Friday, December 24, 2010

The Stranger

The Stranger


At Christmas time there was a man who looked so out of place,
as people who rushed about him at a hurried sort of pace.

He stared at all the Christmas lights, the tinsel everywhere,
The shopping center, Santa Claus, with children gathered near.

The Mall was packed with shoppers who were going to and fro,
Some with smiles and some with frowns and some too tired to go.

They rested on the benches or they hurried on their way,
to fight the crowd for purchases to carry home that day.

The music from a stereo was playing loud and clear
of Santa Claus, and snow men, and a funny-nosed reindeer.

He heard the people talk about the good times on the way,
Of parties, fun, and food galore, and gifts exchanged that day.

"I'd like to know what's going on," the man was heard to say,
"There seems to be some sort of celebration on the way."

"And would you tell me who this is, all dressed in red and white?
And why are children asking him about a special night?"

The answer came in disbelief, "I can't believe my ear!
I can't believe you do not know that Christmas time is here!"

"The time when Santa comes around with gifts for girls and boys,
When they're asleep on Christmas, he leaves them books and toys."

"The man you see in red and white is Santa Claus, so sly,
The children love his joyful laugh and twinkle in his eye."

"His gift packed sleigh is pulled along by very small reindeer,
As he flies quickly through the air, while darting here and there."

"The children learn of Santa while they are still quite small.
When Christmas comes, he is the most important one of all."

The stranger hung his head in shame, and closed a nail-pierced hand.
His body shook in disbelief; he did not understand.

A shadow crossed his stricken face, his voice was low but clear,
"After all these years, they still don't know."

And Jesus shed a tear.


- Author Unknown -

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Merry Christmas

It's hard to believe that this year is approaching it's end.  It seems like the older I get the faster time moves.  This year has been a blur, yet I remember that there are days that I thought would never end, days that would never get here, and a lot of thought about tomorrow.  Yet here we are.  Everything after Christmas is just the final preparations for the finale. 

My Christmas festivities start tomorrow.  Or today, if you count all the cooking I have to do for tomorrow.  Yet, as I write this post (on Tuesday, just in case you were wondering, because when this post actually posts, I will be dreaming of sugar plums dancing in my head) it's hard to believe that another year is almost over.

Enjoy one of my favorite Christmas poems tomorrow, and I hope that on Saturday you find the joy in Christmas.  That you and your family (if you celebrate) remember the true meaning of the day, and find the joy in that.  I hope Santa fills your stocking with goodies and not coal.  I'm pretty sure I need a shovel to dig my way out of the coal.

Merry Christmas.  And Happy Birthday to Jesus.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday


Only in West Texas will you find a pelican in late fall and early winter taking up residence at a local lake.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Christmas Traditions

Holidays bring all sorts of traditions with them.  With Christmas comes Santa, with Easter the Easter Bunny, with St. Patrick's Day the leprechaun.  That doesn't even include the traditions that are passed through families and the ones that you make up as you go along.

Amazingly so, we don't have a lot of traditions in our family.  We all, for the most part, fly by the seat of our pants.  Christmas Eve is spent with my grandparents and parents.  Christmas Day I usually stay at home and veg, often my in-laws will join us for lunch or dinner, as Christmas isn't celebrated with them until the brother and family that lives out of town can join us.

Since my husband and I have lived near and far, we have tried to set up our own traditions, but it hasn't worked as well as we had hoped.  Life often interfered and one of us had to work.  I remember one year we had planned on staying home and watching movies.  It was 85* here, my husband, being in the ice business was slammed and ended up going to work, while I stayed home alone. 

Last year we had about 8 inches of snow and ice on the ground, and we were stuck at home.  We missed getting to spend the time with our family, but at the same time we enjoyed the time that we had together.

Some families do Christmas stockings on Christmas Eve, others wait until Christmas morning.  As a kid, we made cookies on Christmas Eve, it gave me something to do instead of waiting for Santa to come and us to be able to open presents.

What traditions does your own families have and do you like them, or would you rather introduce something different?  Chime in and let us know.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Another Chapter

Chapters, books are defined by them, and our lives can be measured by them.  Marriage, graduation, birth, death.  They all end and begin chapters in our lives. 

Something significant happened over this past weekend.  While some might not see it that way, it was the end of a chapter and a chance to chase a dream.  See, I'm officially a college graduate.  I completed the requirements for my associates degree several days ago.

Granted an associates degree, probably won't get me as far as I want to go, but I'm halfway to where I want to be. 

It's weird writing this post, almost like I'm trying to predict the future, instead of experiencing the present.  This was something that I have wanted for so long now, that it's hard to believe that I'm actually done.  Yet, while this chapter is ending, another is preparing to begin.

In 3 short weeks, I will begin the next part of my journey at a different university.  One that will have me at least finishing my bachelor's degree.  I have other plans in mind, but sometimes life gets in the way.  But it's still another chapter. 

It could be another chance to get it right, it will be a learning experience, and not just book knowledge.  The chapter hasn't yet been written, and each day as I get home to more mail from TTU, it continues to be play out, and the plot thickens. 

I'm nervous, I'm excited, I'm terrified.  I'm ready to get started, and I hope that time passes slowly so I don't have to start yet.  I know it's what I want to do, but I'm a little overwhelmed with the fact that I will be at least 10+ years older than most of the people in my classes.  I will relate better to my instructors, than I will with the other students.  I'm not a "people" person.  Yet, I can be anything I want to be. 

So many kids graduate high school and head off to college to find themselves and their place in this world.  Instead I found my place in this world and am now heading off to college.  It's a little backwards, but I've never done anything the way that you are supposed too.

I'm simply living, breathing proof, that it's never too late to finish what you started, or still believe in the power and beauty of dreams.

~One half of knowing what you want is knowing what you must give up before you get it. ~Sidney Howard



~It is a most mortifying reflection for a man to consider what he has done, compared to what he might have done.  ~Samuel Johnson
 
~The rung of a ladder was never meant to rest upon, but only to hold a man's foot long enough to enable him to put the other somewhat higher.  ~Thomas Henry Huxley
 
~The question isn't who is going to let me; it's who is going to stop me.  ~Ayn Rand

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Happy Anniversary

To My Husband,

In a few minutes you are going to be cussing me, and telling me how unfair I am being, by writing you this letter. You will tell me what a fabulous writer I am, and that I should just have to give Hallmark cards out like “normal” people. Honey, you of all people should know by now that there is very little about me that is “normal”.

I just wanted to tell you today, how glad I am that I am married to you.

11 years ago today, we walked into something that neither one of us really had a clue about. I couldn’t imagine spending my life without you in it. I couldn’t imagine things not working out. How we survived the first couple of years, I will never understand. But those first few years, I believe are what helped us to understand what we both needed, as individuals and as a couple out of this relationship. We were so young, still kids, yet, we managed to find ourselves, and each other in the process.

I’ll never forget the day I called you and asked you how you would feel about Gangie living with us. You didn’t even take a breath, didn’t even hesitate. You simply said OK. I hope you know that you gave me those few months with him, which I wouldn’t have otherwise had. I know that there were times that it was tedious and horrible, with the hallucinations and the accidents, but those few months helped seal him into my life and into my heart, that made his death so much easier to bear. You gave me the gift of time, time to reminisce, and time to mourn. I’m so glad that you got those months with him too. I’m also glad that I had a long conversation about you with him one day. You were the grandson that he never had, and I hope you know how much he loved you, and how much I valued that conversation with him. I’m thankful that you were there when I lost him, and the love and support that you gave. I’m not sure I could have managed that without you.

