Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Establishing a New Tradition


When asked about our family Christmas traditions, 
I can't really come up with any.
Except, maybe, that we always celebrated
on Christmas morning, not Christmas Eve.
Wow.  Impressive.


Well, that's a changin'.
Charleigh-Girl and I are establishing us a sweet 
tradition!
We share a love of
Chick Fil A's peppermint/chocolate chip shakes.
So...
every day we make a trek to the drive-up window.

She usually barks hysterically,
scaring the employees, and
echoing through and disrupting the whole restaurant.
Of course, she's not doing a thing when 
the camera comes out.


So now we're home, and I'm getting ready to spoon out
 her "half!"
(Don't tell her--it's not really that much.)
(Oh, and I get the cherry.)



"I'm going to 'sit' just to be safe and sure,"
she says.
(She really did do that on her own!)




I have to snap the picture fast.
This girl is not a slow eater!

 


Isn't it just great that C-G loves these milkshakes
so much?
I probably would never think of getting one for 
myself if it weren't for her!
(OMG.  Hold on just a minute...
I think my pants are on fire!)


We did have to have a little talk this past
Sunday.
She's a very sweet girl and shared my opinion
that it is a GOOD thing that CFA is closed.
We will just have to get an extra this Saturday 
and freeze it for Sunday.


Ahhh...traditions.
Don't you just love them.
  

Sunday, December 14, 2014

A Four Hour Workout

Here I was yesterday.








Here I am today.


(Wearing my new Sunbeam heated shoulder massager)


(Set on high!)

And my poor aching feet are...


inside my never-before-used heated foot massager.


(Also set high as it will go!) 


And yes, those are my pj britches!
I am a sight!


So...it was just a 4 hour (1 to 5) shift at the
Samaritan's Purse Operation Christmas Child 
Distribution Center.
How hard could that be?
A piece of cake for someone who feels
as young as I do, she thought!



First, we were trained.  Here's Franklin Graham
talking to us via video.


This is a very organized operation.
There are around 20 stations, manned by 10 or so
volunteers per station.
We were Station 14.

I was in the first position, which involved removing
individual boxes from a large carton.





 I checked each box for financial contributions,
removed them and dropped them in a slot,
then made sure the box was marked 
"boy" or "girl" with the appropriate age bracket.
(I think mine was the easiest position, but
someone forgot to tell my feet.)
That first picture above also shows sweet Anit,
a young volunteer who had been working since
6:00 A.M., yet helped me tremendously!


Then I passed the box on for inspection, to make
sure it contained no disallowed items--
liquids, glass, melty candy, camouflage items, etc.
It is interesting to note that these forbidden
items were not discarded, but collected to be
 donated to local charities.


I loved the fact that, other than these few
disallowed items, what you pack is what is sent!
There is no re-distribution of items.
Everything you lovingly pack goes to "your" child.
If a box is not full enough, there were extra
age-appropriate items to add.


The boxes were then taped with a fancy machine
(operated by position 3)
and placed in cartons segregated by gender and age.
(position 4!)
Some donors had paid $7 to have their boxes
traced, so that they could know where they go.
These boxes had a special label which was scanned.
Then the large carton in which they were placed
 was also scanned, enabling tracking.


We found ourselves working just as fast as
we could, and we hated to quit when
our 4 hour shift ended.
(She said as she limped out.)


Of course, you know by now that I get excited
pretty easily!  I know...about everything!
But...THIS WAS SO EXCITING!
There was Christmas music playing.
 Groups whooped and hollered when cartons
were filled!
There was an air of camaraderie and joy!


This processing center expects to process
730,000 boxes this season,
involving 20,000 volunteers--some from great
distances.
You believe those numbers when you're there.


Here is a photo of just some of many stacks
of boxes ready to go to children in need
around the world.



I am blessed to know 2 ladies who are deeply 
involved with Operation Christmas Child.
Sharon Harvey is in our choir, and
Jan Louck is in my small group.
I know some of you would like to participate
in this ministry and may not have these
connections.
I am putting a note on my 2015 calendar
to blog contact info next year.
YOU WILL LOVE IT!


Aching feet and shoulders=warm heart!!!

 
 

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Do These Tights Make Me Look Fat?


A very dear friend of Susan's had a suggestion
regarding panty hose.
"Always buy queen size."
Instead of standing in the store trying to figure
out where the weight and height you are
come together on the huge grid, therefore making
you an "A" "B" or "C"...
just buy queen size.
After all, have you ever put on a pair of
panty hose and found them to be baggy or too big?
If you have, please keep it to yourself.
Because I haven't.


