"Language, as well as the faculty of speech, was the immediate gift of God." ~ Noah Webster

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


Thanksgiving is over and now we will begin to direct our attentions toward Christmas. I love this time of year. I’m sure most people do. This year, we put our tree up a little early. We do tend to be early birds when it comes to putting up our tree. When Matt was little, we almost always had our tree up by the first week in December. Sam was driving truck and we had to arrange things so that he would be home for the festivities. We wanted it to be a family affair to get out and cut a tree, and decorate.

Sam’s no longer driving truck, but this year we wanted to decorate early because we are hosting a Christmas party for Matt’s journalism class. We meet the first week of the month, so I wanted to be sure to have the house decorated for that party.

Because it is so early, we opted for our little fake tree that we used in our store.  It was so early a real tree would surely dry out before Christmas. In the back of my mind, I was thinking we can always do a fresh-cut tree a bit later; but in all practicality, that most likely will not happen.

Part of the decorating for me, is remembering where all the little ornaments have come from. Each year as we decorate, I tell Matt, “This ornament is the very first ornament all your own.” “This one is from Aunt L. and this one was from the first year you went golfing.” “And this one? Of Yosemite Sam? Why, we got that because all of Daddy’s friends used to call him Yosemite Sam.” I think it was the hair and beard, not just the name. “See this little angel? My mom gave that to me when I was little…and look she got one of the same style, for you - of a horse - when you were just a toddler.” So on and on, I probably bore my family to death with the same stories each year. Matt had surely better remember those stories though, when he takes all his ornaments upon leaving home…ha, not so sure his wife will agree. ;-)

The last ornaments that we put on the tree are the ones that represent the true meaning of Christmas. There is a little angel from Aunt K, and a glass ornament of the Nativity from somewhere in Sam’s past. A Bible, a Cross, a Baby Jesus; we try to put these on last, so that we will pause to think in spite of all the activity and hustle and bustle, just exactly why we do this every year.

I also have a couple of favorite decorations that I decorate the house with each year. One is little figurines each holding a letter that spell out the word N-O-E-L. These were my grandma’s and somehow I was the one that inherited them after she died. I love them; I have always loved them. I think I commented about that at one time and thus they are now in my possession. They sat on Grandma’s buffet, piano, or library table every year, and now they sit on my piano. I love taking them out of their box each year. They are still in the same box and wrapped with the same napkins that my grandma used to protect them. I know it sounds silly but that wrapping is almost as important to me as the little figurines. I guess because it symbolizes the love and care Grandma gave to this little set. It’s a reminder of the same love and care she showered on her kids and grandkids.

Another one of my favorite Christmas items, I received as a gift from my paternal grandparents.  It is a sand dollar that came with the story of The Legend of the Sand Dollar.  Many of you have probably read it.  I’ve posted it below.  Through the years my sand dollar has been stained by a coffee spill - or something equally damaging - and one of the little doves has been lost, and one broken, but the message is eternal:

The Legend of the Sand Dollar

That I would like to tell
Of the Birth and Death of Jesus
Found in this lowly shell.
If you examine closely,
You’ll see that you find here
Four nail holes and a fifth one
Made by a Roman’s spear.
On one side the Easter Lily,
Its center is the star
That appeared unto the shepherds
And led them from afar.
The Christmas Poinsetta
Etched on the other side
Reminds us of His Birthday
Our happy Christmastide
Now break the center open
And here you will release
The five white doves awaiting
To spread good will and peace.
This simple little symbol
Christ left for you and me
To help us spread His Gospel
Through out Eternity.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving - 2010

I am on Newt Gingrich's newsletter mailing list.  This message came just a couple days before Thanksgiving. Regardless of whether one likes, or approves of former Speaker of the House, Newt Gingrich, (no one's perfect) this is a great factual summary of the history of our National holiday, Thanksgiving. 
I'm thankful for my family...

A Grateful Nation?  I believe for the most part we still are...

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!


A Grateful Nation
by Newt and Callista Gingrich

The very first "thanksgiving" was celebrated in 1619, one year before the Pilgrims landed at Plymouth by another group of English settlers. The event was held on the banks of the James River at what is now Berkeley Plantation, the birthplace of Benjamin Harrison, signer of the Declaration of Independence and father of the ninth President of the United States, William Henry.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Inexhaustible Mercy!

In my "in-box" this morning I received a special e-mail from my niece.  It was such a wonderful testimony of encouragement and love that I quickly e-mailed her back to ask if I could post it here. She sent me her approval, so I am very excited to share it with you.


Spending Treasure #3 - Remembering Moments

“We do not remember days; we remember moments.” I don’t remember who it was that said those especially poignant words. A friend from college days gave me a plaque as a gift with that quote scripted across a beautiful photograph of a little girl in a peaceful meadow picking wildflowers. I don’t remember the day, or the occasion, or the reason for the gift. I barely remember the moment. I mostly remember the person that gave it to me….and though the little plaque no longer hangs on my wall, I have remembered what it said for these past thirty-plus years…(ok, we don’t exactly need to go there).

I was never very close to this friend. He was simply a classmate, and he had received a full-ride scholarship for his basketball skills. I remember very plainly watching him on the basketball court. I can still remember certain moments…like his thick, blond hair freely blowing back as he ran down the court, with a grin on his face. I know he loved the game.

I don’t know why he gave me the plaque. I don’t remember him ever asking me out for a date, or anything like that. I don’t remember spending a great amount of time with him. I remember his Irish setter, Cisco, and I remember he liked to write poetry. I learned a few years after our college days were behind us, that he had committed suicide. I was deeply saddened by this, but it didn’t really surprise me. In spite of that grin, that was so often prevalent on his face, there was something very melancholy about Daryl. He was an oft-times deep thinker, and he sometimes seemed lost in a world he didn’t belong.

But I didn’t intend to write about this friend; I only intended to write about the message on the plaque. I have often thought about those words since receiving that gift; but since I have started this blog, I think about that simple quote even more…mainly because the little glimpses from the past - or moments of memory - are often times learning moments that I like to share. And I don’t mean that I only want to share those experiences with others; but rather, in writing about these moments, the lessons are cemented for me. Yes, they are already written on my heart, but sharing them in writing adds another dimension….like important thoughts written on a plaque that I am not likely to ever forget.

I wish Daryl knew his friendship has stayed with me for a lifetime. I wish I would have been a better friend to him. Maybe if I could be more sensitive to the thoughts of others, I would more frequently glean from each friend and also better share with them the important, treasured moments of life....

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Stopping by Woods on a Snowy Evening

This is one of my favorite poems. 
I used to read it when I was little with pictures only from my own imagination; after Matthew was born, I would read it to him from a beautifully illustrated edition...

Stopping By Woods
on a Snowy Evening
 By Robert Frost

Whose woods these are I think I know.
His house is in the village, though;
He will not see me stopping here
To watch his woods fill up with snow.

My little horse must think it queer     
To stop without a farmhouse near
Between the woods and frozen lake
The darkest evening of the year.

He gives his harness bells a shake
To ask if there is some mistake.
The only other sound's the sweep
Of easy wind and downy flake.

The woods are lovely, dark, and deep;
But I have promises to keep,
And miles to go before I sleep, 
And miles to go before I sleep.


Monday, November 15, 2010

It's the Soldier

I had a hard time trying to figure out what to write about this week. I had lots of topics that I wanted to cover, but most were political topics and I hesitated to do so. I am very politically minded, but I know I shouldn't bombard my readers with that very often. (Truly, I do know that!)  I also wanted to make sure to write a Veteran’s Day post, but somehow I just didn’t get that done. It wasn’t because I neglected to honor our veterans, or think about them. There was just sooooo much I wanted to say...and I know often times I get carried away...the task seemed like I could never say enough to honor our men and women that have served in harm's way.

I was very pleased however, that our local paper did a great job in honoring our vets this year. There were several articles and Letters to the Editor in honor of those that have served their country. The television media did a good job as well, it seems, in paying tribute. Locally, there were several ceremonies and a parade or two that paid homage to our vets. I attended one parade, and was very happy that I did. They had a special tribute to the "Spirit of ’45" which was especially heartfelt. Below are a few pictures of some that participated.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Monday Morning at Our House

I'm the first one up as is usual.  Make the coffee, morning reading, turn on the computer and feed the animals while the computer loads. Yep, the computer is a bit slow and it does take that long to load. So anyway, there you have my morning "ritual".  Oh yeah, the morning newspaper is in there somewhere, as well, while I enjoy my coffee. My mornings are generally pretty peaceful.

The animals seem a bit confused this morning, though.  Tiger, the tabby cat, is sitting up on the gate of the fence and when he sees me at the kitchen window, he jumps down into the front yard.  What are you nuts, Tiger?  Bella is out there somewhere and I'm about to let Bullet out. They will share you as an appetizer. Seems like everyone is extra hungry this morning.

Skeeter is impatient this morning, too, because he thinks I am late.  He doesn't know about Daylight Savings Time and Falling Back.  To him, I am just waaaaayyy toooooo late; and he's mad. I try not to feed him when he is behaving too badly, because I don't want him to think that is ok.  But this morning, I am as anxious as he is to "get 'er done."  He is not nearly as much fun to feed as Lady.  I can't just love him and be myself as I did with Lady, I have to use tricks on Skeeter.  He's a bit of a bad boy, now and then.  For discipline, I force him to back up - which he hates - because it takes him out of control. But when I used this on one occasion, he got me instead because I wasn't properly prepared.  I hadn't taken the time to dress appropriately; I went out in my sweats (ok, it was my jammies) and slippers.  Yeah, shouldn't have done that.  He won that time.  But, I eventually got the better of him.  He follows me to the barn every morning, so I strategically put his grain bucket in a location where he has to back up for me in order for him to get to it. Ha, I still chuckle over that one.

Anyway, after feeding the animals, I always check my email to see if there is any news to start my day. All of a sudden Bullet is barking like he is "on hunt" or something.  But he isn't going toward the front door as is normal when something sets him to barking.  He is looking south out the living room window and going a little nuts.  Out the window I see two big dogs in the pasture: a rottweiler and a golden lab.  I'm not familiar with these two. Neither is our lab, Bella and she has property to protect. The two strangers don't back away but start running toward her.  Just as I am looking for shoes (or slippers) to run out and save Bella from what looks like a fight in-waiting, I see Skeeter run from his barn straight at those two troublesome canines. The two dogs don't even try to challenge Skeeter with a nip to the feet or anything else.  They just high-tail it out of here and neither of the dogs (nor Skeeter) stop until they get to the end of the pasture.

It was sooooo funny!  It was almost like Skeeter was herding them; he would get on the tail of one dog and then the other.  But he was serious. He knew those dogs didn't belong here.  I roared with laughter.  Bet those two won't be messin' with my bad boy again.

Phewwww; fun.  Good start to the day. Good start to the week.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

"Heap O' Larnin'"

Sergeant Alvin C. York
I just finished reading Sergeant York and the Great War originally edited by Tom Skeyhill in 1930. Right from the “get-go” I have a confession to make: I had never heard of Sergeant York before I saw a movie about him. It starred Gary Cooper and was produced in the 1940’s. I am embarrassed by that fact, but I can probably top it. I didn’t know who Gary Cooper was either when I first found this movie. Matthew was just a little guy, at the time, so I think it was probably some time in the late 90’s that we first watched Sergeant York. I can’t remember how we came across it. It must have been on an old movie channel or something. But after the first time I watched it, it quickly became my favorite. I fell in love with Gary Cooper; and Walter Brennan had always been one of my favorite actors, as well. Though Brennan was just a young guy in Sergeant York, he played an elderly pastor, and he was fantastic in his part.