Family Gatherings

gatheringLast week for Christmas, there were many wonderful family gatherings.

We had four fabulous days in a row with family — exchanging gifts and enjoying our time together.  It was so much fun.

Here is a plaque that I found for my parents.  It is so right for this past week.  It states, “Take joy in the gathering… sweet memories are being made.”

We made many memories and for that I am very thankful!  My sister took a family portrait when we were all together.  I cannot wait to see that!!

Each home I went to, I took pictures of the trees or the decorations.  I was trying out my GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAnew camera that was a birthday and Christmas gift from my sweet husband.  Here are some of my shots.

Here is a picture of the Charlie Brown Christmas tree that Ian received from my parents.  Our dining room in is the background.  He was so thrilled to get his own tree!  They also gave him the movie which he enjoyed watching.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERAThis next photo is our tree.  Ian especially liked decorating the three and liked seeing the gifts under it.  He was just the right age to have an absolute ball this year!  What fun times.

GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERA GEDSC DIGITAL CAMERATwo of my sister’s-in-law’s decorations were beautiful.  One had a really nice village scene as well as nutcrackers, a sled and other items, and the other had a great collection of nutcrackers.

Ian too likes nutcrackers and received one from his Uncle Jon!  He was excited to add to his Nutcrackerville community as he calls it!  He had a few from last year but it was great to add to the collection.

Hope you too were able to enjoy fun gatherings with friends and family!

May you enjoy the last two days of 2012.  God Bless!!

Happy Birthday Richmond!

SRP.33.Patti_Richmond.1990Today, December 28, is my brother Richmond’s birthday!  He is 40 years old today!

Here is one of my favorite pictures of the two of us from 1990 at Mission Beach California!  Don’t you love our matching hairdos?

Happy Birthday to you dear Bro!!  I love you so much.  It’s great to have you in the 40s now!  Welcome to the club!

I am 5 years older than my brother.  Throughout our growing up years, there were plenty of conflicts and problems.  And, I remember when I went off to college, he was still a teenager in junior high (before middle school).

Despite some issues through the years and our age difference, we found a way to forgive each other and move on.  Now, we are good friends!  I am so proud of us for doing that!

And, as we were going through the growing pains, I told my parents that Richmond would one day be a fine adult and would impress all of us (or something like that since I don’t exactly remember).

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERATurns out, I was right.  He has grown into a very fine young man.  He has a good job that he enjoys, a great wife who I am also close to, and two great kids.  He is a blessing!!

I love you my dear brother and am so thankful to have you in my life!!  Here we are this summer in San Diego again!  We do like our family time there.

Richmond loves life and his family and friends.  He is crazy about his wife and two kids and has a great time with them.  He is a huge U2 fan and knows all of their songs by heart.  He also loves to read, watch television and movies and can quote from his favorites.  In addition, he likes sports — especially the San Diego Padres (just like me).  He is fun to be with and I love him with all my heart!

Richmond, I wish you a wonderful birthday today!  May you be surrounded by love of family and friends!  And, do some things that you want to do!

I look forward to seeing you tonight for your birthday dinner!  Love you lots.

Merry Christmas to You!

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAI wanted to wish my friends, family, blogs followers and readers a very Merry Christmas!  Hope you have a very blessed holiday!

A few Sundays ago, our Pastor told a story in his sermon that is what I think the holiday is all about.  An autistic boy had a part in the Christmas play.

He played the inn keeper and was supposed to tell Joseph and Mary that there was no room for them in the inn.

Instead this boy said, “I know what I am supposed to say, but Mary and Joe, there is room.  Why don’t you take my room?”

Isn’t that the sweetest? This boy knew that Christmas and Christ are about love and helping others!  May we all live that kind of life!!

This Christmas Eve and Christmas, I look forward to time with family and dear friends, good food, baking cookies, going to church tonight with my family, cookies and hot chocolate after the service, watching Ian open his gifts and stocking on Christmas morning, and the love of the Christ Child!

