Monday, December 29, 2008

It is the computer that has dropped off the face of the earth, not me...

Since Christmas eve our computer has been spending quality time with the Geek Squad at Best Buy. They have been very doom and gloom about it and recently told me that the hard drive isn't functioning.

9 days past the warranty....hmmmmm...

So once I again have the computer...I'll update AND finish my Favorite things.

Have a happy New Year...Let's hope I get the computer back by then...but....

Monday, December 22, 2008

We'll be home for will my sister & her husband...

This is my sister and me at Jane and Andy's wedding....
We weren't going to have our kids with us this Christmas,
I invited Sandy and Jerry (my sister's husband)
And they said "Yes".....
I want to back see, there was a time that I wondered if my sister and I would ever have a friendship once our mother and father were no longer alive.

Now the big deal about her coming out to see me at was that she wanted to be with me! I was so excited to be with her. I love her so much...
Then it happened...
People all over the Northwest began singing, "I'm dreaming of a white Christmas..." and "Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow..."
And SNOW it did...again and again and again and it continues. Then airlines stopped flying out of SEATAC. People were stuck in the airport...we didn't give up! We were going to do it. If I had to get the airporter shuttle to bring them to was going to happen...
So...I checked the website...they weren't going to even TAKE calls for several hours...the buses were full, HMMMMM. We talked. I watched the horrific situation compound at the Seattle airport. We made the decision today. And I cried. Even though I had come to the conclusion that it wouldn't be safe or smart to have them come out. I cried.

I went to TJ Maxx and saw this ornament. It's a snowflake. I bought 2 of them. One of them I am going to send to her. This snowflake has the 2008 date on it and it will be treasured by both of us as the Christmas we ALMOST spent together.
As I said, I was crying and driving...okay, not smart on the snowy roads...but I was. Then, I got a glimpse of the north Cascades and realized what I have said so many times...
Christmas isn't the tinsel and the tree. It isn't parties and packages. It's not friends and yes, it is not even family. Christmas is the celebration of my Savior's birth. It is the reason that we celebrate. It is all about Jesus. And He is faithful to me. Praise Him for all that He has done not only with me, but for me. He gave me a sister who was willing to come spend Christmas at a huge cost just because she knew her baby sister didn't want to be alone. What a precious gift! Thank you Sandy for loving me so much. Thank you Jesus for giving me my sister.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

the Singing Christmas Tree...

Pictures taken from the window of the train to Tacoma...

A couple of weeks ago I bought tickets for the Singing Christmas tree in Tacoma. Steve and I thought we'd drive down to Tacoma (South of Seattle so about 115 + miles.) and then come home that night. The production was at 3:00 we plenty of time.

Well, with the snow and predicted wind, on Friday we talked about going and thought...we can't drive. We checked on taking the train. PERFECT! We could take the train to Tacoma, write our Christmas cards, go out for lunch(we had a restaurant picked out), get a Taxi, go to the play, back in the cab, to the train and back to Bellingham...sounds perfect? Huh?

Let me tell you what we did:

First, we got on the train and headed toward our destination. We stopped several times. At one time the announcement something like this: We are stopping a lot because we are trying to figure out what may be the problem, we hope that it is the hose.... HMMMMM...okay, well they weren't panicked and neither were we. We wrote on!

We were having a good time BUT we are not really good at self portraits but thought you'd like to see our smiles! Our spirits were not dampened and we glad we had decided to take the train! And as you can see...the scenery was beautiful.

Because of the numerous stops, we were late getting into Tacoma. Scratch nice dinner...go to the closest spot...a Food court in a funky mall. Well, that's okay...

The man who served us assured us that we had to walk down the steps and we would find a taxi waiting for us. GREAT!

Down the steps we went, no taxi. Back to the guy...oh, just go to the bus depot and they'll call a taxi for them. Bus depot...mild bedlam. The buses were being cancelled, passengers were not being patient, the desk clerk...frazzled. Steve looked up the cab numbers and, armed with the book and my cell phone, I started to call taxi companies. Either I got an answering machine or if someone answered, they would tell me, "No fares tonight. Not anymore."

