Monday, December 29, 2014

The Older I get...

My dear friend got a Christmas Card that had this poem below.
That is so true, that the older I get, the more Christmas means to me.
Sorry I haven't written lately, this Mono is kicking my energy. I am in
my Jammies more than regular clothes these days! Guess that is ok.
Hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I hope to start writing soon.
Cozy up.    Encourage guests to kick off their shoes and stay awhile by setting baskets of cute socks near the fire that they can slip on. Lots of blankets and floor pillows enhance the lounge-y vibe, though be forewarned: you’re guaranteed to have a few guests linger way past dinnertime!

the simpler my holiday preparations become . . .
the closer I feel to old friends as I write my Christmas cards . . .
the more I cherish the oldest ornaments . . .
the more fondly I remember Christmases past . . .
the longer I hold on to a holiday hug . . .
the more I realize Christmas is a matter of the heart . . .
the tighter my throat gets when I sing "Silent Night". . .
the more I enjoy giving than receiving . . .
the more I try to see Christmas through the eyes of a child . . .
the longer I sit at night in the glow of the Christmas tree. . .
the more wondrously beautiful the Christmas story is . . .
the deeper my awe at God's infinite love . . .
the More I Love Christmas!
Ephesians 1:17 "I pray that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you a spirit of wisdom and revelation as you come to know him."

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Missing our family tonight!

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the house, not a creature was stirring but...3 little girls were certainly stirring, running, jumping and playing all through the house. The stockings were hung...well, there is a story for that too. I was suppose to finish Audrey's stocking this year and then one for our new son-in-law Nik. They are almost finish, so I was waiting to put them all up at once, but as you see that didn't happen. I am hoping I get them done in January 2015!

This morning at 7:15 our youngest son Lee got his 4 Wisdom Teeth out...Merry Christmas to him. He actually slept most of the day and was even mingling with us after dinner, for our little Christmas eve program we did. I am certainly glad that he is doing well, I was so afraid of ruining his Christmas.

Below is a photo of the girls putting all the people and the animals in the Nativity as we read the Christmas Story from the Bible! All Audrey wanted to do was keep pushing the Angel to hear the music and she did chew on a few of the main characters.

So grateful that our newly weds are doing so well. We are going to miss them for the Holidays!
But they are truly enjoying life! Grateful for that.
Brad, Krystal and Kai have family in town for the Holidays!

So glad that they have family there with them, but oh I am missing all of them tonight!
Here they are with their Christmas Jammies on Kai and his dog Keeva!

Gotta get to bed is way past Christmas and I am sure Santa still sees my light on. Better head to bed so he can stop by!
Good  Night dear friends!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Merry Christmas from the Woodards 2014

Hope you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Christmas talk

I was asked to prepare a talk for today during our Christmas program.
What an honor it is to speak at Christmas time.
Thought I would share it with you tonight!
Good Night dear friends!

