Taking a Moment

I'm taking time out on this Christmas Day to remember my mama on what would have been her 85th birthday. My brother shared this on FB, and it couldn't be more perfect. If you knew my mother, you would know that this poem fits her perfectly. When I read it, I can hear her saying these words:

 I see the countless Christmas trees around the world below,
with tiny lights like heaven's stars reflecting on the snow.

 The sight is so spectacular, please wipe away that tear
 for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

I hear the many Christmas songs that people hold so dear,
but the sounds of music can't compare with the Christmas choir up here.

I have no words to tell you the joy their voices bring,
for it is beyond description to hear the angels sing.

I know how much you miss me, I see the pain inside your heart,
for I am spending Christmas with Jesus Christ this year.

 I can't tell you of the splendor or the peace here in this place.
Can you just imagine Christmas with our Savior face to face?

I'll ask Him to lift your spirit as I tell Him of your love,
so then pray for one another as you lift your eyes above.

Please let your hearts be joyful and let your spirit sing,
for I am spending Christmas in heaven and I'm walking with the King.
 ~ Wanda Bencke ~

Friday Fragments

Half-Past Kissin' Time

I'm linking up with Mrs. 4444; I'm trying to get back in the Friday Fragment groove!!!

~ This has been the longest week in the history of school weeks. TGIF never held so much meaning as it does today!

~ Family Stone is one of my favorite movies, especially around Christmas (since it is a Christmas movie.). I have no idea how many times I've watched it...it has to be at least 100 times. I broke it out last night...I didn't think I'd be able to watch it this year (since my mom passed away 5 months ago),  but I think I did okay.

~ I'm finally getting over strep from last weekend. As in, my throat doesn't feel like it's on fire anymore, and I'm actually able to sleep without waking up & having to scrape my tongue off of the roof of my palate because it's so dry. Yep, things are looking up1

~ I got the best Christmas present ever yesterday:
How creative is that? Everything we need for a movie night; there's even a code for a redbox movie.

~ I've been slowly but surely getting the supplies I need for candy/cookie making. I hope to get started either Saturday or Monday.

~ I bought another present, wrapped it, and put it under the tree. 1 down...

I don't know about you, but I'm ready for some rest & relaxation!

Holiday Hodgepodge

1. Time magazine has selected The Ebola Fighters as their person of the year for 2014. Do you agree, and if so who would you say is a close second? If you disagree with their choice, who do you think should have been chosen? 
I would disagree. My vote would be for Pope Francis. What an amazing, humble man.

2. This question comes to you courtesy of Susan who blogs over at Stew Mama Says. She knows we have a wedding happening any minute now, and she asks, 'What's your favorite-something old? something new? something borrowed? something blue in your home?  Be sure you hop over and say hi to Susan today! 
Old: My grandmother's rosary; New: My Christmas ornaments; Borrowed: I have no idea...I try not to borrow stuff!; Blue: My Danish plates

3. Fudge-yay or nay? Your favorite flavor? Do you make it yourself? With nuts or without?  
Oh, yeah!!! Just give me regular chocolate...or peanut butter. I make peanut butter for Christmas.

4. December 17th is Wright Brothers Day, commemorating the first successful flights made by Orville and Wilbur Wright in 1903 in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina.  How old were you when you made your first flight? Do you like to fly? Have you ever been to Kitty Hawk or other parts of the North Carolina Outer Banks? 
I was a senior in high school when I first flew. I love to fly! It's so cool that you can get to your destination in no time! I have been to Kitty Hawk & the Outer Banks.

5. Do the people in your family tend to follow a particular career path, and if so what's the path?
We do seem to have quite a few engineers in our family; the males, anyway.

6. What is one thing you absolutely, positively must accomplish today?
Since it's 7:33 p.m. as I type this, I have to say "sleep". 

7. This Christmas I hope___________________________________.
My daddy is able to get through the day without hurting too much. 

8. Insert your own random thought here.

I hope everyone has a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!
I heard this song for the first time as I was in my car yesterday. We've had a very foggy couple of days, and as I listened to this song, a ray of sunshine broke through.