But our spirits weren't dampened. We walked back to the train depot laughing about our adventure. OH WAIT!!!!! There before us...a taxi and a driver. We asked him if he would take us AND pick us up. YES. WAHOO!...Then a couple of things happened:
1-He said, You know some drivers say, I will come back and pick up customer but doesn't come, I not like that. I pick up when I say so.

Self: So what will it take to make sure you come back????? Trust? Not high!

Next question: Our driver, Ahabibrashad, leans out of the window, we had given him the address, and said to another driver, How do you get there?
Self: How do I get there? Will you be able to find your way back????? Are we being stupid?

NOTE: The concert was from 3-5:00. Our train was to leave at 5:16. See the panic in my mind?

Ahabibrashad found the church, we made a date, 4:30! We went in. The music was wonderful. (The tree in this picture, although looks like the tree, is not the tree that we saw.) The costumes elaborate. It was great. Was I nervous? YEP!

At 4:25, we walked out of the concert, and there, parked in front of the church was the taxi. Ahabibrashad was there, too. And he had gotten there early and had gone in to hear the moosic (music). Praise the Lord.

Things were looking good. We got to the train depot at 4:50 and walked in to the sign that said:

Northbound train will leave at
Now, this is where it got fun...
First it was 6:30, then 6:45, then 7:00...finally at almost 8:00 we got onto the train.
It is 17 miles from Tacoma to Seattle. We got into Seattle about 9:00.
Here were some of the problems that the train was facing:

1-Switches had to be done manually...

2-there were some other problems with the train...they didn't tell us what they were.

We got to Seattle, transferred to another train and went on to our final destination...103 miles...and we got to Bellingham at 12:30.

I told Steve that I felt adventursous when we were on our way down. It was more of an adventure than I thought. It would have been so easy to focus on the things that went wrong. But we had an enjoyable day. We were safe. We were together. We saw some amazing scenery that was untouched by anyone. God gave us a beautiful Christmas trip where He again painted a picture for us that was amazing.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

DWIPS invade Seattle...

Dangerous Women in Progress...

We challenge one another to step out of our comfort zones, hold one another accountable, hold one another up in prayer, encourage one another to step out of the box of the church and make a difference in our individual worlds, and well, we just really love each other and we have a great time.

We have been together for 3 years. We have a great time when we are together and somehow, we come up with some fun ideas.

Store windows were magical!

Today, we took the train to Seattle from Bellingham. The train travels along the water for much of the trip and it was a fabulous day... Newsmen did try to dampen our spirits by predicting a huge snow storm, cold temperatures, and genuinely rotten weather. It was FABULOUS. A balmy 45 degrees. We went to many stores, had lunch out, and were able to see the lights of Seattle. We had fun!

We did have some differences in which way to go...and both Barb and Phyllis were positive they were right.
The Macy Star...

We also are able to laugh at one another. Anita's seat on the train kept surprising her and this time, she landed on the floor under the table. Being a group full of grace, we were very concerned about her...but we did have to laugh!

We know that we can call on each other. We know that when we ask for prayer, they will pray and then follow it up with wanting to know the outcome.
God has placed these women in my life and I praise Him for that. He has given me such a precious treasure...and they are one of the top favorite "things" this Christmas holiday!!!
PS...I am pretty sure that the rest of the DWIPS thought that I forgot about the carousel ride. I didn't. I still want to go.

Friday, December 12, 2008

And they hung the ornaments with the greatest of care...

Every year as we decorate the tree, there are all sorts of memories with each ornament. The first 2 ornaments are fairly "new" to our tree.
It was the year that Betsy was in 1st grade...She had her 1st day of 1st grade dress on so she would have be 6 which would have made Jane 2+. We gave these ornaments to Mom and Dad. They hung on their tree. They loved hanging these two faces on their tree. At first, I wanted to change them every year. My mom said no, she wanted to remember them like they were when they were given to them.
At that time, I didn't really understand. Why not put NEW pictures in? Keep the ornament current?