One of my favorite Christmas memories was when I was a little girl and Christmas Eve fell on a Sunday.
 Back then, we went to church in the morning and then again in the evening
. I just remembering how neat it felt, to be a church on Christmas Eve and celebrating the Savior's birth. I remember crying as we sang the Christmas hymns, I felt the spirit so strong that night, I knew then that it was true, Jesus Christ did come to earth in very humble circumstances, and the whole world would never be the same because of it. I was happy, truly happy to be able to honor Him at church that night. As a little girl, that stands out in my mind and each time when the Christmas season rolls around again, and we sing the Christmas songs in church, that same feeling of gratitude comes back.
Another favorite Christmas memory was singing in our Stake and Ward Choir. Our Choir Director Sister Slack, seemed to make the music come alive and I strengthened my testimony through many of the songs we sang. She would always tell us about the song and who wrote it and what the history was behind it, and that truly did make the songs much more real to me. One of the most powerful songs we sang was THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD, but it wasn’t until I read a talk by Elder John R. Lasater  from the 1988 Ensign that I truly understood just how much I loved that song and why. This is what he said…
Some years ago, it was my privilege to visit the country of Morocco as part of an official United States government delegation. As part of that visit, we were invited to travel some distance into the desert to visit some ruins. Five large black limousines moved across the beautiful Moroccan countryside at considerable speed. I was riding in the third limousine, which had lagged some distance behind the second. As we topped the brow of a hill, we noticed that the limousine in front of us had pulled off to the side of the road. As we drew nearer, I sensed that an accident had occurred and suggested to my driver that we stop. The scene before us has remained with me for these many years.
An old shepherd, in the long, flowing robes of the Savior’s day, was standing near the limousine in conversation with the driver. Nearby, I noted a small flock of sheep numbering not more than fifteen or twenty. An accident had occurred. The king’s vehicle had struck and injured one of the sheep belonging to the old shepherd. The driver of the vehicle was explaining to him the law of the land. Because the king’s vehicle had injured one of the sheep belonging to the old shepherd, he was now entitled to one hundred times its value at maturity. However, under the same law, the injured sheep must be slain and the meat divided among the people. My interpreter hastily added, “But the old shepherd will not accept the money. They never do.”
Startled, I asked him why. And he added, “Because of the love he has for each of his sheep.” It was then that I noticed the old shepherd reach down, lift the injured lamb in his arms, and place it in a large pouch on the front of his robe. He kept stroking its head, repeating the same word over and over again. When I asked the meaning of the word, I was informed, “Oh, he is calling it by name. All of his sheep have a name, for he is their shepherd, and the good shepherds know each one of their sheep by name.”
It was as my driver predicted. The money was refused, and the old shepherd with his small flock of sheep, with the injured one tucked safely in the pouch on his robe, disappeared into the beautiful deserts of Morocco.
As we continued our journey toward the ruins, my interpreter shared with me more of the traditions and practices of the shepherds of that land.
It has made the 23rd Psalms come alive…
Sheep instinctively know that before they have been folded for the night, the shepherd has mapped out their grazing for the morrow. It may be that he will take them back over the same range; it may be that he will go to a new grazing ground. They do not worry. His guidance has been good in the past and they have faith in the future because they know he has their well-being in view.
VS 1: The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want.
Sheep graze from around sunrise until late morning. They then lie down for 3-4 hours and rest. Consequently, the good shepherd starts his flocks out in the early hours on rougher herbs, moving on through the morning to the richer, sweeter grasses, finally coming with the band to a shady place for its forenoon rest in fine green pastures for the best grazing of the day.
VS 2:  He maketh me lie down in green pastures.
Every shepherd knows that sheep do not like to drink gurgling water. Although the sheep need the water, they prefer not to drink from these fast – flowing streams. The shepherd must find a place where rocks or erosion have made a pool or else he fashions with his hands a pocket sufficient to hold at least a bucketful.
VS 2: He leadeth me beside the still waters.
Holy Land sheep exceed in herding instinct. Each takes his place in the grazing line in the morning and keeps the same position throughout the day. During the day, however, a sheep may leave its place and go to the shepherd. The shepherd stretches out his had as the sheep approaches with expectant eyes and mild little baas.