Here are a few quotes about Christmas:

  • “The best of all gifts around any Christmas tree: the presence of a happy family all wrapped up in each other.”– Burton Hillis
  • “From home to home, and heart to heart, from one place to another. The warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.” — Emily Matthews
  • “The joy of brightening other lives, bearing each others’ burdens, easing other’s loads and supplanting empty hearts and lives with generous gifts becomes for us the magic of Christmas.” — WC Jones
  • “For centuries men have kept an appointment with Christmas. Christmas means fellowship, feasting, giving and receiving, a time of good cheer, home.”– W. J. Tucker
  • “At Christmas, all roads lead home.”– Marjorie Holmes
  • “Christmas is the season of joy, of holiday greetings exchanged, of gift-giving, and of families united.” –Norman Vincent Peale
  • “Our hearts grow tender with childhood memories and love of kindred, and we are better throughout the year for having, in spirit, become a child again at Christmas-time.”– Laura Ingalls Wilder

May you have a blessed and wonderful Christmas!  Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!

People I Am Thankful For

This week I have been doing a lot of thinking and praying, as I am sure you have too!

I have been thinking a lot about all of the precious people in my life.  I am thankful for:

  • You my followers and readers!  I appreciate those of you who I know and who have been supportive to me.  I also appreciate all of you who I’ve never met and have decided to follow me, like my blogs, and share your comments.
  • A husband who loves me and truly “gets me”
  • A son who has discovered the computer and enjoys playing on it for hours
  • A son who is learning to read and already loves books
  • Parents who taught me what love is and how to share it with others
  • A sister who has been a wonderful friend and confident for as long as I can remember
  • My sister’s great hubby and children.  They are always fun to be with!!
  • A brother who I love with all my heart
  • My brother’s wife who truly is another sister and their great kids.  They are also a lot of fun to spend time with
  • Aunts and uncles who have cared for me and taught me so much
  • Cousins who have been close friends
  • Grandparents who cherished each other and their families and a grandmother who will soon be 92 years old (she is a real spitfire!)
  • Friends who love me and whom I love – several who I’ve known for years and others who I have just recently met
  • (I wanted to add this one which I forgot) — In-laws who have enriched my life. I have a second set of siblings and parents and nieces and nephews who each have special gifts.
  • A Savior who loves me and guides me in my spiritual journey

I hope that you too have many important people in you life!!

Children Are Precious!

childrenIn light of the events of Friday, I wanted to post a poem that is included in my Mom’s Devotional Bible.

It is a poem that really touched me about children and what we can learn from them.

Children are precious gifts from God!  Here is a picture that I found in Power Point’s Clip Art.  Isn’t it a neat picture? I thought it went along perfectly with the poem.

The poem is called “On Raising Children” and is by Mary Hollingsworth.  It states:

“Children are the best teachers in the world.  They teach young women how to be mothers and young men how to be fathers.  They teach older men and women how to be grandparents.  They even teach other children how to be brothers and sisters.

“Think about all the skills children teach people.  They teach moms how to be nurses and dads how to be heroes.  They teach brothers and sisters how to share… toys, rooms, dreams and cookies.  They even teach teachers how to teach in creative and fun ways.

“Children teach the world how to love.  They teach us to look past a person’s skin color right to his or her heart.  They teach us how to be honest, open and innocent.  And they teach us how to hug and laugh and be enthusiastic.

“Children make us keep our promises because they never forget one that we make.  They even make us into scientists and professors by asking “why?” about everything that moves and many things that don’t.

“Isn’t it interesting that while we are teaching our children to be adults, they are teaching us how to be children?  That’s especially important when we remember what Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these” (Matthew 19:14).”

Thank you Mary Hollingsworth for these amazing words about our children!  We truly can learn a lot from them.

May we always remember how precious they are!!  Let’s remember to love our children!!

The Tears Flow

Soon after I posted my last blog I heard about the awful shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.  I was shocked that this had happened at an elementary school.

This tragedy is beyond words and so hard to fathom.  The fact that 20 children, ages 6 and 7, were lost is unimaginable.  My heart aches for their families and friends.  My prayers also go out to the six adults who were killed.

I have wept so much this weekend and have prayed more than I have in a while.  My heart goes out to all of those who were directly affected.  I have watched some of the news coverage but honestly it has been so hard to watch.  The newscasters have been impacted as the rest of us have.

