared, and I’m not happy at the idea of him being gone for 24 hours.

So here I sit crying over a cat three years gone. Stupid, right? Maybe, but Shiloh was special. People who hated cats liked Shiloh, and for 14 years we were family. There are very few humans I’ve lived with that long. Heck, we got old together, and I miss him.

To make matters worse, I can’t sleep for worrying about Tony, more stupid. You can say he’s just a cat, but he’s my cat, dang it, and he’s more than loud, stubborn, and smelly. He’s also sweet, cuddly, smart, and terribly funny. Anyway, in this house there’s no such thing as just a cat/dog/bird. They’re family members, and we love them.

I’m going to be glad when this is over.

We replaced the old dinosaur computer a couple of weeks ago, and I’m finally getting around to figuring out how to work my digital camera. Most of the pictures were so blurry I had to delete them, but this one came out okay.

Remember Teeny Tiny Tony? Please meet Gigantic Tony Tom Cat.

Gigantic Tony Tom Cat

Most of you have seen this one before, but in the current economy it’s good to remember you don’t need a lot to have a wonderful Christmas.

My favorite Christmas memory is from the year I was ten. My parents, like most people who lived in our area, were having a rough time making ends meet. There were six of us living in a one-bedroom quadplex, with walls so thin my aunt and uncle, who lived upstairs, could hear the percolator making the morning coffee in our kitchen. Two of my younger brothers and I slept in the living room on rollaway beds, while the baby slept in my parent’s room.

We kids never knew how tough or scary things had become, and thought we had the coolest mom on the planet when she let us have popcorn for dinner. It never occurred to us it was the only thing in the house to eat, or that the custard and toast, we loved for breakfast, was served because it was cheap and went a long way.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Mom started dropping hints that we weren’t going to have much of a Christmas, and there was no way we could afford a tree.

Two weeks before Christmas, Dad brought home a sheet of plywood someone had given him. When we asked what it was for, we simply got a look that said he’d never tell and asking too many questions might be dangerous for one’s behind. Our curious ears listened to the sounds of sawing, hammering and the occasional curse, while speculating among ourselves what he might be building.

The day we got out of school for Christmas break my teacher, who had heard we weren’t able to get a tree, sent the one we’d made for our classroom home with me. It was a five-foot cardboard monstrosity that almost didn’t fit in our car, but once we got it home Mother put a few touches to it, and it looked quite nice sitting in our tiny living room.

Mom has always made Christmas Eve a special time, and that year was no exception. She had put tiny lights around the “tree”, and there was hot cocoa, and marshmallows roasted at the gas space heater. Mom read us Twas The Night Before Christmas and the Christmas story from Luke, then we sang carols to Dad’s version of guitar playing, before hanging our stockings. We always used Dad’s clean socks, and they were hung very carefully, because he needed them back.

Christmas morning arrived, and we raced to our stockings. One would have thought they were full of diamonds and gold the way we acted when we dumped the oranges and hazelnuts out of them, which of course, quickly became breakfast.

Dad slipped outside, and we finally found out what he’d been working on. The first thing he brought in was a rocking horse for the baby. He’d built it so the rowdy little devil couldn’t tip it over, even at his rowdiest. Next he brought in stilts for the two older boys. They were only six inches off the floor, but they became ten-foot tall every time they used them. I waited for my gift, and couldn’t imagine what he could have built me. Then he walked in with a dollhouse that was better than any I had seen in the stores, and I played with it until it fell apart, years later.

Dad found a job in Dallas that next year, and things got better for us. There were always nice gifts under the tree after that, but there are times when I long for oranges, hazel nuts, and homemade gifts.

 

My dad is very ill, and it’s breaking my heart that I can’t get there for Christmas, this year. I will, however, be visiting them in February. Those of you who pray, please send up a small one, for me, that it won’t be too late.

1. We went to the recent IRL race, here at TMS, and watched Robbie Knievel jump 21 Hummers (down from 25, due to the wind). He looked a little older and a lot more like a stoner than I expected. But when he proved himself a real class act, the TV audience didn’t even get to see it.

 

Mr. Knievel hopped off his cart and was making his way gently but firmly through the crowd at the entrance to pit-row, until he notice three men in army uniforms. Stopping everything else, he walked straight up to them, and shook each man’s hand, while thanking him for his service to our country. He also made sure they had the best seats available to watch his jump.

I’m impressed.