I often tell you that I love you, but I don’t often tell you how much I appreciate you and everything that you do for me. I appreciate it when you load the dishwasher and do things around the house during your lunch break. I can come home and spend a few more minutes with you before “duty” calls. I appreciate you helping to cook dinner, and not complaining when we try new recipes that are an epic fail. I appreciate you for finding the humor in messes and cooking disasters. I’m thankful that you don’t lose your patience and yell at me and tell me to cook “normal” food.

I appreciate you helping with the laundry, and cleaning. I hope you know that I don’t expect you to do it, but I appreciate the efforts that you put forth into keeping our house picked up and clean. I appreciate you jumping into projects like cleaning out closets and moving furniture whether you really wanted to do it or not. I appreciate you taking my truck and getting the oil changed so I don’t have to.

I’m so very thankful that you like to spend time with me and go on mundane errands, like to the grocery store. I like it when you go shopping with me, and don’t get impatient, although I do wish you wouldn’t worry so much about hurting my feelings and give me your honest opinion.

I’m thankful that you have often gotten up, and went to a job that you hated in order for us to continue on with the plans we have for the future and the life that we want to have together. I appreciate how you always think of my feelings and my plans before you schedule your own.

I’m thankful that you had the patience to allow me the chance to chase my own dreams, even though those dreams have often gotten in the way of your own. You don’t know how much I appreciate all you have sacrificed so that I could go back to college and have a degree that means something, if only to me. Even though the stress of having me in college, and the pressure that has fallen onto you to take care of laundry and other tasks that we have always shared, you haven’t complained. You have allowed me to “find” myself, to chase a degree that I wouldn’t have ever experienced without going back to school; and in finding out more about myself along this path, I have found that I still belong with you.

I look forward to spending the rest of our lives together. You keep my life full of adventures and exciting. Thank you for agreeing that this was a permanent arrangement, one that we couldn’t get out of if things weren’t working. Thank you for asking me to marry you. Thank you for showing up everyday and working to make our marriage everything that it is today.

My heart belongs to you, always.

Friday, December 17, 2010

5 Question Friday

Good Morning!  It's Friday!!  I'm a little excited this morning. Tonight is my graduation party (I'm official tomorrow).  I finished my last class with a 4.0.  Can't beat that.  Tomorrow is my anniversary, my husband and I have been married 11 years.  Tune in tomorrow for a special post to my husband.  This week has been a big week around here.  I've had my first giveaway (that I can't giveaway).  I'm going to spend the weekend with my husband, we are going to pick up a few last minute gifts, and just spend some quality time together.  I'm getting 2 full days off work for the next two weeks, and I'm excited about the rest that I will be getting before I start back to school in 3 weeks. I'm also hoping to finish designing a button (like the one below) for my facebook page and twitter.  I'm going all out in 2011, I'll be everywhere.  It's all part of my plan to take over the world.


1. Do you regift...and if so, do you have a regifting horror story?


I always try to return first, and regift as a last possible option.  However, if I do regift, I make sure that it goes to someone who will actually use it.  And that the original gifter and the new receiver will never meet.  I hate these people who do "bulk" gifts.  You know what I mean, they buy the same item for 20 people, and only one out of the 20 is actually thrilled about it.  I shop for the person not the group.
2. Do you know what you are getting for Christmas this year?

Um, yeah.  Possibly because I got it the day after Thanksgiving.  My husband and I wanted a Wii for Christmas, so we went Black Friday shopping and got a Wii.  I also got some plastic containers, and a stand mixer.  But part of that is my graduation/Christmas.  It was easier than wrapping it and holding out until Christmas.  As far as my grandparents and parents gifts to me - not a clue.  I would rather spend the time with them, then get the gifts anyway.


3. Who brings the most gifts in your family, you or Santa?

There are no small children to "play" Santa with around here.  So it's a toss up.  My grandparents, and parents usually put the most thought into our gifts.  They try to get things that we want or need.  My inlaws often do together gifts, which is fine, but it isn't always something that we both can use.
4. What store do you love to by jeans from?

Where ever I can find them.  I'm not picky.  When you are 5'4" tall you can't afford to be, or you would walk around naked most of the time.  The last few years I have gotten most of mine from Cato's.  But like I said, when I find ones that fit, and that aren't 2 miles too long or hi-waters, I buy them.  I don't care if they are from Walmart, Target, Cato's or Dillards.  I usually only buy 2 pair a year.  And dress pants - I'm not so picky.  I buy them, then take them to my mom and she hems them up for me.  Jeans, not so much. 


5. Christmas meal: Big, All Out Meal or Snacks and Apps?

We usually do dinner with my parents and then have snacks and hot chocolate or wassail at my grandparents.  This year, we are having lunch (meal) at my Great Aunt Nita's, then we are going to my grandparents.  Then my grandparents, my parents and John and I are all having enchiladas, beans, guacamole, and salad for dinner Christmas Eve. 

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Lesson 1243 in Randomness

-I'm tired.  Of school, work, life in general, cooking, cleaning.  This list is endless.  I need a vacation to a tropical destination.  And liposuction.

- Apparently I'm going to have a giveaway I can't giveaway.  Go comment people!

-Looking forward to, and slightly dreading, my graduation dinner tomorrow night.  My sweet husband was/is going to cook steaks on the grill in 34* weather, with possible snow.  I offered to change the menu.  His only response, what that "real men grill in the snow." Um..ok.  Real women know better than to stand outside in 34* weather, that's probably why we live longer.

-Not looking forward to coming to work on Friday.  I'm sure that the a/c will kick on at least once before noon.

-I posted an ad on Facebook about needing a hit man for our a/c unit at work.  Didn't have any takers.  Apparently I need to offer better stakes.

-I bought an electric blanket in hopes that I wouldn't freeze at night, or early morning when my husband gets up way before I do.  He has totally ruined my faith in men and their ability to get ready to go quickly.  I usually wake up before he comes in to crank the heat up on my blanket before he leaves.  This delayed reaction from him, could be the fact that I think he is using my anti-wrinkle cream, lotion and other "girly" products.

-Maybe I need to set up a hidden camera to see what really goes on in our bathroom.  Then again, maybe somethings shouldn't be known.

-I have bad news for him, the blanket will stay on our bed year round.

-Saturday is our anniversary.  We will have been married 11 years.  It's hard to believe that it has been that long.  Look for a special post on Saturday.

-I have a final paper that I should be working on, instead I keep trying to squeeze out things to post here, so I can avoid it for a while longer.

-Looking forward to seeing my niece and nephew for Christmas in January.  Assuming my plans to take over the world continue on.

-I will abolish all homework when I take over the world.  I will also make dishes self cleaning, laundry automatically cleans itself, and cars that never get bird poop on them.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Santa Comes Early This Year

Sorry to disappoint you all, but Wordless Wednesday has been temporarily canceled.  After you view the details, I'm sure that you won't mind. 

Instead, today, I'm going to play Secret Santa for one of you.  Except it isn't a secret.  So I guess I'm just going to play Santa's little helper.



This can be yours!  Well, not the bad photo, but the beautiful scents inside.  Keep it for yourself, give it away.  The choice is yours.

Just post a comment between now and Friday at 9:00 am Central time answering the following question:
"If you ruled the world, what holiday rules would you make?"  Obviously you won't rule the world before I do, but it's the thought that counts. 

The only thing you have to do is make a comment (only one per day) and make sure that I have a way to get in touch with you. 

This is my first giveaway, I'm sure that there will be a few snags along the way, so be patient with me.  Anonymous commentors won't count, I'm the only one who gets to be anonymous around here.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Santa Claus: Fact or Fiction

Several weeks ago I participated in a 5 Question Friday that Mama at My Little Life hosts each week.  One of the questions that week was in regards to how long you believed in Santa Claus and how you found out that he doesn't exist.

I still believe in Santa Claus.  I realize that he doesn't deliver toys to millions of children on Christmas Eve and that he doesn't pop down our chimney and fill our stockings.  I understand that.  I also understand that it was my mom who played Santa when I was a kid.

