WELCOME!!!

WELCOME!!!

Wednesday, December 31

Happy New Year

At 12:01 am, the old year will move on and the baby New Year will begin his reign. None of us know what 2009 has in store for us. The prediction is hard economic times and possibly another depression. However, 2009, as of this moment is filled with blank pages. There will be things that happen that are out of our control, but there will be other things that we have a choice about. Keep your attitude positive and try to write only positive things in your book for 2009. The most important thing is that we remember our values, love our families and try to make the New Year the best that it can be.

My wish to each of you is that you are blessed with abundant blessings, love, laughter, good health and happiness throughout 2009. Remember that life is only what we make it. Love your family, friends and God and the rest will take care of itself.

The past year was very good to us and I must count my blessings. There were a few things that I would rather not have gone through. All the mess with the tenant in the first five months of the year was trying for us. The next five months were labor intense as we renovated the apartment and made it liveable again. Sometimes we thought it would never end. We finally got it finished and Aunt May, who was suffering from bone cancer went into the hospital and within two weeks had passed away. Though I`m glad she is free and no longer in pain, I will miss her.

The past year was not the hardest one I've ever been through and I am thankful for blessing received. Mom is doing well for her age. Hubby is working and is doing fairly well health wise. The grandsons are healthy and we all had a beautiful Christmas. So many things to be thankful for and as I bid 2008 goodbye and welcome 2009, I only ask that the coming year is as good as the past one has been.

Count your blessings as you begin the New Year and continue to count your blessings throughout the entire year, for there is always someone who is even less fortunate. Be kind and love thy neighbor as thy self. The rest will take care of itself.~Blessings,Mary~

Tuesday, December 30

A Treasured Gift

Jean of Speaking from the Heart has started a new meme. I discovered it when I visited Denise from Shortybear's Place. It looked interesting, so I checked it out. It is called "I Remember When."

One of my fondest memories is Christmas at Grandma's. When Grandma lived next door to us, we would always trudge across the snowy field to celebrate Christmas Day with Grandma and all of my aunts and uncles and their families. It was always a joyous occasion. Grandma always decorated her tree on Christmas Eve, so when we walked in the door on Christmas, the first thing we saw was the tree. It was always a spruce if Grandma had her way and it was always decorated with the vintage decorations that she had collected over the years.

The focus of Christmas was not so much on the gifts, but the birthday of our Lord. Second to that came the celebration of being with family. We kids all waited in anticipation of the gift giving, as Grandpa always insisted that the meal be taken first and then when the kitchen cleanup was completed, he would hand out the gifts. No one else was allowed to go near the Christmas tree until that time. Each year, as faithful as clockwork, I would unwrap a book that was wrapped in green tissue paper and tied with red cord. A few Christmas stickers was always added to brighten the gift up just a little.

That gift in that green tissue paper was one I always looked forward to and the contents were always treasured. Grandma & Grandpa had little money but each year I received a book. As I grew older, it was always the latest released Nancy Drew Mystery and that suited me fine. I still look forward to receiving a book for Christmas.

Today, I wrap Brandon & Jordan's big gift from us in green tissue. I don't add the red cord, but do add the Christmas stickers. You can see the wrapping from Brandon's gift this year in the post below. It makes me wonder if in years to come the boys will Remember When Grandma wrapped their Christmas gifts in green tissue paper with stickers added to make the parcel just a little more festive.

If you would like to take part in this meme, be sure to follow the link above and add your name to Mr. Linky on Jean's site. ~Blessings, Mary~

PS. To read about my memories of Grandma's Kitchen, please click on the link.

Monday, December 29

Moments in Time: Christmas 2008

I always like to take shots when people aren't expecting it. Quite often I'm able to capture a moment in time - a moment when people are being themselves and not posing for the camera. Here are a few shots I was able to get on Christmas Day.

Mom and Tarryn with the bath toy that hubby and I gave him for Christmas. Beside them, Barry is playing with his new DS.

Mom and Griffyn taking in everything that is going on. This is a definite moment in time.


Michelle, talking to Tarryn and though he will only be 5 months old on January 1st, he's doing his best to hold up his end of the conversation.


Jordan and Tarryn enjoying a moment of closeness. Jordan likes his cousins to visit and having little ones around.


Jordan, chilling out and relaxing while everyone else is busy doing other things. He was thrilled that he had the entire couch to himself.


Brandon enjoying the new Rock Band 2 game. He likes playing the guitar and does really well with it.
Jack and Tarryn. Jack is trying to figure something out and there is a look of puzzlement on his face. Tarryn is falling asleep on Daddy's lap.

