Wednesday, December 31, 2008

A Quiet Christmas

Well, I went to Long Beach where Dan has been staying while working at LAX. We tried to find a place to eat for Christmas since we weren't with family and Liz & Gregg didn't have any food in their house since they were traveling in Thailand. We wanted to go to the Claim Jumper, but they weren't open. But we found Coco' older one as you can tell by the sign (if you know Coco's). The menu and everything else looked the same IN the restaurant.

They had a cute Christmas tree, so I just had to take a picture of that.

Then Dan went to work and I watched DVDs and cleaned up the kids' kitchen, had hot chocolate, played online...

So it was a quiet time, but at least we were together when he wasn't working. He is home this week and Danielle is visiting with her boyfriend, Steven. It's good to see them and spend time with them - more time than I thought actually. We've had THREE meals with them. They leave on Friday to head back to Eugene, OR. And, of course, I will go back to missing her. But she is doing well.

I hope you all have a very Happy New Year and may 2009 be blessed, fun and full of joy. I pray God would let His presence be known in such a unique way, that you can't mistake His presence or His work in your lives.

Love to you all.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Well, here I am in Long Beach. Dan came home from work at about 2am and went to bed. Liz and Gregg woke us up and we exchanged unwrapped, quick gifts as they finished getting ready to leave at 7 to head to Gregg's parents' hotel. They leave at noon for Thailand. Wish I were going. They will be gone till the 4th of January (or the 5th?). So, now I can spend Christmas with Dan - at least a few hours (and I'll stay till Sunday and we will head back to SLO where he will be spending New Year's week). He went back to bed for a couple of hours and we will go out to any restaurant that is open - we have directions to Coco's and they ARE open, so that's where we will most likely end up.

Such a different Christmas than normal. Usually we all come together at Grandma Edna's house and read the Christmas story - any of the kids (who are now mostly adult-age). Then we have our big dinner and then go the park or play games or watch football. This year Dan and I are LIVING with Edna, he is working in LA and couldn't get off for Christmas. The rest of the families all came at Thanksgiving (except for Kevin & his family and our daughter, Danielle) so they could spend Christmas with their other families. So strange. Oh, and Edna will spend the day with her other son, Dave & his family, who live close by, so I didn't leave her alone.

But no matter where we are - traveling to Thailand, visiting other families, traveling to Long Beach - we can all still focus on why we got together in the first place...JESUS. He is with us no matter where we are and we can still wish Him a happy birthday.

So..."HAPPY BIRTHDAY, JESUS! Thank You for Your love for us and for Your willingness to come to earth in a way that was so humbling for You. You left Your home knowing what was in store for You and you came anyway. Thank You for letting me be a part of Your family. I love You and I pray I show You everyday what You mean to me."

Words by Gloria Gaither
Music by Dony McGuire
Arranged by Tom Fettke

He was just an ordinary Baby
That’s the way He planned it, maybe
Anything but common would have kept Him apart
From the children that He came to rescue,
Limited to some elite few;
When He was the only Child who asked to be born.

And He came to us with eyes wide open,
Knowing how we’re hurt and broken,
Choosing to partake of all our joy and pain.
He was just an ordinary Baby,
That’s the way He planned it, maybe
So that we would come to Him and not be afraid.

He was ordinary with exception
Of miraculous conception:
Both His birth and death he planned from the start.
But between His entrance and His exit
Was a life that has affected everyone
who’s walked the earth to this very day.

And without an air of condescension
He became God’s pure extension
Giving you and me a chance to be remade.
He was just an ordinary Baby,
That’s the way He planned it, maybe
So that we would come to Him and not be afraid.
So that we would come to Him and not be afraid.
© 1982, this arr. 2008 Gaither Music Company and Bud John Songs, Inc. /
It’s-N-Me Music (admin. by EMI CMG Publishing). All rights reserved.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

More Decorating

So my mom-in-love decided to get a tree after all. It's just a small tree, set on a table, with a flat back (that's why it cost less than what it's tag said--it was a "wall" tree). We went through all the ornaments and it was so fun to see so many old ornaments, handmade and bought so long ago. Some were just too heavy for the tree. I tried to get a picture of the ornaments...I think you can see some of them - and then a picture when it's lit up.

This is the hutch with a few of her handmade ornaments. I think you'll recognize the green paper plate holder and the blue bear at the top left from a past blog.

Here is the picture of the whole snow village. The skaters are at the bottom right. These are really interesting. The skiers and sleds and things like that are metal. The buildings are all corrugated cardboard and handpainted. They were with Edna's sister in the house they grew up in in Goleta. Oh, yeah, and the snowmen and trees are candles. Just put them there for effect. And she put the sheet over some other soft stuff to give it a "snowy" look. Pretty cool.

This is Elizabeth's favorite light up tree. It plugs into the wall and you have to put all those little bulbs into the holes in the tree. A few have been lost over the years. There is a switch to turn it on. Kind of a fun one.

And these are her "host" of angels. She kept opening boxes and finding angels and just put them all in one place on the piano.

So we enjoyed the fun part of Christmas as far as just getting something done together to make it look pretty.

Tomorrow I will work a half day and then pick up my visiting daughter from her friend's house and head on down to Long Beach. Dan will be going back with another co-worker, who had the same days off, so we wouldn't have two cars down there. It will be nice, even though he has to work for the week, to be with my husband during the Christmas week. My daughter is very wise. I figured I would be spending Christmas without him, but since he was working, and she and her husband and his family were leaving Christmas Day for Thailand, we could have the apartment to ourselves for the week and be together for this holiday. He does have New Year's Week off, so he will be here when our other daughter is visiting from Oregon. It will be fun to see her.

