Christmas ornaments

Our tree finally got put up this weekend…only one week late!!!  We normally put the tree up the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend, but since we were down in Southern Indiana, we weren’t able to do it then.  The tree went up with out a hitch, something that never ever happens!! 

Jayden got his annual Christmas tree ornament and of course i bought two of them.  When he is ready to grow up and leave me, he will have his set of ornaments to put up and i will have mine and no one gets cheated!!!  He has now 11 ornaments on my tree, ranging from “Baby’s First Christmas”, to Yoda, to Bob & Larry, to Snoopy trying to get elected (from 2004, Election year), to Leonardo, Elvis x 3 (he loves Elvis!!) to this year’s ornament, Mickey & Minnie. 

The past few years, when Jayden & I go to get his ornament, we get Jason an ornament too.  This year, we found the perfect ornament for him.  First you have to know that Jason is the cook at our house.  We call him the “Chef” or the “Grill Master”!!  You also have to know that for our Christmas Eve dinner we have home made cheeseburgers, toasted buns & home made French Fries.  So when Jayden & I found this ornament, we simply  had to buy it for Jason…Jason simply loved it!!
This year when I got out my decorations I was again overwhelmed with a since of homesickness when I put this ornament on the tree.  I would simply love to visit home at Christmas, but I know that what i miss isn’t there.  I miss my childhood home, my mom cooking in the kitchen and staying up most of the night before Christmas getting everything ready and my Dad shooting us some mistletoe right out of the tree.  The things I am homesick for this year, can’t ever be visited again except in my memories.
So the tree is up and it’s filled with old memories and new ones and the hope that there will be many more to come.
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being thankful

At this time of year, we often take a look back and see how much God has blessed us in the last year.  In the last year, I have been on an emotional roller coaster but I’m happy to say that God is faithful and I am 100% happier then I was at this time last year!!! 

At the beginning of last year’s holiday season, I was depressed with thinking of facing a holiday season without my Mom.  It was the first time I faced the holidays without her.  It was horrible, I’ll be the first to admit that, but as everything else…life goes on.  Last Thanksgiving, we shared dinner with my Dad, my niece Racheal & her family & my niece Taba stopped by.  We had a good day of food and football and playing games.  But there was a big gaping hole without my Mom.  And while it’s hard…it gets easier…it still hurts badly.  Christmas came and went along with New Years.  My birthday, Jason’s birthday, Jayden’s birthday all came and went without much ado.  Then came April…April Jason & I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary, June we found out I was loosing my job, July my Dad had quadruple bypass surgery & I had shingles, August found me in a job interview in Greenbelt, MD.  September found me employed at my dream job making more money then my last job…and the rest is a blur. 

But I can say that with 100% certainty, God has blessed me 10 fold from where I was one year ago today.  Through out the bad days of this year we never lost anything we feel are “luxuries” and everyone is in good health. 

So this year, I’m thankful for the things below (they are in no particular order):

  • a comfortable home, my Ford Ranger pick-up truck, the 7 computers in my home
  • Kyrah, Anna, Alexia, Alicia, Kiesha, Logan, Corbin & Ethan
  • my purse collection, my cell phone, Crocs
  • Lakota
  • Maggie, DeeDee, Rosary, Kerri, & Heather (and all other long lost friends now found)
  • my health, the air I breathe, being healthier
  • Jason
  • Stac
  • the many pilots who have carried me all over the country safely, Philips Products closing it’s doors, being Technical Coordinator for NFRC
  • Jayden
  • Taba, Racheal & Amanda (aka 2, 3, & 4)
  • Erica
  • the wonderful food Jason will make for me this Thursday, spending Thanksgiving in Ninevah, IN & hanging out with Susan & George
♫ I will enter His gates with thanksgiving in my heart, I will enter His courts with praise, I will say this is day that the Lord has made, I will rejoice for He has made me glad!!! ♫

sisters

One of my earliest memories is waking up on the floor on spring morning. I remember crying, I remember pain. I remember my sister coming in to check on me and helping me get to my grandma (Manny’s) house. My sister trying to do everything to get me to be ok, worried about me and taking care of me. I was maybe 4 yrs old and she got me up every morning and took me to my Manny’s house because my mom worked nights at the ER. Manny & Dinah finally called my mom where I was rushed to the ER with a broken collar bone. I had fallen from my bunk bed and landed wrong and it snapped.

Another early memory of my childhood was lying in bed with my sister. She was always so warm and when I could be cold I would always want to snuggle with her. I know there is more than one picture floating around of us sleeping together. She would always sing to me; to this day I can’t hear the song, The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia, without thinking of her.
I was 5 when my next memory comes in. I was sick as a dog as I slept through most of my sister’s graduation and the party afterwards. A few months later, I remember going into a room and seeing my sister all dressed up and I had no idea what was going on, but as my sister walked down the aisle of the church and my mom squeezing my hand, I knew it was pretty profound. I didn’t understand why she wasn’t staying in my room anymore but Mom quickly changed the room around so I didn’t have too much time to miss her. It would be a little over a year later that my first niece, Julie, was born.

My mom and my sister would often time play jokes on me. They both looked A LOT alike and sounded alike as well. I remember one summer day that my mom stuck her head out the window and told me to come inside. I thought this was odd because she just sent me outside!! When low and behold it was Dinah telling me to come in and see her and baby Julie. I would call home later in my life and Dinah would be home and pretend to be mom or Mom would answer and I would demand to talk to Mom, thinking it was Dinah.
When I was 11, Dinah named her second child after me. Racheal & I share the same middle name and thus forged the bond between sisters even more. Dinah would often spoil me, buying me things Mom would say was too expensive or unnecessary. I was 12 when my sister bought me a waterbed, much to my Mom’s dismay.
When I was 12 I was finally allowed to go to the hospital while Dinah had a baby! It was so boring!! I had to sit in the waiting room with my brother in law, Joey, and wait. Here I thought I was going to see something exciting and all I did was sleep. But at least I was there when Molly was born. For Josh, Katy & Daniel I was the babysitter while everyone else went to the hospital and for Willie I was in a different state.