Yet, the person that our traditional Santa Claus is today, was modeled after an actual person.  After a Saint, who simply tried to bring happiness to another person's life with nothing asked for in return.  Sometimes I even wonder if the real Saint wasn't a legend as well.  Or perhaps he was modeled after someone else who gave their life without asking for anything in return.

I hate these people who teach their kids that he didn't exist, or even worse that Christmas is simply a time for greed and to expand their toy box.  I think that we tend to overdo in the gift giving and other "requirements" that we feel have been passed on to us each year.  You know what I mean, finding the perfect gift for everyone on your list from Aunt Betty to Uncle Steve.  You have to get them all something magnificent.  Then you have to buy stuff for your kids and for your kids from Santa.  It's a real mess, and I can imagine a real headache for a parent to put up with.  I don't have children, so I can only speculate.

I used to have a story that passed through my email a few years ago, that I would love to find again.  It was about a young boy who came home from school quite upset, because his friends had made fun of him and told him that Santa didn't exist.  The father, instead of confirming the young boys fears, told his son of Jesus birth and how Santa helped to celebrate the day, not how Christmas day was all about Santa.

I remember when I began to question Santa's existence.  I remember standing in the field with my grandfather.  We were walking looking for a cow who had gone off to have her calf.  I told him that one of my friends told me that there was no such thing as Santa and that it was really my mama. 

He could have told me a 100 different things.  He could have admitted that it was a sham.  But I think that he knew, on some level, how that would have destroyed my faith in all the things that my parents had told me, not just about Santa and Christmas, but about so much more.

Instead he begins to tell remind me that Christmas is about more than just Santa.  He began to tell me about how every good thing I did for someone who didn't have as much as I did, that I was doing Santa's work.  That in fact Santa was just a messenger or helper for someone higher up the chain of command.  It was the only time in my life that I can ever remember my grandfather openly discussing God.

I think that we live in a world where we put out so many different things.  Santa, the Easter Bunny, Leprechauns, fairies and imaginary friends.  We put so much into finding and buying the perfect gift that we so often forget that Christmas is about so much more than that.

It's about celebrating a birthday.  It's about renewing our faith.  It's about remembering our own childhood as we witness the joy in our children.  It's not about the presents, or the tinsel.  Maybe we all need to remember that and find the true meaning of Christmas before another year passes us by.

~Christmas is a time to open our hearts to God and his gifts.  Just like the rest of the year.  ~Author Unknown
~And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so?  It came without ribbons.  It came without tags.  It came without packages, boxes or bags.  And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore.  Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before.  What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store.  What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more.  ~Dr Seuss

Monday, December 13, 2010

Wordless Wednesday Cancelled!!

This week Wordless Wednesday has been cancelled, instead look for my very first giveaway!!  Details to follow on Wednesday!!

Christmas Crazies

What is it that happens the day after Thanksgiving that makes the “crazies” come out? I would bet money that these people have been hiding under a rock the rest of the year and they only come out until the day after Christmas, then they go back to where they came from.

Let me explain. I have noticed in the last few weeks that there are more drivers out, more people in the grocery store, Target, Walmart, even the pharmacy. What I want to know is there a switch that is flipped that turns normal people into rude, inconsiderate people that I am immune to?

I have been hit with baskets, had people cut in line, elbowed, kicked, cussed out, nearly ran over, and the list goes on and on.

I almost want to take out a billboard, and buy a ton of ad space on every local TV station, and in the newspaper and remind people what we are really supposed to be celebrating.

I can assure you, as well as the rest of the “crazies” I have encountered, it isn’t about the presents, or the baking, or the decorating. It’s about so much more than that.

It’s about celebrating a birthday of a special baby, of a Savior. It’s about spending time with family and friends and renewing our faith in that tiny baby.

Maybe a big enough ad would remind some of those who have forgotten. Maybe they need to watch the old version of How the Grinch Stole Christmas, or read the book. Perhaps Dr. Suess was onto something after all.

~And the Grinch, with his Grinch-feet ice cold in the snow, stood puzzling and puzzling, how could it be so? It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags. And he puzzled and puzzled 'till his puzzler was sore. Then the Grinch thought of something he hadn't before. What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store. What if Christmas, perhaps, means a little bit more. ~Dr Seuss

Friday, December 10, 2010

5 Question Friday

Today, I'm so very thankful that it's Friday.  Wait, didn't I already do thankful posts.  Hmm, deja vu.  Weird.  Sorry, it's early on a Friday morning and my brain doesn't function correctly until at least noon.  Perhaps I should rethink the 8am class that I have scheduled myself for. 

This weekend is going to be busy (is there really any other kind?)  I have to go hunting for all the food for my graduation party.  I'll take pictures for you.  : )  Of course I can't post them, because I don't want anyone knowing who I am.  It's a win-win for both of us.  Then the usual course of cleaning, laundry, and a little making of fudge for the nuts my husband and I work with. 

Have a Happy Two Weeks Before Christmas Weekend!!
1. Do you open presents on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day?


Usually we spend Christmas Eve with my family.  We start out at my Aunt Nita's where in the past we have drawn names.  This year we are doing boy/girl gifts.  Because I'm a girl I take a girl gift and because my husband is a boy he would take a boy gift, and if our dogs went, well, they would take anything that smelled like bacon.  Or like Scentsy's Toasted Sugar and Caramel scent.  They go banana's when I open the package.  But I digress.

Then we break so that my grandparents can go to church.  The rest of us are heathens.  After they get back from church, we go to their house and the present orgy continues.  Then we usually head to my parents and finish up the night there.  This year, we are starting things out a little earlier, so we have a different game plan.  Which is nice, hopefully it won't mean that we get home at 2am like in years past.  Christmas day is usually just a day where we hang around and be lazy.
2. What is your favorite Christmas cookie (or candy)?

My favorite cookie is snickerdoodles.  There really isn't anything that is made at Christmas that I wish I had year round.  Although I do look forward to my grandmother's hot chocolate, which is just Swiss Miss doctored up, and the wassail.  There are so many festive goodies that I really don't understand why some of them are only made at Christmastime.  Like fudge.  When is chocolate not a good time?

3. What's the worst Christmas gift you've ever received?

Oh goodness.  I've received some "odd" religious things from my aunt and uncle, who are Mormon.  My inlaws put little thought into gifts, and so I often get a blanket, or something that I don't really need or that doesn't match my decor.  I realize it's supposed to be the thought that counts, but the thought of standing in line to return it, or regift it doesn't really thrill me either.

4. Christmas song that you love?

Didn't I already answer this question a few weeks ago?  I like most Christmas music, there are some that they are stuck on and just keep playing that I'm starting to get really sick of.  Like "Baby, it's cold outside."  If you work where I do, it's cold inside, so what's your point.  I guess it means that I'm old, but I like the stuff better that I grew up listening too.  I miss those songs, not the new hip stuff that's ok the radio now.  I listen to primarily country music, and I miss Alabama, Trisha Yearwood, Garth Brooks, George Strait.  But I miss the old stuff, you know, from the 90ies. 



5. How many trees do you put up?

Only one.  But when I get my own house and don't have to move it, I want more than that.  Just one big one and a few small ones.  Nothing big.  Nothing fancy.  This year we vetoed the tree, so we didn't put up any.  Unless you count the Christmas Card I taped up last night with a tree on it.  That's all we are doing this year.  With both of us going to school and working full time, we decided that this year less is more.  So to the family reading this, please understand that mentality also took over your gifts too.  Less is more.  It also make take over the wrapping of said gifts.  Or you might get lucky and I'll wrap it in a plastic bag from Target.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

To Party or Not to Party...That is the Dilemma

In 11 days I will officially have a college degree.  I will have an Associates Degree in Accounting.  Granted, it probably won't get me as far as I want to go, but I still think it is a big deal.  Yet, I feel that some of my family is thinking that I'm hyping things up more than I should.  Let me explain.

I went back to college in July of 2009.  I went to a local community college right out of high school for a year, but I was working full time, going to school full time, and just trying to juggle having a "life" that didn't revolve around work and school, and I was failing miserably - at all of it.  I was so burnt out at work, as well as at school, that when my financial aid fail through, I saw it as a sign, and I quit.  I took my finals and got married a week later.  It was rough.  It was never something that I had planned on permanently shutting the door on.  I just kinda pushed it half-way there, so that one day I could re-open that door and finish what I started. 

Quitting was hard, yet making the choice to go back was just as hard.  It was something that I have wanted for so long, yet just didn't know how to follow through with and do.  So here I am, and I have worked my ass off to get here.  I've missed out on spending time with family because of homework, I have walked around sleep deprived because I spent way to many nights in a row up trying to do homework.  Yet, since July, I have missed 1 day of work.  I requested a day off in October.  I have still managed to get laundry done, dinners cooked, cards sent, gifts bought, birthdays, anniversary's and other special days remembered, blog posts written, and the list goes on.  I have gone to the grocery store, and family dinners and birthday celebrations - often when I should have been at home doing homework.  I have cried tears of frustration when there just wasn't enough time in the day to get everything that I needed let alone wanted to get done.

So excuse me, if none of that seems important or like an accomplishment, but I made a lot of sacrifices and so has my husband, so that I can pursue this dream.  I would like to celebrate this step - no matter how small or insignificant that it might seem.  It's very, very important to me. 

I'm not asking that these people bring me anything, other than their presence.  (Although I will be accepting donations.  I owe about a billion dollars in student loans. Ha!)  I'm 31 years old, I don't need towels and pots or pans and the other "typical" graduation gifts.  I don't want them.  All I want is one night that I can have dinner with the people who have been the most neglected while I have pursued this.  One night that I can say "Thank you" for their patience, and their faith in my abilities; because these people kept me afloat and let me borrow their faith in myself when my own faith was running on empty.

Yet, I so often feel like this is an accomplishment that I shouldn't be celebrating.  That certain members of my family think I'm blowing things way out of proportion.  That my celebrations should be kept to myself and leave them out of it.

Yet, I'm hoping that they are willing to give up one night, for dinner with me so that they can celebrate this accomplishment.  Even if it means nothing but a free meal and a night out of the kitchen to them, it means so much more than that to me.


~There is a good reason they call these ceremonies "commencement exercises." Graduation is not the end; it's the beginning. ~Orrin Hatch

~All that stands between the graduate and the top of the ladder is the ladder. ~Author Unknown

~Graduation is only a concept. In real life every day you graduate. Graduation is a process that goes on until the last day of your life. If you can grasp that, you'll make a difference. ~Arie Pencovici

~When you leave here, don't forget why you came. ~Adlai Stevenson, to college graduates

~You are educated. Your certification is in your degree. You may think of it as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world. ~Tom Brokaw


~Don't live down to expectations. Go out there and do something remarkable. ~Wendy Wasserstein


~What lies behind us and what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us. ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Waitstaff

My husband and I had dinner out a few days ago, and as we ate our dinner, I was reminded of something that really, really annoys me.  Waitstaff.  Ok, let me rephrase that - waitstaff that doesn't do their job - yet still expects a "tip". 

Where I work I get occasional bonuses for a job well done.  If sales are lagging, and I haven't been keeping on top on things like I should, those bonuses are significantly less, if I even receive them at all.  I am still paid my salary, but the additional "tips" I'm no longer getting.

I realize that because waiters and waitresses get tips that their salary is significantly less, and often even under minimum wage.  No, I haven't done work in this field either, these are just my thoughts.

When you do a good job, you get an equally pleasant tip.  Several weeks ago, we went to a local steak house and had dinner.  The waitress that we had that evening, was absolutely wonderful.  She made sure that are glasses were kept full, that we had plenty of rolls and butter, and that we didn't want for anything.  She was left a $10 tip. 

When we dined out at a few nights ago, I didn't leave the waiter a penny.  We saw him 4 times.  We waited 5+ minutes before he came out and got our drink order.  He brought out our drinks and took our food order, walking away before we could make a request for a different side dish.  He brought out our food, and we saw him for the final time, when he brought out our check.  We had wanted more to drink, yet he was standing over in a corner with some other waitstaff laughing and joking around instead of doing his job.  So his bonus or tip last night, wasn't that awesome.

I have heard so many different opinions on this subject.  Some people think that you should tip 15% regardless of the service.  My in-laws do it.  My parents, my husband and I don't tip unless we think that the service was "as it should be". 

Dining out is my night off from cooking.  It's supposed to be enjoyable.  I'm not supposed to have to get up and get a pitcher and refill my own glass (and yes, it has happened.)  I'm not supposed to have my food "thrown" across at a table at me either.  Thankfully I was paying attention, or the plate and food would have wound up in my lap and on the floor.  Yet, the people who have behaved and preformed their job this way still expected a tip at the end of the meal.  I wouldn't have gotten a bonus for not doing my job, why should they? 

I have been out with others and as they calculate the tip ask how much I'm leaving.  Then they are flabbergasted when I remind them that we have complained about the service all night - that I'm leaving them nothing. 

I have been to restaurants where they were understaffed, and the person serving us did the best they could with what they were given.  Did I leave those people a tip?  You bet.  Were our water glasses often empty, probably so.  But there is a difference between the two - this person was trying to keep everyone happy.  The other expected or even thought that they deserved a tip without putting forth the hard work.  I was raised that you don't expect anything - that in order to receive something like a tip, you first have to do work that is worthy of earning it.

Unfortunately it's a sad lesson that they will have to learn that life is full of hard work.  Waitressing isn't below anyone.  Any job is honorable - as long as it is done honorably. 


~The supreme accomplishment is to blur the line between work and play. ~Arnold Toynbee



~There are no menial jobs, only menial attitudes.  ~William J. Bennett
 
~Choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life. - Confucius
 
~It is not titles that honor men, but men that honor titles.  - Niccolo Machiavelli
 
~What is it that you like doing?  If you don't like it, get out of it, because you'll be lousy at it.  - Lee Iacocca

Monday, December 6, 2010

Send

I finally took a leap of faith.  One that I should be terrified over, but instead, all I can find is peace and calm.

I finally clicked SEND.

I emailed my advisor with the University of Phoenix today.  I wrote the message over 2 weeks ago, I just haven't had the courage to press send.  I have gone into my email and re-read the message almost daily for 2 weeks.  Today, I finally hit send.

I have been so stressed and so worried about school and the future that I have been making myself crazy.  I have been so worked up about the not knowing that I finally made some serious decisions about what I could do to relieve my stress and hopefully find peace.

I'm not going back to Phoenix.  I feel like I have learned something, but it isn't where I want to end up.  I don't feel like it's the right place for me to finish out my degree.  I don't feel confident with how much information is crammed down my throat at a time that I can make it in the corporate world.  I will always be thankful for the starting point that they have given me.  For the self confidence that I have gained, that I am more capable than I give myself credit for.  They were just what I needed in order to gain the strength, courage and confidence in myself to keep going and finish what I started so many years ago.

I realize that Tech will provide it's own challenges, but I want to go to Tech.  Period.  I have gone back and forth about it in the weeks since I submitted my application.  Even as I write this post I find myself wanting to wonder and question whether or not I am doing the right thing.  I'm so afraid that this is going to come back and bite me in the butt.  Yet, just closing my eyes for a second and taking a deep breath, I realize that it will all work out in the end.  Maybe not the way I have in mind, but it will all work out.  I'm right where God wants me to be.