 

2. Went to my family reunion Saturday, and made a fun discovery. One of the nice young women, I work with, is a cousin! It’s very cool to have family so close, even cooler when it’s someone you like!

 

The one family member, I would have considered incapable of being cold and distant, was very cold and distant. Why is it the more important someone is to you, the less able you are to simply ask what you’ve done to offend or hurt him? 

 

3. Mr. W and I have both quit smoking during the last few months. I never wanted to be one of those former smokers, who wanted the whole world to conform for my comfort, so I let visiting family smoke in the house, while they were here.

 

Oh yikes! Did it always smell that horrible?! I love them to pieces, but next year all the smoking will be done outside.

 

4) Teeny, Tiny Tony is growing so fast. I swear sometimes he’s bigger when I get home from work, than he was when I left! We have to remind ourselves that, though he may not look it, he’s still just a baby.

 

Of course, then he’ll fall on his face, or take that flying leap that seems to be exclusively a kitten move, and it’s easy to remember.

 

5) Friday is our 10th wedding anniversary. We’re going fishing Friday night, and to a Foreigner concert Saturday night. It will be the first time ever, that we’re able to do something alone together, for our anniversary.

He’s sixteen, and he’s never had a real family. The last time he saw his mother, he was ten, and she told him she had given up her parental rights. At twelve he and his older brother were adopted, but after only a few weeks they returned him to CPS and kept his brother. His brother still visits him, but his one wish is for a family of his own.

He’s a big kid, built like a linebacker, but he’s softhearted and caring. He’d like to play football, but hasn’t been in one foster home long enough. He would also like to have a home with a big dog, maybe a Lab or a Husky.

Guess what we have.

After hearing his story, all my husband and I could do was look at each other and cry. All this sweet, articulate, almost grown boy needs is parents to love him when he fails and cheer for him when he succeeds.

We’re going the 26th to find out what we have to do to adopt him. It’s time he had a real family.

Please keep us and our son in your thoughts and prayers.

My favorite Christmas memory is from the year I was ten. My parents, like most people who lived in our area, were having a rough time making ends meet. There were six of us living in a one-bedroom quadplex, with walls so thin my aunt and uncle, who lived upstairs, could hear the percolator making the morning coffee in our kitchen. Two of my younger brothers and I slept in the living room on rollaway beds, while the baby slept in my parent’s room.

We kids never knew how tough or scary things had become, and thought we had the coolest mom on the planet when she let us have popcorn for dinner. It never occurred to us it was the only thing in the house to eat, or that the custard and toast, we loved for breakfast, was served because it was cheap and went a long way.

Shortly after Thanksgiving, Mom started dropping hints that we weren’t going to have much of a Christmas, and there was no way we could afford a tree.

Two weeks before Christmas, Dad brought home a sheet of plywood someone had given him. When we asked what it was for, we simply got a look that said he’d never tell and asking too many questions might be dangerous for one’s behind. Our curious ears listened to the sounds of sawing, hammering and the occasional curse, while speculating among ourselves what he might be building.

The day we got out of school for Christmas break my teacher, who had heard we weren’t able to get a tree, sent the one we’d made for our classroom home with me. It was a five-foot cardboard monstrosity that almost didn’t fit in our car, but once we got it home Mother put a few touches to it, and it looked quite nice sitting in our tiny living room.

Mom has always made Christmas Eve a special time, and that year was no exception. She had put tiny lights around the “tree”, and there was hot cocoa, and marshmallows roasted at the gas space heater. Mom read us Twas The Night Before Christmas and the Christmas story from Luke, then we sang carols to Dad’s version of guitar playing, before hanging our stockings. We always used Dad’s clean socks, and they were hung very carefully, because he needed them back.

Christmas morning arrived, and we raced to our stockings. One would have thought they were full of diamonds and gold the way we acted when we dumped the oranges and hazelnuts out of them, which of course, quickly became breakfast.

Dad slipped outside, and we finally found out what he’d been working on. The first thing he brought in was a rocking horse for the baby. He’d built it so the rowdy little devil couldn’t tip it over, even at his rowdiest. Next he brought in stilts for the two older boys. They were only six inches off the floor, but they became ten-foot tall every time they used them. I waited for my gift, and couldn’t imagine what he could have built me. Then he walked in with a dollhouse that was better than any I had seen in the stores, and I played with it until it fell apart, years later.

Dad found a job in Dallas that next year, and things got better for us. There were always nice gifts under the tree after that, but there are times when I long for oranges, hazel nuts, and homemade gifts.