The Shepherd rubs its nose and ears, and scratches its chin, and whispers affectionately into its ears. The Sheep will rub against his leg or nibble at the shepherd’s ear and rub it’s cheek against his face.
After a few minutes of this communion with the Master, the sheep returns to its place in the feeding line.
VS 3; He restoreth my soul; He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.
There is a valley of the shadow of death in the Holy Land. Grazing conditions make it necessary for the sheep to be moved through this valley for seasonal feeding.
The valley is 4 ½ miles long. Its sidewalls are over 1500 feet high in places and it is only 10 or 12 feet wide at the bottom. Travel through the valley is Dangerous.
About halfway through the valley the walk crosses from one side to the other at a place where the path is cut in two by an eight-foot gully. One section is 18 inches higher than the other and the shepherd must stand at its break and coax or force his sheep to make the leap. If a sheep slips and lands in the gully, the shepherd’s staff is used to lift the sheep out.
Many wild dogs lurk in the shadows of the valley looking for prey. If they happen upon a wild dog, the shepherd—skilled in throwing his rod, hurls his rod at the dog and knocks it into the washed out gully.
Thus, the sheep have learned to fear no evil.
VS 4: Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil….Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me.
There are many poisonous plants in the grazing areas. Each spring the shepherd goes ahead of the flock and digs out the stocks of the poisonous plants and lays them upon a stone. By the next day they are dry enough to burn.
In the meantime, the sheep are lead into this newly prepared pasture which is now free from poisonous plants and graze. So, in the presence of their deadly plant enemies, they eat in peace.
VS 5: Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies.
At every sheepfold there is a big bowl of olive oil and a large jar of water.
As sheep come in for the night they are led to a gate. The shepherd lays his rod across the top of the gateway and inspects each sheep in line for briers in the ears, snags in their wool, or weeping of the eyes from the dust or scratches.
If such a condition exists, the shepherd drops his rod and the sheep steps out line.
Each sheep’s wounds are carefully cleaned. Then the shepherd dips his hand into the olive oil and anoints the injury. A large cup is dipped into the jar or water, kept cool by evaporation in and is brought out—never half full, but always overflowing for the sheep to drink.
VS 5: Thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Each evening at sundown shepherds bring in their small flocks of sheep to a common enclosure where they are secured against the wolves.  A single shepherd is employed to guard the gate until morning.
One by one, each shepherd enters the gate early in the morning and calls His sheep- by name. The sheep will not harken unto the voice of a stranger, but will leave the enclosure only in the care of their true shepherd, confident and secure because the shepherd knows their names and they know His voice.
So as we read this Christmas Eve… the words in the book of Luke 2:8… “And there were in the same country Shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night”, let us remember this Christmas season, we are suppose to be doing the same.
The 3rd memory was 34 years ago when I was a young missionary and it was my first Christmas away from home. I had only been out a few months, just had my first transfer…which meant I was leaving my trainer and going into a neighborhood that was less than desirable. I was put with a companion with a ton of problems and my Christmas package had gotten lost, and I thought could it get any worse? Actually it did and circumstances had it that I was transferred again 2 days before Christmas, into a ward that wasn’t really excited about missionary work. I remember going saying my prayers that night and praying that this area and situation would be better. As I arose the next morning my companion told me that a family in the ward wanted us to come have Christmas Eve dinner with them and our land lady wanted to have us for Christmas with her. I was hopeful that maybe things would turn around and they did.
 I will never forget the sweet family that we had dinner and Christmas Eve with. The husband was a DR  ( only know that because they mentioned how blessed they were that he got to have Christmas Eve off this year ). They had 3 or 4 small children. I don’t remember what they served for dinner but I do remember the Mother telling a Christmas Flannel board story. I had never heard that story before, it was truly magical.
 I was so touched by their desire as a young family to teach their children the gospel at such a young age. We I came home from my mission, I looked up the story. It has always been one of our favorite Christmas stories to read each year.
I realized on my mission that we as Shepherds truly need to know our sheep. We need to know them and their needs. They need to know us. They need to know that we will always be there for them. I gained a greater understanding that the Lord is truly our Shepherd and that He will guide our efforts to feed our sheep.
 I think this work is best expressed in a poem by Howard Thurman called The Work of Christmas
When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,
The work of Christmas begins:

To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among brothers,
To make music in the heart.
I am grateful for my Savior, My Shepherd…the little babe in Bethlehem, which has truly changed my life forever.

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Where is Santa?

This is a great story on tracking Santa!
Check it out  HERE:
Good Night dear friends!

Friday, December 19, 2014

What a wonderful Christms weekend!

Sorry dear friends that I am just sharing what happened last weekend with you. I just have been struggling with my health. Today the Dr. finally called about the results of my blood tests from the other day. My Mono is back and my allergies are way out of control...that makes a bit more sense on why I am struggling soooo hard to do Anything!
Plus, it hasn't helped my blogging, that my computer has yet another virus and not working hardly at all! Man, I feel like we are falling apart over here.
So back to last Friday...John, Amy and girls came and we all went to a Chapel in Bellevue. There... many different churches put together a Nativity Display. Jeff and I and our neighbors went last year and couldn't believe how well done it was, and promised that we would bring the girls next year.

 There were so many things to do, especially for the girls...which was a great way to teach them about the Christmas Season. They really loved it and of course their Nana did too!
I love Christmas, I love sharing the story of Jesus from His birth and His life to the kids. How grateful I am for soooo many people to be willing to share their time, talents and their Nativities with the public and touch as many hearts as they did. It truly brought us the Christmas Spirit!

There were 550 Nativities, some made from all over the world!

Audrey standing still for the first time all night!                                                                                                                Girls doing a Nativity Scavenger hunt

Here we all were being able to do our own live Nativity. I was a Shepherd trying to control a very WILD SHEEP named Audrey! ( just in case you were wondering )

The perfect Angel...Miss Jenny! This truly was a photo that showed the real girl inside!

The rooms and displays were amazing!
After spending an hour there, John, Amy and Audrey headed home. The older girls went with us to have a Sleep Over. On the way home we looked at Christmas lights and then headed to bed. We read a new book called The Night before the Night before Christmas! Fun!

The next morning we got up early so we could go to our church's Christmas Breakfast!

Before Santa's arrival and after a Christmas Breakfast, the kids were able to go back to the tables and make candy ornaments or beaded ornaments. Angie didn't even want to stop and eat breakfast, but just wanted to keep crafting. Apple doesn't fall far from the tree does it? 
Mrs. Santa asking Jenny about her Service Snowflake Necklace!

 Angie with Santa...not so sure about going to see him this year.

A dear friend of ours gave the girls a gingerbread house to decorate.

Finished our Gingerbread house, so fun! Thanks Sarah!

Christmas Jar...counting it finally and the grand total was $53.08, the girls were excited! 
Next we get to go shopping for our Secret Friend!

Monday, December 15, 2014

It's the most wonderful time of the year!

Well dear friends, this has been a wonderful, busy, a bit crazy, a little sad but non the less, the most wonderful time of the year!
I have still been struggling with my health some and so by the evening some nights, I haven't even had the energy to blog.... I have missed that.
I had my computer get another virus, and so for 5 days that has been down and unable for me to use. I think it get's sick as much as I do:)
We have had a Christmas visitor, a young person who needed to get out of a bad situation and needed a safe environment to be in. So we opened our home to her a week and a half ago. We are all learning from this experience but trying hard to provide a safe and healthy place and yet encourage her to make different choices and take advantage of this opportunity. Lots of late night talks and that is probably a bit of why my health is struggling a bit. Sleep is vital to me and vital to my healing.
My heart is missing my kids this time of the year, I realized as I put up Christmas decorations by myself, that this was the first year that I haven't had Lauren and Lee here to help me with that. I am sure Lee probably isn't missing that a lot, but Lauren has always loved the holiday decorations and I have been missing her enthusiasm and love for the holidays!
The girls came over for the weekend, and we were able to do some wonderful Christmas things. I will update you all on that later.
Still this video that I watched today, reminded me of what Christmas is all about. May we be able to slow down and truly think about that...these upcoming days. 
I have missed you dear friends....thanks for being a part of our lives!

Special collaboration results in largest live nativity in the world!