Weekend Wrap-Up

This weekend saw some tea-drinking (not the norm for me), quite a bit of sleeping, some baking, and a celebration.
Friday, as the day wore on, my throat got progressively worse. I figured it was just the beginning of a cold, so I suffered through it. I drank lemon & ginger tea with honey in it, sucked on lozenges, and kept a glass of water by my bed. I'd sleep a couple of hours, then wake up with my throat on fire. Not what I needed this weekend.
Saturday, we had to get up early for a special celebration:
 MS graduated from UT-Knoxville! OS was able to come in, but YS had to work and then play for the commencement ceremony at his community college. We really missed him.
The ceremony was over 2 hours long...made longer by the guest speaker who apparently thought he was on the stage to teach a biology class. OS leaned over and asked if he was going to get any credit for sitting through it.
After the ceremony, we had lunch, then CH & I went home & I went to bed.
Sunday morning, I was at the Clinic right after it opened; it was filling up fast. After about 1.5 hours, the dr. took 1 look at my throat and said she would be surprised if my strep test came back negative and wrote a prescription. I got it filled, then went home and made some tea. I managed to stay up long enough to get most of the laundry done, then I went back to bed. CH ran out to "our Mexican restaurant" and grabbed take-out. In the meantime, I did a little baking for the office staffs at both of my schools:
These Eggnog Breads with Rum Glaze are just amazing. And, they're really easy, too. The first time I made them (a couple of years ago), I over mixed them, but I got the hang of it after that. You can make one regular size loaf, but honestly, it doesn't turn out as well as when you make the mini-loaves.

That was my weekend. I'm looking forward to getting this week started so it will be over! 


Half-Past Kissin' Time
Well, I haven't done this in a while! I may be a bit rusty, but...here it goes!

~ My mountain school's 1st grade put on a show this week. Some of the Teacher Assistants readied the stage:
~ We had some excitement at my new/old school on Wed. 
Just as school was about to start, the power went out. Unfortunately, it was only out for about 40 minutes, so we didn't get to go home.

~ This was the first full week in 3 weeks for me, and it seemed like it would never end. I'm so glad to see this week end! Only 1 more before break.

~ I finally got the tree up and the house decorated. Our new ornaments this year:
From Miss Mary Bobo's Boarding House (Lynchburg, Tn.):
The Slave Market in Charleston, SC:
 Last year's trip to the Keys:

 From the USS Alabama (Mobile, Al.):
So, the tree is up, the house is decorated, but no presents have been purchased. Nothing like waiting 'til the last minute, huh?

Waiting Patiently through the Hodgepodge

This week's Hodgepodge (hosted by Joyce) seems to be centered around waiting. At least a couple of questions, anyway. So, I decided to go with that since I have such a hard time coming up with creative titles for my posts.

1. What is one new holiday tradition you'd like to establish, or one you've established recently, say in the last year or two?
I'm thinking the "Lighting of the Barrels" could be the beginning of a tradition. However, next time, we'd like to go to the one in London.

2. It's the second week of December. Have you sipped a cup of eggnog yet this month? Wrapped a gift? Opened a gift? Kissed someone under the mistletoe? Lit a candle? Eaten a Christmas cookie? Seen Santa in person? Watched a Christmas movie or special? Read scripture relating to the birth of Jesus?
No eggnog, no gift, no opening of gifts, no kissing. We light the candles on the Advent Wreath every night that we eat at home. I ate a Christmas Cookie last week at the Barrel Lighting. Santa was at our mall the week before Thanksgiving. (Go figure.) I've been watching Christmas movies since early November, so I'll be over it within the next week! 

3. Do you think it's better to be an adult or a child at Christmastime? Explain.
A child. Definitely a child. The waiting, anticipation, and excitement of Christmas is definitely for children.

4. It's often said, 'Good things come to those who wait'...agree or disagree? Why?
I don't know if it's really a "good thing", or if it just seems like a good thing after having to wait for it.

5. What's the last sweet thing you baked? Did you keep it, take it to a party/event, or give it away?
Cookies. To be more specific, Pumpkin Cookies from Pillsbury. I made them for us.

6.  This question comes to us courtesy of Jhona who blogs over at The Red House at the End of the Lane. Everyone hop over and say hi to Jhona this week!  Here is her question... "I heard an actor talk about how he makes a conscious choice to talk to people in elevators.  He chooses to connect, make eye contact, and converse. Do you talk to people/strangers when you're in an elevator or any other place where you might have to wait together? Why or why not?"
If I'm with CH or someone else, I will at least say hello. You never know who you will be fortunate to meet, or what you will learn.

7. Are you on the naughty or nice list this year? What put you there?
That would depend on what week it is! ;)

8. Insert your own random thought here.
I didn't take any pictures during CH's Christmas Party, but a coworker took a picture of the view off of the back of the yacht we were on:
Have y'all seen this new KMart commercial? It's a sequel to last year's Christmas commercial, and it's hilarious!