So...tonight I was going to a Christmas party
after choir.
As I was getting all gussied up,  I found this new pair
of tights in my drawer.
Hmmm.  That should work with my outfit.
And they were...queen size!


Would you like to see what a pair of queen size
tights looks like?


 They were tiny.
 For a queen size doll maybe.
These could not possibly be for a human being.
If this is queen size,
wonder what the size "A" measures!


One does not just "slip into" a
pair of tights which measures 12" in the waist and
has little short skinny legs!
(So sorry I didn't take a picture of those!)
Fortunately, I had started getting ready early
and had the air conditioning on.
Surprisingly, they were quite stretchy.
And got no runners before I could get them on.
I actually LIKE them!


And, really.  How could something that small
possibly make me look fat?






 
 




 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Hope You Didn't Miss This!


It happened last night.
The Classic Christmas Celebration at
Fielder Church.
I loved getting to sing my heart out with my
wonderful choir and orchestra family.

Here is my favorite of all the beautiful pictures
folks took.


Photo cred goes to Robert E. Phillips
via my fellow choir member Loretta Miller.
 Thanks, Robert and Loretta!


The group down in front of the orchestra is the
chorale from Sam Houston High School
here in Arlington.
Our choir has "partnered" with this choir
 and invited them to join us in our Christmas program.
They sang two fabulous numbers on their own,
then joined us in the Hallelujah Chorus.


The generosity of my music family
 always touches my heart.
We were asked to bring snacks for the SH kids--
and for us!
(We had a break between our 
performances at 4 and 6.)
Unfortunately, I did not take a picture of the 
amazing spread provided!!
In selfish fashion, I only took a picture of
my contribution (because I thought them so cute!)



The Fielder choir and orchestra members
 also contributed to a fund to provide needed
items to the Sam Houston choir program.
The generosity of our group touched my heart--
and that of Rachel and Alex, their directors!
A check was presented to them between performances.
I'd call it "above and beyond."


What a blessed privilege to get to be part of 
this fabulous celebration.
I will admit I'm a little glad it's the Monday
after the concert.
Why, you ask?
Well, I can finally listen to a variety of my
beloved Christmas music.
Until December 7th, I can only listen to my 
"voice part CD."
That's how we learn all that music!
Listen over and over and over.....


I am a little jealous of those attending.
I would love to be able to sit out front and 
hear us!
If you missed this, you need to put it on your
2015 calendar now.


One of the songs Amy Grant sang
(!!when I saw her in person!!)
was
I need a silent night, a holy night;
To hear an angel's voice, through the
chaos and the noise.
I need a midnight clear, a little peace 
right hear.
To end this crazy day with a silent night.


I feel like our concert qualified as a 
silent, holy night.
I heard the voices of many angels and
found great peace.


I did come home exhausted.
And now...I'm back to the chaos!
I was dee-termined to get this blogged,
but it's taken me hours!!!
And I'm having guests for lunch tomorrow!
 
   





 




 
   







Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Spectacular Evening!


Because I am Facebook friends with
my beloved, favorite nurse-of-all-time
Mary Poole...
I received notification of an upcoming event
several months ago.
Mary was responsible for Jack at Silverado
but is now with the company sponsoring this event--
Christian Care Centers.
 I reserved two places right away.


The event was the 
Christian Care Center Festival of Trees Gala
benefiting Alzheimers's Care.
The date was yesterday, November 17th.
The place was The Westin Galleria in Dallas.
The guest artist was Amy Grant!!!
The dinner was marvelous.
The enthusiastic, generous crowd numbered 570!


I couldn't wait to see "my" Mary.
(If you've read my blogs for long, you've read lots
about her!)
(Or--if you just know me you've heard lots
about her!)
But...I don't have to tell you how wonderful she is.
Unbeknownst to me, all of a sudden she
appeared on the big screens, receiving the
Heart of Faith award!
Everyone knew how wonderful she is!

 This is a shot from a lovely video of Mary receiving
the award.



Here we are when we first found each other
last night.
I didn't even know then that she was being honored!




And here's Amy--the "other star" of the evening!
She recorded her first album at 16.
Believe it or not, she's now 53!  And I've loved her
music for all those years.
She sang the beautiful Breath of Heaven as her
final selection.


 I made a wise choice in inviting Becky Leffler to
attend this event with me.
She and I have "SPG" credit cards which enabled
us, with our points, to stay free at the Westin.
But...Becky is gold SPG, so I got to tag along with
her to the Club Lounge!
Yes, sir!  We were in high cotton. 
(It was serious fun!)