Times past, choices made and we drifted apart but there was still that bond there that only those with sisters will ever understand. Shared memories, shared blood, shared secrets always brought us back into each other’s confidence. She would always give me very wise counsel from our Manny, “Listen to what everyone has to say, then do what you feel is best.” Something I have tried hard to live by. We had just found each other again when it was time for her to go and every day that goes by, I miss her. She left me with a great responsibility, being world’s greatest aunt to 7 wonderful kids. While I love them all equally, some of them are less close then others. Some are more like sisters then nieces and for that I will always thank Dinah for…I have all these little pieces of her left. So today on her 53rd birthday I celebrate. I celebrate her life and know that her and my Mom & my Manny (and other family members) are celebrating together. Here’s to you Dinah, my big sis…thanks for all you gave to me and continue to give me everyday!!

dreams

At a very early age I learned that dreams were often times scary, sometimes fun and sometimes worth paying close attention too. My first real remembrance of this was in the fall of 1982. I was 12 years old and in junior high. My family and I had just taken a long vacation that summer driving from Oklahoma to Pennsylvania, Washington DC and back through the Smokey’s. On this fall morning, I got up and told my mom I had had a bad dream…that there was something wrong with the Washington Monument. Now we didn’t think much of it at the time because we had just come from there and I am deathly afraid of heights and going to the top was a real stretch of my ability to remain calm. Interestingly enough, my mom said that she had a dream about my eldest niece, Julie, the night before. At the time, I thought it was her attempt to get my mind directed to something else. I went to school that day and life went on as planned. I believe it was right around lunch time when I heard the news that my niece Julie’s home had been burnt to the ground in a fire (I went to school with some of her step siblings). I was completely freaking out…did my mom just NOT tell me she dreamed about Julie the night before??? I eagerly await the end of school when I can tell my mom of the events I had heard of the day. The bell finally rings and I run out the front of Central Junior High and my mom is there to pick me up. Before I can even say hi, tell her what I had found out, she tells me to sit in the truck and listen to her. She had been watching the news all day where a man had taken hostages in the Washington Monument. She turned up the news on her radio in the truck and low and behold she was right. After listening to it a bit longer, I shared my story about Julie. We both were shocked & stunned and listened to the rest of the news broadcast in silence.



My next experience with dreams came when I was 18 and working my first job. There was a family who was very close to ours. We did a lot of things together with them, visits, holidays, vacations, etc. But through the course of time, we had begun to separate some and hadn’t been in contact for a month or so. I woke up, told my mom I had a dream about this family and felt like something wasn’t right. I later went into work, saw a mutual friend (I was a bank teller and saw 100s of people every day) and this mutual friend asked if I had heard the news. “What news?” I say??? It seems that one of their family attempted suicide the night before but had been unsuccessful.


One of the most recent experiences with dreams came on my 38th birthday. We had just admitted my mom to the hospital for pneumonia and my son dreamed that she was going to die. We all, even my mom, tried to convince him it was only a dream. We had no idea that exactly 14 days, 2 weeks later to the day, we would say our final goodbyes and watch my mom slip from this world to the next.


It was 2 weeks after my mom passed that my niece Amanda called me to tell me of a dream a co-worker of hers had about her. The co-worker asked if her grandma who just passed away was heavy set with gray hair because a woman matching that description was in his dream the night before handing him a Bible asking him to give it to Amanda so she could study it and my Mom could see her again.


Someone once told me that my dreams are God’s way of alerting me and showing me the way to pray for people. Believe whatever you want, but I do believe God uses my dreams and the dreams of those around me to do just that. Even in the Bible He used dreams, why are we so narrow minded to think that He couldn’t do it now??? I don’t believe in accidents or coincidences. Even as far back as when I was 12 and didn’t know Jesus, He was using my dreams to alert me.


Now…I said all that to say this…God is alerting me again. My wonderful great niece (Anna) who is 4 has had a dream that her Mom (my niece Racheal) is going to the heavens with Meme (my mom) and MeMaw (my sister, Racheal’s mom). She also believe she is going too…she has seen Meme in her dreams. When Racheal text me, I asked her a series of questions and then she put Anna on the phone. Anna is adamant that this all will happen on Tuesday (I talked with her late last week so Tuesday…is today….). So today, I pray a prayer of protection around my niece Racheal & my great niece Anna…may God keep them safe and sound, happy and healthy and may the phone ring late tonight or early tomorrow morning saying that they are all safe and sound.

trials of a mom

Typically I wouldn’t rant and rave and complain about my child…I love him very much. He is an only child to a mom who can’t have children so is spoiled, doted on and loved A LOT!! But the past couple of days it’s as if he is having PMS!! He’s moody, self involved, selfish and whiney!! So not my normal happy go lucky boy. So then tonight…out pops the culprit – Desiree!!! he’s only been crushing on her for 2 yrs and today it came out that she wanted to “go out” (an idiotic term for those who are 10 cause seriously where are they going out??) with his good pal Austin. Then of course later in the day she changes her mind and wants to “go out” with my baby. (again where are they going??? but i digress) He brought home straight A’s on his report card yesterday and now he’s “going out” with Desiree…one would think he’s be happy and chipper and yet he’s still walking around like he lost his last friend. Oh I’m not sure I’m ready for the teenage years yet!!! Calgon, take me away!!!