Friday, December 31, 2010

Reflections and Resolutions

The year 2010 is nearly over and a new year is upon us. At transitions such as this I always feel compelled to reflect on where we have been, what we have done, and what we have experienced and anticipate where we hope to go, and what we hope to do and experience. Keegan has had a life-changing year; beginning with the AMTC event that allowed her to make new and encouraging contacts in the entertainment industry and ending with her moving to California in order to pursue a part in that industry. Throughout the year she worked diligently at her job as a receptionist at a spa and salon so that she could make this dream come true. She also modeled for Southern Bride magazine. The magazine is now on the newsstands in the south. We have yet to see it, our copies haven't arrived. I will post photos as soon I receive them. It was an exciting venture. Christian found his writers voice while developing his blog ( and has decided to pursue a degree in political science and foreign relations. He is going through the admissions process for Excelsior College. Maceo continues to perform at the community theatre and is now a part of an acting troupe. He performed in Treasure Island and was Prince Chululongkorn in The King and I. He was also a cover model for a local magazine. This was particularly exciting because he had dreamed of doing this very thing. He interviewed with an agent in Tulsa who is very interested in signing him. When not acting Maceo researches technology and creates videos and podcasts. Bishop continues to develop in a more quiet and understated manner. He absorbs an astounding amount of information and knowledge and is adept at incorporating it into his extraordinarily rich inner world. He has been interested in history, particularly that related to war and weaponry. He has taken up archery and nerf and continues his interest in Legos, setting up elaborate scenes and engaging in remarkable battles. Herb is making a place for himself at his new duty station, Ft. Leonard Wood, and I am enjoying having him near the family. As for myself, my year has revolved, very happily, around my family and managing the household. Some of my personal successes include getting the hall/stairwell, laundry room and mud room shelves painted, expanding the garden to include a berry patch, growing and harvesting my loofahs, and losing 20 pounds. A couple of memorable events from the year include visiting family in New Mexico, going to Orlando with Keegan for AMTC, going to Keegan's bridal photo shoot, seeing Keegan and Maceo on the same stage for The King and I, and witnessing Austin's birth. It has been a good year! In anticipation of this next year, God and I have spent some time chatting. He has given me some vision and has called me to achieve some particular things to His glory. I have not been as diligent as I should have in accomplishing these things and I have been convicted that I need to be more zealous in fulfilling this calling. My resolutions are small steps toward the larger vision and they include: diligently track, chart and categorize income and expenditures; complete one home improvement project per month; lose some more poundage; dust off my home management notebook, refresh and utilize (to include updating menus and kids responsibilities); expand the garden, plant only heirlooms and learn to save and store the seeds.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Hollywood or Bust Update

Keegan and Ian have arrived safely in Las Vegas, NV where they will rest and relax and bring in the new year with Papa and Helen. They will drive the final leg of their journey on Sunday. It has been quite the adventure thus far. A little recap... Day One: ticketed by an ill-tempered cop; Day Two: fuel pump goes out requiring a tow and repairs; Day Three: a snowstorm and in the road a FedEx truck on its side. They have been experiencing the kinds of trials and tribulations that can be encountered on any road trip. They have also been experiencing great blessing. The fuel pump went out in Clines Corners, only 30 minutes away from where Grandmama was waiting to visit with them. The vehicle was towed to Moriarty and they visited with family while waiting for the repairs to be completed. Serendipitously, Grandaddy and Margaret were returning from doctors appointments and they all ended up in Moriarty at the same time. So Ian got to meet Grandmama, Aunt Christie, Eric, Joseph, Cori, Grandaddy and Gram. Also, the mechanics completed the job about an hour earlier then expected allowing them to get to Albuquerque before it was too dark. And Grandmama relieved their financial burden. Thank you so very much, Mama! For Keegan and Ian this visit seemed to refresh their spirits!!
They also had a wonderful visit with the Winfield's. Hearty and warm food and good company was awaiting them. They received some trip planning advice, a tank of gas, and some extra funds. Thank you all so very much for the love and support expressed to Keegan during this venture. Despite the travails she is feeling richly blessed and I thank you all from the depths of my heart!!!

Monday, December 27, 2010

Hollywood or Bust

My dear Keegan and her boyfriend, Ian, are officially en route to California - their adventure has begun!