On Friday night, it was amazing to see the first thing that the town did was gather at the churches in town.  People needed the comfort of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ and the comfort that comes from gathering together to remember and to mourn their losses.

It will take a while to get answers, if ever.  But, may we continue to pray for one another, love one another, and reach out to those in need.  “Mourn with those who mourn.” — Romans 12:15

Lord above, please give us strength and the ability to comfort and love each other.

Today there has been rain.  I think that God too is weeping.  He does love His Children.  Of that I am certain.

11 Days ‘Til Christmas

SANYO DIGITAL CAMERAWow, the countdown continues.  We are now less than 2 weeks from Christmas — just 11 more days.

I don’t know about you but I am not quite ready, but thankfully I am not beginning to panic — at least not yet!  🙂

Here is a photo from last month when we started decorating our tree.  Ian was placing ornaments on the tree and had an absolute ball!

This year is a great year for him to enjoy Christmas and I am so enjoying the entire season!  He is fascinated with the lights, the music, the Christmas specials on television and making and decorating Christmas cookies.

Earlier this week, we watched “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” which has the story of Santa.  At first he was unsure of the mean Burgermeister as well as the Warlock, but discovered that as they learned about love and friendship, they became nice.  It was a neat lesson.

About Christmas, Ian said recently, “It is when Santa comes to Jesus’ birthday party.”  Isn’t that great?  I love how he summed it up so well.  He seems to understand that Christmas is about the birth of Jesus with Santa thrown in for fun!

May we as adults enjoy this magical time of year with the wonder and innocence of a child!  And, may we throughout the year show the love and compassion for one another that is so prevalent at this time of year!  I truly hope and pray that we can do that!

Today, I am thankful for:

  • A boy who sings “Santa Clause is Coming to Town” and “Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer”
  • Stores where photo gifts can be made and then either picked up or mailed to you
  • Coffee with peppermint mocha creamer (very sweet and a treat)
  • Trying to arrange a get-together with family and friends
  • A friend who will receive her bachelor’s degree tomorrow.  Although I can’t be at the ceremony, I will be there in spirit.
  • Singing along with the Christmas songs on the radio
  • Teaching Ian about the Advent Wreath
  • Watching Ian print out pictures of Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and Christmas from the Internet
  • Eating popcorn and hot chocolate
  • Christmas specials on television
  • Receiving a special early gift from my hubby
  • Finding the perfect gift for a special someone
  • Hearing what Ian wants for Christmas
  • Quoting each song while watching the amazing movie “White Christmas.”

May you have a wonderful Christmas!  Remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!

We Are Special!

daisyOver the weekend, I rewatched some of the final episodes of the 2nd season of the wonderful “Downton Abbey.”   It was fun to see the storylines again!  And, I cannot wait until the new season starts in January!!!

This is a great show about Lord and Lady Crawley, their children, other family members and friends, and their servants.  It has “upstairs” characters and “downstairs” characters.   Have you watched it?  If not, you should tune in when PBS starts the new season next month.

One line that I heard on the show gave me pause.  Daisy is the kitchen maid and on the bottom of the totem pole in the downstairs staff.  She is often treated very badly and like the bottom rung person that she is.  That in itself is sometimes hard to watch.

Although she is treated so poorly, she proudly and honorably does her work as all of the downstairs staff does.  They all seem content to be at their station in life, although she is ready for some changes and tries to make them happen.

She said, “I have never been special to anyone.”  Isn’t that sad?  I know that it is a character giving a line but I couldn’t help but think there may be real people out there who feel that way.  That truly made me sad.

Everyone is special and should be treated as such.  The Lord above gave each and every one of us unique gifts and talents.  I hope that you know that about yourself!!

For many years, the word special has been used in a more derogatory meaning or as a joke.  Like the Church Lady on “Saturday Night Live” used to say, “Isn’t that special?”  That was funny but has changed the meaning of the word.

According to Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary, “Special” is defined as “distinguished by some unusual quality; especially : being in some way superior <our special blend>: or held in particular esteem.”

We use the term “special needs student” for a child who learns a little bit differently or may need extra help with school work or reading.  And there are the Special Olympics, which are an amazing opportunity for students to compete in sports and feel what it is like to be on a team.

I am fortunate to have parents, aunts and uncles, and grandparents and other precious adults who told me and showed me that I was special.  I always felt that way as well as loved.  That is something I am truly grateful for.

Now that I am a parent, I am teaching and showing Ian that he is special.  Actually Kirk and I are doing that together as his parents.  This is important to us as parents that he learns that he is loved, cared and provided for, and special to us.

I hope and pray that you too feel special!  Please remember that all of us are special to Jesus.  He loves us and wants us to know what it is like to be loved and truly valued.

My prayer is that you too feel special and loved and valued!  And, I also pray that we help others in our life realize how special they are to us!  Let us share that love!!

A Rainy Monday

rain“Rainy days and Mondays always get me down.”  — The Carpenters.

Today is a rainy Monday morning.  The sky is gray and it has been a bit hard to get going this morning.  I don’t know if this combination always gets me down, but I suppose sometimes that it can.  What do you think?

I am glad that it is the start of a new week and a new week of possibilities.  But sometimes the lack of sunshine can effect me, as it is very overcast today and wet outside.

Last week Ian and I were sick.  That was a rough week and no fun at all!!  Today, however, we are feeling lots better but not quite back to ourselves yet.  We are getting there.

Slowly but surely we have been getting better and that is a blessing.  We had lots of lazy time and that is good! Yesterday afternoon, we played “Candyland” and “Chutes and Ladders.”  What fun that was to enjoy with Ian.

I hope and pray that you will stay well!  It seems that many people get sick this time of year, so take care of yourself and get plenty of rest.

I am reminded of the quote that without the rain there are no rainbows, or something like that.  I will try to be thankful today for the rain nourishing the grass, trees, and plants outside.  This water is doing some good for nature.

Besides, have you noticed how stunning everything looks the day after a storm?  The world looks much brighter somehow.

If you too are having a rough day, may the Lord stretch His hand upon you and help you realize that it won’t last that long.  And, may we remember He is always there with us to get through the tough and rough times.

And, here is hoping for the sun to come out tomorrow!

Christmas Music

Christmas musicIt’s beginning to sound a lot like Christmas!

I don’t know about you but I love Christmas music.  The radio station I normally listen to, B-97.5 in Knoxville, Tennessee, has been playing some of my favorites along with their regular lineup.

Hearing these songs puts me in the mood for Christmas and all of the wonderment of the Advent season and Christmas Eve and Christmas Day as well.  And I must admit that I sing along with as many as possible!  Fun times for me, that’s for sure.

Here are some of my favorites that I hear on the radio with the artists that I like the best:

  • “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” by Andy Williams — His version of this song always makes me smile.  I can sing each and every word and usually do at the top of my lungs!  When I hear this, I am ready for the Christmas season.  This year he will be celebrating in Heaven.
  • “Celebrate Me Home” by Kenny Loggins — I always sing along with this version.  It is so great being home for Christmas!
  • “Do They Know It’s Christmas” by Bandaid — This was recorded in the mid-80s and remains one of the best.  It always makes me a little sad and mindful of so many who are suffering.
  • “A Baby Changes Everything” by Faith Hill — This song gives me chills and brings tears to my eyes.  Baby Jesus truly did change everything!  And, my baby changed my life so I think of him as well.
  • “Tennessee Christmas” by Amy Grant.  Since I live in Tennessee and grew up there, this song is quite special to me.  Her version is beautiful.
  • “Santa Claus Is Coming to Town” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band.  I love his talking at the beginning of the song, the song itself, and the band and crowd they recorded it before.  It is a fun song!
  • “Simply Having A Wonderful Christmas Time” by Paul McCartney.  I like the musicality of this song and the words are great as well.
  • “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” by Josh Groban with the quotes from service men and women mixed in.  This always makes me tear up and hope and pray that people will be with their families at Christmas time.

Music has a great effect on me as I am sure it does on you as well.  Each time I hear these songs I am happy and thoughtful as well.  They are truly an important part of this season for me.

What are some of your favorites?  These are just from the radio.  I have many others that I will write about in another posting.

Merry Christmas and remember that Jesus is the Reason for the Season!!!!