Weekend of Celebrations

This was the weekend I've been waiting for since July. Yes, July! When we were in Lynchburg, Tn. over the week of the 4th, we learned about the "Lighting of the Barrels". Lynchburg, being the home of Jack Daniel's, doesn't have a Christmas Tree. Oh, no....they have whiskey barrels in the shape of a tree that is decorated. Then, they light it on the first weekend in December. It really was quite a sight:
We were going to go down on Friday...I took a personal day & CH was going to take a half-day.But, it was supposed to rain, and to be quite honest, there isn't that much to do in Lynchburg that would have constituted that much time down there. On top of that, we didn't want to "set up" in the dark. So, we stayed home Friday, watched our Small Town football team get beat for the first time in the State Championship Game (I think I jinxed them in my Wed. Hodgepodge Random Thought!), and headed out on Saturday morning. Things didn't look too great as we headed out:
But, by the time we got to Lynchburg, the rain had stopped. It was windy and cold, but it was just about perfect weather for a small town Christmas Parade:
We had reservations to eat at Miss Mary Bobo's. Our hostess was incredibly funny and very entertaining. The food was just as good (if not better) than last time. On the menu: chicken & dressing, gravy, ham, sweet potato casserole (with Jack as an ingredient, of course),  macaroni & cheese, green beans, fried okra, cranberry sauce (homemade), apples (with Jack), rolls, and fudge pie with whipped cream (again, with some Jack in it!) for dessert. Our hostess gave us some tips on cooking with Jack: Take a small bottle of Jack Daniel's (not the airplane bottle!) and get 3 vanilla pods. Scrape the vanilla into the bottle and put it in the pantry for 3 weeks. Use that instead of vanilla, and you kick your recipe up a notch! I can't wait to try it! She said it's really good in eggnog or boiled custard. I'm thinking it will be excellent in some of my candy recipes!
Another must while we were there was running by Nina's and getting some her chocolate with Tennessee Fire in it. I'm going to try to duplicate them at home, now that I know what her "secret" is!
We "camped" just off of the town square, in the "city" park. It turns out it is just behind Miss Mary Bobo's! (Not that Lynchburg is that big; we walked over to Jack Daniel's from our camper.) I was very surprised that we were the only ones who stayed the night! There is electricity and public bathrooms. There are no shower facilities, which was another reason we only stayed for 1 night. If you get there when the courthouse is open, you can run in and pay the $20/night fee. Or, you can go down to the jail and pay it...or just mail it to them. They're that kind of community!
We got up Sunday and drove the 3+ hours home, took showers, washed some clothes, and headed out to CH's company Christmas Party. It was an "adult only" party, and it was held the same place as 4 years ago. I didn't take any pictures. For some reason, the boat never was level; it tilted to one side the whole time we were on it. The food was excellent, though.

That pretty much wraps the weekend up. 2 more weeks and we're out for Christmas Break; this year is flying by!

Wednesday Hodgepodge

I'm a couple of days late, but finally had a minute to write my answers and get this posted!

1. What is something in your life right now that feels a little 'hodgepodge'?
How about: everything. Seriously. 

2. What does 'peace on earth, goodwill to men' mean to you?
That the whole word would know peace. There would be no wars, and all countries would be in peace.

3. Which edible treat you are most looking forward to sampling this December?
My "Texas Millionaires". Or, I guess I should say that they're Mama's family's Texas Millionaires! They're kind of a bear to make, but they are soooo worth it!

4. It's that most wonderful time of the year...do you agree, and if so why is it so wonderful?  If not, what would you say is the most wonderful time of the year?

5. What was the last word you looked up in a dictionary (actual or online) and why?
I looked up an idiom in the dictionary to explain its meaning to a student. I don't remember what it was, though!

6. Besides a Christmas tree, what is your favorite thing to decorate this time of year?
The house. I love having the house decorated with garland & candles.

7. Share one thing you've learned (about yourself, people, or anything at all) in the Wednesday Hodgepodge, or through blogging in general. 
Oh. My. There are just too many things to narrow it down to just one! I have learned that bloggers aren't weird at all, and that, in general, they are all pretty nice people!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.
The Small Town High School is in the State Championships once again. They haven't lost a state championship game yet; every time they've been in the game, they've won. Let's hope they keep it up!
The Small Town lit the Park Christmas Tree on Monday night. The Parks & Rec have a celebration, but it starts at 6:00 (dinnertime at our house!) & it started raining, so we opted out of it...again.
The music dept. of YS' community college had their "Holiday Spectacular" last night. It was amazing, and really put us in the holiday spirit. We were a couple of very proud parents! (That's him on the right end!)
My new candy molds came in yesterday, along with some dry fondant for making chocolate covered cherries! Last year, I put my molds in the top drawer of my dishwasher, which would've been fine, except I had the "sanitize" option on.  OOPS!

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