What happens when you gather world-class musicians, YouTube celebrities, a donkey, two sheep, a camel, and 1,000+ people dressed as angels? The Guinness World Record for the Largest Live Nativity Scene, plus an epic YouTube music video. Watch The Piano Guys, David Archuleta and a host of others in this newly released video sure to bring the spirit of the holidays into your home.
You can watch the video HERE:

Sunday, December 7, 2014

10 Reasons to Smile!

Today at church one of the things we learned was about the importance of Smiling! Understanding what makes you Smile, and how that makes you feel and what a difference it can make in your life and in the lives of those around you. Choosing Happiness, Smiling, Hoping and Faith ...over Sadness, Despair, Depression and No Hope. How that truly does change your life for the better IF you choose that.
So tonight I would like to share with you 10 things that make me SMILE. Of our course I have way more than 10 things that make me smile, but I don't want you to go to sleep while I am talking to you! :)
1. My family...all my life, I hoped and dreamed of having my own family. Being close and sharing life with each other. I love my family, now I add onto that first blessing my Grandchildren, nieces, nephews, great nieces and nephews ...all my Extended family.
2.My Beliefs...why because they keep me grounded. They remind me that I am not alone, and that I am a child of God and have great potential as His daughter. Knowing that truly makes me SMILE!
3. My Best Friend...yes Jeff is obviously in the # 1 answer too, but as my Best Friend...he truly makes me Smile a lot. How grateful I am for him in my life. He truly saved my life. He has always believed in me, when I didn't even  believe in myself. He some how knew my potential, when I definitely lacked the ability to see that for myself.
4. My Sense of grateful I am for the way that I see things in the world. Maybe sometimes they shouldn't be funny, but it seemed through laughter and humor sometimes that it was the only way I could survive some of the hardest things in life!
5.My Other Best Friends...Couldn't leave them out. So many of them have been life savers for me. They seem to know how a simple phone call or a cute card, can always bring a smile to my face.
6. Arts and Crafts/ Fabric Stores...I just smile and am immediately happy when I even walk in them. I smile to see all the talents that some people have, or for the inspiration they give me.
7. Little Children...I think it is truly hard for anyone to NOT SMILE when you look into a sweet little child's face. How they see and think about the world around them...truly should make anyone smile. They normally are very happy, happy people to be around. So any of you who struggle with finding a reason to SMILE...just go spend some time with a child.
8. Christmas my kids would laugh at this one, but it is true...actually anything associated with Christmas makes me SMILE, but I could hardly wait to get up this morning and go to church today...why? Because I knew we would be singing Christmas Carols. (Ok, just a quick confession...I listen to Christmas Music all year long...yes it definitely makes me SMILE.)  Actually I think Christmas makes a lot of people SMILE. Saying Merry Christmas to a stranger, dropping money in the Salvation Army Bucket, sound of Jingle Bells, thinking of Others more than yourself...yes...Christmas any thing, makes me SMILE!
9. Living in Washington...I smile every day I wake up and realize I am so blessed to live in such a beautiful area. I love living here, I love the weather, I love the breathtaking views... Yes I love living in Washington.
10.Serving Others...from my childhood, I watched my Mom and Dad always giving to others. They were great example of Service to me. I never forgot the look on people's faces as my Dad or Mom would bring over a casserole, a box of oranges or a  Lemon Jello Cake. Knowing that you are helping someone else, truly does make you SMILE.
As the Christmas Season is here, I smile thinking of that little baby Jesus, how grateful I am for His life and His example to all of us. I smile when I look at my Nativities and remembering the true meaning of Christmas. Serving, that is what Christmas is truly all about!

Thanks for sharing my Top 10 list with me.
I hope you are enjoying the Christmas Season in your hearts and homes.
And I hope you will slow down long enough to make your Top 10 Reasons to Smile for yourself.
It is a great experience to remember how many things there are in your life...that make you SMILE!
Good Night dear friends!

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Honoring the true meaning of Christmas!

This photo speaks volumes!
Let us all try to keep the right Perspective, just like Santa!
Merry Christmas Dear Friends

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

A Courageous Mother!