Griffyn kissing a sleeping Tarryn. This is a precious moment in time and a photo that I will treasure. This would make a beautiful gift for both boys when they are older.

That is about all the photos of Christmas. Soon we will be taking down all of the Christmas decorations and storing them away for next year. It will be here before we know it, but who knows what the New Year has in store? Right now it looms before us, a blank book and some of what is written on those pages will be our choice; some of the events will be out of our control. Whatever the New Year brings, it will be written on these blank pages and I'm going to do the best I can to make sure that the writings are something I can be proud of when the events are of my choice. What will you write in your book for 2009? Whatever it is, I hope that it is all positive and that the New Year brings you abundant blessings, laughter, love and all the good things that life can hold. ~Blessings, Mary!

Sunday, December 28

Some Christmas Highlights

Christmas morning was quiet at our house. Hubby and I opened our gifts from each other and then we relaxed until it was time to go to Michelle's for dinner. She had it at 2pm because hubby had to work and so did Jack.

The meal was great. There was turkey, mashed potatoes, lots of different vegetables, a cheese platter for before the meal, which included pickles and biscuits. There was pumpkin pie for desert and a huge plate of Christmas cookies. It was all delicious.

Here is a picture of three generations. Mom is in the light green sweater beside me. Michelle is in blue and Melissa in red. We are varying ages. Mom is 81, I'm 59, Michelle will be 40 in February and Melissa will be 33 in March.

Mom was very ill on Christmas Eve while at my sisters. She seemed to recuperate quickly and I think it was the same bug that I had early in December. Please keep her in your prayers.
This is Griffyn. He takes drumming lessons at the Native Center and loves drums of all kinds. Here he is playing the drums from the Rock Band 2 game that the boys got for Christmas.

Melissa had told me that Griffyn loves animal figurines. I found these ones still brand new in the package from when the boys were young, so hubby and I gave them to him for Christmas. He loved them.

This is Jordan with the DS Lite that hubby and I gave him. These were on the boys Wish Lists but they thought they were all bought up. They didn't know that Grandma had bought them way back in September.

Brandon with his DS Lite. These were Limited Edition and very special, so the boys tell me. That was their big gift from us. They were delighted.

I received a beautiful angel pin from Brandon and Jordan, two fairies from hubby, a water ball for my collection from Michelle and Barry, pictures of Griffyn and Tarryn from Melissa and Jack and two beautiful cardinal figurines from Mom. I will try to post photos soon.

Enjoy your week, stay safe and remember to do a random act of kindness. ~Blessings, Mary~

Saturday, December 27

Christmas Fun

Don't you just love it when you buy someone a gift and they get all excited and have lots of fun with it? Well, this is what happened to us this Christmas.

Brandon, Jordan and I were at Wal*Mart in September. We had been looking in the toy department for Christmas list ideas. We were on our way to another section of the store and I happened to see the toilet seats. I told the boys I needed to look there, as my toilet seat was in need of replacing.

(Now, some of my regular readers will know that my daughter, Michelle, loves dolphins. She has her main floor bathroom painted blue and it is decorated with dolphins, lighthouses, seashells etc. )

Well, what did we find but a see-through acrylic toilet seat with dolphins on the lid. The boys agreed that their mother would love it, so I bought it. We placed it in a huge gift bag and added tissue paper to keep prying eyes away. The boys asked what they should tell their mother if she asked what we had bought her for Christmas. I told them, "Tell her a toilet seat. She won't believe you."

Here is Michelle when she first opened the toilet seat. She gave a squeal of delight and said, "My sons are banned from my bathroom."

Holding the toilet seat so everyone could see that it was transparent. You would have thought she had been given a million dollars.
Then she got a little silly and put it over her head. She's laughing so hard in this photos.
And being sassy in this one. She said,'This is the only time you'll ever see me wear a toilet seat around my neck."

Everyone had a good laugh and it was a lot of fun seeing how much she enjoyed receiving a toilet seat. Just goes to show you that some people will be happy no matter what they receive.

This was the highlight of the Christmas gifts and I was glad that she enjoyed her gift so much. Giving just the right gift is indeed a blessing. Hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. ~Blessings, Mary~

Thursday, December 25

Merry Christmas

I would like to wish all my friends and readers a very Merry Christmas. I've made this little gift for all of you. Please feel free to take a copy for your blog. There is also another on my sidebar. God bless each of you.

Wednesday, December 24

Family Photos

A few days ago, Mom gave me an early Christmas present. When she handed it to me, I assumed that it was just a Christmas card. Imagine my delight when I opened it and found some family photos inside.
Above is a photo of Grandma. She is the one that I'm always writing about. She taught me many things, including a love of God. This is Grandma when she was 23 years old. That is my mother in her arms. Mom was my grandparents' first child. Mom would be about 6 months old here. The photo was taken in the spring of 1928.

Above is Grandma as I picture her. She is wearing a housedress, which was what she wore around home everyday...and the ever-present apron tied around her waist. I remember both the dress and the apron well. Since I don't have many photos of Grandma, I was ecstatic.
Above is a photo of my great-grandmother, Minnie. We called her Grandma Min and she was my maternal grandfather's mother. This was taken at the old home place, which doesn't exist anymore. This would have been taken in the mid 1940s, just after the war.

These photos were one of the best Christmas presents that Mom could have given me. I now can have copies made so other family members can get to know the ancestors that have gone before them.

Today the boys and I went to the mall and had our photo taken with Santa. I don't have any recent photos of the boys and I together, so I thought this would be a golden opportunity. I purchased one photo and will have copies made for other members of the family. I was surprised at how well it turned out.

I'd like to take this time to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas. As you celebrate with family and friends, please take time to reflect on the reason for the season. ~Blessings, Mary~

Tuesday, December 23

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Like Christmas

I've been way behind this year in getting my house decorated for the season. I really needed to do some deep cleaning because of all the renovations that took place upstairs. I had a great head start on it and then Aunt May went to the hospital. For two weeks I did very little except visit her. Then she passed and there was the funeral. I wasn't thinking much about decorating at this time. December 1st, I came down with a nasty bit of viral infection and have been fighting it ever since. However, the last week has been much better with the help of antibiotics and I've been scrambling to get it all done. So, I will show you a few photos of what I've accomplished and some of what I still have to do.


The first photos shows our Christmas tree when we put it up on Saturday. All it has on it is the lights. Excuse the Christmas boxes sitting on the sewing machine cabinet in the left foreground and the vaccuum in the right corner. These will get put away.

Here is the tree all decorated after the boys left on Sunday. Ah, I need a better picture. I cut the angel's head off and this is an angel that my mother made for me. I will show a photo of it before we take down the tree. The Christmas boxes have now been changed to old telephone books that are going in the garbage. Yes, the vaccum is still there by the dusty china cabinet. I told you there were some things I hadn't got done yet.

The Christmas cards on the white door are from all of my blogging friends. Thank you so much. I love each and every one of them and when they come down, they will go into my card collection.

Most of these cards on the dark door are hubby's, given to him by his clients. There are more Christmas cards strung on a piece of ribbon behind the couch. The picture of the animals was made for me by Mom about 15 years ago. I notice it has a little fray on the lace. I must repair that.
This angel was a gift from my dear blogging friend, Sammi at Bears in Exile. I participated in her Circle Journal last year and she just sent it for me to read all of the entries. It is fantastic. In the package was this little handmade angel. I love it. A special token of our friendship. Thanks again, Sammi. She will be carefully stored away with love after Christmas.

This is the main part of the entertainment unit. It holds some of my angel collection. Two were given to me by hubby and the purple one on the left was made for me by Mom. The nativity was a gift from a stranger. A story for another day.

This is my granny Christmas tree. Last year Hootin' Anni and Pea bought Santa Claus trees at Michael's. I went to find one and on the shelf was this granny Christmas tree. It was love at first sight and I couldn't pass it up, as it was on sale for 40% off.

This is the other side of my entertainment unit. I also love snowmen and women and on the bottom shelf you will see some of those. The middle shelf holds Santa's sleigh that the reindeer are pulling. It is acrylic and was a gift from Mom. The boy and girl with the musical instruments was something I won when I was a Princess House crystal representative. The top shelf holds the crystal angel that was a gift from Denise at Shorty Bear's Place in 2007. Beside her are kissing angels that I made in ceramic class in the 70s.

This star was made for me by Jordan when he was six. It is a piece of cardboard covered with tin foil. Some people might think it was junk, but it is a treasure to me, as it was made and given with love.
When Brandon was in kindergarten, he made this walnut decoration. He painted the walnut and then put very tiny green beads on it. Quite a feat for a child with Asperger's because their motor skills aren't the best. But make it he did and it is another ornament that is treasured simply because it was made and given with love from the heart.
Most of my Christmas decorations have special meaning. I have a few others that I may share with you before the tree is taken down.
Well, I have a few things still to wrap and need to throw those phone books out and put the vacuum away. Thanks for stopping by. Merry Christmas!~Blessings, Mary~

Monday, December 22

In Honor of All Soldiers


TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS, HE LIVED ALL ALONE, IN A ONE BEDROOM HOUSE MADE OF PLASTER AND STONE.

I HAD COME DOWN THE CHIMNEY WITH PRESENTS TO GIVE, AND TO SEE JUST WHO IN THIS HOME DID LIVE.

I LOOKED ALL ABOUT, A STRANGE SIGHT I DID SEE, NO TINSEL, NO PRESENTS, NOT EVEN A TREE.

NO STOCKING BY MANTLE, JUST BOOTS FILLED WITH SAND, ON THE WALL HUNG PICTURES OF FAR DISTANT LANDS.

WITH MEDALS AND BADGES, AWARDS OF ALL KINDS, A SOBER THOUGHT CAME THROUGH MY MIND.

FOR THIS HOUSE WAS DIFFERENT, IT WAS DARK AND DREARY, I FOUND THE HOME OF A SOLDIER, ONCE I COULD SEE CLEARLY.

THE SOLDIER LAY SLEEPING, SILENT, ALONE, CURLED UP ON THE FLOOR IN THIS ONE BEDROOM HOME.

THE FACE WAS SO GENTLE, THE ROOM IN SUCH DISORDER, NOT HOW I PICTURED A UNITED STATES SOLDIER.

WAS THIS THE HERO OF WHOM I'D JUST READ? CURLED UP ON A PONCHO, THE FLOOR FOR A BED?

I REALIZED THE FAMILIES THAT I SAW THIS NIGHT, OWED THEIR LIVES TO THESE SOLDIERS WHO WERE WILLING TO FIGHT.

SOON ROUND THE WORLD, THE CHILDREN WOULD PLAY, AND GROWNUPS WOULD CELEBRATE A BRIGHT CHRISTMAS DAY.

THEY ALL ENJOYED FREEDOM EACH MONTH OF THE YEAR, BECAUSE OF THE SOLDIERS, LIKE THE ONE LYING HERE.

I COULDN'T HELP WONDER HOW MANY LAY ALONE, ON A COLD CHRISTMAS EVE IN A LAND FAR FROM HOME.

THE VERY THOUGHT BROUGHT A TEAR TO MY EYE, I DROPPED TO MY KNEES AND STARTED TO CRY.

THE SOLDIER AWAKENED AND I HEARD A ROUGH VOICE, 'SANTA DON'T CRY, THIS LIFE IS MY CHOICE;

I FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, I DON'T ASK FOR MORE, MY LIFE IS MY GOD, MY! COUNTRY, MY CORPS.'

THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER AND DRIFTED TO SLEEP, I COULDN'T CONTROL IT, I CONTINUED TO WEEP.

I KEPT WATCH FOR HOURS, SO SILENT AND STILL AND WE BOTH SHIVERED FROM THE COLD NIGHT'S CHILL.

I DIDN'T WANT TO LEAVE ON THAT COLD, DARK, NIGHT, THIS GUARDIAN OF HONOR SO WILLING TO FIGHT.

THEN THE SOLDIER ROLLED OVER, WITH A VOICE SOFT AND PURE, WHISPERED, 'CARRY ON SANTA, IT'S CHRISTMAS DAY, ALL IS SECURE.'

ONE LOOK AT MY WATCH, AND I KNEW HE WAS RIGHT. 'MERRY CHRISTMAS MY FRIEND,! AND TO ALL A GOOD NIGHT.'

Author Unknown

Sunday, December 21

Snow Fun with Meeko

In my previous post I mentioned that we got dumped on. Saturday morning when I got up, the world was a winter wonderland. Hubby took Meeko for his early morning walk and about noon, I put on his leash, my warm winter clothes and we set out on a walk.
This is the street that runs along the canal. I was going to take a picture of Meeko walking in the snow, but he walked toward me just as I snapped the picture, so I only have a bit of him. I swear that dog hates to have his picture taken.

Here's a better one of him in the snow. I tried to get him to walk along the snow ridge while I walked on the street. That was easier for me and he had fun plunging through snow drifts.

He also likes to roll in the snow. I guess it cools him off. Here he is enjoying life to the fullest.

All the way over three times. He sure knows how to enjoy the finer things in life.
When we got back to the house, I put him out in the yard. He loves sitting or laying in the snow.