When we went through all of mom's Christmas stuff, guess what I found? These 2 precious faces and I was excited to move them to our tree, where they have hung for the last several years.

Last year, we got some precious ornaments from Simon and Mazie. This is the one that they gave Steve.
Would I want to update the picture? No, now I understand. I don't want to change the picture. I want to remember them just like this when we got the ornament. I hope that someday, Betsy will look at the ornaments and babies have really changed.

Now that seems funny to me. When I look at the pictures of Betsy and Jane, I see them. I remember them. I know...Betsy is a mother; Jane is married; and yet I can still see them as my babies, just as they were. I could probably tell you what their laugh was like. I can hear Jane's stories. I can still hear Betsy reading. So...
Memories that are precious, the old ones AND the new ones...what a joy that these memories give to us.
On this very cold Sunday night as I sit in the family room and look at the ornaments on our tree with little faces shining in the Christmas lights...these are one of my favorite things...
My sister just reminded me that these were the ornaments that we used to decorate my dad's Christmas tree when he was in the nursing home.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A perfect picture of submission...

In 1985, my dad was in the nursing home through the Christmas season. I wanted to get him something, knowing that he would either not open it or that he would not keep it for long. He was dying. I wasn't wishing that he would live longer because he had had a stroke and during that time was responding very little. I had been called to the nursing home several times by the nursing staff to tell me that he wasn't going to make it through Thanksgiving and then through Christmas.
On January 1, 1986, my dad died. I didn't have any regrets. I had had 8 months to say everything that I had wanted to say. But that Christmas, I wanted to give him something...determined would be a better word even though my family and friends reminded me that he may not open it that Christmas.
I remember when I saw Santa bowing at the manger. I don't think that I had seen one before that day. In my heart I knew that this was what I wanted to give my dad. I would be able to tell him again of the glorious story of Christ...his birth and his resurrection. To remind him that because of Jesus and what He had done on the cross we were able to spend eternity with Him. Dad couldn't pray out loud because the stroke had taken his ability to speak. Weeks earlier, I had shared the plan of salvation in a clear way. I don't know what his response is but I believe that my dad was ready to meet Him on the first day of 1986.
This isn't a sad story for me to share. Because of this "gift" that I gave my dad, I am blessed each year as I open it. It doesn't remind me of his death alone, but pictures flood my mind of me when I was a child, as I grew up, the words of wisdom that he gave me over the years, the way he loved our girls, Christmases, holidays, his smirk...oh there are just so many memories that this figurine brings up.
And then there is the obvious reflection. Santa seems to be everywhere, but it is the birth of Jesus that we celebrate. It is at His manger that each of us must bow.
And that makes this reminder of the true meaning of Christmas...for today, my favorite thing...

Books, Books, Books

As a child, I remember loving T'was the Night Before Christmas.* I even remember asking to have it read. But as I think back, in my head, I didn't wear out the book. I liked to read but really don't remember my mom sitting down and reading to me for hours at a time.
*My sister just told me that she had this memorized at the age of 2.
Recently, Betsy told me that although she didn't believe in book burning, she and Jon were sick of reading, There is a Mouse in my House, one of her favorite books when she was a child and between Jane and Betsy, I, too, can recite that book by heart. We know that it is Mazie's favorite because when we were in Omaha in November we read it at least 10-15 times a day... he has a long tail and shiny eyes and he runs very fast. I like my mouse and he is in my house. Just like Betsy and Jane, Mazie can finish the lines when you pause.
Then I thought back to some of the books that I can still quote, sometimes, not the whole book but most of the lines.

In 1966, there were 2 things that happened that year. The first one was my nephew, Scott, was born and the book Santa Mouse was written. Between reading that book to Scottie (sorry Scott, you will always be my little Scottie!) and then reading it to Betsy and Jane, I remember most of it...I couldn't find the book, so I wondered how much of it I could quote without it.