14 years ago today, my Mother passed away. I miss her still every day. I thought that I would post a great story about a Mother. 

Good night dear friends! 

Mother celebrates Thanksgiving with family, faith, sobriety


10599403_10152349653503596_1735013301916977201_nSarah Van Dam has a lot to be thankful for this year. She’s blessed with a supportive husband and a network of family and friends who love and believe in her.
On Thanksgiving Day, she will celebrate another 57 reasons to be thankful. As in, 57 days clean.
Van Dam, a personal friend and member of my “early-readers” group, started struggling with a serious addiction to prescription drugs in the fall of 2012, shortly after giving birth to her third child. Because she suffered from back pain after labor and delivery, doctors continued prescribing painkillers. Before she knew it, the pills snowballed into an addiction no one could have predicted.
This good wife and mother, with absolutely no history of addiction, suddenly became an addict. Like dark storm clouds that moved wherever she did, Van Dam had a singular focus.
“I became obsessed with my next dose,” Van Dam told me recently. She also described her relationship with her husband, and how it morphed from husband and wife into something more resembling a parent and a child. “I relied on him to give me my pills every day.”
602676_10151420540155879_1901501741_nIt was the Van Dam family’s new normal. “I was always out of it, tired, groggy and constantly wanting more. I was a slave to the drug. It became the most important thing in my life and I thought I needed it to survive.”
Van Dam, a devout Christian, admitted she needed help on the day she recognized she was losing what mattered most. “I lost faith in my Heavenly Father. I lost faith in myself.”
After prayer and family counsel, the Van Dams decided Sarah needed to check in to a residential treatment facility. “We also spoke with all my doctors and got their thoughts. We felt right away that it was the best thing for our family. We knew it would be hard, but that it would be best. I knew that Heavenly Father would be with me and with my family for the time I was away.”
Van Dam knows she went not just to detox, but also to learn tools and habits to help her become healthy again.
69401_442666803595_6188102_nShe came out a new person. “It was hard being away, but it was worth it. It made me stronger and made my relationships stronger.”
When I asked for the most important thing she took home, the positive answers spiraled almost as fast as the addiction. She learned to be confident in herself, to have faith, courage and strength. “I also learned to take life one day at a time and to not be so hard on myself. I came to know I can be a good mother, and that I don’t need pills to do it.”
Van Dam is adamant that her faith was a critical tool in the traditional recovery process. “I could not have done it without the help from my Heavenly Father. I found personal prayer and scripture study key to my recovery.”
She also participated in the LDS Church’s 12-step recovery program. “It opened my heart to the kindness of God. And the LDS missionaries that run the program are wonderful! Hearing others’ stories and seeing how strong they were gave me so much hope and strength. I really believe God always walks beside us and helps us through the good times and the bad. I know that he helped me through my struggle.”
Now, Van Dam hopes to help others by going very public with her private trial. “I want people to know that it’s all right to admit that you have a problem and to ask for help. As you do this, it’s important to rely on your Heavenly Father and his son, Jesus Christ. They will guide you and walk with you through your hardest times.”
She adds the importance of an open mind and an open heart. “And forgive yourself. It’s the first step to recovery.”
With Thanksgiving on their minds, Sarah and her husband, Rob, have more to be thankful for than ever. “Sobriety, health and, most importantly, our family,” she said.
The Van Dams know they’re not alone. During this holiday season, friends and neighbors all around us are working their way along the addiction and recovery curve. Like Sarah, many count the clean days in double, triple digits or more. Others are braving their way through treatment today.
But many — far too many — still remain in quiet struggles and have not yet asked for help.
“Please, don’t be afraid,” Van Dam says. “These challenges are more common than you think and there is so much support available.”
Van Dam pledges that for the rest of her life, she will express gratitude for all the temporal support she’s felt from this world, and heavenly support from the one that awaits.
Indeed, Sarah Van Dam has a lot to be thankful for. And because of her strength and so many like her, the rest of us have a lot to be thankful for, too.
I read this story from Jason F. Wright HERE:
SUCH a great and encouraging post! Being a mother doesn't mean you lose yourself as a person.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The First Gift of Christmas