They had dear friends help load them up and send them off.

Goodbyes were said.

California, here they come!

I personally send them off with prayers of protection, blessings over her venture and wishes of Godspeed.

Yesterday our church family helped me convey all of that by singing a very special song to her that included a sweet slideshow and then praying a blessing over her while those who wished to laid hands on her (some laid hands on me, thanks).
If possible, I will include some footage of the song and slideshow but for now here are the lyrics and I give this message to her again.
Be strong in the Lord and,
Never give up hope,
You're going to do great things,
I already know,
God's got his hand on you so,
Don't live life in fear,
Forgive and forget,
But don't forget why you're here,
Take your time and pray,
These are the words I would say.

(The Words I Would Say by Sidewalk Prophets)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Merry, Merry Christmas!

Our Christmas day was a beautiful day of familial fellowship. From beginning to end, it is a day that I will treasure. We spent two hours leisurely opening presents before a roaring fire. The most memorable quote coming from Christian, "You know you are getting older when you get excited about receiving practical gifts." This said after receiving t-shirts, boxers and a belt in his stocking. Herb fed the kiddos french toast and made me a huevos rancheros-esque dish. The kids enjoyed their gifts while I set out our snacks and prepared our dinner. The menu: ham with a maple glaze, cranberry chutney, mashed potatoes, broccoli with cheese sauce, family favorite green beans, crescents, pumpkin pie with whipped cream, and Keegan's special recipe apple pie and ice cream. It was particularly wonderful to have Keegan with me in the kitchen. I missed her presence at Thanksgiving and will surely miss her kitchen companionship at Easter. Dinner was relaxed, the conversation was engaging, and the food was delicious. We ended the evening by watching The Nativity Story. It was the first time that we had watched this film. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Although I enjoyed the day's focus on family, I thought that it was important to return our focus to the birth of our Saviour. Happy Birthday, Jesus!!!

Friday, December 24, 2010

The Stage is Set

Christmas Eve and the stage is set for the busy days to come. The tree is decorated, the wrapped presents are beneath it, our Christmas Eve New Mexican meal is prepared, the fire is built and the smore fixings set out, and Keegan's boxes are packed. Tonight the family will gather around the table for our Christmas Eve meal and the kids will receive their new ornaments. We will then attend the candlelight Christmas Eve service. Upon our return we will light the fire, make smores (some to eat and some to set out for santa), open our traditional Christmas Eve gifts of books and pajamas, and light our Christ candle. Christmas Day will consist of fellowship, food and gifts. On Sunday we will attend church where there will be a little surprise for Keegan and then we will spend the day loading up her vehicle for the following morning she will leave for California. It is a busy but blessed time.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Hanukkah Highlights

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has sanctified us by His commandments and has commanded us to kindle the lights of Hanukkah.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who wrought miracles for our fathers in days of old, at this season.

Blessed are You, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who has kept us alive, and has preserved us, and enabled us to reach this time.

Our family recognized Hanukkah this evening. This year Hanukkah began on December 2 and ended on the 9th. We typically recognize this Holy event one evening during its designated week. We failed to do so this year but we still wanted to take the time to remember how God can make the impossible possible. We kindled the flames of the menorah and dined on fried chicken, latkes and applesauce.

Then we moved on to a happening game of dreidel.

My dreidel's always playful,

It loves to dance and spin,

A happy game of dreidel,

Come play now, let's begin.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

First Snow Fall

The snow has finally arrived. It is a paltry amount of snow in comparison to that which has fallen to the north of us but it is still our first snow. It is also bitter cold. Winter has arrived!

Just a fun little poem about winter snow...

O where do you come from
You little flakes of snow
Falling, falling, softly falling
On the earth below?
On the trees and on the bushes
On the mountains afar
Tell me snow flakes do you come from
Where the angels are?

(Taken from Festivals, Family and Food by Carey and Large)

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Decking the Halls

Yesterday I managed to finish my christmas decorating. Take a peek...