Once there was a little mouse who didn't have a name. He lived in a great, big house, this mouse, the only mouse in the whole wide house. He used to play a game; He'd day dream that he had playmates who were happy as can be...and he would play some games with them. He'd daydream that they were cowboys or be Eskimos or Spanish, but when he'd try to touch them, like a bubble they would vanish. On Christmas eve he climbed in bed and as he closed his eyes, he thought, "My Goodness, no one gives a gift to Santa Claus." Through the years this little mouse had saved one special thing, a piece of cheese, the kind that make the angels want to sing. He ran to get his pretty cheese and after he had found it, some paper from some chewing gum he quickly wrapped around it.

And then he climbed in bed and dreamed that he was lifted high, and woke to find that he was looking right in Santa's eyes.

"I thank you for my gift," said Santa, "tell me what's your name."

"I haven't any," said the mouse.

"You haven't! That's a shame! But I will give a name to you ...I'll call you Santa Mouse. So here's your beard and your suit and here's each shiny, tiny boot. Just put them on and we'll be off. And over all the rooftops on a journey with no end, away they flew together, Santa and his tiny friend.

And so this Christmas, if you please, why don't you leave a piece of cheese? You know who'll thank you? Santa Mouse.

I may have missed a word or 2 there, maybe Scott, Betsy or Jane will remember. Do you remember this book? Burning the book, yes, remembering it when my nephew is over 40...priceless!

Another Christmas book that was a favorite in our house was Barbara Robinson's, The Best Christmas Pageant Ever (don't worry, I don't plan on quoting this one). IF you have never read this and you have been in a church Christmas Pageant when you were little, run do not walk to your nearest library and check this book out.
When our children were little we read this every Christmas*, (yes, Betsy, read this to Simon and Mazie this year. They would love it.) It was a favorite. We loved the Herdmans. We knew the Herdmans! We went to the play that Shiloh Christian School put on. We could hardly wait for the movie. Parts were just so much fun to read again and to imagine.
*Rmember I fell in love with this listening to parts of it in Kathy Jarolimek's 3rd grade classroom.
Remembering my favorite things, wouldn't be complete without mentioning all of the books that we read to our children when they were small. Steve and I are going to go to Tacoma and this is the book that we will read in the car. (Don't worry, I read and Steve drives!)
Books...are always my favorite things, for this season, these are only 3 of them...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

December my garden...

Okay, so this is a quick break but I couldn't help it.
I have been using a lot of fresh parsley from my yard...I took this picture today. This patch started out as one little puny plant that looked sickly this spring. It is now taking over my patio garden spot...

This is what really caused me to take these pictures...yes, my geraniums are BLOOMING...and it is December 9th in Ferndale!!!
This plant was started with a is a bush fucia...and yes, it is blooming!

This is another geranium that is blooming in another part of the yard...

I am almost used to seeing the pansies all winter. These little happy faces stay around most of the winter. They start to get a little sad around February but then by April, they are up and blooming...

Ever since I read the book, The Primrose Day by Carolyn Haywood to our girls I have loved to see these flowers. They too, are the brave little souls that love to bloom throughout the winter and early spring.
We planted the pansies and the primroses the first year we were here, now, I pull them like weeds...or give them to anyone passing by...
Roses? In December? yep, these beauties were blooming today when I got home and so I snapped a picture of them

Same bush, different roses...
For today, it is looking around and seeing the things that I haven't grown up with...
roses, geraniums, pansies in December...fresh parsley...
And they are my favorite things...for today...

Monday, December 8, 2008

Po' po' Joe...Oh, no nose, Jo....

Somewhere around my 4th grade year I decided that I really wanted a nativity for Christmas. I told my mom and dad that I wanted a little nativity. A couple weeks before Christmas, my dad started constructing a creche. It was huge...I wanted a LITTLE nativity and Dad was making a HUGE barn. I tried to talk to him but he didn't understand. I talked myself into being very surprised when I saw the set.