In the photo above, Meeko is watching the kids up the street playing in the snow. He would love to run and play with them, but he can't be trusted off-leash.

Above is where the pickup truck driver pushed the snow from the end of our driveway last night. It's quite a pile.

I got the red bows put up on each side of the porch steps. The Christmas tree is on the porch at this point. We brought it in later, cleaned the snow off of the porch and shook the snow out of Meeko's blanket. We put it there so he doesn't have to lay on the cold cement.
This reindeer lights up at night. This was a gift from Brandon and Jordan three years ago.
The boys love penguins and so this year we added this guy to our outdoor decorations. He looks great when I light him up at night.
The kids up the street playing in the snow. It was such a beautiful day. I was glad to see them outside enjoying themselves.
We are supposed to get more snow overnight tonight and then again tomorrow. I'm not sure where we'll put it, but we'll face that dilemma when we get to it. Take care and enjoy a pleasant day. ~Blessings, Mary~

Saturday, December 20

The scene outside our house looks very much like this one. Well, not the house of course, but all the snow. Yes, we got dumped on. If what's outside our side door is any inclination, we got between 8 inches to a foot of snow. That is a lot and we are to get approximately the same amount on Sunday. I'm not sure where we're going to put it all and then the weatherman is predicting 4 inches for Christmas Eve. I love to have a white Christmas but this is a little whiter than I prefer.

Friday night about 8pm, the snowplow went by and left a three-foot ridge in the middle of our street behind the driveway. I called the city and told them that hubby couldn't shovel because he has a heart condition and asked if a snowplow that was in the vicinity could clear it a little. I was flabberghasted when the snowplow driver came by, stopped, looked at the mess he'd made and then continued up the street. So much for Christmas spirit.

However, my faith in human kind was reestablished when I saw a pickup truck with a blade on the front plowing out my neighbor's driveway. I quickly donned my boots and coat and went out and asked him how much to clear the ridge from our driveway. I almost fainted when he said $40. I offered him $30 because it had to be done. Hubby has to work tonight and MUST be able to get out. I knew I couldn't clear all of that snow in that amount of time and if hubby did, he could have another heart attack. At first he said no, he had too much to do. Well, I don't give up easily and said, "Ah, come on, it's Christmas and my husband has a heart condition." He immediately agreed and I gave him the last $30 in the house. Now I have to go to the bank tomorrow. Dang!

I will try to get photos of the snow sometime today. If you live where there is a lot of snow, be careful on slippery streets and roads. Stay in where it is safe and warm, if possible. And if you have a neighbor who is elderly or disabled and you are healthy or have a snowblower, please think of them and clear their sidewalk and driveway. It will mean a lot, as they are not able to do it for themselves. The Christmas Spirit was alive and well at my house last night. I am thankful for random acts of kindness. ~Blessings, Mary~

Friday, December 19

Free Merry Christmas Graphics Comment from http://hi5gcomment.blogspot.com

Today was a pretty good day. It seems the antibiotics are working and though I am really tired, I'm feeling a little better.

I picked Brandon up from school at noon because there was a dance this afternoon and he doesn't like to go. So we went out and bought Grandpa a Christmas present and then came back here and baked some cookies. Once that was done, he showed me what he's doing on NeoPets. Both he and Jordan enjoy the site. They have adopted pets and play games, collect things and try to get their hands on the rarest items. During December there is an Advent Calender where you can get something free everyday. They have done this every year since they were very young. It is something that they really look forward to. This is a very nice site for kids.

A little Christmas decorating got done and the boys will be coming on Sunday to help decorate the tree. Hubby and I need to get it set up on Saturday and get the lights on it. The boys don't help with the lights, but they do put most of the other decorations on. We've done this as a family since they were tiny and the tradition continues.


We have about six inches of snow. It is to snow overnight and all day tomorrow. The weatherman said we could get a lot and then it is to do the same again on Sunday. So, we shall see if the predictions are correct. I sure hope not. I like snow but not so much at once. It's difficult to shovel, especially if it is wet snow. We don't have a lot of space to put it in. Some years our lawn is piled three feet deep from where we shovel the snow from the sidewalk. That makes shoveling even more difficult because you have to throw it up on top of a three-foot bank. I do want a white Christmas, but two feet of snow over the weekend is not something I look forward to. I guess I'm getting old. I used to delight in such snowstorms.

Enjoy the season. This is a stressful time of year and we just need to sit back and take a deep breath every once in a while, so we can focus on what Christmas really means. Take care and enjoy the weekend. ~Blessings, Mary~