Oh...there was a silent auction, too, at the gala.
I need to tell you...if you are ever responsible for an
auction, you need to invite me.
I will feel sorry for neglected or overlooked items
and buy them.
Case in point:  This poor great big Santa did
not have ONE bid.  He was sitting there all proud 
in his striped pants.
I couldn't stand it.  I bought him.

 Here he is riding down the elevator atop our luggage.
(Yes, we had to have help, not because of our luggage, but
because of all the stuff we bought!)



And here he is at home.
His attire goes with no room in my house.
Actually, there is no room for him in my house.
But at least he's not abandoned and alone.
(And I am deeply sorry for calling him 
"Ugly Santa."
 I promise not to do that again.)
Come to think of it, he will be a
great reminder of one marvelous
event which added multiple exclamation points
to my exclamation point life!!!















Saturday, November 8, 2014

I'm Goin' After My Mexican Vanilla in 99 sq. ft.


Did you read that I'm out of Mexican vanilla?
This morning I made arrangements to go
replenish my supply.
 You're going to be amazed, I think, at my plan.


Several years ago Norwegian Cruise Line launched
a ship called the Norwegian Epic. 
It caught my attention because there were some
provisions that catered to single travelers.
I never did check it out and kinda forgot about it.
However, I don't like having to pay double
every time I cruise, which is what the other 
cruise lines do to single cruisers.


This morning a message about bargain cruising
 popped up on my AOL home page.
The first cruise listed was on the
Norwegian Getaway
in its inaugural season!
And then I spotted "studios" which sleep only 1, but
also charge for only 1--no single supplement.
Very interesting!
So I called.  And I booked!


The studios are tiny.  Only 99 sq. ft.!
They are interior, with a one way glass window which
looks out on the hallway.  (With a sliding cover!)
But...
Nearby is a private lounge with a concierge for
studio cruisers only!
And it's lots cheaper.

 


Are you wondering about my bathroom?
Well, I will have full access with my keycard to
the bathroom down the hall in the Studio Lounge.


 JUST KEEDING!!!


Here is a shot which shows the bathroom--
included in the massive 99 sq. ft.


 

(I just tickle myself to death, you know.
I'm sitting here dying laughing over the thought
of me traipsing down the hall to the bathroom!)


After the fact (reservation)
I thought of submitting a question on
Cruise Critic about how the studio rooms had
worked out for other cruisers.


I have received 4 positive responses saying
(1) the studios are not at all claustrophobic
(2) they're perfect for 1
(3) a great place to sleep
(4) my luggage WILL fit under the bed
(5) that I'm gonna love it!
And not a single negative response!


So whata ya' think?
It sounds like an adventure to me!
And remember, it's a real bargain--
for a couple of bottles of vanilla!







 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

My Last But Not Least Stop



Our flights for the Biltmore trip were in and out of the
Charlotte, North Carolina, airport.
Very near the airport was our last stop,
the Billy Graham Library.
It was located right off of Billy Graham Parkway,
a major thoroughfare.


Now I'm really proud to feel Billy Graham is part
of my generation.
I've been his great admirer all my life.
I actually went to a crusade one time--
in person!


I found his to be outstanding among the libraries
that I've visited in my long lifetime.
The setting is lovely.
The volunteers there are so pleasant.
The presentations are organized and interesting.
I liked it even more than I expected.


We entered the library "at the foot of the cross."
(See a greeter standing at the door?)
 

The Grahams were dairy farmers, so
a very realistic animated "Bessie the Cow" greets visitors
and starts them on their way through
The Journey of Faith.


 
There are many clips of Billy speaking.
Then there are enthralling pictures of him.
I especially loved the ones with the eleven
presidents by whom he was called "pastor."
My favorite was one of Ronald and Nancy Reagan
with Billy.
Nancy had her hands on his waist and was
looking up at him so admiringly.


I took a picture of this old piano with equally
old sheet music on it.

Because...look what I have.



Also on the library grounds is the Graham childhood home.
It was actually moved here from a few miles away.


That's one of our fearless leaders and my dear friend,
Kim Carb,
standing in front of the lovely home.



Ruth Graham passed away in 2008 and is
buried on the beautiful premises.
Billy will be buried beside her.



Also buried there are Cliff Barrows,
the music director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association,
and George Beverly Shea, the incomparable
baritone soloist for the crusades.





I was looking forward to dining at the
Graham Brothers Dairy Bar
at the conclusion of my tour.  
But by the time I made it through and shopped
 the gift shop, there was not enough time left!


This was one of my purchases:


A fitting conclusion to a wonderful trip.