Before we start the Holiday Season this year...let us remember and find the First Gift of Christmas!
If we would stop and truly do that, this will be one of our greatest Christmases ever!
Find what that First Christmas Gift is Here:

"Christmas isn't about perfection. It's celebrating the One who saved us from our impossible need to be perfect." -Tsh Oxenreider

Saturday, November 29, 2014

It's a pillowcase kind of day!

Sometimes-you-will-never-know-the-value-of-a-moment-until-it-becomes-a-memory.jpg 590×590 pixels

How fun to wake up to a blanket of snow on the ground, just a dusting but still is SNOW! Well, it looks like we just moved in, or that we are moving out...with all the boxes all over the house.
I was able to tutor again with this cute girl today. It was a Pillowcase type of day, she loved them. We even made our own pillows for the travel size pillowcase.
We also were able to take out one of Lee's good friend to dinner tonight. What a great kid he is. I am so grateful that my kids have such amzing friends, who have become a part of our family during their years.
 It was a beautiful sunny... but a very cold day!

Black Friday Shopping!

Today Lee headed back home and Jeff and I had a great day shopping all the Black Friday Sales. Our main search was for the Perfect Christmas Tree. The artifical one that we have had for the last 7 years finally bit the dust last year. We hoped today since it was Black friday, we would be able to find just the right one. It was the perfect day to find one too, since every store had all there Christmas music playing throughout the store and today as you can see out the window of the store ...was the first snow of the year! It wasn't much and it didn't last long made for a perfect Christmas shopping day!
Grateful to spend with my best friend!
I am so grateful also to be able to say...Merry Christmas dear friends and Good Night!

Thursday, November 27, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving 2014

Well, this was a bittersweet Thanksgiving, we only had half of our children with we were a bit lonely. Thank goodness for Face Time, we love having the chance to see all of them.
We hope each of you had a wonderful Thanksgiving Day yourself .
Please remember how much we love and appreciate you all of you this Thankgiving Day too!

Thankgiving Dinner, but before we eat...our tradition is to say what we are grateful for this year!
 Happy Thanksgiving!

Audrey preparing for Thanksgiving Dinner too!
Right after dinner, relaxing, watching football, napping and playing...we started carrying up the Christmas boxes, Audrey decided she wanted to help! ( We had to use Lee's muscles before he leaves early in the morning :)

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Thanksgiving Eve was a very busy day! I first had lunch with 3 dear friends, wasn't sure if I would get to see them for Christmas or not.... so I made sure to get their Christmas presents for them. I have to made me want to start making all my presents early!
 The girls are thrilled to see their Uncle Lee, we only get him for another day but...we are trying to make memories with every minute that we can!

Yesterday Lee and I cranked up the Christmas music and did one of our Thanksgiving Day tradition. We made 10 homemade pies. We set them outside last night, covered only with saran wrap. I normally cover them with boxes or put them in our ice chests to protect them from the animals. I totally forgot to do that last night and look what happened to our wonderful pies...darn squirrels. Had to throw away 3 pies :(
After I got back from lunch, Amy and the girls came over. Audrey loves the boxes that we had in the kitchen.

Just more memories!

Finally dinner with the family at Sushi Land. We were missing John...think he stayed home to put up Christmas Decorations, I think he doing it secretly...because he always teases me about putting up Christmas decoration early and about listening to Christmas music. I think he is seriously as crazy about Christmas as I am!
Now the perfect ending to this night would be if we had Brad, Krystal, Kai, Lauren and Nik flying in to be here with us tomorrow! Oh how we miss them!
Happy Thanksgiving Eve!

Monday, November 24, 2014

what do you see in the mirror?