I don't know if I'm going to get into Tech.  I don't know if I'm going to have to quit a job I love so I can continue to pursue a dream.  I don't know if I'm going to lose a million pounds and be the next Victoria's Secret model.

I do know that I want to finish, but I also know that in less than 2 weeks, I will be a college graduate.  Something that I would have never dreamed possible.  I've made it this far, so the next 3-ish years should be a piece of cake.  I know that my husband and I are both aware of the sacrifices that this choice will require from both of us.  I'm willing to take a bigger leap of faith than I have ever done in order to see this through.

I know that no matter what happens God has big things planned for me.  Things that may or may not include Tech and other plans I have in mind for my future.  The funny thing is, today, I'm ok with that.  But ask me again tomorrow, because I'm pretty sure that tomorrow or next week, or in the next 5 minutes, I'm going to freak out again.  Then again, maybe I'll just have faith.  Faith in the unknown and  in the meantime I'll rest up for the next adventure.

~The quality of a university is measured more by the kind of student it turns out than the kind it takes in. ~Robert J. Kibbee


~Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith. ~Author Unknown

Friday, December 3, 2010

5 Question Friday

This week has been the longest one I've had in a while.  I spent the first of the week battling a sinus infection and those days of feeling icky led me to be behind on homework, housework, and life in general.  So I'm ready for a weekend, that will hopefully let me catch up a little now that I'm feeling more "normal".  Going to try to finish up my Christmas Shopping tomorrow, got a new washing machine being delivered sometime tomorrow.  And try to get in some cooking and homework.  Say a little prayer for my grandmother, she is in the hospital and very sick and the doctors are puzzled as to what is wrong.  Praying that they find answers soon, as we are all very worried about her.


1. What's on the top of your holiday wish list and why?!


Sure there are lots of things that I would like to have, but as I get older, the less I really enjoy the gift giving process.  We have so many people that we buy for that some years it just gets so much harder for me to put forth a huge effort into finding the "perfect" gift for others in our family.  I try to put forth effort and get something that the receiver will use and that won't be regifted.  Others in our family just go down the dollar aisle and throw random stuff in the basket, and you end up with things that are not useful and not desired.  I'm hoping that next year with certain members of our family that we can do something different.  There are still people out there in our family that put forth the effort, and that makes the celebration so much more special, than those who find it a burden.
2. What is your favorite Christmas gift from the past?

Hmm.  This is a tough one.  I don't really have one favorite year that stands out.  But I guess if I had to narrow down just one, I would have to pick the year that my grandfather lived with us.  I got to hear about Christmas mornings when he was growing up, and their own family traditions.  It was wonderful learning about him and his family and their own special traditions.


3. If you had life to do over, what would you be when you grow up?

I guess I am currently in the middle of my do-over.  Ever since I took an accounting class in high school I was in love with numbers.  I have wanted to be an accountant, and I'm in the middle of making that dream into a reality.
4. When do you put up your tree?

We usually put it up the day after Thanksgiving.  But this year we aren't putting one up.  With school, work, and everything else going on in our lives, we didn't want to have the burden of putting it up and taking it down. So we went the minimal route this year.  I miss having the tree, but I sure don't miss the stress that it would have entailed.

5. What is your favorite Holiday?

I don't really have a favorite, I decorate for them all.  Easter, St. Patrick's Day, Halloween, Valentine's Day, Christmas, Thanksgiving, it doesn't matter.  If I had to narrow it down, my top 3 are Easter, Halloween and Christmas.  I miss doing that, and since we have lived with  my husband's grandfather, we really haven't gone all out and decorated like I usually do.  That's something I'm looking forward to when we move out.

Thanks Mama!  Have a good weekend!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Saying Goodbye

Several months ago, I was contacted on Facebook by someone I had managed to avoid for the last 8 years.

My father. At least on paper. Insert sperm donor joke here.

We played catch up. Well as much catch-up as one cares to share with someone whom they were leery of reconnecting with.

Facebook has been great. It has allowed me to get to know some of the classmates that I didn’t bother with in high school. It has allowed me to stay connected to family and friends and watch their children grow up and change. Yet, this was always something that was in the back of my mind that could happen, that he could “find” me.

As I emailed back and forth with Lee, a part of me wanted to see that he had changed, that the last eight years had brought some sort of growth to him, so that he would understand things differently. The other part of me was quite prepared for him to prove that he was still the same person he was the last time I saw him.

The more we chatted, the more I had hoped that we could build some sort of relationship. Probably not father-daughter like, but maybe we could be friends who happened to be related.

I sent the last message to him July 17th, inquiring about the type of surgery that my stepmother would be having in a few weeks. I’m still waiting for that response. Could I have sent another message? You bet. I figured I would give it a few weeks and see what happened. Actually I was waiting for my birthday. I figured that if he was serious about some sort of relationship that he would have made sure to send a message for my birthday. Instead I get nothing.

I would love to say that I’m hurt, or even disappointed, but the funny thing is, I’m not. I’m just saddened by the fact that this man is too concerned with his own life to really put forth the effort to try to have a relationship with me.  I'm sad that he made his choice, I'm sad that his previous choices have finally all caught up to him, and he is paying for the bad choices he has made where I was concerned.  He will miss out on so much.

Me, not so much.

See, my mom got remarried when I was 17. While my relationship with my stepfather was rocky when they first got married (I was 17, I thought I knew it all), he is more of a father to me than to the man whose name is on my birth certificate.

I’m sad that Lee will never realize what he is missing, and what he missed out on. Granted, my life isn’t that glamorous or exciting, but, on paper, I’m his child, and personally I wouldn’t care if my child sat in a padded room all day, I wouldn’t want to miss a thing.

I would like to say that I have regrets about this, but the choice has always been his.  He just so often chooses everyone else over me. 

~The people you hope will change don’t, and the people you hope won’t change, do.

~To bring up a child in the way he should go, travel that way yourself once in a while. ~Josh Billings

~Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum

~It behooves a father to be blameless if he expects his child to be. ~Homer

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Recent Adventures with Edna

Meet Edna.

Well, that isn't exactly Edna, but it does hold her hostage.  I have one of those cool, modern phones, that no one over 12 can operate half the time.  Inside this phone is a GPS program.  Or as the cool people call it, a GPS App. 

The first time I met Edna, I had a dentist appointment, and wasn't familiar with exactly where I was going, so I plugged the address into the GPS and this pleasant female voice guided me right to my location.  I'm pretty sure that was just to get me hooked.  Then the pleasant person who guided me the first time was replaced by some grump, with a really sucky sense of direction.  Meet Edna.

I'm not sure why I named her Edna, she is slightly nasal, and she sure whines a lot.  If you have to stop at a stop light, she gets all pissed off and announces repeatedly that she is "adjusting" arrival time, since you are a moron who is stopped in the middle of the road.  And I'm pretty sure that the more she has to "adjust" the more she develops an attitude and gets really pissy, because apparently she doesn't believe in stopping for any reason.

She also gives you bad directions, and then is pissed, when there isn't a road going through the middle of a house, or a bank in order to get you to the location you so desire.  Then she starts her whole re-routing speech.  That's pretty much the straw that broke the camel's back in Edna's world.  She becomes short, and terse, and you can almost hear what she is thinking, "This moron can't drive, first she has to stop at intersections, I mean seriously, who does that?  Now, she is all pissed off because there isn't some road here.  Hello?!?  She drives a truck, hasn't she heard of off-roading?!?!  What a moron!  I guess I'll re-route the bimbo, because obviously she doesn't know how to drive, and she thinks that she has to keep her precious truck on the road.  I mean, c'mon, where is her sense of adventure?"

By this point, Edna isn't the only one is perturbed.  I have usually given her the #1 driver award several times, as well as called her names, that I'm only slightly ashamed of.  So Edna, although reluctantly, does give me an alternate direction, she doesn't like it, and she voices her displeasure with her clipped words, and sighs.

So this Christmas I'm on the lookout for a new person to man my GPS App.  I'm thinking Goofy, or perhaps Donald Duck, because surely they wouldn't get mad at you for stopping at stop lights and not driving through buildings, would they?

Thanks to the Parade of Homes Tour, Edna and I aren't currently on speaking terms.  So any comments for her will have to be directed to her attention, because I'm still pissed at her for wanting me to drive through 2 brand new houses, instead of around the block.  Then she has the gall to tell me that I'm not on a marked road.  Yet, she had already directed me down that particular road twice today.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Adventures in Black Friday Shopping

Each year as September draws near, I usually manage to finish up my Christmas shopping.  I know, I'm weird.

The stores are always so crowded the closer it gets to Thanksgiving and Christmas, and patience is always stretched so very thin. So I try to avoid all last minute shopping, just to save my sanity, and to avoid my name on the chalk board for too many curse words.

Unfortunately, I have gone Black Friday shopping, but only for myself and my husband.  One  year we bought a Nintendo DS.  Best investment I ever made.  It comes in handy when you are expected to wait, or when you are stuck at home sick, and are tired of watching TV.  Another year I bought a TV and DVD player for our bedroom.  Last year I bought a camera, but thankfully I didn't get up in the middle of the night to do that.  And this year.  Well, I went hunting for a TV.  We still had the "old" TV's, not flat panel type, until September, then in an effort to eliminate some clutter, we sold our 2 TV's on Craigslist.  We found an amazing deal on a 37" for our bedroom and have already replaced it.  So in preparation for when we move out and live on our own again, we decided to take advantage and purchase a new TV.  There was a local retail store that had a 42" TV for less than my truck payment.  So I opted to get up at 3am in order to stand in line in 19* weather for a cheap TV. 

I'm pretty sure that was my 2nd mistake.  My first was ever deciding that we really needed a 2nd TV.  I mean, you would think after almost 11 years of marriage my husband would just sit in the corner and let me watch what I want on TV and not complain, but Ohhhhh Noooooooo, he can't do that.  He wants to watch wrestling, and football, and (shudders) baseball.  So we really need 2 TV's, otherwise one of us might be in a lot of trouble with the other.

I'm pretty sure that I temporarily lost my mind, temporarily insane, crazy, not in my right mind.  I'm not really sure, but I shouldn't be allowed out of bed before noon, let alone at 3am.  I'm pretty sure some old lady grabbed my butt, hoping to startle me into dropping my purchases.  I just kicked her walker to the end of the aisle, and she gave me the finger, so I'm guessing we are even now, and that was just the beginning.  I got to see two grown women tugging on a video game console, screaming "Mine!", "No, Mine!". 

I got out of a nice warm bed for this?  Is 3am to early for a margarita?

There are always great deals to be had, but next year, I'm pretty sure that I'm just going to stay in bed and avoid the crazy people.  That's the best deal out there.  Cheaper too!

Friday, November 26, 2010

5 Question Friday

I went shopping with the rest of the people in West Texas at Midnight last night.  It was a unique experience.  One I hope I never have to do again.  My husband and I are exhausted, but today we are going back for more.  But not much, some of today's activities involve errands.  Yuck!



Enjoy Today's Thanksgiving Theme!

1. What is your favorite part of a Thanksgiving meal?


I don't really have a favorite part.  My grandmother usually cooks and she does an amazing job.  She is an amazing cook year round.  I think that the best part, is just spending the day with my family.  Some of whom we don't see as often as I would like too.

2. Are you a host or a guest for Thanksgiving this year?

Always a guest.  My grandmother does Thanksgiving, and on any typical year there are 16-25 people in her house.  My mom and I usually offer to make something, and I usually make cookies.  But this year I skipped out, I have just been so busy with work and school that I didn't want to add to the stress.  Or our waistlines by making thousands of cookies.

3. When you think of one Thanksgiving tradition, what comes to mind?

I don't guess that we really have any die-hard traditions for the day.  Usually after lunch the "boys" go out to the farm and target practice and talk guns.  This year some of the family skipped out on the festivities and went to a Dallas Cowboy's football game.  But we still love them.  Even though they went.  And they didn't even invite me.  But it's OK.  I'll try to keep that in mind when I buy their lumps of coal Christmas presents.

4. You have two pieces of pie in front of you and you HAVE to eat one...do you choose pumpkin or pecan?

PECAN!!!  I'm not a big fan of pumpkin, unless it's the recipe that I make.  But pecan pie.  Oh my.  The oowey, gooey wonderfulness.  And I like mine straight up.  No whipped cream, no nothing.  Just pecans and goo. 

5. Are you a Black Friday Shopper?

Not if I can help it.  I am one of those people who has their Christmas shopping done in July.  But I'm a little behind this year.  I only lack 5 gifts.  Two of which are generic for a party.  So it's not so bad.  The only Black Friday Shopping I do, is usually something my husband and I want for ourselves.  This year, we took care of each other's gifts, although, we are getting them today.  We know what they are, no point in waiting a month while they sit under the tree.  I have bought TVs, DVD players, stereos, computers, and video game accessories.  I have never bought Black Friday Gifts, for someone other than myself or my husband.
 
 
Thanks Mama!  I'm off to do a little more shopping, pick up some fabric for a couple of aprons.  Then I'm staying at home and hibernating until I go back to work on Monday.  Read more about my Black Friday shopping adventures on Monday!
 

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thankful

Thanks a lot Bob Perks.  This wasn't the post that I had planned on for Thanksgiving.  So consider this a bonus.

I decided that I would work on cleaning out my email at work yesterday afternoon.  The phones were quiet, as most other offices had let their employees go home early.  Since I went back to school, I'm not the best about staying on top of the email I receive. I get so many cooking newsletters, crocheting newsletters, cross stitch newsletters, and forwards from friends and family that it's enough to drive a  person to drink.  Yet somehow today was the day that I was going to whittle the number of unread messages in my inbox down into the triple ok maybe double digits.

Over the years, since I have "known" Bob, I have been moved by his messages.  He wrote the message that inspired me to actually get up and go back to school instead of just dreaming about it.  It's also mentioned in the very first post I ever made when I started this blog.  I guess I can think him for the no homework and no life. 

Today's message was especially profound.  I have spent the last 10 days coming up with things that I'm thankful for.  They were all so obvious, and a few not so obvious.  Some required more thought than others, and some were simply a matter of telling you, my readers, what exactly it was that I was and am thankful for.  However, today I want to print a retraction. 

Today, I am simply thankful for nothing.

-I worry about money, yet I have money in the bank.  I have a savings account.  There are so many who don't have a job.
-I worry about my application to TTU.  There are so many kids who would like to go to college, but know that they can't because they have a family to raise.
-I'm thankful for grouchy in-laws.  There are those who are single and long to be in a relationship.
-I'm thankful for the children in my life - there are people who have none, or worse, they are losing their child.
-I'm thankful that my husband spent the night out of town and made it back home safely.  There were those who leave home everyday, and don't make it back. 
-I'm thankful that recent test results showed - nothing.
-I'm thankful for the mess at home, because it means that I want for nothing.

Read Bob's story.  Then find your own nothing to be thankful for.

Today I'm thankful for nothing!

Thanks Bob for reminding me of all that I truly have and to be thankful for the nothings.

Happy Thanksgiving

Today, find something to be thankful for.  The last 10 days I have found things that I am thankful for in my own life.  What's important is to remember that these things should be appreciated each and every day, not just one day a year.  Enjoy today with your family and friends, and remember that even in the worst of times there is a blessing, you just have to see the beauty.



~Thanksgiving Day is a jewel, to set in the hearts of honest men; but be careful that you do not take the day, and leave out the gratitude. ~E.P. Powell

~As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them. ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

~Let us remember that, as much has been given us, much will be expected from us, and that true homage comes from the heart as well as from the lips, and shows itself in deeds. ~Theodore Roosevelt


~God gave you a gift of 86,400 seconds today. Have you used one to say "thank you?" ~William A. Ward

~We often take for granted the very things that most deserve our gratitude. ~Cynthia Ozick

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

1 Day of Thanksgiving

Today, I am thankful for my husband.

I'm always thankful that he is my husband, and that he puts up with my sarcasm and odd questions without much complaint.  I'm thankful that he loves to spend time with me, and that he loves to be around me. 

I'm thankful that we have a good marriage, and that I can talk to him about anything.  I'm thankful for his patience with me.  Sometimes I'm grouchy, irritable, annoying, mean, and he manages to not choke me (even though he probably should) 

I'm thankful that he makes any activity fun, even cleaning.  When I have had a day full of "the suck" he holds me and lets me vent, or cry and tells me that it will all work out.  Then he finds out whose ass he needs to kick to make it all work out.  It makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside.

I'm thankful that he goes shopping with me, and doesn't complain, I'm thankful that he doesn't drag me to Academy and Gander Mountain absolutely more than necessary.

I'm thankful that he lays in bed at night and listens to me verbalize how worried or stressed I am about whatever is bothering me.  Even though he has to get up early, he never complains. 

I'm thankful that he is a wonderful person, and that I get to spend the next 100 years with him.  I'm thankful that almost 11 years ago, I married him, and even though we have had our ups and downs, I'm glad that we both wanted this to work out so badly, that we refused to give up on ourselves, or on each other.

I love you.

~I love being married. It's so great to find that one special person you want to annoy for the rest of your life. ~Rita Rudner


~Success in marriage does not come merely through finding the right mate, but through being the right mate. ~Barnett R. Brickner


~For you see, each day I love you more; Today more than yesterday and less than tomorrow.~Rosemonde Gerard

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2 Days of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful that I am almost done writing these posts.  Today, I'm thankful that I can write these posts.

Today I'm thankful for our government and our politicians. 

I'm not saying that I agree with every choice and decision that they make, and I complain frequently about their harebrained schemes.  Thankfully, I live in a country where I can complain, and protest, and write about what a crappy job they are doing on my blog and not worry about persecution. 

I can drive to Starbucks and order my overpriced latte and I don't have to have a man with me, or be completely covered.  I can wear shorts and a sleeveless shirt and I don't have to worry about repercussions, other than sunburn.  I

Yes, our government and politicians need a lot of work.  A complete overhaul.  But, it is better than some places, and today I'm thankful that I live in a country where I can honor those who have fought and died for my freedoms, for my right to wear shorts, and to go to Starbucks for the overpriced latte.  That I have the right to complain and live my life with freedoms that we, as Americans, take for granted.  I often wonder, do we realize how lucky we really are?

~Politicians are like diapers. They both need changing regularly and for the same reason. ~Author Unknown



~I think it's about time we voted for senators with breasts.  After all, we've been voting for boobs long enough.  ~Clarie Sargent  
 
~George Washington is the only president who didn't blame the previous administration for his troubles. ~Author Unknown



~ Nothing is more difficult, and therefore more precious, than to be able to decide. ~Napoleon Bonaparte


~Those who expect to reap the blessings of freedom, must, like men, undergo the fatigue of supporting it. ~Thomas Paine

Monday, November 22, 2010

3 Days of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for my nieces and nephews. 

I have two nieces, 10 and 7, and three nephews, 14, 10 (almost 11), and 7.  Yeah the last two were apparently busy years for babies. 

And now let's take a moment to pause for my husband, who is just now realizing what I did, when I was typing this. I was unaware that the oldest niece and the middle nephew were the same age.  The brain can only handle so much.  (EEK!!  I'm getting old!)

They bring so much joy and happiness to my life.  They let me spoil them, and send them home, just like any Aunt should.  They are always excited to see me, and they all love me.  I'm great, what can I say. 

There innocence provides hours of endless entertainment.  They are all funny, and they all have their own unique personalities.  I look forward to seeing what kind of amazing adults that they will all turn out to be.

~Children need love, especially when they do not deserve it. ~Harold Hulbert


~In the United States today, there is a pervasive tendency to treat children as adults, and adults as children. The options of children are thus steadily expanded, while those of adults are progressively constricted. The result is unruly children and childish adults. ~Thomas Szasz


~While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about. ~Angela Schwindt

Sunday, November 21, 2010

4 Days of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for the gift that I have been given in the form of my current (and past few years) living arrangements.

My husband and I live with his grandfather.  It was just supposed to be a temporary thing, yet almost 3 years later, we are still there.  While, I often complain about the expectations that his grandfather has on John and I; I do appreciate the gift that we have.  We don't have to worry about having the money to pay the bills and put food on the table, and frankly it's nice to not have to worry about that.  This arrangement has allowed us to do several things that 4 years ago, we would have never dreamed of as possible. 

I still want my own space, and I will always want that, but right now, I'm going to be thankful that his grandfather is selfless enough to allow us to have this arrangement with him.  I'm thankful that this arrangement has allowed us to witness the importance of preparing for the future, for retirement, and given us the opportunity to get our own financial needs in order.

I'm thankful for this opportunity, and the peace of mind that this arrangement gives me, especially when I'm waiting on college applications and other things to fall into place.

~Family is just accident.... They don't mean to get on your nerves. They don't even mean to be your family, they just are. ~Marsha Norman


~He is the happiest, be he king or peasant, who finds peace in his home. ~Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

Saturday, November 20, 2010

5 Days of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for my husband's extended family.

He has Aunts, Uncles, cousins, who are all relatively close in age.  They have grown up together, and his family is just amazing.

I was really worried when I met some of the cousins, for fear that they had been told how "evil" I was.  Instead, they have all been very welcoming, and have taken the time to get to know me, instead of assuming things about me.  They have accepted me as "family" and they allow me to spoil their children as if I had always been a part of the family.  I have really gotten to know several of them, we "chat" on facebook often, and I'm thankful that they see me as family instead of as the wife of family.

I'm thankful that I married someone who has a large family, and that his extended family is as wonderful as they are.  I would love for them all to live in the same city as I do, and get to seem them on a more regular basis than we have.  I'm thankful that the time we do share with them is precious and valued by all of us, and allows us to make great memories, and goofy pictures.

~Families are like fudge - mostly sweet with a few nuts. ~Author Unknown



~When you look at your life, the greatest happinesses are family happinesses. ~Joyce Brothers



~You don't choose your family. They are God's gift to you, as you are to them. ~Desmond Tutu



~The great gift of family life is to be intimately acquainted with people you might never even introduce yourself to, had life not done it for you.  ~Kendall Hailey

Friday, November 19, 2010

Blogger Award




Thank you so much to CJ at Mustard Cut for awarding me the Stylish Blogger award! I'm really thrilled! I have groupies!!  Thanks again CJ!

Rules for accepting this award are:

1. Thank & link back to the person who awarded you this.

2. Share 7 things about yourself.

3. Pay it forward to 15 recently discovered great bloggers.

4. Contact those bloggers and tell them about their Blog Award!



Okay so here are seven things about me:


1. I'm a perfectionist, which is why I blog anonymously.  I don't have the guts to put my name on this blog because I'm too afraid of public failure.  Private failure is so much more awesome.
2. I list sarcastic as a skill on my resume.
3. I hate coffee.  I love the way it smells, but I hate the way it tastes.
4. I met my husband when I was dating his best friend.  Brandon was completely and totally wrong for me and we had nothing in common.  Brandon drug John on every date we had, so it was bound to happen. 
5. I love to cook, and I actually have a cooking blog at Gourmet Chef in Training.  It needs a lot of work until it is in the shape I want it to be in. 
6. I think that the fuzzy boots that everyone thinks are so cool are in fact seriously ugly, and I always point out the people who are wearing them and make fun of them.

7. I have an active imagination, and if I were to ever decide to become an author, I would want to write children's books, or murder mysteries.  I don't want to have to write in much romance either, just lots of dead bodies.


Here are some of the great blogs that I read, and some that I have passed on a Stylish Blog Award too.  I'm sorry that there aren't the required 15, but I just don't read that many blogs.  I have to do homework and sleep somewhere in there. 

http://mustardcut.blogspot.com/
http://yarn-pixie.blogspot.com/
http://365dayswiththe330poundwoman.blogspot.com/
http://morethandogchildren.blogspot.com/
http://cazwa.blogspot.com/
http://wwwbloggercomevrydayfish.blogspot.com/

Thanks again CJ, and enjoy your awards you guys!


5 Question Friday


The last few weeks have been crazy busy, and apparently they aren't going to be slowing down any time soon.  Got a lot planned this weekend.  Hoping to go furniture shopping as a store here will be closing soon, and I love cheap - good quality furniture!  Going to a little town outside my hometown, where they just happen to be filming an episode of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.  Then a Parade of Home Tour to look at some houses that have been recently built that the builders are desperate to get rid of.  Plus the usual grocery shopping and gearing up for Thanksgiving! 

Without further ado, here is this weeks installment of 5 Question Friday!

1. What Christmas song do you loathe?


Actually I love Christmas music.  Yeah there are a few songs that I could live without, but it's been so long (like last year) since I have heard them that I can't remember.  I actually listen to some Christmas music all year round.  I just can't live without my dose of "All I want for Christmas is a real good tan" by Kenny Chesney, because let's face it, I could use a good tan all year long.  Do the words pasty white mean anything to you?

2. Do you and your significant other cuddle at night or sleep on opposite sides of the bed?

Both.  We cuddle and talk for a little bit, then when we are ready to call it quits, he usually throws an arm over me and off we go.  We have a queen size bed, so we are in close proximity all night long. Mostly because my husband is 6'7" tall.  We used to have a king size bed, and actually hated it, they take up so much room, and I like sleeping fairly close to him, because it's like having your own heat generator in bed with you.  It works out fabulously.  He gets all the bed space he needs, and I get the rest of the house, it works for me.

3. Have you ever had surgery?

Thankfully nothing major.  I had oral surgery when I was 13 to uncover two teeth that had developed in the roof of my mouth.  They were all covered up by bone and skin, and they cut them "open" and then moved them into place.  I can say that was the most horrific painful experience I have ever had.  You can't eat, you can't sleep, you can't sneeze.  It was the longest 18 months of my life.  Then they got them into place and had to turn them around, because they were backwards.  Yeah, if I knew now what I knew then, I would have told them to give me some falsies. 

I had my wisdom teeth taken out when I was 20, 2 weeks after I got married.  We hadn't originally planned on getting married in December, and the appointment was already scheduled, so I kept it.  That wasn't too bad, I got dry sockets, but once they were fixed up, it was smooth sailing.
4. When do you typically have your holiday shopping done?

Most years, I'm one of those people everyone hates.  I try to have things wrapped up by my birthday in September.  Every now and then it's later, but I'm typically not still shopping after Halloween at the latest.  This year, has been the exception.

School has taken so much of my time that I haven't put forth much effort this year to get it all done.  Thankfully, I am close to being finished, and I'm planning on knocking out a few more people this weekend.  So that I'm only left with 1-2 to finish up after Thanksgiving.  The later in the year I wait, the more money I end up spending, and the "cheaper" the gifts are.  Usually I watch for stuff on clearance and sales year round, because you can pick up great gifts for so much less than you can when the holidays hit.  I try not to spend more than $200 for my entire family, and I often succeed, and they get really nice stuff.  Clearance racks are my bff when it comes to Christmas shopping and not breaking the bank.

5. If money were not an issue (and you HAD to pick something), what would your ultimate luxury item be?


A house.

I'm not big into fancy cars or clothes, but if money were no object, I would totally have my dream house built. 

I don't want big, yet I do.  I want an awesome kitchen with tons of cabinets and even more counter space, and a walk in pantry that would make most peoples walk in closets look tiny.  I like things neat and organized and I don't like having to "stack" dishes so that I have room for everything.  I want an island.  I want a glass cook top 6 large burners with a pot filler hose, and double commercial size ovens.  I want a commercial refrigerator.  Because let's face it, if I had my dream house, every family gathering would be held there, because my kitchen would be so full of awesome that everyone would want to hang out there.

I want 3 bedrooms, and 2 baths, and a 2 car garage.  I want an indoor swimming pool, because, I'm pretty sure I'm part fish.  Then I want a shop for my husband that's more like a guest house.  Heating, air, room for all his woodworking tools and lawnmower and other "guy" stuff.

Maybe I should buy a lottery ticket.  You know, just in case.

6 Days of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for my in-laws.

Let me pause here while my husband re-reads that statement several times.

My husband's family and I have never gotten along.  I have always thought that was because they thought John could do so much better than me.  I'm perfect, I don't know why they would think that.

Our relationship has always been rocky and "on" and "off".  This week they love me, next week they hate me.  They pretty much just put up with me, because they have figured that John isn't getting rid of me.

On one hand I'm sad, because I always wanted to have a good relationship with his family.  One that at least allowed me to not feel uncomfortable at family gatherings because I'm the "evil" one.  After almost 11 years, I'm not sure that I'll ever have the kind of relationship with them that I want. 

And I think that is the point.  They make me realize how important and what an impact my actions and words have on those around me.  They make me realize that how one sentence, one comment said in a moment of anger, can never be forgotten and how important it is to not always judge someone based on a first impression.  They also remind me to have hope in people.  That there is the possiblity of change, and that I'm not perfect.

I will always be grateful for the wonderful man that they raised John to be.  I'm also thankful that he isn't selfish or hurtful in the ways that his family often is, not only to myself, but to their own children.  I'm sad that the type of relationship that I have with his parents, brother's family and sister makes John's life more difficult.  It puts him in an awkward position of often having to choose me over them, and I never wanted things to be that way.  I honestly wish that things could be different, and that they had been different the past 11 years..

It's important to remember the kinds of impressions that these actions make on our family.  Perhaps we all need to sit down and take a good look at the legacy we are leaving behind.


~The problem with children is that you have to put up with their parents. ~Charles DeLint



~Each day of our lives we make deposits in the memory banks of our children.  ~Charles R. Swindoll
 
~Whenever I held my newborn baby in my arms, I used to think that what I said and did to him could have an influence not only on him but on all whom he met, not only for a day or a month or a year, but for all eternity - a very challenging and exciting thought for a mother. ~Rose Kennedy


Thursday, November 18, 2010

7 Days of Thanksgiving

Today I am thankful for my parents.

I have a decent relationship with my parents.  Sure, they get on my nerves from time to time, but isn't that what parents are supposed to do?  I know that if I genuinely needed them that they would be there. 

Sometimes I wish that I had a couple of brothers and sisters that they could annoy as well.  I mean, why should I get to have all the fun.  I love you mom, please don't send my Christmas presents back. 

I really do love my parents.  They are considerate, they are always telling me how proud of me that they are, and not just with school.  They heap praise on my cooking, on school, and even on this blog. 

They provide me with insight and more sarcastic thoughts to make my day complete.  I'm not really sure what I would do without them.  I'm not really sure how they put up with me.

~Don't worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you. ~Robert Fulghum


~If there is anything that we wish to change in the child, we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that could better be changed in ourselves.  ~C.G. Jung

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