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


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


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


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...