I don't know how much blogging I'll be doing, but in case I get busy or just want to take time off, I pray you all have a Merry Christmas celebrating Jesus' birth. I know some families who are having a rough time right now and I pray that this time will be still be special for them. I pray God would just uphold each one of you in His hands and give you peace and joy. I pray you KNOW His presence in your lives and that this Christmas will be one to remember fondly. God bless you and keep you. I love you all and will continue to pray for you during this time.

Hugs to you all.

Thursday, December 18, 2008


Well, we aren't in our own house, but we can still do a little decorating. My mom-in-love, Edna, is still debating on a tree because it's only me and her and I'll be leaving and she'll be going to Dave's (Dan's brother) house on Christmas Day. But she did decide to at least put a few things up. So here are just a couple of things to start:

This is part of a whole snow scene set that was at the house Edna grew up in down in Goleta. Her sister moved to Oregon and everything was divied up and sent to other relatives to enjoy. There were tons and tons of things that went to other households. I have a whole new china set from the things that were from that house...I never got china when I was married, so I'm excited to start using this wherever we end up. Maybe try to be a little more hospitable and have people over more often. Anyway, Edna wasn't sure who wanted this whole set, but figured we could enjoy it this year.

Did you ever own a Radio Flyer? I did when I was little, but it's nowhere to be found now. (Did you see my blog about the old bike I got back from my neighbors? I have new handlebar grips, lights and a rear view mirror on it now, so I'm set to go riding - I'm not too steady yet, so I don't go far, just in the neighborhood).

And here is her Nativity Scene. I don't know how old it is, but here it is, on top of the piano as it is every year. All the kid/grandkid pictures are stuffed away somewhere else to make a place for the Baby Jesus...once a year. He should be in the place of honor every day of the year, huh?

And, of course, there are the homemade items that you keep for years and years AND years to come. These are Edna's. She can't seem to part with them and I don't blame her. Aren't those girls adorable? Hard to imagine them at ages 25 and 23, but they are now adults and living in other places, making their own lives and starting new traditions of Christmas. I hope the one tradition they remember - I hope the one TRUTH they remember - is that Christmas is the day our Savior, Jesus Christ, came to earth in human form. It was the only way He could meet us at our level to show how much He loved us. And I hope they remember that it didn't stop there. He traded His life for ours so we could be His brothers and sisters and share in His inheritance and live with Him forever. I pray we all think about this as we decorate, shop, and travel. I hope we think about this daily and thank Him daily for His love and care for us.

God bless us - everyone!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Christmas Song for All Year 'Round

I have loved this song since the first time I heard Randy Stonehill sing it. I've shared the words on bookmarks, I've sung it for a couple of meetings and I sing it to myself anytime it comes to mind - after all, it is for all year 'round. I'm just hoping that people, in all their hustle and bustle, would realize what this season really means. A Savior was born to us, to save us, because of His deep love for us. But I have to share something else first.

I have a sweatshirt that says "MERRY MAS" on the front.
And on the back it says, "IT'S JUST NOT THE SAME WITHOUT CHRIST."

And now...mi, mi, mi

I wonder if this Christmas they'll begin to understand
The Jesus that they celebrate was much more than a man.
'Cause the way the world is I don't see how people can deny,
the only way to save us was for Jesus Christ to die.

And I know that if St. Nicholas was here, he would agree
that Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me.
They led Him to the slaughter on a hill called Calvary
and mankind was forgiven when they nailed Him to the tree.

But most of all the children, they're the ones I hope will learn
that Jesus is our Savior and He's going to return.
And Christmas isn't just a day and all days aren't the same.
Perhaps they'll think about the word and see it spells His name.

And I know that if St. Nicholas was here, he would agree
that Jesus gave the greatest gift of all to you and me.
They led Him to the slaughter on a hill called Calvary
and mankind was forgiven...mankind was forgiven...
we were all forgiven when they nailed Him to the tree.

So Merry Christmas...Merry Christmas...Merry Christmas...oooh, oooh

I wonder if this Christmas they'll begin to understand........................
c.1976 King of Hearts Publishing

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Make Me Like You

Lord, make me like you
Please make me like You
You are a servant
Make me one, too.
Oh, Lord, I am willing
Do what You must do
To make me like You, Lord.
Just make me like You.
c. 1978 Lexicon Music, Inc.
All rights reserved.

I want to be more like Christ. But in order to be more like Him, I need to know Him and Listen to Him. And how do I get to know Him? By reading His Love Letter to me. A love letter written in blood. He sacrificed His life to SHOW me how much He loved me. So why is it so hard to get up in the morning just to spend time with Him, talk to Him and hear what He has to say? It's so comfortable under the covers...all warm and cozy. I just want to sleep in to the last minute before I have to get up to get ready for work.

Keith Green's "Asleep in the Light" has these few lyrics that are convicting:

"Jesus rose from the grave and you, you can't even get out of bed
Oh, Jesus rose from the dead, come on, get out of your bed."

He conquered death, and did it for me. And I want to raise myself out of my bed for Him. And I want to do it for more than just a day or two. I want to make it a habit - a lifestyle change. So, my friends, keep me accountable. I give you permission to call me or email me to remind me. If you have my cell (no, I'm not posting it), you can call me early if you want, but not too early. I figure 6 is good for me. I can sleep in till 8 and be ready for work by 9, but that's without the bike riding and reading. I think reading a couple of other blogs has given me the umph I need to really get started...again. Thanks, Alissa and Jacquelyn.