Christmas Eve, my dad and mom had put the little, tiny nativity in the LARGE barn. I was so disappointed but tried to be happy. I knew my dad had worked hard to make the creche. Christmas morning came and I went out to the living. There in the barn that dad had made, were the perfect sized nativity characters.

I was so excited and that nativity has had a special place in our home and my heart since then. One year as we unpacked the pieces, because they had been stored in our unheated shed, all of the paint pealed off when we removed the newspaper. I started crying and my dear husband assured me that we could go to a craft store, get paint and restore the pieces. We left right away and he fixed it.

The pieces are beginning to show wear and tear. This king has a "rip" in his robe.

Po' po' Joseph has no nose. The donkey has chunks out of him...

When our kids were at home we all waited and unpacked the figurines together. We would be so excited when we found Baby Jesus.

Those days are gone now because of the distance between us. But looking at this set, brings back huge memories of so many Christmases.

It isn't the figurines, the creche (which has been replaced by my brother-in-law, Jerry), or the memories of setting it up. This is symbolic of who is important in this season. It is He to whom we can give praise. It is at His feet that we bow. And that is what this nativity says to me each year that it is put in place.

When Betsy was about 15 months old, this was her favorite place to be during Christmas.
This year...Come Let us adore Him...each moment of this Christmas season.

Another one of my favorite things...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

I will never tire....

Tonight, I saw that Home Alone was on TV. It had already started but I thought that we could watch it anyway, usually Steve likes it. I fell asleep almost directly...Usually, STEVE falls asleep.

I woke up at the first, "Oh, tee hee, ah". You really have to be around my husband when he laughs when he is watching this movie. He was trying to be quiet...with each horrendous act that Kevin does to the two burglars, he got louder and louder. When the burglars are slipping down the iced steps, the blow torch on one of their heads, the fire starter on the door knob, the rope being cut and the men hitting the sends him into a fit of laughter!

I never tire of watching him watch this movie. It is a tradition since 1990 when we saw the movie for the first time in the theater. And I never tire of listening to him laugh. For a man who does not like to watch something over and over this movie is certainly the exception.

Today...Watching Home Alone with my husband every of my favorite things!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Fun, Food, Friends...what a great day...and one of my favorites...

When we moved to Washington there was a group of people for whom I was very thankful. Steve worked with a group of ladies at the funeral home who were so much fun AND they liked me. We had our 4th Annual Christmas Brunch for the Moles Ladies. We add people every year and we always have a wonderful time. I have grown to love each of these ladies and this is a day that I look forward to in December.(And they tell me that they do too.)

They come, eat new recipes which is always an experiment and always tweaked a little. They find their silverware in a pair of Christmas socks. And they love their socks. Today, we had breakfast burritos and Mary decorated them with sour cream and Holly put on the green onion and cheese...what a team...
It makes me so excited that they love coming because I love having them.

But the fun didn't end at noon. When we moved to Washington, we left our small group in Bismarck and we wanted to find another group because our small group was so important to us in Bismarck. Within a few months we were in a small group. We have done life together, we have served together, laughed and cried together, and have grown to love one another. We had our annual Christmas family party... (They came to our house for the annual Soup supper on Thursday)

Of course there was a table full of food, stories, and we exchanged ornaments this year instead of white elephant gifts...

Georgean, Michelle, Tawney, and I have had some great times together...I consider them to be gifts from God.

Tawney has many rabbits...this one kind of reminds me of Tigger...So I thought I'd add it to let Jane have happy memories of Tigger in the springtime...

Tawney has 2 cats...This one is Archie and he was pretty intent trying to get Jim's food. Don't worry...
Jim won, and he kept his food, poor Archie didn't get even a lick...
Fun, Food, and Friends...
I think it is only the friends that make the top list of favorite "things" today. God has given us people who love us out here. When we moved to Washington, it was my secret fear that no one would like us, actually, no one would like me...God has given us friends who do love us. But more importantly, we love them and count them as gifts from our Heavenly Father.