Friday, December 10, 2010

Christmas Cookie Delivery

The boys and I had such a delightful day yesterday. We delivered packages containing some of our favorite cookies to people in the community who are quite special to us. We baked up large batches of Million Dollar Cookies, Snickerdoodles, Noel Nut Balls, and chocolate cookies that we refer to as 'Cookies for Maceo's Life.' (Yes, there is a story behind that title but I am unable to share it at this time as Maceo has become quite self-conscious about it. Maybe I will be able to share in the future - it is really quite sweet). We made packages for the staff at our community theatre, our servers at Sonic who know how to make my iced tea just right, for the best librarians in the world, the teachers of the YMCA homeschool group and for the family who runs a little thrift store that we frequent. It was such a joy to watch the boys excitedly share their cookies and their Christmas wishes with all of these special people. Prior to the deliveries we prayed that every recipient would be blessed and would sense God's love for them through our simple gift. It is still our prayer that God's love and light would be revealed through us as we share our lives with those God has put in our path. We know that we are truly blessed by their presence in our lives.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Second Home for the Holidays

Maceo is a member of an acting troupe at our local community theatre. This community theatre hosted a holiday gathering. Each troupe took the stage to perform holiday pieces for family and friends. Maceo's troupe presented a dramatized version of Twas the Night Before Christmas. Maceo's line: "As dry leaves that before the wild hurricane fly, that meets with an obstacle, mount to the sky, so up to the housetop the coursers they flew, with a sleigh full of toys and Saint Nicholas too." The theatre then hosted a fabulous Christmas party with its theme being 'Second Home for the Holidays.' A great time was had by all.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Facing the Fear of Peanut Brittle Making

I had a most delightful evening two nights ago. My sister, Roxie, very graciously offered to give me a peanut brittle making tutorial. Not only did she have to guide me through practical matters but she had to coach me through my anxiety. One might wonder why I would be anxious about making peanut brittle. Well, the anxiety stems from my previous experience with making peanut brittle during the holiday season of 1984. My little sister, Christie, and I decided to prepare this treat as a surprise for our mother who was at work. Presumably we proceeded through the first steps of candy making (the karo, sugar, water and peanuts steps) in a satisfactory fashion. Then, with disastrous results, we added the final ingredients - salt, baking soda, and vinegar. To our surprise the peanut brittle bubbled up and over the edge of the pot, across the stove and into the burners. Yes, think science project volcano with insanely sticky lava. After the disaster I have refused to make peanut brittle. Roxie encouraged me to face that fear and I DID! This experience was very different then the last. It was rather uneventful and even anticlimactic. This time I added the baking soda and vinegar and there was no volcano, I would characterize the reaction as more of a fizzle. I have no idea what I did wrong all those years ago - did I mismeasure the baking soda and vinegar? Was my pan too small? Uncertain. I just don't know. But the fear is gone and I now I have witnessed the later stages of peanut brittle making that I had never seen before. And, most importantly, I had a great time with Roxie and my boys. Roxie, thanks for the sweet time and for the adventure of facing my fears! More adventures on the way. Herb and I will attend our first military ball this evening. We will celebrate St. Nicholas Day tomorrow. The larger family will gather at Sarah's house for Christmas festivities on Sunday and Maceo's theatre troupe will have a holiday party on Monday. Looking forward to all the fun!

Friday, November 26, 2010


I am so grateful for God's provision, His love, grace, and mercy. I am grateful for every gift He has bestowed me, including my wonderful family. He has gifted me with a husband who is willing to sacrifice so much in order to provide for his family. He will not, however, have to sacrifice this thanksgiving with his family and for that I am also grateful. I am ever so thankful that all of my kids are growing up strong in faith, mind, and body. I am grateful to be living near my oldest sister, Roxie, and her ever-growing family. It is such a joy to know her children and their gorgeous children. I am particularly grateful for Roxie's inspiring example regarding parenting grown children and being a grandmother. This stage of my life will be coming around soon enough and her excellent example is truly appreciated. For that matter, I am grateful to have such wonderful and inspiring examples for each stage yet to come in my life. Thank you Papa, Mama, Grandaddy, and Nanny! I have been blessed with so much and I pray that I will approach each day with praise and thanksgiving.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Halloween!

The porch is decorated...

The pumpkins are carved...

The costumes are on...

Halloween is here and there is trunk-or-treating
at church to be done.

The family joined us at church for trunk-or-treating
and a little dinner.

Maceo checking out his booty...

Then on to a little trick-or-treating in the community
before we head to Sonic for...

...50 cent corn dogs!

It was a good evening!
Happy Halloween!