Everyone should watch this short and empowering video!

Watch it HERE:

Wish I could come do this for each of you!
Good Night dear friends!

30 Motivational and Inspirational Picture Quotes

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Just a normal day at home!

Children are not a distraction from more important work. They are the most important work. C S Lewis

Today I got to spend the day with these nice and crazy girls ( how did she get up there? ) Don't ask:)

Then I got to go to a Birthday dinner at Olive Garden with some dear friends.
How grateful I am for dear dear friends!

.yes, have to take care about your children! Safe them, when they´re going to get loose themselves! Most important of all, is the family, that you chosed to be your family.

Oh how I wish I could spend the day with this sweet boy of mine!

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Just do what needs to be done!

A great reminder of just doing what needs to be done.
Good night dear friends!

Meet a gym staffer who leads and teaches with wet towels

I’ve highlighted some unusual corporate and customer service experiences since launching this weekly column in 2010.
I wrote about witnessing firsthand Apple’s powerful brand through a special employee and a unique experience. You read about Marriott Hotels’ habit of leaving no stain unscrubbed. I shared the spiritual lesson I learned from Great Wolf Lodge’s remarkable lifeguards.
Then last week at the local gym, I observed a 10-second scene that could change the world — if we let it.
I was wrapping up a workout at the Valley Health Wellness and Fitness Center in Winchester, Virginia. As I packed my gym bag and double-checked my locker, employee Greg Brondos came around the corner rolling a large cart of white, wet and dirty towels. I recognized him from the membership department and listened as another man near me, presumably a friend, asked what he was doing.
Brondos quietly explained that he’d noticed the towels needed to be serviced and that he looks for opportunities to help where he can, even when it’s not his job.
A few minutes later as I left, I saw Brondos again and asked about the exchange. “Excuse me. I was eavesdropping back there and I heard you say it’s not normally your responsibility to help with the towels. That’s not something you usually do?”
“Not really,” he said, and his curious eyebrows arched higher than the McDonald’s logo. I couldn’t tell whether he was intrigued by my nosiness, slightly alarmed, or just sizing me up and wondering whether he could outrun me. (He can.)
“It’s not my job, but I saw that it needed to be done,” he added. “I’m a Cub Scout leader and I always tell my boys that if they see something out of place, they should pick it up and take care of it. Doesn’t matter whether it’s theirs or not.”
He smiled. “So, I guess I better do the same.”
I complimented him on an unusual attitude in today’s me-first world. “Your Cubs are lucky to have you.”
With humility, and probably a dose of embarrassment at the attention, he added his opinion that if every one of us looked for opportunities to do things that might not necessarily be our responsibility, the world would be a much better place.
We said goodbye, and little did he know I was writing this column in my head before I even hit the parking lot.
It’s just a pile of wet towels, I thought. It’s just a small thing, right?
His attitude is a rarity in today’s selfish and self-centered world. The planet doesn’t just spin around itself; it spins around each of us. All too often we’re the center of every universe we occupy. Our needs, troubles and time are much more important than those of our neighbors.
Spend time in most restaurants, corporate boardrooms or cubicle farms and I promise you’ll hear at least some of this dialogue:
“Not my job.”
“Not my problem.”
“Wow! Glad that’s not my mess.”
I know, because I haven’t just heard those lines, I’ve said them.
Imagine a community, school or family where every single set of eyes was focused on the messes and how best to clean them up.
Imagine if every business or government body — local, state or federal — fostered this culture of messiness accountability.
What if the first person on scene was always the one to clean up the towels — literally and figuratively?
What if everyone’s response to an odd question from an odd stranger was, “I just saw that it needed to be done.”
I hope that someone who knows Greg Brondos and his Cub Scouts shares this with them at a future pack meeting. They should know that their leader doesn’t just talk the talk; he walks the walk.
And when he is walking, he even takes care of the dirty towels.
You can read more of Jason's work HERE: